• 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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East's End

—and he took the brunt of Rainbow's death dive with the weapon's hilt. Sparks flew as she grinded and grinded her weight against him, shoving his body so hard across the deck of the Steel Wing that his four hooves formed grooves in the wood.

"Nnngh!" Rainbow Dash finally vaulted off of him, backflipped, and came down at him with both forelimbs swinging.

Shell was more than ready for her. He back trotted, spinning and twirling his tasers, deflecting her blow and then jabbing towards her.

She swung hard to the side, dodging the blow. With gnashing teeth, she bit onto the hilt of his telekinetically wielded staff and swung her lower legs into him.

Shell stumbled back, losing his magic grip of the dual-tasere'd bludgeon.

Rainbow Dash gripped it in her mouth, spun, and sput it at him like a javelin. "Yunngh!"

Holding his breath, Shell dove straight back, the weapon nearly grazing his belly as it flew past him and embedded into the front of the Steel Wing's cabin.

With him prone on the ground, Rainbow Dash made to tackle him—when he heard Filta's voice from the side.

"Aim... and FIRE!"

Cursing, Rainbow Dash flew straight up. A wave of manabullets flew across the deck, exploding across the edge of the ship where she once was.

Filta and several other enforcers looked up, their eyes swimming through the ropes, masts, and support beams of the airship.

Rainbow Dash flew in a serpentine pattern around the structures, spinning her body and agilely coming down with a sweep of her wings.

The enforcers tried frantically to reload, only for Rainbow to barrel straight through them all, knocking them on their backsides.

Captain Filta unsheathed a scimitar and swung it with a snarl.

Rainbow Dash turned—only to find the blade clanking dully against the center of her pendant. She looked at it, at the sword, then frowned at Filta. She stomped both front hooves down onto a wooden panel.

The other end of the board dislodged from the deck and slammed up between the Captain's legs. The wheezing captain immediately stumbled—bow legged—during which Rainbow gripped his sword in her teeth and slammed him twice across the skull with its hilt.

The air lit up with burning mana.

Rainbow Dash spun, biting onto the sword's metal.

Shell was on his hooves again, pacing around the sarcophagus and motioning towards her.

As several rifles clicked to life around her, Rainbow Dash vaulted over the body of Filta, spat the sword up, headbutted her way through two charging enforcers, grabbed the weapon this time by the hilt, and outflew the blasts of several manarifles in time to charge straight into Shell once more.

Shell deflected the sword in her mouth, deflecting and parrying each of her stabs with the sword as he trotted around the sarcophagus. As she lunged once more, he locked the length of his staff between her hooves and shoved her skull against the sarcophagus with a growl.

As soon as Rainbow's body made contact with the chaos metal, dizziness overwhelmed her. She stumbled back—groaning—only to have Shell retrieve his staff, twirl it, and slash violently across Dash's flank.

"Gaaah!" Rainbow spat out the sword and fell on her haunches, glancing fitfully down at the fresh wound streaking across her cutie mark.

"About time you got branded," Shell droned.

Rainbow hissed up at them. "What did you do to my friends?! Where are they?!"

"Come now..." He twirled the tasers and narrowed his eye down at her. "An abomination doesn't deserve friends..."

Rainbow spat. "Darn it!" She somersaulted forward, snatched the sword up with her tail hairs, and spun in circles. "Wrong... friggin'... A-word!" She flung the blade murderously at him.

He easily dodged it and aimed to skewer her neck with the staff. Just then, he heard a tearing sound from above him. He looked up—

The sword had ripped straight through a line of rope, and a weighted net of cannonballs was falling straight down.

With a grunt, Shell jumped to the side. Rainbow Dash likewise flew backwards as—

The deck exploded from the smashing impact of the metallic cargo. The entire body of the Steel Wing rocked. Rainbow Dash found herself landing against the port side. Gasping crew ponies stumbled all around her, along with a cannon that swung loose from its hinges and swung in a half-circle.

Rubbing her head, Rainbow Dash glanced aside. She saw the glowing crystalline shard of magic that powered the Ledomaritan weapon. Spotting Shell across the way, she bucked the cannon until it faced him, hovered up, and slammed both front hooves over the mana trigger with a grunt. The cannon spark, lurched, and fired.

Milliseconds after the thunderous discharge, Shell's gaze flashed up. He dropped his staff and braced all hooves against the deck as his glowing horn faced the incoming cannonball. A bright light strobed from his body as he slid back ten feet, twenty, thirty—coming to a grinding halt with the hot projectile floating just inches from his strained face. "Nnnngh..." Blood trickled out of his ears and nose from the monumental feat of telekinesis. Squinting through a veiny eye, Shell's snarling face fixated on Rainbow Dash. With a demonic breath, he flung the cannonball back with rebounding energy. "Haaaaaaugh!"

Rainbow Dash gasped and flew away—only for a good chunk of the ship to explode around her. Enforcers ran for cover as splintery chunks of the Steel Wing flew, carrying Rainbow Dash along with the spray of mayhem. With a sickening crunch sound, the huge mast in the center of the battlecruiser lurched, teetered, and fell over. Rainbow Dash found herself having to gasp and roll out of the way of the beam's murderous collapse.

"Unngh!" She fell down, crawling out of range of the settling dust and flakes of debris. The hulking battleship lurched and veered beneath her. Hissing for breath, she looked up and squeaked, "Belle... Pilate...?" She gulped. "Where are you g-guys?"

"Not... here..."

She gazed up.

A dark shadow leapt through the mist and gunpowder, stabbing down at her with a sparkling weapon. "Rrrrgh!"

Rainbow Dash spun away.

Shell landed, slicing a chunk of the starboard side railing to bits.

Scampering, the breathless pegasus flapped her wings and took off for the upper lengths of the zeppelin.

