• Published 1st Mar 2014
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Urohringr - Imploding Colon

Rainbow Dash and the Noble Jury fly east.

  • ...

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The Thought of Leaving You

A pair of violet eyes opened blearily.

Eagle Eye stirred in his cot. He sat up, groaning inwardly. The first thing he instinctually did was levitate a brush across the cramped quarters to straighten out his mane. However, halfway through the routine, he paused, staring dully at an empty space beside him on the cot.

A sigh escaped his lips.

He dropped the brush to the floor, swung out of bed, and trotted dizzily across the tiny compartment.

Eagle trotted up to where the second floor ended at the vertical crawslpace towards the front of the Jury. He placed one hoof on a ladder rung... and paused. His ears twitched to the sound of murmurs and commotion. He stared down the crawlspace.

In the sunlight glaring through the observation room, he spotted the shadows of Zaid and Props. The two ponies rambled on in casual conversation. At one point, Props giggled, and Eagle could see the shadow of her mane flouncing while Zaid leaned against the bulkheads. The stallion chuckled, and soon the conversation continued on for an unknown length of time.

Eagle wrenched his gaze away and crawled up the ladder.

Inside the cockpit, Floydien was grumbling to himself, using two cloven hooves to fix a loose panel just above the airship's instruments. The elk suppressed several angry curse words. At first—as Eagle came up from below—he was at a loss to figure out just why Floydien was holding his voice down.

Then he heard two voices from the top deck beyond the cockpit: one raspy and the other disembodied, majestic. Eagle Eye craned his neck, peering onto the sun-lit exterior of the Noble Jury. There, he saw Rainbow Dash sitting up on the edge of the ship's port side railing. Her legs dangled, and she had the Sword of Solstice balanced across her thighs.

"...too quickly, Rainbow Dash. My sister and I would be more than happy to speak with them, but only on their terms. It would not be wise to rush them."

"And I-I'm totally not, Your Highness! But—face it—getting to hear from you and Luna would be the simplest and easiest way to show them who's really running the place!"

"It's true that Celestia and I maintain the Sun and Moon for this physical plane, but our rule only covers Equestria Proper. Need I remind you that there are countless landscapes all throughout this world that exist beyond our sphere of influence? Some of them even harmoniously."

"Yeah, but—like—most of them not harmoniously. Ya think?"

"From what you've described, it seems as though the Durandanans have done magnificently on their own, even if their values are considerably different than Equestria's."

"Are you s-saying that we should just leave them be?! Celestia, they're all Equestrians by blood! They're... th-they're like a long lost flock!"

"Rainbow, I'll have you know that I feel responsible for all living beings that exist—incuding all the ones who don't even belong to Equestria."

"And I-I'm totally not denying that! It's just—"

"I could have set out long... long ago to bring every remote civilization into my fold. But while harmony is something that can be maintain, it mustn't be forced, for then it becomes a mechanism. I fear that we have... mutually learned th-that the hard way with the Elements of Harmony..."

"Mmmmm... yeah... y-yeah, I guess so..."

"My long lost brothers and sisters sacrificed everything to do their best for this plane, and their blessing of harmony exists today as a natural essence, breathing life and vigor into this world. As the last immortal alicorns, Luna and I are tasked with illuminating the world and staving off chaos so that the creatures still dwelling on this plane can bask in peace for as long as the world will allow them."

"Which isn't for too much friggin' longer, if what Axan says is true."

"I am not entirely convinced that Axan's views are completely accurate in that matter. Just because the Divines are dying doesn't mean that the whole world is doomed as well. Then again, all things do come to an end. I simply haven't had the time nor the resources to investigate the matter thoroughly."

"Right... chaos rift and all..."

"But Luna's sarosian agents and Cadance's expedition are attempting to learn all that they can. And yet, despite our efforts, you—Rainbow Dash—are still the finest and most learned pioneer that this kingdom has ever produced. If there is any pony who can discover the truth, it's you. For that, you have my pride, my confidence, and even a little bit of my envy."

"Heh... you ain't so bad yourself, Your Highness."

"But not all ponies are quite so bent on discovery. I've no doubt that your presence there in Durandana has sparked a fire of curiosity in the locals. I will gladly do what I can to satiate the wonder in their hearts, for I too am eager to make a connection with these long lost souls. But I will do so only if it is approved by the powers that be. Please, whatever you do, Rainbow Dash, do not thrust this knowledge upon them with any more spontaneous dramatics. This is a very delicate situation, and I would greatly appreciate your tactfulness."

"Hey, don't sweat it, Princess! 'Tact' is my middle name!... along with 'Danger' and 'Professionalism' and... and... erm... something else. Begins with a 'J,' I think..."

By this point, Eagle Eye had shuffled back down the crawlspace without saying a word to either Rainbow Dash or Floydien.

Belle and Josho were seated in the lounge of the mess hall while Eagle Eye trotted by.

"So, the plan is that Rainbow Dash will carry Pilate off to Central D, and there they'll investigate the inner sanctum with its Gold Lights—using the O.A.S.I.S. in conjunction with my beloved's mimetic mind, of course."

"Wow. Heh. It's a dayum good thing you got all that fixed in time."

"I know, right? It was difficult working past the alterations Roarke made to help Pilate harness the Oracular Array."

"Actually, I was talkin' about the zebra's brains."

"Heeheehee... yes, well... I know certain languages that even Pilate didn't know he could speak."

"If I was a lot younger, I would have asked for more sordid details."

"And if I was younger, I probably would have told you."

"Fair enough. Say, where's the rust bucket off to this morning?"

"Hmmm? You mean Roarke? Is she gone again?"

"She took the Whizzer thingy and flew off. I figured that was why Rainbow was having to carry your husband horse."

