Pirates of Equestria

by Lastingimage24

First published

A battle between holy evil and blind truths takes place in the once utopian society that is Equestria. Six elements, two captains, and four Immortals struggle to clear the now blurred line between right and wrong.

Ten years. Our six heroes, gone. Disbanded and separated, broken from the bonds of friendship. An uprising with no hope, and tyranny unlike any other. The goddesses have grown distant, unconcerned. They too are affected by the scars brought by sentient nature. Battles between good and evil now become a question of morality, as the line of gray gets more and more smudged. A pirate, harsh and aggressive, but just and open-minded. A Legion sailor, holy and righteous, but blind and stubborn. Both warriors know and practice the virtues of living men, but one knows the truth, and the other is clouded by lies. Would one know the truth and fight good people to save lives, or be blinded by divine intervention with assurance of their deeds? As many answers as there are questions, one can assume the worst in this land of corruption. Because they pirate what little they can to stand for what they believe. They are pirates of virtue.

Pirates of Equestria

Grim Reunion (PT 1)

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“Pinkie Pie, what the hell?! That’s offensive, and you’re not even drunk!”

“After all I’ve done for you, you can’t give me a few drinks on the house? What kind of sick friendship is that?”

“It’d be different if you didn’t ask for free drinks every day! I can’t run a business if you drink half my inventory every week without me charging you for it.”

“I pay for the drinks… sometimes.”

“Yeah, keyword there. Look Pinks, if you don’t stop harassing me I’m gonna have to throw you out, I’m sorry.”


Pinkie tasted dirt as her face collided with the soft mud of the ground, sending a shocking pain down her neck and into her spine. It was a feeling she knew well, for she was out of the job and every bar she tried to get a complimentary drink reacted the same way. Yelling, insults, bouncer pony, dirt. It was admittedly getting really old, and Pinkie believed she wouldn't be able take any more falls before she got serious head trauma. But she wanted alcohol SOO BAD. Night after night of heavy drinking every day for two years and then suddenly stopping is like taking a baseball bat to the face while playing basketball. Unexpected for the body, and very, very painful. Pinkie has the willpower to stop an addiction, but the withdrawal was physically hurting her. It felt as if a small chipmunk crawled in her stomach and was nibbling on anything that was pink. Ironically that had happened before, but the withdrawal was even worse than that noodle incident.

Lost in thought, Pinkie's hoof caught on something hard, and she felt herself hurdle through the air for the seventh time that night. Y’know, I’m getting accustomed to the taste of dirt. It has this nice, earthy taste, Pinkie thought sarcastically. She spat out the dirt and turned to address what had the insensitivity to trip her while she was buzzed.

“A rock.”

It’s funny how some things just have a habit of popping up. Pinkie sighed.

“Dumb rock.”

“Who ya callin’ dumb?” Pinkie squealed and jumped back from the talking rock. She quickly reached to her mane to check its volume and strangely found it still poofy. Great. Now rocks are talking to me. She hadn't even converted to her crazy personality. That means her sane side is going insane. That can't be good. She might set something on fire… again.

“’Ey I’m talkin’ to ya!” a voice called behind her. Pinkie turned around to meet the eyes of pony that spoke, and her eyes met up with three large, menacing stallions.

“What? Oh, I’m sorry; I’m kind smashed right now.” Well that was a lie. It was just a slight buzz. “What’s up?”

The pony ignored her. “You can’t call ponies dumb,” he said, a paper thin smile spreading across his face. “That makes you a bad filly. Bad fillies got to get spanked…”

Oh. OH. Oh shit. Pinkie Pie was in no mood nor condition to get raped. She frantically turned to see her surroundings. The tropical forests of Port Corral enveloped three empty-looking huts around her. Nopony around. There was no way Pinkie could take on three buff stallions, and her buzz made it impossible to run with anywhere without taking an embarrassing blunder five steps in. Defeated, Pinkie sighed and said, “Could ya at least be gentle?”

All she heard was a quickly spoken “nope” before she felt the weight of the stallion’s hoof make contact with her skull. A deafening crack and Pinkie was face down (AGAIN) in the mud. She felt something tug violently at her tail, but, before she could turn her head to investigate, a hoof slammed into the back of her head, pushing her further into the mud.

“Now be a big girl and don’t scream,” one of the stallions whispered into her ear before laughing manically. Man, I couldn’t even get nice rapists? Hello painful death, meet river under a bridge. Oh my, don’t you two both look beautiful together?

Pinkie awaited the inevitable insertion, and the eventual loss of consciousness. She knew full well if she lost consciousness she might never wake up. But the...'weapon' never came (HAHA, sex pun. I'm brilliant.)

Pinkie heard what sounded like a hoof hitting a rock, one of the stallions grunting in pain, and a blomph noise. It sounded distinctly like a sack of potatoes being thrown into another sack of potatoes. Pinkie Pie, still tipsy, finally realized that the pressure of the stallion’s hoof on the back of her mane was mysteriously gone. She lifted her head to examine her surroundings, and she was greeted with the view of two unconscious ponies, whom Pinkie identified as the two grunts helping the rapist who had called the shots. Pinkie heard another potato sack noise, and turned to the left to inspect it. A yellow Pegasus in a sailor suit with a pink mane and black streaks in it was what filled her vision. That, and the stallion she was stabbing with a long, curved sword. Holy balls in a bowl, Batman!

The stallion’s body went limp, life leaving his carcass. Pinkie noticed that he was the only pony her savior had killed, a fact which she was thankful for. Pinkie knew that if something wasn’t done about him he would continue his doucheness to mares everywhere, but there were always alternatives to killing. Pinkie didn’t let it bother her though, most likely because she would’ve died this night if it weren’t for the pegasus. “Thanks,” she finally said. “You saved my life.”

“So you don’t recognize me?” the menacingly cute and forebodingly soft voice replied. Pinkie knew that voice…

“C’mon…” the yellow pegasus said slowly, as if the fact Pinkie didn’t remember her gave her some sort of sadistic pleasure.

“Ponyville?” she asked. Ponyville? Pinkie mulled over her alcohol-filmed thoughts. She didn’t think she knew any yellow pony… Wait… Fl-

“Been a long time…” The Pegasus in the sailor bard said darkly. “Pinkie.”

Pinkie gasped as she recalled that same innocent face, except this one was twisted with experience, and knowledge of the evil around her. In disbelief, the pink pony whispered, “Fluttershy?”


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Good friends are now distant strangers.

Corruption tugs at the everlasting balance of good; morality and empathy humble the guilt-ridden servants of evil. The line of righteousness has been clouded by both selfishness, and sympathy. These are dark times indeed. A haunting future hangs in front of all existence, yet they are oblivious to the danger at hand, too blinded by their own meaningless squabbles to see the big picture. Purity is now a fact of the past, and death looms right around the corner.

What is right changes upon whose eyes you're looking through. What is wrong changes upon what situation one is in. What is a condemning action, when the judge has been condemned?

What is the lesser of two evils, when there is no good to be found?

Questions such as these could have been answered at one point, but those are times long since forgotten. The ones who could are now disbanded and estranged, broken from the bonds of friendship.

But those mares... they are our only hope for our salvation. Without them... we will all die.


“The fact of piracy isn’t the desire for free shit. It is the axe of corporate business and the weapon against the mission of stomping on the little guy.”

Grim Reunion (PT 2)

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“Perspective’s fuckin’ crazy, man”

Chapter 1

Fluttershy just stood there, smiling. It wasn’t an innocent smile how Pinkie Pie had remembered; it was the smile of one with experience. It was a smile of sass, sadism, and seductiveness. “Well I’m glad you remember my name, douche,” she said light-heartedly, stretching out a hoof to shake. What Fluttershy got instead was a sudden embrace from her long-time friend with an audible thud. At first, she was dumbstruck, and a little angry. But, she remembered just who was hugging her, and Fluttershy returned her friend’s loving embrace. Fluttershy reached up her hoof and patted the back of Pinkie’s mane. Fluttershy felt moisture on her shoulder. Either she’s drooling on me or she’s crying.

“Don’t be such a doormat next time, alright? It’s okay.” Wow, Fluttershy hasn’t empathized in a while, and that hit her hard. In a comedic way, though. Pinkie giggled.

“I never expected to hear that coming from you,” Pinkie said through teary eyes. “To be honest, I never expected to hear from you at all.”

“Yeah, well, shit happens. Hey, what are you doing out here in the first place? What happened?”

Pinkie Pie looked down and wiped her tears away with her hooves. She didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was an alcoholic. Meekly, she said, “I… did some pretty stupid stuff. Made stupid decisions and trusted stupid people. ‘Shy? I’m outta work, I got kicked out of my apartment and I have a really bad hangover.” Fluttershy lit up. Nowhere to go? No purpose? Trying to get away from the past? Sounds familiar. Well, except for the hangover.

“If that’s the case, Pinkie… do you want to come with me?” Pinkie Pie shot up, any hint of depression melting away. She exploded into a huge gasp.

“R-really?! Where do ya live?” she asked with great enthusiasm that made Fluttershy feel exhausted just by standing next to her.

Fluttershy furrowed her brows and looked away with a smile on her face. “I’m afraid I can't just tell you.”

Instead of saying anything, Pinkie Pie just cocked her head in a way that said, “Why?”

The yellow Pegasus in the sailor suit just laughed. “I think it’d be easier to show than tell.”

The pink pony nodded skeptically, and trotted after her friend.

Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie trotted through the Port Corral’s neighboring tropical forest at a brisk (and awkwardly silent) pace. After about ten minutes of walking, Pinkie’s hangover started to wear off, and she was getting bored. Fast. She figured she would pry; there was nothing else to do.

“Soo,” Pinkie so’d inquiringly. Fluttershy facehoofed. Subtlety was something Pinkie never learned. Hopefully her questions won’t be too hard to answer. “Black streaks, huh?” Fluttershy shot up and looked at Pinkie skeptically. Surely Pinkie could’ve thought of a more telling question than that. Pinkie just shrugged in response. Fluttershy rolled her eyes.

“I thought they were cool. Without the streaks, I have no authority. I look too sweet and innocent to be threatening to anypony. It makes it easier to earn respect as well,” she listed with a monotone. She looked back at her friend with a twisted smirk. “Plus, it’s kind of sexy, don’t you think?”

Pinkie mulled over her friend for the second time that night, this time taking care to note the more... delicate parts. She didn’t know why, but she never thought about Fluttershy in that way. Fluttershy was too naive and innocent to be though of that way. But looking over her now? Now that she’s so tough and confident? She was very good looking. Like really, REALLY, good looking. Pinkie replied with a zombified “Very.”

Fluttershy was a pretty good judge of character, and wasn’t dense in the least but the suggestiveness of Pinkie's tone flew right over her head, slammed into a tree, and died somewhere in the forest. Fluttershy was straight as a board, over all. Oblivious to her friend's impure thoughts, she replied to Pinkie with a resolute, “Thought so.”

Pinkie shook of her perverse thoughts long enough to think of another question. After some hazy deciding, Pinkie sighed. “Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy craned her neck to face Pinkie. “Yeah?”

“What happened to you? You killed that guy, didn’t you? The Fluttershy I knew wouldn’t hurt a fly. Something went wrong, didn’t it?”

The million dollar question. Fluttershy looked away and gave a distant chuckle. Darkly, she said, “That’s a story for another time, my friend.”

That was another way of saying she’ll never hear it. Pinkie squinted in silent accusation and added “But you’ll tell me it eventually, won’t you?”

“Aye, I think I’ve gone too long without telling it anyway.”

Aye? AYE? Who talks like that anymore? Pinkie had noticed that Fluttershy’s speech pattern was different, and she had a hint of some accent, but she wasn’t able to pin it out until now. The only people that still used that accent were sailors.

Stupid me, she’s wearing a sailor’s uniform for crying out loud. Pinkie inspected the strange outfit her friend was wearing again. It looked like a sailor suit, but it was more messy than she had originally thought them to be. It was a blue overcoat with a white shirt underneath. The sleeves of the overcoat were rolled up, but the white sleeves of the undershirt were still exposed. There was a single brown sash cutting across the white shirt which Pinkie suspected was holding the sheathe of her sword along with any other possible weapons. There was a single saddlebag off to Fluttershy’s side carrying her belongings. It was stylish, sure, but nothing a sailor would wear, not without warranting a reaction from the captain.

“Fluttershy, what’s with the getup?” Pinkie finally asked. Instead of responding, Fluttershy put on a wide smile and extended her hoof at a large bush, implying that there was something behind it. Pinkie raised a brow in question, but Fluttershy just widened her smile and nodded forebodingly. Pinkie inched up to the bush and pushed the large leaves out of the way. What she saw made her jaw drop in wonder.

A large wooden ship thirty feet from the coast was floating there, anchored into the shallow sea. It wasn’t as large as the Legion’s battleships, but it wasn’t far behind. Double masts with rows of ten or odd cannons stationed on each side. The sails were tied up and there were a number of ponies working maintenance on it. While the ship certainly didn’t have as many ponies as it could have, there were at least seventy on the ship. All in all it was a beautiful sight, one that made Pinkie feel small in comparison. “Wooooow,” Pinkie gaped. “You live on that?”

“Aye, that I do.”

“Are you the captain?” Pinkie mused.

Fluttershy shot her a scowl, but smiled shortly after. “Hardly. I wouldn’t trade our captain for the world.”

Fluttershy playfully punched Pinkie’s shoulder and said, “C’mon, let’s get to shore.”

The canoe the two friends were in rocked slowly as the massive ship got bigger and bigger. Pinkie found herself caught up in another silence, this time not awkward but more boooorrring than the last. That’s when Pinkie Pie noticed something odd. “Wait. We’re in Port Corral; why didn’t you guys use the docks?”

Fluttershy chuckled softly. “Well, we’re not welcome by most folk.”

Pinkie raised a brow at this. “But the docks support commercial, private, and military use. Why wouldn’t…”

Pinkie was interrupted by Fluttershy grabbing her head with both her hooves. Pinkie’s heart started racing, but all Fluttershy did was reposition her head to look at the ship. She then whispered in her ear, “Pinkie?”

Pinkie Pie sighed a dreamy “Yeah?”

“See that flag, positioned at the top of the ship?”

Awww. “Yeah,” Pinkie sighed in disappointment.

Fluttershy face straightened in annoyance before adding, “Take a good look at it.”

Pinkie, growing more frustrated, began to retort, “What about it? It’s a flag...“ Pinkie finally realized what her yellow friend meant. It was a black flag, tattered and broken, with a pony’s skull and two crossbones underneath. Pinkie’s mouth got larger and larger with each passing second of the horrid realization.

“YOU’RE A PIRATE?” she stammered in disbelief. Fluttershy (to Pinkie’s dismay) started to laugh maniacally at her pink friend’s reaction. As Fluttershy’s laugh got creepier, Pinkie wondered if it was such a bad idea to get raped and thrown off a bridge.


The guard standing in front Luna’s throne recoiled at this. But he was just a naval captain, why is she bitc-


The guard jumped back once again and dashed off towards the exit. He burst through the other side and began to yell. “You can go in now, you can go in now!”

The beige stallion with the dark brown circle around his one eye simply smiled and shook his head as the guard ran away. He trotted casually into his princess’ throne room.

The princess smiled as she saw the familiar captain walk in. “Ah, greetings Captain Squeak, how dost thou fare?”

Captain Squeak. Luna was the only pony who ever called him that, and he liked it. Most Ponies would call him Captain Pip, for they thought ‘Pipsqueak’ was too demeaning of a name for a Captain. After reassuring them that he loved his name, and it gave him no disrespect, most ponies would then normally refer to him as Captain Pipsqueak. Luna however, after reading his name on the roster, affectionately nicknamed him Captain Squeak. If anyone else called him that, he’d probably deck them in the face, but Luna was a special case. He damn near melted when she first called him that.

“I’m good, Princess,” he said with a bow. “How about ‘thy?’” he teased, giving a wink.

Luna put a hoof to her muzzle and chuckled. If any other pony said that to her, she’d probably send them to the sun, but she strangely enjoyed it whenever Squeak made fun. “I’m doing well.” Her expression darkened and she began to tell him of the small situation that had popped up while he was off duty. “There has been a report from a reliable resource that pirates have popped up around the coastal region of Port Corral. It has been said that a civilian has already been killed. I want you to journey there and get rid of the rogue threat.”

Pipsqueak bowed again and replied with a smooth, “As your will, my Princess.”

“Go, Captain Squeak,” Luna ordered with a smile.

“Ohmygoshwhyareyouapirate ohmygoshwhyareyouapirate ohmygoshwhyareyouapirate,” Pinkie stuttered in dismay. Fluttershy’s scowl was getting more and more touched with irritation as time went on. Fluttershy had tried to time her reveal to be as hilarious as possible whilst giving her the least time with the frustrating and hysterical Pinkie, but she mistimed it a bit.

“Ohmygoshwhyareyouapirate ohmygoshwhyareyouapirate ohmygo-“ Fluttershy shoved her hoof in Pinkie’s mouth to prevent her from continuing to talk.

“Seriously, Pinkie. Shut. The fuck. UP.” Fluttershy took out her hoof and wiped the pink pony’s saliva off on her shirt. Pinkie just stared at her with wide eyes before getting teary.

“Fluttershy? HOW COULD YOU?!” Pinkie started bawling, much to Fluttershy’s annoyance. The row boat they were in finally touched the ship, and Fluttershy began to set up the ladder to be easier to climb for a landlubber like Pinkie.

“C’mon, Pinkie, climb the damned ladder before I throw you overboard.”

Pinkie pie gasped once again and recoiled. “What? You can’t expect me to climb onto a PIRATE SHIP. What’s wrong with you?”

Fluttersigh. “I was hoping I could be all dramatic with this next part, but I guess it’s too late for that.” Fluttershy grabbed Pinkie’s head and looked directly into her eyes. “Pie, I may be a pirate, but this bunch I’m with? They ain’t like normal pirates. They are under the command of Captain Peg-Patches. This guy, he’s amazing. Sure we steal, and we plunder, and sometimes we even kill, but we give to the poor and donate to the sickly. Cap’n Patch is one of the greatest stallions in all of Equestria. His mission… has always been my mission.”

Pinkie Pie tried to process this new information. Carefully she asked, “And what mission is that?”

“Help the less fortunate; heal the sick; bring down the evil.” Fluttershy smiled wistfully. “In other words: be a good person.”

Pinkie Pie mulled over her thoughts for a couple of seconds before finally exhaling. It was Fluttershy, after all. She wouldn't do something as outlandish as joining pirates without a really good reason. “Well… I guess you wouldn’t make a bad choice. If you think it’s right, so do I.”

Fluttershy smiled and kissed Pinkie’s cheek, which made her freeze up in shock. Fluttershy, not noticing her friend stiffen, turned and began to climb up the ladder using her wings to aid her.

“Thanks Pinkie,” she said. “I knew I could count on you.”

“Yeah,” Pinkie replied, breaking out of her reverie. “Sure.”

“Wow, surprised you’re not halfway to the moon by now.” An orange Pegasus with a purple mane said to Captain Pipsqueak. Pipsqueak just rolled his eyes.

“C’mon, Scoots, you know that’s just a rumor to scare little foals with,” Pipsqueak replied, looking back at Canterlot Castle. “She doesn’t actually do that… I think.” Scootaloo giggled in response. “Besides, I spoke to Luna, not Celestia."

“Why not? Was she not in?”

“Nah, she was there, but I chose to speak to Luna.”

“What?” Scootaloo scoffed. “Why?" she asked, giving him a look of disappointment. Pipsqueak didn't really have an answer for that, so he simply put on a large grin. Scootaloo rolled her eyes and looked away from her beige friend. "I don’t understand your fascination with Nightmare Moon, Cap’n Pips.”

Pipsqueak stepped in front of Scootaloo before shoving his hoof in her chest. “Hey, you know as well as I do that she ain’t Nightmare Moon anymore. She’s kind and gentle, alright? She's Luna.”

“Heh, sounds like you got a little crush on her, Cap’n.” Scootaloo nudged her superior. He blushed and stuttered in response.

“N-no! She’s just really cool, okay?”

“Sure, Romeo, sure. Isn’t that blasphemous or somethin’?” Scootaloo mused.

“Erghh,” Pipsqueak groaned. “Why are you my first mate again?”

“’Cause I’m the only one who knows what a wimp you are!” she retorted before locking his head under her leg. They both shared a laugh before heading off to their ship for their eventual journey to Port Corral.

“Something wrong, Rare?” Spike asked, speculation in his voice. Rarity stared off into the night’s horizon. Something was giving her an eerie feeling. She just shook her head and began to trot back to her dragon.

“It’s nothing, Hon,” she reassured. But there was an uncertainty in her voice and a nervous look on her face. Spike raised his eyescales skeptically. “It’s just… that part in my heart… that feeling I got when I used the element… it’s coming back…” Spike shot up and skillfully jumped towards Rarity, but she raised hoof to stop him.

“Calm down, it’s not a bad feeling…” Rarity put the hoof she raised to her chest, and smiled with a sense of nostalgia. “I just haven’t felt this way in over ten years…”

Spike inspected Rarity one more time to make sure she was okay, but that look on her face… he nodded knowingly and stared off into the horizon with her. He whispered, “Guys… We’ll be here… If you’re still alive.”


Idle Frowns

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"It's impossible to have a completely unbiased opinion... Unless you live under a rock or somethin'."

Chapter 2






“You’re embarrassing m-“



“…Oooohhh….” Pinkie sighed. “You know, Flutteryell, you don’t have to be so unpleasant.”

“Pinkie, look: I have authority here. Guess what you’re doing by acting like a tool? Yep, you’re UNDERMINING MY AUTHORITY.”

“What authority? You’re just a pirate grunt.”

Before Fluttershy got the time to toss Pinkie off the boat in rage, a stallion crept up to Pinkie’s ear. “Actually, until I got on board, she has the most authority.” Pinkie jumped back, startled. Fluttershy noticed who the stallion was instantly and quickly straightened up her posture. She gave a little salute and fixed her disheveled mane.

“Welcome back, Cap’n Patch!” Fluttershy greeted. Pinkie eyed Fluttershy’s position, and copied it exactly.

“At ease, soldiers,” Patch began. He took a glance at Pinkie Pie, and corrected himself. “Er, uh, soldier and pink pony.” Fluttershy eased up her tension but Pinkie Pie remained stationary. Slowly, Patch circled around Pinkie Pie and inspected her.

Captain Peg-Patch was a handsome navy blue pony with unkempt raven-black hair. He had it cut with his scimitar about a week ago, so it wasn’t as long as it usually was, however it didn't distract from the fact that it was messy and pretty dirty. His cutie mark boasted what his name suggested: a peg leg and an eye patch. Despite the name, he didn’t really have a peg leg or an eye patch, but he did joke that he was destined to lose an eye and a leg. Fluttershy was the only one who took that seriously. “Who is this woman?” he finally inquired.

“This is Pinkamena Diane Pie. She was outside a bar where she was almost raped and killed. I was able to knock out two of her attackers but unfortunately the last was too strong for me. I stabbed him in the abdomen. There’s a small chance he could have survived, but it’s very unlikely,” Fluttershy reported.

Patch frowned and tsked at Fluttershy who looked away from his glare .in shame “Fu’Shy, you know the rules: for the amount of kills you have, you need to save the same amount of ponies plus one,” Patch scolded. “Unless the pony you’re saving is a key target, in which any method may be taken.”

“That’s the thing Cap’n, Miss Pie is a key target,” Fluttershy clarified. Pinkie beamed.

“Explain,” Patch monotoned while putting a hoof to his chin.

Aw crap, I haven’t thought this through, she thought. I guess I could say she’s the element of laughter, but I haven’t even told him that I’m kindness… Fluttershy glanced at Pinkie Pie. He would accept her if I say she’s my friend, Fluttershy deduced.

Pinkie noticed Fluttershy was eyeing her, which made her grin wildly in response. On second thought, she’s already embarrassed me enough, Fluttershy thought with malign.

Fluttersigh. “She’s… I’m personally affiliated with her.”

“Ah," The captain breathed. He raised his eyebrows in implication. "Lover?”

“C-Cap’n!” Fluttershy stammered, heat rising to her cheeks. Pinkie giggled.

“Kidding. Now who is she really?”

“She’s my… friend.” Fluttershy sighed, defeated.

“There. Now say what you really mean next time.” He patted Pinkie Pie on the head while keeping a scolding eye on Fluttershy. “You shouldn’t be ashamed of your friends.”

“Yes sir,” she replied humbly. “I was wondering, Cap’n, can Pinkie Pie come aboard the ship?”

“Mm, depends by what you mean by ‘coming’.”

Pinkie couldn’t help herself; she fell on the floor with her hooves cradling herself, laughing hysterically. Man, I like this guy, she thought between fits of laughter.

“Cap’n. CAN. SHE. JOIN. THE. CREW.” Fluttershy didn’t say it angrily, but was saying it carefully as to not introduce another innuendo.

“Mm…” Patch Mm’d. He began to inspect the bouncing pony from top to bottom. “Let’s see... physically average, minutely slender, somewhat flexible, fairly attractive…”

Pinkie noticed that Fluttershy kind of… flinched when Patch mentioned attractive.

“She has a pretty severe case of alcohol addiction.”



Man, I really want some muffins right now.

“How’d… how’d you know?” Pinkie stuttered, unable to see how it would've been plausible.

“Because you just told us Miss Pie.” Patch deadpanned.

Pinkie pie scoffed before turning to Fluttershy. “’Shy, I can-“

Fluttershy raised a hoof to interrupt her. “Later,” she said softly, whilst giving Pinkie a forgiving smile.

“Look, my point is that Miss Pie is incredibly average. I don’t see how she’ll be of any help in any way.” Patch turned to leave, but Fluttershy stopped him with her hoof. Before letting Fluttershy speak, he began to raise his voice. “Look Fu’Shy, I can’t just let anyone on this ship! This mare doesn’t even look like she takes anything seriously, let alone the fact that she does not look like to be efficient in any way.”

Instead of retaliating, Fluttershy smiled snidely. She stretched out a presenting hoof at Pinkie Pie, who beamed. Patch shook his head quizzically. Smugly, she addressed Pinkie. “Hey Pinkie, go climb that big mast over there to the tippy-top.”

“Okie doki loki!” Like a snail, Pinkie slowly trudged towards the appointed mast. Patch just turned to look at Fluttershy in absolute bewilderment.

“Look at her now,” Fluttershy said complacently. Patch rolled his eyes and faced the direction where Pinkie was standing… only to have his jaw drop at the fact that she wasn’t there anymore.

“Where’d she…?” he began to ask.

Fluttershy nudged Captain Patch and pointed up, towards the masts. Patch looked up to see a tiny pink dot at the very top of one of them. His jaw nearly fell out of his skull.

“So," Fluttershy smiled.

Patch faced Fluttershy again with a blatant look of shock on his face. He quickly contorted it into a hard scowl, which made Fluttershy grin even harder.

“She shares a room with Vex,” he proclaimed flatly, and with that, he walked off.

“Poor Vex.” Fluttershy jested.

“Sweet, I get to share a room with Vex!” Pinkie cheered in Fluttershy’s ear.

“Set sail!” Captain Pipsqueak yelled at the top of his lungs.

“SET SAIL!” Sootaloo repeated.

“Raise the anchors!”


“Man your posts!”


“Scootaloo is a hollering idiot!”

Scootaloo froze, realizing what she almost called herself. Scootaloo slammed her hoof in her friend’s chest, who just winced and laughed in response.

“C’mon, crew. To Port Corral!”

“C’mon, crew. Let’s blow Port Corral!” Patch barked enthusiastically.

Fluttershy nudged Patch and winked before saying, “Shouldn’t you buy the guy dinner first?”

“In this place? Are you kidding me? There are pink drunks, groups of rapists, and mosquitos,” Patch joked. “Let’s get the hell out here!” Fluttershy and Patch shared a hearty chuckle before quieting down in anticipation of the boat being prepared. After a bit Patch glanced towards Fluttershy to the right of him, who was staring straight ahead out to sea. How can she sit so still like that? Looks so peaceful… “Fu’Shy?"

"Yes, Sir?"

"What the hell were you doing out there anyways? What is it that you get every time we stop at a city?”

Fluttershy laughed as if he just asked her to stab herself and pour hot sauce on the wound. She didn't actually dignify the question with a response.

“Heh, thought so. I knew you couldn’t live without your porn.”

Fluttershy laughed and retorted, “Nice try, Cap’n.”

“Damn. You ever gonna tell me where you disappear to?”

“Maybe someday, Sir. Maybe someday.

Pinkie Pie walked down the crowded halls of the innards of the ship, wondering and day dreaming about her new roomie apparently named Vex. Fluttershy had explained to her that, while each room usually houses four to five crew mates, Vex was a special case and had a room all to herself. The living quarters were nicer than Pinkie had suspected, from what she had expected from a pirate ship at least. They were even numbered. She counted the rooms down the hall, looking for her bunk, room 115.

108, 109, 110… almost there… Her eyes swelled up in anticipation with each passing room, waiting for her magic room number. Right then, a terribly loud ringing noise resonated in Pinkie’s head which threw her a little off balance. It was the second time that day. She had to catch herself using a passing pony as leverage. After apologizing to the guy (who was quite flustered by the incident), Pinkie wondered what was going on her noggin that was making that ringing noise every so often.

“What the fuck!” A voice called from the room in front of her. A number of pirates ran in the opposite direction where the voice was coming from. That can’t be good.

“You know I fucking hate everypony here, if you pair me up with someone I’m gonna fucking murder them, Flutterbitch!” Fluttershy?! I have to help her!

Pinkie ran down the now empty hall to the room where the voices were coming from. To her distress, the voices came from room 115, her room. That means Vex, her new roommate, was the one yelling. Pinkie hopped and slid across the room and expertly positioned herself in front of the door. What she saw wasn't at all what she expected. Instead of two ponies, swords drawn and insults brazen, she got a pony and a small griffon with claws held at a disturbingly calm Fluttershy’s throat. As Pinkie watched the scene before her, one thing occurred to Pinkie Pie. That griffin is beautiful! The griffin had faded purple-tipped feathers that strung down in a graceful manner. Her eyes were a pleasant neon green color, and the anger in them made them even more alluring. Her chest stuck out in a most impressive display of strength and grace, and her eyelashes were long and pointed. Pinkie really couldn't stop looking at her.

Man, I really need to get laid. It didn't strike Pinkie as strange that she was attracted to a griffin, as this wasn't the first time she had looked at a griffin in that way. In fact, Pinkie found she was attracted to anything that was sentient, for whatever reason. It was just something she decided to live with, rather than try to fix.

“Look, Vex, I understand your resentment, but Miss Pie only became a pirate five minutes ago, and only because she’s my friend,” Fluttershy stated as-a-manner-of-factly. Oddly, the griffin eased up at this. “This is also a direct order from Patch himself. If he trusts her with you, he can trust you with her.” The griffin sighed in defeat.

“A’ight, A’ight… but remember: if this girl gets on my nerves…” She held up her sharp talons centimeters away from Fluttershy's eyes. “I’m an omnivore.”

“Don’t worry,” Fluttershy reassured. “I’m sure Pinkie is as well.”

Pinkie decided now was the time to speak up. “HAI GURLS!” she yelled, generating a flinch from Vex and an unperturbed Fluttershy.

“Speak of the devil…” Fluttershy remarked whilst slowly backing away from the feathered fiend.

“You must be Vex!” Pinkie shouted in glee. She tried to make it look not obvious that she was trying to break the tension. “Nice meeting you,” she added while offering her hoof. Vex answered the offer with a sarcastic presentation of her not-shakable-with-hooves talon and an annoyed glower. Pinkie smiled awkwardly and rubbed her chest with her previously offered hoof. Suddenly, Pinkie wore a grimace which legitimately made Vex feel uneasy. “I don’t appreciate you being a meanie to my friend.”

Fluttershy interjected her foreleg into the conversation, keeping Pinkie from doing anything stupid that might kill her. “It’s quite alright, Pinkie. Vex’s anger is… reasonable. In fact, she and I are generally on good terms, but on the surface my order sounds irrational after what she's been through.” Fluttershy turned to Vex sternly and said, “However, I can assure her it’s not.”

“Tch,” Vex spat before rolling her eyes and climbing back up on her bunk. Pinkie began to bounce over at the bottom bunk, but Fluttershy stepped in front of her.

“Wait, Pinkie. Come with me.” Fluttershy said grimly. Fluttershy walked out of the room and motioned Pinkie Pie to follow. Pinkie pie made a barely audible gulp of apprehension before following Fluttershy out the room.

“Why?” she asked distantly while closing the door. Pinkie cocked her head quizzically. Fluttershy elaborated. “You said you had an alcohol addiction.”

Oh. That. Pinkie Pie kicked the ground a couple of times, her face laden with shame. Suddenly, her ears started ringing violently again, but it went as quick as it came. Ignoring it, she slowly began to explain. “I… had a bakery shop in the middle of Port Corral. It was doing pretty good. I had regular customers, tons of bits, and good lawyers. It was all well and good until a bar down the street started having financial problems because the owner had died and his son was still a couple years underage. I happily offered to run the bar for him while he came of age. He and I were quite good friends, after all. I started… sampling the drinks in the slow hours. Nothing too extreme, just one or two mugs of standard ale. When the boy finally became old enough, he took over just as planned.” Pinkie pie stopped briefly and lit up a little, indicating there was a part of the story she forgot. Fluttershy leaned in curiously. “The colt’s name was Parsley Thyme, by the way.” Fluttershy deflated in aggravation. Pinkie continued. “Since I had more time because I was only taking care of one shop, my shop, I visited the bar a lot more often. It came to the point where I was too drunk too often to take care of bakery. Eventually I went bankrupt.”

Fluttershy gasped. “You mean that stupid bartender didn’t help you out?”

Pinkie Pie laughed. “Parsley? He can’t bake! And you’re wrong, he did help, but if he poured any more money into my shop than he already had, he would’ve gone out of business himself.” She waved a hoof in excuse. “But the point is, after my shop closed down, I still wanted alcohol. Guess where I went?” Pinkie Pie didn’t wait for Fluttershy to respond. “After a year of getting around fifteen free drinks a day, he finally put his hoof down. I went around town to see if anyone would buy me a drink, but to no avail. I went back to Parsley’s bar one last time, and well… here I am.”

Fluttershy sighed in sorrow. “Geez… what happened to us Pinkie Pie?”

Pinkie Pie perked up, eager to give her friend a pep talk. “Hey, I just made some stupid decisions, and you wanted to help people. No harm done, right?”

Fluttershy’s frown remained static as she shook her head. “That’s not what I meant.” Pinkie looked befuddled. “I meant us! Not just you and I, but all of our friends! Rarity, Dash, Twilight, Applejack… You… Me. When did it all fall apart?” Pinkie Pie opened her mouth to start comforting her friend, but no words came out. Pinkie Pie had wondered that herself. Suddenly an idea came to her.

“I dunno, ‘Shy, but don’t worry, we can fix it! Sure we don’t have the others anymore, and now we've changed so much... but let’s promise to never abandon each other ever again, as long as we both shall live!” Pinkie cheered. Fluttershy smiled. Not that smile that she had given Pinkie when she first saved her. Not that insinuating, malicious smile filled with sin and malevolence, but that innocent and pure smile filled with happiness that Pinkie Pie and her friends had once known before fate had taken over their lives.

A smile of hope.

“So…Uh… Can I have some rum?”

Fluttershy stared daggers into Pinkie Pie while simultaneously slapping the back of Pinkie’s head lightly.

“Hey,” Pinkie whined. “I was just kidd…” Pinkie’s expression relaxed and blanked abruptly. The life in her eye rapidly diminished as the pupils enveloped more and more of her eyes. All she could hear was that deafening ringing that kept chiming in the back of her head.

Fluttershy looked at Pinkie troublingly. Slowly, she asked, “Pinkie? Are you alright?”

“I think I have a concussion,” she deadpanned, before tilting like a tree and hitting the floor with a muffled thud.

“Pinkdnf Fie, camf yough feer mhe?” Pinkie struggled to lift her eyelids. The image her brain received was blurry and distorted, and the only thing she could hear was a muffled voice that vaguely sounded that they came from a sentient being. Slowly, her hearing cleared up, and the words were better filtered by her aching brain.

“Pinkie Pie, can you hear me? Perhaps she needs some tea.” That voice. That peculiar foreign voice, coupled by a strange rhyming pattern…

Zecora! Pinkie shot up, and met the zebra’s muzzle with her own. An action that Pinkie Pie would have loved doing any other day, but under these circumstances it was quite painful. Zecora recoiled from the shock (and pain), and Pinkie’s head snapped back to the medical cot she was lying on with a painful thwak.

“Aaaaaooooowwwwwwww…” Pinkie groaned as she cradled the back of her mane in an attempt to comfort her throbbing head. Zecora had trotted to the other side of the room, and was pinching a bleeding nose with a blue towel. However, Zecora didn’t look angry in the slightest, not even a bit annoyed, but she did have a hint of concern in her voice as she spoke to the pink pony.

“Hit your head like that again, Pinkie Pie, and you just might end up making yourself die.”

Pinkie ignored her pain for a moment and snapped her head to the left where the old Zebra was standing. “Zecora!” she exclaimed in joy. Pinkie jumped off cot she was lying on and zoomed towards the zebra with a loving embrace. “Zecora, Zecora, Zecora!”

Zecora laughed with that thick zebra accent Pinkie loved. “I’ve missed you as well. Though I wish our reunion didn’t involve seeing you after you fell.” Pinkie looked at Zecora with a puzzled stare, in which Zecora smiled and replied with a flat “Rapist-induced concussion.”

“Ah.” Pinkie ah’d.

Zecora’s expression fell into a state of concern. “I was worried a ton.”

“I don’t feel that bad,” Pinkie admitted, to which Zecora smiled.

“It’s amazing what herbs can do. They can cure sickness, infections, and concussions too!” The rhyme made Pinkie giggle as she broke the hug softly.

“What are you doing here?” Pinkie asked as she took a couple of steps back from the alchemist.

“I joined the pirates shortly before Fluttershy, the rules I found easy to abide by.”

“But… why?” Pinkie asked further.

“It is hard to find honest work for an alchemist such as myself, and pirates have anything but good health.” Zecora stepped over to some pots and pans with its contents boiling. “They are also never short of any wealth. It pays the bills. Pinkie, hoof me that sage on the shelf?

Pinkie trotted over to the appointed sage and tossed it to her favorite zebra. “Fluttershy knows you’re on the ship, right?”

“Of course I know,” Fluttershy called from the door of the sick bay. Pinkie turned to see her friend, Fluttershy, striking a pose in the frame of the door. Her hooves were crossed and her eyebrows were furrowed; she was leaning on the right side of the frame, back against it. She had this smirk that had an aura of complete badassery which would have made Buck Norris bow down in shame that he couldn’t be as completely awesome that Fluttershy was at that exact moment. “I was going to tell you before you went and passed out.”

“Hehe, whoops.”

“Captain, we’ve spotted an unmarked ship off the port bow!”

“What?! Hand me that periscope, private!” The captain of the S.S. HoofShallow snatched the looking device from the inexperienced private, who flinched in fear of being struck.The Captain saw what he feared: that infamous black flag. “Mother of Celestia… DEFENSIVE POSTS!”


Shoot the Messenger

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“We must not let our accomplishments be thwarted by our failures, if we did, we would fail as a species.”

Chapter 3

“Hehe, oops,” Pinkie giggled sheepishly while rubbing the back of her mane. Fluttershy rolled her eyes but kept the smirk on her face. She missed Pinkie. She really did. “How long have I been out?” Pinkie asked sullenly.

“About two days; you’re lucky you didn’t slip into a coma or something.”

The zebra in the room approached the yellow pegasus with anxiety in her step. “Fluttershy, not that I don’t enjoy your company, but why have you come to this room of the sick ponies?”

“We’re about to seize a messenger ship. Just one ship, so there should be no worries, however I don’t want a war going on above your head without you knowing about it.”

Zecora nodded and returned to her herbs, unperturbed by the news. Pinkie, however, frowned and looked at the floor distantly. Fluttershy noticed her friend’s change of demeanor, and asked about it accordingly.

“Well, when I agreed to tag along when you told me about you ‘mission’… it doesn’t change the fact your stealing from ponies, Fluttershy,” she explained, rubbing her hooves together fretfully. “You’re a pirate. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle this; you’re attacking innocent ponies.”

Fluttershy scoffed with a smile stretched on her face, as if what Pinkie said was completely ludicrous. “’Innocent’? Ha, don’t make me laugh.” Pinkie’s eyes widened in shock. Her friend was so different now, and she feared it wasn't for the better. Before Pinkie could start debating with her, Fluttershy went on. “Pinkie Pie, if you’ve seen the things I have, you wouldn’t decide that so easily. The Princesses’ Legion does whatever the fuck they want and no one tries to stop them, either because it’s covered up with lies, or they’re just too scared to.”

“What? What are you talking about? The princesses are really nice!” she yelled in defense. Carefully, she added “They were friends with Twilight…”

“Listen, Pinkie, I am certain the princesses are all they’re cracked up to be,” she said without a hint of sarcasm in her voice. She’d met Celestia before; she had despised evil. “But the problem with a long chain of command like the Legion is that the higher ups can leave some information out of their reports to royalty. The princesses are never gonna know.” Fluttershy’s gaze shifted elsewhere, and her scowl became more intense.

“Cue embezzling, corruption, murders, abuse…” Fluttershy listed then paused for a moment, and looked pained. Her voice was dry, and it cracked slightly. Pinkie couldn’t figure if she was going to blow up in rage, or burst into tears. “…Forest fires.”

Pinkie gasped as her heart skipped a couple of beats. She remembered that letter she got from Dash, the last time she heard from her rainbow-maned friend. Pinks… I can’t find Fluttershy. I went to her cottage and… everything… it was all burned. Burned to the ground, only ashes left. Her animals were… everywhere. Oh Celestia it was horrible. I looked for her, and, after a while, I thought I was going to be looking for a corpse. Thank the heavens I didn’t find any ponies around there. I’m under the impression Fluttershy left… her poor heart wouldn’t have been able to handle that. So now it’s just Applejack and me… but not for long. Don’t worry, 'Jack’s okay… but I’m leaving. Joining the wonderbolts. Yeah, I know, my life dream and all that. Fuck. I’ve been crying all night, and I hate it. I can’t fucking take it anymore. If I stay another day in this shitty little town I think I might crack. I… don’t want to say goodbye to Applejack. I’ve been through too fucking much. I’m sorry for cursing, but I just give up. Pinks… I can’t write to you anymore. I… can’t… I cry every time. Doesn’t help after what happened today. It makes me remember all the good times we used to have. Man, I was such a douche back then. If I see you, I’ll see you, but… I can’t write. Not anymore. I hope this stupid letter isn’t unreadable because of all my tears. Your friend, Dashie.

“You know why I became a pirate?” she finally asked.

Pinkie’s eyes welled up with tears. She was sobbing softly now. “Th-the cottage?”

“No,” she deadpanned. “Because I was arrested for a murder I didn’t commit. The killer ran free, and I was nearly tortured to death. Just because the guy who did commit the crime was in the legion. It was how I met Captain Patch. He’s the only reason I didn’t give up hope in there. I swore loyalty soon after escaping with him. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.”

“I… I’m sorry…” Pinkie apologized between low volume sobs. Fluttershy gently walked up to her and wrapped her forelegs around Pinkie. She squeezed the sorrow out of her friend.

“Don’t apologize,” she said flatly. “It’s not your fault. Just… don’t leave again.”

“You took you jolly old time, didn’t you?”

“I’m sorry Cap’n,” Fluttershy said somberly. “Something… came up.”

Patch looked at his soldier, and quickly identified her solemn appearance and red eyes. She’s been crying. Crew comes first. “It’s okay, Fu’Shy.”

“…What’s the situation?”

“The messenger ship is slightly larger than most, a hint that it contains something of value,” he informed Fluttershy while still staring at the small ship in the distance. “I don’t know if they have spotted us yet…”

Just then a crack was heard, and a large ball of dangerous lead passed right by Captain Patch’s head at an insane level of velocity. Unperturbed, the brave captain nonchalantly glanced around himself just fast enough to see the cannonball hit the ocean behind him with a lurid splash. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.”

Fluttershy, mouth agape, started in disbelief. “A messenger ship with cannons!”

“Alright, looks like we got a fighter here, crew!” barked Patch. “Defensive positions! The ship isn’t that defendable, so it shouldn’t be that hard, but be ready for the worst! Prepare to board!” Another crack and another ball of lead. This one made contact with the ship and shook it with devastating force. Fluttershy hovered a bit off the ground as to not lose her balance, as did a couple other pegasi. The unicorns and earth ponies stumbled a bit, but none fell for their sea legs had seen much worse turbulence.

“Did you hear that cracking noise?” Pinkie Pie inquired to her zebra friend. Zecora put a hoof to her chin in thought.

“It appears we are being shot at, but don’t worry, a messenger ship should be no worse than a gnat,” she assured. Pinkie looked less than convinced.

“But how do you—“ Pinkie was cut off by the entire ship suddenly jerking to the right. She held no hoofing whatsoever and flew to the other side of the ship and hit the wall with an earsplitting BAOMF. Zecora however, just stood where she was, albeit a little shaken from the display of Pinkie Pie. Pinkie’s corpse was sprawled across the wall, and ever so slowly her body peeled off of it, leaving a pony-shaped indentation on the wooden wall of the ship. Zecora found herself giggling slightly at the sight, but she quickly corrected herself and cleared her throat.

“…Can I go a day without ending up face first in something hard and painful?”

Crack, crack cra-crack! The unrelenting force of the cannons was something Patch hadn’t expected. More and more he could hear his precious ship getting more torn apart. After trying to weave between the projectiles he thought best to retaliate with their own guns, but considering the size of the vessel they were firing at, their balls nigh never hit their mark. He had not choice, they would have to rush the ship and board it themselves. “This isn’t working!” he yelled. “C’mon we have to board, or we’ll be torn to pieces!”

Fluttershy, amazingly, was the first to leap onboard. However, instead of landing on the deck of the ship, she hovered to one of the ropes of the masts. She held onto it with one hoof, and held her scimitar in the other (the sword could either be held by the mouth, which was preferred by most ponies, by the wings, or by hoof. The handle is retractable so it can be easily ‘snapped on’ to hooves.) Resolutely, she yelled, “CHAAAARRRRRGE!”

On Fluttershy’s command, (It’s amazing how much charisma one has when one is as cute as Fluttershy) half the crew leapt onto the ship, brandishing their weapons. Patch galloped to the edge of the ship and eyed the staff of the opposing ship. The messenger ship was outnumbered by at least thirty ponies; no way they can handle a full on barrage. Noting this, Patch took out his own scimitar, and jumped off his wonderful ship.

The battle had already started when the Patch touched down on the deck. The clashing of swords and the firing of flintlocks could be heard over the deafening sound of the cheering of the pirates and the screams of the sailors. Patch eyed a sailor running after him, sword drawn. Patch was too experienced, however, and shifted his neck to the left violently, making his sword clash with the assailant’s saber. The young sailor hadn’t expected the sudden contest, and slipped up by backing away. Patch saw his window of opportunity and turned to buck the stallion. He felt his hind hoof make contact with the colt’s nose, instantly sending the young sailor into unconsciousness, and ultimately flooring him.

Patch remembered his number one rule: don’t kill unless absolutely necessary. Especially as he realized how young his opponent was. At most, sixteen. Sick.

Patch turned to view the rest of the crew. There were small duels covering most of the ship, however it seemed that the entire crew of the opposing team was on the deck, something that didn’t happen often with Patch’s ship. Patch had a reserve of about twenty ponies who looked after the ship in its bowels, mainly because they weren’t fighters, or they were more useful working on the ship at all times. The battle shouldn’t last that much longer, the captain thought. We’re looking at minimal losses.

“CHAAAARRRRRGE!” Fluttershy yelled as she let go of the rope and used her wings to dive at the deck in a graceful arc. She managed to steer herself towards an unsuspecting cadet and she was able to bury both of her hooves in him with violent and unrelenting force. He had barely had time to draw his sword. Her first opponent floored, Fluttershy surveyed her surroundings quickly with urgency. She had taken the small group of sailors by surprise, and only a few of the more reflexive ponies were starting to take out their weapons. There were six ponies who were eyeing Fluttershy as their first target, and two ponies had their scimitars out of their sheaths. One behind her and one in front. Those will be her follow up adversaries, she decided. Fluttershy, determined to get the first attack in, took a small hop forward to the sailor in front of her. She snapped her neck to the left, sending the blade in a horizontal trajectory. The sailor gritted his teeth and bent his head to the right. The two swords made contact as sparks flew in the air. Seeing her window of opportunity, Fluttershy followed up her initial strike with a diagonal swipe, from left to right. This time, her enemy wasn’t so lucky, and a deadly crimson gash found itself across the pony’s chest and neck. He doubled back in pain, and Fluttershy took this as means to switch focus, this time spinning around to meet the second pony with his weapon drawn. As she spun, she eyed for ponies around her, but after noting that none of the other four ill-prepared ponies were there, no doubt running at the sight of the decently skilled yellow pegasus, she finally faced her final opponent.

