• 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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Loyalty's Sake

Belle trotted through the dimly-lit corridors of Department Blue with Rainbow Dash hobbling by her side. She gazed around fitfully, her brown mane frazzled from so much stress and carnage. Her thoughts on Pilate were only barely overwhelmed by an increasingly alarming sensation.

"Where is everypony?" she murmured.

The chambers were vacant. The hallways echoed with the two mares' hoofsteps alone. Every adjacent passageway opened up to more and more emptiness.

"But I thought Garnet and the other ponies in Black Level said that Ledomaritans were being sent here by the hundreds!" Belle gulped, her limbs shivering as she turned down another corridor. "Where are they? We should be bumping into dozens of them by—"

"Where is this Alpha place?!" Rainbow Dash grunted.

"Alpha Storage?" Belle stammered. "It should be right over here..."

"Hurry up!" Rainbow spat.

"I'm going to get us there!" Belle breathlessly retorted. "Don't worry! Just what's so important about—"

"Is that it?!" Rainbow Dash barked, pointing at a pair of wide, silver-laced doors.

"Yes." Belle looked up at the markings beside the door. "Yes, I believe it is—Whoah!"

Rainbow Dash leapt out of the unicorn's grip, spread her wings, and glided into the door. She had barely slammed into it before she was clawing and grabbing at the slitted groove of the entrance with her hooves. She hissed and grunted with the effort, but the barricade refused to budge.

"Come on... Come on...!" She squeaked. "Why won't it open?!"

"Uhm..." Belle shuffled over and pointed. "There's a console on the wall that controls the locking mechanism and—"

Belle shrieked as Rainbow bucked the console hard in the center, causing sparks to fly. The metal sheet bent at an odd angle. She gripped it in her teeth and yanked away. Crystals shattered as the entire console fell loose. Rainbow thrusted her left limb into the wall and severed a series of manawires. After a flash of light, a series of bolts clicked loose inside the metal framework of the door.

Grunting, Rainbow Dash reapplied pressure on the seams between the barricades. She slid the door open with desperate strength, then instantly darted into the blackness beyond.

Bellesmith stood alone, shivering in the middle of the Department Blue corridor. She bit her lip and glanced left and right. There was no sign of Shell's Enforcers. She didn't know if there were any reinforcements marching around since Rainbow Dash's dramatic awakening, but she wasn't about to find out.

With a nervous gulp, she strolled in through the broken doorway after Rainbow Dash. As soon as her nose passed the metal framework, she felt her insides curling up. She was confronted with the most nauseating stench in her life. Horrid flashbacks of university autopsies flickered through her mind, only this was far more magnified. She felt like vomiting, and she had to cover her nostrils with her forelimb just to keep from tearing up.

She stood there, careening left and right on her hooves for several seconds, before leaning her head even further into the black chamber.

Swallowing the bile down her throat, she murmured, "R-Rainbow Dash?"

All was silence in the onyx chamber, aside from the faint sound of a hyperventilating breath.

"Rainbow Dash, where are you?" Belle gnashed her teeth and bravely strode into the pungent interior. "Please. I... I-I need you. I need your help in—" She heard a nasty crunching sound. She looked down, and her jaw dropped.

Her hoof had snapped a leg-bone in half. Just half a foot away, an uncoiled length of intestine was lying like discarded rope. A fine cake of dark-brown blood stained the metal surface, and this organic grime increased more and more as Belle's eyes adjusted to the dim niche. She saw entrails, sinewy lengths of inarticulate meat, and shreds of bone belonging to countless different quadrupedal creatures.

Belle's pulse throbbed in her neck. Her voice cracked in barely audible pants as she looked left and right at the gradual detail decaying before her. There were stretches of abdominable tissue, shredded flesh with fur still clinging to it. Along one stretch of wall, bones were scattered everywhere as if a bomb had gone off. She couldn't count the bodies, because nothing was left intact that had once walked the earth.

Then, as the far ends of the place became more and more distinct, she noticed bloodstreaks on the wall, left there by razor-sharp talons and long claws. There were splashes of dried fluid against the metal where bodies were pulverized, reduced to piles of fleshy goo with hooves sticking out at odd angles. Skulls rested on the edge of the bloody heaps, their jaws collapsed as they gaped forever into the blackness.

