• Published 23rd Feb 2015
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Daughters of the Sea - Mister E



Summergale. Former Captain of the Maiden’s Fancy. Former Queen of Equestria. Mother of Harmony and Discord. Saved from certain death by Twilight Sparkle and her husband, the Doctor, she must now make a new life for herself in modern day Equestria.

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Chapter 11: Opening Salvos

Opening Salvo’s

Captain’s Log Ship’s Date: June 21, 3 LR (Luna’s Return)

Giovanni’s new ship, the ‘Grasping Claw’, pulled into the harbor this evening. From what I could tell it was as fine a griffin merchant ship as I’ve ever seen. His crew looked sharp and they went about their duties quickly and efficiently. Too efficiently. These weren’t salty sailor griffins, I could tell. Too much discipline. These were soldiers. Griffin navy I suspect. Probably their elite culled from who knows how many ships.

{Sigh}, it makes me tired. Such an obvious ploy. But I suppose I should be grateful for their predictability. Captain Colt used it to have his way with the Empire for years, and it looks like I’ll be borrowing a page from his book.

My crew is as ready as they are going to be. And better than anything I could have hoped for. I’d put them up against any crew I ever sailed with, an my only regret is that they never got to meet any of ‘em. Well... hopefully one day that may change.

Celly has been back in secret, with more news. Turns out now that we ponies are standing up for ourselves, some of the other races are getting in on the act as well. The diamond dogs have a ship arriving in a few days. Celly says they are sending a Bark. She laughed as she said it. She obviously doesn’t know that a Bark is a type of ship with three or more masts having the fore- and mainmasts rigged square and only the mizzen (the aftermost mast) rigged fore and aft. It’s usually a broad-sterned type of ship, which carries no ornamental figure on the stem or prow. The advantages to a Bark are few. She’ll have a good turn of speed, though.Still, I don’t expect her to beat either Rarity or the crew from Giovanna’s ship in the speed trials.

The bactrians an dromedaries of Saddle Arabia are going to compete as well. Celly tells me they are sending a Sabbak for their entry. A Sabbak has both lateen sails and oars for propulsion. They have two or three masts, and a distinctive hull with a pronounced overhanging bow and stern and rarely displace more than 200 tons, making them slightly smaller and with slightly fewer guns than, say, a frigate. A Sabbak empty of cargo can go at a pretty good clip. Also it has the advantages of oars in a becalmed sea. They used to be a pretty useful type of ship that could be used for warfare, cargo, and even fishing. Depending on the crew, they might be worth watching.

All in all this is shaping up to being a pretty big deal. I can’t say as I’m pleased about that. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand how important it is ta show the world that ponies are every bit as good as the rest of the world, but none of this is why I came out of retirement. The sooner all this is over with, the sooner we can set sail for my real objective. We are going to be cutting it close. Time and tide wait for no pony, and no mater how much the world may have changed the seasons still come on schedule. I reckon I just wont be able ta relax until we can finally get this voyage underway. Ah well, I reckon that’s a good thing. I doubt I could afford ta let me guard down with Giovanni hot for revenge. My gut tells me he’s got to be up ta something. Heh, fair enough... so am I.

Captain’s Log Update

The Saddle Arabian ship docked this afternoon. A Sabbak called the Sand and Sea. I got a good look at her. Modern ship design has changed a bit since my era, but not that much. She looks a bit sleeker, and to be honest, a bit more fragile, than I would have expected. I suppose modern sailors don’t have to deal with things the way we did in the old days.

Captain’s Log Ship’s Date: June 22, 3 LR (Luna’s Return)

Well, sure an we woke up to a bit of a surprise this morning. Sometime during the night the diamond dog’s ship arrived. I suppose them being used to living underground, porting a ship in darkness wouldn’t give them any problems.

Ah, now here’s a bit of puzzlement though. The entire thing from bow to stern is completely covered in canvas. They have hidden their entire ship right down to the water line. I can only suppose they plan to unveil her on the day of the competition. I suppose it could be a strategy, not letting the other captains seeing what they are up against. I’m surprised though, that the dogs are bothering with it.

From what I’ve learned, modern diamond dogs have fallen a lot further than any other race since the cataclysm. Back in my time they were the equal of any other. They had sprawling cities at the edges of the great forests. And they even had their own port in Roverton. Gah, I don’t want to think about it. That city brings back bad memories. Thing is, apparently after the cataclysm their entire race retreated from the rest of society. Moved into caves and caverns underground. I knew the dogs liked to dig, but it seems that that is their main way of life now. It’s a sad thing to see. They were once so noble. I almost hate ta sail against ‘em now, considering… well… never mind. All ancient history.

Captain’s Log Ship’s Date: June 24, 3 LR (Luna’s Return)

They have begun setting up a dais in front of our ships. I assume all the pomp and bluster will begin soon. Celly has already said she is bringing every last bit of royalty out of Equestria to be present for the events. I asked her who she left in charge while she was away. She said her far distant cousin Blueblood.

