• Published 1st Nov 2011
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Stories in Stone, Luna's Royal Guard. - TDR



The Gardens of Canterlot contain more than their fair share of stories. And more creatures than just Discord.

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Sea Salt

Stories in Stone
Luna's Royal Guard
By TDR



Sea Salt.



“I am warning you Spike, if you eat all that jam before I get any, I am making you go wait in line for the next jar.”

“But its soo good.”

“Put it away ….. I've been standing in line all day for that, and I'm not going to let you gobble it all up before I can have some on my toast in the morning.”

“Why not have it on toast now?”

“Because toast is for breakfast, not dinner. And we just ate less than an hour ago too.”

Twilight blinks as the little dragon scoops another spoonful out of the jar to eat.

“Spike no, give me that, you've eaten half the jar while I’ve been standing here telling you not to eat any of it.”

“Oops.”

Twilight floats the jar of zap apple jam away from the dragonling, putting it on the top shelf in the closet and magically sealing the door. She wanted to do a bit of relaxing studying tonight, but she couldn't do that if she worried about the jar of jam being left with the dragonling.

The others were busy, so it was just her and Spike tonight. He settled down after the jam was taken away, but she still noted his glances to the door. Sighing she cast the spell and slipped into the space between her and the blade. She paused a moment gaze shifting over the stars rather surprised to see more than a few of them in a nearly straight line. Well she had assumed they represented ponies. This was just a bit more proof. She shakes her head slipping into one of the windows.



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“This sucks. I wanted to ride the train.”

“Perhaps on the return trip Bleu, we could not have foreseen the failure of the engine.”

“Really? According to Celestia's students that thing is supposed to run on time, if the engine breaks they should, I dunno, hitch a couple of ponies to the front and pull it.”

“That sounds too silly for any pony to even consider it a viable option Bleu. Any way the ship should be arriving shortly. Once it resupplies, we will be off to Nieghlantis. The think tank designed this craft a few years ago as well Bleu. So that will be something at least.“

“I suppose.”


The group of them had arrived the day before at the port town of Wilmingtrot. The Princess Bride was due into port the following day so the group went to secure lodgings. Once more Princess Luna managed to completely confound Jer'rahd by being able to walk around unrecognized with little more than her wings covered and a pair of glasses.


The town itself was small, Little more than a collection of docks, warehouses and taverns. Luna had refused the offer to come out drinking and when she refused, Jer'rahd did as well, much to the surprise of every one. The others still went out however, though most of the night was spent Keeping Rhede out of the towns house of ill repute.

The ship arrived in the morning, the massive craft taking up a larger dock than any other ship at the port. The ship was the pinnacle of modern knowledge, created by Celestia's team as a magic powered steam ship. The craft had only been on the water perhaps three year, but in that time it had gained quite a reputation for its cutting edge technology, strange collection of crew, and exotic build.

The ship was powered by a massive sun stone at its core that poured out heat that in turn boiled water that spun the turbines that powered the ship. Three giant pipes rose from the engine room acting as chimneys for the great amount of heat and excess steam the ship produced. The whole thing was designed as some sort of luxury liner. It rarely saw use as a pleasure craft however, it tended to be used more for transporting supplies and other goods up and down the coast. The Princess Bride was the only craft currently allowed to dock at the port in Neighlantis.

Luna had made certain that the group had packed some sort of finery for the meeting with Princess Aqua. And much to Jer'rahd's annoyance, he was told he would not be allowed to wear his armor to the meeting either. The others were not quite thrilled either. Bleu was not a fan of wearing anything and Velkorn did not really wish to wear anything other than the dress that had been destroyed at the Gala.
She eventually relented wearing a simple dress in the green and white of the Queen's Cross flag. She refrained from wearing the actual symbol for the group not wishing to confuse the issue of her loyalties.

The group approached the ship, Luna had forgone her disguise and immediately was recognized by every pony around then, even the ones who had seen her yesterday with the glasses. Jer'rahd grumbled to himself, this coupled with the skeletal armor he wore kept most away from the small group as they traveled down the dock to the ship.

Stopping at the gangplank the group is greeted the ships captain, who was wheeled down the ramp in a large bucket of water by the first mate. With the exception of Luna, they could not help but stare at the strange creature in the tub before them.

The mare was pastel blue in coloration, her mane a much deeper green mixed with purple. She had no ears but a pair of fins on the side of her head. Half way down her body her fur turned into scales of the same color as her coat ,continuing into the bucket to end in a large fish like tail. Her front legs were normal save her hooves were a bit elongated and flattened, likely to aid in swimming. Though just visible on her scaled tail was a cutie mark of a ships wheel. She had no adornment save a white cap on her head that marked her as Captain. The first mate was a dark brown earth pony that was more muscled than Jer'rahd. His mane and tail where cut short both a sun bleached blond, his cutie mark was a black anchor and chain

The sea pony and first mate both saluted the group paying more attention to the Princess than the others.

“Captain Sea Foam, First Mate Rip Tide, it is a pleasure to see you both again.”

“Thank you Princess, it is always a welcome event for you or your sister to grace my ship with your presence.”

“Decidedly. However it is not quite clear to us where you are wishing us to take you Princess.”

“To business first as always Tide. We seek transport to Neighlantis.”

Both of the ship ponies look to one another a bit worried.

“Something wrong with that Captain?”

“Not really sure Princess. The trading from there has become rather light as of lately. Our usual contacts have turned rather surly and dropped a whole mess of new restrictions on travel and trade in the area. There’s also been a great many storms popping up as of late ones that are clearly not natural, the ports lost more than a few ships to the sudden things. We delivered a few letters from the Harbor Master asking about the weather, but we have yet to receive anything in return to bring back. There might be some trouble going on down there.

“You have not thought to check yourself Captain?”

“Pfft, and what? Likely get caught up in something I don't want to? Not a chance, plus that would mean I have to leave Tide here in charge of my ship, he'd run it aground for sure.”

“That happened once, in a storm.”

“Yeah, yeah, talk to the fin Tide. We'll take yah there Princess, but watch yourself I think Aqua's in a bad mood.”

“Likely her latest plaything ran off or something. She does seem to prefer surface dwellers over her own kind.”

“You got a problem with that preference Tide?”

“If I did you would likely never let me back in your quarters again Captain.”

As the two started bickering back and forth leading the group back up the ramp it became quite clear the two were a couple, even to Jer'rahd. The pair were likely one of the greatest successes of the ship. The craft was not only built to be the newest and the best , but also to bridge a gap between two different races. Water filled tunnels and pools ran throughout the ship taking up nearly the same amount of surface area as the solid decks did. Half the crew was made up of Sea ponies and the other a mixture of the three races of surface ponies. The initial experiment was to see if two completely different races could coexist happily together. After a year the whole crew had formed tight enough bonds that they considered each other family. So much so That the First mate and the Captain had actively chosen to wed on the ship with the only non member of the crew being the priest that presided over it.
This at first caused a great many ponies from both sides of the beach to take offense as if something like this wedding would mark the end of the world. Unfortunately this ruined the reputation of the craft as a cruise liner, but after another year most had forgotten about the couple to go on to complain about other things.

The group was show their rooms, luxury suites near each other at the front of the ship. After securing his gear, Jer'rahd set up a post at the door to Luna's cabin, checking out most of the angles of the area and anything that might be some sort of hazard. Bleu tagged along for a while though quickly grew bored with his sudden dedication to duty and seriousness and wandered off. Luna was not really thrilled that he was going to be spending the whole trip like this and sent Rhede to find out what the heck was going on with his friend.

“So your going to stay here and in armor the entire trip?”

“ That is the plan Rhede.”

“Might be taking Celestia's order a little far, I think Luna can take care of herself. She's done a great deal better than you have at that lately.”

“Gee thanks Rhede, way to inspire confidence.”

“Just trying to figure out why your going to be a wet blanket the whole trip...... It has something to do with the test doesn’t it?”

“Something like that.”

“I should have guessed. Work through it your own way Jer. But don't let some old long dead fools impossible quest run your life.”

“I could say something similar to you Rhede. Your letting something hold you back as well.”

“Noticed that huh?”

“You still have not talked to Velkorn yet have you?”

“Enjoy your duty Jer.”

“Right.”

================================================================


The Captain, First Mate, and the Captains bucket gave the group the grand tour of the ship. The outside ship deck was the only place on the ship without any open pools or lanes of water for the sea ponies. This was mostly due to the chance of waves or rain in a bad storm adding more weight to the open channels and possibly sinking the already half water filled ship. The rest of the decks were fairly standard for any ship save the water for the sea pony crew. With the exception of the main deck and the various pony quarters, every area was accessible by both races. The tour concluded with engineering, the heat here was immense. A giant pillar of glass and metal sat in the middle of the chamber pulsing a orangeish glow regularly. Steam sprouted out of a pipe here and there, and a somewhat over weight pony in a red shirt was shouting orders at the others in the room sending them scurrying or swimming to complete the commands.

“Princess this is our Chief Engineer, Mr. Scot.”

“Pleasure tah meet yah lass, but I kennna stop tah talk if yah want dis thing moving again. We popped a gasket on tha last trip and everything’s all sortsa screwed up, gonna take us days at this rate.“

“Will there be a problem leaving on time then, Captain?”

“Not at all Princess, Mr. Scott has a tendency to exaggerate the exact length of time something will take. He is a brilliant engineer, but he has a flare for the dramatic that takes some getting used to. Likely we will be ready to leave in a few hours provided some one calls him a miracle worker at some point.”

“Bah, yer not supposed to just tell everyone that yah know Captain.”



While the ship was designing a pleasure craft, the only use it ever had as such was on the first trip to Nieghlantis with Princess Celestia aboard, and considering that was the her last trip there, it was also the last time it was used for such. Various shipping and cargo hauling jobs kept the craft running along with the occasional support from Equestria. Even with these issues in the ships short life it had done exactly what the Princess and her students had wanted, it was a floating triumph of multispecies coexistence, and as such still received funds from Equestria, regardless of the nobles complaints.


The trip to Neighlantis would take four days, by the second day Jer'rahd was rethinking his orders as the others had been doing everything they could to make him regret trying to be so stoic in duty. Bleu picked on him, Luna grew more and more annoyed, Rhede flat out avoided him, and Starfall took every opportunity to try and sneak past him or make him look bad, just to prove the point of how silly he was.
Velkorn was the only one who had not bothered, or tried to talk him out of standing guard. That might have been little more than her trying to learn everything she could from the ships doctor about sea ponies in just four days. Rhede was clearly annoyed by the time Velkorn spent with the ships doctor, and relived by it.

The second day was the worst however, the Captain had set up a party and with the exception of a few crew members needed to run the ship, everyone was at it. He had been standing beside the table watching the drinking and half coherent singing for several hours now. The Captain , First mate and Princess Luna all sat at the main table in the room with Jer'rahd standing close by watching as several ponies produced musical instruments and started to tune up to play. Everyone went silent as the Captain slapped a hoof over her face smirking recognizing the tune and glaring at Tide with a smirk as the crew started to sing.

“We pulled up the anchor,
waving goodbye to the town that had cradled me.
Two , weeks now at sea, starting to get to me,
I think I’m crazy.”

The sea ponies danced around the pool having remarkably good voices for creatures that could breath both air and water. The land bound crew went right along with a rather decent accompaniment. Jer'rahd smiles slightly as Bleu joins in. her voice clearly cutting through the rest as she seemed to take lead at keeping the pace and tone even.

“Oooooo,ooooh,
there in the water
ooooooo,oooooh,
I’m not scared but I oughta be.”

Uh oh, Rhede was trying to join in now as well. Thankfully the voices of the ponies who could sing were drowning out his half drunken warbling.

“All the legends of old, the stories they told
the schemes of the dreamers,meant nothing to me.
Now my disbelief lay smashed at my hooves,
cause I saw the mare in the sea.”

