• Published 16th Jul 2012
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Secret of Andalantis - Fizzy Orange



Lunaverse, On a trip to the beach Ditzy dissapears underwater, adventure ensue. COMPLETE!

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Chapter 6

Trixie really didn’t want to deal with this right now, but the pony pretending to be Rarity was not one to underestimate.

“You!” repeated Trixie, pointing a hoof at the impostor before her. “What are you doing here? Where is the real Rarity?”

“What might you be talking about, darling? I don’t understand,” said the white unicorn, feigning ignorance.

Trixie swam slightly away. “Don’t play games with me, Zizanie! I can see through your illusions clear as day!”

The facade of shock disappeared from the other unicorn’s face, replaced by a scowl of contempt. Trixie suddenly realized that the eye color had been wrong all along. Rarity had rich deep blue eyes, but Zizanie had kept her natural cold piercing pale blue eyes. Her facial structure seamed to flicker, the illusions masking the subtle difference in cheek bone structure between Ponyville’s seamstress and the spy barely holding on before reaffirming themselves.

Zizanie growled in anger and frustration. “I don’t know how you can so easily see through illusions, you annoying juvenile nag! Whatever trick you are using is incredibly unfair, and I hope you won’t spread it in court,” she said, stopping whatever trick she was using to modify her voice and speaking in her own.

“Enough! Answer me: where is the REAL Rarity?” Trixie asked again.

Zizanie let loose a mocking laughter, switching back to Rarity’s voice halfway through. “Welcome to Carousel Boutique! Where everything is chic, unique and magnifique!”

Trixie gasped. “You mean she's still in Ponyville? You’ve been Rarity this whole time?”

“Bravo, inspector Lulamoon! I arrived the day before you and your little friends did. Darling.”

Trixie didn’t understand how, but Zizanie managed to make the word ‘darling’ sound downright threatening, and more than a little insulting. Trixie hadn’t realized at first but the two of them were now swimming in a circle, making sure not to let the other get close.

“So, were you sent here to spy on us? Did whoever hired you kidnap Ditzy? Or maybe you did and are just covering your track?”

Zizanie scoffed. “Please, I’m a blackmail expert. I don’t do ‘kidnapping’. Taking care of secrets is much easier than taking care of live captive. Besides, we’ve been together since we dived.” The spy suddenly kicked her legs and was now nose to nose with a surprised Trixie. “And for what its worth I was being honest before when I said I owe you one. You and the other member of your merry little bands have saved Equestria from Corona, as such I owe you a favor. I don’t like to let debts unpaid for too long, and helping you find your wall-eyed friend will satisfy my principles.”

Trixie pushed her off with both front hooves. “And you expect me to believe that?”

The white pony rolled her eyes. “Frankly, darling, I don’t give a damn what you believe. I’m helping you bring Ditzy Doo back to her daughter in one piece, and once that happens I’ll go back to my business and let you enjoy your vacation in peace. It’ll be much easier to get to the happy ending with my help.”

Trixie glared. “Your business… you mean you’re in Cayo El Bayo to spy on Wind Sailor?”

Zizanie chuckled, shifting back into Rarity’s voice. “Possibly. Poor Wind Sailor, he’s a nice boy but a little too gullible. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure not to break his heart too much when I disappear. Anyway what I do on my own time is none of your business…unless you wish to share Wind Sailor with me? I admit he’s a lean athletic fellow, and rumors tell me he’s quite the beast in the sack.”

At Trixie’s flustered expression the other unicorn let loose another mocking laugh. The following pout and glare didn’t really help matters either.

“Stop imitating Rarity! The show’s over,” said Trixie, steering the conversation away from an embarrassing topic.

“Tsk tsk tsk. A showmare such as you should know that isn’t right. The show is never over, for the whole world is a stage,” began Zizanie, shaking her purple maned head. “Scylla already doesn’t trust us very much, and you want to admit you brought a spy, an imposter, into the midst of her camp? Do you think she will take my duplicity well?”

There was a tense silence for a minute. The blue mare wasn’t sure she could trust Scylla to react in a reasonable fashion. It would be much easier to just keep up the charade as Zizanie as suggested. After all, nopony else knew about it before and it didn’t change much. The merponies didn’t know the real Rarity so it’s not like she was actively deceiving them by pretending to be someone they knew. Right?

