Stealing The Perfect Ship
IC date: Summer 79
OOC date: September 7
Location: Canterlot
PCs: Mwai, Salty, Grusha, Muzaji, Moon-Willow, Lavender, Rock'em-and-Sock'em, Fireside-Frolic
NPCs: Canterlot Guards
GM: Mwai, AJ

It is a fabulous night in Canterlot. Tonight marks THE social event of the year, the Grand Galloping Gala, which is in full swing in the castle so far above the dockyard. They've just passed the musical number, complete with Wonderbolts airshow, fireworks displays, and the long meet-and-greet, so the party is in full swing. Ponies are drinking, laughing, being droll, prim, proper (kinda), and practically pompous. But this is not about the Gala.

This is about the docks beneath the Gala. Where all the posh ponies from the surrounding areas sailed to attend the party of the year. Also where all of the other Royal Boats are kept when not in use in the open waters. Imagine, if you will, the mountain Canterlot is attached to descending straight down to a deep fjord. In the fjord is the royal shipyard. There's a drydock, ships, and guardposts, all interconnected by a crisscrossing of plankwork to support all the traffic so many ships can sometimes produce. This fjord opens to the sea eventually without any real straights, although there's one or two lighthouses between it and the sea.

This is also a story about Pirates.

With all the fuss over the gala, little attention has been paid to things like traveler's plans, so long as they are outside of Canterlot. Little attention has been paid to many things.

How else, then, would a pack of miscre ants such as those now gathering near the shipyards at Trottheim Fjord have arrived unpestered, moving silently through checkpoint after checkpoint of the Equestrian railroad, tickets punched with scarcely a batted eyelash?

Traveling performers, of course, thinks one guard, a very odd extended family, thinks another, and nopony questions too much, as all eyes are set on the city on the hill. And a Zebra who was once a pirate captain creeps towards the shipyards, with his future crew.

Captain Mwai's face peeks out from the shrubs at the far end of the shipyard, and scans the area. "Moonglow, what's the "whether" like, guardwise?"

He balances a moon dial on his hoof momentarily. "The opening fireworks display should be starting pretty soon, that'll distract even the guards down here."

Grusha eyeballs the area. "Is still stupid plan. When you say 'captain,' I assume you mean you have ship." Her eyes narrow at Mwai. "Am expecting pay bonus for this job."

Lavender hounds Mwai in a way that would be badgering his ankles, if she was still that short. "So what d'we do, just walk past them?"

Of course, it helps the image somewhat when the crew plays along. In this case, one of Mwai's new crewmates has decided to more or less dress the part. Red-striped headband, fake eyepatch, blue-striped shirt… And his trusty blackjack strapped to a foreleg for easy access. This is Rock'em. And he's being so quiet about being there, eyepatch flipped up so he can, y'know, study the scene. 'n take orders. 'n stuff. …C'mon he's a goon, he don't sneeze without orders.

It probably helped the 'extended family' presumptions that more than one member of this little gang was also a zebra. And that Muzaji was playing up the 'exotic forgeiner' angle as much as possible, hood of her cloak pulled up over her head so all was visible was her snout and eyes doing that ominous glowy thing from the shadow.

On a night like tonight most ponies didn't want to bother with more questions than necessary it would seem.

Now that zebra was sitting next to Mwai in the bushes, making a mental check of the pockets within the cloak and murmuring to herself. So far she hasn't had to use any of the 'distractions' she had prepared, but that's not likely to last the entire night….

The Zebra looks down at the eager young urchin. "Y'know, you might just get away with that. Tell you what, you run out there and see how many guards you can distract with your best "too imaginative foal" routine, eh?

Mwai winks. "Might as well take advantage of looking like you're not a bloodthirsty pirate as long as you can, right?"

Moon-Willow grins excitedly. "So, which plan did you decide to go with?" she asks Mwai.

Mwai grins at Moon-Willow "Only the classics. The Urchin Ruse."

Lavender gives a big grin. "Alright! Hum, just tell me when. Or right now?" She peers ahead to see how many she can spot.

Grusha sighs and pinches the bridge of her beak. "Go. Do thing, little foolish captain. I will stay here, be on guard. Earning bonus."

