• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“I thought I knew you, Axan,” Celestia's voice said from the glowing pendant. “I thought I had flown enough circles with you, covered enough ground with you to know the extent of your strengths as well as your faults.”

“It has been millennia, Princess of the Sun,” Axan replied, her growling voice rumbling through the enormous chamber full of stock-still dragons. A ring of red-scaled wyrms surrounded the center of the cavern where Rainbow Dash stood before the Matriarch and her glittering bed of gold. “You know nothing of me.”

Luna's voice sounded off. “We art aware of the passionate needs of draconian kind, as well as their rarity in this world. Regardless, this most recent development vexes us, oh wise Axan. What, pray telleth, would it benefit one of the Divine Five to cause this much pain and suffering?”

“D-divine Five?” Rainbow Dash stammered, sweating from the combined heat of the glowing pendant and Axan's proximity.

“In the dawn of time, before history illustrated the mysterious landscape,” Luna spoke, “There were five dragon queens, responsible for key universal elements, and they were instrumental in giving birth to—”

“Do not speak of my sisters as if they are mere appendixes to pony literature!” Axan snarled, almost shaking the ground out from beneath Rainbow's hooves. “There are few of us left who know of the Golden Age before the Equine Seeding. Even fewer of us are willing to cherish the tranquil sanctity of such a time...”

“Why do you speak so ill of our kind, Axan?” Celestia's voice calmly inquired. “As a whole, ponydom has endeavored to spread peace and harmony since Creation.”

Your arrogance is as thick as ever, Celestia,” Axan spoke, her double rows of teeth showing beneath a bitter grin. “You speak of the Golden Age as if it somehow belonged to alicorns. You know as well as I do that there was never a 'Creation.'” Her green eyeslit narrowed on the sight of Rainbow Dash. “Tis a pity you would not share such truths with your expendable mortals.”

Rainbow Dash boldly spoke, “I know enough.” She frowned. “I've seen the chambers beneath the surface of the world. I've personally touched the flames on ancient pedestals and have put gears in motion. I don't know what is truth or what isn't, but I realize that you can't look at the world the same way once you know it's all a crazy machine.”

Axan's eyecrests furrowed, her fuming gaze locked on the strange, prismatic pegasus.

In the meantime, the voices were momentarily silent on the Princesses' end. Eventually, Celestia spoke, “One would have to ask why you are so insistent on the expendable nature of our subjects.”

“This puny flier, I can understand,” Axan remarked. “But the rest of the Equestrian vermin? Does your glory truly reach them all? Furthermore, does your wisdom and righteousness inspire every civilization spread across this world?”

“The beauty of ponydom is its intrinsic ability to discover glory for itself,” Celestia said. “It is for this reason that the alicorns bequeathed harmony upon the blossoming races of this realm and nothing more. We never sought to make slaves out of mortal equines. We merely wished to give them the impetus to spread life and joy from generation to generation.”

“You are too blinded by your own revolving lights to realize the failure of your and your forbearers' endeavors,” Axan said. “While you've sat within the comforts of your solitary palace, it has been the Divine Five's initiative to scour the lengths of this enormous world that was ours to begin with, long before the alicorns descended upon this half of the plane. Since then, we have been drained of energy and hope. Even to this day, you would cherish harmony so much? I have seen horrors and atrocities that would leech the immortality straight from you, daughters of the sky!”

Rainbow Dash stirred nervously as Luna's voice replaced Celestia's. “It wouldst be folly to assume any effort—immortal or otherwise—would be capable of vanquishing evil and malice from this world. However, this must not eliminate the noble purpose of harmony in every facet of existence...”

“You are one to speak of harmony, moon princess,” Axan remarked with a sneer. “Or was that not your corrupted image blotting the lunar surface for the past thousand years?”

The pendant was momentarily silent.

Axan roared on, “I did not think it was possible to be more dismayed. And yet, I witness greater and greater absurdities. You alicorns put such enormous weight on this pegasus, and to what purpose? Did you truly think the two of you would be able to dissuade my concerns for the world in one measly conversation?”

“What concerns are those, Queen of Flame?” Celestia asked. “My sister and I have been taxed as of late. To this day, we are working on a regular basis to keep chaos from seeping into this world and truly cursing all things that cling to life...”

Rainbow Dash's head bowed as she exhaled slowly upon hearing that.

Celestia continued, “Though we may not be able to purify the world, we are directly in charge of preserving it. There are many evils of many shades, but the gift of light allows all living things—immortal or otherwise—to make beauty and not decay. What has happened to you that has sapped one of the Divine Five of hope and joy? What has polluted your spirit so that you must take your anger and distress out on an entire civilization?”

Axan growled, “My spirit? Polluted?! This world is polluted, Celestia! It has been ever since the alicorns landed here and attempted to force their harmony to work across the landscape. The cost is more than evident: the dark side of the realm exists in perpetual agony. Civilizations war with one another over resources. Just east of here, as a matter of fact, a diabolical empire makes slaves and filth out of their own kind. You ask what's sapped my siblings and I of our life-blood? It's something that you're powerless to control, something that no immortal could stop—but has only accelerated by forcing so much energy and power into the harmonious end of the spectrum. For this reason, I have decided to retire, to amass my hoard and outlast the dark age to come.”

“'Dark Age?'” Luna exclaimed incredulously. “We faileth to understand. What is it that thou speaketh of?”

Axan grinned sadistically, her sharp teeth glinting in the firelight as her emerald gaze fell upon Rainbow Dash in particular. “You mean you 'wise' and 'merciful' alicorns have not spread the news, even to your lowly subjects?” Her nostrils fumed as her breath came out in a smoking hiss. “You have not told them about the end of the world?”

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