The Rejuvenationverse 33 members · 20 stories
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For the second-half of the first year of the Regency, the highest authority in Canterlot was the deranged Lord Protector Hardhoof. But he did not have his say in everything.
Despite him openly arresting Chronicler Bonce to ensure the royal signature could be forged whenever he wished, his wishes were still countered by the Lady Secretary Ardour and Archmage Silverback who stood as his equals on the council. To claim that he spoke for the former Palace Steward, he required his predecessor's next-of-kin, B.B Trunks, to stay close and have him with him on the Regents Council. And he lived in fear. There was talk that Thornwood was alive and plotting. That the eccentric unicorn had heard of Hardhoof’s usurpation of the city and was making plans to take it back with the full force of the unicorn military.
But an even greater lay in his antipathy of the pegasi.

To anti-alicorns like himself, the pegasi were considered dull-witted lackeys of the alicorns purely because of how few stood against the alicorns.
[Note: Somewhat faulty logic. There were many anti-alicorn pegasi before the founding but the Great Winter saw almost all of them dead. Nonetheless, for saving their kind from certain death, Hurricane and Pansy swore to Laurelore a debt of everlasting service in the name of the Pegasus Junta and unlike the unicorn nobility and earth pony gentry, they have never held counsel or confrontation before carrying out royal decree.]
It is likely, he was more afraid of Dragonfly and Plenty Uplift returning to the capital to reclaim their positions upon the Regency. Ardour and Silverback urged him to at least give Plenty Uplift back her position as Lady Bursar seeing as he’d taken the position himself upon his own.
Instead, Hardhoof refused to listen to reason. Bringing along two of his family associates, Herbetude Torpe of Snorebury and Dumpenny Dupe of Thyke, and giving them the positions of Lord Treasurer and Lord Bursar respectively.
He then took the silent, solemn Princess Celestia out onto the Balcony of Declaration and bellowed out his new decree.
“The wicked and treacherous stand among us!” he shrieked “In the very air! For too long the creatures known as pegasi have stood among you and claimed to be decent equine beings! This is a falsehood! A filthy and degenerate falsehood! No pony was ever meant to bear wings! To do so is proof of abominable bloodlines and foul worship of obscene, foreign gods! The griffons! The gargoyles! The hippogriffs and harpies! The dragons and the sphinxes! Never shall these creatures be friends of equine folk! Never shall ponies of the air consort with us! The transgressors of Canterlot’s skies must be purged forthwith! Strike them! Chain them! Clip them! Burn them! Ponies do not fly! Ponies do not fly! Ponies do not fly!”

And with that, he instigated a total marginalisation and persecution of pegasi in Canterlot and its regions.
Of course, announcing this to a group of ponies who could fly wasn’t the best logic. But his guard swarmed the city and many pegasi were imprisoned, mutilated or killed. Several districts with large pegasus communities set up barricades and armed resistance and held out for months. But while the pegasi were considered non-citizens in Equestria, Hardhoof could fill the gaps they’d left with yet more of his fanatical Dreary Ones, sometimes thousands by the day.
By the end of the first month of spring, Hardhoof brought both Princesses (Still keeping them apart) to watch the executions of over three thousand pegasi and a large number of citizens who’d tried to stop the persecution as well as petty criminals and various city-folk accused of crimes only Hardhoof and his associates considered punishable by death.
It was said that the city square of Canterlot ran red with blood. Ponies fainted, vomited, cried and screamed at the sight and Celestia and Luna were utterly terrified. The sight of death was not new to them after the Warmonger’s attack, but they had never seen innocent ponies dragged to the axe begging for mercy or wishing their loved ones goodbye or even defying the palace in their last moments.
There’s also a dark tale added to the end of this collection that states that Hardhoof then took Celestia and Luna out into the square and then personally seized a filly their age from her parents in the crowd, strapped the screaming foal to the block and butchered her in a frenzied fashion with the executioner’s axe, leaving her head attached to her mangled body to slowly bleed out. He then buried the axe in the stone between the sisters and declared he could do the same to either of them if they proved themselves a threat to his authority. It’s not confirmed if this part is true but according to even the most sceptical of historians, it sounds like something Hardhoof would do.

For all accounts, Hardhoof had shifted his authority from that of Lord Marshal to Palace Steward. But to be perfectly honest, he had authority over every position of the Regency where a friend of his sat the seat.
One particular point was choosing his successor as Lord Warden.
As he had at Phlegm, he’d set up an information network. The ponies from the Outskirts he’d settled into Canterlot were encouraged to spy and inform on the citizens of Canterlot and report any possible crimes to Hardhoof’s guards.
Hardhoof often sat at the Palace of Justice, Lord Justice Shale Slymestone always making way for him.
One session Celestia was present for, Oia’i’o related in her memoirs.

