Chapter 4: Revelation
As the Mane Six sat there in the total darkness of Captain Silver's cabin, they couldn’t help but feel terrified, what has the despicable Captain got planned for them? Suddenly the room became illuminated by several torches posted all over the walls everyone was able to see where there were, Jack Silver's cabin looked as Twilight would have expected, dimly lit and spooky, although what she didn't expect to see was how many books there were, almost every single wall was covered in fully stocked bookshelves save for a couple of areas where there was an old wooden work desk, the hammock where Jack Silver slept and what seemed to be a strange looking piano built into the wooden floor in the corner, in way it reminded Twilight of her own library back in Ponyville, only this one certainly had a darker atmosphere. As Jack Silver paced over towards his work desk, he eyed the Mane six with a deep look of anger in his emerald eyes.
"Don't bother trying to use any spells," he growled as Twilight tried to ready her horn. "This entire ship is enchanted, not even an Alicorn may use they're magic unless I permit it. You know Rarity I would have expected the one who controlled the Element of Generosity to be a little less insulting, even if the ones she was insulting were pirates."
"Wait, how could you possibly know who controlled the Elements of Harmony?" Twilight said with a confused look. "And more to the point, how do you know who we even are?"
"Oh please, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Harmony Bearers came after the Elements of Harmony," Jack explained. "In fact I was counting on it."
At those words, a frightened look spread across Twilight's face.
"You…you knew we were coming?" she stuttered in disbelief.
"Indeed I did," Jack said with a smile. "I knew that you would study up on me once you found out who I was and I also knew that you would follow me in order to find your precious relics, so I set a course for Trottuga. If you had studied me well enough then you would have known that I have many caches all over the world and that Trottuga was the closest one, and sure enough after two weeks you came."
As Twilight and the rest of her friends listened to Jack Silver's story, each felt sick to the stomach for they felt like pawns that were in a losing game.
"Now you're probably wondering how I was planning on getting the Harmony Bearers on board my vessel," Jack continued. "Well as I'm sure you know by now that little maelstrom you encountered was no ordinary action of the sea, while the Golden Alicorn his amongst the blackness of the storm my magic created a trap that would eventually swallow your entire ship and being one of the few highest level Unicorns, I was able to cast such a spell. As soon as I was sure that you six were clear of the abyss, my magic took the rest of the crew and pulled them into it. I'm sure you can figure out what happens after that."
The Mane Six hung their heads with horror, they were being pulled into a trap from the very start, from the moment they left Equestria they were puppets who were being controlled by Jack Silver's every command. However that didn't stop Twilight from asking another question.
"That still doesn't explain how you knew who we were," she said angrily. "The Harmony Bearers could have been any pony and more to the point, how did you know Rarity's name?"
But that only made Jack Silver chuckle.
"Do really think pirates as stupid?" he said as he levitated a few books of the shelves. "You ponies are famous even to us pirates, even Spike's triumph in the Crystal Empire has been in our historical records for months. I have been studying the Elements of Harmony for years, right up to recent events and the fact that your image was on a stained glass window in Canterlot only helped me know what you all looked like."
Twilight then glared at Jack with a fierce gaze, knowing that he was not only a psychopath but also a devious plotter who is able to hold all the cards.
"So what are you planning to do with us?" she asked. "We won't join your crew and it's quite clear that you need us for some reason. What is it you're going to do?"
Hearing this Jack Silver's smile spread even wider and he began to lean in towards Twilight until he was eye to eye with her.
"First I must ask you one thing…" he said. “…tea?"
This wasn't exactly the answer Twilight was expecting, as Jack Silver began to conjure up a large china Teapot and eight cups with his magic a huge assortment of questions began to fill everyone's mind.
"Did he just offer us tea?" Spike said scratching his head.
"What kind of notorious pirate offers his prisoners tea?" Rainbow Dash added.
"Prisoners?" Jack Silver laughed as he poured some tea into one of the cups. "My dear, where on earth did you get that idea?"
"Maybe it was due to the fact that we were locked up in a cage and tied to the mast a few minutes ago!" Applejack snapped.
"Oh that," Jack said as he dropped in a few sugar cubes. "I do apologise but I do have to keep appearances you know."
But that only made every pony even more confused than they already were, seeing the empty looks in everyone's face, Jack smiled and made his way towards one of the bookshelves.
