Chapter 8: Disaster Above Deck
It was a rough morning for everyone on board the Golden Alicorn the following day, not only did most of the crew have terrible headaches from the hangovers they were having, but also because he event s of the previous night had shocked them terribly. The sun had barely risen when Twilight found herself being suddenly knocked out of hammock the next morning, looking up she saw the panicked faces of T-Cog and Dripfang.
"W…what's going on?" Twilight yawned.
"Well the fun continues" Dripfang said with a panicked look on his face. "They're gone."
"Who?" Twilight asked rubbing her eyes.
"The Blade Triplets," T-Cog answered fearfully. "They escaped the brig."
"WHAT!?!" Twilight yelled, now suddenly wide awake.
Not wanting to wake anyone else but who they wanted to know, T-Cog and Dripfang woke the rest of the Mane Six and their comrades, explaining what happened as they went above deck.
"They must have broken out last night while we were all asleep," T-Cog explained. "We noticed something was wrong when we found one of the longboats missing when we came out for our morning jobs, we even found a smal blood trail leading from here all the way down to the brig, no doubt they were still bleeding from that beating Rummy gave them last night."
"But how did they even escape?" Twilight asked. "I thought this entire ship was enchanted."
"It was," Dripfang said. "But that outburst the Captain had last night must have weakened his spells."
"But wasn't there even a guard?" Rainbow Dash snapped.
"Of course there was," T-Cog retaliated. "But the idiot was so hyped up on rum from last night's party that he fell asleep after the first ten minutes. Look, it doesn't matter now, what matters is that the triplets broke out of their cell, stole one of the longboats and took off. When the Captain finds out about this he's gonna be pissed, he was supposed to interrogate them this morning."
"Well I'm not gonna tell him." Slash said nervously.
"Me neizer," Gem La Stone added. "I don't want to be in ze crossfire when he explodes again."
"Aw come on, how bad could it be?" Applejack asked.
But that question was quickly answered when the furious voice of Jack Silver erupted from his cabin.
"THEY HAVE WHAT!?!" it screamed.
Suddenly a loud explosion erupted from the Captain's cabin and Jack stomped out onto the deck, eyes blazing with fury.
"Something tells me he already knows," Twilight said nervously.
"Oh you think?" Slash said sarcastically.
"SHIMMER!" Jack shouted.
"Y…yes father?" Shimmer answered him.
"Gather the crew!" Jack replied. "I want to see every pony up on deck NOW!!!"
Not wanting to anger her father any further, Shimmer did what she was told.
"You heard him!" she yelled. "Get every pony up here now!"
In a matter of minutes, every single pirate on board the Golden Alicorn was on deck, shaking nervously they awaited for what their Captain had to say.
"What the heck is going on Applejack?" Apple Bloom asked as the Cutie Mark Crusaders stepped onto the deck.
"I don't know sis," Applejack answered. "But it can't be good."
Suddenly everyone went quiet and Jack Silver spoke from the upper deck.
"My Friends," he said coldly. "I find myself in a bewilderment, there I were in my cabin resting when all of a sudden I was awoken by terrible news from my quartermaster… an escape from the ship was it not Blackhorn?"
"Indeed it was sir," Blackhorn replied.
"An escape from the ship," Jack continued. "And by a trio of murderous earth ponies of all things, now tell me my friends how do you think that makes me feel eh? HOW DOES THAT MAKE ME FEEL!?! I'll tell you how it makes me feel… LIVID!!! Three traitorous ponies violate my trust, torture guests on board my ship and were cowardly enough to escape during the night rather than face my integration! While I do not blame any of you for this travesty, all crewmembers should now know that until we reach the Burmuleda Triangle there is going to be some changes aboard this vessel."
Hearing this every Pony and Diamond Dog on deck felt uneasy, what was Jack planning to do?
"First off…" he began. "Because the pony who was supposed to be guarding the brig was too drunk to do his job, it is decided that EVERY barrel of Rum, Cider and any other beverage other than water shall be taken out of the galley and thrown overboard!"
Needless to say none of the pirates were happy about this, at first the crowd began to talk back but one powerful stomp of Jack's hoof silenced them all instantly.
"SECONDLY!!!" he yelled. "There shall be no more parties, no more shenanigans on deck, any pony caught fooling around when they should be working shall be thrown in the brig! Are we clear!?!"
"Aye-Aye Sir!" everyone said simultaneously, though clearly they weren't happy about it, especially Pinkie Pie.
