The chasm plunged deep, reaching far down into the depths beyond where the sunlight's fingertips could brush the darkness away. While the earth still rumbled above, rocks and debris came crashing down upon the floor of the rift. As the cataclysm slowly subsided, leaving only destruction and despair in its wake, the crackling sound of the shifting earth quieted and the echo of falling rocks ceased as the dust settled.
The dark form of a colt stirred among the rubble on the floor of the abyss, the gravel shifting as he tried to stand, broken glass and splintered wood surrounding him. Ink winced and dropped to a knee as his hooves gave out under his battered form. Wh..what happened? he wondered. He remembered the tremors and then the ground falling away but now before him lay only darkness.
Ink grimaced, pushing himself to his hooves and ignoring the pain that seared through him. Come on Ink, this isn't that bad. He let out a sigh, pausing for a moment. Alright, Ink thought as he relaxed. He took a breath and began to focus, pouring his remaining energy into his horn generating a bright glow. Tilting his head he shot the ball of light upwards.
The glowing sphere rose fast, illuminating the walls of the cavity, then slowly descended. The yellow hue of the orb shone brightly upon red stained coats and lifeless ponies. The still forms lay scattered upon the ground at odd angles and strange positions among the wreckage of once beautiful homes. Before him lay the destroyed remains of the town he had grown up in. Storefront signs and trademark distinctions were all that allowed the colt to recognize places that he had visited hundreds of times before. "My... home," he whispered.
He sank to his knees. His vision blurred slightly as he tried desperately to remember what had happened. "Sugarcube corner," he began. "I... I was at Sugarcube corner..."
The light chirping of birds and the warmth of the rising sun pulled the black maned colt from his slumber, eyes blinking slowly and adjusting to the morning light. The colt groaned a bit, pulling his blanket up over his eyes before sitting up. He yawned, stretching out and searching for the time upon the tan colored walls where a small clock hung. His eyes squinted sightly, disapproving of the clock. Too early, he thought, almost ready to crawl back into bed for another hour's rest. Any hour was too early to get up for him. But he stopped himself and instead got out from under the warm comforter to greet the day. I have a couple of hours before the party, he thought, his horn glowing slightly as his sheets properly aligned themselves. Setting the pillows down along the headrest he smiled. He liked things to be neat and organized. His eyes darted over to his desk that sat helplessly in the corner buried under a mountain of loose papers and scattered quills, ink bottles half open and empty upon the floor. The vintage, mahogany wood desk adorned by intricate carvings and detail lay hidden, its surfaces home to the many fleeting ideas of the unicorn. Only a small corner where an ink bottle lay and the thin yet sturdy legs were visible. Even the wall space surrounding the desk was plastered by arrangements of scribbled parchment. The colt sighed. At least the bed looks decent...
The young writer trotted over to his desk and let out another sigh before levitating everything into the air as he searched. "Aha," he said. "Gotcha." The colt let everything out of his levitation spell except for a small, neatly wrapped pink package that had been hidden beneath the pages. He smirked a bit, putting a hoof to his forehead. He would clean the papers up later.
He made his way out of his bedroom, stopping quickly only to examine his appearance in a mirror, running a hoof through his mane to fix it. The gray colt walked with a fast pace as he gathered up his saddle bag and headed out the door.
The town of Ponyville was as lively as ever, ponies everywhere opening up their shops and even more waiting. The sun sat peacefully above the rooftops, warming the air and waking the flowers from their nighttime slumber. Birds sat upon tree branches, singing songs to welcome the day as ponies spread out extra seeds upon the grass for them to eat. Hopping along the ground, the small birds enjoyed breakfast to the sound of the town coming alive.
"Good morning Ink," Roseluck called as she walked past, her saddle bag filled to the brim with fresh cut roses.
"Oh, hey," Ink said smiling, noticing the tan mare. "Good morning."