I laughed for five solid minutes. Celly asked me if I disapproved, I said of course not. That stuck up prissy little colt is perfect to deal with the ‘nobles’ of this modern era. I fully expect him to use all of his authority to do nothing but set up useless Balls and parties the whole time she was away.

Heh, then it was Celly’s turn to laugh, apparently he hadn’t even waited until they left to begin making plans to do just that. It’s a good thing me son can portal them all home if need be, otherwise I’d fear for the kingdom.

Speaking of kingdoms, Celly also gave me a run down on who else I can expect to show up. Representing the Camel nomads the sultan is sending his third son, prince Kassam bin Dubar. The prince is set to arrive any day now with a modest entourage, and apparently only half of his harem. Only twelve concubines? Talk about roughing it.

The diamond dogs have at least one delegate coming from each of their packs, but most surprising is that their high king, king Gruffrufffgraggerruff the twenty-second himself is set to attend. In all my years it’ll be the first time I ever met a diamond dog king in the flesh. Back in the day, all our correspondence was done through intermediaries. It was almost unheard of for the king to ever leave his city. See each pack of diamond dogs has an alpha. And an alpha can be challenged at any time by any other dog for leadership of the pack. The high king is the alpha of alphas, and any lower alpha can challenge HIM for leadership at any time. The losers of these challenges never rose to try again, this was because if you challenged and lost, it was tradition that the loser be fed to the winner. In diamond dog society, it really was a dog eat dog world.

Therefore, it wasn’t unheard of for assassins to be hired to take out an alpha, so that a weaker challenger could step in and take his place. That way the challenger didn’t risk ending up on tomorrow’s menu. This practice became so commonplace back in the day, that any alpha that stayed on the throne for more than a year could safely be considered one of the most cunning member’s of his species. Also one of the most paranoid. The idea of a diamond dog king leaving the safety of his private chambers and traveling halfway across the world was practically unthinkable in my time. My, how the world has changed.

Ah, but one thing that hasn’t seemed to change was the griffins. As expected, the Emperor himself is attending. His royal divinity, emperor Xexsis du Guiles plans to make a grand entrance on his royal barge. In deference to his recent treaty with Celestia, he for once won’t have a naval flotilla at his back, although from what I hear, he will still be bringing an overly large contingent of royal guards for our ‘peaceful exhibition’.

Aside from representatives of the competing nations, we can also expect the herd chief of the buffalo nation. The dalai llama of the higher reaches. Queen Thunderhoof of Taurus is coming on behalf of the minotaurs. And I believe we will even have a delegation from Yakyakistan. Heh. Now THAT would be something to see. Yaks and minotaurs sitting at the same table. All I can say is that it had better be a very STRONG table.

As expected, Celly wants me up on stage with all the rest of the family. To this I ‘politely’ declined. She has more than enough royalty at her back. I’m here as the captain of my ship. I’ll be down in the crowd with the rest of my crew, waiting for all the speeches to be over, just like the rest of them. She was really quite insistent, but as you can imagine, once I set me mind to something, I can’t be budged. A good effort youngster, but I’ve been queen of this country way before everypony had gone soft. Last thing I want is ta be on display like some royal ornament. Not this pony. Didn’t like it then, don’t like it now. That’s what husbands and youngins are for. Heh.

Captain’s Log Ship’s Date: June 26, 3 LR (Luna’s Return)

Well, it’s all about to begin. Even as I write there’s some being out on the dais warming up the crowd. I don’t know who he is, but he’s got a decent set of pipes on him. The crews are going to be watching from their ships. Quite possibly the best seats in the house, even if it will be over the shoulders of the speakers. The captains and first mates will be down in front, each of us in a place of honor before the speakers.

Personally I’m just glad we have chairs. This is all just hot air being blown around for politics. The contests an such won’t begin until tomorrow. This is just an excuse for every being to strut around and say to each other how important they are, an blah, blah, blah. Gods, this is why I always let Justice handle running everything. It never was worth going through all this balderdash just to make a simple thing happen. Still, it’s only for a few hours, and the spread they laid out afterwords is pretty impressive. I suppose this is the sacrifice a captain has to make ta see her crew well fed.

Ah, Flutters is at the door, time to go an hobnob with the snobs. I’ll try ta make an entry if anything particularly amusing happens. Heh, even if I’m the one doin it. Well, time ta go out an see who the owner of that lovely speakin voice is...

“-that’s right! My name is Iron Will, and I’ll tell you right now, in all my years of hosting events, I’ve never seen a crowd as diverse, or eager for excitement as the one I see before me. Iron Will can see the excitement in your eyes, Iron Will can feel the excitement in the air. And Iron Will knows that THIS gentle beings, will be a day that will be remembered for the rest of your lives!” Iron Will pauses in his monologue to let the applause of the crowd rise.

