• Published 18th Mar 2013
  • 1,406 Views, 28 Comments

Siren Song - TheDarkStarCzar

My name is Sea Swirl and I love swimming in the Ocean. That hardly tells you anything about a pony, though. My name is Sea Swirl and my Mother is a thief and a murderer. Maybe. Maybe that tells you too much.

  • ...

Alternate Modes of Transportation

I awoke to water being drizzled on my lips from a rag. In the glaring light I couldn't see who was doing it, but I assumed correctly that it was Georgia. I greedily lapped up the water, then said the first thing that came to mind and croaked, "That rag is bucking filthy."

I was alive. Then the rag splatted over my eyes. I giggled with joy and swiped it away. I located the bucket of precious water that it'd been soaked in and made to dunk my muzzle in it. Strong talons forced me back, "No, you can't do that. You have to go easy or you'll get sick!"

I nodded, marshaled all my restraint and sipped at the water that I so longed to guzzle down.

The deck on which I lay was heeled over twenty degrees to starboard and even without it's engines or a sail it was moving forward at a good clip. It didn't roll in the waves as one would expect, but then I'm not sure what one is meant to expect from a ghost ship.

It was strange, but it appeared like it had been stylized once it became a phantom to impart a certain gothic dread. Gone but a short time, the decks were washed a deep black. The pallid railings had grown ornate carvings and all the fittings were from an earlier era. Cast gargoyle's heads guarded the wheelhouse, surrounding it's door frame full of carved lilies. The anchor points that once held the riggings had been transformed from simple wooden cleats into ornate brass rings. It put the Morningstar to shame for maritime elegance.

Now this stately ship was surely one I'd ride to Tartarus with pride. I smiled, "Look what's become of the Albatross, it's so beautiful now!"

But Georgia just cackled and kept it up for a long while. When it was clear I didn't get the joke it just set her off even more and I had to endure her laughing fit for a full minute and a half, "Albatross? Wouldn't that just be poetic?" She chortled once more and calmed down, "But no, I'm afraid the world doesn't work that way and if it did we'd both be dead. Albatross dropped all her supplies and all her ballast water, which is what we're drinking just now. We're on the Cormorant."

That blew my mind. I had to think on that for a while before I thought to ask, "How's that even possible?"

"I don't know. You'll have to ask your friend." She grew stone faced and pointed over the railing.

I staggered down the slope and it finally made sense, or as much sense as could be made when you're a passenger on a hulk of a gryphon airship carried atop a massive whale.

I jumped down and landed on the whale's broad, dark back, mottled with scars and marine growth. I fell to my belly and hugged and kissed the enormous beast, even though I wasn't sure if he could feel it. Then without preamble I thanked him and showered him with gratitude in his own language.

I think it surprised him as he let out what might be translated as a startled laugh, were the scale different, before he spoke, "Your friends seem to have lost this. It's bubble came off on the way, but I could not slow down for it and keep up. I heard you call out for help but your ship outpaces me and I had almost given up on seeing any of you again when I heard a pod of mischievous dolphins warning about a dangerous griffon and pony waiting to prey on the unwary. I knew that could not be the case so I sought you out. You are the same pony to whom I had the pleasure of speaking before, are you not?"

"Would you have left us to drown if I wasn't?" I asked.

"No, I do not suppose I would have, but I have never met another pony who would bother to converse with me, so it must be you." He replied.

"It is, and we're most grateful that you've rescued us." He made a noise that I interpreted as an 'it was nothing' shrugging off of any praise, "But, why were you hauling around this ship, and why did you sneak up on us with it like that?"

"I do not know. I was interested in the fight your people were having in the sky. Once this one fell I chose to follow so that I might see it's resolution. It was something different and I was just dragging it around by a rope for a while until it sank. Then I lifted it up on my back and the water drained out and it floated for a while again. I guess I was just playing with it." The whale admitted, "As to sneaking up on you, I thought it would be funny to surprise you. It is difficult for me to actually sneak, in most situations, so I took the opportunity."

"It was funny, if we hadn't been swimming for so long we would have thought so too. I just can't believe you found us." I told him.

"You are not hard to find. You make quite a lot of noise for such a small thing." He kidded me.

I tried to make some reply, but my lips and throat were too parched to continue, I coughed and conveyed that I would talk more later. Georgia brought the water bucket down, my jelly legs not up to climbing back onto the ship.