For some reason that didn’t sit right with Trixie. The merponies had shown them their secret hideout, something important, and Scylla had agreed to trust, if only a little, a group of outsiders. If the merpony leader were to eventually learn the truth, the betrayal would probably hurt more if it was discovered that Trixie knew all along and said nothing. She also didn’t want Zizanie to keep deceiving her friends and would prefer to expose the spy now. Taking away her secret identity would probably go a long way in stopping any potential schemes.

“No,” she finally said. “We’re telling the merponies the truth once we meet up with them. You’ll tell them that your trick had nothing to do with them at all. It’ll make things more complicated but it’s the right thing to do.”

Zizanie let loose a sigh but didn’t protest further.

“Now, let me check if those sharks are gone,” continued the blue unicorn, turning herself invisible.

But before Trixie could poke her head off the top of the kelp forest, a loud voice rang out.

Miss Doo! Are you alright?” asked Zizanie, once more in her role as Rarity.

A panicking Trixie reappeared in a split second. “What are you doing?! The kaosharks will be on us in seconds!”

Zizanie shrugged. “I’m pretty sure they left around the time you discovered my little secret. I heard a couple of large shapes swim away and they stopped patrolling above us.”

The blue unicorn was reminded of their last encounter, and how Zizanie had sworn that Trixie would one day regret ever meeting her. She assumed today would be that day.

“We don’t even know what they’re capable of!” she declared, looking upward as if she expected to be attacked by one of the chimeric sharks.

“Maybe, but they don’t know what we are capable of,” replied the white unicorn.

“Rarity?” came the distant voice of Ditzy Doo.

“Ah! Miss Doo, pleasure to hear you darling! Are you unharmed?”

“Yes! I’m with the seaponies. Are you three alright?” Replied Ditzy.

“We both are anyway. Lyra, what about you?” asked Trixie.

There was an uncomfortable silence after that question. It got more and more worrisome as the minutes went by. Finally, after what felt like an eternity to Trixie but was probably only two minutes, she finally swam above the kelp and looked frantically around the area. The green mass of the kelp forest was impenetrable, if her minty friend were below it would be impossible to spot her with her eyes alone, but this did not prevent Trixie from attempting it anyway.

If Trixie hadn’t already been submerged in water, sweat would be dripping from her brow by that point as she kept calling for her friend. “Lyra? LYRA! Where are you? Anypony seen Lyra?”

“I saw her last with Lute Turtle. Lute, where’s Lyra?” came the voice of Dusky Jack, somewhere in the kelp below.

There was once again no answer.

“Trixie what’s going on?” asked Ditzy, worry evident in her voice.

“Rock Beauty, have you see Lute or Lyra?” asked Scylla, only to find no one to answer her.

Trixie was surprised when the merpony leader emerged from the kelp forest at full speed. Scylla looked enraged, her pupils had shrunken down to pinpricks and she looked every which way like a predator on the hunt. Dusky Jack quickly followed her. He tried, without success, to get her back under the cover of the seaweed.

“Seaponies! What have you done with my clan members? Show yourself you bastards!” she hollered. “Bring all your kaosharks, I don’t care! I’m not gonna let you get away with it this time! Not with me here!”

Ditzy spoke up again, this time her worried voice also tinted by confusion. “Trixie please! What’s going on?”

“Ditzy, get out of there! Your new friends just sent their kaosharks after Lyra and two of the merponies!”

“What madness is this? The kaosharks work for the merponies! This is all a ruse, don’t go Miss Doo!” came an outraged female voice Trixie didn’t recognized.

“Liars! Don’t listen to her!” added Scylla. “Why don’t you stop hiding behind your monstrous goon and fight me directly instead?”

“And fall into a trap? I don’t think so, merpony!” replied the voice.

“Trixie, the seaponies didn’t do anything! I was with them the whole time! The kaosharks appeared from over the right only after your group disappeared into the kelp!” explained Ditzy.

“Obviously they were already on our tails by then,” suggested Dusky, still trying to calm Scylla who seemed ready to dive into the green mass below and fight on her own.

Trixie was about to talk when Zizanie swam past her.

“I’ve heard enough,” she first said softly, before she then moved on to shouting, “Miss Doo, you need to get your friends to come out of the kelp so we can all talk face to face. I believe I understand what’s going on.”

“Talk? I don’t want to talk with somepony who just took two of my youngest pony away! Who’s been taking my family and friends for years!” growled Scylla in complain.

