• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“I don't really like her hovering around like this,” Ironhoof muttered as he marched along.

“She can totally hear you, Ironhoof,” Red Turnip said.

“Am I the only one bothered by a pegasus flying over us like a winged halo?” Ironhoof glanced back at the two dozen other ponies marching with leather saddlebags full of heavy equipment. It was morningtime. The bright golden sun glittered down through the tree tops as the caravan wove their way down a mountainside clustered with forest. Ironhoof in particular was pulling one of the wagons as he flared his nostrils in the spring air. “Just where does a pony get of sportin' a mane that fruity anyways? Are all equines from the west so crazy looking?”

“Only the ones who make you look bad for trying to start a fire.”

“Hey, shut up.”

The caravan was awash in chuckling voices. Fulltrot wove in and out of the solid line of travelers. He carried very little on his body, so that he could easily reach the front or rear of the group in a blink in order to observe the trek's progress. He walked with disinterest past Ironhoof and the other chattering stallions. As he brushed past Gold Plate, he gave the young pony a side-glance. Gold Plate, struggling to hold up barely half the weight of the other equines, sweated and winced visibly in the nonstop march. Upon the elder's glance, he did his best to hide any sign of buckling. Once Fulltrot trotted out of visual range, Gold Plate let out a huge breath as his shoulders sagged.

Meanwhile, Ironhoof was still rambling. “It's a bad sign, I'm telling you. Her presence here doesn't bode well. Remember that last time, two years ago, when we had a random traveler join our caravan? We got washed out by a flash flood!”

“This is a pegasus, Ironhoof. The least of our concerns should be inclement weather.”

“But what if she's cursed?! You see that golden necklace that she wears! Perhaps she pilfered that from a forsaken chamber of pony souls!”

“You know, I can—like—totally hear you, right?” Rainbow Dash flew low enough for the caravan to see her smirk.

Ironhoof briefly tripped, nearly being run over by his own wagon. Several ponies around him chuckled as he blushed and glared at the blue blur of Rainbow Dash soaring overhead.

Rainbow Dash skimmed over the crowd, lifted up, and bounced from branch to branch as she grazed the roof of the forest. She paused on a particularly large tree, staring out at the landscape ahead of them. On the horizon was the large structure, still billowing from its gray mass with smoke. Below it, the mountains gave way to a rolling valley of lush green trees and shimmering blue streams.

Squinting, Rainbow Dash got a decent survey of the terrain. Her wings twitched upon seeing something. She glanced down and judged the direction that the caravan was heading. In a determined breath, she dove and flew among the line of marching ponies.

“Hey, where's your boss?”

“Huh?” Gold Plate could barely breathe.

Rainbow Dash hovered alongside the blond stallion. “What's your deal, dude? It looks like you just ran a thousand miles.”

“Never mind that. What do you wanna see Fulltrot for?”

“Cuz, if you think you're exhausted now, just wait until this afternoon.”

“I don't get it...”

“We're taking the long way to get to our destination.”

“How would you know that? You're not from around here!”

“Let's just say that I've learned a thing or two about how the earth works during my flight here.”

“If you think you can convince him to take a detour, be my guest,” Gold Plate murmured. He pointed ahead with his head. “He's at the front of the caravan.”


“For what?”

“Your permission.” Rainbow Dash gave a wink and was gone.

Gold Plate sighed. He briefly stumbled on a tree root, bumping into Red Turnip.

“Hey! Watch it, pipsqueak.”

“Mmm... s-sorry...”

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