• Published 27th Mar 2015
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Ynanhluutr - Imploding Colon



A newly transformed Rainbow Dash continues her flight east.

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There'll Be No Sunsets For Us

Several seconds ago...

“Okay, look... I'm tired of arguing,” Echo grumbled, rubbing his dark eyelids. “I had enough of a headache just dealing with my own problems here. If agreeing to work with you guys will get you to shut up, then I'm all game.”

“We're simply trying to find a solution that will benefit us all, old friend,” Theanim Mane said. “It simply burns me to see you wasting away in this place.”

“I'm not wasting away,” Echo said with a frown. “More like...” He coughed up coral smoke. “...finding my safe corner of the toilet to marinate.”

“Well, stuff that attitude!” Rainbow's voice cracked. “You're nopony's property! Not the Syndicate's... not the other Syndicate's... and certainly not the Consortium's!” She leaned forward. “If we can get you on the Shoggoth ponies' good side, will you grant us access into the lower Muddredge City?”

“Birdy, if you can make me square with them, I'll let you kiss Princess Camellia's gills.”

“Now that's the spirit—” Rainbow made a face. “Wait... she has gills?”

Just then, from the far end of the room: “Howdy, y'all!” Every patron looked up to see a pegasus in a black stetson and a griffon with dark goggles alight the tavern's stage. “From the gold shiny heart of Rust's Dust District, we wanna thank ya kindly for comin' to this here drinkin' hole for yer regular mid-afternoon drip. Eheh... 'Bout time somepony made it worth yer while.” He tilted his hat. “The name's Bard.” He pointed at his griffon friend. “This here's Wildcard.” He smirked. “No relation. Ahem. And we Desperadoes are tonight's entertainment!”

“Well, there's something you least expect,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“You least expected inexplicable handsomeness?” Rarity remarked, fanning herself with a dumb smile.

Rainbow glared aside. “Really? You're impressed that quickly?”

Echo responded, “What's to be impressed about?” He groaned, “They pick a bunch of musical blowhards to try and sprinkle magic into this cesspool every Tuesday.”

“I, for one, don't mind,” Theanim said with a smile. “This atmosphere could certainly use a touch of mirth.”

“Meh,” Rainbow grumbled, propping a chin on her hoof.

“Oh Rainbow...” Twilight giggled. “Don't forget your Ponyville roots.”

“This little number...” Bard spoke while plucking the strings of his guitar with his wingtips. “...is somethin' I whipped up while Wildcard and I were skedaddlin' across the western hills of Rohbredden. Just what were we runnin' from at the time? Hell, what is anypony ever runnin' from?” He glanced over his shoulder and winked at the griffon with his harmonica. “Well, needless to say, it's damn hard sleepin' in an empty train car, and no matter how far you go, yer thoughts are always gonna follow you. But... that's the way it's always meant to be, ain't it?”

Wildcard pressed his beak to the mouth organ, introducing a melancholic harmony, and that's when Bard began strumming at the guitar. Pretty soon, a soft acoustic melody brought a strange tenderness to the otherwise grimy abode. Within seconds, the pegasus' surly drawl morphed into a series of honey'd words:

Oh dear sweet little melody, you gave me quite a start
Reckon it'd take a siren song to wake this lonely heart
But since you ask me all pretty-like, I'll tell you how my harmony died

Well I've dipped in the streams and slipped amidst the rushes
I've drowned in every damn sea the Queen V's light touches
And I've soaked up every shudder'n'sob this windy world has sighed

Cuz only a ghost like me rides a train with no track
I shoulder my shadow and we sleep with back to back
And I learn what I know, to face the lonely dark
And I carry my burden like my scars and my mark

Oh precious little melody, don't try and make me smile
Life's only a brief candle, flickerin' for a lil' while
But if your chorus burns bright enough then nopony will have to know

Musicians are a mouthpiece for memories in the air
We dress 'em up like angels and put flowers in their hair
And once the smoke has cleared, all that's left is that heavenly glow

But only a ghost like me rides a train with no track
He shoulders his shadow and they sleep with back to back
And he learns what he knows, to face the lonely dark
He carries his burden like his scars and his mark

(Griffon Harmonica Solo)

Oh sweet gentle melody, I know you mean well
But all it takes is a single chord to turn heaven into hell
If you can't handle silence after the lonely heart's song is through

I hear you say you love me, that you'll never ever leave
But it's hard to share a dance if you don't know how to grieve
Over the loss of life it takes to make a beautiful dirge out of you