“You took Sea Shanty! You took my little ponies; you took my mother and my daughter you monster! Don’t take our tragedy like they were your own,” replied the female voice Trixie assumed was a seapony.

Zizanie was gritting her teeth, clearly she was getting tired of this. “ENOUGH! Ditzy, there’s no kaosharks around, now get up here so we can stop shouting!”

There was silence for a minute, and finally a small group came out of the writhing forest at the bottom of the ocean. There was Ditzy with three seaponies. One was yellow, another was magenta and the finale one, a male, was blue. Trixie wasn’t sure what Zizanie was getting at. She was glad to see Ditzy again, but now they had to hunt down Lyra! Who knew where she was now. Trixie still took a moment to rush and embrace her friend in a hug.

“I was worried!” she said after letting go of the grey pegasus.

“I was too. I hope Dinky isn’t too scared. Where is she?” asked Ditzy, somewhat worried.

“Bon Bon, Amethyst Star and Wind Sailor went back to the boat with her. She’ll be fine,” answered the unicorn. “Now we just need to find out where Lyra was taken, maybe it’s where they took you? What happened with you anyway? I heard you were attacked by kaosharks and taken by the seaponies and now you’re all chummy with them?”

“I was attacked by those things, but the seaponies save me! Sea Cucumber, another seapony, saw me and rescued me from my attackers. The merponies are the one controlling the sharks Trixie!”

“What?”

While the two had talked the seaponies and merponies had approached each other and maintained a respectable distance between them. With some prodding from Zizanie the two leaders introduced themselves and their group.

“I’m Scylla. This is Dusky Jack.”

“My name is Charybdis. These are Sea Racer and Sea Youaround.”

“Good, this is Miss Ditzy Doo, and Trixie Lulamoon, and I am…” began the fake Rarity before being interrupted.

“Zizanie. Her name is Zizanie,” declared Trixie, much to Ditzy’s shock.

“Wait, I thought her name was Rarity?” asked a confused Dusky.

“That’s what I thought too. She fooled my friends and I by impersonating somepony we knew. Zizanie came to this area to spy on an important pony, and it was just bad luck that we ran into each other. It doesn’t really matter now,” explained Trixie. “What’s important is that some of our friends went missing.”

Scylla glared at Trixie. “What do you mean it’s not important? How can we trust her? For all I know she could be working for the seaponies! Oh abyss! Why should I even trust ANY of you? Dry ponies never did anything to help us!”

Charybdis shook her head. “You’re delusional!”

Zizanie interrupted the budding argument before it could get any further. “SILENCE!”

The two aquatic leaders turned their angry gaze toward her.

“Now, before I let you fools tear each of you apart,” she began, all of her illusions dissolving away as she spoke, “let me ask you both one simple question..."

The seaponies and merponies were obviously surprised at the change. Gone was the curly violet mane and the jewel cutie mark, replaced by a straight lavender mane and a black envelope. Her face was also slightly different, with a narrower muzzle, higher cheekbones and sharper eyes. Zizanie’s voice also lost the fake put on Canterlot accent and soft tones of Rarity, becoming colder and more patronizing. Trixie herself only had very little exposure to Zizanie’s true self, and she took a second to just look at her. Finally she proceeded with her question.

“When was the last time any of you spoke to the other side? Any of you personally?”

The two leaders opened their mouths at the same time to speak, but they both stopped, looking confused and obviously searching their memories.

“I don’t… I never spoke to a merpony before,” admitted Charybdis. “I don’t think I ever knew anypony who did either.”

“I never either…” said Scylla. “Why do you ask that?”

Zizanie shook her head. “You poor fools, can’t you see? What about you Trixie? I’m sure a stage magician, even an amateur like you, could spot such an obvious misdirection a mile away!”

Trixie looked from Scylla to Charybdis, and back again. Both looked sincerely angry at each other, and none of them had any obvious tell when they were ranting earlier. She mentally replayed the conversation they had shared since Lyra’s disappearance and realized what Zizanie was referring to. Her eyes bulged as the realization hit her.

“They are both certain the other controls the Kaosharks! Then it must mean…”

Zizanie smiled and shot Trixie the kind of look you give a small child who just complete his first math homework. “Exactly!”

“What? What are you two talking about?” asked an annoyed Scylla.

