• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Rainbow Dash hadn't even considered that Darkstine possessed a landscape until the city started to break up. Staring beneath her, she saw wide plains of brown bush dissolving into dull gray stone. The air was becoming dry, and the earth was sharing the arid sentiment. As the buildings dissappeared, so did the rivers and tributaries, so that the landscape evolved into a desolate valley of polished stone and inert rock. The only trace of civilization was a long, straight series of highways stretching from New Ring to the eastern horizon, almost acting as a line for Rainbow to follow. As she skimmed along the ground, she gazed in wonder as the asphalt and concrete panels that made up the highway illuminated themselves from underneath with bright blue beams of energy. In a way, the juice from the obelisk was following her even as she soared miles and miles from the heart of the pit in New Ring.

“Huh... Neato,” she muttered, smirking to herself.

Though the air was dry, it was anything but still. Sharp mountains to the north and south produced strong currents of air that funneled through the valley at merciless speed. If Rainbow Dash flew high enough, she could very easily have escaped the wrath of the lower troposphere. Instead, she maintained a humble altitude, relishing in the exercise that the strong currents forced her to endure. For days, she had been forced to not use her wings for fear of gun turrets or uptight unicorns. Right now, she was outracing a blue glow and was having the time of her life.

The day of Darkstinian travel wore on, and the blue glow below her didn't fade. As she passed over neighborhoods and clustered communities of metal foundations, she watched as the blue light caught up and reenergized their buildings with unearthly locomotion. Gears came to life, wheels started to turn, and giant town clocks began clicking once again. She heard the murmur of astonishment and subdued rapture from the unicorns below. Holding in her breath, Rainbow Dash twirled about and kept flying eastward.

The lavender glow hadn't faded either. In a way, the light had always been there, but it felt more prominent now than when she had first left Windthrow. She also couldn't help but think that Whitemane had a hoof in how swiftly she recovered from her exposure to the red flame atop the golden pedestal in the mechanical belly of the world.

Rainbow Dash bit her lip. She gazed down at the arid world blurring by. As she passed an elevated series of hills, she dipped low and dragged the tips of her hooves over the tall grass and topsoil. She felt the dust of the earth spreading from her gliding touch. She smelled the pollen from the vegetation. Every memory of every Winter Wrap Up day flickered through her mind like lightning.

It was daunting to think that everything that was alive grew off the back of something as artificial as a can opener. But even then, Rainbow Dash knew very little, and though the idea both intrigued and frightened her, she was no egghead. In a few seconds, she was thinking about the sick moves she had pulled on Duke Zaap Nator in the pit. A chuckle escaped her lips, and she barrel-rolled into an upward glide that took her over a sudden mountain ridge.

The highway ended, finally. The road stopped at a slightly larger township bottled against a large white dam. The one and only river of east Darkstine fed a meager wealth of power to the community, only to be doubled by the glow once it reached its ultimate destination and absorbed itself into the mechanical buildings. Then, as the sun set red and filmy over the stone landscape, the unicorn town disappeared behind Rainbow's tale, along with the blue light, the last sign of her most recent heroism.

Rainbow Dash kept flying, even as the night fell purple and dark over her flapping wings. There were no lights out here, save for the stars above. The world was a black stretch of emptiness beneath the stellar canopy. It was darker than in Emeraldine, or even in the snowy mountains before. Just like the mountains, though, it was cold... insanely cold.

She hadn't truly taken into account the fact that she was in a legitimate desert now, and that the temperature was only bound to drop like an anvil once the sun went down. If recent advents had taught Rainbow Dash anything, it was that she was made of strong stuff. Still, she was anything but a machine. She knew this; she had even gotten one to smile before taking off.

She realized that she had to retire for the night—not so much for the sake of sleep but for the sake of keeping herself from freezing. As two hours went by, she realized that she could start to make out a rough shape of the landscape below. The glow of the milky way illuminated dim shadows in the darkness, and she could have sworn she spotted what looked like a cluster of artificial shapes resting before a long black strip, like a vacuum.

Curious, Rainbow Dash briskly touched down. When she landed, it was with a clanking noise. Her hooves had struck a wooden platform.

“Huh... That's weird,” she murmured, and in so doing she realized how strongly her teeth were chattering. So, squatting down, she summoned a glow from her pendant and opened her saddlebag. Gathering a few twigs from nearby shrubbery, she started a tiny fire. After using the flint and steel, she then added a few sticks to the blaze. Soon, she had a miniature bonfire blazing. The warmth of it soothed her, more than any single lantern in all of New Ring ever could.

She smiled and basked before it. Her peripheral vision caught more of the wooden platform around her. She thought she sensed a rickety railing, along with a tall pole dangling a flag. She could barely make out any important details; what's more, she could barely care. Drowsiness was overcoming her. She knew that she had some bread in her bag that was swiped from Governor Mintelle's house, but that could wait until morning, when she would discover just where the heck she was.

Rainbow Dash lowered her head onto her forelimbs. She closed her eyes, seeing a faint glimmer of the lavender energy. When that faded, the one image that lingered was of Flower Gears and her brother hugging herself. In such a serene fashion, Rainbow Dash fell asleep with a smile on her face.

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