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Golden Statue

by AstralMouse

The siren, amplified by magic, cut through the humid morning air.

“Everypony for themselves!” shouted Iceberg. It was always Iceberg.

She ran through the town shrieking until nearly six hundred ponies were awake and fleeing to the safe zone.

As ponies filed in from the well-trod jungle trails, the mayor of Marapore jotted down notes on a clipboard. Once the final resident joined the group, she clicked ‘stop’ on a timer.

“Twenty eight minutes and thirty seconds,” she said with mild disappointment. “Still too slow. Marapore would be a smoking ruin and half of you would still be in your beds. Fire Ring?”

She turned to her advisor. Slightly startled, he quickly adjusted his glasses and looked down at his report. “Yes, Ma’am, it, uh, says right here,” he said, then cleared his throat, “that the estimated time between a volcanic eruption and total destruction of the town would be less than twenty minutes.”

“Hear that, everypony? Twenty minutes. If we can’t do better, then I’m afraid we may need to move Marapore itself.”

There was a loud general murmur among the crowd.

“Mount Vehoovius isn’t gonna erupt!” one stallion cried.

“Yeah!” an older mare said. “My grandpappy lived here all his life and it never happened!”

“We can’t move the Golden Statue!” another stallion shouted.

Fire Ring spoke up, just loud enough to be heard. “Volcanos are unpredictable. It could erupt at any time. Even at night! We need to be sure everypony is safe if it does.”

More general murmurs.

“I’m aware,” the mayor said, “that moving the statue would damage it, but if Mount Vehoovius erupts, it would be destroyed anyway.”

Despite what she felt was sound reasoning, the townsponies did not seem convinced, and it wasn’t long before they shuffled back to their houses to get more sleep.

Fire Ring stared at his notes. “They’re not going to make it,” he said. “Even in the middle of the day. They’re too disorganized. We need to run more drills—”

“No,” the mayor said. “We’ve been doing this every month, and the ponies hate it. We can’t afford to damage our relationship with them by doing more. Not without evidence that the volcano may erupt soon.”

Fire Ring disagreed strongly, but he knew the mayor had made her decision, so he said nothing more. After all, she was right. There was no indication that an eruption would happen, and the mountain had been quiet for centuries.

Still, he felt a lead weight in his gut.

Scootaloo woke up sleepy-eyed from the late morning nap. She loved Marapore, but the monthly evacuation drills did not agree with her old bones. Her wings buzzed, providing a small amount of lift to help her out of bed, and she began making her morning coffee.

A picture of Apple Bloom hung from the refrigerator, and Scootaloo smiled sadly at it. She missed her days of teaching, even if retirement was overall much more relaxing. She also missed her friends despite still seeing them regularly.

The coffee helped, but early morning drills were second only to midnight ones in ruining a perfectly good morning.

Her morning walk went uninterrupted, stopping to share a moment with the Golden Statue in the town square. The history of it was fascinating to her. Daring Do had apparently saved it from thieves more than once, and its once-magical role in actively protecting the town from danger had become just a memory. It was just a symbol now.

It was a large stallion with a spear and a shield, head high and scanning the horizon. It was all one solid piece of gold, attached firmly to the ground. The plaque at the bottom simply read “Golden Statue”. Scootaloo remembered that she had laughed when she learned that was this stallion’s name.

Even deactivated and magicless, she could feel a warm aura from it. It felt like safety. It felt like home.

With a quick look around to make sure nopony was watching, she trotted up and gave Golden Statue a hug. The warm aura flowed into her, and she smiled, eyes shut tightly. “Let us,” it whispered deep in her mind.

She quickly pulled away.

“What?” she asked. But, being a statue, it didn’t move or speak.

She knew she was getting on in years, but surely senility was not hitting yet. Right?

The rest of her morning walk helped her forget the unease she felt about that moment.

A day at the spa helped, too.

The earth shook violently. The sky darkened. Ponies screamed in terror. A siren wailed. Chunks of mountain slammed into houses and hillsides, and red-hot lava spewed down behind them, raining from the sky like fireballs.

Black smoke filled the air, and Scootaloo choked on ash and heat as she fled. “Run!” she tried to say, but her throat was useless.