The red maned mare smiled back. "Heading to Sugarcube corner?" Roseluck waited for Ink to catch up, trotting along side him once he was close. Her movements were graceful and elegant compared to Ink's. He smiled, catching the aroma of the roses she was carrying. The sweet, fresh smell of the flowers enticed the colt to slow his pace slightly.
"Uhm...not yet exactly," he said, thinking. "I still have one more thing to pick up."
"Oh, I see, okay well... I'll see you there," she said as she broke off and headed in the direction of the sweet shop, the scent of roses following her.
Ink continued his path, darting towards a small apple stand. "Hey Fritter," he said, greeting the green coated mare. Apple Fritter looked up and grinned, tipping her hat back. The straw hat glistened with dew from morning chores, a small red patch on the brim.
"Well hey there, I was beginnin' to think that ya wouldn't show up." she joked, her southern roots entwined within her speech.
Ink paused for a moment. "What? Not show up?" He said, dramatically. "Now why would I do that after you did such a favor for me?"
She smirked, her yellow mane falling to one side as she pulled out the huge jug of freshly made apple cider from behind the stand. "Dunno," she said. "But ya owe me now, ya hear?" She nudged Ink's shoulder lightly, winking.
"Heh, don't worry. I'll have that book of yours bound in no time." Ink placed a hoof over his heart.
Apple Fritter chuckled. "You get movin' now, don't wanna be late."
Ink nodded and began to focus his magic, levitating the jug up carefully. Once he was sure it was stable he smiled and bid farewell to the green mare, trotting off to Sugar Cube Corner. The apple cider floated gently beside him as he departed.
The entire place was adorned with streamers and ribbons and balloons galore. It was almost as if Pinkie had gathered the entire stock of each one from the entire Ponyville area. Ink smirked as he made his way up to the door, the sound of upbeat tunes reaching his ears. He had barely put his hoof to the door in an attempt to knock before it swung open.
"Get in here you silly nilly!" the pink mare said, pulling Ink inside swiftly. A hoof was pressed against his mouth as his friend leaned it towards him once she had firmly shut and bolted the door. "You almost gave away the surprise, Ink."
"Pnunkee," he tried to say, though it came out muffled. He pulled the hoof from his mouth and turned to her. "Pinkie, I don't think I could have possibly ruined the surprise." He grinned. "I'm pretty sure you lighting up Sugar Cube Corner like a party decoration store sort of gives it away more than a colt with a jug of apple cider."
Pinkie Pie let out a gasp. "Oh no! You're right! Everything is ruined! I have to go outside and take everything down before she gets here and sees that it's a party and then isn't surprised and then--"
Ink clasped a hoof to her mouth, though her muffled rant continued and Ink sighed, smirking.
"Pinkie, calm down. Everything will be alright."
"Alright!?" she said, pushing Ink's hoof from her mouth. "It can't just be alright. It has to be better than alright, it has to be super duper extra special this is the best party ever, party!" Pinkie Pie pouted. "It's not like fillies turn three all the time, you know."
Ink smirked. "Pinkie, all fillies turn three."
"Well, duh." The pink mare said. "That's why we're having this party. Come on everypony," she said, addressing the other guests that were in attendance all throughout Sugar Cube Corner. "We should get hiding."
It wasn't long before the birthday mare arrived, the entire guest list popping out from hiding spaces and welcoming her. The yellow filly bounced happily, laughing with her friends and joining in on the celebration of her birthday.
The air was soon filled with the sounds of upbeat tunes that eminated from Pinkie Pie's record player. Ponies giggled as they made their way to the dance floor, hooves trotting to the beat. Pinata's hung over head amongst paper lanterns and escaping balloons. Slices of birthday cake were handed out as the apple cider that Ink brought was uncorked and poured into a large punchbowl. Ink smirked as he looked around the room, everypony with a smile upon their face. He glanced over, watching Sunny blindly trying to pin the tail on the pony. The filly pulled the blindfold from her face and hopped joyfully at her attempt. The ponies around her cheered before taking turns of their own. Ink levitated a glass and served himself from the punchbowl, filling another young pony's cup too.
