Prologue | The Quake
I wiped a bead of sweat off my face as I tightened the final bolt. "There ya go," I grinned, rolling out from underneath the carriage, "all fixed... and you already prepaid for the job, so you're pretty much set!"
Without another word, my final customer of the day grinned, and set off with his carriage.
"Jewel?" I yawned, wiping my face with a towel hanging by the garage door as I entered the house. "You feel like eating out somewhere, or should I heat up yesterday's leftovers?"
Jewel turned to face me, standing up from her office chair. "Let's go out and eat today." she replied, "Just something quick today, 'kay?"
A low rumble rippled through the house, followed by a tremor as dust fell from the cracks across the ceiling.
Jewel froze, slowly turning her gaze to her desk. "Rusty, do you think--"
All thoughts of dinner vanished from my mind as I dove for Jewel. "It's another earthquake!" I hollered, tackling my marefriend to the ground. "Get low!"
Jewel and I crawled underneath her desk as the shaking grew more intense. Her horn lit up as a shield spell flickered to life over us. Somewhere in the kitchen, the sound of porcelain shattering rung through the air.
"...And that's reason number three for why we should've gotten those magnetic cabinet doors instead." Jewel mumbled, rolling her eyes as she intensified the spell.
Just as suddenly as it began, the quake subsided. I sighed, throwing a hoof out to pull myself from underneath the desk. Jewel's foreleg blocked my path.
"Aftershocks, remember?" She snapped, pulling my hoof back under the desk as she pumped even more energy into the shield. "There's a good chance that the one that just hit was only the weakest of the bunch."
The desk creaked, swaying as Jewel's prediction came true. Another rumble tore through the floor, accompanied this time by the clatter of whatever else it was that had fallen loose. In response, she winced as the shield lit up in a brilliant blue. She'd been bragging to me about that second layer of the spell for quite a while now, but never before had I actually seen it myself.
A hissing noise took to the air as a pipe ruptured somewhere nearby. My ears swiveled to the noise of something detaching above the desk. I could only watch as the desk above us was torn open by a chunk of ceiling, the rubble bouncing off Jewel's shield. There wasn't really much else I could do besides that. No horn, no wings. I turned back to Jewel's pained face as she struggled to hold the spell.
"Eh... I guess those spellbooks you bought paid off in the end?"
Jewel shot a glare in return for my joke.
Once again, the shaking halted. With a grunt, Jewel tore down her shield as plaster began to trickle through the cracks. Slowly, we emerged from the remains of her desk, the aforementioned spellbooks now littering the floor around us. I stared upwards, blinking in the sunlight that now flooded through the new rift in the building.
I turned back to Jewel. She'd already dispelled the shield and was at the moment packing her books into a saddlebag. "We need to go." She began, her back still turned to me. "It's becoming too dangerous to live here."