Her eyes met the gaze of her enemy only for a split second, before she felt an extreme weight tugging at her jaw. She had turned to face her opponent, only to have his sword make contact with hers. She hadn’t even tried to block it; she was just lucky that her sword was already in a good enough position. Before her opponent could carry through with another attack, she slammed her hoof into his knee. This made him grunt in pain, and consequently drop his weapon. Noticing the opening, Fluttershy instinctively reached for her pocketed flintlock pistol, and squeezed the trigger as fast as she could with her wing. She was careful not to let the musket hit any obvious vitals, an effort that bore fruit. A small scarlet wave sprayed out of the pony’s knee, causing him to topple over in pain. Smiling, Fluttershy got the chance to rest for a small time, before taking in the scene of the battle. More than half of the ship’s forces were already defeated, and the heat of the battle was slowly dying down. Easy. Now where’s the Captain?

“Cannons? Seriously?” Captain Patch said while raising his hooves incredulously at the opposing captain. The gruff old pony simply frowned harder and turned from the pirate’s gaze. “Tell me, sir, since when does a mailmare walk around with a fucking blunderbuss?” asked Patch in anger.

Most of the crew of the courier ship had been hog-tied, subdued, or otherwise put out of commission. Patch and Fluttershy were pleased to hear that there were no casualties on either side, a thing which didn’t happen often. Fluttershy stepped forward with a flat gaze on her face.

“So where’s the loot?” she asked, almost innocently.

“Loot? There is no loot,” the captain answered.

“Don’t get smart with me,” Patch ordered harshly. “You wouldn’t have been this heavily defended if you didn’t have something of value.” Patch looked positively pissed. “It isn’t every day a mailman nearly tears my ship apart.”

“Ha! Even if we did have loot, why would I tell you where it is?”

Fluttershy stepped forward, closer to the tied up captain. She wore a twisted smile of sadistic pleasure across her face. Slowly she lowered her neck to the captain until their muzzles were mere inches away…

…and then she started to tear up. The refraction from the water made her eyes appear to move, and her pupils nearly took up her entire eye. Her lower lip poofed up, giving a ruse of sadness. Her eyebrows curled up into the most sorrow filled shape she could muster. It was a sight that would have made Hitler cry. On the verge of sobbing, her voice quivered softly as she said, “Because if you don’t tell me, you’ll make me cry.” The captain tried to back up to get the sad pony away from his vision, but his head hit the wall behind him. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get the yellow pegasus out of his eyes.

“You… you wouldn’t want to make me cry…” Fluttershy said, on the very edge of hysterically sobbing. “…Would you?”

The captain couldn’t take it anymore. His spirit shattering, the captain yelled out a raspy “There’s a key in the bottom drawer of my desk that unlocks a chest hidden in the cellar! Just make it stop, oh Celestia, just make it stop!” The captain broke into small fits of intense weeping as he fell forwards face first.

Fluttershy instantly returned to usual demeanor upon getting the new information. She wiped away her feign tears and began rummaging through the former captain’s desk.

Patch chortled uncontrollably in response to the whole fiasco. “Fluttershy…” he said between breaths. “That was amazing.”

“I try,” Fluttershy said, flattered, as she held up the newly discovered key. “C’mon, let’s find this chest and get the hell outta here.”

“Fuck, this thing is heavy,” Vex groaned as she dropped the large ruby-encrusted box onto the deck of their ship. After lugging the damned thing up a flight of stairs, Patch and Fluttershy had called their griffin friend to lend a hand. She complied after complaining for like, five minutes.

“I hope we don’t open this thing and there’s like, a fucking corn flake inside or something,” Vex expressed her disdain.

“Well, a ruby encrusted chest with matching key suggests otherwise,” Captain Patch retorted as he began tapping the top of the expensive container. After eyeing it for a little while to build dramatic tension, he slowly began advancing the key towards the lock. It slowly went deep into the lock, and made a barely audible clockwork noise as the tumblers slid into place. Sweat began to drip from Captain Patch’s eyebrow as he—

“JUST TURN THE FUCKING KEY ALREADY,” Vex shouted as she threw her talons in the air. Patch shot a look of minor impatience as he rotated the key quicker. The chest popped open a smidge, causing the captain to flinch a little. He just stared at it a little while before facing Fluttershy with a snide smile.

“Would you like to do the honors Fu’Shy?” he asked politely. She nodded positively and flew towards the idle box. With dramatic force she shoved the lid open, revealing its contents. Fluttershy was the first to see its contents, being the one who opened it. What she saw made her shriek slightly in horror, and jump back a few feet. Patch noted this as odd behavior, as the yellow pegasus didn’t scare that easily. He slowly approached the box to see…

“Holy shit!” he shouted in revulsion at the sight before him. Inside the chest lie a decapitated head of a pony with a rolled up piece of paper in its mouth. His expression bore shock, as if he didn’t expect the thing that chopped his head off to actually kill him. It was truly a disturbing sight.

“Now, that’s just fucked up right there,” Vex spat as she reeled back in disgust.

“Vex… why don’t you do the honors of getting that thing in its mouth?” Fluttershy suggested with feign innocence and a sheepish smile.

Vex started. “Excuse me, Miss I-Have-No-Talons…” Vex stopped herself before looking down at her opposable thumbs. “Oh yeah… Fuck.” Vex slowly trudged towards the lavish box before turning her head away and reaching in. “Gah, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me,” she mumbled as she felt for the paper. She grabbed it and ripped it out of the disembodied head’s mouth. When she got it out she instantaneously threw it in the general direction of Fluttershy and started flailing her right talon around frantically as if she caught a disease. Patch chuckled to himself. Doesn’t matter how tough she is; she’s still a girl.

“Hell if I’m picking that up with my mouth,” Fluttershy said in skeptic laughter. “Can we get a unicorn over here?”

Nearly instantaneously a young sailor wearing a blue police cap zoomed up towards the three pirates. His build was tall and slender, a build Fluttershy remembered the Flim-Flam brothers had all those years ago in Ponyville. His fur was a dark indigo blue and his mane was a faded black, a grey-like shade. “Private Gavin reporting for duty!” he saluted. He was a unicorn.

“Gav, you don’t have to be so formal, you’re not in the core anymore,” Patch assured.

“Sorry, Sir. Old habits die hard,” he stated while rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. His cutie mark was that of a soldier’s helmet. It was his talent to be at the front lines, but he didn’t agree with the ways of the Equestrian military. After two years, he left with an amusing dishonorable discharge, and joined Patch’s Pirates shortly after. I wear that dishonorable discharge label with pride, he used to say. You rejoice when douchebags don’t respect you. Everyone thought that ‘Private’ was his title, but it was actually his first name, and Gavin was his last name.

“Would you kindly?” Patch politely asked. He did sneak in a bit of hidden urgency though.

“Certainly, Sir.” A glowing green aura surrounded Gavin’s horn and the parchment simultaneously, and as quickly as the glow appeared, it flickered and died. Gavin stopped concentrating and raised a brow at this. Everypony (and griffin) watching in anticipation turned to the young pirate quizzically. He smiled nervously.

“Well this is a little embar—“ Right then a flash of blinding light exploded from the parchment, and sent Private Gavin hurdling through the air to the other side of the deck. Everypony behind him managed to get out of the way until he finally crashed into the door to the living quarters with devastating force. So devastating, in fact, that it probably broke a rib or two and completely obliterated the door. After a couple of seconds, a quivering voice came from the other side. “I-I’m o-kay…”

Patch sighed annoyingly. “Fu’Shy, can you get Zecora and Med to help Gav?”

Fluttershy gave her own sigh. “Aye aye, Cap’n.”

Patch looked towards the small paper again, before putting a hoof to his chin. “Hmm, Gavin is a klutz, but he certainly wouldn’t be able to blow himself up like that with just magic.”

Vex walked up to the Captain, legitimately curious. “Do you think the paper had anything to do with it?”

“Most likely,” Patch confirmed. “But I haven’t come across anything like this before… most unusual.”

“What was your first clue that it was unusual, the thousand chort box or the disembodied head?”

“Chorts? We use bits in Equestria, Vex.”

“Oh, yeah. Fuck you.”

“Who the fuck are you?” Vex sneered at the sickingly bright pink pony who just waddled in the room.

“I’m Pinkie Pie, your new roomie,” Pinkie cheered, unaware of the griffin’s hostility.

“Pinkie Pie? I remember thinking that your name was ridiculous when ‘Shy told me your name, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember why.” Vex retorted. “Until now.”

Vex stole a glance at the pony again and saw that she had a sad frown on her face. Vex sighed on the inside. She decided to soften the blow; Pinkie wasn’t a real pirate anyway. “From now on I’ll call you Pinks, which sounds slightly less diabetic.”

Pinkie beamed at this, which made Vex feel inexplicably lighter inside. “Don’t worry, a lot of people call me Pinks! Parsley used to, Fluttershy sometimes does, and Dash said it sounded better!”

Vex shot up at the name Dash. She snapped her head left to the pink pony wearing that huge grin on her face. Dash?! Surely she can’t mean… no. That’s ridiculous. She couldn’t be talking about the same Dash.

She was dead, after all.



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“You can curse to reveal something about the characters and the world they’re in… or you can use profanity just because you can.” -*

Chapter 4

“Cap’n, do you want us to dump the decapitated head? Or should we treat it with respect?” asked Fluttershy after giving the ruby box a last disgusted glance.

“Neither,” Patch said. “We’re keeping it.”

“What?” Fluttershy stammered, sticking her tongue out in revulsion. “Why would we want to do that?”

“Think about it, Fu’Shy,” Patch said as if he were talking to a small foal who asked why doors open. “That chest was obviously intended for royalty, being covered in rubies and all. They were headed in the general direction of Canterlot, which means it was a package for the Princesses.”

Fluttershy blinked. “Wait. You’re trying to tell me that someone was sending the Princess a disembodied head? What, like some kind of sick joke?”

“A ruby encrusted chest for a joke?” Patch asked in sarcastic disbelief. “That seems like a pretty expensive prank, Fu’Shy.”

“What are you implying? You can’t possibly mean…”

“Exactly,” Patch said whilst flicking his hoof. “The head is part of the treasure. They were going to use it for something. I don’t know what, but I intend to find out.”

“Did you say… Dash?” Vex asked, unsure about the conclusion she had come to. Vex looked up to the Wonderbolt in extreme admiration four years ago. Yet after two short years of acting like a silly fangirl, Vex learned about the accident. Spiraled right into a mountain, the paper said.

“Yeah,” Pinkie confirmed. After a short silence she lit up like a light bulb following a sudden realization. “Do you know Dash?! Ohmygosh have you met her?!”

“You mean… Rainbow Dash?” Vex inquired, still quite unsure. Pinkie Pie nodded furiously and beamed a white toothy grin that lit up the entire room. Vex felt uneasy; it wasn’t often she met a grounded person who was a fan of the Wonderbolts. “Pinks… you don’t know? She’s de—“

“Man I can tell you so many embarrassing stories about her!” Pinkie Pie cut her off unknowingly. “Did you know that one time she flew straight into a mountain? I wonder why!”

Vex blinked, then fumed. Wait, she personally knew her?! What the hell, man! I spent so much time trying to get in to see her, what the fuck! Vex was about to yell ’SHE’S DEAD MOTHERFUCKER’ into Pinkie’s face, but Pinkie interrupted Vex before she could.

“I haven’t seen her in like… ten years, but…” Pinkie said with a wistful smile stretching across her muzzle. Vex let out a small grunt with her mouth wide open, the hurtful truth dying on her beak. “It’s still there y’know? I love her… I loved them all…” Her dull gaze swept across the floor, and her smile dimmed to small, distant smirk. Like a light bulb with a vengeance, she lit up again. “Never mind that, what were you going to say?”

“She’s dedicated,” Vex spat instinctively without hesitation. Getting her thoughts straight, she sighed. She deserves the truth, she decided. But then, she looked up and saw that bright, cheerful face… and decided against it. I’m not well known for giving people what they deserve, anyway. “I was a fan… I admired her dedication.”

“A fan?” Pinkie asked. She then wore an expression of comprehension as she said, “Oooohhh, she actually made it in the Wonderbolts, huh? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, she’s a wonderful flier.”

“Wait, you were her friend and you didn’t know?” Vex said, accidentally leaving a trace of accusation.

“Yeah, I know… Ten years ago, we kinda fell apart,” Pinkie Pie recounted, some color from her fur seeming to dim. “We didn’t bother keeping touch… look where we ended up.” Vex looked away and exhaled, the tension in the room getting thick enough for her to cut it with her talons.

“Yeah, whatever Pinks.” Vex smirked and looked at the small pony again, maliciousness showing in her eyes. “Hey, now that you’ll be taking up half of my abode, you little shit, get some grub for us. It’s in the mess hall down in the west wing of this deck.” Vex wasn’t exactly the smoothest ice-breaker, but she could shatter ice with a napalm bomb when she wanted to… by being an absolute dick. It’s possible for people to be too distracted by your vileness to be sad or worry about other things. It was a strategy Vex knew well, and used often.

“Okie Doki Loki!” Pinkie shouted, a wide grin replacing her previously frowning face. She nearly flew out of the room in a pink blur. Vex looked at the spot previously occupied by Pinkie Pie, and sighed. Weirdo. I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to get decent sleep for a while now. Vex turned and climbed onto the top bunk of a regularly half empty two bunk bed. Being a griffin she had always liked being as far away from the ground as possible. She had contemplated sleeping on a cloud once, to see if it would be better, even though she was perfectly content with a solid bed. Curiosity overpowered her and she followed through.

It… didn’t end well.

Nevertheless, sleep was coming, even if she had to kill that annoying pink pony.

Captain Patch walked in his private quarters and set the parchment he had obtained from the ruby chest down on the elegant wooden desk, which was laden with various map reading tools and other knick-knacks for the sake of either decoration or study. Among the items on his desk was a compass, a lit oil lamp, and an encyclopedia he had recently used as a reference for a music box that had a riddle on it. Patch sat and unrolled the strange piece of paper that now occupied the desk. What the parchment contained hadn’t really surprised him; rather he kind of expected it.

Absolute gibberish. Typical. He wore a dull expression that one might give after hearing a bad joke. Now I’ll have to use my brain. Damn. The scroll that was unraveled on the table had trace amounts of fluorescent yellow ink, which were arranged in nonsensical scratches across the paper that didn’t look like any perceivable language. What annoyed Patch even more was the fact the bright yellow ‘lettering’ was barely visible against the sepia colored parchment. Sighing in aggravation, he reached for his mug of rum that had been sitting on his desk along with the other items. He felt his hoof hit something pretty heavy and looked up a little too late. A crashing noise was heard as the temperature of the lower half of his body suddenly raised. He realized what had happened. Ballocks! The lamp!

Patch hopped from his seat and jumped towards the fallen oil lamp to see a small fire beginning to feed on the wooden deck of the ship. Thinking quickly, he dashed towards his cot and lifted one of the plain white sheets covering it. He dove towards the fire making sure the entire blanket smothered it as to not catch fire itself.

One muffled flough later and the room was… still surprisingly well lit, actually. It was odd; that lamp was the only source of light in the room. A soft yellow glow eradiated from what seemed like his work desk.

The scroll! Patch clambered back up to investigate the source of the strange light. Just as he suspected, the yellow scratches on the paper seemed to be shining off the page it was written on, an obvious display of some sort of magic. While Patch wasn’t a unicorn, he assumed it was an elementary spell which a foal could achieve. Still, he didn’t quite bet his life on it. Luminescent text just didn’t seem like it could possibly be an advanced magic. He walked over to the parchment and mulled it over a second time.

Still illegible, just glowing, Patch noted annoyingly. He decided to keep the lights off, it was easier to read the strange markings that way. He got out a Bible (titled The Sun, The Princess, The Mare on the Moon) and began to compare the languages from the beginning of the book with the markings found on the parchment.

“I’m back!”

Vex instantly sensed something was wrong as she woke from her brief slumber. Without a second thought she immediately shot her eyes open, and noticed there was a whole lot of pink in front of her; more than there should be. The pink in front of her eventually formed into the face of a pony. She was finally able to identify it as Pinkie, wearing the same stupid grin only this time even more so impossibly wide. Vex wondered why she couldn’t move and why she felt so heavy, until she came to the daunting realization that Pinks was laying on fucking top of her.

“WHAT THE FUCK, PINKS! GET THE SHIT OFF OF ME!” Vex screamed in flustered confusion. Pinkie Pie, totally unaware why Vex lashed out, just sat there dumbfounded by the angry griffin’s reaction. Vex was finally able to gather enough of her bearings to wrap her talons around the pink menace’s throat and hurl her off of the bunk. To Pinkie’s dismay, she landed on her head on the way down, but luckily her cotton candy-esque hair provided ample cushioning. However, her hair sproinged back into its original state, launching the party pony towards the wall at an alarming rate. A fatal sounding crash resonated through what seemed like the entire ship. Vex just stared, speechless.

“I brought… the food… hehehehe,” Pinkie said, her eyes twirling and her head throbbing.

“Uhh… thanks.”

Patch’s head shot up at the sound of a hoof knocking on his door. Without hesitation he waved them in and said, “You’re welcome.”

Fluttershy shoved the door open and slowly walked towards the Captain’s desk, contemplating Patch’s odd phrase for allowing somebody in. As she got closer, Patch voiced an ah of satisfaction.

“Fu’Shy, just the one I wanted to see. Do you think you can make any sense of these markings? I’ve been comparing it to other languages for half an hour with little success. I thought I was getting close to Prussian, but if it was the parchment would only say one phrase, ‘root beer float’ , which I thought wasn’t very likely.”

Fluttershy gave a small chuckle as she stepped up to the Captain’s desk, and showed a nod of confirmation. Reaching out one of her hooves, she picked up the pap—


A huge shockwave of pure yellow energy shot forth from the scroll, knocking literally everything from Patch’s desk and flung everything that wasn’t nailed down to the walls, including Patch and Fluttershy. Fluttershy was thrown so violently that the door she made contact with splintered without any resistance what so ever. She went through three layers of fortified interior walls before slowing down to complete stop. Patch, on the other hand, was slammed right into the exterior wall behind him. It was designed to withstand cannon fire, so thankfully he didn’t go through it or else he would have been swallowing a whole lot more than air at the moment. Heads of the crew poked out of the sides of the holes in the wall to see just what the hell just happened. Fluttershy, groaning, slowly got up, and began to painfully trot towards Patch’s lifeless body.

“Captain… Aoooowwwwww…”

At Fluttershy’s voice, Patch flinched, and then slowly lifted himself off the ground. “Well,” he uttered, disgruntled. “I honestly should have expected that.”

“What I don’t get is why the motherfuckers even do that. I mean, it doesn’t really help them out, so what the shit?” Vex continued as she expressed her underlying hatred for politicians. Pinkie nodded, her mouth full of the baked beans that the cooks had provided her.

“I know what you mean, but I never really got into politics. Too grey and cynical.”

“Hehe, it certainly wouldn’t suit you.”

There was a few more seconds of silent chewing that began to make Pinkie feel uncomfortable. Eventually, Pinkie decided to ask the question that had been spinning in her head for the past hour. “Vex?” Pinkie asked, giving time for Vex to respond. Pinkie felt Vex nod in response.

“Have you ever considered getting—“ Pinkie was interrupted by the entire ship suddenly getting jerked to the right, followed by the sound of an explosion. Pinkie’s food flew off her chest and landed with a pathetic thud on the ground. Vex jumped at the sudden movement, her reflexes more acutely honed than Pinkie’s, and was able to catch her plate of beans before they flung off towards the ground. Pinkie stared at her fallen food with a dulled expression before deciding maybe asking Vex that question might be a bad idea. With a sigh, she added, “Nevermind.”

“What the hell just happened, Captain?!” Demanded Fluttershy as Patch propped a long piece of wood against the doorway in hopes of achieving privacy.

“You’re askin’ me like I should know,” Patch defended flatly. He stepped over to the paper that now glowed like a firefly orgy. It provided more than enough light for the entire room. “This is most interesting.”

“If it weren’t for the blunt force trauma, I gotta admit I’d be pretty interested too.”

Patch looked at the glowing parchment with caution, as to avoid another explosion, yet all uncertainty vanished immediately after discovering that much of the parchment was covered in even more fluorescent yellow writing—all in English. “What?! HOW?”

Fluttershy trotted over to where patch was standing and examined it herself. “Wow, that’s some tiny text.”

“But it was complete, absolute bullshit before that explosion!” He looked at Fluttershy with an expression one child might look at another child with if he stole his candy. Fluttershy gave a vigorous laugh before patting her hoof on him.

“Guess I have the magic touch, hehe.” Fluttershy bellowed with a smirk. Patch shot her a look of indignation before returning to the scroll.

This is just odd, he thought, carefully lifting the parchment. Never encountered anything like this before… and what made Fluttershy be able to reveal it. What is she, which I am not? Strange…

With that, he began to read aloud.

“If you’re reading this, it means that the elements have been found, and for that, we can rejoice, for our Princess of the Night is back.” Fluttershy’s face paled. Clearly, this was something of weight, and she had never told Patch of her title. She was afraid that she may now have to. “I am the Warrior of Light, handpicked by Celestia herself, but I’m afraid I’m not going to live up to my duties. So, I humbly task you six with one last assignment in order to…”

Patch swallowed. “…Save Equestria.” Patch gave Fluttershy a grim glance, who remained stern in response.

He continued. “We will be attacked at some point in the future, and this time will remain undisclosed until you gather all the scrolls and elements for the unlikely situation someone would use the situation to their advantage. But the storm is coming, and you must stop it. Look, I cannot tell you any more until you gather more of the elements. This information isn’t exactly meant for all eyes. Also, I know it is tempting, but do not seek aid from Celestia. I have lost her faith long ago, and I’m afraid she won’t take my word for it if you show her this letter. This is something that must be done by the elements themselves. Good luck, element. On the back you will find a map to a certain location; do everyone a favor and don’t go there yet, all you will find will be open water. However, below the map is a clue to the location of the next scroll. Decipher it to find my second message. I… no, Equestria is counting on you six.”

Patch and Fluttershy remained quiet, and just stood, soaking up the information. Patch was the first to speak. “HHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHA!!!”

Fluttershy’s jaw hit the floor.

“Hehehe, man that is RICH!” Patch hooted in between fits of laughter. He crossed his eyes and made his voice three tones lower. “’Hurry elements, you’re my only hope!’” He mocked, having trouble breathing between all the giggling.

“Cap’n, this is serious!” Fluttershy hissed. Patch waved a dismissive hoof at her, his smile never fading.

“Yeah? We don’t even know what he meant by elements, and there’s no way we can trust some random dude that decided to write in yellow glowing magic marker.”

“He means the elements of harmony, dipshit,” Fluttershy deadpanned with malign. Patch recoiled, speechless. Fluttershy had never gotten that blatantly disrespectful in their entire time working together. Although it wasn’t as if he never heard of the elements of harmony, but he always assumed that they were all dead considering the world hadn’t been in any mortal danger in quite a while. “Look Patch,” And she just called Patch by his first name for the first time in years. Always she had called him Cap’n, except for a few short circumstances. “This is real trouble… I can feel it… We have to do something!”

“Look Fu’Shy, I can take in your friend, and I can take you breaking my rule considering your rank, but I can’t go on a fucking magic school bus adventure for something that might not be true and is an impossible feat!”

“Cap’n, you know in the back of your head that this is all true… stop denying the possibility.”

“Know your place, Fluttershy!” Patch yelled in retaliation. Fluttershy reeled back. It was pretty hard to get Patch angry, and even harder to make him say Fluttershy’s name properly. “We don’t even know where one element is, let alone six. Actually, we don’t even know who they are!”

“I do!” Fluttershy blurted out. Patch’s expression of anger instantly melted away. Fluttershy’s face became stern and determined. “I do. I am. Pinkie is.”


Fluttershy sighed. “Captain… I’m the element of kindness…”

The Captain’s eyes widened in bewilderment. “…Y-you?” Never had Patch described Fluttershy as kind. She was certainly in the best moral standing than the entire crew, but kindness wasn’t exactly the first word to come to mind. Maybe… merciful. Still…

Fluttershy nodded before adding, “And Pinkie is the element of laughter.”

“Your pink friend?” Patch asked. Fluttershy nodded once again.

Patch groaned and slammed his head into his desk. Fluttershy gave him an uneasy look at the odd behavior. He was still standing so it was a slightly uncomfortable looking position.

“I don’t know Fu’Shy…”

“Cap’n… You said that it’s our mission to oppress the opressers so that the victims may stand. We are gonna get a whole lot more victims if we don’t do this.”

“Fu’Shy… The letter hinted that it ain’t gonna happen for a while… it’s not our responsibility.”

“Neither was donating half of our loot. Or killing those slavers. Or keeping Vex.”

Patch shot up and stared at his yellow friend. She was caught in a smile she couldn’t wipe off. “It’s not our responsibility. It’s our duty.”

There was a long, thought filled silence, which led Patch to sigh. “Okay, fine, you win. We’ll ‘save the world’. But if something else arises this is not a priority. Understood?”

“Understood.” Fluttershy responded with a smile.

“Now, to find out where the second scroll is…” Patch said, newfound objective within him.

“Actually sir, it may be a better idea to find my friends first. That way we can fill them in while looking for the letters.”

“Well, do you know where they are?” Patch asked, stuffing the glowing parchment inside his desk. Conspicuously inconspicuous. No one would look in there for anything of value.

“Not really… Finding Pinkie Pie was actually a bit of a surprise… though the last I heard of Rarity was in Canterlot. I bet she knows where the others are.”

“To Canterlot we go then,” Patch said in stride as he walked out of the used-to-be-door, a smile on his face.

“So… You’re the new recruit?”

“Yes, sir, mistah!” The small mare saluted enthusiastically. Pipsqueak looked down at the personelle files between his hooves. Slowly, he read the description. Age: 20. Occupation prior to enlisting: Carpenter.

Pipsqueak snuck a glance towards the red-head’s cutie mark. A hammer and three nails. Hometown: Ponyville. Residence: Sweet Apple Acres.

Name: Applebloom

“You’re part of the Apple family, correct?” Pipsqueak asked, mulling over the yellow earth pony with a pink bow in her mane.

“Uh, yeah. How did ya know, mistah?” she asked, giving him an aside glance.

“Your sister has made quite a name for herself in the military. That’s why you joined, is it not?”

“Mhmm,” Applebloom confirmed, giving a nod.

“Also, Scootaloo has told me quite a bit of your adventures as fillies.”

“No way, Scootaloo’s ahn this ship?” Applebloom asked in utter disbelief. She was new on this ship, but she would have noticed Scootaloo from a mile away.

“Yea, and she’s my first mate as well,” Pipsqueak added.

“Really?” Applebloom aasked, confused. “I thought she didn’t swing that way…”

Pipsqueak had to really try to contain his laughter to a small chuckle. “No, lass, that means she’s second in command.”

“Oh,” Applebloom squeaked as her face started to burn red.

“So, tell me about your skills, lass. What could you do on this ship of mine?”

Applebloom put a proud hoof to her chest as she recounted what she had said to a million other customers before. “Ah’m an Equestrian renowned and skilled carpenter that has had tuhns o’ experience with the handling an’ planning of houses, boats, forts, an’ castles. If this ship evah got intuh bad shape, you can expect me t’ fix it right up as long as Ah got a small able-bodied crew and enough supplies.”

Pipsqueak put a hoof to his chin and examined the yellow pony once more. Resolutely, he smiled and said, “Alright, then, welcome to the crew. You’ll find your room in the private quarters in Deck two; Room one-seventy.”

Applebloom looked unsure. “That easy?”

“Well we’re about to battle a small group of pirates just outside of Port Corral. We might need someone like you. Plus, your Scoot’s friend; no way I’m gonna turn down a friend by association, lass.”

Applebloom turned pale and made an audible gulp. “P-pirates?”

Pipsqueak scoffed and put his hooves behind his head. “Ah, don’t worry lass. It’s only one ship. We should be able to handle it no problem. No go on, I’ll tell Scoots where you are, I’m sure she’d love to see you.”

“Aye-aye, sir!” Applebloom yelled, then ran off.

“So, there any other griffins other than you?” Pinkie asked, staring at the bunk above heer blankly as she covered herself in the sheets. Vex and Pinkie Pie had just been talking for the past hour or so, eating up as much time as they could.

“On this ship? Not really. Unless ya count Klepto. Though he rarely comes out of the lower docks; he’s on stowaway duty.”

“Have you ever thought of… you know, egg making?” Pinkie Pie said suggestively as she raised her eyebrows (even though Vex couldn’t see her.)

“…No, I haven’t,” Vex said after a long pause. “Not that he’s ugly, it’s just… well it’s complicated.”

“Are you…?” Pinkie Pie asked, unsure of the delicacy of the situation.

“Sorta,” Vex cut her off, getting the implied question. “I enjoy both the barrel and the musket of the gun, if you know what I mean.” Pinkie Pie blinked. That was a strange euphemism. Still, she was glad she wasn’t the only bisexual on the ship. “But that’s not why… I’m just not interested.”

“You mean, like in relationships?” Pinkie asked, baffled. That seemed to fit Vex’s personality, but…

“Well, no. I’m a virgin and sex doesn’t seem like such a bad thing,” Vex put bluntly. Pinkie Pie nearly choked on the air she was breathing. “But for me, it’s not that simple.” Pinkie Pie took a few deep breaths.

“Then what do you mean?” She finally found the nerve to ask.

“I don’t wanna talk about it.” And with that, the two resolved to sleep.

*Quotes are usually taken from my friends in real life, but this one was taken from a prereader who rejected my story. I ain’t sore, it was just too hilarious not to put up. Don’t worry, this story will stay as deliciously vulgar as I want it to be.


Interlude 1: Shattered Days and Broken Nights

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“THE BRITISH ARE COMING, THE BRITISH ARE COMING… well, they at least have the souls of the British.”

Interlude 1

Hoofinghamm stood absolutely still. Celestia had requested audience of him, which was something that happened regularly. And every time he would stand directly in front of the door for a good minute or so, reach his hoof up, and give three vigorous taps on the door, taps which could be heard throughout the entire castle. It was pretty routine, given his status. Yes, he was the Day Watch Captain.

Even though his occupation had the title “Day Watch”, it was a twenty-four hour guard service for Princess Celestia, as the Night Watch was a twenty-four hour guard service for Princess Luna. The two factions never got along very well, even though the sister Princesses did. It was almost second nature for the protectors of the Night to be very… rambunctious and loud, as it was second nature for the guards of the Sun to be incredibly uptight and somewhat boring. The only thing that Hoofinghamm hated more than the Night Watch was the Night Watch Captain himself. Well, he had never met him, but the way that the Night Watch acted clearly showed negligence of their leader, and that disgusted Captain Hoofinghamm.

Tap, tap, tap

“You may enter,” he heard the regal voice of Princess Celestia say on the other side. Hoofinghamm straightened his wings, and with his golden horseshoes and helmet, he walked inside.

“Good afternoon, Your Highness.”

“Watch Captain Hoofinghamm, nice to see you,” the Princess replied with a smile.

Hoofinghamm kept a straight face as he said, “Likewise.”

“Gjero,” the Princess began. The mention of his first name made the Day Watch Captain shift uncomfortably; he always did whenever anyone tried to maintain a level of formality with him, especially somebody of importance. Plus, his name sounded so cliché, as it was pronounced as ‘Hero’. “I have a very special assignment for you,” She said. At that, his face somehow became even sterner as he leaned in closer to the Princess’ throne. Of all his years serving, she had never started a conversation like this.

“I need you to take a vacation.”

Hoofinghamm exhaled an incredibly deep, exasperated breath he didn’t realize he had been holding. He immediately straightened himself out as he realized how rude it looked to the Princess. She began to chuckle. “Don’t worry, there’s a point to this.” Suddenly, her face darkened, and her voice became grim. “I need you protect a very valuable parchment, a letter written by a very important pony.”

Gjero gave a fierce nod. “Do not be fooled by its simplicity,” the Princess ordered and pulled out what looked like a simple parchment. “Go ahead and look at it.”

“It’s blank,” Gjero stated as he unrolled the scroll.

The Princess nodded sincerely. “Yes, as it appears that way, but it is actually written with invisible letters that only few can see. It contains incredibly valuable information that cannot be known by the public.”

“If that’s the case, why don’t you just burn it?” Hoofinghamm asked, although it was toned in such a way that gave the utmost respect for the Princess of the Sun.

“I said valuable, not dangerous or evil.”

Gjero gave the Princess an odd look. She explained, “I would trust a group of foals with this information, but some ponies might feel threatened by it, and some would even go so far as to destroy it.”

“Forgive me Princess, I still don’t understand. You do know what’s written in here… don’t you?”

The Princess hung her head. Gjero apologized. “Unfortunately, I am not one of those select few who can see the content of these scrolls. The author of these letters feels that I cannot trust him… and I fear he may be right.” The Princess’ face became slightly aggressive, something that happened often when she spoke about something of weight, which in turn didn’t happen very often. “Still the threat is undeniable, and something must be done.”

“If this scroll is so valuable, why am I the only one guarding it?” Gjero asked, genuinely confused. “Not to question your judgment, but wouldn’t a group of heavily armed men be more fitting?”

“Not quite,” the Princess admitted. “Not many people know about this scroll, and if I built a fortress with a plethora of guards around it, somebody might take that as a little conspicuous. The people that do know about this would instantly see where it was being defended, and would somehow find a way to slip through their defenses.”

Okay, Hoofinghamm saw the logic in that. “However, no one would expect me to give the duty to only two ponies, and it would hardly be possible to be obtained via an espionage mission considering it’s going to be on your person at all times. It’s strategically better this way,” the Princess clarified. Hoofinghamm had only heard one group of words in all of that exposition.

“Two ponies?” he voiced his concern. The Princess chuckled.

“Yes, you will be receiving some help on this task. She will be the decoy on this mission. It will be slightly more obvious she has the scroll, when in reality you do.”

“She?” He asked again, even more baffled than before. Celestia only smiled in response.

“Here she is now.”

On cue, a dark grey pony with dull purple hair and fluorescent yellow eyes trotted with a saucy sway into the room. Gjero noticed that her pupil was like a snake’s, long and vertical, a side effect of Luna’s guard spell which are given to all of the Night watch ponies. Luna also gives them bat wings which are stronger but less aerodynamic than pegasus wings, but only the pegasi received those. A horn protruded out of her dark helmet, and her breastplate- with a dark purple reptilian eye symbol in the center- clacked with every step. Her appearance was simply… sloppy. Clearly she must be some sort of rook recruit, Gjero thought with a sigh.

“Loony filled me in, so who’s this sexy girl I’m workin’ with, P.C.?”

WHAT! What did she just say to the Princess!? Gjero was about to tackle this girl and shove her face the floor before he came to a depressing realization. This is the mare I’m working with!

“Good evening, Captain Datzkowitz. He is standing right there,” Celestia said as she pointed to a bewildered Hoofinghamm

Did Celestia just call her captain? Why would she do that, she’s just- Gjero’s thoughts frozed as his brain clicked in a daunting realization. “You’re the Night Watch Captain?!” Gjero blurted out without thinking. Datzkowitz frowned at the offensive comment before turning to Celestia.

“Wait, I didn’t agree to no co-ed! My boat sails on calm seas, P.C., an’ this gonna get real awkward real fast,” Datzkowitz complained. Celestia just laughed.

“I assure you, Gjero Hoofinghamm here is the most respectful pony I know; he’ll be an absolute gentlecolt. He will not try anything dirty or dishonest, or my name is not Celestia,” the Princess reassured. Datzkowitz didn’t seem very convinced. “Please, Vera, I’m asking for your cooperation here; this is really important.”

Gjero blinked. He glanced at his new partner. Vera...

Vera stuck out her tongue and sighed. “Okay…”

Celestia smiled once more and handed Hoofinghamm some papers with her magic. “Here,” she said. “This is paperwork for a small building located at the outskirts of Canterlot, expenses such as lodging will be provided free of charge. Remember, you will still be technically on duty, so no fooling around during work hours. The building itself will have another decoy inside it just in case. I’m counting on you two.”

Hoofinghamm gave a stiff, stern salute, shouting “Yes, ma’am.”

Datzkowitz, however, gave two loose to beats to her chest with her hoof, kissed it, and stuck it out in a friendly point. She could almost hear her new partner roll his eyes.

Both Watch Captains trotted outside, ready for their new mission. As they left, Luna came from behind one of the hallways, shaking her head disapprovingly. “Really?” she asked. “’No fooling around’? That doesn’t sound like the Tia I know.” Her expression bore accusation. “This is just a vacation for the boy, isn’t it?”

Celestia chuckled sheepishly as she rubbed the back of her mane. “While the assignment I gave them is really important, I’m not really too worried about it. No one knows where they are, and only a very select few would actually desire it, and even less would want to destroy it. So yes, I have decided long ago that Hoofinghamm is much too stuck up for his age. He’s only thirty-three. Until now, I did not know how to go about it, or if I should even meddle at all.” Celestia looked at her golden-covered hooves. “But he really needs to live his life… and I hope Vera can teach him that, if the vacation fails.”

Luna gave a hearty, regal-sounding (even when compared to Celestia’s) laugh. “Thou meanest ‘when’ the vacation fails, Sister. Funny thing is, I suggested thy give Vera as Gjero’s partner because she really needs to learn how to take responsibility for her duties. She slacks off way too much. Not that I care, really, but I’m worried her personal life beyond duties may suffer because of this.”

“I understand, Little Luna,” Celestia assured. She raised a brow at her sister. “Your speech is getting better.”


“…Sooo,” Celestia so’d suggestively. Luna’s face instantly dulled at the snarky implications.

What?” Luna spat.

“How’s Captain Pipsqueak?”

Luna had prepared herself for the worst, yet the mention of the young captain’s name made her face flush in involuntary and unexplainable embarrassment. “He’s good,” She said, looking in another direction. Celestia had to hold back falling on her back in laughter. “They still haven’t found those rogues you mentioned, sister, but the nearing Port Corral. It’s possible they’ve missed each other.” Luna really wanted to change the subject, her mind got so inexplicably foggy and flustered whenever mention of Captain Squeak came up, and she absolutely hated it. Unless she was alone, then it offered peace in stressful times, for some odd reason that the princess couldn’t pinpoint. In an attempt to get out of the current situation, she said something that she immediately regretted. “Thanks for showing me that spell for instant communication. Squeak’s hawk friend is a perfect inbox.”

“Hehe,” Celestia chortled lewdly. “Have some late night sessions with Squeak, now?

“Blfeouw!” Luna shouted in defence... or she tried to shout in defence, but that mess of a word came out instead

“Your words say all,” Celestia said satirically. Luna face hoofed. Luna then tried to retaliate, but was interrupted by the door being flung open.

“Princess, the S.S. HoofShallow has been pillaged! They lost the cargo to pirates!” A guard pony yelled as he raced into the room.

Celestia instantly got on all four hooves at this, shocked to hear. “What? Impossible!”

“I’m afraid it’s true your highness, everything has been taken!”

“Damn!” Celestia cursed as she threw a hoof down. The Day Watch guard jumped back nearly a foot, terrified to see the princess use such language. “I want that chest found, that cargo is worth more than this entire kingdom! Kill whoever took it, and then bring it to me!”

“Y-yes ma’am!” the guard replied with a salute.

“I’m going to look as well,” Celestia said while taking two steps towards the door. Suddenly, she winced in pain and grabbed her chest with a hoof, and let out a strenuous groan. Luna lifted her hoof in her sister’s path.

“No, Tia. You’re still hurt. That blow would’ve normally killed anypony, even an alicorn. You’re lucky to be alive.”

Celestia scoffed, her frustration growing. “This is ridiculous, this wound happened eight years ago, I should be healed by now.”

“You’re lucky you can still speak; that stab took out your left lung,” Luna said with a wag of her hoof. Luna had to admit she kinda had fun with this, Celestia was always the one to give her motherly lectures.

“Whatever... I hope that whoever these pirates are, they don’t destroy that scroll...” Celestia looked out to her sun that was still high in the sky and sighed. “For all our sakes.”

Hoofinghamm walked next to his reluctant new partner with careful and orderly strides, careful to keep his demeanor acceptable for even a princess. Captain Datzkowitz, however, took lazy and sloppy strides; her legs flailed in the air as she walked, and her relaxed shoulders barely held the cuirass she was wearing. It was altogether exasperating for the Day Watch Captain.

"Whattya think the princesses set us up with, man?" Vera asked as she put a lesiurely hoof on her partners shoulder. Hoofinghamm felt a sudden urge to grab that hoof and toss the pony attached to it into the nearest trash bin.

When Gjero didn't answer, Vera followed up her question awkwardly. "Like, ya think it's gonna have a pool?" she asked. "Maybe a mini fridge in the bedrooms?" Vera paused to allow Gjero to answer, but he never did. She waved a hoof in front of his face. "Bro, you all there? Hello?"

Gjero continued his slow but consistant pace, staring straight ahead, completely ignoring the spastic pony in front of him. She finally gave up with an annoyed scoff and uttered one last word. "Dick."

Gjero nearly tripped up at the sudden insulting sentiment, and thought over his actions. after a few moments of thinking, he decided to be the bigger person and tell her why he had completely ignored her. "You are not supposed to speak while on duty unless giving an order, informing a citizen of a crisis, or disciplining a recruit. We are in no such scenario."

"Doesn't stop you from being a dick," Vera said whilst sticking her tongue at him. Gjero had to really try to hold in that sigh. He didn't think he'd be able to stand being next to this girl for another second, let alone...

Wait a second! Celestia never told me how long this is going to last! It could be months, even years... Gjero began to feel faint. Surly the princess couldn't be that cruel, she was a reasonable pony, it was probably going to last just a couple of weeks, maybe even days.

As if she were personally trying to thwart his hopes, Vera began whistling incredibly loudly, enough to drive a bird to suicide. Gjero's straight face contradicted the burning turmoil he felt inside. Even if it was just a couple of days, she's going to drive me mad before then.

"You've got to be joking."

Gjero, unfortunately, had to express his disapproval at the small complex in front of him. He had expected nothing less than two small shacks with uncomfortable beds and dirty night stands, but the building before him was a polar opposite of that. Although it wasn't very large, only big enough to house two adult ponies, it was as extravagant as Canterlot's castles. There was gilded windows and a polished wood doorway with freshly added white paint over the exterior walls. It wasn't royalty, but it was definitely high class.

"Ooh, pretty," Vera said in awe. she quickly changed demeanor once she realized a fatal flaw. "But... it's a little small, don't you think?"

That one complaint triggered some sort of reflex within Gjero, and he instantly jumped on The slight chance that Vera couldn't handle it. A sort of payback, in a way. "It'll manage," he grumbled then raced to the small house. Vera quickly followed.

As the two ponies opened the door to the building, one thing became blatantly clear. It was small. The main room they had walked into contained a small bookcase in the right of them, and perpindicular to that was a kitchen holding a microwave, a stove, and an oven. it took a couple seconds for Gjero to realized that the Microwave was sitting on the stove, which only contained one heater. There were two large chairs next to the 'library', presumably for adding comfort while reading. A small decorative desk occupied the left side of the room along with a few parchments and a quill, along with the ink. An expensive looking coffee table also sat I between the two chairs. That was about it. It was nice, but small. It looked like a home for a stallion that lived by himself and was seldom ever home, except to sleep.

Vera gave the room an incredulous stare. "Cozy," she said, sarcasm seeping from her voice.

"This is way over the top."

Vera choked on nothing in particular and gave Gjero a skeptic look. "Ya serious dude? This is like the forever alone cabin, and in case you hadn't noticed there's two of us."

"Oh no..." Gjero said while looking at something at the other side of the shack.

"See? We can't live here, it's totally cramped."

"No, that's not it. Captain Datzkowitz, there is only one other room."

"And?" Vera asked, confused. She didn't know why that would be of any import--

...oh, shit. Vera had finally gotten what Hoofinghamm had implied. One other room meant only one other bedroom. And there was two of them. And they were the opposite sex. And Vera hadn't gotten laid in at least five months. And she was pretty sure her new partner (okay don't call him that anymore) was a virgin. She started to slowly back out of the room when Hofinghamm made a b-line straight towards the bedroom. Okay, he can't possibly be that horny. Or stupid to think I'm that easy, Vera thought as she paused her retreat.

"Oh thank Celestia, there's two beds in here."

Vera blinked, frowned, then sighed in relief. She trotted towards the door with new found confidence.

“Hey, this isn’t related to the main plot...” Pinkie said while putting her hooves together and looking through them like a camera. Vex looked at Pinkie, baffled.

“What the hell are you talking about, Pinks?” Vex looked into Pinkie’s eyes and followed the trail to whatever she was looking at. She nearly jumped off the ship over what she saw.

“Pinkie!” she yelled. “Are you staring at Fluttershy’s ass?!”

Pinkie looked away, shot out her hoof, and yelled, “NO!”


Psychotic Symphony

View Online

NOTE: I’m sorry for the delay, but I had actually been moving for the past month. I promise it won’t take me as long to finish the next chapter.

“We dance to have flow and balance to our otherwise unpredictable lives...”

Chapter 5

“Land ho!” Pinkie yelled, causing her to get strange looks from everyone else on deck. Patch walked up to her with a raised eyebrow.

“Pinkie, you know we don’t actually say that in real life?” Patch asked, a slight smirk creeping on his face. Pinkie giggled.

“I know,” she said sheepishly. “I just always wanted to say that.”

Patch smiled as Pinkie walked away. He was then approached by Fluttershy, who bore an uncertain look. “Cap’n,” she scolded. “That’s a common phrase used by both pirates and sailors. How could you not know that?”

Patch laughed. “Aye, I know that. It’s just fun to mess with her.”

Fluttershy shook her head incredulously and turned toward the horizon to see it occupied by a large marble-white castle. With a nostalgic sigh, she commented.

“Hello, Canterlot.”

Patch took a moment to inspect Fluttershy’s face. A wistful longingness was strewn about her, and a frown that remembered happier times. A pang of sympathy struck him, along with a reminder of his own happier times. Dina, he thought. Too bad you couldn’t have met Fu’Shy. She's very... Caring. “Fu’Shy, we’re going to have to dock in the forests, no way Canterlot would be nice enough to house us.”


“What the hell are we doin’ here, Captain?”

“Kin, please, we’re in Canterlot. Consider it a day off.”

“Well... okay.” Kin walked away, unsure that the answer he got was all that satisfying. Sure, a day off, but why? He felt like he was being snuffed out of something important. Kin looked at the cup of rum that inhabited the barrel in front of him. Resolutely he thought, can’t complain.

“Patch, what the hell?” Pinkie’s voice came out from behind Patch’s ear. No, like right behind him. She had an opportunity to bite his ear if she wanted to. That struck patch as a distinct possibility, and he leapt forward as a result. Pinkie continued. “Your men aren’t gonna help us?”

Heh, Fu’Shy must have filled her in. “Nah,” Patch replied, giving her a wave of hoof. “This isn’t something I want to trouble my men with. Y’see Miss Pie, my men aren’t as forgiving and merciful as me or Fu’Shy. While most joined me because they aren’t as heartless as normal pirates, they are still pirates. Sure they don’t murder everyone they see, but they aren’t going to risk their lives without getting something in return. And what we’re chasing here is not only just for the good of people, it’s also uncertain that it’s an actual problem and not just a hoax, or if we can do anything about it. Top it off with no reward, and you’re looking at a ridiculous request.”

Pinkie frowned. “Stupid selfish pricks.”

Patch nearly tripped but regained his footing. “Woah there Miss Pie. I’m sure they would help if I asked, they are very loyal.” Patch gave Pinkie a stern look. “But I wouldn’t want to burden them with it.”

“Oh,” Pinkie said. “I guess that makes sense.” Patch stood and watched Pinkie Pie for a few seconds, before frowning.

“Miss Pie, you’re very- how should I say it?- complacent.”

Ooh, Pinkie thought. That sounds like a come on. She knew it wasn’t, but when you’re on an isolated ship, one has to make her own fun. And Patch was cute.