True to her word, Trixie had managed to worm them into the events. She was going to provide the fireworks for the festivities, while he had the honor of MC’ing the ceremonies. How Trixie kept getting him these auditions was a mystery to him. But once he had a chance to speak, it was easy for him to convince the mayor that he was the right minotaur for the job. Years of public speaking had taught him how to work a crowd, how to get them pumped up and on his side. And here he was, on stage, with most of the royalty in the known world listening to his every word.

Not for the first time he thanked his lucky stars that he met the mare Trixie Lulamoon. He was at the top of his game, and everyone could see it. A gig like this could set him up for life, and he wasn’t going to shy away from giving it everything he’s got.

His stage goat William gave a bleat into his ear bud. That was the signal that Princess Celestia was ready to bring her family onstage. Just as the applause of the crowd peaked, Iron Will spoke once more.

“Gentlebeings, distinguished guests, and visitors from afar, At this time, it is with great pride that I present to you... THE ROYAL FAMILY OF CANTERLOT!” Iron Will shouts, before he turns, and executes a perfect bow as the members of Canterlot’s elite make their way on stage. He quickly exits off stage and hovers at the edge of the curtain where Trixie was waiting for him.

“That was some of your best work ever darling! Trixie is most impressed,” Trixie says, holding out a bottle of water, to the heavily breathing minotaur.

“I agree.” Twilight Sparkle says, as she passes by the two, nearly causing Iron Will to spit out the contents as she makes her way toward the curtain. “Fluttershy told me you could motivate ponies, but I had no idea you were THAT good. Hold onto this guy Trixie!” She says with a wink, as her and her daughter and husband make their way on stage.

“Tha- that was a princess of Equestria!” Iron Will said in shock. “And she knows who I am. She knew your name!” He said, turning to his sweetheart, his eyes wide.

Trixie, who had a moment to get over the shock of Twilight’s remarks, merely played it off. “Well of course she knew Trixie’s name. Trixie has met princess Twilight on more than one occasion. And it is safe to say that The Great and Powerful Trixie has made a lasting impression upon her.” And THAT was the complete and honest truth, she thought to herself, as her bullfriend looked at her, more impressed with her than ever.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the curtain, the crowd rose up, with thundering applause, as a stately procession of alicorns made their way onto the stage.

Charity was first, escorted by her Doctor, followed by Justice, then Harmony with Keil by her side, then Discord, in his Cordial form, offering a wave to his beloved Fluttershy, who was down in the audience with his mother, then princesses Celestia and Luna, followed by Cadence, and Shining Armor, then Twilight and little Paradox with her Doctor trotting between them. The applause continued for some time, before Celestia finally strode forth to speak.

“My friends, and we consider you ALL our friends,” Celestia said using her Canterlot voice. “Today sees a thing Equestria has not seen since before the days of the cataclysm. In days long past, before even I was born, the races of Equestria traveled all across the lands. From horizon to horizon we all set forth and explored, and met new friends. We exchanged ideas and culture, we spread the knowledge and teachings of those we encountered back and forth across the vastness of our world.

But then the tragedy of the cataclysm occurred.” At this Discord, locked his head in place, and would not look toward his niece. “After the shattering of the world, life on Equestria was changed forever. For years the races of the world were reduced to just trying to survive in a world ravaged by disaster. And just as the world had changed, so did the attitudes of it’s inhabitants. The pony race looked away from the seas, focusing on the inner continents, and a new way of living to be found there. The noble diamond dogs also withdrew and left their forest to make new cities underground. The camels of Saddle Arabia eschewed their former dwellings to become the great nomads of the deserts. Only the griffins continued to ply the seas. As had their noble ancestors had done since the beginning of history.”

During her speech, Celestia had made her way before the captains of each of the ships in turn, letting them know that she acknowledged them from the platform above. Now she moved to stand before Summergale, as she began speaking once more.

“And now, hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of years later, a pony has once again looked toward the sea, and said ‘there is my place’. So momentous an occurrence this was, that it drew the attention all the great leaders of the world. And all of us here, in the spirit of this one pony’s endeavor, have come together in a marvelous show of support through friendly competition.”

“Smooth Celly, very smooth. Although every king, queen, and prince knows that ain’t what this is really about.” Summergale mutters, just loud enough for Fluttershy to hear. “Still, I can see why you’re in charge. Hard to imagine somepony putting something past you.”

Almost as if Celestia had heard her, The princess of the sun looks down, directly at Summergale and says, “And now, I’d like to introduce you to the pony that has made all of this possible. Some of you know her story, some have only heard rumors, but now I think it’s time for her to tell you her tale straight from the pony’s mouth. So it is now my GREAT pleasure,” Celestia says, giving Summergale the most trollish of winks, “that I introduce to you, Captain Summergale! Former Queen of Equestria!”