“I’ve seen this situation before, darling, maybe not on such a scale, but it was certainly the same con. I’ve even been the initiator a few times myself, that’s why I can say with confidence that,” the spy said, her smile turning into a grin at her own dramatic pause. “There is a third party at work here. Somepony is controlling the kaosharks and manipulating you into believing the other is responsible for the attacks.”


Lyra felt herself being jostled around as she woke up. Her eyes were still closed and she wondered what Bon Bon was up to. Her marefriend was usually much better at getting out of bed without waking her. Light was filtering through her eyelids so reflexively she tried to grab a blanket to wrap around her head, only to find out her hooves trapped against her barrel. That’s when she realized she wasn’t in her warm comfortable bed, but actually in the clutches of some unknown creature. She opened her eyes just in time to realize that said creature was now throwing her toward a wall!

Lyra gasped and brought her hooves forward, the momentum of the sudden action breaking her forward surge and sent her careening upside down in the water. This sudden shift in perspective reminded her of her current predicament as all the events of the day rushed back in to her memory. She had been attacked by those kaosharks that Lute Turtle had sent on the offensive… but she had also caught Rock Beauty! Why was the merpony turning on her own people? What was going on?

“Miss Lyra, you all right?” asked Rock Beauty, helping her get back to an upright position.

Lyra took a second or two to take in her new location. The two of them were still at the bottom of the ocean, in what appeared to be the ruins of a building. On one side was a wall of carved stone about three ponies tall, all that seemed to remain of a building, with parts of two more walls visible on each side. Most of that wall was covered with barnacles, coral and other sea life, but a section had been cleared so ancient carvings could be seen more clearly. Against this wall had been lain large, and long, stone slabs, possibly part of some other ruined structure, at a regular interval. The large stones were separated by a hoof wide gap through which sunlight could filter, but which rendered any sort of escape impossible. The place was effectively a cage. Against one end of this triangular prison, where one of the two side wall was its smallest, seemed to rest a pane of rusted metal with a door. The door had a small circular window that was cracked. The door in question was closing with the sound of creaking metal. The metal pane seemed to have once been part of a bigger structure, possibly some type of boat hangar, but now was just used as an easy way to keep prisoners into this makeshift cage. A quick glance at the other end of the prison revealed a boulder blocking the way.

“Yeah, I’m fine…a bit confused but fine,” finally answered Lyra, “How long was I out and where are we?”

“I think you were out for about fifteen minutes. I don’t know where they took us, they kept me blinded while they carried me,” answered Rock Beauty, looking defeated.

“We’re in the secret base of the kaosharks and their true mistress,” said a new female voice, coming from somewhere in their cage.

From behind a stone block that used to be part of the wall a new form timidly emerged. It looked like a seahorse with the head of a pony. Her body was a nice aquamarine color and her short mane was streaked in white and pink. Lyra immediately recognized one of the seapony, but it was clearly not one of the three she had glanced alongside Ditzy a short while ago.

“A seapony!” said Rock Beauty with a gasp. “Are you here to torture us? I’ll never talk!”

The seapony seemed to flinch and backed away. “What? No! I would never hurt anypony! The sharks captured me earlier today, just like you two. My name’s Sea Shanty.”

“I’m Lyra, Lyra Heartstring, can you…” began Lyra before she was interrupted by Rock Beauty pushing past her.

“Why would they do that? The kaosharks work for you seaponies!” she said, coming up to the other side of the stone Sea Shanty was using as a barrier.

“No they don’t!” quickly answered Sea Shanty, before she looked down dejectedly. “Or at least, they only work for one of us…when they captured me I found out my very best friend was behind the attack! She could order the kaosharks around like they were her pets!”

“Why should I believe you? That’s just a story you’re telling us to get us to talk!”

Lyra placed a hoof on Rock Beauty’s shoulder. “Is it really that hard to believe, Rock Beauty? It was Lute Turtle who ordered the attack that got us caught.”

Beauty’s expression saddened at that reminder. “Lute… why would she do this to me? Why would she work with the kaosharks who keep attacking us? What’s going on here? I don’t understand!” she said, pounding the stone block with a hoof.

“Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out,” said Lyra, before looking to Sea Shanty. “We’re all in the same situation, so let’s stick together for now, okay?”

Sea Shanty nodded grimly, but then she suddenly gasped as her eyes began to almost visibly shimmer.