“Do you like that, Captain?” Pinkie asked seductively, brushing up against him. Patch was too flustered by the sudden approaching to reply, but luckily Fluttershy answered for him.

“No, he doesn’t,” she remarked as she pried Pinkie off of the Captain.

“Fluttershy? When’d you get here?” Pinkie asked as Fluttershy carried her far away from Patch.

“I was here the entire time,” she answered.

“Did you hear what he said?”

“Yeah, and I don’t like it.”

Fluttershy approached Patch with the angriest face she could muster. When he saw her, all he did was smile. “I like that girl,” he said. “Very weird.”

That made her want to punch him the face more than she already did. “Do you not take me- no, equestria- seriously?” Patch’s face fell as if he had just been told there was no Santa Claus.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re not going to accept the aid of our men.” Her voice was laden with an accusing discontent. Patch’s face straightened out to the point he almost had a quiet smirk.

“Ah. Fluttershy, I do take both you and Equestria seriously, but I am a natural skeptic. I just don’t want to toss my men to the dogs just because something might be true.”

“But we do the same thing with those stupid treasure maps!” Fluttershy retaliated. Patch shook his head.

“That’s because if it’s true they’d be getting something in return. Listen, I believe you. But my conscious does not and neither does my instincts. To prove it to you, I’ll personally help you, even though I was already planning on doing so.”

This seemed to satisfy the yellow pegasus. With a reluctant nod, she flew off towards the deck to be debriefed.

“Alright,” Patch said to the griffon, pegasus, and adjacent pink earth pony in the room. He had figured Vex would be good willed enough (At least for him) to help out, considering the relationship she had with Fluttershy. Plus she was a douchebag, so he didn’t feel too bad for getting her involved. Earlier, he had already filled her in on what was happening. “We’re searching for a white unicorn named Rarity who was last heard from Fluttershy to be in Canterlot. She suspects Rarity will have her own boutique in the city as well as being pretty well-known. From that, I don’t think she’ll be that hard to find, but better to be cautious. As soon as you find her, or decisive information about her, regroup at the The Scratching Spruce and Maple club over on the west side of Canterlot.”

Everybody in the room was absolutely puzzled. Vex was the one to voice the question that itched at the back of their minds. “The Scratching Spruce and Maple? Da fuck?”

Patch gave a wide, innocent smile. “It’s an alcohol serving club I used to go when I was younger!” Everyone in the room once again exchanged strange looks.

Vex, again, was the first to ask. “How young?” Patch’s face fell like a cinder block.

“Ahem, so everybody know what to do?” Patch asked, completely ignoring the question. Pinkie Pie gave a salute while the two fliers gave an idle nod. “Great. We’ll split into two groups, Fu’Shy an’ Pinkie, me an’ Vex.”

“Woah, woah, woah, hold on a tick,” Vex intervened before he got the chance to walk out. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to have someone that knows Rarity in every group? In fact, why do we have to group up at all?”

“You have a point Vex, but it’s very obvious the two of us are pirates, what with me being infamous, and you being a rude griffin.” Patch waited for Vex to get pissed at him for calling her rude, but she seemed to be perfectly fine with that. “However, Pinkie has absolutely zero hints that she’d be a pirate and Fu’Shy can put on that cute facade.” Fluttershy blushed a little and looked away at the quick complement. “That way, if we get caught, Fu’Shy and her friend can get us outta any trouble.” Vex nodded and Patch continued. “Also it would be a good to have a flier on each pair, that way we can use the skies to escape if someone finds out who we are. No need to get in a fight we can avoid.”

Pinkie couldn’t hold in her involuntary giggles. Patch lifted an eyebrow. He asked what was the matter. She replied, “Fluttershy wouldn’t be able to carry me, she’s a terrible flier!” Fluttershy’s jaw dropped before she was able whack her hoof against Pinkie’s head. Vex was puzzled.

“...The hell are you on? Fluttershy’s a fuckin’ ace flier, she may not be as strong as one as I am, but she’s definitely a few ticks faster. She can also hold up nearly double her own weight. Not that amazing considering how light she is, but impressive nonetheless.” Pinkie looked at Vex in bewilderment. Surely they weren’t talking about the same pony. She turned towards her once weak and humble friend. Fluttershy gave a confident smile.

“Aye, it’s true,” Fluttershy said, rubbing the back of her mane. “Not as weak as I used to be Pinkie.”

“Welp,” Patch interrupted. “Then it’s settled. We leave immediately. Happy hunting you two.”

Trotting through the forest with her friend Fluttershy was something she had never expected to happen again, for multiple reasons, yet here they were, leaves crunching under steady hooves in a smooth gait with purpose. The outskirts of Canterlot, the Royal Forest, was possibly the most (and even only) hospitable wild area in all of Equestria, and maybe even the world. Dangerous creatures and hostile tribes vacated the traffic heavy paths of the Royal Forest, most likely due to the Royal Guard Watch making sure the perimeter was safe from any opposition. Pinkie was able to eye the rolling green hill leading up to Canterlot, and its surrounding low-class towns. Already, mist from the adjacent waterfall and river became clear to the naked eye, marking the end of their short but somewhat taxing trek up the Canterlot mountains and through the mildly dense forest.

Pinkie broke the silence that neither friend had been aware had taken hold. “Finally we’re here!”

Fluttershy gave a sharp nod, and spoke with light-hearted contempt. “Yeah, wouldn’t have been as difficult if they didn’t decide to build the capital on the side of a fucking mountain.”

Pinkie gave a short, yet meaningful giggle. Suddenly, her face fell short. “You think Rarity’s actually here?”

Fluttershy stopped dead in her tracks. “I... I... We can only hope. I mean, where else would she be?” Fluttershy had tried to her best to reassure her friend. The dark implications in Pinkie’s voice was too apparent to ignore. They had no evidence that she had in fact... but they also had no evidence to the contrary. All they could do was search. Even if the search could be in vain.

Fluttershy tried to distract herself with her surroundings, but was surprised to see her hooves on a stone path, rather than the dirt one she had grown used to. She also noticed the lack of trees around her, and the sweet smell of condensed water flowing down from the river a couple of miles from their location. She looked up. Canterlot castle. “We’re here.”

“Yuptidoodly.” Pinkie replied, taking in the magnificence of the marble castle in the distance. Fluttershy began to walk again, and pinkie trotted to keep up. “Hey, Fluttershy?”

“What’s up?”

“Patch is kinda organized for a pirate,” she pondered out loud. “I feel like I’m in the army or something.”

Fluttershy gave a enlightened smile. “Ah, I knew that was going to come up. Yeah, that’s why he’s so successful. While he’s not as completely renegade as most pirates are, he’s no drill sergeant either. It’s a perfect balance between the two, and that’s why everyone loves him.

Sometimes we need order, and sometimes we don’t. Captain Patch knows that line full heartedly.“

“Yeah,” Pinkie said. “That doesn’t change the fact he gives orders like a war general.”

“Well, he was in the Legion before he was a pirate. That’s where he got his knowledge of boats. He doesn’t like to talk about it, and for good reason.” Fluttershy glanced at Pinkie with her left eye. “He’s ashamed of it.”

Pinkie looked down at her hooves as she remembered her lowest points. Sighing, she replied. “Yeah, I guess I can see that.” I few more moments went by before Fluttershy spat at nothing in particular.

“I should’ve just ordered the men myself to help us. This could go so much faster with a larger group.”

Pinkie looked at Fluttershy, puzzled. “Why would they listen to you? Ya know, other than your overwhelming hotness.”

Fluttershy burst out into a tremendous laughter at Pinkie’s flat comment. Indignantly, and slightly embarrassed, Pinkie shuffled her hooves in annoyance at the fact Fluttershy took the compliment as a joke. However, she tried to look inconspicuous. “You still don’t get it, do ya Pinkie?” Fluttershy puffed out her chest and slammed her hoof against it in a proud and slightly snooty manner. “I’m Captain Patch’s first mate.”

Pinkie Pie leapt back in astonishment at the news she just heard. Stammering, she yelled, “YOU’RE A HOOKER?!”

Fluttershy’s eyes immediately shrunk at this sudden accusation. Her tongue involuntarily shot out of her mouth in extreme bewilderment. She could not fathom how Pinkie came to that conclusion until she reviewed their entire conversation through their adventures in the woods. Slowly, her brain rebooted. “Wha- no! What the... wh- IT MEANS I’M SECOND IN COMMAND, DIPSHIT!”

“Oh,” Pinkie chuckled sheepishly. “Well congratulations!”

Fluttershy whacked her hoof at Pinkie’s mane once again, and started walking towards the large town.

“No, I don’t know anyone like that, I apologize.”

Fluttershy kicked a hoof and sniffed. “Okay...” The stranger left, leaving Fluttershy with naught information. Pinkie expressed her exasperation with a long groan.

"Ugh, that's the fifth pony we asked so far!" she said, annoyed. Fluttershy gave her an irritated glance.

"Five's not that many, ya know."

Pinkie threw her hooves in the air in a display of enthusiastic disdain. "Well, duh! But I thought Rarity would be all rich and famous by now!"

Fluttershy opened her mouth to explain to Pinkie why that was excusable, but she found no words exiting her throat. That was a legitimate question; all of Rarity's friends knew she was talented and that she would make a name for herself if she ever went big, but here they were in Canterlot, Equestria's capital, and there was not even a billboard of familiar design. It was strange. However, Fluttershy wasn't about to give up; there was more at stake than usual. With purpose, Fluttershy began to advance.

"We have to find her."

Vex peered around the wall to see if there was any guards. Content with the absence of anybody with a prissy gold helmet, she glided along the ground to the other side of the town gates, taking care to not attract any alien attention either. As she successfully made it to the first extravagant building of many, she dropped her caution like a stone, and waited for her captain to make his way towards her location.

Patch, able to attract less attention than a feathered griffin, walked casually from one side of the gate to the other. He was thankful there wasn’t much traffic, he was terrible in crowds. Approaching his feathered friend, he smiled. “That was easy.”

“Yeah, the fuck’s with that?” Vex asked, lifting her talons in disbelief. “Last time I was here they nearly molested me and kept me in a fuckin’ den for an hour deciding whether or not my talons should be considered a deadly weapon.”

“That was two years ago, the end of the war. Celestia was critically wounded, no? I think they were just being paranoid.” Patch looked around. “Seems like everything's better now, though.”

“Heh,” Vex scoffed, unable to find anything to add. She gave the environment a quick look over, and seemed to notice only one thing: the nature of the people traveling the streets. “Damn, there’s a lot of griffins here!”

Patch laughed as he inspected the streets and saw a sea of brown and white feathers crowding the streets. While ponies still outnumbered them two-to-one, it was strange to see so many griffins in one place. “Yeah, I’ve noticed that as well...” Patch elbowed her suggestively. “Havin’ fun?”

“N- Hey, no!” Vex yelled, waving her talons frantically and nearly hacking off Patch’s head. “Look, it’s just nice to not stick out like a sore thumb for once, a’ight?”

“Yeah, I feel ya.” Patch compared her to the other griffins traversing the streets. Almost immediately he found common differences that were impossible to ignore. For one, Vex’s purple tipped feathers failed to be replicated on any other passing griffin, and seemed to be the only one that had any kind of vibrant color on it. Her white feathers fell down her face in locks, giving it the impression of a mane, while the other griffins' feathers stuck straight out naturally. Also, Vex was incredibly small compared to others of her species. While she was only very slightly taller than her pony friend, a couple of centimeters at most, most other griffins had already outgrown the pony folk by a couple of heads, usually measuring up a foot or two taller, even griffins of adolescence. “Uhh,”

“YEAH. I KNOW,” Vex spat, annoyed. Obviously, she had noticed everything that he had, and wasn’t too happy about it. With a sigh, she said, “Why can’t I just blend?”

“I dunno... maybe you’re heritage can answer that... Enough lollygaggin’ we gotta find Rarity.”

“No, I haven’t heard or seen anyone like that, sorry. Though this odd pair of ponies asked me about the same girl...strange.”

“Thanks for the help,” Patch said, waving off yet another stranger in search of this Rarity girl. Him and Vex had been searching close to two hours with absolutely no results. This is getting us nowhere. Searched for a few hours an’ still got nowt. Beh, Patch thought, annoyed. He immediately scolded himself for thinking in that stupid accent.

Vex walked up to her earth pony friend. “Still no luck, eh?”

“Nah, not even a soddin’ clue,” Patch said back, flinching at his slipped accent. “Damn,” he whispered.

“Heheh, your English is showing.” Vex put a talon on her friend’s shoulder. “You know I come from Eagleland, you don’t have to mask your accent 'round me,” she reassured, exaggerating her own accent a little. Patch sighed.

“I know, but I ain’t exactly fond of my heritage. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but an Equestrian accent is just more... charismatic, I guess.”

“Whatever,” Vex said, before asking another question. “Where do you come from, exactly? They hardly had any ponies back at Eagleland, that’s why my parents...” Vex had originally planned to finish that sentence, but the memories of what transpired closed her throat the moment she mentioned her parents. Patch quickly replied as to not upset her.

“Porkshire. Not exactly the most popular place. Plus the accent:” Patch cleared his throat before applying an example. “I’m sorry, I’m migh’y clumsy as I wok. I swear, I bloo’y wok like a proper sod when I’m tired. Can’t accomplish nowt in the mornin’s ‘cos I’m so drowzy. Dough I get owt done in’he ‘fternoons.”

Vex broke out in huge laughter leading Patch to blush in embarrassment. He rubbed the back of his head. “I know, sounds ridiculous.”

“I dunno, sounds ‘pre'’y’ charming if you ask me,” Vex guffawed. “What’s with you guys and t’s?”

Patch smiled. He usually wasn’t the one to make fun of himself but Vex was in one of her rare good moods. “‘Cos they’re expensive.” Patch noticed an odd orange hue diluting around Vex. He realized it was the colors of the setting sun and decided they should get to the club along with Fluttershy and Pinkie. Hopefully their search had gone better than theirs. “C’mon,” he said. “It’s getting dark, we should get to the club.”

"D-did you say... Rarity?"

Fluttershy was nearly too shocked to hear an answer other than 'no' to reply instantly. Gathering her bearings, she answered "Yes."

"Oh my... you know Rarity!" The purple mare with snow white hair screamed. Fluttershy was slightly taken aback from the outburst. "Who are you?"

"We're old friends. How do you know her?" Please don't say you're a fan, please don't say you're a fan.

"We used to be very good friends!" she said excitedly.

Fuck yeah!

"Let's see... yellow pegasus, extremely cute... if memory serves correct, you are Fluttershy."

Fluttershy's eyes widened at the accuracy of her guess. Stunned, she breathed, "Yeah." Then, her face became determined. "Do you know where she is?"

"Sadly, not exactly." Fluttershy's and Pinkie's face fell. The mare continued. "But, when she left four years ago, she said she was going to 'escape to her origins'. I hope that helps."

The two elements of harmony instantly lit up. It wasn't helpless after all. "That helps a lot, thank you! If we ever find her, we'll mention you!"

"Please do, she was ever so charming," the mare finished with a smile. Pinkie gave one back before the mare raised a hoof to slow her down. "One more thing!"

Fluttershy halted giving her time to speak. "When Rarity left, she did so quite urgently, as if someone, or something, was chasing her. Be careful."

"We'll be fine, thank you," Fluttershy nodded as the mare turned and walked away. Fluttershy chuckled first at the ominous warning, then at herself. If I were the old Fluttershy, that warning would have scared the shit outta me. Pinkie could not hold her glee.

"Rarity's alive! And we know where she is!! YAAY!!!"

“So this is the place, huh?” Vex yelled over the insanely loud repetitive electronic music. Lights of all colors flashed in an epileptic manner, and so did certain parts of the floor. Unlike most clubs, this one was pretty depopulated, but it didn’t look as if the club was doing poorly. There were circular table littered across the floor and two bars at both sides each with its own bartender. Stools lined these bars, and every other seat was occupied with either a pony or a griffin. Trash was spread out like dots on a map, and a disco ball hung from the ceiling as homage to clubs of the past. All the steps in the building was rounded off to give it a more futuristic design, and the sweet smell of alcohol hung in the air. Vex liked it.

Vex sat in one of the many round tables as Patch went to get a bottle of cheap wine. As he came back, he smiled and sat as well. “This place is exactly how I remember it! I can’t believe it.”

Vex eyed the place once more, and turned to Patch. “This place isn’t exactly filled to the brim.”

Patch popped open the cork to the bottle and began to pour the wine in two glasses he had brought with him. He handed one glass to Vex, who sniffed it curiously and began to sip. “Yeah,” he said, tipping his glass in the griffin’s direction. “This place is in Canterlot, and most of the general population is too snooty to ‘degrade themselves’ by setting hoof in this place. But since this club is literally right next to the city’s walls, some of the mid-class people like this place. Granted, it’s not as popular as the clubs on the outskirts, but it’s a lot more tasteful.”

Patch took a glug of his wine before adding, “It also has the perk of the Guard or C.P.D. not bothering us, considering how tame it is compared to other clubs, and its location.” Patch set his glass down, empty. He eyed Vex’s glass and noticed only about a fourth of the wine inside gone. He gave her a strange look before asking, “You hardly touched your drink.”

“Huh?” Vex said, looking up from her glass. She glanced back down again before blushing. “Yeah, never had wine before.” Patch expected to be more shocked than he was. He had forgotten about Vex’s age; she always acted so much older. “First time drinking somethin’ other than rum.”

"You like it?" Patch inquired, a involuntary smile appearing on his face. Not often Vex showed any light of innocence. However it was completely destroyed with her response.

"Hell yeah I do!" Vex yelled enthusiastically, lifting a fist in the air. Patch laughed at the invisible irony he could have sworn was there, although he couldn't identify it for the life of him. There was something about Vex that made this all hilarious, but he couldn't quite put his hoof on it... maybe it was something about her being a griffin, or English. Or both. "Stuff's great. Can already feel a buzz," she said, finishing her drink.

He had forgotten about Vex's low alcohol tolerance, a condition Patch now thought was likely due to her size. It wasn't as low as a socially awkward teenager who's never had beer in his life, but she could get smashed with three glasses of the stuff. Patch wagged a hoof at Vex. "Hey, no more. Can't have you drunk on the job."

"Tch," Vex scoffed, putting the drink down.

Patch, nearly unable to be affected by alcohol anymore, refilled his wine glass for a second serving. Vex glowered at him as he did it. "What?" he asked innocently. Vex increased the intensity of her stare.

Suddenly, all the lights went out, causing most of the mares in the club to scream out in thrilled fright. Patch had heard one stallion drop his glass, followed by an annoyed "Fuck!" A voice boomed over the loudspeakers in all the corners of the room.

"ARE YOU READY, FOR GRAND MAESTER MC 'TAVI, AND DJ PON-3?!" The voice resonated off all of the walls in the structure, building up tension and excitement in all of the patrons of the club, even the severely hammered ones. Choice lights in the club turned on simultaneously, filling the building with a white hot glow. Unanimously, all living beings inside the building gave out an ear splitting cheer that made Vex cringe; not because it was annoying, but because it was so damn loud. She was a bit surprised to see Patch partake in the cheer, even though his was more tame and gentle. A segment in the front raised up, forming a stage, and hidden platforms emerged from said stage revealing a turntable with a light grey pony with a pitch black mane occupying both vinyl records. Her mane was swept forward giving it playful spikes that screamed absolute rebellion. Purple shades obscured her eyes, and nearly gave her a menacing look if it weren't for the seductive smile she was flashing the audience. A mic floated inches from her muzzle. She began to speak. "My name is MC Octavia and I'm about to rock your motherfucking world! If it Ain't for my partner you don't got no show, and if it ain't for my partner you ain't got me! So please give it up for the talented, the sexy, the sophisticated as hell Vinyl Scratch, also known as D-J-Pon-THREEEEE!"

Another hidden platform raised up revealing a large cello with an albino white pony with beautiful magenta eyes. Her shiny blue mane was swept back, and unlike Octavia's it was very prim and neat, giving her the appearance of one of those upper class Canterlot ladies. One hoof held a cello bow, while the other hoof held the actual cello- and herself- up. The loud electronic music resumed, this time being played live by the two ponies up stage. Vex’s beak dropped, it was amazing that they could achieve such a feat. She also wondered how the hell that large violin thingy could possibly be played along a turntable. However, she saw a small wire protruding from the side of the instrument.

“An electronic violin?” Vex asked, baffled.

“Cello, Vex,” Patch corrected.

“Where the hell is this place?” Fluttershy inquired, frantcally looking between all the buildings and adjacent alleys. They had been looking for the Scratching Spruce and Maple for the better part of two hours, which ate at Fluttershy like a leech. “The hard part should’ve been finding Rarity.”

“Technically we didn’t find her,” Pinkie teased.

“Technically, I’m about to shove your head up your ass,” Fluttershy retorted. She turned to the donkey walking beside her. “No offense.”

“None taken,” the donkey reassured before taking his leave.

“Captain, everyone has left... should we just get back to the ship?” Vex asked, twirling her one wine glass with her fingers, wishing she had gotten more. Patch shook his head.

“Gotta make sure the others didn’t just get lost or something.” He eyed the deserted club. “Then we have to look for them.”


“Hey fellas, ya’ll gotta hit the road,” a voice called behind Patch. “We gonna close.”

Patch immediately recognized the voice as the DJ during the night. He turned to greet the familiar face. “Hey, ‘Tavi, how’s it goin’?”

Octavia removed her shades to make sure the face she saw wasn’t caused by an illusion created by the refraction of the glass. Seeing who she had suspected, she put the shades back on and threw her hooves in the air. “Patch!” she yelled nostalgically, resting the hoof that was previously in the air on the captain’s shoulder. “The only underaged teen I ever allowed in my club!”

Vex gave a cold stare at Patch, who smiled sheepishly.

“Hey, Vinyl!” Octavia called to the back of the club. “Guess who’s here.”

“Who?” Scratch asked, her head poking around the corner. Her face lit up instantly. “PATCH!” Scratch rocketed towards the defenseless pony and glomped him with all her might. She got up and stood on him. “I thought you were dead.”

“What made you think that?” Patch groaned, Vinyl’s weight was surprisingly... weighty.

“You didn’t come back.” Vinyl glared at him. “The only reason people don’t come back is death, love, or epicness.” Vinyl kindly stepped off of Patch’s stomach and helped him up. “It’s always safe to assume death.”

“Well you’re half right.” Patch dusted himself off. “Love was the reason.”

“That’s nice,” Octavia interjected, seeming to revert to her posh side. “How’s the lucky girl?”


The entire room was silent. Slowly, Vinyl stepped forward. “I... I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’m over it.” Patch sat back at his table. Vex’s face remained stern, her sympathy made clear by her lack of emotion and input. "It happened six years ago."

"Her name was Dina," he continued, staring at his empty glass tinted with the purple bliss of sweet wine. "She was all prissy and uptight and shit. We met at the gala, you know, the one those six mares fucked up?"

"Do I ever," Octavia said, flashing a smile towards the white mare standing next to her. Vinyl blushed in response. no one spoke after that short exchange, allowing Patch to continue his story.

"We had this huge argument over 'proper etiquette' that lasted about an hour. I was kinda a hic back then. Well, the Leeds version of a hic." Patch kept a static and distant smile on his face. A grim nostalgia of the past. "Anyways, after those six bitches crashed the party, we continued our argument in her room one point led to another point. When we were finished yelling at each other we had realized we had been debating for a little over six hours. It was two A.M. Imagine that. She invited me to stay at her place and well... who am I to deny a lady?"

"Really?" Octavia asked in disbelief. "Can't imagine anyone from Canterlot being so..." Octavia searched for the correct word in her head.

"Easy?" Patch finished for her with an accompanying satiric laugh. Octavia was about to deny thinking of the rude word, but Patch interrupted her. "Well it started out innocently enough, but I quickly grew too nervous to sleep." Patch looked at ceiling and smiled again, this time a lot more lightheartedly. "Neither could she. We just talked for a while... and that's when we found that we had a lot of the same ideals and opinions, despite our obvious differences. It was four in the morning before we were too tired to speak anymore and... she was too tired to go to her own bed..."

"Aww, that's so romantic!" Scratch gushed. Octavia giggled. Vex looked away, a smile on her face.

Vex spoke up. "I wish I met her. Were you both still in high school?" Vex took a drink of wine she had refilled her glass with during the story as she awaited Patch's answer. She had completely lost the buzz she had from her first glass, so she thought Why not?

"High school? Hardly. Other than the fact I dropped out at fourteen, I was sixteen when I met her; she was Twenty four."

Vex simultaneously spat out everything she had in her mouth when she heard their ages. Sputtering, she gasped, "That's illegal!"

Patch raised a brow. "As opposed to what we regularly do?" Vex coughed. That seemed to shut her up.

Scratch interjected. "I think it's kinda sweet. It means love has no discrimination. Age, or even gender." She wrapped a leg around Octavia, who smiled furiously and flushed.

This conversation made Vex think... Love has no discrimination... not age, gender, or... Vex glanced at Patch. Species, maybe?

"Well, we can be off now, we'll leave you two to closing."

Scratch waved her hoof. “Nah, man, you can stay as long as ya want. Open bar as well, serve yourselves.”

“Well, we can wait a while longer, I suppose,” Patch wondered aloud. “Still a chance Fluttershy and Pinkie are lookin’ for Rarity.”

“Can I drink now? Free stuff,” Vex said, pointing to her wine glass. Patch shook his head.

A half an hour passed and it had now reached 1:30 in the morning. Waiting for their comrades, Vex and Patch talked of things of no importance, trying to pass the time. Octavia and her partner, Vinyl, were fiddling with with their equipment and idly chatting about music. They had no need to be there at all; they only stayed for their old friends.

At one point, Vex asked Scratch why the club closes so early. Her excuse was that Octavia has recitals she needs to practice for, and that most Canterlot folk have jobs they need to get rest for, which in turn wouldn't make a very effective club late at night.

Vex decided it had been long enough to get another drink, so she walked over to the bar and grabbed another bottle of wine, for Patch had already gone through the one he initially bought. Sitting down, she let out a long, exhausted sigh. "When Fluttershy gets here, I'm gonna ram her down Pinks' throat."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" Patch chuckled, and motioned towards his glass, signaling her to pour him some. He didn't protest to Vex drinking, he was a reasonable person. Vex and Patch were too busy chatting that they didn't notice six men walk in the door. Octavia, however, immediately glared at the pony in front who bore the Legionary red coat. It had various medals on it, along with a pin that distinguished his rank: Sergeant. The ponies who were with him were also Legionaries, but lacked the red coats.

"Hey, we're closed. Get out."

The stallion stopped. "I wanted to know if you reconsidered our offer."

Octavia raised her voice an octave. "We told you this place is not for sale. Get out."

"I am done with this foolishness! You do not have a choice in the matter! You can either give your property to us peacefully and receive monetary compensation, or the Legion can take it by force."

Patch flinched at the mention of the Princesses' Legion as a fire flashed before his eyes. Hatred flowed to his hooves as he tightened his grip around his glass.

Octavia scoffed sarcastically. "'Monetary compensation'? Please, you're offering us a tenth of the worth of this club, and even then we would never sell it!"

It was at this time Patch twisted his face at Vex, talking to her via an abstract form of communication. Patch scowled, furrowed his eyebrows, then glanced at the stallion with the red coat in a way that said We have to do something about these douchebags.

Vex raised both her eyebrows in speculation, lowered only one, then flicked her head to the left. But I don't have my guns.

Patch nodded his head with determination. Forget your guns! We can take these jokers.

Vex gave a final nod of confirmation and tightened her talons around her wine bottle, still half filled with grape bliss.

"Force it is then." The red coat stallion pointed at Scratch and Octavia with rage. "We'll burn this place to the ground!"

"Over my dead body!" Octavia yelled in defiance. Scratch wrapped her hoof around Octavia's foreleg apprehensively, fearing the worst. The red coated pony confirmed her fears.

"Very well then." He turned towards one of the men at his side. "Kill them." Scratch and Octavia's eyes widened in fear. Vex smirked. The stallion nodded his head and slowly advanced towards the stage, and in turn, Scratch and Octavia. It came to Patch's attention that the group of Legionaries had completely ignored him and Vex throughout this entire scene, a mistake that Patch wouldn't soon let them forget. They must have assumed Patch and his griffin friend were average everyday people that always turned a blind eye towards the Legion's evil. They were wrong.

The pony ordered to attack the two innocent mares passed by Vex unaware of her unnatural grip on her bottle. He must have thought it was some sort of griffin thing. Vex swung at the pony and broke the bottle against the back of his head, spilling all of the wine on the floor, along with some blood. Vex noted how much of a waste it was before turning to the rest of the crowd, rubbing her wrist with her talons. "Sorry," she said.

"But we can't let you do that." Patch finished, getting up from his seat abruptly.

“What the hell?!” The red coated stallion yelled in bewilderment. He squinted and scrunched up his nose at Patch. Suddenly, he realized who it was. “Captain Peg-Patch the pirate. Your face is all over the Legion’s most wanted documents.”

“I try,” Patch said, flicking his mane and fluffing it up with one hoof.

“Your head will fetch a hefty price from the princess. And I don’t intend for it to be attached to its body.”

Patch thought of the disembodied head from that ruby chest they had pillaged. Maybe it was a possibility that it was a for a bounty, but it still didn’t make sense that it was being transported in such an expensive container.

“Kill them all.”

At this, Scratch gave a quick glance to Octavia, who smiled and nodded. They were both thinking the same thing. Octavia swept her hair back and tied it in a posh manner. Vinyl ran her hooves throughout her mane, giving it a party-esque appearance. Octavia tossed the shades she was wearing to Scratch, who kicked up the mic on the floor and caught it with her magic. Octavia did the same to the cello bow on the ground, but catching it with her forelegs instead.

“And with the proceeding ass-kicking, we have accompaniment from your good friends DJ Pon-3 and MC Octavia! Thank you for flying with Fuck You airlines, sponsored by The Legion Are Dicks condoms. They’re extra small!” As soon as Scratch was finished, Octavia strung her bow across her cello, giving multiple drawn out notes, followed by Vinyl doing exactly what her name says: scratching those records.

The proceeding beats were short and plentiful, spaced between with scratches and electronic distortion. Synthetic drums boomed out of the nearby stereos, giving way to distorted notes that came from Octavia’s modded cello.

One of the Legionaries, a brown unicorn, charged at Vex, causing her step to the side and give Patch more space to work. Three more ran in the direction of the griffin, deciding she was more of a threat than the earth pony. The rest lunged towards Patch, unsheathing their swords, including the red coated leader.

A sword came crashing down on Vex, who stepped to the side and swung her talons at the unicorn. Ducking and dodging the lethal talons, he then swept up with his scimitar, leading her to jump back in order to dodge. The blade nearly made contact, cutting the tips of some of her feathers off. Vex didn’t get much recovery time before she sensed another sword coming at her from behind. Sensing it was a horizontal swipe, she ducked her head down, nearly hitting the floor with her beak. Seeing her opportunity, she clawed at the ground with her talons and kicked as hard as she could, sending her attacker airborne and into a table. The unicorn in front didn’t waste any time; he lunged forward with his sword again, this time in a diagonal strike. Using her fortified talons, she caught the blade with the tips of her fingers, making sure not to injure herself. She ripped the sword away and sent it flying to the other side of the room, and formed her talons into a fist. She sent it forward with unrelenting force, and successfully knocked out her opponent.

Vocals sounded throughout the room from the stereos, gibberish mixed from conversations and lyrics that could almost no longer be identifiable, a fitting change of pace to Scratch and Octavia’s live performance.

Patch saw the sword swings from a mile away. He stepped right, left, and then jumped to accommodate the swings of his attacker. On his way down, he launched his hoof forward as hard as he could. It made contact with a deafening crack in the center of the pony’s chest, making him kneel and put both hooves on his chest, sputtering for air. He suddenly noticed the two ponies on both sides charging at him with swords drawn and in a stabbing motion. Timing his duck just right, Patch lowered himself and brought out both forelegs and caught the two ponies by their bellies. Using their momentum to aid his lift, he brought them over his back and slammed them against each other, knocking only one unconscious for the red coated pony had braced himself correctly.

The vocals to Scratch and Octavia’s song had long since faded away, and the sound of the classic cello made a comeback, replaying the first notes once again. It was interrupted by distorted beats once again. It went back and forth like this until it was replaced by the far more upbeat electronic music.

The purple earth pony Vex had knocked into a table was up again,armed with a sword and backed up by two more ponies. Their incapacitated friend lay behind Vex, and the sight of him was getting the trio pissed off. Instead of letting them get the first hit in, Vex abruptly launched herself towards the three ponies, catching one by the throat and slamming him against the back wall. It didn’t daze him as much as she thought it would, but she didn’t have time to complain, the back rank ponies charged at her. She flew in the air and made a backwards loop to corner the small group. She spread out her arms and slammed her talons against the two ponies, and then brought her legs forward and kicked them in. They were all against the wall now, with one of them finally unconscious from the fierce blows.

The music continued to resonate before the vocals started up once again, this time more intelligible. Two voices was heard over the speakers. “Ba, ba, lo-ots of fun! Fai-Faith, ful and strong. Ba, ba, lo-ots of fun! Fai-Faith, ful and strong. Ba, ba, lo-ots of fun! Fai-Faith, ful and strong. Ba, ba, lo-ots of fun! Fai-Faith, ful and strong.” The track interrupted itself with a sharp change in lyrics. “Makes magic all complete-plete-plete-plete-plet-ple-pl-p!”

All that was left for Patch was the red coated leader and his subordinate who had just suffered his wind getting knocked out of him. Patch found no openings; the two ponies watched his every move, ready for what he might do. He felt his back hoof get caught on something lying on the floor. He quickly eyed it, and saw it was a sword that one of the Legionaries had dropped. Kicking it up and catching it with his mouth, he lunged forward, catching both of the ponies off-guard. The red coated pony dived to the right, while the grunt lifted his sword and blocked Patch’s strike. Patch followed up his attack with two more swings, one to the right and one to the left. The pony blocked both hits, but on the latter he stumbled and dropped his sword. Patch immediately recognized the opening and sent the sword forward as hard as he could. He felt the blade glide effortlessly through the pony’s chest, and in horror, realized he had killed the poor guy. Damn! The idiot didn’t dodge! Paying his respect to the dead soldier, he turned to his final opponent: the red coated leader.

The usually fast paced music froze to a halt. idle beats boomed in low, bass thumps, while hints of the previous melody whispered.

Vex strafed around the two ponies that opposed her. They kept their eyes locked on her as she rounded them. Their swords were held firm in their mouths, ready to strike, or to counter. Vex wondered why she was stalling, why she didn't just pounce, when she realized that for the past three minutes she had been synchronizing her attacks to the music. Granted it was good music, but she still found it quite annoying. It was a particularly slow part of the track, so Vex took advantage of the previous choreography and lunged at one pony. The sudden attack broke the right pony's concentration of the preceding adaptation to the loud music and almost allowed Vex to grab a hold of him and toss him like a dirty rag towards the other pony. Vex had taken too much time to throw the pony, so his friend was ready to jump out of harm's way. Vex immediately followed up her move with a flail of her fist. The pony showed some finesse by blocking Vex's claw by flaunting the blunt end of his scimitar and hitting it against the back of her wrist. The unexpected force of the impact knocked the sword out of the Legionary’s mouth, but he was prepared. He spun on his front hooves and bucked. Vex was too experienced for that, however, and grabbed both legs in midair giving her an admittedly nice view of the pony's under sides. Blood rushing to her face, she shoved both legs forward, causing the pony to do a front flip and land on a table behind him. Her eyes were still involuntarily locked at the the pony's delicates even while he was unconscious on the ground when she noticed a metal glint at his flank. Realizing what it was, she smiled maliciously.

...yay. The music flooded back into the room like a raging river as Patch faced his last opponent. Swords were drawn and they clashed together forming furious sparks. Patch swung a particularly strong horizontal strike against the red coated pony causing him to flinch backwards and Patch to lean into his attack. Seeing the exposure of Patch's attack, the red coated pony swung upwards with his sword. Patch rebounded off the floor with his right hoof; he leaned back, barely missing the blade of his opponent. Patch stepped back to catch his breath. His adversary did the same. Patch set down his sword.

“Preying on the useless.” Patch said in between breaths. The pony cocked his head in confusion. “What the hell would the Legion do with a nightclub?” Patch elaborated. “You’re just doing this because you can.”

“That reason justifies it in itself, Captain,” the pony retorted. Despite his attitude, he didn’t say ‘captain’ with sarcasm. A glint of respect in an otherwise complete disdain of each others’ opinions was apparent in his voice.

“All of you Legionaries are the same, self-centered, arrogant, motherfucking arsonists.” Patch scowled. “Sergeant.”

“Some men just wanna watch the world burn.” The red coated pony did not smile from his out of place satire. Instead, he glared at the Captain. “You of all people, a pirate, must understand what that feels like. No doubt you have felt it yourself.”

“Who the fuck are you to say what I’ve felt, you ass-licking BASTARD!” Patch yelled, much to the sergeant’s surprise. He had been rather calm during the brawl. “You pricks wouldn’t know the first thing about real pain, the shit you cause! But I know.” Patch leapt forward. “AND I’M GONNA TEACH YOU CUNT-FUCKING SAD PISSHEADS THAT PAIN IF IT’S THE LAST THING I FUCKING DO!”

Patch was enraged and red filled his vision. He flailed his arms around, trying to get hits in everywhere. The red coated pony was too taken aback at the outburst to swing his sword in time, and a stray hoof knocked it out of his mouth. Patch lowered his head and charged at the stallion. The red coated pony was able to catch Patch’s head between his chest and right foreleg. Using his left hoof for leverage, he was able to lift the captain off the ground, and with a long groan, toss Patch into the turntables on the stage. The music abruptly cut as Scratch ran to dodge the incoming stallion. He smashed through the turntable, flipped once, and landed with his back against the wall. Patch tried to look up and gather his bearings, but the red coated pony had already stepped in front of him and started to lift Patch again. He threw him to his left, off the stage, and into a lone table. Patch lay there, groaning in pain. He tried to get up, but once again the pony was in front of him. The sergeant drove his hoof into Patch’s throat, choking him. He lowered himself to the captain’s ear.

“Looks like I win. Any last words, Captain?” The red coated pony relieved a little bit of the pressure, allowing Patch to talk. He coughed and sputtered, before chuckling softly. The red coated pony frowned. “What’s so funny?”

“Hehe,” Patch coughed out. “You know, you seem to be forgetting my feathered friend...”

The red coated pony immediately began to turn his head, trying to face the forgotten danger, but he felt a barrel of a flintlock at the back of his head that stopped him dead in his tracks. The red coated pony quickly assessed the situation, trying to see a way out. But he only had a hoof on the captain with no way to kill him reliably or quickly, which ruled out threatening to end his life if the griffin shot him, and the griffin had grabbed a hold of the sergeant’s mane, making him unable to do any CQC to get himself out. His fate had been decided as soon as that pistol touched his head. He heard the griffin’s voice from close to his right ear. It was smooth as silk, almost seductive, as if she got some sort of sick pleasure watching him squirm.

“Did you know a musket ball doesn’t have the penetrating power to pierce the skull twice?” she asked rhetorically. “That means the bullet will enter your head, ricochet off the other side, and turn your brain into a fine pink smoothie.”

The pony was shaking uncontrollably at this point. A small smirk stretched across her beak. Her talon tightened around the trigger...


The pony shut his eyes, and stopped shaking entirely... then he opened them. Vex laughed. “You really thought I was gonna shoot you, didn’t you!” The pony turned to face the hilarious griffin. She tapped the pony’s cheek with the muzzle of her gun. “Ah, ah, ah,” she said, wagging her talons. “Gun’s still loaded. Won’t hesitate to shoot you if ya do something stupid.” Her expression hardened. “So don’t.”

“Then what exactly are you going to do?” the red coated pony asked, growing increasingly frustrated. “Hold me hostage? Interroga-”

The sudden sound of discharge made everybody in the room jump, except for Patch and the gunman. The sergeant cried out in pain as he toppled to the floor, gasping for breath. The projectile had pierced his lower abdomen, navigating itself between all the bones and organs, lodging itself in between his pelvis. A successful flesh wound. Vex dropped her unloaded weapon and bent down to the squirming pony. “Don’t flatter yourself.”

“Thanks for your help, guys.” Octavia shook Patch’s hoof, in which he returned with a hug. She was surprised by the sudden display of affection, but she didn’t complain. Scratch stepped up from behind.

“So you’re a pirate?” She asked as if it were an everyday occurrence. Patch chuckled.

“You don’t sound very surprised.”

She smiled back. “Can’t say I am. You were always the rebellious type.” She screwed up her face in confusion. “But what’re doing in Canterlot.”

Patch’s eyes shot open. He completely forgot to ask them, his long time friends! Instead he asked random strangers! He cleared his throat. “Me an’ Vex are looking for a woman named Rarity. Either of you seen her?”

Scratch’s face lit up. “Oh, hey! Rarity you say? Man what the hay~” Patch couldn’t help but smile at Scratch’s unfit rhyming. After all the seriousness of today, it was good to see someone take the piss out of it. “Yeah I know Rarity,” she giggled, putting her arm around Octavia. “Did a show for her a while back. It didn’t go over so well, which was whack ‘cuz those costumes were amazing. With the exception of the galoshes.

“Wut?” Vex asked, cocking her head.

“Anyway,” she continued, not bothering to elaborate. “We weren’t sistas, but we became okay friends when she moved to Canterlot. Strange, but she was always distant to everyone except for that little dragon that followed her around. Well, I can imagine he ain’t so little anymo’. If you must know, last I heard from her was that she was moving back to ponyville, and she up and disappeared.”

“Did she own a boutique?” Asked Patch, trying to verify the information. Scratch shook her head.

“She lived in a fuckin’ awesome house, but she didn’t own a shop. She made clothes and dresses, lots of clothes and dresses, but just for friends and herself, almost never for business.”

Patch put a hoof on his chin. “I guess that could be our girl... Thanks for the info, guys.”

“No problem.”

Octavia stepped forward. “Uh, guys, you seem to be forgetting that there is a pile of unconscious Legionaries in the club. How are we going to explain that?”

“You don’t,” Patch deadpanned. “The sergeant will just say it was pirates. They will leave your club alone as well. They need to keep up appearances with the general public and the princesses. So, if they were to forcibly take your club now, it would be a mite suspicious. Not suspicious enough to be investigated, granted, but they don’t want to risk it.” Patch eyed the building next to them, basking in the memories. “They wouldn’t have an excuse.”

There was a long silence, it wasn’t uncomfortable in any way... but the two mares and griffin gave a moment of silence for Patch, something he needed dearly. Patch smiled, and closed his eyes. “C’mon Vex, we need to find the others.” Waving goodbye to his two musician friends, they walked down the dark alley from the back of the club, planning to meet their yellow and pink friends.

“How long will it take to find them?” Vex asked, looking at her talons annoyingly.

“About four seconds.” Vex glanced at the captain curiously, then looked down the alley to see a yellow pegasus coupled with a pink earth pony. Fluttershy had an astonished look on her face.

“Cap’n!” she gasped. “Where the hell were you?”

Patch laughed. “I could ask you the same thing.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yes, all chapters that contain a major encounter will be this long. Otherwise, expect a normal length chapter next update. An interlude will be coming soon.


Damaged Reflections

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"What do we find in coincidence? Do we find comfort, and ease in the ironic happenings of happenstance? Or do we hide in the shadows, trying to get away from the unpredictable predictability?"

Chapter 6

"Applebloom..." Scootaloo's old friend hung in the doorway with bags in her mouth and an enthusiastic smile strung across her face. "You... you're here!"

Applebloom nodded with an ecstatic, "Mhmm!"

"Why are you here? I thought you were still at the farm," Scootaloo inquired as her bright yellow friend dropped her bags on the floor and gave Scootaloo a huge embrace.

"Well... after Applejack 'n Big Mac left an' Granny Smith died... there just really wasn't anythang left fer me to be there fer."

Scootaloo gave an understanding frown.

"Ah figured Ah'll join the Legion like mah sistah did." Applebloom shifted her hoof hoof on the floor. "But Ah ain't good at killin' no folk, so they stuck me here. Ah didn't know you'd be here too!" Apple bloom tossed her bag to the nearest bed, which Scootaloo silently agreed to.

"So, I assume you met Pips," Scootaloo mentioned as she sat down on the lone chair in the room. Scootaloo noted how absurdly fast the two mares ran out of topics to chat about. They'd thought being away from each other for four years would have given them plenty to ask one another, but everything that had happened before the parting was old news, and what they had missed out was too plentiful to pin down a topic that didn't enlist long back stories.

Content with Scootaloo's subject change, she answered. "Ya mean Cap'n Pipsqueak? Yeah, he's a pretty cool feller, very polite. He's kinda cute t'."

"Easy there tiger," she warned, looking over her shoulder and eyeing the moon out her window. "Something tells me that he wouldn't be very interested."

"'s he gay?"

"Uh... no. Don't ask me how I would know that..." Scootaloo groaned as if she ate something foul.

"What, did he hit on ya?" Applebloom wondered.

"Uh no... I walked in on him while he was..." Scootaloo flew out of her seat and dashed to the door. "You know what? Never mind. Let's go see what Pips is doing." She chuckled nervously as she ushered her friend out of the room, who was quite bewildered.

"I brought you a letter!" the familiar voice ringed in a singsong tone. The voice was bubbly and light-hearted, as if the mare who owned it had absolutely no worries about the world, or was completely ignorant about them.

Pipsqueak looked up from his desk to see that wide, unconcerning grin, not perfectly white, but not a tinge yellow, facing him square in the muzzle. Realizing who it was, a soft smile stretched along his mouth. "Ah, hello Ditzy dear, how you doing?"

A short, innocent giggle escaped from the blonde's mouth as if she were gargling cotton candy. "Heeheehe, I'm doing good Master Pippysqueak! Express delivery, Sir!" She gave a small salute as her wings stretched from side to side in glee. The look of determination on the pegasus' face did little to help the captain's urge to jump over his desk and provide the mare with a large hug. She pulled the letter out of her saddlebags (miraculously the right one, which is a pretty amazing feat considering she was holding many packages and envelopes belonging to a plethora of different ponies for all over Equestria) and handed it to the Captain. "But you know, Master Pippysqueak, you can just call me Derpy, I don't find it insulting at all."

Pipsqueak gave the blonde a once over, admiring her figure and adorableness accordingly. She was wearing a blue denim coat with a white shirt underneath, giving her an apt appearance as a Legion mailmare. She also bore a brown Express Delivery Beret and sash. Pipsqueak set his hooves on his desk and leaned. "Now, why would I want to do that? Ditzy Doo is such a beautiful and endearing name, one I would not want to spoil with such an arbitrary nickname. And of course the beautiful name complies with a mare of the same traits." One of her eyes were trailing off at the bombardment of compliments, and as soon as he was finished, her entire face lit up red. She hid her blush with her hoof and giggled.

"Oh Master Pippysqueak, you do know how to flatter a girl!"

Pipsqueak had never corrected Ditzy on his name since it was said in respect instead of mockery. Then again she was a pretty girl, he'd let a pretty girl call him shitface as long as it was done with endearment. Ditzy grinned wildly once again through closed eyes. "Master, that letter is from P.C., so you should open it right away."

Pipsqueak reared back at this news as he glanced at the letter. Surely it wasn't of dire consequence as she could have used Vynn, his eagle, for emergencies via that dark portal teleportation spell she taught Luna. But she sent Ditzy, the fastest mode communication excluding the aforementioned method. He began to tear at the top of the envelope.

He skimmed the letter with an intense stare. After finishing, he looked at the blonde mare in front of him once again. "What's it say?" she asked, staring at the Captain with one eye, the one that usually drifted off randomly. It didn't occur to him to ask the blonde why she would want to know, considering Ditzy was one of the few ponies he trusted outside of his, men he didn't care.

"Apparently the rouge element we were searching for- the pirates- was Captain Patch, an infamous pirate who also pillaged a small messenger ship two days ago which apperantly had some very precious cargo as well..." Pipsqueak read the letter again, making sure not to miss anything. "They were last seen back in Canterlot, which means we must have missed them on the way here. We'll have to turn back."

"Aw, that sucks." Ditzy's eyes shifted nervously from side to side before she stepped out. She knew she wasn't doing anything bad, but the whole sneakiness of the entire thing made her uncomfortable. "Well goodbye, Master Pippysqueak!"

"See you later Ditzy Doo."

The brown stallion with matching mane trotted down the hall, deep in thought. He was oblivious to the noise around him- and the ponies in front of him. The last few events that had transpired raised his suspicions, which was quite suspicious for the suspicion he was having. He then realized how delicious of a word suspicious was. Suspicious. Suuuuspiciouuuus.

