• 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 Nine: Preprarations

Chapter Nine

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

Well it seems me an me son stirred up a hornets nest fer sure. It’ didn’t take long for word ta get out about our ‘friendly’ competition with the griffins.

Celly put word to me to expect delegations from nearly all the kingdoms in Equestria ta show up on the day of our face off. Not ta be outdone, Celly plans ta have all of the royal family, and most of the nobles on hand ta represent the pony kingdom. Needless ta say once word spread the whole thing ballooned up into a huge event,with all o’ the pomp an circumstances you would expect to go with it.

I can’t help but find it ironic that all the other races seem ta be taking this more seriously than our own. Apparently more than a few of them have gotten fed up with the monopoly the griffins have had on sea trade for the past few centuries.

I reckon extortin folks, an chargin them whatever you please, just because you are the only game in town just don’t sit well with people after awhile. Celly tells me that she has already been discreetly approached by delegations from the Buffalo, Bactrian, Dromedary, Diamond Dog, and Centaur races in the hopes of setting up trade routes with their respective kingdoms.

If we can somehow pull off a win, or at least a decent showin, Celly hopes that it will be the kick in the flanks our race needs ta get back out into the ocean, and get ourselves on equal hooves with the griffin empire. This o’ course means the griffins will do everything they can ta give us as humiliatin defeat as possible, to embarrass us enough not ta ever want ta set sail again. All of a sudden an awful lot is riding on the outcome of our ‘friendy’ match.

But oddly enough, to the common pony it seems it’s just an excuse ta watch a show. Hey can’t quite seem ta grasp just how important this could be for our race. It reminds me o’ the story I tole the girls about Captain Colt, an how the ponies back then weren’t ready for what the griffins were planning. But I aims ta turn the tables this time around. Oh yes! I reckon them griffin’s ain’t at all prepared for what I have in store for them.

I should note that unlike Captain Colt, I ain’t got nothing personal against the griffin empire. I just don’t like no one taking advantage of anypony else. An that high an mighty attitude they seem ta have just cause they’re the only ones crossin the ocean, just stands my fur on end.

It seems ta me that them feather-brains are just bringing it on themselves the way they treat the other races. Centuries o’ brow beatin an extortion has turned the whole shebang into a powder keg just waitin ta blow. An it looks like me an Cordial was the spark ta set it off. Heh, he must be tickled pink at all o’ the chaos his actions have set into play. He was the match, Giovanni the fuse, an me an my ship will be the shot that’ll be heard all around Equestria.

All in all it seems like a suitable way for me ta come out o’ retirement. I’m sure Justice is pissin himself laughin back in Canterlot. These youngin’s nowadays are way too stuffy an polite, I’ll have ta give the tree a good buck on the day o’ the competition, an see if I can shake ‘em all up a bit.

So far, with the exception of Zecora, I have managed ta keep all of these goings on from the crew. And after a quiet word, I persuaded Zecora ta keep what she hears in town ta herself. The last thing I need for is fer them ta get all panicky an worried about performing in front of most all of the high mucky mucks on the whole friggin planet.

So far they have all been focused on learnin their posts, an figurin out the quickest most efficient way o’ performing their duties. To that end I’ve been teachin ‘em every trick I know.

I must admit I am really impressed with how quickly everypony is pickin things up. Cordial truly has a remarkable bunch of friends. It seems like almost once a day one of ‘em comes up with something to surprise me with. Spike’s special dragonfire makes cleaning the ship a breeze, an Twilight’s got it set ta send all o’ the detritus out into a volcano so it ain’t junkin up no place. If we want ta send a message, he switches it back over ta ‘mail mode’, as he calls it. He may be young, but Spike is sharp as a tack.

Pinkie Pie has got ta be the greatest natural markspony I have ever seen. If she can see it, she can hit it. She even figured out a new mix that can get another two hundred hooves o’ distance out of the main gun, which she has named ‘Mons Maud’.