The applause became deafening, as Summergale made her way, (angrily, unknown to others), to the steps leading up on stage. It didn’t help matters that her husband as well as her son and daughter were openly grinning at her. ‘I can’t believe me own granddaughter set me up!’ She thought to herself as she stomped her way toward Celestia. ‘It’s like that speech in town all over again. Only THIS time I can’t get away with anything with all them foreign dignitaries on the lookout for a way ta make us ponies look bad... FINE! I’ll play yer game Celly, but ye can bet, I’ll even this score before I set sail, oh yes Missy, or my name isn’t captain Summergale!’

Summergale takes a moment to look out over the crowd of ponies, dogs, griffins and every other being present. Undaunted, a wry grin crosses her muzzle and she begins to speak... Quite loudly...

“NOW AIN’T ALL THIS A SIGHT TA SEE!” She booms, causing the beings in the front two rows to actually lean back. “ALL OF YOU FINE BEINGS, TAKING TIME OUT OF YOUR LIVES, TRAVELING FAR FROM YER HOMES, JUST TA HAVE A LOOK AT ME! WELL, HERE I AM!” She says, spreading her butterfly wings and rising off the stage spinning gently in place. Lowering her self to the platform she continues once more. “NOW I RECKON SOME OF YE KNOW WHO I AM. BUT MANY OF YE MIGHT NOT, SO I’LL GIVE YE THE SHORT VERSION. MY NAME IS SUMMERGALE, I’M A FLUTTERPONY FROM BACK BEFORE WHAT YOU CALL THE CATACLYSM...”

As Summergale recounts her story on who she is and how she got there, Iron Will is stunned once again.

“Iron Will can’t believe it! Iron Will has never heard a pony who can speak so... forcefully. That pony has all the makings of an awesome motivational speaker! Iron Will must speak to this pony after all this is over.”

“Trixie can probably arrange that. Trixie will mention it to Twilight later, Trixie thinks it shouldn’t be a problem.” She said, wondering to herself if she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

Summergale went on for a bit, speaking of times long past when ponies sailed the seas with pride, but unlike the last time she was forced to speak, this time she felt that she had nothing more to prove to the crowd gathered before her, so she wrapped it up in ‘queen speak’ as quickly as acceptably possible.

“- AN ALTHOUGH IT WAS NEVER MY INTENTION FOR MY LITTLE TRIP TA TURN INTO SUCH A HULLABALOO, I MUST SAY IT WARMS ME HEART TA SEE SO MANY OF US GATHERED HERE TODAY. TA SEE WHAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED WHEN A PONY SETS HER MIND TO IT. NOW IF IT’S ALL THE SAME TA YE, I’LL REJOIN ME FIRST MATE, I RECKON SHE’S GETTIN LONELY DOWN THERE ALL BY HER LONESOME.”

And with that Summergale made to leave the stage, but was halted mid stride by the thunderous applause by every pony present. Even the beings from other races had risen up and had joined in on the applause.

Summergale turned and faced the crowd once more, ‘shortest speech of me entire life, an have I ever gotten such a reaction?’ she thought to herself. ‘I suppose, like it or not, I’m a symbol once again. No pressure Summergale...no pressure’. She offers the crowd a gracious bow, before turning to exit the stage.

Iron Will slows as he walks past and quickly whispers, “Iron Will has just become your biggest fan,” as he gives her a thumbs up, which elects a chuckle from the former queen as she makes her way back to rejoin Fluttershy.

“Summergale, former queen, and captain of the Equine Spirit! Truly an inspiration to ponies everywhere!” Iron Will shouts, to the sound of continuous applause. “Our next speaker comes all the way from Saddle Arabia! It is my honor, to present to you the prince of the camel nomads, his majesty, prince Kassam bin Dubar!” Once again Iron Will turns and executes a perfect bow, as the bactrian prince makes his way on stage in robes of flowing silk.

Meanwhile Summergale had made her way back to Fluttershy. Giovanni, and another captain, one she had not been introduced to yet, were waiting for her as well.

“Well spoken captain,” Giovanni acknowledges, as Summergale finds her seat once more. “You have the voice of a true seafarer, one who has seen many shores. Had I known in our previous encounter all of your bonafides, I assure you things would have gone differently.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” Summergale replies sweetly. “And who is this fine gentlebeing you have yet to introduce? I assume he is the captain of our hidden ship?”

“Ah yes, where have my manners flown? Allow me to introduce captain Fogbow, I’m afraid I cannot name his ship as well, as he seems to be intent on it being a surprise.” Giovanni says, gesturing to the white furred diamond dog at his side.

“It a true pleasure to meet you captain Summergale.” Captain Fogbow says, taking her hoof in his paw. “Is it true what you say up there? Are you really Summergale from before the cataclysm?”