It was getting harder to remain stoic in this situation. The mass of ponies drinking,singing, and simply enjoying themselves made it hard to want to remain on duty. He exhaled deeply shifting a little uncomfortably in his armor, a movement that did not go unnoticed by Luna, or evidently Bleu. The little dragon went immediately tot he chief engineer as he came in from duty along with the last of the other ponies who had not joined in.

“Back at the harbor,
still I am swimming with her in my mind.
In my Davy Jones locker,
I’ll keep my secret where no one can find.”

The earth pony laughed at something the little dragon said ,then looks thoughtfully over at Jer'rahd, as if considering what the dragonling was saying..

“Oooooo,ooooh,
They'd never believe me.
ooooooo,oooooh,
I see her so clearly.”

His ears perk hearing some one else join in the singing. He tilts his head glancing back from the conversation as Luna starts singing along, easily picking up the slack Bleu left. The Captain joins in as well. Their voices complimenting each others rather well.

“All the legends of old, the stories they told
the schemes of the dreamers, meant nothing to me.
Now my disbelief lay smashed at my hooves,
cause I saw the mare in the sea.”

Jer'rahd sighs thinking perhaps he was being rather silly. While there was plenty here that could be dangerous, Rhede was right in that the Princess did a much better job of taking care of herself than he did of his own flank. The whole ship was full of ponies Loyal to their Captain and First Mate, both of whom were loyal to Equestria and the sisters. On top of that even with as much as she had been drinking and her singing along most of the ponies here had a hard time looking at her or talking to her. Even the Captain seemed not to be able to shake the fear of the Goddess of Night for long. Luna clearly had to have noticed it. Did it on longer bother her like it had before? Or had she gotten used to being feared?

“Each day that goes by, and each wave we ride
seems to remind me it all was a dream
I guess my memory,
got the best of me,
this time.”

Chief engineer Scot narrows his eyes as Bleu points him at Jer'rahd laughing. The earth pony nods and flicks his head moving his mane from in front of his eyes before marching through the singers towards Jer'rahd. The look on his face worried Jer'rahd a bit, but since Scot's focus seemed to be on him instead of the Princess, he did not bother moving to intercept, plus whatever it was amused Bleu.

“All the legends of old, the stories they told
the schemes of the dreamers, meant nothing to me.
Now my disbelief lay smashed at my hooves,
cause I saw the mare in the sea.”

The earth pony pauses looking over the armored form of Jer'rahd as if suddenly having second thoughts before gritting his teeth and continuing forward to glare at him from the other side of the table.

“All the legends of old, the stories they told
the schemes of the dreamers,meant nothing to me.
Now my disbelief lay smashed at my hooves,
cause I saw the mare in the sea.”

The Earth pony suddenly rears up and slams a hoof down on the table sending a few mugs flying. He glares at Jer'rahd from under the dark bangs of his mane, at the sound the whole room goes quiet looking over at the two.

“Yer Jer'rahd then?”

“Yes. Is there a problem?”

“Aye lad there is a problem. Yer little pet of a dragon over there is claiming yah ken drink any pony there ever was under tha table. I call that a falsehood, I do. So I propose a little challenge. I know nothings crossed yer lips all night, and I just got off duty meself so's I ken say tha same. I'm throwing down the gauntlet on this . Ain't no pony ever out drinks Scot.”

“You are kidding, right?”

“Not in the slightest colt.”

“I do have a job to do you know.”

“Bah, this what I expected from a Guard, hiding behind duty and that crap. Just admit yah know yah'd lose.”

“Don't feel too bad at the refusal, Mister Scot, there's not been any pony yet who's even come close to matching what you drink.”

“Don't mean I like some pony refusing a challenge Captain.”

“General Kaisur, I do believe you should accept this challenge.”

“Princess Luna .. your sister told me...”

“My sister is not here, and you are supposed to take orders from me, not her. “

Luna takes a sip of her drink, setting the glass back down on the table, before smiling.

“Though if you are that concerned with my safety General.”

The Princess' horn glows and Jer'rahd feels the helm slip from his head causing the armor to fall from his form. The sudden whistles and cat calls from the crew of ponies at the impromptu strip show forces a slight blush to his face as he turns trying to figure out what Luna was doing.

Luna pulls the helm over her own head, the armor leaping up covering her. The helm itself does not cover her horn or eyes as it does Jer'rahd though her lower jaw remains covered. The scaled bone runs down the back of her head and neck hiding her ears but leaving her mane to flow freely. The rest of the suit seems to flatten out and become sleeker, hugging her body like the suit Starfall wore though some how still leaving her cutie mark and her legs above the first join bare. Her hooves seemed covered with a bit more armor appearing to be the only parts that were spiked and sharpened. Her tail was also free of the suits confines but her wings were framed in the skeletal armor giving the impression of wings bade of bone with dark shadows of feathers beneath , though each feather seems to end in a blade.

Jer'rahd blinks at moment, whipping his head clearing out a few dirty thoughts that had crept in. He did have to admit it looked much better on her then it did on him, much sexier. Though judging by the rather creeped out reactions of those around him, much scarier as well.

“There. Now there's not a thing that shall be able to harm me, and you can uphold the honor of the Guard. Kick his flank Jer'rahd!”

Jer'rahd blinks a moment looking to the Princess, then over at the laughing Bleu, before smiling wide, his gaze turning to the Chief Engineer who doesn't bat an eye at his stare.

“As you wish.”


“Princess are you sure this was a good idea?”

Starfall leans over Luna's shoulder as the entire room cheers the fifth mug of seaweed grog the two ponies down, neither seeming to even be showing the slightest bit of slowing down.

“It should be fine Starfall, I am not anything more than lightly buzzed and I have heard Jer'rahd can still fight rather well when drunk. Not that I expect any trouble mind you. Besides, there is no telling when we might be able to relax like this again. Between this mission and the war we will not have much time for frivolity. Even if that does become a problem, you have not been drinking much and Velkorn has been with that doctor, what was his name, Bones, or something? She is still sober and has been studying sea pony anatomy in case she needs to treat one in the future. Letting the General loosen up a little will be fine.”

“I did not mean that Princess.”

“Oh then what did you mean?”

“Letting Jer'rahd get into a drinking contest. If the crew is right Scot there might have as high a tolerance as he does.”

“Oh well, hind sight is twenty twenty I suppose.”

The pair look over as the Captain brings in another round of the ship brewed seaweed grog. The two ponies staring at each other across the table keep their eyes locked looking for any sign of weakness in the other.

===================================================-

[“I am impressed that you would seek to learn this much Miss Velkorn. Not only that, but be willing to help me prepare for the inevitable morning after this party is going to have. I do thank you.”]

[“It is not any trouble Dr. Tofu. I am not one for drinking much as of late. I am greatly rather glad you speak Zebra so well. My own comprehension of pony has not gone as well as I would have liked in recent years. The one who was to help my skill has been … rather distant as of late.”]

[“Please Miss Velkorn, call me Bones, the rest of the ship does already.”]

[“Only if you will drop the Miss, Doctor.”]

[“Less formal, I think I might be able to handle that.”]

[“ I gather these parties tend to become rather rough with all that you are preparing. Other than might you return to your explanation, Bones?”]

Velkorn shifted another jar on the table before her, mixing up another anti nausea potion for the Doctor while he rolled a few more bandages. Judging by how specific he was with what was needed he was quite used to the parties thrown on the ship.

The doctor was a white pegasus pony with a greyish blue mane and tail, a pair of black square wire frame glasses perched precariously on his muzzle. His cutie mark at first glance seemed to be a sewing kit, until one noticed the roll of cloth was gauze, and the needle had specks of blood on it. It was odd that he had such an elaborate cutie mark, but he seemed adept at what he did and was more than willing to help Velkorn with the basics of sea pony anatomy in case she needed to heal one. Though he also seemed quite interested in her as well, not just her skills. They had talked shop at first sharing various herbal cures and remedies from their different regions before the topic of sea ponies had come up and the doctor had launched into a lengthy explanation. That had been cut off when the First Mate Tide had shown up and informed the doctor of the party starting. The large black board behind the doctor still had various scribbles and a drawing of a sea pony that looked like the ones on the ship.


[“Ah yes, my apologies I tend to get distracted at times. As I was saying, there are three types of sea ponies. The ones on this ship are commonly referred to as hippocampus. They do alright on land or water and generally live in the more shallow waters such as rivers and streams. Aside from the obvious aquatic elements they are not all that different in structure from a common earth pony. They do have a set of gills behind the fins on the side of their heads however, that allow them to breath water or air.”]

He moves over to the board, drawing another figure with the chalk held between his wing feathers. He clearly was enjoying sharing this information with her, or likely he was just excited to be talking to a female that understood what he was even saying. It likely had been a while since he had intelligent conversation about what interested him.

[“ The second and most common type of sea pony are these, often called sea horses, they have no legs to speak of but their fins and long tail are every bit as dexterous as a earth ponies tail or a Pegasus's wings. They can breath air and water as well, but tend to prefer damp wet areas, as dry air is some what painful for them. Most of these ponies tend to live in the seas and oceans. Supposedly some of them have horns and unicorn like magic, though I have never seen one myself.”]

He rolls a few more bandages while he talks moving back to the board erasing the pic and starting to work on another one. Velkorn smirks a bit at his rather badly hidden looks to her flank and legs, if only Rhede was this attentive to her. She briefly pondered trying to make the stallion jealous, but gave that up easily. Rhede would not fall for it and only the Doctor would be hurt. She might not be attracted to the pegasus but that did not mean she wanted to play with his emotions either.

[“ Honestly with the last type I cannot be sure of what they really look like. This is a picture of the only one I have ever seen. These type are often called Octoponies. They do not breath air as far as I know and have no set form aside from some sort of limbs resembling an octopus. As you can see from this image, the one I have seen looked much like a normal sea pony save her body split into eight tentacle like limbs instead of the one tail the other sea ponies types have. Now from my studies I have found this type lives only in deep water, and if you see one on the surface, it will likely be already dead or too far gone for you to be able to help it. I have heard rumors they tend to have very powerful magics, though very different ones from the spells unicorns wield. Their eyes are often either very large or not there at all, likely some sort of evolution from their home in the dark depths. There seems to be no set mold for how they are born or grow either, a set of twins can look completely different. I truly wish I knew a way to study them, even their culture is a mystery to all, save Princess Aqua. All I have found out about them has been second hand save the one I encountered when I was younger. On that subject when you do meet the Princess please tell me what she looks like when you come back. Being a the goddess of the sea ponies she will have the traits of all her subjects just as a alicorn does with surface ponies. I am very interested if anything about her might show some clue about the third type of sea pony.”]

[Be careful Bones. You almost sound obsessed.”]

[“That bad hmm? Well I shall endeavor to calm myself, it is just such an interesting subject.”]

==========================

“How long have they been at this now Captain?”

“Easily two hours Princess, I am running out of Seaweed Grog. The ship had enough of that stuff to keep two or three times the size of my crew drunk for weeks, excluding Scot.“

“Do they even look tipsy to you?”

“They both trotted off fine for that bathroom break, came back as if nothing was wrong either.”

“This is insane.”

“Well lad, seems this barrels done ready for the next?”

“Are you sure your up for it? An old stallion like you. Seems like your starting to sway there.”

“Not even close colt.”

“Then bring the next one, your gonna see the underside of this table well before I do Scot.”

“HAH! Not a chance.”

“This may have been a bad idea Princess.”

“I agree, this armor is not very comfortable to stay in long. I have no idea how Jer'rahd puts up with it.”

====================================

Three hours later the two were still staring at each other from across the table. Neither seemed in the slightest bit drunk and they had just poured the last bottle of booze on the into their mugs. They had drained ten barrels of grog, six flasks of ale, a few dozen bottles of wine and the Captains private stash of whiskey.

