• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Rainbow Dash flew east. After half a day, it had become an easy feat. A favorable wind blew at the back of the pegasus' feathers. The air before her gave very little resistance, and the atmosphere was tranquil and cool. She even took her goggles off for a while, allowing the upper currents to coast her gently towards the ever-stretching horizon.

With the departure of the mountains, the landscape gave way to gently rolling hills. Wintergate was a largely unpopulated place. Rainbow Dash wondered if Equestria was an anomaly to have had so many densely packed areas of equine living. She pondered if the ponies of Windthrow actually had any other villages to make contact with now that their time of isolationism was coming to an end.

Rainbow Dash winced. Her wings lost control for a moment, and she dipped briefly before climbing back into a controlled flight. A sigh escaped her lips. She didn't want to think about Windthrow. Not yet.

Below her, the land grew shinier. She put her goggles on and squinted down at the passing world. She realized that several small lakes and tiny rivers were starting to form beneath her. It was the first sight of its kind since she flew over the Undermarshes just beyond Everfree weeks before. As the day wore on, several flocks of birds lifted off of the glittering waters, momentarily accompanying her exodus. She skimmed by cranes, egrets, and herons. When a seagull cry or two touched her ears, Rainbow Dash grew curious. The air was starting to have a saline smell to it, and she scanned the north, east, and south horizons for the source of such a sensation.

Gradually, to the southeast, a bright blue line formed. Rainbow Dash couldn't help herself. She banked southward ever so slightly, careful not to lose her east momentum. Soon, that bright blue line was becoming thicker. However, with the dimness of the dying day, she decided not to take the plunge—as it were. She found a single sharp hill in the great plain of marshes and settled down for a brief snooze.

When she woke, it was just before dawn. She stretched her wings, adjusted the pendant around her neck, and flew at a close glide over the soggy landscape. Soon, she came upon a patch of sandy soil. Looking down, she was surprised to already see the water. The coast was placid. There were no crashing waves. This was how she came to suspect that she was at the edge of a very large lake.

Sure enough, as the sun broke out, she gazed south and saw a large body of water. She couldn't see the southern end of it, but she determined that there was a milky-whiteness to the liquid itself. She imagined that sediment had collected in the basin over the centuries. The place had a pristine quality to it, as if it had remained untouched by equines for countless eons.

Rainbow Dash decided to follow the northern edge of the lake. The banks curved north, much to her surprise, and she discovered a large river flowing into the basin. She wasn't aware of many rivers that flowed south. Curiosity got the best of her, and so she decided to swerve north slightly as she continued her eastward journey. What she discovered was a gently rising series of hills jutting up out of the earth like domed mounds. These weren't the jagged, pronounced mountains of west Wintergate, but something that very closely resembled a word that she had heard Red Turnip say days ago: “Slopelands.”

It was then that a startling thought came to her. Rainbow Dash came to a stop, sitting herself on a polished bit of stone in the center of a rapid stream of riverwater. In the midday sun, she dug into her saddlebag and produced a very familiar object. It was the map, and she slowly unrolled it in steady hooves before squinting at the old parchment.

Once more, she saw the names of regions, landscapes, and provinces. All of them were familiar to her. The last thing was a pair of sharp mountains on the very right side of the map. Beyond that, there was nothing. Rainbow Dash realized she had seen that nothing, and had surpassed it.

Rainbow Dash took a deep breath. Without a second thought, she crumpled up the map, stood on her hind legs, and tossed the thing deep into the swiftly flowing river. The map disappeared, soaking away into nothingness.

It was then that Rainbow Dash smiled for the first time in nearly thirty-six hours. She stood up, adjusted her goggles, and took a running leap into the unknown.

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