Chapter 2: Setting Sail
In Ponyville the devastation had finally seemed to reach its end, the invaders’ cart had been loaded up to the brim with a sorts of valuables and almost every single Ponyville citizen was now either bound together in ropes or injured by the invaders, only Rainbow Dash seemed to be left as she faced Dripfang and T-cog in an aerial fight in the sky.
"Alright you punks!" she snapped as the slowly edged their way closer to her. "This is how it’s going to go down, you are going to let those ponies go and give all that stuff back or am I going to have to bust some heads?"
But that statement only made the two laugh.
"Oh this just keeps getting better and better," Dripfang snickered.
"If you're going to threaten us lass, then you have to do a lot better than that." T-Cog added. "The Pegasus with the pink hair was more intimidating than you and I managed to stuff her in a toffee barrel and roll her down a hill."
Knowing that T-Cog was in fact talking about her friend Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash flew into a fit of rage. She then lunged at T-Cog with full force and began to deliver a few tremendous aerial punches and kicks before Dripfang intervened.
"Oh I don't think so missy," He said as he pulled Rainbow dash off his comrade and threw her straight down.
One massive impact to the ground later, and Rainbow Dash couldn't even move due to being unconscious. It looked as though T-Cog and Dripfang would have continued to beat her to a pulp but were stopped by the leader of the invaders.
"Alright that's enough!" She said. "You boys had your fun, now we got to get going! So get your skinny hindquarters to the cart now!"
"Aye-Aye Shimmer," they both said simultaneously as they flew off towards the cart.
Shimmer stood there for a moment looking down at the unconscious Pegasus before her, gazing at her bruised body she couldn't help but sigh.
"Such a shame," she said. "This one certainly had courage."
Before long, almost every single one of the invaders were gathered in the town square with their cart full of stolen goods, as the captive ponies stared at them in fear they noticed that they weren't doing anything, it was almost as if they were waiting for something.
"Thank you all for your hospitality dear citizens!" Shimmer called out as she stood on top of the cart. "Don't worry about any injuries my comrades have inflicted upon you, they will all heal in time. I am just so glad that we were able to spend some time to get acquainted but sadly all things must come to an end, rest assured your valuables will be put to good use, in fact you could say that they are all going to a better place…”
“Yeah, like our wallets!" one Diamond Dog chirped in.
At those words every one of the invaders, including Shimmer burst out laughing.
"We would certainly love to stay and chat but I'm afraid the time has come for all of us to take our leave, and don't bother trying to follow us, our method of traveling is going to be a little different than the usual escape route and speaking of which...."
Just as Shimmer finished speaking, the clock tower began to strike noon, by the last chime rang a portal of magical blue light opened up behind the invaders.
"Farewell my friends!" Shimmer called out as Big Rummy and Dripfang pulled the heavy cart with ease through the portal, the rest of the invaders following. "I hope we meet again soon! In fact if you're ever on the high seas, do send us a letter…oh and before I forget, Captain Silver sends his regards, cheerio!"
And this that final word, the portal closed and the invaders were gone.#
It had been an hour since the Unicorn named Jack Silver had cast his spell, finally Twilight and every pony else were able to move again. As Twilight looked in terror at the now empty vault.
"I…I can't believe it," she said. "How is this even possible?"
"The Elements of Harmony are mysterious things Twilight Sparkle" Luna replied. "Nether our sister or we even know of their full power. As such they have been known to draw the attention of the most sinister of rouges. But don't despair Twilight, we WILL get the Elements back. The first thing we must do is to send word to Celestia about this immediately."
"There will be no need," said a majestic voice from behind the two Alicorns. "I am already here."
Turning their heads, Twilight and Luna gazed at the one whose voice they heard, a tall shining white Alicorn wearing golden royal garments. This was Princess Celestia.
"Sister!" Luna gasped. "You've returned."
"Indeed," Celestia answered. "Neigh Orlands can handle its own celebrations for now, when I received word from one of the messengers saying that the vault had been broken into I came back straight away."
"Princess Celestia, the Elements of Harmony… their gone." Twilight explained.
At those words, Celestia gave Luna and Twilight a stern look.
"Tell me everything." She said.
"It was a Unicorn sister," Luna explained. "Somehow he was able to use powerful magic to immobilise the guards and us, so we were unable to move, are they alright sister? Did you see them when you came in?"
"They are fine," Celestia reassured them. "They regained the use of their bodies just as I arrived, please continue Luna."
"Well…" Luna continued. "After he immobilised Twilight Sparkle and I he somehow managed to break into the chamber where we keep the Elements of Harmony using some kind of magic and stole them, he then used some kind of Portal Magic and disappeared."
