• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Desolate

“Well, CC. It's... uh... it's a desert,” Rainbow Dash said.

“I most certainly did not expect an ocean of smooze,” said the crystal sound stone in her grasp.

“Ocean of what-now?”

“Before your time, filly.”

“Whatever.” Rainbow Dash flew under the burning glint of morning. The flat landscape stretched out desolately before her. The world was still an endless plain of dirty yellow rock. The sky had lost its blue texture, favoring a sickly pale eggshell color. Rainbow Dash's eyes were protected behind a pair of tinted lenses inside her goggles. “Long story short, it doesn't look like there's much to get freaked out about beyond the ravine. It's just a bunch of... nothing.”

The sound stone echoed the stallion's voice, “A bunch of dry, arid nothing, I imagine.”

“Yes.”

“And you are taking necessary precautions?”

Rainbow Dash sighed, her lips curving somewhat. “Yes, CC.”

“Rationing the water we gave you?”

“Absolutely. You'll also be pleased to know I wash my bridle everyday and don't accept drinks from strange stallions.”

“Now, filly, there is no need for sassing me. Don't let the dull appearance of the landscape fool you. You are still in a great deal of danger if you underestimate the severe lack of resources at your disposal.”

“Hey, I've flown through rough places before,” Rainbow Dash said. “I'm pacing myself here. Trying not to go too fast or too slow. If I just glide and let the air carry me, then I'm exerting only half the effort and—” She blinked, then smiled nervously to the sunlight. “Well, that's pegasus stuff. I dunno if you can relate.”

“I think I understand what you're getting at well enough. I know it may seem like nothing to you, but I find your current discoveries amazingly fascinating, filly.”

“Uh huh...”

“It boggles the mind to think that the injured earth pony could have dragged himself for so long across such a barren landscape.”

“Yeah, and I was thinking about that too,” Rainbow Dash muttered. “He had to know a thing or two about what lay beyond this stretch of desert. I mean, it's a crazy distance to gallop on hoof, much less drag oneself across. What are the odds that he and his fellow ponies knew that Darkstine was waiting for him to the west?”

“Or he could have been making a blind run when he approached the ravine.”

“Uhhhh... what for?”

“Because whatever it was that chased him out of his home, it was horrible enough to warrant the suicidal venture.”

Rainbow Dash took a deep breath, squinting at the pale horizon. “Well, I guess we're both going to find out, huh?”

“So long as you don't fly out of range of the stone's enchantment first.”

“Boy, wouldn't that ruin your day...” Rainbow Dash took a deep breath. “And speaking of enchantment, I think I'd better cool it before this stone blows up from the awesomeness of your voice.”

“Well, if you insist.”

“I'll fill ya in on my progress tomorrow, old stallion,” she said. “In the meantime, hit Desert Light for me.”

“I'll strongly consider it.” And Cold Canter's voice dwindled in the air.

Rainbow Dash pocketed the stone away, took a deep breath, and glided eastward at an accelerated rate. “I'm sick of this place already,” she muttered.

The flight ahead was identical to the previous thirty-six hours. There was no break to the flat topography. Occasionally, lines would form in the sand from what Rainbow Dash judged were ancient river beds that had since dried up. She'd also discover a cluster of rocks that would be lying upon the desolate surface for no apparent reason. She paused once to examine a pile of stones, only to touch one and witness it crumbling into smaller, ashen pebbles. If she didn't know about the earth pony and his horrible fate, she would have guessed she was the only pony to have graced these parts in millennia.

Rainbow Dash was starting to wonder if the entire world was nothing more than a desolate mystery. When she grew up, she always had the deeply-seated assumption that Equestrian society had spread to the four corners of the physical plane. What she was beginning to discover, however, was that the world she lived on was simply tiny patches of society spread thinly between huge stretches of untapped wilderness.

In a way, she was excited. This meant that there were innumerable spots to discover and witness first-hoof in ways that those before her never did. This also meant that such amazing places... stood to not be so amazing after all. After a day spent with Cold Canter and Desert Light, building up so much fear and supposition about what lay beyond the ravine, she was “discovering” a whole lot of nothing. And she wondered if perhaps the rest of her journey would be more interesting if spent in the mechanical bowels of the realm than above it.

“Hmmmm... Meh...” She smiled as she glided eastward, undaunted. “There are more explosions up here... occasionally.” Suddenly, she squinted. She raised a hoof up to her goggles and removed the tint to see the horizon far more clearly.

The east desert was growing thick with dust and haze. Soon, a swirling wall of grit and sediment was kicking up, forming a solid tempest of billowing sand. She couldn't even see the sunlight through it.

“Huh...” She clenched her jaw. “Well, that doesn't look good.”

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