"And thirdly…" Jack continued. "Since we are about to enter Miser territory, we're going to be experiencing some rough weather so I want two shifts of ponies on deck 24/7 one shift for the day another for the night and to make sure no pony slacks off, Blackhorn shall be in charge of the shifts. Get ready for a rough few days my friends, fun time is over."
And with that Jack Silver turned away and walked back into his cabin, leaving the distraught crew under the watchful eyes of Blackhorn.
"Alright boys!" he yelled. "You heard the Captain, everyone to your stations! Rummy, take your assistants and the Cabin girls and get dumping those barrels!"
"Y…yes sir!" Big Rummy said nervously as he saluted and ran down to the galley, followed by Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie.
"Go on girls," Rarity said, seeing the nervous look on Sweetie Belle's face. "It'll be okay."
The Cutie Mark Crusaders then followed Big Rummy down to the galley to help Big Rummy with the barrels. As expected, that day was one of the worst that everyone on board had ever experienced. Since Jack never came out of his cabin after his announcement, the work on deck was overseen by Blackhorn and Shimmer and while Shimmer was more sympathetic with every pony's struggle Blackhorn was far crueller and couldn't care less whether someone was caught in rope or if they threw their back out. After about an hour Big Rummy, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and the Cutie Mark Crusaders had rolled the last of the bulking barrels of the pirates' favourite drinks across the deck and flung them over the side of the ship, of course there were no surprises that there were some tears from a few crewmembers.
"Bye-bye baby," Slash sobbed as Big Rummy launched the last barrel of Cider over the side. "I'll never forget your sweet nectar."
"Where did we get that Cider from again?" Dripfang asked as he finished tying down a loose rope on one of the canons.
"I do believe that's the Cider we took from Applejack's farm," T-Cog smirked. "Now that was some fine stuff."
"Such a waste too," Applejack added. "My family spent months growing those apples to perfection."
"And now it's gone!" Slash blubbered.
But the lack of good drink wasn't the only thing to put a damper on everyone's mood, since Blackhorn was in charge of the new shifts, those he chosen for the night shift had to stay on deck while the day shift went below deck to get some sleep, Rainbow Dash and Applejack were two of those few.
"Don't worry about us Twilight," Applejack reassured her friend. "I don't think a few hours of extra work is gonna kill us,"
"Easy for you to say," Rainbow Dash moaned. "Blackhorn supposed to be overseeing the night shift while Shimmer gets the day one."
"Just don't do anything to rile him up and you'll be fine," Twilight said sternly. "Look, I'm going to try and get some answers below deck, see if I can figure out a few things about these new arrangements."
Seeing the serious look in Twilight's eyes, Rainbow Dash and Applejack didn't think to argue and nodded their heads in agreement.
"Good luck Twilight," Applejack said.
"You too," Twilight replied.
As Twilight made her way below deck she knew who she had to speak to first, After bumping into Rarity in the corridor, she couldn't help but notice the worried look on her face.
"Rarity what's the matter?" she asked.
"Oh Twilight, Shimmer was right about us needing protection." Rarity explained. "I only just managed to get away from a couple of shifty looking Diamond Dogs, they were under the impression that I convinced the Captain to have all the rum thrown overboard."
"What!?!" Twilight snapped. "That's ridiculous,"
"That's what I kept trying to tell them," Rarity replied. "But they wouldn't listen to me, I was only lucky Shimmer stepped in before anything happened. Honestly I never would have thought I would be dealing with those brutes again."
"Oh for the love of Celestia,” Twilight said as she facehoofed. “Where is Shimmer now?"
"I think she's in T-Cog's workshop, why?"
"We have to speak to her," Twilight said as she rushed passed her. "Come on!"
After leading Rarity through the lower decks of the ship and into T-Cog's workshop Twilight suddenly stopped in her tracks due to seeing T-Cog and Shimmer talking to Blackhorn.
"Oh…I'm…um…I'm sorry we didn't mean to interrupt," Twilight said nervously.
"No worries young mares," Blackhorn answered with a piercing gaze. "But I must ask, what was so important that you had to burst in here?"
"Well…it's just that…um…" Twilight began.
"You see what I mean?" Blackhorn interrupted as he turned his head to Shimmer and T-Cog, only when he spoke that time his voice sounded completely talking about. "Now do you see what I'm talking about?"
"Alright Dripfang you proved your point, now would you PLEASE change back?" Shimmer snapped.
Suddenly green flames engulfed Blackhorn and he changed back into his true Changeling form, leaving Rarity and Twilight confused at what they had just witnessed.
