Deep within the Canterlot market, countless wooden stalls had been set up, each selling the most weird and wonderful goods known to pony-kind.
It was for this exact reason that the one and only- the greatest and most powerful unicorn in the entirety of Equestria, was perusing it's offerings. Trixie, for who else could claim this title, strode imperiously down a row of stalls, eyeing each one with disdain. Her purple cape glittered in the mid-morning sun and her similarly styled hat kept said sun out of her eyes. Trixie thought it was awfully inconsiderate of Celestia to have her sun as bright as it is. The ponies need to see her equally radiant face, yet the darn sun forced her to keep it partially hidden under a hat.
Regardless of how stylish the hat was, it was nothing compared to the face of Trixie.
Trixie pushed her way past lowly Canterlot natives and instead of apologising for daring to get in her way, they voiced annoyance at her. Did they not know who stood before them?
“Who do you think you are!?” one shouted, an insolent grey earth pony who had no business browsing arcane curios.
Trixie merely laughed, “If you are not aware of Trixie then you're as ignorant as you are stupid.” Without another word, Trixie turned and continued on, a stunned crowd in her wake. “Yes, I have that effect on ponies.”
A nearby merchant cleared his throat, causing Trixie to look around. “Trixie does not dispense lozenges, seek your own remedies.”
The merchant smiled, he was an orange unicorn with heavy wrappings around his head and neck, a grey mane could be seen poking through the wrappings. “Surely one as obviously powerful as yourself would be interested in my wares.” It was a statement, not a question.
Trixie was visibly pleased by this. “Why yes, I am powerful, I am also great, for I am Trixie. As if you didn't already know.” She laughed disarmingly.
“Of course madam, I have various magical artefacts that I'm sure one as intelligent as yourself would be able to decipher.”
“Finally, somepony in this town who appreciates the truth when they see it, jealousy is not a good look for ponies.”
The orange unicorn smiled once more. “I am bound by the Merchant's Code to tell the truth.”
Trixie saw fit to browse the merchant's goods. Trixie is so good to her fans, almost too kind. It was a weakness of hers, she loved too much. “What is this, merchant?” Trixie indicated a sealed scroll in its own glass casing.
“You have exquisite tastes madam,” The merchant said, causing Trixie to smirk. “This is a powerful spell, a spell that will make the caster loved throughout Equestria.”
Trixie yawned. “Trixie is already loved throughout Equestria, I have no need for such a spell.”
The merchant faltered, but quickly recovered. “Yes, of course madam, but even genius has its critics. Some ponies are just too blinded by ignorance to see true brilliance, they cannot accept their own failings in the face of perfection.”
Trixie sighed theatrically. “I believe you may speak the truth, merchant. Of course you do, you are bound to speak only the truth. I'll take that spell, merchant, if only to open the eyes of the non-believers, like that wretched earth pony from earlier. How much?”
The merchants smile was his biggest yet. “For you, O' Trixie? It is my gift to you, for granting your presence to me.”
“Trixie appreciates your candour, merchant.” She grabbed the scroll from its casing and flashed a triumphant smile to the unicorn before going on her merry way.
The merchant laughed a maniacal laugh, his job here was done.
With a bang, the market stall disappeared, its unicorn owner along with it.
When Trixie first arrived in Canterlot, her first priority was to find a place to stay for the night, somewhere deserving to host a pony such as Trixie. She deserved the best after all, especially when it came to where she would sleep. When she pulled out her pouch of bits however, she noticed that it was considerably lighter than it should to be.
Surely, she rationalised, some scoundrel of a pony had stolen from her during one of her enrapturing performances. Someone as successful and fiscally responsible as Trixie always had enough for suitable lodgings. This time, she had settled for a more... humble abode. Trixie was currently sat in her room, staring at the scroll in front of her with a mixture of joy and scepticism.
'If this spell makes everypony love the caster, why hadn't the merchant used it? Surely it would have allowed him to get a less degrading job. More likely that he just didn't have the spectacular talents of The Great and Powerful Trixie!'
Using her magic, Trixie unfurled the scroll, laying it down flat on a desk the room provided.
The scroll contained several ancient sigils and a few choice words of arcane power, simple enough for a worldly mare like Trixie. She took a few moments to memorize the contents and began pouring her magic into the sigils. Trixie could feel her magic flowing into the scroll just as fast as she could provide it, it seemed almost hungry. Trixie could feel the toll it was having on her body, but was determined to see it through.
The scroll began glowing with a strange purple light that filled the entire room, Trixie closed her eyes, but it was still painful. Trixie could see why lesser unicorns would have trouble activating the spell, it was taking all of her immense power to merely unlock the damn thing.
After a gruelling battle with the scroll, Trixie finished with a rather undignified grunt of exertion. She almost fainted right then, but managed to catch herself at the last moment and shook herself to stay conscious. With the spell now firmly in her grasp, the scroll's magic turned upon itself, ripping into pieces before bursting into flames. Trixie gasped and began putting it out with her hat, smothering the flames before they could do any damage to her room.
“Okay then,” Trixie announced to herself, breathing heavily, “let's see if this spell really works.” With a surge of power, the purple glow from the scroll was reflected in her horn, the arcane corona growing to an immense pillar of pure magic before exploding, sending a wave beyond her tiny hotel bedroom.
With a groan, Trixie finally collapsed, the exertion catching up to her.
When Trixie awoke, a homely earth pony stood over her, she had a worried look on her plain face.
“Guh?” Trixie struggled to say, her eyes didn't seem to want to open and her limbs didn't want to move.
“Are you well, O' Great One?” the earth pony asked.
Trixie struggled to get onto her hooves and ended up just sitting on her rump, staring into the earth pony's fearful eyes. “Trixie does not need your help, she is perfectly able to function on her own!”
The yellow earth pony backed away. “I'm sorry, Great One, I shan't intrude again.” She bowed her head and walked slowly out of the room.
It took Trixie a few seconds to figure out what had just happened, an earth pony had entered her room to see if she was okay and upon finding out that she was, referred to her as 'great one'. A devious smile broke out on her face. “It worked!” Trixie got onto all fours and took a glance outside the bedroom door. A small crowd had gathered, all surreptitiously trying to peek into her room. Trixie flung the door open with her magic and a roar of applause sounded from the crowd.
“THIS is what Trixie deserves,” she said to herself.
The crowd was whooping and cheering, “We love you Trixie!”
“Show us your powerful magic!”
“I want your foals!”
All Trixie heard was the applause, the individual voices were drowned out by her own ego as she took in all the praise and adoration she could. “Now, my wonderful fans, Trixie must leave you for the time being! There is urgent business Trixie must attend to.”
The crowd was visibly disappointed, but accepted her decision, she was perfect after all. Who were they to argue with perfection?
Trixie had never had this much fun, adoration poured in from every direction as she walked the streets of Canterlot. Trixie thanked her loving audience but waved back the gathering crowd, she didn't want an entourage when she arrived at her destination.
It was a simple idea, just crazy enough to work. Trixie had thought of it when she realised that the spell wasn't a dud. Step one of Trixie's grand plan was to make her way to the castle. Step two was to gain an audience with the princess. Step three would only be put into action once she was sure it would work, Trixie did not like the idea of spending her best years on the moon.
Her fans were all too eager to point Trixie in the right direction. Following a young mare down a suburban street, Trixie happened across a rolling field cut in two by a concrete path. At the end of the path was a drawbridge that lead to the castle, home of Princess Celestia herself.
Trixie laughed and several ponies nearby laughed as well.
“You're as funny as you are beautiful Great Trixie.”
“Regale us with an epic tale, O' Trixie.”
“Trixie demands solitude!” And of course she got it, ponies scampered out of her way, looking pleased as punch to do so. Trixie walked calmly down the concrete path, gazing at the boorish sculptures and tatty topiaries. “The Princess seriously abides this amateur landscaping? It's a wonder anypony actually respects her.”
Before long Trixie ran out of things to sneer at, and then there was the problem of drawbridge being up, barring her entry. Luckily an adoring fan was by the entrance, performing his guarding duties admirably. “Oh guard, Trixie demands entrance to the castle.”
The guard began to shake. “I... erm... the Princess said not to let anypony in today. Royal business.” Trixie could see how her mere presence was causing the poor stallion to question his loyalty to the Princess.