Rainbow Dash has got it into her head that if she keeps practicin hard enough that she will be able ta duplicate my ‘Utter Flutter’. I’ve never before heard of a Pegasus being able to learn it, but if any of ‘em could, I’d bet it would be her.

Zecora has been puttin in extra hours with Dr. Hut. I’d say that at this point she probably knows more about medicine than any other doctor on the seas. Although as a side effect, she seems ta be acquiring Dr. Hut’s bedside manner as well. Hard ta imagine someone being gruff when they speak in rhyme all the time, but so far she’s been pullin it off.

I must admit, out of all of ‘em, Rarity has been surprising me the most. Ever since her near fall that first day, she’s been dancing across them spars like she was born there. She’ll spring off one, snatch a rope with her magic, and swing right over ta the next. And the way she does it is like watchin a ballet. She’s not workin up there, she’s PERFORMIN. I asked her about it a few days ago after I caught her incorporatin a back flip with a half twist off the top mast which like ta near stop my heart. She tole me that when she was a filly, that she went ta see a show with her folks in Manehatten. ‘Colt de Soleil’, I think she said the name was. Anyway she said she fell in love with all them acrobat ponies that were performing, an tole her folks that that was what she wanted ta do when she grew up. But her folks being high society types put the kibosh on that right quick. I reckon now she see a chance ta live out her dream, an I fer one ain’t going ta stand in her way. Shoot, watchin her work brings a tear ta my eye. I never thought anypony could bring such grace an beauty ta somethin that anypony else would call hard labor. Win or lose, when all this is over with, me an her are goin ta find a place where that show is playin, and we are goin ta sit an watch the whole thing. I’ll even spring for the popcorn.

Speakin o’ food, Applejack has certainly lived up ta her claim about apple recipes. I don’t think she’s made the same thing twice since she came on board. An I gotta say, if she wasn’t the element o’ honesty, I’d have ta accuse her of cheatin with the ingredients, cause somehow or other she has turned dried apples an hardtack inta grub that royalty would kill for. An I outta know since I used ta be one of ‘em.

Only thing is, she ain’t once ever had ta cook any meat. An that could be a problem. She flat out will not budge on critters. No squirrel, chicken, rabbit, bear, or any other non sentient. Basically if it’s something that would make Fluttershy cry, she will not cook it. And by the sky stallion is that girl stubborn! After weeks I finally got her ta compromise on fish. She’s willin ta cook it, but of course no pony besides myself, is willin ta eat it. She’s a might concerned on cookin without bein able ta taste as she goes, but she wont budge on her veganism. I tried the egg argument. But she ain’t buyin it.

Fortunately I remember some fish recipes that Cookie, our old diamond dog cook, used ta make back in the day. Back then crews were mixed, an it wasn’t fair ta force ‘em all ta eat what ponies do all of the time. O’ course back then ponies weren’t as stubborn about trying new things either. I reckon half o’ the ponies on my old ship have tried fish, an a few of ‘em even tried meat.

Matter o’ fact I remember the time when Cookie accidentally cut the top half of his ear off showing off his knife jugglin, and it landed in Boots’s bowl of stew. Lookin him dead in the eye, she lifts it out with a spoon, pops it in her mouth an makes a big show of chewing an swallowin. Well natchurly Cookie is all wide eyed, with his jaw hangin open. He even plum forgot that his ear was still bleedin. Finally, bein the consummate cook that he was, he gets up the nerve ta ask ‘well, how do I taste?’ An without breakin stride Boots comes back with, ‘ya taste like chicken.’

Well for a diamond dog, that would normally be a huge insult, but he just grins at Boots an says, ‘well, you are what you eat.’ Then Boots puts on this exaggerated look of horror, and spits out Cookie’s ear that she had been hiding under her tongue the whole time. Heh, after they stitched it back on Cookie always kept his hair combed around it so that people would ask him how he got that scar. Nothin tickled him more than ta tell the story of how a pony ate his ear...{sigh}, good times... good times... Oh lookit me going off on a tangent like I was some daft old biddy... anyway, I reckon AJ will do just fine when push comes ta shove. She may be stubborn, but she’s got her pride too. And I’ll bet on pride over stubborn any day.

