• 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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Air Report

With a grinding of his metal cast, Shell swiveled about. His eye narrowed from the glint of the rising dawn. Against the high winds, he uttered, "A centipede?"

Six stallions, bruised and frazzled, sat—slumped—on the deck of the Steel Wing after having been salvaged from the grassy plains below.

"An arthropod, Prime Enforcer, sir," one of the shivering pilots stammered. "One of gargantuan size. It came up out of the earth, summoned by the subject herself!"

"How do you mean..." Shell paced towards them as several crew ponies leaned in from their stations to listen. "...'summoned?'"

"She flew out of a deep cave precisely when we had engaged her two allies. No sooner had we noticed her, but this gigantic beast of a creature attacked us and tore our gliders to ribbons!"

"We were lucky to escape with our lives," another pilot managed. "The last we checked, the mammoth centipede was making its way into Foxtaur."

"Where the subject and her two pony companions had retreated?" Shell asked.

"Affirmative, sir," one pilot said, nodding.

Another exclaimed in fright, "It must be the chaos inside of her! If she can command creatures of the underworld at her leisure, then there's no telling how many armies it will take to—"

"Let me be the stallion to strategically assess the situation," Shell said. "For all we know, this was simply a case of extreme coincidence."

"She's not of this world, Prime Enforcer," one pilot said with a trembling sensation. "I'm telling you, we need an entire armada to take her out!"

"We'd have better luck defeating the Xonans than her!" another said.

Shell exhaled slowly, his face stuck in an iron scowl. He glanced over at Captain Filta.

Filta glanced back. He blinked, then suddenly woke up to the stupidly huge number of crew members who were frozen in place. "I'm sorry, did the Queen grant us shore leave?! Back to your posts, you lazy cloud kickers!"

The ponies jolted, galloping back to their stations, resuming the tiresome task of hauling up the shredded remains of the crashed gliders.

Sighing, Filta turned and spoke in a low voice to Shell. "I assure you, Prime Enforcer, that my stallions are not prone to exagerration. We've fought creatures across the countryside of the Confederacy before, but this tale? I'm not sure what to make of it. What if there is some truth to the account? What if this flying pony is capable of calling on powers that are beyond us?"

"Simple," Shell droned. "We become more powerful."

"I fear that my crew and the stallions of the other two ships do not have the firepower to combat an army of giant centipedes."

"Then it is a good thing that I am currently taking responsibility for them and not you." Shell paced over to the edge of the ship, squinting towards the east side. "What situation calls for is clear-headed thinking. Even if the subject was to become ten times more powerful overnight, we still have the resources, the lay of the land, and the firepower to make her escape from Ledomare an improbable scenario."

"If she's made it into Foxtaur, then we have problem," Filta said. "That forest is denser than anything this side of the warfront. The Council has only granted us three warships. That's not enough to cover all avenues of exit from the thick woods."

"Then we use every edge that we can," Shell said. "We already have one." He pivoted on his metal cast and spoke down towards the lower deck beyond a steep set of steps. "Enforcer Josho. Is there anything that your... present skills can lend us?"

"Unnngh..." The rotund stallion leaned against a set of barrels, rubbing his strobing horn. "Potatoes and bread. Mild spices. Could sure use a campfire and a kettle..."

Shell took a deep breath to calm himself. "Locations, Josho. I need any visions of landmarks you may be getting."

"Clusters... of Southern Oak," Josho mumbled. He stared blearily at the two officers. "Brown vines... almost rust red. West Xonan moss..." His eyes widened. "Most of the trees around them are dead or dying. It's like they're in nature's latrine."

Filta spoke up to Shell, "There's a line of petrified oak reported two leagues north of the nearest edge to Foxtaur. That could be a place to start."

Shell nodded. "Send the Steel Wing to fly over that spot, and have our two accompanying vessels fly fifteen leagues north and south. Once we've prepped the other gliders, we'll run recon between the three warships. I want a visual from an eye in the sky before we drop any troops down in those spark-forsaken woods."

"Aye, sir."

"Also, Captain." Shell stole Filta's gaze with a hardened stare. "I am no stranger to the exagerrated tales that air crew stallions are prone to making. The less said about this... arthropod incident, the better."

"I understand."

Shell's nostrils flared as he gazed off towards the glowing east horizon. "The last thing we need is for the common Ledomaritan public to get wild ideas about our mission out here."

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