“But surely you know that Trixie is not just anypony. I am Trixie, the Great, the Powerful, the most fabulous show pony to ever grace the lands of Equestria. Surely somepony of Trixie's obvious talents should be allowed entrance. Surely my immense intellect would certainly lend a hoof in such royal affairs.”
The guard hesitated a moment before his face fell. “You're right, of course you are, Trixie is always right. I'll lower the bridge O' Great Trixie.” The guard spread his wings and took off, flying to the top of the battlements to activate the bridge lowering mechanism.
Trixie smiled to herself. “O' Trixie, it was surely unfair for you to be born with such charisma.”
The bridge lowered and affixed itself in place, allowing Trixie to trot happily into the grand foyer. Once again, the decoration was not to Trixie's refined tastes. “So gaudy, the populace are supposed to look up to these ponies?”
Trixie locked eyes with another guard, dressed in the same style as earlier. “You there, guard, direct me to the Princess.” It took the guard a few seconds to realise something was wrong, but once he did, he immediately rushed over to the unicorn. “Y-You're not supposed to be here!”
Trixie merely raised an eyebrow, as if to say “Really?”
The guard quaked in his golden boots. “I'm sorry, Great One. Of course you can come in, I'll show you to the throne room.” He bowed low then began a cautious trot up the main staircase. Trixie followed closely behind, feeling the soft carpet underneath her hooves, she could get used to carpet like this after her months of travelling.
Reaching the top of the staircase, Trixie and the guard stood before a massive ornate door that radiated power. The guard coughed twice and pushed it open, revealing a large room with a vaulted ceiling, pillars surely straining to hold up the roof. Two pairs of very important eyes looked towards the door where Trixie was framed majestically.
“My stars!” It was the smaller of the two, her surprise more out of gladness than anger.
The older of the two, a pony more glamorous than her castle suggested, stood and regarded the intrusion with mild annoyance.
Trixie almost dropped her plan right there, under Celestia's stern gaze.
“I asked for no intrusions. What is the meaning of this?” the white alicorn asked, wings spread wide intimidatingly, flowing pastel hair shining deceptively in the non-existent breeze.
The guard coughed once more, probably getting ready to apologise, but he was cut off by another voice.
“Sister! Do you not know who that is?” the midnight blue alicorn spoke up defensively.
Celestia looked momentarily stunned. “And you do, Luna?”
“She's only the greatest and most powerful unicorn to ever set foot in Equestria!”
Celestia strained her eyes but soon relaxed them and allowed herself a small chuckle. “Oh dear, my eyes aren't as young as they used to be. Join us Trixie, your talents will surely come in handy.” Celestia smiled in a motherly fashion and beckoned the magician over.
Trixie sighed in relief. The unicorn would never admit it and would actively deny it if you asked, but she was worried for a moment there.
“Thank you Princess. I wanted an audience with you pertaining to matters important to Equestria.” Trixie began walking down the plush carpet towards the throne, approaching the two alicorns cautiously.
“Important to Equestria? Whatever do you mean Trixie?” Celestia asked, looking momentarily worried. She cast her eyes to her sister, who looked back with an equally worried look.
“What can be worse than-” Luna began, stopping when Trixie interrupted her.
“Darling, I'm talking to the Princess.”
Trixie gave her an imperious glare. “These matters do not concern you.”
Celestia rolled her eyes. “Luna has as much say as I in these matters, she is my sister and co-ruler after all.”
“Not in my eyes! Lazing about on the moon like the wastrel she is. Can she honestly expect to be treated as an equal ruler by ponies whose great-grandfathers didn't even know whether she existed or not? Most ponies still believe she's an old mares tale.”
The white alicorn raised a regal eyebrow. “Trixie raises a valid point Luna, have you really earned your leadership role?” Celestia regarded her sister warily. “Maybe I should take responsibility over the moon again, at least until you've proven yourself.”
“A wise decision, Princess.” Trixie nodded, wearing a smug grin.
Luna spluttered hopelessly, trying to think of some words that would keep the moon under her purview.
“Princess, if I may?” Trixie asked, a look of mock respect on her face.
Celestia's motherly smile returned. “Of course Trixie.”
Trixie regarded Luna, giving her a quick once over. “Luna, you have to respect the wishes of your older and much wiser sister. She is only looking out for your best interests after all.”
“I couldn't have said it better myself.” Celestia nodded appreciatively towards Trixie. “We only want you to be accepted by the ponies of Equestria, travel the land if you have to, meet the ponies and help where possible. Soon they will come to accept you as our leader, maybe then I'll let you control the moon again.”
Luna looked sad, but she also had a small smile on her lips. “If both you and Trixie believe it's what I should do.” She looked up at Trixie, who nodded agreement. “Then that's what I'll do.”
The midnight blue alicorn got up and gave Celestia a hug. “I'll make you proud sister.” With a polite bow to Trixie, Luna cantered out of the throne room.
Trixie waited for a few moments to let Celestia compose herself. She could understand the Princess' pain to a degree, she had already been forced to say goodbye to her sister once and now she was doing it again after so little time together. At least this time it's not going to be for a thousand years.
“Now that she's out of our manes, how about we continue our discussion?” Trixie walked over and took Luna's place by the throne, she put on her most serious voice. “Now Princess, there's a predicament Trixie finds herself in. I am of course talented, intelligent, beautiful and a vast array of other adjectives, but I find myself with only meagre lodgings. How I ask you, is that fair? Surely a pony of my considerable skill deserves an equally considerable place to call home.”
Celestia nodded. “I have to agree with you, but there is only so much one mare can do, even if she is the Princess.”
“Exactly!” Trixie emphasised her displeasure with a wild swing of her front hooves. “So Trixie thought to herself, why not live at the castle? It's opulence is matched only by it's grandeur, a fitting place for one such as Trixie.”
“Again, I have to agree with you,” Celestia sighed knowingly, “Canterlot just isn't equipped to deal with ponies like you, for that I formally apologise. It would be my honour to house The Great and Powerful Trixie. Now that Luna is finding her own way in the world, I'll need someone to keep me company anyway.” She winked playfully.
“Oh, speaking of company.” Celestia whipped her head around, facing a door in the back corner of the room. “Twilight are you there?”
The door opened and a familiar lavender head appeared. “Yes Princess? Oh, we have a guest.”
Celestia chuckled. “Yes, as you've noticed, we have a guest. None other than The Great and Powerful Trixie, aren't we lucky, my faithful student?”
Twilight Sparkle, personal protégée to Princess Celestia herself, fully entered the throne room and made her way over. “Very lucky indeed.”
Trixie had to keep her emotions in check, the charlatan, the despicable figure of all that is wrong with the world that haunts her dreams, the loathsome scab is the Princess' Protégée? How could such injustice be allowed?
“Sparkle,” Trixie said in greeting, she needed to choose her words for fear of blurting out her true feelings, something Trixie didn't trust the Princess to forgive. “Very nice to meet you again.”
Celestia raised an eyebrow. “Again? You've met before?”
“Oh yes, Princess,” Twilight answered, smiling. “Although I feel that I owe you an apology for my behaviour that night, Trixie, I acted dreadfully. For me to assume that you couldn't handle the situation, and for me to take it into my own hooves, was a silly thing to do. I fear I may have stolen the credit for saving Ponyville that day. So for that, I apologise.”
Celestia regarded her student with pride. “One of your wonderful lessons in friendship I presume?”
Twilight merely smiled gleefully and nodded.
“As long as you know that you were wrong and that Trixie was right, that settles that.” Trixie was taken aback, a simple apology and she felt all of the built up hatred slowly melting away.
Celestia stood and stretched her wings wide, straining before folding them back. “I've invited Trixie to stay here. She'll be our guest so I'd like you to make sure she's as comfortable as possible. Luna's room should do.”
Twilight nodded. “I saw Luna just a few minutes ago, she said that she's leaving on a trip.”
“Trixie here, in her infinite wisdom, advised her to get to know the ponies that inhabit our lands, to gain their trust and to cement herself as a true Equestrian leader. She won't be back for a while so her room is free.”
“Of course Princess, I'll show Trixie there immediately.” Twilight turned to Trixie and flashed her a well meaning smile. “Follow me.”
Luna's room was magnificent.
“How?” Trixie asked, taking it in. “How do you become resentful about what common ponies think when you have this to come home to every night?”