"Perhaps I'm not the best one to explain all this by myself" as he slammed one of his hooves into one of the books, pressing it into the wall. "Perhaps it would be best if I had some help from some pony you know…Oh girls!"
But before anyone else could speak the bookshelf swung open to reveal a small passageway and running down it towards them were three familiar faces.
"Applejack!" the young filly screamed as she ran into her big sister for a hug.
"Apple Bloom?" Applejack gasped as she happily squeezed her sister tight. "I can't believe it, you're Okay!"
"Thank heavens" Rarity said as she hugged Sweetie Belle. "We thought those brutes had done something terrible to you,"
"Us hurt them? Ha!" Jack Silver smirked as he closed the shelf. "We may be pirates Rarity but we certainly aren't monsters. How could we harm such precious gems?"
But the whole situation was getting far too much for anyone to bear.
"Ok my head is really starting to hurt," Spike said as he tried to put the pieces together. "First a vicious pirate offers us tea, now he says that he wouldn't hurt the Cutie Mark Crusaders, could some pony tell me what the hay is going on!?!"
"Allow me to explain," Jack said with a smile. "Now as I'm sure you know, my reputation portrays me as a tyrannical cold-blooded killer but the truth of the matter is that not all of it is true."
"WHAT!?!" the Mane Six said simultaneously.
"While it is true that I have pillaged and plundered," Jack continued. "The truth is that I have never hurt any pony in my life. That story of how my sails are painted with the blood of my victims, that's nothing more than a rumour I spread in a tavern when I was in my thirties, the sails are red because it’s actually my favourite colour, that whole incident with my ship attacking Canterlot, nothing more than the result of one of my crew members accidently setting off one of the canons. Add those rumours with a few smoke and mirrors along with some very convincing method acting and before you know it, a monstrous reputation without spilling a single drop of blood."
"The whole crew is in on it," Apple Bloom added.
"But what about you three?" Fluttershy asked. "If every pony here isn't a killer then why did they kidnap you?"
"Leverage no doubt" Applejack grumbled.
"We weren't kidnapped," Sweetie Belle explained. "When the pirates invaded Ponyville, we hid in one of the Cider barrels in Applejack's barn and we were brought on board by mistake. After we were discovered, Captain Jack brought us to his cabin explained the whole thing to us."
"Yeah," Scootaloo added "And he said that after he was done with his latest adventure he would take us all home, all we had to do is wait for you guys to show up."
"And you believe him?" Rainbow Dash snapped. "This is the guy who stole the Elements of Harmony! Plus he's a Pirate!"
"True, but as I told Princess Celestia long ago I only needed them for a short while," Jack explained. "Just long enough for the Harmony Bearers to come and claim them, as well as rescue their 'captive' young friends."
"But why did you want us out here so bad?" Twilight asked. "And if the whole reputation is nothing but that then what happened to those sailors who were with us on the White Pearl?"
"We killed them and ate their livers," Jack answered with an evil grin, as expected a look of horror spread across every pony's face. "Ha gotcha! Relax sweetheart those sailors are fine, that maelstrom was just another one of my portal spells, by now they're all on a slow current to Neighsia."
Twilight couldn't believe what she was hearing, nor could any pony else in that room. Was Jack Silver telling the truth or was this just a ruse in order for them to do what he wants? Not wanting to risk it Twilight decided to play along and ask another question.
"So what exactly is it that you want from us Silver?" she asked.
"Yeah, why did you want us out here is you weren't gonna hurt us?" Pinkie Pie added.
At those words, Jack's smile grew and he levitated a large leather bound book off one of the shelves and onto his work desk.
"Tell me Miss Sparkle, how much do you know of the Elements of Harmony?" he asked as he began to flip through the pages.
"Only that they are arguably the most powerful relics in Equestria," Twilight answered. "Although the extent of their power is largely unspecified."
"And what do you know of their origin?" Jack asked. "Where do the Elements of Harmony come from?"
This question Twilight had to give a bit of thought on, of all the books she's ever read not one of them indicated any reference to the origin of the Elements of Harmony and Jack Silver seemed to know it.
"I thought as much," he said with a smile. "Perhaps I can share some light on the subject…"
Suddenly, Jack Silver's horn began to pulsate with magic and the book on his Work desk began to shake and like some kind of weird a hologram projector, shine numerous images from its pages and with every word Jack Silver spoke, it displayed a different image.
