• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“Good heavens,” Ember Speak whimpered as her legs gave out from beneath her. The sheer enormity of the draconian swarm overtook her eyesight. “I had no idea there were that many.” She gulped. “And it's only half. Could there be any of Sanctuary left?”

“I need you two to get behind me right now!” Sam Rose said, reaching for one of his many sword hilts. “I'll cut through the initial wave and the we'll—”

His breath left him when he was yanked fiercely skyward. He and Ember dangled from the grasp of four blue hooves.

Seething, Rainbow Dash tugged at the pair, pulling them with all her might. She managed to fly a good hundred feet before yelping in pain and collapsing to the fractured earth. “Ooomf!” She tumbled and rolled into a dusty ditch, her wings twitching in agony.

“Rainbow?!” Ember sputtered.

“Nnngh!” Sam Rose stumbled to his hooves, still breathless from the carnage he had unleashed on the dragons earlier. “Do not carry us both if you are not capable of it!”

“Hey!” Rainbow snarled. “Do you wanna save your kingdom or not?!”

“Of course!” Sam Rose retorted, glaring up at the stretching ceiling of winged monstrosities. “But at this rate—”

“Toss off your armor!” Rainbow shouted.

Sam Rose's eyes went crooked. “You jest! My arsenal is the only key to—”

“Dude! You got—like—a gazillion freakin' swords!” Rainbow Dash shouted over the rising tumult. “Pick your favorite one and toss your armor or I swear to all that's holy I'm leaving your angry little butt behind!”

“Your Majesty,” Ember Speak murmured nervously, her eyes warm and sincere. “Swirls. Zetta. The elders.” She gulped and said, “Even if they don't survive, all hope is loss if we can't salvage the weapon and do so swiftly.”

Sam Rose took a deep breath, gave the hulking swarm one forlorn glance, and shrugged his shoulders. The armor flew loose, with blades clattering all over the stony floor. He dug his muzzle into the metal mess and pulled a large bastard sword out by the hilt. His eyes tilted Rainbow's way.

“Rainbow, are you sure that you can—?” Ember began.

Rainbot cut her off by hoisting the two up with a pair of strong forelimbs. In a blur, she was carrying them towards the smoggy zenith. Her wings strained with each painful beat, and yet she gained altitude, brazenly advancing beyond the line of scales behind them.

It didn't take long for the first wave of dragons to spot her. With combined shrieks, at least fifty drakes dove down and gave pursuit. The air churned with cyclonic energy as their roars were replaced with fiery breaths. Soon, a veritable volley of flame was soaring straight at Rainbow's rear hooves.

“Incoming!” Ember shouted above the whipping winds. Sam Rose attempted uttering something, but his angry voice was muffled by the sword in his toothed grip.

Rainbow Dash felt the heat catching up to her curling tail hairs. Taking a deep breath, she angled her wings and dove down. The wind intensified as the three ponies felt an immense drop in gravity. Rainbow Dash barreled earthward, outflying the balls of flame. As she reached the layer of Silvadelian debris, she found the chasm that took her to the mesas. Banking a hard left, she and her two companions plunged into the ravine and took the steep passageway north. A thick group of dragons dove with them but couldn't handle the deep flight. Soon, the air filled with the leathery cacophony of crashing bodies and clattering skulls. Dust and smoke filled the air as Rainbow navigated the far end of the trench. The few dragons still chasing her fired a stream of burning energy. Rainbow pulled up again, her limbs nearly tearing loose from the tug of gravity on her friends' bodies. Nevertheless, she succeeded, and soared towards the heavens just before reaching the large dome at the end of the run. Several plumes of fire converged on the structure and shattered it to smoldering bits.

Rainbow was flying straight up, and yet a flock of dragons was faithfully clinging to her rear. As she approached the ceiling of smog above Silvadel, the pursuing group doubled in their numbers, filling the air with their echoing horror. Rainbow was hoping to outfly them and use her innate skils of navigating the higher altitudes to outlast the enemy. However, with the strain of maintaining the grip of her two companions, this was proving difficult. With each passing second, the dragons devoured the distance between them. Rainbow was sweating, aching; her eyes twitched into the frigid winds from the insane effort.