Twilight giggled at Trixie's dumbfounded look. “Luna did enjoy the solitude in her room, when I'm around the castle it's sometimes hard to get her out. I have no idea what she's like when I'm back in Ponyville.”
To put it simply, Luna's room was perfect. The decoration was exactly to Trixie's tastes, the bed was a massive four poster affair, the carpet beneath her hooves was so plush she would happily sleep on it if the bed wasn't there. “This is mine for the duration of my stay?”
“Of course.” Twilight beamed with pleasure. “If Celestia says it's yours for the time being, then I'm not going to disagree with her. I think it would be great if you stayed.”
Trixie raised an eyebrow. “Oh you do? You do not wish to humiliate The Great and Powerful Trixie any more than you already have?”
Twilight backed away, looking slightly fearful. “Of c-course not!” she stammered, “my wish is only that you are happy.”
“Really?” Trixie took a few steps towards the lavender unicorn, forcing her backwards. Twilight back-pedalled until her flank hit something hard, causing her to topple onto the softness of Luna's bed.
“Comfy?” Trixie taunted playfully.
The lavender mare merely sighed contently. “Yes, very.”
Trixie gasped. “You're enjoying Trixie's bed before Trixie herself has had a chance to try it? Is this how rudely you treat all of your guests?”
“It was an accident, I assure you!” Twilight scrambled to her hooves and made a move to get up, but Trixie stopped her, choosing to climb onto the bed herself.
“And thus Trixie finally discovers a bed worthy of her.” She sank into the impossibly soft, downy mattress and echoed Twilight's contented sigh. “How is such a bed possible, Sparkle?”
The unicorn in question rolled over to face Trixie. “Luna once told me that it is made entirely from her own wing feathers. When the princess' wings moult, they collect the feathers and use them for their beds, it takes a long time to collect enough, but luckily the Princesses are immortal and have feathers that grow back rather quickly.”
“It's almost unfair how soft this bed is. Would you care to join me for a while? I'm sure you don't get this opportunity very often and Trixie feels that there are some things too good to keep to oneself.” Trixie had remained in her prone position on the bed, not daring to move for fear of ruining the comfort.
“I'd love that, Trixie.” Twilight blushed madly.
Trixie sighed again. “This has been a humbling experience, I feel there is something I could learn from this bed... but perhaps-” Trixie yawned. “Perhaps after a short nap.”
The Tired and Comfortable Trixie's eyes closed and the gentle sound of her snoozing filled the room. Not long after, the similar snoozing sounds of Twilight Sparkle joined it.
Trixie awoke in pretty much the exact position she had fallen asleep in, the azure unicorn saw this as a testament to her dedication to the pursuit of absolute comfort.
One thing that had changed since she had fallen asleep however, were the hooves draped across her chest and the muzzle pressed into her mane. More specifically, a lavender muzzle and hooves. Trixie knew that she had to be careful, she wanted to get up, but she didn't want to wake Twilight Sparkle. To be rudely awoken on this bed especially, not even Trixie would dare. Carefully, Trixie grabbed Twilight in a hugging motion and slowly rolled her over so she was on her back, then she carefully rolled herself back over to her side.
Trixie rolled off of the bed, it's comfortable magnetism tried to pull her back, but Trixie had things to do, plans to plan and a balcony to explore. One thing she had overlooked on her first scan of the bedroom, was the arched window that housed a glass door leading out to the rather large balcony. The sun was low in the sky, but it was the sound of early morning that filled Trixie's ears. “Have I been asleep all night?”
When she looked around from her vantage point on the balcony, Trixie could see the tiny ants setting up stalls in the market and the gathering of ponies getting ready for a long day of work. Trixie yawned and shook the sleep from her eyes. “Well, it was a very comfortable bed.”
“Yes it was, probably the best nights sleep I've ever gotten.”
Trixie jumped, she hadn't expected Twilight to wake so soon.
The lavender unicorn apparently noticed. “Oh, did I scare you? I'm sorry.”
“No, Trixie was merely startled. I thought that I had done a fairly good job of my hug and roll technique.”
Twilight giggled at Trixie's behaviour once more. “It probably would have worked if I wasn't already awake.”
“You were awake!?” Trixie almost choked on the very air itself. “Why didn't you do anything to make that fact obvious like, I don't know, opening your eyes!?”
Whatever amount of Twilight's face wasn't blushing before this, soon joined the rest. “I woke up and you were still asleep, you looked so peaceful and I didn't want to disturb you.” Anything else she wanted to say evaporated into awkwardness.
Trixie took another glance over the edge of the balcony, 'If I jumped, would the landing kill me?' She was so preoccupied by calculating her chance of survival that she didn't notice Twilight slowly walking over, trying and failing to look casual.
“If you er... ever want some more er... company,” Twilight whispered, hardly daring to say it out loud, “I'm not too far away.” Before Trixie could respond, Twilight hurried away, trying to escape the room as quickly as possible.
“Twilight wait!” The unicorn had almost opened the bedroom door, if the room wasn't as big as it was, she would've been free.
For once, Trixie found that the words weren't coming fast enough, her usually endless store of wit and snide retorts had run dry. Trixie settled on the one thing she didn't think she'd be saying, especially to the lavender unicorn. The truth. “I need your help with something, a prank if you will.”
“My help, why me?” Twilight would have liked anything more than to just leave and collect her thoughts, the azure unicorn was making it incredibly difficult however.
“It can only be you, Twilight Sparkle.”
Twilight stared into Trixie's eyes for a few seconds, they seemed sincere, Twilight couldn't say no to a stare like that. She nodded, opened the door and left.
'Damn her! Damn this spell! Why must she insist on making things more difficult than they have to be!?'
Trixie looked around and saw her hat and cape hanging on a wooden hat stand, they looked cleaned and pressed. Trixie then realised that she had fallen asleep in her hat and cape. Despite herself, a smile appeared on her lips.
“Okay Twilight, are you aware of your role?”
The lavender unicorn nodded, Trixie had insisted she wear a smart pair of glasses and a sweater vest for this. “For emphasis!” Trixie had said.
The show mare herself was dressed in her full Trixie gear, ready to leap out at the opportune moment.
“It's show time, take your place Twilight.”
“Is the other guy in on it as well?”
“Of course not, we would never get the same reaction from an actor, we need reality!”
“But this could be very-”
Trixie gave Twilight one of her patented, 'don't test me' glares, sending the unicorn to her seat without another word.
The two unicorns were currently in one of Canterlot's best restaurants. Getting a table wasn't particularly difficult, the Princess' protégée and The Great and Powerful Trixie? How does a Maître D' say no to that?
Once they had their table, Trixie had dragged Twilight into the bathroom, where the finer details of the plan were spelled out, the wider aims having already been discussed on the way to the restaurant.
Twilight was to sit at her table and wait patiently until the proper cue had been... what the hay, let's just watch what happens.
Twilight was sat peacefully at her table, drinking a complementary glass of juice. A waiter strolled over and asked for her order, Trixie had already informed Twilight as to what she wanted, so the unicorn listed off each meal perfectly and the plan was slowly coming into effect.
It was a calm day for a restaurant of this calibre, everypony seemed to be placated by the food and there was never a feeling of the staff being rushed, it was one of those days you savoured because the other days were hell. That all changed when a coughing hack spread loudly across the restaurant. A middle aged, brown stallion had gotten up from his seat clutching a hoof to his chest, he seemed delirious, stumbling about like the floor was made entirely of marbles. Rather dramatically, he dropped in a dead faint, twitching slightly.
There was a dead silence throughout the restaurant broken by a lone theatrical voice, “Heavens! Is there a doctor on the premises!”
Twilight perked up, this was her cue, she stood and raised a hoof in the air. “I'm a doctor! I earned my Doctorate in Friendship!”
Trixie allowed herself a gloating chuckle before taking centre stage. “Stand down you foal, let a true master take care of this!” Trixie walked purposefully towards the collapsed stallion, giving him an overly dramatic once over. “Yes of course, Trixie has seen this once before, but an incredibly tricky counter-jinx is what this situation calls for. Stand back, Trixie is a professional.” Her horn began to glow with a blinding light, it looked impressive, but in reality all she was doing was activating the antidote she had placed in his food when she arrived in the restaurant.