‘Such madness was not something a filly the princess’s age should ever have to see.
The first case was a group of three candlestick-makers. They’d been brought in because one of them had insulted Hardhoof in the hearing of, evidently, somepony who reported it. The three were blaming each other left, right and centre, each one swearing that he, himself, said no word against Hardhoof and protested against he that did.
In the end, it didn’t matter. Hardhoof didn’t need to know who had insulted him. He had all three of them declared guilty; one for treachery and the other two for not reporting it themselves.
The next case was a mare, a recent widow and a mother of seven. Her husband had drunk and would hit her and her foals and apparently, she’d killed him with a blow to the back of the head when he made to strike the youngest of her children. She swore on her life that he’d slipped and cracked his head on the stove.
Hardhoof declared her guilty for not ensuring the stove was slip-proof. I am dead serious.
She wept for mercy, saying she had seven foals to look after.
Hardhoof then declared they had been witnesses to a foul act of wickedness and failed to report it. They were contaminated by her corruption and would die for their crimes as she watched.
Then an elderly unicorn, a private tutor. One of his students had said he’d molested him. The old tutor insisted it was not true and said the colt was resentful for the note he’d sent to his parents for his poor behaviour.
Hardhoof ordered the tutor executed. Along with all his students, claiming any taught by a creature of such corruption were themselves corrupted. The student making the accusation wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened to him or how true his words were.
Then the final case.
A bizarre stallion, a unicorn, dressed in fine but soiled robes. Blotchy coat of orange, yellow and green with a wild sickly-yellow mane and huge, buggy, teal eyes.
He was called Retcher Gorgelle. He was once a Marquis. I confess I’d never seen him at court.
He’d raped and murdered his youngest stepdaughter. A filly of six.
No remorse. Said he’d do it again to his other four stepdaughters.
Hardhoof paused.
He then declared that the stepdaughter had bewitched him and he was declared innocent.
Retcher Gorgelle was taken by Clagg Illweather to be properly cleansed and make a list of those he believed had also ‘bewitched’ him.
The next day, he was appointed Lord Warden of Canterlot.
And his other four stepdaughters were never seen again.’

[Note: It is confirmed that one stepdaughter, Hyxie Gorgelle, was smuggled out of Canterlot by family retainers where she was kept safe until her adulthood where she returned to the city. What happened to the other three is best not spoken of.]

Historically, this is quite the anomaly. It is still unknown as to why Hardhoof did this.
If he genuinely believed this stallion was bewitched, why him of all creatures?
Was it because his victim was a female?
Even if we assume that, did Hardhoof require a unicorn in his inner circle? He certainly wasn’t a believer of the equality of the tribes and he saw magic itself as suspicious and unclean. Why this unicorn over an earth pony among his cadre?
It is possible that ensuring that the only unicorn in his inner circle was as foul and depraved as any had ever beheld sent a message to his disciples as if to say ‘This is the unicorn. This is the enemy. Guard well against it.’. But even then, why now and in this manner?
Perhaps because he made such a show of being guilty yet not feeling guilty. Perhaps the idea of a pony not regretting their sins made Hardhoof unable to comprehend the idea that they were sins at all.
Or perhaps, judging by how Celestia was present, he simply wanted to give another demonstration of how he could bend anything in Canterlot to his will. That innocence and guilt were what he and only he decided they were.
So his bitter power-shows would continue until an opportunity emerged for others to act.
And that opportunity would come from over the sea.