"Doctor, are you okay?"

Hey, that voice sounded like- "Ditzy! Nice to see you!" The Doctor grabbed a hold of the Pegasus and embraced her in a soft hug. She returned it.

"I brought you a muffin!" Ditzy yelled in glee, holding out the brown baked good in front of him. He smiled widely.

"Absolutely brilliant! English muffins have nothing on your baking skills, Love,"

"Heh, whatever that means."

The Doctor cheered as he grasped the muffin out off her hoof, only to have it plop on the floor. They both kinda... stared at it for a couple of seconds. "Oops," he apologized as he picked it off the floor with his mouth, and shoved it inside the legion coat's pocket. "Keep forgetting hooves are flat, heh."

"Doctor, you guys are going to bump into those pirates pretty soon."

"What? How? I told you Ditzy, we can't get directly involved! Lord knows what happens when we do that..."

Ditzy cocked her head at 'Lord', but he shrugged it off. Instead, Ditzy folded her forelegs together. "I know, I know. But it was a direct order from P.C., I can't just ignore that."

"Well, I suppose it couldn't be helped," The Doctor concluded as he rubbed the back of his mane. He was interrupted in the middle of his gesture by Ditzy brushing up against the Doctor.

"Umm..." Ditzy garbled as she traced her hoof in small circles on the Doctor's chest. "Do we have enough time to...?"

The Doctor sighed in genuine disappointment. He brushed his for leg down her back. "Unfortunately not. They'd get destroyed if they're ambushed... you know what to do."

"Aww," she said in disappointment. "Not even a little?"

"Sorry, no... but..." The Doctor said as he touched his lips to hers. Ditzy responded the usual way, spreading and stiffing her wings, flapping them slowly, but excitedly. They separated and Ditzy nearly fell backwards, still caught in the romantic reverie. She smiled.

"I'll be back Doctor Whooves," she said, diligently. The Doctor, no longer affected by her odd name for him, nodded with a calm smile on his face.

"I'll be waiting, Love." The Doctor turned and trotted over to the Captain’s room.

Ditzy stopped herself for a moment and turned back to the Doctor. "Oh, and... you were right. It's Captain Patch. And the pink one is already with him."

The Doctor ceased his movement entirely, and stood still. His head sunk. "Oh? Well, that changes things..."

"Doctor... you can stop it from happening right?"

"No... I can merely guide. I can only hope Pipsqueak will do the right thing." The doctor craned his neck to look at his Ditzy, and lightened his voice. "This change of situation does help, though... but, you see, we are the only ones that could have influenced it, and we haven't really done much. Very odd.

"No matter. Ditzy, do your thing. I need to speak to the captain."

"Captain, I want to-" The Doctor saw the orange and yellow mares in the room standing at either side of the captain and stopped in his tracks. "Oh, I can come back later."

"Nonsense, Doctor," Pipsqueak ushered the stallion into the room. "Always got time to talk."

"Thank you, captain." The Doctor took a couple of steps into the room.

"Ugh, the air in this room just got twenty-five percent more British," Scootaloo joked. "Now it's over half."

"Shut up, Scootaloo," Pipsqueak ordered while the Doctor chuckled. "Now," Pipsqueak got to the point. "What was it you wanted to talk about it?"

"Sir, I'm concerned about these Pirates. Specifically Captain Peg-Patch."

Pipsqueak leaned forward. "How do you know about Cap-" Pipsqueak stopped himself as he eyed the man with a bow tie in front of him. He relaxed his shoulders and a smile crept on his face. "Heh, of course you know about him. I honestly shouldn't be surprised, you know everything.”

“Not everything, Captain, just a lot,” The Doctor said, chuckling. “Listen... do you think we could bring them in peacefully? Maybe, apprehend them?”

“A cat in hell’s chance.” Pipsqueak put on the best sympathetic face he could muster. “Sorry, we can’t just expect them to bend over, hand us paddles, and serve us margaritas with little umbrellas in them.”

“Yes... I understand.” The Doctor really didn’t know what he was on about. Getting them jailed was unlikely to help them out either. The Doctor couldn’t sabotage either, he had gotten too attached to this crew. Not that it would help, Pipsqueak was important too. He simply had to sit and wait.

The Doctor turned and walked, defeated in a surprisingly short time.

“What was that all ‘bout?” Applebloom asked to no one in particular. Scootaloo shrugged while Pipsqueak itched his chin.

“I dunno... but The Doctor has never been this on edge.” Pipsqueak stared intently at the wooden desk he was leaning on. “Strange.”

“Speakin’ of strange... who in tarnation is that guy?”

“That’s The Doctor,” Pipsqueak began, shifting his weight from the desk to the back of his chair. “Don’t bother asking his real name, he insists that that’s it.”

Scootaloo burst out in an abrupt laughter. “Tell her how he joined.”

Applebloom raised an eyebrow as Pipsqueak turned away sheepishly. “The Doctor just boarded the ship one day and insisted that he was already part of the crew, walking around like he owned the place. When I stopped being utterly confused, I demanded he get off my ship. He... followed me on an assignment”

Applebloom put a hoof to her mouth to suppress a giggle. “He then proved himself a useful man. He is an expert in damn near everything. He’s always got an answer for my questions, though... it takes a while to get a straight one.”

The captain took one last look at the door before he commented, “Wonder what’s on his mind...” Pipsqueak glanced at the papers on his desk and shifted through the mail. He froze up when he saw a letter from Luna. Immediately seeking to open it, he grinned. “A letter from Luna? I have more reliable means of communication, I wonder why she’s sending via Ditzy.” Pulling the parchment from the envelope, he skimmed it.

Yes, I know it’s rather odd contacting you this way, but this is official business and must be recorded as such. Anyways, in our most recent recruitment, a rather strange pony enlisted. You’ll find his personnel file enclosed. As you will probably tell, it’s remarkably unusual, in terms of his living quality and history. At first, I didn’t trust the pony, but as it turns out... he is incredibly powerful and has an ability unlike any I have ever seen. I have decided to let him join, but I ask you interview him personally, I trust you far more than some stranger. Not that you should care, but he is not from here, rather he hails from Neighpon which is unique for a unicorn. That is mostly donkey land. Speak with him when you get back to Canterlot. That is all.

A Neighponese pony? What makes him so special Luna would let him bypass? Hmm...

Pipsqueak grabbed the enclosed file and began to read that as well.

Name: Drake Blaze/ Occupation: N/A/ Talent: N/A/ Education: Doctorate Degree in Theoretical Physics, Doctorate Degree in Chemistry, M.D./ Age: 21/

WOAH, WHAT?! Three doctorates and he’s only twenty one? How is that even possible? Pipsqueak continued to read, genuinely intrigued.

Race: Assian Unicorn/ Credit Balance: 334,926 bits/

...Fffffffffffff. What’s this guy want in the Legion? He’s absolutely loaded!

Criminal History: 17 counts of aggravated assault and battery. 11 counts of public vandilism.

...Wut? How is this guy not in jail?

Pipsqueak exhaled an exasperated sigh as he set the lengthy record down. He thought of trotting over to the window and just tossing the damned thing in the raging waters of 'NO', but then decided to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, considering Luna had recommended him herself. He glanced out the window to the moon one last time before letting out another sigh. A storm is approaching. I know it.

"Let's see... four letters down, a misinterpretation of a large water blocking bridge..." Patch, deep in thought, didn't expect the eardrum shattering crash and jumped out of his chair. He spun quickly towards the window in his room, and readied his sword. Patch eyed the fallen paper and pencil before letting out a sigh, then kept his attention at the window. Seeing no one, he inched towards it, being careful to be ready to swing at a moment’s notice. He took another step forward, his knees shaking from the adrenaline. After a couple of seconds, he eased his demeanor, but kept his guard up. He started walking at a normal pace to the window, opened it, and leaned outside. All he could see was the night’s endless horizon, and a pony-

“DAMN!” CRASH! Patch tumbled across the room a few times before smacking into the door upside-down. The mare who was air-delivered to him did a similar thing, only landing a few feet away with her wings spread out. She spoke with her usual thick accent that Patch could not distinguish.

“I really have to aim next time, yes...” the mare in the bandanna and red overcoat moaned while struggling to stand. When she looked up, her eyes were met with a blue hoof, one she recognized all to easily.

“You think?” he retorted, while a unconscious smile stretched across his face. It was soft and sympathetic, but at the same time had a scolding tinge to it. The grey mare gladly accepted the Captain’s help, and got to her hooves somewhat clumsily.

“Ditzy,” the Captain began. “What’re you doing here? You usually meet me when we dock.”

“Captain, captain, big problem, yes!” The clumsy mare yelled, fumbling to close the distance between each other. “The legion, legion, they’re coming, for you, yes!”

“The legion? For this ship specifically?” The captain asked. They were in the middle of the ocean. Why would the Legion be hunting a small band of pirates? Sure they had made quite a stir in Canterlot, but nothing remarkable happened.

“You heard what I said, no?” The mare’s gruff voice and strange accent always threw off Patch, but it couldn’t be any worse than his own.

Ditzy suddenly grabbed Patch’s shoulders and started to violently shake him. “You must do something, sir, something must be done!”

“WwWwHhHhHyYyYyY?” Patch tried to ask whilst being shaken. Ditzy halted immediately and turned away to point at the window. When she turned back, Patch was still trying to stand after being shook like a neglected foal.

“This attack comes from Captain Pipsqueak, the legion’s most effecient, and also youngest captain, yes it does!” Ditzy climbed into the window and prepared to take leave. “You best be careful, yup yup! He won’t go down so easily, no he wont.”

“Pipsqueak?” The Captain asked, rubbing his head in discomfort. “Sounds like a pushover.”

Ditzy propelled herself towards the captain with her wings and looked straight into his eyes with her hooves on his shoulders. “OH nononononononononono. He is anything but, yes he is.”

“Ditzy,” the captain growled, getting impatient. “Look, it won’t be a problem. We’ve faced the Legion before, and it’s just one ship. How hard can it-”

“Lavender!” Ditzy screamed before flying out the window at lightning speed, leaving Patch standing, baffled.

“...L-...Lavender? What the hell does that mean?”

“Captain!” Fluttershy crashed through the door. Patch doubled back and screamed from the sudden entrance. After a couple seconds of awkward silence, Patch cleared his throat.

“Uhh... Yeah,” he said, smiling sheepishly.

“Aaaaanyways... there is a large ship off the starboard bow coming in hot. Should we bother?”

“Legion?” Patch asked. Maybe Ditzy wasn’t full of absolute crap.

“No, it’s fuckin' Mary Poppins asking for directions.” Fluttershy remarked, smiling.

“Could do without the sarcasm Fu’Shy.” The captain trotted towards the door and motioned Fluttershy to follow.

The sun was creeping up on the horizon, slowly making the night fade away as the moon ran for west. The ship Patch was informed of crept up along with the sun, as if they were sent from it to combat the pirates preparing for the fight. Patch lent over the edge of the railing and inspected his own ship. Repairs from their last battle had already taken place, as the hull was perfectly in tact. Patch faced the ship once more as he made the order. “Turn the ship. Get those cannons facing those Legion bastards.”

“Aye, Captain.” one of the ponies behind him confirmed. Patch craned his neck to face his crew. A crowd of the most loyal ponies he had ever met and...

“Miss Pie?”

“Wassup?” Pinkie asked in glee.

Patch looked at her in disbelief and shook his head in slight annoyance. “Miss Pie, please get back into the ship. You’re no fighter.” Patch contemplated himself for a few seconds before facing Pinkie once again. “...Are you?”

“Nah, I was just checking out what was going on.”

Patch sighed once again and turned towards the cannon on the edge of the ship. Knowing it was already loaded he slammed hoof against it, igniting the primer and launching the ball towards the ship in the distance.


“So much for The Doctor’s suggestion,” Pipsqueak retorted, giving a scolding glance towards the bowtie wearing stallion. He smiled nervously.

“Alright you wankers, you want a fight you got it!”

“Fuck, they’re fast!” Patch yelled as battles in the sky unfolded. The pegasi fought above in order to own the battlefield of the clouds. The ‘they’ that patch was referring to was Pipsqueak’s ship. It practically danced around Patch’s budget ship like a butterfly. Although the pirates’ ship was holding up an admirable fight, if this kept up their ship would be torn apart like paper-mâché. “Alright guys this isn’t working, let’s board before they do the same to us!” Patch kept an eye on the sky, mainly Fluttershy, who was barking orders and fending off a couple of pegasi.

At once, most of the pirates yelled and began to jump for Pipsqueak’s ship, which was conveniently on the receiving end of a wave. The battle had started, and the sounds of cannons dimmed down somewhat, except for the few pirates who stayed behind exclusively to fire them and the ones on Pipsqueak’s ship brave enough to let the battle out of their sights to fire off a shot or two. The rows of cannons on the decks below kept firing as well, but at a slower rate as a result of the lack of crew.

Patch was among the first to land on the ship. He took in his surroundings before drawing his sword and rushing in. He immediately ran in to two ponies, one of which did not sense his approach. He took care of the one with a careful slash, then gravitated towards the second. He was easy to dispatch of as well, first making contact with his sword then using the opening to buck him in the chest. Patch took a break before continuing, glancing at the sides of the battle, not noticing the sprinting unicorn with a saber cloaked in magic heading right for him. He turned, but too late for the pony had already started to strike when...

The sound of a gunfire was heard! Patch turned to thank his savior, which was Vex, still holding the flintlock to the space the pony had previously occupied. In her hand was the wooden pistol with gold and silver trimmings, bearing the imprinted word “Vexineva” on it, her full name. In her other talon was another pistol of the same design, pointed towards the deck. All of this paled in comparison, however, to the two rows of three holsters on each side of the griffin’s torso, four of them holding ordinary flintlocks, two of them empty for her beloved custom ones.

“Good job,” Vex spat sarcastically. Patch simply gave a nod of gratitude before going back to looking around the ship, eager to... meet the captain. He wasn't given much time however, as a small orange pegasus barreled forward and began her assault immediately. Patch, caught off guard, attempted to block the haphazard swords swings which flashed in front of him in an epileptic manner. Patch ducked under one particular swing which bought him time to skip back to gain some distance. This gave him an opportunity to analyse his attacker in order to actually stand a chance. One thing immediately became apparent: the reason the swings was so seizure-educing was because the orange pegasus with the intrusive purple mane had her sword connected on her hoof. There was a couple of things wrong with this picture; one, using your hoof with your sword is absolutely retarded. It screws with your balance and stance, and it is no chance against the force of a pony’s jaw. Two, she was a pegasus, and could have just used her wing to carry the sword which, while still less powerful than a jaw, would give her a more stable stance. Finally, Patch noticed that the pegasus' wings were... absolutely tiny. He realized that she wasn't on the ground just because she wanted to fight Patch, but because she couldn't fly. And she couldn't hold the sword with her wings because they were way too small.

"What's up with your wings, sis?" Patch asked with feign innocence before bearing a slight mischievous smirk. "Daddy drop you too many times?"

Scootaloo's face remained straight and unperturbed, however it was clear that she was offended by the remark. She smiled in spite of herself. "Think your a smart ass, huh? Choke on it."

"Really, a gay slur?" Patch asked in sarcasm. Scootaloo didn’t retort, instead, she leaped towards Patch at a surprising pace, knocking him off balance when he positioned himself to block it. He underestimated the power of the hoof swing and got knocked to his knees, sending a searing pain up his legs. She backed of as quickly as she came, cautious and unaware of Patch’s skills. Patch slowly got off the floor, trying to appear weaker than he actually was. Even so, he knew that this woman wasn’t your ordinary soldier.

"Fend 'em off, on it now lads!" Pipsqueak yelled, surveying the battlefield before bracing himself to jump down the railing to the lower deck. He was caught in the air mid jump, a yellow Pegasus air tackling him into the starboard railing. He grunted as his back hit ground, and immediately attempted to hold back his attacker. He caught glimpses of her black streaked pink mane while slamming his hooves into her chest. It soon became too much, the Pegasus kicked off of the captain and repositioned herself in front of him. Her breathing was labored, the wind knocked out of her from the panicked flailing. Pipsqueak stood clumsily and attempted to assess the pony before she started to speak.

“You look important. Major? Captain? General?” she asked, her gaze never faulting. Pipsqueak was surprised at the tenderness of her voice, surprised at the lack of slurs and curses. Pipsqueak decided to pay her back with politeness of his own.

“Well... we’re a sub branch of the Legion. There are no ranks on this ship, except for me the Captain and my first mate, Scoots.” Fluttershy reacted more violently than Pipsqueak expected. She sort of flinched and lifted her hoof in what seemed like disgust.

“Oh...” The shock of the Captain’s hospitality towards the yellow pirate subsiding, she altered her stance and readied her sword. “You know, I can’t let you pass.”

“Of course not, that would just be civil.”

This is what Fluttershy was waiting for; A smartass remark. “Watch your tone, fucker. You ain’t talking to someone you can just be a dick to and get off Scott-free. I’m going to fight back, not just be a submissive piece of crap.”

Pipsqueak’s face bore that of shock, his face soft and sympathetic. This sweet girl just completely flipped impressions, all because he decided to say a little joke. Still, she’s a pirate, it was gonna be like this either way.

“I expected no less.” Pipsqueak drew his sword, the glint of steel flashing in front of Fluttershy’s eyes.

Pipsqueak struck first, catching Fluttershy’s blade and producing sparks of aggravation. Fluttershy followed up with two quick swipes, both of which blocked by her opponent. Pipsqueak then hopped forward and positioned himself behind her, missing a third swipe from the pegasus, and attempted to buck her back. She simply sat her flank down, causing Pipsqueak to hit nothing but air. Balanced with her forelegs, Fluttershy pushed forward and slid under the Captain’s chest. Pipsqueak got a full view of her flank before it jerked up and hit him in the face. Fluttershy continued upward until she was standing on her forehooves and Pipsqueak was falling backwards to the ground belly-up. She jumped forward and brought her sword down to the Captain’s chest. Fueled by adrenaline, the Captain rolled away with merely a scratch. He took a second to exhale and began to stand once again.

Pipsqueak wasted no time; he immediately dashed forward, his head craned and his sword ready. But Fluttershy seemed to be distracted with another pegasus beside her...

Patch swung left, then right, to no avail. They both hit the woman’s blade, and it felt as if she fumbled her sword, but in reality it was just her awkwardness with her hoof-held saber. She brought down her sword with great force, trying to luck through Patch’s skill, but he blocked it with ease despite her unpredictability. They were at a stand-off, both trying to overtake the other, sparks flying. Scootaloo enjoyed the contest, but got aggravated when Patch was looking to the left.

Angry, Scootaloo challenged Patch. “What the hell are you looking at? Getting nervous? Answer me you bastard!”

Patch grumbled. He could do no more. He had underestimated the strength of the small orange pegasus, there was a sword in his mouth, and that thing he was looking at took all his attention. Patch’s sudden submission was annoying Scootaloo, which only made her apply more force into her hoof. The contact mark on the blades were getting deeper and deeper. Patch had lost all interest in the battle, he had his full intention on the pony to the right of the duel. In one swoop, Patch shoved Scootaloo to the right like a dirty rag, dragging both blades against each other producing enough sparks to light an ill-shaved pony’s beard on fire. He tackled the pony that had caught his attention and started wailing on him. Scootaloo stood and began to hall ass towards the evasive Captain before getting tackled herself by a yellow pegasus.

“Leave him alone!” She yelled before attempting to drive her sword into Scootaloo’s heart. Her awkwardly held sword gave her the advantage of freedom of movement, however, and countered with a swipe of the saber, merely scratching the yellow pegasus. She yelped and attempted to jump off Scootaloo, but not before the orange pegasus could slam both her hooves into Fluttershy’s ribcage. This caused the yellow mare to cough and sputter, before collapsing to the right of opponent. This gave Scootaloo ample time to find the captain in order to continue the assault. She found him, but she also saw Pipsqueak along with him, already engaged in combat. Deciding he would be able to handle it himself, Scootaloo tried to turn turn to her conquered opponent, but instead was greeted with the yellow mare already mid-swing. Scootaloo reacted fast enough to block the blow, but not to evade the following buck to the muzzle.

Scootaloo tasted the distinct flavor of blood before her vision started to darken. Suddenly, the world flopped to it’s side, and the sounds began to fade.

Content with the dropping of her enemy, Fluttershy smiled and ran up to help the Captain.

“Did you see that? Did you fucking see that?” Patch panted, exhausted from the constant barrage of attacks. Pipsqueak breathed just as heavily, before answering him,

“What?” He exhaled.

“I tackled you to save one of my crew. She tackled the mare attacking me. We rotated like fucking dates at a prom” Patch chortled. Pipsqueak just stared blankly at what he presumed as the Pirate captain.

After a couple seconds, Pipsqueak chuckled too. Smugly, he flashed the opposing captain a sly smile. “I’m guessing you’re the Captain? Captain Peg-Patch the Pirate, to be specific.”

“Man, I’ve been a popular person recently. And for all the wrong reasons.”

“You do know what I’m here for, correct?” Pipsqueak asked ominously.

“To kill me?” Patch asked, a blank smirk on his face as he looked away.

“Preferably not,” Pipsqueak admitted. patch raised a brow. “I’m here to arrest you.”

The pirate captain broke into an incredibly loud, hearty laugh, tears appearing around his eyes and cramps forming in his stomach. Pipsqueak watched with an unamused expression. “Arrest me? Arrest? That’s not how war works, mate. More importantly, that’s not how the Legion works. Can’t do nowt to fix that.” Patch drew his sword once again. “You are here to kill me.”

Pipsqueak remained solemn as he drew his sword. “Have it your way.”

Brittle Glass

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No one knew? No one knows. No one gives a damn. I once trusted a man like you, and all that ended was the engulfing flame of temptation and hatred. I once trusted a woman like you, and it turned out she wasn’t strong enough for the simple trials of life. So go ahead, do as you please... there’s no one left to stop you. This generation is dead. We are simply going to have to try again tomorrow. That’s all that’s left to do.

But... but you... She’s dead! She’s fucking dead!

She shares the fate of righteousness as a whole. There is nothing I can do.

No... No, no NO! YES YOU CAN! FUCK YOU! You can! You can...

Take him away.

You can’t do this! You can’t fucking do this! You’re going to burn! You’re going to burn, the sun will be blacked out of the sky, you be damned, this whole country be damned!

...and me along with it.

"Find someone and keep them close. Find someone else and keep them far away. That way, as long as you protect them, you will never be alone."

Chapter 7

"Grrah!" Pipsqueak cried through clenched teeth, through the handle of his sword. Patch stepped back and deflected the swing. He tried to get a hit in on his own, but the young captain was too fast and completely evaded it. Pipsqueak spun to get some extra momentum behind his blade, but Patch saw it a mile away and crouched under the swing. Under the full force of his rising anger, he rammed his head into Pipsqueak's chest, causing him to cough and sputter. He backed off, trying to gain distance.

"What do you want?!" Pipsqueak yelled as loud as he could with the wind knocked out of him. "Something as superficial as money!"

"No, no no." Patch corrected. "I want justice. Money's a by-product. A helpful one."

"Justice?" Pipsqueak scoffed. He motioned towards the battle raging on next to them. The sound of Flintlocks going off, blades making contact, and yells of pain and agony bustling through the air. "A fat lot good you're doing for justice right now."

"Murdering a murderer is not murder." Patch retorted.

"Stealing from a thief is still stealing." Pipsqueak responded back.

"Heh. Not a soul alive will prosecute for that."

"I would."

Patch charged at the comment, a new fury behind his eyes. Pipsqueak smiled and tossed Patch to the side, using the pirate's momentum against him. He smashed into a couple of barrels of gunpowder which spread out across the deck. Groaning, he tried to get up. Pipsqueak was already sprinting towards him, sword outwards in a stabbing motion. This is it. Straight through the heart... No, the skull. I can end this right here, right now. He jumped...


Pipsqueak heard ringing and his vision grew dark. He absentmindedly felt his body fly to the right, spinning in mid-air a couple times before hitting the ground rolling. First what came back was pain. Then swelling. Vision. Hearing. Thought. He then just made the connection that he was punched in the side of the face. Hard. He tried gathering his strength to stand. Disoriented, and his knees weak, he managed to stand. He was still facing the ground but it was progress. He shook his head in order gather his bearings, and then focused his sight to the blur standing next to the mess of barrels that the pirate captain was residing on. The blur helped up a pony who he guessed was Patch. Great, two opponents. Pipsqueak attempted to make an association to the blur in front. Purple hair?

Scoots? No, she has no reason to punch me. Well, at least, with intent to harm. Pipsqueak made out wings. That... pegasus that was helping him deal with Scoots? No... she was yellow. Where is Scoots anyhow? Beh. Pipsqueak's sight became clearer. He then realized why he couldn't recognize the blur. It was a griffin!

"A griffin? Here?!" Pipsqueak shouted in astonishment. The griffin smirked and folded her arms.

"I'm Vex, disgusted to meet you," Vex greeted, giving a tout bow. Pipsqueak scowled. The young captain identified with the accent, it was nigh identical to his. He saw the griffin help up her captain and affectionately brush him off. She pulled a pistol and pointed it at Pipsqueak. "Hate to cut our introduction short, Captain. But then again, not."

Pipsqueak eyed around frantically for something to do. He knew deep down that this girl wasn't stupid; she wasn't going to hesitate to fire that pistol. In fact, she was already pulling the trigger. Something caught his eye, something small, heavy looking, and possibly breakable. He took his chance. He flung his hoof forwards as fast as he could, catching the object and launching it across to his executioner. The gun fired as soon as the thing hit her face, screwing her aim. It shattered, and Vex screamed. The small lead ball ejected from the gun royally missed Pipsqueak's body. Pipsqueak saw a glint of fire through the brittle glass of the object he had threw and realized it was a gas lantern. The glass lantern had caused some cuts, and burned the tips of a couple of her feathers, but the wounds were superficial. Pipsqueak used this opportunity to get some cover from the five other guns she had tucked away.

"Bastard!" Patch yelled as he started towards his opponent. Vex zoomed past him and beat him to the punch. Pipsqueak tried to hide behind the duels and railings to avoid any incoming lead. Vex however, already snuffed him out, as the (pretty beautiful, Pipsqueak had to admit) griffin instantly filled his vision. There was a delay of action, as if she wanted his brain connect the fact there was danger ahead of him. She did not, however, wait for him to react. As soon Pipsqueak's face turned to that of horror, Vex struck with her claw. Five parallel scarlet streaks etched themselves across his face as his head flung in the direction of Vex's talons. Vex followed up by kicking with her left hind leg, adhering to the direction Pipsqueak was leaning. He recoiled in the opposite direction and went airborne, landing on his back. When he opened his eyes, the griffin still took up most of his field of vision, along with the sky. She was above him. Anticipating a fatal attack, he rolled, and heard the griffin's talons stab into the wooden deck. He got up and found Vex drawing another pistol. Acting quickly, he bucked the gun out of her hand, and reared up to swipe his hind leg across her face. The hit connected and Vex fell to the ground, wincing, but still conscious. Pipsqueak looked around desperately for a weapon, for he dropped his sword when that bitch, as Pipsqueak started to refer to her in his mind, had punched him. Patch was nearly there to help his feathered friend. The situation was bad for the young captain. He could find no blades, but Pipsqueak spotted the gun Vex had dropped. He took a forward tumble and grabbed the gun off the floor. Pipsqueak heard a blade make contact with the deck of the space he previously occupied. He could only assume it was Patch's scimitar hoping to deal some damage.

The young captain turned to find his opposition. Vex, Patch, and... that yellow pegasus. They were all frozen in place, prepared to charge as soon as Pipsqueak left an opening with the flintlock in his mouth. Damn... I could handle maybe two, but I can't take three. There was also a problem with firing that pistol. Firing a gun with your mouth is the most inaccurate thing in the world next to playing skeeball drunk and with all your legs broken. Pipsqueak took in the environment once again to see how he could regain an advantage.

Oh. Wow. That's... convenient. Pipsqueak saw a trail of black gunpowder leading up to the barrels Patch fell into earlier, with the trio standing right on top. Thank Luna! ...and er, Celestia. Pipsqueak closed his eyes in feign defeat, and bowed his head to the three pirates. As soon as they lowered their guard, Pipsqueak smiled, put the barrel of the gun on the trail of powder, and pulled the trigger. The sparks trailed back to the source almost instantly.

"FUCK!" Patch yelled as he jumped to the side and hooked his leg around the yellow pegasus with him. They weren't quick enough to dodge the incoming explosion, but were fast enough to not be seriously hurt in any degree, not even enough to get a burn mark. The griffin didn't have anyone to save her, but she was quick enough to jump backwards out of a fatal radius. It knocked her back further than the other two rag dolls, and the trajectory launched her off the ship with a smoke trail. A splash was heard and she was out of sight.

"This has gone far enough!" Patch yelled. "Retreat!"

Retreat? Pipsqueak thought, puzzled. They are far from losing, I wonder why-

"It's been fun, Captain, really, but I gotta run, and your defective ship really ain't that hospitable." Patch didn't smile through his joke. Pipsqueak hurt Vex, almost killed Fluttershy, and teared the pirate captain a new asshole. His hatred of the Legion nearly entirely bore on the shoulders of the young captain. Everything Patch had hated about the military shined through Pipsqueak, and he did not like it at all.

"Defective ship?" Pipsqueak asked, cocking his head.

"Fuck you too." Patch responded plainly, actually taking Pipsqueak aback. The pirate helped his yellow companion up, who was still dazed from the explosion. Pipsqueak eyed his own ship once again, this time looking for 'defects'. He couldn't really find anything wrong until he looked at the sails.

"What the..." The sails were absolutely torn apart. All three of them. Tattered. "Flippin' nob'eads."


Pipsqueak turned and saw Patch on a rope leading to his own ship, along with many other pirates. Their pegasi were already on the other vessel.

"Should we go after them, sir?" A pegasus asked Pipsqueak. He shook his head.

"No. As much as I'd love to send my pegasi on a suicide mission (and I don't) there would be no way for the crew to back you guys up, at least not with our sails in this condition. I want you guys to stay right here, okay?" Pipsqueak put a hoof on the shoulder of his soldier. "Nothing's worth your life, lad." Pipsqueak sighed. "Okay guys, lets patch this up so we can get the hell out of this ocean. I'm sick of it."

"Needles, get your sewing equipment. Don't look at me like that, I know you have some. Snips? Can you grab me some-" Pipsqueak was cut short with a stumble over some sort of orange lump. He looked down at the floor and saw Scootaloo, passed out and snoring peacefully; save for the blood in her hair and nose. Pipsqueak had to hold back a chuckle. "Damn chicken."

"Fuck him." Vex spat, shaking her entire body and fluffing the water out of her feathers. "No, seriously, fuck him. When I see him again, I'm gonna ram my guns so far up his ass, he'll be spittin' lead out for ages."

She took out her signature flintlocks and started emptying water from their barrels. "And then I'm gonna shove em down his throat and make him taste his own SHIT!" Vex wanted to hit something, bad. Pinkie Pie was apparently standing next to her (She hadn't noticed until then), so she slapped the back of her head.


"Nah, Vex. That'd be too good for him. He'd probably like it too." Fluttershy joked, the only one not having an enraging and frustrating experience with the young Legion captain.

"Seriously?" Patch said in a kiddish tone, his temper finally dying down. "What's with the gay slurs? So many gay slurs." They all laughed, the tension and adrenaline of the battle finally wearing off. Patch faced his yellow friend. "Hey, great job with the sails. It was a nice fail safe, one that we actually had to utilize."

"No problem, Cap'n." Fluttershy said timidly, hiding a blush with her hoof. Pinkie marveled at this. She was just like she was years ago. It disintegrated quickly, but Pinkie took it as a small victory of the mare she once knew.

"I can't believe one minging lad jus' brayed 'ar fooking arses." Patch said in disgust. "Ain't that a threp in't steans?" All eyes on the ship stared at him, puzzled. Quizzically, Patch asked, "Wut?"

"We have no idea what you just said." Vex deadpanned. Patch chuckled.

"We suck." Patch clarified.

Fluttersigh. "Well that's an understatement."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sorry for the short length, there was just no way to continue this story other than going to the next arc, and that's for next chapter (Well, sorta. You'll see what I mean). Next chapter's already half written (again, you'll see why) so it should only be a few days. No Author's Commentary just like the previous chapter, sorry.

Interlude 2: Drag Me Down

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“Well, it’s settled... yup. Hanging out at a coffee shop is way less fun than hanging out at a bar.”

Interlude 2

“Come on!”

“No,” Gjero replied once again, not moving an inch.

“But I’m huuuungrrryyyyy!”

“Then buy a fucking sandwich and leave me alone.” Gjero didn’t curse often, but damn, this girl was warranting it.

“But the place I want to go to charges four bits for a sub, and I only have three. If you’re gonna be a dick, could you at least spot me a bit?”

“Can’t,” he said, honestly. “All I have is credit. If you want to risk being tackled by the entire royal guard, I’ll give you my PIN number.”

Vera, being the good-humored pony she was, began to laugh, but stopped herself as she saw Gjero’s stoic face. “You... you serious?”

Gjero sighed without moving his head. “About what?”

Vera cocked her head in curiosity. “...You would... trust your PIN number with me?”

Although thoroughly baffled by her question, he remained still. "...Uh, yes. Like it or not, I know I don't, we're in this together, and if I can't trust you with something as trivial as money, then this operation is doomed to fail."

He’s being nice... in his own dickish way. Vera tried not to grin too stupidly. It’s kinda cute in a dumb, uptight, puckered up asshole kind of way. “...Maybe you’re not such a dick after all.”

“Thanks. Like, a lot,” Gjero said in a very snark way. Vera honestly couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. The wording sounded sarcastic though.

“...Come with me,” Vera insisted, this time more solemnly. “C’mon.”

“No,” Gjero responded once again. The girl wouldn’t let up. “Your parents ever tell you no means no?”

“I wouldn’t know.” She laughed with a smirk on her face. “They weren't exactly ‘round. Looney was the closest thing I had to a mom.”

Gjero almost choked on... well nothing, really. He hadn’t eaten anything since tuesday, which was four days ago. In fact, this short conversation had been the most times Gjero had opened his mouth in the past four months. “I’m... sorry.”

“It’s fine... I mean, I had a pretty legit childhood.” Vera turned away and started playing with her hooves. “It all worked out for the best, I suppose.”

Gjero kept his head straight as eyed the small, dull-colored unicorn blankly staring at the floor. A pang of sympathy shot through him as he thought of his mother.

“Hey,” he said, getting Vera’s attention. “I’ll go with you. I have to eat anyway.”

Vera lit up, but didn’t know how to respond. After a couple of seconds, she bore a confident smile. “He-he-hell yea! I’m gonna show ya the ropes of behaving an actual person! We gonna go get ya in some trouble! Live mofo, live.”

“Maybe I’ll just stay...”

“Or we can just go to The Half-and-Talon and get a sub, hehe.” Vera punched Gjero in the shoulder. “Jeez, unpucker your asshole, doucheface.”

The perky griffin that stood under the porch just stared at Gjero for a short time, before dropping the newspaper she was holding and putting on a huge grin. She waved her talon back and forth and appeared to be giggling softly. Gjero didn’t know how to respond. First, he craned his neck to look behind him. After noticing nobody waving back at her, he turned to face her and awkwardly waved back. She stretched her grin out as acknowledgement and went on her merry way.

“The people here are very... neighborly," Gjero remarked. He lowered his voice as he added, "And feathery."

"What," Vera chuckled as she squinted at her partner. "Never been to the Griffin district?"

"Well..." Gjero searched his mind for any past encounters with the feline/avian streets. "I think I supervised some guards protecting the Princess' tea party. That was the extent, however."

"Weak, man, weak. C'mon Gjero, don't you ever go out?"

"I have more important things to take care of, as should you Captain Datzkowitz," Gjero snapped, still keeping stiff. Vera frowned at the mention of her last name.

"Seriously, relax that anus, bro." There was another silence, something Vera had gotten used to by dealing with the Day Watch captain. She had to lead all the conversations. She even felt as if she were talking to herself sometimes and Gjero just took up space. She ignored that feeling. "Hey, the reason why I go here is 'cause I know the owner, so she may want to talk to ya."

"Oh? Why?" Gjero asked, not budging his constant strides and still looking straight ahead. Vera wondered if his face was stuck squinting because of that scowl he was always wearing.

"Well by 'know', I mean 'we've been friends since we were kids'. So... yeah."

"Hmph," Gjero grunted. Vera was amazed how he was able to do that without moving his stomach. She noticed he walked without moving most body, only key parts in his knees and flanks. The muscles on his rump flexed fluidly in motion to his... well toned thighs.

Woah, slow down you hormonal-crazed teenager that happens to be thirty-two, you're better than that.

Gjero spotted another griffin waving at him, another girl and probably of adolescence. She was carrying books in her arm. He waved back, this time more naturally. “This is creeping me out.”

Vera laughed as she hit him in the shoulder. “Oh c’mon, chillax. Listen, there’s just a thing with griffins and the Royal guard; they really like us for some reason. I have no idea why.” She put a hoof to her chin (which baffled Gjero as he tried to understand how it was possible for her to walk and do that at the same time). “Actually, I heard Aielira say something about it being they respectin’ us for not being all corrupt or somethin’. Though that should really be a given

Hmm, Gjero thought. They don’t treat the Legion that way... The Legion and the Guard were completely separate branches in the Equestrian military. Actually, one could argue that the Royal Guard isn’t even part of the military and is more like a police force, even though both parties go through very similar training. The thing was, Luna governed the Guard and Celestia used governed the military. But, ever since she was attacked by that damned Light, she appointed exemplary Generals to control it for her. Come to think of it, that’s around the time that talk of rebellion went around Equestria... but that was silenced quickly, and rightly so.

Wait a second. “Aielira? The hell kind of name is that?”

Vera double backed and raised an eyebrow. “What? I thought it was a pretty average name, but what do I know? Hey, look, we’re here, you can ask her yourself.”

The building was made up of four very large glass pane windows framed by decorative maple-brown wood. The windows were littered with small advertisements vibrantly colored with fluorescent blue and green paint boasting prices and deals. The roasting smell of coffee briliantly accompanied the sweet smell of creamer with a subtle hint of various cold meats and vegetables that went perfectly with the heavenly aroma of freshly baked bread. All these smells seemingly pointed toward the giant sign above the entire set up reading “THE HALF-AND-TALON”.


“...That’s it? Hmm? This place is fucking amazing and you spew out the poetry HMM?” Vera scoffed and flipped her short hair towards Gjero.

“What? It’s not particularly impressive. It... is rather nice, though. The unimpressiveness compliments the small shop.”

“That’s much better.”

“Yo, yo, YO! Ay-Lee-Rah! How’s it shakin’ hot stuff?!”

Gjero, again, had to resist face-hoofing. I swear to CELESTIA.

“Please don’t do that, Vera, you’ll scare away the guests. The least you could do is not use outdated lingo.”

The Day Watch captain’s jaw dropped in spite of himself. The soft voice came from a large feathered beast standing in the middle of the room, who was cleaning a mug with a rag. She had dark blue eyes and a slender neck, which was uncommon for griffins. Her feathers we slightly longer than other griffins Gjero had seen and peaked off her head at a higher angle and arced over her eyes. There was darker feathers around her eyes, which Gjero hadn’t noticed about griffins until this one. He noted how elegant they were. Everything about these creatures was elegant.

There was one thing that was odd about her. She kept craning and cocking her head and neck around slightly while she was looking at Gjero. Her tail was flailing around quicker than the other griffins, and in a more haphazard pattern. She was also tapping her foot. As Gjero was examining her, she walked up to him (rather quickly) and motioned to the store. “Welcome to the Half-and-Talon Mr. Day Watch guard pony, I hope you enjoy yourself. We don’t get many ponies here, but your kind is very welcome, and the ones that do come don’t complain.”

Gjero looked around the small shop and inhaled softly. There were several small tables with three chairs each, some of them occupied with griffins either chatting or smiling at the two Watch captains standing at the front door. The bar was occupied by several griffins her and there as well, some of them working on some sort of paperwork or sipping coffee. Along the glossy tiled floor lay a couple of soft furnishings, a sofa, two (imitation, of course) leather armchairs, and a recliner. A fittingly large coffee table sat in the center of them. All of these were vacant, however, as the griffins preferred the practicality of the wood furnishings.


“Oh shit, Gjero made an audible noise, you know he fucking likes this place,” Vera sarcastically mused. Gjero payed no attention to her as he looked at the griffin. After a second or two, she became uncomfortable.

“You’re a griffin.”

Aielira rubbed the back of her neck and turned both directions in a matter of seconds. “Uhh, yeah, if I got this biology thing right. What’s up?”

“You didn’t tell me she was a griffin,” Gjero remarked, turning towards his partner. Vera shrugged.

“Thought you might have been able to assume it. I mean, we’re in the griffin district, her name was Aielira, and the shop’s called the Half-and-Talon.” The night watch captain shrugged with her eyes closed as she shook her head. "It's kinda obvious."

“Oh, so you two know each other?” Aliera interjected, tensing and relaxing her talons repeatedly. After her question, she started tapping her hip rapidly.


Aielira chuckled loudly and stuck her arm forward. “I’m Aielira Crosshright. Don’t bother trying to pronounce my last name.” As her talon floated, she squeezed each finger in succession and alternated in anticipation of Gjero’s hoof. He sorta just... looked at it. “Uhh...”

“Dude, shake it.” Vera elbowed him in the chest, which wasn’t very effective due to the armor.

“What?” Puzzled, Gjero turned to the griffin once more. He realized what the suspended talon was for. “Oh, apologies. I didn’t understand what you wanted. I’m new to the whole opposable thumb thing. My name is Captain Gjero Hoofinghamm," Gjero said, shaking the griffin's hand

“No problem. Hey, did you say Captain?”

“Yes, I am the Day Watch Captain,” he clarified, trying not to smile.

Aielira instantly lit up “He-hey! We have both Watch captains here? Nice, what an honor!” Aielira motioned towards the furniture in the middle of the room. “Come, sit, first meal’s on the house.”

Gjero expressed his thanks in subtle astonishment as he walked over to the recliner.

"No fair! He gets free food?" Vera complained, pouting. Aielira simply nodded and flew next to Gjero, taking out her pencil and twirling it in her fingers.

"Whatcha want? Pork sandwich? Chicken sub?" Aielira asked, tapping her foot once again. The Pegasus simply recoiled with a look of horror and disgust on his face. His waiter laughed uncontrollably. "Calm your tits, just joking. You can't even digest the stuff, you poor boy. How 'bout a hay and dandelion sandwich?"

"Uhh," Gjero grunted, still recovering from the carnivorous comedy. "Yeah, that sounds good."

"Kay-kay. Be right back, guys." And with that, Aielira flew off with order in hand. The purple unicorn accompanying the Day Watch Captain sat on the sofa beside him.

Gjero sighed heavily before turning to Vera and staring at her in disapproval. "Your friend is very... quick."

Shifting in her seat to reach over to the recliner, Vera punched Gjero in the unarmored part of his foreleg... which actually hurt the captain quite a bit, though he showed no sign of this. "Dude, shut up," she said, lowering her voice to a whisper. "She has real bad Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. She can't help it."

Gjero widened his eyes in utter shock. "ADHD...? Doesn't she... take medication for it?"

She shook her head slowly. "No... she was too afraid of becoming dependant on it, so she's never taken any." Vera sighed before settling back in her seat. "It won't bother her if ya mention the fidgeting, but I don't think ya should really."

"Don't worry," he assured, waving a hoof. "I won't." Gjero stared ahead at the glass windows occupying most of the wall in front of him, contemplating his little adventure thus far. There were many questions itching at him that he wanted to ask Vera, though he couldn’t fathom why he was even remotely interested. But... “Hey,” he started, despite himself. “How do you know her? Aielira I mean.”

Vera was surprised at the question. She didn’t expect him to want to know anything about her, much less her friends. He probably wants to know just for Aielira’s sake. Yeah... that little ADHD thing must’ve struck a chord. “She was my foster mother’s birth daughter. We met when I was twelve, and I took off to the Academy as soon as I was eighteen, so we were good friends for six years. We got back in touch as soon as I graduated.”

“You’re foster mother was a griffin?” Intrigued, Gjero followed up with another question. “And... I thought you said Princess Luna was like a mother to you.”

“She was more of a mentor really,” Vera clarified while scratching the back of her head. “But she was always there, so...”

“I see,” Gjero interrupted, motioning her off. “I know of a woman that was like that to Princess Celestia as well. It didn’t end too well for her, but she always valued the friendship she shared with that unicorn. I didn’t know her personally, but she up and disappeared before I could.” After his little speech, Gjero cleared his throat. “As for the griffin?”

Vera, at first, looked at him in great puzzlement, but remembered what he had asked first. “Oh yeah. Well when someone’s put for adoption or foster care, any species is eligible to care for any other species, there is no discrimination that governs that. It’s a matter of what the adopter wants. It’s actually fairly common.”

“...I didn’t know that”

“You don’t know anything outside your dumb armor, do you?”

“Watchya guys talking about?” Another voice said from the direction of the kitchen. Gjero opened his mouth to answer, but Vera beat him to it.

“Your sex life. We’re saying it’s like your sandwiches, dry and old.”

Gjero honestly couldn’t believe what the unicorn had just said to his friend. He honestly wanted to smack her upside the head, but that wouldn’t be very gentlecolt, would it? Plus the rules, the rules.

Aielira simply shrugged off the insult and laughed. “Nice, bitch. Too bad you haven't gotten laid in like, an eternity. Gjero, your sandwich.”

The pegasus came out of his straight posture to grab the plate and thank the griffin once again. She waved it off.

The Night Watch captain pouted and turned the other way with her nose scrunched and in the air. “I’ll have you know I could get a guy right quick if I wanted to! It’s just that I’m not a complete slut unlike some people in this shop. I’ll get a guy when I meet a not douchey one.”

“Oh I’m the slut?” Aielira shot back, her smirk growing wider with every word. “I’m not the one that wandered around a bar for two hours throwing myself at every drunken bastard looking for some ‘room and board’.”

“Hey I was drunk at the time; what was your excuse when you danced on top the coffee table like burlesque was going out of style.” Vera came back pointing her hoof towards Aielira every other word. “Besides, I’m not a slut, Gjero can vouch. I haven’t made a pass at him at all the two weeks we've been living together.” She smiled in the direction of her partner while trying to make him back her up. “Ain’t that right, Gjero?” There was no response.

“Uhh... Gjero?” Gjero sat in a slump, his mouth slightly open, and his eye’s widened in astonishment. And... he was just looking at his sandwich. A flower petal was hanging out of his mouth halfway, and the lettuce in the bread was slowly slipping out. After a couple of seconds, Vera expressed concern. “Dude, ya okay, man?”

“Huh?” Gjero finally looked up and saw the two women he was with looking at him with great unease. He looked back down at the sandwich and to the girls. His brain finally clicking, he wiped the petal off his mouth bashfully. “Uh, yeah... it’s just, this sandwich is really good.” He was still distant from his surroundings, and wondered why it tasted as wonderfully as it did. Was it really the quality of the food or was it because he hadn’t had anything other than bread and water for the longest time. It didn’t seem too long to him, but now that he thought about it, he couldn’t remember the last time he had anything that contained flavor. It hit him really hard.

“Heh, looks like Mr. Straightface likes my food,” Aielira gloated with a slight blush. She was rubbing the back of her head and looking in another direction. “So what’d you like about it, the hay, the flowers, maybe just the wa-... wait a second.” Aielira jumped back with newfound enthusiasm and flailed her wrist with a finger pointed outward. “What do you mean you two are living together?!”

Gjero was too absorbed in his food to respond, and Vera just laughed anxiously. “Hehehe, it’s a long story.”

So, it turns out Aielira was actually a pleasant person to speak to. I honestly didn’t expect that from one of Captain Datzkowitz’s friends, but I guess anything’s possible. I’ll be completely truthful with you here, Princess. I hadn’t been too happy with the current circumstances so far, and I can only take so much Datzkowitz in one day. I’ve been putting up with it for you, and you only, Princess. I don’t mean to rush Your Highness, but the sooner I can get back to my regular work the better. I won’t neglect the severity of the task you have given me, but I won’t lie, it’s not pleasant. After meeting that griffin, I guess I’ll be able to stand it for the time being. As for the Half-and-Talon... I’m going there tomorrow with Captain Datzkowitz again for lunch. I shouldn’t really, it’s just going to feed that unicorn’s ego, but that food... I never had something that good. I’m, at the very least, interested what other foods that woman and her shop can make. It kills me a little inside abandoning my post like that, but I can’t help myself after the Night Captain showed me it.

