Author's note: Thanks again to FredMSloniker for his patient proofreading and editting of my horrible mistakes, and also for teaching me some proper use of comma in English (among other details I never grasped before). Chapter 1 has been editted again by the way, it should be a smoother reading experience.
Moondancer took a moment to survey the office, running her pale blue eyes all over the room. A comfortable cushion in a dark midnight blue color sat on each side of the representative's desk. Just behind the desk was a small low cabinet that was open partially, revealing a box of fresh scrolls and a couple of ink bottles. The cabinet itself was plain, smooth pale wood and had probably arrived to the residency packed flat with a sheet of incomprehensible instructions. In one corner stood a coat rack made from a dead tree painted black; on one stubby branch hung Trixie's star studded cape and hat , while Moondancer's own white fedora hung on another. When Moondancer had last visited the residency, the pegasi were forming a cloud cover for a light spring shower, but today the sky was clear and the sun could glare menacingly down at Equestria unhindered. It was no time to go around without a hat.
Against one wall stood a short bookcase, clearly an older piece of furniture donated by some local artisan long ago, filled mostly with law books and registries of some kind and framed on each side by a metal filing cabinet with drawers labeled with letters. Only two books on the shelves stood out from the impersonal mass: a worn out copy of Don Rocinante of Equestria and a much more recently purchased book on transmogrification magic.On the very top of the bookcase, at eye level, was a series of knickknacks: a model street car from Neigh Orleans, a deck of playing cards, a small portrait of a younger Trixie with Princess Luna, an empty bottle of some exotic liquor, another small portrait of Trixie with Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, a stack of business cards (including one for a candy store), a trio of brass cups stacked on top of one another, yet another portrait of a young Trixie, standing proudly at the forefront of a litteral rainbow of children of all tribes and of various ages being looked over by a dark blue unicorn mare and an orange pegasus stallion, a deer-made black stone walrus sculpture, and finally a fourth portrait, this time showing Trixie with the other Elements of Harmony and Princess Luna.
Those portraits were expected; what wasn't was the large one hanging on the wall behind the desk. It depicted a young, bare-flank, Trixie with an older earth pony stallion who appeared to have the same cutie mark Trixie now sported. On the ground beside the supply cabinet, leaning against the wall, was a large framed map of Ponyville. Moondancer deduced that the large portrait had taken the place of the map only recently. She went over and, with the soft touch of her telekinesis, moved the portrait aside to reveal the wall safe underneath. She smirked.
Moondancer quickly dropped the portrait back in place and turned to face the open doorway leading into the hallway when she heard the sound of Trixie's voice calling her to the basement. The voice had obviously been a ghost sound spell, because Moondancer had heard her clearly but Trixie didn't sound like she was yelling at all.
In the dusty basement that seemed to serve as storage space for unused residency equipment, Trixie led Moondancer to a small desk she had uncovered. Moondancer had to briefly wonder what official function necessitated a carton of rubber duckies as she side-stepped the opened box. The desk wasn't much, two drawers and a small working surface with a groove to put an inkwell in, and it had obviously seen better days.
"Phew... it's a bit dusty but I think it'll do until I can do another request for new furniture," said Trixie.
"I know that form; I had to send a request for new shelving units back in Baltimare, I know how to trick them into processing it faster," said Moondancer, coming closer to her new boss.
"Good! I'll go fetch some cleaning supply and you bring this up to the office. I'll be waiting," said the Element of Magic, trotting back upstairs. "Try not to scrape the wall; the paint is new."
Moondancer wiped her brow of sweat with a handkerchief. The desk had proven a lot heavier than it looked, and the tight corner at the top of the stairs leading to the basement had proven tricky to navigate. By the time she had gotten to the office, Trixie was calmly munching on a carrot, looking over some scroll. Without looking up from her reading she pointed a hoof to a rag and a bucket of hot water in the corner of the room. The smell of pine-scented cleaner wafted through the air, tickling Moondancer's nostrils.
"All you need to make that desk sparkle like new!" Trixie said.
Moondancer rolled her eyes but went to work wordlessly. She quickly finished with the top of the desk and was about to move to the interior of the drawers when she realized one of the two drawers was incredibly hard to open. After first trying with her hooves she decided to use her telekinesis.
"Wha...Why is there a pair of dumbells in there?!" she asked no one in particular, indignation in her voice.
The rest of the morning went by relatively quietly, with Trixie showing Moondancer the reports to file when someone petitioned the Representative officially, the way to officially transmit a Royal Edict to the town council and mayor's office, where to find the supplies, including a large stack of unfolded boxes for the weekly shipment of paperwork to Canterlot. Finally they moved to a series of forms related to the weather patrol.
"Why are the weather-patrol-related report filled under 'R' rather than 'W'?" inquired Moondancer.
"Not all of them are under 'R', but so far this month I've yet to do any paperwork not related to Rainbow Dash," said Trixie, obviously annoyed.
