• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,073 Views, 9,535 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon

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

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Another Key

"Nnnngh..." Pilate winced, hissing through gritted teeth as several runes flickered across his skull plate.

Belle glanced back, catching her breath from the effort of carrying Rainbow Dash through the concrete passageways of the facility. "Pilate? Is everything okay?"

"My head is impersonating a jackhammer from all sides," he muttered, shifting his weight against Dalton at the rear of the hurried group. "If I could see, I'd be seeing stars."

"We should be near the elevator soon, right, Grinder?"

"Meh. Yeah, I guess."

"Just a few more feet, Pilate."

"I don't understand why O.A.S.I.S. is being so annoying right now," the zebra said, wincing visibly and teetering on his hooves.

"Could it be some mana feedback? It's been a long time since I've been allowed to properly fix it for you."

"I don't know, Belle," he muttered as the four rushed with Rainbow Dash around a corner and towards a wide stretch of elevator doors. "It only started acting crazy just recently. It's almost as if the thing is overloaded."

"I'll take a look at it in the elevator," Belle said, shifting the weight of the unconcious pegasus on her backside. She gazed over at Grinder and motioned with her stubby horn. "Would you do the honors?"

"Consider it done," the ram muttered, slapping his hoof over a panel next to the elevator doors. The equines came to a stop at the dead end as a low, bass hum filled the air. "Where the hay are we gonna go?"

"We could take the elevator all the way to the top."

"Screw that. It's gonna be an Enforcer convention," Grinder replied.

"The only other way out is through Black Level and the adjacent elevator shafts."

"It's stupid, but we might have to risk it, girl."

"Augh!" Pilate winced once more. The sphere dangling from his choker was strobing now. "There it goes again! It's increasing in waves."

"Pilate, do you need to take O.A.S.I.S. off?" Belle asked.

"I... I'm not sure..." Pilate said, rubbing a hoof over his striped muzzle. He twitched, his ears flicking with thought. "Now that I think about it, it started acting like this after we got Rainbow Dash."

"Huh?" Belle looked over, squinting. "Beloved, do you think that she's somehow responsible for the manasphere's reactions?"

"That wouldn't make sense. Unless it isn't her... but..." Pilate bit his lip. "Maybe it's something on her...?"

"You mean that lightning bolt thingy?" Grinder remarked, pointing.

Belle tilted her head so that Rainbow's chin dangled just beside her neck. She saw the glint of the Element in her peripheral vision. "It's pure Harmony. I don't think O.A.S.I.S. has ever been in proximity to something like that before."

"What could it mean?" Pilate asked.

"It means that O.A.S.I.S. is capable of storing more than just basic information," Dalton droned, the first thing he had uttered in minutes. He sighed and lowered his eyes. "Which is exactly what I was afraid of..."

"Huh?" Belle looked up. "Dalton, what are you rambling about—" Her eyes widened.

Grinder's jaw fell.

The corridor lit up as two Enforcers marched around a corner, their tasers sparkling and levitating at ready. Then two more appeared... then four more. Soon, a thick group of over a dozen and a half unicorns stood around Dalton and Pilate, their berets reflecting the manalight in a collective sheen. Finally, with a scrape of his heavy hooves, Shell appeared, glaring at the rogue Ledomaritans with a single, cold eye.

"Oh blessed Spark..." Belle murmured.

"You can bless it all you wish," Shell returned coldly. "It was never yours to begin with, which is ironic, considering how stubborn you were about helping us find it in the first place." His one eye regarded the limp figure of Rainbow Dash atop Belle's spine. "Well, the subject certainly looks... cuter." His nostrils flared. "No matter." He reached over to Pilate's flinching neck and tapped the glowing sphere hanging from his choker. "It looks like we have the key after all."

"The k-key?!" Pilate stammered. "What do you—?"

"That which empowers the subject can find its way to other hosts, it seems." Shell yanked the sphere from Pilate's neck and held it up to his squinting vision. "I must say, though I detest scientists, I'm gaining a new apprecition for experimentation. Lucky me: to have my first ever hypothesis confirmed."

"I... I don't get it..." Belle stammered. "This... This whole thing..." Her chestnut eyes twitched. "You wanted us to free Rainbow Dash?!"

"Not like you'd have any hope of taking her anywhere, regardless," Shell slurred. He slapped the sphere back into place on Pilate's neck. The zebra flinched heavily, his runes twitching from the overload of energy. "The probable outcome to this scenario was my having an easier way to open the door. It was worth the risk, though it wasn't my life being risked."

"Then whose? I don't understand—" Belle froze in mid speech. Her eyes moistened. She gulped, and it was with a sympathetic exhale instead of a rigid frown that she allowed her gaze to fall upon Dalton.

Dalton wasn't looking at her. The Enforcers were gathered around him and Pilate, but none of their tasers were being aimed at the old stallion.

"Was it Mildred?" she asked, her voice shaking. "Was that why you used me and my beloved?"

Sadly, Dalton looked up. "I've told you so little, darling," he said. After a deep breath, he murmured, "My beloved's been dead for over ten years. It's my grandchildren, Bellesmith. Shell's stallions have them."

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