• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,031 Views, 9,515 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon



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

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Uncreative Numbers

"In addition to something hearty to eat, I was wondering if you might possess charts of a cartographical feat."

"Er... huh? You mean like a map?"

"Yes. Uhm... most assuredly," Pilate said, then blinked. "Erm... my good fellow of... sociability?"

The zebra was sweating. A crowd had gathered around the marketplace, and he didn't need to have vision to detect it. His cloaked ears twitched from the gaggle of Ledomaritan murmurs surrounding him in the morning air.

"Okay, now..." Rainbow Dash's voice cracked in his ears. "Pivot halfway to your right and point one hundred and twenty degrees up from the ground. Then ask if the hoodie comes in black."

"No!" Pilate hissed into his choker, frowning. "You come down here! You ask if it comes in black!"

"Awwww... come on..."

"Since when was any of this about hoodies?!"

"Hey! I'm parting with a good hatchet! I wanna make the trade worthwhile!"

"Uhm... Sir?" The unicorn at the market table leaned forward. "Is everything alright?"

"All we need is food and some map!" Pilate snarled at Rainbow Dash.

"Huh?"

"Erm..." Pilate gulped and smiled in the direction of the vendor. "So long as that can be done without mishap! I apologize for my awkward speech, good friends. I assure you I only mean to conduct good business in the end!"

"Well, alright. This is a mighty fine hatchet you have. I can give you some excess credit unless there was something else you specifically wanted besides what you've already asked for..."

Unbeknownst to anypony in the area—least of all Pilate—a gold coated form was diving behind a line of bushes. Belle peaked out from behind the market vendor and hissed Pilate's way, attempting to get his attention. She was anything but successful. Her face sweated more and more as a heavy set of hoofsteps shuffled in that direction.

"What we have here is fine, stallion of mine. Now I don't suppose you'd be willing to part with that topographical chart?" Pilate asked, pointing again.

"I don't suppose you picked up that accent in the northern provinces, hmm?" a voice slurred from behind the zebra.

Pilate's metal brow furrowed. His nostrils flared, and he bore a disgusted expression. Turning around, her leaned his face towards the offensive sound of flies buzzing.

Josho stood in a lean, his bloodshot eyes gazing suspiciously at the cloaked figure. A shivering Red Oats stood in the obese veteran's shadow.

"Who in the hay is this cat huffer?" Rainbow Dash's voice squeaked.

Pilate cleared his throat. "The only province from which I hail is... uhm... a land of the desert trail. How may I be of assistance, pony of... hmmm.. f-fine fragrance?"

"Where are you headed, my good sir?" Josho muttered between urges to belch. "If ya don't mind me askin'..."

"Oh crud!" Rainbow's voice echoed in Pilate's head. "It's a dude in a beret! Quick! Talk your way out of this! We'll... uh... find another way to get food!"

"I was just... uhm... passing through... to..." Pilate gnashed his teeth, squirming. "Frontier coordinates... one hundred and seven by twenty-two?"

Red Oats' eyes crossed in confusion.

Josho scratched his neckbeard, squinting. "Ya don't say? Those are some uncreative numbers, fella."

"Erhm..."

"Y'know, I once visited a village of zebras." The unorthodox Enforcer paced over. "I was on tour in the north, and we were protecting the village from local bandits and enemy incursion. We exchanged manafire with Xonans in the nearby swamps. To our luck, we had a lot of help from the locals. Them striped fellas were resourceful, nimble, fast as lightning. But they sure as the Queen's menstrual cycle didn't cloppin' rhyme!" With flashing teeth, he yanked the hood of the blanket off Pilate's head.

Several ponies gasped, their eyes flocking to the sight of the metal plate on the equine's skull. In the bushes, Belle was gnawing on the end of her hooves.

Pilate sighed long and hard, waiting for the murmurs of the staring villagers to subside.

"Sir..." Red Oats stammered, pulling out one of the wanted posters. "That looks.... That looks just like—"

"I ain't blind, ya scrub." Josho levitated the poster up for everypony to see next to Pilate. "Though I can't speak for everypony. Heh." He lurched forward on only half-sober limbs. "Those are some gray eyes you have there, my friend. I don't suppose the sky is any brighter than you where you come from."

Pilate leaned his head towards the soldier and muttered, "Look, I was just hungry and in need of directions. My tale may not have been all that legitimate, but my desire to pass through this town swiftly is."

"Now you see how smart you really are when you're not talking like a livin' nursery rhyme?" Josho squinted at the black-and-white stallion. "So maybe you'd agree that it's an awful lot to chew: what, you having trotted in here all on your own, ramblin' your tongue in circles like you were possessed?"

"It worked pretty well until now, didn't it?"

"What I mean to say, pal, is that it shouldn't have worked at all. At least not on your own." Josho shook the wanted poster, its paper material rustling in the air. "Exactly how does a lone, blind zebra walk hundreds of miles across the countryside without any help?"

Pilate said nothing.

"Hmmm..." Josho scratched his beard. "So now we're given the silent treatment. Y'know, fella, I do have the authority to arrest ya for questionin'. However, I'm not sure that would be very neighborly of me."

Pilate's face twisted. "I beg your pardon?"

"Naw. It'd do nothin but burst that bright, sunny cloud you have floating above your head." Josho shrugged and leaned back. "But, incidentally..." In a flash, his horn strobed. A double-barreled mana-rifle floated free from his unbuttoned uniform, glowing with crystal ammo. He aimed it squarely at Pilate's skull.

Ponies gasped. Belle stifled a shriek.

Josho's eyes twitched, and he smirked. With a twirl, he aimed the gun skyward and fired.

The morning air shook with thunder. Two streams of manashot flew into the atmosphere where they lit up the cloud directly overhead and vaporized it in a blink. A blue pegasus found her platform suddenly missing.

"Gaaaaaaaaah!" With a blood-curdling cry, Rainbow Dash plunged to the earth and smashed through a vendor stand. Wood and scraps of textiles flew across the marketplace. As the dust settled, she sat up—dizzy—with the orb of O.A.S.I.S. cradled awkwardly in her forelimbs. "Unnngh... Did I really just get dragged to the earth by a drunken beardjob?"

"Well, would you look at that!" Josho gestured to the blue pegasus. "A winged pony! And it isn't even Winged Pony Season in Ledomare!" He reloaded the gun, cocked it, and aimed at the zebra and his feathered friend in turn. "Well, now, if this isn't a fine way to crap out a morning?!"

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