• 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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Cliff Hanger

"Unngh!" Rainbow Dash grunted, her forelimbs catching hoof-fulls of dirt and stone. She clung like a tattered blue flag to the edge of the cliff, her entire body vibrating from skull to tail from the echoing explosions till ringing through the canyon. Wincing, a trickle or two of blood seeping from her ears, she squinted her eyes forward.

Through hazy vision, she saw dust settling from a fresh crater made in the body of the cliff ahead. A dozen managliders were hovering down and landing with a swirl of vaporous energy. Hopping off the vehicles, well-armed Ledomaritans galloped towards a pair of bodies—limp and wincing bodies—one striped and the other with a shattered horn.

"Nnngh... No..." Rainbow Dash rasped at first, her breath parched and her limbs quivering. Then, snarling, the pegasus kicked off the cliffside, forward flipped, and soared straight through the ashen debris. "No!"

Being yanked towards the parked managliders, Pilate and Belle lurched like limp puppets in the distance. They flashed a panicked look over the shoulders of the stallions strong-arming them. Belle's panicked eyes caught Rainbow's, and she shrieked something unintelligible beyond the noise. Upon her exclamation, half a dozen enforcers spun, brandished their mana rifles, and took aim.

Rainbow Dash gnashed her teeth, spun, and threaded her way through the lightning-hot streaks of blue magic. She slammed her hooves into one guard, collided the skulls of two more, and pounced on a fourth. Vaulting off the last body, she barreled through the falling bits of burning trees and soared towards the line of soldiers with a menacing shout.

"You let them go!"

Pilate stumbled, collapsing beneath three guards who were raising their tasers to meet Rainbow's charge. Belle reached out for her, chestnut eyes flaring with tears and fear—

"Gaaaah—Hckkkt!" Rainbow Dash winced, lurching in mid-air as if she had just struck an invisible brick wall. She thrashed and writhed in a desperate attempt to grab the hooves of her friends, but no contact was made. Then, with the force of a hurricane wind, she was blown back, twisted about, and thrown spine-first into the hard, canyon wall. "Ugh!" Wincing, she looked down in time to see a set of hooves marching into place. One of the limbs was encased in a prosthetic cast with blue manalight.

One eye glinting, Shell studied the elusive specimen that was finally writhing in his expert, telekinetic grip. After a deep breath, he spoke over the endless roar of burning Foxtaur above. "I do believe you owe me a continent."

Rainbow Dash sneered, "Go choke on your own colon—"

With a devilish snarl, Shell viciously flung his horn, slamming Rainbow Dash down against the floor of the cliff-face. She grunted and spat blood—until he slammed her down again... and then again and again and again. The hissing stallion snarled with each forced impact, his scarred face covered in sweat and ash. At last, when he was finally done, he stood over her twitching body, breathing heavily and straightening his uniform as several enforcers marched up with sparkling tasers all aimed at her twitching form.

"I've lost too many stallions... too many resources... and too much good grace to entertain your insufferable, heroic rhetoric. Let us not forget that you are nothing more than property—an imbalanced monstrocity who simply needs go back into its cage. And anything you lay claim to..." He turned and gestured a hoof towards the shivering couple while his glowing horn kept Rainbow Dash pinned to the ground. "...is part of Ledomare all the same."

"Let her go! Please!" Belle shrieked, quivering in the midnight blue saddlebag. With a disheveled mane, she thrashed against the stallions holding her and shouted, "Shell, she's of no use to you now! She's not the same, weak equine you picked up in Aridstone! The experiment is pointless by now!"

"The experiment never ended, my good doctor," Shell calmly returned, giving her a bored glance. "It was only delayed by traitorous, irresponsible ponies lacking the decency to turn themselves in. You've long lost grace in the eyes of the Queen." His gaze narrowed. "Don't even think of challenging mine."

With a burst of crackling thunder, Enforcer Josho materialized from a long-range teleport. Four soldiers stood beside him, their armor sparkling with waves of billowing mana.

"Unnngh..." Josho teetered briefly before gathering his senses. "Prime Enforcer..." He spoke solidly to Shell. "The mercenary and his lousy mustache are being flown to the Steel Wing. I've given word to Captain Filta and—" He looked down at the writhing blue figure beneath Shell's glowing horn. "Holy crabshells!"

"Don't ruin an already fragile moment, comrade," Shell said. He squatted low, hissing into Rainbow's twitching ears. "No matter the strain... no matter the difficulty... Ledomare's triumph shall be assured. The world does not burn all around us for no reason. It's simply been my task to purge the blight out of the greatest weapon our Confederacy has ever had the grace to wield. Do you understand this?" Shell planted the metal end of his prosthetic into the weakspot of Rainbow's shoulder, forcing her to cry out in pain. "If you have gotten stronger, if you have gotten more resilient, it's only because you are becoming a better instrument for us to wield. It's taken me a while to realize that. But as of right now, I cannot hate you. I can only thank you for this opportunity of bringing glory to my kingdom."

"Th-that's a r-really flank-over-elbow way of confessing h-how much you suck," Rainbow Dash hissed.

"How very witty. Spit in my face if it makes you feel better." He stood up and slid her writhing body back up against the wall with immense force. "But, as of this morning, you have run out of 'cute,' my little pony. As for loyalty..." He turned and nodded towards the stallions at his right.