"What the heck was that all about Dripfang?" Twilight asked.
"I was proving a point," Dripfang explained. "I was trying to show these two that Blackhorn couldn't be trusted and the fact that you two were scared to even be in his presence proves that."
"That doesn't prove anything Dripfang," Shimmer moaned rolling her eyes. "Shouldn't you be on the night shift?"
"Alright fine but don't say I didn't warn you." Dripfang snapped as he shoved past Rarity and Twilight, leaving the room.
"Sorry about that," Shimmer said. "Dripfang has been on edge ever since the Captain gave the new orders this morning."
"That's what we came here to talk to you about Shimmer," Twilight explained. "I know Jack wants the ship to be safer for us after the whole incident with Pinkie and Fluttershy but this is going a little bit too far don’t you think?
"Indeed," Rarity added. "When we first came on board this ship he tried to create a positive atmosphere but now it's like he sees every pony as an enemy, I don't think any of our friends will be able take it, especially my little sister and her friends."
At those words Shimmer simply sighed, she knew Twilight’s concern for her friends was her best quality and therefore she did have the right to an explanation.
"To be honest girls, this new arrangement on deck is concerning for me too," she explained. "My father may have gotten mad in the past but when Fluttershy was hurt... well… let's just say I've never seen my father that angry before,"
"I have," T-Cog said as he unscrewed his peg leg to reveal a hidden rum bottle inside it and took a swig. "But that was a long time ago when Shimmer's Mam…"
Suddenly T-Cog stopped in the middle of his sentence realising what he was saying.
"I'm sorry Shimmer I shouldn't bring up such painful…" he began.
"No it's okay T-Cog," Shimmer said, interrupting him. "Everyone else has revealed their tragic past…I believe it's my turn now."
T-Cog then sighed and took another swig from the rum in his peg-leg.
"It was a while back," he explained. "I had only been a crewmember on board ship for a few years and back then I still had all me limbs, anyway after falling overboard after attempting to tie down one of the sails one of my fore legs was bitten off by a shark, hence ol' Betsy here. Since we didn't have a physician on board at the time and Jack wasn't as magically powerful as he is now, he sailed the ship to the nearest land where he could find some pony who would be able to help. As I recuperated in the hospital Jack took it upon himself to make sure no pony knew we were pirates, we put on disguises and changed our names so no pony could recognise us from any wanted posters. After about two weeks I was strong enough to travel again, but something made us stay in that country a little longer that we should have, something that bewilders even the most brilliant of ponies."
"What?" Twilight asked. "What was it?"
"Love," T-Cog said with a smile.
Shimmer then pulled something out of her vest pocket and showed it to Rarity and Twilight, it was a small photograph of two ponies, one who Rarity and Twilight recognised instantly as a young Jack Silver, only in the picture his mane didn't have any traces of silver and his beard was barely visible. The second pony however they did not recognise, it was a beautiful yellow earth pony mare with a green mane and tail, sparkling purple eyes and an image of a magic wand for a cutie mark, while they didn't recognise her, Twilight and Rarity did see something familiar about her appearance.
"Who is this?" Rarity asked.
"That's my mother," Shimmer said with a slight smile.
"She's beautiful," Twilight said looking at the striking resemblance Shimmer had to her mother. "You look just like her."
"Thanks," Shimmer said, blushing.
"Jack met Magic Star while she was attending my wounds, she was working as a nurse at the time." T-Cog continued. "She always was such an admirer of charms and magic, that's how Jack managed to catch her eye in the first place. However the truth soon came out when some pony recognised Jack from a wanted poster while he and Miss Star were walking on the beach, but surprisingly she didn't care who Jack was, she just wanted to be with him. So she boarded the Golden Alicorn with us, after a while the two were married on the very deck and were blessed with a beautiful little foal…Shimmer. Unfortunately it was after that things made a turn for the worst, after the birth Magic Star was too weak, Jack tried his best to help her but…well…let's just say the world felt a little less bright after that terrible night."
Twilight and Shimmer couldn't help but cry a little, of all the backstories they've heard for far this was indeed one of the saddest.
"I…I'm so sorry Shimmer," Twilight said.
"Don't be," Shimmer replied. "At least not for me, I never really knew her…"
"But Jack certainly did," T-Cog added as he screwed his Peg-leg back on. "And needless to say devastated was only the kindest way to put it, he might have been blessed with a daughter but on the same day he lost the only mare he ever truly loved, the only thing that kept him going after that was Shimmer here. From that day on things on board the Alicorn were never the same, he swore that no other pony nor Diamond Dog would die under his care again and up until now he's stayed true to his word. That's why he was so distraught when Fluttershy was almost… well you get the idea."