“Oh my goodness! I just realized I’m talking to a dry pony! A real, bonafide, in the flesh, dry pony of the unicorn kind! I have so many questions about your world! I’ve never talked to a dry pony before! This is so amazing!” she said, her voice full of excitement.

“I know right?” added Rock Beauty with a big grin.

The two aquatic ponies looked away from each other at the same time, suddenly feeling self conscious about the situation.

“You know, it’s the first time I've spoken with a seapony,” commented Rock Beauty.

“Me too,” replied Sea Shanty, “I mean… I’ve never spoken to a merpony, not that I haven’t spoke with a seapony before, that would be weird. I’m not weird!”

“I understand. My name’s Rock Beauty by the way.” The merpony tentatively extended a hoof to the seapony.

After staring at it for a second she took hold of it with her little fins and shook the proffered hoof heartily. A grinning Lyra then offered her own hoof for Sea Shanty to shake.

“Good! We’re on our way to become fast friends, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since becoming an Element of Harmony is that there’s nothing you can’t do with friends by your side! Even turn into a naked hominian and back,” said Lyra, much to the confusion of the two ocean dwellers.

She decided to ignore their confused stare and swam up to one of the gap in the wall of their cell.

“Let’s see if I can spot anything useful… By the stars!” she gasped.

Rock Beauty quickly joined her, but Sea Shanty remained behind. She clearly had already seen what had shocked Lyra. Rock Beauty swam above Lyra’s head and peered through the gap. She too let out an exclamation at the sight beyond.

They were clearly at the edge of a larger complex of underwater ruins, sitting atop a natural hill carved in the sea floor. In the plain below they could spot a dozen or so structure that had been excavated, with two more where figures were clearly seen moving rocks, sands and debris away. The figures were a mix of seapony and merpony, all clearly shackled by the neck. Four shark-like figures, all grotesquely deformed with incongruous body parts attached to them seemed to watch over the improvised dig site.

“Oh my gosh! That’s Puffer Fish! I’d recognize that teal and yellow mane anywhere! He disappeared a month ago!” said Rock Beauty.

“My mother is down there…” timidly added Sea Shanty. “I haven’t seen her in years, but I’m sure it’s her down there.”

The merpony turned and clearly regarded the seapony in a brand new light. Without saying a word she went and gave her new friend a hug. Lyra regarded the scene with fondness, glad that the two had so quickly put aside their tribal animosity in the face of this new situation. Whoever was running this slave camp had a lot to answer for. The unicorn turned back to the scene and examined the surrounding. The plain below came to a sudden plunge as a giant dark chasm seem to open into the ocean floor. It was wide but didn’t seem like the edge of the continental shelf because she could, barely in the pervading haze, make out its edge in the distance. Off to the side of the camp the seafloor turned into a sheer wall that climbed up and disappeared above the water. From this angle Lyra wasn’t certain but she could swear she could see the shape of Lucky Seagull Island looming over the plateau and the nearby hole.
She wondered if the fact that no boats ever crashed against it might not be coincidence but might just be the slavers trying to keep nosy dry ponies away.

“What have we gotten ourselves into?” Lyra quietly asked herself.

She was contemplating how to stage an escape when the painful sound of metal scraping against metal caught her attention. The door to their improvised cell was opening. Lyra quickly swam back to the center of the room to stand by her new friends.

The first figure to enter was the one that had captured Rock Beauty. It was a grey shark that had apparently seen his entire tail section replaced with thick grey colored octopus tentacles. It bare its teeth at the trio, making the merpony and seapony flinch in fear. The next figure to enter was much different; it was a pale green seapony, a color not unlike Lyra’s own coat, and with darker green mane. Lyra didn’t have much experience with the seaponies but she looked small and young. However, the scowl she wore on her face and the cold calculating gleam in her eyes made her look much more experienced than one would assume. This was a pony in charge.

“I’m sorry I had to make you wait, I had to change before seeing you,” the newcomer said, chuckling a little at a joke only she understood.

“Sea Cucumber! What are you doing?” demanded Sea Shanty.

“And where is Lute Turtle?” added Rock Beauty.

The one called Sea Cucumber only laughed in answer. It was a cruel and mocking laughter with a very sharp staccato rhythm to it that grated on Lyra’s ears.

“You’re in no place to demand answers,” simply stated the seapony after being done with laughter. “I’m in charge here. You would do well to remember that.”

Once again her voice betrayed a pony with more experience than her look would suggest. Her voice was high pitched but it was filled with a cool confidence, like she had done this multiple times in the past.

