• 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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Midnight Armory

I squinted, then squinted harder. Before me stretched a tall, stained glass window, lit by the crimson hues of a setting sun. A black structure stood in the center, a jagged ziggurat of sorts. Through its porous edges, beams of light shot out and pierced the thick black void around it. On the furthest edges of the frame, thorns and the shadows of indistinguishable monsters loomed.

After blinking, I turned and gazed up at Princess Luna. "I give. What am I looking at?"

"The Midnight Armory, Rainbow Dash."

I winced heavily. "Right. I knew that."

"It's located on the very opposite side of the world from us, where only a circumnavigating trip could reach it," Luna explained. "It rests as the one bastion of harmony in the middle of the dark world."

"Uhhh..." I blinked at her. "Dark World?"

She gazed steadily at me. "Why, the opposite side of the earth, of course."

I did a double-take at that. I pointed incredulously at the window. "You... You mean to tell me that there's a side of the world..." I stammered, "Like b-beneath us? On the other side?"

She slowly nodded. "It was as this plane was discovered, Rainbow Dash. There were two sides, each capable of harboring life. When the pioneering alicorns realized this, they decided to plant the seed of prosperity on this landscape. Unfortunately, we only had enough resources to bring illumination to one side; the world was so vast. We chose the side of the earth that you were eventually born on."

"So the Sun and the Moon..."

"Only lights this edge of the realm," Luna said. "To do otherwise would mean overexhausting the reserves of our magic."

I whistled. "Crazy. Uhm..." I blushed slightly. "You know as well as I do that my schooling isn't all that great, Your Majesty. But... do all ponies know this?"

"Some do," she said quietly. "But most don't comprehend the true nature of the dark world, the sort of life it encompasses... as well as the dangers..."

"Is..." I ran a hoof nervously through my mane as I gazed forlornly at the stained glass window. "Is there life on the dark side?" I asked. "Are there ponies, Princess?"

"It is difficult to say," she murmured. A distant expression blanketed her royal features. "Chaos spawns chaos, and many beasts are known to roam the lengths of the Dark World. Discord himself came from a realm deep within the shadowed side of the earth. Without sunlight or moonlight, the surfaces of the realm are exposed ceaselessly to the essence of chaos. The dark world is a land of forsaken things, and most things that dwell there and dare to be cognizant are devoid of peace."

"And yet..." I raised an eyebrow. "You placed this... Midnight Armory thingy there." I turned and gawked at her. "What the hay for?"

"For many reasons," Luna said with a gentle breath. "Its presence there protects two things: the Harmonic Prism and the tranquil balance of the entire world."

"Just what is this Harmonic Prison you keep talking about?"

"'Prism,' Rainbow Dash. It is an object located deep within the dense bowels of the Midnight Armory," Luna explained. "Though it was not always situated there. It came from the Plains of Harmony, the birthplace of all alicorns."

"You don't say? Just where are these Plains?"

She turned calmly towards me. "Doth thou see the stars at night?"

"Yeah, of course."

"Beyond each and every one of them," she said.

I blinked. "Oh." I shifted nervously. "That's... uh... pretty far away."

"We came a long distance to discover places like this earth," Luna said, gazing back at the stained glass window. "And when we did, we found it our duty to plant harmony and aid the spread of life. The Harmonic Prism was our means of preserving our energy and focusing it on this landscape. It was what produced the Elements of Harmony, which have since bound themselves to the living populace of mortal kind."

I took a deep, shuddering breath. "Yeah..."

"The Prism is supremely powerful, Rainbow Dash. Even to this day, it has the ability to channel great light and energy. We built the Armory around it as a means of keeping it safe and secure. We left it in the Dark World so that its own luminescence would ward off any malevolent creatures wishing to seize and exploit it. After it was erected, most of the alicorns flocked to the opposite end of the world and used the harmony within us to illuminate the plane's surface with the sun and moon. A tenuous balance was formed: alicorn kind directly managed the blossoming of life on this side of the world while the Prism kept a modicum of harmony alive from its station within the Armory."

"I'm guessing you guys never thought you'd have to go back for the Prism."

"And we don't."

I glanced curiously at her.

She looked down at me. "Harmony maintains itself now, Rainbow Dash. Thou and thy friends were the first concrete instances of the physical manisfestation of the Elements among mortal kind. With the Elements destroyed, Equestrian civilization and ponydom beyond can still thrive, for they have been living off of harmony for so long. The Prism exists because it has to. The Prism is everlasting. Even a million eons from now, when most energy from the universe will have been diluted in this part of the universe, the Prism will still remain whole in one way or another. In such a time, it may serve a new form of life capable and willing to maintain Harmony just like we hath been. It was our place and remaineth our place to preserve Harmony at all costs, for the sake of life in general."

"Seems like the Prism is pretty untouchable, then," I said. "Why would it matter to me?"

"Because though the Elements in their corporeal form may no longer be needed, it does not change the fact that they can be restored, maybe even multiplied. Direct access to the Prism would allow a soul imbued with harmony to reconstitute the pendants that have served Equestria for so long."

"Okay, that's kind of cool," I muttered with a nod. "But, like, I thought your whole point is that the world doesn't need the Elements of Harmony anymore."

"I am not concerned with the world, Rainbow Dash." She turned and gazed directly at me. "I am thinking of thee."

I leaned back, my lips parting.

Luna's wings flexed as she boldly declared, "In restoring the Elements, the Prism may be able to extend the power of that which you wear around your neck." She bowed her head. "In turn, it would extend the life you have to live."

I gazed at her, at the window, then at her again. "For how long?"

"As long as thou wisheth to exist," Luna said. "Thy life no longer functions like that of a given mortal, Rainbow Dash. Thou art bound to both chaos and harmony, two completely contradictory forces. Because thou hast only the one element of loyalty to defend thyself against Discord's essence, the energy at thy disposal is buckling constantly to that which empowered him. In a matter of months, thou wilt be dead, as thou knowest. But if thou manageth to make such an arduous journey to the ends of the world, to the Dark World beyond, and to the Midnight Armory itself—"

"I could get the Harmonic juice I need to keep Discord's evil away forever," I murmured. "I'd be free of the curse..."


"But..." I seethed through wincing teeth, battling a dizzy sensation. "You paint such a bad picture of the Dark World! It sounds most uncool, not to mention friggin' far! I mean... I'd have to cross the entire world, get to the other side, and fly my way through the forces of chaos just to get to a place that... that..." I grimaced and squinted up at her. "Can I even get inside the stupid Armory?! Me?! A mortal pegasus?!"

Luna exhaled slowly. "There is no guarantee of that, Rainbow Dash. The alicorns built the holding place of the Harmonic Prism to be impregnable."

"Then... you pretty much told me all of this for nothing..." I sat on my haunches, gazing blankly at the stained glass window. "Cuz it's a lost cause. Even if I flew as fast as I could, I'd likely die before I got there. What kind of hope is that?"

"The only hope, Rainbow Dash," Luna said. "We are sorry, but there is no greater light we can provide for thy path. It simply came to our attention that if thou wouldst endeavor to make such an epic journey, there may indeed be a goal for thee."

"A long, cross-world flight," I murmured. "Incalculable odds. Unknowable dangers. The edge of the world. A land that sees no light. Chaos and monsters. A giant black pyramid guarding an untouchable relic." I took a deep breath, then exhaled in a burst of chuckles.

Luna raised an eyebrow at me.

I turned and smiled up at her. "Sounds like fun..."

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