• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,033 Views, 9,519 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon

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

  • ...

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Enter Roarke

"Bam! Just like that!" A tipsy patron slapped the tabletop and motioned with his mug towards the poster plastered against the nearby wall. "She summoned a gigantic centipede! Straight from the earth!"

"No way!" The stallion across from him in the hazy, dim-lit tavern sipped from his glass, belched, and gestured. "I heard it was a herd of manticores! Just like the ones that took out that batallion of Enforcers out west where she emerged!"

"I'm serious! It was a giant centipede! Or a millipede! Or some other underground demon spawn bug thing!" The patron hiccuped and pointed once more at the wanted poster, where several stallions from all walks of Ledomaritan life stood, crowded under flickering yellow lanternlight. Ambient violin music played over a mana-powered sound system that crackled through the crowded bar. "I'm telling you, they should totally raise the bounty on that winged pony! Twenty thousand of the Queen's bits isn't enough to try lassoing that kind of fugitive crap from out of the sky!"

"Heck, I wouldn't walk a mile for two of the Queen's bits?"

"Ohhhhhhhh I see what you did there."

"Hah hah hah! Hey barkeep! Another mug of Antelope Brew—!"

"Word is out that a posse is forming in Blue Nova," the drunken stallion said with a smiling slur. "They're gonna grab a zeppelin, fly south, and see if they can catch this blue vixen themselves!"

"Why such a hurry?"

"Cuz the Queen's got her Enforcers out there combing the forests for the freaky mare!"

"Stil? Even after a bunch of centipede-riding manticores nearly killed a hundred of the Queen's special guard?"

"Nah, man, it was more like two hundred!"

"Where the heck do you get all of your crappy info from?"

"Same place you do, bub! Somepony knows somepony who knows somepony who sleeps with somepony who listens to the Enforcer chatter over the manawaves! There's a friggin' horse-hunt going on in the south, and nopony wants the rest of the Confederacy to know about it! I'm telling you, whoever this winged freak is, she's gotta be super dangerous... and worth way more than the reward they're offering!"

"So, what, you going to join that posse in Blue Nova or something?"

"Heck no! I like my life too much to throw it away!"

"Yeah, you just keep saying that to the bottom of your mug."

"Heh heh heh... Hey, the Queen's not gonna get all of my coins? You know what I'm saying? Some of us just have to look out for ourselves—"

Just then, there was a flurry of cold air. The tavern door swung open, and every single soul inside the place froze upon the sight of an equine figure clad in red and black metal armor. The place turned dead quiet—even the music was cut off. With hissing steam and clanking footsteps, the armored pony marched solidly into the place.

The figure wasn't alone. With little grace, it shrugged its flank and—with a whip of a long, metal, prehensile tale—deposited a groaning stallion bound in shackles onto the floor against the front row of bar stools.

Several patrons stood up and trotted quietly away from the sight of the groaning, hoof-cupped stallion. The unfortunate soul let out a low moan and collapsed, unconscious. The bartender peered over the counter and sighed.

"Roarke, please..." The old pony beheld a tired expression reflected in the glossy surface of the armored equine's helmet. "For once, could you not toss your... your 'spoils' onto my tavern floor like yesterday's garbage?"

The air snapped from the sound of the figure's metal tail retracting into its armored flank. With a hiss of steam, it tilted its helmet over to glare at the bartender. "Just relax, Smitty." The pony's voice had a metallic ring beneath the obscuring helmet. After a heavy, resonating breath, it finished with, "In less than an hour, the Queen's Finest will be rolling by to grab this sack of Xonan-sympathizing filth, and I'll be collecting enough to pay of my tab. So make like a good breeder and give me the usual nectar."

Wincing, the bartender nodded, shuffling backwards. "Right. Sure thing, Roarke. Whatever you say, Roarke."

Leaning back against the bar, Roarke glared at everypony else at the bar. The stallion by its side stirred slightly, so it slapped him hard with a metal-laced hoofed so that he went out like a light again.

The two ponies at the table gulped and tried to ignore the armored figure. They cast each other nervous smiles as they continued their conversation.

"So, how many airships has the Council of Ledo sent after this thing?"

"Six, at least. I'm sure of that."

"All just to catch one pony?"

"This is a pony with wings that we're talking about. Can you imagine if there's a whole race of them?"

"I bet the Queen would want to make first contact before the Xonans. They'd be an exceptional edge to the war effort."

"Not to mention really flippin' scary. I mean, a mare with wings?! That just means more crap in the way!"

"Hahaha... You suppose the freak has feathers or leather?"

"You wanna know what I think?"


"Flaming bands—like a demon!"

"I think you should just take a barrel of that stuff home and sleep with your own stupid ideas."

"I mean it! How else could she have summoned creatures of the underworld!"

All the while, Roarke was craning its neck. The figure's helmet tilted to the side. Then, with a gust of steam, it stomped forward on heavy hooves. Several drinkers stood up and got out of the bounty hunter's way. Others froze in mid-sip of their mugs, staring timidly. Golden lanternlight flickered off the polished surface of its full body armor as it approached the wall and shoved several yelping ponies aside. Leaning forward, the pony within the immaculate shell breathed deeply, studying the descriptions of the "blue-winged monstrosity" and the scant details that there were to illustrate it.

"I'm telling you," the one drunkard muttered, careening in his seat. "This is by far the most dangerous thing that's crossed our countryside since the last Xonan incursion! I honestly doubt a posse of a thousand stallions could take this sucker out!"

Roarke turned to glance at the pony. Turning back, it stared at the poster once more. A hoof reached up and snapped off the lower piece of its helmet. Steam billowed out from the metal muzzle-piece, revealing a brown chin studded in equadistant spaces with metal plugs. A pair of lips curved until they smirked devilishly.

"Hmmm..." A feminine voice hoarsely uttered. "Now this is more like it..."

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