Summergale, momentarily surprised by the question, nevertheless answers, “aye, I am Summergale, and yes I was both a captain and a queen from back before the sundering. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, this is good, good news!” the diamond dog says happily, as he shakes both her hoof and his tail in excitement. “We know of Summergale. Have records. The Amber Archive. Many tales of Summergale. Great merchant captain! Many, many adventures! Summergale sail in The Great Grain races. Won every race... every race except for last two.” The dog says, a sly grin appearing on his muzzle.

Summergale’s jovial expression quickly darkens, as a scowl appears on her face.

“Aye, I lost two times. And both times to the same ship. And I’m sure the only reason ye brought THAT up, was that you know just which ship I mean. Now captain, I don’t know ye. I don’t know a thing about ye. But there is somethin ye needs ta know about me. If you want ta stay on me good side, an believe me, ye WANT ta stay on me good side... then never mention that ship ta me. EVER! Do we have an understanding here?” Summergale says, her expression close to fury.

Both Fluttershy and Giovanni look at the normally easy going Summergale in shock. Tentatively, Fluttershy reaches out a hoof, placing it gently on Summergales shoulder. Summergale whirls around, a harsh word on her lips, but as soon as she sees Fluttershy, the anger vanishes from her face, as if the sun has come out from behind a storm cloud.

“Ah, Flutters... heh, seems a bit of the past came up an bit me on the flank.” She turns back toward Giovanni and Fogbow. “I’m right sorry gents. That was uncalled for. All I can say in my defense was that for a moment there an old ghost came an fired a shot across my bow. Still, that’s no excuse for getting me blood up at fellers that haven’t done nothin ta ask for it. I crave yer pardons.” She says, and bows deeply before them.

“No captain. Fault is all mine. I bring up bad memory for you.” Fogbow says. “Past not matter, it long gone. Only future what matters.” He adds, but in a tone Summergale cannot quite place.

“Quite true.” Giovanni adds. “The past is like an anchor, holding onto it only holds us in one place. We must all needs be able to let go of it, and move forward. Consider the matter forgotten.”

Summergale offers a small smile. “Well, no matter what happens tomorrow, I can honestly say the two of ye have gotten the better of me today.” She offers a quick salute to the two other captains, who return it casually, and they return to their seats, just as the prince is finishing his speech.

“By the way Giovanni, I don’t see the captain of the camels ship with us, shouldn’t he be listening to his prince’s speech?” Summergale asks curiously.

“Ah, I see you haven’t heard.” Giovanni says with a smirk, “The prince has decided to captain his own vessel. He has decided to partake in our ‘game’ himself. It should be mentioned that not only is he not a sailor of ANY kind, but rumor has it that he cannot even swim.”

“Can’t even-, oh by the sky stallion, why? Why would he even enter the competition?” Summergale asks, incredulous.

“Ah, who can say? It is possible that the sultan has just sent his third and least important son out here to get him out of his hair. It isn’t as if Saddle Arabia has any interest in setting up a merchant fleet of their own. They have always been content to load their spices and silks onto our vessels, letting us poor griffins to risk sea and storm on their behalf. This is most likely just an amusement to them, to pass the time.” Giovanni says with a lofty air.

“Aye, most likely you are right. From the start I never thought they’d really make a run of it. Not in a Sabbak.” Summergale replies.

“Indeed.” Giovanni says, but then falls silent as Iron Will comes out on stage once more.

“And now for our next speaker. A being whose name is known throughout the world, a being whose lineage can be traced back to the original Emperor of all griffindom, I present to you, his Imperious Rex, Emperor Xexsis du Guiles!” Iron Will turns and bows low as the griffin national anthem is played, and Xersis grandly marches out onto the stage.

The crowd is silent as the most powerful griffin alive looks out across the vast thong. This visit marks only the fourth time that the emperor has traveled outside of his empire. His most recent, was to sign the peace treaty that princess Celestia had worked tirelessly for many years to forge.

Xersis went nowhere without cause, did nothing without reason. Whereas some emperors exonerated the nobility of the eagle and the lion, Xersis represented the cunning of a bird of prey and the viciousness of a jungle cat. Many races had speculated that if it had not been for Celestia, and most recently her sister Luna, that Xersis may well have conquered all of Equestria by now.

Therefore it had been somewhat of a surprise to many that he himself would bother to attend something so frivolous seeming as a ship race. Of course to the powers that be, everyone realized just what these events could mean for both the pony race, and the empire. By attending Xersis gave notice to every other nation that the griffins still dominated the seas, no matter what peace may abide on the shore.

As he began his speech, Celestia, who was standing side by side with Luna, leans over slightly and whispers to her.

“Sister, I would really appreciate it if you would stop ogling the ruler of the griffin empire.” Celestia says in consternation.

“I wasn’t ogling him sister.” Luna retorts hotly, a blush spreading across her cheeks.

