Among the many...

by Sexy Frog

First published

Among the many becoming the few. Curiosity becomes much more than bargained for...

Pepper Spice, a simple mare in 18th century Equestria seeking change. A meet with an adventurous noble who talks her into the life of adventure and discovery in a distant land, though things are not as they seem when the tides turn. The sea is a cruel mistress and she gives the luxury of mercy to no pony. How will she fare? Will she crack? Will others pay? (Feed back is encouraged. I also am willing to take event suggestions for the story. I drew the cover image myself.)

Chapter 1 - Set Sail

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The sea is no place for me…’ was the last thing that rang through her mind as she stared onto her disappearing home being swallowed up by the horizon like a predator gobbling its prey. The light of Celestia’s royal sun bathing the perpetual waves of blue leaving a mesmerizing streak of gold as if it were a phantom walk way. Despite the poetic beauty of the scene, Pepper Spice felt a piece of her heart break off at the thought of leaving Trottingham. Her family had come to see her off moments before; their eyes welled up with tears as they knew they may not see her for quite some time; maybe never again. She had made herself a personal promise not to cry. The robust wooden ship dubbed ‘Dawn Legionnaire’ sliced through the amber dyed waves of the early morn as the crew went about their routines of barking orders, heavy lifting, and various other nautical chores.

Pepper walked from the back of the ship, eyes glossy but holding back the tears as her hooves thudded on the aged wood of the sea faring vessel. As she continued she was abruptly stopped by a shabbily dressed male crew member who’s mane had been bleached a chalky white no doubt from many years at sea, his voice rather deep and raspy though holding back none of his sailors accent. “Oi, Miss Spice! The Cap’in be waitin’ for you in his private quarters. He be wishin’ to discuss yer tasks aboard the Dawn Legionnaire.” To which Pepper retorted, her higher pitched voice trembling hesitantly and sounding much more professional than the salty colt. “Umm…very well then,” she stopped for a moment as she looked about obviously lost. “And the Captains quarters would be…?”

The sailor pointed a hoof to the rear of the ship to a door underneath the steering wheel and then turned to leave her once being shouted at by a crew man near the mast. Pepper Spice turned to the door, taking a small nervous breath as her black and white blotched sides rose and fell almost as fast as her racing heart beat. Wondering what she would encounter in there was making her edgy. She knew her basic job already; she was to be a cook aboard the vessel for the crew though other than that she was clueless. Pepper began to look off towards the sea as a rumination began to dawn over her of the days she first considered being signed aboard the Dawn Legionnaire. Her life in Trottingham had become rather bland as the barmaid in the middle classed section of town but she didn’t really know what to do about it.

She wanted a bit of adventure, an air of change to spice things up though she wouldn’t have thought the sea would be where fate would bring her. She had just gotten out of work and was walking along the cobbled path to her home in the standard barmaid’s outfit she always wore, her lavender hair tied into pig tails which gave her a rather flirty appearance mainly to get better tips from googly-eyed colts or the occasional mare. As she walked contemplating her day of lustful glares and overly groped flank from the bars usual band of vulgar ponies she had begun to wander off course, her eyes dulled from being lost in thought as what seemed to be the wind began to guide her. Soon she was snapped out of it by the shrill laughter and squeals of fowls playing in a nearby yard of a well known noble mare named Opal Shine. The house just beyond the children seemed almost a relic of a more Victorian era, its pristine moldings and complimenting grape vines draping the manor in a gentle hug. As Pepper Spice watched them play with an air of contempt, one of them spotted her in her skimpy uniform, calling to the others.