With a feigned strain of effort, Trixie pulled out of the spell with a flourish, sending a small burst of colourful light into the air behind her. Sure enough, the stallion was coming around, his symptoms mysteriously gone. “You... You saved me! I cannot thank you enough!”
The restaurant exploded with cheers and applause, Trixie laughed loudly. “Oh it was nothing really.” She made no attempt to stop the applause though.
At that moment, the owner of the restaurant appeared and demanded that Trixie eat for free for her daring heroics.
“Wasn't that fun, my lovely assistant?” Trixie said as they strolled away from the restaurant amidst one of Canterlot's more affluent areas.
Twilight had trouble agreeing with her. “You made me look stupid and you belittled my research, I didn't think it was very fun.” Twilight hung her head.
The sight hurt Trixie more than she would like to admit. “There was no malice intended, Sparkle, I was merely repaying our debt. You defeated the Ursa, I saved a pony's life. We're all square on my end.”
“But Trixie.” The lavender unicorn, never content with letting things lie, just had to speak up. “When I defeated the Ursa, it was a real, identifiable threat. With you, no offence, but the stallion was never in any real danger was he?”
Trixie smiled. “Perceived danger is just as real as regular danger in the eyes of those not in on the trick. Trixie is an entertainer, what matters is whether the audience believe Trixie.” She gave the unicorn a playful wink.
“So our debt is truly over, we can start afresh?” Twilight's voice was dripping with hopefulness.
“If you want it to be, Trixie has found that you aren't entirely worthless company...” Trixie took a breath, not wanting to end the sentence on such a negative sounding note. “And you make a brilliant assistant, those glasses looked lovely on you.”
Twilight didn't reply, merely contenting herself with a smile and a new spring in her step.
“Trixie, I have to show you the Royal Archives, you'll love it!”
During one of her many tours of the palace, Twilight had suddenly realised that she had never showed her new friend around the prestigious library. The lavender unicorn immediately grabbed Trixie by the hoof and began dragging her her forcefully through the castle's many corridors. “Why didn't I think of this sooner? I spend almost all of my time in there myself.”
Trixie had tried to tell her that it wasn't so important to see the archives, but Twilight had blocked her at every path, raving about how it was 'the most complete collection of books in Equestria' and that 'there was a book on any conceivable subject within its confines'.
Whilst the azure unicorn was not adverse to studying in a library or perusing an ancient book of spell theory, she wasn't exactly the biggest fan of it. Trixie preferred entertaining and showing off her magic instead of merely studying it. “It is imperative that I see the Royal Archives now?”
Twilight stopped and turned to face the azure mare, she wore a serious expression. “Yes, it's my most favourite place in the world and I know that you will appreciate it as much as I do. It's not every day I get to meet a unicorn my own age who's a talented magician.” Twilight took her friend's silence as an excuse to continue dragging her to the library.
“Well, I am flattered that you want to share this with me, but surely it can't be much different from any other library. They are all just places with lots of bookshelves after all.” Trixie had expected some backlash for this response, Twilight lived in a library, so she obviously loves the places, but the lavender unicorn stayed silent.
Only one left turn later and she stopped, pointing at a large door inlaid with magical symbols and the royal seal, Twilight didn't look impressed with Trixie's dismissive attitude. “We're here, first rule of the library, be quiet-”
Trixie laughed loudly on purpose, catching Twilight off guard. “I've been in libraries before, Trixie is fully aware of proper library etiquette.”
“Good,” Twilight replied, looking around nervously to make sure no one had heard Trixie's loud laugh, “Just keep that etiquette in mind, I don't want the librarian to get the wrong idea about me.”
“Oh, heavens no. I wouldn't want to get strait-laced, bookworm Twilight in trouble, the Princess might put you in detention!” Trixie teased playfully.
“Exactly. I have no intention of repeating that experience.”
Despite Trixie's mischievous attitude, Twilight seemed deadly serious. “Er... I was just joking about the whole detention thing, did I touch a nerve by accident?”
“I don't want to talk about it... let's just show you around the archives.”
Trixie frowned, but followed the lavender unicorn silently. Twilight's heart didn't seem to be in the tour, she announced each section including renowned names on the subject and rare books, but didn't really elaborate beyond that. With all the time Twilight had seemingly spent here, Trixie imagined that she would have endless tales of study and discovery amongst the shelves, maybe even just a story about how she had been told off by the librarian for staying too late whilst researching advanced transmutation.
As it was though, Trixie's tour was flavour free. She felt bad for being partly responsible for Twilight's mood but she had no way of knowing that she would react so badly to her teasing. It seemed that Trixie wasn't being a very good friend, especially to someone who tolerated her so well, even if it was due to a spell. “Twilight, is that a study area?” Trixie pointed out an open area with a bunch of lined up tables and chairs.
“Yes, it's mostly just for convenience though, if you absolutely require somewhere to sit and a table to lean on. I mostly stayed near the books, practising writing and holding the paper steady with my magic.”
“Why don't we have a quick rest, I never expected the archives to be this big.” Trixie smiled helpfully before walking over and taking a seat, she waved a hoof for Twilight to join her.
The lavender unicorn sat down opposite Trixie, but sighed heavily. “I don't need to rest, we've barely toured the east wing.”
Trixie put on a serious expression. “Not to cause any offence, but you are being a terrible tour guide. If I said anything to upset you, then I am sorry, Trixie didn't intend any harm.”
“It's not your fault, really. It's just... what you said dragged up a lot of old memories, I wasn't always a model student, you know.”
“Look, Sparkle. I don't know how most other ponies would react in such a situation and I'm not going to pretend that I know what your tuition was like, but look where you grew up.” Trixie indicated the vast library around her, the rows and rows of bookshelves. “Do you think every little budding magician got this treatment?”
Twilight hung her head, but what little Trixie could see through the lavender unicorn's mane, looked guilty. “I didn't think...”
“It's easy to assume things when you don't know anything else. I'm not saying it's your own fault, you just have to realise how little you really had to worry about when you were growing up.” Trixie looked away for a few moments, composing herself.
“I grew up in Manehattan and there was this young filly that I knew, she wanted to be a great magician. She didn't have any money and she didn't have any parents, she had grown up in an orphanage for almost her entire life. The care workers had given her a few things that were her parents, pictures and a few keepsakes, they told her that her parents were respected magicians, which fuelled her desire to be like them. She wanted to make her parents proud.”
“The filly knew what she wanted to do, but growing up in a poor area of Manehattan meant that she had very little at hand to help her achieve her goal. Every day she would go to the local library and camp in the magic section, there was such a meagre selection that it was just classified as 'magic' instead of by school like here. She would set up camp and stay there for as long as the librarian would allow her, reading and re-reading each book and practising controlling that tiny spark of untamed magic. She was still only a filly however, there is only so much a pony so young can do.”
“As she grew up, her powers grew with her and soon she was able to lift things using her magic with ease, a few years later and she was old enough to leave the orphanage and find her own way in the world. She was able to enrol herself into a magical academy on a scholarship and that was where she stayed until her education was complete. It wasn't the most prestigious magical academy in the land or even the area, but she graduated with honours and she felt that if her parents were alive, they would be proud of her.”
“After she graduated, she didn't know what she should do with herself. She couldn't think of anything that she would like to do with her skills in the job market and didn't have anywhere to live, so she used what little funds she had to buy a simple caravan. She had had enough of living in the city and thought that travelling around Equestria to see the sights would be about as good as she could get whilst trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.”
“She passed through rural earth pony villages and would stop for a while to admire the scenery or just to rest for a while. She would put on magic shows for the townsfolk and the ponies would reward her with small tokens of gratitude like food or money, sometimes she would tell tales of magic and intrigue she had gathered from her years of education, using her magic to emphasise the story or to help the ponies visualise the events. She would do a few shows, earn a few bits and move on to her travels. She would do the same thing in the next town to earn some more money, but after a while, it wasn't the sightseeing she was looking forwards to, it was the performing.”
“Somewhere along the line, she mistakenly thought that her performance was becoming stale and that she needed to make herself look more impressive. She continued to tell her stories, but put herself in the place of the ancient heroes, acting as though she had performed all of the heroic deeds. One fateful morning, she passed into a small town named Ponyville, full of confidence and boastful pride, she put on her act, told her stories and performed her magic. Night fell and an Ursa Minor strode into town, Trixie was put on the spot, told that she must live up to her stories, but had nothing but tricks and no true talents. Trixie ran away in the face of a greater magician, with a shattered caravan and a shattered reputation. She lived rough until she got far enough away from Ponyville that nopony had heard of her.”
