• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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A warm fire crackled beside Rainbow Dash as she sat on an open ledge facing the east horizon. The blizzard had stopped, but several swift winds pelted the mountains with brief frost. She had to re-kindle the fire at least three times, but it didn't matter to her. Rainbow was prepared to spend the entire night underneath the stars. After all, she had had her fill of closed-in spaces.

Her nostrils flared. She reached a hoof up and patted her forehead. Most of the blood had dried up, but her brow still hurt in two places. Just thinking of the pain and dizziness that came to her whenever she removed the necklace filled the pegasus with a heavy shudder. She reveled in the weight of the Element of Loyalty around her neck. Placing a gentle hoof over the ruby lightning bolt, she felt the polished surface, exhaling with relief.

Her eyes drifted up towards the cosmos. As her vision bounced between lonesome constellations, she wondered how many times she would cheat death in her life before she got bored with the whole escapade. Twice in a matter of weeks, she had snuck into the chambers of large behemoth creatures, and she couldn't help but imagine that part of her did it on purpose.

Rainbow Dash's ears flicked. Lethargically, she gazed across the starlit landscape. The moon was waning, but still she could see several frosted peaks looming in a forest of rock all around her. The air had no howl to it; the spaces between mountains was too vast to be acoustic. It felt as though the very vacuum of space had collected itself upon the jagged roof of the world to retire, and Rainbow Dash was in the heartless center of it. Whenever she breathed, it felt like an earthquake shattering across the firmament of the earth.

It was then that she realized something, an epiphany that had been gnawing at her for months, that had been begging to be born in the penultimate chapter of her existence: that life was turning out to be something a whole lot lonelier than death.

Rainbow Dash closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She suddenly felt the weight of her saddlebag. Shuffling, she shook the satchels off her shoulders and reached in. Pulling out the green-bound book, she held it in her hooves and gazed at the antique surface. A chill came over her, filling her with more paralysis than ever a giant reptile in any cavern could ever hope to inflict. She thought lonesome thoughts, poisonous thoughts, like what Gold Petals may have been up to at that moment: if she was feeling just as helpless as Rainbow Dash, though she was surrounded by so much life. Would she be drowning her fears in “Gold Plate,” just as Rainbow Dash was drowning her past in the East?

A shudder flew through her forelimbs, and before Rainbow Dash knew it, she was lifting the front cover of the book. Her heart pounded in her chest with each exposed inch of the first sheet of paper. A whimper threatened to form in her throat.

And then something stabbed her eye from a distance. Something streaking.

Rainbow Dash gasped. She looked up and saw a blur of pale-ivory light. She blinked, and the glow was gone... only to be replaced by another, then another. A meteor shower was taking place. It was a spontaneous show of beauty for a part of the world where no ponies were meant to reside. And yet, there Rainbow Dash was, a lone survivor, and a blessed spectator situated upon the freezing roof of everything.

She rediscoverd her smile.

Slapping the book shut, she stood straight up and paced to the very edge of the cliff. She tilted her head forward and took a deep breath. There was something refreshing about the crisp, clean air. She realized that as soon as she dove towards lower altitudes again, she would miss that. But then, she wouldn't miss the cold and the frost. Life was full of balances, of surprises and twists and horrors and joys all the same. It may have been lonely, true, but it was hardly boring.

She murmured something. Perhaps it was a name. Perhaps it was a form of gratitude. Perhaps it was both. Then she sat down and enjoyed the show.

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