Duke Zaap Nator swiveled around as the colt's shriek dwindled in the gaping pit beneath him. “Sincere aside, as much as I regret this action, the fate of Darkstine's industry is at—”
A rainbow streak soared straight past him, nearly throwing the stallion off his hooves.
Both the guards and foals gasped to see a speeding pegasus diving clear through the rusted door to the abyss. In a blue of blue, she disappeared.
Rainbow Dash held her breath the entire time she plunged into the darkness. She couldn't see the bottom of the abyss. Her eyes were filled with fluctuating bands of plasma and her ears twitched with the echoes of the colt's screams. Shaking the dizziness out of her head, she flung a hoof down to her pendant and rubbed the ruby lightning bolt. A dim beam of red light shimmered down, and she barely saw the tips of the foal's flailing limbs.
Gritting her teeth, Rainbow curled her wings to her sides. She dove like a lead arrow shot into the heart of the world. The air whistled on all sides of her until she was deaf. Just as a huge, glossy wave of black loomed into focus, she caught up to Flower Gears' sibling and clutched him with all four limbs.
“Gotcha!” Rainbow Dash barely had time for a second breath. She spun with the colt in her grasp and flared her wings up high like a parachute. The the heated friction in the air tugged at her wings until she felt that they would rip from their joints. She winced, her eyes watering, and managed to flap them once, twice, before leveling out in a sustained hover.
It was just in time, too. Barely four feet below Rainbow Dash loom the sharp, pointed edge of a black object. The huge spike jutted upwards at a length of about twenty feet from where it had sunk to the bottom of the cylindrical abyss. Only by the glare of Rainbow's pendant could she make out the shape of the obelisk's tip... and then something else.
The breath left her in a squeak that mimicked the colt's gasping breath. Her ruby eyes darted left and right at the frayed edges of her ruby spotlight. She made out the limbs, at first. They were pale stalks, thin and gangly. It took her several seconds of mortified comprehension to discover that most of the flesh had rotten off. Mane hair hung in tatters where flakes of skin had collected around crumpled bodies. Teeth glistened in the jaws frozen open in agony. The smell of the place was dank, copper, and Rainbow figured that it wasn't from rush.
“Where... Wh-What...?!” the colt stammered in confusion and panic.
“D-Don't look, kid,” Rainbow Dash breathily murmured, holding him tight so that his face was buried in her shoulder. “Just don't...”
Her peripheral vision quivered. She glanced aside and saw a bright pair of spots where the lavender light was the brightest. The phenomenon cast no shadow, and her heart beat faster simply from looking at it.
It took an astronomical effort to rip her gaze away. Afterall, there was something far more grave to deal with, and in Rainbow's recent experience, horror trumped awe.
“Wh-Who are you?” the colt murmured.
“I... I...” Rainbow glanced at the bodies once again. They were all tiny; they had all been young. She swallowed hard. “I'm gonna get you out of here kid.” With a heavy flap of her wings, she shot straight up the hole. The colt whimpered and clung to her tight as she soared towards the slim circle of foggy starlight that made up the top rim of the pit.
Once she burst out into Darkstinian night, there were no turrets to fire at her. Rainbow Dash figured tha it was because the pit was not only located in the center of New Ring's East and West Districts, but that the spot was sacred ground to the unicorns. Spinning about, she caught her bearings, and carefully touched down on the east side.
“Okay, listen to me carefully,” she spoke to the colt as she placed him down on his hooves. “You see that big, brass-framed building just two blocks away?”
“Mmmm... Y-Yes,” the colt said, still visibly trembling.
“Run straight towards it. It's the home to Governor Mintelle. As soon as the guards hear one sentence out of you, they'll know that you're not just any kid in need, and they'll listen to what you have to say. And if that doesn't work out, ask for a tall, dark, and gruesome stallion named Steelteeth.”
“What sh-should I tell them?”
“Tell them that Duke Zaap Nator is up to no good, and the lives of dozens if not hundreds of innocent foals are at risk. If Governor Mintelle has been holding back from crossing the wall of New Ring, now's a good reason to smash a frickin' hole through the thing. There's too much at stake.”
“But... But I don't understand!” the colt cried as Rainbow Dash levitated upwards. “Why won't you come with me?”
“Cuz I've got a huge gas mask to kick in,” Rainbow Dash grumbled. “Go and fetch the Governor and Steelteeth, kid. You won't be seeing me until I've rescued all your friends.”
With a burst of air, she backflipped, somersaulted across the starlight, and dove like a missile straight down the pit.