• 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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Steel Wing

It was pitch black. A deep hum filled the darkness, punctuated by the occasional sounds of his labored breaths.

A metal brace surrounded his right hoof and forelimb. With a humming noise, the prosthetic lit up in a haze of bright blue mana. He shuddered, his weary features wincing from the waves of magic coursing through him. Then, as he grimaced in the darkness, a sparkling surge of magic rode up his body, shot out of his horn, and materialized in a spectral band of equine figures, leering down at him in the darkness.

"Report," muttered the middlemost of the flickering profiles in a ghostly voice.

"We have picked up the Enforcer of Green Slope Province," Shell said, lifting his head up. He finished wincing in time to open his one eye and gaze neutrally past the projections. "His alicornia condition has been tested by two specialists from the Council of Ledo. There is no doubt that his leylines have been temporarily fused with the device belonging to the beloved of Dr. Bellesmith."

"So, then, this Enforcer is able to lead you to the location of the fugitives from Blue Shelf?"

"He is able to convey to me the whereabouts of the sphere within their posession." Shell took a deep breath. "Whether or not the winged subject is to be found their company remains to be seen."

"For your sake, you had best hope that she is with them," one of the profiles said, its eyeslits glaring above a blurred array of military medals. "It was because of your incompetence in the field that the target was lost in the first place."

Another projection leaned forward and added, "The only reason you are tasked with this hunt and not another more qualified Enforcer is because you have had more experience with this pegasus than any other high ranking officer in the Ledomaritan Defense Initiative."

"And I promise you that I will seize her and the power contained within before the target has any hope of leaving the Confederacy's borders." Shell took a deep breath and continued, "Already we have determined the sphere to be located west of the Foxtaur Forest, bordering Sapphire Province."

"Then if she is with the possessors of the mana-sphere, that means she is heading east. She will be within proximity of Blue Nova soon if you do not capture her sooner."

"I have already assembled the resources to intercept her swiftly."

"Must we remind you, Enforcer, that your best opportunity to capture her is now?" Another projection hovered directly overhead. "If she and her accomplices pass beyond the Sapphire Plains to the east of Foxtaur, they will have entered the realm of the Green Mountains. She will be very difficult to capture in such a vast wilderness between Blue Nova and the Eastern Front."

"She will not make it to the Xonan Battlegrounds," Shell said with a frown. "I will bring her to her knees or she will bow down to the Queen in pieces."

"You would have won our confidence with such words, if your actions as of late have proven to hold as much weight, Enforcer."

Shell clenched his teeth shut, staring into the blackness beyond the images.

"We shall hail your fellow captain's vessel in a week's time to find out the nature of your progress." The projections began to dissipate. "We trust that you will make good with your loyalty."

"In honor of the Queen," Shell bowed. "I give myself."

With a splash of manalight, the projections died. All was dark and dull noise yet again.

Shell clenched his eye shut. After several seconds, he stood up—hissing through his teeth in pain as he shifted weight on his glowing blue prosthetic. Swiveling about, he marched down the echoing blackness until he approached a thin, vertical slit of metal. With a wave of magic, he pushed the doors open.

Light exploded into the cabin, along with the noise of wind and steam. Marching, Shell strolled onto an immense deck of dark gray metal bulkheads. Ledomaritan stallions in blue uniforms rushed past him, their hooves dutifully flurrying over various levers, knobs, dials, and handles. The ponies shouted commands and instructions over the high-pitched whine of gusting steam. Overhead, the bulbous copper body of a dirigible fluctuated in the wind. Tight ropes and metal coils groaned as the immense, steel zeppelin angled its way eastward.

It wasn't alone. Flanking the starboard and port sides of the cannon-covered battleship, two smaller aircraft of like design rode the cloudy currents. With telekinetic prowess, uniformed unicorns stood on the edge of the decks, waving red flags and signaling from one ship to another. Beyond the gusting steam and the venting engines of the armored blimps, jutting mountains and ocean-blue skies lingered. Down below: rolling green plains and emerald forests stretched far and wide, engulfing the Ledomaritan countryside with color.

Shell gazed at everything indifferently. The only thing his face registered was the knifing pain from his limb, but even that was a minor twitch at best.

Shuffling up, a stallion his age in a decorated blue uniform stood straight and saluted. "Prime Enforcer Shell..."

"Captain Filta..."

"The Steel Wing waits for your command. What news from the Council, sir?"

Shell's mouth hung in thin line. He reached lethargically into his uniform and pulled out a plain, drab, blue article. "They haven't sent me a new beret..."

"Sir?"

"We, my good Captain, are tasked with finding our elusive blue pegasus with wings of the west and a heart of chaos." Shell limped across the deck, his metal limb making dull thuds against the bulkheads as sweating crewmen dashed left and right before the strolling pair. "When we find her, we will drag her down to the ground until her spirit has no choice but to follow along with it. And there, in the shadow of her failure, where she has no friends except the bitter kiss of pain, we will hollow her out for all that she's worth."

Captain Filta cleared his throat. "Well, then, shall I set coordinates to such a noble juncture?"

"No, but you can send those qualified ahead." Shell shuffled to a stop, squinting into the wind as he digested the eastern horizon. "Have your stallions prepared the gliders?"

"See for yourself, Prime Enforcer." Filta marched up to an upper platform of the deck, pointing towards where a miniature runway had been erected upon the bow of the battleship. Three metal, mana-powered aircraft were being rigged with rockets. Two pilots per craft were settling in, checking their instruments. "They're prepared for their instructions. Are we certain we know the whereabouts of the subject?"

Shell's nostrils flared. He pivoted and gazed towards the stern of the ship, where a obese stallion with a gray mane was leaning over the edge of the battleship, his coat having taken on a sickly green hue.

"It would seem that though my reputation is the only thing on the line, it's not the trust that's being tested," Shell muttered.

"Who? Him?" Filta trotted over and squinted. He glanced tiredly Shell's way. "He's been trying to talk to you all journey, sir. I had imagined the two of you had personally convened in order to... strategize over this 'special condition' of his."

Shell shook his head. "That was something I've had the luxury to avoid... until now." He winced as he forced his forelimb into a steady trot along with the rest. "Be prepared for my order at any given time, in the meantime, guide the Steel Wing towards the northeast corner of the Foxtaur Forest. I must converse with our... 'guide,' here."

"Sir, wouldn't you rather stay down below?" Captain Filta pointed at the glowing blue prosthetic. "There are plenty of places in the cabin where you can rest yourself."

"I've no time to recover," Shell hissed, trotting away. "This mission is of supreme importance to Queen Ledo."

"If you insist, sir. I can't imagine the pain."

Shell grumbled as he approached the lurching figure of Josho. "Something tells me I'm just about to..."

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