"Beats me where Roarke has gone off to. I think she just doesn't want to be on board the Jury today."

"Heh, yeah. What—with all these winged cuccos flying all around us."

"No, I... I think she's trying to avoid something else."


"But still, she took really good care of Kera yesterday."

"Is that so?"

"Mmmhmmm. Kera had a grand old time. Apparently it wore her out, because she's still sleeping in."

"This late?"

"Heehee. Yes, the silly filly."

"I'm surprised Roarke didn't bring her back in pieces."

"I don't think that's giving Roarke enough credit, Josho. Roarke is... well..."

"She's trying, I get it."

"And yet, I think she's succeeding. You know? There are times when Pilate and I fear that we just don't know how to reach Kera at times—"

"You saps don't give yourselves enough friggin' credit."

"No, perhaps not. And yet... I think Roarke found something in Kera that needed attention. I have somewhat of an idea as to what it is... but I'm too busy feeling dumbstruck that Roarke made her mark that easily."

"Well, it's a shocker to me. I always thought the Searonese used fillies for target practice."

"Oh please, Josho. I think it's about high time we stopped harping on Roarke for being who she is."

"And why's that?"

"Isn't it obvious? She's still on board the Jury."


"...I don't think she is who she was anymore..."

Eagle Eye paused, glanced back at the two, then continued his way across the mess hall. Before the kitchen entrance, he hesitated slightly, then trotted right in.

Ebon was leaning over the sink, washing lettuce in a large bowl.

Eagle Eye stood at a distance. He fidgeted, opting to turn around and leave once or twice. Eventually, his body slumped, and—sighing—he took a bold step forward. "Uhm..."

"Good morning," Ebon Mane murmured.

Eagle blinked, freezing in place. "Good morning," he blurted back in a dull tone. His eyes squinted. "How long have you been—?"

"I'm always up early to serve breakfast," Ebon droned. "Lots of us have a bunch of things we need to do today. And there's no telling now when or if we might get winged guests. It's best to be prepared."

"Erm... right..."

"Plus, your old buddy, Josho." Ebon's nostrils flared as he turned the lettuce leaves over under the spicket. "There's no telling how much he'll wanna scarf down. Some days I wanna rent him out as a second garbage disposal."

"He sure... uh... does like to eat a lot."

"It'll be about twenty minutes," Ebon murmured. "If you wanna grab a bowl for yourself, be my guest."


"You'll have to slice the carrots up yourself, though. I haven't gotten to those yet—"

"Ebon, stop it!" Eagle gritted his teeth. "Can we please talk about last night?"

Ebon said nothing. His hooves lingered under the trickling water as he stared deep into the bowl of leaves.

"I couldn't get a wink of sleep. I couldn't do anything but think about... about what happened! Or better yet—what didn't happen!" Eagle sniffed, his eyes instantly turning moist. "Please, Ebon. Talk to me. Please help me know what I did wrong!"

"You didn't do anything wrong," Ebon said in a low tone. He didn't look at Eagle as he spoke. "You didn't do anything because there wasn't anything to be done."


"Things can't end if they don't begin," Ebon said, switching the water off with the slap of his hoof. "We can live fine with the way things are."

Eagle slowly shook his head. "No, we c-can't," his voice cracked. A tear formed on his cheek. "I can't."

Ebon's hooves gripped tight to the counter.

"Ebon, nothing can undo what I said... what I meant... or how I feel!" He sniffled and trotted forward. "And if you don't feel the same, then maybe you should just tell—"

"Don't come near me!" Ebon suddenly hissed.

Eagle flinched as if struck by a bullet. He leaned back with quivering lips. At last, his face bowed towards the floor. "This is all my f-fault. I... I-I rushed things." Another sniffle. "I'm such a sappy romantic at heart. I should have known better than to push you towards something you weren't prepared for!"


"But... I can't help it." Eagle looked up, frowning. "I love you, Ebon. I love you so much." He inhaled sharply and held a hoof over his chest. "You bring me to a place where I thought I would never be! I no longer care about where I'm going or where I've been... so long as you're there with me! I... I feel horrible because this is something I-I can't change—"

"Yes you can," Ebon said with a slight growling tone. "Stop pretending like you're powerless—"

"But I'm not!" Eagle stepped forward with a heavy hoof. "Don't you get it? For once in my life, I chose something! Even in spite of all the risks! And if you knew what I knew, Ebon, maybe then you would understand why I want to love you and protect you so much—"

"You know nothing!" Ebon snarled, teeth showing. "All you have is what you feel, and it's going to rob you blind!"

"Please, Ebon, will you just let me tell you—"

"No!" Ebon barked, finally turning to face Eagle, and it was with a frown. "We are friends, do you understand?"

Eagle slowly shook his tearstained face. "No. I d-don't."

"We are just friends," Ebon said, eyes thin. "And friends know how to do what's best with one another... even if it means leaving each other alone."

"But... b-but Ebon..."

"I've said all that needs to be said," Ebon uttered. He sucked in his breath, regaining his dull expression. "Now." He slapped the bowl of lettuce onto the counter and marched through the opposite doorway. "If you don't mind, I need to go tell the others that breakfast is served."

Eagle stood alone. As Ebon's hoofsteps grew distant, the stallion fell back on his haunches. He leaned against the counter, his face melting as he broke into quiet, quiet sobs.

In the stairwell, Ebon came to a stop as soon as he was alone. His rigid expression shattered instantly, replaced by a pale and panting face. He grimaced... then grimaced harder. Slumping back against a wall, he slid down before the steps and curled up into a little bergundy ball. His eyes darted about, then closed completely to dam in the tears.

With little squeaks, he cried to the walls for the space of several minutes, until he was once again able to summon the strength to get up and finish his duties.

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