The whale began telling stories to which I need not reply to, whales often tell stories just to be telling them, even when no one's around to hear them. The whalesong, up close, was a whole different thing. It was akin to being assaulted by the bass of a really good, loud concert, without the ear damaging trebles. The whale's voice reverberated through my whole body, infiltrated my mind and made me feel safe and protected even in the cold salty air untallied leagues from land.

I joyously clung to the sunwarmed expanse of his dark flesh. He had been telling a story when I'd drifted off and though I woke in the middle and wasn't wholly certain for a moment, I think he was singing when I awoke. If his voice could be raised in pitch and sped up I swear it would be a lullaby, but he felt me stir and trailed off. I stretched and tested my weary body. It seemed up to the task so I climbed up the ship's ladder, though it was now oddly angled due to the resting position of the ship.

Georgia had flipped over a metal hatch cover and lit a fire right on the deck using broken shivers of the hull for firewood. She was roasting some fish on a spit, but it looked like her primary purpose was the making of coffee. She gave me a smile as I walked over and she returned it.

"Can I have some?" I asked, gesturing to the coffee pot.

"Who do you think I made it for?" She asked and poured some into a dented tin bowl of the same pattern as the Albatross carried, "We're pretty well set for food and water, maybe a little light on the herbaceous front, but I expect there's enough biscuits and condensed milk to tide you over, until...well I guess until we get to land. The whale's been traveling sort of Northeast, I'm hoping he's making for land."

"My savior." I said to her facetiously as I took the bowl and sipped at the cowboy coffee she'd boiled up. I then greedily gobbled down a number of bland biscuits and half a gallon of water, her earlier warnings unheeded and indeed I felt rather bloated and unwell. I was alive, well fed and for the first time in a while I was somewhere safe. Odd that said safe place was the back of a mammoth whale in the vast ocean that had tried to kill me on several occasions.

"You were amazing back there." Georgia said hesitantly, "I'd already given up a hundred times, but you just kept right on trundling along. I'm just so in awe of that, you're really something."

I scoffed and laughed, "That's my special talent, after all, keeping at a thing long after it's been established as pointless. It's my fault you're stuck out here with me in the first place. I'm afraid I can't really take credit for anything when I'm the pony who put you in danger in the first place, besides, if it wasn't for tiny here, we'd have been fish food."

Georgia shrugged, "You worry too much about fault and take it on yourself too readily. It could be said just as truthfully that all this was my fault for not being able to get back to the ship for help like I should have been able to."

"Ok, fine. From now on we'll just consider this all your fault. Happy?" I asked and she flung a slimy fish head at me. I started as if it were a spider and threw the icky tidbit aside, sticking out my tongue in disgust. She grinned, but then fell into a contemplative silence.

"Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, but how come the whale's helping us? What's in it for him?" She asked and, truth be told, I'd wondered the same thing myself.

"Any liquor on this wreck?" I asked.

"It is a griffon ship, after all." She replied.

"Good, then, gather up some and I'll go ask him." I said and she headed off to do just that. Now it wasn't strictly necessary to be standing on his back to communicate with him, but to me it seemed to lend some manner of intimacy to the conversation so that's what I did. I settled down on his back just forward of the geyser-like blowhole and asked bluntly, "Why are you helping us? We're grateful like you wouldn't believe, but it doesn't seem like there's a lot we can do for you in return."

He grumbled in thought, then told me a story in grunts and whistles by way of answering my question, "When I was a calf I would flit along the coral reefs of the tropics, explore the inlets and bays of the Northern latitudes and even play amongst the crystal causeways of the Southern dragonlands. Being small it was no trouble and I got to see all the colorful fish and beautiful animals that populated these places. I even got to see all manner of land dweller and the structures in which they made their homes."

"During these times my mother stayed as close by as she could, but she was confined to the deep water. Being young and thoughtless I just figured that grown ups were not interested in having fun like calves were. I even had friends my age to talk to, our mothers ran in a pod while we were still under their care. We had so much to talk about, so many things to tell each other, but the older we got the fewer shallows we could visit, their treasures forever lost to us."

"Soon our mothers had taught us all they knew and we friends knew each other's stories as surely as if we had lived them ourselves. We ranged farther and farther until we finally stopped coming back. Over time we grew to know the ocean so completely that it's deeps held no further surprises for us and it's shallows were but memories."

"The mothers still come together when their calves are birthed and share the duties of motherhood between them. Aside from them, we hunt alone. We share a few chance encounters here and again or there would be no more calves, but our company grates on each other and we shortly part ways. We have nothing to convey to each other, a consequence of being long lived in a largely featureless abyss."