Moon-Willow snorts. "TOO classic." she pulls a dagger from her wings. "Hn. let me try my own distraction?"

The first wave of immediately visible guards counts up to a whopping four! Four whole dock guards! Three of those standing over by the section of docks cordoned off as being the boats for all the emissaries and other 'important ponies' that sailed in for the Gala. The last Guard is doing a lazy weaving patrol over a few of the docks. From one dock to another, another dock to the first, pausing every other turn or so to look around. Stare at the moon. Maybe yawn. Truly this is the easiest, most cushy job in all of guard patrol-dom.

Mwai holds a hoof in front of Moon-Willow for a moment. "Not yet… we've got all night, let's see how far ahead we can get on our first hand, yeah?"

The Littlest Pirate approaches the lone guard. From seemingly nowhere she dons an entirely conspicuous eye patch. And before she's even within any kind of striking range, she says "Arrr! And ahoy! Avast ye, land-lubber, for I am a mighty pirate, and I have come to plllllunder the docks while everyone is distracted!" If Lavender wasn't obviously a filly, it might seem suspicious. But someone so small? And cute?

Muzaji nods a little as a course of action is decided on, but pulls a tribal looking blowpipe out of the depths of her cloak all the same. She makes sure it's loaded with a knockout dart, then ducks back down in the bushes to wait and see if she actually needs to use it….

The Lone Guard was in the middle of yawning at the time the little odd filly showed up, all cute and pirate-y. Lone Guard turns to regard the 'kid', squints, then decidedly finishes his yawn, scuffing a hoof on the dock planks. "Isn't it a little late to be playing out here? There's a big party upstairs you could be all cute at."

Narrates needlessly to his crewmates. "See, the beauty of the Urchin Ruse is, inexperience works FOR you. The more clumsy you are with the look, the more awkward your footing on a rickety dock, the better. Everything that would otherwise hurt you, helps you. It's the perfect entry level piracy gig."

Mwai rocks back on his hindquarters.

"Mind you, I was brilliant at it."

Lavender gives a little pout. Her lip quivers. Is it genuine at all? Could there be, perhaps, just a little close to home once in a while? "But, they…They probably wouldn't let me into the party. On account of I'm a pirate, so I'm here playing on the docks instead. With all my pirate crew."

The Lone Guard looks unimpressed. Maybe even a little frown-y. "Well this area's off-limits, kid. It's not a playground. You and your friends should find a different place to hang out." Another impatient scuffing of his hoof upon the wood planking again. "There aren't enough guards out here to be playing foalsitter just because all your parents are busy." Also you are a horrible pirate. What kind of pirate says they're a pirate before they've stolen something to a guard? Kids these days.

Grusha roosts somewhere out-of-the-way, keeping her eyes peeled for additional guards. She's trying to ignore the uneasiness she feels, contenting herself with the thought of the money when that finally comes.

Mwai's narration continues. "See, a guard in a good mood will play along. But we've got guards in a bad mood because of all the party that they're not getting to go to. A guard in a bad mood will say something that will make you want to cry. Sometimes that works, 'specially if he's not a family man, but a lot of the time, you gotta just make 'em really hate you, because then they'll want to find your parents and tell 'em how awful you are. Then, well, our guard comes storming over here to give us a stern talking to, and Rock'em clubs 'im over the head and we've got prisoner number one."

Rock'em cracks a hoof for emphasis.

Lavender glares. Well, this has become more personal. "Hey! I'm not even just playing. I've got all kinds of well armed pirates out here. Real ones, with swords and everything, and they're /not/ just my parents, they aren't! And I'm going to have my fun here all night whether you want me to or not." She gestures over towards the group. "I mean I was gonna be nice, but if you're just going to be mean and a bully and not take me seriously…"

"… Maybe you should of had her rehearse a few lines ahead of time," Muzaji murmurs back when Lavender protests to being real pirates and points out the bushes. But maybe this can still be to their advantage? Somehow?
Mwai holds up a hoof. "No, no, remember what I said about disadvantages…"

The Lone Guard brings a hoof up to his face, covering one eye while the other glances towards the bushes, where he assumes there /is/ a pirate crew. Of little midgets with wooden swords. "Kid…" the Guard says, his hoof covering his mouth for the sudden yawn that comes over him. "Just go away, please? Here…" He reaches for a side-sack, pulls out a couple bits, and tosses them to the planks in front of the would-be pirate queen. "Just…go take your friends for donuts or something and go away. I got important boats to watch doing nothing."