Soon the presence of the stranger was known by all the children and they stopped, eyeing her warily. The mood became awkward as they simply stared, Pepper felt her stance become sheepish only to notice that the day had sunk into a tantalizing scarlet with the setting sun. She was about to turn to go on her way when the door to the illustrious domain creaked open as a hot-blooded and assertive command reverberated from inside. “Young colts and fillies, get inside this instant or-“The shout was cut short as the crystal blue eyes of a mare met with Pepper Spice’s dull chartreuse ones. She was a noble, this much was obvious since her periwinkle mane was so elegantly prepared even at this hour and her voluptuous figure was wrapped in a regal rose pink dress with blue frills about it. The mystery mare raised an eyebrow asking in a sophisticated and polite manner. “Who have we here, dears?” One filly in particular simply shrugged answering with half the high class accent that the noble spoke with. “We dunno, miss. She right out came from nowhere…” Pepper figured it was about time for her to speak up. “Oh, I was on my way home that’s all, but…” She paused as she looked about where she had wandered and then flattened her ears timidly. “I seem to have gotten a bit lost.”

The noble raised a hoof to her mouth in an over dramatic silent gasp and squeaked. “Oh you poor thing, you simply must come inside. You will catch a cold out there!” Pepper’s brow furrowed a bit as she thought it over. She wasn’t a pony to trust others all willy nilly.

“Umm, that’s okay I’m fine. I’m sure I’ll find my way…”

“That simply will not do, I insist you stay at least until the morning!”

“Oh you really don’t-” To which Pepper Spice was cut off.

“Ah ah, I will hear no more of it! You are staying here and that is final. It is the very least I may do.” The mare pressed on as she strode through the yard, stopping behind Pepper and began butting her rump with her head to push her inside.

‘Thank Celestia she isn’t a unicorn…’ Thought Pepper as she was shoved through the yard to the door. Even she who wasn’t the most easily trusting pony couldn’t say no to hospitality; especially the forced kind.

“Miss Spice? Ahem…Miss Spice? Oi, Pepper!” shouted a familiar masculine voice as she shook her black and white furred head to snap out of her dream state. The same rugged colt sailor from before was in front of her as she starred at him with her eyes searching his worried face. “You okay?” Once Pepper finally recovered she answered. “Y-yes, I was just thinking that’s all. Terribly sorry, I’ll go see the Captain now.” The sea savvy pony nodded, though still with an expression of worry and left her to continue his duties. As Pepper turned, she trudged over to the wondrously carved door of the Captain’s quarters, the carvings seeming to be etched into the wood during a near antediluvian era. She smacked a hoof against the door lightly before a high pitched voice rang from inside sounding familiarly proper but particularly irritated...

Chapter 2 - Barings...

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Yes, yes come in! Hurry it up!” hollered the voice from inside. Pepper wondered for a moment if she should perhaps come at another time but her mind was quickly changed when the voice lashed out again sounding a more cross. “Well? I’m busy you lout! Come in!” Pepper pushed the door ajar and walked in, scoping the interior. The cabin was honestly not too shabby she had to admit, its redwood walling and expensive looking marble finished flooring. Another door was on the opposite end of the room most likely leading to the bedroom portion of the cabin. Several expertly stroked paintings lined the walls along with a few hoof cannons. There was a bay window on the left side of the Captains quarters overlooking the blue abyss with a writer’s desk just before it with the figure of a pony hunched over a paper, a quill in her mouth. As Pepper approached, her hooves made a faint clicking sound on the marble and the pony asked without even bothering to look up her tone as stern as before. “What could you possibly want? I am very busy!” Pepper opened her mouth but nothing came out as her pupils dilated a bit from fear. She had to admit, the Captain’s tone was pretty intimidating. “I do not have all day, are you going to talk?” lifting her head abruptly while still going on. “Or am I going to- oh! Pepper, darling! I thought you were a crew man. I didn’t frighten you did I?” asked the Captain who’s tone faded from stern to more apologetic, her voice becoming more feminine and sophisticated than when angry. Pepper Spice replied her pupils still wide from fright, “Not too much…”

