• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Three hours into the early morning, and Rainbow Dash had passed over two more mountain ranges. The rough topography was rather surprising to her. She briefly wondered if the map in her saddlebag was anywhere remotely accurate, for there was far too much uneven earth that she had covered and she yet she still hadn't stumbled upon the last two or three landmarks marked on the east end of the illustration.

What was more, the rocky peaks stabbed remarkably high into the air, breaking the clouds and dissemenating the moisture so that a heated bubble of vapors gathered along the eastern slope. More hours went by, during which Rainbow Dash witnessed rapid convection as she pierced the hot air. Sooner than she had hoped, she heard a loud rumble filling the troposphere around her. She glanced left and right, finding herself surrounded by black, anvil-shaped thunderclouds.

A groan escaped her lips as the first of several hot drops of moisture began to fall. Her wings were growing damp. The air tingled with the threatening hint of electricity. There was no way of avoiding it: she had to put her rapid flight on hold and find some cover.

Gazing down, Rainbow Dash adjusted her goggles so that the clear lenses gave her an unobstructed view of the world below. Dense trees had given way to dry bush. There was no vegetation tall enough or spacious enough to give her a natural ceiling. So, beginning to grow desperate, she dove low and skimmed the west side of the craggy hilltops just beneath her. She studied every nook and cranny of the bouldery landscape, desperate for an enclosure that could keep her from becoming soaking wet. To her gasping surprise, she stumbled upon such a niche. It was a cave, immeasureably deep, with a grand black entrance that entreated her like a Cloudsdalian atrium.

The world rumbled loudly behind her. Rainbow Dash started to feel her coat hairs standing on end, something sparked by the queer sensation of cold winds pierced by hot rain. She had lost track of time, and she briefly wondered if summer had crept up on her.

Wasting no time, she darted straight for the cave. There was a flash of bright light in her peripheral vision, forcing her heart to jump. When she stood in the enclosure, she gazed out—panting—in time to embrace a wave of vibrations as the dipping valley below the rocky hill yelled from the storm's immensity. She gulped, breathed easier, and managed a deep chuckle.

Rainbow Dash sat on her haunches and watched as the world turned gray. The dark flanks of the overhead stormclouds dipped down to kiss the earth, and soon there was a syphonous hiss of moisture pooling over the empty landscape as far as she could see. Her wings fluttered a few times to shake off the loose droplets, and then closed in on her sides. She had made it to the cave on time. Reveling in her miraculous dryness, she gazed at the rainsoaked world like a mare might sit at a theatre show. This was just as entertaining—soothing, even—and the roar of the precipitation lent her gentle heartbeats a pleasant ambiance.

Half-an-hour passed, and Rainbow's antsy nature got the best of her. She stood up, turned around, and faced into the dark recesses of the cave. She raised the goggles and blinked widely into what turned out to be a black expanse. Marching forward, she came to a point where she was no longer gifted with the vestiges of daylight. There she stopped and whistled. The echo that replied was formidable to say the least. She couldn't help but wonder just how deep the cave was.

She needed light. In a practiced ritual, Rainbow Dash stood still, took a meditative breath, and ran a hoof up to the ruby lightning bolt of her neck pendant. Once making contact, she spun concentric circles and murmured something to the stale air of the place. It took a few seconds, but a deep red glow came to life from within the gemstone. A dim crimson spotlight was cast before her, growing brighter by the blink, until the walls and floor of the rocky enclosure took shape.

Rainbow Dash did a double-take. What she originally thought was a cave actually turned out to be a tunnel. The red light went down the distance of fifty feet, and then blackness once more layered the extremity of the natural corridor. There was no telling just how deep the passage went, or what may have been lurking within. It would have been very unwise to blindly trek down.

Rainbow smiled.

She glanced behind her at the bright world turned gray with rain. With a flick of her tail, she abandoned the stormy afternoon, choosing instead to trot firmly down the dark corridor. As her hooves scraped against the polished rock, the world rumbled again. For the briefest moment, however, Rainbow Dash imagined that the thunder was coming from below instead of above. She shrugged the thought off, adjusted the saddlebag on her spine, and quickened her descent.

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