Moon-Willow murmurs. "Hn. perhaps we should attempt a bigger distraction? I have an idea if you'll let me." she whispers to Mwai.
Lavender looks down at the bits clattered to the ground, and resists jumping on them immediately. "Nuh uh," she says, and draws her sword, wood as it may be. "I will not go away! I challenge you…to a duel!" she says, around the hilt of the sword.

Mwai looks over to Moon-Willow. "Maybe. I'm thinking one of two things is gonna happen here, either that guard is going to chase her down towards us, or we're gonna get a proper tantrum started and then have a whole bunch of guards gathered up in a nice little circle and not paying attention to, say, blowdarts to the neck…

Mwai says "So basically, just give it another minute or two.""

The Lone Guard stares. /Stares/ at Lavender. "You can't duel. You're not old enough. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to walk that" he points a hoof towards the next line of wooden dock stretching towards the water. "way, and pretend you don't exist. If you're still here by the time I walk back, you're gonna end up in a guard house until your parents can come pick you up." He promptly turns around!

There's a quiet moment as Mwai watches the guard turn. "Moon-Willow. This idea of yours. Does it work if his back is turned?"

Moon-Willow grins. "Yeah. it does. see, I've been studying pressure points." she pulls a long thin needle from her wings. "Hit the right spot and he's down for the count." she takes the needle in her teeth and releases it, aiming for the sweet spot on the neck. not to kill, just paralyze.

Lavender continues following the guard, hounding him a while longer. "But pleeease, they told me I needed to play here after the last time I almost ruined the whole Gala, and if you lock me up, then they'l…Well they are very important and…" She screws up her face, trying to think, but at least hops around in front of the guard to try and keep him distracted.

Moon Willows needle goes about a foot before hitting the dirt. "dang. different plan." she charges forward, wings flapping frantically. "Oh! you found her!" she hugs the guard tightly, "Oh thankyouthankyouythankyou!"

As Moon-Willow flaps out into the docks, Mwai smiles broadly at Muzaji. "Acting. They tell you it's about the swordplay or the sailing or the skulduggery, but the truth? Acting. That's what it's really about."

Muzaji just rolls her eyes to the side as things seem to take a turn for a worse. Or is that a roll for the worse? Only if we actually knew of such things, but there's no fourth wall breaking ponies here. Looks like the pegasus has more than one trick at hoof though. "Oh really?", she replies with a whisper, though there's a definate hint of coyness in her voice. "Is that why every pirate captain is also a large ham~?"

"Kid, I said—" HUGGED! The Lone Guard is now in some kind of deathgrip by another pegasus! Said Guard grunts, pushing at Moon-Willow. "Lady, lady! What? I didn't find anybody, she found me, and I'm trying to get rid of her!" Now he's eyeing Lavender with a sort of 'help me' look.

Lavender squeals, "Hey! Don't take me back yet, I was just going to have a swordfight with the nice guard! He's so friendly and nice."
Moon-Willow laughs. "Oh really? well then by all means, go ahead! wait…where's your brother. oh sir! please you have to help me find my son! he's so young!" she clings to the guards and starts crying. "He could be drowning as we speak! oh my little boy!" she sends a silent thank you to her mother for forcing those acting lessons on her.

The look on the Guard's face is one of practiced, if strained, neutrality. He gets the short-end of the patrol stick every night, and for what? Drunks and crazy ponies! "Alright! Alright already!" the Guard growls, throwing his hooves up. "We'll get some ponies looking for your kid! Just stop the crying, I already had a headache!" So insensitive. The Lone Guard pushes Moon-Willow away, making to trot towards the nearest guardhouse. Oh look, there's guards in there! "C'mon, we'll get some more of the guys out here. I'm pretty sure he didn't end up in the water though, the only kid I've seen around is that one." He points at Lavender.