The Captain apparently didn’t pick up on it and continued on with a sigh of relief. “Good, good. Anyhow, welcome aboard the Dawn Legionnaire, Pepper, I had been meaning to speak with you! You do remember what I told you your job would be when you agreed to come aboard, yes?” proposed the dashing mare of a captain with a smile as she rested her cheek on her hoof with interest. “I was supposed to be a cook for the crew, right?” inquired Pepper, tilting her head in question. The Captain began to beam, as a mischievous glint shined in her flawless blue eyes. She lifted herself from her seat, her demeanor becoming much less regal and much more like that of an adventurer especially since her clothing had finally been revealed. As she simpered, Pepper’s chartreuse peepers began to size her up. She certainly had the look of an adventurer with her loose but sporting white blouse with ruffles about the chest piece and her cutie mark in full view it being an expensive looking tea cup. “That’s not all, Pepper dear. You are from here on out my First Mate!” exclaimed the mare who was bustling with excitement so much so that it looked like she might pop. “Head of the crew and first in command, just under myself of course.”

“But Captain-” began the pepper furred mare

“Captain this Captain that, that’s all I hear all day Pepper! You know my name, use it for Celestia’s sake!” moaned the Captain her ears flattened and scowling with annoyance to which Pepper Spice corrected herself with a meek sigh.

“But Opal…I-I don’t know how to be a First Mate! I mean this isn’t even a pirate ship…do you even need one?”

“Do I even need one? Do I even need one?! Of course I need one, Pepper! Every ship has a First Mate, why should mine be an exception?” Opal remarked lifting a hoof to her cheek moodily and put on a pouting face after sighing. “I thought you would have liked the position…”

Pepper Spice may not have known Opal Shine for too long but she knew her well enough to know when a guilt trip was coming on. “I’m not saying that Opal, it’s just-” began Pepper meekly only to have Opal interject midsentence. “Oh so you do want to be my First Mate? How delightful!” squeaked the Captain who had brightened up from her false state of sadness, her eyes gleaming with anticipation. As Pepper opened her mouth to protest Captain Opal quickly strode across the room to the door leading out. “You’ll have to excuse me Pepper, I’m over due to address the crew.” Was the last thing she said before walking out at a brisk pace to avoid any further nay sayings from her newly christened First Mate.

Pepper Spice soon followed behind her, as she left the Captains quarters she finally noticed the sound of churning water. The time she had been outside they had been on relatively calm waters but it seemed that after she entered the cabin they struck a rough patch. She hadn’t heard a peep until she walked out. When she stood outside, the neatly carved door closing behind her she looked about for Opal who was nowhere in sight. All she saw was the labor of the crew, the spraying sea foam spitting on the deck, and the now deep orange sky. It was only after she heard the creak of something above her did she realize where the Captain had gone. Opal had gone to the wheel of the ship now steering it confidently, though Pepper had a feeling she was only doing so playfully while the Navigator was charting the course on the map not too far away. As Pepper climbed up the short flight of oak stairs she heard the creaking of the steering wheel halt and Opal’s voice assertively echo about the ship. “Crew of the Dawn Legionnaire gather ‘round! The Captain has an announcement for you!” shouted Opal, her nobles’ accent seeming to dissipate. “As you know our very own Miss Spice has joined aboard our lovely vessel!” This was met with acknowledging murmurs from the nautical colts and mares down below on the deck. “I’d like to announce to you that apart from being the cook of the ship, Miss Spice will also be my acting First Mate!” announced Opal finally her face not with a smile but more of an unreadable expression.