"This one of the many books that I have 'borrowed' for my research," he explained. "It details the very origins of the Elements of Harmony. You see, many a millennium ago the world was nothing like it is today, everywhere you looked there was chaos, liars, thieves and murderers roamed the entire globe. But one day everything changed, sick of the world they were forced to grow up in, a family of earth ponies decided that enough was enough and devised a plan to bring peace to the world and end the chaos. Led by their eldest brother, they traveled the world in pursuit of mystical stones that could only be found when in desperate need of them. One by one those ponies found the stones and fueled their magic with the very essence that each felt would make the world better, for example, sick of all the lies in the world, the youngest of the ponies devoted her entire life to telling nothing but the truth, thus the Element of Honesty was created. Overtime the power of the Elements filled the entire globe and the magic they possessed changed the family forever, even down to their very bodies, thus they become the very first Unicorns and Pegasus, the eldest brother even became the first Alicorn."
As Jack told this story, the book displayed numerous images of silhouettes of the first Harmony Bearers, and with each word he spoke, every pony became more and more entranced.
"However there is more to the story," Jack continued. "Even though they had brought harmony to the world, the Bearers knew that there were still those who lived in evil and chaos and that the Elements of Harmony would always be needed, this was troubling to them because while the Elements of Harmony gave them great power it didn't stop them from aging and eventually dying, even the Alicorn couldn't live forever despite having an extended life, so it was decided that a great spell would be placed on the Elements of Harmony so that the Elements' magic may be passed down to those who are most worthy of them, and that is where you six come in."
"B…but what has this got to do with any of us?" Fluttershy asked nervously.
"If you'll let me finish I'll get to that," Jack replied. "In the last years of their lives, the original Harmony Bearers scattered their Elements all across one of the countries they found most dear, the country we now know as Equestria, however one of the Bearers, the Alicorn, decided it would be best to hide his Element in a more difficult area as it was the most powerful of them, to this day it was never found."
"What are you talking about?" Rainbow Dash snapped. "Of course it was found, we have all six Elements!"
At those Jack Silver began to laugh
"My dear who ever said that were only six?" he asked.
As Jack gazed at the confused faces of everyone in the room, only Twilight seemed to be the only one who realised what he meant for she was wide-eyed with shock.
"That's right my dear," Jack said as he slammed the book shut. "There is a SEVENTH Element of Harmony."
"A s… seventh Element of Harmony?"
No matter how many times Twilight repeated it she couldn't absorb what Jack Silver had just told every pony, the whole revelation had left everyone speechless, only the Cutie Mark Crusaders seemed to break the silence.
"That is wicked cool!!" Scootaloo said as she tried to contain her excitement.
"What Element is it?" Apple Bloom asked.
"No pony knows," Jack answered. "But I intend to find out."
"But what possible use could the Seventh Element of Harmony be to a pirate…if it even exists!" Rainbow Dash asked.
"My dear I'm old, I'm tired and things are beginning to get too much for me on board this ship," Jack explained. "I'm almost in my eighties and it won't be too long before I pass down the mantle and retire. But before I do I want one last great adventure, the biggest treasure hunt that any pony could even imagine, I want to find the seventh Element of Harmony and have my name placed in the history books forever. After that I can retire with a smile on my face, knowing that I have made my place in history as the pirate who discovered the greatest treasure in the entire world."
"And what are you planning to do with it once you've found it?" Twilight asked with a glare in her eyes.
"As I've said before, I only wanted the Elements of Harmony for a short while," Jack said. "And the seventh Element is going to be no different, as soon as I find it I plan to return the seventh Element along with the rest of them back to Equestria because to me the fact that I found it will be enough."
The Mane Six couldn't believe what they were hearing, with every word Jack spoke, more and more of their beliefs of him were getting twisted. Finally Twilight spoke again.
"So what do you need us for?" she asked. "And why did you steal the other six Elements if you're only going to return the seventh once you've found it."
At those words, Jack once again smiled.
"Because Twilight, the only way to find the Seventh Element is with the other six." He explained. "According to my findings the seventh Element is actually the first one that was ever made, that fact being obvious since it belonged to the eldest brother, as such it bound the other six Elements together thus making them even more powerful than they were. As I understand it, the only way to find the seventh Element of Harmony was to bring all the other Elements together so that their magic can point the way to it. After countless years of research, I discovered that a thousand years ago the ruler of Equestria, Princess Celestia, had already used the Elements of Harmony to banish her corrupted sister to the moon so naturally I set a course for that heading. I suppose the dear princess told you of my last visit?"