Most of the crew had gone to bed or, passed out. Even the instigator of the conflict, Bleu, had curled up atop one of the tables and was snoring softly. Only six ponies were left in the room now. Jer'rahd and Scot sat at the table draining the last of the whiskey. Princess Luna and Captain Foam sat watching, some what annoyed that they had encouraged this. And finally both Doctor “Bones” Tofu and Velkorn stood by waiting for one of them to drop dead.

The pair finally slammed down the last mug grinning at each other over the table waiting for some reaction and becoming a little upset there was not one from the other pony.

“That was the last bottle Scot.”

“Ah that it was, cept for a bit of my personal stash aye have in the engine room. Mah brewery is down there as well, be good to fire that up so we ken finish this proper.“

“Sounds good. Lead on.”

The earth pony and Jer'rahd both rose from the table, both steady as rocks to the amazement of the few remaining. The earth pony took one step and went down like a sack of potatoes. Jer'rahd walks around the table grinning as he looks down at the unconscious Chief Engineer.

“HA HA victory........”

Jer'rahd then promptly blacks out falling over in a heap as well, a few paces from the other pony. Both medics sigh trotting over to their respective drunkard and start checking for a pulse.

“Well that was rather anti climatic.”

“Indeed Captain. Perhaps we should rest ourselves for a few hours then sound the ships horn to wake these two?”

“Of course Princess. I rather like the way you think.”

=========================================

“So this is the still huh? It really doesn't look like much. “

“Oh, aye lad, it may not look like much, but it makes the best seaweed grog this side of the world.”

The Princess and the Captain's prank had back fired horribly. Not only had it woken the two drunks, but it had roused every other sleeping pony on the ship as well. And unlike all the other ponies who had been drinking that night, which was to say, all of them, Jer'rahd and Scot woke without so much as twinge of a hangover. Velkorn and Bones both were pulling their manes out trying to figure out how the two of them managed to drink so much and not die. Each knew about the abilities of their own lush, but to find out there were two of them? Inconceivable!

The rest of the day was spent with a pair of chipper ponies talking booze, and a great deal of groaning from everyone else. Bleu on the other hand managed to sleep through everything.

==============================================

The final day of the trip had Jer'rahd back in armor and on duty, though at the very least he had stopped taking the task as serious as he did. Bleu had opted to sit with, more like on, him a while just to talk and alleviate the boredom as the Princess got the last few things prepared to disembark.

“.... That still counts as a victory Boss. Your streak has easily been broken. You won with no loss of anything.”

“Unless you count Velkorn swearing I am destroying my liver.”

“Bah, not like she cut you open to have a look,so hows she know, a wins a win.”

“You can stop trying to cheer me up so hard Bleu. I am already in a better mood.”

“Really then why do you seem so uncomfortable?”

“Nothing just the armor I suppose.”

“Hmm what about it Boss?”

“Well before it always had that sickening scent of oranges to it, considerably faded , but still there.”

“Before?”

“Yes. Now it smells like seaweed grog and I think like Princess Luna.”

“You can tell that?”

“Of course, I know my booze.”

“Not that idiot. How the heck do you even know what she smells like?”

“Dunno, I just cannot smell the oranges any more, and that's replaced by a, rather pleasant scent.”

“So should Starfall and I start trying to hook you two up again?”

“You were serious about that ?”

“Not at the time, I do wonder now though boss.”

“Still not going to happen, demented, homicidal ponies and Goddesses do not mix for a happily ever after.”

“It almost did in the past.”

“And look how well that turned out Bleu, Equestria got a new sea and thousands died.”

“So not even considering it? You have got to have some interest.”

“I do, like every other male who has seen the Princesses. She has the looks grace and form to make any straight stallion in the world take notice, probably a few gay ones as well.

“So you are interested hmmm?”

“Stop right there Bleu, I have no plans to act on some physical crush I’ve developed and you will do nothing of the sort either. Likely its just some rebound crap from Scarlet or something. I've had enough problems with mares as of late, besides shes a friend.“

“That might be your problem boss. If you won't consider it because shes a friend, have all the mares you've seen been strangers and enemies?”

“That's not what I mean Bleu... though, yes they kinda have been now that you bring it up. Anyway if I say something and she gets offended, or doesn’t feel the same, or gets upset about it, then all the time that we spent getting her to open up with us might just be pissed away. Especially for something as dumb as this.”

“Maybe. You won't know till you try.”

“ No, I'm not going to say a damn thing. I have no intention of trying to find out. It would be even worse if she did feel the same way. Shes going to still be the same when both of us are dead and gone. After what happened with her first love I would not want to put her through that again.”

“Then shes going to have problems if we remain friends with her as well. “

“Yeah I know. Hopefully by that point we can manage to get her to want to open up with more ponies than just us.”

“Great, we pass on a work in progress to the next generation.”

“Not how I would have put it Bleu.”

“I know, but my way sounded better.”

================================================= “This is it?”

Starfall glides down landing again on the dock, looking about curiously at the small island. There were white sand beaches, a little rocky hill in the middle of the island with a cave in it, a large dock for the only ship allowed here, a single small shack at the docks end that was half in the water, and nothing else. A single sea pony sat in the half submerged shack watching the small group feigning a mild disinterest. The yellow sea pony was the type that had fins instead of hooves and he kept ducking under the water to keep himself wet.

“Whatsa matter never sen a docking island before? The cities below yah this is just the boring part up in the air. Crap duty is what this is. Least you all showing up is something interesting.“

The sea pony spoke a bit arrogantly to any trying to talk to him, save the Princess. He also was clearly staring at the flanks of all the mares in the group when he thought no pony was watching.

“How long did they say it would take for the bubble to reach here?”

“Not very long Princess, The city is a few fantoms down under the island and they just sent it up when they received the message. The bubble is also rarely used for guests in recent years so likely they held it up a bit to clean it. I am sorry for the delay Princess.”

Luna nods and the sea pony submerges himself again surfacing and shaking out his mane. He leans on the window ledge looking bored again his eyes trailing over the rears of the mares once more. His primary focus seems to be on Velkorn,evidently zebras being rather uncommon out here. He looked the other way or dunked himself anytime any of them looked his way,but with his armors eye shields he could have been staring right at him and he would not have noticed. Besides it was more amusing to watch Rhede, The earth pony had also taken notice of the sea pony stares and was doing his best not to pretend not to care even though he had taken to trying to place himself between Velkorn and the shack a few times.

Yeah, Bleu and Starfall should focus their attention on those two to play match maker. Ever since the tests Velkorn had been a bit more distant, or had at least stopped trying to active chase Rhede. Even though his friend had said he wanted Velkorn to find some one else he seemed a bit thrown off by her lack of attention. Odd how he noticed things like that when he was not in any sort of relation ship himself.

The Princes Bride would remain here until their meeting was done. Which was only scheduled to be a week, Captain Foam offered to wait a little longer if need be, however Princess Luna did not think it would even take that long. Whether this was due to an expected refusal or confidence that she could convince Aqua to help, Luna did not let on.

A low rumble shook the tiny island, a sudden gush of sea water blasted out of the cave mouth flooding over the sand and spilling back into the sea. The group watched the event before turning to look at the sea pony as he yawned.

“Your rides here. Just head in the cave and enjoy your stay in Neighlantis.”

The group entered the cave and found a large crystalline sphere sitting in a massive pool of water. A section of it split open dropping slowly to the edge of the pool like a ramp. The group took that as an invitation and trotted into the sphere. Both Jer'rahd and Starfall watched the ramp rise back up nervously, sealing the them inside the bubble. There was a sudden lurch, and the crystal sphere started to sink. Looking down they could see a long line of chain attached to the underside of the bubble, and extending into the darkness below, pulling them down. Everyone’s gaze shifted about as they sunk into the water, the light from the surface showed the underside of the Princess Bride and the Island,which was being held in place by chains. An artificial island it seemed, anchored in place over the city.

As they sank the light from the surface started to fade,enveloping the bubble in darkness. There’s a loud slap and Rhede yelps loudly. Luna's horn lights up illuminating the bubble showing a some what annoyed Rhede glaring at Bleu.

“Keep your tail to your self little miss gropey.”

“What? I was over here.”

“Right...”

Before Luna turns off her light spell again Jer'rahd swore he saw a wide grin on Velkorn's face. With the darkness closed around them again a soft glow was visible below them as the bubble was drug along. As it drew closer the shadowed outline of a ridge on the seafloor came into view. The bubble was pulled over the edge of the ridge and into a brilliant display of color and gaudy lights.

Neighlantis.

Glowing lights dotted the trail of the bubble as it moved over the ridge though the scene below them was lit up brighter than Mrs. Pelts home during Hearths Warming. Towering formations of coral and structures seemingly grown out of rock and seaweed lay spread out in the valley between three towering undersea mountains,that were lit up by the cities glow. Windows and streets below swarmed with sea ponies darting around their daily lives with only an occasional glance to the descending bubble. Bright lights shown on signs displaying ads, or praise for Princess Aqua. The chain pulled them slowly through the glowing city, leading them along between the brilliant glow of the buildings. Schools of fish darted around the bubble as it descended roaming the city like flocks of birds on the surface. As they continued on they were drawn over a massive garden of various plant lift that stretched from the city to a massive castle that seemed based on Canterlot castle. They were pulled past the city and out over a massive garden filled with flowers and plants most of which seemed to be the oceans version of surface plants. Statues of various forms of sea ponies were scattered about the garden making Luna worry a little if all the designs from Canterlot were used here. The chain pulled them closer to the gem and coral encrusted castle, drawing them into a large opening at the side of the palace.

“This is amazing Princess I never knew that a place like this existed.”

“I am rather impressed myself Starfall. I have never been here before, And Tia never mentioned all of this. However I am not sure what to expect from the reception though.”

“If I might ask, Luna, why exactly is Princess Aqua annoyed with your sister?”

“Tia says it was a prank gone wrong Rhede, I do not believe that was the case. If it was dangerous however, she would not have sent us here. It has been several hundred years since then. With luck the true offense has been either forgotten or forgiven.”

“Well they sent this thing up to get us, I suppose that's a good sign.”

“Think they might be in a conflict with the sea dragons? I haven't seen any around.”

“Looking for a date Bleu?”

“Stuff it boss.”

“I am not sure Bleu, though I suppose we might find out if it is anything serious.”


The chain pulls them fully into the castle to another pool of light. The bubble rises through the surface of the pool into an air pocket. The water drains from it before the door opens again, letting them out into a pearl and coral strewn room. A large set of doors to their left evidently lead to the store rooms judging by the drag marks on the floor and the crates piled by the entrance.

Aside from the corner with the bubble and the store room the rest of the hall seemed an elaborate attempt to mimic surface pony decor that mostly succeeded. The room appeared much like the ship,in that it split itself evenly between swimming paths and walking paths. with the sides of the room being deep pools of water and the only walkable path was up the middle of the room. Two stair wells split off from either side of the path spiraling up gradually to the higher floor and the balcony above. Troughs of water fell down the side of the stairs in cascades like waterfalls. Various servant ponies zipped about in the water to either side ducking under the path at random points, giving the impression that the walk way was floating.

A well dressed male sea pony surfaces, the water sliding off his blue suit leaving it looking dry. He slicks back his pale orange mane with his hooves shifting his golden scaled form forward tot he edge of the platform looking up at the group. He bows deeply, his fish tail thrashing under the water to keep him upright.

“Greetings Princess Luna of Equestria, and companions. My name is Wetsworth I have been assigned to be your guide this afternoon. Princess Aqua would love to meet you immediately, but her duty comes first, and likely you wish to freshen up a bit before the meeting. Rooms have been prepared for you and the Princess invites you to dine with her later this evening. If there is anything else you might need to not hesitate to ask.”