Pepper Spice finally reached the steering wheel when she saw the crew glanced at one another unsure, this decision obviously was as much of a surprise to them as it was to herself. “Also, it’s about time I told you all where we’re headed…” the captain turned to the Navigator with a short nod and as if an unspoken order was given the course the course charting pony rolled up what was on the table and scooped it into the grasp of her teeth. As the Navigator walked over to stand next to Opal, his mane tucked under a rather interesting cartographers hat as well as sporting a well fitted nay blue coat. He gave a little cough to clear his throat and once in position he announced briefly but clearly, “I am the Dawn Legionnaire’s Navigator, Tracey. As ordered by the Captain Shine I have plotted out our course to our…” he paused as he bit down on the end of the map and tossed his head forward, sending the other end over the Oak railing dividing the steering wheel from the deck below so the crew could see before continuing, the map held in his lips contorting his words. “We ‘ead fur unknown land, ‘rom the contacts e’ve recived this is a ‘ocation ‘eaded to by meny…”

Pepper raised an eyebrow at his speech as she listened but did not comment only glancing at Opal whose face was still unreadable and then back to Tracey. The navigating pony went on for several long minutes (or possibly even an hour, Pepper was never had a good grasp of time but it was a rough estimate) about how much of an honor it would be if they were to discover something out there and the money it would bring in to the crew. The sailors, who had been a bit distant at first, appeared to really warm up to the idea; especially the money part. Once the announcement had ended, everyone began to stream into the lower deck as the evening began to melt into a starry night and the humid sea air turned into a foggy broth as if the clouds had fallen to kiss the endless blue. ‘Looks like its dinner time.’ Thought Pepper as she saw the deck empty out and hustled down to the kitchen where as the head cook she had several crew members scurrying about helping her prepare the meal for the starving sailors. Pepper Spice walked down and the cooking volunteers who hadn’t been on deck saw her for the first time, their jaws nearly dropped. Pepper knew she was an attractive mare at least from what others back at the Trottingham bar would always insist on, but she didn’t think that highly of herself and felt rather uncomfortable about being gawked at.

With her black and white blotched coat that granted her the name ‘Pepper Spice’, her light violet hair wrapped into an easily maneuverable pony tail and her usually timid chartreuse eyes reflecting the flames from the ship’s stoves she never really felt all that. Though the one thing she was proud of was her cutie mark that she earned as a little filly helping her mother in an old family owned shop that sold food which was a pepper shaker on the left being tipped over, accompanied by a salt shaker on the right mirroring the other’s action. ‘Time to cook...’ she thought as she took a deep breath and began her duty, telling the others what to do, how much to add, and making sure they did it right as she also worked on her own components to the meal. Once it was done she and the cooks brought it out to the crew who had been drinking their pints and hollering merrily without a care in the world. Once she placed their meals in front of them they all ooo’d and aah’d in wonderment and dug in without a moment’s notice.

“Lights out, off to bed with the lot of you!” shouted Opal once every pony had finished. Her proper British accent making it sound more like a suggestion than a command but everyone knew what she meant. She soon strode over to Pepper who had been just finished tidying up the kitchen of the ship and called to her with an amused tone. “I hope the boys did not give you too rough of a time.”

“Not really, they were actually pretty tame. I’ve been through worse back in Trottingham at the bar.” Remarked her First Mate casually. “Off to bed then?”

“Right. You are more than welcome to stay in my quarters, Pepper dear. First Mates don’t have a separate cabin as far as I know.”

“I’d like that, thank you Opal.”

To which the Captain nodded and turned, treading as light as a feather over to her quarters. Pepper soon followed once the rustling of the crew settling down in the lower decks subsides. She pushed the antique door open with a hoof and walked into the room she had been in earlier that was so elegantly furnished but this time saw the other door on the opposite wall was now open, the flicker of candle light inside. Pepper poked her head through the door way to see Opal who had already sunk into a green night gown. The room around her was much how she expected it to be, breath taking. The bed was a queen sized with wondrous looking silk sheets and a masterfully hoof-stitched quilt large enough for three, maybe four ponies at once. The bed also had a nice wood framing in which curtains were held from. There was a rectangular dresser with a mirror above it against the right wall and two ebony nightstands on either side of the bed, one having a lit candle on it, the flame dancing seductively as if luring in a mate.

“Wait, am I sleeping in the same bed as you?” asked Pepper in a perplexed manner, one of her ears up and the other down.

