• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,031 Views, 9,515 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon

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

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Always Loyal

"This town has seen better days," I said with a nervous chuckle, gazing at the swirling mass of black clouds above us. "That's for sure. Heh." I gulped hard as my vision fell upon the distant rooftops, the waving trees, anything and everything but the tiny face before me. "If I hadn't been slacking off on the job, this place would still be seeing blue skies."

There was no response.

Biting my lip, I scratched my neck and shifted under the weight of Spike on my back. "I just gotta have a word with the Princess. Heh... Wouldn't you know it? I'm flying with the likes of royalty these days. Guess that puts me in the big leagues."

It was still quiet. I heard a scuffling of a tiny hoof, but nothing else.

"But... But that's nothing," I said. Spike quietly climbed off of me and stood a few feet away. I glanced at his scaled limbs as I fidgeted in place. "After all that's happen, I just wish... I just wish that—"

"I'm sorry."

My wings twitched. I turned and finally looked at her. "Huh?"

Scootaloo's face was bowed. She was avoiding my gaze this time, and she did so with fitful spasms and sniffling sounds. "I'm so sorry, Rainbow Dash..."

"Kid...." I opened my mouth, seethed briefly past a wave of dizziness, then murmured, "What in the hay have you got to be sorry for?"

"What happened was so awful. Apple Bloom barely talks. Sweetie Belle's a wreck. And I..." She sniffled again and looked up at me. Her eyes were glossed over with tears. She was just a foal, and I think we both remembered it for the first time in ages. "I thought for a while that you didn't make it..."

I blinked. My lips parted.

"I-I thought that Discord had even killed somepony as awesome as y-you..." She stammered, running a forelimb over her quivering eyes. "I doubted you, Rainbow Dash. I'm so sorry..."

"Scoots... The fact that I'm still around has nothing to do with—"

She suddenly flew into me, burying her face into my chest and sobbing. I winced, feeling her every quiver shaking through me. I glanced over her mane at Spike.

Spike was biting his lip to the point of bleeding. He played with his tail, as if standing in the shadow of a long lost unicorn.

With a sigh, I brought a hoof up and ruffled Scootaloo's mane. I smiled painfully. "Why, of course I'm too awesome to have bitten the bullet! You think some st-stupid goat god thing would be powerful enough to take me out?" I brought the hoof down to her shoulders and squeezed her gently against me. "I'm made of stronger stuff, girl! And all the things too dangerous for me, I can outfly! That's why I had to make an exit to Canterlot for a little while! To catch my breath, y'know? It's my fault for not letting everypony know where I was, but I'm not gonna make that mistake again!"

"You mean... you m-mean you're not h-hurt or nothing?" She murmured against my soiled coat.

I swallowed. As I did so, the pendant around my neck weighed more heavily. Regardless, I said, "Heck no! I'm fit as a fiddle! I've just come back to take care of business. That's all."

"But... But..." She looked up at me, her eyes glistening. "Your Element..."

I blinked. "What about it?"

"I mean..." She sniffled and forced her breath to be steady. "It's loyalty? Is it still gonna protect you?"

"Why wouldn't it?"

"Because... because all the other elements..." She winced at her own words, but still had to murmur it. "All the others are gone..."

I gazed at her. With a sweep of my forelimb, I rubbed her brow and eyelids clean of tears. It was just the opportunity I needed to blink mine dry. When the gesture was over, we looked evenly through space at each other.

"Look at me, Scootaloo." My eyes hardened. The dizziness faded momentarily as I said, "There is always somepony to be loyal to. Always."

She bit her lip. Her lips curved slightly, and I saw her tail flick.

A beam of black energy sparkled over the heights of Ponyville. All the ponies around me had somehow gotten used to it. I, on the other hoof, shuddered. I turned and gazed towards the center of town.

Twilight's treehouse stood, its branches waving. Most if not all of the leaves had fallen clear of the branches, rendered dead from its proximity to the rift. Just a few spaces down, I spotted an interesting sight: a tower that was slowly piling upwards one concrete block at a time. Several royal guard ponies were performing a mass feat of construction, building what looked to be a gigantic obelisk fit to encase the billowing anomaly. From within—nearly obscured by the piling blocks—a bright glow fought with the constantly churning shadow.

"They're building a sarcophagus," Spike said behind me with a shuddering breath. "Once it's finished, it should completely surround the rift. That way, Celestia can stay inside and battle the rift without affecting the landscape around it." He gulped and toyed with his claws. "However long that will take..."

I took a deep breath. "Guess I'm here for the grand opening."

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