Pirates of the Alicorn

Chapter 13: Friendship is Magic

When Dripfang finally regained consciousness and opened his eyes, his vision was incredibly blurry and all he could make out were a bunch of shapes squirming around him, suddenly he was met with a sound he had hoped never to listen to again.

"Welcome back my subject," said a distorted, echoed voice that Dripfang instantly recognised.

Quickly pulled himself up Dripfang found his vision coming back into focus, although what he saw next made him wish it was blurry again. He was standing in a dark, damp cavern filled with luminous green cocoons, a cavern he knew all too well. Turning his head towards the voice he heard, Dripfang was met with an even more horrifying sight, standing right beside him with an army of his own kind behind her was a pony with a twisted horn, a pair of tattered insect wings, a pair of fangs and wore a small, black crown atop her tatty green mane, it was Queen Chrysalis.

"Your… your majesty!" Dripfang squealed in fear as he bowed to her.

"Such devotion from my dear underling," Chrysalis smirked. "Even after all this time you still bow before me, you really shouldn't have been left behind, I see that now."

"W…why am I here?" Dripfang asked nervously. "W…where are my friends?"

"Who?" Chrysalis asked with a raised eyebrow. "Oh the pirates… well I'm afraid they are dead, slain by Vapora while still in their stone prison!"

Dripfang was instantly shocked and appalled to hear this.

"W…what?" he said, tears filling his eyes.

"Turns out Vapora thought it better they become nothing but rubble so she shattered them," Chrysalis continued. "She lied to you when she said that she would restore them of course. Forget them my underling, return to us, return to your hive."

As the words "return to us" echoed throughout the entire cavern, Dripfang simply stood there frozen on the spot, memories flooding his mind as he did. He thought back to when he first met his Captain, how he took him under his wing when he was found on that other ship after his fellow Changelings abandoned him, he never would have considered it then but that stallion soon became of the best friends one could ask for. Dripfang then thought of his other friends, his family on board the Golden Alicorn, the ponies who he shared grand adventures with, he remembered his games of Liar's Dice with T-Cog, tasting Big Rummy's food for the first time, he even remembered the moment when Jack Silver gave him the name of Dripfang after hearing that he didn't have one due to him being a drone in his old hive. Suddenly Dripfang snapped back into reality and anger began to flood his heart, all those memories, all those joyous events in his life, all that will not just be forgotten like that, he won’t let it.

"You lie," he growled under his breath.

“Excuse me?” Chrysalis asked curiously.

“YOU LIE!!!” Dripfang repeated, shouting in her face.

"You dare speak to your queen in such a manner?" Chrysalis asked angrily.

"I have NO queen!" Dripfang snapped. "I may have been bred in this hive but I refuse to return and become one of your mindless drones again! Captain Jack Silver and all the other ponies aboard the Golden Alicorn gave me more decency, compassion and affection than you can ever provide me. I may feed on love but those pirates give me something so much more powerful because they have been more of a family than you'll ever be! And I for one refuse to believe that they are dead!"

Needless to say Chrysalis grew angrier with every word Dripfang spoke.

"You would turn your back on your own kind to be with those mangy pirates!?!" she snapped. “You would turn your back on ME!?!”

"I WOULD turn my back on my own species and I would most certainly turn my back on YOU to be with my TRUE family!" Dripfang snapped back.

Suddenly something happened that Dripfang did not expect, Chrysalis and all the other Changelings began to laugh, in a matter of moments they all disappeared in a puff of blue smoke and Dripfang found himself once again losing consciousness.

#

When Dripfang finally awoke, he found himself back in the Chamber of Wonders surrounded by his friends, completely restored.

"What… what just happened?" Dripfang asked with a confused look.

"What happened?" Jack chuckled. "You passed the test that's what happened!"

"I…I passed?" Dripfang said with a slight smile.

"Indeed you did Master Changeling," Vapora said walking up towards the group. "Your loyalty to your family shows true character, well done."

Dripfang couldn't believe it, the whole time he actually believed that he was with his hive, but now seeing his true friends standing next to him and laughing with only made him realise how foolish he's been, he never felt so relieved. Finally Vapora spoke again.

"When one betrays his kin then he has no heart, it is only through Loyalty that he can truly have a heart."

And with that Vapora dissolved back into mere vapour and oozed back down the crack in the floor, leaving the group once again standing there in a daze as one of the statues opened up to reveal a hidden doorway.

"Alright my friends there is only one more test left to go," Jack said with a smile. "Onward!"

At those words Jack lead the group through the doorway, as he followed his Captain, Dripfang couldn't help but smile, never in his life had he been so glad to be with his friends.