"Rainbow Dash?" asked Moondancer.
"Rainbow Dash," repeated Trixie, nodding.
"Who's Rainbow Dash?"
"Oh right...new in town. She's the weather manager. She skips out on her work all the time! I swear someday it feels like she's doing it just so I have more work to do. Problem is she's still really really good at her work and nothing is ever late. Normally this sort of filing would fall on members of her team, but the Ponyville Weather patrol is too small to have a dedicated administration department, effectively making me the pony ressource manager for the weather patrol. I learned that the hard way when I ended up having to send the apology letter for our late Winter Wrap-Up. I'm not sure what was bigger, the pile of paperwork I had to do after that or the pile of snow that needed to be melted. So I'm the one who has to notify the Equestrian Weather Services whenever Rainbow Dash is too lazy to come in to work, because they might dock her pay for those day off." Trixie shook her head and walked back to the cushion by her desk "At first I would do one report each day, but then I realized I was just giving myself too much work, so I just wait until the end of the week, count the number of days she wasn't there, and just pretend she took all those days in a row. It's simpler that way."
The other pony nodded in understanding. "Okay... anything else we didn't cover?"
"There's a bunch of disaster related forms I'm supposed to know... emergency relief fund request, that sort of thing... but nothing ever happens in Ponyville, so I don't think either of us needs to know about those. The information about those is in the red book in the bookcase anyway," Said Trixie, waving in the direction of said red book.
Moondancer nodded. “Nothing else?"
"Oh right... the third drawer on my desk holds my personal correspondence with Princess Luna, so that drawer is off limits, but the rest is just boring work stuff so no problem there. Also, don't touch my Don Rocinante book; its really precious to me."
"As you wish Representative."
Moondancer took a quick glance at the old book, then back to the portrait of Trixie with the earth pony, and finally down at the large dark wood desk. The corner of her mouth twitched, threatening to break into a sneer.
The two of them worked in silence for a little while, Trixie completing a few forms and her new assistant putting them away in the respective folders. Moondancer also completed the request form needed to either get a new desk or the budget to acquire it. The clock sounded off midday with a glum toll of its chime.
The blue unicorn looked up from her work. "Time for lunch! Would you like a dandelion sandwich?"
"Oh, that would be wonderful; I forgot to pack a lunch," said Moondancer.
"Good! There's some bread and dandelion leaves in the kitchen, go fix us up a sandwich each. Oh, and put some sliced sweet potato in mine with...some Dijon and ketchup. Lots of ketchup. Oh, and a pickle if there is any left. Feel free to put whatever you want in yours," said Trixie.
Moondancer felt like she was growing green around the gills. What kind of recipe was that? She headed toward the kitchen before her new boss could add some other bizarre ingredient to her sandwich.
"Call me when it’s ready. Feel free to boil some tea or something," added Trixie, the subtext that she wanted tea with her lunch being plain as day.
Moondancer grumbled but didn't let any of it show when she replied with an enthusiastic, "Yes ma'am!"
Darkness had fallen over Ponyville hours ago, and everypony was sleeping soundly, feeling safe within the calm embrace of Luna's night. In the crisp spring night, the moon hung silently in the sky, full and beautiful, like a jewel on a star-studded curtain of silk.
The lock of the backdoor of the official residency opened with the softest of clicks. Being mindful of any creaking noise, a unicorn mare wearing a midnight blue cat suit and mask entered. The only thing discernable besides the ice-cold eyes of the intruder was her white horn poking from a hole in the facemask. A dark green sash was wrapped around her midsection, holding the fabric of the cat suit tightly against her body. With nary a sound, the pony made her way into the office and surveyed the room. On the smaller desk was a neat pile of paper, an inkwell with a quill, and carefully aligned pencils, while the bigger desk had two messily assembled pile of paper, an empty glass, and a bottle of bourbon. The moonlight was flooding the room with its soft glow, so the unicorn had no trouble making her way toward the bookcase, avoiding the deck of card that had been, somehow, strewn around the room.
Without using her magic the intruder took the worn book in her hooves and started to flip through the pages. There was a bunch of scribbles, notes, and drawings in the margin; comments about words, a blue unicorn filly added to pictures present in this edition, and someone had taken a blue pencil to underline the phrase 'the great and powerful' with a few bold lines. But that was all the book revealed.
"The Great and Powerful Trrrrrixie!!!" At the sound of the ridiculously loud voice, the masked unicorn jumped high in the air and dropped the book. She landed, eyes frantically moving from doorway to doorway while she stood in a martial arts stance.
The unicorn tried to stop panting. The sound of a fanfare came from the second story of the building.
"For her next trick … a volunteer … banana … Princess Trrrrixie … Mystery! … Magic and … My assistant, Mister Bourbon …Friendship!" said a voice, coming from upstairs, rising and falling constantly in volume.