By this time Georgia had joined me and so had her liquor. I'd already made a dent in what was once quite an expensive bottle of Champagne, "How old are you?"

"Old, but not so old for one of my kind."

"But how old?" I asked again.

"It is hard to say but I have been alive a long time. In fact I've been alive as long as I can remember." He replied. I blinked in incomprehension, then burst out laughing. It was a dumb joke, but who'd expect even that? A whale, even with a bad sense of humor was hilarious to me, "I have been around since before creatures crossed the oceans in their sky ships."

"Oh, so that's at least a couple hundred years, I think."

"It is difficult to keep a tally, I could ask my mother, she tends to be good with such trivialities." The whale said.

"Is she nearby?" I asked.

"No, but she need not be. Our hearing is exceptional and our voices carry across the vast oceans if one has the time to listen for them. Truly I am never alone, exactly, but neither do I feel as close to my kin as I did as a calf. Those days in the reefs and aimlessly exploring, when there were still so many things to learn, those are the things that I've remembered, that have kept me going all these years." He told me and it clicked.

"You rescued us because you were lonely?"

"It sounds so very pathetic when you say it that way," He replied, "and overly sentimental besides. Could we not just say that I rescued you because it was a more interesting thing to do than not rescuing you? Perhaps you are both nothing but colorful reef fish to me."

"As if I believe that." I chuckled, "You saved us because you're a great big sweetheart who just wanted some friends. If it's stories you want, I know more than a few."

"I would treasure a few new stories. Your friend, I notice, does not understand me." He said, changing the subject a bit.

"Yeah, and I really should catch her up on what we've been saying, she looks pretty bored." Georgia was sprawled out just behind me, close to the whale's blowhole, idly taking pulls off a bottle of red wine. Suddenly the whale spouted a great gout of water high into the air. It crashed down and soaked poor Georgia who rose trailing dripping, matted feathers and a befuddled expression. The bottle of wine was washed, wasted, into the sea.

"Does she still look bored?" Asked the whale gleefully.

"No, but now I really am going to have to tell her what we've been saying, especially the part where you apologized for splashing her like that." I laughed and went to comfort the soaked and swearing griffon, then I gave her the short version of our conversation, not excising the whale's sense of humor.

"So he's lonely, bored and likes practical jokes. Makes as much sense as anything else, I guess." Georgia admitted, "Did you ask where he was headed?"

"It hadn't come up." I said and then asked him, "He said he's headed towards a bay that's deep enough for him to swim into so he can get us pretty close to land. Won't even have to get our hooves...talons...feet, whatever, wet."

Georgia was relieved. I was too, a bit. It wouldn't do if he were set on keeping us with him, though I could see the desire for it. Then he asked me again how I could communicate with him and my friend could not, so I explained cutie marks as best I could.

There's a lot of ancillary information needed to frame that tidbit, though. Like division of labor, pony societal structures, walking on dry land, the oddities of magic. Hours later I'd outlined the known world and covered everything from Fresnel lenses to begonias. Goshawks to gunpowder. Manifest destiny to cast iron manifolds. I'd still only just scratched the surface, but it's impractical to try to impart a lifetime's worth of knowledge in a few hours. I even gave hints as to my own anchoritic leanings, though I wasn't able to tell him much about it due to mother's spell. I'd given Georgia a running translation as I talked, mostly so she wouldn't feel left out, but also so she could help add in pertinent information that I'd missed.

Then I told him about the dolphins and the jerky thing they'd done. When I got to the why of it Georgia was appalled. She confided that she'd always thought of dolphins as gentle and beautiful creatures, incapable of such malevolence.

"I never trusted dolphins anyway, those squeaky voices just sound so deceitful and grating. If I see that bunch I will chase them down and put the fear of Neptunia in them, you can count on that." He murmured, "I still do not understand this cutie mark thing, though. It tells you what you are talented in and then you simply pursue that for the rest of your life? Can your talents change and how come you do not talk to whales all the time?"

"There's no money in it." I said, and promptly spent another half an hour explaining our monetary system along with considerable commentary on it's inequalities. Georgia listened raptly as well. Griffon economics were similar, but had a few key differences which she later elucidated. It may have degraded into a bit of a diatribe for a moment until the whale interrupted.

"If you do not do what this cutie mark says you are destined to do, then how do you earn your bits?" He asked, an innocent enough question, I suppose.

