• 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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Dig a Pony

It was a series of deep, slumbering breaths that woke him, as if a fitful dragon was gargling in the same room. His lavender ears twitched, and soon his petite body stirred as he stifled a heated whimper. Groaning, Eagle Eye sat up, his slender hooves scraping over a flat black floor of industrial grade metal.

He squinted across the claustrophobic room.

Several other equine bodies were lying about in pairs, stirring fitfully under the crimson glow of a single, grated light overhead. It was stuffy and cramped inside the square interior, and the place smelled of sweat and feces.

Eagle Eye gazed around, blinking. He saw bruised and battered bodies, ponies with their hooves worn into blistered limbs, even a few emaciated stallions murmuring incoherent madness into the shadows. Everything that graced his senses was laced with misery and suffering, as if each living thing inside that chamber was simply waiting for its turn to die.

The lavender unicorn blinked at the desolation, turned his head, and instantly gasped. "M-my mane!" He raised two weak limbs and felt the frazzled bangs hanging loosely from his scalp, splotched in several spots with dried mud and chunks of sapphiric crystal. "Ohhhhh..." He bit his lip, sighing heavily through his nostrils.

It was then that he noticed something wrapped about his right hoof. Squinting, he studied the object up close. It was a titanium cuff—a manacle of sorts—and it hung snugly just below the elbow. What's more, it constantly glowed with purple effluence.

Licking his lips, Eagle Eye aimed his horn and shot a bolt of lavender energy into the cuff. In response, it shot a magic bolt straight back to his skull, knocking him back onto his flank.

"Ooof!" He winced, his eyes tearing up slightly. "Okay. That's not getting off so easily." He fidgeted a little bit more with the binding, then froze in place. His ears drooped, and a gasp escaped his lips as brightness swam over his eyes with a horrifically lucid thought. "By the Spark... Belle... Pilate..." He jumped up on all fours, upsetting several of the half-sleeping stallions around him. "Rainbow Dash!"

Hyperventilating, he spun in place, then finally found his eyes locking onto a tall, vertical seam of metal. A heavy door hung on the far end of the room.

"H-hello?!" he exclaimed. "Hello?! Is anypony out there?!" Straightening his torn vest, he ran speedily towards the frame. "You gotta let me out! My friends are in trou—"

His entire body sparkled with purple energy. He gave a high-pitched shriek as the manacle around his right leg pulsed brightly, flinging him back by an elastic band of artificial leylines. In less than a second, he was flung straight into the body of an obese stallion wearing a matching, strobing manacle on his left forelimb.

"Ooof!" Eagle Eye winced all over as he slammed hard into the bigger unicorn's muzzle.

"Mmmmf..." The stallion's nostrils flared, getting a good whiff of the petite mercenary's mane. "Mmmmm..." Josho's bearded face smiled as the unconscious enforcer rolled over and hugged Eagle Eye tight. "Straight Lace. Darling..." He nuzzled Eagle Eye's soft neck, purring. "I've been on the front for far too long..."

Eagle Eye grimaced and sweated profusely. "Uhhh... Uhhh..."

Josho's face frowned. Just then, his bleary eyes opened.

Eagle Eye spat up the tiniest bit of bile.

"Gaaaah!" Josho hollered.

"Aaaack!" Eagle Eye flailed.

"Daaa-aaaah!" Josho flung Eagle Eye out of his grasp.

"Uuugh!" The lavender unicorn flew back—only to be caught once more in the artificial field which flung him straight back into the burly stallion like a living yo-yo.

"Augh!" Josho stood up, this time bucking Eagle Eye away with two legs. "Get off me, you lavender slice of slug meat!"

"You were in league with—!" Eagle Eye scooted away, only to bounce back from the field and scoot away again. "Y-you were in league with—!" The wide-eyed unicorn's body and voice repeated like a broken record. "You were in league—"

"Friggin' cut it out!" Josho stopped him this time with a single, fat forelimb pressed to the shivering stallion's face. "Nnngh..." He stood up, taking a grim survey of the setting. "Obviously we're being held captive by ponies proficient in the art of mana elastibands."

"Mmfmmmff—" Eagle Eye raised both hooves and shoved Josho's hoof from out of his face. "Mana elasti-whats?!"

"They're used by non-unicorns to form equine chain gangs. It's technology that revolves around self-conductive crystalline fragments—" Josho hiccuped and glared at the petite unicorn. "For Spark's sake, kid! How long have you been a mercenary?"

"Grrr!" Eagle Eye scowled, slapping Josho's hoof away and struggling to stand up straight. "Like I would ever want to be graded by a merciless killer like you!"

