• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Diplomacy

“Please, Miss Dash, if you could be more specific,” one of the elders leaned forward, his brow furrowed. “What exactly can this Princess Luna of yours do for us?”

“No, you have to understand!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, standing before an emergency meeting of the Council of Elders the next morning. She gazed emphatically at them and said, “She's too far away to do anything directly! The alicorn is responsible for both the sun and moon. Even if she wanted to come here, she'd be leaving my home kingdom—not to mention the whole world in jeapordy!”

The elders exchanged glances. They sat uncomfortably as they gazed upon their colorful visitor. “Please forgive our confusion then, pegasus. What exactly did you bring us here for? You insisted that you had a possible solution for the conflict with the dragons.”

Sam Rose was there, and from every twitching bone in his body, it was obvious that he did not wish to be. A hard set of green eyes hovered over Rainbow Dash as she spoke.

“This pendant that I wear,” she said, holding the item up in the glinting torchlight for all of the Silvadelians in the chamber to see. “It's more than just a keepsake. It was—like—zapped a long time ago by the princesses of my world. They use it to talk to me from anywhere in the world so long as the moon is full.”

“The moon?”

“Basically, whenever the world outside lights up at night like it does, she and I can chat! What's more, others around me can hear her!”

“It would greatly interest us to hear what your Princess has to say.”

Rainbow Dash fidgeted. “Uhm... That's just the thing.” She lowered her hoof from the neckpiece. “She can't talk to me right now.”

The Silvadelians murmured. Zetta was there, looking frazzled as usual. He glanced across the way and gave Ember Speak nervous glances. Sam Rose shifted uncomfortably, as if his muscles were about to burst through his regal gold armor.

“But... But I can get communication going with her again!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed eagerly, her lips bursting with a hopeful smile. “Once it's night, and I can catch some of the moonlight, I can get her to talk! But she doesn't have to talk to me and me alone!”

“What exactly are you proposing?” Same Rose remarked in a dull tone.

Rainbow Dash looked at him, gulped, and glanced towards the Council. “Do you any of you guys know where the Matriarch is? I mean, you're building the tunnel to the dragon queen's nest as part of the Grand Project, right?”

“That is correct. After years of the surfacing, of pony surveyors sacrificing their safety, we have ascertained her position,” one elder said.

Another added, “But the location is far too dangerous for any of us to get into, hence the tunnel we have decided to dig.”

“Well, I may be just one pony, but I'm a pony with killer wings!” Rainbow Dash's teeth showed as she grinned. “This is my idea. I can fly there to where she's at, approach the Matriarch, and try and talk with her.”

Sam Rose's eyes twitched.

A louder murmur filled the room.

One of the elders squinted. “You would converse with the Matriarch?”

“I mean... The Princess could!” Rainbow Dash said. “I already talked to her about it! I'd go at night, when the moonlight hits, and I'd have her talk through my pendant here to the Matriarch!”

“Council, with all due respect,” Sam Rose spoke up, keeping his voice calm and humble. “I can already see where this proposition is going, as I'm sure all of you can. I don't think such a daring task is worth risking the life of an outsider who has no place within our conflict.”

“Pfft! It's totally worth risking stuff for, your royalnacity!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “Princess Luna is an alicorn! She's—like—older than time and stuff! If there's any pony in this world who's equipped to reason with the dragon Matriarch, it's her!”

“What you're suggesting is certainly brave, Rainbow Dash,” Sam Rose said. “But ever since you arrived in Silvadel, you've been my responsibility...”

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow. “I have?”

“Yes! And I can't allow you to do something so brash and suicidal! It's—”

“Noble?” she remarked with a grin.

Sam Rose momentarily fumbled for words.

Rainbow Dash turned towards the Council again. “I'm not going to tell the Matriarch about the Project. I'm not going to do anything that will expose you ponies or tell her where Sanctuary is located. And, yes, I know that this is really friggin' dangerous. But—come on! If there's some way—any way—to resolve all of this mess without causing more bloodshed, I'm all for it! Aren't you?”

“But what if your endeavor fails, Miss Dash?” an elder pony remarked.

“And what if yours fails?!” Rainbow Dash retorted. “No offense to the unicorns and all, but I think the Matriarch will be a great deal more ticked off by ponies trying to bomb her with acid than one awesome pegasus getting her to have telepathic tea time with an ancient Princess. Trust me! Luna's no push-over! She has the power, authority, and smarts to reach out to someone like the Matriarch! Heck, she and her sister have dealt with dragons before, and our kingdom is super-safe becaues of it all! Just what's it gonna hurt to try the same thing here now that you have the chance?”

The Council stared amongst themselves. They exchanged whispery words while the guards and audience in attendance shuffled anxiously. Ember Speak bit her lipe while Limey lingered in the background.

Finally, one of the elders stood up and faced the unicorns in attendance. “Mr. Zetta.”

The unicorn twitched. “Oh! That's me! Uhm... Yes, your high pony-ness pony?”

“How is the weapon coming along? Is it near the final stage of development?”

“Oh, uh! Totally!” He smiled and ran a shaking hoof over his shaved mane. “We've got the arcanium all fused together and will be ready to pour the death water in less than two days! The ponies in the tunnel are telling me that they're almost to the nest. In fact, they're lining up the charges to seal off the passageway to Sanctuary as we speak!”

The old mare nodded, exchanged glances with her fellow elders, and then faced the crowd. “It is our decision, then, that the Grand Project shall continue as originally planned.”

A low hush fell over the audience. Rainbow Dash's ears drooped. With a sigh, she hung her head.

“However,” the mare continued. “If our brave visitor is so convicted, then we shall allow her to embark upon this daunting task.”

Sam Rose did a double-take.

Rainbow's face jerked up. Her lips twitched and she smiled. The ponies around her were gasping in amazement.

The elder spoke on, “We are desperate to survive, yes. But this doesn't not entirely require the means of absolute violence. While the bombing of the Matriarch is still our ultimate move to make, we shall take advantage of any other options that are available to us.”

“Council, please—!” Sam Rose tried to speak.

Another elder spoke more loudly, and directly to Rainbow Dash. “Miss Dash, do we have your solemn vow to make this trip solely for the purpose of bridging communication between your kingdom's ruler and the Matriarch?”

“Absolutely,” Rainbow Dash said with a flutter of her wings.

“And you shall not let slip one word concerning the nature of Sanctuary or its occupants?”

“I shall defend the truth with my most awesome life,” Rainbow Dash added with a wink.

“Council, she does not belong here!” Sam Rose exclaimed fitfully, trying is hardest to maintain composure. “She is an experience pegasus, yes! But she has not been tempered by the hardships of this landscape! I have seen brave, loyal comrades of mine buckle under the torment of the dragons! How can we expect her to—?”

“She has offered to sacrifice her very own life to protect the interest of a kingdom she hardly knows, young prince,” an elder said with a glaring expression. “The Council would expect the one sole heir to both recognize and respect the sanctity of such guile.”

Sam Rose opened his mouth, lingered, and looked away. He was fuming.

Rainbow Dash glanced at him, then at the Council. “When do I get to leave?”

The Council glanced at Zetta.

Zetta twitched and stammered, “The death water won't last for long without melting stuff to ash. We gotta ship that crap out soon... uhm... your elderliness.”

The elders looked at Rainbow Dash. They said, “Tonight.”

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