Gjero turned away from his desk, sighing, and looking at the snoozing dull grey unicorn. Her mouth was wide open, but her snoring was incredibly soft, almost inaudible. Her legs were strewn about the entire bed, and her blankets only covered portions of her smaller-than-average body. Gjero gazed at her for a while, his thoughts dissipating into silence. She tossed and turned suddenly to achieve a more comfortable position, and it knocked Gjero out of his reverie. He sighed.

I seriously don’t understand why this girl acts in such a way that should be reserved for household pets. I’ve never seen anything like it; it’s disgusting. I’m afraid her behavior is diminishing my ability to carry out my duties... and she doesn’t even care. I swear, that girl is going to drag me down with her.

“Princess, have you seen Gjero anywhere? It’s been a couple weeks and I haven’t even spotted him walking down the hall. I usually take orders from him...”

“Oh yes... you see, Gjero’s been on a bit of a... business leave, if you will. He will not be back for quite a while. I apologize for the secrecy, but it’s a very sensitive issue.”

“Oh...that blows- Er, I mean it’s... uhh... unfortunate. You see, we are great friends, Celestia.”

“Quite. He has told me quite a bit about you, the uh, few times he does talk, haha. It’s mostly flattering, it seems you are one of the few mares he respects.”

“Really? That’s actually surprising, he doesn’t really act like it.”

“You know him, when it comes to work and honor he’s as sharp as a blade, but he really has the emotional capacity as a wooden chair. Not to mention he’s as dense as gelatin.”

“Hehehe, I guess so! Well... I suppose I’ll leave then.”

“...You know, I said I couldn't tell you what it is Gjero’s doing, but I can tell you where he is.”

“Wha... really?!”


“Well I guess I’m finally going to get a chance to use all those vacation days I’ve piled up!”

“Wait... what?”

AUTHOR'S NOTE: It's not so much Vera hasn't made a pass at Gjero, so much as he would get pissed off if she tried. No author's commentary again, sorry! There's just not much to add.

Old Tomes and Tapestries

View Online

“Changes made, chances lost. Everyone gets the opportunity but no one profits. What of it if another life disappears when it makes mine so much easier?”

Chapter 8

“This is as far as a boat can take us.”

The wind whistled; it was the only sound that accompanied the audible silence. Patch craned his neck and looked at his faithful companion, Fluttershy, and saw what he expected. A grim expression on a stoic pegasus. It was an expression she wore often, but the impact was felt even more so now. After a long, drawn out pause, the yellow pegasus sighed and hung her head.

“I know. Ponyville is a landlubber city. I’ve lived there almost my whole life until I met you... Captain.”

The pegasus clenched her teeth in anger. Her expression was a mystery; her hair covered her eyes and Patch could not see them. “...Heh. Never thought I’d be here again. It almost seems like yesterday the damn Legion burned my house down.”

“...I feel the same way sometimes.” Patch shuffled his legs, as his face became blank. “Just be glad you didn’t lose anyone like I did.”

Fluttershy recognized this as Patch’s way of trying to cheer her up, to draw away the self pity and direct it onto himself. Needless to say it wasn’t working.

Because he doesn’t know. There was a lot of things Fluttershy hadn’t told Patch, and the fact she lost all her critters in the fire was one of them. Hell, he doesn’t even know that’s my talent: the critters.

“Fu’Shy?” Cap’n asked after no response. Fluttershy continued to ignore him without meaning to.

“We need to brief. Fu’Shy, you get whoever you trust to aid you on this mission. You have complete control, savvy?”


The whole room was quiet. Patch sat behind his desk in his usual spot while Fluttershy leaned on his desk with her legs crossed and her head turned towards the line up. The line consisted of Pinkie Pie, Vex, and Private Gavin respectably. Pinkie Pie noted a couple of things. One, Fluttershy looked amazing in that little suggestive pose she was in. Two, she wondered if Fluttershy was doing it on purpose. And three...

“What’s Gavin doing here?” Pinkie asked, breaking the awkward silence. For a couple of seconds, Fluttershy just stared at Gavin until he turned away anxiously to break the eye contact. She smiled, rather out of place.

“He’s here because he’s the only unicorn I trust to carry out the task I have set forth. He may not look much, and you may not know him too well, but I can tell you right now he wouldn’t betray any promise he may ever make. And he’s made a promise to help us when he joined. He’s a very good man.”

Pinkie turned to look at the pirate who was staring at the floor sheepishly. He didn’t say a word.

“Oh... alright then.”

The Private, finally acting, faced the pink pony. “Wait,” his low and humble tone of voice rising above the tension. “How did you know my name? We’ve never met.”

“Yes we did!” Pinke reassured. Gavin’s eyes darted around nervously, afraid he had insensitively forgotten a past conversation. “Remember, you bumped into me in the hall and apologized before picking up the guitar you were carrying, even though I was the one running through.”

Gavin’s heart rate decreased, but he was still puzzled. “But, we never spoke... How did you know-”

“Private,” Fluttershy snapped to shut him up. He flinched and rose a hoof meekly. The pegasus smiled softly to assure she wasn’t angry with him, but just wanted his attention. “It’s better not to ask how she knows. Believe me I tried.”

Gavin’s swept to the right hair shook a little as he chuckled to himself. He closed his one eye that was visible underneath his hair and nodded his head. Fluttershy aimed to begin the briefing but Pinkie interrupted once again.

“What about Vex? What’s she doing here?”

Vex started to boil, but Fluttershy spoke up before she could do anything rash. “Because I like her, dumbass.”

Vex’s mind went blank at the sudden compliment before she laughed heartedly and slapped Pinkie upside the head. “Damn straight.”

“Okay, can I get started before we get any more shitty comments?” The yellow pegasus looked around the room for anyone stupid enough to speak up. Luckily no one did. “Great, thanks. Now, our mission is to find a white, purple-maned unicorn named Rarity, or any information on her whereabouts. And her stupid shit of an assistant, a purple baby dragon named Spike.”

Vex looked surprised. “A dra-?”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP! Enough exposition, you can ask him when we find him, cocksucker!” FLuttershy slammed her hoof on the table to which the entire company recoiled, even Patch. He realized how set she was on finding her friend. Vex came under a similar realization, but completely ignored it as she mouthed Fuck You flatly. The pegasus ignored the sentiment.

“Alright, this is how we are going to go about it. Me and Pinks will check out a small boutique that was owned by the subject about ten years ago. We’ll raid the place and search for clues there. If that fails, we’ll ask around to see if we can get any info on her.” On a roll, Fluttershy turned away from Pinkie Pie to the others. “Gavin? You and Patch... you’re going to the local library.”

“Woah, woah, woah!” Patch interjected, thrusting his forehooves back and forth. “Library? I love you Fu’Shy, but the one thing you can’t make me do is go to a fucking library.”

Love? Fluttershy mentally shook her head to clear it and slowly faced the captain. “Don’t worry, you won’t have to read a word.” She sighed and lowered her head. A soft smile appeared on her face, but it had more sorrow than a frown could ever manage. “So much for no exposition, huh? I need you two to go to the library because... well, there was a woman that lived there once, that was a great friend of both me and Rarity. She was kind of a bookworm, but also very naive. Her little dragon ASSistant abandoned her to go after his love, even though it probably would never go well. Around seven years ago she disappeared after sending a letter to her mentor and friends, a letter which clearly implied... that she was going to kill herself. However, there is a chance she’s still alive, and even if she isn’t I want to find out what happened to her and if necessary give her a proper funeral. The thing is, I don’t think she would have carried something like that out without first fabricating a contingency plan to explain why she did it. That’s why I want you to go there, to look for some sort of clue, some sort of message she left behind.”

“Uhh, Ma’am?” Everyone instantly turned to Gavin who immediately started to sweat and shrink. It was kind of hard for a stallion of Private’s height to shrink, but somehow, he managed to do it.

Since he was so polite with it, Fluttershy let the interruption slide. “Yeah?”

“Why am I going with the Captain? Why am I going at all?”

Smiling, Fluttershy trotted over to Gavin’s side and put a hoof on his shoulder. “Because Twilight was a very powerful and intelligent magic user. Her message may be inscribed on something arcane. And, like I said, you are the only unicorn on this ship I trust to be confidential.”

Gavin didn’t know how to respond to the kindness he received from Fluttershy, so he demeaned himself more. “But I’m weak when it comes to magic! I-I’ll just get in the way.”

“Rarity was weak at magic too,” Fluttershy claimed, even though she wasn’t really sure. “And she was the only unicorn beside the Princesses that she trusted with any personal information. If she did use magic, you’ll be able to find anything as long as you search hard enough.”

Private eyed around the room. Fluttershy still had her uplifting smile, Pinkie was grinning wide enough to make her jaw fall off, Patch had his confident smirk, and Vex was just watching the door, bored out of her mind. “...Okay.” he finally said, making Fluttershy let go of the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding in.

“It’s settled then, we go immediately.”

“Eh, aren’t you forgetting someone?” Vex coined, a scowl growing upon her face.

“Vex, you’re going to be a floater in case anyone gets in trouble. We’ll report to you where we’re going, what we’ve found, and when we plan on making a move to a new location. We’ll talk to you before any of us go anywhere that we think a lead is taking us. If we aren’t in the place we were or said we were going, you’ll immediately go to the other group and notify them. Understand?”

“Tch.” The noise that exited Vex’s throat was more confirmation than it was incredulous

“Fu’Shy,” Patch started, his voice rising up over his previously silent agreement. He had his hind legs resting on the table in front of him and his forelegs folded over his chest. “I’m not one to argue with you, but it doesn’t bother you that Gavin and I are looking for clues on your long lost friend that we never knew?”

Fluttershy bore a confident smile while stepping towards her captain. Laughing, she waved off the problem. “Why would I? You two are friends just as much as they were. I love you all.”

Invigorated, Patch shot up and thrusted his hoof in the air. “Well then, lets get this shit started!”

The road to Ponyville was long and particularly boring. The reason Patch left Porkshire was to avoid the quiet uneventfulness of rural life, but here he was getting right back into it. Still, it didn’t have all the shittiness that his hometown had. At least the people didn’t have that god awful accent.

All the horizon contained was endless green hills with a streak of dirt cutting through it like a crack in a windshield. There was an incredibly generic looking forest off to the right just sitting there like it was content with the dull stereotypical background and going off on its business as a forest would.

Not even a damned animal to catch my focus. I mean, there’s just shit all to think about.

Gavin was quiet the entire trip, but he had a peaceful smile on which Patch figured was his likeness for the silent countryside. He liked the guy, but one had to admit, Gavin was a bit on the annoyingly perfect pacifist side. Then again, that was why he liked him. Vex, Fu’Shy, Miss Pie, I hope you guys are having more fun than I am right now.

“So this Twilight chick... who is she again?” Vex asked from Pinkie Pie’s back. At first it looked a little unnatural for a griffin to be laying on a pony’s back like that, but after a while it almost seemed appropriate given Vex’s size. Vex was laying on her back with her arms behind her head which was propped up on Pinkie’s incredibly poofy hair. Her left leg and tail was hanging off Pinkie’s back, but not so far it hit the ground. Pinkie was just unbothered by the whole thing; Fluttershy commended her strength.

“She was the pupil of Princess Celestia and one of my best friends,” Fluttershy began, ignoring the obvious hypocrisy of her previous outburst involving exposition. “A purple unicorn. Incredibly powerful, but a bit antisocial. At least until she met us.”

“Virgin?” Vex quipped, smiling and opening one eyelid.

Fluttershy let loose a small chuckle. “Yeah, most likely.”

“Twilight was never one for those kinds of parties,” Pinkie chipped in humorously. Vex became red at the thought.

“What about this... Rarity?”

Fluttershy sighed and raised her voice, irritated. “What is this, fucking Jeopardy?” Her two companions ignored the fact she had mistaken the rules of that game. “Another one of my good friends. A white unicorn. Prissy as FUCK.” She put a hoof on her chin and looked the other direction. “Uhh, pretty much all I need to say unless you want the boring details of her dreams and ambitions and shit.” She gave time for her two friends to finish their childish chuckles. “I guess she was hot as balls, but I’m not into that so I wouldn’t know.”

Pinkie tripped over a hoof, recovered, then tripped over two more, nearly knocking Vex off her back. She spat out some gibberish before apologizing to her carrier griffin. Vex waved it off, which made Fluttershy a bit curious.

“Hey... you two are getting along quite well. Normally, Vex would’ve cut the head off a person who nearly dropped her, much less agree to ride along on their back.”

“Unlike everyone else on the god-forsaken ship, Pinks here isn’t a fucking tool.” She looked at her talons with a dull expression. “Though she is batshit insane.” Vex looked away and whispered to herself. “She isn’t a pirate.

"We're almost there. Vex, you should go tell Patch."

"Oi," Patch quipped, elbowing Gavin to get his attention. "Is that Ponyville?"

"I'd assume so, Fluttershy said it was the only town here for miles."

“Heh,” Patch chuckled, sighing and lowering his head to the ground. “How the hell did Fu'Shy convince me to go to a library?”

“The way she explained it means it shouldn’t be too difficult. I doubt a unicorn with Twilight Sparkle's reputation wouldn’t be able to forge a plan to reunite with her friends.” After giving his two bits, he faced Patch and grinned from ear to ear. “Besides, I like reading!”

Geez, if Gav was anymore sweet it would be sickening. Patch thought of the first time he met Gavin, that lonely soul drinking himself into a coma. It was hard to believe he would even consider drinking, let alone being a member of the Legion, or worse, becoming a pirate. He remembered sitting next to the lonely unicorn and buying himself a drink, slyly picking up a conversation with the lonely pony.

"Well, you look fucked up. Mortgage?" Patch asked as subtly as he possibly could. The lonely pony stared into his drink. Sorrow filled his eyes as he gripped the glass tighter and tighter. Patch eyed the lonely pony's Legion coat incredulously.

"Leave me alone. I lost... her." The lonely pony closed his eyes, trying to suppress the tears he had grown accustomed to as of late.

"Her... dude, it's not too bad. Plenty of fish in the piss pool." Patch was quite proud of his utter butcher of the common cliche. Not that it was far off from reality. "She might even take you back."

Gavin took his glass and threw it to the ground in rage. He snared at Patch eye-to-eye as he yelled. "She's dead you idiot. They killed her!"

Patch quickly wiped the smirk of his face. He had a suspicion he meant she was dead, but he had to be sure. Patch found it difficult to feel sympathy with the lonely pony, considering his attire. In spite, he decided to let him have it. "It's your fault."

At this point, the entire bar was staring at the two ponies in the room; they had been making quite a scene. Patch continued with his harsh criticism. "You're the one who joined the Legion. You brought this on yourself with your self-righteous patriotism. As far as I'm concerned, you got what you deserved."

The lonely pony stared at Patch with a blank expression. Tears swelled in his eyes as his anguish turned to rage. He exploded. "I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE LEGION! I... I didn't want to... to b-be..." The lonely pony was shaking, gritting his teeth more and more. His eyes widened and strained, and his pupils focused into little black beads. "Its not my fault! It's their fault! IT'S THEIR FAULT!" The lonely pony lunged towards the astonished stallion sitting next to him. A hoof flew towards his face and the audience gasped.

“Captain,” Gavin shouted, snapping Patch out of his daydream. “Look who’s here.” Patch looked up to see Vex smoothly hovering towards the ground and touching down. She blew upwards in a pathetically vain attempt to get the feathers out of her face.

“Pinks and Fluttershit are nearing the boutique now. And I suppose...” Vex scanned the immediate area and stopped as she saw the large house-tree Fluttershy had described. It was only a couple hundred yard away. Satisfied, she turned back towards the two stallions. “You’re nearing the library.”

“Quite.” Patch responded before starting towards the large tree structure. “Gonna tag along?”

“Sure as shit.” Vex put her arm around Gavin and smiled. “Sup Gav?”

Gavin chuckled nervously and buckled slightly. “Hehe, nothing.”

“It’s been awhile...” Fluttershy picked up a piece of purple fabric before putting it to her face and smelling it softly. “I can’t believe this place hasn't been touched in over eight years."

"Everything's exactly the same," Pinkie chimed in seriously before chuckling and waving her hooves in Fluttershy's face. "Creeeeepy, OoooooooooOoOOOOooo....!"

Fluttershy scowled and hit the back of Pinkie's head once again, causing her to frown and rub the back of her mane. Fluttershy sighed and stepped in the direction of the light switch. Flipping it on was like directly triggering the memories of events long since passed to come flooding back in front of her eyes. Memories of laughing, support, dumb spa treatments... good memories.

The room was disheveled, as to be expected. Fabrics of all colors and shapes was layered out in the boutique as if a bull came raging through the small store. Although Rarity often kept a mess in her store, it almost felt wrong to see it in such a state. Inhabited and... dead. Wait...

"Why is this place such a mess?" Fluttershy asked, puzzled. Really? Why was it?

"Uhhh, duhhh, standard apocalyptic rules. It need to be a mess." Pinkie gave her a mocking look, because the answer was so obvious. Fluttershy simply stared at her with half closed eyes, unamused with her response."

"No, think, dipshit." Fluttershy motioned in a broad gesture, referring to all the room. "Rarity was a bit unorganized, but if she was going to leave this place forever, the least she would do is clean up. This place is not clean."

"You're right," she confirmed, scanning the room again. She offered a theory. "You think it was looters?"

"Looters?" Fluttershy laughed incredulously. "In Ponyville?"

“Well...” Pinkie’s eyes widened in realization. She creeped over to Fluttershy and whispered. “You think she’s still here.”

“No, don’t be an idiot,” she scolded before walking forward a couple steps. “But... I think she came back when we were all gone. At least, for a while.”

“I guess that would explain the mess now,” Pinkie deduced. “When she left the second time, she must’ve been in a hurry.”

“Or she stopped caring more likely,” Fluttershy added. “Think about it; there was nothing left for her here. No friends, no business.”

“Well that’s... depressing.”

“Duh.” Fluttershy started to search the room more closely. “Get with the times, mare.”

“God, I hate that old book smell.” Patch was trying really hard to not inhale. “It’s like a combination of paste and dust.”

“Well that’s probably what it is, dipshit,” Vex quipped, flipping through some of the pages. Vex didn’t exactly fancy books, but she didn’t absolutely despise them like Patch did. “I don’t know what you’re complaining about. You use books all the time in that little office of yours.”

“Hey, it’s called the ‘Captain’s Quarters’ for starters. Secondly, I use those books as location reference or for deciphering.” Patch poked at a book on the ground with his hoof. “I don’t see how anyone could read for fun. Euugh.”

“Look, remember what Flutterfuck said.” Vex saw a small journal hidden in the back of a drawer and picked it up. She flipped through a couple of pages and... saw some weird shit. Perturbed, she looked at the cover and read the title. “Fanfics,” Vex read. She immediately tossed it to the side and rubbed her hand on her chest disgusted, as if to clean it. Suddenly, she eyed the nearest bookshelf. This is ironic somehow. “Gav, you’ve been quiet. Flutterpoo said that you should feel something ‘cause you’re a unicorn or some shit.”

Gavin had his head in a book, and was quiet for a few seconds before looking at Vex, clueless. “What?”

“Let’s just go upstairs,” Vex scoffed.


“WHAT THE FUCK?!” Pinkie and Fluttershy had just opened a large closet when two skeletons fell out, startling the two companions.

“Oh my cheese,” Pinkie said, poking one of the skulls. “Are they dead?”

“Jeez, Pinkie, I’m not fucking sure,” Fluttershy retorted sarcastically. She rolled her eyes and investigated. “Whoever they were, they’ve been dead for a while.”

“You think it’s... Rarity?” Pinkie asked with hesitance.

Fluttershy was unperturbed. She knew for a fact it wasn’t. “No. Who would she have been killed with other than spike? There’s no reason there would be two ponies here, and we know Spike would have given his life to protect her.”

Pinkie slowly turned to her friend, concerned. “Fluttershy?”


She traced her hoof on the ground. “What you said about Spike... did you mean that?”

Fluttersigh. “No... I’m just angry, okay? After spending so much time with her, I couldn’t see how he could just leave, to chase a crush that would never come to fruition.”

“Y’know,” Pinkie offered, putting her hoof on her yellow friend’s shoulders. “It probably wasn’t easy for him either.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. He was getting older too, I guess, he wasn’t going to stay with Twilight.” Suddenly, Fluttershy lit up with an astonishing discovery. “Wait a minute!”

“I think a minute’s too long. Maybe half a minute. Or a couple of sec-” Fluttershy shoved her hoof in Pinkie’s mouth, continuing as if she wasn’t interrupted by the pink menace.

“We’ve established that Spike and Rare came back to the boutique. Plus, these bodies decayed without arousing suspicion, considering everything was undisturbed. What’s the only way for bodies to decay without stinking up the entire neighborhood? Fire. That means Spike had the firepower and balls to actually kill these guys. So, he’s nearing adulthood. Adult dragons need an enclosed space and large territories with enough space to gather treasure. If we know they were here, and we know Spike’s mature enough, then the only place around here that fits that description is...”

“OOH OOH! I KNOW! That mountain that had the snoring dragon that was trying to get everyone lung cancer!”

“Exactly. If they’re not dead they’re probably there!” Fluttershy motioned for Pinkie to follow her outside the door. “C’mon, let’s go wait for Vex outside.”

“Savor this, Gav. This is the last time you’ll be in a woman’s bedroom.”

“Ehhh...” Gavin spouted. He didn’t want to retort, but he didn’t want to be silent either. What come of it was that weird groan. Vex laughed.

“You’re right,” Patch substituted for his lanky unicorn friend. “They’ll all run to his, hehe.” Patch slammed his leg on Gavin’s back, laughing supportingly. Gavin did nothing but blush.

“Hey, what’s this piece of paper?” Gavin cheerfully reached for it, eager for the subject change. His vision suddenly blanked. He lost all feeling.

The rest of the gang slowly stepped towards him. “...Gav?” He stood completely still, his mouth wide open, the note hanging from it. Vex checked his eyes to see his pupils enlarged a couple sizes. He was like a statue.

“Gav. Gav!” Patch waved his foreleg in his face. There was no reaction from the unicorn. “Hm. This might be an issue.”

“AHAHHHHA WHAT WHAT?!?!?” Gavin turned his head to only face complete darkness. He couldn’t tell if he was suspended in this space or if he was standing on something solid. His heartbeat overwhelmed his hearing, and his breathing echoed on nothing. It was a very strange thing to hear. He thought he was alone. Until... a speck.

A little speck. Pinkish purple. With some deep lavender. Gavin had to squint to see it. Seeing it as a sign of life, he tried to move towards it. At first, he thought the attempt was in vain, as he couldn’t feel himself moving. But the speck became larger, and larger. It was closing in.

Gavin took a few steps back. The creature before him, it was the last thing he expected. A mare. A unicorn mare. A pretty one at that. She stared at him a few moments, and then she spoke.

“Well,” she said. “I certainly didn’t expect someone like you to be here.”

Aged Color Flames

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“Dwelling is a word that should only be in our physical vocabulary, not in our emotional one.”

Chapter 9

"What's a policeman doing here?" The mare asked, pointing out Gavin's blue hat. "Is there an investigation in my library?"

"Huh?" Gavin looked beside him a bit before smiling and holding his hat. "O-oh this. I-I'm not an officer, this was my dad's hat. My uh, my stepdad's hat." He couldn't shake this nervous feeling he had, like he wasn't worthy to be talking to this woman. "Oh! My name is, uh, Private Gavino. But you can call me Gavin."

"Private?" The mare questioned, baffled. She lit up as she deduced another possibility in her head. "So you must be military then?"

"W-well actually, Private is my first name, it's not a title. I was in the military though, but that was awhile ago."

"Hmm." The mare inspected the stallion in front of her skeptically, trying to take in any subtle details that would discredit his introduction. Satisfied with her findings, she cheerfully smiled and tilted her head. “Hello Private Gavin! My name is Twilight Sparkle, nice to meet you.”

“Twilight?" Just the mare I was looking for! "I knew it!” Gavin jumped for joy, which made Twilight take an apprehensive step back. “I-I was here to find you!”

“Really...” Twilight scowled and began to build up magic in her horn. She was a bit surprised to see he didn’t even notice the impending offensive maneuver .

“Yeah, you’re friends are looking for you.” Gavin smiled wider than he had all month. He was so happy this was actually going well. Something wasn’t blowing up in his face like it usually did.

At mention of her friends, Twilight eased off her attack. Her mouth agape and her pupils wide, she stammered. “My... Friends? They... they’re looking for me? They came back?!”

Tears started to swell up around the purple unicorn’s eyes. Gavin’s heart sunk. How is she going to react when she hears there's only two out of five? “Well... two of them. Fluttershy and... uh... Pinkie... Pie.” Woah, Gavin almost forgot the pink one’s name. Sad, considering she knew his name just by bumbling into him in the hall.

“That’s more than enough!” she reassured the indigo pony, giving him a tight hug. Gavin was a bit unprepared for the sudden contact and was a bit dumbfounded for a couple of moments. He warmed up, and returned the hug. Twilight realized how sudden the informality was and backed off, her cheeks ablaze. She noticed how... at peace the man before her stood, even though his face showed signs of terribly sad experiences. It was affectionately mystical in its own contradiction.

“Ahem,” he coughed, rubbing his head and looking away. “So uh, you gonna come... uh with me! That is, to err, see your friends! And stuff...”

Adorably awkward as well, Twilight noted. The humor of Gavin's antics wore off quickly, however, as she prepared her answer. Her smile faded, and she stared into the abyss. “I can’t,” she said solemnly.

Gavin’s hope died along with muscle support for his shoulders. His heart became so heavy he had to sit. “Why not...”

“This isn’t the real me. The real me is out there,” she explained, more tears falling down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

“That parchment you picked up... it contained a very small amount of my soul. A tiny, incredibly insignificant part, that only shaved about a minute off my lifespan. Since I am so small, I am a purely abstract form of the real Twilight. I am the basics of her personality and emotions. The real me knew what I would be like... it was a failsafe because... the real me isn’t in the right mind at the moment.” She looked at the man in front of him, who simply sat and listened with intrigue. “I was put here as a note. A note with sentience to discern who was allowed to read her message with impunity. The ultimate security measure.”

“You have to decide if I’m worthy?” Gavin was absolutely puzzled, but Twilight shook her head.

“That was decided as soon as you touched the paper. My soul encountered yours. If your soul was approved, you’d be able to contact me. If your soul was indifferent, if you picked up the note on accident, or for a different reason than finding me, nothing would’ve happened. If your soul was disapproved, the note would have been destroyed immediately. Apparently, you were approved by Twilight’s soul, and you were allowed to speak with her sentience.” She made a faint smile. “Or part of it, which is me.”

“So,” Gavin asked. “Does the real you know of this conversation? Is she experiencing it?”

“If she was okay she would be, yes. She’d be fully aware. But she’s not okay. She knows this is happening, but she ignores it, she doesn’t know what to make of it.”

“But...” Gavin was unsure if his next question was stupid or not. “You’re still alive, right?”

“Mhmm,” she confirmed. “If she were killed I’d know. I wouldn’t disappear, but trust me, I’d know” Twilight shivered at the thought.

“So then what about me?” Gavin asked, starting to feel concern. “Am I just a part of the real me’s soul?”

“Nope,” she answered reassuringly. “You’re the whole shebang. In the real world you’re body is most likely completely motionless. You’re not dead, don’t worry, you’re just an empty shell. Like a computer without its processor.”

“What now then?” Gavin asked. “What will you have me do?”

Twilight nodded, now with determination. It showed on her whole body, in a similar fashion that Fluttershy had in the mission briefing earlier. “Right then. I was put here by the real Twilight to inform whoever was able to see this to tell them I’m in trouble. And I’m a very dangerous person, for the things I know, the things I might do, and the things that people will want to make me do. I was too out of it, apparently, when I left this note to help myself. It must have been my subconscious that made me do this. Anyway I need you to find me. If my friends reunited with me... I know it’d help.”

“Do you know where the real you is?”

“Not entirely. My connection with the real me is weak since I’m so crazy. All I know is that I’m in the Farwall Bog that is close to the east coast of Equestria. You can’t miss it on a map.” She now showed concern. “It is a very dense jungle filled with dangerous animals and an environment that’s just as deadly. Be careful.”

“Don’t worry, certainly won’t be the last dangerous thing I do,” Gavin joked, then more seriously added, “And besides, I have friends that’ll help.”

“Good. And by the way I honestly have no idea what the hell I’m doing there, the real me doesn’t think in coherent sentences any more. I could be the most dangerous thing there. Good luck, the fate of many lives hang in the balance.” Twilight sighed with the faint smile she had never faltering. She put both hooves on Gavin’s shoulders. “I’m going to send you back to your body. I just want to ask of one thing. Can you take this parchment back to the real me? If you do that, this part of my soul will be returned and this conversation will go to her memory as if she experienced it herself. I want to remember you Gavin, it got really lonely here.”

Gavin felt his cheeks getting hotter. “S-sure t-thing.” Just like that, something hit him. “Wait if I have this note, can’t I see you again? To uh, keep you company?”

Twilight hung her head with the largest frown on her face. “I don’t think so. If you are really in distress and need me, my soul may deem you worth it to see me again in this form. Remember, soul and sentience are two different things that act as one. If it were up to me I’d love you to come and visit, but...” She looked at Gavin one last time. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

She sniffed, then he was gone.

“Is he okay?”

Gavin felt groggy, He could feel his eyes were open but he couldn’t really see. Everything was too blurred together to discern any type of viable object.

“I don’t know, he’s just standing here.”

Everything was blue, Gavin decided. Blue with accents of brown. His ears felt as though someone was taking corks out of them.

“You think he’s okay, because he looks dead.”

The lines in his vision slowly became sharper as his eyes focused on the mysterious entity directly in front of him. It was a pony. Somebody he knew. Who would be this close to him?

Waking up, Gavin realized it was Patch in front of him with their snouts nearly touching. Patch had both legs on Gavin’s shoulders and was looking straight into his eyes with intrigue. At first, Gavin didn’t know what to make of it, but as his thoughts returned he just wanted one thing; to get the hell away.

“GEH.” Gavin shoved Patch, at which the captain stumbled backwards into some nearby bookshelves, knocking over some books in the process. That kind of distance between him and another man made Gavin REALLY uncomfortable, and it felt like Patch was going to go snow white on him at any moment.

Vex understood why Gavin was so anxious instantly, and thought about it. It would be interesting to say the least. For Gavin to passionately fall in Patch’s arms, unsure and submissive. Or maybe Patch would be the submissive one. Patch is so strong and confident, but where it counted Gavin was emotionally stronger. Gavin was Patch’s shoulder to cry on. He’d go down and...

“Vex? Earth to Vex.” Patch was waving his leg in front of the griffin. “Why is your face so red?”

“NOTHING, OKAY?! JUST CHILL THE FUCK OUT!” She recoiled and covered her face with her talons.

“Steady! Calm down, jeez.” The pirate captain spread a nervous smile. “I just hadn’t heard a vulgar and sarcastic quip in a little while and I got scared." Patch decided to turn and face the newly awoken unicorn before Vex could retort. "So, what happened to you there Gavin? You were out for like seven minutes, I was about to call for some help."

"Yeah... uh... you're not gonna believe this, but... I just spoke to Twilight.”


"Seriously?" The captain asked incredulously, raising one eyebrow and skeptically tilting his head to the side.

“Yeah, that note had some sort of charm on it.” Gavin tried to abridge the crazy event he had just experienced, piecing together the details. “She... somehow gave a piece of her existence to that lone note to tell anyone interested in finding her where she was.”

“Really, now?” Patch asked, this time with more legitimacy in his voice. “You sure?”

“Yes.” The definiteness in voice rang clear. “I’m positive.”

“Well that makes my job easy!” The captain yelled in joy, jarring his two friends with the ease of his acceptance. “Vex, you tell the others we completed the mission and are heading back to the boat.”

“Aye-aye, la capitán,” Vex confirmed, half serious. “You want me to go with?”

“Not unless you want to.” Captain Patch wrapped his foreleg around the Private, acting exhausted. “C’mon Gavin, let’s go, I’m tired of this fucking library.”

Oh, so that’s why he’s so eager to agree with my story.

Two small dots waving at Vex is what greeted her while flying to the trashed boutique. A pink and yellow one standing at the front entrance, both sickeningly happy. “Ugh,” Vex spat, facing her once stoic commander in chief. “What happened to you?”

“I think we know where Rarity and Spike are,” she relayed, visibly trying to hide her elation (which was a strange sight for the pegasus). “We’re going to... that... mountain... over there.”

“Wow,” said Vex incredulously, “You don’t even know the name of the fucking mountain, no wonder we had to go Canterlot then here just to find a stupid pompous bitch.”

“Well I don’t think the mountain has a name, alright?” Fluttershy’s cheeks turned red through her yellow fur as she looked away with a scowl. “Me and Pinkie have been there before, it won’t be any trouble getting there.”

“Whatever. Look, I’m here to tell you Gav and Patch found out where your unicorn friend is hiding. They’re going back to the ship.”

“They found Twilight?!” Pinkie chirped out loud, signaling everypony around them turn and give them strange looks. Out of the corner of her eye, Fluttershy believed to see a flash of a familiar red coat, but she shrugged it off.

“Sorta yeah, just shut up already, Pinks, sheesh.”

“This is good,” Fluttershy interjected, happy to hear the news. “If we can find rare, we’d be making some good time.”

“It’d be a good idea to not get too optimistic,” Vex warned. “C'mon, I’ll come with ya guys.”

The trail up to the familiar cave had been surprisingly uneventful. Nothing really stood in their way. Fluttershy remembered the last time she went up this trail. A rock-a-lanch, huge drops, dragons, oh my. It just felt weird that things were going good for once. By now a sword would have been swung at her face or something would have blown up, but no, they knew where Rare and Spike was and they had avoided any attention from the Legion so far.

And now the three companions found themselves at the mouth of a very large cave, one that shook Pinkie and Fluttershy to the core with nostalgia. Vex kinda just stood there bored, though.

Through sudden inspiration, Vex smiled. “You two going to go cave exploring or what?”

Pinkie Pie opened her mouth to say something, but Fluttershy trotted past her and said, “Shut up, Vex.”

Pinkie Pie kept her mouth open and her face frozen for few seconds before deflating and following her yellow pegasus friend. Vex followed suit.

Fluttershy would have investigated the surroundings, but unfortunately the cave was extremely dark. She didn’t remember the cave being dark, but it wasn’t really something she called attention to. Still, it was unnerving.

“You think Spike and Rarity are really here?” Pinkie whispered in Fluttershy’s ear. Although this was the thousandth time Pinkie had asked her that question, Fluttershy let it slide, them being in the cave that they supposedly resided in.

“I don’t know... maybe.” Fluttershy turned to warn her pink friend. “Just try not to make any no-”

“HHHHEEEEEEYYYYYYY!” Pinkie screamed at the top of her lungs. Her voice was raspy and almost sounded like an old woman had yelled. The sudden outburst warranted a small startled jump from the crew, and a subsequent slap to the back of the head from Vex. Fluttershy fumed.

“You idiot,” she whispered as loud as she could. “Are you trying to get us all--”

Bomph! A soft sound and the yellow pony was gone with a flash of purple.

“Oh, shit, Fluttershy?!” Vex yelled, stepping forward. She instinctively reached for a gun that wasn’t there, and cursed the fact she left them at the ship because ‘normal people don’t lug around six flintlocks’. Fucking Patch.

Fluttershy felt an intense weight crush her shoulders and thighs, and deducted that something was pinning her down, most likely with hostility. The weight lifted off of her left shoulder, and Fluttershy could only guess whatever had her down was about to claw her face off. As a reflex (this had actually happened before) she shifted her body to balance on her back and kicked forward with her hind legs. It successfully flung the creature off of her and into the nearest wall.

Or, so she thought. In an incredible display of dexterity, the creature flipped midair and dragged its claws along the floor to lose the momentum. As soon as it was stable it flung itself forwards again to Fluttershy. This time, the pegasus saw it coming and slid below the lunging monster and unsheathed her sword simultaneously. She tried to lunge at the monster, but it instinctively dashed backwards and dodged the attack, the blade nearly nicking its stomach. Fluttershy was surprised to see that the creature have bipedal capabilities, similar to the way Vex fired and carried her pistols.

The creature took another swing at the fully prepared Fluttershy, who flung herself to the side in order to dodge. She tried to take another swing in the opening, but missed as the creature kneeled down and practically limboed beneath the sword.

The fuck is this thing, a ninja?!

Now beneath the fighting pony, the creature wrapped its claws around Fluttershy’s chest and tossed her to the side. Showing less dexterity than her opponent, Fluttershy rolled a couple times on the sharp ground before being able to stand back up. Sensing another attack, Fluttershy threw her forelegs forward, attempting catch her opponents palms. She was successful, and was rather shocked by the fact. Nearly instantaneously, she went forward and pushed with her entire body on the creature’s claws, trying to overpower it. The creature, not expecting such strong contest from a pony, nearly buckled at first, but then pushed back at the pony. They were evenly strong.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!” The male creature yelled, generating a spark of green flame from his mouth. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!

Wait! Is that?

“Spike?” Fluttershy asked in disbelief, almost getting knocked over from her sudden release of effort. The creatures eyes widened as he came over a similar realization. “F... Fluttershy?” The two long lost friends backed up in order to view the full character, unsure of what they were seeing.

This Spike certainly wasn’t the one she had remembered; an innocent, slightly naive baby dragon who was as cute as he was a klutz. He had little to zero coordination, and was extremely dense. He was only about a third of the size of an average pony, small enough to actually ride on their backs. But this one... was big. Really big. Not as big as full grown adult dragons, mind you, but certainly bigger than a pony. He looked to be one and a half times larger than Fluttershy and wore a scrutinous, stoic stare with a scowl unlike any she’d ever seen, probably surpassing her’s. His body had taken more angles around his thighs and arms, and the rounded spines that had occupied his head now were sharp and jagged, and trailed all the way to his incredibly wide tail, even on the pointed tip. The spine that protruded out on his forehead had been bent back, as be less intrusive. But the one thing that stood out among all the others? Wings. Glorious wings with the span triple of pegasi, stretched in and out accommodating his expressions. They were absolutely gorgeous.

Spike was equally puzzled with his old friend’s appearance, what with her black streaked hair and dirty blue denim coat coupled with a stained white shirt. But that wasn’t the thing that had Spike speechless. It was the fact that she handled a young adult dragon in a physical fight by herself. Her face was twisted with the experience of a dozen fights ranging from hooves to blades, and various scars decorated her face and legs. Truly a strange sight for anyone that had once well known Fluttershy.

“Alright, I can barely fucking see anything and no one’s talking or fighting. Fluttershy did you die?” Vex was getting frustrated near the cave’s entrance as she relayed her complaints.

“Who’s that?” Spike’s puzzled expression disappeared as he snarled toward the direction of the voice. The question was directed at Fluttershy. She put a hoof on Spike.

“A friend,” she said, flatly. Content with the small detail, he hesitantly turned and aimed at something in the dark. He shot a single strand of green flame at this invisible target which lighted the walls with a thin line of fire, trailing beyond the cave’s field of vision. The light the flame gave off glimmered off of the various gems peppering the walls, which were artificially embedded into walls in repeating patterns. The most light was coming off a large pile of gold doubloons coupled with more gems and some jewelry, all looking incredibly expensive. It was about the size of two ponies, by area and perimeter.

“Wooooaaaahhhh,” The three mammals awed simultaneously. Spike felt a small glint of pride for his work. He turned to see the yellow mare again, and the sight made him come to senses on who was actually standing in front of him. The thought dawning over him, his arms lashed out and took fluttershy in a warm embrace. Although his face showed no sign of real emotion, his half masted eyes and somber voice was more than enough.

“Fluttershy... I thought you were... I thought you were dead.”

Fluttershy, although caught off guard, was not surprised by the hug. Instead, she simply closed her eyes and squeezed him back. “Likewise. You know Pinkie’s here too?”

Spike held her at arms length, astonished. “She is?” he asked. Fluttershy nodded in response. Spike turned back to his other visitors, a small griffin and...

“Pinkie!” Spike ran to her and hugged her too, to which Pinkie happily obliged. Spike looked at the griffin while holding Pinkie, with one eyebrow raised. “I have no idea who you are.”

“Tch, I’m new, bitch,” Vex deadpanned, crossing her arms and mimicking Spike’s face.

“I love what you’ve done with the place, Spikey-wikey! It’s actually looks hospitable!” Pinkie pointed out enthusiastically.

“Don’t call me that.” Spike spoke flatly with no emotion, making it clear he was serious. But the severity of his statement couldn’t be deciphered because of his stoic outlook. Nonetheless, Pinkie nodded. After a second, he raised his eyebrow again, this time at Pinkie. “Wait, ‘actually’?”

“Well, my first choice for a vacation house usually isn’t a cave, Spike,” Pinkie retorted. Spike tried to reply, but was interrupted by a voice deeper inside the cave.

“Spikey!” A snob-like voice whined. “What’s all the ruckus about? Are you alright, I thought I heard some fighting?”

A figure, as white as snow emerged from one of the cave’s forks. A white pony, with a purple, messy mane. It was so disheveled, it looked to be uncared for months, with the exception of an occasional wash. It was long, passing her knees, and was spread out all over her back. Dark blue eyes pierced the unkempt mane, and stared into the room. At the sight of the cave’s entrance, she gasped and froze, unable to speak.

Dispite the entrance of a new pony, Fluttershy was the first to speak, absolutely flabbergasted. Through a squint, she asked, “Is that... Rarity?!”

Familiar Faces

View Online

"Shit happens; things change."

Chapter 10

“Uh,” was all Rarity could utter at the shock of seeing her two friends simply standing in the middle of her home. Her mouth hung open for a few seconds before imagining what it looked like to the others. In fact, she must look absolutely dreadful to them at the moment. Though she’d never let herself go, she had gotten rather careless with her appearance in terms of grooming and style. She remembered that Spike said that he actually liked the natural look better. Usually she'd take that with a grain of salt, as most men just say that so they wouldn't hurt their partner's feelings, but she was dealing with a dragon here and he sounded very serious. She remembered that night, he couldn't keep his claws off her...

Ah, who cares what I look like! Rarity thought, throwing caution to the wind. "Oh my god, Spike, look! Fluttershy! Pinkie Pie!"

"Vex." the griffin chimed in, getting strange looks from everyone. Rarity paid no mind.

"What on earth are you two doing here?" she asked, raising a hoof to her chest and rearing her head. Glancing at the new griffin, she nervously corrected herself. “Er... three.”

"Nice to see you too, Rare," Fluttershy said smugly, flashing a smile full of indignant amusement. The gesture seemed out of character for her to Rarity. However, she paid it no mind as she waved her hoof frantically.

"I-I meant no insult, believe me! I just... I'm soo happy you're still breathing!" Rarity ran at a rather unladylike speed and style. She threw herself on Fluttershy, nuzzling her neck furiously. "I can't believe it! You came, you're actually here!"

Fluttershy wore the same awkward-yet-smug smile she had when Pinkie had done the same hug in Port Corral. She of course returned the sentiment, wrapping her foreleg around Rarity. That's when she noticed something... odd. Aside from her ungroomed fur and mane, Rarity's once smooth hugs were somehow... edgier. Her grip was tight and her legs were just that bit larger. As the hug drew out, Fluttershy found Rarity's entire body was curved differently, and the texture of her flawless skin was now rigid and coarse . It was all very strange for Fluttershy. Nevertheless, she continued her embrace with impunity.

After they finally let go, Fluttershy saw Rarity had started to cry much like Pinkie had. Quiet tears, absent of sobs, with a soft smile stretched along her face.

"Hugs?" Pinkie asked, stretching out her forehooves with a nervous smile and pleading eyes. Rarity laughed in spite of her tears.

"Of course Pinkie dear, I wouldn't have it any other way." Rarity squeezed Pinkie Pie tighter than she had Fluttershy, assuming she could handle it better than the delicate Fluttershy.

"Bleghh!" Pinkie exclaimed, having the wind squeezed out of her. Rarity retracted herself and apologized.

Rarity finally turned to the griffin. "And... Vex, was it? ...I suppose you want a hug as well?"

Vex immediately flushed at the thought, backing up and face becoming red. She waved her talons to keep the very good looking (in spite of disheveled appearances) white unicorn away. "N-naw, I don't need any, cave woman."

Rarity frowned at the name obviously meant to insult her, but Fluttershy spoke before she could backlash. "Rarity, what the hell spat you out? You look like you tried to fuck a boulder."

Vex repressed the urge to look at Spike and inform her that she may not be too far off.

Pinkie thought of Tom and blushed.

Spike... just stood there with an annoyed disposition.

Rarity was taken aback, utterly astonished at the vulgarity of the statement. "Fluttershy, why I'd never...! The profane nature of that statement... from you!"

Fluttershy, at first confused, lowered her ears and looked at Pinkie with an expression that just screamed 'whoops.' "Uh, sorry, Rare."

"Oh dear, I wasn't offended," Rarity assured, putting a tentative hoof on her shoulder. "I just didn't expect that from... you."

"I've changed," she warned, her expression changing back to that aggressive squint she constantly wore, sincere and humorless.

"Yeah," Pinkie confirmed, beaming. "Fluttershy's sexy now!"

Vex burst out with a loud chuckle, despite not knowing Fluttershy before her piracy. Rarity had a look of concern and uncertainty. The remark had also actually perturbed Spike, breaking his serous glare with a look of bemused shock. "She's kinda bad ass, I'll give her that," Vex added between immature giggles.

What brought Rarity's concern even further, was that Fluttershy shrank back with a bashful look of minute pride, like she was happy to be 'sexy' and 'bad ass', like she wasn't bothered by those words. She... liked the attention and compliments, Rarity noted with disgust. "Ladies!" she scolded.

Vex laughed even harder. "No ladies here. We got a cave woman, a drunk, a pirate, me, and Puff the Magic fucking Dragon." Vex stole a glance at the dragon, who became irritated at her, but not enough to act. All he did was bare his teeth and growl, which almost warrented another chortle from Vex. Weird, she had expected to be more anxious the first time she met a dragon, but here she was, beckoning him with insults. After a couple of seconds of brazen laughter from the pirate trio, they subsided as they saw Rarity gaping at them.

"Did you say... Pirate?" Rarity asked, frowning. Everyone's smile fell into a state of dumbfoundedness. Vex nervously breathed another chuckle as she rubbed the back of the feathers residing on her head.

"I let that slip a little too early," Vex stated, before looking at Fluttershy who now was absolutely pissed. "Didn't I?"

"Ya think?" Fluttershy deadpanned through disappointed indignation.

"Fluttershy?" Rarity asked slowly. "What's going on?" Rarity's judgmental gaze pierced Fluttershy's soul. Fluttershy kept her face straight in spite of this, ready to dismiss any of her friend's opinions of her occupation. Just because she won't approve won't stop her from doing what she loves, and she wouldn't care if she didn't understand the virtuous nature of her actions. In spite of her previous unmovable point of view on the situation, she sighed.

"Rarity... I'm a pirate, in case you haven't guessed." Rarity's accusing stare is what scared Fluttershy the most. "It was entirely my decision and... It isn't what you think, we don't do anything bad- well at least, not to people who don't deserve it."

"But you still rape and pillage." Rarity spoke flatly, disappointment seeping from her voice. She stated it as if it were indisputable fact. Her yellow friend tried to get angry, but all she could manage was stern irritation.

"No, we don't! At least... we don't rape, dear god we don't rape. In fact, rape was one of the reasons I joined the pirates; that horrible experience is what tore the line... I didn't want anyone else to go through what I did."

Pinkie Pie tried to gasp, but her throat was shut; she had no idea that Fluttershy had been.... Vex looked off to the side, away from her yellow friend in sympathy, to spare her the shame of a stare. She had heard the story long ago. Spike's blank expression somehow told his anger for whoever had done an act so horrid to the kind and meek Fluttershy. Rarity stood on her ideal, however.

"All the same, Fluttershy. I'm sorry for what happened, but that doesn't give you the right to take from others."

Spike was actually surprised at Rarity's cold argument. He widened his eyes and looked at her in bewilderment. "Rarity..." he said, his voice laden with sadness. Rarity closed her eyes in a huff and turned away from her dragon.

"No, Spike! It is unfortunate, and I'd rip the head off whoever did it, but it is no excuse to break the law so casually like that! I'm sorry Fluttershy, I love you but... that isn't something I approve of and that's that..."