“The sad thing was, even after all that, Trixie hadn't learned anything.”
The azure mare concluded her story with a sigh, looking down at the empty table in front of her.
“I think you've learned your lesson now and if it's any consolation.” Twilight reached out and patted the back of Trixie's hoof with a smile. “I thought your story was great.”
“It's always easier to tell them when I pretend it's somepony else.”
Twilight smiled. “Perhaps it wasn't the best of ideas to come to library after all.” She chuckled slightly.
Trixie laughed with her. “That's not entirely true, I wouldn't mind if you showed me where I could find a good book on the subject of illusionary magic. I would love to get your opinion on the subject.”
Twilight gasped. “I know just the book, come with me, it's in the west wing.”
The azure unicorn smiled, she was glad to see that Twilight had perked up again, all it took was a simple admission of the fact that she was in the wrong. Perhaps Twilight was right after all, perhaps friendship was magic.
A few days had passed since Trixie had convinced the Princess that she would make an excellent room-mate. After this short period of time, Trixie had started to believe that, should she be forced to leave, she'd never be able to get comfortable on another bed for as long as she lived, Luna's bed was just that good.
Other than living literally like a Princess, the castle had very little to do in terms of entertainment. So when she wasn't eating or sleeping, she found herself spending more and more time with Twilight, be it walking around the garden and admiring the hedge maze or studying in the library. Trixie found that she was never short of fun when the lavender unicorn was along for the ride.
“Tell me something Twilight,” she said one of the days, lounging next to a bizarre statue of a discordant beast.
“Yes, Trixie.” Twilight looked up from the book she was reading.
“I asked the Princess at dinner yesterday, why you were in Canterlot when your home is in Ponyville. She told me that you came to research something only the royal archives could tell you.”
“That's right.” Twilight looked a little confused by this line of questioning.
Trixie took her time wording her next question. “If you only came here to research, and you being the studious and knowledgeable mare that you are, surely you've finished your research by now?”
Twilight blushed slightly. “Well yes, I actually finished a while ago, the compiled notes are packed into my saddlebags.”
“So why are you still hanging around this draughty old castle when you could be back home with those friends of yours?”
Twilight sighed and closed her book. “Can I tell you a story, Trixie?”
The azure unicorn raised her eyebrows. “I hope you're not trying to dodge my question.”
“No no, of course not, the story will help make my point.” Twilight gazed into Trixie's eyes, the ones so like her own and continued, “I used to be so focused in study, thinking that it was the only way to improve my skills as a magician. Learn the theory, put the theory into practice and then practice until perfect. I wanted to make Celestia proud of me, I still do, but back then I was so intent on becoming stronger so that I could show her I was worthy to be her protégée.”
“For a while, that was how we did things. I could tell that Celestia wasn't pleased with me, but I had always imagined that it was because I wasn't strong enough, I wasn't proving myself enough. There were periods where I would imagine her smiling with past pupils and I'd tell myself that I would get better even if it hurt.” Twilight began to tear up slightly, the corners of her eyes were wet, but she quickly wiped them away.
“What I didn't realise was that Celestia knew I was working myself into a rut, she could see the damage I was doing to myself and that was what she wasn't pleased about. I feel personally responsible for not bringing my fears to Celestia right away. If I had known then what I know now, perhaps I wouldn't need a crash course in friendship, perhaps I wouldn't have almost doomed Equestria to serve under eternal night.”
Trixie moved herself closer to the lavender unicorn. “You can't dwell on the past, Twilight. What's done is done.”
A few of Twilight's tears had freely escaped, cascading down her cheeks where they met a handkerchief, conjured by the azure unicorn.
“Thank you Trixie, I find it difficult to speak about that part of my life, especially considering how much of a foal I was.”
“Hindsight is twenty twenty, but you can only look and learn from it. Just think about everything that you've done because of your past mistakes, your friends, your continued tutelage under the Princess...”
“And you.” Twilight mumbled, almost inaudibly, Trixie barely registered Twilight's lips moving. Before Trixie could respond however, Twilight continued her tale. “As I've said, Celestia knew I was working to the bone every night to impress her, so she devised a plan to keep me working, but on something healthy, something that would make me happy, something that I severely lacked. She tasked me with making friends, a prospect more frightening to my past self than tackling a book on Advanced Psychomantic Theory.”
Trixie smiled knowingly at the comparison.
“The first assignment she gave me was a dual role, I was also tasked with overseeing the preparation of the Summer Sun Festival in Ponyville. As I went about my business I, in turn, met the five ponies who eventually became my best friends. When I first met them however, their personalities and overt friendliness was something I couldn't handle. I felt resentful of Celestia for forcing me into the situation, I felt that she was doing it for no good reason other than to tempt me away from my studies and more importantly, research into the 'Mare in the Moon' legend.”
“As that night went on, as Nightmare Moon took the Princess and refused to raise the sun, those five ponies took it upon themselves to force their way into my life. In the next few hours I learned more about myself than I could have ever hoped to achieve by studying library books, I learned how to live and to not merely exist.”
“I truly learned that friendship is as legitimate a magic as any other that day. This is why I've not gone home yet Trixie, you don't ignore friendship when it presents itself because more often than not, it's there for a reason.” Twilight finished by resting a hoof around Trixie's shoulder and giving the show mare a quick hug.
“That was beautiful Twilight, I thank you for having the courage to share it with me.”
Twilight lay her head down, staring into Trixie's eyes. “Anything for a friend.”
“You really mean that? Trixie – no, I am not used to such things, my travelling lifestyle and... demeanour, often lead to scorn, not friendship. I attributed it mostly to jealousy back then, but I see now that it was entirely my fault. I'm sorry if I hurt or offended you or your friends all that time ago, I was a foal.”
Twilight's smile told Trixie that everything was going to be okay. “I forgive you Trixie. I'm sure my friends would as well.”
“It's a wonderful day,” Trixie mentioned, the sun was high in the sky and a gentle breeze played across the garden. “Too good to be wasted in contemplation, shall we take a walk Twilight, perhaps get some lunch in town?”
“That would be lovely Trixie.”
The pair walked through the castle's main foyer and waved to the royal guards as they went to cross over the lowered drawbridge. “So where do you want to go for dinner?” Trixie asked, “I'm afraid I don't know Canterlot that well and I'm not really in the mood to go to another fancy restaurant.”
Twilight blushed slightly. “I have to confess, I er... never really left the castle much growing up, but there is one place near the market that I've been to once or twice, it was pretty good.”
“Let's hope so shall we?” Trixie smiled and began humming to herself, it was one of those moments where conversation wasn't entirely necessary, both parties were well aware of what was going on and they were both comfortable enough to merely enjoy each others company. This was a new feeling for Trixie, even when she was younger, she had never really made any proper friends. Not for lack of trying, ponies just seemed to gravitate away from her. Twilight enjoyed her company though and Trixie enjoyed hers, if she wasn't so obnoxious, maybe they could have become friends a lot earlier.
When Trixie pulled out of her thoughts and began to take in her surroundings, she noticed that they were approaching the city of Canterlot proper, the castle being on the outskirts of the city. Trixie could see the guards stationed at the gates eyeing her, they were paying an awful lot of attention to two ponies just walking into town. “The guards are staring at us Twilight, as if they think we're suspicious.”
“Don't be silly Trixie, they're just doing their job, you can't blame them for that.” Twilight looked at each guard in turn as they walked through the gates into the city, but merely smiled at both, once they passed through the gate, the lavender unicorn turned to Trixie. “See, nothing to worry about.”
Trixie couldn't shake the feeling she had gotten from the guards however, like they were targeting her particularly. It didn't help that the Canterlot locals they passed in the street seemed to be whispering to one another as she walked by. Then Trixie noticed something, after all her time in the castle, she had gotten used to everyone being friendly, but they weren't the sycophantic horde she remembered upon first casting the spell. Now she walks into town and is regarded with suspicion, something wasn't right, the spell couldn't have worn off already could it? Did the city ponies know they were under the influence of a spell and realise it was her that cast it?
