• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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With a series of echoing hoofsteps, Steelteeth made his way up a steep stairwell until he came to a shuffling stop in the wing of the Verdestone palace overlooking the bright morning sunrise. His steely, aquamarine eyes glared out from the shadow of his broad-rimmed hat as he paused on the marble floor, looking, standing, waiting.

Everything was quiet, still, and empty. But then—

“Boo!” Rainbow Dash grinned upside down at him from above.

He gave no reaction: not even a flinch.

“Awwww, come on...” Rainbow Dash flew right-side-up and hovered directly in front of him. “There's gotta be a nervous heart beating somewhere beneath all that... trenchcoat.”

“You smell better today,” he muttered.

“Yeah, I made sure the chambermaids gave me a lavender rinse with you in mind.” She stuck her tongue out. “Most friggin' embarassing moment of my life, I swear to Luna. But hey, at least the bed was nice.”

“Did the chambermaids help you to that too?”

“Der—I... Uhm... It...” Rainbow Dash's cheeks blushed furiously. She then frowned. “No.” In an instant, she was grinning again. “But I did get to tell some sweet stories! It made them laugh like crazy. I bet even you would laugh too.”

“Rainbow Dash, I didn't come here to indulge the banal anecdotes of a lone wanderer,”Steelteeth said coldly. “I was requested personally by Queen Whitemane just an hour ago to escort you safely beyond the borders of Darkstine, and if we are to make haste we must—”

Rainbow Dash touched down in front of him, smiling wide. “Hit me.”

At that, Steelteeth actually blinked. “I beg your pardon...?”

“I want ya to hit me!” Rainbow beamed. “Come on, tall, dark, and ominous! There's a mighty set of bucking limbs hidden somewhere beneath that coat, so hit me!”

“Miss Dash,” Steelteeth spoke as if at a distance. “As Constable of Verdestone, I have a great deal of strength at my disposal. I have been known to cripple assassins and render hydralisks paralyzed.”

“Jee. Small world. So have I.” Rainbow Dash tilted her chin up and pointed at her muzzle. “Now come on! Show me what you got!”

“I will not humor you with this violent request.”

“Cuz either you're hitting me or I'm flinging my hooves into your face.”

Steelteeh sighed. He looked as if he was turning to leave, when suddenly the veritable crack of thunder lit the small, enclosed space. Less than a blink later, Rainbow Dash was flying from the violent snap of his horseshoes. She pinballed off a pillar, bounced over the floor, and landed in a numb heap in the corner. There, she lay, not moving a muscle.

Steelteeth stood once again on all fours, smoothing out the folds of his overcoat.

Rainbow Dash's body was still.

He looked at her.

She remained frozen in place.

He squinted.

She poked her head up, grinning devilishly. “Scared you for a moment, did I?”

He took a deep breath. “I am neither frightened nor remorseful,” Steelteeth droned. He watched intently as she stood up, shook her prismatic mane straight, and trotted leisurely towards him. “However, I am immensely curious...”

Rainbow Dash tapped her pendant a good few times, grinning as a tiny, translucent bubble of white energy fluctuated and disappeared in a blink. “Alicorn's blessing. Your Royal Highness, Queen WhiteMonologue zapped me with her superhorn. I can summon this shield with a concious thought at any time. She told me that it's only good to last for a few months, but hey! I'm not about to complain! A buff from a half-godess is better than none at all!” She giggled, shifting the saddlebag on her shoulders. “Heh. I guess, in a way, you could say that I leveled up.”


“Now don't you friggin' start.” Rainbow Dash pointed at him with a wink. “We had a long chat, the Queen and I, and she told me that—before I begin my journey—I should stop by the capital City of Darkstine.”

“Alas...” Constable Steelteeth managed a sigh as he walked further up the stairwell. “The very reason I'm here.”

“Yeah, what's up with that?” Rainbow Dash remarked. “After all the words we had to say with one another, you'd think she'd trust me enough to cross the border on my own.”

“Just what did you and the Queen talk about?”