"But why go to such extremes?" Twilight asked. "I know he wants to protect us but I think dumping the Rum and banning fun might have put us into even more danger."
"That what I kept trying to tell him last night," Shimmer explained. "But somehow father is convinced that such measures needed to be taken."
"Now why on earth would he think such a thing?" Rarity asked angrily.
"Well Dripfang is under the impression that Blackhorn put him up to it," T-Cog said. "And frankly I'm starting to think he's right."
"Not you too," Shimmer moaned. "Look I know my father can get a little out of his mind when he's upset but we can't just accuse any pony of this kind of thing without any proof."
Suddenly Twilight's face suddenly lit up with anticipation, something was going on in her head that she most certainly liked.
"Well then I guess we're just going to have to find some." she said deviously.#
"You want to do what!?!" Pinkie Pie squealed.
"You heard me Pinkie," Twilight said sternly. "Tonight, while Blackhorn is up on deck overseeing the night shift, we have to sneak into his quarters and see if we could find anything suspicious."
Twilight has been going over this plan in her head ever since the previous night, if Blackhorn has been doing something traitorous on board the Alicorn then the Captain needed to know. Naturally Dripfang was all too happy to be part of the plan due his own suspicions, T-Cog didn't need much convincing and Gem La Stone was as eager to see justice done as any other pony. Big Rummy and Slash however were too exhausted and depressed to stay awake after spending all night cooking and swabbing the deck. Shimmer on the other hand didn't want to anger her father any further and chose to stay out of it for that reason, however that didn't stop her from dropping a few hints when Twilight met up with her friends that morning below deck.
"Look Twilight," she said. "I may not like what your planning, but if there is an off-chance Blackhorn might have had something to do with what's been going on lately then you're going to have to wait at least two hours after Blackhorn begins his shift, by then he would have already have gotten so into his job that he's oblivious to anything else."
"Thanks Shimmer," Twilight said. "I know you can't help us completely due to your own reasons but I appreciate the advice. By the way, how is it that Blackhorn gets his own quarters and you are sleeping down here with us, shouldn't you have your own cabin since you're First Mate?"
"Cabins on board a ship are symbols of power," Shimmer explained. "I prefer to think of myself as an equal to the crew rather than their superior, the only reason my father sleeps in one is because he's the Captain otherwise he'd do the same. Look, I'd better get up on deck to begin my shift, don't take too long down here."
And with that Shimmer left and made her way above deck, leaving Twilight and her friends alone to speak.
"So what….what ye planning to do Twi?" Applejack yawned. "Sorry it's been a long night."
"Don't worry Applejack, I'll try to make this quick." Twilight began. "Now as everyone knows, the Captain has made a few drastic changes aboard this ship, changes that might risk our lives if we're not careful."
"So what's the plan?" Rainbow Dash asked whilst trying to keep her eyes open.
"Tonight while you and Applejack are working the night shift, you two and Dripfang will keep Blackhorn distracted above deck no matter what it takes while T-Cog and I search Blackhorn's quarters." Twilight explained. "During which time Spike, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and Gem will patrol the corridors keeping watch."
"B…but what about the other pirates?" Fluttershy stuttered fearfully.
"Yeah, we're not exactly popular amongst the crew anymore." Spike added.
"Don't worry guys," Twilight reassured them. "All the pirates will either be above deck working or trying to catch some sleep during that time, besides the whole thing should take no more than twenty minutes tops, we'll be straight in and out. Besides it'll be worth the risk if we can find something that'll help us."
"But what if you don't Twilight?" Applejack asked. "What if you go bursting into Blackhorn's quarters and there's nothing there to find?"
"Applejack's right Twilight." Rarity added. "If there is nothing there to find then what would be the point of even doing this?"
"The point is that everyone on this ship is suffering and Blackhorn might have something to do with it," Twilight said sternly. "Look I know being part of this crew hasn't exactly been one of our lifelong dreams but we signed a contract and until the seventh Element of Harmony is found then we have a duty to this ship and if some pony is threatening to destroy the very spirit of every pony on board, then we have to act. So are you with me?"
"Always Twilight" Applejack said holding out her hoof.
"Count me in," Rainbow Dash added as she held out her own.
"I never missed an adventure so far have I?" Spike said with a smile.
"If Spike's in then I'm in," Rarity declared.
"Me too! I'm in!" Pinkie Pie giggled.