"Listen, you hyperactive bottle of perfume—" Josho snarled and pointed at himself. "I've only ever been in the business of killing Xonans and monsterous freaks! You should be glad that somepony under the glare of that Prime Enforcing snake-in-the-grass had the stones to not bash your skull in when he was commanded to! Oh, you're welcome by the way, ya little turdlet!"

"Well, you shouldn't have been working for him from the get-go!" Eagle Eye squeaked.

"Like I'm gonna take sass from a would-be soldier who sounds like a deflated balloon!"

"I'll deflate your balloon! C'mere!" Eagle Eye charged forth angrily, galloping and galloping and galloping and—

Josho sighed, holding the red-faced mercenary in place once again with a single hoof. His bloodshot eyes swam across the stuffy, metal interior of the place. "Let's at least figure out how in the Queen's shimmering teat we got here." His graying brow furrowed. "I know I teleported us—but I don't remember being able to shoot myself that far..."

"Why didn't you do it earlier, huh?!" Eagle Eye gripped his limb and all-but-climbed it like a log on the edge of a furious river. "Why didn't you get my friends out of there before that crazy lunatic of an Enforcer turned them to mince meat?! Why didn't you save Rainbow Dash or—" He froze in place, panting. Softly, his features melted, and his eyes took on a pained angle. "Or Cr-Crimson," he mewled like a wounded kitten. He slid off of Josho's forelimb and squatted low, gazing into the rusted floor beneath him. "Spark help me... I should have fought harder. I should have... h-have been stronger..."

Josho opened his mouth to say something, but instead he sighed, staring off towards the metal seam of the door. Then, after a few seconds of weathering the beleaguered breaths of Eagle Eye, he blinked with a piercing thought. He glanced down at the unicorn. "Wait a minute... it was you. You were the one who severed it."

Eagle Eye sniffled, running a hoof through his disheveled violet mane. "S-severed what?"

"My leyline entanglement space burp thingy—I dunno. I'm not a clever pony."

"Hmmmf..." Eagle Eye muttered aside. "That much is certain."

"Look, I'm serious here! Straight as a razor!"

"Heheh..." Eagle Eye deliriously chuckled. "That much is certain too—"

"Nnngh!" Josho knelt down and gripped the petite mercenary's shoulders. "Will you shut up for a second and listen! I know you were the one who freed the zebra's manaballs or whatever from my leylines!"

"Yeah, so?"

"So you're obviously gifted!" Josho grimaced as he narrowed his gaze on Eagle Eye's scrawny figure. "S-somehow..." He cleared his throat and managed a weak smile. "So maybe you can use that snazzy talent of yours to break our binding!"

"Pfft. I already tried." Eagle Eye waved his left, bound hoof around. "It's no use. Besides..." He tossed his head girlishly and glared at the tall walls of the room. "We don't even know where we are! You gotta know who your captors are before you risk running from them."

Josho opened his mouth to speak—gave Eagle Eye's mane a double-take—then shrugged it off. "Look, it was just a thought."

"But I thought you said you weren't a clever thinker—"

"Just lay off!" Josho growled, shaking his hoof threatening. "I'm stuck here the same as you! Rrrggh!" He paced about, dragging a helpless, yelping mercenary with him. "It's those metal mares. I know it has got to be!" He slammed his heavy hooves down, missing Eagle's flinching neck by mere inches. "Spark! What I wouldn't give to rip their horns off and shove it up their—"

"Ask one of these stallions," Eagle Eye wheezed. "Maybe they can tell us all we need to know."

"The heck they will," Josho rolled his eyes. "We're nothing but fresh meat to them."

"How do you know that?! Just ask!"

"A stallion doesn't go around asking for directions! I wouldn't expect a broken vial of perfurme to know anything about that—"

"Ohhhh ho ho ho—don't you start!" Eagle Eye snarled.

"Or what?" Josho hiccuped. "You'll giggle me to death?! Just why'd you desert the army to begin with?! You felt that the color yellow matched your vest?!"

"No—!" Eagle Eye stood up, quivering in anger, and glared up at the obese warrior. "I abandoned the forces of Ledo because me and every courageous stallion I ever cared about was sick and tired of working for soulless machines who would slay innocents to get the job done! Heck, if a grunt as dense as you woke up to that, maybe you would have had the opportunity to spit into that Prime Enforcer's face years ago!"

"You think I enjoyed what I did?!" Josho hollered back, staring down the petite unicorn. "I gave up my entire career to save your sorry flank, ya half-pint!"