For it's a ghost who rides a train with no track
You shoulder your shadow and you sleep with back to back
If you wanna know what he knows to face the lonely dark
You gotta carry your burden like your scars and your mark

Darling, only a ghost rides a train with no track
You shoulder your shadow and you sleep with back to back
When you know what he knows to face the lonely dark
You'll carry your burden like your scars and your mark
Like your scars and your mark

With a few ghostly notes, trailing into saccharine silence, the song ended. With alarming swiftness, the tavern broke into gentle applause. The residents of Rust's Dust District lightly clopped their hooves against the floor and tabletops. Even Rainbow Dash was impressed by the delightfully somber reaction.

“Charming,” Theanim said with a warm smile. “Absolutely charming.”

“Hmmmf...” Echo shook his pipe, staring down its empty end.

With a sniffle, Rarity clapped has hard as she could, even if nopony else could hear her echoing hooves. “Bravo! Bravo!” She wiped her cheek, smiling Twilight's way. “Oh, Twilight, darling, wasn't that simply divine?”

“Well, it was pretty nice alright.” Nevertheless, Twilight's brow furrowed. “Still... I can't help but... but...”

“Feel moved inside?”

“I'm feeling a movement, alright.” Twilight blinked as her horn glowed. “Funny. Neither of them is a unicorn.”

“Maybe the magic is in how a pegasus can play the guitar,” Rainbow droned.

“Thank you! Thank y'all most kindly!” Bard said, bowing low. He removed his hat, briefly revealing a long, lush mane of silky brown hair. Plopping the article back, he stood up and shouldered his guitar. “Reckon that's as good as ever a tune to start out with. Ahem. And now for our next number!” He grinned wide. “We kick flank!” He whistled shrilly.

Wildcard pocketed his harmonic in a blur. Goggles glinting, he squatted low and flung his griffon wings forward.

At precisely that same time, Bard performed the exact same gesture. The combined gust of wind from their appendages roared violently across the tavern... and impacted Theanim, Rainbow, and Echo.

WHUDDD! The table toppeled over, slamming squarely into Rainbow and the sarosian. “OOF!” This left Theanim sitting awkwardly in his stool, blinking at the windblow mess. “Wait...” He turned his head. “...wat.”

Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Bard galloped by. “I apologize for my friend. His left hook is a doozy.”

“Uhhh—” Theanim looked to his right, only for his chin to meet a metal talon. WHAMMM! “Ooompha!” The scientist fell back on his flank.

Before the audience could even gasp, Bard shoved over the table and scooped up Echo's stirring body. “I got the goods, Dubya-Cee!” He spread his wings and launched straight out the tavern's swinging doors. “Let's mosey!”

Wildcard jetted after him, and soon the place was left in a cluttered, breathless stupor.

A few mind-numbing seconds later, Rainbow Dash crawled out from underneath the fresh debris. She groaned, stirred, then stood up with the help of an equally dazed Theanim Mane.

“I... do believe I've been throttled by a patchwork albatross,” Theanim wheezed. “Miss Dash, are you okay?”

“Oh no... no...” She snarled, rubbing her head. “He did not just table flip me!

“Now calm down, Miss Dash, there's no need for... for...” He glanced around, his goggles cracked in the torchlight. “... ... ...Echo? Echo, old chap?”

“You mean they took him?!” Rainbow's voice cracked.

Just then, Twilight's panicked voice came into focus. “Out there, Rainbow!” The lavender spectre pointed through the entrance. “The two of them just grabbed Echo and flew!”

“With amazing speed too!” Rarity added.

“They're covering a lot of distance!” Twilight exclaimed, gulping. “I... I can sense them somehow... or at least one of them.”

“Great... just perfect!” Rainbow was already flapping her wings.

“Miss Dash! Wait!” Theanim stumbled after her. “You can't expect to catch them both alone! Surely the local authorities can—”

“What?! Get ahold of Echo before we do?!” She shook her head. “Not happening! Face it, Doc! Your old friend is our one and only ticket to Shoggoth!” FWOOOOSH! She burned a frictious path out the tavern and into the dark rusty streets. “I've got some punks to make face the music!”

“Oh dear oh dear...” Theanim stumbled helplessly out into the open. “...Verlaxion, give me strength... or at least pour me a nice drink after this...”

Author's Note:

The Character of Bard Is Inspired by the Works of Lord Belgarion

Wildcard is a Gary Stu. 'Nuff said.

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