• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“Have you seen Ursa Majors?” Red Turnip asked.

“Well, I've seen an Ursa Minor, if that counts,” Rainbow Dash said as she flapped her wings over the marching caravan. “And along the way here, I could have sworn I saw some wicked awesome -looking Timberwolves.”

The stallions murmured among themselves. A group of wagon-pulling ponies that had otherwise ignored Rainbow Dash earlier was suddenly captivated by her presence. “Have you seen any mountains along your journey?” another one asked.

“Heh. Yeah.” Rainbow Dash folded her front limbs and rolled her eyes in mid-flight. “I've seen my fair share of mountains, alright. I even flew into one of them, poked my head around, and ran into a bunch of ugly quarry eels.”

“Quarry eels?!”

“You mean to say you've chanced upon those creatures and actually survived?!”

“Pfft! She boasts!” Ironhoof remarked with a smirk. “I've known several ponies who've encountered monsters twice as ghastly and yet survived!”

“He's got a point!” Rainbow Dash spun circles in the air, exclaiming, “Why, I'm willing to bet his mother has run into several giant eels. After all, he's here, isn't he?”

“Yeah, I—” Ironhoof did a double-take. “Hey!”

The many stallions around the scene laughed. Even Fulltrot and Gold Plate had curved lips as Rainbow Dash flew overhead, drawing in more of the chuckles.

“If you came from Equestria, then you must have encountered several unicorns,” Red Turnip spoke. “Is it true that a non-unicorn nose bleeds whenever a magical horn nearby projects energy?”

“If that was true, I would have died from passing out years ago!”

“You mean you actually knew unicorns?” Another stallion exclaimed. “As friends?”

Rainbow Dash paused in mid-air, hovering. Her crossed arms covered the glinting surface of her golden pendant. “A couple,” she said, nodding. “Yeah.”

“Even... Even the Sun Goddess?” Red Turnip's voice rose again. “Did you ever actually meet her?”

At that, any sign of Rainbow Dash's smirk dissolved. She cleared her throat and flew ahead. “Yeah. Her too.”

“That must have been really incredible—”

“Why's it so misty up ahead?” Rainbow Dash ignored him, instead choosing to gesture at the smoggy weather hovering above a dense layer of treetops. The large structure was definitely closer, but the bleak atmosphere obstinately refused to reveal any details. “I'm a weather flier by trade; this isn't exactly natural.” She sniffed the air and made a face. “Nor is it pleasant. Ick...”

“This is the last hurdle,” Fulltrot said. “It always comes down to this as we approach Windthrow.” The elder turned and barked at the solid line of ponies. “Keep together, everyone! The air here is thick with smog! Do not spread apart so far that you cannot see the one before or ahead of you. At every few intervals, I shall call out for roll. We are almost home, ponies. Let us not let all our distance go to waste now.”

Gold Plate took a deep breath. Trotting past him, Red Turnip nudged the coltish pony.

“What, you scared, pipsqueak?” Red Turnip grinned.

Gold Plate frowned. “Not at all!” He shifted the weight on his bucklind shoulders and shuffled ahead. “I've marched over this path dozens of times!”

“Yeah...” Ironhoof suppressed a snicker as he trudged along. “In your momma's womb, maybe.”

A few stallions chuckled. Gold Plate rolled his eyes. Adjusting the hood over his golden head, he glanced up at the foreboding mists, shuddered, and moved along.

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