"Portal Magic?" Celestia said with a puzzled look. "No pony has used Portal Magic in years, every pony felt it was too complicated and preferred to use teleportation spells. Did he say anything before he left, did he perhaps mention anything we can use to identify him."
"Well…he did say to tell you hello," Twilight said nervously as she scratched her head. "And he also said that his name was Captain Jack Silver, does that mean anything?"
But the look on Princess Celestia's face showed that the name was familiar to her and it wasn't something she liked.
"Sister?" Luna asked.
"Luna, Twilight, come with me." Celestia answered.
After leading them back to the library, Princess Celestia began to rummage through the stacks of books, particularly in the historical section. Suddenly she found what she was looking for, an old leather bound book that looked at least a few years old, after scrolling through several pages, Celestia found the page she was after.
"Is this the Unicorn you met?" she asked.
As Luna and Twilight gazed at the page that Celestia was referring to, there painted in oil colours was a wanted poster with a displayed sketch of a dark blue Unicorn with a silver and red beard and wearing a dirty brown hat.
"Yes! That's him!" Twilight Sparkle said as she continued to read the page. "Jack Silver: The most feared pirate on the high seas, after many years this Pirate Captain has sunk and robbed many ships and towns and has been rumoured to have slain innocent ponies in cold blood. Sailors are usually wary whenever they sail the ocean as they fear that Jack Silver may attack their ship from his own vessel known as the 'Golden Alicorn'. Nothing is known about Jack Silver's past, only that he is rumoured to have been so evil that the underworld spat him back out…"
From that point Twilight couldn't read another word for she was too mortified to even speak.
"Sister, why would a pirate go through so much trouble as to steal the Elements of Harmony?" Luna asked. "Surely he knows that they would be too important to be sold on some black market and I seriously doubt he would know how to use them should he decide to keep them."
"I don’t know but there must be a reason," Celestia answered. "I had hoped he would never return after what happened last time."
"Last time?" Twilight asked.
At those words, Celestia sighed.
"It happened 50 years ago," she explained. "The Golden Alicorn made port a mile off the coast of Equestria, at first ponies thought it was a simple merchant ship who wanted to trade with the citizens but it was only until they saw the colours that were flying on the banner did they realise the truth. At first Jack Silver made no effort to fight, in fact he came ashore and proclaimed 'Parley', it was at that point that he requested that I give him the Elements of Harmony and promised that he would return them. Of course I couldn't allow that plus I didn't have them at the time, needless to say that only made him angry. Once he returned to his ship he ordered his crew to fire their canons at Canterlot, luckily no pony was hurt, but none the less I did what I could to protect my subjects. Using powerful magic I attempted to imprison him in crystal, but somehow he escaped and fled back to his ship, after that the Golden Alicorn never returned to these shores. As for Jack Silver, I assumed that he had died of old age some time ago, clearly I was mistaken and he has been learning new magic in order to break into Canterlot and steal the Elements of Harmony."
"And now he has them," Luna said. "What shall we do now?"
"Did he say anything else to you?" Celestia asked. "Anything that will help us?"
But Before Twilight could even answer, another member of the royal guard burst into the library.
"Your highness!" he said as he gasped for air. "There's been an attack on Ponyville, the Wonderbolts were dispatched but… but they arrived too late. The entire town has been raided."
Hearing this, Twilight gasped in shock as so many questions filled her head, who attacked Ponyville? Did Jack Silver have something to do with it? And most importantly… were her friends okay?#
It had been a few hours since the invaders escaped through a magic portal and Ponyville was still feeling the sting. As Twilight departed the from the arriving train, she was horrified to see the devastation before her, buildings stood there broken and filthy, every pony was battered and bruised and those who were fortunate enough to avoid the invaders' wrath were coming out of hiding. Twilight stood in shock as she gazed upon the horror and humiliation in every ponies eyes, how could any pony be so cruel? Suddenly a familiar face caught her attention.
"Rainbow Dash!" she called as she flew to her friend.
Trying her best to keep her feet, Rainbow Dash smiled as she saw the Purple Alicorn running towards her.
"Twilight!" she said clutching her head. "You're back!"
"Rainbow what happened to you?" Twilight asked as she gazed at the now bruised Pegasus. "I heard about the attack back in Canterlot, I can't believe some pony would do such a thing."
"You and me both," Rainbow Dash said, still groaning in pain. "They took everything! Rarity's gems, Applejack's Cider stores, they even robbed Sugarcube Corner just for the cakes! I tried my best to stop two of them but they sent me plummeting to the ground like a rock!"