“Well,” Began Opal as she looked around. “Unless you plan to sleep on the floor…then yes. Is that a problem?” ended the Captain with a seductive look.

Pepper reacted to the look with shocked puzzlement. “Oh…oh my, I-I um…” she stuttered, her face nearly flushed bright red as her eyes jetted about the room for another alternative.

Opal simply placed a hoof innocently to her lips and giggled, “Calm down, Pepper, it’s only a joke. You are more than welcome to sleep in the bed with me, I am not like that.” She reassured her First Mate with the cheekiest of grins before slipping under the quilt.

After a few moments hesitation and an impatient glare from Opal Shine, Pepper decided to risk it and join her. As she crawled under the blanket and snuggled in the thick fluff Captain Shine blew out the candle and all went black. Opal had finally shuffled into a comfortable position and almost instantly drifted to sleep, leaving Pepper laying there staring into darkness. She rewound her entire day in her mind over and over again wondering if she made the right choice coming aboard, but her thoughts were cut short as she was inevitably lulled to the loving embrace of slumber by a combination of the ships gentle rocking motion and the comforting body heat radiating off of her bed mate, Opal.

Chapter 3 - Into the Blue

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In the midst of the blankness of sleep an image began to paint itself in Pepper’s mind. She had just been shoved through the door of the noble’s home after the young foals had scurried inside as commanded. The blue mare walked from behind her and stopped in the center of the room stopping in front of a grand staircase and looking back at her. Pepper looked about the room for a moment inspecting the mahogany painted walls accented with crown molding with several original paintings of various fancy ponies and beautiful sceneries, the walls lit every couple of feet with candles. “Come, let me show you to the guest room before supper Miss…?” she ended questioningly. “Spice, Pepper Spice.” She corrected her host with a polite smile. “Right then, follow me Miss Spice.” Nodded the mare before heading up the wooden stairs, her hoof steps muffled by the carpet along the center with Pepper soon in toe. Once they pair made it down the lengthy hallway they stopped right in front of a closed door that the noble mare pointed to.

“Here we are Miss Spice; this is where you shall be staying while with us. I am Opal Shine by the way.” Stated her profound new acquaintance before pushing the door open and revealing the interior that was similar to her bedroom of the Dawn Legionnaire.

“Thank you very much, Miss Shine.” said somewhat admirably as she was in the presence of such a prestigious pony.

“Not a problem, would you like a fresh night gown to change into dear?”

Pepper looked down at her barmaid’s uniform with a bored expression…she was going home in the morning and she didn’t really want to use what wasn’t hers. “That’s okay ma’am, you don’t have to-” she began.

“Are you sure?” insisted Opal with a generous smile. “We have plenty; you can have this one if you wish.”

“No, really, I’m fine.” She said flatly

Opal Shine finally yielded but walked into the room, placing the nightgown on the dresser. “Supper will begin in about twenty minutes, you are more than welcome to join us.” she ended finally before turning back and disappearing down the hall. Pepper figured she should at least change out of her uniform into something more presentable just to be courteous. She walked in the room and opened a drawer with a hoof and wasn't surprised to find it stocked with various articles of clothing. She slipped out a cyan dress with magenta streaks along it and trotted to the lavatory to gussy up.


The bell signaling dinner chimed melodically through the halls of Opal's manor. Pepper Spice soon descended the stairs in the cyan dress she found before, with her hair styled in curls and her coat brushed well. She soon crossed the hall into the dining room that had a long table topped with a silk table cloth and various silverware and containers. Several ponies sat along either side of the table and there was a single seat left open next to Opal just for her. The herds of ponies were all casually conversing with one another while a hesitant Pepper Spice strode to her seat and placed herself down. After a while of conversation across the table the chefs brought out grand looking wheat grass and rosemary stew for an appetizer as all the ponies smiled with approval. Pepper may have been the daughter of a middle class family but her mother taught her how to handle herself with well-mannered company. She managed to make her way through the banquet all the way to desert which was a delicious looking apple pie. “So Miss Spice,” began the elegant blue furred mare. “What is it you do?”