"Oh…I don't know… oh okay," Fluttershy said nervously. "But what if something happens? I don't want to get hurt again."
"Don't worry Fluttershy," Twilight said with a smile. "Nothing is going to go wrong."#
Later that night Twilight's plan came into action, as soon as the Cutie Mark Crusaders were fast asleep Twilight rushed every pony out of their hammocks, well informed of the scheme, T-Cog met up with them just outside the door.
"How's it looking above deck?" Twilight asked.
"We might be in for some rough weather but I'm sure we'll be fine," T-Cog answered. "As for Applejack, Rainbow and Dripfang, they're keeping Blackhorn well distracted, we won't be seeing him for hours."
"Good," Twilight said with a smile. "So where are Blackhorn's quarters?"
"Zey on ze front of ze ship," Gem explained. "But ze only way over zere is across ze deck. Blackhorn will see us in a blink of an eye."
"Don't be so sure," T-Cog smirked. "Follow me,"
T-Cog then led every pony down the corridor and into the nearby room where every pirate stored their weapons. He then tapped one of the wooden walls with his hook three times and all of a sudden a small keyhole appeared in it, T-Cog then inserted his hook into the keyhole and turned. The result was a small doorway opening up in the wall to reveal a narrow corridor just wide enough to fit one pony at a time.
"One of the many upgrades I gave this ship over the years," T-Cog explained. "This corridor leads directly under the main deck and towards the front of the ship."
"When did you even find ze time to build zis?" Gem asked with a confused look on her face.
"You'd be surprised of what a pony can do in his spare time lass," T-Cog replied. "We must hurry Twilight."
"What do we do if some pony comes by?" Rarity asked as T-Cog entered the corridor.
"Just lock the door and wait for us," Twilight explained. "If some pony tries to get in just make sure that they don't find the corridor, in fact close it behind us if you can, good luck guys."
And with that Twilight followed T-Cog into the corridor, leaving Gem and Pinkie Pie to close up the wall behind them. It was quite damp inside the corridor, one would think that sea water must have been leaking through the ceiling from the deck but that wasn't the big issue for Twilight, the only thing she didn't like was the fact that it was pitch black, she would have used her horn to light her way but T-Cog advised against it.
"I wouldn't Miss Sparkle," he said. "The light might seep through the boards above us, if that happens Blackhorn will know something's wrong, it'll best if we stayed invisible."
"Agreed," Twilight said, though she was still a little uneasy about the darkness.
"We'll have to walk slowly to avoid any detection," T-Cog explained. "It may be noisy up there but some pony might still hear our hooves if we gallop, come on."
It may have been pitch black but Twilight was able to follow T-Cog easily given the size of the corridor, however in order to avoid losing herself in that darkness she decided to keep up conversation while they walked.
"So T-Cog…" she said. "This has been playing on my mind for a while now, what exactly is Miser territory, I mean I heard the Captain say it and some of the Crewmembers say it but I never quite figured out what it meant."
"Miser territory is the area of the world we're in right now," T-Cog explained. "It's named after the two Alicorns that are supposed to reside here. You see while come from where those princesses of yours are able to control the day and the night, over here it's something similar but instead it's in seasons, hot and cold and it's two brothers, Heat Miser and Snow Miser, in this region of the world they live on two separate islands and they control the weather of their own individual realms. The eldest, Heat Miser resides in a tropical paradise to the east while his younger sibling, Snow Miser lives in an arctic kingdom to the west, their job is to create snow storms and heat waves throughout a hundred mile radius. However in recent years the weather over here has been a little…choppy."
"What do you mean?" Twilight asked.
"Well let's just say a few years ago, the two brothers decided that they wouldn't be able to get along." T-Cog continued. "Soon enough they declared war on each other, every now and again the seas in between the islands would get completely overwhelmed in storms as powerful as a dragon's breath. Fortunately Jack managed to study in on the times of year that the fights would be at their most worst, as luck would have it we're sailing during the quiet season so the most we'll get is a little rain. We're here."
T-Cog and Twilight then stopped in their tracks, at first Twilight hadn't the faintest idea about what was going on, however after she then heard the clear sound of T-Cog tapping his hook against a wooden wall, which then opened up to reveal dim lamplight. The two exited the corridor and found themselves in the dimly lit canon deck at the front of the ship, the door to Blackhorn's quarters just in front of them.
"We'll have to be quick," T-Cog explained. "If we get spotted now we're done, are you sure you want to do this?"
"I’m positive," Twilight said sternly. "If it means keeping my friends safe from any more harm then we have to do it."
