• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Rainbow Dash winced slightly from a fresh bruise or two as she scuffled her way down a street connected to the alleyway where she had plummeted. After ten minutes of trotting, she had regained her hoofing, and she marched in even steps, her posture tall and proud. When she entered the open streets of Verdestone, she was graced with the glinting kiss of a gradually setting son. Suddenly, shadows were darting past her. She winced slightly, before calming herself and observing as numerous ponies galloped excitedly towards the southwest edge of the platform.

“Is it true?!” A mare slid up to a stop in front of Rainbow Dash, wide-eyed.

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash blinked awkwardly. “Is... what true?”

“There's a winged pony in town?!” The mare grinned widely. “A relative of the Queen?”

“Oh... Uh... Totally!” Rainbow Dash turned and pointed with a long-sleeved forelimb towards where she had snuck away from. “Look for the fat mare with the ratty mane and the polk-a-dotted coat! You can't miss her!”

“Ohhhhh-How exotic!” The mare darted off along with other breathless ponies. “I've waited all my life to meet royalty...”

“Yeah, cool. Have fun with that.” Rainbow Dash trotted back.

The mare's voice called from a distance. “Thank you, sir!”

Rainbow Dash blinked. Her ears drooped as she slumped forward in her straight-laced suit. “Well, mostly cool...”

Rainbow Dash took her time in navigating the streets of Verdestone. She wasn't a stranger to grabbing attention, but being an outstanding pegasus was easy to do in a small town of ponies or while flying orbit around a tiny caravan of equines. In the middle of a gigantic metropolis in the dead center of a country she was only residually familiar with: it was a great deal more taxing to become the object of every pony's idolization. A part of her almost longed for the past, a simpler time, when she could be the whole world for one pony and one pony alone.

Without thinking, she gave her saddlebag a tiny shake. She felt the weight of her goggles shifting around inside, and a tiny smile graced her lips.

The stroll to the Chamber of Representatives was long, arduous, and a torturous test of Rainbow's patience. It was one thing to force herself to trot slowly so as not to attract attention. But to do so while tucked away in a well-trimmed suit as tight as a tourniquet was utter agony. She resisted the temptation to spread her wings, rip the silk and velvet apart, and go busting the oaken doors to the Chamber in a blink.

Thankfully, she didn't have to wait that much longer upon contemplating that last part. The barracks that the two clothiers had referred to came within sight. Rainbow Dash walked past the gates, peering to her right to see several guards in silver plates of armor practicing fighting moves on wooden equine figures. She squinted through the grated bars, studying their moves, quietly intrigued by the sudden fury and muscle of these otherwise cheerful Emeraldine natives.

“Hold it right there.”

Rainbow Dash skidded to a stop. She looked ahead of her and saw nothing but black canvas. Her head tilted up... and up and up and up. Finally, she saw the head of a stallion towering above her, and a glaring pair of eyes that was three times as intimidating. The rigidly framed pony was given even greater girth by the flaring coat he wore over his limbs. The shadow from a wide-brimmed hat—coupled with midnight black coat—made it look like his eyes were a pair of aquamarine stars stabbing her from a deep abyss.

“Okay,” Rainbow Dash gulped. “I'm holding it.”

“What business do you have in the Chamber of Representatives?” he grunted as two guard ponies marched up to his side.

“Uhhhh...” Rainbow Dash peered nervously past him, at the grand entrance of the building with its thick columns, steep stone steps, and weathered statues of ancient Emeraldine figures. “How did you know I needed to go into the Chamber?”

The stallion's eyes narrowed icily as he murmured through iron-wrought lips. “The only ponies dressed like you in this part of the platform are either here to shop or do politics.”

“Heh. Yeah, okay.” She swallowed and smiled devilishly. “Lemme guess, a pony dressed like you only wants to plant daisies?”

His iron brow furrowed.

“Yeahhhh...” Her voice cracked. “I didn't think so. Guess I'll be going—” She turned around.

“Not so fast,” he said, pointing with a hoof.

She looked over her shoulder with an innocent expression. “Fast? What makes you think I'm trying to do stuff fast?”

He leaned forward. His nostrils flared. “Hmmm...” He leaned back and grunted sideways to his guards. “Leave us.”

The guards bowed and marched off.

Rainbow Dash glanced at them. “Uhhh...”

“Come with me.”

“To where, exactly?”

“The Chamber.” The stallion adjusted the brim of his wide hat and spun around with billowing coattails. “I'm the constable of this platform, and it's my job to escort diplomatic guests in and out with safety.”

“Huh... Well...” Rainbow Dash shrugged and trotted after him. “That works for me.”

“Though you really should have presented yourself at the Base Facility.”

“Base Facility?” She made a face as she followed the tall, lanky stallion up the stone steps. “What, you mean at the bottom of the Verdestone spire? Heh, sorry. But I'm not much one for waiting.”

“I imagine not,” he said in a low voice as they entered the front foyer. He saluted a pair of guards and led Rainbow Dash into the center chamber. Several voices of debating equines filled the air as he turned to look back at her. “Why else would you have flown here this quickly.”

“Hmmm... Yeah...” Rainbow Dash said, gazing at the paintings of old ponies on the walls they passed. She suddenly went bug-eyed and gawked at him. “Wait! Huh? Flew?”

“Please...” He sighed in exasperation as he stood on the edge of a wooden railing overlooking a large circular chamber full of Emeraldine dignitaries in open discussion. “You have the smell of Ridgeside on you.”

“Uh... I do?”

“Nopony without extraordinary means of travel could have made it from Evergreen's town to here and still have retained such a scent, especially one so fresh.”

“Heh. Who would have guessed you were all nose?” She said with a smirk. She leaned against the railing and squinted at the dozens upon dozens of ponies. “Ugh. Jeez. Look at this? How am I gonna find Steelteeth in all this mess?”

“You're looking for a senator, then?”

“At least I think he's a senator,” she grumbled. “With the name like that, you'd think he'd be some sort of wielder of badflankery—” She stopped in mid-sentence. She gazed up at the Constable. “Hey. Uh... Say cheese.”

He stared down at her. With a grunt of indifference, he uttered, “Cheese.” As he did so, a full ring of metal teeth glinted in the Chamber's candlelight.

“Huh...” Rainbow Dash smiled as her wings twitched under her suit. “Guess you're not all nose after all...”

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