Pepper hesitated at first but came out with it. “Well, I’m a barmaid at the Rusted Anvil in the western end of Trottingham.”

Miss Shine kept her eyes on her plate not really taking much interest in the conversation but trying to make idle small talk to be polite. “Oh? Do you enjoy your profession?”

“Well…not really,” she started strongly but trailed off sheepishly once she saw Opals head rise and her eyes look at her with keen interest.

“Really now, why is that?” she asked curiously, her chin now resting on a hoof.

“Umm, it’s just that I never really wanted to be an order taking mare in a pub scurrying about delivering ale. I wanted to be more of a cook ever since I was a filly but things went a bit off course, you could say.
“Hmm…” was the only comment that came from Opal as she kept her eye trained on her with great interest as if she were some kind of gem.

Supper had now ended and everypony either went home or to their rooms including Pepper. She placed a hoof over the strap on her shoulder as she stood in front of the mirror in her room on her hind legs and slowly slid it off, the dress falling into a crumpled heap around her ankles. She just stood there, a statue in the room staring at her naked self in the mirror. Of course on normal occasions ponies were always naked but from her constant use of clothing at work being naked actually felt like being naked. She glanced at the night gown that Opal had set on the dresser earlier and then figured that she might as well make use of it so she slipped it on and huddled under the covers of the bed after blowing out the candles.

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Light streamed through a port hole of the ship over the large bed of the Captain quarters for the fiftieth time on their course to the promise land. They had been at sea for almost two months as Pepper lay upon the floor of the room with a leather bound journal in front of her and a snow white gull feather quill held firmly in her mouth, its tip a faded black. First Mate Spice had taken to keeping a log soon after being given her position of First Mate so she could be more organized. She hadn’t liked her job at first- well, who was she kidding? She still didn’t like her job, but she learned to do it.

‘First Mate Pepper Spice’s private logs – June 17th 1875

It has been many weeks since we departed from Trottingham to the promise land. Opal says that many have gone there and always came back with something, whether it is riches or uncharted land. I was a bit skeptical at first and I must admit, I still kind of am but this is a nice change from bar work at that Celestia forsaken pub! During the sail we’ve lost a few good ponies, and we gave them a sailor’s burial. One was Kelp Thatch, the first to go from falling over board. We tried to save him but the sharks got to him first, I just couldn’t look. Next was Reed, and his death wasn’t the prettiest. During the first month he died of sea sickness…he had been getting queasy a lot but after a while he couldn’t hold anything down and he basically died of dehydration. Last was Lebon Mire, a brave mare she was but got smashed by a falling anchor. Worst part about her death is that she didn’t die right away…

All’s well aside from those casualties, we’re still a dozen strong not counting Tracey, Opal and me so plenty of work still gets done. We’re getting closer to the promise land, I don’t know what we’ll find but whatever it is I hope it’s friendly; there’s been enough death for one voyage.’

She ended her sentence with a sigh as she placed her quill down and stared at her neat cursive penmanship. “Best I get to work; the crew isn’t going to manage themselves.” Pepper told herself hastily as she walked toward the cabin door. Once she was out a smile crept across her muzzle as she inhaled the sea air. It had become so familiar to her over the past two months almost like home. The crew was already working about, pulling ropes, adjusting sails and keeping watch as they already knew the drill but Pepper learned it didn’t hurt to throw in a motivating shout here and there. “Come on, hurry it up! This ship isn’t going to maintain its self!” She shouted throwing her usual accent to the wind and inviting a very nautical one instead. The crew did exactly that and sped it up. Captain Shine soon descended the stairs from the steering wheel and stood next to her black and white friend.

“You have gotten surprisingly good at your job, Pepper. I’m impressed.” She mused with a cheeky grin.

