• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,085 Views, 9,536 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon

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

  • ...

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Mixed Feelings

The ancient masonry danced with amber torchlight upon the fall of night. With considerable strain, Phoenix telekinetically dragged a large wooden chest rattling with various Blades Guild supplies. He ascended a series of worn, granite steps, approaching a smooth bridge of rock connecting two chunks of Site Beta's upper ruins.

He didn't have to trot far until a deep voice muttered from directly behind him. "Is that really all of it?"

"Gaah!" Phoenix leapt. He dropped the chest on his tail hairs with a thud, so that he nearly faceplanted when he tried to swivel around from the unwitting anchor. His mace was only halfway unsheathed when he stared into the deadpan face of Zenith. "Nnnngh... Don't friggin' do that!"

"Just because you're not the pony on watch doesn't mean you get to let your guard down." Zenith motioned towards the chest. "You didn't answer my question."

"Yeah, this is all the crap," Phoenix said. "I had to combine two chests into one."

"Is that what took you so long to bring it up here?" Zenith asked. "It's past sundown."

"It's this stupid torch," Phoenix muttered with a scowl. "Almost all the kerosene is dried up from when we were here last. I mean, it's not like we all had planned to come back to this dump. All the good stuff we had saved up was at the main camp."

"Which is in Ledomaritan hooves now, no doubt," Zenith spoke aloud as he leaned on his polearm. "Funny how much crap you can lose in a day."

"Have we been off our game or something?!" Phoenix's face hung in a pained expression. "If we've had this much bad luck months ago, we'd never have made it out of the Northern Xonan Highlands!"

"The only reason we've had bad luck is that we've had bad luck," Zenith grumbled. He telekinetically opened the chest and rummaged through the rattling supplies while talking. "And all of it in the form of a blue-feathered hothead with a raspy voice and a death wish."

"So I'm not the only one thinking the same way?"

"Who are you—of all stallions—to presume you think the same way as me?"


"You can't even put on your horseshoes without getting your eyes crossed."

"Oh come on!" Phoenix grumbled. "I was just trying to—"

"Is this seriously all of our rations?" Zenith remarked with a raised eyebrow.

Phoenix blew out the corner his mouth and replied, "Meh. Yeah. Though, we've only ever stored stuff for four ponies, much less seven."

"Don't you mean 'six?'" Zenith remarked.

Phoenix blinked at him. "You really don't think she can make it?"

"She's up against an entire squadron of the Queen's best fliers."

"But she took us all out so easily!" Phoenix exclaimed. "And then that Timberwolf—"

"Phoenix, WE took out the timberwolf. As for her owning us, that's because a winged pony naturally has the element of surprise." Zenith rummaged deeper and deeper into the trunk. "Believe me, if she's down for the count, it'll be a load off our shoulders. Don't pretend to me that the last twenty-four hours haven't taught you otherwise."

"Yes, well... erm..." Phoenix suddenly squinted at Zenith's wandering hooves. "Just what are you fishing around for, dude?"

"I'll know it when I see it," Zenith said. "And then I think it'll be time to have a talk with Crimson."

"About what?"

Zenith gazed up with bored eyes. "Do you really, truly think that the ponies of the Steel Wing will let us all go free—even if they totally knock Rainbow Dash's brains all over Foxtaur?"

"So what are we gonna do about it?!" Phoenix shrugged wildly. "We're friggin' wanted ponies!"

"Does it always have to be that way?"

Phoenix blinked at that. "Zenith...?" He leaned forward. "Just what are you thinking—"

Just then, a series of hoofsteps ricocheted up the worn walls of the place. Another source of torchlight bled into the chamber, bollowed by the bounding figure of Eagle Eye. At first sight of the three, he gasped happily and dashed towards the trunks. "Is this the supplies?"

"No. A bunch of caribou ghosts sold them to us."

"Hardy har. Lemme get a hoof in there quick..." Eagle Eye telekinetically dug into the materials.

Phoenix smirked at him. "What's the matter, princess? Left your girdle in there?"

"No. Did you leave your brain in there?"

"You call that a comeback?!" Phoenix barked.

"He is right, though," Zenith droned.

Phoenix flashed him a crooked look. "What, that I take my brain out?"

"No, that you're an idiot."


"Ah-HA!" Eagle Eye beamed as he lifted a gold-embossed brush out from the contents. "There it is!"

"Pffft..." Phoenix rolled his eyes. "Why am I not surprised?"

"I don't care if you're geen with envy. This isn't for any of us." Eagle Eye slid the brush into his vest and practically skipped away, his sword and shield rattling merrily. "This is a mane emergency!"

"Unngh... why didn't he die in the first wave in Xona?" Phoenix grumbled once the two were alone again.

"That's something you'd better ask Crimson," Zenith said. He reached into the trunk yet again. "Generally speaking, there are several questions that are worth asking him."

"Why don't you go to him and ask?"

"Figured I shouldn't be alone in this."

"Alone in what?"

"Alas..." Zenith bore a neutral expression as he finally grabbed what he was looking for, a round, blue crystal. A faint aura shimmered off its enchanted surfaces. "Communication."

Phoenix paled at the sight of the shard. He gulped and spoke in a dry voice, "Is that what I think it is?"

"What's the matter, Phoenix?" Zenith's return glance had a dagger's edge. "Don't you want to get home?"

Phoenix looked at Zenith, at the crystal, then at the mercenary again. After chewing on his lip, he exhaled with "We should really go talk to Crimson..."

"For once, buddy..." Zenith slapped the chest's lid shut. "You're not an idiot."

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