#

As the last pony finally managed to squeeze through the doorway they found themselves in total darkness, it was so dark that they couldn’t see the path ahead of them. Suddenly the doorway sealed itself behind them, leaving everyone blinded, for it was so dark they couldn’t even see themselves. As they all stood there in the blackness the group couldn't help but feel terrified, they have now past five of the challenges and are most likely closing in on the last, with all the others past all that was left was the test of Magic. Standing there in the dark, Jack, Gem, and Twilight tried their best to provide some light with their horns but to no avail, everything was still pitch black.

"What kind of place is this?" Twilight asked in fear. "No matter how much light my horn produces, I can't see anything,"

"Yeah," Slash added as he puffed a small flame. "Not even my fire can light this darkness."

"I can't even see the floor in this place." Rarity said after tripping over Slash for the second time.

"Look I know it seems bad now but we have to keep moving," Jack reassured them. "We just have to keep moving forward."

"But we can't even see where forward is," Shimmer pointed out. "We could be going backwards for all we know."

"If we keeping moving in a straight line then there shouldn't be any problems," Jack explained. "If there's any more spirits in this place then we'll be ready for them, now to stop us from accidentally separating, every pony should grab hold of someone else’s tail so we could stay together."

Seeing this to be the best option, everyone felt the air in front of them until they some pony else in front of them, it took a while but everyone finally managed to get a straight line going with Jack taking the lead. As they walked aimlessly through the dark, keeping their pace slow as they moved, every pony's faith slowly began to deplete, Jack's especially. Suddenly Jack had an idea, what if the darkness WAS the test? The test of magic? So asking from assistance from Twilight, Rarity and Gem, Jack attempted some old spells he knew, first he tried a simple luminescence spell he learned in his youth then came the reversal spells from Twilight's knowledge of magic, soon came the fire spells which every pony knew had to be dangerous, however Jack found that out too late after getting the tip of his hat burnt off. Finally after what felt like hours of walking and spells they all stopped, too tired to carry on.

"Oh it's hopeless," Jack said with a sigh and sitting down. "We've been walking for hours and attempted so many spells and there's still no end to this darkness."

"Since when have you of all ponies been one to give up?" Shimmer asked.

"Since I've led you all to disappointment," Jack answered. "Let's face it, this is a lost cause."

"Don't say that Jack," Twilight said trying to reassure him. "We've come too close to stop now, there has to be a way…"

"Twilight I don't want to hear it!" Jack snapped. "It's over, we failed! I failed…all of you, all the promises I've made and they've all gone downhill… I failed you all."

As the group looked towards Jack with deep concern as he looked towards the ground in shame, they have come so close and now Jack is calling off the adventure? This wasn't the Jack they all knew. Finally Shimmer spoke up.

"Now you listen to me," she said sternly. "This is not the Jack Silver I was proud to call my Father!"

"Well maybe I'm starting to get too old to be the same Jack Silver!" Jack said in defeat.

But those words only made Shimmer angrier.

"Those are the words of a coward Father," she said. "And I know for a fact that you are no coward, this may not have been the result we were expecting from this adventure but we didn't fail… at least not yet. I know you can do something about this."

"But what can I do?" Jack asked picking himself up. "The only other spell I can do now is a portal spell to get us out of here, if I do that then the seventh Element of Harmony might never be found."

"So what?" T-Cog asked. "Jack we don't care about the seventh Element, personally I was just happy to go on another adventure with the stallion who changed me life."

"Yeah same here," Slash added.

"And me," Big Rummy said with a smile.

"And I for one was simply glad to find a true friend," Marina said. "I never cared for what we might find in here, I just enjoyed the time I spent with the one pony who was truly nice to me in years."

Hearing these words made Jack Silver gasp in awe for he couldn't believe his ears.

"I…I don't know what to say to that," he said.

"Don't say anything Jack," Gem said with a smile. "Shimmer's right we haven't failed yet."

"Yeah we still have some fight left in us," Rainbow Dash added.

Jack couldn't help but shed a tear of joy, even after all that they've been through every pony still believed in him.

"Thank you my friends," he said softly, "Thank you, this means a lot and even if we DO fail then at least we tried right?"

"Right!" every pony said in unison.

“You know what?” Jack continued. “The seventh Element is nothing compared to you all, you are the true treasure. We WILL make it out of this darkness, I promise you that.”

No pony may have expected it but Jack thought that due to the circumstances it was appropriate, thus he began to sing.

They say in every life, there must come a time,

One must go on faith

We cannot lose hope, we must not let go,

Take my hoof and we will find our way.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

Just you wait and see

There’s a place far away from all trouble

There’s a light, beyond the night, shining for you and me.

No pony knew why their Captain was singing but they didn't care, they were just glad to hear the happiness in his voice. Suddenly they noticed something, he could actually SEE Jack while he sang, in fact at that point every pony was able to see each other, the darkness was beginning to fade, Jack had found the solution. Suddenly with a smile Fluttershy took the next verse.