"Hah! Some career!" Eagle Eye sneered. "What kind of medal do you call that you're wearing, hotshot? The 'Five O'Clock Bronze?!'"

"Rrrrgh!" With raging telekinesis, Josho effortlessly lifted Eagle Eye up, slamming him against the metal wall and raising a fist to pound his face in. "That's it! You're about to become Franzington's latest casualty! The youngest basket of fruit in history to earn an iron cross!"

"Unnngh..." A haggard earth pony sat up besides the fitfully slumbering prisoner he was bound to. "Will you two newbies shut the heck up? This is our only time to catch some z's before the Killas put us out to work again."

Eagle Eye and Josho blinked down from where the bigger pony was near-strangling the tiny one. They exchanged glances and looked at the earth pony again. "The 'Killas?'"

Suddenly, a loud hiss emanated throughout the chamber. Everypony instantly woke up and ritualistically stood up as the door to the room slid open.

The earth pony rolled his eyes and struggled to his hooves. "Don't say I didn't warn you..."

A blinding swath of golden light swam through the room. Josho squinted, craning his neck curiously. He dropped Eagle Eye to the floor with an unceremonious thud.

"Whoah!" Eagle Eye tumbled, wincing.

Through the blinding light, a dozen armored figures walked in. They stood upright, although with hunched bags. Several braying noises filled the room, like the whimpering of jackals. As everypony's gaze came into focus, the first of several glaring, canine faces loomed into view.

"Diamond dogs...?" Josho murmured aloud.

"Dogs?" Eagle Eye wheezed looking up. "They don't look like any puppies I've ever nuzzled."

"Shhh! Shut up, kid."

"Make me..."

Josho almost growled something—but the obese stallion froze upon the approaching glare of the tallest canine. The snarling alpha male stomped towards him, wielding a heavy club that sparkled with electrical energy.

"Hrmmmf... New pony flesssssh..." The diamond dog hissed, a pair of mucousy eyes leering from beneath a metal pith helmet. "Your graying bonesssss still good enough to haul rocks?"

"How about I haul your smelly carcass into a field and poop you into an anthill?" Josho dared.

With a bark, the diamond dog slammed the hilt of his club into the stallion's gut.

"Oooof!" Josho doubled over, losing his breath.

"Heheheheh..." Eagle Eye squeaked, grinning and slapping the floor with his hoof. "That was actually pretty great—"

The same diamond dog slammed Eagle Eye in the chest.

"Gaaah!" Eagle Eye doubled over, rolling into Josho. "Ow ow ow ow..."

"You talk... you hurtttt..." The canine snarled, addressing the newer, more frightened souls collected in the pen. "You fight... you ssssscream. You work... you eatttt." He slammed his club into the ground and barked even louder. "You are all property of the Killas! Now and forever! When you die... you die by my company's time!" He pointed a furious paw out into the blazing light. "Now... go! Go and dig, you mangy mulesssss!"

"Unngh... I got it... I got it..." Josho hissed as he clambered up on all fours. He caught Eagle Eye by the tail, yanking him out of a fetal position and forcing him to trot by his side.

Soon, both stallions joined a flood of ponies lurching out of the room—and out into the blazing light. They squinted, finding themselves descending a metal plank that extended to a chamber built into an enormous brown tank of metal. The vehicle was easily four stories high and hundreds of feet long, parked on gigantic tank treads as its steam engines hissed over the crest of a giant quarry. Down below a sloping crest of rock, Josho and Eagle Eye saw a gaping pit full of hundreds of exposed, oversized sapphires. What's more, the gaping chasm was crawling over with twice as many quadruped slaves, laboring endlessly with pick-axes and drills to unearth the valuable crystals. Patrolling the grounds were heavy-set dogs, the self-appointed "Killas," all carrying clubs and manarfiles trained on the sweating, suffering ponies.

"Oh, well this is just lovely," Josho grunted.

Eagle Eye's lips quivered as he got an eye-ful of the agonizing day ahead. He gasped as a growling dog shoved a heavy hammer into his grasp. He glanced at the tool, his eyes watering a bit at the shape of it. Gulping, he calmed his nerves the best he could and stumbled forward with the line. "Okay... I-I can do this. I... can totally do this..."

"No offense, kid..." Josho shouldered a heavy drill, utilizing his telekinesis as he wheezed and limped to the right of his unwitting cohort. "But I think your mane has a greater chance of outlasting this than you."

"Oh hardy har—"

A whip cracked overhead as another alpha dog shouted, "No gabbing! Only digging! Mush! Mush!"

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