• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Hushtail

“It has been many a year since your punctuality has surprised me, old friend,” Hushtail said to Fulltrot, his gray mane hair parting over a pair of sleepy, blue eyes. His frail features wobbled between the supporting frame of two young mares, yet he did his best to stand tall with pride and dignity. “Today you arrive with our keys to salvation, and already I feel as if I am witnessing the arrival of a young stranger. Tell me, have we gone back ten years without my knowing?”

“Hardly, Grandfather Hushtail,” Fulltrot said, still bowing.

“Please, friend, save such stiff reverance for the Hall of Communion,” Hushtail murmured. He trotted slowly, shakily down the central street of Windthrow, eying the reuniting stallions and family members. “I am happy to see that every pony has returned safely. If only last year's trip was so fortunate. Bellstrafe was a resourceful young stallion. I still dream of his voice echoing across the Council Chambers.”

“We all do well to honor his memory, Hushtail,” Fulltrot said. “And I am sure he would be proud that we've suffered no casulties during this run. That said...” Fulltrot side-stepped and gestured towards the prismatic figure next to him. “Our safety is greatly owed to a most benevolent stranger.”

“Uhhhhhh...” Rainbow Dash was gazing at a swirling windmill overhead. She blinked and glanced at the two elders. “Oh. Wait, you're talking about me, aren't you? Ahem. Hi there.”

“A pegasus...” Hushtail remarked, wobbling slightly. The mares next to him came together to hold him up. He took a wheezing breath, stood up straight, and approached the traveller. “I am one of the few who still remembers your kind. Long ago, several of your kind inhabited the emerald mountains to the south of here. Alas, those hills have since lost their lustre with the coming of the smog. I do say, miss those winged ponies greatly.”

“Yeah. It gets kind of boring without a pegasus around, doesn't it?” Rainbow Dash said with a nod. “Story of my life.” At a few coughing sounds and uncomfortable exhales, she bit her lip and blurted, “But! Thanks a lot for... uh... the thought, old dude... mmmm... sir.”

“Hmmm...” Hushtail gave a wrinkly smile. “She is a pegasus, alright.”

“She's a hero,” Fulltrot insisted. “If it weren't for her unexpected arrival, we would have frozen overnight, taken an extrananeous detour, and have been devoured by a hydra—all in the span of twenty-four hours.”

“All of these things, and she intervened?” Hushtail remarked.

“Indeed, Grandfather Hushtail. She's the sole reason that your stallions stand before you now, safe and alive.”

“Eh... it was nothing,” Rainbow Dash stretched her limbs and stifled a yawn. “It was either hang out with these cool bros, or fly over a bunch of boring mountains.”

A shimmer of light reflected into Hushtail's eyes. He squinted, regarding the golden pendant around Rainbow Dash's neck. “Hmmm... are you Equestrian?”

Rainbow Dash blinked at that. She eyed Hushtail warily, as if he was soaring at her from a mile away. “Maaaaaaaybe...”

“What is your name, young one?”

“Rainbow Dash, sir,” she remarked, flipping her colorful mane back in the process. “I wouldn't suggest saying it yourself. Wouldn't want you having a heart attack or something.”

Fulltrot rolled his eyes, then smiled at his superior. “Her neighborly assistance, however, comes at a price, provided a pony doesn't mind paying with his ears.”

“Hey! I'm a weather flier! I'm—like—totally non profit!”

“If you knew exactly what contributions mean to the village of Windthrow, young one,” Hushtail spoke, “Then perhaps you would be less jocular about the merit of such actions.” He gazed at both Fulltrot and Rainbow Dash at the same time. “Come. Sit with me. I would very much like to hear of this journey of yours and how such a remarkable traveller assisted in a time of need.”

“Awwww really, you don't have to gush all over me and stuff,” Rainbow Dash said with a toss of the hoof. “I just did what any of you dudes would have done... uhm... if you had wings.”

“When the village's Grandfather extends an invitation,” Fulltrot spoke to Rainbow Dash, “He offers with the full extent of his heart. It would be a cold thing to refuse or ignore such a gesture.”

“But, like I'm not exactly sit-around-and-talk-about-stuff material,” Rainbow Dash said in a slightly whining tone.

“We would also extend a hearty meal to the guest,” Hushtail added.

“Oh! Food! Well, alright then!” Rainbow Dash's wings flicked as she marched past Hushtail towards the large building at the end of the district. “Let's get started with the sitting-around and stuff, shall we?”

Hushtail let loose a breathy chuckle and gazed Fulltrot's way. “Over six decades, and pegasi are still the same, no matter where they hail from.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“It's a comforting familiarty, old friend. Something I haven't felt in a long time. Come. You, more than any pony, deserves a good rest.”

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