"Where are the others Rainbow?" Twilight asked. "There's something important I have to tell you all and I think it might have something to do with this attack."
"Well…" Rainbow Dash began, still rubbing her head. "Rarity's fishing Spike out of the pond, Pinkie Pie is trying to get Fluttershy out of a barrel she’s tuck in and Applejack is still being treated for her injuries."
"Rainbow, we all need to talk straight away," Twilight explained. "Tell everyone to meet me in the library in one hour, it's majorly important."
"I'm on it, Twilight," Rainbow Dash said as managed to lift herself off the ground and fly off to find the rest of the Mane Six.#
Soon enough, the Mane six had gathered at the library, as Twilight stared in terror at the condition each of her friends were in, she was mortified. Like Rainbow Dash. Applejack was all battered and bruised, only injuries included a fair few splinters sticking out in several places, Spike was bruised too, only he was more concerned with the fact that he had to be dragged out of the pond after landing in it when he was given the 'Flying Ahh!' Fluttershy seemed fine but there was huge blotches of toffee in her coat and mane. As for Rarity and Pinkie Pie, they're biggest bruises they had were to their dignity, they may not have received any physical injuries but none the less the experience as a whole was humiliating. As they all sat there listening to Twilight in horror, each wanted her to get to the point so that they could make sense of everything.
"…So that's it," Twilight said as she finished explaining what happened in Canterlot. "Not only was Ponyville attacked, but at the same time someone broke into the vault and stole the Elements of Harmony including my crown, it can't be a coincidence that they happened on the exact same day. The ones that raided Ponyville had to be Captain Silver's crew."
"Wait, so you're saying Ponyville was ransacked by Pirates?" Rarity gasped. "Oh this so degrading,"
"Not exactly the big issue here," Applejack said as she plucked a few splinters from her check "Ow! That smarts."
"Indeed," Twilight continued. "The big issue now is what we are going to do about it."
"W…what are we going to do Twilight?" Fluttershy asked nervously.
With a smile on her face, Twilight took a large book out of her bag and started going through each page.
"This is an atlas of the world and all its seas," she explained. "It details key areas of the world where Captain Silver's ship, the Golden Alicorn has been spotted the most. If we can track him down, we might just be able to steal the Elements of Harmony back."
But the reaction Twilight got was not exactly what she had in mind.
"WHAT!?!" everyone said in unison.
"Y…you want to chase after a group of vicious pirates?" Fluttershy said with a panicked look across her face. "With their sharp swords, their giant canons and that wild-eyed pony with a hook? Are you Insane!?!"
"I may not agree with Fluttershy on most things but this time she has a point," Rainbow Dash added. "These ponies are nothing like we've ever faced before, Nightmare Moon, Discord, even Chrysalis was less of a threat than these guys. It only took that Changeling one throw to the ground to knock me out, not even a Manticore wasn't able to do that!"
"Hey Rainbow Dash?" Pinkie Pie said. "You got something weird sticking out of your plot.”
At first everyone stared at Pinkie for a moment thinking she was just being her usual, inattentive self, however since Twilight was more or less a curious pony, she checked to see what she was talking about.
"Hey she's right!" she said as she used her magic to pull something out of Rainbow dash's hind quarters, causing her to give a slight yelp from the sting. "Dash, I don't think that you were knocked out by mere strength, I think you were drugged!"
"I was what!?!" Rainbow Dash snapped. "Let me see that!"
She then snatched the small feathered dart from Twilight and stared at in anger.
"That weasel must have shot this at me while I was fighting that Changeling!" she said through gritted teeth. "So that's how he took me down so fast. Oh when I get my hooves on that little red-eyed freak I'm gonna… Twilight count me in, no pony cheats in a fight with me and gets away with it!"
"Rainbow Dash, are you crazy!?!" Rarity said in shock. "If those pirates beat you by cheating once, then don’t you think there's probably a good chance they'll do the same thing again?"
"Rarity's right," Spike added. "Granted I want to get at those two for sending me flying into through a roof and into a lake but that doesn't mean I've lost my senses, if we go after those pirates then we'll probably get ourselves killed."
And soon enough, every single pony in the room began to argue amongst themselves, while some wanted to go after the pirates, most of them didn't want to because they were either terrified or stubborn. It was only until Twilight raised her voice that she finally managed to quiet everyone down.
"STOP!!!" she screamed. "All of you, look I know most of you don't want to do this because these pirates are dangerous, but this is the Elements of Harmony we're talking about, the very relics that brought us together in the first place, if we don't get them back then not only will Equestria's greatest defence be lost but so will the very objects that started our friendship, do you really want them to be gone forever?"