Ink walked up beside Pinkie, leaning against a counter top. "Another great party, Pinkie Pie," he said, taking a sip of the apple cider. "Just like always."
"Next time you should help me out more instead of always sulking at your desk," she cooed at him, taking a bite of a blue frosted cupcake.
Ink hesitated for a moment, thinking of the disaster that was his desk. The poor thing hadn't seen sunlight in weeks although neither had he. He hung his head a little. His latest project, like all the others, had begun to consume him. "No I'm not... well... alright maybe I am always at my desk but that's what I do, remember? Writer?"
"Writer shmiter, it's time to have some fun!"
Ink smirked and then blinked, suddenly remembering what he had forgotten to do this morning. "Ah.. Pinkie, I'm sorry but I have to go do something super quick. I'll be right back."
"Bwuht?" Pinkie mumbled through another bite of cupcake. She coughed as she swallowed hard. "W-w-wait! Where are you going?" She called after the colt as he galloped across the room and to the door.
"I just have to drop something off at Twilight's!" he yelled back to her. "I'll be right back, I promise!"
Before Pinkie Pie could even make it to the door Ink was gone, galloping fast towards the library, the largest tree in Ponyville, its leaves reached high above the rooftops.
Ink smirked as he ran, the library within his sight. He wouldn't be more than a few minutes and he would be able to pick up the recipe book that Pinkie had been wanting. But the ground began to move and shift and before he could even realize what was going on the ground shattered into pieces, falling out from under him down into a hungry shadow that resonated with a piercing roar. Ink barely had time to yell as the world tumbled away and he too with it, down into the darkness below.
The ground under Ink lay riddled with droplets, his form shaking. How could all of this have happened? How could everything he knew disappear in the blink of an eye?
Ink sat for what seemed like an eternity staring out at his broken home. There was nothing that could be done but, he kept wondering if he could have done something.
"I-it's okay," he said, shakily to himself. "It's... it's all going to be okay." Ink stood, pacing in a small circle as he looked upwards at the barely visible sky. His legs shook as he trotted quickly, his hooves barely touching the ground. His breathing was shallow and panicked and as he turned his head upwards the words almost didn't come.
"H-help!" he yelled at the stars. "Anypony!"
The words echoed up the stone walls until Ink could no longer hear his own voice in the air. Ink's eyes darted around frantically at the lack of response. He clenched his jaw. Quickly he trotted over to the stone wall closest to him and put a hoof upon it. The colt placed his weight against the rocks and they gave under him. Picking himself up from the small slip he tried again.
A weak voice called out through the shadows.
Ink shook his head, gathering himself. "My echo?"
Ink listened for a moment with tuned ears but all seemed quiet. It's all just in your head, Ink. he thought as he looked around. The air was still yet the unicorn felt uneasy as if his presence wasn't the only one around. I guess... I could... It can't all be in my head. Not all of this... He lifted his head and swallowed hard, taking a breath.
"Is anyone out there?" Ink asked, his voice raspy.
"H...here," came a calling voice. Ink blinked for a moment, taking a step back then standing firm on his hooves.
"Please, call out again!" Ink yelled out toward the darkness, this time with a clear voice.
"I-I-I'm here..." the voice returned.
Ink's ears pricked up and he looked over towards where the sound emanated from. He closed his eyes and began to concentrate once more. Ink lowered his head and illuminated the ground in front of him with the orb of light that now remained stationary at the tip of his horn. Mustering his courage, he took a step and then another, carefully avoiding the still forms upon the ground.
His eyes narrowed and his jaw set as he focused on the task at hand. After a few steps Ink raised his head and used the orb to chase away the shadows as he looked for the source of the voice. A single wavering, outstretched hoof caught Ink's eye. He knelt down next to the light blue coated mare after a quick trot.
"Hey, are you alright?" Ink asked as he looked over her form, her wings flared in a strange manner.
"Y-yeah, I think so," the light blue pony said trembling as she tried to fold her wings.
