• 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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Bright Night

"No!" Belle shrieked, sitting up in a cold sweat. She stared forward with shrunken chestnut irises, panting.

She was answered with starlight and foggy haze. Mountains and hillsides shone in a silver sheen as far as she could see.

Her hyperventilations cascaded, and she brought a pair of shivering hooves to her face. Before she could sob, a voice murmured from beside her.

"Mmmm... b-beloved...?"

Bellesmith took a deep breath. A tear rolled down her face, but she smiled gratefully as she lowered back down to the soft mound of leaves where a stirring zebra lay. "It's okay, Pilate. I'm... uhm... I-I'm just fine..."

Pilate nevertheless tilted his head towards her. "Was it a bad dream?" he whispered.

She curled her limbs to her chest, biting her lip. "It wasn't my bad dream," she breathily murmured.

"Still having visions?"

She nodded, sniffling. "Mmmhmmm..."

"It's okay, Belle. Here..." He crawled over and stretched his limbs around her.

She swiveled around to face him, easily surrendering to his warm embrace. She let forth a few tiny cries, hiding her muzzle in his striped chest as he stroked her mane.

"They'll go away," he said, nuzzling the top of her forehead in between gentle kisses. "Sooner than later..."

"B-but what if they don't, Pilate?" she murmured. "What if... what if Austraeoh and I are linked forever?"

"You have her memories," he said. "Nothing more. Otherwise, why would Whitemane have given you the message that she did?"

"But what if there's something she wasn't telling us?"

"I'm sure alicorns are a bit-per-dozen with their cryptic nature, but from what you described to me, Whitemane is the last goddess who would want you to be burdened with worry for the rest of your life."

Belle sighed, staring past his striped shoulder at the twinkling starlight above. "She has such vivid memories, Pilate." Belle swallowed hard, trembling. "And such intense fears..."

"Yes, well..." Pilate hugged her tighter. "She hides them well."

Belle's breath shook. "I wish I c-could, Pilate..."

He smiled blindly in the starlight. "You're stronger than you give yourself credit. I think—perhaps—Eljunbyro is a good thing to have happened to us."

For once, Belle managed a dry chuckle.

"What?" Pilate's brow furrowed around his plate. "I mean it!"

"I know, Pilate. I know. Just..." She shrugged within his grasp. "How can becoming fugitives to the state and having hiked across the Ledomaritan wilderness for three days be called a good thing?"

"Has it been three days already?"

"Yes, Pilate. And that doesn't answer my question."

"Well, thanks to Rainbow Dash, we haven't been gobbled up by any manticores. I think that's a good thing."

She snickered lightly. "That's hardly convincing."

"Very well then." Pilate took a deep breath, pondered, and eventually said, "For the last two years, we had been living in indentured servitude to a cold government that separated us, threatened us, and sent some of our closest friends to their deaths. For days on end, I would trot around the neighborhood, waiting for the day when the Blue Shelf facility decided that they were done sending electrical sparks into your head for one reason or another. And now that Rainbow Dash has zig-zagged her way into our lives—"

"We're cold, hungry, uncomfortable, on the run—"

"Yes, and...?"

Belle sighed, smiling painfully as she nuzzled his neck. "But we're together..."

His lips curved. "Exactly."

"I just... I just wish I knew where she was taking us..."

"East, I presumed."

"I know, but where?" Belle gulped. "What's there for us past Xona? What continents are out there? What's between here and the legendary Grand Choke?"

"I suspect Rainbow Dash doesn't know anymore than we do."

"What keeps her going, then?" Belle murmured, glancing over to see a petite blue figure lying still in the starlight. "I mean, this is the sort of life she's been living for months, Pilate. It seems like... such punishment..."

"You're the one with her memories," Pilate said. "I think you'd be more equipped to answer that question."

Belle exhaled slowly, her eyes squinting through the fog. "Adventure... discovery... opportunity..."

The zebra's lips curved. "I'm rather intrigued at such possibilities."

She glared at him. "You're enjoying yourself, aren't you?"

"Is that a crime?"

"No, but it's still robbery." She stirred, frowning. "What I wouldn't give to sleep in an inn or a hotel for once."

"You know that's not exactly a luxury we can afford right now," Pilate murmured. "Not that we've even stumbled upon any towns."

"I know... I know..."

"For me, it brings back memories."

"You're joking, right?"

"Not at all. When I first attended West Ledomaritan University, I spent half the semester in a hostel—"

Belle had to clamp her hooves over her muzzle to keep from waking the nearby pegasus with explosive giggles.

If Pilate could see, he would have been blinking by now. "What?"

Belle composed herself in time to say, "I cannot believe that you're comparing sleeping on a bunch of leaves on the top of a cold mountain to spending nights in those stables."

"Hey, it was a rough stable!"

Belle continued to giggle.

He frowned. "I mean it! It was bumpy, rough, and cold..."

She nuzzled him with a wicked glint to her eyes. "You just mean that you didn't have me to share the straw with."

"Even worse." Pilate shrugged. "No pillows."

She poked his shoulder with her stubby horn.

"Owwww... oh come on..."

"Make a joke like that again and I'll poke you lower."

"Heaven forbid!" he gasped. "You might—I dunno—blind me or something."

"Heeheehee..." She leaned against him, exhaling. "It's a shame, Pilate. There are sights here that Blue Shelf never had."

"Uh huh..."

"I mean, well, we could never see much of the night with our curfew and all, but the way the moon shines off these mountains..."

"I'll take your word for it," Pilate muttered.

Belle's face was pale. She sat up with a jolt.

Pilate tilted his head her way. "Now what?"

"The moon shines..."

"Yes, I imagine it does—"

"No! You don't get it!" Belle hopped up to her hooves.

"Gah!" Pilate stirred under the spray of leaves. "B-beloved?"

Belle galloped to the crest of the mountaintop and stared up at the night's sky, panting. Her eyes reflected a pale glint form directly above.

"Don't tell me this is another dream screwing with your head!"

"This time..." Belle's lips curved. "It's a good one." She spun about and dashed to the blue figure. "Rainbow Dash! Psssst! Rainbow Dash!"

"Mmmm..." The pegasus' wings twitched as she curled up into a tighter, sapphire ball. "Of c-course you can have my autograph... j-just sign on the beret—zzzzzzzz..."

"Come on!" Belle shook her heavily. "Wake up—"

"Mmmphhh... huh...?" Rainbow's ruby eyes squinted open. She immediately winced and covered her face. "Unnnngh... Ding Dong? Why the hay would you want an autograph?"

"Hurry! You gotta see this!"

"I already left my signature all over your brain noodle..."

"It's the first full moon of the month!"

"Then tell your zebra honeymooner to take craps behind a bush next time..."

"Rainbow...!"

After a few seconds, Rainbow's eyes flew open. She parted her forelimbs and glanced down at her pendant. The ruby lightning bolt was glowing with a magical aura. She jerked her eyes towards Belle.

Belle was smiling wide.

With a flurry of blue wings, Rainbow Dash hovered straight up. "Well, why didn't you friggin' say so?! I gotta get to a high place—" She proceeded to fly straight into a tree. "Oww! Darn it! My wing's asleep!"

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