• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Dragons

“Look alive!” Stu shouted before pulling his crossbow out of his saddlebag with his teeth and affixing it between his two forelimbs.

Meanwhile, Swirls was shouting, “Your Highness! Watch out—!”

“Haaaugh!” But Sam Rose was already charging the three monstrosities.

The trio of dragons held their ground and jerked their heads forward. Three beams of flame layered the charging path of the armored equine.

Sam merely ducked, slid under them, and dashed forward. He skidded to a stop by the first dragon and shook his hindquarters. The sheathes of his armor flew open, and he grabbed the hilt of the largest blade from his left. Swirling, he raised it in a combined grip of his teeth and forelimbs to block a talon swipe of the closest dragon. Parrying, he lurched to the side and sabbed forward. A spurt of hot blood flew from the drake in front of him. As the beast stumbled back, its two companions lunged forward at the snarling earth pony.

“He's... H-he's insane!” Rainbow Dash cackled.

“No, he's angry!” Ember Speak said, loading up her crossbow. “There's a difference!” She took aim and shouted towards the other two. “Cover fire!”

Three bolts flew through the air, whistling and sailed into the flesh beneath one unlucky dragon's left wing. The creature shrieked and stumbled towards the rubble.

Sam Rose caught wind of this. Holding his blade in his teeth, he vaulted over the other dragon's neck, slid down his tail, somersaulted forward, and skewered the stumbling wyrm's throat with the full length of the blade.

The first dragon had recovered, and was witnessing its sibling's demise. It charged viciously at Sam.

The princely warrior, felt the attacker's approach through the trembling rubble. He jerked back, yanked the blade through the air, and spun one hundred and eighty-degrees. The scalding hot blood from the slain dragon flew into the eyes of its vengeful companion.

Hissing, the dragon skidded to a stop and thrashed around blindly. Furious, it took a huge breath, sucking the warmth from the air.

“Everypony scatter!” Stu shouted, canceling the reload of his weapon. “Fire incoming—”

As prophesied, the blinded dragon exhaled. A wave of billowing plasma rolled across the Siladelian ruins, turning sand and dust to glass. Stu threw himself out of the way. Swirls and Ember Speak dove into a crevice together. And Rainbow Dash...

Rainbow Dash did what came natural to her. She flew straight up, soaring above the blast. Sweating form the intense heat, she looked down to see Sam running up the tail of the blind dragon, mounting its head, and stabbing down at its skull repeated times with soul-trembling shouts. Unbeknownst to him, the last dragon was stalking up from behind, its teeth glistening as it prepared to lunge at its succulent target.

“Hey! Behind you!” Rainbow Dash shouted. Sam was too engulfed in the passionate slaughter to see his doom beyond the nearby flame and soot. Rainbow gnashed her teeth, pressed two hooves to her ruby pendant, and flew down like a missile. “Haaaaaaaugh!” Her eyes narrowed and a white sphere of light flashed around her figure right before impact.

The force with which Whitemane's shield slammed the attacking drake was enough to create a concussive blast of turbulent energy. Vaporous air expanded outward from all directions. Rainbow Dash managed to save Sam, but she also knocked the two of them hard into the concrete rubble below.

“Unngh!” Rainbow Dash landed hard and rolled a few feet.

“Ooof!” Sam collapsed, three of his swords spilling out of his armor and clattering to a stop around him. Wincing, he looked up and saw the last dragon reeling. With a strained breath, he gripped one sword in his mouth and slapped his hoof over another. The second sword flipped up in the air—at least until Sam spun, bucked its aiborne hilt with his hoof, and sent it—along with the blade in his mouth—flinging towards the shocked target. “Yaaaaugh!”

Both blades lodged into the creature's chest. Shrieking, the monster fell down like a scaly sack of meat. It's gaping jaws vomited up blood and bile.

“Mmmf...” Rainbow Dash winced and sat up, her body still fluctuating with platinum energy. “Why does every problem I solve in life involve slamming my head against th-things?”

“You!” Sam exclaimed as he gaped at her, struggling to catch his breath. “You interrupted my fight!”

“You're welcome.”

“What kind of sorcery is this?” He squinted at the translucent shield. “You possess magic, pegasus?”

“Hey. It's all in the mane, remember?” She dryly smirked, her lungs heaving. “Give Ember Speak a gold star already.”

Just then, a steady stream of roaring noises echoed over the horizon. Rainbow and Sam spun to see a solid line of six... eight... twelve dragons incoming.

“More of the Matriarch's children!” Sam ran towards the last slain dragon and yanked his blades out. “Nnnngh! Too much for all of us to handle! I shall hold them off!”

“What?!” Rainbow Dash's eyes twitched. She frowned. “Dude. That's suicide!”

“I will merely distract them while you find the others and rush to the entrance to Sanctuary!”

“But I got this shield thingy for three more minutes—two at least!” She exclaimed, pointing at her pendant. “I can totally use it to distract the dragons!”

“No!” Sam shouted, already galloping towards the incoming flock. He glanced over his shoulder and shouted, “Use it to get my subjects to safety! I value their lives above all else!”