Lord Dumpenny Dupe was one of the worst businessponies ever to take to quill and ink. He had no real credentials other than being a son of a rich family from the Outskirts (Which rarely even make more bits than a poor family in Canterlot. Not even trying to be insulting there, just a brute fact.); he was a xenophobe with no cultural or artistic knowledge or appreciation; he maintained terrible relations and communications with his staff; he was illiterate and couldn’t past the number of his hooves; he spent more on the plaque before his office than he was willing to spend on securing tariffs and rites to land and goods and to top it all off when a farmer’s strike across Equestria was put into action, Dumpenny paid henchponies to venture all across Equestria to pressure them into giving up their goods for free which not only cost more money but absurd amounts of time leading to a food shortage in Canterlot and civil unrest in most other parts of Equestria.
And yet he had a part to play in saving Canterlot from total collapse, if unintentional and unrewarded.
His home, the peninsula of Thikke, was the site of a pirate raid where one of the ships ran aground. Stolen treasures were collected and stored whereupon a foreign pony arrived claiming to be the rightful owner.
Dumpenny ordered him arrested and brought to Canterlot to explain himself. The foreign pony delivered his credentials and notices of ownership, none of which meant a lot to Dumpenny but meant a lot to Ardour.
The foreign pony, Odobento do San Palomino, was a Heptagoni merchant prince.
South-West of Equestria, there lies the archipelago of seven islands known as the Heptagon. Nowadays, tidal effects of Tirek’s second invasion of Equestria has long shattered the majesty of the states. Despite proving brilliant yearly vacation zones for tourists, they’ve been reduced to fishing ports and regressed drastically in culture and wealth.
But centuries ago, they stood near as equals to Equestria.
Born out of the ancient Empire of Hippodamia, the Heptagon is an uneasy alliance of maritime republic city-states west of Equestria in the Selenian Sea. They are a curious race of what is known as ‘Salt-Ponies’ for their greater affinity on the sea than on the land. They are shaped like earth ponies but have long, thin legs and long, thin muzzles. Their tails extend beyond the flanks like that of a feline’s, tufted with thinner, more ‘mane-like’ hair. Their eyes are wide and the hair of their eyebrows grows strangely long, extending beyond their faces like antennae. It is said their brows are hard and dotted with tiny horns. The elder stallions grow moustaches shaped like the whiskers of catfish and the mares use oils and brine to give their manes a translucent effect like the fins of fighting-fish or in thick coils woven round their shoulders like sea-snakes. They are not native to Equestria but close enough for the two cultures to have influenced each other at various periods of history.
They venerated the seahorse and bore the creature on their heraldry. It is even believed in some circles that they are the product of pony and siren crossbreeding.
This was not the first Equestria had ever heard of the Heptagon but it was the first interaction they’d had with them for some time.

Odobento do San Palomino explained to Ardour that the Heptagon have a small but prominent isle, Ostracon, between their two continents for foreign trade. It had been taken over by the Hippogriff Pirate Monarch Ferraro Fantabuloso.
[Note: For a long while, Ferraro Fantabuloso’s gender has been uncertain. There are some histories that claim he was a Pirate ‘King’ and others that name him ‘Pirate Queen Ferrara Fantabuloso’. Recently however, Hippogriffia’s libraries released to the Equestrian Public ‘Scourges of Sea and Sky’ that actually confirm that Ferraro Fantabuloso was trans-fluid, choosing to identify him/herself as male on some occasions then female at others depending on circumstance or even just who he/she was in the company of.
Please understand that I and indeed the Royal Academy and the Canterlot Guild of Historians understand and respect Mr/Mrs Fantabuloso’s life-choices. He will be referred to by the male pronoun in this section of the histories but only because he is confirmed to have identified as such during his time in which these records take place.]
Whatever his title, Ferraro Fantabuloso was a flamboyant and charismatic creature who stood over six-and-a-half feet tall with a withered forepaw he held tightly at his chest and a beak he’d broken as a chick which he’d covered by a gilded and bejewelled beak-cap. His coat was ebony while his mane was a flush of red, pink and purple and his irises started blue at the edges and turned red in the centre. He wore make-up, perfumes, powders and silks and would often cross-dress regardless of whether he felt like a male or a female. He had over thirty spouses of both genders. He never beat them but would sometimes order them to beat him. He ate, drank and made love more than any creature in his crew. He spoke over twenty languages and would swear a great deal with all of them. He was famously generous, freely giving his plunder to his crew or to the poor and freed every slave he came across.
But he was susceptible to mood swings and killing a creature close to him in a rage became regarded as a minor misfortune among him and his crew. While he ordered his crew to never harm foals, he severely disliked the company of them and would weep in hysteria if ever he spilled any amount of drink (Perhaps suggesting a very difficult childhood) He always wore a vibrant collar decorated with the feathers or mane-hair of defeated foes, not always necessarily dead, which he would sometimes talk to, plucking out a part of the collar and speaking to it as if it were his old foe, always in a very friendly and respectful manner.
He owned over a hundred ships and as many cats.

From whence he had emerged and to what purpose was, at that point, uncertain but the Heptagoni were finding him a great difficulty. Some of them anyway.
Others had allied with him and were using the Pirate King to cripple the economic power of their rivals, letting them into Ostracon to trade while blockading their foes. For the islands were all vying against each other. Each island had a Magister chosen from the leading families, of which numbered dozens at a time, all of which were battling for the position of Magister who would then vie against the other six Magisters of the isles. It wasn’t a peaceful system but they made it work.
The isles were named Qoria, Serbella, Polmonia, Rognoria, Cistifellea, Ficata and Milza.
The Palomino Family were from Polmonia. Odobento do San Palomino negotiated with Ardour for his safe return and Equestria’s aid not just against the Pirate King but of his allies among the Heptagon.
Ardour was hesitant and took her issues to the Regency. Hardhoof had little opinion on the matter, surprisingly, and Silverback said that getting involved in the warring families of the Heptagon would send Equestria into a calamitous predicament, costing them time, resources and horsepower they couldn’t afford to waste.
On top of that, the Heptagon was not well liked by the unicorn population of Equestria as Platinum had once fought a war against them when they sheltered her murderous daughter many years ago.
[Note: But that’s a tale for a later day.]