There was another muffled groan from below. Rainbow Dash glanced down. Sam Rose was squirming in her grip, frowning, piercing her gaze with his eyes. She merely frowned at him. He groaned again into his grip of the sword, his eyes turning soft and pleading. Rainbow Dash bit her lip, agonized by the strain of the high climb. She took one look at the pursuing flock and glanced at Sam again. With a regretful breath, she shook her limbs and released her grip. Sam Rose fell.

Ember Speak gasped and spun to look.

Sam flipped in mid-air, dove like a bullet, and spun his whole body blade-first into the advancing line of dragons. “Nnnnnghhh—Haaaagh!” He cleaved a skull in two, ripped two heads off, and sliced several wings as he murderously plummeted his way down the scaly line.

At that moment, Rainbow Dash gripped Ember tighter, did a backflip, twirled, and dove straight down. The two ponies rocketed along the violent path after Sam Rose. Their bodies winced as they splashed through wave after wave of crimson juices turning into crystalline clouds in the freezing air. Soon, they were catching up with Sam just as the flock of broodlings became thickest. Rainbow Dash stretched a blue hoof out and grabbed his body, forcing him to relax from the mid-air sword swings.

“Where is Sanctuary?!” Rainbow shouted above the bloodied winds.

“Straight ahead!” Ember exclaimed, but shuddered at the sight of a massive wave of leather bodies. “But... But...”

“Hold on tight!” Rainbow Dash said. From then on, no utterance could be heard, because the sheer force of the winds around them had become deaffening. She tightened the muscles in her face and angled her body like a torpedo. Speeding towards the wyrms head on, the air distorted into a sea of vapors as a billowing cone of energy formed around the three.

Ember tried saying something, but her voice was dozens of feet behind them. She gasped in understanding, her eyes catching the pendant around Rainbow's neck fluctuating. Reaching over, she gripped both Sam and his sword and braced every limb in her body.

Rainbow was hissing, straining, screaming. Her eyes teared and flickered crimson only once as Whitemane's blessing took over, encasing all three of them in platinum energy. A millisecond later, the sky exploded into color. Spectral rivulets expanded across the smog, illuminating the gray death of Silvadel with every shade of nature. Another millisecond transpired, and a grand clap of thunder burst everywhere at once, knocking every dragon out of the sky and forcing them to plummet in every direction. Through this, a rainbow streak roared towards the ground. Rainbow Dash burst into the earth. Through the sheer speed of the rainboom and the divine strength of Whitemane's blessing, the three ponies bore a tunnel through the ground, puncturing every layer of rubble that blocked their path. The gray debris collapsed and filled the unnatural corridor behind them, instantaneously sealing off any pursuers above them.

After thirty violent seconds had passed, Rainbow Dash's subterranean plunge finished, only because they had broken into a deep pocket of Sanctuary. Rainbow exploded through a crumbling ceiling of bioluminescence. She and the other two crashed into a powdery field of burnt crops and smoking farm tools. There were bodies lying around them, some dead and others dying. A scant group of Silvadelian survivors gasped and aimed crossbows at them, only to react in shock to the sight of the three.

“Your M-Majesty!”

“You've come back!”

“All of Sanctuary burns! We need...”

“Your Highness?”

“Nnngh!” Sam Rose hopped up, his body fluctuating all over in platinum energy. He dragged his sword with him. The pony's body was smoking all over and ever survivor in attendance gazed in absolute shock. “Show me...” He growled and gathered his bearings. “Show me the way to the battle!”

“Right this way, sir!” Several ponies galloped towards the distant corridors, following the sounds of explosions and screams. Sam ran with the thick of the pack.

Meanwhile, Ember Speak was trying to get up. She limped to her hooves, took one glance at Rainbow Dash, and gasped. “Rainbow! Are you...?!”

“Just g-go...” Rainbow hissed, her eyes flickering back and forth between normal and abnormal colors. She shoved Ember with a hoof and collapsed to the soil. “Just save your ponies. I've done all... done all I c-can...”

“Rainbow, stay with me!” Ember shrieked as the world above them toppeled. Rainbow's gaze fell to the side, catching burnt bodies and smoldering shards of sundered rock. The mare's voice was distant now, like a stone echoing in a deep well of cold water. In a blink, Rainbow Dash saw five piles of ash and she wanted to scream.

She fell unconscious instead.

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