“The only reason you three aren’t out there moving rocks with the others is because I need your skills,” she began, pointing in the general direction of the work camp with her fin. “You will do as I ask, or else!”

Lyra couldn’t ignore a pitch like that. “Or else what, you overgrown sea monkey?” she asked defiantly.

Sea Cucumber glared at her, then she turned slightly toward the door before speaking. “Number 4…” she said simply.

A second kaoshark entered the cell, this one had the spotted body of a leopard shark, if not the appropriate size, and its fins had been replaced by the large hairy arms of some type of ape, like a gorilla. It brought a massive fist into his other hand and audibly cracked his knuckles. Lyra wasn’t quite sure what that was supposed to mean, but the way it and its octopus-like counterpart now stood at the ready was definetaly threatening.

“I control the kaosharks, if you displease me you will have to contend with them.”

“What do you want anyway, you traitor?” asked Sea Shanty.

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing particularly dreadful. I just want you to decipher some wall carving,” explained Sea Cucumber, extending a fin toward the piece of wall that was the main feature of their cell.

“I uncovered those carvings recently. They appear to be a type of ancient musical notation. Decipher the song for me.”

“Why should we help you anyway? What’s in it for us?” asked Lyra, glaring dagger at the seapony.

“You’ll have the satisfaction of helping solve one of the greatest archeological mystery of all time!” Sea Cucumber replied, spreading her fins wide.

Lyra smirked. “So what? Are you going to give us credit in your next Journal of Archeology paper?”

“Don’t push me, little unicorn!” snarled Sea Cucumber, “after all, a little boat, all alone on the big ocean… any creature could go and attack it. Isn’t there some ponies you care about on there?”

If Lyra’s glare had been filled with anger before, now it was filled with unbridled rage. She barely managed to hold herself from attacking the seapony before her right there. She remembered that she wasn’t alone in this and so managed to calm herself a little.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she said.

“I would, if you push me too far you little brat. As for you two,” she began, turning to her other two prisoners, “I hope you realize your little hideouts are not in any way secret, and they remain undisturbed through my good grace.”

Sea Cucumber was about to add something when her octopus hybrid was suddenly shaken by twitches as if in a seizure. It’s jaws opened wide, revealing sharp teeth as it let loose some sort of plaintiff moan. Arcs of energy suddenly began to course over its body. This new development was rather frightening for the three prisoners, but only seem to annoy Sea Cucumber.

“Not again! Number 4, grab number 8, time for a top up,” she said with a groan.

She turned toward the door, leaving her servant to its task, but she didn’t leave before one last warning to her captives. “You three better remember that the fate of your friends, all your friends, is in my hooves. I will be back in an hour and I expect some type of progress report,” she said, “don’t think you can fool me either.”

And with that she exited the room, followed by the sharks. The door closed with a loud noise once more before locking. Lyra quickly went to prod the door and see if the old rusted wall had any give to it, but there was nothing. Peering through the cracked round window embedded in the door she could spot the shape of a third shark creature guarding the door. This one had large crab arms jutting from the side. Lyra let out a sigh and slumped against the door at best she could underwater. She considered using her magic but she wasn’t sure if she could pick whatever locking mechanism was blocking the door without a line of sight, and she wasn’t sure she could take on those shark things in an underwater fight. There was an uneasy silence in the cell for a while, before Sea Shanty decided to break it.

“Hooves…” she muttered.

“What?” asked Rock Beauty.

“It’s just… I know it’s silly but I find it so odd. Sea Cucumber… or whoever she really is… she said the fate of our friends was in her hooves…”

Lyra raised an eyebrow at the odd topic. “So?”

“She doesn’t have hooves!” pointed out Rock Beauty. “You’re right, that is weird.”

Lyra shrugged. “That’s just another mystery to add to the pile. Not much we can do about it now. How about we take a look at those carvings?”

“You’re just going to let her threaten you like that?” asked Rock Beauty, surprised.

“I’m not saying we do exactly as she say,” said Lyra. “We’ll bide our time and think of a way to get back to our friends. In the meantime, these carvings could tell us more about this place or what Sea Cucumber and Lute Turtle are after.”

The seapony and merpony looked at each other, and at once they nodded in agreement. The trio of them went over to take a look at the wall.

