• Published 19th Oct 2012
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Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon



Bellesmith must perform experimental tasks in order to keep herself and her beloved safe.

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New Objective

His breathing was labored, and the sweat that ran down from his horn was mixed with crimson fluids. Hobbling, he marched sporadically away from the huge golden obelisk that had pierced the surface of the earth. The ground before him lay in uneven chunks, and it would have been a task even for an uninjured unicorn to navigate all the pits and falls before him.

However, with patience and guile, every now and then bearing the sharp pain shooting through his right forelimb, Prime Enforcer Shell reached the edge of the sundered ground. As he approached the remains of Blue Shelf, the first of several frazzled soldiers galloped his way.

His beret missing and his uniform torn in several places, the stallion came to a grinding halt before Shell and saluted, trembling. "Sir! Prime Enforcer, sir! You're b-back from the facility?!"

"I... h-have emerged," Shell wheezed, then shuffled to a stop. With glowing telekinesis, he braced his broken limb while squinting at the carnage and wreckage around him. "Report."

"Sir, the object that pierced the ground emitted some sort of anti-magic shield. Until a few minutes ago, all of our mana-driven weapons and tools were malfunctioning. This included the manafences. We're struggling to get most of the devices operable again, but we've had to deal with a rampaging herd of manticores."

"How many Enforcers are accounted for?"

"We've been too preoccupied to make a proper headcount, sir. My guess is less than two hundred."

"In the Queen's name..." Shell muttered, his one eye gazing towards the toppeled towers and fallen zeppelins. "We had six hundred guards less than two hours ago."

"We were attempting to open communication with the rest of the Confederacy, but the communicative leylines have been unreachable since the obelisk appeared—"

Five Enforcers galloped up, led by a breathless lieutenant. "We've salvaged the manacore of a fallen zeppelin and we think we ca use it to fight off the last line of carnivores—" He froze at the sight of Shell, immediately saluting. "Prime Enforcer, sir!"

"Good work, lieutenant. As you were."

The soldier gulped and stammered, "Well, sir, it's been utter chaos since you've been gone. It took all of our efforts combined just to fight off the manticores. A lot of stallions fell prey to their savagery. I regret to inform you that—"

"What's that?" Shell asked, squinting past the soldier's shoulder.

The lieutenant turned and glanced down the forested mountainside, towards where the first of three boats were casting off from the docks along the glittering river. He turned and said, "They appear to have emerged from underground, sir. They number in the hundreds. We suspect they're what remains of the laborers in Black Level."

Shell took a deep, deep breath.

The lieutenant winced. "I'm sorry, sir. I understand. I'll switch every able-bodied stallion to the pursuit of those runaways immediately." He turned to shout the appropriate commands to his lackeys.

"No," Shell said.

The lieutenant glanced back, wide-eyed. "No... s-sir...?"

"Let them go," Shell muttered.

The Enforcers exchanged worrisome glances.

"But sir..." The lieutenant leaned forward, his face pale and sweating. "They're property of the Ledomaritan Confederacy! They know of the Queen's experiment deep down in the bowels of the earth! Surely, they know about the door and the key!"

"But they aren't the key," Shell said in a droning tone. "Which makes them hardly worth our combined efforts to track down, and our numbers are slim enough as it is. Today is a dark day, my little ponies..." Shell hobbled through the group and gazed past the smoke and debris of Blue Shelf. "We lost far too many comrades in the past two hours. Nearly two dozen fell into darkness inside the machine where I came from. But as I made my escape from the nether world, I saw the subject and the ones responsible for her freedom escaping before me."

After a deep breath, Shell turned and glared at those close enough to hear him.

"Gentlecolts, Blue Shelf is lost. Our experiments here are over. It is our task—our duty, now, as Ledomaritan guardians—to expend every effort and resource in tracking down the pegasus subject and her companions. Within them lies the key to our victory over Xona in the war. We can acquire slaves from the non-equine filth anyday. Allowing our pegasus—our key to the underworld—to escape Ledomaritan sovereignty is not an option. Do you understand this?"

Without hesitation, the soldiers nodded and replied, "Sir, yes, sir!"

Shell's brow furrowed. "Good. Gather your comrades. Salvage any weapon or tool that you can find, energized or not. Within two days, the Council of Ledo will be wary of our silence and send a rescue party by zeppelin. We shall take to the air and commence with our new objective."

As the soldiers ran to their various duties, Shell gazed once more towards the dark horizon opposite to the setting sun.

"We shall catch that flying pony," he murmured icily. "Or we shall die trying."

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