Fluttershy sighed, more sad than irritated. But she didn't let go of her stand. "You're right, it isn't an excuse... But you don't understand the position I'm in. It was the Princesses' Legion! They're the ones that did that to me! They burned my home, my animals! I may be breaking the law, sure, but it's the price of fighting evil! C'mon, you remember ponyville, the old times, you're no stranger to that. It's the same thing as fighting Nightmare Moon, or Chrysalis, or King Assface, but just on a grander scale!"

Rarity avoided everyone's gaze and looked at the ground, cracks in her argument forming, however, she remained steadfast in her altercation. "I doubt the entire military is to blame for the act of only a few ponies... it still isn't right. You take from them. It's selfish."

Fluttershy smiled in the face of her debate this time, happy with her counter argument. Almost cocky, she spoke. "That's just it, they ARE responsible. You know what our crew consists of? People, pony or otherwise that got fucked over in different ways by the Legion. Our Captain's house was burned by them by order of a General he was good friends with. With his wife still inside. Klepto, a griffin, his entire family was murdered by them as collateral because he couldn't pay his taxes. Penny, a unicorn, she was brutally raped by an entire squadren of men in broad daylight and no one did a damned thing..."

Fluttershy continued to rant off the many ways the Legion practically held society by the balls, and how she had made it her mission to stop their ways, however ambitious it was. It fell on attentive and sensitive ears.

"Okay..." Rarity began as her friend finished. "I still... I don't know..."

"Look, Rare, it's not like we're bludgeoning every legionnaire we see and dumping his body in a ditch, we're conservative with anything fatal, and we treat dead with respect despite how much of an asshole they were." Fluttershy gave off another sigh and smiled with pleading eyes. "I may have changed, but my values are very much the same, okay?" It was her turn to put a hoof on the white unicorn's shoulder. "I'm just... stronger."

Rarity had tried her hardest not to smile, to not be moved by her friend's actions, but it snuck up on her, and her face cracked, just barely. She still wasn't certain of the pegasus' new lifestyle, but she trusted Fluttershy.

"What are you doing here?" Rarity asked again, this time as humble inquiry rather than shocked disbelief.

Fluttershy smiled confidently and gave a fierce nod before putting her other hoof on her friend's shoulders. "We need you Rare. Something big's going down and we need the elements to find out what and put a stop to it."

"I'm not going to be like you. I have no desire to be a pirate," she warned as matter of fact. Fluttershy grabbed Pinkie in a headlock, unaffected by the white mare's statement.

"It's okay, neither is Pinkie," she said, rubbing Pinkie's skull with her hoof roughly. "Aren't ya, Pinkie?"

Pinkie began giggling uncontrollably as a result of the proceeding noogie, and a little flustered at the contact of her oblivious friend. "Yes I am!"

Rarity couldn't help but smile at the sight of her two long lost friends get along so well despite their massive differences. Maybe she could be like that too, now that she has the chance again. "What does this help entail?"

"I don't even know," Fluttershy said, honestly, letting go of a now disappointed Pinkie Pie. "What we do know, is very little. We were hoping to figure it out along the way."

"Hmm..." Lost in thought, Rarity turned to Spike who had been remarkably quiet, save for a few dissatisfied looks at Rarity during her and Fluttershy's little debate. Rarity smiled meekly. "Up for a little adventure? We don't have to go if you don't want to."

"Honestly, I'd rather stay." Everyone in the room including Rarity had small looks of incredulous disbelief, but changed as Spike followed up. "But if it's really that important, how could I say no? Besides..." Spike trailed his claw around her mane, getting her hair out of her face, and stared in her eyes. Straight faced, as if it were the most important thing in the world, he finished with, "I'm the one that follows you." Rarity's eyes were half masted as she smiled, obviously wooed by Spike's simple sentiment. Fluttershy and Vex felt a little uncomfortable; they thought the two were about to start spontaneously going at it the way they were looking at each other. Vex cleared her throat anxiously.

Rarity got off the implications gracefully by fully ignoring the transpired events and referring to her guests. "Then it's settled," she said. "We'll come along as long as you tell us everything."

"Well we should get back to the ship before dark; we'll tell you on the way."

“A disembodied head?” Rarity recoiled in utter disgust, sticking her tongue out and wincing.

“I know, right?” Fluttershy replied, sharing a similar look.

The past half hour had been spent strolling down the mountain and getting Spike and Rarity up to speed. Pinkie had spent those thirty minutes just staring at Rarity, admiring her obvious physical improvements. Her shoulders were massive and the cuts of her muscles flexed with every step. It was strangely alluring and somehow made Rarity look even better than she used to. Stranger still, was that her messy mane actually complimented her muscles and made her look like a goddess. Pinkie had to refrain from drooling.

The group had discussed the strange parchment and its explosive tendencies with glowing lettering and promises of apocalypses, they introduced Vex who had been incredibly rude and insensitive the entire way down (Rarity quickly grew to despise her company), and talked about their Captain and how awesome he is. Pinkie Pie and even Vex talked up to him, so Rarity slowly became eager to meet his acquaintance. As their conversation finished, Fluttershy sought to strike up a new topic.

“So how about you two? Living in cave doesn’t exactly sound appealing to the prim and proper Rarity.”

Instantly, the two’s disposition changed to anxious reluctance, as they tried to dodge the question physically by turning their heads and staring blankly into the sky. Needless to say, it was futile, they felt the puzzled stares of their friends... and Vex.

“Uhh,” Rarity started awkwardly. “Stuff... happened.”

Vex scoffed as she pointed out, “That was about as vague as Pinkie’s sexuality.”

Pinkie made some noise that involved some sort of choking whinnie. She nervously shifted her eyes as she noted that everyone luckily ignored her.

“Well... I... We just needed some time alone, you know? People aren’t exactly approving of a dragon-pony relationship.”

“Relationship?” Pinkie asked, puzzled. “You mean you two are...?”

Rarity raised a brow. “You mean you seriously didn’t notice? I was wondering why you hadn’t commented.”

“So,” Pinkie continued, her voice and tone of shock escalating with each word. “You two... you know... did stuff?!”

Fluttershy answered for her friend this time, equally bewildered by Pinkie’s obliviousness. “Pinkie, they were living in a cave when we met them, what do you think they did all that time, play bridge?” Rarity’s blush started to burn through her white coat, and she even became light headed. It’s true, there never was never much to do other than... Spike. But it’s not like they just constantly had intercourse, they would occasionally go for walks in the forest along a lake Spike now called his, they would work on the aesthetics of the cave and go gem hunting, they would build their...

“Dungeon!” Rarity blurted out suddenly, causing everyone to stop and stare at her. As her heart race slowed, she flushed even harder. “Spike and I would build a dungeon, you know, mazes in the cave, booby traps, all that good stuff. For uh... for... fun.” Great. This might do more harm than good, Rarity noted as Spike gave her a look that plead for death. Everyone’s gaze grew even more puzzled.

“A... Dungeon?”

“Just... for kicks?”

“Yeah,” Rarity tried to finish, her voice wavering and unsure. “I mean... Spike’s a dragon... I’m a pony... I’m ‘his’... he protects what’s his... he has treasure... it seemed... cliche... and funny... and uh... ironic, I guess.”

“Uh...” Pinkie’s voice rose up after an awkward silence. “Congratulations?”

Spike almost knocked himself out with a facepalm of that magnitude. Even he started to blush, his blood piercing his purple scales. “Look, can we talk about something else,” he offered, rubbing the spines on the back of his head.

“Hey,” Pinkie sang instantly, jumping on the chance to ask. “Where did you get the wings, you look great!”

Spike was now a red dragon. It didn’t look good on him. “U...e...Ueh... ah... I... don’t...?”

Rarity, also now becoming a red pony, tried to save him. “Spike... doesn’t like... telling that... story?” If that excuse sounded sincere, her friends may have let the interrogation go. However, she phrased it as a question, and the integrity of her justification shattered like a wine glass. “Look,” she plead, sounding a lot like her mate. “How about this, either of you tell me or Spike part of your story, and he’ll tell you how he got his wings in excruciating detail.” Spike gave Rarity a look that begged her to think of something else, but she just responded in a wink. That’ll teach them. Spike knew what Rarity was planning and he did not like it. Not a bit. Still... it would be funny.

The carnivorous beasts that were Rarity’s friends seemed satisfied with the trade, quickly trying to think of a story of their pasts that would satisfy the two. Rarity quickly added, “And it has to be meaningful! If I don’t cry or am severely disappointed in you Spike won’t say how he got his wings. Alright?”

Everyone murmured in reluctant agreement before sifting through the memories for an ample parable. Rarity and her dragon sighed.

As the distance between them and their beloved home town closed, the tension increased. Fluttershy had found it a bit weird that going back to the town hadn't yielded any particularly strong emotions other than nostalgia when they had first entered Ponyville, but now with Rarity and Spike walking along beside them, it felt different. Almost... wrong, somehow. Furthermore, Rarity's boutique was in Ponyville, just adding to memories of a time that would never again be the same. If Fluttershy had to see her cottage again... she doesn't think she'd be able to handle it. No doubt she'd throw up or go into fits of rage and depression. She would be put on the edge, and most likely get thrown off. And Spike? The library? I have no idea how the older, mature Spike would react. God I feel sorry for the guy.

Spike, sensing the feelings of foreboding anxiety, moved closer to Rarity and climbed on her back, wrapping his arm around her neck and allowing the other to hang in front of her. He positioned his head to be right next to her muzzle, a perfect place to listen to her soft breathing. He was just the right size to rest his hind paws on her haunches as his tail hung off her flank and dragged across the ground. His wings, even folded, was double the width of his partner. There he was, Rarity's guardian. It seemed to be his way of saying, 'although I live serve her, she's mine, and you won't touch her'. Fluttershy had turned to check up on the two, and couldn't believe her eyes. Rarity seemed completely unbothered, and even seemed more at ease with him there. She thought Pinkie was strong for being able to carry Vex fairly easily, Rarity wasn't even phased; she walked with the same saunter and acted as if absolutely nothing was on her back. Still gawking, Fluttershy asked, "Do you guys regularly do that?"

At first, Rarity and her partner looked questioningly at the yellow mare, both cocking their heads in unison. Rarity then bore a smile as she realized what her friend was referring to. "Oh, heh. Sorry, it's usually how we walk around I had forgotten it might be a tinge odd of a sight. Yes, we do. Don't worry, I can handle it."

"I can see that," she responded, giving another grin in return.

Pinkie snorted uncontrollably a couple of times, hitting the Pegasus in the shoulder. "Hehe, he's riding her." Fluttershy scoffed in irritation as she rolled her eyes, stopping when they hit the sky. She noticed for the first time that the sun had begun to set, dusk settling in place of the prior daylight. Now Fluttershy wanted to get through Ponyville even faster. Traveling by rivers and canals at night was very uncomfortable for the Pegasus. Especially now since they had that Legion ship trailing them. The more time they spent in ponyville, the more the young captain caught up. They were lucky they had confronted the legion in the large lake next to Canterlot, and next time they might not be so lucky.

The exhale that escaped Spike's nostrils rung across the barely lit streets, giving his friends a shudder on the outside, but warming their lungs on the inside. The same feeling one gets when they have a fever and are wrapped in a blanket, a feeling of dread and content, nostalgia and unease. No one could tell what the dragon was thinking, but the wistful sigh was more than enough a hint. The library sat before them, somehow being more menacing a sight than Celestia herself. Spike had been staring for the past twelve minutes, and everyone had remained silent out of respect for the purple dragon, and even more so to the purple unicorn that had disappeared so suddenly all those years ago. As the time elapsed became noticeable, Fluttershy craned her neck to look at Spike still on Rarity's back. "You know," she said. "We know where she is..."

Spike was quiet once more, at first showing no sign of acknowledgement. However, he then spoke, quietly and hoarsely. "Then we'll find her."

"Spike... she might be-"

"We'll find her." His voice final, and driven, Fluttershy shut up and turned back towards the library.

Maybe we will.


Wait, woah, who's ruining our moment? Fluttershy thought in aggravation, facing the offender behind them. Spike had a look of absolute rage and disdain, taking the interruption as a personal insult. Rarity whispered some calming words to him, preventing a growl and softening his expression a small bit. before them stood six ponies: three earth ponies two unicorns and a pegasus, varying in color and size. There was only one woman there, and she had the most malicious scowl of all. All six wore red legion coats, the front earth pony sporting a couple of medals and a badge indicating his rank, some variation of a Sergeant. The leading pony bore a smile, an unsettling one.

"Well, well, well, wan't Ai right. Thrasher owes meh faive bits; y'are that yeller pirate wanted by all the Legion. Yah earned quite a name for yourself, pissed off the princess, ye did." His accent was as hard to understand as it was annoying for the pirates and friends. It was indiscernible, some bastardisation of an irish dialect. Fluttershy came to the conclusion it was forced, some odd attempt to feign whimsy and wisdom. Idiot. Out of nowhere, Rarity stepped forward, dragon in tow.

"I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding, sir. If you would allow, I'd like to discuss our situation here." Rarity was trying the diplomatic method, much to Fluttershy's chagrin.

"Heh, 'discuss.'" He scoffed at the notion. "Ai dun think a 'discussion ' is in order. As Ai see it 'ere, ye got another two pirates in ye party along with the big yeller one being the meat of the bounty."

"Big?" Fluttershy asked in irritated horror.

"Y'see in the Legion, tain't no pay difference 'tween dead'r'alive. And a body bag is just so easy t'store." He laughed, with the others backing it up with small chuckles.

Rarity, appalled, began to berate the Legionaries in her mind, but attempted to maintain a cool exterior. “Surely you can’t be serious. If only-”

“Look, lady,” he interrupted, losing his patience. “Ai know ye be trying to be all polite’n’stuff, going the diplo-macee route, but these guys already got the death sentence and Ai get to carry it out. Don’t be thinkin’ we gon’ stop just because ye got a wee pet dragon on ye back tryin’ t’intimidate us, makin’ all those faces.”

Rarity turned to see Spike’s face constricting in wrath and anger, obviously trying to keep it to himself. She noticed his claws were digging as hard as they could into her chest without bringing injury. Done with her little check up she looked at the six ponies again, this time with incredulous apathy on her face.

“Also, bein’ an accessory to a fugitive of this magnitude is automatic death. But that don’t mean we can’t have a little fun first, eh?” The lead pony’s smile became absolutely wicked, reaching easily from ear to ear. Rarity noted with complete disgust that even the mare of the group lit up at the opportunity, naughty ideas already forming in her head. Atrocious.

“Well,” Rarity said, flabbergasted. A yellow hoof was put up to Rarity’s chest, attempting to prevent any involuntary action from the mare, and maybe even trying to protect her in the process. While stepping forward, Fluttershy frowned.

“Don’t worry Rare, we got these fuckwads,” she assured, drawing her sword. A fierce Vex got on her hind legs and positioned one of her talons near her face and the other near her stomach and formed fists with them, this being her preferred fighting stance, Although strange, it usually proved to be quite effective. Pinkie cowered behind Fluttershy, but still wore a determined and rather pissed expression.

Strangely, Rarity pretended as if her friend wasn’t there, and pushed her aside like a bookshelf. She took a whopping four steps forward, effectively isolating herself from the rest of the group. Ignoring the baffled expressions her friends’ (and Vex’s) now bore, Rarity assured them that she would handle it. “So,” she said, directing it at the opposing Legion ponies. “You want to have a little fun, huh?” Rarity rolled her shoulders and craned her neck once in both directions, each snapping at its threshold with an audible crack. “I guess I could provide a supply.” She smiled as a finish to her threats, then gave a tout curtsey and reaching a hoof forward having it arc downwards at the wrist. “Would you be a gentleman and offer me this dance?”

These actions didn’t help to break the pirates out of their dumbfounded state. Jaws were hitting the floor. Even more puzzling, Spike wasn’t reacting at all, despite his protective disposition throughout their meeting at the cave.

The Sergeant smiled and decided to humor the white unicorn, and maybe try to humiliate her in the process. “Of course, m’lady,” he spewed sarcastically, his voice oozing sickeningly from the back of his throat. He stepped forward and placed his hoof on Rarity’s. That’s when all hell broke loose.

It didn’t even look like his hoof had made contact with hers before he was jerked forward at incredible speeds, now chest to chest in a split second. His face was now twisted with distilled horror as Rarity’s smiling muzzle closed in on his. Her eye’s were locked into his, her mind obviously filling with thoughts of hatred and pity. It looked like a move in the waltz, with Rarity leading. Both of their forelegs were outstretched in front of him. Like lightning, Rarity wrapped the same foreleg around his, leaving space at the knee, taking her other foreleg and propping it up against it. Her shoulder now rested on his chest, and provided leverage as she suddenly pulled with all her might. The bone gave way with almost no resistance.

As he screamed in distress, Spike hopped off of Rarity and stood his ground as two more earth ponies, running parallel to each other and Spike, charged with their swords in their mouths, the blades in opposite directions. Effortlessly, Spike grabbed both bases of the blades, closest to the hilt where the least amount of kinetic energy and momentum was, and slammed their heads together. Of course not being that damaging of a blow, Spike took advantage of their recovery time and dragged his hind claws from their legs down to their hooves. Their winces of pain caused them to let go of their weapons and forfeit them to Spike. The sudden disappearance of stability from the blades caused Spike to fall gracefully on his back. He then transitioned all his weight there, rearing his legs and coiling his body as much as he could. He flung forward, making his hind legs crash into the chests of the two ponies, the blow breaking some ribs and incapacitating them.

Leaving a sobbing Sergeant behind, Rarity prepared to defend herself from the approaching pegasus sailing on the wind, the mare of the group. Her face laden with confidence and angry determination, she sped like a bullet towards Rarity. At the last second, however, she curved sharply upwards into the sky, right before Rarity’s eyes. She knew instantly what the mare was planning. Keeping her eyes in the sky she waited patiently for the incoming attack.

Spike sped towards the unicorn holding the flintlock, his wings spreading as he glided a few inches above the ground. Not expecting the sudden burst of speed, the gun discharged, the unicorn hoping to hit him in midst flight. Spike simply twirled in the air, unphased as the ball passed his torso, leaving him unscathed. He tackled the unicorn, rolled on the ground with him in his arms, and tossed him like a doll as he gained back his footing.

A dot got larger, more quickly, as the pegasus reached the ground at massive speeds in a vertical plummet towards earth. Rarity remained still as she squinted and concentrated on the mare. Closer, closer, closer. Rarity spotted a shimmer of the blade. Close enough. As if in slow motion, Rarity caught the blade by the blunt side mid-flight and spun it while it still occupied the Legion mare’s mouth. Her eye’s widened in horror as the blade completely missed the locked-on target and embedded itself into the ground. Fliifthgh was the sound it made as the dirt met the hilt of the sword. Luckily for the mare, she wasn’t going fast enough to injure herself from the sudden stop. However, an acrobatic white unicorn spun gracefully on her left foreleg, and roundhouse-bucked the vulnerable pegasus with the weight of her entire body, her hind leg making contact with the back of the pegasus’ head. This made the mare lose consciousness immediately as she was sent flying across the pavement a couple of yards before landing and tumbling across the floor and coming to a complete stop.

The two had finished their fight, Spike and Rarity. They dusted off their claws and hooves, before facing the final Legion member. A bright green unicorn, face filled with awe and dismay, jaw wide open, and visibly paling. Spike had walked up to Rarity once again, and their stares at the unicorn was apparent and smug. Spike was actually smiling for the first time since meeting his old friends. They quickly glanced at each other, and gave a final look to the unicorn as they both leaned forward.

“Boo,” they spouted in unison.

The unicorn screamed bloody murder as he ran off, crying. After a couple of seconds, the pair began to laugh hysterically as they held each other. “Ahahaha! You see that guy? Classic!” Spike yelled in out of character glee.

“Ho, it’s been awhile since our last fight. Nice to see we still got it!”

The duo laughed for a bit more before noting that their friends’ expressions had remained unchanged. Shock, awe, and their jaws on the ground.

“What?” Rarity asked, raising an eyebrow.

“You...” Vex breathed, raising a talon and pointing towards the scene. “You beat the shit out of them...”

“All six of them.” Fluttershy’s head drooped with her mouth still open. “In like, ten seconds flat.”

There was a slump sound behind the party; the sound of Pinkie Pie fainting and hitting her head on a rock the way down.

“I guess we did, didn’t we?” Spike said bashfully, looking the other way, his usual demeanor returning.

“Just a second, guys.” Rarity walked up to Fluttershy. “I still don’t agree with your proposal that all Legion behave this way,” she said firmly. “But... these guys were huge...” She tried to search for the right word.

“Dicks?” Vex finished, he voice incredulous.

“That’s the word,” Rarity cheerfully agreed. Her expression straightened. She trotted next to the ear of the crying pony with a broken leg on the ground. He wasn't completely pathetic, the tears weren’t from crying necessarily, but were involuntary, being caused by the pain. Rarity grabbed his purple mane and shoved her muzzle next to his ear. She spoke quietly making her self very clear. “We had fun, didn’t we? You finished a bit too early though, and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed.”

The stallions eyes were wide and his pupils were dilated from the adrenaline of the pain. He was absolutely frightened. Rarity gently put a hoof on his broken leg to drive the point home. He winced in pain. “Now you listen here: if you ever do this again, it doesn’t matter where you are or how you do it, I will find out about it, and find you, and rip off what makes you a man. I may be Lil Miss Rarity, but I promise I can be your worst nightmare if you get on my bad side. I won’t stand for people like you. Neither will my friends. So remember this: next time you think about doing something atrocious for your own personal gain, remember me. Because if you don’t, you won’t have any limbs to get broken, understand?”

The stallion choked a bit before letting out a raspy, “Mhmm!”

“Good.” She let go of his mane and faced her friends once again. She chuckled nervously. “I guess I owe you an explanation.”

“Gee, ya think?”

Fires of Redemption

View Online

“Like fire. Hellfire.”

Chapter 11

This wasn’t something Pipsqueak had looked forward to.

Well... scratch that. He hadn’t seen the Princess so quickly following a visit before, so this was a luxury he would never be able to turn down. But honestly, he wished it was in better terms. Pipsqueak was here to inform the Princess of his failure. Although on the surface, it didn’t sound so bad, but...

This is the first time I lost! And it wasn’t even a loss either; the pirates were as good as defeated. The crew was as good as down and he had the captain in his grasp! Alas, their flyers pulled a fast one; something he should of saw coming. They were much too aggressive.

Time and time again had Pipsqueak spoke to the Princess, joyously but straight-faced as he formally recited the mission precedings and informed her of his success, after which he would strike up a conversation about her leading affairs. As a result, she always had a greeting smile on her face as a sign of trust as he walked in, ready to speak to the first normal pony she had since their last meeting. But that what was making this so difficult. He didn’t want to betray that gorgeous and inviting smile she wore. He couldn’t bare to see it deflate, to fade like the setting sun. Yet he had to... it was his duty. Pipsqueak began to reach for the door.


The sudden cry from down the hall drew Pipsqueak’s attention away from the door. it definitely wasn’t the princess. The voice, while incredibly high pitched from panic, was masculine in nature. A Night Watch guard fumbled down towards the captain with a large winged animal in tow, pecking at him mercilessly. He tried in vain to defend himself from the violent pecks as it effortlessly floated around him and scratched him with its razor sharp talons. "Will you get this damned creature off me captain!"

Pipsqueak couldn't help but chuckle. As high of a regard he held of the Night Watch, he had to admit they were kind of assholes, certainly not deserving of their great occupational relationship with the princess. Pipsqueak decided he had enough and whistled. "Come 'ere boy, c'mon." The falcon instantly ceased its attack and eyed the captain, noticing him for the first time.

Pipsqueak gave two more short whistles as he held up his forearm for his companion. The falcon completely forgot about the guard pony and rocketed towards Pipsqueak's arm. The talons wrapped tightly around his leg, drawing some blood from the claws, but Pipsqueak remained unperturbed as he was used to the violent nature of his pet. The falcon pecked gently at Pipsqueak's face as he nuzzled the majestic beast back. "There ya go. Good boy, Vynn."

Vynn cooed lovingly and started to rub his master's face even more passionately. After a few moments, Pipsqueak retracted and motioned to his flanks, to which his pet instinctively flew to and perched on. The guard pony scoffed turned his head haughtily, as if that restored his butchered pride.

"Anything wrong at the vet?" Pipsqueak asked, skeptically raising a brow at the rude guard. He shook his head furiously.

"Tch, no, just like the other eighty-seven times you took that... thing there."

Pipsqueak really tried to contain his wit and keep gentle. Pipsqueak was technically his superior, and, although he would never let the power go to his head, he sometimes wanted to slap these attitude ridden Night Watch guards. "Good to know," he said through a fake smile and gritted teeth.

The guard pony didn't catch the subtle hint however, and pompously closed his eyes. "You should really put a leash on that thing."

"Maybe I should put you on one," Pipsqueak snapped with a monotone. That leash comment tore it. "As you were," he ordered.

"Whatever," the pony sighed, walking away. As he left, Pipsqueak sighed as well, his nerve slowly dwindling. This entire day had been emotionally draining. As much as he liked the princesses, he always had trouble dealing with authority. The fact he lets them down, after they do so much more for him and all pony kind, it really eats at him from the inside. Vynn cooed with concern as Pipsqueak gave him a reassuring nuzzle.

"Don't worry boy, I'm just a little nervous is all." Pipsqueak exhaled a mighty breath before inching towards the princess' door, stepping out of the small puddle of his blood caused by his pet. "Clawing me up didn't really help, you know." Vynn looked apologetic as he put one wing behind his head. Pipsqueak rolled his eyes and opened the door...

Luna sat at her desk that faced away from the door, against the wall, next to the balcony window, same as always. She didn’t seem to notice Pipsqueak when he entered. As an afterthought, the captain realized he really should have knocked, but he found something oddly adorable about the princess working with her little quill scribbling away. He found his welcome to just stare at her without her knowing to be overstayed a little, and decided to knock. Was that a rim or something on her muzzle?

Knock, knock “Princess?”

Luna jumped from her seat and fumbled with her magic with the odd rims on her face. She opened a drawer in her desk and shoved the item in there with aggressive impunity. During her little episode she spilt her ink, accidentally threw all the papers on the ground, and knocked over her chair. After she was complete, she stood perfectly still for a few moments, smiled, and turned to face Pipsqueak as if nothing happened. “Ah, Captain Squeak, good to see you.”

Pipsqueak wanted to laugh. He really, really did. It was just plain adorkable. Alas, laughing in the face of a Princess is usually considered rude. He was honestly surprised how well he was able to stifle his chuckle. "As you, Princess."

"You too, Vynn," the princess added with a petite chuckle. Vynn squacked in reply to the familiar voice.

"I trust you have favorable news," she asked, picking up the small mess she made. Pipsqueak looked the other way, ashamed and silent. Luna, after a few seconds, became concerned. "What's the matter, Captain Squeak?"

Pisqueak's ears sank below his neck as Vynn awkwardly stared out a window, fully aware of the tension forming. Slowly, assuredly, Pipsqueak's voice cracked out an answer. "I...I failed Celestia's assignment."

Luna nearly dropped everything she held with her magic, her expression sharpening to the shock. The room was silent, as neither party knew what to add. Luna could have cared less about the assignment, really... but Captain Squeak has never failed. That's why she picked him to be captain at that young age of eighteen. His ingenuity and intelligence was unmatched, he thought of every outcome, every option... yet here he stood, informing his princess of his failure.

The princess of the night did not mind, of course, but her concern lie in the child. He looked broken... defeated... a look she knew all too well. She felt his pain, and now she sought to ease it. "...Captain."

Here it comes, thought Pipsqueak. She's going to hate me.

"That is rather unfortunate. Why did you not simply inform my sister of this?"

Wut? Pipsqueak shifted his eyes, trying to find out who she was talking to. After figuring that, yes, she was still talking to him, he tried to sputter out an answer. "I-I, uhh... wanted... your... input?"

Luna then... Smiled? The hell...?

"This is good," Luna said striding to the room's doors and closing them fiercely.

"It is?" Pipsqueak asked, utterly confused.

"Yes, you see," the princess started, leaning towards Pipqueak's ear, causing his face to burn up a little. "My sister is not in the best of conditions at the moment. She has suffered so much loss in such a short amount of time, and I fear she may be on edge."

All bashfulness vanished as Pipsqueak became more attentive, his curiosity peaking. He rose the ear Luna was speaking into along with an eyebrow. Vynn mimicked his master's motions.

"She doesn't need more stressers, she needs rest. She must not concern herself of these matters, so..." Luna cut herself off, standing back up and speaking at normal volume. "Listen, Captain Squeak, I know that I have given you many orders along the years as my sister and your superiors have, and it cannot be ignored that I have been the major source of these tasks. But in thy current situation, and the situation of our country, I would like to make everything official. You will now only take direct orders from me, and no one else."

Pipsqueak's jaw nigh hit the floor. Was he dreaming? His face lit up like a child.

"I know you have served as an asset, a floater as you will, and have never gotten a proper title. So I hereby dub thee... Special Operations Lunar Unit Riptide." As she went through the motions, Luna really had to try not to squeal in glee. She had never done this before; it was exciting. Still, she kept her professional calm when the captain was in the room. "SOLUR." That sounds ridiculous.

"SOLUR?" Pipqueak wondered if Luna got the irony of calling her unit that. Probably. "Special Operations?" Pipsqueak was becoming faint. So, he becomes a secret agent, and he takes orders from Luna herself! It must have been a dream, a little colt's ultimate dream. Actually with Luna in the room, it was exactly like a dream he had when he was younger except in that dream there was more sweat.... "Are there other Special Ops units?"

Luna contemplated for a moment. "Yes, but they're all Celestia's, and as she doesn't get involved that often, they're not really doing much."

"But why me?" Pipsqueak asked.

"Well, think of it as a promotion."

"After I failed..." Pipsqueak's mood deflated along with his facial features.

"Foolish Squeak... Failure? Mistakes? It is how we learn, as a species. We make a mess, and then we clean it up, and make it more spotless then before. If you have never failed, you could never be perfect." Luna smiled at the captain with a hint of snark. "We adapt."

It didn't make sense, but in a way... it was logical. No matter how good one was, one could always get better. But there was one obvious contradiction that ate at Pipsqueak.

"But if I have to fail to become perfect, doesn't that make me imperfect already?"

Luna smiled her knowing smile with a bit of a sly saunter. "As it is, Squeak. It is impossible. I am not perfect, and neither is Celestia." As Pipsqueak's face contorted with astonishment at the blasphemous comment, Luna nervously added, "Don't tell anyone I said that."

Pipsqueak realized how troubling his face must've been and quickly corrected it. "Of course."

"Good." The adrenaline of the last moments of their conversation faded. Luna held firm now. Time to drop the bomb. "Now, Squeak... I want you to disregard all other orders except for mine."

Pipsqueak took a step back, nearly being blown back on his haunches. "Wh-What?"

"You're above anyone else now. You have my pardon. You will go to any lengths to detain or kill this pirate, any extreme. Collateral damage, while not encouraged, will be ignored. I trust you Squeak, this task is of the up most importance. These pirates and their plunders are important to my sister. You are second only to royalty in terms of freedom. Use it wisely."

Pipsqueak began to get really dizzy, and he could barely even stand anymore. His knees were wobbly and his breath was short. What the hell?! Does Luna even have the authority to be making these decisions? I thought Celestia could only do stuff like this. This feels like mutiny, or, or, rebellion!

But it was Luna. As quickly as Pipsqueak began to argue with himself, he stopped and quieted his thoughts. It was Luna. She makes the right decision. Pipsqueak flattened his posture with anew determination and gave a tight salute. "Yes. Yes Luna, I understand."

Luna, her posture now mimicking the captain's, nodded fiercely. "You will tell no one of this. If you get into any trouble with the law, notify me. I can help." A could breeze flew through the room and Luna's face darkened. "This is the only way we can help Celestia, Squeak. Things need to be in her favor for once... it has to help."

The young captain trailed his eyes off center, his focus fuzzing. It was always about her, Celestia. Luna could never smile when her sister was on her mind. If it wasn't business, it was concern. If it wasn't concern, it was frustration. As much of an enigma Princess Luna "the servant of the night" was, her sister hid under a much thicker veil. It was excellent for teaching a lesson or helping in her little gambits, but it also kept out anyone from ever reading her, or even being able to help. Half the time not even Luna knew of Celestia's emotional status, a warrant for even more concern. Pipsqueak hated Celestia for that.

Pipsqueak snapped out of his little daydream enough to realize he was staring at Luna's more... royal parts, and with his mouth wide open. His face nearly exploded from the burst of heat and he snapped his jaw shut as he looked directly up barely fast enough to escape Luna's wandering gaze.

"Good... now, Captain Squeak, have you checked on that man I informed you of?"

The young captain forgot his previous endeavor and faced the princess with dignity. "No ma'am, I was planning to look for him after our meeting."

"Quite alright, I can arrange a meeting with him for you. He is a... hard stallion to get a hold of."

Oh great. Another reason for Pipsqueak to be suspicious. He had no reason to complain though, he was forgived and even aided by the princess of the night. He'd take a bullet for her. "Thank you, Princess."

"I will send you the information through Vynn. Stay safe, Captain."

Pipsqueak nodded, but Vynn looked a little uneasy.

"As you."

The captain of the newly appointed Riptide trotted briskly through the castle halls, trying to remain calm and not look like a child running to a candy store. The image of a large and intimidating falcon on his back was helping him maintain some image, but he barely held out enough to just not get strange looks. Simply, he was excited.

So worried about how he appeared, he wasn't paying attention and bumbed into a large mare. Before he could reply, she exploded.

"Watch where you're going, Private!" She bellowed, disorienting the already shaken stallion.

"Uhh, uh, sorry, I'm... It's Capta-"

"Who the fuck do you think I am? You could be the king of Bulgaria, I could give less of a shit."

Pipsqueak wasn't sure how to react. Rubbing the point of impact, he looked up at the mare. She was wearing a rather nice blue, long-sleaved coat and had some really beautiful- if not pretty disheveled- hair on her mane. It was a mix of various candy colored tones that complemented her regal appearance and pink fur. She had lines under her eyes signifying a need for some sleep along with some crow's feet aside her head. Despite this, she looked very young, as the only reason for the mess was because of stress and her state of being. That's when Pipsqueak spotted something obvious: the mare had both wings and a horn.

"Princess Cadence!" Pipsqueak exclaimed in disbelief. She recoiled back with a look of shock and disgust after her name. Nevertheless, she remained coy.

"Yes, that is my name, thanks for reminding me."

Pipsqueak knew of Cadence's story, of her husband leaving her with no real explanation, and her sister commitng suicide, but he knew not of the details. In fact, he believed that she was still married, Shining Armor not bothering to get a divorce, or if he even wanted one. That beside, Cadence was one of the rare times a person with an attitude had a justified excuse to act like such a douche. "I... I humbly apologize Princess, I should look where I'm going."

"It'll be hard to do that with your nose in my ass." The sheer speed Cadence came out with her retorts was enough to drive any man into the ground with shame. But, Pipsqueak noticed something odd with her last comment that seemed to be apparent in all of them. A sort of softness that cushioned the blow of her insults. It was subtle, but there. Like she didn't mean to do harm with her replies. He wondered if anyone else noticed it.

"Yes ma'am, sorry ma'am." Pipsqueak quickly apologized, furthering Candence's already probably poor opinion of the Captain. She shook her head.

"As you were," she sighed with contempt. "Before you get lost in there, kiss ass." Cadence shuffled off, hopefully to sleep, and left Pipsqueak alone in the hall. After her brilliance was out of sight, Pipsqueak frowned and faced his pet.

"Poor woman," he said aside, patting Vynn's head.

Suddenly, as if scripted, Vynn's eyes glowed a deep blue that was a shade away from black, and his expression blanked. He seemed to stare past the captain as a black aura emanated from him and a ghostly sigh was heard. The smoke coming from Vynn's entire being conjoined at a single point in the air as it seemed to implode and bring a scroll into sight. It was from Luna. While he held that scroll in higher regards than most people he knew, he knew it wasn't of emergence, so he let it plop to the ground. His real concern lie in his pet.

Vynn looked uneasy and dazed, as he usually did after receiving a message from the princess. "Hey," Pipsqueak said softly. "You alright? Did it hurt?"

Vynn gave a small squawk and backed up, an obvious 'no'. "Then what's the matter? Nauseous?" Vynn looked even more uneasy, but squawked another 'no'. Pipsqueak sighed. "If only you could talk... you could tell me what you feel whenever the princess does this." Pipsqueak paused for a moment, unsure how to word the next question sensitively. "You know you don't have to do this? If you don't like it we can stop."

Vynn frantically squawked twice in protest and pecked his cheeks gently, reassuring him that it caused no discomfort for the falcon. He obviously did not want to be the reason the captain loses direct contact with the mare he had become so close to. Pipsqueak remained skeptical, but accepted Vynn's desires. "Okay, okay, fine. We'll keep doing it." He petted the falcon once again before bending over and grabbing the parchment with remnants of darkness still on it. He opened it and began to read.

This is weird. God, this is so weird.

Pipsqueak sat on one side of the small table with his head buried in a menu that really held none of his interest as he had been for the last hour and a half. He was on his fifth glass of water and remarkably didn't have to pee yet. It was all he really had going for him at the moment.

The same waiter with the mane style that had came and went forty years ago walked up to him once again, wearing an impatient and slightly frustrated look that was admittedly understandable. "Sir, what would you like today?" She asked, he voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Uhh... I'm still waiting... for someone." Pipsqueak could've played the sarcasm game right back, but he was simply too emabarassed to be cocky. Hell, the thought that the man he was waiting for might still show and everyone would laugh and point at the homosexuals in the corner after he'd been waiting for so long? That killed him on the inside. Of course the better part of reason told him that Ponies as a species had let go of such prejudices a couple dozen years ago, but the anxiety he was suffering coaxed him into believing anything. And even reason suffered under the fact that some of the more conservative ponies having trouble accepting griffin immigrants as of late, especially without Celestia's progressive propaganda that disappeared a couple years ago.

The waiter gave Pipsqueak a disappointed look as she went off to another table. It wasn't like she could kick him out; he was Legion. He gave a heavy sigh and smacked his face on the table. Of all the crimes that Pipsqueak thought he might be forced to do one day, loitering was not one of them. But in the middle of his thoughts a strange voice came across the table.

"So, the spiced salad looks good dun it? I dun know what d'you think?" The accent was very foreign and unusual, and the tone sharp and confident. Pipsqueak's head shot up with the force of a carriage crash. Sat before him was the last kind of person he expected. Because of the pony's mysterious ways Pipsqueak had expected an equally mysterious image. A dark pony perhaps, with a trench coat and a fedora that covered his eyes. A gruff voice, final but ominous, and word choice to match.

But this man? A small, harmless looking unicorn with fiery red and yellow mane and dark orange fur. The smile he wore was inviting, pleasant, and it was so wide he thought his face was going to explode. He was particularly young looking, almost like a colt. He was dirty, and the only thing that kept his mane out of his face was a red headband tied to the base of his hair. It looked uncared for for years. Despite probably really needing a shower, he had a nice smell on him, almost grainy and natural, like a forest. He was also very handsome, to the point where Pipsqueak almost questioned why he wasn't attracted to him before remembering his orientation. Altogether, he was very non-threatening, and just looked like a kind and impoverished little kid, like Charlie from the dumb chocolate factory book.

Pipsqueak questioned the legitimacy of this meeting. Could some pony really have snuffed out Pipsqueak's behavior and wanted a free meal? It seemed unreasonable, yes, but to Pipsqueak this man wasn't what he thought the Princess would put faith in. "Who are you? What are you doing?"

The man looked puzzled for a moment and blushed. "O-oh... I'm Drake, I... you aren't Pipsqueak? Oh man, I messed this up. Here I am trying to be all clever and charming and I end up going to the wrong table." Drake began to rub his dirty mane with a deepening blush.

There was a few outstanding things Pipsqueak noticed about the man. He was definitely foreign; Assian, just like on the dossier. His accent gave it away entirely, as it was pretty rare for donkeys from Assian to migrate to Equestria. His eyes were also narrower which was a trait common amongst natives there. Granted, Pipsqueak has never met a unicorn Assian before, but it seemed like features were shared. Speaking of eyes, Drake's were a brilliant yellow color that reflected light, changing to and from orange depending on the brightness of the light around them and objects close to him.

Pipsqueak replied quickly to not appear rude. "Oh no, you were correct, I was just double checking. You aren't exactly what I was..."

"Expecting? Yeah I get that a lot." Drake returned to his comfortable looking state and gave another heartwarming smile. "Especially from my parents, heh!" he joked, his body jerking on delivery.

Pipsqueak would have laughed, were it he was not so... intrigued. This man was strange and witty. He appeared to get anxious quickly but maintain a sort of cool in most situations. Pipsqueak had only known him for about half a minute but he could already tell Drake was unlike anyone he had ever met. He was unpredictable thus far, and Pipsqueak didn't think that was going to change anytime soon.

"...Drake. Uh... Blaze, is it?"

Pipsqueak expected some sort of witty comment from the stallion, but all he gave was a confirmatory "Mmhmm!"

"Blaze... I hope it's okay I call you by last name, military and all," Pipsqueak asked, waiting for a nod. Drake gave a reluctant one after frowning a little. "Why did you want to join the military all of the a sudden? Your record doesn't quite reflect that of a Navy man."

"Right..." Drake started, looking for words. "Well I'd like to describe myself as a bit of a... con-i-sewer, is the word? A man of many tastes. An odd ball maybe. And, I think I've dun everything possible a man can do without settling down and building a career. I've been a tailor, a baker, a candlestick maker- I've dun it all. All but... join a military."

Pipsqueak couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You want to join my ranks... out of curiosity?"

Drake obviously didn't catch Pipsqueak's cue of disapproval as he went on. "Yes!" He shot out his hoof, causing Pipsqueak to flinch uncomfortably. “Think about it; all of that experience, all of that knowledge! You’d be able to accomplish anything at a moments notice. And in a military, I’d learn the discipline and strategy to achieve anything in a combat setting!” Drake obviously noticed how riled up he was getting and how it looked to some glancing individuals, so he flushed and sank back to his chair. “Stuff like that.”

Pipsqueak stared, jaw agape. Seriously? Just, seriously? It doesn’t matter how useful he might be, he’s ignorant and cocky as all hell!

Apparently, the orange pony had zero social cue skills, because he still didn’t notice Pipsqueak’s look of utter disbelief. He went on, leaning forward a bit. “But if I am to join you, there is a few conditions I want to go over.”

The captain coughed, his eyes widening. “C-conditions?” He immediately regretted asking.

“Yes. For one, I dun want to associate with you or the Legion, so I want to be undocumented, as well I dun want to have a rank. I’m just a guest. Two, I need to be allowed to leave at any moment. I dun want to start a war just cause I disliked how things were moving.”

Pipsqueak’s look of flabbergast evolved to one of rage, his face boiling and his teeth gritting.

“Also, you may want to know that I smoke. A lot. So if you have any of those guys that get all anal about second-hoof, you may need to boot them.”

That was the straw that paralyzed the camel for the rest of his life. “Who the hell do you think you are?!” Drake, to Pipsqueak’s surprise, was taken aback by the captain’s outburst. “You’re like an hour late, put your hooves on the table, and make all these outrageous demands!” Pipsqueak slammed the table, spilling his glass of water and attracting even more attention from nearby dinner goers. Noticing the murmmers from the surrounding ponies, Pipsqueak cleared his throat and attempted to lower his blood pressure, something that failed miserably. He raised a hoof to his temples and rubbed. Hard.

"Look, you got some special attention from the princess because you're unique; I get that. But that doesn't mean you can strut around like you own the place." He tried to stay raitonal, to stay cool, and he emitted a really drawn out sigh. "Your... drawbacks can and will outweigh your possible advanteges."

Drake look confused, which the captain thought of as an impossible omen. Drake opened his mouth and pipsqueak prepared for the worse. "Was I being rude?" he asked, cocking his head innocently. Pipsqueak didn't know if it was sarcasm or snideness, but he didn't care. His head slammed against the table like it had minutes ago, and he gestured toward the door.

"Just, go. Just get the hell out of here."

Drake gasped an annoyingly shocked gasp. he sounded pretty disappointed, which almost made Pipsqueak feel bad.


"But what? What did I do wr-"

"Just. Go." His voice true and final, Drake sighed in defeat. He was about to stand when a sudden explosion was heard. Pipsqueak head immediately shot back up, while Drake's expression hardened and he craned his neck. They came to realize it was not an explosion, but a gunshot, the unexpected nature of such a sound amplifying its impact. Some ponies screamed while some grabbed children and loved ones and shoved them under the table. Very few ponies tried to run, but they were stopped by the gunman, who now held an unspent flintlock pistol.

"Oi! Stop roit there!" It was a griffin, and he held the gun with his talons as they all do. He had a friend with him, that one holding a very nasty looking sword, one which Pipsqueak had never seen before. "Me an' my frien' are sick an' tired of this tripe!"

His friend, bringing a less stereotypical accent to the table, chimed in. "You all ponies are the fucking same! Treatin' us like were not decent enough to even eat like a civilized person."

"What the hell is going on?" whispered Pipsqueak, turning to Drake for direction.

"Hmm? You mean you dun know?" Drake asked with legitimate astonishment that infuriated Pipsqueak even more. "Oh, I guessed you missed it. Those birds got into an argument about discrimintaion against them in this place. I have no idea if its true, but attacking the ponies kinda seems... counter...intuitive, doesn't it?" Despite the fact Drake struggled with larger words, he sounded intelligent nonetheless. It was irritating for the captain, but that was the least of his concerns at the moment. It was also bothering he called the griffins 'birds', the term not exactly offensive but a little disrespective, in Pipsqueak's opinion.

Pipsqueak was glad he told Vynn to go home, he didn't want him to be in any danger.

"So, to pound the point home, you lot are gonna give up your dosh; and no complainin', lest ya take a musketball to the nob!"

Pipsqueak was so glad he lost most of his accent and slang now. It was so out of placenin Equestria. After he was done being glad about things, he prepared to get into a fight. He had his sword with him (Well, he always did), so that was the first thing he readied. He leaned into a postion where he could draw it at a moments notice. Of course the primary target would be the griffin with the firearm. Those pistols were unpredictable as they were unreliable; a shot could miss completely or drop you instantly, it was a matter of luck. Pipsqueak would much rather take his chances with the sword last, as that was driven more by skill. Unfortunately, it seemed the one with the sword started to move first, making rounds with everyone's bits while the pistol wielding griffin kept watch on everyone. This complicated things, since Pipsqueak would have to wait until he was close since he could squeeze off a shot if Pipsqueak just charged at him. Pipsqueak figured he could improvise somehow; he'd obviously have to take care of the sword griffin first, now.

The sword griffin eventually got to a pale violet mare with dark red hair. She was desperately searching for bits in her purse as he walked up to her. "Hey, what the fuck do you think this is, church? Cash, now. It ain't fucking optional." His tone stabbed at the air around her enough for the sword to not be necessary, but he reared it for effect nonetheless.

The mare was breaking, her voice high pitched and with gaps in it, and her body shaking like a foal in the winter. "I-I, I don't think, think I ha... have any money with me," Her voice climed an octave in fear. "I was going to pay with credit! I have... no!" She begun to hyperventalate and shake more profusely. She dropped her purse.

"Fucking liar!" he shouted, without warning. He took the large sword (which Pipsqueak now identified as some sort of really long carving knife) and place it under her chin. "You rich, stingy fucks! I know when you're fucking lying."

A voice that was almost alien came up from a place no one expected. Many probably thought one of their ears stopped working for a second or that the sound came from an echo off a wall, but it indeed came from an intervening individual. "Leave her alone, or I melt the lower half of your body along with that machete."

It occured to Pipsqueak that the voice actually came from a stallion next to him, who sounded oddly familiar. It took a few moments for him to comprehend that it was Drake's voice, leaving Pipsqueak dumbfounded. Drake just sat there with his eyes closed and a smug smile on his face, but with obvious anger swelling inside him. The reason why it jarred Pipsqueak so much was because he was about to interrupt and issue a similar threat as well, and he felt the words stolen from him as he opened his mouth. Granted, his statement would have involved more smartass and less melting, but the intention remained the same. Who did this guy think he was? He was also too distracted to acknowledge that the strange knife sword thing was called a machete.

"What the fuck did you just say? What in god's name did you just fucking say to me?!" The griffin blew a gasket and supposedly forgot about the mare he was just interrogating as he just lowered the machete as if he was just using it to point at a wall.

