The path winding through the Whitetail Woods was wide enough to let the night sky’s light through. Tiny lights danced amongst the trees, fireflies filling the forest with their own stars. Twilight was enraptured by the sight, feeling it a welcome diversion from the lights above. Trixie was trying not to look impressed as they walked along.
Twilight tore her attention away from the fireflies to turn to Trixie. “I’m surprised you came back to Ponyville after what happened back then.”
Trixie turned her nose up as she walked. “If a pony can’t come back to any given town after a small setback like that, she has no place in showbusiness. It is simply a question of tailoring the story to the audience.”
A meek voice called out in front of them, “Wait.”
Trixie continued to fill the air with her voice, “Of course, no magician worth her salt can do the same tricks forever. So I put my tour on hold to hone my magic. I found the most phenomenal mentor, and learned how to handle some truly powerful magic.”
Twilight was intrigued. “Oh? I never took you for the studious type.”
“Oh, please wait,” the quiet voice insisted.
“You clearly have no idea how much preparation and research goes into one of my shows. The fireworks alone take weeks to set up properly without lighting the wagon on fire, or causing it all to explode under your hooves while on stage.”
“Ah, I was wondering why you never came back to recover the wreckage after the Ursa stepped on it. You clearly have a lot of experience in the demolished-wagons department.” Trixie only snorted in response. Twilight smirked. “Especially considering a couple of books I found cleaning up the mess that was left there.”
Trixie’s eyes went wide. “You didn’t!” a nod confirmed her fears. “You did! Aaaugh, if ponies find out about that it’d be worse than them finding out about that stupid Ursa story!”
The meek voice lamented, “Oh, I’m never going to get their attention at this rate. Wait...”
“Oh, don’t worry, those books are safely stowed away in my library.”
“Fine, what’s your price? The Great and Powerful Trixie knows blackmail when she hears it.”
Twilight smiled, more genuinely than before. “Just think of it as an incentive to be on your best behavior while in Ponyville.”
“Unseasonable Butterfly Storm!” the voice squeaked.
A great swarm of butterflies descended upon the two unicorns. They found themselves swept up in the insects’ frantic flapping, scooping them up and carrying them off. Trixie lay back and allowed herself to be carried along, grateful for the opportunity to rest her hooves.
Twilight was ecstatic, completely forgetting her previous conversation. “Oh wow, I’ve never seen so many butterflies at once! I wish I had brought my entomology texts, I could identify all these different species! Or a net, so I could give them to Owloysius and we could start a museum! Hm, but we couldn’t have a museum with just bugs. We’d need fossils and paintings and - Oh! We could have fish! I had been thinking about starting an aquarium.” Twilight turned her head to Trixie. “What do you think we should put in a museum?”
Trixie had her hat tilted over her eyes as she responded, “Statues. I hear there’s a cockatrice in the Everfree that would be happy to help you with that.”
Twilight shuddered at the suggestion. Changing the topic, she asked, “So, can you show me some of that ‘truly powerful magic’ you were talking about?”
“Hmph, I thought you’d never ask. Very well, you shall be the first to receive the Great and Powerful Trixie’s lesson on how to Spark.” Her horn shone briefly, dispersing the butterflies as Trixie gracefully landed on the ground. Twilight was less lucky and landed on her back.
Trixie planted all four hooves on the ground, an aura enveloping her horn. Trixie lowered her head, pointing the glow down the path into the forest.
"Concentrate your mind,
Mutter the spell tenderly,
Take aim at someone you don’t like,
And unleash your annihilation of love!"
Trixie’s eyes glowed a brilliant white, only barely eclipsed by the light given off by her horn, which started to hum with power. Her cloak and hat billowed dramatically as Trixie’s voice rang out.
“Love Sign: Master Spark!” The white light suddenly flared and shot off, engulfing the section of forest in front of Trixie. The hum of magic was overwhelming, but Twilight thought she could hear a faint screaming above it.
The magic faded, and Twilight’s eyes took some time to readjust to the darkness. She could see where the path curved but the spell continued on, carving its straight path through the forest, flattening the tall grass and gouging out the bark of trees the spell glanced off of. Twilight’s jaw dropped open.
Trixie beamed with pride. “For a pony like the Great and Powerful Trixie, a laser”-she gestured at her handiwork-“is not difficult.” She strutted forward down the path, past the shell-shocked Twilight.
Twilight shook her head, and started to hurry after her. She tripped on something and fell, tumbling to the ground. Looking back, she saw a yellow pile of disheveled fur and feathers, with a pink mane and tail sticking out. The pile whimpered, “ow.”
“Oh, hey, Fluttershy! I didn’t see you there.” Twilight nudged her friend with her nose. “Are you all right?”
“Um, I’ll be fine, I think. I’m just going to lay here a while, if that’s okay with you.”
“Okay, if you say so.” Trixie was almost out of sight around a bend in the path. Twilight galloped off after her.