The hipocampus sea pony guides them up the stairs swimming along the channel in the side of the stair case. Everything in this part of the castle looked like it had come from the surface or from ships. The designs seemed to also have a more surface theme, clouds, trees, stars, and other assorted images. Wetsworth pushes open a p[air of double doors leading them into the quarters where they would be housed for this visit.

It was a large open area, with a pool of water taking up one side of the room and a rich red carpet covering the simple stone floor on the other. Four doors exited this room, on the side with the floor, with the way they came in crossing the water way and the walkway behind them. A large glass window took up the other two walls of the room, the view looked out over the garden far below the sea castle. Bleu and Starfall moved over looking out the window marveling again at the view.

A huge dark form drifted slowly before the glass blotting out the scene like a curtain dropped over the windows. A silver and blue eye opens in the dark surface, easily seven or eight ponies in height. The silver and blue orb shifts a bit regarding them as Starfall and Bleu dive for cover. A soft groan and a cooing noise echoed in the room as the eyeball watched them, the only distinguishable shape in the field of darkness. With a sudden jerk the darkness was gone and a huge shadow drifted away from the lit city a giant fluke tail all that was visible.

“Please excuse Princess Aqua's pet leviathan. Andre tends to be rather curious at any new comers to the realm. He really is quite harmless.”

“He's a giant.......”

“A Leviathan to be exact, Miss Bleu was it? They do tend to prefer deeper waters so it is rare they are seen by any one on the surface, and they can grow quite large. Andre is a rather big specimen even by those standards. If there is nothing else I shall leave you to freshen up. Please ring the bell on the table there if you need anything. I shall come to alert you when Princess Aqua is ready for the evening meal.”

The sea pony swims out closing the door after him leaving the others to look about the rest of the chamber. Each bedroom had its own shower and all the amenities of a five star tavern. The main room was obviously set for Princess Luna with all its lush finery, though the other rooms were not lacking in comforts. Jer'rahd and Bleu already shared a house, so a room was little trouble for them. Starfall and Velkorn took one, and since every pony knew how Rhede's mind worked they left him the one on the end for himself, just in case he decided to try out the local flavor at any point.

Jer'rahd wandered back to the window still wearing the armor looking out at the city. Something had been bugging him about this place. He gazed out the window watching the occasional sea pony swim past in the distance in front of some light or another. He tilted his head a little ears perking as he listened eyes closing trying to make something out.

“Do any of you hear that?”

“Hear what Jer?”

“Sounds like some kind of singing, its just low enough I can't make out the words, but its loud enough I can just barely hear it. Maybe not singing sort of a rhythmic chant or some what in tune hum.”

“I don't hear anything Boss.”

“Yeah, now that you mention it Jer, I have been hearing something since I got out of the bubble.”

“You two as well? I thought I was the only one who heard that. It's kinda odd.”

“Sounds like sort of sing songy chant to me as well Jer'rahd. Do you head anything Velkorn?”

“Even with a cocked ear, I must confess there is nothing that I hear.”

“I have not heard anything either, perhaps you three are just hearing something from one of the mines, or the volcanoes. Sound is supposed to travel further under water, though I am not sure why all of us would not hear it.”

“Wait there's volcanoes down here?”

“ The mountains around the city, the Three of them are volcanoes, though one is dormant.”

“But you never know.”

“True, but none are close enough to be a bother to the city itself, the dormant one has a mine in it as well, It produces some rather rare gem types.”

“It does not sound like any sort of noise like that. It sounds like singing. The words are just on the edge of my hearing though and I cannot make them out. Its rather maddening.”

“Well, think on that later General, you need to get out of the armor and into a uniform now. It would not due to have you not looking ready to fight in what is supposed to be a peaceful meal and negotiation.”

“Your know Princess, I have been trained as an ambassador by the best. If we make a bad impression I could try to persuade Princess Aqua into a more favorable position.”

“What? Missionary?”

“Shut up Bleu.”

==================================================== The group did not have that long to wait before Wetsworth returned to escort them to dinner. The dining hall was another extravagant affair. The hall itself was decorated in surface designs including the symbols of Luna and Celestia, along with a few flags from other races. Thankfully there did not seem to be any griffon or dragon symbols on display, and judging the height of these flags on the wall there was a fair indication they had been hanging there a while.

A large trench full of deep dark water ran the length of the room, leaving little more than a small platform of land on one side of the room. A table with pony sized benches, marked the divide between the water and the land evidently to allow the aquatic servers to place food for the surface guests. On the other side of the room sat another table floating on the surface of the water. A large banner with a golden trident on sea foam green silk hung above the table. So far there was no pony seated there, but the sea ponies rushing about in the water were still setting places and swimming around doing what ever it was that still needed doing.

Jer'rahd was not happy. He hated the dress uniform,having the proper medals on it made matters worse for him. To be honest he was not even sure what half of these things he was wearing even were for. Half his award ceremonies he had not bothered to show up for citing either injury or other business. He knew there were a few from the Diamond Dog front, and even more from the Zebra campaign, The majority however were from his actions in Dullahan, and that one he truly did not think he deserved anything at all for. He also hated being in a strange place like this with out his armor, and more importantly his sword. The Princess had been rather adamant about not bringing the weapon however, it was made to kill gods, and Aqua was the sea ponies god ruler. To carry a weapon like that in her presence would be taken as hostile.

Princess Luna seemed comfortable here, but she had put on her royalty posture and when she was like that she was impossible to read emotions from. Not like she was that easy to read normally. Velkorn and Bleu seemed rather interested in the goings on around them, and were clearly distracted by the strangeness of the environment. Rhede seemed focused, which was odd for him, but other wise he seemed fine. His expression however reminded him of the one on the Princess, it likely would be interesting to see those two play cards.

Only Starfall looked as uncomfortable as Jer'rahd felt, she kept looking about, ears shifting and flicking lightly as if she was trying to find the source of something. Jer'rahd knew what it was, the droning background song had gotten a bit louder, the words were still low to understand, but the tune had become unmistakeable and very repetitive. The only thing that he could make out was “Shoop-bee-doo-shoop-shoop-bee-doo”, which was utter nonsense, but clearly some sort of song on repeat.

The servers suddenly stopped what they were doing, turning to bow formally at the table in the water that up to this point remained empty. Luna glances to the the others making a polite nod of a bow herself motioning for the rest of the group to do the same.

The surface of the water ripples, a turquoise form rising up from the small waves.

The lithe form slipped from the water and floated in the air over the table as the ripples subsided, not a single drop of water fell from the flying form. Large multicolored fins fanned lightly in the air behind the her, keeping her aloft. Her front legs were much like a ponies with the slightly wider, fin like hooves of the Hippocampus,. Where her rear legs would have been, was a thin golden pearlesecnt fish tail ending in a pair of long trailing fins that would have looked at home on a evening gown and nearly brushed the surface of the water even as she floated a pony length above the surface. Various jewelry,and gems graced her form, though that only seemed to distract from the flowing mane cascading down her back. It glowed softly like Luna and Celestia's with a deep blue hue to it. Silver flashed within her mane seeming to move about as her hair swayed like waves. Tiny silver fish swam around in her water like floating hair, a small grouping of tendrils drifted from her head waving slightly with the water like decorative kelp. Her eyes glimmered like emeralds as she dropped her gaze looking over the small group of surface ponies, a soft smile crossing her face that reminded Jer'rahd of the one Celestia often wore. Her turquoise flank was graced with the same golden trident that adorned the flag above her.

She regards the group slowly, taking note of each of them before speaking, her voice echoing in the room as she slowly drifts back down to the water.

“Welcome friends, welcome to Neighlantis.”

“Thank you for for allowing us into your home Princess Aqua.”

“You must be Princess Luna. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I did not expect to do so any time soon however, not after the incident with your sister and the other Princess. But that is a discussion for another time, as it pertains not to you, only Celestia and Aviana. Please, introduce me to your companions, and tell me the nature of the visit, I cannot think it to be anything good. It is rare we hear from Equestria without cause.”

“I am afraid there is cause, Princess Aqua, but allow me to introduce my entourage. “

The sea Princess shifts, gliding across the water towards the group. She was slightly larger than Princess Celestia, perhaps simply due to her fins and tail. She pauses nodding lightly to Luna as the Moon Goddess introduces her Guard.

“This is Air Commander Starfall Silvertail.”

“Princess Aqua.”

“Commander Silvertail welcome. It is not often we receive pegasus here, most find the ocean above them to be a bit stifling.”

“It is a bit unnerving Princess, but I can handle it well enough. Thank you for the concern.”

The princess nods gliding over to the next her tail barely seeming to touch the water, the tips of her long fins leave a trace across the surface.

“This is Queen Velkorn of the Zebra Lands.”

[“How are you enjoying the trip Queen Velkorn?”]

[“Quite well, thank you Princess. I must say I did not expect you were fluent in my tongue.”]

[“While I have learned your language, I have never had the chance to meet one of your kind before. It is a pleasure.“]

She drifts away stopping before Rhede regarding the bowing pony with a some what appraising eye.

“This is Ambassador Rhede Pelt.”

“Princess Aqua , tis a pleasure to meet you.”

“You as well Ambassador Pelt. There must be more to you than simple a simple ambassador however, the few who claim that to have visited never had the build like you display.”

“Why thank you Princess. I do try to get plenty of exercise.”

“I would expect. It does show.”

She moves away some what hesitantly, almost drifting past Bleu before she pauses as Princess Luna names the little Blue Dragon.

“This is Director Bleu Scale.”

“Nice to Meet you Princess.”

“Indeed. I was under the impression there was some sort of trouble with the dragons again Princess Luna.”

“Bleu is a special case Princess Aqua, she was part of my sisters school for gifted unicorns and is now General Kaisur's partner.”

“Ah I see.”

The Princes lifts her head regarding the last pony curiously, her eyes widening as Jer'rahd looks up to her. She ignores Bleu again moving quickly to the end of the table regarding Jer'rahd with a good bit more interest than he was really comfortable with. The others blink staring at the clear fascination Aqua has with Jer'rahd.

“Umm, This is General Jer'rahd Kaisur.”

“Princess... Aqua.”

“One of the five Generals of the Equestrian forces, and partnered with a dragonling. Quite interesting.”

She leans in rather close her emerald gaze seemingly focused on Jer'rahds. He keeps himself from leaning back, but he was getting a bit unnerved by the interest the sea pony Princess was showing to him.

“You do have such beautiful eyes General, quite exotic.”

“Um, thank you Princess.”

The sea pony Princess lingers a bit longer staring at Jer'rahd before turning to to glide back to her table. He glances to the others briefly a bit freaked out by that display. Luna's cool stare told him nothing of what she thought, Bleu's smirk told him she was highly amused by his discomfort. Starfall still seemed distracted by the noise although she did shake her head at him. Rhede was glaring daggers at Jer'rahd and Velkorn was glaring daggers at him. So he evidently was the only one who thought it odd.

The meal was served almost as soon as Princess Aqua returned to her table. It primarily consisted of some sort of kelp dish with a mixture of various fish and other marine life. Starfall and Luna seemed to balk at the meat, and even Rhede was a bit squeamish with the dish the server called shrimp. Velkorn and Jer'rahd however had primarily eaten fish while he was recovering in the Zebra lands. While it would never be his first choice in meals it was something he had gotten used to and this particular type was very well prepared. He had questioned Velkorn once on why she had no issues with killing fish , when she refused to do so to any other animal unless it was a last resort. She had said something along the lines of it was how she had been raised. She would not get into more detail than that, but then again with the language barrier between them he doubted she could elaborate much more. Of course Bleu had no issue with the meat at all.

The next dish was a little odd, and some what blubbery, a heavily spiced cube of some sort of meat, the taste of it was rather interesting though some what rough against the tongue, yet with a sweet after taste. The servants said it was one of the specialties and one of Princess Aqua's favorite dishes. Throughout the meal when she was not conversing with Luna on something Aqua's attention was either on Jer'rahd or Rhede, though when this dish was served she watched Bleu more than the others as if suddenly curious about her.