“Why thank you. I try.” Pepper retorted with a triumphant look.

“You know, we are almost-“began Opal Shine as she looked at Pepper but cut off as she stared into the distance with wide eyes. At first Pepper stared at the Captain quizzically, waving a hoof in front of her eyes but then soon followed her gaze. In the distance was something she hardly expected to see, especially in Equestrian seas. A few miles out, Pepper could make out a rather sizeable galleon but one feature stood out more than any other. The banner of Stalliongrad!

Chapter 4 - Stalliongrad Menace part 1

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A quick gasp shot from both Pepper and Opal as they spotted the ship, it couldn’t be Stalliongrad. If they were in Equestrian waters then they were in violation of the Treaty of Sacamoore in 1872 after the Battle for Sacamoore. Pepper galloped across the deck to the base of the mast and shouted up to the pony in the lookout post. “Sailor, I want a visual on that ship right now! What do you see?!” Hollered Pepper frantically her ears pressed back from worry. The sailor held a brass telescope up to his eye with two hooves and quickly reported in as he looked. “Aye Miss Spice, it be a Stalliongrad Navy vessel!” exclaimed the colt from above but then pauses as he took another look. “They don’t look mighty friendly neither.” he ended with a hate filled snarl. “Toss down the telescope now!” commanded First Mate Spice with a tone so serious she almost sounded like another pony. The sailor nodded and quickly dropped the telescope down for Pepper to catch.

Once it was in her hooves he lifted it to her eye and looked over the sea. There was no question. That was definitely Stalliongrad! Stalliongrad was a rival region of Equestria who competed with it in almost everything. They had been allied once for the sake of prosperity but things quickly grew sour between the two nations after rogue Stalliongrad soldiers massacred a settlement in western Equestria thus leading to the seven year long war between the two that ended in Stalliongrad’s surrender at the Battle of Sacamoore. “All hooves on deck! Arm the cannons and brace your selves, fillies and gentlecolts! We might be going into battle!” shouted Captain Shine at the top of her lungs her expression now deathly stern. The crew ran about like headless chickens making preparations for battle, better safe than sorry.

“Go oversee the preparations, Pepper. We need to be ready!” commanded Opal who had turned to First Mate Spice and then added. “After come see me, we need to arm you…you know how to use a blade do you not?”

“W-well, my father taught me a little in Trottingham before he passed.” Pepper managed.

“Good enough. Get moving!”

Pepper quickly took off scurrying around the lower and upper decks making sure the cannons were being loaded and the sailors were armed for possible battle. “Move! Stalliongrad will be here any moment! Let’s hurry, ponies!” she shouted, her voice echoing across the ship. Pepper raced to the steering wheel and looked over yonder to where they last saw the vessel. ‘Stalliongrad draws near…’ thought Pepper frantically. It was true, they neared a few miles since the last spotting and she could make out the ship much better. The ship was made of robust sandalwood and had several hooves on deck. There was one pony in particular who looked the most decorated out of them all from what she saw; she guesses that was the captain. He was looking right this way. He intended on coming here. As the galleon neared she could make out the name of the ship, ‘The Equine Assault’.

Pepper soon rushed to Opal’s quarters as ordered. When she burst in, Opal was standing beyond her writer’s desk, looking out the bay window; she was standing on her hind legs and had her fronts legs placed calmly behind her back. “Opal?” called Pepper as she saw the Captain. Captain Shine turned around at her call and then replied. “Ah Pepper, over there on the desk is all you’ll need. Take it and go out, we have a battle to fight.” Said Opal in a neutral tone her face still stern yet calm. Pepper had never seen her friend Opal this way, this was a first. Opal had always been carefree, kind and bit flirty towards her but never serious. Then again it was the eve of battle but she expected her to be more nervous than so calm. She strode over and quickly took her effects from the desk.

