• Published 27th Jul 2013
  • 5,316 Views, 208 Comments

Scale - shortskirtsandexplosions

Daring Do goes on an epic quest full of danger and peril. Her goal: to cross landscapes, to scale boundaries... and to transcend herself.

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And the Calamitous Collapse

Daring Do's fuzzy ears twitched to a rustling sound, as if long sheets of paper were being burned in the dark confines of an abandoned library. Soon, that rustling became a gentle roar, coming and going in sequence. Then her shoulders shifted with the sound, and she opened her mouth to breathe, producing nothing but bubbles.

Daring Do lifted her face, sputtering. Her ruby eyes opened to a flash of gray stone, then immediately clenched shut to squeeze out the stabbing smoke. She curled up with a foalish whimper, only to hear the rippling of water all around her. Bobbing liquid surrounded the mare's body, soaking her, christening her tan coat with cool suds in the smoldering heat.

It took a great deal of courage, but Daring opened her eyes again. Her pupils stung from the gritty dust and burning embers dancing off her muzzle. At best, she could barely make out a fallen chunk of stained glass window looming before her. As she tried focusing on the void beyond, she heard a skittering sound. Looking to her right, she saw four crabs, each of them walking sideways in a clockwise circle around a palm tree.

With a stifled gasp, Daring stood up and trotted backwards out of the ocean surf. Her eyes traveled along cracked stone walls, pale mountain rock, and crumpled newspaper stands. With a resounding groan, a large rusted gear rolled past her, rattling to a stop atop a field of windswept grass blades.

Daring's mouth and lips quivered. Golden beetles swarmed past her billowing mane along a strong gust of wind. She spun around, her shadow grazing a pale obelisk as pendulums swam between gnarled trees entrenched in swamp water. Thick blizzard winds pelted her injured wing with snow. Wincing, she stumbled past a street corner and leaned against a slab of stone engraved with twin wolves battling a bear.

Fumbling with her shirt, she ultimately ripped the damn thing off with a frustrated grunt. Standing naked against the burning light, she pulled her compass out and braced the thing between two hooves. When she opened the case, a ribbon of living green vines splashed out, slamming her across the face.

Daring fell back, rolling down a sand dune until she came to a stop against a pair of dormant wooden fans. The air was filled with the smoldering of burning pages. She looked up, eyes tearing against the rust and decay as shapes rolled against the void like a murder of crows. They clustered tighter together, weaving tight knots with the grace of seagulls and dragonflies, until spreading outward like the burning end of a rope, dissipating into the thunder and lightning.

Daring battled her farsightedness, and ultimately the objects came into focus. They were words... her words. She reached a hoof out, desperate to stop them, desperate to form something with them that was succulent, that she could make a shape out of.

But it was too late. All was nebulous and crumbling. Daring's ears echoed with it, with the thunder, with the collapse.

She spun, gasping, for skyscrapers and bookshelves and mountains were crumbling into the void. The horizon was eating its way towards her, glinting with the angry spark of a sunrise in every direction. The heat kissed her hooves like a torch to paper, and she found herself scrambling helplessly away from the blackness, tripping over a collapsed conveyor belts and a brass podiums.

As she stood up and prepared to gallop towards the center of the remaining world, the library wall exploded with a runaway subway car. On screeching metal wheels, it careened towards her, spilling loose army ants and desert sand. Daring scampered away from it, panting as her body was pelted with tufts of steam and swamp leaves. She finally broke into a sprint, hopping over rusted antennae and constellation plaques. She tripped once or twice, nearly falling into the jagged teeth of a golem's gaping jaws, but nevertheless threaded her way forward, pushing against the stormy winds as she scaled the last remaining square feet of a porous metal platform.

At last, she threw herself upon the sandy shores of the beach, crawling her way up the snow and grass until she rested against a tall, glossy monument. A huge chunk of the library's dome had fallen deep in the swampy soil, its stained glass surface reflecting the madness deteriorating all around her. As each shred of landscape fell one by one into the void, the air matched the dismal gray malaise of Daring Do's mane. The darkness encompassed everything in a tight circle, leaving the adventurer alone on her little island with the mirror of muted colors behind her.

She sat there upon the crest of oblivion, sniffing the air, smelling the faint traces of fire thinning into stale nothingness. There were no more books; there was no more running. In a lonesome flicker, the last light of a sunrise melted away before it had a chance to blossom. Daring Do hugged herself and allowed the shudders to consume her, hanging her head almost apologetically as she bowed to the shadows.