• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“You sure you're not a magical pony?” Ember Speak asked.

Stu growled. “For the hundredth time, will you let it rest?!” He glared back at her as the procession of four equines stealthily snuck forward through the ruins. “She ain't magical!”

“I certainly don't feel magical,” Rainbow Dash muttered, gazing forlornly towards the rubble below as she pressed on after the group's gold-plated guide. “Especially after that feakish attempt at outflying dragons...”

“It was foolish to have even tried,” Sam Rose said with a grunt.

Her brow furrowed, Rainbow Dash cast his armored flank a crooked glance. “I didn't even know there'd be a single one of those fire-breathing things around here! Much less fifty billion!”

“That's because most of the brood was out gathering materials for the nest.”

“The nest?”

“Where the Matriarch is hiding.”


“Easy, your majesty,” Swirls said with a wry smirk. “You're going to blow her pegasus mind at this rate.”

“There isn't any simple way to sugar coat the reality of our situation.” Sam gave a brief glance back at Rainbow. “Our kingdom has been turned into the giant nesting ground for a draconic brood queen. For over a hundred years, we've been trying to fight her children back. It seems these wyrms are determined to stay here.”

“I'm guessing you haven't had much luck getting them to split,” Rainbow Dash said.

Stu was growling in her face, “We've whittled down their numbers by about twenty percent! I alone have slain five of them! Sam Rose here, the heir to the throne, has slain over sixty!”

Rainbow Dash's face went pale. She jerked back, her pendant rattling. “Sl-slain?!”

“It's either them or us!” Stu added. “But this happened to be our land first!” He trudged on ahead with the rest of the group.

Rainbow Dash lingered, her head shaking in fitful comprehension. “But... But... Dragons are intelligent creatures! You can't just slay them!”

“I'm sorry, Miss Dash,” Sam Rose grunted from up ahead. “Perhaps I should turn back time and give back that one drake's neck so that he could swallow you whole.”

Swirls giggled, but Rainbow Dash was hardly amused. “This isn't funny!” She frowned. “Haven't you—like—tried talking or reasoning with these flying creeps? Have you tried asking them to find another place to nest?!”

“My forefathers—kings and queens who came before me—tried doing just that, but to no avail.” Sam Rose's nostrils flared as he shoved aside a clump of debris and pushed a passageway open for his fellow compatriots. “We Silvadelians learned long ago that the language of the blade is the best way to speak to these brutes.”

“Yeah, but... we're not talking about an over population of rodents or mindless creatures of chaos or monstrous timberwolves or something!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “I used to know a dragon personally! These are thinking, feeling creatures, behind all the scales and teeth!”

“Then those feelings are feelings that I detest!” Sam Rose suddenly sneered into her face. “Any sentient being that takes pleasure in torturing the bodies of my subjects does not deserve the breath that goes through its lungs!” His green eyes narrowed. “Or did you not see those charred victims upon the palace balcony during your haphazard flight, pegasus?!”

Rainbow Dash bit her lip. She avoided his gaze, fidgeting.

“It's not enough that they've robbed from our lands, they have to make everything I've ever worked for suffer.” Sam Rose took a deep breath and spoke more calmly. “I don't know what land you hail from, or what morality you pretend to cling to. But know this, pegasus. We saved your life. You didn't save ours, nor do I suspect you are capable of helping us in return.”

“But... She can fly!” Swirls exclaimed. “You know how hard we've been trying to reach the Matriarch!”

“That's what the tunnel's for,” Ember Speak said.

“But maybe it won't work!” Swirls said. “She can be our backup plan—!”

“She is nothing!” Sam Rose thundered, silencing the group. “One pegasus, no matter how colorful, can help us any more than the resources we have on hoof. I've told you time and time again, my subjects, that hope is something we must build for ourselves. Now, let us proceed to Sanctuary.” He marched forward once more. “Welcome to Silvadel, Miss Dash It is a graveyard; I hope you enjoy your tomb.”

Swirls, Stu, and Ember Speak followed solemnly. Rainbow Dash lingered behind, squirming over a bad taste in her mouth. Eventually—with the roar of drakes echoing in the distance—she followed them on softly pattering hooves.

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