• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,029 Views, 9,512 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon

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

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Not Fair

"Wake up, Belle!" Pilate exclaimed, shaking the mare vigorously.

"Mmmmff..." She stirred from under the covers. She lifted her head. Her mane was a tangled mess of earthen fuzz. A thin pair of chestnut eyes blearly entreated him. "Wha—Huh? B-beloved?"

"Did you have a stroke in the middle of the night?! Get up!" Pilate exclaimed, shaking her some more.

"Nnnngh—Pilattttte..." She groaned into the pillow, her dainty limbs stirring under the rays of morning light. "Sooooo earlyyyy. Mmmf—We can visit town square when it noon..."

"No time for that!" he hissed, raising a hoof up to straightened his mane. "There's a tour!"

"A tour...?" Bellesmith muttered. Suddenly, her ears shook from the very real sound of creaking wagon wheels and murmuring voices just a few cottages down from them. The mare twitched once, twice, then suddenly sat up with an invisible wind toss of her mane. "A tour!"

"I know, right—!"

"Pilate!" she gasped, hopping out of bed and tripping on the bedsheets. "Gaaah!" She kicked and bucked and ultimately disentangled herself from the wrinkled duvet. "Why didn't you say so?!"

"But I just—"

"By the Spark! My mane's an absolute mess!" she hissed, hobbling around the cramped bedroom. "Stand in the yard!"

"But... B-but!" He hissed, "I can't just go out there without you! What if—"

"I'll be right out there! I promise! Now go, Pilate! Worst case scenario, they'll think I'm away at the facility!"

"Okay! But be quick about it!" he exclaimed. Pilate paced out the door into the kitchen and hung a right, counting his steps beneath his breath as his path took him out into the front yard of the cabin.

Panting, Belle scrambled up to a mirror. She fumbled for a brush, dropped it, and grunted in frustration. "Ugh! What I wouldn't give to be back at Mountainfall!" She clasped the brush in her mouth, flipped it in the air, caught it in the crook of her right hoof, and began brushing the tangles out of her mane. It was a swift and merciless exercise, and she winced on several occasions. Through the windows, the sound of wagon wheels grew louder and louder. She heard a pony orating in a militarized voice. Finally done with her task, Belle slapped the brush onto the mirror and pivoted towards the bedroom's exit. Marching her way out of the cottage, she skidded to a stop in the kitchen, rushed to the sink, and splashed a cold lather of water over her yellow face. "Blllblbbbblb—Nnnngh! Spark help me..."

With one last gallop, she burst through the front door, scampered to the front yard, and stood right next to Pilate, who was busily raking leaves clear of the front path, pretending to look busy and hospitable.

"Knew you would make it, honey," he said in a wavering breath.

"Don't lie. I hate it when you lie," she grumbled. She took one look at him, and—blushing—reached over to pivot the rake around so that the correct end was on the ground.

"Uhm..." He bit his lip nervously. "Thank you, dear."

"Don't mention it. Shhh. They're coming."

Pilate and Bellesmith weren't alone. Just one door down, Baxter and Kenna stood in the front yard, pretending to be gathering flowers. Across the dirt road, Felicity and Placid were situated next to their front gate. Great Stare and Little Breath were within shouting distance, and several other pairs of equines stood at attention before the front of their houses.

As the voices became more distinct, a trio of wagons rolled up from the lower level of the mountain village below. The three vehicles were flanked by firmly marching unicorns in dark uniforms and dark berets. Pulling the wagons were hovering spheres of pulsating mana, and a protective field of magical energy laced the edges of the transports. Seated within each wagon was a group of unicorns—finely dressed—with emblems on their collars that bore unique illustrations depicting separate geographical landscapes.

"And as you see here, representatives"—spoke an elderly soldier in the frontmost wagon who bore several decorative medals—"the humble residents of Blue Shelf are ready and waking at any moment to serve the Council of Ledo. With their diligent spirits and fine intellect, the promising future of the Confederacy's technology division is assured."

Belle leaned in and whispered into Pilate's ear. "Now, darling. Wave." Immediately, she and her significant other smiled wide and waved for the passing crowd of dignitaries.

Several stern eyes swept over the villagers as the caravan slowly rose up the dirt path. A loud vibration filled the air as a zeppelin hovered almost directly overhead, its intimidating cannons trained on every horizon of the forested mountain as it kept a careful watch over the precious occupants of the wagons below.