Lavender peers off towards the water, and then starts flailing hooves. "Wait! Is that him out there, right now? No time for that, come quick! In the water!" She hoofs frantically at the guard as dread starts sinking in. Could things get worse?

Mwai seems to live for this kind of thing. "See, we have pretty broad latitude with how these interactions play out for now," he says, as though narrating was completely justified to a pack of pirates trying to melt invisibly into the bushes, "All that really matters is that nopony triggers the alert signal that'd send, well, and here's the really amusing bit, one or two more guards down here and eventually, EVENTUALLY an actually legitimate threat, garrison wise. So really we're playing the post-game early here. What will the guards remember when they're waking up from the darts? Some little filly and her mom knocked us over? Make it embarrassing enough and they might even start making up fish stories."

The Lone Guard perks his ears up. Well…if there could actually be danger… "Eh, over here?" He trots over towards the edge of the water to peer. "Where did you see him at?"

Moon-Willow squeals. "Oh! I think I see him! oh please you have to help him!" she moves for the guard, grabbing a hoof as if to drag him with her as she pricks him with a dart she had prepared.

The Guard never expected a needle in a hoof. "Ow!" he grunts, turning to squint at Moon-Willow. "What did you do th-…" Thud. Snore. Aww. Poor guy was tired anyway, maybe it's a mercy to put him to sleep.

Moon-Willow smirks. "One down. good job kid."

Lavender makes sure the now-sleeping guard is not too close to the edge of the planks. "Aw, thank you Moon Willow! I think I kind of blew it on him on my own. Alright, next plan's up." She trots happily back to the rest of the group.

"And hope it all works out in the end like that, hmmm." Muzaji tucks her own blowpipe in her lips like it was a cigar when it turns out that, for the moment, she doesn't need it. "On to phase two then, shall we?"
Mwai affectionately noogies Lavender! "Ya did us proud, kiddo. You got a real tough customer and you kept the ball rolling. Good improv save, by the way, Willow."

Grusha decides this is as good a moment as any to rejoin the group. "No others in area. At least, none who show themselves. Perhaps proffesionals." There's no emphasis on that last word, neither any brief Looks at Mwai. No ma'am, that would be rude.

Moon-Willow chuckles. "thanks. it seems all those years of acting classes finally proved useful. I have another little plan if you want to see if there's any hiding about."

One guard safely snoring. Three others not paying much attention to the Royal side of the docks when they've got their own side of the dockyard to keep watch on. That leaves a guardhouse, and the possibility of an unknown element.

Rock'em grunts. Maybe looks a little crestfallen at not getting to use his blackjack. But he ain't pouting. Goons don't pout.

Mwai smiles. "You're batting 1000 so far, Will, let 'er rip."

Moon-Willow pulls out a small dagger and cuts her front legs just enough to look bad while being really nothing more then a scratch. she runs her fur with a bit of dirt and fluffs her wings. she stumbles into proper view, swaying pitifully. "Help! somepony! please!" she cries, swaying as if she might collapse at any moment.

Lavender watches from afar with a grin on her face. "I am learning so /much/ on this trip."

Mwai's grin mirrors Lavender's, for just a moment. Then he gives her a mischeiveous look. "Ever worked a kick dart before?" He kneels to her level and pulls out a strap with a sharp tip. "The venom goes on the sharp bit, and you strap it to a forehoof like this."

He straps the kick dart to Lavender's left foreleg. "Then, you kick for the shins. Run around looking innocent and terrified and scream bloody murder, then get in some kicks when you get a shot."

One of the three guards by the Foreign Boats comes trotting over, alerted to the presence of someone in dire need of help! "What! What? What's going on?"

The Guardhouse seems to have heard the cry too! Several ponies come barrelling out of that building to investigate. They heard an earlier commotion, see, and now there's more screaming, so obviously something's wrong! Looks like eight guards total have come to Moon-Willow's aid, three of them coming close enough to offer wings and a myriad of questions. "What happened?" "Are you alright?" "Someone chasing you?"

