• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“Iron Wrench, our second youngest daughter, is almost graduating from the University of South Ring,” Cold Canter's voice said. “She's currently top in the class, exploring fields of quantum energy translocation.”

“Whew!” Rainbow exclaimed, blurring eastward over a sun-lit desert plain. Tiny dunes of dirt were layering the path before her, giving the eroded landscape the tiniest hint of personality. “I imagine that's a ceremony where the announcer loses her breath.”

“I don't follow.”

“Well, imagine saying something like 'Elegant pomposity: now presenting she who would be Iron Wench, she who would be an instrumentalist pony in the field of that which would be quantum energy translocation' with each pony graduate that steps up!” Rainbow Dash exhaled, wheezed, and coughed for breath. “You see?” She adjusted her goggles and soared faster. “Even I'm having trouble with it!”

“Oddly enough, I doubt that would be too far from the truth.”

Rainbow Dash shrugged. “Yeah, well, it could be worse.”

“It is for that reason that most ceremonies last an entire week.”

“Hah! You're totally pulling my leg there, CC!”

“Surely, this is not me being jocular.”

“I guess you'll be falling asleep halfway through when you watch her.”

“I wouldn't think as much.”

“Why not?”

“I will not be attending.”

Rainbow Dash's smile left her. Her eyes traced the edges of her goggles, towards where the glow of the sound stone was edging its way towards her peripheral vision. “Your situation with your family is so bad that you can't even attend your own daughter's graduation ceremony?”

“I assure you, it is not something that I take much pride in.”

“Then why don't you go?”

“My presence there would merely be a deterrent.”

“'Cuz of the Darkstinian non-emotion pact thingy?”

“You're catching on, filly.”

“Screw them!” Rainbow Dash frowned into the hot wind. “Why don't you catch on?”

“It's not that simple...”

“Of course it is, old guy! It's life! Life rocks the most when it's simple!”

“Perhaps that is the case for you, filly. But I would be selfish and near-sighted to assume that I could ignore all of the barricades that have been erected between myself and those I've helped bring into this world.”

Rainbow Dash took a deep breath, slowing the flapping of her wings so that she coasted slowly towards her obscure destination. Eventually, she murmured, “C-Squared, how old is Iron Wrench. Your second youngest daughter?”

“Twenty-five winters,” he replied.

Rainbow Dash smiled gently. “Even your second youngest kid is older than me, CC. So, this probably sounds a little weird—for me to be preaching to somepony of your age...”


“But you gotta go to your kid's graduation ceremony, dude. You just gotta.”

“I did not open this leyline frequency so that you might—”

“For the love of pete, just hear me out!” she briefly barked, then more calmly said, “I know you're—like—seventy, going on a thousand years or whatnot...”


“But you really, really have a lot to live for,” Rainbow Dash remarked. “You've got a wife. You've got kids. I'm willing to bet that you have friends.”

“I also have honor and credibility to uphold—”

“And a crap lot of good that's going to do if all the ponies you're loyal to aren't a part of your life anymore.” Rainbow Dash's eyes hung thin against the curves of her goggles' lenses. “I don't know what makes a guy so cool and awesome like you hang out on the edge of nothingness. You have... You just have so much, CC. You have so much to live for.”

“Need we forget that you're the one with a young life full of discovery, filly. You have a full life ahead of you.”

“Cold Canter,” she replied calmly. “Go and see your family. Even if things go crazy, you'll at least be able to. Just because they can't be emotional doesn't mean you don't have to be. You brought them into this world through love and devotion, didn't ya?”

“I... Well...”

“Well didn't ya?” She gulped and said, “The moment you let go of your feelings for them is the moment you let them go too. And if there's anything in this world that sucks royally, it's b-being alone.” She exhaled sharply, then added, “You can tell yourself that you're living in retirement for philosophy's sake until you're blue in the face. I don't think you've felt loneliness. Not quite yet. I don't care how many years are between us.”

She bit her lip, expecting a harsh replay. What she experienced again was trailing silence, punctuated by the random whistle of harsh desert winds. Finally, after much blurring landscape, Cold Canter replied.

“You make a lot of assumptions, young one...”

She hung her head in mid flight.

“Very daring indeed, but with a hint of wisdom. Are you sure you're not an alicorn in disguise?”

After that, she managed a gentle smile. “That depends. This alicorn asks if you'll be visiting your daughter.”

“I shall... think about it, filly. I'm out this far to think, after all.”


“And you are certainly as persuasive as you are mysterious—”

“Hey, uhm, Cold Canter?” she remarked, squinting her eyes.

“What is it?”

“How long will you be on the air?”

“Why do you ask?”

She gulped, staring straight ahead as a solid line of earth obscured the blurred horizon. In the center was an enormous gap in the mountainous ridge. Even from afar, Rainbow Dash couldn't deny what the structure resembled: a gate.

“I think I'm seeing something...”

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