Belle's whole body had become numb at this point. She didn't realize she was walking forward until her hoof bumped into a clattering object. She looked down, and her face paled. Beside two lumps of brown coated flesh, four shattered antelope antlers settled still from her contact.

Belle fell to her haunches, covering her mouth as shivers overtook her. Before her vision fogged over, she gazed across the room to where the lift was that brought the sarcophagus towards the facility above. The resting place of the chaos metal was where the carnage was piled up the most. Her eyes twitched, and she clenched her lids shut as several tears streamed out of her eyes. After several dry heaves, she choked on a sob and murmured to the air, "You didn't need a key, you insufferable monster. You're a soldier; all you ever wanted was a weapon." She hissed through clenched teeth. "Wherever you're headed, it is a place with no Spark... with no love..." Her breath wavered. "I hope you're happy with yourself..."

A heavy sigh shuddered through the room.

Belle forced her eyes open. Her face grimaced in pain, but she bravely wiped her cheek dry before gazing across the way.

A blue shadow sat in the middle of the mess, her shoulders hunched and her wings drooped.

"Rainbow Dash..." Belle breathed. She gulped hard, and approached the pegasus on shaky limbs. "Please, listen to me..."

"I should never have flown east in the first place," Rainbow Dash droned in a cold tone of voice. Her shoulders rose and fell with frigid breaths. "I should have just stayed there and died in Equestria."

"Rainbow..."

"It would have been the selfless thing..."

"Don't you—"

"Instead of becoming this monster..."

"They did this to you!" Belle shrieked, reaching Rainbow and gripping her shoulders from behind. Her tears dripped into the crimson stains below as she shook the pegasus spine, exclaiming, "They took something precious and wonderful and plundered it for the power within! You had no control over it, do you hear me?! It's not your fault! Y-you were practically dead—"

"And just what am I now?"

"You're alive! You're back and you're full of vigor and you're... you're..."

"If I'd known I would have done all of this..."

"Would your friends have loved you if they thought you were a monster?!" Belle shouted. "A monster isn't cherished for her loyal qualities, for her bravery, for her altruism and her warmth! You're a pony, Rainbow Dash! A spectacular one at that! You're the last precious piece of the Elements that all of Ponyville would gladly lay down their lives for!"

At that, Rainbow Dash's wings coiled up. She slowly, icily turned and glared over her shoulder with a cold ruby eye. "What... do you know of Ponyville?"

Belle gulped, then said, "Twilight Sparkle: she needed you in order to save Luna with her magic. You were the confidence that Fluttershy needed, the inspiration behind Rarity's generosity."

Rainbow Dash blinked. With a shiver, her eyes fell once more to the carnage surrounding them.

Belle leaned in so that her courageous smile blocked Rainbow's view. "Pinkie Pie, otherwise a limitless fountain of joy, found reasons to smile just because of you. They loved you, Rainbow Dash. All of them. They know that you were a good pony deep inside, just as I know that none of this is your fault!" With a firm breath, she then said, "I'm sure that... th-that even if Applejack was here, even she would say that—"

"Nnnnngh—" Rainbow Dash growled, her eyes flickering yellow on red as she spun around with a flurry of angry blue feathers. "RAAUGH!"

Belle fell back, smashing through a dusty rib cage. She looked up, her forelimbs curled as she shivered in fright.

"They are all dead! All because of me!" Rainbow Dash yelled, her eyes returning back to fiery rubies. "Just like all of these unlucky saps are dead! Because of me!" She stamped her hooves down on either side of Bellesmith's flinching body and sneered into her face. "I don't know who you are, or what you think you know, but this pegasus stopped being a normal pony the day that she failed her friends! Tell me something, if you're so friggin' smart! Why am I not dead too?!"

Belle looked up, a tear trailing down her golden cheek. "Because I b-believed in something, and I think... I think it's happening." She gulped. "And there are others who believe in something far older than the two of us, and you are the answer, Rainbow Dash. You are the Spark that can fix this world..."

Rainbow Dash seethed, her shoulders rising and falling in time with her flaring nostrils. She stood up straight, clenched her eyes shut, and reopened them. When she could see again, all she found was the same bloody carnage.

"Screw it."

Belle blinked.

"Screw this place, screw these corpses..."

"Rainbow Dash—"

"And screw you!" Rainbow snarled, her wings arching again. "Go believe in a giant dragon so it can smash you to pieces cuz that's all this lousy world has to offer!" She flapped her feathers and soared out of the bloody chamber.