Rainbow Dash bit her teeth, watching as the dragons descended upon the brave warrior. He miraculously warded them off with a flurry of blades before galloping into a cluster of rock croppings. The drakes pursued viciously, breathing fire unto the sundered gray mess below as they attempted to flush them out of hiding.

All of the dragons were successfully distracted, all except for two. They broke off from the chase and made thunderously for Rainbow Dash's location.

Hissing through her teeth, Rainbow Dash spun around and dove low towards the rubble. She could hear the massive flapping of scaled wings. The air grew hooter a she threaded her way into the porous stone below and found three ponies running towards her with their crossbows reloaded.

“Where's his Highness?!” Swirls exclaimed.

“He's giving a bunch of dragons the run for the money! But there are two coming this way! Sam's asked me to help you guys get to Sanctuary!”

“Then we'll meet up with him there!” Stu said, nodding.

Rainbow Dash gave him a shocked look. “How can you be so sure?! Has he dones this stuff before?”

“Knowing our prince, it only means more dragon heads to count by evening time,” Ember Speak said. “Now let's hurry!”

“Do you know the way?!” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Yes!” Swirls exclaimed, nodding fervently as she pointed ahead. “Directly forward, just through those last few barriers—”

Rainbow Dash soared forward in a prismatic blur, smashing straight through the walls and forming a massive tunnel with her shield.

“Whoah!” Stu exclaimed.

“What?!” Swirls stammered.

“Yes!” Ember Speak grinned as she galloped on through. “I knew she was magical!”

“No time to explain!” Rainbow Dash said, sailing aside Ember as her shield shimmered. “Let's just get to your place and—”

A dragon's head burst through the gray ceiling above. It pivoted about and roared directly in front of them.

Ember Speak gasped, slipped, and glided forward into the monster's jaws.

Swirls squatted, aimed, and fired her crossbow.

A metal bolt flew into the drake's throat before Ember could. The creature twitched, gurgled blood, and lifted back up out of the ruins.

Swirls trotted over and helped Ember up. “That was a close one—” A second dragon's hand burrowed through the debris above and gripped her waist with claws the sides of machetes. Swirls shrieked, bleeding instantly from several places at once.

“Oh Goddess...” Rainbow Dash gasped, her eyes wide.

“Aaaah-haaaugh!” Swirls yelped in agony.

“No!” Stu snarled. Eyes enflamed with fury, he ripped his quiver open, grabbed all the darts at once in his teeth, and flew forward. He shoved the whole cluster of the barbs into the joint of the creature's huge, scaly wrist.

A loud, painful roar emanated from above. The dragon tried retracting its arm, but its elbow got stuck in the rubble above. Swirls sobbed in pain as she was thrashed about in the monster's tortured grip.

By this point, Rainbow Dash was gripping the claws of the beast. Whitemane's shield was about to give way. Everypony saw the platinum glow flickering to death right as she finally pried the scaled fingers apart. “Ember—”

“I got her!” Ember Speak rushed forward, clutching Swirls' convulsing body. “It's okay, girl! Just hold onto me!”

“Nnngh... St-Stu...!” Swirls moaned.

“Carry her out of here!” Stu shouted and shoved the three forward as the dragon's bleeding hand finally retracted through the hole above. “Sam will be waiting for us and—” The hole widened as a dragon's maw shoved down, opened wide, and clamped down over Stu's rear legs. “Aaaauckt!”

Ember howled, “Stu!”

Rainbow Dash bolted forward without thinking. She slammed her elbow into the dragon's skull, but instantly yelped from the scalding touch. Her shield was gone and she was vulnerable.

Bleeding and convulsing, Stu was yanked up out of the hole.

“No! Stu!” Swirls managed to gurgle.

“Hnnngh!” Rainbow Dash lept up, reaching with her hooves.

His face twisted in pain, Stu caught her forelimbs, fighting desperately for a grip. He was yanked again and again towards the world above.

“Just hold on! I got you!” Rainbow Dash wheezed, her every muscle quivering. “I got—”

The dragon's nostrils flared, and a jet of burning flame surged down. Rainbow Dash was singed across the neck and shoulder. The sheer pain was enough to knock her off balance, and she fell down, her hooves slipping from the stallion.

Stu was lifted—alive and screaming—into the smoggy heat above.

“Stu!” Swirls was sobbing as much as she was bleeding. She buckled over in hysterics, fighting to wrangle her way out of Ember's grip. “Stu! Oh please, goddesses, no! St-Stu!”

“Rainbow Dash!” Ember Speark was shouting in spite of her tears. She was hoisting Swirls backwards towards a deeper pocket of the ruins. “Please, Rainbow! Help me! I-I can't do this alone!”

Rainbow was lying on a stone slab, wincing from her reddened coat. Her eyes were locked onto the hole above, until Ember's pleas and Swirls' wails finally snapped her out of it. With a slightly dizzy twitch to her eyes, she snarled, gnashed her teeth, and flew after the two mares, hoisting them up off their hooves and carrying them towards their goal.

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