Lavender grins really wide. "I've never done anything like /that/ before Captain," she says. "But I'm sure I can do it!… Oh no, Moon Willow's in trouble now, how's she gonna take down all those guards alone?" She starts to slink off back towards the group of guards, preparing to book it when the time seems right.

Looks like the acting is working a little -too- well when a whole buckload of guards come running at the cries of distress. Muzaji, who's remained in the bushes the entire time so far, murmurs something under her breath about this reminding her too much about dodging customs checks in her days of travelling. But seeing as pretty much every pony is now paying attention to the 'hurt' pegasus she slips out of the bush and tries to sneak around to get closer to the docks proper.

Moon-Willow leans on a guard heavily. "A monster! it was some horrible creature! oh you have to help me! quick! this way!" she starts to stumble forward, going the opposite direction the others are facing. she makes sure to look extra pathetic sure to keep all eyes on her. "Please!" Hopefully back up will arrive. there's no way she's taking down eight by herself.

Grusha sighs. "Ponies." She takes wing, gathers up some decent height and then performs a diving tackle on a pair of the pegasi who are standing reasonably close to one another, relying on her heroic build to put them down for a little while.

Lavender charges into the fray. "Aieee~!" She can't think of any good words at the moment, so instead she turns herself into a flailing ball of hooves going every which way and that! Including a sleep-dart-loaded one. One might hope that she hits the right targets!

Moon-Willow shrieks and tries to dodge the flaying filly.

Some of the guards do follow Moon-Willow! About half of them. The other four have decided to start spreading out to determine what the heck this danger is.

Then one of them stumbles on the body.

"Guard down! Guard down!" the guard who discovered such cries. Then things get weird.

All of the Guards freeze. The ones 'escorting' Moon-Willow squint at her, and at each other.

One blinks at suddenly finding another non-guard striped body sneaking out of the bushes. "What… Hey! Who are you!?"

The other two get startled by Lavender's sudden appearance! They step out of the way of flailing filly, because WHAT?, which is helpful since they almost ended up with a bunch of griffon tackling them too! Both of the guards blink at Grusha's appearance, with much the same reaction as that other guard. "Hey! We're being invaded!" they say in stereo.

Moon-Willow wails. "nooo! oh that thing took my child!" she shrieks, waving a hoof at the griffin. time to break out the other darts. she jumps the nearest guards and hits them with the few darts on her. mwai BETTER have a good idea!

On one hoof, things are not going quite as planned. On the other hoof, well, at least their attention has been divided up. Guards tend to work on a pack mentality, so the less of them thinking on the same thing. Better. Or maybe we're just trying to talk ourselves up after the dice gods have decided to have some fun at our expense.

The striped intruder doesn't freeze up at being spotted, thank heavens. She does however slow and turn her head towards him, and she's still got her hood pulled up. So all he really gets a mostly shadowed face with that ominously glowing eyes trick some zebras seem fond of, somewhat creepy and unsettling.


Muzaji also still has the blowpipe in her mouth, flicking it foward between her lips and puffing the dart at the guard that spotted her.

Grusha lands with a thud in front of her two target guards. She sighs, blowing some feathers out of her face, turns around and puffs up. "Hoped to do this quietly. Apparently silly ponies too much of a destraction." She rears up, holding up her forelegs, talons balled into fists. "Guards are perhaps familiar with traditional rules of time-honored art of fisticuffs?"

Mwai looks over at Rock'em. "Okay, I think this mission has officially lost all pretense at stealth, care to join me in some good ol' fashioned clobbering?"

Mwai punches Rock'em's arm affectionately and then barrels into the fray!
Lavender leaps for Grusha and 'misses' at another guard, trying to keep up her end of the charade before it just gets silly to try and fake it.

Rock'em blinks! Well okay then. Time for this goon to do what goons do best. He pulls his blackjack from his foreleg holster and leaps after Mwai! "Ohh yeah, it's clobberin' time!"

Suddenly, Mwai discovers that he's operating under the handicap of having been manservant to an etherial being who has need of "muscle" the way a ghost has need of a lockpicking set, and is, additionally, stone sober! He swings at a guard, looking fairly impressive but missing completely!