The thick cluster of troops dragged Pilate and Belle away, straddling them to the managliders and binding their forelimbs together. The pilots climbed on board, their vehicles humming in unison.

"Where... wh-where are you taking them?!" Rainbow Dash shouted.

"To my battlecruiser. Same place where you'll be going," Shell said. "Though there's a finely crafted sarcophagus made especially for you. I suspect you'll be very comfortable in there."

"If you friggin' think for a second that I'm gonna—"

"Because if you don't..." Shell slid up towards her, exhaling into her spasming face, "You have my sworn promise that for each and every move you make to resist us, I shall slice off a strip of flesh from their undulating bodies and hang them from the bow of the Steel Wing."

Rainbow Dash panted, her pained face awash in sweat.

With a roar of energy, a dozen managliders lifted up with the couple in their midst, pivoted about, and soared over the burning heights of Foxtaur. There was one last discernible sob from Bellesmith, and soon both of Rainbow Dash's friends were gone.

The trembling pegasus watched the skies with quivering ruby eyes. The smoldering ashes smelled like wastelands of old, but somehow the anger, fury, and desperation that flung her past such battlefields were completely gone. There was only fear and hopelessness in her gaze.

And Shell saw it.

"Yes. Stop struggling..." Shell paced around her, leering. "A weapon is only loyal to its user."

Rainbow gulped and gazed at Shell.

He added in a cold breath, "From one tool of death to another, I'll be happy to show you first-hoof what it means to be used—"

"Heads up!" a soldier shouted.

Shell's head pivoted to the left.

Josho spun around—then had to duck as a spinning shield flew low over his horn.

The disc flew past a dodging Shell, ricocheted off the canyon wall above Rainbow Dash, and slammed through a cluster of gasping soldiers. Spreading through the air like wooden splinters, they fell—writhing and shouting—deep into the ravine below. When the disc came bouncing back, it retracted into the telekinetic grip of a petite unicorn forward-flipping through the settling dust of the impact crater.

"Rainbow! Hang on!" Eagle Eye shouted as he was immediately encumberd by three enforcers. He bravely fended them off with his slashing sword. Josho and two more stallions rushed his flank with sparkling tasers—only for a heavy shadow to come surging through the haze with a murderous downswing.

"Raaaaaugh!" Crimson shouted, slamming his hammer down at full-force.

Josho fell on his side. His two comrades floundered, bumping into each other.

Snarling, his mane and face plastered with fresh blood, Crimson charged into the fray. He spun his hammer, knocking the wind out of one soldier then savagely uppercutting the second. Flashing a look towards Rainbow's situation, he galloped straight towards Shell, bellowing a hideous war cry. "You! Had enough of the Queen's teat?!" With a burst of mana, he flew forward, hammer first. "Suck on this!"

Shell calmly watched his heroic leap. Making only one sidestep, he floated a rod out of his uniform and shot a spark into it. Opposite ends of the staff spat out sparkling taser-ends. He spun the two-sided weapon of electricity and expertly warded the falling blow.

The resulting concussion blast of hammer-to-taser sent a shockwave across the sparse cliffface. Eagle Eye and his combatants stumbled for even-hoofing. Josho nearly rolled off the edge, wincing. As the fresh dust cleared, Crimson's hooves touched the ground, and he immediately took to the bleeding occasion, rushing Shell and swinging his hammer at full strength.

"Rrrrgh! Haaaugh!" Crimson's eyes flared with berserk energy, fueled by aggravation and betrayal. His every breath was a scream as he flung the weight of the hammer at Shell every moment he got.

Shell met each throw with calculated precision. His movement was stilted, for he still had his glowing horn trained on Rainbow Dash's pinned figure. His taser staff twirled between himself and the Blades Guild Captain. At last, he thrusted forward—making to stab Crimson's chest straight through.

Crimson locked the sparkling bludgeon in the crook of his hammer, twisted, and yanked Shell's skull towards his.

Brow to brow, Shell hissed at the deserter. "You'll have to try harder than that to best me—"

Crimson headbutted Shell, making a point of colliding their horns. The Prime Enforcer jolted back, wincing in pain as his leylines severed.

Crimson smirked, snarling past his own pain. "Who said anything about besting you?" He spun a glance towards Rainbow Dash as the blue field of telekinesis dissipated around her. "Now! Fly!"

Rainbow Dash rubbed her aching head and jumped up into a meager hover. "Unngh—Right! Let's waste these lousy, no-good melon f—"

"No! Don't stick around h-here!" Eagle Eye shrieked in the middle of parrying a forest of merciless tasers.

Rainbow Dash blinked, panting in a cold sweat.

"You deaf, you feather-brained cloud huffer?!" Crimson shoved Shell back and twirled his hammer. "Your friends! Go save them!" He blocked Shell's return blow and spat to the burning air, "We so got this!"

Rainbow blinked, her jaw clenched. She looked every which way, gnashed her teeth, and soared up towards the air in a sapphiric streak.

Shell flashed his target a look. Fitfully, he aimed his sparkling horn towards her—

"Haaaugh!" Crimson landed a blow against his scarred cheek.

Shell spun from the blow and landed against the canyon wall.

"That's right, you one-eyed bag of foal-killing filth!" Crimson spat and charged once again. "You and me!" His hammer fell.

Shell's staff jabbed.

Sparks flew.

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