Curiously enough, the fact that they had once been enemies of the Unicorns made Hardhoof a lot more interested in the Heptagon. He declared that putting down the Pirate King at least was a priority, for Ferraro’s ‘degenerate adorning practices’ if nothing else. He was briefed of the full scale of the conflict. The islands of Qoria, Cistifellea and Ficata had allied with Ferraro’s pirates, paying him to level the influence of the other four island’s magistries. Qoria had even gone so far as to reinforce it with a fleet of their own and Ficata did the same. This ploy was actually to intimidate Cistifellea of backing out of the alliance. After all, one acquired more spoils of war split three ways than four.
Hardhoof’s priority was avoiding the Heptagoni fleets and focussing on Ferraro. Once Equestria had taken Ostracon, all seven of the Heptagoni Magistries would vie for his favour and pay whatever price it took to grant him enough resources to put all his ambitions into action.
[Note: Or set them banding together to kill him but he hadn’t thought that far.]
He sent Lord Admiral Quease af Grye to lead the Equestrian fleet and under him, B.B Trunks and Lady Whooper Swan of Bellelle, both unicorns.
Though the megalomaniacal Hardhoof had never bothered with the seafaring nephew of his predecessor, B.B Trunks loathed Hardhoof more than any other unicorn in Canterlot (And that was certainly saying something!) He would be damned before he took orders from Quease af Grye who, as it turned out, was notoriously susceptible to seasickness and refused to move his fleet far from the shore until he was certain they would find little danger on the tides themselves, hoping to surround Ostracon and then wait for Hardhoof’s order to set the fleet aflame then bombard the island from afar. B.B Trunks protested that would destroy any chance of taking Ferraro by surprise, risking massive casualties from the oncoming reinforcements, but Lord Admiral waved him off, declaring him a ‘foolish and foppish colt who needed a sharp lesson in ‘marine-time’ from those of experience and decisiveness’, declaring his fleet would set sail for Ostracon’s waters at daybreak.
As it turned out, Quease couldn’t even muster up that much effort, keeping his flagship on the coast and leaving the attack in the hooves of his first-mate, Captain Cutjack Blackpudding, a foul-minded, foul-mouthed and foul-smelling privateer who’d bought his pardon and position in the Outskirts through gold made in the Ivorium Slave Trade. To serve under a glorified slaver was also not something B.B Trunks relished.
So he struck out, the first of the Regents, though merely a deputy, to effectively disobey Hardhoof.
And he got away with it too.

When Captain Blackpudding was sent to take charge of Trunks’s fleets, he was sent to Lord Admiral Quease bleeding and wheezing, having been flogged by the Vice Admiral who sent a message that he would never take orders from an upjumped flesh-dealer and the Lord Admiral shamed himself and Equestria by imagining otherwise. When Quease ordered his troops to arrest B.B Trunks, they reported his part of the fleet was gone.
Instead of going after Ferraro on Ostracon, B.B Trunks aimed to either draw out the Pirate King or imprison him on his own island.
To that end, B.B Trunks led his fleet against Ferraro’s Qorian allies arriving to pay tribute to Ferraro with promised payments. A mighty fleet nonetheless but armed to the teeth but unsuspecting of battle.
The unicorns aboard the Equestrian ships masked their coming with a thick sea mist and split their fleet into two to circle around Ostracon.
As battle began, B.B Trunks rammed his own ship, the HMS Maillot Splendid into the prow of Qoria’s flagship, the Cavallin Magniator, cutting it near in two. Beside him, the HMS Farthingale clashed with the Ficatan flagship, the Segnor Vitalis, and sent it off burning with two of its three masts destroyed, its crew abandoning it before it could properly leave the battlefield where it was sunk in the crossfire. The HMS Pride of Platinum guarded the Maillot Splendid as it recovered from the ram it had delivered, firing heavily on any ship that drew close, taking heavy damage but ultimately pulling through.
Whooper Swan distinguished herself as well, capturing four Ficatan ships and sinking one, the Subcitarius, from whence a large artillery battery was prepared but wasn’t operational in time to return fire. Deprived of their main strength in range, the Heptagoni reinforcements surrendered.
Three Equestrian ships were sunk; the HMS Slipstream, HMS Lady Salice and HMS Multiresonance.
Not too bad when compared to the forty ships of Qoria sunk and a further twenty-three captured. From the capture, salvage or tribute of the defeated Heptagoni Fleet, Vice Admiral B.B Trunks had acquired vast amounts of food, drink, weapons, gold, jewels, oils, slaves and even exotic animals, including one Ruby Monumenturtle that took up the entire cargo hold of one of the captured ships, the Cazador Blanco.
The slaves were freed but all other plunder he would take to Equestria, hoping in some way to ease the financial troubles of the city.
The surrendered ships where left in charge of their maritime officers and bid head back to their isles. But the grand captains and envoys of Qoria and Ficata were brought to B.B Trunks who gave them an Equestrian flag and a single command.
‘Take a rowboat and sail to Ostracon! Meet with the Pirate King and give him this flag! It is all he shall ever peddle or plunder while B.B Trunks of Briefly Manor patrols the Equestrian seas!”

