• 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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Beloved Household

"I was studying about Xonan linguistic history," Pilate said as he shuffled across the cottage's kitchen. He felt forward, made contact with the counter, and slid his way to the left by hoof. After four paces, he stopped beneath the cabinets, reached up, and pulled out two bowls. "If the old texts are to believed, it would appear that Xona had one singular language before they became a militaristic monarchy." He reached into a tray to his left, felt through a bag, and pulled free a head of cabbage. With expert hooves, he grasped a knife and began cutting the green leaves into slices to make a salad. "It was the decision of Burrowhoof, the first king of Xona, to assign language to each class of ponies. The laboring class kept the common language. The language of neighboring kingdoms' aristocracy was used to command the Xonan army. Finally, a dead language from an arcande religion was used for diplomacy and regal ceremony. By creating a pyramid hierarchy of languages, the king was able to exert his command over the seperate sects of living. It might explain why Xona today remains so formidably powerful. They've been following a rigid system for nearly twice as long as the Maretriarchal Confederacy."

"Mmmmhmmm," Belle remarked, sitting at a table and leaning a smiling chin on her hoof.

"As a matter of fact, back in the age of Wessamare, several military tribunals had to learn the middle tier Xonan language of our neighbors in order to barter weapons technology. Granted, that was one hundred years before the Eastern Incursion that started this long-standing mess to begin with." Pilate chuckled, a slight zebra braying noise escaping his lips. He slid over to a sink and clapped his hoof over a faucet handle. With a glow of bright mana, a crystal-mounted dispenser sprayed water over the bowl of leaves, washing them. "I know it may seem as trivial information, but I'm quite happy Dalton lent us this book a month ago. It's nice to know a little bit about... our country's enemy..." He paused in speech, his ears twitching. "Belle?"

She sat up straight in her seat. "Hmm?"

"Are... you okay? You've been quite ever since—"

"I just love listening to you think out loud," she said with a soft smile. "It's positively riveting."

"Heh. If you say so."

"I mean it!" she exclaimed, briefly frowning. "You won't believe how many hours a day I spend listening to protocol or Garnet spewing out nationalist dogma—"

"Shhhh... Beloved, be careful," he murmured. "They fixed the faulty sentry by roadside while you were gone last."

She winced, biting her lip and glancing out the window towards where an obelisk lingered beyond a few pine trees. Her breath escaped her heavily. "I swear, sometimes it feels safer inside those concrete hallways..."

"I do not envy you, Belle."

"I just wish I could take you with me sometimes," she said, her voice choking slightly. She lowered her head, her eyes closed. "Between sequencing, there is nothing but sitting and feeling anxious for hours—even days at a time."

"Belle..." He turned around and paced evenly towards her. Feeling the table, Pilate crept his way over to the mare and nuzzled her gently. "I wish more than anything that I could join you too. But we both know our places here in Blue Shelf. It's a lucky thing that we're allowed in this community to begin with. I die everytime they take you away, but I can't help but think how worse off we'd be back in Mountain Fall."

"I know," she said, shuddering. "I just feel so bad for you..."

"For me?"

"I never wanted it to be this way, Pilate," she murmured, opening her moist eyes. She caressed his muzzle. "Especially after all you've been through..."

"Hey..." He felt her lips, smiling. "No sad faces. Hmm? How long did Garnet say you were here for again?"

"Mmmm... Seven days."

"Then let us make the best of them!" He said, grinning brightly. "You'll never guess what the poststallion dropped by here while you were gone!"

"Is it a new horn?" she mutterd with a bitter smile.

"Oh Belle. We'd have sooner won the war. Ahem." Pilate leaned back. "O.A.S.I.S."

The plate attached to Pilate's brow flickered with glowing runes. At the same exact time, the blue sphere on his choker brightened, detached, and hovered between the couple with a magical hum.

"Fetch." He commanded vocally. "Brass container."

The sphere flitted off into the bedroom on the other end of the tiny cottage.

Belle looked after it. "It seems to be a bit slower than normal." She turned and spoke in Pilate's direction. "Has it been losing its charge faster?"

"I recalibrated it a few times myself," Pilate said. "I think it just needs some pure energy to give it a new boost."