Towards the meals end,most of the dishes were pulled aside and Wetsworth brought out a rather large bottle of wine bringing it before Princess Aqua to consider.

“A good vintage Wetsworth, but no. Bring out the specialty, specificly the one from Adviser Angler's stock.”

“His stock Princess? Are you certain that is wise?”

“He will not mind, and besides I am sure my guests would enjoy the flavor, it is rather exotic. This is the only place in the world one can find sea grape wine, Princess Luna. We choose not to export it due to the difficulty of its production as well as its limited shelf life on the surface.”

She turns back to the others as Wetsworth swims off ,regarding Luna coolly.

“So then now that we have dined. What is so important that the new surface Princesses would come here to me personally? While I do enjoy the company and I love meeting such interesting ponies as you have brought with you, I feel that the real reason is something I will not like.”

“You are perhaps right Princess Aqua. It is clear you know about the situation with the dragons already.”

“I do get some news down here. I gather you have come to request the same aid of supplies and gems that you did for the first war? Along with the same trade agreement?”

“Indeed, very astute Princess Aqua.”

“Well, the return of exotic surface foods and items that we cannot acquire easily here, did make that a mutually beneficial arrangement at the time. We have a few issues here that may cause problems with that same agreement however. I will need time to consider, I have forgave your sisters prank, once I calmed down anyway, I realized she meant no harm, but it was still a insult I need to factor in. “

“I did not expect an rushed response Princess Aqua, we do have time. Not a great amount however.”

Wetworth returned carrying with him a large bottle of liquid, along with him was a sea pony cloaked heavily in the same sort of material Wetworth's suit was made of. The pair surfaced slowly by the Princess Wetworth offering the bottle for Aqua's inspection. She nods lightly and he removes the cork filling her glass before swimming over to do the same for Luna's group.

“Ah yes, honored guests this is my chief adviser, Angler.”

The cloaked figure turned to bow deeply to them all, still not seen under his hooded cloak. He lifts his head suddenly as if looking at Princess Luna before turning to Princess Aqua leaning close to the sea pony Princess muttering something in her ear fin. The Princess listens a moment her gaze turning to Luna curiously before she smiles nodding lightly.

“I see, well it is good I had other reasons for that as well.”

The cloaked figure nods as Wetsworth fills the glasses before all of them, then moved off to the side re corking the bottle.

Jer'rahd shakes his head ears flattening some, the song seemed to have gotten louder when this new pony had entered the room. He noted the look on Rhede's face, and Starfall's wince realizing they had heard it increase as well. There was no singing the words were just gibberish, but it was clearly gibbering now and not hints of words or phrases though the tune had wandered off on its own and held hints of rhythm that suddenly changed making the singing seem discordant. Velkorn and the Princess had to be hearing this by now even if Bleu did not. None of the other gave any sign of it however. He sighed glancing back up to Princess Aqua whose gaze meet his again with a rather eerie smile.

“A toast perhaps then to a swift victory in your war, and a long lasting beneficial agreement between out two races.”

Princess Luna nods smiling, evidently this was a hint of things going their way for once. They lift their glasses all taking a drink as one. Jer'rahd blinks, the smell of the wine had been sweet but there was an acidic taste to it he found a bit unpleasant, the wine was not bad otherwise though. Luna and Rhede both looked up at the Princess their eyes wide. Aqua sets her glass aside having lifted it to her lips, but evidently not taken more than a sip.

Rhede curses lightly as Bleu falls back off her chair hitting the ground with a thud. Jer'rahd blinks moving to check on her finding his body not responding the way it should and crashes to the ground as well followed by Starfall.

“What have you done Aqua.....”

“I am getting what I want Moon Goddess. And I want it all.”

Rhede falls from his chair knocking half of the table to the floor as Luna finally collapses onto the table.”

“That was a stronger version than usual Angler.”

<” I had heard the Moon Princess was here my Goddess. When your servant came requesting the wine I thought it might have been for her. So yes it was a rather potent batch. If you did not know she had the books until I sensed them on the Princess however, why did you plan to claim them, if I might ask?”>

“The General, and his pet .”

<” Oh?”>

“Of course. I have yet to sample surface dragon flesh, and the Generals eyes remind me of my first love's, I do remember him fondly. Wetsworth, put the males in the harem chamber, put the females in the mines. Be sure to mark the zebra as the first in line, I am curious as to what would be produced. Take the dragon to the kitchen and bind the Princess in the chains. Make sure she remains drugged, I do not need her powers to come back any time soon and she may slip free of her bindings.”

“As you wish.”


=============================================

Pain, an old pain, familiar, but just as unwelcome as new pain would be. A hangover, and a massive one at that. What the buck had he drunk last night... last,night...? LUNA!!

Jer'rahd bolts up, right gasping loudly and nearly collapsing back onto the bed with the sudden motion. He shuts his eyes tightly as the pain slammed into his head like a hammer on a anvil. He opens his eyes slowly looking around the half lit room. He was on some sort of large bed , the light splash of water around him causing a small shudder as he pushes himself to his hooves moving to the edge of the bed. He flattens his ears a light chiming greets him from the motion though the singing seems to be every where now, a horrendous howling scream of sound and tortured souls. The faint chiming as he moved his ears did little to diminish it and he still heard the water lapping. It was not an audible noise, this song seemed to be pumped right into his head other wise he would not be able to hear anything. Looking across the room the sheen of glass along one wall shows the light coming from there.

He puts a hoof down off the side of the bed falling forward dropping a good distance off the rise into another pool. He surfaces panting hard and spitting water and cursing, growling lightly as he stands up again the water only coming up to his chest. The sudden dunking did nothing for his temper or headache, though the shock briefly made him forget the singing. He looks out the window and at another angle of the garden from the castle. Well they had not moved from the castle anyway.

He regards his reflection a moment seeing the ridiculous get up he was in. Silver bells hung from his ear tips and drapes of silk and thin gold chain hung from his form. He winces tearing the bells free feeling the metal tear at his ears likely splitting them. The wash of pain cleared his head briefly though the salt from the water he had been soaked in stung the wounds enough to reduce the pain to a dull throb that mimicked the pounding of his head. His eyes narrow as he starts tearing the silk and chains off as well nearly choking himself as he tries to pull off one gold chain wrapped around his throat that did not seem to be going any where.

Glaring at his reflection and the dog collar like chain around his neck he growls again muttering something about damned mares and their kinks. That tirade might have continued longer if the light from outside was not suddenly cut off. He lifts his head looking at the black crystal window and the huge eye that opens in the dark mass shifting to look down at him.

“Buck this, Andre again I guess. Get your fat fishy ass out of my light and stop defying the laws of the universe something as big as you should not move so quickly or quietly. Damn giant leviathan..... thingy...”

The eye drifts up over the top of the window showing just the side of his dark form blocking all light, then that develops a split that runs along the length of his view. The line of the opening glows faintly as the titanic beast seemed to smile at him. Rows of razor sharp teeth were bared, a soft glow from Andre's mouth illuminating the pearl white teeth. Then each of the thousands of teeth developed a splitting grin of their own, opening to display their own rows of teeth in dark smiles.

Jer'rahd stumbled back eyes wide as he slips, dunking himself again and fighting to the surface eyes wild as he looks to the window seeing nothing, but the city scape again. A low groan from behind him made him whirl about nearly falling back into the water.

“Who's there!?!”

“Damn it Jer keep it down. I'm trying to recover from being poisoned here.”

“Rhede?!?”

“Yeah, or whats left of me, damn I feel like I was hit by that giant fish outside. Whats our situation?”

“Well your still in the dark and I was dressed up to look ridiculous. We are in some room or another in a different part of the castle, the singing is getting louder, and I think I am going crazy. Also I have no idea where the others are. “

“Not a good start. I need time to plan, if only we had a wagon and a holocaust cloak this would be easy.”

“A what?”

“Nothing, I still hear the singing as well.”

“It doesn't seem to be bothering you.”

“ It is , but my training helps resist stuff like this. Its some sort of mind affecting spell, try and ignore it or fight it.”

A dark form rises from the middle of the bed staggering a bit as it moves from the bed and falls with a yelp into the water just as Jer'rahd had done.

“Watch the first step.”

“I hate this place Jer.”

“Tell me about it. “

Rhede wades over to the window looking himself over apraisingly though does not do more than remove the bells from his ears with great deal more care than Jer'rahd had done.

“When I said I wanted a Harem, I meant I wanted to have one, not be in one. Could be worse, least our new owners attractive. “

“Not funny Rhede, we need to find the others and get out of here.”

“We are an unknown depth under the water, with one way up and down that we do not know how to operate. There's an army of sea ponies between us and it, we are in a castle we don't know, we have no weapons or armor. Even if we did get to the surface, we still would have four days of travel on a ship over water and the Princess here controls storms. I doubt we would last an hour on the open sea.”

“Don't sound so hopeless.”

“I am not sounding hopeless Jer, just practical. We need to find out whats going on before rushing blindly, besides being some Princesses pretty toy stallion might be fun. You should relax.”

“What!?! Have you lost your mind?”

“Actually, it seems like he might be the only sane one General. After all the ambassador seems more willing to accept his position of my new pet than you are. “

They both whip their heads to the darkness away from the window as the lights slowly click on, revealing the floating form of the Sea Pony Princess. Jer'rahd did not even hesitate his eye flaring crimson as he tries charging out of the water at her, only to be knocked back into it by Rhede. He surfaces sputtering looking at the earth pony between him and his target.

“Rhede...... what the buck.”

“I am curious at that myself ambassador. “

“Jer, Think you are trying to attack a Goddess, without weapons, magic, or any sort of plan. That's rather suicidal. Particularly with the guards surrounding us.”

Jer'rahds gaze shifts over the shadows just under the surface of the water cursing to himself for missing that though the glow from his eye does not subside.

“You have a good sense of perception ambassador, though I do question your plan.”

“No plan Princess, I just have no wish to die here, and to a lesser extent I would like my lunk of a friend to survive as well.”

“Oh, no thoughts of the others?”

“Plenty of thoughts on the others, none of them good. I am treated like crap by two of them. I get fawned over like a lost puppy by another that I have no interest in, which severely messes up any attempts to enjoy myself. And even Luna thinks me little better than a common criminal for my actions with the Order. Jer here’s the only one that even bothers to trust me. So my cousin is the only one I give a shit about. “

“Interesting. I was unaware you two were related.”

“ Mother's side, we got all the looks of course. I was put on trial by these ponies for saving their flanks. I should have done what I knew was smart and just worked to save my own ass. That would have kept me away from here too.“

“Rhede.......”

“Jer shut up a moment, I'm trying to help your sorry flank and my own and your attack first and then maybe talk approach sucks. Damn fool is too loyal, its why Celestia made him the barer of loyalty. She had some idea to make me compassion, personally I think she just needed a fill in.”

“Really I had heard one of the Generals and his companions were named Bearers of the Elements of Harmony. Are you saying you were that group?”

“Six companions, Princess Luna as leader with the element of magic, I would say that is a fairly decent bit of proof I'm telling the truth. “

“So why tell me this then? Hmm?”

“Why else? To save my own flank, I have gotten fairly adept at doing that over the years. If that means turning against the ponies that don't give a shit about me anyway, oh well. On a side note Princess, you did not have to drug me to get me into your bedchambers, for that you could have just asked.”

Jer'rahd moves again charging at Rhede this time yelling out and managing to belt him across the face with a hoof before he was tackled by several guards leaping out of the water. He coughs barely managing to struggle up to the surface offering Rhede a grin that the earth pony returned before he was drug back down by the guards. Rhede was good at what he did, but a bit of proof would not hurt, he had pulled the hit some, though Rhede's jaw would clearly be sore. He just hoped his friend had a plan other than Bedding a Princess. The flaring glow of his eye likely helped the case as well, cousin and compassion indeed.