"Indeed," Twilight answered. "She said that when she told you that she didn't have the Elements of Harmony, you attacked Canterlot."
"And like I told you before, that was an accident," Jack snapped. "After Celestia told me that she didn't have the Elements of Harmony, there was an accident on the deck of my ship and one of my deckhands accidentally set off one of the canons with the resulting blast hitting one of the walls of Canterlot. Not wanting to destroy my fearsome reputation I told Celestia that was a warning shot and I had to escape as quickly as I could, true she tried trapping me in crystal, but luckily for me I had few Diamond Dogs standing by to dig me out when Celestia turned her back. Naturally the deckhand who set off the canon never went near them again. After that I decided to wait for the new Harmony Bearers to claim the relics, granted it took 50 years but it was worth the wait. After learning what I can about you, I set a trap so that you can find your way onto my ship…"
"…because the Harmony bearers are the only ones who can use the Elements of Harmony properly." Twilight said, finishing Jack's sentence.
"Exactly!" Jack said. "True, some ponies can attempt to use the elements for their magic but the only way to truly use them is to have the ones the Elements of Harmony chose do it. So what do you say? You help me find the seventh Element and after that I shall take you all home and you can take it with you back to Canterlot, sound fair?"
"And why should we trust you?" Applejack asked.
"Because you will have my word as a Captain and a gentleman," Jack answered, tipping his hat and giving a slight bow. "And of course I shall be the first to sign this…"
At those words, Jack used his magic to conjure up a scrolled up pierce of parchment, a bottle of golden ink and a quill that instantly began to write...
"…a contract specifying my promise," Jack continued. "I shall return you all home with the spoils of the treasure hunt once the adventure is over and in exchange you will provide me with the means to find the seventh Element of Harmony and of course serve as crewmembers on board my ship until such time when I do return you home. You keep your end of the bargain and I shall keep mine, all you need do is sign. Be warned though the ink is for magical purposes so therefore the contract is binding."
Jack Silver's then quill scribbled down the last words of the contract and finished by marking the bottom with his signature, after that the contract and quill floated towards the Mane Six. As Twilight's eyes examined each word of the contract and the contents of the ink bottle she had to accept that the ink was indeed magic and that the terms on the parchment were airtight, no matter how closely she looked, there was no loophole to get out of it. However the contract also gave many details on Jack’s side of the bargain, it would seem that not even Jack would be able to get out of it. However that didn't stop Twilight from speaking up.
"Do you mind if we talk it over?" she asked with a look of defeat.
"Take all the time you need," Jack said as he took a sip of his tea.
As the Mane Six, Spike and the Cutie Mark Crusaders grouped into a huddle, Jack couldn't help but overhear the conversation they were having, he may have been old but his hearing was as sharp as ever.
"So what do you think?" Twilight asked.
"What do you mean what do we think?" Rainbow Dash snapped. "There's no way I'm signing that thing!"
"Dash what choice do we have?" Applejack argued. "I don't know about you but I don't see another way off this ship."
"Hello! I can travel at the speed of sound," Rainbow Dash said. "If I can do a Sonic Rainboom I can make it back to the nearest land in a day at the max and get help."
"Rainbow if he can put a spell on the ship that cancels out magic, don't you thinks there's another that would stop a Pegasus from flying away?" Twilight asked. "Besides I read the contract and every detail seems to be in order."
"You're not seriously suggesting we trust this brute?" Rarity asked.
"Trust? Never," Twilight said. "But if he is telling the truth and there IS a seventh Element of Harmony out there then we can't just ignore it."
"Twilight's right y’all," Applejack added. "Granted I'm not a big fan of these pirates but we can’t ignore the fact that a seventh Element might be out there."
"B…but we would be stuck here on a ship full of pirates," Fluttershy said as she bit her hoof in fear. "If we sign that contract, who knows how long we'd be on this ship."
"Be that as it may we have no choice," Twilight explained. "If we don't sign the contract then who knows what might happen, at least this way we'll have a sure way of knowing, besides if they didn't hurt the Cutie Mark Crusaders then there's a good possibility that the pirates won't hurt us."