What had been uncovered was a long rectangular section. Above and below it were stylized waves held between two lines, the whole shape still having specks of some shiny blue scales left in them from a set of inlay that had long since been washed away by erosion. At the far right of the section, which Sea Shanty assured the other two was the traditional reading direction for old Andalantean, was a series of pictograms depicting the three tribes of aquatic pony surrounding a circular depression being grasped by the interlocking tentacles of two jellyfishes. One above and the other beneath the circular hole that Lyra suspected once held some sort of decoration, possibly a pearl, at some point in the far past. She recognized the shapes of seaponies and merponies, but she took a few seconds to appreciate the little pictograph of the plesiopony. It had an oval for a body with fins at the front and back, a little stubby tail, a long neck and the head of a pony.

“Plesioponies must have been quite the sight,” she said outloud.

The other two nodded, silently. It was sad to consider that a whole civilization had disappeared in the mist of History like that. Lyra’s mind quickly returned to the carving though. One thing that was odd about the placement of three little pictographs was how, rather than equally placed around the jellyfish formation, there were a seapony and merpony on the right side and a single plesiopony on the left side. All three of the figures were looking away from the circle.

“Is this depicting the war that destroyed Andalantis? When your three tribes fought over the jellyfishes?” asked Lyra, pointing at the depiction.

Rock Beauty and Sea Shanty looked at her, with raised eyebrows.

“Fighting over the jellyfishes? The jellyfish is, or at least was, the symbol of unity between the three tribes,” said Rock Beauty.

“Oh yes, it was a creature that needed all three tribes to survive, back when our people still tended to ocean life,” added Sea Shanty, wistfully.

“That there is the classic symbol of the real cause of the war,” continued the merpony.

“An artifact of untold power that was entrusted to the Andalantean to be safeguarded, never to be used,” said the seapony.

“The Jellyfish Lantern,” they both said at once.

“Jellyfish Lantern?” asked Lyra, surprised.

“Oh yes! I don’t know how much is true but there is a lot of legends about it, but all the ones I know about the war tell of how it was over control of the Jellyfish Lantern,” said Rock Beauty.

“I’ve never heard of it,” said Lyra, tracing the shape with her hooves.

The seapony and merpony looked at each other surprised. “Really? But you seem to know a lot about us.”

Lyra shrugged. “Most of it has been distorted by the ages… I guess some of our stories about your war don’t really match up with your own knowledge of it. It happens more often than you’d think. You’d think Princess Luna would speak up when she can."

“Well do you know where seaponies and merponies come from?” asked Sea Shanty.

“I assume that when a mommy seapony and a daddy seapony like each other very very much they…” began Lyra, not sure where this question was going.

Sea Shanty gasped, and began to blush furiously. “No no no! I mean where we come from as a race!”

Rock Beauty giggled softly, causing Lyra to smile.

“Legend has it our ancestor were dry ponies, just like you,” continued Sea Shanty, “but at some point their island began to sink into the ocean, so they tried to run away by boat… some of them made it and were lead to Equestria by the Sun and the Moon, but a group of them got lost at sea and were sunk in a storm. Nereus, the spirit of the ocean, took pity upon them and used his power to change them into seaponies, merponies and plesioponies. Then he tasked his daughter, Thetis, to take care of us, teach us how to live in the sea, and protect us.”

“The Jellyfish Lantern is said to be a crystal lantern that holds all that’s left of Nereus’ power today,” said Rock Beauty, picking up the story, “There’s a bunch of different stories about how he died, or was torn to pieces by an evil monster from the abyss, and I don’t know what’s the right one, but I know that eventually this mystical ball of light was entrusted to the Andalanteans. It was a powerful artifact that was said to have the power to reshape the world!”

“I heard it could grant wishes to the pure of heart!” added Sea Shanty. “Some story even call it the Heart of the Ocean and say that Nereus used up all his power to save us, and that’s why its his daughter and not him who watched over Andalantis.”

“Point is, all three tribes were suppose to watch over it, but then the seaponies wanted to keep it for themselves,” said Beauty.

“No way! It was the merponies who wanted it!” replied Shanty.

“No, the seaponies!”

“It was the merponies!”

“Seaponies I tell you!”

“Merponies!”

“Seaponies!”

“Merponies!”

“Seaponies!”