“Oh please, you were practically drooling over him. I cannot believe that you still haven’t grown out of your ‘bad colt’ faze. Kindly remember that I just spent over a decade brokering a peace with his empire. That being is one of the most vicious beasts I have ever encountered both on and off the battlefield.” Celestia whispers back.

“I know, isn’t he dreamy...” Luna says, losing herself in a day dream.

A hoof bounces off the back of her head causing her to glare at the pony on the other side of her.

“Ow! Mom, what was that for?” Luna says whispering harshly.

“Act your age dear,” Harmony says with a glare of her own. “That chick has barely seen his forty-second summer. No daughter of mine is going to be caught cradle robbing from another kingdom.”

Luna holds her mother’s gaze for a moment longer before dropping her head. “Fine,” she says reluctantly. And then under her breath, “still treating me like a little kid...been grown up for years... not the boss of me...”

“I heard that,” Harmony hisses sharply, causing Luna to jump. “And I may not be a queen anymore, but I’ll always be your mother. And unlike your sister, I don’t need my elements to give you another time out on the moon if you start getting sassy again.”

Luna’s eyes widen in fear, until she hears a chuckle from her sister. Finally risking a glance to either side, she sees them both sharing wicked grins.

“Is this the thing you call ‘trolling’, daughter?” Harmony asks Celestia.

“You’re a natural mother,” Celestia replies.

Luna just crosses her hooves, and readies her final weapon.

Harmony notices immediately what is about to happen. “No, no, no. Luna, just no. Do NOT do the ‘pouty pony face’ in front of all of the royalty in Equestria. We need to be taken seriously.”

Fortunately, during this entire exchange the crowds full attention had been of the griffin Emperor. No one outside of Celestia’s family had even noticed the hushed conversational combat being exchanged between mother and daughters, and the rest of the family had become so accustomed to it that other than the occasional eye roll, they merely ignored it and tried to focus on what the griffin was saying. A task which was becoming increasingly difficult to do.

Finally though, Justice had had enough. “Cordial?” He whispered to his right.

“Yes Dad?” Discord replied.

“‘Proper Pony’ your sister and nieces if you please.” Justice asks politely.

Discord draws in a deep breath and lets it out before replying. “Um, is that an order dad?”

“Does it need to be?” his father asks back.

“Um, Celestia aside, sis and I... um, yes dad, it really needs to be an order,” Discord replies uncomfortably.

“Fine. This is an order, from your father... ‘Proper Pony’ for three... now!”

Discreetly Discord reaches behind his back, his hoof changing into his eagle’s talon. Quickly he snaps it, and returns it back to a hoof, and resumes looking directly forward, not glancing at all toward his sister or nieces.

Which was probably for the best, considering the fact that although all three were now facing forward and smiling pleasantly, inside their heads they were thinking thoughts that could melt steel and shatter mountains. It did nothing to help his cause at all to have the words ‘Dad made me do it’, appear in letters that only the three could see hovering before their eyes.

Meanwhile the griffin Emperor was finally done extolling the virtues of his vast and glorious empire, much to the rising delight of the audience. When he finally took his gracious leave the applause was loud and boisterous, due in no small part because of the fact that he was taking his gracious leave. Fortunately for the lasting peace between the nations, Xersis was far too vainglorious to notice. To him, applause was simply his due. He expected it much like his subjects expected air when they opened their beaks.

Moments later, Iron Will once again takes the stage.

“Xersis, Emperor of the Griffin empire everyone!” He says, giving a moment for final applause. “And now gentlebeings, for our final guest speaker of the day! I am proud to present to you, in his first live appearance outside of the Undercity, the chief alpha of the diamond dog nation, his regal majesty king Gruffrufffgraggerruff the twenty-second!”

The crowd rises up once more, as applause thunders across the harbor. So rare was it for anyone to be able to see the king in person that even the dogs from his own kingdom craned their necks forward for a better view.

Then, king Gruffrufffgraggerruff made his way onto the stage. The dog was old. Well, old for a dog. A diamond dog’s lifespan is roughly one third of a pony’s. The king looked to be approaching his mid teens, a very respectable age. He strode proudly up to the podium, his back unbent, and his steps unwavering. Despite being from a different race, it was obvious to any being that here before them was a figure of nobility. He took a moment to look around at the crowd that was gathered below him, and then he began to speak.

“Today, is a good day.” He said, a smile dividing the wrinkles across his face in half. "I look down, and here is what I see. I see ponies. I see diamond dogs. I see griffins, and bison, and yaks. I see dromedaries, and bactrians, and donkeys, and zebras. And I also see changelings. Hah, not with my eyes, but my nose knows you here." He waved vaguely to the crowd, causing many heads to turn, before he continues speaking. "All these things I see. These things make me happy. But it is what I NOT see that makes me happiest. Would you like to know what me not see?” The king asks, pausing for effect as he glances around the crowd and the royalty behind him.

The beings below him look around bewildered. On her throne, Celestia just smiles.