"Exactly!" Apple Bloom added. "Besides the Captain's quite nice once you get to know him."
"Yer sure Apple Bloom?" Applejack asked.
"I'm positive," Apple Bloom replied. "Ever since we came on board, he's treated us with as much respect as he does his crew."
"And he treats them with a LOT of respect." Sweetie Belle added.
"Well that's good enough for me," Pinkie Pie said with a smile.
"Me too," Spike added.
"Then we're all agreed?" Twilight asked. "Are we all willing to sign the contract?"
"Yep" Applejack said.
"Yes" Rarity added.
"I'll sign but I'm not happy about it." Rainbow Dash pouted.
As everyone looked towards Fluttershy she shivered in fear but deep down she knew she had no choice.
"Oh…okay," she sighed.
As everyone turned back towards Jack Silver, who was now reading another one of his books, Twilight held up the contract and levitated the quill with her magic.
"Captain Silver…" she said as he turned towards her. "…we accept your terms!"
And with that Twilight wrote her signature on the contract, followed by Applejack, Rarity, The Cutie Mark Crusaders, Spike, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and finally Fluttershy. When Jack took the contract and read all the signatures at the bottom, the smile on his face grew even wider.
"Welcome aboard… shipmates." He smirked. "Now we set sail for the Burmuleda Triangle!!!"#
It had been almost a week since the Mane Six and the Cutie Mark Crusaders had signed Jack Silver's contract and became bound to the Golden Alicorn. Due to the terms of the contract everyone had to work as part of Jack Silver's crew, while the Cutie Mark Crusaders were given the easier job of being Cabin-girls, doing such chores like swabbing the deck and helping to prepare dinner. Spike, Applejack and Rainbow Dash were set to work as deckhands under the watchful eyes of Shimmer and Blackhorn. Twilight and Rarity however were given a different job below deck due to their skills in magic, under the direction of Gem La Stone they became assistant gem inspectors, assisting Gem La Stone with her examinations of all the stolen loot in her office, needless to say Rarity was a little relieved by this due to her feeling a little uneasy with the Diamond Dogs above deck. Meanwhile Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy were set to work in the galley where they would assist Big Rummy who was in fact the ship's cook, it may have been a bit of trouble since Rummy kept licking all the deserts Pinkie Pie would make but they managed to prepare good meals for the crew. As the sixth day came to a close and every pony went below deck to turn in for the night, Jack Silver stayed on deck to observe the area through his spyglass. As the sun set below the horizon he couldn't help but sigh, it was only until Shimmer and Blackhorn joined him on deck that the silence was broken.
"Is there something the matter Captain?" Shimmer asked.
"Nothing at all my child," Jack said with a smile, lowering his spyglass. "How are our guests doing?"
"They are reluctant but none the less they perform well on board ship," Shimmer said. "And Gem and Rummy tell me that the ones working below deck are no different."
"But why do we not just lock them in the brig?" Blackhorn asked. "What's the point of letting these newcomers roam free? They might try to overthrow us."
"Because Blackhorn we need them to use the Elements of Harmony of their own free will," Jack explained. "If we had locked them in the brig then they wouldn't even think of helping us, it's by binding them in a magical contract that we can be sure that they will hold up their part of the bargain."
"But why give them the seventh Element once we found it?" Blackhorn asked.
"Because something that precious is too important to be sold on the black market and far too valuable to be kept on board the ship," Jack answered. "After we find the seventh Element it shall return back to Equestria where it belongs and I want no arguments about it."
Blackhorn would have said something more, but one stern look from Jack Silver's gaze silenced him.
"So why not just use the Elements of Harmony now?" Shimmer asked. "Why sail all the way to the Burmuleda Triangle?"
"According to my findings, Burmuleda is the one of the most mystical islands in the world," Jack explained. "It is rumoured that the first Alicorn hid his Element of Harmony somewhere along its coastline, once we reach the mystical veil of fog that surrounds the Triangle, then and only then shall we use the other Elements to light the way."
"But sir you know what is rumoured to reside in the Burmuleda Triangle," Blackhorn argued. "Not to mention we would have to travel through the Miser Brothers' territory in order to get there. You could easily be leading us on a suicide mission."
But Jack only smiled.
"My dear Blackhorn," he said. "Have I EVER led you astray before?"