"Ugh... It's so frustrating!" Belle grumbled. "I built the darn thing. I should at least be able to charge it up."

Pilate gently caressed her stub of a horn. "You think I married you because your magic could lift me off my hooves any more than the sound of your voice?"

"I think you married me because I needed a zebra to make me salad really bad," Belle said.

"Hahah! Well at least Garnet doesn't need you for your culinary skills."

"Brrrr..." Belle shivered. "I shudder to think."

The sphere hovered back, levitating a brass cylinder in a blue field of light.

"Ah. Here we go." Pilate lifted his forelimbs up towards the humming noise. He clasped the cylinder and slid it open as the sphere rejoined the choker on his neck. "I think you'll find something in here that will lift your spirits." He pulled out a scroll of paper and passed it to Belle.

Belle took it. She leaned over, her eyes squinting. She gasped halfway through reading the parchment. "The University got a new extension to its science wing! They received enough funds to expand on the biomagica curriculum!"

"Heheheh..." Pilate nodded. "I think your colleagues are worshipping your name just as we speak."

"Oh wow!" Belle's voice reached a high pitch as she brought a hoof to her blushing face. "It says here that the student occupancy has increased by twenty-five percent!"

"I'm guessing that puts Mountain Fall on the map for Ledomaritan learning."

"Oh Pilate, that makes this whole thing almost worth it!"

"The Council of Ledo may be an intimidating bunch," Pilate said, "But they certainly know how to keep a promise."

"I feel... I feel..."

"What, beloved?"

"We should do something!" Belle glanced at him, smiling. "We should celebrate!"

"Erm..." He fidgeted, chuckling nervously. "There really isn't all that much here to do. And I'd rather not singe my mane on one of the mana fences like last time..."

"Come on! I've been cooped up in the belly of the earth for days and... and..." Belle sighed long. "Oh, how I wish I could take you places. The places I've seen..."

"Places you've seen?" Pilate asked. "Wait..." His metal brow furrowed. "Did... Did you succeed with the sequencing?"

She sat there, biting her lip.

His gray eyes gazed past her. "You... You've synchronized successfully with the subject?"

"It's... It's a very detailed account..."

"Belle! That's... That's remarkable! Nopony else has passed the first initial tests! No wonder they haven't shipped us out of here!" He gasped, "If you're merging this intensely with the subject, then that must mean we're that much closer to making progress with the experiment!"

"Yeah..." She gulped and ran a hoof through her mane. "Progress..."

He cocked his striped head to the side. "You don't sound all that excited."

"Well, Pilate, the thing is—"

Just then, there was a knock on the door and two antler'd faces peered in. "Hello!" chimed a bright-eyed, female antelope. "Anypony home!"

"Is that who we think it is?!" exclaimed her smirking husband. "Bellesmith! Since when did they dig you out of that giant sarcophagus of Ledo's?!"

Belle winced. She leaned in and whispered into Pilate's ear. "I'll tell you all about it later." Turning around and clearing her throat, she burst into a neighborly smile. "Kenna! Baxter! How good it is to see you!"

"Forgive us for being nosy," the female anteloupe exclaimed. "But we heard something about celebrating."

"Would you like to join us for some rest and relaxation around the fire?! We heard news of you coming back and thought it would be a swell welcome."

"Heh..." Belle dug at the kitchen floor and chuckled. "Swell? Why, it'd be awesome!"

The couple giggled and smirked at the unicorn. "Well, I don't know about 'awesome,' unless of course Dalton lent you some magic flame potion along the way here."

"Heh. If only." Belle gestured towards the sink. "Just give us an hour or so to have dinner together and we'll join you. Right, Pilate?"

"Huh? Oh, uh, sure, honey."

"Great! Just don't be too late!" Kenna exclaimed, trotting away.

"There's curfew up on here on the surface, remember?" Baxter added as he departed.

"I hope you don't mind, right, beloved?" Belle asked.

Pilate was gazing off into space, his lips pronouncing a two syllable word over and over again with a puzzled expression on his face.

"Pilate?"

"Hmm? Oh, not at all."

"You seem to have something on your mind."

He smirked and tapped the metal plate on his skull. "And who do you think I owe that to?"

The two chuckled together, nuzzled one more time, and finished preparing a humble dinner in the setting sunlight.

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