• Published 13th May 2012
  • 49,151 Views, 8,110 Comments

Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Rainbow Dash leafed through the charred scraps of journal pages in the morning light. Her blue hoof flipped one blackened sheet, then another, then yet another. She paused upon an ear of paper that was intact enough for a few words to grace the desert air:

“...the bones of the kingdom linger around...”

She flipped a few more pages. She saw another phrase, barely legible.

“...further underground. But the mineral springs are disappearing...”

She turned the journal around, flipped through the back of sheets, and saw a phrase legibly splotched against a white page stained with copper-red fluids.

“...can't go outside. Her children are everywhere. Must stay...”

“Ahem. Do you mind, filly?”

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash looked up. She saw Cold Canter and Desert Light staring blankly at her, telekinetically floating shovels in the air beside them. “Oh. Uhm. Right.” She folded the journal tightly, sighed, and tossed it into the grave on the partially covered remains of the dead earth pony.

The two guards resumed filling the plot of land with shovels of dirt. The morning air was solemn, chilling. Rainbow strolled over towards the two stallions as they finished their grim job.

“You suppose he had any family? Any ponies back east whom he belonged to?”

“Families are like any ponies,” Cold Canter said. “They come and go. In the end, the only place we belong to is the ground.”

Rainbow Dash smirked bitterly. “Surely you don't completely believe that.”

“Firm support: Cold Canter is for once of sound philosophy,” Desert Light remarked. “We who would be mortal ponies are born of dust and return to dust. The only eternal thing is our industry.”

“Yeah, well, you can go hump your blasted industry,” Cold Canter grunted. “I, for one, have had a decent amount of enjoyment out of life. Let's see dust ever tell another pony that it's had fun.”

“Heh...” Rainbow Dash's teeth showed as her wings twitched. “Now we're talking.”

“Lethargic retort: you both should head east and rid I who would be Desert Light of my misery.”

“I'll never give ya the satisfaction, boy,” Cold Canter remarked. He shoved his shovel into the ground and wiped his brow before turning to look at Rainbow Dash. “You have all your things?”

“And then some,” she replied, giving her suddenly bulky saddlebag a shake. “Is this your way of deterring me from going east? Giving me so dang much to carry that I almost back out from such exercise?”

“I'd rather most of that food go down your gullet,” Cold Canter remarked with a thin-eyed stare. “You could use with some meat on ya, filly.”

“Jee, thanks, dad,” Rainbow Dash groaned. “Next thing you know, you'll try hitching me up with a handsome stallion.”

“I think we both know that wouldn't be proper.”

“Uhhh...” Rainbow Dash did a double-take at that, her cheeks warm. “We d-do?”

He was marching up to her, planting a hoof on her shoulder. “Remember to ration the foods carefully, most especially the water. Where you're going, the landscape won't nearly be as kind to you as two lonesome guards on the edge of civilization.”

“Right. This won't be my first song and dance.”

“It will be over a desert, I'm willing to bet,” Cold Canter replied. “Whatever took out that poor earth pony sounds very frightening. It would be a shame for you to... well... die from something less 'awesome' along the way to discovery. Heh... Wouldn't you think?”

“I'll try not to bore you with my dull existence along the way.”

“That's what the sound stone is for, filly. Keep it close to you. So long as you do, you won't be alone in this. Not really.”

“Jeez, CC...” She smiled bashfully, her ears flicking in the morning glow. “All of this stuff you're doing for me, all the things you've given me, it's... it's almost as though you're more than just some random unicorn. It's as if you're... I dunno... some goddess-given spirit of the element of generosity come down to deliver me to glory in my time of need.”

He looked at her, blinked, then grumbled, “What in Tartarus' flaming name is that supposed to mean?!”

“Meh.” Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Or maybe you're just some cantankerous old buffoon after all.”

“Delightful affirmative: new title of lucidity unlocked—”

“Don't you even start!” Rainbow Dash grumbled at the younger stallion across the grave.

“Heheheheh...” Cold Canter chuckled and gave Rainbow Dash a lasting pat on the neck. “I don't normally say this, filly, but good industry be with you.”

“Wow.” She broke into a hover. “You must really be desperate.”

“That or senile,” he remarked. He jabbed a hoof into a belt pocket. “I'm pretty sure it's the second.”

“Well, your senility is going a long way.”

“We'll see about that.” He pulled out a familiar medallion and tossed it to her. “Catch a good tail-wind, filly.”

She caught it, turning its soot-stained engravings over and over before her eyes. With a deep breath, she smirked devilishly towards Cold Canter. “You know I will.”

The elder stallion nodded, his gray mane blowing in the wind.

Rainbow's ruby eyes got a good snapshot of the image before blinking and tilting around. With a single flap of her wings she turned east and darted towards the dry horizon.

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