• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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The tunnel was dimmer than the rest of the cavern. As the walls closed in, the line of hanging lanterns stopped, and Rainbow Dash found herself trotting into pitch black. There was nothing to see beyond a few feet of distance, and yet Rainbow Dash felt as if she was being drawn forward. Her hooves tingled with each shuffling step. Her ears twitched, as if listening for a dim, otherworldly hum to start ringing in the distance.

Undaunted by the shadows, Rainbow Dash raised a hoof to her pendant and murmured a few words. A dim glow emanated from the ruby lightning bolt, casting a crimson aura across the claustrophobic rock walls before her. The surfaces were pale, like polished granite, and they rolled and spun like frozen sea waves or the inside of a nautilus' shell.

Rainbow Dash found herself weaving left and then weaving right as she travelled the length of this bizarre corridor. There was something curiously enticing about the trek, no matter how ominous it should have felt. Rainbow Dash couldn't shake the sensation that the trip was perfectly natural, almost like flying east.

At last, she came upon an opening. What she saw froze her in her tracks. The winding corridor came to an utterly flat stop. A perfect wall of ivory-white stone stood before her. It was a sharp contrast to the dark, grimy, soot-stained mines that she had taken to get there.

The air was terribly thin there. Rainbow Dash felt a sudden chill as she heard her lonesome breath dancing off the polished rock. If somepony had told her that she was in the deepest, most secret heart of the world, she somehow wouldn't have doubted it.

Slowly, Rainbow Dash marched past overturned bits of mining equipment and wooden carts in order to approach the flat wall. A crimson spotlight from her pendant tightened on a stretch of the immaculate barricade. Her eyes swam across the surface. At first, she didn't understand what was the point, for there was no blemish to be seen along the body of the stone. Then, upon a third examination, Rainbow Dash saw something—an image etched into the white granite. She could have sworn she had scanned that part of the rock already, and yet there before her hung an emblem as plain as day. It was a very simplistic formation, illustrated seemingly in two parts.

The left side was an omega symbol. The right side was a sphere that was partially transposed over the left image. Howbeit, bordering the circle to the right of where it intersected the left symbol was a sporadic series of squiggly lines.

Rainbow Dash was oblivious to the meaning of the dual characters, but a part of her shuddered at the implications of the right symbol's borders.

“Are those... solar bands?” she murmured aloud.

Never would Rainbow Dash have predicted that she would be so enthralled by such seemingly random lines. Perhaps it wasn't so much that she was enthralled, but some essence of her soul was obligated to peer closely at the shapes.

As a matter of fact, the longer she looked at the character on the left, the less it started looking like an omega symbol, and the more it started resembling a hoofprint. Without realizing it, her left forelimb was rising up to that particular spot of the polished stone.

The closer it got, a bright pulse of ruby light emanated from her pendant, and she could have sworn she saw a hint of lavender color to the edge of her peripheral vision.

Gasping, Rainbow Dash stumbled back. She felt her heart beating, as if coming down from the crest of performing a sonic rainboom. There were very few moments in her life when Rainbow Dash could count having been legitimately frightened by something, and ever since her journey east she had counted fear as the most frivolous emotion of all.

And yet she couldn't contain her thunderous pulse just then. A shiver ran through her body, and she was gazing too hard at the pale wall to even register the aura of lamplight coming up from behind.

“It's quite fascinating, isn't it?” an elder voice said.

Rainbow Dash spun around...

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