But Twilight didn't even need a response, because the second she finished speaking each and every one of her friends shared the same facial expression, they knew Twilight was right, they knew they had to get the Elements of Harmony back.
"Twilight's right y'all." Applejack said. "We have to go after them, if we don't then what was the point in finding those Elements in the first place."
"I agree," Rarity added. "Nobody makes a mockery of my shop and shoot my little Spikey-Wikey though my roof, count me in Twilight."
"Me too Twilight," Applejack said.
"And me!" Pinkie Pie added.
At those words, Twilight only smiled.
"Spike? Fluttershy? What about you?" she asked.
"Yeah, you guys are a part of this too." Rainbow added.
"Oh…I don't know Twilight, that other dragon was vicious," Spike said. "I don't know if I'll be able to face him again."
"Please Spikey-Wikey," Rarity said fluttering her eyelashes. "I really wish you would come with us, you don't even have to fight anyone, you can just carry the luggage if you want. Please… for me?"
Spike tried to resist but he knew he could never say no to Rarity, it wouldn't be too long before the flutter of her eyes would eventually win him over.
"Alright!" he said. "But I'm not happy about it."
"Fluttershy?" Twilight asked. "Are you coming?"
But before Fluttershy could give her answer, there was a loud knock on the door.
"Now who could that be," Spike said as he opened the door.
Standing just outside were two Unicorns with a deep look of sorrow and fear across their faces, these ponies Rarity recognised straight away.
"Mother, Father, what are you doing here?" she asked.
"Rarity, have you seen your sister?" Rarity's mother asked. "We've looked everywhere, Sugarcube Corner, Miss Zecora's place but no pony has seen her."
"What!?!" Rarity gasped. "Well, where was she last?"
"Well the last time we saw her was when she was playing with those friends of hers over at Sweet Apple Acres," Rarity's Father explained." But we haven't seen her since, we've asked Applejack's family but they haven't seen her and Apple bloom seems to be missing too."
"Say what!?!" Applejack snapped. "I thought they were staying at your place. Granny told me that the girls ran there after those pirates attacked."
"You don't think…?" Spike said with a look of fear across his face.
But what Spike was thinking was clear on everyone's mind, if nobody could find Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle or even their friend Scootaloo, then there could only be one possible place they could be at this point, suddenly Fluttershy's face changed from panicked to vengeful.
"Let's get those pirates!" she said angrily.#
It was a massive outburst of joy 30 miles of the coast of Equestria, as the Golden Alicorn sailed towards the east every last pony, Zebra and Diamond Dog was laughing and celebrating their latest triumph.
"Did you see that mare's face when I sent her plummeting down?" Dripfang chuckled. "Man, I can't believe that sleep dart of yours actually worked."
"Just another one of my own special recipes lad," T-Cog smirked as he chugged down a flagon of cider. "Machinery isn't the only thing I'm good at ya know, I'm just still surprised that raid was over with so easily, I actually thought that earth pony would have put much more of a fight."
"Well you can't win them all Cog," Slash said as he and Big Rummy sat themselves down on a pile of stolen gems. "Heck, I actually thought that dragon would actually use his flames but he never did, although I did like how he stood up for that Unicorn, at that showed he had guts."
"I liked that Unicorn," Big Rummy added. "She smelt nice."
"Not a bad looker either," Slash smirked. "Heck, if I were a pony I'd want some of that, although I might have to make sure she doesn't call me 'Slashy Washy' first."
Hearing this all four of them began to laugh their heads off, suddenly every crew member was interrupted in their celebration by Shimmer and Blackhorn.
"Everyone!" Blackhorn called out. "I know you want to get back to celebrating but there's something the First Mate wants to say to you all!"
"Thank you Blackhorn!" Shimmer said. "Friends! I have just had a word with the Captain and he says that he is quite proud of you for our latest victory, in fact he is ecstatic! But don't take my word from it, I think you should hear for yourselves. Ponies and gentle dogs… I give you the King of Cut-throats and master of the seas… Captain…Jack…Silver!!!"
The second Shimmer finished speaking there was a massive uproar of applause, as their beloved Captain walked onto the deck from his cabin, every last crew member began to chant his name. It was only until he raised his hoof that they became silent again,
"Thank you, thank you," he said with a smile across his face. "It does give me great warmth in my heart to see such fine devotion amongst my crew, and with our latest raid it only makes me even more proud to call you shipmates, well done everyone!"
At those words the crew once again cheered and became silent.
"But that is not the only reason I came out here to speak," Jack continued. "As you all know when the shore party raided Ponyville I was elsewhere, in fact I was in Canterlot breaking into a high security vault, granted there were many guards and the spirit of chaos himself standing in my way but none the less they were no match for my spells, my spells are so powerful not even spirits and Alicorns can use their own magic while under my influence."
