• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Tavern

“So, are all of those blue feathers real?” Grassy Fields asked from across the table.

Rainbow Dash swirled a mug of hay ale in her grasp and flexed her wings in front of everypony. “As far as I know. They certainly hurt when they get plucked.”

“They're absolutely spectacular,” Grassy said with a dreamy sigh, leaning his rosy muzzle against a muscular hoof. “It's like the color of the sky on a spring day.”

“Seriously, Grassy,” Cherrymane murmured as she strolled up to the table, balancing a tray full of extra mugs on her flank. “So are you just going to flirt with every mare you see, or...?”

Several Ridgeside villagers laughed merrily while Grassy Fields blushed. In the center of a hazy tavern, a large group of earth ponies had clustered together in a tight circle around Rainbow Dash—the pegasus of the hour... or year... or even century.

“Hey! I don't blame him.” Rainbow Dash took a sip of her ale. She smiled dreamily at the first luxurious taste of a beverage in weeks and leaned back against the table. “Wings are fun to look at. That's why we don't have many mirrors where I'm from, or else we'd never get anything done. You dig?”

Cherrymane giggled while Brisk Run leaned in. “Is that where pegasi are from?” he asked. “To the far west?”

“Well, some of them. I figured they lived all over the world, but I haven't seen any in my travels as of late. Just a bunch of boring earth... erm... earthen mounds and montains and the like...”

“What is it like being able to scale a mountain?” Grassy Fields asked.

“It's like scaling bump in the road,” Rainbow Dash said, then winked. “Only your ears pop more.”

Once more, the group chuckled happily. The place was bustling with excitement and intrigue, and Rainbow Dash was in the center of the merry maelstrom.

“It has to be really amazing,” Cherrymane said thoughtfully, her eyes thin as she gazed into a sphere of contemplation beyond Rainbow's figure. “To be able to just... take off and go anywhere in the world. Not having to use a vehicle.... not having to use an air balloon... just being able to use your wings like any other pony would use her legs. That must be the most free feeling in the world.”

“Hey, sure, it's free.” Rainbow Dash shrugged, took a sip, stifled a belch, and uttered, “But danger is also free.”

“Oh?” Brisk Run chimed as the group murmured curiously around him. “You've had a lot of crazy adventures during your travels?”

“Well...” Rainbow Dash fiddled with her mug and did her futile best to suppress a smirk. “One or two.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, I may have—kind of, sort of—flown straight into a subterranean nest full of giant quarray eels.”

The group gasped loudly around her. “Quarry eels?! No way! Why would you do that?”

“Uh, because I was bored?”

Everypony laughed.

Rainbow Dash grinned at the attention and went on, “And then there were the minotaurs that I totally butted heads with. Spoiler: their heads ended up hurting way more than mine. Ahem.” She took a lasting sip, gulped, and exhaled, “And... nnghh—excuse me. And then there was the giant ugly iguana thing—”

“Iguana thing?”

“It had two tails and a horrible attitude. I didn't stay around long enough to ask it its life's story. And... Well, going way back, I've tangled with Diamond Dogs, dragons, parasprites swarms... OH! The living dark embodiment of the Mare in the Moon. Can't forget that...”

“This is absolutely incredible!” Brisk Run's voice practically squeaked. “You mean you've actually been to the realm of the Cosmic Goddesses?”

Rainbow Dash fidgeted. “Mmmmm... Yeah. But believe me, it's not exactly the most exciting place in the world.”

“Oh yeah? What is?”

Rainbow Dash merely smiled back. “I haven't discovered it yet.”

Everypony chuckled heartily. At that moment, another villager strolled up with a tray of mugs, and Grassy Fields immediately hoofed one container over towards her. “Here. You gotta try this Apple Cider. Straight from Blue Plain to the south! It's the best stuff in all of Emeraldine!”

Rainbow Dash gazed at the mug, her face frozen in between a smile and a frown. A bead of sweat formed on her temple, and she cleared her throat. “Actually... uhm. Thanks, but no thanks. I've wetted my whistle.”

“Awwwww...”

“But... uhm...” She sat up straight, rubbing her hooves together. “What do you guys have around here for grub?!”

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