• Published 20th Jul 2016
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Going Deep Under - The Bricklayer



The seas harbor many mysteries, and one of them is about to be uncovered. Question is, will those that have uncovered it survive the experience...?

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Part 21: On the Matter of Seaponies

Area: Unknown. Depth: Unknown. Time of day: Unknown

The road through the underground seemed to continue on like it was never going to end. If Neighlantis really existed, any signs of had seemed to vanish into thin air.

Finally, Nimbus Breaker had enough of roughing it on a path that seemed without end. Morale in his troops was low, and breakdowns in his vehicles were constant it seemed. Just a few short days ago, the gigantic half-track tunnel drilling machine that had been very costly to build had suffered a failure in its twin boilers. The age of brass and steam, gilded as it was, was not without its… Problems.

“Damn you, just bloody damn you!” Nimbus Breaker shouted at the beast, hissing angry hot steam. “They claim they build these things to perfection, and then they break down on ya!”

“Hey, it’s a prototype. Not like there’s any other things like this out there,” Silver Spanner said calmly, trying to act as the voice of reason even if inwardly she was frustrated with the thing herself. “There’s bound to be a few mechanical… gremlins,” she replied delicately.

“That’s one word for it…” Nimbus muttered in disgust, shaking his head before looking skyward and muttering “I wonder if Captain Celaeno had this many troubles when she traveled the globe via sailing ship…”

Sighing to himself, Nimbus threw a leg up in the air in frustration casting one last glance at the hissing, snarling beast of a machine behind him as he did so, and stormed off, shouting “I'll be in my tent if anybody needs me!”

“...Celestia above, if this wasn't in an era of Prohibition, I'd be asking for a drink ‘bout now…” the silvery gray pegasus murmured largely to himself, shaking his head and cursing Robber Barons named Fancy Pants and their whole lot. Nobody, not even his second-in-command bothered to tell him the age of monopolies and “Robber Barons” was long since over.

“Geez, what’s his problem?” Night Glider asked, staring at him in disbelief. Fancy put a hoof on her shoulder.

“He’s just frustrated, we all are. The journey’s starting to wear on us, we don't have the luxuries of things like tropical islands anymore to improve crew morale,” Fancy replied calmly. “All we have is each other now.”

Inwardly, Fancy had doubts about this entire journey himself. Or to be more accurate, his ability to lead it. The late Rainbow Blaze, -despite his many faults- had this ability to keep a crew and their spirits up no matter how tough times got. Fancy… he didn't think he had the same resolve. He was an explorer now for Celestia’s sake! That RAF training… it had no place for adventures under the deepest parts of the sea. This was a whole new world for him.

He thought to himself, what would Rainbow Blaze do at this point? How would he fix this? Fancy then had to sternly remind himself he wasn't the Captain, no matter how much he wanted to be. He had to lead the remainder of the crew his own way, not how Rainbow would have led it.

Meanwhile, a certain scholar was sneaking up behind the tunnel driller. She, with a determined look set upon her muzzle, trotted forwards and clambered up, -mind you, not without no small amount of effort on her part- up to the boilers. She grabbed a pipe wrench in her mouth and began setting to work. After a few minutes of assorted bangs, clatters and grunts of frustration, the tunnel driller roared to life, boilers back in working order much to everybody’s shock.

“How the…?” Silver Snapper asked in disbelief.

“Well…” Twilight replied sheepishly, rubbing the back of her head. “Those boilers… Not too dissimilar to the ones back at the one back at the university. That model… always been a bit moody.”

Night Glider, extremely proud of her marefriend grabbed her by the face with her hooves and kissed her passionately, a thin strand of saliva connecting the two when they finally came up for air.

“When… when did this happen?” Riptalon asked, his and Sudoku’s noses bleeding. Target noticed and smacked them around the back of their heads.

“Er… Last night?” Twilight stammered out, face flushing red.

“Crikey Moses... “ Silver Spanner murmured to herself. “...Wish I'd snatched her up earlier for meself…”

“Whole journey’s been fraught with problems… Fraught…” Nimbus was now grumbling to himself, his Whinnychester Model 1892 hunting rifle in hoof. It was a beautiful thing, constructed of carved dark oak wood along with being inlaid with various gold detailing here and there. An elegant weapon, from a more civilized age of warfare, given to him as a gift by a fellow member of the Gun Club. Nimbus had been old enough to fight in the Great War, in his late thirties at the time, but he’d learned many things during that time, chiefest amongst them that the generals didn’t care about you and only thought of you as pawns. It was the soldiers on the ground, in the muck and the squalor of the trenches that did the real work even if it get meant getting chewed up by the Central Powers’ Maschinengewehr 08 machine guns. He considered himself to be one of those soldiers, not one of those generals he so despised.