Obviously bringing his attention from the mare being Drake's intention, he continued to push the griffin's buttons, making Pipsqueak all the more catious to spring into action, even when the orange pony continued to act nonchalant. "Oh, come now, is cursing really necessary. I mean, you heard me, you filthy cow."

"You're going to eat those words!" The shout was coupled by an angry battle cry as the griffin leapt with the machete held over his head. Pipsqueak was sure that he was about to witness a pony get decapitated, but he was just too far to act in time. He reached for his sword, but he knew that he wouldn't get to the other side of the table in time.

But then...

As the griffin neared?

Blaze smiled deviously, and opened his eyes.

The light that suddenly emitted was almost blinding, and the heat radiated over Pipsqueak's entire being. The table and all the objects nearby, including Pipsqueak, were shot in all directions from the force. Anything combustable caught fire, and the crackling sound that accompanied such fire drowned out all other sounds in the establishment.

The griffin, who was the closest thing to the blast, flew to the other side of the eatery and into the table on the far side, smoke trailing his path. Pipsqueak thought a bomb had gone off at first, as he pushed debris off himself and wiped silt from his face, but as he saw Drake the truth became abundantly clear.

There Drake sat, still in his chair, still in the same state as he was before the blast. Only a tall cyclone of fire reaching from the ground to the ceiling surrounded him, revolving around him as if the origin and fuel source. His horn had a hellish, uncontrollable aura that was almost brighter than the fire. The energy was humbling, and he appeared to manipulate it at will. His smile seemed as devious as ever from the power he demonstrated, his hair flowing in the water-like torrent of flames. The fires seemed stern, but just. Fires that seemed to never intend to hurt an innocent being. Fires that were kind, but held steadfast in consequence.

Fires of Redemption.

Everyone marvled at the sight, forgetting the current situation and the danger they were in as they were fascinated beyond belief. Even the griffin that held the pistol lowered it in humble acknowledgement of its brilliance.

Pipsqueak was the first to snap back in reality, his focus changing to the armed assailant. He seemed to be snapping back too, raising his gun at the monstrous flames and scowling.

"Blaze!" Pipsqueak tried to warn, but it was too late. A gunshot rang. The musketball seemed to flow through the air in slow-motion even though in reality it traveled faster than their eyes could see. Everyone expected Drake to fall, for the flames to die.

But they were wrong. The bullet slowed in the air, and became red hot as it entered the tempest. It liquidated, amazingly, and plopped harmlessly on Drake's cheek (even though it was probably incredibly hot, the temperature was apparently not a problem). "Really?" Drake laughed, his first words since the display. "All you've got?"

Almost instantly, the flames choked out, revealing Drake's body to be completely unharmed but the ground and ceiling charred to black. When he stood, the chair turned to ash. He laughed full heartedly, almost gently. "Seriously though, I'll give you two a bit of a chance."

The machete wielding griffin growled and ran towards the orange pony. The one with the bad accent drew a knife since he had spent both of his pistols. The griffin swung his machete overhead to the ground. Drake managed to snake away from the blade, and planted his hindleg on the blunt side of the blade. The griffin didn't think fast enough to let go and count his losses with the weapon. Drake spun around in the air, a trail of fire following the end of his hoof, the actual fire from the kick hitting the griffin in the back of his head instead of his hind leg which only led the flames. The griffin was sent forwards at great speed and face planted onto the floor below.

Pipsqueak understood now. Drake didn't burn people, he used the fire as a blunt weapon somehow. It confused Pipsqueak a little bit; how did something immaterial like fire cause an impact?

It was at that time the other griffin reached Drake. He took a stab at him and Drake backed up, the blade missing his chest. it happed two more times before the griffin changed his grip on the knife in order to do an overhand stab, psycho-style. Drake unexpectedly dashed right into the grffin's face and raised a hoof to catch his arm, narrowly missing the knife's pointed end. A glowing red fire trailing his every move, Drake shot his free foreleg into the grffin's chest, his smile never fading. It seemed a simple hit, but a great blaze of flames spewed from the end of his hood, a great fireball, sending the griffin a few dozen feet straight through the windowed wall of the resturaunt.

The machete griffin (now unarmed) made an animalistic roar and charged the pony again. As the griffin prepared to claw him, Drake swept his hind leg down and tripped him, the grffin then sailed above the crouched pony. Well, halfway at least. In what almost looked like break dancing, Drake spun around and somehow connected his leg with the side of the griffin's torso, messing his flight and sending him in a 45 degree angle to the bar counter. He hit the ledge of the bar and tumbled down. Although he was in clear pain, he got up without a hitch, and planned to take his next charge. Drake was one step ahead. He inhaled deeply and yelled at the top of his lungs. What he said, no one knew, for his voice was drowned out by the wide stream of fire that came from his mouth. His breath was on fire! the roars and cracks of the fire resonated throughout the entire establishment, and the flames sped towards the astonished griffin.

Showing some intelligence, the griffin leapt and vaulted over the bar, taking shelter next to the various alcohols. The heat radiated all around him, reaching every part of his body. He gritted his teeth, preparing any moment to pat off any fires. As the smoke cleared his anger boiled. He grabbed a wine bottle and popped up, prepared to chuck it. As he rose... he saw a resturaunt of average albeit very scared looking ponies, the calm Drake nowhere in sight. Instinctively, he felt someone beside him. He lifted his talon fast enough to catch the hoof of the elusive pony, which... had no fire trailing from it? The griffin fell right into the trap. Drake puffed fire into his face from his mouth causing the griffin to scream and grab his eyes, still while holding the hoof but dropping the bottle. Drake curled and propped the griffin's arm over his shoulder and judo threw him. In the middle of his descent, Drake roundhouse bucked the upside-down, midair griffin. With the extra impact of fire, the griffin flew and landed head first into a case of liquors on the other end of the bar, propelling him through it and destroying the bar.

The one with the bad accent was probably long gone by now, huge gashes where the window glass cut him. And this one was out cold, broken bottles and glass teeming his face along with the first degree burns. ]

"Hey," Drake spoke out of the silence and lull of action. "Someone take care of that asshole, make sure he doesn't bleed out." Pipsqueak arched an eyebrow at hearing Drake's remark, the curse sounding very awkward and unnatural. He was not a man who cursed regularly, apparently.

Several ponies broke out of their reverie long enough to realize how bad of a condition the troublemaker griffin and family restraunt were in. Collateral damage was severe and glass wasn't as harmless as one expects. A pony or two with medical experience trotted towards the griffin half-heartedly, their apathy easily understood by the others. Meanwhile, the unicorn of fire casually walked up to the broken mare that had been shaken down. His face was softer than one would expect from someone who controlled fire and just beat the crap out of two armed griffins, but his voice had been saturated with sympathy and encouragement regardless. "Hello, you are okay?"

The mare looked down at the floor as Drake approached, unsure how to answer or thank him. The fantastic spectecle he created also did little to ease her nerves. After a few awkward (albeit adorable) moments, she nodded slowly. Her blush was deep enough to shine through her violet coat with ease. Drake smiled and kneeled. He put his hoof under her chin and lifted her muzzle gently, making her eyes meet his.

"You are sure? I would hate to have a beautiful mare such as yourself hurt in any way."

Pipsqueak had finally gotten up and dusted himself up, finding parts of his jacket covered covered with soot and char. Shaking his head, he began to walk to Drake and the mare that seemed to be so flustered she was about to pass out. Drake regarded her with respect as he helped her up, every move slow and thoughtful.

Pipsqueak wracked his brain as he approached the orange pony. Pipsqueak was absolutely sure that Drake's misguided personality and reasons for joining outweighed any potential usefulness that he had contained, but now, Pipsqueak wasn't so sure anymore. Not only was Drake extremely powerful, he seemed like a great guy, a fact that had of course went right over Pipsqueak's head. His motivations were ill spoken, but maybe that was the thing. He seemed unsure how to handle Pipsqueak when they met. Maybe this was his first time sharing with anypony what his desires were. It wasn't like Pipsqueak's reason for joining was that wholesome either, he just had the skills to hide his intentions under exaggerated patriotism. That certainly didn't make Pipsqueak a bad guy, and it obviouslly didn't make Drake one either.

As Pipsqueak stood before the hero, he had noticed that the mare had become a lot more comfortable and was giggling as Drake comforted her. It was apparent how much trauma she had suffered, but Drake's smiling face made her forget. Pipsqueak couldn't hold back a smile at the sight. Definately not a bad guy at all.

"Blaze," Pipsqueak said, getting the stallion's attention. His smile faded as he noticed the captain, not out of malice but sadness at his failed negotiation. Pipsqueak put the best indifferent look on his face he could, trying not to give to the pony's selfish demands and reasons. "I think..." Pipsqueak trailed off.

Blaze, now a little shocked to hear such a respectful tone from the Captain, cautiously lifted his ears. "Yes?" he asked.

Pipsqueak bit his lip as he really pushed the next few words out. "I may have been wrong about you. Maybe."

The stupid grin that spread across the face of the firey pony really made Pipsqueak struggle to keep his indifferent facade. He was crossed between screaming 'yes' while holding his hoofs and jumping up and down, or taking one of those shards of glass and shoving it up his-

""Okay, so- whoa what the hell? What tornado hit this place?" A canterlot Day Watch guard stepped in front of the restraunt, his stern expression changing into one of astonishment. He was trailed by a few other Day Watchers that showed much less emotion than the first did. He was their surperior, and they happened to be a little looser because of their status, although that didn't say much. The reason they were required to do so was because of their need to communicate more, while recruits only followed orders.

"WELL, that's my cue." Drake turned towards the mare. "Good evening, Marcy," He said, tipping an imaginary hat. Only then did Pipsqueak realize Drakes headband and burnt off... and that he must've asked that mare her name. "See you later, maybe."

Wait, what?

At first, Pipsqueak thought Drake had disappeared, before his saw his body rounding a corner incredibly fast. Pipqueak felt his eyes roll around his skull before he stopped his head from spinning. Drake was already gone. Pipsqueak had no time to think; he took off to follow. He passed the machate on the floor and stopped his pursuit as he eyed the really sharp and really, really cool looking giant knife thing. He decisively grabbed the machete out of the floor and dashed to the injured grffin, pushing inbetween the aiding medical personnel.

"I'll be taking that," he remarked, unbuckling the sheath around the griffin's back. He stuffed the machete inside and slung it around his own back, running as he buckled it onto himself. "He turned his head to the barely consious and bloody griffin as he ran and yelled, "You can have it back when you can handle sharp objects responsibly!"

"Wait!" he shouted, jumping over the beam that held the glass windowed wall that had previously occupied the space. He heard the nearby Day Watch leader bark some orders and take after the same pony. Pipsqueak could run- he had always prided himself in that. His light build and long legs helped, and nopony would argue that he was in good shape. He rounded a street corner first to barely catch a glimpse of the orange pony. He was heading into a connecting alley, presumably to hide. The Day Watchers didn't round fast enough to see Drake, so Pipsqueak presumed they now only followed him for directions. Not wanting to rat the guy out (he didn't know why) Pipsqueak took an early turn and stopped halfway down an adjacent alley. He kneeled down and panted heavily and tried to appear exhausted. The three Day Watchers passed him without a blink, suspecting Pipsqueak was simply too tired to continue. As soon as they were out of eyeshot, Pipsqueak dropped the act and composed himself. He backtracked to the previous street and headed down the apropriate alley.

The reason behind Drake's flee escaped Pipsqueak. Why? He knew what Drake did counted as vigilantism, considering he destroyed the place in the process. Still... in a court ruling, the jury would be sypathetic, and if he could get that violet mare to testify...

But then, he remembered Drake's apperance. Aside from smelling like pine cones (that was probably a result of the fire, Pipsqueak realized) the man was dirty and disheveled. And he started that fight with complete confidence. He held no jobs, and only did oddball tasks to get money...

He's a hobo! The revalation came suddenly. His eyes physically widened as he trotted down the path. He must be completely homeless! That makes sense. and if he joined us then he'd get free lodging as well. That's his only alterior motive? Hell, that doesn't seem so bad... It explains why he didn't want to be caught. He's always on the road, staying at any one place for too long might be annoying for him, and a court ruling would do that to anypony no matter how virtuous the cause. That also explained all those charges on his record, something that the captain had almost forgotten about. Pipsqueak reached the dead end the alley had led to and turned around. Biting his lip once again, he bluffed, "Oi, Blaze, I know you're here, come out."

It had become fairly hard to not notice that Drake was pretty horible when it came to anything social. He hadn't been able to tell Pipsqueak's bluff despite his demeanor telling his lies rather bluntly. "Hey Captain, thanks for not... ratting me out?" Drake voiced it as a question, unsure if the phrase was correct. Pipsqueak decided to not point it out, silently assuring him that he had said it right.

"After what you did, it's what you deserve, Blaze," Pipsqueak praised, subtly letting his approval known. He remained cautious in tone, however.

Drake frowned, to which Pipsqueak arched a brow. Drake noticed this (somehow despite clearly having no diplomatic and poor social skills) and elaborated. "Do really you have to call me Blaze?"

Pipsqueak chuckled slightly, the stallions antics growing on him surprisingly quickled. "Sorry, I don't like first names." Drake begrudgingly accepted. "Blaze... you can join."

Drake's disappointed face destroyed any trace of displeasure after hearing this news. Pipsqueak spoke before he could chip in, though. "But! I have a few demands for you too."

Drake cocked his head, slightly confused. "For one," he started. "Although I will allow everything you asked, I will not be giving you any special treatment. All your duties will be that of new recruits, despite not having a rank." He waited for a nod from the flame pony. He did so enthusiastically. "Also, you will be allowed to leave at any moment, but in doing so, I am allowed to boot you instantly, no questions asked." Drake contemplated this for a moment before deciding it was just as fair. "Finally..."

Pipsqueak's tone was onimous, and Drake broke a sweat, leaning in closely. "Open a damned window if you smoke below deck." Pipsqueak finished, smiling light heartedly. Drake, at first completely befuddled, shared his smile after the joke. Pipsqueak spit in his hoof and stretched it out. "Deal?"

Uneasily, Drake stuck out his hoof as well, refusing to spit. They bumped awkwardly. Drake wiped his hoof on a nearby wall while laughing nervously.

Geez, the guy envelops himself in fire, you'd think he'd be less timid, Pipsqueak mused.

"Good, good!" Drake shouted in joy, clapping his hooves together like a seal. "This'll be fun."

Pipsqueak looked at Drake like one would an adorable but stupid child. He could be such a suave sometimes, it was hard to believe he was such a dork other times. It's like he missed out on a few lessons on life. "Alright then, let me show you to my ship."

"Sure, lemme just get my bag!" Drake replied.

"Well be... quick about it?" Pipsqueak didn't even have time to rush Drake, as he just reached behind a trashcan for a slightly beat up, but very durable looking saddlebag. It was slightly larger than most and had a very dark green hue to it. Pipqueak arched another brow, this time wondering if he should ask him if he slept behind that trashcan before. Nah, He doesn't need to be bothered. "Oh yeah! One more thing," Pipsqueak remarked, facing Drake. He looked apprhensive.


"I don't actually have ranks on my ship. Just me, the Captain, my first mate Scoots, and the crew. So yeah, FYI."

Drake tripped and fell on his face.

"Sire, you caught the stallion red handed! You are the one that supplied the evidence, accused him, and even prosecuted him! WHY ARE YOU TESTIFYING FOR HIM?!"

The defendant's lawyer's pleas fell on deaf ears. A certain creature sat behind the pedestal with his legs kicked up on the top and his back leaning against the chair, much to the chargin of an exasperated judge. The defendant was crying hysterically at the prolonged lengthening of the trial, most likely working out how these shenannigans were going to lengthen his charges. Even the victim's family looked sorry for him.

It started as a simple littering case, but with the meddling of a certain man it had escalated to a money laundering, scamming, false advertisment, and somehow urinating in public. The trickster had a field day with that one. He had never seen a forensics team that annoyed.

Discord, the one and only, leaned across the the stand dramatically, donning a ridiculous suit and tie, wireframe glasses, and top hat. He looked like a lawyer that defended Willy Wonka on a regular basis. His hair was also politely slicked to the side, which no one voice but silently agreed was hilarious. "You don't know what this man is capable of! So much heroics!! So much bravery!!! Why, the other day I saw him giving candy to a young foal in the park! Anyone with good in their hearts can see the selflessness in those acts! Sure, he was wearing a trench coat and sunglasses, but regardless." Yup, six for six

Everyone eyed the accused suspiciously, either with disgust or indignation. The stallion just sobbed harder. Discord floated out of the stand and with a snap of his fingers, rid himself of his costume, returning to his normal draconequus state. "Well, my job's done here. Judge, if you don't mind, pass the torch." Discord floated up to the Judge's seat, drematically gripping the pedatal with his talons and holding the back of his paw against his forehead. "Carry on my legacy!" Discord cackled and flew even higher, this time inching towards the exit. "Au revoir, my little ponies!" Discord rocketed towards the large double doors leading outside. He abruptly stopped, wind or time seemingly having no effect on him. He stiffly turned his neck and shouted. "Also, search his basement. I hope one of you can pick strongbox locks!"

After hearing another pained sob from the defendant, Discord chuckled and fled. He touched down after a couple of streets and started to walk, bipedal style. His smile sly and his hands free, he shaped his hand and talons into guns, pointing at random ponies and griffins as he passed and winking. Most felt uneased at his attention and shyed away, while some smiled back at him and winked as well. No one ran like they had ten years ago, and Discord was unsure if he enjoyed that or not. He caused chaos just at his presense; everyone screamed and flipped out at the sight of him. But recently in the past couple of years, Discord had began to love the challenge. And there was something so attractive about that subtle chaos he could inflict, harmless little pranks and huge disturbances for the deserving. It was... nice, not what he had initially expected. Plus, the ones that smiled... they had reminded him of his first friend. Fluttershy.

Well maybe not FIRST, but...

Yes. He did mean first. He wasn't Discord before. He was Discord now, and Fluttershy was the only one who accepted that. And she was gone... Still...

Discord's thoughts were interrupted as he violently wretched into his talon. Ponies around him jumped, startled. A few began walking again shortly after, suspecting a joke. That was weird, Discord thought. Did I just... cough? Discord barely finished the thought before he coughed again, causing him to bend slightly. There was a hellish tickle in his throat and a burning in his lungs. He tried to compose himself again, but there was another cough. And another. And another. Soon, he was choking and sputtering as he coughed more and more into his talon. More ponies left, the same thought entering their head that this was all some sort of prank. Discord couldn't warn them that it wasn't, he was too busy vomiting the air in his lungs. Two ponies and a griffin were the only ones who kept watch, concern drawing on ther face. Although they were skeptical, they believed the god of chaos was really coming down with something.

Discord keeled over, loosing his balance. He couldn't think any more, only cough. And cough. And cough. Until finally something came up. Discord was relived at the escape of phlegm, at first. Until he looked at his talons.

"Hey, bud, you alright?" the griffin spoke up, trying to be casual.

Discord stared at his talon, dread overcoming him. He was shaking.

His talon was covered in blood. He had coughed up blood. "I coughed... up blood."

The griffin's eyes went wide. "Oh geezus. Shit, man, you should go to the doctor's."

Discord shook his head. Never before has anyone seen him this serious. "No, you don't get it. I'm a god. I'm immortal. Immortals don't get ill; they don't up chuck blood, they don't cough."

The griffin was nervous now. The foreboding way Discord calmly explained his situation was unnerving at best. "So... this is... bad?"

Discord nodded. "This is very, very bad."

"Sir, you want to what?!"

"I told you. I will be accompanying you for the time being. I am supersceeding control of your ship."

"General... you can't just... leave your post! You're commander in chief! We take all your orders from you."

"I am well aware of my job, Captain. And you will heed my orders." Divinrock slowly walked forwards with intent to pass the young stallion, but he stopped until he was side by side with the man. The captain closed his eyes as beads of apprehensive sweat rolled down his face. Divinrock smiled that cruel, cruel smile that had graced his face everytime he caused someone discomfort. He closed his eyes and bit the Captain's ear gently with his toungue squeezing out the gaps. The man shuttered with disgust as Divinrock trailed his right hoof down the captain's flanks. He whispered in his ear, taking care to put more effort in breathing his words. "And you know what happens when you don't," he finally threatened, a small chuckle escaping his lungs. The man, truly terrified, nodded subordingly. "Good."

General Divinrock turned the doorknob to the office and walked through, taking in the fresh morning air. He sighed dreamingly. "I'm coming, Patch. Ready or not~"

The Cards You're Dealt

View Online

“Is this a handout undeserved, or a just reparation?”

Chapter 12

A navy blue pony walked out the establishment smiling and with a towel wrapped around his hair. Tussling with it a bit, he threw the towel into a outdoor hamper nearby without looking. It required no effort on his behalf, he'd been through enough for something like that to be considered trivial. He ran his foreleg through his mane to get the hair out of his eyes and succeeded quite well. Another blue pony, this one indigo and a lot more scrawny but tall, had a face of content indifference.

"Haha, a proper shower, finally. That was amazing." Patch rotated his shoulders in bliss, his muscles relaxed and comfortable.

"As far as showers go, yes, but did we really need to get a message too?" Gavin asked, a little uncomfortable. "Considering we shouldn't be out in the open so much? And those girls were..." He struggled to find the right words.

"Incredibly hot?" Patch finished, soliciting a blush from his friend.

"T-that's not..."

"Oh come on, even you gotta admit the whole 'spa twins' shtick was pretty sexy. It helped that they were actually twins."

Gavin looked at the ground, face red, and drew little circles in the dirt with his hoof. He actually grinned. "Yeah, I guess you're right, sir."

Patch laughed heartedly, slamming his hoof on Gavin's back, causing him to wince. "Heh, I even think the pink one fancied you. She practically jumped at the chance to make you squirm."

"Captain...!" Gavin looked so far down he could've sworn he was looking behind himself. Heat radiated from his cheeks like a warm dish.

"Nice to see you two doing something useful."

Patch jumped out of his skin, flinching away from the source of the voice. He saw a very annoyed Vex staring daggers into him whilst scowling in malign. Patch chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his head. "Heh, hey Vex."

"Listen, Cap'n, we got attacked by the Legion while you two got jerked by a couple spa ponies; that hardly seems fair."

Gavin could've sworn his face had reached boiling temperatures. Patch simply laughed, his nerves calmed. "You can go get a happy ending too real quick, if you want."

Vex's eyes widened at the thought, her face now emulating Gavin's. She covered her face with a talon before punching Patch in the arm awkwardly. "Shut up!" she said as he rubbed his foreleg and smiled. He noticed a yellow and a pink pony walking up from behind Vex, both looking very pleased. Fluttershy was the first to speak.

"Cap'n!" she barked, giving a tout solute. "Mission accomplished!" Patch beamed.

"Brilliant! This went quite well, don't you think?"

"Well, getting attacked by a legionnaire squad is a little less than attractive, if I do say so myself." A woman said. This was not a voice Patch recognized, and thus forced him to lean in with intrigue. Out walked an elegant if not rough around the edges unicorn with the neatest messy hair, if that made any sense. Her eyelids were half-mast and her posture drew attention to her carefully crafted figure. Her elegance was bolstered even more so by the slender dragon that was wrapped around her like an expensive and very stern looking coat. When she stopped in front of Patch she held out a hoof to her side and allowed the dragon to provide leverage to himself by placing his paw upon it. The chemistry was remarkable.

"Ahh," aired Patch, being one to react quickly. He swept his foreleg around to the side and bent down as a sign of respect, and bowed his head to the lady. "You must be this 'Miss Rarity' I've heard so much about. Pleased to meet your acquaintance, fair lady." Pinkie felt Fluttershy tense up a bit randomly, her famous stern scowl somehow appearing even more hard.

"Charmed, Captain," Rarity announced, smiling softly and closing her eyes. Finally a gentleman, she thought to herself as she curtsied. She noted how handsome the man was, his build proportional and symmetrical. His hair looked as clean as it was uncouth, and appeared to be soft enough to bundle yourself in. He looked as tough as nails, but had the added potential of being the gentlest lover and most sensitive of friends. He could take on anything, be it mountains or an army. A real man.

The boy behind him was... cute, but honestly uninteresting. He seemed to realize this and stayed out of the way. Patch eyed the giant purple dragon, a feat which wasn't too difficult to pull off. He winked while seeming quite unintimidated. "And you are... Spike, yes?" Spike nodded, keeping cautious. "It's a bit obvious you care for this woman. I respect that." The last thing Patch wanted was to walk on eggshells. "A lucky dragon, I must say."

The barrage of compliments and manners eased Spike's tension. He stared at Patch's outstretched hoof a few moments before tentatively reaching his claws out and 'shook' his hoof. He finally spoke. "Right," he said, not so much for conversation but to convey his approval. Or that he wasn't going to cleave the pony's head off as he turned away. That attitude may change, however, with what Patch was going to say next.

"I'm sorry to say that I'm not a fan of special treatment. If I allow you two to come with us you must earn your stay. It's only fair." Spike stare became intense once again, and he bore his teeth and growled. Rarity (rather hilariously) put her hoof on his snout which led him to scrunch up his nose in confusion.

"Oh come now, Spike. I wouldn't expect it any other way. How do you suppose we pay you?"

Patch blushed and waved his hooves in front of himself, the first time he had lost his cool. He had no idea that he implied what he thought, and he wasn't sure if the woman caught it or not. Either way... "Nonononono, no. I simply meant you have to help around the ship. Simple labor, sometimes only lasting an hour or so. Everyone does it. Except Vex." The griffin in question punched him in the shoulder again, displeased with his relay of that information. Rarity already didn't like her, she didn't need help. "I don't see Mr. Spike having trouble with that," he added.

Spike strangely became silent again. It's like he wasn't sure if he should trust Patch, but he found himself just liking the guy. It was altogether hard not to.

"Oh don't mind him," Rarity excused. "We haven't exactly been the most social of people the last few years."

Patch giggled at the implications. "I'm sure he didn't mind."

"No, no he didn't," she replied slyly, confirming what Patch suspected. As a side compliment she added "And neither did I."

Patch smiled at the coy mare and blushing dragon. Sure the pair was weird, but also cute in a way. Like pet tortoises or... destructive babies. Odd, why were those the first things he thought about?

"Hate to interrupt the circlejerk, but in case you guys forgot we have three unconscious legion ponies behind a bush somewhere and another running away like a pussy," Vex warned, earning an annoyed scoff from Rarity. She glared back at her in response. If she wasn't so damn sexy, Vex would've torn out her throat hours ago.

"Ah, of course. Miss Rarity, we can continue our conversation another time, but until then..." he bowed once again as a finish. Rarity nodded her head politely and began following Vex whom started to walk after her little comment. Fluttershy caught up to her side along with Pinkie, as the Captain and Gavin lagged behind.

"You were right, that captain of your's sure knows how to treat people," Rarity whispered, catching Fluttershy's attention. She just laughed knowingly.

"He isn't mine; he's all of ours."

Discord kept a controlled brisk pace and stared at the moving floor. He could’ve flown, but he needed to be alone with his thoughts. Okay, maybe this isn’t so bad. Maybe I’m just overreacting. I mean, coughing up blood is normal, right? That’s a pony habit, isn’t it? And even if it isn’t (which I know it isn’t) who says it’s an omen? I mean, a physical manifestation of a symbolic form that resembles the spiritual essence of an abstract idea, suddenly becoming ill with no possible means of so isn’t that bad. Right? Maybe I just caught Bronchitis or Pneumonia. Yes, that’s it. Discord had been so absorbed in his thoughts he walked straight into the side of Canterlot castle, grunting as feathers and flower petals flew in every direction and repelled him onto the floor. Rubbing his head, he looked up where he knew the throne room was and, with new conviction, rocketed towards the sky and into an adjacent window.

A Day Watch guard suddenly flinched and fumbled for his spear. After pointing it forward, he realised that it had turned into a very large pretzel stick. He instantly knew what would’ve caused such an occurrence. “Sir Discord, it’s you.”

Discord arched a frustrated eyebrow. “You confused me for the other god of chaos?”

The guard cleared his throat nervously and quickly apologised. “Er, sorry.” Strange, Discord was usually so light hearted and relaxed. What was on his mind? “Do you wish to see the Princess?”

“No, I thought I would enjoy eating a donut while staring at an empty throne.” Discord quipped sarcastically back. Becoming more annoyed, he fidgeted his hind paws while he contemplated just pushing the guard aside and walking in. But after recent events, he was wiser than that.

The guard cleared his throat and mentally berated himself for being so incompetent. “Right, sorry. The Princess does not want to be interrupted right now, but if you could wait I will send word that-”

Discord sighed. “Don’t bother, just step aside. I will accept any punishment she may give to me; you’re excused.” He slithered past the befuddled guard and burst through the door to announce his presence. He didn’t want a repeat of what happened the last time he startled Celestia. His wrist was still sore from that. Celestia, at first surprised, had her face fall into an annoyed scowl. “Hel-loooo, Celestia, dear.”

“...What is it now, Discord? No I am not going to pass a law dictating that everyone has to wear galoshes.” Celestia had no Idea how he got that one to pass the legislature.

“Oh, no, sweet Celestia, this isn’t anything like that,” Discord said while chuckling softly. “I simply want to have a... Private conversation with you,” he said, slicking back his mane and winking. “It’s been far too long since we had time to ourselves, honeybun.” The Day watch bodyguards visibly tensed under the erotic implications, much to Discord’s amusement. He wanted to burst out laughing in spite of the current circumstances.

Celestia sighed and rubbed her temples. She knew the way he acted when he had something important to say. He always wanted to dismiss the guards first. Deciding what he had to say might be worth listening to, she excused the guards. For Discord’s sake, she didn’t bother discrediting Discord’s come-on. After they had left, she put her hoof to her cheek and leaned on it. “This better be important, Discord.”

He innocently put a loose paw on his chest and recoiled in feign shock. “Why, whatever do you mean? I just want some quality time with your delicious self, princess.”

Celestia groaned impatiently, rolling her eyes. She finished the spectacle by putting her hoof to her forehead. More and more over the past years, Discord noted solemnly, she has had less patience with me. For anything really. “Listen, Discord, I am not in the mood. Tell me what you need to or kindly get out.”

He giggled, moving the paw on chest to his hips (or where his hips would be). “Always so grim Celestia,” he said with a smile, almost distantly. Suddenly, Discord’s mood sunk, as did his disposition, as he stared at the ground sadly. Celestia sat up at this, worried she may have said something to offend him. “Always so grim,” he said again.

Celestia leaned in worriedly. “Discord?”

“I think something may be wrong,” he said, a soft smile stretching across his face as he continued to stare at the ground.

“And what is that?” she asked, now truly concerned.

Instead of answering, Discord simply took to showing the mare. He stepped up, and revealed the talon he’d been hiding. Celestia gaped as she saw it, a griffin’s talon, caked in dry blood. Astonished, she stuttered, “Wh-what happened?” A possibility clicked in her brain as she distanced herself and voiced more accusingly, “What did you do?”

Discord, at a loss for words, stared at her in a truly frightened and confused expression. Celestia had an epiphany. She slowly reared her head, now absolutely terrified. “Is this... your blood?” He nodded.

But that was impossible! He was an immortal just like she. He had no external wounds, so he must’ve coughed it out or something similar. If he was sick... could she get sick too? “How did this happen?” she pleaded.

Discord finally found his voice as he shrugged. “I dunno... I just doubled over and started to choke and, bum-bum blood on the talons.” Celestia watched in horror as he retracted his talon.

“Do you think it has something to do with you becoming weaker?”

Discord winced, unhappy that the subject came up. It was kind of hard to not suspect a connection, but still, you think she would’ve considered that Discord was smart enough to think of that. He found himself trying not to get angry at the goddess. “No, it came from a specific source. Growing weaker... that feels different.”



“Ahem, right. Listen, Discord, if you want to take it easy-”

Discord jumped back and floated in midair, a giant smile on his face. “Easy?! Are you joking? God of chaos and harbinger of everything fun? I don’t get sick days!”

Celestia gaped at him in disbelief. After her initial shock, she frowned. “Discord this could be serious.”

Discord sighed. “I know your grim, but I’ve forgotten just how grim you can be Celestia. Buck up, Tia, come on.” He spread out his arms to each side and arched his brow and looked celestia with his left eye. Celestia cracked a small and cautious smile.

“Ta-ta, Tia, take care.”

“Right Discord, right...”

Discord wore a bright grin as he flew out. One that betrayed the true anxiety he felt. She doesn’t deserve this. Not after everything that's happened...

The ship Rarity had climbed aboard (precariously positioned in a river clearly not meant for large ships) was pleasant enough, but it was clearly a budget ship. It was sturdy, but clearly lacked any state of the art reinforcement or technology. She had followed the strange captain to his quarters along with Spike to arrange for her stay, and had passed many quirky characters that simply didn't look like they should have been pirates. Nervous, humble, and kind characters, who all had seemed to be pushed to the edge. It was something only Rarity could have noticed, subtle body language spilled their secrets and their hopes. It revealed their lost ambition that seemed to occupy everyone relevant to the captain. He himself passed subtle, but painfully explicit sorrow, along with the wistful drifting spirit the crew showed as well. The way to the Captain's Quarters was mostly silent, the only sounds coming from muttering crewmembers either impressed by Rarity's look and stature or admiration of the graceful and intimidating dragon on her back.

As Rarity entered the room along with Patch and Spike, something immediately caught her eye. A large cabinet with two large glass doors and six drawers in two columns of three occupied the left wall that blended with the rest of the ship. It was so inconspicuous it stood out to the attentive Rarity. Patch noticed her interest in the cabinet and regarded it.

"No," he said suddenly, sitting down at the desk in the middle of the Quarters. Rarity almost jumped at the abruptness of the gesture.

"Excuse me?" she asked innocently.

"I know what you were going to ask. It's locked for a reason." Patch leaned forward into the desk and nodded at the cabinet.

Rarity instantly knew what he meant by it, unlike spike who confusedly arched his eyescales. Rarity haughtily closed her eyes and decided not to pry... yet. "Is that so? Very well then."

Patch smiled and it seemed rather forced. His eyes were heavy and it became increasingly clear something was bothering him. The air seemed thicker all of the sudden, and Rarity's stare became ever more so scrutinizing. Patch wanted to turn away but his manners prevented him from doing so. Their first meeting was so pleasant... so why was it so hard now?

"...you two are getting a room in the Crew's quarters for yourselves. Second deck, third room." Patch hoped she would leave.

"Captain. What is the matter with you?" Rarity stepped forward slightly, her tone accusing. "There's something wrong. Is there something wrong with me?"

"N-..." Patch seemed to have to think about it. Resolutely, he finished. "No. No..."

"Then what's on your mind?" Rarity almost yelled that question. He knew why she was being so confrontational. Other than the fact she clearly didn't agree with piracy, she was also concerned the state of her friends. Recalling how Fluttershy was before she met him, Patch understood why that was. Apparently, Miss Pie was always crazy, however. "I know you're not okay. You're behaving... oddly." Spike had no idea what the hell was going on.

Patch went on the defensive, her accusing tone actually succeeding in making him uncomfortable. It frustrated him, and he almost blew up, but he achieved some control in time. "NO! No. Look you just-" Spike scowled at Patch signaling for him to calm down. Patch realized he had shot out of his chair during the outburst. He settled himself and finished quietly. "You just... you just remind me of her, okay? You look nothing like her, but... everything..."

The air was so thick Rarity was afraid they were going to drown in it. She took a step back, unable to find words. She stammered "I... I'm sorry. I didn't realize."

"Save it. Just leave. Welcome on my ship, Miss Rarity." He was done. He simply ignored her and pretended to work on his maps. Rarity accepted her defeat and left, the drama of the situation wading off the adrenaline of the short argument. Patch looked up and stopped her. "Your presence here is a privilege, remember that. You hurt anyone, and I assure you things will end badly and abruptly for you. Understood?" Before she closed the door, she shared one last word.

"Understood. Godspeed, Captain." She closed the door and just stood there, guilt clouding her consciousness. Spike looked at her, worried. She nuzzled him reassuringly, and prepared to walk away, but a voice made her freeze in place.

"No, she's fine. She just doesn't trust me ye- Shut up! I... I know, but ju- ugh," It was barely audible, but that was the Captain's voice all right. Who was he talking to? Maybe she was right not to trust him, he was odd... Nevertheless, Fluttershy had all her faith in him, so Rarity would have to give him a chance. Not before digging a little deeper first, of course.

"Oh Fluttershy!" Rarity called from across the deck. Fluttershy had been busy overseeing some of the cannon maintenance and the various ponies assigned to it. Pinkie Pie had proven to be very efficient at cannons, so she had gotten herself a regular job looking after them, but she had a tendency to stuff confetti in them when no one was looking. That was rather embarrassing at one point.

Fluttershy emptied her lungs quite audibly, not even trying to hide the fact she was irritated at the distraction. "Pinks, don't blow up anything or I will tear off your vagina, understand?" She put on an obviously forced smile and trotted over to Rarity, bouncing slightly with every step. "Yes dear? Whatever is it?" Her tone was a carbon copy of Rarity's usual snobbish accent and her voice seethed with ill intent.

Rarity narrowed her eyes, and Spike, still on her back, did the same. "Cute." She retorted, eliciting a victorious grin from the pegasus. "Look I wanted to speak to you about something."

Fluttershy looked positively bored as she monotoned, "Congratulations."

Rarity sighed and looked aside. "In private?"

"I'm not having sex with you," Fluttershy continued, her expression and tone unchanged. Rarity did a double take and reared her head.

"F-fluttershy will you--"

"Unless you want me to do it with Spike. That I might consider." Spike snorted suddenly as he almost fell off of Rarity. Shocked confusion adorned his features and he stood straight up on his mare, unsure of how to respond, if he should at all. It would never occur to him to be unfaithful to Rarity but... Fluttershy was actually pretty good looking.

"Fluttershy, enough. I just want to talk." Rarity was now beyond frustrated. Their reunion had been pleasant enough, why was she being so difficult now? Maybe she had some sort of telepathic link with the captain. That would explain why he was talking to himself.

"Fine, fine... we'll talk in the gallery." Fluttershy sighed once again, turning back towards the general direction of Pinkie Pie. "Pinks, you're in charge until I get back. I swear to the great griffin god if you so much as put a single goddamn streamer inside one of those cannons we'll be using you as ammo, got it?" She didn't wait for a response from the pink menace. She began walking to the gallery with white mare and dragon in tow.

"Cut to the chase or I'll cut your face. Oh, that rhymes, I should use that more often," Fluttershy held a mug filled with some honestly awful tasting rum in one hoof as she sat down at a table. Spike had finally gotten off of Rarity and took a seat next to her, who sat across from Fluttershy. The smell of crudely boiled poultry and cheap bread filled the enclosed space. Ponies of various sizes and type sat at different tables in the room, presumably done with their respective 'chores' and spent the entire day getting drunk and flirting with random crewmates. It was pretty noisy, too much so for Rarity's taste.

"I thought this was going to be a bit more... private," she commented, uneasily squinting and looking at a stallion who was nuzzling another uncomfortably low. Both of them seemed to be rather enjoying it.

"Rarity, we're on a boat. Aside from getting to third base in a supply closet, this is as private as it's going to get," Fluttershy quipped, circling her glass in the air and forming a little cyclone in the cup. She took a huge ungraceful glug of her drink before slamming it down on the table. Rarity sort of flinched back, disgusted. Spike remained the same. "You want some?" Rarity shook her head while Spike nodded nonchalantly. Fluttershy left and returned with another wooden mug filled with rum and gave it to the purple dragon, to which he nodded. "In... *gulp* all seriousness... No one is going to give a fuck what you say here, it's too loud to eavesdrop, and if anyone did, they'd be too drunk to remember it. Now what did you want to say."

"I wanted to talk to you about Pinkie Pie." Rarity coaxed the words out of her mouth with hesitance, careful not to step on any eggshells.

Fluttershy wasn't prepared. She stopped sipping her mug and stared intently at the white mare. "Pinks? What about her?"

"You mean you haven't noticed?" Rarity had assumed all she had to do was bring the mare up to start the discussion, but apparently it wasn't obvious enough.

"Notice what?" Fluttershy gave an aside glance. "Other than the usual Pinks shit there's really nothing out of the ordinary."

"Really?" Rarity asked, now more shocked. "Don't you think she's a bit... dull? Than usual, I mean."

The yellow Pegasus gave an unflattering snort. "She more annoying than I can remember. Of course I have changed quite a bit, so...”

“Fluttershy, think about it for a moment. Think back all those years ago and remember.” Rarity lifted her chest up with her forehooves on the table and spoke sharply. Fluttershy began to get irritated of the condescending way Rarity demanded her, but ultimately decided to play along. “Think of all her antics,” she said. “How hyperactive she was. She would hardly stay in one place for more than a second, and she seemed to defy all logic as she rode on her merry thoughts. She never spoke of the current situation and she followed her own set of rules. But look at her now.”

Fluttershy opened her mouth to protest but no sound came out. Instead she trailed her gaze off of Rarity to the space around her in deep thought. Rarity was right. As the revelation soared through the yellow pegasus’ mind came memories of Pinkie Pie, as she once was. She even seemed to be... literally a bit brighter back then.

“You see? Now she stands, at attention. She injures herself without control like a normal pony. She feels empathy more often, and she chips in on the conversation with relevance, although the usefulness of her input can be debated.” Rarity finished with a whisper. “She doesn’t act like Pinkie Pie anymore.”

Fluttershy contemplated this for a moment, going over everything she had said, mulling over the possibilities. There was a definite change...

“Hold on, Rarity,” Fluttershy loudly yelled, causing the ex-fashionista to jump slightly (and nearly punch her yellow friend). “What the hell does that mean, ‘she doesn’t act like Pinks anymore’?”

“Well, you certainly can't agree she’s the same!” Rarity defended instinctively. Spike took a cautious sip of his rum, unable to think of any input.

“That doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with her; so what if she’s changed.” Fluttershy got up as if to challenge the unicorn. “I changed too, does that make something wrong with me?”

“N-no! No, I just... Pinkie Pie is more subtle than you. I’m afraid that... it’s not just change. With you, it’s obvious you’ve gone through some ordeal...”

“And you think she hasn’t either?” Fluttershy snapped back. “She did nearly get raped and killed when I found her. What do you think HAPPENED TO ME?!” Fluttershy shouted that last part louder than any previous part of their discussion, or anyone else’s in the room for that matter.

It was a touchy subject, obviously, and it was new information for the unicorn.

“That’s what I’m trying to say Fluttershy. You think something like that would have a greater impact than it has, but she seems right as rain! Bar a little difference in excitement and THAT’s what scares me. It feels like she’s faking her eagerness.”

Fluttershy’s face remained blank for a time, she was unable to rebuttal. She gave a great exhale and deflated in her seat. She closed her eyes and took a long sip of her rum with attitude frustrated at her failed argument. They all sat in silence.

“Don’t make our enemies’ job unnecessary.” Spike suddenly said, startling the party. Fluttershy had almost forgotten he was there, and granted, he looked so different she sometimes ignored him thinking he was someone else. In a way he was. Rarity looked at him questioningly. He responded by giving a smile, something Fluttershy realized she hadn’t seen him do yet. “A house pitted against itself cannot stand.” He looked at fluttershy again and kept his smile on. “I share Fluttershy’s concern, but we have to stand together, even when we’re apart. We got to stop worrying about every little thing and deal with stuff as it comes. As long as we support Pinkie Pie with whatever she’s going through it’ll be fine.”

Fluttershy forgot her frustration as she stared at the purple dragon. She felt her irritation melt away at the sight of the smiling dragon, remembering the little baby that preceded him. And she remembered everything. “I... I’d forgotten about you, Spike. About everyone.”

Spike’s smile was replaced by a quizzical arched eyescale. Fluttershy laughed and looked at her drink as she swirled it in the cup. “I won’t make that mistake again, alright?”

“Well, Spike you did a great job at diffusing the tension,” Rarity chuckled in her normal haughty tone (which kind of seemed out of place with her new build) and proceeded to cheerily speak to Fluttershy. “So what’s next?”

“I dunno,” Fluttershy replied honestly. She leaned back and took one last glug of rum. “We know the general location of Princess Twilight, but she’s a bit far and the directions are really vague. None of us know where Applejack is, but knowing her, she probably has made quite a name for herself wherever she is, so I guess all we would need to do is ask around. But then there’s Dash... It’s weird, you’d think, with her skill, she’d be so famous even us ship dwellers would know about her...”

Spike dropped his mug, and his eyes widened to the point of covering his face. Rarity somehow became whiter, any pigments from her skin being lost at Fluttershy’s last speculation. She reared her head and gagged a bit, unable to speak. Fluttershy opened an eyelid after a little silence and eyed the pony and dragon. They were so stunned, for some reason, that they had completely lost the will to talk. Fluttershy leaned forward, confused. “What?” she asked, concerned.

“Oh. Oh dear.” Rarity finally wheezed. She sounded so... distant. “You don’t know...”

Fluttershy got irritated again, but she didn’t know why. It was a fear in the back of her throat, a fear that had no place being there. “I don’t know WHAT?”


Sweat rolled down Fluttershy’s face.

“Rainbow Dash... She’s not with us anymore...”

And with that... Ponies change.

Lying Beneath What Was

View Online

“I never felt so lost, like everyone was miles away. And yet somehow, I remained in the room.”

Chapter 13

Silence. That’s all that remained in the room. Tension filled the air, thick enough to wade through. A wooden mug clanked on the ground, the one previously in Fluttershy’s hoof. Her muzzle remained blank, not exactly expressionless, but inexplicably stricken with horror. The utter disbelief radiated from her very being, and it began to be accompanied by anger. After what seemed like ages, the silence suddenly disappeared.


Rarity jumped, startled by Fluttershy’s voice. She had braced herself for it, but she still didn’t see it coming. She was unaware what her friend’s reaction would be. She spoke, but she did not hear her words as they escaped into the room. “Dear... I thought... I thought you knew.”

“No...” Fluttershy shook her head in simple denial. It was as if she was refusing a service; it was casual. “No... I don’t believe it.”

Rarity winced, wounded by the difficulty of the moment. She felt as if she was salting a scar of Fluttershy. “Fl-”

NO!” She yelled, so loud that all conversation around the three ceased muted immediately, probably because of Fluttershy’s common scolding of the pirates. It was instinctual to stand at attention to the pegasus whenever she yelled, but now they were unsure of what to do. “NO! You’re a FUCKING LIAR!” Fluttershy stood aggressively, knocking the table over. Rarity flinched as if she were about to be slapped, but she stood her ground, a lump forming in her throat. “You’re FUCKING LYING!”

“Dear, please,” Rarity tried to reason.

“No, no, bullshit! I don’t FUCKING BELIEVE YOU!”

Spike clenched his fist and looked away, frustrated he wasn’t able to do anything. After all that happened, after finally uniting... this had to happen.

“Fluttershy, please! I don’t want to believe it either, but it’s true. For a while now.”

Fluttershy started to hyperventilate, and her eyes darted around the room. At a lower tone, she repeated, “No...” She fell on her knees. “No... What...” Fluttershy groaned a soul-wrenching sob, as tears ran down her eyes like loose sand. “What the fuck do we do now?” She gritted her teeth, sobbing again. She tried to stop, in vain. “What do I do now?”

Rarity looked cautiously at Spike, who avoided her gaze. She stepped towards Fluttershy tentatively, like she was navigating through a minefield. She put a hoof on the pegasus’ shoulder, and exhaled. “We have to do what we’ve done so far, dear. We move on. She’d want us to.”

Fluttershy tensed up in anger, and shot up to Rarity and put both hooves on her neck. “You don’t fucking understand, Miss Rarity! I was counting on her! Everything was riding on the elements, THAT’S WHY I FOUND YOU. That’s why I looked for you! But now?” She looked at the ground as she kept hold of her friend. She slumped to the ground. “There’s nothing we can do. The world’s fucked and there’s nothing I can fucking do.”

Fluttershy’s sobs ended, and she sniffed. Tears stopped, already wasted on other things before in her life; menial things. “Then there was no goddamned point. There was no point. I could’ve left Pinks to her life after I saved her, and you could’ve just lived in that stupid ass cave all your life, fucking Spike over and over again until the end. That would have been better for you than dragging your asses out for no... no reason.

“And now what do we do, just sit and wait to die? What the fuck do we do...”