The king, old though he may be, notices this however. “Ah, pony princess can see what I don’t see.”

All eyes turn toward Celestia, who merely nods for the king to continue, her paralysis having worn off before the king’s speech.

“I tell you now what me not see. Me not see fighting. Me not see wars. Me not see hooves or paws raised in anger.” The old king spreads his arms wide, as if to encompass the crowd. All beings here different from each other, but no beings fighting. This make me most happy. This thing I not see? It worth living all this time. We all here. We all different, but inside, we all the same. This I DO see.”

The king draws breath to speak again, but has to pause. This is because every being in the crowd, every member of each royal court has risen to their hooves, paws, or claws, and have all broken out into thunderous applause.

Twilight Sparkle, standing beside Celestia, banging her hooves as loud as the rest, has tears gently flowing down her cheeks.

“That was so beautiful,” she says to her teacher.

“A lesson for all of us Twilight.” Celestia responds. “Friendship isn’t exclusive to ponies. Friendship can be found anywhere.” She glances briefly at her uncle Discord, before returning her attention to the king.

After a few moments more, the king raises his paw, a gesture that indicates he has more to say. The crowds gradually quiets down, and the aged dog speaks once again.

“We all here today for same reason. We raise our noses, and smell change in the wind. Long ago, in ancient past, ponies ply the seas of the world. Then cataclysm come, and ponies go to sea no more. Griffins step in and with great ships, bring all beings together across world once more. And this is way it has been for long and long.

But now pony come, and she make ship. She say “Ponies not afraid anymore!” She rise up on her hooves, and hold her head up.

And we diamond dogs smell change on the wind. Wherever ponies go, there is change on the wind. I, king Gruffrufffgraggerruff the twenty-second, I gather leaders of all packs, gather all alphas. I say, ponies stand up again. Ponies return to sea! I say, it time we stand back up as well! No one here know. No on here remember, but back before cataclysm, ponies not alone sailing across the blue. Diamond dogs were sailors too. We sail along side ponies and griffins, and many others.” He pauses, looking around once more. “Ah, me see some of you don’t believe. Me see some think, 'king Gruffrufffgraggerruff, him old, him mind no work.' Hah! You see behind us fours ships. Fine griffin ship. Fine camel ship. Fine pony ship. But what this other one? What this one covered in old canvas? What has diamond dogs brought? Now me show you. This ship, is ship diamond dogs build. This ship has diamond dog crew. Today diamond dogs stand up along side ponies. Today we say, ‘we back too!’ Today, we sail! Today we WIN!”

And with that the aged dog throws back his head and let’s out a long howl. This is the signal for his brethren to pull on thick ropes, releasing the rough coverings from the diamond dog ship. Within a matter of seconds it has all fallen away to reveal the pride of the diamond dog race.

“Oh goddess wept! It CAN’T be!” Summergale nearly shouts, her eyes going wide.

In the bright clear sunlight, all can clearly see the ship before them. Before them is a stunning four masted Bark. It was a work or art, a thing of strength and beauty. It was...

“312 hooves long, 43 hooves wide, with a 25 hoof draft. Cargo 3,990 long tons, 4460 short tons. Main mast 160 hooves tall, 34,990 square hooves of sails, and a known crew of 26,” Summergale said, eyes wide, as if reading off of a page by rote.

“How do you know all of those details just by looking at it?” Fluttershy asks in surprise.

Soundlessly Summergale points a shaky hoof at the name on the side of the bow. Fluttershy can make the word out easily. ‘Pomeranian’.

“That isn’t possible.” Summergale says, her hoof beginning to shake as she continues to point toward the diamond dogs ship. “That ship can’t be here. It isn’t possible! Ye Gods, it followed me, it’s haunting me! How can that ship be here?!?” Summergale says, burying her head in her hooves.

“What is it?” Fluttershy asks becoming alarmed. “What do you mean it followed you? You know that ship?!?”

“Ye Gods Flutters, it CAN’T be. It can’t be, but it is. Aye, I know that ship. I know every plank, every rope, every square hoof of sail, an every nail in her hull. I know that ship better than I know me own name. I know it, an I see it, an I HATE IT WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING!” Summergale says, her eyes blazing with fury. “Come on Flutters! I’ve seen everything I needs ta see. We need ta get back to our own ship. We have a lot of planning ta do!” Summergale says, grabbing Fluttershy by the hoof and all but dragging her away.

Her departure does not go unnoticed however. Both Celestia and Giovanni, watch as Summergale storms off, Fogbow grins to himself. As the king of the diamond dogs finishes his speech, he shuffles his way past Celestia and softly says...

“Me notice your captain departing. You should know, my nose still very sharp. Smell much anger on captain. Much anger. But me smell something else. Very interesting smell. Me think it not smell your captain pony used to. No, not at all. You want to know what else me smell from captain?” He says, pausing to turn to face Celestia, his grin turning feral. “Me smell fear.” He says, before turning, and calmly shuffles away.

