Boulder sat in his own silence, trying to force his mind to think. A disorienting haze shrouded his thoughts as for the first time in his life his mind was truly empty. With all of the mirrored ponies looking as blank as him, not even studying quartic equations in his notebook sparked a thought. His emotionless expression gave no insight to the pain he was trying to experience. His body felt numb, but he still bled when he jabbed himself with his pencil. He tried anything to get a response from his own mind but everything done was done on instinct, and those were beginning to slow and cease themselves. The reflections meant nothing to him; he wasn't intrigued or scared of them anymore. They just existed beside him, and Boulder accepted that. He could never think he needed to leave the caverns, he couldn't understand what his own hunger felt like anymore. Boulder sat in his own silence, not even sure that he was waiting to die.
Fluttershy was already in panic-mode. It’s been over a week since she heard anything of Boulder’s expedition and worry washed over her.
“It’s ok Fluttershy, maybe he just got caught up in his work and hasn’t got around to it.” She paced in her cottage, with her pet Angel Bunny trying desperately to console her.
“I’m sorry Angel, but I’m just so worried. Maybe I should go look for him - *gulp* in the Everfree Forest.” She paced around some more as a face of terror struck her. “But, the Everfree forest is really dangerous…”
“Angel Bunny! I’m going to look for him.” The frantic bunny hopped to the door to lock it. He tried every charades he knew to tell her to stay.
“Oh, then what should I do Angel? He’s probably hurt or scared or…” Angel hopped on top of her living room table to meet her eye to eye, but stumbled upon a letter with an insignia inscribed on a seal. Quickly picked it up and held it close to Fluttershy’s face, practically pushing it against her muzzle.
“Huh, it’s a letter to Boulder. It’s from the University.” She examined the letter carefully, reading every word. “This must be the letter Boulder got right before he left. Wonder why he left so suddenly, this letter seems short notice.”
Her shocked face turned into confusion as she read on. She probably would have felt anger too but she was always quick to forgive.
“He lied to me, again. Why keep something like this a secret? Is this why he hasn’t been writing me? I’m so frustrated right now I could just…” A pause filled the normally quiet cottage. Every animal she care takes for stopped to look up at the yellow pegasus trying to be angry. “I’m so frustrated; I don’t even know what I’m going to do!” Even her yelling was softer than Angel Bunny’s intense foot tapping.
“Wait though, utmost secrecy, caverns beneath Canterlot, the potential of being trapped down there? Oh no Angel, he might really be in trouble, but now I know where he is.” Fluttershy felt a rush of urgency filled her body as she was given a new purpose.
“But…” Her purpose was cut short by another panic attack. “Where are the Canterlot caverns?”
“I should go talk to Twilight, I know she’s been there before, maybe she can help us Angel.” Her bunny ran over to the couch to bury his head under a seat cushion.
“Ok Angel, you don’t have to come with me if you don’t want to.”
She raced over to the library as fast as her wings could take her. If anyone knew how to help, it was Twilight. She was always willing to read anything if it was for helping a friend. A quick but gracefully quiet knock on the door revealed a noticeably sleeper purple unicorn.
“Oh, I’m sorry to wake you Twilight, I can come back later, I don’t want to be a bother.”
“Nonsense Fluttershy, I can sleep anytime – *yawn*, what do you need?”
“Oh, well um, you see. I need to go to the caverns beneath Canterlot. And umm well…”
“Hold on, the caverns beneath Canterlot? Why in Equestria would you need to go there?”
“I was just getting to that part, but um, I’m worried.”
“Worried about what? Come on Fluttershy I don’t have all night, is something wrong?”
Fluttershy froze up from Twilight’s impatient questioning. She knew Twilight was only trying to help speed things up a bit but all Fluttershy could think about was Boulder.
“B-b-Boulder is there and I’m worried something really bad happened to him. He hasn’t written a letter and…”
“Woah, slow down now Fluttershy. Boulder could be trapped? Well why did you not say so in the first place.” Fluttershy was surprised at Twilight’s hyper attitude, but also relieved. Twilight scribbled some notes down on a parchment and sent Fluttershy off to the train station.
“Good luck Fluttershy, I would go with you but Princess Celestia has me up to my neck with studying. Plus Boulder is really only close with you so I wouldn’t want to get in the way of anything.”
“Thank you Twilight, and what was that last thing you just said?”
“Oh nothing, see you later!” As the midnight train pulled into the station, Twilight waved Fluttershy off as she started her journey to Canterlot.
“I’m coming Boulder.”
“Oh dear Alfred, I’m afraid I sent another geologist to his death.” Mr. Break sat in a large leathery office chair. His office overlooked the entire city of Manehatten from the top of the Tromp Tower.
“Another one? It’s a shame sir; I had high hopes for that Boulder character.” His butler Alfred was bringing him some coffee and a copy of the Foal Free Press. His face during the seemingly tragic news remained emotionless, but he always carried a sophisticated look.
“At least this one was stupid enough to sign the document first. Foolish young ponies, don’t even know why the miners abandoned the mines in the first place. You would think university educated ponies would learn a thing or two about history.” He sat there sipping his coffee with a slight grin etched in his face. “Oh well, saved me the trouble of killing him myself since he actually signed the damn thing. Oh and Alfred…”
“Stop bringing me the Foal Free Press, ever since that Gabby Gums signed off it’s been utterly boring.”
“Very good sir; and Mr. Rupture was wondering when you wanted to get started on the procedures.”
Mr. Break ran a tight ship in his building. All of the higher officials used code names amongst themselves and especially when in the public eye. Mr. Break was never one to shed a tear over his line of work.
“Ah yes, tell him right away Alfred.” Mr. Break looked towards a portrait of his family on his desk. The glass frame covering was cracked, with the fractures lining up perfectly in between himself and a mare next to him. He pulled out a mirror from his desk drawer only to reveal that too has been broken. He lightly placed his hoof over the broken mirror and quickly placed it onto his desk.
“The things that were taken from me…” He muttered quietly to himself. He stared into his fragmented reflection and scorned. He swiveled in his chair to look out his window now. The Manehatten skyline during a sunset was beautiful sight, but he had other plans. Alfred had already left his office, taking his empty coffee mug with him to be handed off to a maid. Mr. Break gave a small chuckle as he stared at the setting sun.
“Will all be mine once again.” His grin turned into a malevolent laughter that echoed through his tower’s top floor hallways.