An that brings me ta the most important member of me crew. Me first mate, Fluttershy.

I must admit when she first mentioned wanting ta come along, the main reason I said yes was ta get ta know the pony that had taken my little colt away from me. Cordial, although he would turn my mane blue for sayin it out loud, was always a bit of a momma’s colt. Which, ta be fair, Harmony was always hanging around Justice more than me, always interested in watchin him be king, and doin all that stuff at court. Cordial on the other hoof, he was always a bit more like his mom. He never had any problem with me ‘colorin outside the lines’ so ta speak. An I’d be lying if I said that he didn’t inherit my more ‘mischievous’ side, much ta Justice’s dismay.

Still, I always reckoned when he finally found some mare ta settle down with, that it would be... well... someone more like me. But Fluttershy, she’s... well, she’s a sweetheart make no mistake, and she surely is one of the most beautiful mares I ever laid eyes on. But all that bein said, she’s about the most opposite o’ me that ever could be. She’s sweet an kind, and I’m tart an sassy. She’s quiet an unassuming, an I’m able ta crack glass two towns away. So I really wanted ta spend some time with her, and see what she’s made of. See what makes her tick. Makin her me first mate just popped out of me muzzle on the spot. An it made her really happy, an I figured what harm could it do? After all, we’re all family, an we all get along, an it’s not like we were goin ta war or anything.

Well, until now that is.

An there’s the thing. Fluttershy is me first mate. I ain’t never went back on any decision I ever made, and I ain’t about ta start now. That bein said, Fluttershy is in a tight spot make no mistake. As captain I make all the big decisions on what goes on on my ship. But as for the day ta day running of the vessel, that’s the job of the first mate. What Fluttershy doesn’t realize yet is that come the day of the competition, SHE will be the one running the show, just like Giovanni’s first mate will be doin on his ship. He an I will be up there with all the big shots, watchin as our crews are put through their paces.

For a captain ta have ta step in an help would be ta lose a huge amount o’ face in front of all them dignitaries. The reason bein is, that if you’ve done yer job as a captain, then yer crew should be good enough ta get the job done without ya havin ta say anything.

An to be fair, Fluttershy has done everything I have asked of her these past weeks. She’s learned more than enough ta run this ship without me. Every day I see her out there making sure everything is shipshape, and running smoothly. An yet... even though she’s doin what I asked, she’s just so... so... POLITE about it. She asks every pony nicely when she wants them ta do something. She’ll help out when she’s not busy. An not once have I EVER heard her raise her voice... ta anypony.

An this throws me like nothin else. I got me one o’ them philosophical conundrums goin on. On the one hoof, she’s doin everything I asked, and everypony is working at a good pace. She’s knowledgeable, and doesn’t let anything get past her. I’ve yet ta see her make one mistake.

On the other hoof, never in my life have I EVER seen a ship bein run so... POLITY. This is a seagoing merchant vessel. We are tough, we are hard, we are mean. We ain’t supposed ta be the cast o’ the ‘Ponies o’ Penzance’.

An yet... an yet... Who am I ta say ‘No! Ye can’t run me ship this way!’ Well, I mean I AM the captain, so technically I CAN say that. But what I’m getting at is, she’s doin things her way, an it works. This ain’t the dark ages anymore. Just cause I’m used ta running things all rough an tumble, that don’t mean that it’s the ONLY way ta get the job done. Only thing I’m a bit worried about is how she’ll do under pressure. How will she bear up when the unexpected occurs? Will she be able ta rise above it, or crack under the strain?

More than once I’ve seen good ponies get pushed that one step too far. Too long without food, watchin a friend go overboard, facing an oncoming typhoon. Sooner or later we all crack. It’s just how far we can go before that happens. I look at Fluttershy and I see steel under all that sweetness, but it’s untempered steel. If she comes through this mess with the griffins, I know I won’t have any more cause ta worry. I can only hope, she can bear up under the weight I’m about ta put on her shoulders. Either way, we're all going to find out soon enough...