• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Traverse

“I've been travelling these lands for as long as I've been able to gallop,” Fulltrot said as he stood at the crest of a hill jutting just above the forest. “I was mapping the rivers below us before your parents were even born, I'm willing to bet.” He turned and squinted at the blue pegasus. “Do you mean to tell me that there's a quicker path to Windthrow that I've suddenly overlooked?”

“Lemme ask you this, old timer.” Rainbow Dash hovered above him. Her neck pendant glinted in the sunlight as she turned and pointed northeast. “If you were to cross that part of the river up there, just south of the rapids, would the land on the other side offer you a far quicker path to your destination?”

“If we could all fly like you, then certainly we would cross there,” Fulltrot said with a nod. His caravan was lingering down in the woods below them, waiting for this tiny conversation to run its course. “But earth ponies must learn to take advantage of the few, meager opportunities this land allows us. There's a portion of the river a mile south that's shallow enough for us to cross. We've traversed that spot for decades.”

“Right. I'm telling you right now.” Rainbow Dash gestured northeast once again. “There's a spot up there that'll take you to where you need to go faster.”

“You mean to say that there's an even shallower spot to cross the river?”

“Something like that.”

“And what if I take your word for it and it sets my caravan back? You've been quite helpful, traveller. But I hope you understand my reticence. You are, after all, still a stranger.”

“Hey...” Rainbow Dash touched down in front of him and flexed her wings. “I give you my word. You can cross there. One way or another, I'm gonna get you to where you need to go by nightfall.”

Some of the ponies down below heard that utterance. They murmured and shifted nervously in their brown armor. Fulltrot squinted curiously at Rainbow. “By nightfall... You certainly are bold.”

“I couldn't stand to look at myself in the mirror if I wasn't.”

“I'm inclined to make my own judgments in this situation, ma'am,” Fulltrot said while pacing about her. “But still, how am I to trust you? I've barely known you for a day. I can say the same for my entire caravan.”

“Ask yourself this...” Rainbow Dash smirked. “Has anything nearly as awesome as me stumbled upon your troupe in all your years of running the same, boring path?”

Fulltrot's expression was blank. “I fail to see how that pertains to anything, traveller.”

“Trust me.” She lifted up, winked, and darted towards the northern stretch of river. “If there's one thing I don't do, it's give up on loyalty.”

“And since when were you loyalty to me or my caravan?”

“Since you turned out to be pretty cool guys!” She shouted from where she flew. “Now are you following me or what?”

Fulltrot took a deep breath. From behind him, Ironhoof marched up.

“Sir, it's almost noon. Are we going to continue on the path?” He glanced over the elder's head to see Rainbow Dash soaring northward. “Where is she headed, exactly?”

“I think we're about to find out.” Fulltrot eventually murmured. He turned and marched downhill. “Gather the ponies and tell them to follow my lead.”

“We're going where she's going?!” Ironhoof exclaimed. “Sir, she's a stranger! A crazy one to boot! Who knows what could have brought her this far from her homeland—”

“Conviction, Ironhoof.”

“Huh? What was that, boss?”

“Pay attention. You just may find out.”

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