Suddenly a low explosion sounded off in the distance and seconds later was accompanied by a loud crash aboard the Dawn Legionnaire and the shrieks of the crew! Pepper and Opal rushed outside to see a good chunk of the ships railing gone and a heavy iron ball lying against a wall just under a splintered dent in the wood. “They fired on us, ma’am! No warning!” exclaimed one of the sailors frantically as the rest of the crew continued loading their own cannons. “All hooves on deck, ready the cannons!” hollered Pepper, her eyes morphing into revenge hungry slits. She drew her sword in her mouth and waited for the crewmen to point cannons at The Equine Assault. Then a chain of explosions came from the enemy galleon as black dots in the distance grew larger and ever closer. “Look out!” shrieked a mare from the crew. “Cannon fire!” All the ponies scattered and jumped out of the way just as the barrage of iron made contact. Some of them landed in the water but some of them struck, spraying splintered wood about and filling the air with the sound of screams and smashing timber. Once all the ponies recovered, Pepper quickly pointed her blade out to sea and she shouted angrily. “FIRE!!!”

All at once the cannons fired, sending ear shattering booms echoing through the blue yonder as their own cannon balls hurdled toward the Stalliongrad menace. During the onslaught, the navy vessel had come a few miles closer so it made hitting them a lot easier. Pepper looked on in triumph as several holes were punched in the side of their ship but that feeling was short lived as another round of return fire was delivered! “Return fire!” shouted a faint but angry voice from the other ship. Another wave of cannon fire sailed toward the Dawn Legionnaire as The Equine Assault kept coming strong. This time most landed direct blows as she heard the shattering of wood from down below and the smashing of glass. Once she stood she looked around the ship to make sure everyone was okay. Thankfully, aside from a few cuts and bruises all was well. The galleon had grown much closer in such a short amount of time; its speed was almost legendary. It continued to close in, now only a mile away! She could almost hear the attacking crew’s hollering. “Another round!” Screamed Pepper over the enemy noise her voice crackling from the volume.

Again they loaded and fired and it struck but did nothing to stop the rocketing vessel, it was still coming as strong as ever! The Stalliongrad Navy fire ceased abruptly and Pepper’s heart sank as she saw their ship a few yards away now able to clearly see the scowling faces of the infantry. Combatants on both sides drew their swords as burly colts from The Equine Assault plopped down sturdy wooden planks to connect the two ships. The time for battle had come! The two factions clashed in an explosion of slashing metal and blood as each pony, colt and mare were locked in combat. Pepper barely knew what hit her as a large colt with a blue bandana on his head barreled into her, causing all the air in her lungs to disappear. She met the floor, and tumbled down the stairs. She barely had time to recover before that brute was on top of her again, his sword held menacingly in his teeth. He lifted the blade high in the air and then swung it down with all his might. Pepper managed to lift her sword in the way just in time and parry the attack, though the blow made her teeth ache. She scrambled to her hooves and the fight was on, even the muscular colt knew it.

They circled one another ominously for a moment as the sounds of combat and clashing metal sounded off all around them. The colt was first to strike, he lunged his blade towards her neck to which she moved out of the way of with much effort. But that wasn’t the end of his barrage, swiftly he sent another slash towards her side that she dodged also but the blow managed to graze her side. Pepper winced as blood trickled from the cut but kept her ground; this time she was on the offensive!

She quickly stabbed forward as he began to move back from his recent attack. The colt simply jumped back with ease. Pepper took a quick step forward and slashed at his hooves. As the slash came, the sailor simply lifted his hoof so that the blade stuck the bottom and metal met metal seeing as he had on horse shoes! ‘Great…he’s got metal on his hooves!’ though Pepper frantically. Then suddenly a memory passed through her. ‘That’s it! It’s perfect!’ she thought to herself slyly but the colt was having no distractions as he lunged for her again which she blocked with a slap from her blade. Once she had the chance she quickly spun on her back legs and ran towards the Captains quarters, the burly Stalliongrad Navy pony following suit!

To be continued…