• 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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Professor Garnet

Bellesmith trotted nervously through the thick gray corridors, flanked by guards in colorless uniforms. No matter how many times she graced these hallways, she couldn't shake the pensiveness that overcame her limbs. Directly above, pale blue beams of mana swarmed down lines etched into the ceiling. The muffled sounds of a magically broadcasted voice echoed in the distant passageways. Occasionally, there would be a distant burst of noise—like a shrieking breath. Bellesmith's brown eyes darted left.

She caught sight of a line of military guards several junctions down, marching in formation.

Gulping, Bellesmith glanced right.

Two unicorns in white uniforms were pushing a hovering slab covered with an alabaster sheet.

One of the guards nudged Bellesmith in the shoulder, forcing her to the left.

She stumbled, trotting directly into an elevator compartment. The three guards stood in a ring around her and shut the door with a metallic clang. One stallion removed his beret and tipped his horn towards a nest of metal coils. With a single jolt of energy, the filaments lit up. A cold hiss filled the air as the elevator lifted up along a massive shaft. Pale bands of manalight swam across the compartment, forcing Bellesmith to squint. In a matter of seconds, the car came to a stop, its doors opening to a long hallway flanked by guards. A series of offices rested at the very end, and the young mare was being ushered towards them.

She marched evenly, keeping up with the silent stallions' cold gait. The air danced with static as a magic field scanned Bellesmith from head to hooves. She sighed, weathering the familiar sensation as she approached a door marked with the inscription: "Professor Garnet, Chief of Big Shelf Operations."

The guards muttered a few words to each other, saluted, and opened the door for Bellesmith. They didn't gesture for her to enter, but she didn't need them to. Slowly, she shuffled into the room, her golden hairs standing on end. The door closed behind her, and she was overwhelmed by an incessant ticking sound.

The office was luxuriously furnished with wooden tables, plush seats, and rows upon rows of bookshelves. Pictures showed majest buildings of granite design. At the far end of the office, above an oak desk, was a broad portrait displaying an aged mare with a gray mane and a stern expression. She wore a simple tiara, and her weathered blue eyes were as hard as stone. Beneath this painting, a stallion sat at a table. His blond mane glistened in the manalight of a nearby lamp. His horn glowed, and he was busy scribbling an essay onto a glass tablet with a burning pen. Smoke rose from his task as he sat back, squinted at the work, and looked beyond it to see Bellesmith.

"Hmm.." He muttered. "Your horn looks shorter this time, Belle."

She gulped. "Please, Professor Garnet, sir..." She shuddered. "Call me Bellesmith."

"Formal..." He nodded with an emotionless gaze. "I can do formal." With a wave of his hoof, the words on the tablet vanished, coalescing into an orb of mana light hovering above his head. Using expert telekinesis, he shot the pulse of energy into a crystal situated on the edge of his desk. Afterwards, he pivoted in his chair and motioned for her to march forward. "Come. Take a seat."

She did not protest. Slowly, she trotted forward and situated herself in a plush stool, sliding up ritualistically before the desk. She'd been through these motions before.

"Now, then..." Garnet squinted his blue eyes at another crystal. A beam of light jumped out of the shard and shot into his tablet. Telekinetically, he lifted the glass panel between the two as it lit up with magical incandescence. "Let's see if this goes any better than last time. Ahem."

He flicked his horn, and the swirling bands of manalight coalesced across the tablet to form a shape.

"Exhibit..." He droned.

The tablet broadcasted an image of a metal valve.

He looked with bored eyes her way. "Response?"

Bellesmith looked at the pale shape of a valve. Gulping, she said, "'Minotaurs.'"

Garnet merely nodded. He zapped another beam of light into the tablet. "Exhibit..." The image changed to the outline of an aqueduct. "Response?"

Bellesmith thought for a while, then quietly uttered, "'Dragons.'"

"Exhibit." Garnet switched the tablet to an image of a broad-rimmed hat. "Response?"

"'Constable,'" Bellesmith said.

The image of a campfire.

"'Caravan.'"

A gas mask.

"'Obelisk.'"

A hoofball.

"'Dance Hall.'"

A suit of armor.

"'Prince.'"

A hoofprint enveloping a solar crest.

Bellesmith's mouth hung open. Her eyes twitched; her features paled. Her tongue rested against the surface of her teeth, but no sound came out, not even a breath. Gulping, she bit her lip and looked helplessly from the tablet to the professor.