B.B Trunks returned to a speechless Quease and Blackpudding and threw down the ship’s wheel of the Cavallin Magniatorbefore them. He then arrived at Canterlot atop the gigantic pink turtle he’d rescued from the bowels of the Cazador Blanco, greeted by a raucous crowd, cheering his name and fighting to get a glimpse of their hero. Princess Celestia herself appeared in person to cover B.B Trunks with honours. Before the steps of the palace, she granted him the deeds to ownership of his own private flagship, flotilla and port then draped the pearl chain around his neck and the bicorne cap with the flamingo-feather plume denoting his new title.
Grand Admiral Bikini-Bottom Trunks.
[Note: The title of Grand Admiral had only been awarded once before to Wild Goose of Platinum’s regime, after his victory over the Marchion Armada, thus linked closer to unicorn roles and offices, perhaps symbolically. In practice, a Grand Admiral was the second highest-ranking officer of the Equestrian navy and, while he didn’t command as many troops as the Lord Admiral, he had more access to weapons, technology and spells. For authorisation to utilise them, he needed permission from the Princess or the Regency but not necessarily from the Lord Admiral. This appointment may have been more than mere ceremony. Celestia could well have been trying to match the power Hardhoof’s uncle, Quease af Grye, had over her navy. A surprisingly astute ploy for one so young but not flawless.]
However, once brought inside the palace, he was faced by an irate Hardhoof and his scowling servitors.
The enraged earth pony bombarded him with insults, threats and curses, promising he’d have his head for such an offence against his authority. But never once did B.B Trunks break his composure, standing before the self-proclaimed Protector of Canterlot with a raised brow and a cocky grin.
But this was one of the few times Hardhoof was right to be angry. However loudly the crowds had cheered for Trunks, he may well have doomed the realm. While he’d captured many ships, much loot and a gigantic turtle, he had not taken Ostracon or done any damage to the pirates upon it. It was Ferraro Fantabulosa’s destruction that the Regency (Most of it anyway) had declared their objective. Instead, he had made an enemy of those they’d hoped to avoid.
“Vile and wretched colt!” Hardhoof screamed “You have brought upon us war and wickedness!”
“And one bloody huge turtle. Let’s not forget that, milord.” B.B Trunks replied with the biggest grin anypony in the Palace had seen in quite a while.

