Someone flinched, and it wasn't Rainbow Dash.
As soon as the first of the many eels twitched, Rainbow Dash angled her wings towards the lake. As a result, her body lifted up at the last millisecond, landing her hooves square in the center of the giant serpent's forehead. As a result of her full-on-impact, the monster's skull was sent colliding with all of the others. The eels collapsed like a wet sack of meat. A huge explosion of lake water shot up, but Rainbow Dash was already majestically climbing above it. She shot straight towards the ceiling, and to her luck she saw a bright circle of light. There was a vertical tunnel directly above her daring charge, and it was bordered by several thin stalactite formations. Surging straight towards the hole, she twirled so that her hooves came into contact with one of the limestone spikes. She snapped it effortlessly off the ceiling and carried it with her into the thin corridor.
The echoes doubled, tripled. She knew without looking that two or three of the eels were darting up into the tunnel to chase after her. She also realized that they would catch up to her in mere seconds, seeing as they had to have been the ones who carved these corridors to begin with.
Rainbow Dash maintained her speed, darting up the tunnel, flying towards the light, piercing the storm's rainwater pelting her from thousands of feet up. She felt the air turning rancid, heating up from the pursuing eels at her tail.
She had waited long enough. Finally, she pivoted the broken stalactite in her grasp so that she was scraping it along opposite sides of the thin tunnel at the same time. Showering sparks and pebbles, she spun in her ascent, carving the tunnel wider like a buzz-saw climbing its blurred way to the surface. The tunnel shook and crumbled, and soon it couldn't handle the punishment. Rivulets of cracking rock outraced Rainbow Dash. Everything threatened to collapse all around her.
It was at this moment that the first of several hissing eels caught up with her. Its jaws lunged for her prismatic tail hairs.
With a snarl, Rainbow Dash flung what was left of the stubby stalactite down so that the creature awkwardly swallowed it. She then kicked her hooves off the gaping jaws of the thing and propelled herself upwards. The boost was well-timed, for a claustrophobic avalanche of crumbling rock was filling the tunnel. Soon, all of the eels beneath her shrieked as the lower end of the tunnel collapsed, carrying their meaty weight back down towards the distant nesting cave below.
Just as the combined cacophony of their collapsing bodies filled the chamber, Rainbow Dash had reached the light. She burst out into a blindingly bright world, beset with rainwater, thunder, and wind. Her body spun awkwardly into the chaos, dodging gale force wind and sheets of needle-sharp precipitation. Ultimately, she dove towards the earth, ricocheted off a hilltop, and came to a grinding stop in a soaked bed of soil and grass.
Rainbow Dash slumped to a stop there, panting. She was covered in water, slime, mud, and sweat. She was filthy and soaked to the bone. She was also laughing.
Rainbow Dash's guffawing voice broke through the storm, challenging the lightning. She rolled over and clutched her mud-stained chest. As she cackled and gasped, her mouth caught gallons of rain hammering down at her. But it made no difference.
She was alive.
Her goggled eyes opened, taking in the cloud cover above. She smiled at the random flashes of lightning and bursts of sunlight, until her vision was overcome by just how gray everything was. Slowly—like a deflating balloon—her laughter stopped and her smile melted away. Eventually she gulped and just lay there, becoming one with the moisture.
She was alive, but she was still alone.
Minutes passed, even an hour, during which Rainbow spent the entire storm sitting up on her haunches and staring into the water-soaked landscape. Her back was to the east, but she knew it would only be a matter of time before she turned around completely and resumed her trek. For the moment, she simply enjoyed the natural shower. She could have caught a cold. She could have even risked pneumonia, but she wasn't afraid.
There was more than one way to cheat death, and if Rainbow Dash was anything, she was an explorer.