• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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By the time Rainbow Dash was halfway down the pit, she could see the lanternlit panel to the “training facility” sliding shut. Frowning, she angled her wings and rocketed downward. She spun to the right and threaded her way through the sliver of a door at the last second.

The first thing waiting for her was a surprised guard. He received the full impact of all four of her hooves. The blow sent him flying back, so that he tumbled into the doorway on the other side of the small chamber through which Duke Zaap Nator was attempting a hasty exit. The tall stallion spun around, his breath wheezing through his mask. His fellow guards formed a tight circle around the whimpering foals while brandishing sparkling horns.

“One question...” Rainbow Dash grumbled. “Why? Why the heck?!”

“Apathetic disdain: you would not even fathom the purpose of salvaging industry, you who would be an impudent outtrotter!” Zaap Nator uttered.

“Tossing foals down a bigflank hole in hopes that it'd—what?—turn all the lights back on in the city or somecrap?!” Rainbow Dash's ruby eyes became piercing daggers. “Where I come from, the only creatures nutty enough to think something like that's okay have a name: 'monsters.' There's only one place for freaks like you. Lemme ask you a question, Duke. Do you like the smell of sulfur? Cuz you'll have to be channeling a lot of that junk into your mask if you wanna last a single week in Tartarus.”

“Exasperated curiosity: Did you come all the way back to lecture me with words?”

“No, I came here to shove my hoof up your butt!” Rainbow Dash spat. “So forgive a mare for wanting to savor the moment...” She started dragging her hoof across the floor in a threatening manner.

The guards' horns hummed with brimming energy as they fixated their bright points on Rainbow Dash. Before they could launch a single burning discharge, Zaap Nator raised his hoof. They all froze in place as he glared through his mask at the pegasus.

“You who would be an outrotter, has it occurred to you that you are out of your element? The obelisk has descended from the surface of our city. She who would be Governor Mintelle has done nothing to restore the spirit of industry that has abandoned us due to our frailties and sins. I who would be Duke Zaap Nator have taken it upon myself to entreat the spirit of industry directly. If those who would be angry Darkstinians wish to take their wrath upon me for such a desperate act, so be it. We who would be ponies live in a world abandoned by the goddesses, and the rules of magic and ingenuity that they have left behind require more than mortal means if the glory lost to us is to be resuscitated.”

“For your information, Dukey, I've lived among some of those goddesses for most of my life!” Rainbow Dash snarled, her nostrils flaring. “And if this is what it's like to live in a place where ponies feel the need to think for the goddesses themselves, then I'll be really flippin' happy to leave this stinkin' province. But not without taking those foals out of your hooves and bringing them back to their families! There's just one problem: I haven't kicked your teeth in yet!”

“Necessary brevity: allow me to solve your problem.” Duke Zaap Nator lowered his hoof.

In one blink, all the unicorn guards fired magic bolts from their horns. The bright beams of energy converged on Rainbow Dash. She murmured something, flinched, and took the brunt of the energy blasts. In a smoking heap, she collapsed across the metal floor, her wings twitching.

The foals gasped and started sobbing, clinging to each other.

Duke Zaap Nator took a deep breath and adjusted his breath. “Quiet solemnity: it had to be done. Verily, those who would be redeemers of New Ring, follow me.” He turned once more to the door that led to the corridor. “Let us proceed to one of the lower chambers and approach the pit from there—”

His speech was interrupted by a blue body sailing hard into his flank with a bucking of four limbs.

“Gaaaah!” He face-planted into the doorframe. A hose or two popped loose from his mask, venting gas into the air.

“Nnnngh!” Rainbow Dash flipped off the Duke, twirled, and flew like a missile straight through the line of guards.

They could barely react in time; she pinballed through them with vigor, knocking them to the ground with kicks to the ribs, uppercuts to the chin, and bucks to the groin. In less than ten seconds, the group had fallen painfully to the floor.

“Haaaaa!” Rainbow Dash slid to a stop besides the gasping foals, her body dancing with an aura of flickering white light. “Ten seconds flattened! Sprinkle some of that on your salad, ya rust-licking bags of lame!”

As the guards groaned and struggled to pick themselves up, Duke Zaap Nator reattached the hose, wheezed, and struggled to utter, “Impossible statement: this is impossible!”

“Impossible your eye!” Rainbow Dash smirked devilishly and ran a hoof over her pendant as the white light danced around her. “From Whitemane with love, barf muffin!”

“Darkstinian magic is pure...” Zaap Nator seethed as his guards slowly stood up. “It is the epitome of unbridled industry!”

“Nuts to that! I... uh...” Rainbow Dash's face contorted in thought. In a blink, she beamed brightly. “I bubbled!”

“Intimidating retort: you merely sealed your fate, she who would be outtrotter.” Zaap Nator motioned towards her guards. “Furious imperative: reduce them all to dust! We still have the other foals to sacrifice for salvation!”