And lo', it was! Rock'em, silly pirate getup and everything, chases right behind Mwai into the fray! Head swinging back and forth, blackjack brandished threateningly! Better than a sword, or a pike as the case may be, since he comes in right after Mwai skillfully misses (and distracts) one of the guardsponies, thwacking the poor pony in a soft spot behind his head. That guard drops like a sack of rocks.

Other guards are now just catching on that there's real /danger/ ahoof now! Partially because, well, one guard just got pinned (haha) by Moon-Wllow and her darts, collapsing into a pile near the other sleeping guard! The other two get their swords drawn, eyeing the chaos unfolding before them. One looks to the other, nods, and…one guard charges at Moon!

The other spreads wings and takes off, towards one of the other guardposts!

The guard Muzaji spotted makes an odd gurgle, the dart effective in what it does to put him out. The two that Grusha attempted to tackle? One just got flailed at by a filly! He stumbles, cries out, and tips over, a hoof outstretched towards the smaller pony. The other one doesn't take his eyes off Grusha, rearing back on his back legs and testing a couple hoof-punches. "If that's how you want it…"

The two guards that were down by the foreign boat docks finally catch on that the commotion may be a real issue. They start galloping down the docks to come see what's up!

Grusha gives a curt little nod. "Da. I shall show you how is done." She's sportsmanlike but otherwise quite ruthless about this: she doesn't want to HURT him, of course, but on the other claw she'd really rather this be over.

Moon-Willow growls. nopony here could match her in the air! she spreads her wings and takes off after the fleeing guard. let her pursuer follow at his peril!

That's one guard down!… And Muzaji out of shots until she gets a chance to reload. If there's one downside to how quick and almost silent a blowgun is, that's the little matter with only getting one shot peer loading. Which kind of sucks when at least one guard proves to be a pegasus and takes off for reinforcements! Fortunately Moon-Willow is on top of that, but what about the guard that was already trying to catch her?

Muzaji grabs her cloak with her teeth and pulls it off, followed by a snapping head motion to try and throw it over the guard's head so Willow can make a speedy interception without getting farther accousted.

Lavender's attention is turned to Grusha's technique now. For a proper pirate must also be /effective/, right? She starts taking cues from the griffon, even if she doesn't have talons or anything.

Grusha looks satisfied. "Is good. Perhaps you learn something from this, da?" She looks to the others. "We are done here."

Mwai manages to connect a blow for once! This fight is going awesome!
Moon-Willow grins. nice shot! with her pursuer is blinded. now, to take down the target. with a war cry she shots forward and tackles the guard. "RAAAH!"

Guards left? When the smoke clears, one fighting a cloak off his head, cursing loudly about meddlesome pirates or something, and one flapping for his /dear life oh sweet Celestia there's a crazy pony after meeeeeee!/ Moon probably gets a set of guard armor chucked back her way in his haste to fly faster!

Fortunately Mwai is able to connect a solid blow to the back of the cloak-bound pony, making that last guard fall over, unconscious.

Oh, and the two just showing up. Both of which behold the chaotic scene of downed guards and odd individuals, and promptly bolt through the bushes! There's little doubt that more guards will be on their way shortly.

Rock'em slips his blackjack into his holster. "Not bad, eh boss?, I mean, Cap'n?"

Muzaji retrieves her cloak once Mwai wonks the guard from behind. It might come in useful yet tonight. "Best we make haste, and no time to waste."

Moon-Willow grins as she weaves out of the way of the armor and hits the guard like a sack of bricks.

Grusha nods. "We do not waste time. Which is boat we are taking?"

Certainly the aerial guard gets tackled and sent plummetting into the mountainside. He'll feel that in the morning!

From her vantage point, Moon-Willow can see something else though. Fireworks in the sky! And a small force of flying guardsponies coming from the castle. Is it the changing of the guard? Did someone trip an alarm? Does it really matter at this point? There's more guards on the way!

Mwai sizes up the candidates. There are several ornate yachts, all obviously belonging to visiting dignitaries. Off the list. Next are a few decorative-looking eight-mast ships, which would be imposing but also get shredded in a real fight. But luckily, there is at least one stout-looking Caravel near the outer rim of the docks. "Urm.. THAT ONE!"

"aaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA YAH!!!!" A figure overhead, probably from the roof of the guardhouse, on a rope that nopony even remembers existing or being attached to anything. Salty leaps off at the proper time and lands on a rapidly approaching flying guard with a well-timed kick and hoo-chah! And other ponies are leaping down too: DEATH FROM ABOVE!!!

"AHOY, CAP'N!" Salty bellows, standing on the unconscious guard and squaring off with her horn alight. This can't be good. "Get your stuff; we'll hold off the Looney Brigade!!"

Moon-Willow growls and takes back to Mwai as soon as she's certain the guard is thoroughly plowed into the earth. "Reinforcements are heading this way! Luna must have been on watch!"

… And then a Salty out of nowhere kicks one of the inbound guards out of the air. "Not the only one with Reinforcements, it would seem. Welp, no time to look a gift horse in the mouth." Muzaji turns and gallops for the docks towards the indicated ship. This is not the time for asking questions about why their sudden surprise guests are also here!

Grusha nods again: she is a creature of small, practical gestures. "Is good boat. I will make ready sails." She takes to the air again and starts handling ropes with the deliberation born of practice.

Moon-Willow readies the winds to fill the sails with only a little difficulty. not her best skill consider Pegasus are supposed to be masters of weather. but her wings are strong and the wind she slowly calls is powerful.
"Good thinking," Mwai calls after Grusha, finally getting his fighting legs back. He lands a solid left hook on one of the guards who drops to the ground just in time for him to catch a glimpse of— SALTY?!

"SALTY! Oh please TELL me you're not here to balance the cargo manifests!"

Sails being rigged, check. Winds being readied, check…. So Muzaji, true to her nature, heads down into the hold to see if the ship actually has anything on it yet or not. If you expected otherwise of her you clearly don't know the 'trader' very well.

Surprise ponies! Along for the ride with Salty's crew is the other half of the goon twins! Sock'em follows suit, managing to knock another of the approaching guardsponies flat, stomping to the ground next to Rock'em. Whom he promptly smacks upside his head. "Oy! Seriously! Runnin' off to play pirate like this, ya nut!"

Rock'em grunts, his bandana knocked askew! He spends a moment to fix it, giving his brother a sheepish look. "What? S'fun. Like you never took a day off before." Sniff.

With more pirate force being brought to bear, the arriving guardsponies choosing to take the fight to the docks instead of the skies. They start forming a menacing semi-circle around the pirate crew, many with some pointy-looking spears at the ready!

The winds pick up a life of their own and Moon takes the opportunity to dive bomb the guards. time for target practice! she grabs a new needle and let's it fly for the guard nearest salty.

Fireside-Frolic is not terribly skilled at swinging on ropes. Tackling, though, tackling she can do. And tackle she does, knocking one of the extra guards askew. Hey! That worked. She glances to Socky, then back at Salty, with an 'okay now what' sort of expression, horn agleam.

Salty lights up her horn and lets her magic do what it will, as she spins in place and smacks a guard in the face. Another guard bears the brunt of her magic: flowers, suddenly sprouting from his nostrils! Another guard finds his hooves inexplicably and unstoppably tapdancing! "I don't think you know who I am!" she shouts at the guards, hoping to distract them from the pirates.

She grins, striking a pose. "I'm the terror of the seas, filcher of fine filaments and filigree! I've sunk more boats than you have hairs on your head; fired more cannons than the years your mama letcha suckle! I've died, and come back again, and died, and come back again! I'm the DREAD PIRATE SALTLICK, baby, and I'm hear to KIDNAP YOUR PRINCESS!!"

That should get their attention. That, or the maniacal laughter.

Grusha just stares for a moment. Puts her face in her hands. "Bozhe moi."
See, Muzaji was right about the being GIANT HAMS being necessary for pirate captaining. And would probably be rolling her eyes if she was on deck to see it instead of investigating the ship's hold. Where she finds a rum bottle. Hurrah!

Except it's empty. Boo!