“First thing's first...” Rainbow Dash squinted. “Why the hay are you walking up the steps? Since you're escorting me and stuff, I figured we'd have to hoof it along Emeraldine's sea level. Now, unless you're hiding some wings under that fancy getup of yours—”

“Did or did not the Queen ask you to trust me in our mutual journey?” Steelteeth asked from above.

Rainbow Dash gulped. “Alright, fine. Add 'mysterious' to 'tall, dark, and gruesome'. She trotted limply up the steps to follow him. “You know, keep that up, and you'll never have hope of meeting Mrs. Teeth, much less having a bunch of baby teeth.”

“Surely, that is the least of your or my concerns.”

“Heeeeey! Who said you didn't have a sense of humor! Uhhh... Where are you taking us, anyway?”

Steelteeth led Rainbow Dash to a circular door. He inserted a key that swung the revolving passage open. Inside were a pair of seats positioned within a metallic booth. The booth, as it would seem, was located at the far end of a long, horizontal tunnel opening into daylight.

“When I was recuperating for so long within Darkstine, I inherited more than a proper bill of health and a diplomatic knowledge of the unicorns' culture,” Steelteeth said as he jumped into the booth and sat in a seat. “I was bestowed with the central tenets of their civilization. I've since learned to incorporate them into my job here at Verdestone.” He motioned for her to jump into the booth.

“If these Darkstinians showed you how to look scary and speak with the emotional inflection of a rattlesnake...” Rainbow Dash hopped into the chair next to him with a flap of her wings. “Then I'm not sure they're the kind of ponies I want to party with.”

“Was it Queen Whitemane's instructions that you party with them?”

“No. But... eh... I can't quite explain what Whitemane asked of me in a single sentence.”

“I think we will have time,” he said, flipping several levers in front of them.

“What?” Rainbow Dash frowned. “You mean while we sit here and have a breather?”

“Oh, you will have plenty of chances to breathe, alright,” Steelteeth droned. He flung a hoof to his hat and hit an invisible button. A pair of brass-framed goggles extended down from the article and covered his eyes. Just then, a two-piece handle raised up and he gripped it with his forelimbs. “I would hold onto something if I were you.”

“What forrrrrrrrrrrrr-Daaaaaaah!” Rainbow Dash shrieked and gripped tightly to her seat as the booth shot like a cannonball out the mouth of the tunnel. Daylight exploded around them with a gust of freezing winds, and a pair of metal wings shot out from either side of the booth. The vehicle was powered by several horizontal rotars that propelled the sudden airplane eastward beyond the spire of Verdestone and over the blurring countryside of Emeraldine below. “Nnngh—Okay! Okay! Okay! I give!” she hissed and shivered in her seat. “This is a much cooler way to get across the border!”

“There's no reason to be afraid, Miss Dash,” he said bluntly above the whipping winds. “I am fully capable of piloting this.”

“I never said I was sc-scared!” she frowned, though her teeth chattered. “I do, however, wish I had used the little filly's room before we took off.”

A deep groan escaped the bottom of Steelteeth's throat. “This vehicle is not exactly designed to make return trips...”

“No! No, by all means! Heh!” She scrunched into her seat and took a few solid breaths. Her voice cracked, “Let's just go forward. Everything works out alright so long as we look forward.”

“That's quite the noble philosophy.”

“It certainly isn't a boring one.”

“Perhaps now you would care to tell me why Queen Whitemane insists you visit central Darkstine?”

“That's just it. You ever spoken to her personally?”

“Several times. It is an honor.”

“Well, it's a very annoying, cryptic honor. Ever notice that she says a whole lot of nothing by saying a whole lot of something?”

“I do believe you have lost me, Miss Dash.”

“Hey, you and me both! Just keep your eyes on the horizon!” She reached into her saddlebag and pulled out her goggles. “I feel like I just learned the secrets of the world, and yet if somepony told me all a dream, I'd be tempted to believe them!”

“Then perhaps it is not something worth sharing.”

“Nnngh... Fine...” Rainbow Dash slid the goggles over her eyes, leaned back, and gave a relaxed smirk. “If you must know...”

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