• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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The group could barely keep up with Rainbow Dash. Astral, naturally, was the one in charge of alerting her of this.

“Miss Dash! Please! For the love of all Wintergate!” He panted as he came around a bend through which she just flew. “You're going to lose everypony at this rate! What's so important about—?”

“Right in here!” Rainbow Dash was hovering, pointing, grinning like mad. A large, cylindrical chamber stretched before them. It appeared like a dead end. Regardless: “This is our way out!”

Astral stood, squinting and hyperventilating. “Are you so certain?”

Rainbow spun and looked at the chamber. It was laced in every corner with glowing clusters of lavender energy. She was almost blinded by the sheer brilliance. Of course, all of this would take an extraordinary effort to explain to the unicorn.

“I've never been so certain of anything before in my life!” she said. “Where're the others?”

Astral's ears drooped as he bore a lethargic expression. “They are just now catching up...”

Indeed, right at that moment, Red Turnip Sr skirted around the corner with Rockspot clinging to his neck. “Where'd she run off to—Oh. Uhm... The heck?!”

“I believe... er... she wants us to enter this room—”

“All aboard, ponies!” Rainbow Dash said through glinting teeth. She flew backwards into the chamber as if she was backstroking across a rippling lake. “There's no time to waste!”

One of the mares—breathless—exclaimed, “What's gotten into her now?”

“Is she just gonna faint again?” a stallion remarked.

“Uh uh!” Rainbow Dash shook her head and crossed her heart with her right forelimb. “I swear on the grave of Commander Hurricane!”

Red and Rockspot blinked quizically, as did the rest of the ponies. They all looked at Astral.

He smiled nervously. “That's... That's the most important swear in traditional pegasus culture.”

“Works for me,” Red said with a tired smirk. He motioned at the group. “Come on, fillies and gentlecolts. We've got Commander Hurricane's word that this is a safe passage.”

“Commander Hurricane died centuries ago!”

“Probably because she stood in one place for too long. Now let's go.”

The group murmured in uncertainty, but they trotted forward regardless. Soon, all twenty-nine of them plus Rockspot and Rainbow Dash were situated in the chamber. They stood there in as much confusion as had blanketed them on the outside.

“Uhm...” a unicorn bit his lip and gazed up at a great, unfathomably tall vertical passage above them. “Is there supposed to be a staircase of some sort? I do not understand.”

“Me neither.” Rainbow Dash smirked, glanced around, and saw a flash of lavender. She zoomed towards it, only to find a silver lever. “Hey! Check this out!” She yanked it hard. The world flashed brightly around it. None of the other ponies saw it, of course. However, what they did see was the walls of the chamber blurring down past them.

“Aaah!” A mare leapt and clung to another pony. “What has she done?”

“We're lifting up,” Astral said, his mane hair billowing from the sheer g-forces. The platform beneath them had turned out to be a complex elevator of sorts, and it was soaring up the tall, veritcal corridor at an alarming rate. “By the Sun Goddess...!”

“You know,” Rainbow Dash was pressed to the platform, no longer able to fly. “I really, really wish you'd stop saying that.”

“Each thing in turn, Miss Dash,” Astral said, then gulped. “Would you mind informing us as to our destination?”

“Uhm...” Rainbow Dash stared up into the breezy spectacle. “Up?”

“I know that's a relative concept for pegasi!” Astral exclaimed above the noisy ascent. “But could you be a tiny bit more assuring?”

“It's... not down?”

“Daddy...” Rockspot trembled and leaned up against Red. “I'm scared.”

“Oh, we can't have that, now can we?” Rainbow Dash stood in the center of the group. She squinted upwards as they scaled the passageway faster. “It's all good, Spotty. I see the end in sight!”

“The end!” a stallion shrieked. “We'll be crushed to a pulp!”

“Nah, I'm pretty sure we won't!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

The group nevertheless shrieked and flinched.

“Good heavens!”

“Goddesses, save us!”

“Aaaah!”

Even Astral winced as the platform surged towards the ceiling, only to slow at the last one hundred meters and come to a vibrating stop. The group held their breath, then exhaled with a cold shudder.

“Hah!” Rainbow Dash grinned wildly. She flexed her wings and started trotting around the circumference of the platform. “Now wasn't that tubular? I'm sure we can repeat it if everypony likes.”

A wailing cloud of disapproval answered her. She merely chuckled and continued squinting at the walls.

“Ahem...” Astral brushed himself off and gazed curiously her way. “Miss Dash, now that we've... ridden that extraordinary flight, do you have a clue as to what you're looking for?”

“I'll know it when I see it,” she said.

Red leaned in. “Will we know it when you see it?”

“Mmmmm... Maybe...” She paced and paced and narrowed her eyes even further. Her head tilted to the left, right, and finally centered on something. “Hah!” Before her, against the polished wall, was the familiar symbols of a hoofprint and a celestial crest. Only, this time, they shimmered to her in bright bands of lavender. “There you are!”

“We don't see anything, Miss Dash.”

“Story of my friggin' life.” She reached forward and pressed her hoof over to the wall. In a blink, the chamber opened up. Everypony gasped as a rush of air kicked at their manes. They shivered slightly, then stared past Rainbow Dash as she marched out of the chamber.

Beyond the passageway was a cave of natural rock. The stone was polished, and it wormed away from the entrance to the ancient interior like the inside of a nautilus shell.

“Where in the hay are we...?” a stallion remarked.

“Wait!” Red Turnip Senior instantly gasped. He marched forward and stood next to Rainbow Dash, his jaw agape as he stared around the rocky cavern just outside the elevator platform. “This place smells familiar...”

“Daddy...?” Rockspot stammered.

“It's okay, son.” Red reached down and patted him assuredly. “I think we're someplace safe.”

“Someplace... safe...” Rainbow Dash blinked. She twitched suddenly. She didn't need a pulse of lavender light to look to her sides this time. She spotted several mining tools and wooden carts lying around outside the unnatural entrance. What was more, they were all of pony design. “Awwwww heck...”

“What?” Astral trotted up beside her as the group slowly exited. “What is it?”

She gulped and stammered, “I know where we are...”

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