It had seemed the whole ship was quiet. No one spoke, no one dared say a thing. Rarity just stared at her yellow friend in a stunned silence. Everyone just stood. Until, shockingly, a talon came out of nowhere and grabbed ahold of Fluttershy’s pink mane. She was jerked up violently, and having no time to react, was pulled into a feathery chest at ner mach-speeds. Fluttershy’s eyes shot open, and she opened her mouth to yelp, but any attempt was muffled out by the feathers. The sight was alien and indistinguishable for a moment for Rarity, until much to her surprise, Vex had scooped up Fluttershy into her arms, giving her a big hug. Fluttershy’s first reaction was to sock the griffin in the face, but as the situation sunk in, she embraced the griffin herself, relaxing her muscles and letting spare tears run down her face again. Vex’s expression betrayed her friendly gesture, as she gave Rarity the most evil and burning glare a griffin could ever contort her face into. It was beyond her usual scowl, no, it was a wild and animalistic rage, the kind that is only quelled by blood, or so it seemed. Rarity looked away, ashamed, even though she knew it wasn’t her fault.

“What the hell is going on here?” The first words spoken in a while came from the Captain himself, just having entered the room. As soon as he saw Fluttershy, murder consumed his eyes, and he began angrily trotting to the distressed Rarity. In a voice that intimidated everyone in the room, Patch snapped. “What the fuck did you do to her.” It was spoken slowly, but sharply, and Rarity actually began to fear for her life, despite knowing he didn’t stand a chance against her. Before limbs could be chopped off, Fluttershy spoke in a relatively calmed tone, although it wavered a little with her previous sobs.

“She didn’t do anything, Patch.” Fluttershy said sincerely, walking away from Vex and wiping away her tears. Both Patch and Vex froze a bit, forgetting their anger as she called out the Captain by name. Fluttershy sighed and faced Rarity once again, wiping her eyes. “How are we gonna break it to Pinks?”

Rarity reared her head a bit and arched a brow. “Doesn’t she already know?”

“You’d think she’d tell me.” Fluttershy replied, uttering a dry chuckle. “No. I don’t think she knows. They were close.”

There was a silence again, and no one dare look in another’s eyes. Suddenly, Vex- of all people- chimed in. “I’ll do it.”

Spike stepped forward, pushing his unicorn aside. “Excuse me?”

“I’ll tell her,” she clarified, annoyed.

“Hah. No.”

“Wot?” Vex, genuinely confused, first showed a sign of curiosity, but this was replaced by frustration and anger. “Why the fuck not?”

Spike stepped closer and fully raised himself on his hind legs, effectively towering over her two and a half times. Although she physically did not waver, she really regretted snapping as the dragon bared his teeth. “Like I’m going to trust a griffin we all barely know to a friend a decade old. Fat chance. Doesn’t help you’re a bitch.”

Vex threw all instinct of self-preservation out the window and put a talon on Spike’s chest. “What the fuck are you on about?! You haven’t gave a shit ‘bout her for more than a few years! I probably spoke to her more than you have, you big fucking purple dildo!”

Spike growled, but before he could get a shot off, Fluttershy came in between them. “Hey, Spike!” She had a hoof on his chest, a tentative one, and she stared into his eyes with the softness he knew her of. “...Let her do it.”

Spike had been lured into a strange stupor by Fluttershy’s now out-of-place solemn sincerity, but as she excused Vex he stuttered, “W-what? Why?”

“Look, I’ve known Vex for a while, and I know she can be a huge bitch...” Fluttershy took a moment to look back at Vex and smile innocently, to which Vex pouted. “...But she’s one of the few I trust, okay? I’ve known her longer than I’ve known you guys.” Spike’s eyes were seething with protest, but his demeanor betrayed him. Fluttershy wasn’t sure he was convinced, so she added one last thing. “Plus, they get along.”

“Pinkie gets along with her?” Rarity suddenly blurted before thinking.

“Stranger things have happened,” Vex quipped, before adding “You got a boyfriend, for example.”

Spike gave another violent growl, and Fluttershy just sighed. “Look. Just... shut up. All of you. Everything just fell apart right now. I can’t believe Dash is dead.”

“Wait,” Patch stepped forward, still solemn. “Dash... as in Rainbow Dash, the element of loyalty? She’s dead?”

Fluttershy kept her head down and sniffed. “Yeah. Looks like none of this had a point, huh Cap’n?”

Patch’s being told all his sympathies, all his understanding. His face contorted to that of a child watching a dog die. He was so sorry, but there was no way to convey just how. So he stayed silent and stared at his yellow pegasus, the one stomped on by life, with it kicking dirt in her face. This inability to help frustrated Patch to the point of tears, yet he did not cry. He couldn’t. He just had to watch, and that was the only consolation he could provide; that someone cared.

Maybe it was enough.

...but it didn’t feel like it. Patch broke down those barriers of helplessness and decided he was going to do something about it, even if he couldn’t. With resolution, he smiled. “It wasn’t for nothing, Fluttershy.”

She looked up instinctively, as she did when she heard her full name from her Captain. After a while, she gave an empty smile. “I find that hard to believe Cap’n. We need all the elements, that’s what that letter said.”

“Who cares? We started this, and we have to finish this,” Patch said. Aside, no one noticed except for a certain white unicorn that Vex’s frown and scowl cracked, if only for a moment. She dropped her head down in order to hide this. This peaked Rarity’s curiosity, as she had believed Vex to be as careless as she was rude. It must’ve been something about Patch or Fluttershy that had sparked compassion. What sort of ties did those three have?

“Captain, we have to be realistic!” Fluttershy yelled through the crust of dried tears. “There’s no hope left, alright? And the last thing we need is false hope.”

Rarity noticed her window, and interjected. “Not exactly, dear.” Everyone turned to the ex-fashionista, all unexpecting her voice to rise in the conversation. Even Spike eyed her questioningly. “I mean, think about it; the elements are finicky things. Not even we, the beares, know the full extent of their properties and powers.”

“What’re you trying to say, Miss Rarity?” The question came from Patch, which was odd because he sounded very civil as he questioned her. Their previous altercation must’ve been forgotten somehow. Maybe because of how desperate he was to give Fluttershy hope? He would’ve accepted help from anyone, Rarity guessed. She never thought about it before, but it really was sweet how extensive he looked after her, and Vex by extension.

“I’m saying we don’t know if there’s another element of loyalty lying around somewhere. I remember Fluttershy saying that part of the letter was revealed when Mister Gavin happen to touch it. He obviously bears some elements of kindness within him which allowed him to do so. Maybe we could find someone capable of bearing the full element, enough to use it to help with these letters of yours.”

“That’s... interesting, Rare... but I don’t think it’s enough to go on,” Fluttershy rebutted through a broken voice.

“Well think about it this way then...” Rarity cleared her throat, grinning. “Celestia and Luna were bearer of all six elements at one time. Then Celestia bore them herself after Luna’s betrayal. Then she gave up the responsibility and allowed us to use them next. If Dash was killed, wouldn’t that mean the element would be passed on like before, assuming it worked like a gift you were born with? I’m sure with enough searching, we could find somepony- er, someone- that exhibited the qualities of loyalty, or held the passed torch of it. Which means our mission can still be possible to complete.”

Everyone just stared at the white unicorn mouths agape, unable to contradict her logic and reasoning. The only one who looked skeptical was Fluttershy. “I don’t know, Rare... what if we risk it all and it ends up failing?”

“That can happen at anything you attempt at Fluttershy,” Rarity said, a spark in her eye. “You still have to try. Besides, we’re going to help Twilight, right. She has a book on the elements. We can cross-reference with that.”

There was an unearthly silence as everyone stared at their yellow pegasus, waiting for her to speak. After what felt like an eternity, and it probably was, she finally scoffed and horribly attempted to hide a smile. “Dammit, Rare. Alright, fine, we’ll keep on fighting.” A slow, graceful turn to Patch was executed by the deeply scarred pony. “Isn’t that right, Captain?”

He smiled, and so did Vex, this time not trying to hide it. There was obviously some sort of inside referential subject they shared, and Patch gave another vague statement. “Never stop fighting, amirite?” Fluttershy chuckled at this leaving the others rather confused. They let it slide however, as it seemed everything was finally lightening up. All that was left was to inform Pinkie Pie.

That was when something became awfully apparent. Everyone, everyone was staring at them. None of the friends had noticed that the entire gallery had been spectating this debate from the beginning, as soon as Fluttershy had started breaking down. They all had shut up at the time, completely quiet, concerned for their heartbroken leader. Now that everything was fine however, most just beamed, while others returned to their business, hope now pulsing within them. The entire party, discluding Patch, blushed, embarrassed at their aired dirty laundry. However, the outbursts were quite necessary as it eliminated having to inform everyone of the mission update.

Vex groaned loudly, annoying Rarity, and hid her blush with her talons as she always does. “Arrghh whatever, I’m going to break the news to Pinks... God knows it’ll be less painful than... getting castrated.”

“Well you must know what that feels like, huh, hun?” Rarity quipped slyly, rather an out of character comment as observed by Fluttershy.

“Erg, eh... w-.... ah fuck you.” Vex gave up and walked away, sticking up her middle talon as she left, most of the party unsure of what the gesture meant.

Fluttershy leaned up against a wall while Patch followed and did the same. She gave one long exhale and rested her head on his neck, closing her eyes. “A storm of shit, really. That’s what this is, aye?”

“Heh... aye.” Patch replied, oddly comfortable. “You know, Fu’shy... I’m with ya ‘til the end, and it doesn’t matter what happens, you’ll make the right decisions. You won’t even have to try.”

Rarity and Spike left for their room without a word.

“Fat chance, Cap’n. Sorry if I don’t believe that.” Quiet for a second. “But thanks... for everything really.”

“Feels like only yesterday, doesn’t it? That we sat like this.” Patch put his foreleg around Fluttershy like it was nothing. It was anything risque or flirtatious... rather, it was so natural, like two friends with a mutual understanding. “Remember? Just yesterday.”

“Maybe for you. You hadn’t changed that much that day.” Fluttershy said with a chuckle, sounding incredibly exhausted.

“Well I... I wouldn’t say that exactly. Someone like you... well it was just what I needed, maybe. I don’t know. Maybe.”

And with that...

Ponies change.

Vex never thought that shit could get this hard. She once got shot in the ass with a musket ball and Patch had to scrape it out using his teeth, but Vex foresaw her task with being about as twice as awkward and as unbearingly painful. She had been standing outside of her and Pinks’ room for a good ten minutes, just staring at the poorly constructed doorknob. The only actions she committed so far were a couple of uncommon sighs. Still, Vex felt bad for not telling Pinks the truth in the first place. All of this could have been avoided.

The one thing she refused to remember was considering rubbing the death of her friend in her face out of jealousy. There was no way she could continue living if she had actually done that.

Another thing was the actual deed in front of her. How would Pinks react? Would dhe lash out in anger like Fluttershy? Would she go into denial and refuse to believe Vex? The fear of breaking the pink pony haunted the griffin to the core. There was a coldness in her chest now, and her limbs felt light.

Now having to manually breathe, blink, and move, she slowly opened the door, absolutely terrified what was on the other side.

As the door swung fully open, the sight was chillingly tame. Pinkie Pie was cheerily humming as she rearranged some things in a small drawer, acknowledging Vex’s presence with a high tuned “Hello~”

Vex had to sound out every syllable in her head before speaking a word. She had forgotten to properly talk. “H-hey... Pinks...”

All that was left in the room was Pinks’ out of place humming. It infuriated the griffin to no end. This would have been a lot easier if the pink pony had been in a foul mood.

“Yeah, Vex?”

“There’s something I gotta tell ya, man.” Vex kept her voice level, trying not to lead Pinks suspicion. Vex thought it had failed horribly, and she winced as a result, but much to her surprise Pinkie Kept fiddling with the drawer. Vex realised that she needed the conversation to dip at some point, so she decided to just drop it and hope for the best. “It’s not good.”

To this, Pinkie stopped. She just stood with her hooves in the drawer, and did not move. Vex had mentally pictured a smile on Pinkie’s face, but now it came apparent that Vex could not see her face. Vex was behind Pinkie, so her expression was a mystery to her. It became increasingly difficult to picture Pinkie’s stupid grin.

“In fact, its... downright shit. Just absolute... shit.” The air became thick for Vex, and Pinkie remained motionless.

“Is that so?” Pinkie still sounded cheerful, but her voice... resonated less, or something.

“Yeah... I,” Vex cut herself off. “I’m sorry, first of all. Just... Sorry. For lying. I guess. I- I. I mean.”

“Just get on with it.” Pinkie’s voice reached sub-zero temperatures.

“...” Can I say it? “...” Can I really do this? “...” No I can’t. “Pinks...” But I guess that never stopped Patch. “Rainbow Dash... She’s...”

“She died. A while ago.”



“...Yeah.” Pinkie’s voice was strange. It sounded the same. “Yeah she did.” Pinkie finally moved out of the drawer and trotted to the other side of the room, to a small chest that belonged to her. She opened it and took out a few things: balloons, streamers and random party favors, all while talking normally to Vex. “I mean I guess it makes sense and all. She was always doing dangerous stuff and all.”

Vex wanted to back away, out the door, but she just couldn’t. She looked at Pinkie with an increasingly frightened expression.

Pinkie continued taking out objects of the chest, more than enough than could possibly fit into it, as her voice became more strained. “You could really expect it to happen eventually considering her work. She would always do the really DANGEROUS tricks for her FUCKING wonderbolts, and they would NEVER pay attention to her.” She began to laugh, strangely, as tears fell down her cheeks. “Because they would never accept someone as nice and honorable as Dash until she was older because IT WASN’T HER TIME OR SOMETHING,” Pinkie’s laugh and smile turned to dreadful tears and violent sobs. Vex turned away, unable to watch or walk away. “WHY COULDN’T THEY JUST LET HER JOIN EARLIER, I MEAN WHY NOT? OH GOD, WHY COULDN’T SHE- OH GOD, OH MY GOD, OH GOD, OH MY FUCKING GOD” She began thrashing her her hooves on her various party related things with a strength unmatched to what Vex has seen of her so far. Fragments of breakables flew through the air as she screamed and sobbed and screamed and sobbed. Vex had left her alone until she started whacking her face on the floor. Vex immediately flew towards her before she could seriously injure herself seriously. Vex put her arms around her and yelled into her ear.

“Hey! Hey! Stop it, stop! It’s okay dammit! It’s okay.” Pinkie stopped thrashing and screaming and just... cried. She cried so loudly. It was only muffled by the feathers absorbing the tears. Vex couldn’t believe she was going through this twice in one day... but it wasn’t important. Pinkie Pie was important. Vex remained still for her friend for as long as she needed. Because when you got right down to it...

They were all in the same boat.

“I guess... I guess I kinda always knew. I mean... I never heard about it... but when something like that happens to a friend like Dash? You get this tingly feeling in the back of your mind. You want to ignore it, to just plow through the day like normal, but the tingle will always be there. A wound that’d never heal, y’know?” Pinks’ head remained in the griffin’s chest since the little incident, and it was about half an hour later. Vex didn’t mind, for the first time that she could remember. She was just glad she could be there.

“Uh. Sure, I suppose.” It still didn’t make the whole scenario awkward and incredibly unfamiliar for Vex. Pinkie noticed once again how small the griffin was, only about an inch taller and just as big as the pony, if not a bit thinner. And those faded purple feathers that loosely covered her eyes seemed to be glossier than usual...

“Y’know... I’ve had a little crush on Fluttershy for a while.” Pinkie chuckled for the first time in thirty minutes. Vex was so happy for a subject change.

“Yeah, heh. It’s kinda obvious.” Vex thought for a moment. “Well, just for me apparently. I don’t think anyone else knows. I’m sure it won’t take long for that prissy unicorn to find out, she has an annoying attention for detail.”

“Yeah. I mean, normally Fluttershy’s pretty average. Well she’s pretty, but not like a goddess or anything. Back then, her cuteness and innocence was what gave her an advantage. But now... damn, she’s a woman that can take charge.”

Okay... okay this was getting a little weird for Vex now. Still, she didn’t want to just leave. “Uhh... right...” Why does she have to be talking about Fluttershy that way? I mean Futtershy? Yuck. Why does she have to be talking like this at all?

“I like ponies that can take charge.”

...Uhhhh. “...Uhhhh.”

“Too bad Fluttershy looks like she’s straight as an arrow.” Pinkie gave another short laugh. The return of casualness of the talk eased Vex a little again, who resolved to leave in a few minutes.

“Of course...” Pinkie Pie reared her head and looked at Vex with big, starry eyes. Vex was a little confused now, what was she going on about now? “I guess it doesn’t have to be a pony.”

...WHhHhhHaAAaaaAA? “Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah. Pinks, where is this going?”

“I’ve only met a couple of griffins before. I never got the chance...”

“What does that have to do with cghk!” Vex was interrupted by Pinkie jamming her entire fucking muzzle down Vex’s beak and ramming her tongue down her throat. Vex’s immediate reaction was to claw the pony’s heart out, but that was before the sensation of Pinkie’s kiss came through.

It gave Vex pause, only because of the absolutely alienness of the feeling. Pinkie was... warm. Really, really warm. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. Vex had spat before and saw other ponies spit, and it always looked gross, and cold. But... when the saliva and soft cotton that was the pony’s mouth completely enclosed around her jagged beak, she achieved a state of absolute fiery intensity that would only be matched by walking in fire, but without the burning. Her tongue fought with Vex’s slightly more angular one, and Vex became hopelessly mesmerized by the enriching experience. She forgot what was happening. She forgot where she was. That was, until Pinkie retracted.

At some point Vex closed her eyes, apparently, because she had to open them again. She saw Pinkie’s face contorted with a combined expression of empathy and joy. “That was weird... a beak, heh. Uh... you’re drooling.”

“Whagh?” Vex hadn’t exited her stupor yet, until she realized what Pinks had just said. “O-oh,” She raised a talon and wiped her beak, taking a hanging string of saliva with it. “I uh... I just...”

“I’m sorry,” Pinkie said, sparing her friend from the difficulty of making words. “I shouldn’t have done that. I didn’t give much warning and- oh, you're probably not even into ponies...” Pinkie Pie comically raised a hoof and beat her head with it. “Stupid, stupid, stupid...”

“What about you,” Vex found herself blurting out. Pinkie Pie looked the other way, ashamed.

“It varies. Donkeys, zebras, mules, ponies, griffins, males, females... I’m just attracted sometimes, sometimes I’m not.” She cleared her throat before adding softly, “Bunnies on one occasion...”

Bunnies? Vex thought in a moment of clarity. I’ll... yeah just forget that. “Well... you’re wrong about me.”

“About what?” Pinkie asked innocently, cocking her head.

“Pinks, I...” Vex rubbed her head for a moment, unsure how to phrase it. She decided to just throw a brick. “I have a pony fetish.”

Pinkie just sat there, dumbfounded. After a second or two, she started to laugh as if she told a joke. “Ohh, ho ho ho, you, you like ponies, but you’re straight, I remember that little talk we had.”

Vex finally blushed, the situation she was in being drawn way too out. There was no way to convey her feelings that didn’t make her sound like a ponce. “No, Pinks. I... I swing both ways, dammit.”

Pinkie was just confused now, looking at Vex like she was crazy. “Then what’s stopping u-oooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh....” As she finally came to what Vex was saying, they both sat, awkwardly facing each other. “Then...” Pinkie lunged forward, taking Vex by surprise and making her yelp, only she didn’t yelp as Pinkie already had her tongue back in her beak. This time, Vex became accustomed more quickly and held Pinkie’s mane as they kissed. Vex also didn’t close her eyes this time, for reasons she couldn’t figure out. However she found Pinkie had her eyelids closed so she decided it must have been normal to do that. After a few minutes, Pinkie awkwardly ended the make out session and looked at the griffin with concern. “Umm... you’re not...?”

“What?” Vex asked, delayed and emotionless. It took her a moment to comprehend what she was implying, and when she did, she became embarrassed. “Oh! I- uh. I don’t exactly... know... how... to.”

Pinkie instantly broke into a finally characteristic huge grin and squealed. “AHH! OH MAI GAWD, A VIRGIN!” Before Vex could even protest, she changed back to her previous demeanor and gave her griffin partner some bedroom eyes. “I guess I’ll take the reigns then.” She leaned Vex all the way on her back and began to chuckle.

“Uhh,” was all Vex could manage through her accelerated heartbeat and nervous adrenaline. Pinkie began to kiss her again, not only on the mouth, but on her neck, on her chest, on her stomach, on her flanks, and finally...

Vex got the hang of it real quickly.

Controlled Burn, Wild Blaze (PT 1)

View Online

“There’s something about watching the campfire slowly crackle into inexistence, it’s strive to survive slowly dwindling. Like the meaningless struggle of an old, sick man....”

Chapter 14

“Hello, how you are?”

Scootaloo paused at the strange voice behind her, seemingly directed towards her. She turned to a stallion about her height, which was saying something considering she was pretty damn short. Though at second glance, he was a bit taller. Her brain chugged a bit longer at the strange dark-orange pony’s odd phrasing of the question, the meaning obvious but ultimately misworded. “Uh?”

“Scoots!” Scootaloo eagerly turned to the more familiar voice whom she had known for so long. She had to stop herself from smiling as she faced him.

“Hi, Pips,” she said casually as she remembered just what she was doing before that orange unicorn popped out of nowhere. She took the polish rag back in her mouth (it tasted awful but such the life of a non-unicorn) and ran it across the handlebars of her newly acquired scooter. It was a dark grey scooter with an aluminum handle and bar. Very expensive looking.

“I’m sorry about mister social here,” he apologized as he pushed a very confused Drake behind him. “He’s uh... different.

“Hadn’t noticed,” she spat sarcastically. Drake beamed an ungodly smile.

“Thank you!” he relished at the ‘compliment’.

Scootaloo finished just in time to allow herself to glance stupidly at Drake. She then looked back at Pipsqueak with an annoyed tell.

“Yeah,” he answered at the implied question. “Anyways, his name is Drake Blaze, and he’ll be accompanying us to-”

“Blah blah blahddly blah,” Scootaloo finished for Pipsqueak “Listen, you give me this speech every time we get someone new. It’s really unnecessary, you goof.”

Pipsqueak’s face became hot with shame. “N-no it’s not, you’re first mate! It’s your job to know everyone.” her crossed his forelegs with frustrated confidence. “Besides, this is that recruit that Luna told me about. He’s got talent.”

“Well, let me tell you right now, I’m not doing a good job at that whole knowing people thing.” She turned back to the unicorn who was content with just observing as they spoke. It took him a moment to realize that the attention was on him; he visibly jumped. “What’s small, dainty, and unintimidating got for us here?”

Drake was taken aback by the insult, who naively unexpecting such rowdy behavior from Scootaloo. Pipsqueak just chuckled nervously.

“Uhh, it might be best not to say things like that. He’s really... uh... destructive.” Pipsqueak turned to Drake, who really just didn’t know how to provide any input.

“Uh huh. Right. Well, if we’re done here, I got some business to attend to.” She took a very odd looking metallic strap off her back and set it on a table next to the scooter. Different tools laid about, some in mid use. Drake couldn’t make heads or tails what Scootaloo could be trying to do, despite his technical skills. He didn’t have to ask, since Pipsqueak did it for him at that moment.

“What exactly are you doing?”

Scootaloo didn’t bother turning back as she explained. “I’m trying to make it so I don’t have fumble around with a damn strap whenever I want to use my scooter. Sometimes it would get caught in the wheels and I’d almost fall over.”

Pipsqueak knew that by ‘almost’, she meant ‘completely and catastrophically’.

“I’m fitting this strap so I could just snap my scooter into it and take it out as well, without the fasten being too easy to release. Otherwise it’d just fall off my back randomly.”

“Yes, yes,” Pipsqueak hummed with a half hearted hoof at his chin. “Or, or, you could just carry it around like a normal person,” he droned as-a-matter-of-fact-ly.

Scootaloo sighed, knowing that he was joking but being too annoyed to care. “You and I both know why I can’t do that.”

“Know what?” Drake asked suddenly, his sharp accent extremely out of place.

“She usually doesn’t use a sword, she uses that scooter as a weapon,” Pipsqueak explained with a little smile on his face. He had to keep himself from laughing after seeing Drake’s confused and shocked expression.

“You... ride them to death?” Drake asked quizzically. This caused Pipsqueak to lose all self control and start rolling on the floor, laughing.

“Ugh, come on, don’t say it like that!” Scootaloo yelled, and involuntary blush forming. Drake just looked at Pipsqueak even more confused.

“What? What’d I say?”

Pipsqueak breathed in relief after he took his laughter under control. “No, no. In all seriousness, she’s pretty good with her scooter. A bit of an understatement, really. Anything I say can’t possibly do her technique justice.”

“Hell, I’m the best.” She turned back towards the two stallions. “My name’s Scootaloo for a reason!” She put a pride hoof on her chest as she gloated. She couldn’t believe how long it took her to find out the correlation between her name and talent as she remembered her idiotic childhood. She remembered the red scooter that took it’s place on her flank and she relished in the old memories of her friends.

Recalling the room she was in, her demeanor instantly changed and she scowled at them both. “Now leave, it’s too ‘foreigner’ in here.” She shooed them off with one hoof as she turned her attention back at the workdesk. Drake had an air of indignation about him when Pipsqueak lightly punched him in the shoulder.

“Don’t worry, she says that racist crap all the time; she doesn’t mean it.” He ushered himself and Drake out of the room.

“Pips,” Scootaloo yelled without looking away. Drake continued to walk out the door as the captain doubled back. She sounded oddly... serious.


“That yellow pegasus...” she said slowly, a hoof still on the strap. She had stopped working.

“What? The one that kicked your ass?” He had hoped a joke would cut the tension that seemed to be forming. Disturbingly, she ignored it, and even admitted to it.

“Yeah... she seemed... familiar.”

“I-,” he attempted to answer, just as something struck him. He... found that he agreed with it. “Well... now that you mention it...”

“You too?” she asked, turning around, determination laden her face. It was a look she did not wear often. “Ponyville?” she added.

Pipsqueak nodded slowly. “Maybe... it’s the only thing that’d make sense... I can’t remember, though.”

“Well...” Scootaloo went back to her work, her puzzlement completely disappearing from her body. “It’s probably nothing anyway.”

Pipsqueak could not forget that easily. He simply gazed out the window, his consciousness officially having left the room. “Yeah, probably nothing. Probably.”

Pipsqueak clicked his tongue a couple of times and fished another piece of salmon from the pickled jar in his bag. He put his hoof up to Vynn, who was perched on a now fabric covered leg as to not injure the owner. He was tired of people asking why his leg was bleeding. Vynn greedily pecked the salmon from his hoof and finished by nuzzling his neck. Pipsqueak itched under his feathers as a return gesture. It really put a smile on his face. “You’re gross for liking this stuff, y’know that? Jeez, these were alive before.”

“Yo, Pips, check it out!” Pipsqueak turned just in time to see the small orange pegasus flashily rip a scooter from her back, unfold it, and slamming it on the ground, finishing by striking a pose. After letting everyone admire her poise for a bit, she quickly flung it on her back with a snapping noise, and it stuck. “Easy peasy.”

“Wow, nice!” Pipsqueak complemented. He put on a smug face and added, “It’d be more impressive if it wasn’t a friggin’ scooter.” Scootaloo gracefully rebutted with a presentation of her tongue.”Wow,” he retorted. “Elegant.

Drake oogled at the unique build of the walls and floor. He had never been on a military ship, and it seemed to have been built with the Equestrian princesses in mind. There was simple ornate designs running along the bottom corners of the ship in different shades of white and blue. Gold trimmings were common on edges, and some emblems of the sun and moon were painted in various places. Despite these designs, the ship was mostly practical, never sacrificing efficiency for looks, which impressed the Assian unicorn.

Drake was too busy admiring the environment to notice a peculiar brown earth walking straight towards him. He must’ve not been paying attention either, since the two collided rather clumsily. With a large thump, they collapsed to the ground. “Ohh, oh, sorry, sorry,” Drake apologized first. He nimbly climbed to his hooves and offered one to the stallion.

The Doctor rubbed his head and prepared to apologize as well, while reaching for the unicorn’s hoof. As soon as he saw Drake’s face, he froze dead center.

“I should really watch where am I going!” Drake continued nervously, trying to stop himself from laughing too loudly. “I was too busy-”

“Who are you?” The Doctor interrupted with an odd gaze on his face. Suddenly, Drake choked on the tension. It had felt like he had been accused of something, somehow.

“Uhh, me? A-am I... Drake, Drake Blaze. I’m new here,” Drake tried to answer casually. It wasn’t easy with the way The Doctor was staring at him. He desperately tried to avert the gaze.

The Doctor stared, trying to see something he knew was there. The name Drake already rung a bell, but that’s not what made him uneasy. There was something... there. Something he could not explain.

The Doctor, lost in thought, kept the gaze as he accepted Drake’s hoof and pulled himself up. “There’s something about you... something I can’t quite put my finger on...”

“Finger?” Drake confusedly asked.

“What are you doing here?” The Doctor asked, this time more down-to-earth.

“O-oh, I... Am I helping this crew with the capture of some pirates,” he enthusiastically cheered, before realizing his tone and cowering a bit. “I mean... I’m basically a mercenary... Not that I do that kind of thing normally!”

The Doctor tapped his hoof to his chin a few times, scrutinizing every aspect of the unicorn. Satisfied after a few uncomfortable moments, his attitude suddenly shifted, and he shook the Unicorn’s hoof. “Absolutely, then. Welcome to the ship my boy!” He beamed and thrusted his foreleg to his shoulder. He then walked away without another word, leaving Drake completely flummoxed.

When he was out of earshot, The Doctor resumed his suspicious glare and stared at the ground. “That boy is dangerous... I’m sure of it.”




...Hmmph... Vex stared at the ceiling for a bit, her mind fogged and her eyes heavy. She turned her head to the left and once to the right trying to muster the strength to move any more than that. The first part of her body to agree with her was her arms, so she covered her eyes with them, inhaling sharply. Something felt strange about her bed, but she could not point out why. There was this undeniable musty comfort emanating from the cot, the hints of a much needed respite post-experienced. Deciding that sitting like a lump in her bed wasn’t the most productive thing to do with her day, and the fact her mouth was as dry as an eastern desert, she finally stretched all her limbs (giving extra attention to her wings) and prepared to climb out of her bed. She felt awesome today, despite wanting to stay in bed for some reason, so she shot out in confidence and outstretched her legs to catch the floor. Well she tried to, only to have them her wrists and shins hit something hard and causing herself to crash dumbly to the floor... if it not for it being the floor the thing her appendages had hit.

“The fuck?” she exclaimed groggily trying to gather her bearings and face the assumedly crooked bunk bed she had fallen out of. Disappointedly, she saw the beds in perfect condition, albeit with some messy sheets and misplaced pillows on the bottom bunk. The top bunk remained completely intact.

That was when the gears began to turn in the griffin’s head. She must have slept in the bottom bunk last night. But why would she? She obviously liked the top bunk better, being naturally inclined to heights, and she always slept there. What made last night so special?

Oh. Oh god. Vex reached for her forehead to assure herself it was still screwed on to her body. She had realized that last night... her and Pinkie slept together. A billion thoughts and a couple of memories rushed through her head at once, but for some reason the one that screamed the loudest was “ESCAPE!”

Vex did a 180° and made a beeline to the door. She swung it open-


THWACK! Vex instinctively sent her fist upward and it made contact with a pink muzzle. She noticed only afterwards that it was Pinkie Pie, and after an almost comedic wave of blood flew from the poor mare’s nose. Pinkie held her nose afterwards and groaned.


Vex retracted her talons and covered her own beak in shock. “Oh, shit, sorry, crap!” Vex awkwardly reached for Pinkie’s shoulders and led her into the room. She started fishing for something to stop the bleeding and settled for a large plain-looking sock that she could not recall owning. She put it up to Pinkie’s nose while the mare held it in place. “Fuck, I didn’t mean to do that, shit.”

“It’s okay, Vex. I should know better than to open doors to where I live.” Although the phrasing sounded like she was being sarcastic, her tone was sincere, oddly enough. After a moment or two of silence, Pinkie gave Vex a pair of bedroom eyes. “This kinda reminds me of last night.”

“WHAT?” Vex jumped back, dropping the bloody sock. “H-HOW?!” Vex frantically checked their positions to assure nothing perverse was happening. Pinkie caught the sock and held it up to her nose herself.

“Woah, Vex, calm down, this was nothing like last night.” Somewhere, someone lost a bet saying that Pinkie would never tell anybody to calm down. “Do you even remember last night?”

“NO. Yes... sorta.” Vex rubbed the back of her head nervously, her being shaken. Vex was slowly getting all her memories back from last night, the next always steamier than the last. Pinkie was utterly baffled for once in her life.

“Then what’s wrong? Did you not... enjoy yourself?” Pinkie asked, frowning, more at Vex’s expense than her self’s.

“YES. No... well,” Vex exhaled heavily, drooping her arms low and then raising her talons to rub her temples. She had enjoyed herself last night, very much so, and not without complete consent as well. But that wasn’t the problem. “Pinkie, what happened last night... I just...” Vex suddenly exploded, causing Pinkie to jump and impulsively raised hooves in front of her muzzle in defense. “Shit, Pinkie, you just so god damned infuriating!

Pinkie was actually taken aback, not expecting the sudden insult. Vex continued. “I mean, you’re so fucking stupid and ignorant, it’s like you don’t give a shit!” Vex only then listened to what was coming out of her mouth and decided that this wasn’t actually conveying what she was trying to say. “But... you’re so damned cheerful all the time... and... you make people laugh. You made me feel like maybe... maybe I shouldn’t such a fucking downer all the time.”

Pinkie was just flabbergasted, unsure of what to say, her only rational thoughts involving her throbbing nose. Vex frustratingly held her head in her talons and squeezed. “Shit! What happened last night was... it was a mistake.. we need to break this off Pinkie... I don’t... like you.”

Pinkie cocked her head in one last act of confusion. Vex would’ve shot herself if she had her pistols. “I don’t mean to sound like a cheap romance novel, but I don’t like you that way, and I never will.” Vex sighed and turned away, ready for the waterworks. But she was surprised to hear giggling. Fuck, did I break Pinkie Pie?

“Ooooooooohhhhhhhh, I see what this is about.” Pinkie laughed some more which just continued to aggravate Vex. “Vex, you’re not the first person I’ve had sex with and you certainly won’t be the last.” Vex’s jaw dropped as she turned to face Pinkie once again. “Vex, I thought we both kinda did what we did just for fun. Not because of any feelings.”

There was a foreign feeling silence in the room, one that couldn’t have been more thick. At least for Vex. “O-oh. Then... I was just chewing on my damn foot for the past couple of minutes, huh?”

Pinkie giggled some more, switching to a cleaner spot on the sock. Another silence fell through, this time more comfortable to wade. “You know, I have to thank you Vex, for what you did.”

Vex reared her head in a bemused manner. “Why? You’re the one with all the... experience.”

“That’s not what I meant, Vex,” Pinkie laughed in a strangely heavy tone. “I meant... well a lot of thing were going through my head last night, what with Dashie and all...” She sighed and rested her foreleg on the back of her neck. “I guess all I needed was a little affection, after everything... not that you were bad, of course.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

After another long, tension-free silence, Vex felt compelled to ask something. “So this is going to become a regular thing now, right?”

“Oh, absolutely,” Pinkie quickly answered.

“Well you two are pretty late,” Patch stated with a smug smirk as he leaned on the wheel of the ship.

“NOWE’RENOT, we’renotlate, are we Pinks HAHA?” Vex... very oddly answered. The captain kind of flinched unintentionally, mostly because of his experiences with Vex and her lack of behaving in such a way. Pinkie somehow completely ignored it.

“I didn’t know we had a schedule, Captain.”

“No, I kid, it’s fine,” he reassured, waving his hooves. “‘Sides, can’t see owt, er, anything under all this fog.” Patch worriedly glanced at Vex, who seemed kinda on edge. “Are you okay, Vex?”

“Huh?” Vex blankly looked at Patch like a scared critter.

“She’s fine, she just didn’t get that much sleep last night,” Pinkie answered for her, slyly eyeing the griffin. “And she had a bit of exercise this morning.” Vex looked away, blush on her face.

Patch somehow bought it and chuckled, “Oh, well don’t push yourself too hard, Vex.”

“No promises,” Pinkie interjected again, two for two on the innuendos.

“Captain,” A voice came from the side, slightly obscured from the fog. “There shouldn’t be this much fog, this is a relatively small body of water. And it’s warm out.”

“Calm down dear Fu’Shy, you worry too much,” Patch said cooly, leaning even more casually on the wheel. “This is one of the few times we can all just take it easy, fog’s too thick to navigate.”

“That’s exactly what’s so fucking worrying. I can’t relax when we’re wanted by the entire damned legion. Especially that brown-eyed motherfucker, he’s smart.”

“Fu’Shy, relax. Even if they did get enough pegasi to form fog, which is a fucking lot, by the way, it’s okay to lay back a bit before the ambush. I mean, there’s no way to stop us walking into it now anyway.”

Pinkie nasally interrupted with a chuckle. “Yeah, bitch, get that stick out yo asshole.”

After everyone laughed a bit, Fluttershy rubbed her temples and sighed. “Shut up, Pinks.”

Suddenly, the sky exploded, and the air around them melted. “Oh, FUCK!” No one was sure who yelled since everyone was too distracted by the blaze that had erupted on the right side of the deck.

“I fucking told you so!” Fluttershy immediately took off with some other pegasi to get water onto the fire. Vex exploded with rage as usual.

“What the HELL did they just hit us with?” She reached for her chest but disappointingly grasped her feathers. “Goddammit! I gotta get my fucking guns! Patch, you got this?”

“Aye, just hurry!”

Something hit the ship again and it sent Pinkie PIe flying.

“WAUUUAUAGHHHGHGG!” screamed Pinkie as she sailed across the ship. She landed face first into the railing on the other side.

“Holy shit!” Vex exclaimed, paused by the display.

“The fuck is that woman made out of?” Patch asked no one in particular. They went their separate ways, deciding to no longer acknowledge the pink mare’s antics.

The ship was hit again, this time with something very large. It shook it enough to actually make the most savvy of sea legs tumble. Gathering his bearings, Patch raced to the source. He saw the front of another large ship, one that seemed very familiar. “Aww, shit! It’s that damned kid! How the hell did he find us so quickly?”

“Captain!” Patch looked to the right and saw Pipsqueak rear his ugly head. He growled.

“Fuck you, kid!”

“I’d really rather not captain!” The sounds of fighting began to overshadow their voices. “Surrender is always an option, sir!”

“Maybe for you, kid!”

Pipsqueak’s face contorted to solemn frustration. He knew it was going to end like this, but he always had hoped to avoid it. “Fine then, Patch. Have it your way.” Pipsqueak rose his shiny new machete and cut the air in front of him. “NOW!”

At once, nearly half of Pipsqueak’s ship leapt simultaneously, most of them landing flawlessly on Patch’s vessel. Patch cursed under his breath. Fluttershy flew up to him. “Captain, I’m going to the other ship and see if I can get the captain!”

Gritting his teeth, he glanced at the other ship. The crew was very sparse on it, most of them having jumped. He nodded hesitantly. “Alright, but take a few pegasi with you.”

“Aye-aye, Captain.” She reared herself and took off, leaving Patch alone. He dashed through the fight that had now broken out, weaving himself through the dueling ponies. He kept his eyes on the ground, scanning every piece of exposed oak. He finally found what he sought.

“Miss Pie!” Pinkie Pie, who comically was face-first on the ground, showed that she was largely uninjured as she casually rose her head.

“Sup?” she asked, unconcerned. As endearing as it was, it frustrated Patch to no end.

“Go below deck and fetch Spike and Miss Rarity. Step on it!”

Pinkie saluted and smiled. “Yessir!”

“Fuckin-” Patch began to curse, but was interrupted by a large mass of pony.

“GGGRRRRAGGHH!” the stallion screamed as he took Patch down. Patch felt his lungs crush and the air rush out as they tumbled. Groaning, he bucked the stallion off, making sure to hit him in the stomach. Judging from the grunt he emitted, he had gotten the same treatment as the captain. He landed a few feet away.

“Ugh,” the stallion grunted. “You hit hard...”

Patch immediately recognized the stallion as the captain of the other ship. He had not expected him to accompany his crew. Patch laughed breathlessly as he tried to regather his bearings. “That’s what happens when you jump into me like an eager school girl.” He nearly missed his hoofing as his knees struggled to support him without oxygen.

“Patch,” Pipsqueak began, with unwanted informality. “We don’t have to do this... If you surrender, we can avert all this violence.”

“Just so I can be executed? Just so my crew don’t get the amnesty they deserve. No.” Patch avoided Pipsqueak’s gaze. “What’s your name, boy?”

Pipsqueak hesitated to answer. He gave Patch a strange look, one of uncertain trust. “Pipsqueak,” he finally answered. “Why?”

“I just like to know the names of those who stand a chance.” Patch frowned. “Pipsqueak, huh? Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Does it matter?” Pipsqueak answered with confidence. “It’s my name. My actions define me, not what anyone calls me.”

Patch chuckled, legitimately impressed by the kid’s answer. “Is that so? Well then, Captain Pipsqueak, looks like we got a fight ahead of us.”

“If there’s no other way,” he admitted, pulling out his sword. At sight of it, Patch cocked his head.

“Where’d you get that machete?”

“Someone.” Pipsqueak didn’t bother with the details. “Why?”

Patch smiled and pulled out his own sword. “It’s just a strange weapon to use, at least, for someone with position. That doesn’t hinder its effectiveness.” Patch crouched, ready for any advancement his opposition might have had. “It’s also foreign.”

“Well it seemed easy to use, and the craftsmanship was superior to the legion’s sabers,” Pipsqueak explained, half discovering it for himself right then. It bothered him a little that even Patch knew what the sword was when he didn’t even know himself at first.

“Indeed... well then... TRY TO KEEP UP!” Patch dashed forward suddenly and delivered the first blow. Pipsqueak wasn’t expecting the speed at which Patch advanced, since his large build hinted that he had a lack of agility. PIpsqueak quickly saw this was not the case. His large build also predictably revealed huge force behind his swings, as he nearly knocked Pipsqueaks machete out of his mouth before he even had a chance to retaliate. Patch had already prepped for another swing as Pipsqueak tried to recover. He only had enough time to duck below and dodge his next swing. Pipsqueak felt the air from Patch’s scimitar slap him in the face. It even shaved off some his mane. Pipsqueak was in the perfect position to headbutt him in the chest, and did so with impunity. It caused Patch to gasp for air and drop his sword, but he reactively wrapped his hooves around Pipsqueak’s neck and squeezed as hard as he could. Pipsqueak also gasped for air and dropped his machete just as the Pirate captain. Patch’s awkward position prevented him from effectively strangling Pipsqueak, so he began to lift Pipsqueak by his muzzle. Pipsqueak had underestimated his strength of the pirate, as he was able to slowly lift him off his hooves and slam him down beside them.

Patch reared his hoof dramatically and prepared to clock him in the nose.

Dammit this is gonna hurt. Patch already started to swing his hoof when something stopped him. A large feathery mass came from nowhere and obscured his vision.

“Agh, THE FUCK!” He felt scars and peck wounds appear all over his face as he tried to back away and swat at what he assumed to be a bird of some kind. Pipsqueak quickly thanked his falcon for the intervention and reached for his machete. Quickly taking advantage of the occupied Patch, he charged toward his adversary with blade mid swing. He might have ended it there, but he suddenly blacked out for a moment and woke up a moment later, his ears ringing and his right cheek sore. He was collapsed off Patch’s right side, who was trying to recuperate after his little adventure with Vynn. Stood next to him was that foul-mouthed griffin, rubbing her wrists, sporting the most subtle of smirks Pipsqueak had ever seen.

“Thanks, Vex.” Patch said, exhaling.

She must’ve hit him damn hard for Pipsqueak to not even remember it happening. Pipsqueak struggled to retain his balance after his assisted fall, shaking his head to hopefully get rid of that ringing in his ears. “You’re not gonna get the jump on me this time, asshole!”

“Isn’t this how we met last time- Vex, was it?” Pipsqueak laughed, already winded. “What makes you think you’ll win this time?”

“Six pistols, bitch. Each one loaded with ball o’ lead with your name on it. I aim to kill this time.”

Pipsqueak tried to mask his fear. She wasn’t even trying to kill him last time? It sure felt like she did. She punched him in the left cheek last time and he could still feel pain each time he touched it. Even then, it was obvious they were both better fighters than he was, the only way he won last time was improvising. Unless something convenient happened right now, he won’t stand a chance.

Out of nowhere, a pair of orange forearms wrapped around Vex’s neck, and before she could even curse, the strange pony performed a flawless suplex and rammed the griffin’s head straight into the deck.

“Vex!” Patch screamed as he watched in horror. The strange pony stepped away, and ran to Pipsqueak. He didn’t speak, only nodding in the Captain’s direction, and facing the pirates once more. Vex had began to sit up, holding the split skin that now held its place on her skull.

“Gahhh... Fuck...” she said, phasing in and out of consciousness.

“Sorry about that, pretty griffin lady!” Drake yelled, holding a meek hoof up. Vex was taken aback at the out of place compliment and was strangely offended.

“You son of a...” She tried to protest but found herself in too much pain.

“Are you ready to give in, Patch?” Pipsqueak asked again, this time backed by Drake.

“Fuck off,” Patch spat, still kneeling by Vex. Pipsqueak frowned and turned to his friend.

“Blaze?” he asked.

“Yeah?” Drake beamed with enthusiasm

“Convince him.”

Drake’s face of enthusiasm fell when he understood what Pipsqueak meant. He turned absently at the two nearly hopeless pirates. They obviously wouldn’t go quietly. Drake only took one step before the unexpected happened.

A purple mass rammed into the ship, shaking the entire thing, knocking everyone off balance. Drake could have sworn some pink blip flew over his head. An ungodly roar sounded from this purple creature, one that chilled Pipsqueak’s sailors to the bones. As Drake stood, he couldn’t bring himself to believe his ears. The sound of disbelief ringing from Pipsqueak was staggering.

“You’ve got to be shitting me! They have a fucking DRAGON?!”

Drake picked himself up and now couldn’t believe his eyes. He was quickly running out of senses he could trust. Lo and behold, directly in front of him, there stood a very menacing, very surreal dragon. His position looked as if he was stalking prey, and he had one claw held out to swipe with. He bore large, ferocious teeth with fangs that looked like it could tear apart iron. He cautiously turned to Patch and quipped. “I see you’re in need of some assistance.”

“Yeah? No shit.” Patch shot back, letting loose a small grin.

Spike stared daggers at the orange pony, who was surprisingly not that shaken at seeing a dragon. In fact, he seemed more fascinated by it.

“WOAH!” Drake oozed, making everyone to stare at him in disbelief. “A DRAGON! Hahaha! AWESOME.” He giddily jumped and trotted in place with newfound energy. ”Amazing, amazing! I mean, I’ve always wanted to meet a dragon, or at least know about them, but there’s no books, there’s nothing, and I’ve always, always, I mean, and now I get to fight one!” Drake’s babbling really shook the entire dock’s view of Drake. He seemed so dangerous at first, but now? “Ooh ooh! What’s your name, huh?”

Spike jumped at the question, unprepared to be asked something so casually by the pony he was to face against. “Uhh... Spike.”

“Ooh, hoo! You have to to tell me everything! How were you born? When were you born? What do you eat? Where do you eat? What-”


Drake, his grin still taking up half his face, cocked his head innocently at Pipsqueak. “Yes?”

“He’s going to kill us,” Pipsqueak deadpanned, pointing at Spike.

“Oh, hehe, ‘course.” Drake smiled sheepishly, and slammed his hoof down in an attempt to act rationally again. “Mr. Spike, I’m Drake Blaze. I wish we could’ve met in more friendly circumstances...” He eyed the two pirates, the ship’s flag, and the assorted duels waging around them. “But you’re defending Pirates. I can’t condone that.”

“Hmph,” Spike grunted, lowering his head. There was something about this strange unicorn, something about his attitude, his confidence, that sent spike off. He wasn’t cocky, but he had this unshakable conviction the set him apart from all the others. He wouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating him. “I don’t care for your approval.”

Drake’s mood deteriorated into a cold stare. He was silent for few moments. “So be it. Pipsqueak? Back up.”

Pipsqueak did so without a word.

Slowly, heat formed Drake as the floor below him began to burn. Fire erupted in small areas in his vicinity, but nothing was charred or destroyed. The fire seemed to be contained, controlled. It erupted suddenly engulfing a small circle in flames in which Drake was the center. Spike backed up in confusion, and the two pirates on the ground left their mouths agape.

“That was certainly unexpected,” Spike admitted, eyes wide. He returned to his battle stance shortly after.

Drake looked damned serious, which was certainly a change from his shaky start. He inhaled and exhaled slowly, it almost seemed like he was breathing in the fire. “Right then... this’ll be an interesting conflict...” He reared himself, and ran.