Surely not, a spell that powerful wouldn't just fade away after a few days. Then again, she did receive it for free from a market, the merchant could have sold that spell for a lot of bits, but he chose to give it away to a random passer-by, why? 'I was blinded by my own arrogance, I should have never accepted that spell,' Trixie thought. Then she began to think more on it, without the spell, she would have never gone to the castle, she would have never met Twilight again, she'd still be a friendless outcast.
The spell had done some obvious good, but with this sudden apparent loss or even partial reversal of effect, was it really worth it in the end? One look at the lavender unicorn next to her gave her the answer she needed. Whatever happened, as long as Trixie had Twilight by her side, she was sure she could tackle it.
“Are you okay Trixie? You look tense.” Twilight was staring at her, those violet eyes fraught with worry.
Trixie laughed nervously. “It's er... fine Twilight, Trixie is merely hungry.” She looked away, but then she noticed the stares of the city ponies following her down the street. She wasn't imagining those, that was for certain.
“I think I know you enough to tell when you aren't being truthful. Tell me what's really worrying you and I promise I'll do my best to help.”
Trixie tried her best to resist, but the hurt in Twilight's eyes made it impossible. “I just have this feeling that ponies are staring at me and not in a good way.”
Twilight looked around and her face darkened. “You might have a point, there are some ponies looking our way. You're the Great and Powerful Trixie though, maybe they've seen one of your shows. I suppose I am the Princess' Protégée, maybe they recognise me as well, although I highly doubt it.”
“If that's true, then why do none of them look happy to see us?” Trixie could feel the stares on her, it made her more nervous than she would like to admit.
“It doesn't matter what they think Trixie, just ignore them. We're almost at the café anyway.”
Twilight had a point, since when does Trixie let the opinions of insignificant ponies get in her way? 'Since when did I start doubting myself?'
The café was a small out of the way place, but it looked clean and friendly, which was more than you could say about the current clientèle. Ponies abandoned their coffee and their cakes to glare openly at them. Trixie hung her head, trying and failing to ignore them. “Twilight, can we just go back to the castle, I'm not hungry any more.”
Twilight scoffed, “Are you just going to let a few ponies scare you off? Where's the big, confident Trixie I used to know?”
“It's not just a few ponies, it's every single one of them.” Trixie rounded on Twilight, pointing a hoof at her. “And don't you dare tell me that I am imagining things because I am not!”
“Trixie, would you calm down please?”
“No I will not calm down, Twilight Sparkle!” Trixie backed away slightly, turning left and right and looking into the faces of every pony around her. “Stay away from me! All of you!” Trixie's horn began to glow with a fierce cyan light, blinding everybody in the immediate area. There was a small bang and a wave of air pushed every pony back, leaving Trixie standing alone in the centre of a sea of steadily rising ponies.
Twilight hadn't been exempt from this, she had been pushed towards the café and was slowly rising to her hooves, staring oddly at the azure unicorn.
Trixie didn't wait for any pony to regain their senses, she took off, galloping back through town the way she had come, trying to reach the castle where it was safe.
“Trixie wait, come back!” Twilight pushed her way through the gathered crowd and chased after her friend, her hooves slamming against the cobblestone road. Her breathing was becoming ragged, she hadn't run like this for as long as she could remember, but she could finally see Trixie in the distance. The gate guards had penned her into the city, blocking off the exit and forcing her back.
“Trixie!” Her shout fell on deaf ears, the azure unicorn seemed unable to hear her. She was being cornered, guards advancing from all sides, Twilight could see the fear in her eyes. Trixie's horn began to spark but nothing was actually happening, she had lost control of her magic. Twilight had to think fast, if she didn't defuse the situation now, Trixie could really hurt herself. “Stop!” she shouted, galloping over to the guards. “Please back away!”
One of the guards, not the bright white, gold armoured kind she was used to, but an iron plated, dark brown guard turned to face her. He scowled, baring his teeth. “Get back citizen, this is none of your concern.” When Twilight wouldn't move, he pushed her back, forcing her to the floor.
This caught Trixie's attention, her eyes snapped onto the guard, she had a look of pure rage upon her face. She opened her mouth and her voice was layered in thick magic, amplifying and distorting it to terrifying levels, “You will not lay another hoof on her, you piece of filth.” Her horn exploded with light, sending the guard flying back into a nearby building, he struggled for a brief moment before collapsing.
From her position on the floor, Twilight could see the ring of guards abandoning their previous plan and running headlong towards her, before Trixie could react, they had pinned her to the ground with each guard struggling to keep her there. Twilight watched as Trixie's horn glowed bright one final time, the very air itself seemed to crackle in silent anticipation. Twilight could only watch in horror as each and every guard was lifted into the air by tendrils of electricity, their metal plating ensuring a quick unconsciousness.
“Trixie does not bow to you!” The azure unicorn had emerged from the guards grip, standing in a ring of cracked cobblestone, her mane crackling with electricity, her eyes twisted in maddening rage. “You will learn respect!” She stepped forwards, the road crumbling under her hooves, her entire being radiated a terrifying power. So when Trixie's gaze fell onto Twilight, the lavender unicorn cowered almost instinctively, but there was something more to it, she had never seen Trixie so out of control and that tore away at Twilight's conscience. Even at her worst she was just obnoxious, but this was beyond that, far beyond that. She was terrifying.
Every fibre in Twilight's being was screaming for her to run, but by this point, a massive crowd of ponies had gathered along the road and she couldn't bring herself to move.
“We don't need you around here!”
“Go back to where you came from!”
“I hope you die!”
The crowd were shouting obscenities, hurling stones and they were all angry at the azure unicorn. A pitchfork was thrown from somewhere in the crowd, but Trixie swatted it away with a blast of lightning. Trixie turned momentarily and looked directly at Twilight. “Run.” Her voice was angry and demanding. Whatever had happened to the warm, friendly unicorn Twilight had become friends with? Twilight couldn't just run away when her friend needed her so badly.
Trixie turned back to the crowd and let out a guttural roar, rearing back on her hooves and slamming into the ground with enough force to cleave a crater into the ground. Waves of electricity began sparking from the ground in all directions, zapping ponies and forcing them into a frenzy as they rushed to escape. Trixie smiled, surveying the battlefield, several unconscious guards and pieces of debris from nearby buildings were littered around, there were huge cracks in the cobblestones where she had unleashed her power. The azure unicorn then turned around to leave, but instead of looking into the distance towards the castle, her gaze was dragged down towards the floor where another unconscious body lay. Her hooves were reaching out towards Trixie, as if trying to comfort her, but they never quite made it.
It was this sight, of Twilight's unmoving form that caused Trixie to come back to herself. The rage that had been coursing through her just... stopped. Trixie bent low to the ground, putting an ear to Twilight's mouth to check she was still breathing, the warm breath on her face felt like a weight being lifted off of her shoulders. The unicorn focused on her magic, it was difficult after what she had been through, but the thought of having to leave Twilight alone otherwise was enough to keep her going. She cast a levitation spell and lifted the unconscious unicorn onto her back, before moving as fast as she could towards the castle.
It was slow going, but Trixie would make the journey if it killed her, something that was crossing her mind as she left the gates of the city of Canterlot and began walking the small distance towards the castle. The muscles in Trixie's legs were burning, her head felt like it was being crushed in a vice, but she persevered. “Not long now Trixie, you're almost there,” she reassured herself that she was going to do it, but the further she went, the more she hurt. When Trixie had finally found her way up the path to the castle, she saw the guards at the gate, she saw the recognition in their eyes and she smiled before collapsing entirely, knowing that her body would at least provide Twilight with a cushioned landing.
“Trixie, are you awake?”
There it was again, that soothing voice, pulling her back to consciousness. If only she could open her eyes, if only she could work her voice. She tried, but all she managed was a rasping cough.
It was more urgent this time, the voice sounded worried.
“Princess, do something!”
“Calm down, it's just a natural reaction. Please don't exert yourself, you need to rest as well.”
Trixie forced her eyes open, everything was blurry for a moment, a large white blur dominating her view.
“Ah, so you are awake. I was worried Trixie.”
“Princess?” Trixie blinked a few times and the room seemed to gain a bit of definition, Celestia's fluttering mane and her motherly expression came into view. “Where am I?”