"Really I don't. My father gives me some bits and I've been doing odd jobs and trying to be a writer...oh, now I have to explain writing, haven't I? The sounds of language are translated into little lines and squiggles so that a story can be recorded and many ponies can read it later without it's originator having to tell it over and over again." I told him and he not only understood but seemed quite taken with the idea.

"So you wish to be a story teller? That sounds a most noble goal. Have you lived a great many stories worth telling?"

"A few, but mostly no. I mean to write fiction so they aren't things that actually happened, they're things that could have happened, maybe even should have happened, but didn't." I answered hoping he would understand.

"You mean to lie?"

"Well...The stories will be made up. That's the way it's done, though. It's a pretty standard thing, but yeah, in short it's a lie." I admitted.

"Then ponies will give you bits for your lies?" He asked, incredulous.

"As long as they're good enough to sound like they're true."

"If you do not live these stories, how do you construct them?"

"Well, I read a lot, I guess," I said, "Then the rest comes from my imagination."

"You construct fibs inspired by other ponies' lies and then, if they sound true enough you are given bits for them? Bits which you say are also a false approximation of the value of the portion of life expended in some pursuit? Correct?" I answered in the affirmative, though I really didn't much like where he was headed with this, "I am certain it is just my lack of experience with such matters, but this fiction writing does not sound like a wholly noble pursuit after all."

When I translated that bit, Georgia broke out laughing, "He's got you dead to rights hasn't he?"

When he phrased it that way it did sound a bit silly, "Okay, you've got me there and I'll have a hard time defending it, but that's still what I want to do. I'm just not very good at it. So yes, I am worthless at doing a job that is also, arguably, worthless, making me doubly worthless and I thank you for pointing it out."

So I'm not conveying the wrong idea, I should like to point out that I am capable of anything. I am a gifted pony, adaptable, bloody minded and earnest in my pursuits and I approach each of them yearning to be, if not the best, then at least in the top tier. I have a recklessly one track mind that serves to feed back on my obsessions until it excludes all other minutiae in a wailing scream of focused passion.

My passions have a tendency to be short lived, though, as I always think that I'll never be good enough and am wasting my time. So shortly after becoming proficient in any given thing I self sabotage until I can justify cutting my losses and moving to the next obsession.

That is also the prime reason that I am as ultimately worthless as I am.

It's a lack of limitations that's plagued me.

Okay, I know how it sounds, hear me out.

Picture it like you're a foal in a candy store, an old trope, sure, but fitting. You can only have one thing, a couple at most, to be your raison d'etre, but you have time to chose. Your whole life is ahead of you so you sample a bit, dabble, become a dilettante in any number of flash in the pan endeavors, reject the sourest confections and the ones that looked sweeter in their bins than they are in your mouth. The gimmicky and experimental ones likewise get spit into the wastebin. That's good and normal, that's what you're meant to do. Not in a real candy store, but let's not nitpick, it's the best analogy I've got just now, even if it is a bit piecemeal.

Now the normal pony, they'd get a cutie mark that gave them a hint. I've complained about them before, but to me it seems one of the ultimate kindnesses of our society that we're given some direction, a kick in the plot.

Where a griffon or a mule might wander from one job to the next for their whole life, never being able or forced to be claimed irrevocably by a specific trade, we have clarity of purpose branded upon us. We can rebel against it, sure, but even that's direction, is it not?

An exception to this are those of us who have ambiguous or useless cutie marks. Most of them seem to occur in high society where the vocation is presupposed from birth to being a member of high society, making remunerative vocations wholly superfluous, a gilding of the lily.

Mother had aspirations to high society and with her penchant for spinning yarns she could have firmly installed herself in the seats of power, dragging me along and I could have been one of the idle elites rather than just an idler. Sometimes I wish she had done just that and sometimes I curse the very desire to be part of the oligarchy.

Sorry, bit of a rabbit trail there, maybe even a rabbit trail within a rabbit trail.

So our proverbial foal is staring at the candies with all the time in the world and any of them would do, each having merit and pitfalls in their selection. The other foals, those who do not pick carelessly, mostly have the width of choice narrowed by the destiny foretold by their cutie marks and their station.

Without some direction it's hard to choose, the selection of life's possibilities being so vast. Even getting knocked up might winnow things nicely. When one is careful to avoid forming attachments that might hinder their future choices, the choices evaporate anyway and so does any direction such attachments may have given.