The pegasus let out a pained gasp and Ink quickly put a hoof to her body.
"No, don't do that. Stop!" Ink commanded as the mare shuddered then relaxed slightly. "Let me take a look at you."
The blue mare's body was bruised and scraped. Her wings were broken but there seemed to be no fatal wounds. Ink's eyes focused before he raised his head and shot the orb into the air looking around quickly as it descended. He spotted a small clearing nearby right up against the edge of the chasm and he scooped up the pegasus on his back, fighting through his own pain, and stepped lightly as the orb began to fade. Ink lay the mare down on the flat stone and concentrated again, this time placing the orb upon the ground near her. The air became steady as the two looked upon each other. Ink hesitated, unsure of what to say. The blue mare too looked as if she was ready to speak but the words never came.
"What do you think happened?" she asked him, breaking the silence.
Ink squinted at the bright light emanating from the orb, dimming it slightly. "I... I'm not sure," he said.
"I had just finished sending out a letter," the mare began. "and then I remember the ground shaking." She paused for a moment as her gaze dropped. "There was so much screaming, everypony was running," she continued. "and then, the ground just disappeared."
Ink's brow furrowed gently. "I had just left Sugarcube Corner and then... I was falling."
His legs wobbled under him. I can't keep casting spells at this rate... he thought. He looked back out across the partially lit void and began to wonder but thoughts only crossed his mind for a second. Ink turned away from the gruesome scene and sat down beside the mare.
"What are we going to do?" the pegasus said, her voice trembling.
Ink shook his head a bit. "I'm not sure, but right now you need to rest," he said, looking at her wings.
The blue mare opened her mouth to protest. "We can't just stay her-,"
"Look," the colt snapped, cutting the mare off. He sighed and took a moment to calm down. "Trying to get anywhere right now with the state we're both in won't play out very well. We're both battered, your wings are injured and I'm exhausted and can barely hold my own weight," he said, sighing.
The mare's expression softened though her blue eyes still remained frightened. "So we just stay here then?"
"For the moment," Ink said, looking upwards towards the sky. "There's bound to be a rescue party sent out soon. No point in just scrambling about right now. Things will be alright, we should just rest for now and soon enough we'll be out of here." Ink forced a small smile, unsure of the words he had just spoken.
"A..alright," The mare said as she lay her head down against the caverns stone floor, her eyes closing, tired of the orb's bright light.
Ink set his jaw. Being harsh wasn't exactly what he wanted to do but somepony would be coming for them and trotting around for no reason would only make their conditions worse. Ink put a hoof to his forehead, rubbing his temple. His purple eyes gazed downwards at the pegasus.
Her legs were pulled in close against her body contrasting the completely outstretched wings and the dark blue mane that covered part of her face, shielding her eyes from the light.
Ink lay next to her, his body exhausted and the pain he had been pushing aside finally catching up to him. His legs were in bad shape but it wouldn't stop him from venturing out into the abyss again if another's voice came calling. His eyes slowly began to close and Ink fought the oncoming call of sleep but casting light spells one after the other had drained him and after a few moments he gave in, his head lowering to the floor and his mind slowly slipping away.
Things will be alright...
The blue pegasus stirred, her eyes opening slightly to see the sleeping form of the black maned colt. She looked out into the opening, a small tear forming at the edge of her eye as she turned to the ball of light and gave a slight breath, blowing the spell back towards the gap's rocky wall so that the light would not illuminate what should not be looked upon. She lay her head back down against the stone, her gaze not wavering from the colt before her. The warm glow of the light and the steady breathing of the colt allowed her eyes to steadily close, a slight sensation of security allowing her to sleep as well.
"Hey Ink, you shouldn't be inside all the time..."
"Don't be so glum, come out and enjoy the sun!"
"You know what this calls for? A party!"
"This was so much fun, thanks so much for helping out."
"You're invited to a super secret amazing surprise party for Sunny Days tomorrow!"