“I will see you hung for this Pelt. Do you hear me!”

“See impossible odds and still loyal to Luna, might be worth keeping alive if you can switch blind fanatical loyalty to yourself.”

“Oh do not worry ambassador, I have no plans to kill him. He reminds me completely of my first love. He was resistant as well, but he came around. As will Jer'rahd here. Angler.”

“Yes My Goddess?”

“Take him with you, do what you need, I want not a hair on him harmed. Also do not break him completely, I do not need another mindless thrall.”

“As you wish.”

“As for you ambassador, aside from your family here, where do your loyalties lie?”

“With who ever will benefit me most. Down here, that would be you Princess.”

============================================

Bleu groaned softly, one eye slowly opening. Her head felt like she had been run over by a Tank, she was dizzy and there was a searing pain in the end of her tail. She lifted her head a little feeling her arms, legs, and wings had been bound to each other leaving her trussed up like a hog. She slowly turns her head noting she was hanging upside down in what looked like a kitchen half full of water. Stoves and boiling pots were every where. A brief glance to either side of her forced her to stifle a cry. They had fins and webbed claws but on either side of her hung the bodies of dead dragons. They all hung by their tails a large hook embedded though them near the end, all of them were trussed up as she was and had likely died hanging here waiting to be eaten. She did not even have to look to realize that a hook must be the pain she felt in her tail. She heard a thunk,and turned her head to look at a sea pony off to the side with a chefs hat and a cleaver, hacking apart the corpse of another sea dragon. She watched him as he cooked the dragon. After a little bit of time she felt the bile rise in her throat again, the urge to vomit nearly over powering. The little meat cubes that were being set off to the side after being rolled in spices, were easily recognized as the ones they had been fed earlier.


======================================================


Starfall shuddered, whimpering a little her hooves pressed tight over her ears trying to make the singing go away. She and Velkorn had been taken under the city into a cavern full of dripping water. Dozens of other surface mares were here, some going through the same thing as Starfall, as if they were being driven mad by the singing. She thought she had been here for weeks, but according to the zebra they were only on their second day since stepping out of the bubble. Velkorn simply went along with what was going on, watching over Starfall, and trying to get her to calm down. They had been down here a good part of the day and both their flanks and backs were lashed with whip marks sometimes along with orders to dig for the gems faster, other times because the guards simply seemed to be bored.

Starfall's wings had been bound tightly to her sides,not as if that mattered, with the tight quarters of the mine coupled with the maddening singing , she was in no shape to even try to fly. She had no idea where the others were as only she and Velkorn had awoken in the cell and then been forced to work the mine. That had been the way the entire day went, the sea ponies had forced them all back into their cages at the end of the shift, and taken a few select ponies out, forcing or dragging them into another set of rooms. Velkorn was one of those taken away and Starfall was left alone in the cage with the song and the whimpers of the other captives. She had noted many of the other mares were clearly with foal here, and some of the ones who had been taken off to another rooms had started screaming.

===========================================================

It was dark. Not a natural darkness as she was used to. This was a magical darkness, likely one that was cast on something that bound her here. Luna frowns, her ears perked trying to catch some sound other than the rattle of the chains that held her. Her magic had been stilled as well, a bitter taste in her mouth led her to believe some sort of drug was being used. For now all she could do was bide her time and wait for something, for now there was nothing but silence.

=========================================
<“So what should we send back as proof My Queen? Perhaps Luna's crown? Or a hoof?”>

“Hmmm, what do you think pet?”

The Princess looks back to a some what disturbed looking Rhede standing back and bit behind her a chain leading from the one about his neck to her hoof. The earth pony whips his head lightly new bells jingling softly in his ears.

“Send back my cousins blade, it is exotic and rare enough that Celestia should recognize it with out trouble.”

“An idea, but no. I will keep that, I do not like the thought of something that might actually be able to harm me being in the hooves on an enemy. The skeleton armor should be sufficient.”

Princess Aqua tugs lightly on the gold chain pulling Rhede against her side. She smiles half draping herself over her pet, a tendril from her hair tracing over the earth ponies neck. The length of tentacle plays with his mane idly and leaves a wet trail across his his neck. Rhede blinks feeling her tail curl up along his underside to play with something else entirely, he keeps note of the chest Angler seals the sword and armor into trying to feign interest in the Princes' actions instead.

“So how is the General, Angler?”

<“Resistant my Goddess. He is … odd.”>

====================================================
Jer'rahd's head surfaces sending him in a coughing fit a moment as he glares at the hooded figure before spiting a mouthful of sea water in the shadow of Angler's hood.

“Thanks I needed a bath to get yer princesses stink off me.”

The hooded sea pony looks down at the unicorn strapped on his back to the rotating table and sighs. A fin grips a wheel turning it, moving the head of the half submerged table and its prisoner back into the seawater trough again. He waits a moment before flipping the table back over letting a sputtering Jer'rahd breath again.

“Bah do your worst.”

<“A very brave front you put on General. I am impressed, but you would not like my worst.”>

“Honestly I would very much like your worst. Feel free to screw up royally so I can escape. “

<“Ahh a play on words, what a clever pony.”>

“Shit!”

============================================= <“To be honest my Goddess, I really am not sure what to do with him, if you will not allow him to be harmed breaking him down will be difficult if not impossible.”>

“Use your magic then, try not to make him too docile however. I have little use for more lobotomized toys. But if it happens I suppose at least he will look good with the others.”

Rhede shivers a bit at those words not liking where this was going.

“Ooh, did I find another spot on you my pet? It is adorable how sensitive you are.”

==============================================

“Well, you really are an ugly one.”

Angler turns his head glaring at the bound pony. Black bulbous eyes bulged from a sickly green head. Where his muzzle should have been was nothing more than dozens of writhing tendrils of the same color as his head. He seemed to have no hair or ears for that mater aside from a pair of strange bumps on the side of his head. The rest of his form was still hidden in his cloak but it seemed little different than a normal sea ponies.

<”Our views of beauty differ then I believe. I for one find you quite repulsive to look at, while I have no shortage of willing maidens.”>

“More proof your society is bucked up. So back to the prep for your sponge baths again?”

<” No nothing like that for our time today.”>

The sea pony lays a fin across Jer'rahds face black eyes staring at the unicorn.

“Oh yes very tourterrrrrrrrk!!”

A sudden wave of fear washed through Jer'rahds mind yanking him away from the waking world and tossing him into a pit of black nightmares.

--------------------------------------------------------------- Twilight yelped pulling back away from the image shaking her head, her gaze shifts over the space of the spell curiously. She had not been tossed back out into her body just back into the space between. She was not sure what she had just seen, but the spell had pulled her away from Jer'rahd hard just as the formally dry unicorn had started vomiting up seawater from no where with his eyes rolled back into his head. This was bad, she pondered briefly stopping here for the night and returning to the sanity of her own world. The lavender unicorn frowns, realizing exactly how silly that sounded. She moves to look through the window with Bleu.

---------------------------------------------------------- It had to have been at least two days that she had been hanging here. Her tail had gone numb and she had blacked out at least twice, each time she woke she expected to see a cleaver descending. This latest time she was brought out of her impromptu nap by being moved. The sea pony cook had returned and had lifted her off the hook holding her. She held still, her tail screaming at her in pain, her stomach howling in protest as well. But this was the moment she had waited for. She silently thanked her parents for being a type of dragon that lived in a desert and needed very little fresh water to survive, she also offered a prayer of thanks to her dead kin that the sea pony had not noticed the bites taken from their bodies around her. She apologized to them in her mind that she needed to eat them to live for this moment. The moment where their deaths could be avenged and her next meal would come from this cook, while he was still alive.

========================================

“I shall return for you on the morrow my pet , play nice with the others here while I get my beauty sleep.”

“Of course Princess.”

The door shut with a click the sound of a thick tumbler being turned made him perk his ears briefly. He turns his head back to look at the others she mentioned. The room was filled with at least another dozen stallions, unicorns, earth ponies, and at least one pegasus. They all stared with rapt attention at the Princess and the new comer from where they were, though as soon as the door closed and the Princess was gone they seemed to lose what little sense of cohesion the sight of her brought.

One of the earth ponies simply walked in very small circles following the line of his tail as he spun about. The pegasus glides lazily around the room, striking a wall and turning to fly in another direction until he collided with another wall and so on. One of the the other ponies seemed to take notice of him, the golden coated unicorn darting over to him looking around as if terrified of everything. His light blue mane and tail seemed very well cared for even if he looked like there was no way he could do it himself. His pupils were so small as he looked around panicked that Rhede could not tell their coloration.

“You.... You need to help me … got to help..”

“Why, whats wrong?”

“Ever.... every time there's a full moon I change.... “

“Change ? Into what?”

“I … I can't say...”

“Then how am I supposed to help?”

“ OK … fine. But … but don't tell any one else....... every full moon I change …..into a pony.”

Rhede stares at the panicked stallion a moment blinking.

“You know, you are already a pony.”

“ What!? OH GODDESS NOT AGAIN AHHHHHHHHH!!”

Rhede watched as he runs off screaming, more than a few of the other ponies starting to run around with him also starting to scream for no reason. He twitches one ear drooping.

“Okaaay, I am done here.”

Rhede moves back to the door trying the handle briefly, he rattles it a bit hearing a guard from the other side yell at him to get away from the door. He smiles tilting his head a little pushing against a tooth with his tongue wincing as it pops free. After a bit of fiddling with his mouth he produces a small wire and starts on the locked door to make good his escape. One guard should not be a problem.


=======================================================


Starfall's eyes remained focused on the room Velkorn had been taken into. Panic setting in as the screams started from the other chambers. She waited expectantly to hear her friends cries and nearly screamed out as the first cry of anguish erupted from the cell. It took her a moment to realize that the scream had been from a male. She lifts her head as a sea pony guard falls out of the room screaming and thrashing, blood erupting from a section of his flesh near the base of his tail that seemed to have been ripped off. Some of the other guards rushed into the room he had come out of . Shouts and screams sounded as one of the guards came flying out smashing into the wall with a wet thud of flesh and the crunch of bone. More guards rushed forward as another body was hurled out of the room and a blood soaked zebra trotted out of the room, her muzzle dripping crimson. She turns her head spitting a long length of flesh into the water in front of the gathered guards. The group of males eyes widen at the object as it floated past.

“To sample my body might have been your wish, but this zebra will show no compassion for fish.”

The half dozen guards look around panicked as the zebra launches herself at them.

=============================================== “By Celestia's dimpled plot what did he do to you Jer?”

“Ever the eloquent one I see.”

Jer'rahd remains strapped to the table, Angler had left to recover himself leaving Jer'rahd alone reeling with the dark images that had been forced into his mind. Rhede's arrival allowed him to focus, to slip away from the madness.

“Give me a moment I will get you out of there.”

“Does she know your gone yet?”

“The princess no, why does that even matter hold on.”

“No. Get the others first.”

“What, I am already here to get you out.”

“Rhede stop. You free me they will know some one escaped. Aqua and that thing seem focused on me at the moment, go get the others and come back for me. You know I'm not the stealthy type you will do better finding them on your own.”

“That is a lousy plan.”

“Rhede do it. Or do I need to order you to do it?”

“Fine, but I do this under protest, you better not die on me.”

“I won't die from a little water. Go, head to the kitchen first, they were planing to cook Bleu.”

Rhede glances back nervously looking over Jer'rahd and the blood that seemed to have been pouring from his friends head and still caked it . Dried blood covered his ears nose and mouth some even seeming to have bled from his eyes. He hated to leave him there on the table, but he knew Jer was right. Time was not on their side.