“Save your breath!” Rainbow Dash sneered as she stood directly in front of the firing squad with the foals to her rear. “You're not touching a single hair on their mane! So long as the Verdestone Queen's energy shield doesn't wear out!”

The energy shield wore out.

Rainbow Dash's ruby pupils shrunk. She stood—dim and unprotected—before the line of sparkling unicorn horns. “Erm... Eh heh heh... About my 'Tartarus' comments earlier...”

The Duke wasn't hesitating. “Fire!”

The unicorns tilted their heads forward, only to have a panel of metal collapsed in the middle of them from above.

Rainbow Dash and the foals looked up, gasping.

With his trenchcoat billowing, Steelteeth landed in the center of the firing squad. He spun in furious circles, bucking and knocking as many of the guards down as he could. Once the Duke's loyalists wwere appropriately shoved back, the tall stallion marched in reverse and stood before Rainbow Dash and the children.

“Steely!” Rainbow Dash's voice cracked, and then she breathed in relief. “I knew I smelled radicalness.”

“I thought I told you to stay at the Governor's mansion,” he grumbled.

“Love ya too.”

“I swear, her Majesty doesn't reward me for weathering all of this chicanery.”

“Mild astonishment: the Constable of Verdestone?” Duke Zaap Nator stood beside his guards, leering. “It now seems apparent that those who would be Emeraldinians are invading New Ring.”

“I'm going to make you wish it was an invasion.” Steelteeth's aquamarine eyes glinted as he reached a hoof to his hat. “Stay back.”

“Hey! The more the merrier! Let's take them both... on...” Rainbow Dash stopped speaking as her eyes blinked wided.

Steelteeth had flung his widely-brimmed article off, revealing a metal, maneless skull with twin, sparkling teslacoils. In a second breath, he flung his trenchcoat off, revealing a shiny metal body complete with driving pistons, whirring mechanisms, and sparkling bulbs of channeled mana. Whatever flesh was left of him had been reduced to scorched skin that only barely matched the midnight-gray coat clinging to the ends of his hooves. In place of a cutie mark was a metal grate that covered a miniature furnace brimming with flames.

“Uhm...” Rainbow Dash stammered.

“I said stay back.” Steelteeth's voice rang with a vibrating tone. Gritting metal teeth, he twisted his rear hooves and fired a pair of steam-powered thrusters. He launched his body towards the crowd, toppeled two guards, and landed in a slide. With a flick of his left front hoof, he extended his limb into an eight foot pole that tripped three more unicorns.

The guards next to the Duke fired manabullets through their horns.

The energy blasts merely bounced off Steelteeth's metal skeleton. Steelteeth's skull pulsed with electricity, and he swiveled his right forelimb one hundred eighty degrees so that it turned into a cannon. Aiming with an expert stare, he launched a stream of metal pellets back at the assailants.

The guards fell down one after another, their armor shattering apart from the vicious projectiles' impacts. Duke Zaap Nator growled something indiscernible into his mask and summoned a telekinetic shield to block the last of Steelteeth's volleys.

Steelteeth converted his hoof back, only two have two guards rushing in and grabbing his sides. He merely crouched low, concentrated, and activated twin springs in his ribcage. The guards were propelled off of him. While one flew into the air, Steelteeth extended a prehensile tail of metal coil and lassoed it around the gasping unicorn's leg. With a ringing snarl, the Constable spun and swung the screaming guard like a cudgel into the remaining group of lackeys.

“You know what?” Rainbow Dash smiled crookedly. “You got 'em.” She pointed at the foals. “How about I get them to safety?”

“That sounds exceedingly prudent,” Steelteeth calmly replied in the middle of kicking guards' helmets to shrapnel. There was a roaring sound from across the chamber. Steelteeth spun to look.

Duke Zaap Nator was galloping towards him. In mid run, he telekinetically lifted two scimitars out from under his coat and flung them at the Verdestone guardian.

Steelteeth jumped back, ducking and dodging the Duke's dual blades. He grunted and twitched his neck. A shot of electricity flew down his spine, and a metal taser bar shot out of his body. He gripped it in his teeth and used the sparkling tips of it to deflect the Duke's blows and stab back. In haphazard fashion, the metal pony and masked unicorn fought to a standoff in the center of the echoing chamber.

“Steely!” Rainbow Dash called out to her.

“Mmmmf—Go!” Steelteeth managed. “Safe the—mmff—foals!”

Rainbow Dash winced, sighed, and ushered the crowd along. “Come on, kiddies. This show isn't for us.”

“Where are we going?”

“Somewhere... uhhh...” Rainbow Dash sweated nervously as she hurried them out of the room and into the corridor. “Somewhere with less explosions, I hope.” She galloped out of the room, giving the place one last, regretful glance, seeing a sliver of Steelteeth's sparkling combat with the psychotic duke. “Goddess, I hate being left out of a climax.”

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