"Writer smiter, it's time to have some fun!"
"W-w-wait! Where are you going?"
"I'll be right back... I promise!"
Ink's eyes opened suddenly at the sensation of a sudden jolt to his shoulder, his breathing heavy and sweat dripping from his brow.. His head sprang up and the pony that stood over him gasped, dropping the stick that she held in her mouth and stepping backwards.
The colt next to her sighed, "Firefly knock it off. You're going to scare somepony like that." The white earth pony lowered her head and rubbed her hoof along the ground clearly embarrassed.
"Sorry..." she whispered, her pale orange mane falling to cover her matching eyes.
The colt stepped forward, his deep blue coat visible in the sunlight that now poured over the edges of the fissure. His white streaked deep gray mane was swept backwards in the same way as Ink's black mane sat and Ink stood, taking a breath first and steadying his mind, to greet the colt, purple eyes meeting with a stern yellow gaze. The colt gave a slight bow which Ink returned but not before noticing that while one of the pony's wings was flared the other was tucked tight against his form. Ink remained silent on the matter.
"My name is Storm Chaser and this is Firefly," the blue colt said, gesturing towards the white mare who gave a light smile. "Are you two alright?"
Ink nodded, remembering the pegasus and turned towards her sleeping form. "I'm Ink," he said as he looked upon her. "I don't know her name," he finished honestly. How could he have forgotten to ask her name?
The light blue pegasus stirred, her deep blue eyes opening and ears twitching at the sound of speech. "What's... going on?" she said sleepily as she rose to her feet, wobbling slightly. Ink pressed his own body up against her for her to use as support.
"We have company," Ink said lightly. "This is Storm Chaser and... Firefly, wasn't it?" Both of the ponies nodded.
The blue pegasus lifted her head. "I'm Sky Fall."
The dark blue colt stepped forward. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine but..." Sky Fall gazed back at her still flared wings. "I think they're broken."
Storm Chaser turned his form towards her to show his single flared wing. "One of mine as well."
The white earth pony, Firefly, suddenly spoke up cheerfully. "Ink, you're a unicorn. Can't you use your magic to fix their wings?"
Ink was taken aback slightly. "I...I've never used magic for healing before," he said
"Couldn't you try?" Firefly asked leaning towards him, her expression off slightly as if she didn't know any other way to react. Her legs looked as if they were trembling yet she took tiny steps back and forth to try and hide it. Her orange eyes looked almost as if she was pleading with him.
His expression dropped. Would he even be able to? His quill and ink bottle cutie mark had proved his future as a writer. He had never practiced magic aside from basic spells and levitation.
Ink suddenly felt ashamed and his stance crumpled inwards slightly. Storm Chaser's eyes narrowed. "Don't push him, Firefly. Not all unicorns can do such things." Storm's statement seemed genuine but Ink thought he could hear a slight demeaning undertone. He didn't blame the dark blue colt. This situation had put everypony on edge.
Storm Chaser was the first to break the long silence. "We should get moving, no sense in standing around all day."
"Wait," Ink began, stepping in front of the dark blue colt. "What in Equestria happened? What's going on?"
Storm stepped forwards, meeting eye to eye with the gray colt. "There was an earthquake," he said, his voice stern. "There wasn't any time for evacuation; it came too quickly. Now if you don't mind we have to get going."
The pegasus colt began to turn away but Ink moved in tune. "Why do we have to get going? Why not stay here where a rescue team would be able to find us?"
"Because," Storm Chaser bit back. "there isn't going to be a rescue team. Not for a while, at least."
Ink's eyes narrowed as he spoke with a grim tone. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, I was flying above Ponyville when it happened. The split rocketed completely through the entire area. Nopony was safe within miles. It swallowed up everything in its path from Sweet Apple Acres to the Everfree forest. We're on our own."
The dark blue colts words echoed throughout the silent chasm as the others took in those words with speechless expressions.
"I was a part of the rescue team," Storm Chaser said, his voice still harsh. "and now I'm the last one left. So, let's get going."
