• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“So, what's the deal, CC?”

Cold Canter's voice dully replied through the resonating sound stone. “I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage.”

“Horses for courses,” Rainbow Dash droned as she glided gently eastward along the wind-swept desert plateau. “Why didn't you warn me about the sand storms.”

“I wasn't aware that you would encounter any along that stretch of landscape.”

“You mean to tell me that you're a veteran guard stallion pushing sixty and you've never encountered a sand storm in all your years of minding your post out in the desert?”

“Darkstine has weather spheres.”

“Am I supposed to know what those are?”

“They're magically imbued devices that patrol the borders of our landscape and keep inclement weather in check. I do so believe that they cover clouds of sediment blown along westerly winds.”

“Wow. Your society would really kick the bucket if everything got unplugged, wouldn't it?”

“It begs the question, filly,” his voice rang out as she flew under the glaring sunlight. “Did you encounter such a detrimental phenomenon?”

“Ohhhh...” She shrugged in mid-air, still trying to feel her limbs from all the pelting they had received overnight. “It was a tad bit annoying. Not something I'd like to run into everyday.”

“It's nice to know that you are safe, at least.”

“Jee, thanks,” she mumbled. “I'll be happy to be out of a place that has so much of this stuff.”

“What stuff?”

“Sand, what else?” Her jaw clenched. “Unnngh... The stupid crap gets into everything. I've never felt so in touch with my femininity in all my life.”

“That's a remarkable tidbit of information.”

“You're cute when you try to be sarcastic.” Her lips curved as her goggles glinted against the sky. “So, C-Squared... I can call you C-Squared, right?”

“I prefer that you wouldn't.”

“So tell me, C-Squared, have you ever been on any vacations in your life?”

“I would much rather spend our magically transmitted conversation discussing your exploration.”

“I'm over a desert,” Rainbow Dash grunted. “It's flat.” She cleared her throat and continued, “Haven't you ever thought of going on a cruise somewhere? Maybe tour a bunch of desert islands and drink out of coconuts?”

“I would rather be caught dead.”

“Awwwww...” Rainbow Dash pouted with a playful grin. “No cruises whatsoever? What's the matter, C-Squared, you got a problem with ships?”

“I have a problem with doing anything that would detract from my faithful task as sentry of Darkstine's borders.”

“Yeah, well, no offense, old guy,” Rainbow Dash muttered. “But I don't think we're talking about a case of equivalent exchange.”

“How do you mean?”

“Does Darkstine really—and I mean really give back to you exactly that which you give to it?”

“I don't see how that would matter. As a citizen, it is my task to serve my kingdom—”

“Yeah! But even where I'm from, the guards who served the princess at least had time off, not to mention hazard benefits and good pay and—”

“I am not like most guards.”

“Well, no frickin' duh. You've been at that post for how long?”

“I really do not see how this conversation is relevant to anything.”

“I just wanna get to know you better, guy!” Rainbow Dash said with a smirk. She spun around just for the heck of it and glided upside down for a spell. “There's gotta be more to ya than tall, dark, and wrinkly!”

“And certainly you have a convoluted past that you are absolutely dying to convey to me.”

“Hmph...” Her nostrils flared. “Touche.”

“To be an explorer, you don't have to be a winged pony, traveling everywhere at the speed of sound. Sometimes the best discoveries are made by staying perfectly in place.”

“I'm sure there was something really snazzy and poignant about what you just said,” Rainbow Dash mused. “Unfortunately, even as far up I can fly, there are still things that go over my head.”

“I'm here on the edge of civilization to do more than just my job. I find a great deal of introspection and meditation to be had here.”

“So are you some sort of philosopher pony or something?”

“Aren't we all?”

“Well, to each their own, C-Squared,” she murmured. “My philosophy is that if you can't eat it, drink it, outrace it, or blow it up, then it's not worth one's time.”

“I don't suppose you have any philosophies for staying perfectly still?”

“Uhhhhh... Nope. Can't say that I do.”

“Surely there will come a day when you must slow down and reexamine your life.”

“Too busy living it.”

“That's a simple excuse.”

“Anything more complex would just be lame.” Her teeth showed as she grinned and flew right-side-up again. “No offense to you or any other thinking-ponies, but if you spend all of your life playing the guessing game, then by the time death comes you'll realize that could have been answering your own questions the whole time.”

“In what manner?”

“Any manner! Any manner that involves moving your limbs and seeing what happens when you run into stuff.”

“Sounds foolhardy.”

“Better than wisesofty!”

“The degree to which you make up words is astounding and foolish all at once.”

“Love you too.” Rainbow Dash hummed to herself and eventually asked, “So, I'm guessing that all that philosophizing didn't really add up to much in the Hearts and Hooves department.”

“I beg your pardon?” Cold Canter's voice replied.

“Why else wouldn't you want to go on a cruise?” she remarked. “You don't have a fillyfriend to share sun-tanning with!”

“Now you're treading into completely unreasonable territories.”

“I haven't heard you 'hang up' yet!” She grinned. “You're telling me there's not a lucky, beautiful, curvaceous mare out there who enjoys being swept off her hooves? A C-Circle, if you feel me?”

“I have lived out the extent of my days, and not all of them alone.”

“Oh really?” Rainbow Dash sighed briefly. “Well, I guess it's a shame you never had kids to share all your stories with.”

“I am a father, actually.”

Her eyes brightened. “You don't say? Hah! Way to go, Cold Canter! What, a kid? Two kids? A son and a daughter?”

“Five, actually.”

Rainbow Dash blinked. “Oh.” She blinked again. “Five what? Sons or daughters?”

“I meant five of each.”

She nearly fell out of the sky. “Whew!” She whistled. “I'm guessing your 'Canter' wasn't exactly 'Cold' all your life! Heh. Wow, guy. I... I didn't realize that! You must be really proud!”

“They are good, healthy, law-abiding Darkstinians, proficient at industry.”

“So... you're proud of them, right?”

“I wish I could say the feeling was mutual.”

“Oh...” She gulped. “Uhm...”

“It would not behoove you to listen any further about my progeny, nor any of my relations.”

“No, really...” She smiled. “Come on, C-Squared. Dish it out. I'm all ears.”

“This was not the purpose of the sound stones. You have a journey to complete.”

“I have all the time in the world,” she said, coasting towards the horizon with a contented breath. “Seriously, guy. Tell me about your family.”

“It... It would hardly be an uplifting tale.”

“Try me.”

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