Kelso’s first look at the Divide was more than a little enlightening, they were standing on a cliff, overlooking the five kilometre long canyon and the remains of a ruined city below. The city before them was ancient, and as they looked around they discovered why.
Imbedded in the ground beside them was a ruined, and heavily rusted sign, upon which a single name was written. ‘Hopeville’.
Kelso recognised that name. The earth pony stallion from the Everfree Plains Missile Base, Oberlander Cromwell had said that Hopeville had been destroyed. The Divide was what was left of a city that looked as if, in the time before the Old Monarchy, could have housed anywhere from five hundred thousand to a million ponies. This city had been wiped from the map, and it had been all but forgotten.
Kelso looked down deep into the canyon, and discovered, off in the distance, were two mares, both of which were white coated, a unicorn and a pegasus. The unicorn’s mane was an electric blue, and the pegasus’ a straw yellow. ‘Sparky, look!’ Kelso cried out.
Sparky raised her leg over her eyes to block out the sun, discovering what Kelso was looking at instantly. ‘Grandma? What are you doing here!?’ Sparky cried out in surprise.
‘A bigger question is who was the other pony with her?’ Kelso asked.
‘I don’t know...’ Sparky said with a shrug. ‘Doesn’t seem familiar, if she’s one of my grandma’s friends... she’s never talked about that one, and I’ve never seen any pictures...’
Suddenly, five of the filthy ponies like they had seen in the gaol cell of the earlier memory leapt out from cover and surrounded Vinyl Scratch and her unknown accomplice with various bladed weapons, knives, spears, and the like. Sparky cringed with worry, this may have been a memory of events long over, but that was still her grandmother down there. To their surprise, five gunshots rang out, and each of the filthy ponies fell to the ground, and like a flash of lightning, the two mares below them took off running. Sparky’s mouth fell open. Her grandmother had just killed those five ponies down there.
More of the filthy ponies began to appear from various bits of cover and continued to chase after them. Suddenly, the pegasus mare turned back, skidding to a stop and leaping back towards one of the filthy ponies, knocking him to the ground and taking his spear in her teeth. Vinyl Scratch stopped and called out to her, but the pegasus mare waved her off, pointing for her to keep running.
Vinyl Scratch continued her run, while the pegasus mare stiffened her resolve as the hordes of ponies descended upon her. The mare leapt at the horde, thrusting with the spear and taking several of them down to the ground.
‘I don’t know who this mare is... but she is really kicking their arses’, Viola said as she continued to watch.
‘Does anyone else feel like we’re missing the picture here? I mean, sure, we saw Grandma V down there when she was young... but why are we watching this?’ Dizzy asked.
Sparky offered a shrug as they all heard the sound of a revving chainsaw in the background.
‘Is that her or them?’ Hopely asked as she peeked over the cliff side and towards the fight below. ‘It’s her...’
They continued to watch the ensuing melee below for twenty painstaking minutes. Twenty long minutes of one sided fighting. Dizzy could no longer bear to watch the senseless slaughter, even against those as wicked as the Hopeton ponies. They continued to come, and they all continued to throw themselves at this lone pegasus mare, using anything they could for weapons. Rocks, knives, spears, guns, all of them ineffective against this pegasus mare with a chain knife in her teeth. Kelso couldn’t help but cringe at the idea. Chain knives were industrial tools designed to cut through thick steel bars, the thought of them cutting flesh was horrific and maddening to say the least. Eventually, the canyon fell silent, and as they looked over the cliff edge, they discovered that all of the filthy ponies had been slain, and the white coated pegasus mare stood alone, coated in blood from head to hoof. She spread her wings and leapt into the air, diving head first into the river that ran along the bottom of the canyon. The blood that stained her coat dyed the water a deep red, something that would not clear up for at least several days.
‘All well and good’, Viola said eventually as she sat down on the ground, breaking the silence among them, and doing her best to hide just how disturbed she actually was. ‘But one has to beg the question... why are we being shown this... and from so far away, whose memory is this?’
The group looked up and around at their surroundings, looking hard to discover someone who might have hidden themselves in the rubble or behind a large rock. As they looked, turning their heads back and forth, examining every detail of their surroundings, the more they became sure of what they found. They had found nothing. There was no one, not a single person that they could see hiding amongst the rubble, in fact the only thing around them was a small cave opening, and even looking inside it there was no one there either. If someone was here they had to be well concealed.