T-Cog then nodded his head in agreement and began to use his hook to pick the lock, luckily he was quite skills in this sort of thing and managed to get the door opened in seconds. Blackhorn's quarters was just as Twilight would have expected it to be, cold and spooky, while a patched up hammock hung in the corner, the rest of the room was lined with numerous blades and horrific relics, if Fluttershy had been with them at the time she would have screamed in fear after the first three seconds.
"So what exactly are we looking for?" T-Cog asked as he began rummaging underneath Blackhorn's hammock.
"Anything that might suggest that Blackhorn has had a connection to recent events," Twilight explained. "Because I doubt three earth ponies would have escaped the brig if it were enchanted, even if the enchantment were weakened Jack would have sensed their escape. Plus how did Blackhorn even know about the escape if you and Dripfang were supposed to be the first ones on deck? For all we know Blackhorn is using these events to take control of the Alicorn, after all Shimmer did say that he wasn't right in the head."
"Not to question your logic your highness but this might all just be theory," T-Cog replied. "Firstly Jack hasn't been able to sense his own spells breaking ever since he turned sixty, that's what sometimes can happen with age. Secondly Blackhorn might have gotten up earlier than us and decided to tell the Captain before anyone else, plus I doubt there's any magic left in that horn of his ever since that griffin sliced it off. What if this is just a wild goose chase?"
"There has to be something," Twilight said. "I'm not letting my friends suffer while we're on this ship and as one of my friends you should feel the same way."
But those words only made T-Cog stop in his tracks.
"You…you consider me a friend lass?" he asked.
"Of course I do T-Cog, we all do," Twilight said turning her head towards him. "You, Shimmer, Gem, even Slash and Dripfang have grown on all of us, granted when we first came on board we thought you guys were nothing more than vicious monsters but now… well let's just say there's a few seadogs I'd gladly invite over for tea in Canterlot."
Hearing this, a large toothy smile appeared on T-Cog's face, revealing a small golden tooth replacing one of his molars.
"The let us find a way to help our friends shipmate," he said as he continued to rummage through Blackhorn's belongings. "And as long as we're sharing you guys have grown a lot on us too, Fluttershy especially, I do believe Rummy has a thing for her and I think the young mare might feel the same way."
"Big Rummy and Fluttershy?" Twilight giggled with a raised eyebrow.
"The sea is a mysterious place lass," T-Cog laughed. "Some believe that when you travel on it for long enough, you find love in the most unlikely of places."
"Maybe, but I doubt Fluttershy is into the whole romance thing," Twilight said with a smile. "In all the time I've known her I never seen her fall for any stallions."
"There's a first time for everything Miss Sparkle, Big Rummy may be as thick as a brick but he has a good heart, after all he was the first one to befriend Slash in the first place, the big guy tries to see the best in ponies no matter who they are. If Fluttershy was to settle down with someone, Big Rummy would most certainly be one that would treat her the way she deserves."
Suddenly the subject on the whole matter changed when T-Cog felt something beneath his hoof.
"What the hay?" he said as he and Twilight crouched down to see what it was.
It appeared to be a small trapdoor in the floorboards, seizing the chance T-Cog pried it open with his hook. Underneath the trapdoor was a small box lined with what felt like velvet, inside was an assortment of numerous objects such as small diamonds, decayed rose petals and a bottle of liquid that smelt like strange perfume but the object that drew Twilight and T-Cog's attention most of all was the small photograph in the middle of the box. Upon it were three ponies, a stallion who they both instantly recognised as a younger version of Blackhorn and a mare and foal who they could only assume is his deceased wife and child.
"This must be his family," T-Cog said. "Blackhorn must have kept these things with him after that griffin killed them both."
"And now he seems to have built a small shrine for them," Twilight added. "Maybe we WERE wrong about him."
But before T-Cog could even respond, everything suddenly shook and both Twilight and T-Cog felt the ship rock.
"Something’s wrong," T-Cog said in a frightened ton as he quickly put everything back. "We have to get back now!"
Not wanting to argue Twilight nodded and followed T-Cog back out of Blackhorn's quarters and into the hidden corridor again. While they ran they could hear the heavy pounding of rain on the deck above them, what is going on up there?#
"EVERYONE SECURE YOUR LIFELINES!!!" Jack Silver screamed as he took the helm. "QUICKLY BEFORE THE WAVES GET WORSE!!!"