With a shout, Shell spun and aimed his still-sparkling horn at her body.

She lurched in mid-air, grunting in frustration as his telekinesis anchored her yet again.

"You'll never know where they are..." Shell hissed, his muzzle stained with his own blood. "Only that I have them."

"Oh yeah?" Rainbow looked back. "Have a concussion while you're at it." She coiled her wings and flew back at him on the currents of his own leyline.

He barely had time to gasp when her weight flew hard into his chest, snapping the staff in half. She landed and bucked him towards the ship's edge.

He caught himself in a magic field, teetering on the brink with his sparkling taser halves in tow. As Rainbow Dash came for another charge, he twirled both ends together, spinning them to block her rapid attack. The two paced together across the rampaged deck of the Steel Wing, being gazed at by helpless bystanding soldiers.

"Nnngh! Rrrrgh!" Rainbow Dash headbutted her way through the fight and forced Shell to stumble back into the sarcophagus. "Tell me where they are!" She spat and heaved as she trotted menacingly towards him. "Don't make me bring down this whole ship!"

"There's nothing to bring down but yourself." Shell jumped back, heaved one taser over his shoulder like a javelin, and flung it. "Give in!"

Rainbow Dash easily side-dodged the flung weapon. She scowled at him. "You forgot to say 'please'—"

Shell's lip curved as he flicked his gaze towards the thrown weapon. A strobe of the horn, and—

The weapon soared straight back just as swiftly as it had been tossed, slicing some of the skin off Rainbow's side.

"Gaaagh!" Rainbow screamed into her own blood as she lurched forward—

And into Shell's other, waiting taser. "Rrrrgh!" He stabbed it hard into her left flapping wing, pinning the feathery mass to the broken mast.

"Aaaaaaugh!" Rainbow shrieked long and hard.

Shell glared at her, mercilessly twisting the burning energy blade into her quivering limb. Finally, with jerk, he ripped it out of her and flung the blood off.

Rainbow Dash stumbled back, clutching what was left of her burning feathers and clenching her eyes shut in pain.

Shell spat blood. "'...Please.'"

"Unnnngh—Celestiaaaaa!" Rainbow stomped and stomped her hooves, snarling viciously. "Why's it always the friggin' wing?!"

"You are out of your league... far from home... and far from the grace of whatever creatures were so foolhardy as to spawn you." Shell effortlessly tapped the surface of the sarcophagus beside him, allowing the chaos metal to resonate across the deck.

"Unnmmph!" Rainbow Dash collapsed on quivering limbs, overwhelmed by both the pain in her left wing and the waves of dizziness coursing through her. "Stop... st-stop touching that crap..."

"Do you feel it?" Shell muttered as the bodies of enforcers gathered thickly around him, training their weapons on the quivering pegasus. He slapped the taser into the surface of the sarcophagus repeatedly, adding punctuation to his dark speech. "The curse that is the center of your essence? It calls to you... beckons you to the grave. You were not meant for the world of the living. There is a world beyond—and beneath—that you were meant to empower."

"Won't... w-won't give in..." She curled up, clutching her wing and gazing weakly up at him. Her voice cracked as her eyes rolled back in her head, "Won't... l-let you use me as.... as..."

"As what?" Shell paced towards her. "But you are a weapon. Face it—when you landed in the western reaches of this realm, deposited by a draconian messenger of fate—you were meant to accomplish great things... greater in death than you ever could in life." He pointed at the pendant around her neck. "What is so mighty that you must cling to it with unrelenting resolve? What do you live for besides the selfish moment-by-moment perpetuation of your accursed existence?"

"Belle... Pilate..." Rainbow Dash whimpered, her face contorting in pain and nausea. Her eyes flickered open, turning a pale shade of yellow as she envisioned five colorful bodies across the floor of Axan's lair, across the ashes of Ponyville, across the endless sprawling wasteland of a cold, unfeeling world—a machine older than time and heartache. "Can't... leave them..."

"You will leave them..." Shell said, tilting his head up as he took a haughty breath. "However... you can still afford to save them both."

Rainbow Dash gazed up at him, lips quivering.

"Give in," he said. "Take your place where you belong..." He motionted towards the sarcophagus, all the while his eye remained trained on her. "And once you are again property of Queen Ledo, I shall see to it that your two friends receive clemency. Not a single hair will be harmed on their manes. That is my promise to you—as a soldier and a warrior—so long as you promise to me that you will stop." He hissed. "Stop flying... stop running away. Just... stop."

Rainbow Dash gazed up at him, panting, quivering. She hissed, "Can't... can't trust..."

"You are the only soul in decades who's afforded the ability to do so, I assure you." Shell breathed evenly. "So do it. Trust me. I don't offer such graciousness often."

Rainbow Dash gulped. She gazed at the soldiers all around. They held their weapons toward her, their expressions nervous and frightful, like a monster was in their midst. Shivering, she pivoted and squinted past the rising sun.

The burning, morning horizon lingered beyond the smashed hull of the Steel Wing. Beyond the smoke and the ashes of battle... everything was dull and lifeless and meaningless.

There was no more lavender light to be seen.

"They..." Rainbow Dash gulped, her voice taking on a whimpering tone. "Th-they will be safe?"

Shell slowly nodded. He stepped aside, revealing the straight path to the open sarcophagus. "You know what to do..."

Rainbow Dash blinked and blinked. Sniffling, she closed her eyes one final time to the morning sun. Two hooves raised to her neck.

Shell watched. Still as a hollow statue.

Slowly, she unclasped the golden Element of Loyalty and lowered it from her neck. Dizziness took over. The world spun. And then, just as two wet spots of blood formed on her forehead, a sweeping gasp swept through her system...

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