Gasping, Belle scrambled to her hooves and limped after her hurriedly. "Rainbow! Wait!"

Rainbow said nothing. She hovered in the hallway, looking every which way, casting her frown towards every door she saw. She flew to the nearest one and bucked it open, revealing a weapons locker. She flew to the next one and kicked the door down, exposing crystal storage shelves.

"Please!" Belle panted, galloping after her. "Slow down!"

"Don't follow me," Rainbow Dash said, finally kicking the door open to a large supply room. She flew in and squinted through the grates of various lockers.

"Where are you going?!"

"Don't know; don't care," Rainbow Dash grunted, examining compartment after compartment. "Someplace that's vast, someplace that's empty, someplace where there aren't annoying-flank ponies like you to chatter in my ear..."

"Rainbow Dash—"

Rainbow Dash's eyes twitched. She grasped onto one locker, pulled hard, and yanked the door off its hinges. She reached inside and pulled out a hauntingly familiar saddlebag of midnight blue. "Someplace where there aren't ponies who'll be tossed onto obelisks or crucified before dragons..."

"Will you please stop?!"

"...or torn to bits by a chaos freak with no better sense to croak!"

"Hasn't it occurred to you that you're alive for a reason?!" Belle exclaimed, sniffling through a tearful frown. "That something bigger than all of history has brought you back?!"

"History has screwed up before," Rainbow Dash muttered as she fished around inside the locker and dragged out a hatchet and a pair of goggles. "I'm living proof."

"What you are is a living miracle!" Belle exclaimed. "And I'll be damned if I went through all that I went through just to have you come back and disappear into the horizon like some Spark-forsaken ghost!"

"Yeah, well, be careful what you choose to believe in, doe-eyes."

Belle slammed the locker beside her and shrieked, "You think I chose this?!" She panted, panted, gulped, and said, "You think I asked the divine Spark to drag me out of my experimentations, to drag me out of the comfort of my home, and force this... this entire crazy life of yours into my brain?!" She heaved and squeaked forth, "I believe in many things, Rainbow Dash; you're simply just a part of it."

Rainbow leaned against the saddlebag, gazing at Belle with a bored expression.

Belle fell on her haunches, sniffling and barely managing to say, "I believe in love, true love. I believe in a union that transcends body and spirit. I... I..." She ran a hoof through her mane as her chin quivered. "I believe in my beloved, Pilate. I love him... I adore him and...." Her eyes clenched shut. "I never asked him to be a part of this, but he is. He had to be. He's a part of my life, my soul, my everything. And now he's having to suffer for something that was never asked for. I would do anything to save him, but I can't. I put him into this mess, and now I can't bring him out." With glossy eyes, she gazed up at the pegasus. "But you can, Rainbow Dash. If you can save this world, then at least you can save my beloved. Please? You're the key to more things in this world than even the alicorns can know."

"And you, lady, are full of it," Rainbow Dash bore the slightest hint of a devilish smirk. She opened her saddlebag and prepared to stuff her things inside. "I don't care what trouble you think you're in, but whatever it is, you're way better off on your own than sticking... around... me..." Her voice stopped completely.

Belle dried her face, then craned her head to get a good look.

Rainbow Dash started to shake. She reached her hooves into the saddlebag, and when they came out, they were gripping a green, canvas-bound book. Her lips quivered and her head shook in disbelief. "How...?" Her eyes narrowed. "How... is th-this here?" She gulped. "I gave it to Ember Speak. She had it before I... before I..."

Belle stood up on wobbly legs. She waited for a few tender seconds before shakily murmuring, "You were reborn. Who's to know if there weren't ponies who foresaw it? Or other souls for that matter..."

Rainbow's eyes darted back and forth across the tome. "Axan..."

"She dropped you off in Aridstone," Belle said. "Maybe... Maybe she knew that the Ledomaritan Confederacy had the means to heal you..." She shrugged. "Maybe she... maybe she made a pact with the Silvadelians to get you to where you arrived."

"But..." Rainbow Dash's breath hissed as her brow furrowed. "Why?!"

Belle's voice was considerably calmer now. "You really, honestly think that everyone who believes in you is dead?"

Rainbow Dash was still.