From this moment on, we must all be strong,

Don’t let them know our fear

Don’t need to be afraid, close your eyes and pray

Love will lead us all right out of here

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

Just you wait and see

There’s a place far away from all trouble

There’s a light, beyond the night, shining for you and me

The chamber all at once began to grow less and less dark, every pony could now see the ground beneath them and the walls behind them, proud to be among such friends, every pony finished the song together.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

Just you wait and see

There’s a place far away from all trouble

There’s a light, beyond the night, shining for you and me

Shining for you and me.

Finally as the song reached its end, the whole chamber was lit up and the darkness faded completely, leaving the group standing in the middle of a pure white shrine completely made of diamonds, in a way it looked as though it belonged in the Crystal Empire. If any pony would have mistaken a place for heaven then this would be it. Suddenly Jack started laughing.

"What’s so funny?" Twilight asked him.

"It wasn't simple magic tricks we needed to pass the test of Magic.” he answered happily. “It was something far more powerful than that.”

Twilight, being the wisest of ponies knew what Jack meant in an instant and gave him a gentle smile. However the others were still slightly confused so Twilight explained.

"There were clues in the previous trials," she said. "Each and every one of those tests had something in common… they had something to do with friendship. To pass the first test we needed to befriend a Kelpie, the second involved questions about how you felt towards those closest to you, Jack O' Lantern's test involved having fun with your friends, the next involved sacrificing a possession for the sake of your fellow travellers and need I say more about the test of Loyalty?"

At those every pony smiled in awe for he knew what Twilight was trying to say.

"It was the Magic of friendship we needed to use,” she continued. “And what better way to express that than with a song when we’re together?"

Hearing this every pony looked at each other with a tearful smile on their face, Jack especially, what he felt at this moment in time was so wonderful it was impossible to describe, finally he spoke.

"Hey, who ever said we were friends Princess?" he said. "Nay, we're more like a family."

At those words Twilight couldn't help but blush, in fact every pony felt the same way as her, each every one of them looked at each other with a look of pure joy in their faces, Big Rummy and Fluttershy couldn't help but look into each other's eyes despite Slash sitting on Big Rummy's back and feeling a little jealous, T-Cog placed his hooked leg around Applejack in a friendly manner, Jack however simply smiled back at his crew and felt a surge of pride. Finally Pinkie Pie spoke, the suspense getting too much for her to bear.

"GROUP HUG!!!" she shrieked as she pulled every pony in a tight squeeze.

As they all grouped together in a tight hug, huge surges of emotion filled the air, suddenly Rarity pointed something out.

"Wait a minute," she said. "If that was the test of Magic then… we past all of them, shouldn't the seventh Element be here?"

"Indeed it should," echoed an unseen angelic voice.

Instantly responding the group turned to the direction of the voice, there in front of them they saw another spirit only this one seemed more beautiful than all the others, she was a pure white Unicorn who shone as brightly as the Crystal Ponies themselves, with a flowing white mane that matched Celestia herself.

"Greetings dear ones," she said. "I wish to congratulate you dear travellers for you had passed every test that has been played before you, I am the Lady Amalthea,"

"Wait, THE Lady Amalthea?" Jack asked with a raised eyebrow. "The original Bearer of the Element of Magic?"

"But how is that possible?" Twilight added.

"My dearest brother was always the most compassionate of us," Amalthea explained. "With the love our family shared, he sacrificed his own extended life and passed its magic upon the rest of us, from then on we all grew to an age far beyond natural circumstances. In the last years of his life, my brother hid away his Element of Harmony and trusted numerous creatures to guard it, all of whom of which you've most likely met, I however volunteered for the task to provide the test of Magic once my spirit was free from my body. I trust this information is no surprise to you?"

"Only fragments," Jack answered. "But why only you? Why did the rest of your siblings not volunteer as well?"

"By then my siblings had families of their own," Amalthea continued. "After assisting in hiding the final Element of Harmony they all went back to their old lives to be with them, when they died they were already at peace, a feeling I'm sure you are quite familiar with Jack Silver, yes I know who you all are. Your arrival has been expected for quite some time now and I am happy to say that the wait has not been in vain, you have the other Elements of Harmony I presume?"

At those words Twilight and the rest of the Mane Six pulled the Elements of Harmony out of their satchels, causing Amalthea to smile.

"Then let it begin." She whispered as she suddenly began to fade away.

"Spells and Hexes are simply one way, but it is the magic of friendship that shall bless you all this day".

With those final words Amalthea disappeared completely and a small pedestal emerged from the centre of the floor, six smaller ones attached to its base. Instantly knowing what to do the Mane Six placed their Elements of Harmony on the smaller pedestals, the second the final one touched the surface a shimmering blue aura surrounded the entire structure, illuminating the entire shrine with it blinding light. Finally when the light faded and the group was able to see again they were met with a beautiful sight, there floating in the centre of the larger pedestal was a small stone orb pulsating with a beautiful white aura.