When our foal looks around she see's she's still in good company, hesitant gems and stars and abstract patterned flanks that are less certain in their prognostication, but sooner or later she is left alone and every time she samples a new flavor she finds it to be stale and undesirable. Now our poor protagonist is just searching for any offering that's remotely palatable and she finds not a thing that's suitable and she's wracked with doubt everytime she's about to make the leap, the time that can be allowed to false starts waning. She talks herself out of every one with well reasoned, unassailable criticisms that ring true no matter their real merit.

A decade gets by in a blink, I mean to tell you.

It's a long time to go, metaphorically, hungry.

It does things to a pony's psyche.
So on the one hoof you've no idea what you've got to do to a foal to end up with a mare like me and I could rightly blame all manner of things for my current state.

On the other hoof... oh, on the other hoof if things had been tighter, if I'd actually had to support myself, if I'd been forced to pick, doesn't matter what, wouldn't I have put my foalish bent behind me and put put my nose to the wheel?

Any wheel?

Wouldn't I have found some place to belong by now?

Wave Crest might be a prime example of what I'm talking about. There's something wrong with her eyes, there had been since she was a foal but it's not really noticeable. Ten years from now, barring some miracle, she'll be effectively blind and it's a deadline she's long been aware of. To that end she married a loyal stallion and raised up a family early, saving up bits to put towards her care in the long darkness of her future to which she's become resigned. In this way her limitation became her prime motivation, arguably a net positive when weighed on the got-your-horseapples-together scale.

Too much time, too many choices and by the time I'd wanted to make one, they'd long since staled and discolored. Sticky blobs at the bottom of the bin fit only for ants and roaches and maybe I belong with them.

Maybe that's all a justification and it's just my cowardice that's kept me static all my life. It sounds like a more likely explanation than that my limitless options baffled me into inaction.

Even the rabbit trails, which I am inexplicably cursed to follow, are indicative of my fear of commitment, my inability to follow one narrative path and forever prune away the other likely branches.

There's an axiom that I heard the reservists repeat on several occasions, an old chestnut meant to be a joke for when you're uncertain how to proceed and the Lieutenant's headed your way.

Do something, even if it's wrong.

It's a far wiser statement than it's generally given credit for.

Say it three times aloud so that you don't forget it.

My point being, so far as there actually is one in this sticky briarpatch, that just because I played it for laughs when the whale called me out on choice, destiny and the value of fiction, I take these philosophical discussions quite seriously and it put me in a funk for the rest of the day. One might think recent events of the life or death variety would have shown me how trivial these concerns are, that's one of those inspirational standards. Doesn't seem to have been the case. If anything it brought them even more to the forefront.

We talked the rest of the day, me serving as intermediary between Georgia and the whale at times as we both learned more about her culture. When we retired to the defunct airship, it's value lessened to that of a windbreak, Georgia could tell I was inclined to slip into despondency. She playfully served me from the ship's store of spirits and talked loudly about all her brothers and sisters and their far flung lives. Then she danced and forced me to join her as she screeched and sang what she said was the griffon's national anthem, but it had more swear words in it than you might expect and I giggled at every one. I am irritatingly immature when it comes to swear words.

When we finally did settle in to sleep she was right there beside me and even in my inebriated state I thought I could feel her concerned stare watching over me protectively. It was painfully evident to me not only that she was watching out for me, but that she thought I needed watching out for.

I was grateful, but it wasn't enough to keep the nightmares at bay. Flashing crimson eyes, overpowering waves of magical energy. Pinkie and Twilight turned to mindless zombies, inexorably shambling towards me as I stumblingly tried to flee.

When I awoke, I was hyperventilating with tears streaming down my cheeks, but that all burned away shortly, forgotten. A griffon cuddled up like a life size teddy bear makes waking up a much more pleasant experience. I had forgotten about it, but griffons are by far the greatest sleeping companions one could imagine. Now I'm not talking about anything sordid here, not that I'm entirely opposed, I'm just saying that you've got almost a whole cuddly cat body and then the softest, fluffiest feathers to nuzzle up to, so that's what I did, and she purred! It was so cute!

All that dumb angst and apparently all I needed was a good cuddle with a griffon. Then I had to go and wake her. Her eyes sprung open, golden irises focusing in on the smiling pony whose face was lodged in her neck feathers with a glare, "Come on now, stop that!"

I didn't, I wriggled my face in even tighter and blew a hot breath on her neck, ruffling a big patch of feathers and setting one adrift, "I can't, you're just so soft and fluffy!"

