• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“Mmmfff...” Rainbow Dash's lips quivered. She turned her head over, and it brushed up against a pony's flank. “Nnngh...” She stirred again, and felt several limbs converging on her. “Grrgghh... Let me go!” She mumbled at first, and then was yelling. “I don't need you guys! Leave me alone!” She flew up before her eyes opened.

She looked down and saw several Wintergaters collapsing from her explosive liftoff. They struggled to get back up to their hooves as Astral and Red Turnip Sr walked up to her hovering position.

“Well, that's gratitude for ya,” Red said with a smirk.

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash blinked. “What?” She looked around. She was inside the giant underground structure. It was bright—brighter than earlier. Everypony was on the other side of the bridge. In the center, the pedestal was empty. “How... How long had I been out?”

“I'm guessing three hours,” Astral said in a low voice. “You gave us quite a scare, Miss Dash.”

“I...” She bit her lip, trembling in mid-air. “Yeah... Yeah, I guess I did.” She gulped. “Sorry...”

Astral raised an eyebrow. “You touched that flame. You risked your very own safety. By nearly killing yourself, you risked the safety of us all! Are you really, truly sorry?”

“Look,” she touched down with a sigh, folding her wings beside herself. “I can't explain why I did what I did. But if I knew better, I wouldn't have done it. Still, I'm sure that doesn't make the last three hours any less crappy.” She gazed sincerely at the ponies. “I apologize, everypony. It was very stupid of me to have done that. Even if I didn't understand everything, it's no excuse for me doing what I did. I'll... I'll try to be less of an idiot from now on.”

“Miss Dash?” Rockspoot appeared, trembling, behind his father's legs.

“Yeah, Spotty?”

“What's wrong with your eyes?”

Rainbow Dash blinked. She held a hoof up to her face and blinked several times.

“Oh... Uhm...” Rockspot made a face. “Now they're back to normal.”

“Uhhhh...” Rainbow Dash gulped. “Okaaaay...” She shuddered, briefly touching the surface of her pendant before swiveling around. “Well, onwards and upwards, I guess.”

“That's it?!” Red exclaimed. “You're just gonna pretend like you didn't fall into a horrible coma for several hours?”

“Well, I'm up now, aren't I?” Rainbow Dash said, trotting through the gawking crowd. “I'm a heck of a lot more useful now that I'm not a vegetable. So, what are we waiting for? Let's continue this bodacious hike!”

“Miss Dash,” Astral said softly. “I don't know if you've noticed, but something's changed. As soon as you touched the flame, it flew into the Element of Loyalty. I saw it with my very own eyes. On top of that, this section of the structure around you has started to glow brighter, as if your influence on this place has intensified.”

“Nonsense,” she spat. “This place is just a stupid maze.” She shuddered and glared ahead. “Seriously, you guys. All I want—all I really want—is to get you guys through this labyrinth.”

“What for?”

She gulped. “Just 'cuz...”

“Could you at least take a moment to rest?” a random pony asked.

“Yeah,” a mare joined in. “You're no good to us if you're still a little loopy from that magical craziness.”

“It's not craziness!” Rainbow Dash growled. “I'm totally fine! I'll dig up a way out of here! Just as soon as I get my bearings—” She stopped in mid-trot, blinking widely.

“Miss Dash?” Rockspot asked in a nervous little voice.

“Is something amiss?” Astral asked.

“Uhhh...” Rainbow Dash squinted.

Before her, she saw a lavender glow. It was a winding stream—solid and undeniably bright—and it was running a path before her, dipping into corridors and veering into adjacent hallways. Rainbow Dash didn't have a way to explain it, but she somehow knew that the lavender light was leading her towards the right direction. Everytime she doubted it, her heart would beat a little harder, and she felt the weight of her pendant intensifying.

“Do... Do you guys see that?” Rainbow asked.

“See what, Miss Dash?”

She gulped. “Never mind,” she murmured and flew forward. “Follow me.”

“Follow you where?”

“Just trust me!” As she soared after the lavender glow, she smirked back at the group. “I think I now know a way out of here!”

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