“Everypony for themselves!” shouted Iceberg in the distance, but it was too late for many ponies.

Scootaloo’s wings buzzed as she fought for every ounce of speed she could muster. The safe zone was still so far away, and—

Burning hot pain, then a yelp as she woke up.

Her skin was on fire. She choked and coughed, despite the air being just as clear as it ever was.

She quickly realized it was only a nightmare, even if it felt very real. A quick shake of the head later, she was ready to get up and start another day. As she leaned off the bed, her wings did nothing, and she fell flat on her face.

“Yah!” she cried, quickly collecting herself and getting up. “What the…”

Her wings were solid gold in color and shimmering in the still-dark room, splashing light against the walls.

Let us! they seemed to say.

Scared she was losing her mind, she fled the room. Her wings shone disturbingly brightly, so she tossed a blanket over herself and headed outside in a hurried walk so as not to draw attention from anypony.

Golden Statue was waiting just where he was before. Vigilant, unmoving.

“What did you do to me?” she said just loud enough that nopony else might hear. “Was that real? Was that the volcano? Mount Vehoovius?” Her wings shimmered in reply, visible beneath the blanket even in her peripheral vision.

Let us, they said again.

“Fine,” she said, worry burning a hole in her stomach, “I’ll let you. I guess.”

She made her way to the geological building and found Fire Ring.

“Fire Ring!” she said urgently, “I think it’s happening. The volcano.”

He looked up from his books. “What?”

“Look,” she said, uncovering her wings.

He shook his head. “That is indeed very odd… but what does this have to do with me?”

“I think Golden Statue is trying to warn us.”

“It could happen at any time, but the statue has no more magic, you know that.”

“I know, but—”

“If we get any significant readings, we’ll sound the alarm, but I can’t risk doing it over what might be some kind of prank or something,” he said. He looked uncomfortable, but it was clear the mayor had been firm with him about raising false alarms.

“I know it’s happening,” she said desperately.

“We can stay on high alert for today, but that’s all we can do here. Do you need some water or something? Scootaloo?”

Let us. Let us. Let us! her wings boomed in her head.

“I can’t!” she cried, earning a confused and worried look from Fire Ring.

“Maybe I should call a doctor for you—”

“No!” Scootaloo said, and she fled the building, followed by nothing but stares.

She was sweating, then, as the unheard voice repeated Let us! over and over.

“Let us? Let us what? Let us! Let us! Stop it!” Her hooves slammed into her ears, drowning out the rest of the world but it only made the voice louder.

Just then, Iceberg Lettuce walked past, humming cheerily.

The sight of her cutie mark hit Scootaloo like a brick.

“Lettuce!” she shouted.

“Wha? Oh! Hi, Scootaloo!”

“The volcano is erupting!”


“It’s erupting!”

Iceberg stopped. She stared. Then, her eyes opened widely.

“Everypony for themselves!” she shrieked.

And, off she went, wailing and shouting, causing ponies to emerge from their houses and shuffle toward the safe zone.

Scootaloo felt her wings tingle, and the color drained from them.

Fire Ring came out then, too. “No, no, no! The mayor is gonna kill me. Scootaloo, what did you do?”

“Just get everypony out of town,” she said. She had seen what would happen if they didn’t.

“Fire Ring!” a stallion shouted. “We’re getting readings from the seismic sensors. Maybe we should—”

“Sound the alarm!” Fire Ring yelled.

The safe zone, up on high ground above the valley where Marapore lay, was outside the blast radius when it happened. Fire and rock rained down on the small town, but the extra time bought by Iceberg’s panic had ensured everypony’s safety.

The mayor struggled to keep everypony calm as they saw their homes burn, but no lives were lost.

Fire Ring approached Scootaloo. “I don’t know how you did it, but you saved a lot of ponies.”

From where she stood, she could see a small golden blob, the statue of Golden Statue mostly melted into the ground.

“It was Golden Statue,” she said. “I guess there was a little bit of magic in there after all. He couldn’t save the town this time, so he saved us.”

She could feel the warm aura from the distant gold blob, but this time she knew it was just her. Golden Statue was now truly gone.