He grimaced as the tunnel drilling machine broke on through another pile of rubble that had been once part of the ceiling above them, intricate hieroglyphs not too far removed from Ancient Neighgypt’s covering the entire ceiling depicting what could only be the various stories of Neighlantis. Or curses for tomb robbers and trespassers, he wasn’t really sure if he was to be honest. Nor did he really care anyways. Translation of ancient linguistics was never something he was particularly good at.

“Well, at least this is probably proof for a certain Bookworm that Neighlantis is the probable ancestor of all known civilizations,” Nimbus thought to himself with a tone of disgust as he imagined Twilight looking quite, if not uncharacteristically, smug.

“You know, now that I think of it…” said Bookworm commented, a hoof to her chin in thought as the grinding and whirring of the drilling machine filled the cavern “Neighlantis’ main population was said to be Seaponies. Not too far removed from us, except with y’know, fins instead of legs and a tail. I’m curious as to what happened to them, they might be a missing link in the chain of evolution between the modern pony and our ancestors!” Twilight rambled in excitement. “After all, all life is supposed to be said to be descended from ancient sea creatures.”

“Yes… That is one working theory,” Fancy Pants remarked, in full scholar mode. “There was some sort of great apocalypse that sent Neighlantis beneath the waves below so it’s entirely possible they were all wiped out. ...At least, that’s what an idiot who knows nothing about evolution would believe. After all, if they’re the missing link you propose and they were all wiped out, how could we be standing here today?”

“It’’s entirely possible some of them… mingled, so to speak,” Twilight answered, with a blush on her face and Fancy nodded.

“Basically, you mean they had sex with other races,” the almost completely black pegasus known as Eclipse remarked bluntly and Fancy adjusted his monocle as he and Twilight blushed red, but nodded all the same.

“Yes, if you want to be indelicate about it,” Fancy replied. “But I was trying to keep things phrased for polite company.”

Target burst out laughing at that as well as Eclipse, Night Glider, and Silver.

“I hardly think we’re in “Polite” company,” the green mare commented. “I mean, half of us are very willing to talk about sex openly, or have you forgotten who’re you’re on an expedition with?”

“Yes… Well…” Fancy stammered out which only increased the laughter further.

“Can we focus on more important matters instead of things like sex or what happened to a race nobody really cares about?” Nimbus Breaker asked in a grumpy tone, holding his hunting rifle over his shoulder. “Like say, how long till we’re through that rubble over there? Commander, a piece of advice I hope you’ll heed, but if you want to keep yourself from further embarrassment, I’d just suggest you shut up and stop digging your hole deeper. You should have quit while you were behind.”

“I… I care about what happened to the Seaponies…” Twilight murmured to herself quietly going unheard. “I even looked into my dad’s journal about any information on Seapony etiquette…”

“Nimbus, you were picked to be on this journey for one reason, and one reason only. To command the troops that were to serve as security and bodyguards in case we ran into any hostile forces,” Fancy growled out. “So, I hardly think you’re in a position to offer advice on this particular matter.”

“Yes,” Nimbus argued. “And as a commander, I’m also obliged to offer a voice of reason whenever necessary aren’t I?” he questioned.

“...Now I’m beginning to see why the Pinkertons threw you out…” Fancy muttered to himself. “You do have a love of questioning authority, don’t you?”

“When they’re being stupid, or illogical, yes,” Nimbus snapped back. “Which, for the record is what I think you’re being at the time. We should be focused on the job at hand, not about possibly extinct species!”

“Can I just propose a question?” Twilight asked, mustering up her courage. “Remember that pony we ran into not too long ago? The one you ordered your troops to fire at?” She questioned, looking directly at Nimbus, who could only sigh. Oh yes, he remembered alright. Along with Twilight’s stark objections to the matter.

“Halt, sir! I beseech you to halt!” Nimbus bellowed out as his order. The figure ignored him and scampered away into the darker corners of the hillsides.

“Okay, only chance and he gave it up,” Nimbus muttered to himself before shouting “Men, you know what to do!”

“Wait wait, he might be able to help us out!” Twilight shouted out over the din.

“Or he might be a threat, can’t take any chances down here. One thing I've learned lass; if you don't draw first, sometimes you don't get to draw at all,” Nimbus commented, looking directly at the figure and not at her which showed how much he valued Twilight’s opinion at that moment.
“Alright, light him up!” He shouted.