"Is.. is that what I think it is?" Rarity asked trying to shield her eyes from its brilliance.

"The seventh Element of Harmony," Twilight said with a smile. "We've found it."

"But who's ze Harmony Bearer?" Gem asked.

Suddenly as though it were reacting to Gem's words, the orb slowly floated away from the pedestal and towards the group, much to his own surprise it stopped in front of Jack and in another flash of light transformed into a Golden gauntlet encrusted with a green gem that matched his skull and cross-bone Cutie mark placed itself upon his hoof, leaving him baffled.

"Me?" he gasped. "But… but why?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Shimmer said with a smile. "It is you who represents it the most."

"Because you were the one who made our lives better Jack," T-Cog added. "Those of us who had nothing gained a new life when we joined your crew."

"And it's all because of you." Marina giggled.

"The Element of Hope," Twilight finished with a smile. "The very thing that drove the original Bearers into changing the world, the hope of something better. Congratulations Captain."

Needless to say Jack was taken aback by all of this, as he stood there seeing everyone give him a salute he couldn't help but feel confused, how could HE of all ponies be the Harmony Bearer? Granted it was true that he made certain crew member's lives better and he did give a few speeches that raised their spirits but half the time he would just simply mope around with stupid ideas in his head. Suddenly he realised something, if it was the Element of Hope then maybe it wasn't just the hope he gave his crew but the hope they gave him. All at once he remembered the times that HE was given hope, Twilight giving him the push he needed when Blackhorn fell overboard, Shimmer's words just a few minutes ago and every other time he needed comfort when the crew was happy to give it to him. As Jack looked back at the smiling faces of every pony he felt glad to be standing there with them, not once did they ever doubt him and he was glad to know it. Removing the gauntlet from his hoof and placing it in his pack, he now only had one thing to say.

"Let's go home,"

#

Needless to say there was so much happiness when the day finally came to a close and the sun began to set over the horizon, as Jack Silver's portal spell opened up and the group found themselves back on the beach just outside the entrance to the cave everyone couldn’t help but happily cheer.

"There's gonna be some celebrating tonight!" Slash said with a giddy grin.

"PARTY TIME!!!" Pinkie Pie added.

As they all trotted down the beach towards the longboat in singing “It’s a pirates life for me” Jack simply stood behind them and looked towards his ship on the ocean, only for his smile to turn into a look of concern, a look Twilight instantly noticed when turned her head.

"Are you okay Jack?" she asked walking back towards him.

"Of course I am," Jack answered. "It's just that… well things have now changed to something I never imagined, I once planned to return the seventh Element of Harmony to Equestria with the others but now that I'm it's Bearer I don't know what to do."

But at those words Twilight only gave him another smile.

"Do what you think is right Jack," she said. "You've always done it that way before."

Jack would have said something had he known what words to speak but Twilight simply walked ahead of him and into the longboat with the others, however he knew Twilight made a clear point he had always done what he thought was right in the past, granted his decisions weren’t always the best choice but he believed them to be right at the time, Twilight certainly did have the qualities of a princess, she always knew what to say.

“Thank you Twilight,” Jack said

Choosing not to press the matter further he followed Twilight back the longboat and clambered into it. As they moved closer towards the Golden Alicorn those on board the longboat talked amongst themselves.

"Do you really think they'll accept me?" Marina asked nervously, "It's that that I'm not sure about this."

"Hey if this crew can accept a Changeling, a dragon and a bunch of Diamond Dogs I think you'll be fine." T-Cog reassured her. "Besides I think they'll be too busy celebrating to even care what you look… why is it so quiet?"

Everyone then stopped rowing and listened, it was too quiet, too quiet for any pony's liking, there were no sounds from any of the crewmembers on board, not even a seagulls call could be heard. When the longboat finally reached the ship Jack was the first to speak.

"Ahoy up there!" he called. "We have returned!"

But there was neither a sight nor sound from anyone on board the ship and Jack didn't like that one bit. Suddenly everyone heard the flapping of wings and quickly turned their heads back up towards the ship to see a large red bird fly off the ship and towards the beach.

“Abandon Ship!” it squawked. “Abandon Ship!”

“Hey wasn’t that the Doctor’s parrot?” Applejack asked.

"Something's wrong," Jack said with a look of concern. "Stay here, I'm going to check."

Shimmer would have argued but Jack was already climbing up the ladder along the side of the ship and up onto the deck and he disappeared from sight, at first there was only silence but then all of a sudden those inside the longboat saw a flash of purple light and heard and ear-piercing scream.

"FATHER!!!" Shimmer screamed as she began to climb up the ladder.

Instantly reacting every pony followed Shimmer up the ladder and onto the deck towards Jack Silver's scream.


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