Author's Note:

Some notes on boats. (err, ships)...

Summergale’s Fluyt is a Dutch type of sailing vessel originally designed as a dedicated cargo vessel. Originating in the Netherlands in the 16th century, the vessel was designed to facilitate transoceanic delivery with the maximum of space and crew efficiency. Unlike rivals, it was not built for conversion in wartime to a warship, so it was cheaper to build and carried twice the cargo, and could be handled by a smaller crew. Construction by specialized shipyards using new tools made it half the cost of rival ships. These factors combined to sharply lower the cost of transportation for Dutch merchants, giving them a major competitive advantage. The fluyt was a significant factor in the 17th century rise of the Dutch seaborne empire.

Prince Kassam’s Sabbak is a xebec. (Sabbak being the Arabic word for xebec). A xebec was a Mediterranean sailing ship that was used mostly for trading. It would have a long overhanging bowsprit and aft-set mizzen mast. Xebecs were similar to galleys used by Algerian corsairs and Barbary pirates having both lateen sails and oars for propulsion. Early xebecs had two masts; later ones three.

Giovanni’s Grasping Claw is a Galleon. A galleon was a large, multi-decked sailing ship used primarily by European states from the 16th to 18th centuries. The most distinguishing features of the galleon include the long beak, the lateen-rigged mizzenmasts, and the square gallery at the stern off the captain's cabin. In larger galleons, a fourth mast was added, usually a lateen-rigged mizzen, called the bonaventure mizzen.
A lowering of the forecastle and elongation of the hull gave galleons an unprecedented level of stability in the water, and reduced wind resistance at the front, leading to a faster, more maneuverable vessel.

The diamond dog’s ship is a Bark. In the 18th century, the British Royal Navy used the term Bark for a nondescript vessel that did not fit any of its usual categories. A Bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts having the fore- and mainmasts rigged square and only the mizzen (the aftermost mast) rigged fore-and-aft. The advantage of these rigs was that they needed smaller (therefore cheaper) crews than a comparable full rigged ship or brig-rigged vessel as there were fewer of the labour-intensive square sails, and the rig itself is cheaper. Another advantage is that a Bark can outperform a schooner or barkentine, and is both easier to handle and better at going to windward than a full-rigged ship. While a full-rigged ship is the best runner available, and while fore-and-aft rigged vessels are the best at going to windward, the barque is often the best compromise, and combines the best elements of these two.
This particular Bark which the ‘Pomeranian’ is based on is the ‘Pommern’.
The Pommern, is a four-masted Bark that was built in 1903 in Glasgow, Scotland at the J. Reid & Co shipyard.
The Pommern (German for Pomerania) is one of the Flying P-Liners, the famous sailing ships of the German shipping company F. Laeisz. Later she was acquired by Gustaf Erikson of Mariehamn in the Finnish Åland archipelago, who used her to carry grain from the Spencer Gulf area in Australia to harbours in England or Ireland until the start of World War II. After World War Two, she was donated to the town of Mariehamn as a museum ship.
She is now a museum ship belonging to the Åland Maritime Museum and is anchored in western Mariehamn, Åland. A collection of photographs taken by Ordinary Seaman Peter Karney in 1933 showing dramatic pictures of life on a sailing ship rounding Cape Horn can be found in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.
The Pommern has the reputation of being a "lucky ship". She survived both world wars unscathed, lost only four crew members at sea on her journeys, and she won the Great Grain Races twice, 1930 and 1937. She is one of the most popular landmarks of Åland, and is visited by thousands of visitors annually.

Pinkie’s cannon, Mons Maud... I based this on the legendary Bombard Mons Meg. Mons Meg is a medieval bombard located at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. It was built in 1449 on the orders of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and sent by him as a gift to King James II of Scotland in 1454. The bombard was employed in sieges until the middle of the 16th century, after which it was only fired on ceremonial occasions. Mons Meg has a calibre (barrel diameter) of 20 inches (510 mm), making it one of the largest cannons in the world by calibre.
The most famous legend about its manufacture is that it was built by a local blacksmith for the siege of Threave Castle in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. According to this tale, which was lent credence by Sir Walter Scott, when James II arrived at Threave to besiege the Earl of Douglas, the Clan MacLellan presented him with this bombard. The first shot fired is said to have passed clean through the castle, severing the hand of Margaret, Countess of Douglas, on the way. The gun was subsequently named after "Mollance", the lands gifted to the blacksmith for his service, and "Meg", the name of his wife.
The 20-inch (510 mm) calibre cannon accepted balls that weighed about 400 pounds (180 kg), although it could only be fired 8-10 times a day due to the tremendous heat generated by the powder charge required. It has been suggested that Meg was one of the armaments on James IV's carrack, the Great Michael, which would make it the ship with the largest calibre gun in history.