=================================================
Bleu growls advancing on the guard, the remains of the cooks entrails still where half wrapped around her front leg where she had torn through him. Her tail screamed at her with every lash as she roared at the guard, a blast of lightning cooking him where he swam filling the hall with the scent of fried fish. Others were coming and even increasing her size as big as she could she knew it was not enough to handle very large numbers. It was time to hide for a little while before coming back out to kill more and try to find the others. She wings slowly over the water her eyes catching a patch of darkness in the water filled floor. She lands some what curious. The dragonling ducks her head under the chest deep water to look at the opening leading down into the darkness. She lifts her head back out of the water hearing voices and shouting from the kitchen behind her, and violent splashing from the tunnel ahead announced more guards that way. She sighs taking a deep breath and pushing herself into the tunnel following along the walls in the darkness before surfacing at the end with a soft gasp. The room was pitch black and uncomfortably cool. Her clawed hands slide along the waters edge finding a ledge to pull herself onto, her claws scraping lightly on the rock echo about the room.

“SO SOMEONE HAS FINALLY DECIDED TO COME TO US. IF THAT IS YOU AQUA WE WILL FEED YOU YOUR OWN TAIL FOR THIS!”

“Princess Luna?”

“.What?..... Bleu?”

=====================================================


Starfall had never seen anything like it. Velkorn had simply ripped apart everything that came after her, easily two dozen guards lie dead or dieing scattered around the room . The sea pony corpses piled up like child’s toys tossed against the walls. She had left the bodies walking over and kicking open Starfall's cage, then all the others. Starfall managed to shake off the song for a few moments to rip herself free of her bindings staring in awe at Velkorn.

“Where did you learn to do that? How?”

“While my skills have never been used so intense, I clearly know much more than defense.”

Starfall turns her head looking at the other cages that had been opened and the mares still cowering or hiding in the cells. She shakes her head not even trying to plan a way to save them, if they would not bother to save themselves they would be a liability. She looks over to the blood soaked zebra who seemed rather pensive, but had come to the same conclusion. Starfall moves over picking up a blade from one of the sea ponies wincing a little bit and dropping it her ears flattening to her head as she whimpers fighting the song again.

“I think I am not going to be any good down here Velkorn. We need to find the others and get out of here, that singing is more like screaming now......Its hard to do much of anything.”

Velkorn nods trotting towards one of the openings water kicked up before her as she enters the pool following along the corridors, with Starfall right behind.

========================================= <“Oh good you are awake again. Seems you are more than a little stubborn General. Princess Aqua is tired of waiting for you to give in.”>

“Well that's nice. You know maybe I should give it a shot, try and fall in love with her. That way when the usual pattern hits, she'll die horribly.”

<“Hmm, I suspect there was more to that than witless banter. Clearly a threat laced in there. But in any rate if you do not give in this time she simply wants your body.”>

“If I had a bit for every time I heard that I likely would have a bit or two...well if you count the ones who wanted me to BE a body. Any way before you start again you mind turning off that damn singing?”

<“Hmm oh the Shoobe? No, that was a delightful creation of mine however, It keeps the slaves in line. Only seems to work on ponies however, and thanks to the lack of effect on your cousin it seems even that might not be one hundred percent.”>

The sea pony lays his fin on Jer'rahd's forehead again his tendrils writhing in joy as Jer'rahd screams.

======================================== Luna's ears perk as she and Bleu stop at the scream echoing through the half submerged tunnels. It had taken Bleu some time to free the Princess, but once she was out the pair had made their way towards the mines. Luna had over heard Aqua give the order to take Starfall and Velkorn there before she blacked out and unlike the harem the way to the mines was clearly marked.

A loud sloshing sound from further up the tunnel and approaching them had Luna and Bleu sinking down into the water further to hide themselves as who ever it was approached. A form rounded the corner and Bleu launched herself at it her cry of rage stopping the yell and shrinking down suddenly arms warping tightly around Velkorns neck as she crashed into the zebra sending them both into the water.

Starfall peeks her head around the corner as Luna rises out of the water fanning her wings out.

“Well so much for coming to rescue you two. Where are Rhede and Jer'rahd? “

“We .. we have not seen them Princess.”

“Are you alright Starfall you do not look well?”

“Just the … singing... I can't concentrate.. hard to even walk. Least its clear why the other slaves down here are so docile.”

“We need to get out of here. Bleu let Velkorn up we need to move.”

“Are you alright Princess? Your hair looks like it did when you made the armor.”

“I have been drugged. I have no use of my magic at this time. It is coming back ,slowly as the drug fades, but that will take time we do not have. We must find Jer'rahd and Rhede.”

“Where too?”

“Though the sound was obscene, we likely should go towards that scream.”

“That is a good idea, perhaps, but your friends are not in that direction Princess Luna.”

The group whirls seeing a cowering Wetsworth looking nervously around after poking his head out of a side tunnel.

“I regret to say that I believe princess Aqua has gone too far, I am sorry I did not warn you, but she has eyes every where. I know where the General is being held and I can take you too him. Just when you go I would like to flee with you. We do not need any sort of war down here.”

Luna regards the sea pony a moment before nodding.

“Take us to him.”

==================================================

“In hindsight Princess this might not have been the best idea.”

Wetsworth had lead them through several rooms and back into the palace proper, right into a good two dozen guards with spears and a half dozen more behind them with some sort of spear guns.

“Well perhaps now that I have recaptured you the Princess will see fit to grant my request for the Zebra... I have always wanted pet.”

The guards move a bit closer stopping suddenly as a Wetsworth gurgles, a dagger sprouting from his neck, several more blades arc through the air felling the spear gun holders. Luna, Velkorn and Bleu move as soon as the archers are down ripping into the guards as more daggers strike at any openings.

As the last ambusher collapses Rhede drops out of the shadows under the strange stair case.

“Bout time I found you lot, we need to get back to Jer'rahd.”

“ Really Pelt? I thought you might like being in the harem of a Princess. “

“Luna, before this trip I have never in my life considered castrating myself. Now I need to think of reasons not to. Here these should help, I found the store room. I was in the process of bringing this stuff back to Jer when these guards showed up here and trapped me. We need to move however I don't know how much more of the torture Jer can take”

Rhede ducks back into the shadows pulling out a rather large bag. Ducking his head in and digging though it pulling out a harness of bag with the sea pony symbol for medicine on them. Velkorn grabs them immediately and starts working on the hole in Bleu's tail as Rhede dumps the rest out. A few odds and ends and a collection of bone plate fragments and a skull helm as well as The Waning Moon and Starfall's swords.

Luna stares at the collection her horn lightly glowing though seemingly causing her a good bit of effort.

“Hey you got the helm to move Princess doesn't that make you happy?”

“Bleu we are in an enemy strong hold league’s under the ocean and four days travel to the nearest safe port and a little bit of my power returning is supposed to make me happy?”

“Its a start.”

Luna finally pulls the helm over her head the rest of the armor collecting around her form with a resounding clatter. She trots over to the blade on the floor as Starfall straps her own swords to her sides.

“Are you going to be alright to use that with out your magic Princess? “

“Starfall it will take more than being with out my powers to stop me from slaughtering every sea pony we encounter from here to our escape.”

“Be careful there Luna, your starting to sound like Boss.”

“No Bleu. It is Jer'rahd that usually sounds like me. All of you guard my flank and stay out of my way. Which way to the General, Rhede?

=================================================

Blood soaked every inch of the Princess, the eye holes in the helm flared white leaving tracers as Princess Luna moved. Every sea pony slain seemed to restore her power further, her hair was almost back to the glowing night scape of stars it was usually in. Though instead of the flickering white spots of light dotting it the stars were all crimson. Bleu shivered at the sight, she lost count of how many various types of sea ponies the Princess had mowed down like a scythe through wheat. The corpses lay strewn along the path they trod, it reminded Bleu of the fields of corpses in her vision.

The Waning Moon did not hum with use as it seemed to when Jer'rahd wielded the blade, the weapon screamed, a hot rage filled cry that nearly drown out the cries of those it slew This was a side very few saw and lived to talk about, the reason Princess Luna was considered the Goddess of War and more recently of Death. Bleu was terrified of the Princess like this and the others were just as fearful.

“Shes like a Nightmare from the moon......”

Sea ponies exploded as her power flared, bodies of guards and servants splattered down the walls of corridors. The water around them was red with blood and a scarlet mist filled the air. Luna had gone beyond simply killing her foes nothing she had killed with the blade was even recognizable as what it had been before. Doors were ripped off their hinges taking sections of the wall with them or simply detonated. Starfall watched her hold back in some situations, stopping herself from breaking through parts of the wall that might open to the sea or might have hidden Jer'rahd. She was not raging out of control, and that frightened the pegasus more than if she had been berserking. Her magic gripped the last door in the hall yanking it free to crush a cowering servant with the wooden projectile before causing the wood to explode along with the corpse.


Jer'rahd remained strapped to the table, his mouth wide open and he was panting hard, his pupils were not visible with his eyes rolled back into his head. Blood oozed from his ears, eyes, and a thick trickle ran from his nose as well. He twitched occasionally,on the table, a strange green squid like pony stood over him, The creature suddenly whipped his head up pulling his fin away from the unicorn. Its head back black orbs seemed to focus on the armored form of the Princess.

<”What? Who are you!?!”>

Luna took in the entire scene and growled deeply.

“OUR NAME IS PRINCESS LUNA OF EQUESTRIA. YOU HAVE HARMED OUR FRIENDS, PREPARE TO DIE.”

She did not wait for his response The Waning Moon tore through the cloaked form repeatedly, bits of the screaming creature flew off in random directions before the sword made the cut that ended the creatures life, soaking the entire room in a foul black blood.

Velkorn rushes past as the creature falls, the others slip into the room as well looking it over as Velkorn frees and tries to check on Jer'rahd. She looks at the others shaking her head a bit.

“There is nothing wrong with him I can see, This might not be the job for me.”

Bleu rummages through the contents of the room trying hard not to panic at Jer'rahd's state. She blinks spotting his uniform and the necklace with the sword shard on it. She grabs both considers and just takes the necklace before continuing to dig through everything hoping to find something in the strange lab that could be used to help Jer'rahd. Rhede dug through some of the other cabinets almost as franticly as Bleu , while Velkorn helped Starfall Pick the comatose pony up to carry him.


Starfall still could not fight and walking was becoming a strain with the song, but damned if she was not going to be at least useful for something. Rhede had promised to train her in what he knew later, once they made it out of this place. Luna waited at the door glancing back as something went flying from the little dragon striking the door. She regarded the heavy black ball a moment before realizing what it was.

“Velkorn here.”

She floated the object over to the Zebra who regarded it curiously.

“Put this in your bag and keep it safe. If we survive this I will need it later. We should move now and try and get to the bubble. Do you have the General well enough Commander?”

“Yes Princess. At least I can do this right....”

“Then we move.”

The group darted down another corridor just as a burst of energy ripped apart the room before them blasting a hole in the wall. Bleu glanced in noting it was the guest quarters they had been given at first. Another bolt of energy arched around the corner forcing all of them into the hole made by the first. The explosion behind them tore apart the rest of the wall that they ran through. The room was lit by the city from out side the massive windows.

Another bolt of energy struck just inside the room shattering the floor dropping half of what they group stood on into the water. Electricity danced along the surface of the water as Princess Aqua appeared flanked by a good dozen or so octoponies dressed as Angler had been, along with a few dozen sea pony guards. A glance out of the window showered easily another battalion of sea ponies outside along with the slowly approaching form of the leviathan, Andre.

The room filled with standard guards, all moving to surround the group perched on the decaying ledge over the water. Starfall slid Jer'rahd from her back, drawing her blades planing to defend herself as best she could. A soft groan came from the lowered from of the unicorn as the water lapped over the surface they were standing on splashing against him.

“Did you really think it would be that easy Princess?”

“For a moment there, yes I kind of did.”

“You have caused a great deal of trouble, I think I will follow my late advisers advice and send back one of your body parts in demand for those books.”