“Stop!” called Lyra. “Don’t you see that’s what the bad guys want? You guys have apparently been manipulated all along by the kaosharks into fighting each other! Accusing each other of something that happened so long ago isn’t going to solve anything. Let’s just agree that someone, somewhere, wanted the big bad artifact for themselves. Something tells me that was just a single individual and not the whole tribe that pony happened to be from. I’m guessing that’s what started the war?”

The seapony and merpony looked a bit sheepish at their bickering, but they both nodded at Lyra’s deduction. The unicorn turned back to the pictographs and pointed at the three simplistic representations of the aquatic tribes.

“So I guess this represents the point where they stopped working together, but why aren’t they facing the lantern and fighting over it? Or even fighting at all? And what is that symbol above the plesiopony?” she asked, pointing to some three tiered triangle hovering above said pony.

Rock Beauty moved clover and used her tail fin to remove some pieces of grime from the triangle. “I’m not sure why they are turning away from it either, and I don’t know that symbol, do you Sea Shanty?”

“I think I’ve seen it before, I think it means ‘ghost’, or ‘spirit’ or ‘departed’. I think that means there aren’t any plesioponies anymore,” replied the seapony.

They decided to move on to the rest of the carvings, which then moved into a section more familiar to Lyra. She had seen a similar musical notation systems when studying the few pieces of pre-classical era music that had survived - mostly found in foreign libraries- the only difference being that this one was written right to left instead of left to right. It was a series of lines going up, or down, ending in sharp squares and then starting up again. At the beginning of each section, possibly measures, was an odd symbol she assumed was the name of a pitch or note. There was a few other symbols all throughout, but the essential was pretty clear.

“This is a differential notation system isn’t it? It indicates the changes to a pitch, starting from the one here at the beginning of the measure. Probably for a vocal performance considering the style,” she said.

“That looks about right! It’s using a few symbols I’ve never seen before though, like this one,” said Sea Shanty pointing to one above a section.

The merpony got closer to it. “I think I know that one, it means the notation below is not to be sung but used only as a guide for the following note. I think all of us together could decipher the song easily, not sure if we should tell Sea Cucumber, or whoever she is, about it though.”

Lyra nodded her agreement. She turned back to the music sheet and tried, as hard she could, to hum a crude version of the song. It wasn’t easy to essentially read a piece of music backward, but there was something strangely familiar about it somehow. She decided to move on to the last section of the wall that was uncovered.

After the musical notation was, once again, the image of the plesiopony spirit, this time standing side by side with the merpony and seapony as they all looked toward a new form. It was a squashed oval, on top of which a jagged line was rising, like a forest of pine trees or an exaggerated mountain range. Within the oval was a simple symbol of two concentric rectangles with rounded edges, and below the oval was another pictograph of a plesiopony. This one had its head dipped down and didn’t have any sort of spirit pictograph associated with it.

“What is that supposed to be?” asked the unicorn, pointing to the important symbol.

“I’m not sure, though I know that symbol in the center is the sigil of Thetis, Nereus’ daughter and our ancestor’s protector,” said Sea Shanty.

Lyra nodded. “So you think the song is an ode to Princess Thetis?”

Rock Beauty snorted and rolled her eyes. “Thetis wasn’t a princess, silly, she was our caretaker and guardian. She wasn’t our leader. You dry ponies and your princesses.”

Lyra ignored the remark but took note of the proper way to address the mythical figure of ancient times. “And what about this other plesiopony?”

“The only time I’ve seen one with a dipped head was whenever Aquarius, the last plesiopony, is depicted,” answered Rock Beauty, a statement that Sea Shanty confirmed with a nod.

The three considered the picture in silence for a while. Why was this song so important that Sea Cucumber and Lute Turtle would want to get the seapony and merpony musical experts and then grabbing the unicorn bard at the same time? Why risk attracting more attention to their operations when the dry ponies were around? And what was its link to Thetis and that jagged line?

Lyra thought back to what Sea Cucumber had said about archeological discovery and it all became clear.

“Girls? I think I know what this song is for, and why Sea Cucumber wants it,” began Lyra, grabbing the attention of the other two ponies, “this song will lead to Andalantis!”

Author's Note:

BOOM! Update RIGHT IN YO FACE!

YO FAAAAAAAACE!!

Hope ya like it! I'm on a roll with this new 1000 words a day schedule. Let's see if it holds! :D

I know not much really happened in this chapter, it's lots of talking, but I hope it was satisfying. A few mysteries are unraveling, but there is still more unknowns.

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