Not one to let an empty bottle go to waste, she pokes her head out of an apeture long enough to chuck the bottle at some guard's head before disappearing back inside.

Lavender just entertains herself by climbing halfway up a mast and hanging one hoof off it, whooping celebratorially.

Moon-Willow throws a few more needles before getting back to the winds. she flaps harder and more furious then before. they need to get those sails down!

Mwai feints past a solid spear jab that might have gotten him back into the Bone Mistresses employee spreadsheets and connects with the guard's face.

He ducks out of the fray and scrambles up one of the lamp posts, snatching the lamp and then standing precariously on top of the lamp post!

"You know what's worse than a bunch of filthy thieving pirates making off with a really FINE example of middle-of-the-line shipbuilding," he asks, catching the attention of one of the guardsponies. "It'd have to be letting the whole shipyard and a few boats belonging to visiting dignitaries go up in smoke, wouldn't it?"

"You wouldn't dare," the guard says flatly.

"Oh, wouldn't I? Did you not catch the "Filthy Theiving Pirates" part by chance? Or perhaps you don't realize you're dealing with the one, the only, the repeatedly undead CAPTAIN MWAI!"

He hurls the oil lamp down onto the wooden docks!

Mwai slides down the lamp post and leans into the face of the guardspony, who is now looking more than a little shocked. "Oh and did I mention? We have a pyromancer." With a manic grin, he bounds onto the ship.

Grusha says "Sails are ready!" She flies down, landing on the deck. "We leave harbor now, da? No need to stay."

Muzaji sticks her head up out of the hatch long enough to add "Hold is secure" and then back inside she goes.

Moon-Willow growls. "Ready to release the winds at your order captain!"
Lavender hustles up to the crow's nest. "Seas are clear ahead of us!"

Salty looks from side to side at Socky and Fireside. "C'mon, fellas! Let's get going!" She bolts toward the fire and leaps over it before it can spread too far. "Fireside, you know what to do!"

Rock'em and Sock'em start to back away from the encroaching pile of guards, whom at this point seem more concerned with Salty and the sudden flaming part of the dock than the pirates and the ship they've made ready to leave port. "Great time to get outta here, yup!"

Ropes? Awkward. Tackling? Meh. Fire? FIRE. This. This is something Frolic can work with. The red mare peals away from the scuffle, horn gleaming an appropriately fiery orange as she bounds over it. "Got it covered, Captain!" The oil lamp's flames grow a bit. They flicker. They dance. They… gallop? Well, that one does. And then another. And a third! Little pony-shaped flames dash and cavort and skip over the docks, leaving little flame trails in their wakes. A pair take off for the guardhouse, even!

Mwai leaps to position at the wheel. "Weigh anchor!"

"Who cares how much it weighs, get it out of the water!" Muzaji can be heard cracking wise from below.

"And now! FOR A DRAMATIC EXIT!" Salty picks up speed, running as fast as her hooves can take her, to LEAP onto the boat before it takes off without her and her crazy crew!

Granted, it's probably not exactly speeding away. Maybe less dramatic than it seemed.

FIRE! Just when the guardsponies were getting brave enough to consider overwhelming the pirate force through sheer numbers, the fire takes a life of its own and starts running places! "Oh no! Save the boats! Save the docks lads or the princesses will skin us alive!"

Thus do guards become /much/ more focused on stamping out the rampantly running flames than the boat that's now probably starting to sail off. Sure there might be a stray spear or two chucked that way out of frustration but… Well. Priorities. At least it wasn't the Saddle Arabian ship…

Moon-Willow releases the winds when the anchor breaks the surface of the water. the gathered wind rushed forward to full the sails. with a little nudge the wind also feeds the flames, causing them to leap in height. "HAHAHAHA! Good luck putting THAT out!" she taunts as the trails of flame are fed into roaring bonfires.

This, of course, is how pirate adventures are supposed to end.

The hot wind from aft of burning municipal property, sounds of maniacal laughter from belowdecks and from the crow's nest, and rapidly receding below audibility, the cries of law-abiding types trying to put out the fires.

Captain Mwai smiles. "I love today."

Moon-Willow flies overhead, cackling. "For glory and the freedom of the sea!"