• Published 13th May 2012
  • 40,106 Views, 7,727 Comments

Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Arrival

“Seriously, Ironhoof, you smell like my older sister's garbage pale at the end of the month.”

“Will you choke on a horseshoe already, Red?!” Ironhoof grumbled, batting flies off of him as he marched along with the caravan.

Red Turnip and several other stallions chuckled. “Awwww, come on, dude. We're glad that you haven't croaked and all. Just—seriously—did that monster have to put you in his nastiest stomach ever?”

“All I want to do...” Ironhoof seethed with each step he took up the hilly incline. “...is get back home for the first time in weeks and take a nice long bath.”

“A bath? Wouldn't that kill ya?”

“Nnngh...”

“Hah hah hah...”

The earth ponies marched onward, their faces alive with smiles and bright eyes. The group had just narrowly escaped death, and there was an undeniable spirit of enthusiam hovering above them... literally.

Gold Plate tilted his gaze up towards Rainbow Dash's shadow. He was the only pony who wasn't snickering at Ironhoof's expense. Watching the pegasus dip up and down through the misty reaches of the forest, he momentarily cleared his throat.

That caught Rainbow Dash's attention. Smirking, she coasted down until she was hovering just a few feet above the coltish stallion. “Yessss?”

Gold Plate grumbled.

“What was that?” Rainbow Dash raised a hoof over her ear.

“Thank you, for saving Ironhoof,” Gold Plate managed.

Rainbow Dash blinked at that. “Funny.”

“Hmm? How so?”

“I really didn't expect any of you guys to actually thank me for what I did.” Rainbow Dash winked. “Kind of breaks the surly, gruff exterior you're all working so hard to maintain.”

“Meh.” Gold Plate gazed ahead. “It seems only polite. You've done so much for this caravan.”

“Oh, is this a caravan? Jee, I hadn't noticed?” Rainbow Dash hung upside down and “backstroked” through the air beside him. “I've been too busy smacking around hydras to notice a group of adults bumbling to get a delivery done on their lonesome.”

“Aaaaaand there you go,” Gold Plate sighed.

“There I go where?”

Gold Plate smirked bitterly at Rainbow. “No matter how selfless or heroic you may be, one way or another you fall back to being a goofy, childish, self-centered braggart.”

“Hey! Not true!” Rainbow Dash's teeth showed. “I am SO not 'goofy!'”

“Don't you think you'll get in over your head at this rate?” Gold Plate exclaimed. “Like, when was the last time you fought a Hiperbeam?”

“Hydra.”

“Whatever. When?”

“Mmmmm...” Rainbow Dash flew upright and scratched her chin. “That was the first time, come to think of it.”

“I knew it!”

“Did you, now?”

“What you did was brave, yes,” Gold Plate nodded. “Daring, sure?”

“Dashing?”

“Don't push it.”

“Heeheehee...”

“But you could have seriously hurt yourself!” Gold Plate's face grew briefly long. “Who's to know if you try something that wild in the future and it ends up killing you?”

“Heh. I didn't know that you cared.”

“I don't,” Gold Plate said with a frown. “But if there's anything that Fulltrot has taught me in all the months I've worked for him, it's that ponies with nothing to lose have everything to give, even if it means themselves.”

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow. “Is that why a pony like you is constantly sending himself on journeys so far from home?”

“And how about you?” Gold Plate swiftly returned.

Rainbow Dash merely bit her lip. At that moment, Fulltrot's voice called out from ahead of the group.

“Alas! Everypony, relax! For we have arrived...”

Rainbow Dash hovered upwards. Before her and the caravan, the mists parted, revealing a jagged cleft in earth about half-a-mile wide. Built along the steep, upper cliffs of this large embankment, just south of the large smoky structure looming to the north, was an elaborate wooden village built upon a complex series of wooden platforms, lattices, and struts. Mills turned, water wheels spun from thin waterfalls, and smoke rose from multiple chimneys as the rustic brown dwelling hung like a hazy shadow against the mountainside. It was the first civilized hub of any sort that Rainbow Dash had seen for weeks, and she was legitimately impressed.

“Windthrow, dear stallions,” Fulltrot continued, then motioned with his hoof as he trotted up a long stretch of winding, wooden platforms towards the heart of town. “We are home.”

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