• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Cooler

The next afternoon, Rainbow Dash was soaring eastward. The border of the lake disappeared, and soon the marshlands dried into a series of rolling plains. Emerald fields stretched widely before the pegasus, forming a veritable sea of grass and shrubbery.

The air was getting cooler and cooler. Rainbow Dash had thought the coldness of the night spent at the lakehouse was just an isolated event. Apparently, that was not the case. She was entering an entirely different climate zone. The winds were thicker here, with bitter and icy currents that blew sideways at her flight, attempting to shove her path towards the south.

Nevertheless, she held firm to her course. Her teeth chattered on occasion, and the goggles threatened to come off with how much her head shivered from time to time. Swiftly, though, she amended this. She stopped on a hilltop and tightened the goggles, re-lacing the canvas straps still monogrammed with the initials “SL.”

There was a collective fog occupying the lengths of her journey. It wasn't a thick and unnatural thing like the essence of chaos that had collected around Windthrow. Rather, Rainbow Dash found herself skimming past several wisps of gray, translucent clouds that hung close to the earth's surface. The misty streams were moving quickly too, pushing against her in a southwest swirl. Rainbow Dash wasn't a geographical expert, but she was already predicting a huge structure ahead that would be capable of pushing such gusts of moist air in such a direction.

As the day wore on, she saw a hint of what she had imagined. There was a solid line of white carving into the sky dead ahead. The eastern horizon was being segmented into a jagged series of ivory shapes. She judged that it had to have been a mountain range, one that was larger and far more massive than any single ridge she had encountered in west Wintergate. If it was indeed a series of mountains high enough to effect the climate, Rainbow Dash could only imagine such a pronounced structure served as the eastern border to that equine province. For a brief moment, even she had to marvel at the sheer distance she had covered in so few days.

Night fell. Rainbow Dash stopped on the west end of a hilltop, hoping the landscape would block the cold winds ever so slightly. With flint and steel, she made a campfire, feeding it with dry twigs from local shrubbery. It was a miserable night, and she hardly got any sleep. Aside from shivering under the blanket, she was dealing with massive hunger pains. Rainbow Dash had gone without eating for longer periods, but never before scaling a series of mountains.

She realized that to head east all day tomorrow would be foolhardy. There was no telling just how many high mountains she was going to have to scale. Even from a long distance, they looked ridiculously tall, possessing an altitude that made vegetation inhospitable. If she truly wished to fly over them, she had to get herself well-fed before the journey even began. Already, the cold was starting to gnaw and bite at her. If her belly remained empty, there was a very real risk that she would freeze to death. She wasn't ready to suffer a fate so lame and idiotic.

The next morning, she had to pull herself onto all four hooves. She packed up her belongings and flew in a slow, southeasterly direction. That way she could approach the mountain while at the same time scan the horizon for orchards, farms, villages—anything that could help her get a bite to eat. There was also the small yet desperate hope that flying south might warm her slightly, seeing that she was well north of the equator and had every reason to believe that there were bodies of water to the south end of Wintergate.

Most of the day went by in a fitful stupor. Her stomach growled repeatedly, and her vision was turning foggy. Rainbow Dash briefly feared that the adrenaline and mania that had driven her so far east of Windthrow had made her blind to just how famished she really was. She was never a pony to use her head, and once again it was starting to bite her.

Grinding her teeth, she slid her goggles up and peered over the landscape with naked, darting eyes. A slight panic was rising through her system. She started thinking crazed thoughts of flying west, returning to Windthrow, or—horrifyingly enough—seeing if she could make use of the fishing equipment she had spotted a day and a half previous.

It was then that she saw something that made her shout out loud. It was a victorious roar, with a cracking voice of joy and triumph. Far below her, bordering a tiny pond just north of a dipping valley, was a hazy cluster of bright colors. There was no mistaking it, even from her hovering altitude. The winged pony had discovered flowers, and they looked scrumptious.

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