"So what was in the vault Captain?" T-Cog asked.
"I'm so glad you asked that T-Cog," Jack chuckled. "Ponies and gentle dogs, what I have stolen are the greatest sources of magic ever created, the very objects that will make us the most powerful pirates on the high seas. My Friends, I have stolen the Elements of Harmony themselves!"
With those words Jack uses his magic and levitated Twilight's crown in front of the crew causing them to cheer louder than ever, but once again Jack Silver raised his hoof to silence them and placed the crown back in his satchel.
"Yes, yes, I know this is big but this accomplishment is only a small part of a bigger plan." He explained. "My dear shipmates, with these Elements of Harmony we can now find the grandest treasure in existence, these relics shall be our map to our greatest triumph! But before I go into details, crack open another barrel cause this Captain has got a hankering for some of that Sweet Apple Cider, party on lads!!!"
At those words the celebration continued, as every other crew member continued drinking and dancing on the deck. During the celebration Big Rummy made his way towards the large stack of stolen barrels of Cider. However after accidentally backing into one of them and knocking it over, Big rummy and the rest of the crew were caught with a huge surprise. Spilling out of one of the barrels, instead of Cider were three pony fillies, one yellow earth pony with a red mane tied in a pink bow named Apple Bloom, one white Unicorn with a curly mane and tail named Sweetie Belle and an orange Pegasus with a messy purple mane and tail named Scootaloo. Clearly they have been hiding in the barrel when the pirates attacked Ponyville and not realising they were in there, the pirates took them by mistake. Instantly reacting, every pirate who was within grabbing distance lunged at the fillies and managed to either pin them down or pick them up by the tail.
"Hey get yer filthy paws off me!" snapped Apple Bloom as she struggled to break free of one of the Diamond Dog’s grasp.
"Yeah, leave us alone!" Scootaloo shouted from underneath Big Rummy's giant hoof.
"What's going on down there!?!" Jack shouted from the upper deck.
"It would seem that we got ourselves a few stowaways sir!" Slash answered him as she pinned Sweetie Belle down by her horn. "What do you want us to do with them?"
As Jack Silver gazed down at the frightened fillies being held captive, he scratched his chin with thought. Finally he spoke.
"Bring them to my cabin!" he shouted. "I shall handle these three personally!"
Doing what they were told, Big Rummy, Slash and the Diamond Dog took the terrified ponies and followed Jack Silver into his cabin, as they all made their way into the darkness, sweat began to drip down their foreheads out of fear, what possible fate has Jack Silver planned for them?#
The sea breeze was cold, but Twilight welcomed it as she stepped out onto the docks with her friends. While some of Princess Celestia's finest sailors prepared the ship for departure each pony said their goodbyes to their families and friends.
"Now don't worry," Rarity said as she hugged her parents. "We will get Sweetie Belle back if it's the last thing we do, I can promise you that."
"Just bring her back safely Rarity," her mother said. "That's all I ask."
Finally everything was ready, while Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash walked up the gangplank onto the navy ship, the White Pearl, with a look of determination of their faces, Twilight and Spike stayed on the dock talking to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna.
"Are you sure you’re ready for this?" Luna asked.
"I’m positive." Twilight said with a smile. “I've been doing some last minute research and that spell Silver used is nothing more than a mere trick, if I can do a bit more research along the way, I should be able to find a way to repel it."
"I have no doubt that you will do fine Twilight," Princess Celestia said with a smile. "You and your friends are more than capable of facing these rogues.”
"Thanks Princess Celestia," Twilight said with a smile. "Don't worry, we won't let you down."
"Good luck Twilight," Princess Luna said as Twilight turned to leave.
After saying her goodbyes, Twilight boarded the White Pearl. As the ship raised anchor and left port, the Mane six looked back and waved to their loved ones until they were no longer in sight. Now that they were out to sea, it was time to get to business.
"Alright Twilight," Applejack said. "Where are we going first?"
"Yeah, what's our first stop?" Pinkie Pie added.
At those words, Twilight took the atlas out of her satchel and began flipping through it, finally she found the page she was looking for, the image on it showed a small circular island a fair few miles east of where they were.
"Right here!" Twilight said slamming her hoof against it. "Trottuga, one of the most run-down islands on the Eastern seaboard, rumour has it that in recent years, Jack Silver has turned it into one of his usual caches for his loot. This might be a good place to start."
"Well then what are we waiting for?" Rainbow Dash said taking to the sky and pointing to the horizon. "Captain! Set sail for Trottuga!"