• 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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"'Rainbow?'" Pilate asked.

"Mmmmhmmm," Belle nodded. "At least, that's what her friends called her."

She and her beloved laid in bed under the dim orange dance of a pair of candles upon a nearby dresser. The window next to them was left open, allowing the cold mountain air to blow in gentle waves that kicked at the midnight blue curtains. They shivered slightly, but delighted in each other's warmth beneath the quilted duvet. Pilate's head and mane were propped up while Belle nestled against his upper body, trailing lone circles in his striped chest with a dainty hoof.

"'Rainbow...'" Pilate repeated again, gazing into nothingness as his hoof played gently with Belle's brown mane. "That's quite the odd name."

"She has many of them..."

"What, names?"

"No," Belle said, blinking out of her absent-minded stare. "Friends, I meant. She has many friends." She chuckled lightly. "And she met each and every one of them in very different, unique ways. They're so very different, so colorful, so... so remarkably interesting..."

"You mean she 'had' friends, right?"

Belle sat up, her mouth agape. "What do you mean by that?"

He stirred, startled by her sudden movement. "Only that the subject must have met an unfortunate end if she landed in the possession of Ledomare."

Belle sighed, deflating once again so that she rested her soft head against his chest. "All I know was that she was happy."

"Well, that's a good thing, isn't it?"

"Mmmm..." she shut her eyes and smiled. "I wish I could share it with you, Pilate: the feeling, the exhilaration of flight." She giggled lightly, her voice humming against his coat as she said, "It's more than the fact that she was a flying pony. She was larger than life, and she knew it. Proving how spectacular she was served simply as a byproduct of her existence. I wish I had that confidence..."

"You are confident, Belle," Pilate said. "More than—as a matter of fact. You couldn't have achieved so much esteem and respect if you were anything but reliable and assertive."

She opened her eyes, and they were thin, jaded things. "Sometimes, I think, the place where I am now owes itself to what I have, and not who I am." She swallowed a lump down her throat as she gazed at the candlelight, imagining the crackling embers of a fire before dear friends. "Or, rather, what I don't have..."

"Hey..." He reached down and caressed her head, stopping to treat her semblance of a horn with gentle care. "We're both here, we're both safe, and we're both happy. We weren't just given that. We earned that. You and me, through hard work, through careful study..." He stroked her chin and tilted her face up so that their muzzles made contat. "And, I trust, through our undying devotion."

She shared a tender kiss, then nuzzled him closely. Shuddering, she said, "I love you, Pilate. And I'm proud of what we've accomplished. But we could have so much more. I owe you so much more."

"You give me your love and your trust," he said, smiling as he caressed her face with both hooves. "What more can I ask for?"

She sniffled and murmured, "A life that's awe-inspiring... that's amazing... that's... that's..."


She bit her lip.

He ran a hoof through her mane and cradled her face. "Working for the Council of Ledo is not easy. I can't share the same burden that you carry, no matter how terribly I wish I could. What I know is that in spite of what we have lost, we could have lost so much more. And the reason we haven't is because you've sacrificed so much. And I'm happy, Belle. I'm happy to be here with you, and I cherish every moment we have together. The promise of another life, quite frankly, scares me, no matter how 'awesome.' Because I want nothing more than to be with you, just like I am now."

Her eyes glistened in the candlelight. "You're... you're n-not ashamed of how little we have?"

He shook his head, leaned forward, and kissed her on the forehead. "How could I be ashamed of having the most spectacular mare as my beloved?"

She swallowed hard, her face grimacing between a sweet smile and bitter sob. She buried her face in his neck, murmuring in a wavering voice, "Wh-why are you always so good to me, Pilate?"

"Because you're so good to be with."

"Mmmmm..." She kissed the side of his muzzle. "Good answer."

"Took me all week to think it up."

They laughed lightly into the mountain breeze. The candle-light flickered and steadied. Eventually, Bellesmith murmured, "Pilate?"

"Yes, beloved?"

"Remember when they first brought us here?"

"That I do."

"Remember what they told us about our role in the village?" She gulped and added, "How they said we were to operate?"

He nodded. "They said we were to be like one."

She sighed through her nostrils and gazed into the shadows. "Then why do they only need one pony at a time to perform the sequencing?"

Pilate stirred, his face twisting in thought. "Hmmmm..." His gray eyes reflected the candle-light before he uttered, "I can't pretend to think for the Council. I'm sure they meant what we've always expected them to; that half of us would operate the facility and half of us would run the village of Blue Shelf. But, as much as you feel like you are, I sincerely doubt that you're alone in your endeavors."

"They can't get more than one pony to sequence at a time, Pilate," Belle remarked. "Sometimes, though, I wish that they could. It'd help us balance the data more. Sometimes, I swear, the information is way too unbearable." She shuddered. "The subject—I swear—it's like she's a dead statue to me at times. I have to mentally scream to get through to her."

"Have you tried asking politely?"

"Huh?" Belle leaned up over him. "What do you mean by that?"

He smiled. "Simply that the Ledomaritan philosophy mustn't be lost during the sequencing."

"Pilate," she sighed. "I a doctorate in advanced manabiology, and I still can't understand what you're getting at."

"Think about some of the things you've crafted with your own two hooves." He furrowed his metal brow and tapped the dim runes across the surface. "If this half of O.A.S.I.S. simply slammed itself against my neurological system, would there be any hope of my body and the artificial leylines coexisting?"

"Of course not! They have to function together on the mystical plane!"

"So, it's as if O.A.S.I.S. and my brain are becoming one?"

"Where... are you going with this, Pilate?"

He caressed her and spoke gently, "Think of yourself and the subject in the same way. You're not just sequencing with an inert object, you're socializing with a remarkable equine. It's like having a reunion with a long lost equine, or getting along with a very close friend. There's give and take, not cold-hearted, mechanical invasion. Be natural, be fluid, and treat the subject like your missing half."

"And we will become whole," Belle murmured, swallowed, and added, "Like one."


Belle smiled limply, relaxing against him as if a great weight had been taken off her shoulders. "Have I ever told you that you always see better than I do?"

"Mmmhmm. My hearing's not all that bad too."

"Heeheehee..." She cuddled close, shutting her eyes with soft finality as a lasting breeze made the curtains dance behind them. "All I need now is to learn how to sing..."

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