She bolted upright, "Quit! You're just messing up my feathers now! Sheesh, bipolar much?" Then she pecked me and pulled on my mane, "There, see how you like it!"

"Ow! Ow! Quit! I was just playing, stop!" I sniveled and she eventually did. She was muttering something disparaging that I knew she didn't mean. Griffons take themselves over seriously, I'm afraid and I guess she was actually a little annoyed so I offered to make breakfast, which consisted of opening a couple tins, putting some coffee on the galley's little stove and unpacking some biscuits which she broke apart and gobbled down quickly.

I was still grinning as I picked apart my own biscuits and dipped them idly into my coffee. As I am prone to fits of melancholy I also have passing moments of boundless joy, often right after the former. Georgia was quick to notice it, but took a long while before she saw fit to mention it.

"You seem to be doing a fair bit better than you were last night." She observed.

"Yeah, yeah I am at that. A good nip and a good night's sleep do wonders." In truth I was still pretty lit from last night, having a trove of free booze that's otherwise just going to waste will do that to you.

"You, um, seemed to have some trouble sleeping," Georgia hesitated, "Like you were having nightmares. Really you seemed to be having a pretty rough time of it."

My smile fell away, replaced for a moment with a snarling grimace before my previous grin won out again, slightly diminished, "Yeah, I have pretty bad dreams sometimes, I...thanks for looking out for me."

"You were thrashing and mumbling and you really had me worried for a while there. Are you okay? Like really okay?" A look of concern darkened her brow, all this just when I'd been on a little upswing I could have ridden all day.

"Oh, no. I haven't been really okay in...well maybe ever. My memory's not what it should be, so I don't really know," I answered brightly, incongruously. It's not something that's worth worrying about, it's just the way it is. I wish I hadn't answered honestly, but she caught me off guard. It's always such a pain when someone wants to 'help,' "I have something I take for it, usually, but it was in my saddlebag and they dumped them along with everything else during the battle."

Thinking about my lost stash I realized that the Morningstar's supplies would have to be pretty tight. There wouldn't have been much water left and probably a minimal amount of food, but then they would have had to have made landfall by now, and then what? Pinkie Pie shoved me overboard and though she was acting crazy at the time she seemed to be trying to exclude me from the fray. She was working for my mother, so that implied...what? That mother had designs on the Morningstar itself? The whole ship and crew? I'd thought that she was after me before. It seemed less likely now, so what was of any value on that ship? If she didn't show any sentimental attachment to her own daughter I rather doubted that her former battalion was of any great interest, so that only left...the Element Bearers!

In fact, wasn't it pretty likely that the coordinates she'd given me were a trap meant for them? If she'd just given them the coordinates they'd know it was a trap, she had to be sly. She must have known I'd get out of the looney bin one way or another and pass the information to the Elements, so that gave her the time she needed to get to Eagleland and prepare things. I was a time delayed fuse meant to set off her trap, and what they were doing? Odds are it's just what she expected they'd do.

She already had the Elements themselves, but obviously she wasn't in a position to use them. So far as I knew they'd be useless without their Bearers which must be why she wanted them. She could, conceivably, want them for her own use but that was a far grander plan than her past endeavors would imply.

If she was still up to her old tricks I had to assume that she was planning to auction them off to the highest bidder, there had to be any number of nefarious villains out there who'd either have a use for them or their disposal.

Pinkie herself had said I wasn't meant to be a part of the plan and if I simply hid I could likely keep myself safe. She'd taken a considerable risk for me and both Georgia and I had suffered a great deal for the chance to be free from this web, all I had to do was disappear and we'd be safe.

Far from going to ground and hiding, however, I was determined to undermine her scheme and put a stop to this once and for all. If only I could tell somebird about it.

Author's Note:

A childish whale, an emotionally stunted pony.
I smell shipping!
Well, okay, maybe not really.

The whole candy store "rabbit trail" thing?
I apologize for that, somewhat and feel I should give an explanation.
Sure, it's completely off topic. My editor's was mad that I hadn't cut it 'cuz she told me to, but then I said I did and she doesn't go on fimfiction proper.
Then why didn't I?
Well...Sea Swirl's in a real life or death type situation and she's worried and talking about something completely pointless, off base and unsolvable in at the present moment instead of dealing with what's right in her face that might make an actual difference.
Plus the digressions are part of the way she (the real one) writes and it's both annoying and something I like, somewhat like footnotes and random parenthetical meanderings that go on way too long.
So, hope you like it anyway.

Also, the next chapter skips ahead and then fills in the missing bit later.