Belle trotted over. With a firm breath, she uttered, "Why don't you look inside the book, Rainbow?"

"No!" Rainbow whispered, hugging the book to her chest as she clenched her eyes shut. "I... I can't..."

Belle rested a hoof on her shoulder. "Why not?" she implored gently.

Rainbow Dash's wings coiled tightly at her side. She resembled a foal hugging her pillow in fright. After a few painful shudders, she said, "There were so many times... so many countless times..." She gulped hard and gnashed her teeth. "I just wanted to ditch that boring town! I wanted to take wing, fly into the sky, and never look back. I wanted to see places... I wanted to go on adventures. And now that I finally have..." She bit her lip hard.

With a gentle stroke of her shoulder, Belle asked, "What stopped you?"

"What else?" Rainbow whimpered. With a sniffling breath, she looked once more at the book with moist eyes. "For so long, I hated myself..."

"Why?"

"Because I couldn't get myself to hate them," she murmured, caressing the canvass binding in a soft gesture. "Because I couldn't st-stop loving them. It was... it was just impossible. They were everything to me. I couldn't tell them because I knew how much it made me wanna collapse, because by being stuck with them, I was never free. But freedom somehow didn't seem nearly as cool as I originally imagined. Being around them... all of them..." She shuddered. "And now... and now they're gone, and I... I feel more for them than I ever did. They're dead ash scattered to the wind, and it's like th-they're more real to me than before. Nnnngh!" She slapped her head repeatedly against the tome. "Why. Do I still. Have this. Stupid. Book?!"

"Stop!" Belle reached in with a hoof. "Don't hit yourself—"

Rainbow Dash gripped her forelimb. Slowly, with mechanical precision, her ruby eyes traveled up her limb until she got a good look at Belle's tear-stained face, as if digesting her features for the first time. After slow breath, she spoke with a neutral expression. "You say you've got a coltfriend, huh?"

With her mouth agape, Belle slowly nodded.

"His name is Pilate... and you love him more than life itself and all that jazz?"

Belle's eyes glistened, and yet she again nodded.

"And you... and you would die for him?" Rainbow's eyes narrowed. "Give up everything, including your own friggin' life?"

Belle sniffed and shakily replied, "In a h-heartbeat..."

Rainbow Dash blinked at her, then gazed long and hard at the book. She sighed, and then her wings twitched. "Sounds like a pony with a death wish." After a few seconds, the ends of her lips curved in a demonesque way. "Mmmmmmmmmmmm... poopsicles." She slid the book into the bag along with the hatchet and goggles. Clasping the lunar crest shut, she slid the article over her backside with a rattle of her pendant. "I'm guessing he's deeper in this creepy place than we are."

Belle's breath left her. She smile brightly and nodded, drying her tears. "Yes. Way below. Where there's a door to the machine!"

"Gotta love that crap." Rainbow Dash flexed her neck, making it pop. "Whew..." She flexed her wings a few more times. "I don't suppose he's alone."

Belle winced and said, "There are at least four dozen guards between here and there with flesh-rending tasers."

"Cool!" Rainbow Dash made for the door. "I hope you're fast on your hooves, Miss... Miss..." She paused in her tracks, turned around, and squinted at the unicorn.

Belle's cheeks went red. "Oh, uhm. 'Bellesmith,'" she said, then added with a curtsy, "But you can call be Belle."

"Yeah, uh, no. That's boring." Rainbow Dash tapped her chin, then smirked. "'Ding Dong'. I like that a lot better."

"Huh?" Belle made a face. "What do you..." Her eyes crossed briefly. "Ohhhh..."

In the meantime, Rainbow Dash was reaching towards another locker. "What's this?" She found a violet beret. "Ooooh, souvenir!" Slapping it once against her knees, she planted it atop her colorful head and stood tall with a rigid pose. "There, what do you think?"

Still recovering from her emotions, Belle nervously shrugged. "You look... disastorously adorable."

Rainbow's ears drooped beneath the hat. "Unnngh..." She turned towards the door and trotted out the hallway. "I've been dead for Luna knows how many months and still ponies use the wrong a-word."

"Uhm..." Belle trudged slowly behind her. "Sorry?"

Rainbow Dash suddenly blurred back and hooked a forelimb around the unicorn's waist. "Hurry it up, Ding Dong!" She soared out.

"Yeeeep!" Belle managed, and they both were gone.

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