‘I don’t know who that mare was’, Sparky said with a shrug. ‘But she saved my grandmother’s life, if nothing else… that means she’s okay in my book’, she added, and looked to Dizzy to see if she had any information on what had just happened.
Dizzy had none. While she had been one of the nephites best students, studying everything from the Book of Nephi, to philosophy, chemistry, physics, mathematics and history. This event was not known to her, something was off. It was as if someone had manipulated the nephite’s records of the events surrounding their origins, and the events that led up to them leaving their original home. Dizzy had learned much recently about her own people. There were many things that she thought she knew about them, but many had turned out to be wrong. More than she cared to know.
They didn’t know why they were surprised. The years of the Old Monarchy were filled with lies and deception of things that happened. Why should the history of the nephites be any different?
Suddenly, the ground shuddered, they looked back towards the canyon floor and discovered that the ground was shifting, there was a crack as giant hydraulic doors buried beneath the earth slowly pushed themselves open. Kelso could not imagine the amount of force the doors were enacting to push away what could be no less than a tonne of rubble.
The doors opened fully, revealing an open hole in the ground, mere seconds later, and an object began to rise from it.
‘Is that...?’ Dizzy asked, her voice beginning to fill with fear.
‘It is...’ Sparky said, almost just as worried. ‘It’s a missile!’
Two minutes later, the missile’s rocket engines fired and it slowly lifted off away from the ground, clearing its silo and rising into the air. The missile began to pick up speed as it ascended, and it climbed to an altitude of two thousand metres before its course began to change.
Kelso looked around, and towards the other end of the canyon, she saw a large settlement, that despite being around so much wreckage, was highly modern and civilised looking. Ashville, the original home of the nephite people sat peacefully underneath an extended cliff side. Kelso looked back up at the missile, her mouth widened as it began to turn back towards the ground. Within seconds, the missile impacted upon Ashville, sure to bring the entire town to rubble.
Dizzy’s mouth fell open. ‘What happened to rogue weather!?’ she cried out, as she watched the original home of the nephite people burn.
Sparky, however, noticed something important about the blast. ‘No mushroom cloud…’ she said.
‘What?’ Dizzy asked as she suppressed a sniffle, looking up at the blast to discover that Sparky was right. ‘No mushroom cloud!’ she cried out.
‘I’m sorry, what exactly does that mean for us?’ Kelso asked, raising an eyebrow.
‘It means the blast was non-nuclear and that the conventional explosives were low yield… which means that there may have been survivors!’ Dizzy cried out with excitement.
Kelso glanced behind her to discover that there were two ponies standing behind them. Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash, clearly having just come from the cave opening, were staring at the explosion in awe. Both of them looked like they had been pretty roughed up by someone, or something. Rainbow Dash’s wing had been bandaged up, and looked to have blood leaking from it.
‘You... you don’t think anypony was down there? Do you?’ Twilight asked.
‘You mean... like Vinyl and Surprise? No... of... of course not! Why would they be... down there?’ Rainbow Dash asked in response, trying to reassure her friend, and herself, and seeming to fail at both.
Both mares looked at each other in horror, they had no proof, but they began to assume the worst.
There was a loud crash, and Kelso and company jumped slightly as they turned to look at it, only to discover that a large metal hatch had popped open, a white foreleg stuck out at Vinyl Scratch pulled herself up from the hole in the ground.
'Oh hey girls!' Vinyl said with a grin, looking directly at Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash. 'Good thing you don’t have mallets, or this would be the worst game of life-sized wack-a-mole ever!'
Twilight and Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but smile brightly as their friend pulled herself out. Vinyl Scratch turned around and reached back in, dragging another mare, an azure blue unicorn with a silvery mane, and a cutie mark of a magic wand sprinkling pixie dust out after her.
‘Uh… Trixie is sick’, the unicorn mare said, as she pulled a bottle of whiskey out of her saddlebags and downed the entire bottle at once. Next, Vinyl Scratch pulled Derpy Hooves out from the tunnel, and then Graham Cracker followed soon after that. Nephites upon nephites were soon to follow. It looked to be as if everyone in the town had made it out safely!
Dizzy let out a sigh of relief. ‘There is an old saying…’ Dizzy began.
‘A nephite caught unprepared, is not a nephite at all’, Graham Cracker finished for her.
The world began to fade again, with this memory ending on a positive note.