As it turned out the weather surrounding the ship wasn't as calm as everyone expected, in fact it was unbelievable, rain and hail the size of golf balls pelted down in chucks over the deck, winds as powerful as tornadoes tore through the sails and worst of all, the waves beneath the hull were so choppy, so powerful, they rocked the entire ship. When Twilight and T-Cog made their way back into the canon chamber and saw the terrified looks on every pony's face they knew something was wrong above deck, out of fear for their friends they hurried to see what was happening and upon seeing the terrible weather outside they were horrified.
"I thought you said this was the calm season!!!" Twilight yelled.
"It is!" T-Cog Replied. "Something must have riled the Miser Brothers up! We have to keep this ship afloat! Spike! Fluttershy! Wake the others, we're going to need every pony out on deck!"
"But keep the Cutie Mark Crusaders below!" Twilight added. "This is way too dangerous for them!"
"You got it Twilight!" Spike yelled as he followed Fluttershy below deck.
"Well what do WE do!?!" Rarity asked.
"Get a lifeline and tie yourselves to the mast!" T-Cog ordered. "If any of these waves came over the ship you'll be overboard in seconds!"
Doing what they were told, every pony managed to grab a piece of long rope, tie one end of it to mast and wrapped the other around their waist.
"Secure the sails!!!" Jack yelled.
"SECURE ALL SAILS!!!" Shimmer screamed as she came up from below deck. "TIE THEM DOWN!!!"
Instantly reacting to the orders, every Pegasus on board including Rainbow Dash and T-Cog flew up to the top of the mast and struggled to tie down the sails to avoid any more damage to them. Rainbow dash only just managed to ties a piece down when something bad happened, due to the strong winds and having nothing much to grip on Rainbow Dash lost her balance and the wind threw her right off the mast, luckily because she was still attached to her lifeline Rainbow Dash managed to stay onto the ship. However something was wrong with her rope and just as Rainbow Dash was trying to pull herself back in in it snapped.
"Nooooooooo!!!" she screamed as she was blown away.
She thought it were the end, as Rainbow Dash was violently thrown through the air she really thought it was the end of her, however a flash of hope came to her as something suddenly latched onto her broken lifeline holding her onto the ship. Opening her eyes she saw T-Cog holding onto her lifeline while the line attached to his hook attached to the ship and pulled them both in.
"Thanks Cog," Rainbow Dash gasped as T-Cog reattached her lifeline. "For a second there I thought I wasn't gonna make it."
"You think I was gonna let you get blown away?" T-Cog smirked. "And here I thought Slash was the crazy one."
But the celebration was short lived when the wind suddenly blew even harder and the two almost fell of the mast. Below them Applejack and Twilight were trying their best to tie down the canons to stop them from rolling across the ship.
"Tie that rope tight Twi!" Applejack yelled. "If this thing rolls it'll smash the entire ship apart!"
It was carnage, as the rain pelted down and the winds raged against the ship almost every single crewmember feared the worst. Suddenly rain stopped, the winds died down and the choppy water began to calm, at first it looked like the storm had ended but that was far from the truth.
"What in tarnation is going on?" Applejack asked. "Is the storm over?"
"No…" Shimmer said with a look of terror on her face. "When all seems calm that's when the biggest disaster happens… EVERY PONY DOWN! TIE YOURSELVES TO ANYTHING YOU CAN! IT'S A KILLER WAVE!!!"
While the Mane Six wasn't sure what a Killer Wave was, they certainly had a basic idea, doing as they were told they tied themselves down to anything that wasn't able to shift. As predicted the disaster came, a large forty foot wall of water rose from the distance and came rushing towards the ship.
"HANG ON TO YOUR LIFELINES LADS IT'S GONNA BE A BUMPY RIDE!!!" Jack yelled as he held Shimmer tight.
Everyone on board then either tried to get below deck or huddle themselves together, finally the wave came. The powerful rush of cold water crashed over the ship like a giant slamming his fist against a solid mass, but luckily the ship managed to stay afloat and only rocked for as to swing back upright again after a few seconds, as for everyone on board, thanks to their lifelines they managed to stay on the ship and only acquired minor injuries.
"That…was…AWESOME!!!" Rainbow Dash yelled. "That had to be the most extreme thing I've ever experienced… well… on this ship anyway."
"Well let's just hope we don't get to do it again eh lass?" T-Cog smirked.
"Is everyone alright?" Shimmer asked as she picked herself up.
"A little wet but we'll live," Slash groaned as he and two small Diamond Dogs tried to pull Big Rummy off the mast. "Come on buddy, the storm's over."
"No way!" Rummy said as he gripped the mast even tighter. "I'm never leaving this spot and nothing you say or do is gonna make move!"
