• Published 9th Mar 2013
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Innavedr - Imploding Colon



A broken party of friends struggles to reunite. Rainbow Dash continues to fly east.

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Good Morning Already

The morning sun's rays glittered off the alabaster skyrises like gravestones. Below the looming spires of the sepulcher-gray city, unicorns and earth ponies from all trots of life wandered the wide open courtyards, carrying on with various means of business between the majestic, circular walls of the spacious metropolis.

Most of the equines trotted in pairs, with loving couples pausing at street corners to nuzzle each other and exchange warm wishes before splitting up and heading off to their individual occupations. Strolling slowly through the bustling crowd, mules, rams, and other work ponies carried carts full of mana crystals and other sensitive wares from one destination to another.

Every now and then, a thick line of unicorn soldiers—each bearing an identical uniform and a purple beret—marched as one through the crowd, carrying swords brimming with electrical energy. High above them, zeppelins and swift aircraft gliding on filtered mana darted between the towers. The city's height was a spectacle all on its own, with cylindrical skyscrapers literally hovering above the lower buildings via interconnecting concrete bridges supported by propulsive, magical crystals.

Banners fluttered from where they hung between sapphiric buildings and pale spires. The ornate profile of an elderly mare loomed in dozens of places and across several walls above the ponies' heads. Her glinting, regal crown was almost as sharp as her glare, and beneath her—repeated in bold text—were the impressionistically enscribed words: "Honor Queen Ledo – Patron Matriarch of Blue Nova."

The air turned gold as the rising sun of dawn swam its way over the urban vistas. All was the continuous murmur of city life, interrupted every now and then by the roar of mana-powered ships of war rocketing eastward towards the enemy front. While adults trotted in and out of granite buildings, engaged in bickering sales or casual conversation, a tiny cloaked figure galloped through the criss-crossing crowd.

A little foal darted left and right around the routinely strolling bodies of ponies. She squeezed under a hovering blue cart, leapt over a gutter full of garden water, and ran down a narrow cobblestone alley echoing from puttering airships high above.

Threading her way across the city, she headed towards the lower districts, leagues away from the highest skyscrapers. A rancid smell filled the streets, accompanied by the noise of endlessly squawking fowl. With a panting breath, the filly drew her cloak tighter, approached a tiny crack in a wall, then sild her way through.

She came out the other side, crawling through muck. Without the least bit of hesistance, she dashed over towards a pile of refuse and gazed cautiously around the side of it.

Stretching out before the tiny foal was an immense courtyard that had been reduced to a smoldering landfill. Heaps of garbage burned, churning smoke and ash into the air. Lining the edges of the concrete partitions were several metal doors built into the ground. As the foal watched, several large crystal-operated machines were busily shoving chunks of debris into open chutes, out from which the tell-tale breaths of an underground furnace billowed with fury.

The foal shivered for a few moments. A tiny mouth bit its lip—then gasped in surprised as the hooded filly glanced up towards the sound of a rumbling engine.

A grimy, rusted zeppelin was hovering down, its mana-generators struggling to keep the heavy dirigible aloft. The flocking birds clambered all around the vessel, poking and clawing at its hull. A loud, bass horn emanated across the wastelands. The soot-stained operators of the machines rolled out of the way as a pair of bay doors at the base of the transport craft opened up. A fresh mountain of rank garbage sloshed over the center of the landfill, piling the gunk high for eventual incineration. The birds immediately flew down and perched on the mess, pecking everywhere their beaks would let them.

The filly gulped, glanced over her shoulder, then made a courageous run for it. Panting, she galloped through ravines of steaming garbage. The morning light glinted through the smelly haze—like a hue of alien gold touching the miniature wasteland in the heart of the city. She kept low and waded through the sea of filth, jumping every now and then with the grace of a dolphin, her nimble little hooves careful not to land in the wrong spots or else she might sink.

Soon, with fluidic finesse, she sped her way to the side of the mountain of junk. She reached into her cloak and produced a small club which she gripped in her mouth. Unabashedly, she slapped at the first few birds perched on the wall of gunk. After receiving a few merciless smacks, the gulls flapped away, unwilling to test the pony's wrath.

With a victorious breath, she slid the club back and dug into the mess, elbow deep. A few bangs of frazzled emerald hair dipped out of her hood, but she slid the fibers back—almost detesting the touch of her own mane more than the festering garbage she was shifting through.

From the other side of the fresh hill, she heard the sound of trotting hooves and bickering young voices just a few years past her age.

Suddenly hyperventilating, she dug and tore through the trash with greater vigor. She tossed aside glass bottles, spent mana cartridges, food dishes, and various disposable tools of pony hygiene. At last, a victorious breath escaped her.

There was a paper bag, partially folded up and only barely soiled. Frantically, she ripped the thing open and shifted a hoof through it.

The hoofsteps of strangers came closer, their voices growling. "Kera?! Kera, is that you?! Ungh!" They were galloping now, casting menacing shadows in the scant rays of golden light. "I swear by the Spark! If you beat us to the good stuff again, we're gonna send your motherless flank back where you came from!"

She pulled out a steak bone, a bent fork, a drink container and—

A pair of green eyes lit up from beneath the hood.

With two tiny hooves, she pulled loose a red apple, and it was miraculously whole. The shine of the fruit literally brought a crimson glow to the landfill. A bright smile reflected off the surface, along with several swirly lines across foalish dimples.

"Do you hear that? Breathing!"

"Kera! It is her!"

"What's she have in her hooves?! Queen's nipples—Get her!"

Stifling a yelp, the foal clasped the apple between two sets of teeth and galloped away. Sticks, bricks, and tiny rocks landed all around her as the youthful shadows dashed around the corner, making chase.

She was too fast for them, darting in and around abandoned garbage haulers and discarded mana engines. As the cluster of street urchins coalesced into a thundering herd, she was already squeezing herself beneath the crack in the wall and emerging victoriously on the other side.

Pulling the apple out of her mouth, Kera held the round fruit, smiling with each pant that billowed out of her lips. Then, with a sudden jerk, she glanced both ways down the street, tore down an alleyway, and ran for four blocks.

Eventually, she came to a tight corridor located in the crook of several looming skyscrapers. The roar of mana engines thundered down the concrete ravine, making her ears twitch as she squirmed through a tight slit and approached a shantytown made out of densely populated lean-tos and delapidated shacks. Here, the bowels of the city consisted of non unicorns: earth ponies and gazelles and rams who stumbled from hovel to hovel, their faces blending with the miserable shadows of the place. Equines coughed and beggars murmured unintelligibly as Kera sprinted past all of them, squeezing her way into yet another tunnel through which only a foal of her size could fit.

She climbed up a rusted rain spout and slithered her way towards a winding alcove hugging the base of a gigantic spire. Here, no adult pony could reach, much less see from the upper streets. Still, a sliver of golden dawnlight managed to waft through, illuminating a series of cushions and a ragged blanket, along with a metal locker full of meager knick-knacks.

With one lasting breath, Kera plopped down on the moth-eaten pillows, shaking loose the smells and sweat of the morning. She cradled the still-ripe fruit to herself, even going so far as to nuzzle it with a smiling cheek.

"Mmmmm..." She slid her hood back, revealing a peach coat beset with several jagged, swirling patterns—seemingly etched into her skin. A tiny horn glowed at the tip, illuminating her tangled mess of emerald hair and shimmering green eyes. Sighing into the morning, she sniffed the fruit one last time and actually giggled. "This is a good morning already..."

That said, Kera hummed to herself and leaned in, taking the first succulent bite of food in days.

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