There was a sigh of relief from beside her, but Trixie lacked the strength to turn her head, she merely continued to look at Celestia.
“You are in the castle infirmary, the guards on duty at the drawbridge said you staggered up to the castle with Twilight on your back before collapsing entirely.” Celestia smiled, but her face showed obvious signs of worry, it was enough to cause Trixie some concern.
“How long..?” Trixie coughed, her throat flaring in pain.
There was a shuffling movement from Trixie's side, but Celestia turned and shushed it. “How long have you been... asleep?” The alicorn asked in her most reassuring voice.
Trixie nodded, not attempting any more words for the time being.
Celestia looked to Trixie's left, towards the bed whose mystery occupant kept interrupting them, the two seemed to have a silent conversation before Celestia turned back to Trixie. “It has been almost two days since you collapsed, the nurse ensures me that your condition isn't anything to worry about, but we have been keeping you under close observation just in case.”
Trixie opened her mouth to speak, but Celestia shushed her, a second later a glass of water floated towards her, obviously for her to drink. She took a quick gulp, feeling the numbing coolness against her throat. “Thank you Princess.” Trixie coughed again before continuing, “Do you... know what happened?”
“The nurse didn't go into specifics, Luna was always the better healer, but in essence, you exerted so much magic that the deficit was enough to affect you both mentally and physically. You'll find that for the next few days you won't really be able to use magic or work your muscles too hard, your body needs time to regain it's magical equilibrium. This doesn't mean you shouldn't do these things in moderation, taking some time to get used to using your muscles in their natural way, try a low energy spell every now and then to keep the flow of magic fresh in your mind. You should be one hundred percent in a week or so.” Celestia turned to leave, but Trixie called her back, there was something that was niggling the back of her mind, a feeling she recognised as guilt.
“Thank you for everything you've done for me Princess, but there's one thing I need to ask you. Do you know... how I got like this?” It was a rather cowardly way of getting the Princess' answer, but she wasn't in the best state for feats of bravery just yet.
Celestia's eyes narrowed for a brief second but it was soon replaced by her usual warm, matriarchal smile. “We'll save that for when you're better shall we? Just rest for now, don't think on it too much.” With a final nod of her head as goodbye, Celestia walked over towards the exit and had a quick word with the matron before leaving the infirmary for good.
The matron, a older mare with a pink coat, walked over and told Trixie to rest, then she turned to the bed to Trixie's left and told its occupant that she ought to get some rest as well. The matron wandered back to her desk near the entrance of the infirmary and began to do some busywork, casting an occasional glance over in Trixie's direction.
Trixie heard a shuffling in the bed next to her, as if the occupant was trying to get comfortable. “Trixie, can I say something?”
There it was again, the voice.
“What is it?” Trixie replied, trying her hardest to turn her head.
“I overheard the Princess and the matron speaking yesterday, Celestia seems to think that you're under the influence of a powerful curse.”
Trixie finally managed to look over at the next bed, the worried face of Twilight Sparkle gazed back at her, the guilty feeling crept back into Trixie's mind. “A curse? Whatever do you mean?” Trixie laughed nervously.
Twilight didn't seem to be deterred. “Have you noticed anything lately that might make sense to you because of this? I doubt Celestia would mention it unless there was a good chance it was possible, she did perform all kinds of magical checks on you after all.”
“She did what?” Trixie paled, the sudden thought of having her privacy invaded struck her harder than perhaps it should.
“She informed me that it wasn't anything too obtrusive, but with the nature of your condition, it was necessary so she could gauge how bad things were.”
Trixie breathed a sigh of relief, but she really didn't know why, was the fact that she had cast that spell such a big deal? 'Yes. Yes it is.' She told herself, if Twilight ever found out, she'd feel so betrayed that she would say goodbye to her forever. She'd hop on the next flight to Ponyville and never look back, she had other friends, but who did Trixie have? Trixie had Twilight Sparkle, at least for the time being, and she intended to keep it that way.
The lavender unicorn moved slightly in her bed, the covers falling off of her for a brief moment. Before she could levitate the sheet back over her, Trixie could see a distinctive burn pattern across her side.
“Your flank, what happened? That looks like...”
Twilight winced visibly as she shifted into a more comfortable position. “Yes, when you... lost control, I tried to defend myself against the lightning, but it was too powerful to keep out. I didn't get the worst of it, but even when you were like that, I didn't want leave you alone.”
Trixie turned away. “I'm sorry.”
“You don't have to apologise, Trixie. You weren't yourself, Celestia pieced together what happened with the eyewitness reports that came flooding into the castle after the event. It was something that I have experienced in the past, even though I don't like to admit it.” Twilight hung her head slightly, suddenly finding the stitching of her bed sheet incredibly interesting.
“It's happened to you as well?”
Twilight nodded weakly. “If it's any consolation, Celestia says that it takes a unicorn of sufficient power to undergo such a transformation.”
Trixie laughed mirthlessly. “That's nice I suppose, 'well done Trixie, you just levelled a city block and put your only friend in danger' but at least you're a powerful enough magician to do it.”
“I didn't mean it like that and it's not your fault I got hurt. I was the one too stubborn to get help, I thought if I could just get you alone for a moment, I could help you get back to your old self. You actually warned me beforehand, you wanted me to get back so I knew that somewhere in that head of yours, you were fighting for control. I only wanted to speed the process along.”
“I told you to run? I don't remember much of what happened then, but I do remember the word 'run'?
Twilight nodded, giving Trixie an encouraging smile. “In the end, you were protecting me from harm. I will admit that I didn't immediately recognise the gesture, in fact I was scared out of my mind, but after some thought I came to realise that it shows you really care about me.”
The azure unicorn sighed. “What I did was indiscriminate destruction, you can't make excuses for that. You were lucky to come out of it alive and that tears me up inside, to know that you were inches from death and that it would have been by my hooves. I don't think I could bare the weight of that on my conscience, I can barely stand it now and all I did was shock you.”
“The Princess said you shouldn't dwell on it. Besides, I'm fine, I'm a little sore but I could get discharged if I really wanted to. I just didn't want to leave you alone, so I asked the Princess if I could stay here until you got better.” Twilight leaned forwards, all she wanted to do was hug Trixie until everything was back to normal, but the four foot gap between their beds might as well have been forty.
“It's not that easy to forget, the first thing I remember after the storm in my mind dissipated was your limp body on the ground. I couldn't tell if you were alive or if you were dead, you were just there at my hooves, motionless. It took all of my strength not to burst into tears in the middle of the street.”
“And that's why you deserve my thanks Trixie.” Twilight smiled, Trixie had never noticed how lovely she looked when she smiled. “You had the strength to realise your mistake and did what it took to save both yourself and me. Who knows what would have happened if we had both been knocked unconscious in the middle of the street. My injuries might have gotten worse, the crowd could have come back and hurt you, the list goes on.”
Trixie sighed. “You keep trying to find the positives in this, but I can't bring myself to believe them.”
The lavender unicorn looked put out, but even if she had to try all night, she would help Trixie get better. “If you can't trust your friends, who can you trust? So trust me when I say that whatever happened out there, I still think you're a great pony and a great friend.”
Trixie finally smiled and Twilight laughed. “See, I knew the old Trixie was hiding there somewhere.”
“I've never seen someone so vehement to defend my honour. It's... refreshing to say the least.”
“Sometimes Trixie, all we need is a little friendship.”
Trixie rolled over in her bed, she took a few seconds to collect herself whilst she decided whether she would do what she was considering. The azure unicorn couldn't hold it in any longer, if Twilight was as forgiving as she seemed, surely she could forgive this. “Twilight, there's something I need to tell you about my life immediately before I visited the castle.”
“Oh.” Twilight looked serious, she leaned over and perked up her ears, eager not to miss anything. “Why do I get the feeling that this isn't going to be a happy story?”
Trixie took a deep breath before beginning her story. “I was in the Canterlot market to see if there was anything that caught my eye. I met a strange merchant who seemed rather charming, he asked me to browse his wares, so I did.”
“There was one item that jumped out at me, a sealed scroll in an ornate case. I asked him what it was, he told me it was a powerful spell that would make the caster loved all across Equestria. I did exactly what The Great and Powerful Trixie was expected to do, I took it back to my room at the Inn. I poured my magic into activating it and once I had it in my possession, I used it.”
