“You mean to say we've been horn-swaggled?” Rockspot asked.
“Shh!” Rainbow Dash hissed, for a rather large minotaur with a scarred face was marching ominously towards the wooden shed where Rainbow stood beside the guard. As his hoofsteps resonated through the floor of the quarry, the tiny foal under Rainbow's cloak squeaked for one last time and was silent.
“She claims that she's from Windthrow, Thunderhorn,” the guard said as he bowed before the tall, muscular biped. “She asks to see the supply of mana crystals.”
“I just wanna be sure they're available for when the next caravan arrives,” Rainbow said with a nervous smile.
Thunderhorn looked Rainbow Dash all over. His one good eye narrowed as his nostrils snorted. “Why didn't Fulltrot himself come?”
“She said that he's recovering from an injury—” The guard began.
Thunderhorn punched him in the gut, forcing him to wheeze. “I asked her, not you, oaf!”
“Yeah... Uhm...” Rainbow Dash stared at the minotaur's brawny knuckles and thick arms. “Fulltrot can't make it for a few weeks. That's why I was sent. Our village really, really needs those crystals, on account of the horrible bat-things and all. What are the odds that I could have some set aside so that we—”
“The crystals won't arrive for another few days, Wintergater,” Thunderhorn grunted.
Rainbow Dash blinked. She glanced between the wheezing guard and the towering minotaur overseer. “But I thought that—”
“The unicorns are late in their delivery.” Thunderhorn sneered. “The crystals aren't here. Go back home. They'll be here when Fulltrot is ready to lead the caravan again. You have my word.”
“If I could just—”
Thunderhorn marched away, shouting orders at several laboring minotaurs around the quarry.
Rainbow Dash exhaled, her nostrils flaring. “Well, if that wasn't a big, steaming pile of suck.”
“Do all pegasi talk like you?” Rockspot murmured. Rainbow Dash thwapped him through the cloak with her tail. “Ow!” He went quiet.
Rainbow Dash looked carefully over the landscape. She saw the dark tunnel leading into the cave along the south end of the quarry. She eyed the smoke billowing out of it. If she listened very closely, she could hear the faintest hint of yelping voices. They didn't sound like minotaurs, or winged creatures.
“Hey, uhm...” Rainbow Dash glanced over at the guard who was still recovering from Thunderhorn's fist. “I know I gotta go and all, but I need to take a leak.”
Wincing, he looked over at her. “A leak?”
“Yeah. A lady leak.”
“A lady pony leak.” She cleared her throat. “Like, big time.”
The minotaur sighed. He pointed at a pile of lumber, behind which several flies were buzzing. “Over there. Hold your nose in. You'll regret it otherwise.”
“Thanks... uhm... handsome! Good luck with your rock banging!” Rainbow Dash waved the minotaur off. He walked away as she made to trot towards the lumber pile. Once he was gone, she dashed in a blue blur towards a supply shed much closer to the mouth of the cave.
“Augh!” Rockspot's voice whimpered. “What's happening now?” he whispered. “Why are we moving so fast?”
“Quick detour, Spotty.”
“What kind of a detour?”
“One that's worth plugging your nose during.” Rainbow Dash waited for an opportunity. While there was a break in the crowd of laboring minotaurs, she stealthily made her way to the mouth of the cave, and snaked her way deep inside.