• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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The corridors of Sanctuary were shaking violently. Dust and pebbles fell on the heads and manes of Silvadelian survivors as they rushed their desperate caravan forward along the descending passageways. Families clung together, carrying meager belongings. Soldiers and guards flanked them, eying the shuddering stalactites overhead anxiously.

In the thick of the group, Sam Rose was galloping back and forth, shouting loudly. “Quick! Do not tarry! We must reach the Inner Sanctum within the hour! Axan's forces are coming! Let us not give her any more devious pleasure than she's already tasted!”

A cluster of elders—protected by the thickest group of guards—rushed past Sam Rose as he watched over them. As the line of ponies filed down a thicker branch of corridors, he turned around and nodded towards the middle of the caravan.

Ember Speak nodded back, then leaned over to assist Zetta. “You got everything? It looks heavy...”

“It's not a matter of weight!” Zetta exclaimed, wincing beneath a glowing horn. Above him and several more unicorns, a large bulbous sphere of black metal was levitating. The weapon teetered from the death water sloshing inside the arcane material. “It's a matter of magical concentration! One single spill and this stuff will render us all to goo!”

“Best not to screw it up then!” Swirls said, hobbling along with the group. “Ember, did the rest of the foals make it—?”

“Yes! They ran ahead!” Ember exclaimed. “Along with the Council!”

“Good! Let's rendezvous with their families in Inner Sanctum!” Swirls exclaimed as a stallion carried her forward along the surging crowd. “Don't be a hero like Stu! I wanna see you there!”

“I wouldn't think of it!” Ember Speak called back. There was another heavy rumble. The shrieks of dragons could be heard overhead as curtains of dust fell on the crowd of gasping ponies. Looking up, Ember fidgeted and murmured, “By the Elders, let it all stay in one piece so we can at least put up a good fight—”

A huge, concussive blast emanated through the solid rock above. The stone steps became slippery with dust and sediment.

Several mares shrieked and stallions gasped.

“What was that?!”

“Are they attacking?!”

“It's the dragons!”

“Stay calm!” Sam Rose's voice could be heard from far ahead. “Inner Sanctum will keep us safe! Keep your breaths steady and your hooves steadier and follow me!”

“It's the first wave of their attack,” Ember Speak muttered as she trotted alongside the straining unicorns. “I can feel it. We haven't got much time before—”

Another monumental tremor shook through the cavern as another salvo of flaming breath struck the ruins above. The ground quaked, and several unicorns lost their balance. With a shout, Zetta strained and kept the weapon from outright plummeting. He was helpless to stop its descent entirely, and it rattled to the floor with a resounding clang. Pushed beyond normal capacity, Zetta stumbled onto his flank and hissed as his horn shorted out.

“Ooomf!” Ember Speak fell to her chest, wincing in pain. She struggled to get up, her eyes nervously gazing at the bomb as it wobbled on its bulbous end. “Heaven help us...”

A blue hoof reached down to her.

Not thinking, she took it and stood up. “We have to get that down to Inner Sanctum first and foremost. Who cares if—” She looked head, and gasped sharply. “Aaack!”

“How many times do I keep having to say it,” Rainbow Dash remarked with a slight curve to her lips. “That's the wrong friggin' A-word.”

“But... But...” Ember fidgeted, her eyes twitching about in confusion. “I-I don't understand! I thought you were—Mmmf!” Her eyes crossed.

Rainbow Dash was leaning forward, kissing her gently on the lips.

Ember let forth a squeak and hopped back, her face contorted in confusion as she held a hoof against her face. “Rainbow?! Wh-what was that for?!”

“For everything,” Rainbow Dash said, smiling softly. She exhaled. “And for nothing...” She reached forward and clasped Ember's hooves with her own. “Do me a favor...”

“A... f-favor...?”

“Mmmhmmm...” Rainbow Dash nodded, then gave a devilish grin. “When you and Sam rebuild this civilization, make sure it's something awesome.” She winked and let go.

Something weighted was in Ember's grasp. She looked down, blinking. Her eyes caught sight of a tear-stained book with green binding. With a gasp, she looked up. “Rainbow, no—!”

“Nnnngh!” With a heavy tug, Rainbow Dash lifted the entire bomb, gripped it in all four hooves, and took off for the opposite end of the corridor. She became a prismatic glow, ascending beyond the quaking lengths of Sanctuary.

Ember hugged the book to her chest, breathing heavily as her eyes moistened. “I swear,” she stammered. “It will be awesome...”

“Wait just a damn second—WAIT!” Zetta shrieked, standing up. He blinked several times at the empty floor, then gazed up at Ember. “Did she just kiss you?”

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