Garnet raised an eyebrow. He glanced calmly at the tablet, regarding the omega symbol and the solar bands darting from the circle to the right as if they were just any blemishes. He gave the mare one last, prolonged look.

She exhaled sharply and shook her head. "I... I-I'm sorry..." Her shoulders shrugged. "I... I don't have anything..."

"I see..." He nodded. With a wave of his hoof, the tablet darkened. He shot the beam of energy into the corresponding crystal and stood up with a sigh. "Looks like we still have some work to do."

Bellesmith hung her head.

"You've been working here rather extensively as of late, Bellesmith... or should I say Doctor Bellesmith?" He paced around her in the dimly-lit office, his hooves stepping in time to the cold clock ticks. "When was the last time you had a day off? Seven days ago? Eight?"

"Twelve," she muttered.

"Hmmm... Quite resilient, aren't you?" He stood by her side and rested a hoof on her shoulder. "You're as tenacious as the files proclaimed, of which I had no doubt—of course. I would not have procured you if I felt there wasn't a chance of you excelling where so many sequencers had failed. You've exceed in areas that took them months to get to. And, from what I hear of our ever-loyal Dalton, you've been faring quite a bit better than them."

"I'm alive," she said in a blunt tone.

"Yes, indeed, and so is your beloved." Garnet nodded and trotted towards the far end of the office. "We all do well to abide by the regulations of Ledo, for the glory of the Spark." He stopped before a painting of war zeppelins and straightened the picture frame. "We work best in pairs, as custom mandates, so that we can ascend with our soulmates into the stars beyond the Heights. But you need not hear me recite what you know by heart."

"Then why are you reinforcing it, professor?" she managed in a bitter tone.

He gazed at her calmly. "Because as exceptional as your performance in the sequencing has been, it still isn't achieving results. Dalton says that you succumb to distress far too often. Granted, that is understandable. The process is hardly a walk in the park." He paced back towards her. "Might I suggest you endeavor to do that which the previous sequencers managed so well? Find your focus. Think of your beloved. You may find that meditating on something so dear to heart will help you keep a firmer grasp of the mind as you engage the throes of the Spark."

"And what of the sequencers before me?" Bellesmith lifted her golden face. "When the Spark consumed them, did meditating on their beloveds helped them?"

"Of course it did, Doctor," Garnet said. "It helped them achieve union beyond the Heights." His eyes narrowed. "You would not want your beloved's spirit to wither into ash in the stars without you?"

Bellesmith trembled.

"Well?"

She hung her head. "No, Professor..."

He gazed silently at her. With a shuffle of his hooves, he trotted back to the other end of his desk. "There is more at stake here than the spiritual, my good doctor. What happens here at Big Shelf goes beyond both the material and the immaterial. We are at the crest of discovering the hidden heart of the spark, and the arrival of the subject is just the key we need to enter into a new domain of knowing."

He reached his seat, sat down, and gazed solidly at her from across the oaken furniture.

"You and I are the kind of Ledomaritans to appreciate such brilliant and unprecedented knowledge. However..." He folded his hooves atop the desk and leaned forward. "Our project of sequencing answers to a higher soul between Big Shelf and Queen Ledo herself. Shell is constantly watching, constantly observing. He wants results, and he wants them now."

Bellesmith closed her eyes. When she did so, she envisioned a dim room, reeling, and with a glass sheet of windows looming above. She saw several dark shapes from beyond the translucent material, and one taller and more rigid than the rest.

"Can I rely on you to appease Shell and his Enforcers?" Garnet asked with an inquisitive glare. "Can your beloved rely on you? Time is of the essence, my dear."

Bellesmith took a deep breath. Her eyes opened, and they were moist. Nevertheless, her voice was dry as a stone as she said, "I will give you results, Professor. I will engage the Spark with utmost vigor."

Garnet nodded. "See that you do." He aimed his horn at the door on the other end of the room. It slid open with a metallic hiss, and immediately two guards stepped in.

In a weary fashion, Bellesmith stood up from the stool and turned towards the hallway beyond.

"And Belle?"

Wincing, she turned and looked back at him, glaring slightly.

He was wearing a tranquil smile. "The subject is merely a tool. The only soul that shall be attached to it is yours." He pointed. "Remember that."

She nodded and quietly murmured, "I shall try."

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