He turned, making his way across the gap, hoofbeats striking hard against the stone floor.
"But what about the rest of Cloudsdayle?" Ink began, quietly. "Surely they'll come and -"
Firefly put a hoof on Ink's shoulder, stopping him with a glance. The unicorn stared questioningly at the mare. She only shook her head slightly, orange gaze dropping to the ground.
Firefly turned to follow Storm, glancing back at the others. Ink's eyes darted around, processing what had just transpired.
What happened to Cloudsdayle?
Ink looked down at Sky Fall, her expression frightened. He took a breath and put a hoof to her shoulder lightly. "Shall we?" he asked, speaking with a gentle tone. The blue mare's glossy eyes cleared as she nodded.
"So you're Ink then?" the mare asked. The unicorn nodded back at her. "Thanks, for before I mean."
A small smile made its way upon his face as he looked at Sky. It faded quickly but he wouldn't let her appreciation go without reason. Ink moved closer to the pegasus and loaned her his shoulder once again to lean upon and together they walked as one.
...from Sweet Apple Acres to the Everfree forest...
Will we ever get out of here? Ink began to wonder. Is there anypony left out there to help us?
The light from Ink's spell flowed within the steep walls and illuminated the still forms of many a pony in an eerie spiritual light. The air was silent except for the quiet taps of hooves across stone. No pony dared to let their gaze drop as they followed behind Storm Chaser, who seemed to know where to head. Ink carefully walked with Sky Fall close behind Firefly. Sky Fall was seemingly doing a bit better on her own hooves than before. Slowly the blue pegasus moved away from Ink's support, struggling but determined to stand on her own. Ink sighed a bit and let her try what she wanted though he remained close by in case he was needed.
He began to think of what would happen to them all, trapped without food or water. What had happened to every pony that he knew. If there was anypony coming to rescue them. He could hear Storm and Firefly begin talking about something, their voices muffled by his racing thoughts. Ink looked over at Sky Fall who had out paced him slightly, her falling comet cutie mark visible enough in the shadows for Ink to make out. He was too busy thinking to realize that he had begun to gaze across the floor and it was only when his eyes came across a familiar pink pony that he froze. His blue eyes teared up before he turned his head away and continued after the group, the still form of his pink mare friend left laying silently behind. I shouldn't have left... he thought, not wanting to acknowledge it any further. He trotted quickly, pushing the image from his mind. It's not true he thought. Not one bit. He wouldn't let it be true. This was all too much. His pace quickened as he caught up with the others, clearing his vision and forcing all thoughts of it out of his mind. It wasn't true.
Storm Chaser turned then and faced the others. "I think there's a small cavern here."
Firefly peered in for a moment then turned with a hint of a small smile. "I can smell fresh air." Her voice lilted joy.
Storm Chaser blinked. "If you can smell fresh air then it must go upwards at some point," he said.
Ink trotted over and stuck his nose in. The air smelled different than how it did where they stood, fresh and sweet smelling. "I think Storm is right," Ink said. "If there's fresh air then it must breech the surface." Firefly nodded.
"It's our only option right now, so why don't we give it a try?" The white pony said. She never ceased to have a small smile upon her face as if she was trying to bring ease to the situation. It reminded Ink of the friend he had passed and he smiled lightly back knowing that tears wouldn't be what his friend would have wanted.
"Lets go then," Sky Fall said, her voice raspy as she began to make her way into the opening.
"Hey! You can't come in here!" a voice yelled swiftly.
Sky Fall jumped back suddenly, bending over slightly at the pain of her wounds being jostled and Storm Chaser quickly stood in front of Sky as a barrier.
"This is my cave, I found it first!" said a small figure as it jumped out of the opening. She had scratches all over her small form and her yellow mane was in a mess, pressed up against her neck. "Y-you ...you all can just go away!" the little earth pony said as she blocked the entrance to the cave.
"Sunny Days, how are you enjoying your birthday party?"
