• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,080 Views, 9,536 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon



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

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Bitter Sweet

"Here you go," said a unicorn as she levitated a blue crystal into Bellesmith's grasp. "That fills your monthly ration slot. I'll already put a requisition in for another one in four weeks."

"Much appreciated." Belle turned from the wagon full of supplies in the crossroads of the Blue Shelf village. She trotted over and rested a hoof on Pilate's shoulder while balancing the crystal in her other forelimb. "Alright, beloved. Would you like a recharge here or should we wait until we get back home?"

Pilate shrugged as the sounds of trotting ponies and laboring residents echoed behind him. "I've got nothing to be ashamed of."

"Yes, Pilate," Placid remarked from from the front stoop of the general store where he and Felicity were weaving baskets for the upcoming harvest. "Consider it like taking a shot."

"Needles hardly leave me with lingering headaches," the zebra said, sighing. Nevertheless, he tilted his head towards Belle and smiled gently. "I'm ready to have my mind's eye back."

"It will only take a moment." She tilted the crystal towards his metal plate.

"I'm well aware."

She murmured a few words, and the runes on his skull lit up. The crystal resonated, pulsing in direct response. Slowly, a discharge of blue energy billowed out from the rod and drifted into the metallic part of the zebra's cranium. He shuddered a bit, but kept his legs firm as he stood bravely against the manastream.

"You know, I may be able to make that easier for you both," Felicity said. "A well-timed burst of magic from my horn could charge Pilate's device for days."

"That's a very generous offer," Belle said as she finished channeling the last of the crystal's sapphiric glow. "However, there's too great a chance of your leyline being merged with his neurological system."

"Oh?"

"We f-found that out the h-hard way," Pilate managed to say through seething teeth.

"Yes," Belle remarked, leaning back with the dull crystal. She fidgeted slightly, blushing. "Back when I could still perform magic," she said with a tilt of her stubby horn.

"Well, I should know better than to argue with a manabiologist," Felicity said.

"And a successful sequencer to boot!" Placid remarked.

Felicity grumbled, glaring daggers towards her beloved.

"Erm..." Placid gulped and put on a brave smile. "Thought I'm sure you miss your days back at the university even more!"

"Oh, I've learned to adapt," Belle said with a shrug, then leaned over to nuzzle Pilate. "You okay, honey? Was it too swift of a dose?"

"Just give m-me a moment," he stammered. After few deep breaths, he tilted his shivering snout up and said, "O.A.S.I.S. Calibrate."

The sphere glowed far brighter this time. With a tiny hum, it detached from his choker and flew several swift orbits around him.

Pilate's ears flickered, and he tilted his face Belle's way. "I assume it's working fine, or else there's a giant gnat flying circles around my head."

Belle giggled. "It appears to be powered up just nicely, Pilate."

"If you must know," Placid spoke, "It's been rotating between pulses of white and blue light evenly over the last twenty seconds. It's made about sixty revolutions in that time, Pilate, and doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slowing down."

"I think he's got the idea, darling," Felicity droned.

Placid shrugged. "I was just giving him my evaluation!"

"That's not an evaluation!" she grunted. "That's a summary!"

Belle trotted closer to Pilate's side. "How's your head?"

"A little tense, but I can manage." He tilted his muzzle up towards the forest canopy and cleared his throat. "O.A.S.I.S. Scan forward."

The sphere stopped in midair, swiveled one hundred and eighy degrees, and flashed a line of glowing white energy over Bellesmith's skull.

Pilate lowered his chin. "You've got an acorn stuck in your mane, Belle. Above the right ear."

She blinked. Raising a hoof to her head, she flicked the foreign object to the dirt path. With a giggle, she said, "Would you believe me if I told you that sometimes I'm envious?"

His lips curved. "I like to think that we just switched talents when we met."

She smiled. "Is that why you like to read so much?"

"It'd explain all the paper cuts to the nose."

"Pilate! I built you O.A.S.I.S. for a reason!"

"I know... I know. Call me old-fashioned."

"Okay!" Baxter trotted up, grinning and balancing a box full of gardening tools on his spine. "You're old-fashioned!"

"It's Baxter's world," Felicity groaned over her hoofwork. "We just have conversations in it."

"Hey, I'm an anteloupe," he said with a shrug. "I love jumping to the occasion."

"What are you up to today, Baxter?" Pilate asked.

"Thought I'd rent some tools from the general store to help Kenna with the side yard flower garden," he said. "You know how it lifts her spirits to tend to the earth."

"Lift her spirits?" Belle leaned forward curiously. "Is Kenna okay?"

Baxter took a deep breath, struggling to remain jovial. "Things have been tough with the facility as of late. It seems like the Council of Ledo has very little need of firestarters as of late."

"Well, that's alarming," Pilate remarked as the sphere returned to his choker. "When did this come about?"