When they got a word in edgewise, the other Regents were surprisingly hostile to B.B Trunks as well. While Ardour was happy that he’d proven Hardhoof’s authority vulnerable, she still very much disapproved of Trunks’ recklessness and Silverback went as far as calling him a fool who’d acted completely out of order regardless of the issues he had with Hardhoof and his associates.
“Do you honestly imagine you’re the only one with a problem with him?!” he is recorded to have said “The rest of us have shown restraint and kept Equestria’s interests at heart! What in Tartarus is your excuse?!”
Not even his younger cousin, Knickerbocker’s son, Sunday Strides, thought he’d acted entirely sensibly.
But Trunks it seemed, was not moved. The folly of youth, most believed, but unknown to most, he was playing the long game. His goal was to prove that keeping Equestria’s interests at heart meant stopping Hardhoof having his way by any means necessary.
And if the aforementioned theory is correct, Celestia could well have been in on the scheme.
However, Hardhoof, it seemed, was aware of just how much the young seafarer wanted him defaced. He was set to put B.B Trunks in a very difficult predicament to ensure the first time he’d acted against him would also be the last.
Hardhoof established a new position in the Regency, the Lord Impellent, in charge of aggressive or counter-aggressive action. Essentially one sent first into the most prominent threat to the realm.
And the new Grand Admiral added another title to his name. While outwardly seeming an honour, it was in fact a death sentence.
One way or another, Lord Impellent B.B Trunks would sail to his death, his reckless valour surely to prove his death.
Or so Hardhoof hoped.
First, however, he sent Ardour to send Odobento do San Palomino home then to negotiate with the Heptagoni Magisters to recover some degree of peace among them.
Ardour knew the most likely reason she was being sent to do the deed was because Hardhoof felt more comfortable without her involvement, likely planning something. She left Oia’i’o with confidential orders to keep Celestia safe from Hardhoof’s scheming at any cost.
She then took a ship laden with gifts of goodwill and journeyed to Qoria.
She was met by the Qorian Magister, Gazzaro do San Codabassaro, who was genial and accepting and acted as though the staggering defeat of his fleet was new to him. As, in fact, it was.
When Ardour brought up the deal the island had made with Ferraro and the fleet lost before Ostracon, the Magister replied with a dismissive “Oh, that!
The very day after the fleet had moved, the then-Magister of Qoria, Ructo do San Bombastro, had died suddenly at a feast, likely poisoned. When Ardour asked who had poisoned him, this new Magister shrugged and said “Probably some disgruntled kitchen worker. We’ll find him soon enough.”

It was here that Ardour learned a great deal about how different the Heptagon worked to Equestria.
The Heptagon dealt in just about everything, including life.
Slavery was legal in the Heptagon although it worked very different to how it had worked in places like Tambelon or Ivoria which enslaved based on species or lifestyle and carried it out as a form of punishment and torture as well as forced labour.
In the Heptagon, the Salt Pony culture strongly encourages entrepreneurism where every free pony is the owner and leader of their own home and business. Slaves therefore are more or less treated similar to early Equestrian serfs or basic workers. Debtors often sell themselves to those they owe and even to escape poverty. Even the lowliest beggar stands taller than a slave but at least a slave eats every day as long as his master has gold to spend on those who do his bidding. It’s considered highly improper to keep unhealthy, underfed or fatigued slaves so a slave can often depend on their master for their food, clothes, rest and medicine.
But it’s all rather dependent on the master.
Some can be kind and treat their slaves like friends or family.
Others can be cruel and treat their slaves like tools or toys.
The poorer masters could simply decide to sell them back to the dealers while the enormously rich dressed their slaves in silks and jewels and fed them well, bathed them with fragrant oils and perfumes and had them taught how to read and dance and play music and other things...for no better reason than they show they could afford to and to make their rivals bristle at how they could not do the same.
And to be perfectly honest, how they saw the lowest of their citizens wasn’t very different to how they saw the highest. It was said that their Magisters either lived for decades or for days. A Magister only remained in power until the other heads of the high families, the Domi, were no longer afraid to defy him...or too afraid to defy his successor.
Once every so often, the most powerful Magisters would hold the loyalty of his fellows (For one reason or another) and be appointed High Presider and would live every day in equal amounts of luxury and fear. His word would be law on all seven isles and his attendance would demand the Domi to pay tribute and each try to outdo the other in gestures of loyalty and hospitality...for however long it would last before he mysteriously turned up dead.
A murdered Magister was common in the Heptagon and their successor was the only one who could order the matter looked into or not as it often was. But family feuds overtook the law and even if a politician chose not to act on a murder, the victim’s family almost always would.
Wars were fought in the shadows and won with plots and poisons rather than blades and banners.
And while familial vengeance was as dear to them as air and water, what one Magister had done, the next had no obligation to do or undo depending on his choice.
The new Magister of Qoria was happy to accept the gifts of goodwill and outwardly proved very cooperative. He’d already replaced every ship B.B Trunks had lost and we was perfectly willing to overlook the maritime transgressions that Equestria had dealt the Heptagoni with no blood spilled.
He did, however, insist on them paying the war reparations if they wanted the Heptagon to stop trading with Ferraro Fantabulosa. The Palomino were one of many families who Ferraro was threatening economically but there were many families who did not share this pain and they’d require a heavy price to shut themselves off from such an asset.
A sum of seven-million bits.
Ardour was substantially less optimistic and asked if there was any other means to ensure there’d be no ill-will with Equestria and no more dealings with Fantabulosa.
The Magister grinned and replied that they could always take it up with the Bombastro family who actually bought and paid for the ships and treasures due to go to Fantabulosa, adding that if they thought he was difficult to work with, wait until they met them.
The night Ardour spent in the Heptagon, Odobento had left her a letter telling her to leave a dummy in her bed and sleep in a large chest or something of the like. Unwilling to take chances, she did so and found numerous knives, poison needles, a throttling wire and even a poisonous snake in her bed.
All apparently courtesy of the Bombastro family and their business partners.
Ardour then went to a Heptagoni Courier Office and requested the Bombastro family meet with her peacefully to discuss terms of lasting peace.
The powerful head of the family was Gastro do San Bombastro, known as the ‘Whale-Carcass of Qoria’ for his size, his monopoly over the ambergris trade and in particular for his stench.
He was a black-tempered stallion so fat he had to be carried in a palanquin by a dozen slaves and another half-dozen to spray perfumes around him to hide his body-odour, halitosis and flatulence. He kept over five hundred slaves in his palace, his most prized being a grotesquery; a collection of sentient creatures with absurd physical defects such as hybrids, two-headed creatures, bearded mares and hermaphrodites. These he would show off to party-guests and get them to copulate with prized pleasure-slaves to match ugliness with beauty.
He refused to meet with Ardour for he claimed many of his kin had been officers of the Qorian fleet Trunks had ruined (Whether or not any of them died is uncertain.) but he agreed to send his third son to speak for him.
Pupi do San Bombastro.
Here, Ardour sent word to the other Regents that she could not possibly negotiate with this stallion for she’d never be able to hold back laughter that long.
In fact, Silverback joked that it should be Hardhoof that stood for negotiations. Nopony had ever seen him laugh or even smile at anything.
Silverback did not know it at the time but he’d nearly doomed Equestria through those words.