"It's so super awesome. I couldn't have asked for a better one!"
"Good to hear. Don't forget to thank Pinkie Pie for all of this, she worked really hard to get everything just right."
"I will, Ink. I promise."
Ink turned away briefly, taking a moment to catch his thoughts. Storm took a step back as Firefly stepped forward and leaned down. "We're not here to take your cave from you, we just want to pass through." Her voice was smooth and gentle and the little filly looked at each of the older ponies for a moment seemingly deciding what to do. "My name's Firefly, what's your name?" she asked smiling. Storm Chaser turned away slightly, his expression somewhat unreadable.
The purple filly took a step back and shuffled her hooves. "Rhythm."
Firefly kneeled down lower. "That's a really nice name." Ink and the rest of the group watched Firefly and gave the young pony smiles as well. Firefly smiled having noticed that the filly's flanks were bare. "Do you know what your special talent is yet?"
The filly frowned, her teal eyes saddened. "No, not yet, but I will soon I know it."
"Do you think you could tell us how you got down here?"
Rhythm hung her head. "I was outside, playing with Blueberry Cake and then..." her voice trailed off. Ink's gaze fell.
"How about you come with us then? We're going to travel through this cave and maybe we can help you find out what your talent is." Firefly said, trying to switch the subject back to something more cheerful.
Rhythm took another step back, looking around and then at the ground. "I don't know..."
She stepped back again.
Storm Chaser took a knee next to Firefly. "You don't want to be here all alone do you?" His tone was light and inviting, completely contrasting the stern proud tone the ponies had heard him use. Rhythm looked up at Storm Chaser and paused for a moment before taking a step forward.
A single loud roar resonated throughout the rift, shaking unstable debris free and sending it crashing to the ground around the group. Rhythm quickly scrambled under Storm Chaser's legs as everypony braced themselves. The sound quieted and the rocks settled and the group raised their heads and looked to one another.
"What in Equestria was that?" Firefly whispered to Storm with a low tone.
The colt shook his head slowly. "I'm not sure," He paused and looked down at the shaking filly latched onto his foreleg. His expression remained questionable, his eyes glazed over slightly.
"I think we should get going. Rhythm, are you coming too?" Storm Chaser asked. The filly gave a slight nod but said nothing.
Ink stepped around and peered into the opening once more with a grim expression, the air smelling slightly less sweet than before. A shiver washed over his shoulders and down along his back but his resolve stayed solid. Looking back over his shoulder at Storm he gave a slight nod which was quickly reciprocated and with a sharp breath he stepped into the cave.
The ground squished under his hooves, the moss slightly slippery and dew ridden. Ink made his way slowly along the darkened path. The course ahead seemed cleared and safe and as Ink moved slowly he turned his head and called back for the others.
"The path looks good! I'm going to set up some light spells so you can all find your wa-"
Ink let out a yell as his hooves fell upon a patch of unstable dirt that cracked and fell out from under him. His forehoof grasped at the edge of the pit, holding up his dangling form.
"Ink? A-are you alright?" He could hear Storm Chaser's slightly concerned voice calling for him.
He struggled to get another hoof up on the ledge. "Help!" He called as he tried to pull himself up, his backhooves unable to get a solid footing.
Ink could hear the hoofbeats of the others as they grew closer but his gaze had fallen downwards where the bottom of the pit had begun to glow a deep orange. Firefly leaned down over the edge as she tried to grab onto Ink's shoulders, the pegasai trailing behind her.
"Storm!" Firefly managed to say. "I... I can't... I need help." Storm Chaser clenched his jaw a bit but picked up his pace before sliding towards Ink and grabbing his hoof in his own, trying to pull him up. A low bellow came from the bottom of the pit and rang through the ponies ears.
Rhythm stood at the edge of the pit looking towards the bottom, her face holding a terrified expression. "D... Dr..." Her voice shook uncontrollably as she struggled to speak. Finally the word came out as no more than a whisper. "Dragon."