Battle Saddles wound up and unleashed a flurry of bullets sparks flying off the rocks before the figure’s staff glowed a bright blue. A flash lit up the area creating a moment of temporary blindness for everyone.

“Celestia dammit,” Nimbus muttered to himself once the bright blue flash cleared before he shouted “Can’t you morons do anything right? Just hit a target, that’s all I bloody well ask of you!” as he turned to his men, who all took a step or two back at the sheer rage shown on Nimbus’s face.

“...Yeesh, and they call me a quick-tempered one.” Lightning thought to herself and laughed nervously when she realized she’d said that aloud with everypony staring at her.

“Great, you might have scared off a pony who might have been able to get us another way around this gap,” Twilight snapped. “Or worse, he might have gone on ahead to alert any other sentries to our presence. If they didn’t know we were coming before, they do now…”

“Oh please, we can handle them,” Nimbus said dismissively. “Why should I be bothered, or worried, about them? For all we know, your theory may be wrong and that’s just a lone pony who somehow made his way down here, same as us.”

“...Would you get to the bleedin’ point?” he grumbled out.

“Perhaps, and this is only a hypothesis at the moment, but maybe some Seaponies escaped the cataclysm that supposedly wiped them all out,” Twilight theorized.

“Any evidence for that?” Nimbus asked.

“No, but…”

Any further arguments were quelled when a male voice shouted “YYEEEEAH! We’re through!” from the tunnel driller as it finally cleared away the rubble, leaving an open passageway.

“And… MARCH!” Nimbus called out as everybody stepped into the warm welcoming light onto a good-sized cliff, and were greeted with a veritable paradise. Plants with flowers of every size and description bloomed, as water fell from all sides of a tall plateau into a lake below that. On each corner of that plateau stood tall statues of what could only be Seaponies, the fins that served in places of arms holding up grand blue orbs of solid glowing amethyst. And in the center of that plateau stood a grand city of solid stone and marble. Several members of the group sighed in contentment as they felt the warm sunlight coming from a hole in the truly colossal cavern’s roof hit their bodies and they felt the cool grass and moss beneath their feet.

“We’re here… Neighlantis…” Twilight breathed out, hardly able to believe her own eyes. She sniffled and wiped away a tear. Her father’s dream… It was true, and she was here to see it all! Twilight smiled as Night Glider wrapped a wing around her and grinned as Fancy laid a hoof on her shoulder in support.

Just then, an arrow whizzed by Twilight’s head making her let out an eep as it impacted a tree trunk behind her. Everybody present with a gun drew their weapons at that action.

Then, from out of the shadows, several ponies in armor, with masks covering their faces carrying bows led by a cyan serpentine winged creature (Twin horns jutting out of the head) covered in gold gilded armor and a helmet appeared, carrying a scepter with a blood-red ruby atop it. Even with the masks, Twilight could feel the glares settle upon her.

“Stamatíste, dilóste tin epicheírisí sas! Giatí írthes edó? Pós mas vríkate?” The leader of the group demanded and Twilight swallowed nervously.

Author's Note:

Okay, first off, I'm so sorry for the longer wait than what you should have gotten. To be honest, I wanted to get this chapter written and completed last month, but between schoolwork (I'm very close to getting my reading GED, or at least taking the test for it and the same with Social Studies) and my other projects, I didn't have enough time as I would have liked. I hope y'all can understand. Anyways, on Nimbus and more specifically, his timeline. I'm... to be honest, not entirely the best at math so the time between him probably being kicked out of the Pinkertons in the late 1890s, right before the passage of the Anti-Pinkerton Act in 1893 I'd guess would probably place him in his late thirties. If someone feels my math is wrong, feel free to correct me so I can fix it. Also, while I'm not an expert on guns, I did do a bit of a research and the Winchester Model 1892 would have been the most likely hunting rifle he might have carried considering it started production in... Well, 1892 and only ended in 1940. On a side note, though I'm horrible at describing guns and descriptions in general, this is what I based it's appearance off of, the M395 Designated Marksman Rifle with the Monocle Skin, or Halo 4's version of the DMR for short. http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/M395_Designated_Marksman_Rifle

Now, on the Seaponies... Well, I'm not saying much on them right now but I will tell you they were a last minute addition as ever since someone brought up the possibility of them appearing (Forgotten who, it's been months since the comment was made) I've been searching for a way to get them in somehow. The MLP movie finally provided it. If anyone's seen it, you should probably have figured out where I'm going. And please, don't spoil what I'm getting at here for my readers who haven't seen the film.