"Someone help us out here!" Slash moaned.
As Gem and T-Cog tried to help the three pry Big Rummy off the mast, Jack tried to do a head count of everyone.
"Is every pony accounted for?" Jack asked.
"I think so," Twilight answered as she helped Pinkie Pie out of the ropes she used tied herself to one of the canons. "Fluttershy and Spike are looking after the fillies below deck and I think everyone else was up here."
"Alright then," Jack said "Shimmer I want to see every pony on deck, I want to be absolutely sure…"
"CAPTAIN!!!" Dripfang screamed.
Everyone then turned their heads towards the screaming Changeling, there he stood, a snapped rope in one hoof and a dirty brown hat in the other.
"It… It's Blackhorn's hat and lifeline," Dripfang stuttered. "I…I think he's…"
But Dripfang didn't even have to finish his sentence for every Pony and Diamond Dog knew what he was going to say, Blackhorn had gone overboard.#
As the storm clouds cleared and the ship sailed into calmer waters, every pony on board the Alicorn mourned the passing of their fallen quartermaster later that night, all crewmembers gathered on the deck wanting to say something about him.
"I knew Blackhorn from the very first day he came on board this ship," T-Cog said when it was his turn to speak. "He may not have been the most sound of mind among us but he was without a doubt one of the best quartermasters this ship has ever had, may he finally find peace at last."
"Well said T-Cog" Shimmer said. "Father? Do you wish to say anything?"
Jack Silver stood next to Shimmer listening to the words his crew spoke, now it was his turn. As the Mane Six and Cutie Mark Crusaders looked upon his face, they could tell that inside he was broken up.
"Thank you Shimmer," he said through choked back tears. "Well my friends, the sea has claimed another loyal officer and friend. Blackhorn, a stallion who was always devoted to keeping this ship going no matter what it took, granted he has had a terrible past but then again we all have. For twenty years he has been a great friend to me for he and I shared a lot of common attributes and he has been a friend to all of us despite his flaws. Good or bad he was one of us, a true gentlecolt of fortune, may his suffering finally end and may he finally rest in peace, bring forth the lantern please."
Acting upon their Captain's request, Big Rummy and Slash emerged from the crowd carrying what looked like a golden sky lantern.
"What's that for?" Applejack whispered.
"When a pony dies upon ze Golden Alicorn, we send up a lantern into ze sky," Gem explained. "Tis our belief zat ze spirit of our departed comrade would follow the light and find zeir way into paradise."
As Rummy set the lantern down on the stand already set in the centre of the deck, Jack continued to speak.
"My friends," he said. "Blackhorn may not have been the kindest of ponies but we must not forget his devotion to this ship and to his comrades, let us now relieve him of his duty and send him to his rest."
Jack then looked to Slash and nodded his head, knowing what was to be done he exhaled a small breath of air and a small blue flame emerged from his mouth and lit the lantern. As the symbolic light rose from the ship and into the star-lit sky, every Pony and Diamond dog hung their heads in respect. Led by their Captain, suddenly every pirate on board ship began to sing for their fallen quartermaster.
"Far from the dark gloomy dungeons, cold,
To waters deep and islands old,
What was before, is now no more,
For now we moan our dear friend old.
He's now left the world and took his flight,
Through wondrous seas of mystic night,
The moon's set sail, upon the gale,
And the stars shall lead him to Heaven's light."
That song echoed into the night, filling the hearts of everyone aboard with sorrow, even those who suspected him of betrayal couldn't help but mourn for Blackhorn.
"You know it's ironic," Dripfang said as everyone made their way below deck. "I used to suspect Blackhorn was nothing more than a traitor, but now that he's gone I can't help but feel terrible."
"So do I Dripfang," Twilight answered. "After tonight nothing is going to be the same on this ship and I feel worse because I invaded Blackhorn's privacy thinking he was up to something, by Celestia this is awful."
"What's done is done Twilight," Applejack reassured her friend. "No pony could have prevented this even if they tried."
"Applejack's right Twilight," Dripfang added. "We may not like what happens in our lives but we can't change it, I don't know whether Blackhorn was a traitor or not but it doesn't matter now, what matters is the fact that the time we live in is full of events good or bad and we have to adapt with them."
"I just feel so sorry those who knew him the best," Twilight said. "Especially Jack,"
"Aye, after all it was Jack who was the first one to spot him on that island," Dripfang said. "Since then he has treated him like a brother, Celestia knows how much that stallion's hurting right now."