• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Survivors

“I'm telling you, she's not any normal pegasus, Swirls. Just look at that mane! And her tail! She must be some mysterious race of flying ponies.”

“I don't care if she's got two stomachs inside her, Swirls. She's got wings. That's all that matters.”

“Yes. We need her.”

“Need her for what, Stu?”

“What else?! We're trying to get to the Matriarch, aren't we?! She could be our key! You know how hard it is to get over the wastes!”

“For all we know, she's just passing through! We can't sign her up for anything she isn't ready for!”

“Ember Speak, nopony has 'passed through' this place in recorded history. For a single pegasus to have made it through the ash and debris, she'd have to be working for the upper echelon of some outside military force.”

“We don't know that! How could we know that?! Besides, would any kingdom hire a ranger who'd collapse out of a dizzy spell?”

“Yeah, what was up with that?”

“I don't know, Swirls. But I think it has something to do with the pendant.”

“Yeah! She's—like—a magic pony!”

“Then where's her unicorn horn, smartflank?”

“Hey! Shuddup! I think her hair's magical. I'd kill for a mane like that.”

“You can live the life of luxury once the dragons are gone, Ember. For now, let's just haul her butt home.”

“Where's Sam? We should wait for him.”

“He went to scout ahead. Ever since the brood came back from their scavenger hunt, the skies have been filled with drakes.”

“You don't suppose he ran into a bunch of wyrms, do you?”

“No, Swirls. I'm sure he can take care of himself.”

“Good. Cuz I wanna ask him a few questions.”

“Like what kind of questions?”

“Well, he's got the royal blood in him. Surely the elders have told him about the flying races.”

“Sam Rose is good at many things. Chronicling the history of pegasus genetics isn't one of them. Besides, what does it matter?”

“I just want to know why her eyes are doing that thing.”

“Doing what thing?”

“Fluttering and stuff.”

“It means that she's awake, ya fuzzhead! Hold on...” There was a series of heavy hoofsteps, and then a tail smacked Rainbow Dash in her aching skull. “Hey! Fruit Stain! Up and at 'em!”

“Nnnngh...” Rainbow Dash stirred, opening her eyes to the dim grayness surrounding her. She was accompanied by three other ponies: two mares and a stallion. A ceiling of clustered buildings and rubble stretched overhead. Though it looked a lot like the place where she had previously collapsed, she somehow knew that it was another unknown location beneath the surface of the ruined capital of Silvadel. “Please tell me you didn't take my pendant off.”

“If it means that much to ya, we'll sew it to your coat,” said the stallion, a tall equine with scraggy brown hair. “What's your name?”

“Rainbow...” The pegasus stirred, feeling an aching pain on her forehead. “Rainbow Dash...”

One of the mares giggled. Rainbow Dash looked over to see a copper brown earth pony with red-streaked hair. “That's a very pretty name.”

“Feel free to wear it out,” Rainbow Dash grumbled. “It's not all that pretty to me. Augh...” She shook her head again. “Did one of those claws actually scrape me?”

“We were wondering that ourselves,” the mare said, leaning forward. “You got two big scratches. They bled a bit, but then you started healing super quick. Could it be your magical pegasus powers?”

“Ember...”

“What?! She hasn't said she isn't magical yet!”

Rainbow Dash gulped. “Two, scratches, huh?”

Ember Speak nodded.

“Hrmmm... Whatever.” She stood up, regaining her balance. “What matters is that I've got my breath back now. Hey... wasn't there a fourth pony?”

“You must be talking about Sam Rose,” a mare with a green coat and violet mane said. “He's gone ahead to scout for dragons.” She pointed to myself. “My name is Swirls.” She pointed towards the other two. “She's Ember Speak and he's... uhm... Stu...” She blushed slightly at the last introduction. “Ahem. We didn't take your pendant off like you asked.”

“Yeah. Uh... Thanks.” She glanced at the three, taking in the enormity of the wreckage above them. “So... What are you guys doing here?”

“Surviving.”

“Yeah. I kind of guessed that.” Rainbow Dash trotted across the slab of rock they were on. “But... like... how long have you been in this nasty place?”

“All of our lives,” the stallion said. His brow furrowed. “And this 'nasty place' is our home.”

“Yeesh. Sorry. Didn't mean to rub you the wrong way.” Rainbow Dash remarked. “I've been flying over this place for days, and I didn't think there were any ponies left in Silvadel.”

Ember Speak gasped. “You know the name of this place?”

“Uhhh... I found this book—”

“Did another kingdom send you?!” The mare hopped excitedly in Rainbow's face. “Did one of the old messengers make it to the next province?”

“Messengers?”

“We've begging... Praying... Hoping that somepony would come and spread news of this!” Ember Speak stammered, clutching her hooves together. “To think... a nation full of pegasi, coming to our rescue!”

“Uhhhhh...” Rainbow Dash sweated nervously. “Look. I don't know what kind of an idea you're getting, but I'm seriously clueless here...”

A set of hooves slapped down onto the stone, startling Rainbow Dash. “Then allow me to fill you in,” Sam Rose said, standing tall in his golden armor. His green eyes glared at Rainbow Dash while his voice came out unemotional and deep. “But we cannot stand here. There are drakes about. If you wish to live, allow us to escort you home.”

“Home?” Rainbow Dash gulped and leaned forward. “Where's home?”

“The only place that's been safe for a century.” Sam Rose turned around and galloped off. The other ponies instantly followed him as he gruffly added, “Deep below.”

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