"Just recently." Baxter turned to face the zebra. "Half the staff of the pyrokinesis wing have been relocated. Normally, it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but it happened around the same time that the neighborhood two roads down from us was cleared."

"There's suddenly a lot of vacancy in these parts," Placid said. "Whatever's happening in the facility, it must be requiring equines with an unprecedented skill."

"That or Grinder decided to get drunk one day and clean house," Baxter said with a chuckle.

"I wouldn't make light of it too much," Belle said. "I know how much Kenna can get worrisome over her position within the facility."

"Yes, well, we're adaptable," Baxter said. "Quite frankly, if they move us back west to the Dry Ravine, the only thing we'll miss is you guys." He smiled at the surrounding group of neighborly ponies. "Things may have been stiff and weird at times, but it was a real thrill getting to hang with you bunch."

"Don't speak so solemnly about it, Baxter," Pilate said. "There's no point in jumping to conclusions."

"Didn't I just get done reminding you I'm a anteloupe?" Baxter said, smirking. "Paranoia's in our blood. The next thing you know, they'll send soldiers to come... knocking on... our... doors..." His ears flicked nervously on either side of his antlers as his wide eyes locked on a sight beyond Pilate and Belle.

"Baxter?" Pilate asked.

Belle, in the meantime, was turning to follow the anteloupe's gaze. She instantly trembled.

Two stern-faced ponies in berets marched over from a hovering manawagon. Their eyes locked instantly with Belle's. "Are you Bellesmith of Garnet's Wing?"

She gulped. "Yes, that I am." She side-stepped over beside Pilate. "Is there a problem, officers?"

They didn't wait long to speak again. "You are to gather some meager belongings and accompany us to the facility immediately."

Placid and Felicity exchanged glances.

Pilate's jaw fell. "What...?"

"For... For what reason?" Belle remarked.

"This is not a request," one officer said. "You are to come with us within the hour."

"But... B-But I don't understand!" Belle stammered, her breaths coming in fitful heaves. "I... I just got here! I-I was given seven days! Seven days!"

"This is a direct command given by the Ledomaritan Defense Enforcement Division," one of the soldiers icily stated. "As a citizen and a laborer of the Council of Ledo, you are bound to observe the rules and regulations of the Confederacy and obey your orders."

"Now just wait!" Pilate exclaimed, his brow furrowing angrily as his teeth showed. "She's done more than her fair share of work for the Council! She's earned her time with her beloved, as is the Ledomaritan way!"

"Sir, any further resistance will be perceived as an act of—"

"Resistance?!" Pilate started to seethe. "I'm stating a valid point! If you used your heads for more than sporting helmets and berets than maybe you'd undestand—"

Before Pilate could even finish, one of the officers was telekinetically unsheathing a slender black rod. With a pulse from his horn, the taser electrified brightly in the air. Baxter dropped his box of tools and Felicity could be heard gasping.

Bellesmith rushed over between the soldier and her husband. "It's alright! I will go! We're not resisting! You... you just caught us off guard, that's all!"

"Belle..." Pilate breathlessly exclaimed.

"I shall come with you two shortly," Belle said, gulping nervously.

"See that you do, miss," one soldier said before casting Pilate a rigid glare. "And while you're at it, talk some sense into your zebra."

"Belle!" Pilate hissed her way. "This is preposterous, you can't just let them—"

"Shhhh..." Belle leaned in towards him, grasping his striped muzzle with two shivering hooves. "I don't like it any more than you do, beloved."

"We have to report this," he remarked, his voice starting to waver. "Contact Dalton; get him to curry some favors or—"

"You know very well that such a thing wouldn't work," she said in a whispery tone. "Where's the stallion whose cool-headed thinking wooed me since day one?"

"I... I..." He shuddered. His gray eyes moistened as he leaned in to bury his face in her shoulder. "I just don't understand. I've m-missed you so much, Belle. They have you working until Spark's end in that hole in the ground, and n-now they're going to take you away from m-me again..."

"Shhhh..." She kissed him and leaned her cheek against his. "Nopony could ever, ever take me away from you. You are my everything, forever and ever." She gently carressed his muzzle. With two forelimbs, she brought his hooves up so that he could feel soft smile. "Whatever they require of me, whatever they need me to do, I promise that I shall do it in record time so I can be with you once again."

He sighed heavily, leaning into her embrace.

"Can you be patient for me?" she asked. "Can you promise that you'll keep your cool?"

He nodded, gulped, and braved a weak smile. "I can do anything, Belle, so long as you believe in me."

She kissed him again and murmured into his ear, "Now there's the zebra I fell in love with."

After a few seconds, she gave his shoulder a final touch, pivoted around, and marched in between the two soldiers. Their gait was quick, forcing her to trot swiftly towards her unwitting destination. It was a difficult task on her part, considering Belle's vision had turned foggy with tears.

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