"Every other week, half of these equines leave the home to perform their duty to Her Royal Majesty, working for several hours of intense research and development deep within the magically reinforced bowels of the Blue Shelf Science Facility. By their labor and concentration, new forms of mana manipulation are inputted into the war effort, and to bring glory to Ledo."

"I don't understand," one elderly mare said. "I thought it was one couple to a household in the village here...

The soldier blinked at her, but nonetheless kept his confident voice. "Oh, but it is, Ms. Representative, I assure you."

She squinted and pointed into the line of cottages. It took Bellesmith a few startling seconds to realize that the hoof was being pointed at her and Pilate.

"Then where are their beloveds?" the mare asked in a disgruntled breath. "Are they milling about in the general store?"

The soldier cast one glance towards the pair in question. His jaw flexed briefly, but he maintained his composure. "These... are all the couples of this street, madame," he said. "Everypony is accounted for."

The mare glanced at two old unicorns next to her. Collectively, the three chuckled. One of the stallions coughed, caught his voice, and said, "My my, the Council must be getting desperate if that is what it takes to bring glory to Ledo these days."

"Next thing you know, the Confederacy will be marrying cattle and swine!"

Several dry laughs lit the air.

Belle's jaw dropped. With a snarling expression, she jerked forward inhaled sharply to shout—

A dark hoof was already reaching for her shoulder

She stopped in place, jerking to flash Pilate a pale expression.

His face was hung towards the floor. The zebra's lips were thin and expressionless, yet altogether peaceful.

She took a deep breath and shut her eyes, exhaling the frustration through her nostrils.

The soldier cleared his throat and spoke as the wagons rolled on. "Over here, we have a stretch of plateau where you can observe the mana gate in full operation. Blue Shelf is a marvel of societal engineering in the middle of the raging wilderness, and if it weren't for Ledomaritan technology—the same science which is improved on below ground here—then this peaceful community would be overrun with the likes of Manticores and jaguars..."

Slowly, the couples milled about and returned to their homes. Baxter and Kenna paused—their antlers glistening in the morning light—as they cast Belle an apologetic glances and shuffled indoors.

With a groan, Belle turned to Pilate. "I can't stand it! I simply can't! If I have to hear another sanctimonious bag of hot wind insult us again, I'll—"

"Dalton needs you. This facility needs you," Pilate said calmly. "And I need you." He smiled gently and leaned over to nuzzle her. "I love you, and that is a love that nopony can take away, no matter how unfairly we may be judged."

She gulped hard and murmured in a wavering voice, "Pilate, how can you be so calm about it? I mean... everywhere we go, it's the same thing, and—"

"Shhh..." His smile was calm, yet exhausted. "They're leaders, Belle. We can't expect them to understand." His lips curved with a bitter gleam. "Just lead."

She gulped hard and murmured into his ear. "I adore you so much. I just wish I had your tolerance."

"You have my heart. Isn't that enough?"

She chuckled dryly. "Silly zebra..."

"Lazy is more like it," he muttered, pivoting about at a right degree angle to face the bulk of the front yard. "I've been letting leaves take over this place while you were gone. Guess I should do my part." He tilted his neck so that the sphere could levitate freely from his choker. "O.A.S.I.S. Cleaning mode. Scan." The runes on his skull flickered as the sphere hovered over the grass, bathing the yard in a swath of white light that outlined every leaf obstructing the surface. Pilate diligently trudged forward, sliding his rake over the ground where the line was most distorted. In such a precise order, he blindly swept the yard slowly clear.

All the while, Bellesmith watched him, squatting down on the edge of the dirth path as she allowed the last lengths of sleepiness to escape her being. After several minutes, she sighed, then realized that the edge of her hoof was covered with dust. With a raised eyebrow, she glanced down at the dirt.

Her body froze.

Without knowing it, her forelimb had been fidgeting with the dusty top layer of the path the entire time. In the space of a few minutes, she had absent-mindedly drawn a pattern in the ground beneath where she and Pilate had stood. Her chestnut eyes followed the pattern of an omega symbol swallowing up a sphere with squiggly lines. It took her a few moments, but she suddenly recognized the image as the one that had been shown to her one day in Professor Garnet's office.

A cold chill ran through her body. She blinked her eyes, and in that blink she sensed a great black horizon lighting up, casting a golden sheen on a pair of pearl blue orbs, and then disappearing. Her ears twitched, as if expecting a motherly voice to be whispering in her soul, but all was silent once more.

With a nervous tremble, she stood up, kicked the image in the dirt clear, and trotted over to lend Pilate a hoof.

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