• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Ponies

The edge of night was lingering overhead when Rainbow Dash caught up with them. They had come to a stop at a flat clearing of dry soil along the eastern edge of a mountain. Several tall trees towered above, stretching crooked branches over their manes like skeletal wings. Parking their two wagons at sharp angles with one another, the equine figures worked to set up camp for the evening.

There were fourteen of them total. It was a full caravan, and each individual was clad in thin strips of dark-brown armor. Some of them were hooded. Others wore metal leg-plates that matched the silver cleats of their horseshoes. If anything, they all looked appropriately geared for contending with all sorts of unimaginable wildlife. Judging from the unkempt nature of their lengthy coathairs, Rainbow Dash assumed that they had been journeying for a long, long time across the mountainous landscape.

Rainbow hid, perched quietly above the group. From where she sat on a rocky outcropping, she stared forty feet down at the scene. Her ears twitched. It had been weeks since she last heard pony voices. Being privy to such a busy conversation of muttering equines was suddenly an alarming sensation. There was not a single horn or set of wings to be seen among them, so that she wondered if they had even had it in them to suspect a sentient creature eavesdropping from above.

It wasn't as if she could make out entirely what they were saying. She heard something about a two day trip, about a deep river that needed traversing, about one of the pony's and his penchant for snoring in sleep—followed by a burst of laughter. The ponies' voices were saturated with a thick accent that Rainbow had never heard before. She briefly contemplated how remarkable it was that she could understand them even remotely after having traversed so much wilderness.

But as the minutes wore on, and the world above became darker, she grew less and less patient with these darkly-clad strangers. They had very little interesting to talk about. Their wagon supplies were filled with seemingly superfluous junk. Before her eyes, she witnessed as several burly members of the group fumbled goofily to start a fire. For the life of her, Rainbow couldn't understand how so many adult ponies could appear so tactless. As their frustration and ire grew into the advent of night, Rainbow Dash yawned, stood up, and flexed her wings to take off for the east horizon, ditching them.

She stopped, suddenly, upon spotting one particular pony's graceful gait. She squinted and lifted her goggles as she watched the figure march quietly away from the rest of the group struggling to build a fire. Once he reached the fringes of the camp, he slumped to his haunches, sighed, and reached for his brown hood. Once the article was lowered, the air lit up with a shade of gold. A young pony sat, running a hand through a short patch of silken-blonde hair that ended just behind his ears. With a look of supreme boredom, he glanced lethargically his party's way and exhaled slowly. Below Rainbow Dash, his lithe body appeared to melt into the shadows of his place, his golden head serving as a final beacon of the day.

Rainbow blinked. She glanced from him to the rest of the group, then to him again. Slowly, a smirk crossed her lips. Instead of flying away, she reached back for her saddlebag...

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