The unicorn's eye bulged when she realize that this was Trixie's voice. Not only was Trixie speaking in her sleep, she was sleep casting! A few sparks of light coming down the staircase showed that Trixie was also casting illusions in her sleep. The unicorn took the book back into her hooves and placed it back on the shelf before making her way back toward the door.
"Embrassez moi, Monsieur Bourbon!" shouted Trixie as the mysterious unicorn closed the door.
"Wait...what are you doing?!" asked Moondancer, staring at her boss "This is blasphemy! An affront to nature! You can't possibly be doing this!"
"What are you talking about?" said the Element of Magic, pouring chocolate-flavoured soy milk into her coffee.
The other unicorn looked aghast. "You didn't even taste the coffee! And you're putting chocolate soy milk in it! You'll drown out all the subtle nutty undertones and the dark arabica notes!"
"I like soy milk in my coffee," said Trixie, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah, well, for some reason I can't find strawberry-flavoured soy milk in Ponyville. It's like someone buys it all before I ever get to the store. My bet is Pinkie Pie," said Trixie, glaring in the general direction of Sugarcube Corner.
"Straw...strawberry soy milk...in coffee?!"
Trixie shrugged and brought a jar from the kitchen counter over to her.
The white unicorn's sky-blue eyes grew to the size of dinner plates. "And you're adding honey?!"
The weather so far that day had been quite lovely, and the two mares had decided to leave the front door open to let the fresh air of spring come into the residency. A friendly orange-topped head poked into the doorway.
"Hi, Trixie! Ready for our appointment at the spa?" asked Carrot Top.
"Sure thing! Wait for me outside; I'll be there in a minute!" said Trixie.
She levitated a stack of paper about an inch thick over to Moondancer's desk as she got up from her seated position. "Here, darling, take care of these for me. I'll be back in an hour. I have a... meeting on agricultural policy to attend to."
Moondancer stared blankly at her employer. "Agricultural policy...at the spa?"
"Why yes, it's all the rage in Canterlot. Everypony who's anypony has meetings at the spa!" declared Trixie, putting her cape and hat on.
"Wait! I don't even know what to put on those!" called the white unicorn as the star studded representative disappeared down the hallway.
"Just put whatever you think sounds good; nopony ever double-checks those! As long as it’s plausible, it'll be good."
"Moondancer!" called Trixie, calling her assistant back from the kitchen "What is this pile of horse apples?!" she said, pointing her hoof at the paper levitating next to her.
"The report you told me to file while you went to your meeting?" caid Moondancer, in a voice that surprisingly betrayed no sarcasm of any kind.
"It's random mumbo-jumbo and the penmareship is horrible! Do you want to make me look like an incompetent? Do it again!" she said slamming the pile of paper back on the desk.
"Moondancer! We're out of toilet paper; run to the store to buy me some!"
The door to the small apartment flew open with a blast of lilac magic and a bang. An angry looking white unicorn with a red mane walked in, gritting her teeth. She slammed the door closed again before heading for the bedroom, mumbling threats of dismemberment aimed at a certain Representative of the Night Court.
As she went from the shadow to the brightly lit area created by the window, her mane changed color to a soft lavender and suddenly deflated, while her cutie mark no longer showed the crescent moon surrounded by stars but only a black envelope. She stopped in front of the ornate mirror standing on her dresser and concentrated magic into her horn. Her image in the mirror started to melt away as a new image appear, that of a shadowed room where a unicorn stallion stood in shadow, his face impossible to make out.
"Have you uncovered anything?" said the stallion with an obviously disguised voice.
The modulation spell couldn't hide the prim and proper Canterlot accent.
"Yes, that the personal student of Princess Luna is an insufferable little witch!" growled the pony known as Moondancer.
The sound of a hoof hitting a wooden surface was heard. "This is no time for your petty concerns! You know what I mean! Did you find any leverage?"
The mare shook her head. "My first intrusion didn't reveal anything. I'll go back tonight to check my second lead, this one might be a little trickier but I doubt she'll notice anything is amiss. I will not fail you my lord."
"You would do well to remember that you cannot afford to fail me. Lest you want your tainted lineage be brought to light," said the stallion.
"The money you are paying me is motivation enough. Besides, I doubt you could really prove anything." said the mare.
"Don't underestimate me Zizanie. I have more resources at my disposition than you realize."
The mare's eyes narrowed. "And don't you underestimate me, dear Viscount Blueblood."
The stallion in the mirror visibly stiffened, much to Zizanie's delight. "Or maybe your title is too formal? Would you prefer I address you by your first name, Prince? Or perhaps a nickname? How do you like the sound of ‘Bluey’? Come now, you did not expect me to just take your fancy mirror without finding out where it came from, did you?"
The reply came, full of scorn and hatred. "You know nothing, Discordian scum!"
Without further niceties the magical connection was cut, and Zizanie was left fuming.
"Canterlot swine! Arrogant foals, all of them!" she said, pulling a midnight blue cat suit from under her bed.