Hardhoof had never once set foot outside of Equestria and even then had only been outside of the Outskirts to set hoof in Canterlot. When his rivals in the Regency suggested he go in person to negotiate, he was plagued by paranoia. He took a good long week deciding and in that time, he bid B.B Trunks head to deal with Ferraro Fantabuloso. For if any of his rivals moved while he was gone, he knew Trunks would certainly be the first.
But B.B Trunks was a lot less eager to do battle with the Pirate King, though not for lack of courage.
He’d learned enough about the seafaring hippogriff to know that a sudden attack would almost certainly turn against him.
Breaching the matter from a diplomatic standpoint, making use of his extended authority by the princess’s hoof, keeping Hardhoof and his associates in the dark, he sent word to Ferraro that he wished to meet with him.
He was invited to Ostracon where, to his surprise Ferraro Fantabuloso threw the Grand Admiral a fantastic celebration. When offered the treasures the Heptagoni fleet had originally planned to gift him, the hippogriff waved them away saying if ever he should require plunder, he shall take it himself. It was Trunks who was brave and crafty enough to claim it and so by the laws of the sea, it was his to keep and spend as he wished.
They feasted and drank all through the night.
The next night, however, B.B Trunks woke up in chains, the furious pirate king screaming that the unicorn was planning to kill him. Trunks denied it and offered any means to prove his innocence.
Ferraro had but one way to determine Trunks’ innocence. Fight three of his best sea-raiders in a duel to the death. The four wore cloaks and hoods shaped like sea-dragons in a semi-submerged pit of brine while the crew cheered on.
Eventually, through means not known to conventional history, B.B Trunks triumphed. Sure enough, all memory of any accusation or suspicion of treachery on his part were forgotten and Ferraro took Trunks into the prow of his flagship for a proper night of festivities. He was given his own cabin with luxuries one could not find anywhere in Equestria but perhaps the Royal Palace. That night, three of Ferraro’s wives, two mares and a kirin, came to Trunks’ bed at their husband’s behest and offered him the pleasures of their bodies for the night. It is not known if he took them up on that offer.
In the morning, he was then gifted with the head of one of Ferraro’s crew who the hippogriff claimed was trying to send Hardhoof and Bombastro information about his time on Ostracon.
It was obvious to B.B Trunks that he could not stay long in the company of one who, though genial and generous beyond compare in his light moods, could so easily shift from cordial to dangerous. He explained his predicament and asked if Ferraro would employ his seafaring skills in the service of Equestria and help him level the influence of Hardhoof in Canterlot.
Ferraro weighed his words, tipped his wine glass as a gesture of regret, wept and said he could not.
But he knew one who could. One who, for a full month now, had enjoyed his company and custody since he was fished out of the shores off of Trottingham on a plank of driftwood.
Scarcely believing his ears, B.B Trunks was led to the finest of Ferraro’s guestrooms and found the previous Lord Marshall, Thornwood, in a fragrant pool, happy and content in the forehooves of an amorous siren.
Thornwood and Nimueh’s conflict had rendered both of them near powerless and they had been recovered by one of Ferraro’s ships patrolling the coastal waters. Through guile and charm, he and Ferraro had hit it off immediately and he’d managed to reach a compromise with the fiery siren temptress that had culminated in a very close relationship.
Thornwood had also managed to bribe a few of Ferraro’s crew into his service and sent them secretly into Canterlot to inform him of all that was going on. It was revealed Ferraro already knew of this but took it in his stride, though he promised he’d have his cut from the informer’s bribe in due time one way or another.
Thornwood bid B.B Trunks to do as he was doing, fake death or disappearance and work in the shadows to undermine Hardhoof’s authority from under his very muzzle.
But Trunks was a forthright stallion and had little taste for the clandestine ploys that Thornwood was famous for. He promised to keep the tactician’s survival and whereabouts a secret he’d take to his grave if necessary but he set out for his ship that evening. Thornwood understood the young Grand Admiral and left him with this bit of advice to give to Ardour.
"The Palominos. Bring them to Equestria. We are a fox standing before a lion. A leopard is what's called for."
A hippogriff of his word and hiding a heart of gold, Ferraro Fantabulosa set fire to his smugglers market on Ostracon and took his fleet far from Equestria to turn their attention to raiding the Ivorian trade routes.
“For there are poor zebra in chains that cry out for our help.” he proclaimed “And I have been meaning for some time to bring my wives and husbands some fine Zebrican diamonds.”
B.B Trunks returned to Canterlot claiming victory through nonviolent means. While the crowd cheered him, it was much more levelled than before and the Dreary Ones threw upon him accusations of cowardice and treachery leading to a riot in the city square.