“How do you know about those?”

“Angler could feel the effects of them on you Princess. Me, I just wanted your companions particularly the General. You can keep the ambassador though, while fun he gave threw away his chance by helping you.”

Jer'rahd stirred, his head lifting and eyes opening, facing towards the glass and the open sea. The splash of water against his side forced a deep breath from the unicorn, his eyes widening, pupils nearly invisible as he stared out into the darkness and water beyond that glass.

Then he started screaming and back peddling furiously. Starfall tackled him before he fell into the water holding him in place. This only seemed to make the terror filled shriek worse as his green eye flared brightly, horn following suit, shields began forming at random while he fought against Starfall, items in the room began flying about as his magic gripped them and flung. Guards were yanked out of the water and sent across the room to impact each other and the walls. Most of the objects thrown, hit a shield or a wall near by, but a great many of them smashed into the glass as Jer'rahd continued to have some sort of seizure like panic attack, frothing at the mouth as he screamed. The crystal window starts developing cracks along it as more things are slammed into the glass. The Guards and Aqua stare a moment at the display trying to dodge the flying objects. Velkorn darts over striking a few spots on the unicorn knocking him out, but the damage had been done. The cracks spread all along the crystal, water starting to pour in through rents in the window.

Everyone in the rooms eyes widen as the cracking gets louder.

“Buck us...”

Luna's horn flashes brightly as the crystal shatters, the six of them vanishing with a pop as the water smashes into the room.

======================================================== A loud popping sound and some cries echo across the deck as they appear on the surface crashing down on the Princess Bride. Starfall groans and rises to her hooves, first looking around and then up at the clear night sky. Menacing clouds start forming, drawing closer as she watches. Luna winces pushing herself to her hooves as well making a beeline for the bridge as several of the crew appear to find out what is happening.

“Captain Foam. We need to get out of here now.”

“Nice to see you made it Princess Luna......... “

Luna's eyes narrow at the Captain and the First Mate's rather dour expressions as they stare at her.

“Do not tell me you two.......”

“Work for Princess Aqua? Pretty much. If we try to help you we will never be able to take to the sea again.”

“So you will turn us back over to the witch?”

The Captain ignores the glare the Princess gave her and sighs, the first mate resting a hoof on her shoulder as the sea pony looks up at the blood soaked Princess.

“No Princess, I just want to make it clear what we are giving up to aid you. This will be the last time any of us will ever be able to take to the water. The crew of this ship have not forgotten who brought us all together.“

The Captain grins suddenly and with more than a slight bit of madness in her eyes.

“Lets make this one hell of a last trip. Get me engineering on the com ensign. MR. SCOT!!”

“Aye Captain?”

“I want full power to the engines now, full burn I want us out of here yesterday.”

“Engines running cold at the moment sir. Might take a few...

“No time Scot get us out of here or we all die.”

“Oh well, that's enough drama for me then. FIRE IT UP COLTS!!!”

The whole ship suddenly rumbles the engine roaring to life louder than it had been on the trip to Nieghlantis.

“Mr. Scot did you use the grog as an engine starter again?”

“Aye Captain. She's running pretty now, nothing like a wee bit of good booze tah get yah running full tilt first thing in tha morning. Though if we dun make it I just would like to say I think your a bleeding idiot, pleasure serving with you.”

“I should lock you in the brig for that Scot. TAKE US AROUND ENSIGN. “

“Well At least then I could sleep of this current state of being a wee bit blitzed. “

“Com on full ensign, THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING, AS OF THIS MOMENT ALL WATERS HAVE NOW BECOME HOSTILE. YOU ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, IF YOU WISH TO COME ALONG GET TO YOUR BATTLE STATIONS. IF YOU WISH TO SERVE PRINCESS AQUA GET OFF MY SHIP NOW. YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE!!”

“Like hells.”
“Forget the sea witch.”
“Lets do this thing Captain!”
“Woot!”

“Shall we then Love?”

“Of course Rip,FULL SPEED ENSIGN!!”

The ship lurched suddenly spinning about and ripping free of the moorings on the island as the first bolts of lightning across across the sky the clear night slowly being swallowed up in the encroaching storm. Luna darts back out onto the deck as Velkorn and Bones drag Jer'rahd back inside with the help of Rhede. She glances around a moment as a bolt of lightning strikes the deck hitting Bleu dead on.

“BLEU!!”

The little dragon stands there a moment the deck chard around her form blinking confused at just what happened when another bolt of energy strikes her. She blinks again her eyes getting wide a maniacal grin appearing on her face.

“Oh,wow, by the stars if this is what sex feels like then no wonder Rhede's always after it!!”

She lifts her head as another bolt strikes the largest steam tower. She tears off rapidly perching herself on the tower her spines starting to crackle with the energy.

“HIT ME AGAIN!!”

Luna blinks as another few bolts of energy strike the dragon atop the steam tower and the lightning wielding dragon soaks them all up. After a few more strikes the little dragon was practically glowing with the built up energy. She grew larger wings and head lifted towards the storm as her claws dug into the tower, the bolts suddenly increased firing like strobe lights down into the dragon. Luna briefly wonders if that really could be good for her.

Starfall had moved off to the side as the first mate galloped outside onto the deck to make sure everything was ready for the storm. The waves started picking up and a form rose from the water behind the ship. Princess Aqua had started following them. Her eyes flare with brilliant blue as the waves increase and crash against the Princess Bride. The dark shape of her behemoth rose up from the depths under her. The waves toss the ship about as the rain starts drenching everything on the ship still out side. The Princess glares across the expanse of water at Aqua waiting for the sea pony princess to make her next move. A strong wind slams into the front of the ship slowing the Princess Bride further.

“Oh buck we need to go faster.”

“No shit, you don't like our speed miss get out and push.”

“That...... that's not a bad idea actually.”

“Wait! What are you crazy mare?!?!”

“No the song stopped I’m better now.”

Starfall rockets into the sky spiraling around the lightning her silver form lights up with each bolt as she pushes into the clouds.

“What the heck is that crazy pegasus doing.”

“I know what she is doing Tide. Inform the crew to brace for impact.

“Impact what …. yes Princess. “

“BLEU MAKE SURE YOUR GRIP IS TIGHT ON THAT TOWER.”

“BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHA THIS IS BETTER THAN BOOZE!!”

“BLEU!”

“NO PROBLEM PRINCESS THIS IS GONNA BE AWESOME!!”

Luna's gaze returned to Aqua as the first blast of arcane energy rocketed towards the ship. She fired a shot of her own causing the blast to explode before it reached the ship, though the impact of the two sent the craft jumping forward .

“TIDE TAKE THE HELM, EVASIVE MANEUVERS TAKE US INTO THE WAVES.”

“AYE CAPTAIN!”

Another blast of energy sent the ship forward with a lurch as Luna caused it to explode. The craft went airborne a moment running up the side of a wave soaring into the air. The insane laughter of a supercharged blue dragon clinging tallest steam stack made this whole thing even more surreal. A roar echoed across the water as the leviathan surged forward charging the ship while Aqua stayed with the casters who had just joined her. The energy blasts stopped as Aqua let her pet charge ahead.

The sea suddenly lit up as the cloud cover was vaporized by a glimmering silver form seeming to fall out of the full moon. A sudden explosion of noise echoed across the water as a bright ring of color spread from the falling form. The rainbow of light caught in the raindrops sending reflections of multicolored lights dancing across the sky as far as the eye could see in all directions, the dark water flashed the rainbow back into the sky as Starfall came down.

Those on the ship watched the display in awe as the silver form of the pegasus started so spiral down as she approached the waters surface the water and rainbow around her spinning as well creating a vortex in the sky above her that drew the colors back into her decent. At first it seemed the silver streak was aiming for the ship though that rapidly changed course slamming into the head of the huge whale like creature. The rainbow colored explosion erupting into the air tore apart the cyclone of rainbow light and rain. Suddenly the beast screamed as great chunks of its flesh started raining down into the ocean and on the ships deck, and the rain turned to hot crimson blood.

Bleu lept off the mast her form flickering as she bolted across the sky towards the beast diving into the hole Starfall had created the energy pouring off her her charring the inside of the creature as she discharged all the current she could. The lightning flared brilliantly a moment causing the massive thing to twitch and begin to sink before the light went out.

A moment later Bleu burst up from the water near the ship carrying a unconscious Starfall. She took off into the air from the water barely managing to make it to the deck with the pegasus crashing hard on the deck next to Luna.

Luna's eyes remained closed as her head and wings were lifted skyward, the burst of energy from the sonic rainbow all but absorbed by the Princess who was now bathing in the glow of her chosen celestial body. The beams of moon light seemed to crackle around the armored Princess.


“Water, wet, known place,....... ahhh yes there. WE WILL RETURN FOR YOUR HEAD PRINCESS AQUA! THIS WE PROMISE YOU!”

Luna's horn flashed brilliantly, the flash likely seen even on the shore, four days travel away. She released all the energy in one burst the explosion of light encompassing the whole ship and a good portion of the sea before it faded out, leaving a hole in the water where the ship had been.

==================================================

The loud rush of air and objects starting to float in the air as the ship fell, gave Rhede the warning he needed to brace himself. The impact sent every one else in the medical bay tot he floor save Jer'rahd who had been strapped to a bed in case he woke in a panic again. The ship lurched forward being flung into the air again listing hard to one side. Rhede moved the lurch leaping between Velkorn and the wall letting the zebra hit him instead of the bulkhead. Doctor Tofu was much luckier as he some how managed to hit his bed rather than the wall

Bleu sunk her claws into the deck as the ship pitched her tail wrapped around Starfall to keep the unconscious mare from being flung over the side as they landed. She whipped her head out, teeth clamping on Princess Luna's tail as she collapsed, saving her from going over as well. The initial impact suddenly flung the ship back into the air as the water buoyed the massive craft.

A few of the ships ponies were flung over board on the second bounce and the hull screamed in protest as the ship landed once more sending a shower of salt water into the air. A few more violent bobs and the whole ship starting to list to one side, the slow tilt to the side marked an end to the trip.

Bleu lifts up looking around as the ship gently bobs in the middle of more water. She shifts her gaze about spotting a large island not far from the boat. Starfall groans as Luna pushes herself to her hooves her mane remaining normal even though the clear night shown the moon down on her now.

“What just happened Princess?”

“I took us some where safe. “

“LAND HO!!”

“SCOT GET THE ENGINES BACK ON LINE AS BEST YOU CAN ALL SEA PONIES OFF THE SHIP FIND THE ONES THROWN OVER BOARD AND IF SCOT CAN'T GET THE ENGINE GOING READY THE TOW ROPES.”

The Captain moves herself to the edge of the deck leaping off to aid in the rescue attempts as First mate Tide hobbles over, his back leg kept off the deck.

“While I admit that was the most amazing thing I have ever seen Princess Luna... where did you take us?”

“The only place I could think of with enough water to support this ship that I was familiar with. The Great Hooper Sea.”

Bleu looks back at the groggy Starfall and spits a bit of lightning having not felt better or this hyper in years.

“So then, should we count help in the war from Princess Aqua as a maybe then?”

Starfall glares at the grinning blue dragon and belts the her upside the back of the head with a wing.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Twilight pulls back from the blade blinking and whipping her head. She had not expected anything like that to happen. She never had seen a sea pony before either and to find most were evil? She shivers a bit having heard the song they spoke of in bits and pieces before the spell sealed it away from her. She looked around a moment the house feeling a bit creeped out by how silent it was. She turns spotting a open scroll on the couch. Trotting over to it her eyes narrow as she reads it before groaning in annoyance.

Dear Twilight.

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself, I'll fix the door later I suppose I am off to wait in line all night for another jar or two of granny smiths jam. Hopefully there will still be some left. Sorry.

Spike




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Song is Girl in the sea, by No more Kings

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