Elsewhere, however, Hardhoof met with the Bombastro family.
Pupi, as the Regency had suspected, did not rouse Hardhoof to laughter.
But he had a lot to be happy about for they’d reached a conclusion.
Gastro do San Bombastro demanded a much greater payment for the insult of attack itself than the gifts meant for Ostracon repaid. He wanted no apologies or excuses. He demanded proof of Equestria’s submission to his family elsewise he vowed he would call in every debt owed to him across the world to level Canterlot through any means necessary.
How capable he was of this will forever be uncertain for Hardhoof took him up on the opportunity, gaining a foreign ally in the process.
In order to turn the Canterlot’s favour against the likes of Ardour, Silverback and B.B Trunks, Hardhoof gifted the Bombastro family with something Equestria treasured beyond measure. In the hooves of foreign ponies with dubious intent, the whole of Equestria would be gripped by fear, certain to follow every measure to ensure the safety of this precious thing and throw bitter contempt upon the ones who put them in such a position in the first place.
And so it was agreed and carried out come the following morning to a weeping Canterlot and a distraught Princess Celestia.
Hardhoof had made a gift of Princess Luna.

WhitewolfStormrunner
Group Contributor

Ooooo, he's a dead gelding walking.

Calling it now.

Purple Patch
Group Admin

7114051
Well, his decision is smarter than it appears.
Essentially, what he did to Celestia he's now done to all of Canterlot. Putting the city in such a position where if he is defied and his authority, and thus his alliance with the Bombastros, is threatened then it will be Luna who suffers.
And nopony in Canterlot wants that.

So what do you think of B.B Trunks and Fantabuloso?

Bronycommander
Group Contributor

7114027
Interesting as always. I can already Imagine Midnight waiting for the Moment to strike.

And by the Way, i am pretty Sure a certain stallion would Love to give him his "warm regards" Once in tartarus.

Sorry for the wait, didn't appear in the feed for some reason. Good Thing you informed me

WhitewolfStormrunner
Group Contributor

7114306 Ah.
Well, that does makes sense
The thing is, it's always been my experience in reading things like this that the villain in the story oftimes tends to prove to be too smart for his (or her, as the case may be) own good, and ends up outsmarting themself and overstepping, which leads to their inevitable downfall.
Which, threatening to sell a young filly like Luna (I can't remember if you said what her and Celestia's respective ages were at this point in their lives), will probably make it come crashing down on him and his fellow scumbags all the quicker.

And I just have the feeling that that's going to be the case here.

I hope.

Anyway, this was great as usual, and I can't wait to see what happens in Part 3.

As to that, I think they were both cool (even if the latter creeped me it just a bit), and I look forward to seeing more of them.

Purple Patch
Group Admin

7114358
It will.
That I promise.

Good to know.
Why did he creep you out? Was it his mood swings?

Purple Patch
Group Admin

7114339
It's fine.
And the next parts up too.

WhitewolfStormrunner
Group Contributor

7114785 Good.
Thank you.

:twilightsmile:
Pretty much.

Bronycommander
Group Contributor

7114787
Eager to Read it

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