Twilight shook her head. “So you just took a spell from the market, had promises of immense power and you just used it without thinking?”
“You have to understand Twilight, I would have done anything for power. In fact my first order of business after finding out that the spell worked was to depose the Princess. That's why I headed straight for the castle, I knew that ponies would go to extraordinary lengths to please me and I proved in my conversation with the Princesses that they would as well. I couldn't enact my plan immediately, I knew that much, but then I started to feel happier than I had ever been, I started to thank ponies for doing things for me, I started helping others even when it wasn't required of me. Then there was you.”
Trixie paused and Twilight sat forwards on the edge of the bed waiting for her to continue. “Twilight Sparkle, that petulant up-start from my past who thought she was better than me. She turns out to be the best thing to ever happen to me, the cherry on this upside down cake I call my past week.”
Twilight smiled, it was something about the mare that Trixie had really come to appreciate. “Twilight Sparkle, the charlatan who haunted my dreams with her mocking face. She taught me that love cannot be conjured out of thin air, it has to be earned with effort put in from both sides. That love is something best taken in small doses from the ones you care about and that to strive for universal acceptance is a fools errand.”
“But most importantly, Twilight Sparkle, the fantastic unicorn who has captured my respect, my admiration and my heart. She taught me that when you love somepony so much that you'll sacrifice your sanity for a few moments just to keep them safe, they have to be something special.” Trixie sighed. “I really wish I could move without it hurting... so sore.”
The lavender unicorn chuckled and sat up, she looked just as sore, but she climbed off of her own bed and joined Trixie on hers. She placed a hoof around the azure unicorns chest and lay with her muzzle in Trixie's magnificent silvery-blue mane. “I like it when you say nice things.”
Trixie grinned. “I like it when you do that, keep doing that.”
“Oh, you mean this?” Twilight nuzzled herself into Trixie's neck again, the azure unicorn burst out laughing.
“Yes, that. Although I insist you keep it to yourself, I do not wish for everypony to know that I'm ticklish.”
It was Twilight's turn to grin as she stared at the helpless form of Trixie below her “Oh, I'm going to have a lot of fun with this.”
The matron could see and hear what was going on, she knew that the pair should be resting, but she just didn't have the heart to separate them. Maybe later she decided, they can have their fun for now.
The subsequent days of rehabilitation were surprisingly fun for Trixie. Once she had regained power over her limbs, the matron allowed her to begin practising her magic again. She started with simple things like levitating her glass of orange juice to her mouth or turning the pages of a book, slowly moving onto more challenging things like conjuring a bouquet of flowers. The nurse even let Trixie conjure some fireworks when she was on one of her allotted outdoor excursions.
Twilight always joined her when she was allowed to practice magic, the pair often competed with each other to see who could create the nicest smelling flowers or who could throw the most crumpled up pieces of paper into a nearby waste paper basket. The nurse encouraged this as well. “Trixie needs to use her magic almost unconsciously, practising with distractions present is a great way to do that,” she would say.
It may have been slightly condescending to a unicorn of Trixie's skill, but she found it hard to care about it when Twilight was around. She seemed genuinely interested in helping Trixie get back on her hooves and into a position where she could fend for herself if she really had to.
In the confines of the castle, Trixie seemed to be perfectly fine, ponies spoke highly of her and she was happy. Outside the grounds however, things invariably took a turn for the worst, it took two royal guards to keep the aggressors away, but after that, she stopped going out altogether.
“Trixie, dinner is about to be put on the table, would you like to come down with me?” Twilight's voice came from outside Luna's room.
“I'm not hungry,” came the unicorns muffled reply.
Twilight rolled her eyes and entered, finding Trixie sprawled out on the bed, “I can understand you wanting to hide from the rest of Canterlot, but you don't need to hide from anyone in the castle. I've missed you especially.” Twilight went to nuzzle the back of Trixie's neck but the azure unicorn shied away.
“It just hurts, Twilight. The ponies all hate me, what's the point?”
“I don't hate you, most of the time it's quite the opposite actually.” Twilight joined Trixie on the bed, giving her a reassuring hug. “And as far as I'm aware, no pony in the castle hates you either.”
“Then why do all the ponies in Canterlot want me dead?”
Twilight sighed. “That's a little melodramatic, don't you think?”
“I don't know, Twilight. Is it melodramatic to fear for one's own life when leaving the front door?” Trixie rolled further into Twilight's hug, finding the closeness to be comforting.
Twilight began stroking Trixie's mane, staying silent whilst she thought things over. “When you told me about the spell, you said that it would make everypony love you.”
“Yes, that's what I was told.”
“Would that have included me?” Twilight's stroking stopped as she held her breath.
Trixie hesitated in answering, but decided that Twilight deserved the truth. “Yes. When we were first introduced in the castle, you even went so far as to apologise to me for tackling the Ursa, saying that you were jealous of my power and wanted to steal the glory for yourself. I hardly believe that I deserved any praise like that, in fact if it wasn't for you, I probably would have died.”
“You shouldn't be too hard on yourself Trixie, you're a powerful magician in your own right.”
“I was completely out of my element that day.” Trixie looked up, staring into Twilight's eyes, “If you hadn't have come along...”
Twilight smiled despite herself, whilst being a pony who was far too modest in relation to her skills, she did enjoy a complement every now and then. “I've been thinking Trixie, ever since you told me about the spell, something has been bugging me. If the spell was designed to make ponies love you, why were you so hated when we went into Canterlot? Spells don't reverse their effects by themselves.”
“Maybe it just wore off. The ponies that were affected all come to the conclusion that Trixie made them love her and they feel kind of angry about that.”
The lavender unicorn nodded. “That could make sense, but I don't think your average Equestrian would go so far as to wish death on another pony, it just seems too cruel.”
Trixie rolled her eyes. “Your upbringing really shows, you know that Twilight? You're far too naïve. You were raised in Canterlot with the Princess' tutelage and the castle employee's forced respect, then you moved to Ponyville where the community to so tight-knit that hatred seems like a fantasy. In the rest of Equestria, things aren't as easy, Manehattan isn't the city of lights and wonder it appears to be. Ponies have to struggle to get by, sometimes that means looking out for yourself and doing things you aren't exactly proud of.”
“I still don't believe hard working ponies would turn to vigilante justice on the basis of that they felt wronged. I could only imagine something like that happening if they really hated you, which leads me back to what Princess Celestia said about it, you could be under the influence of a curse. Think about it, you get lured in with a promise of power and it lasts for a few days which is probably enough to make you complacent, then the curse activates, making everypony hate you instead of loving you.”
“I don't want to believe that I'd be so stupid, but it's certainly looking that way.” Trixie curled up into a ball and rolled away from Twilight, the closeness she had previously desired had seemed to evaporate, now all she wanted was some time alone.
Twilight sat up and stared at her azure friend. It was true that she had been under the influence of a spell, but Twilight knew that the feelings she felt right now were genuine, Trixie was her friend and there was nothing about to change that. “Whether you're affected by a curse or not, I still like you and I'm sure everypony in castle does as well, you shouldn't stay locked up in here when there are ponies out there willing to show you how much you mean to them.”
Trixie didn't answer, but she peeked her head over her shoulder, staring at the lavender unicorn.
“I think we should at least tell the Princess about this, she'll be able to give us a definitive answer to this problem.”
Trixie sighed heavily. “I'm going to have to get up aren't I?”
“She'll be at dinner, so yes.”
“Fine.” With a massive effort, Trixie rolled herself off of Luna's bed and allowed her hooves to take her to the door of Luna's bedroom, she looked over her shoulder at Twilight who had just climbed off of the bed herself. “Let's get going shall we?”
The grand dining hall was as extravagant as one would expect. Suited for sit down dinners and even formal balls such as the Grand Galloping Gala, just imagining the sheer amount of nobility that had eaten in this room over the years was enough to makes ones head spin.
Trixie wasn't the biggest fan of the past, recent events had been enough to teach her that. So when she followed Twilight into the dining hall and took a seat near the head of the table, she didn't waste any time before relaying her story to the Princess. Trixie left nothing out, Twilight chiming in to add a few details that she herself had discovered. The Princess listened carefully and didn't even flinch when the food was brought in, she politely ignored it in favour of Trixie's tale.
When Trixie finished, both her and Twilight looked up at Celestia expectantly. The Princess took a few moments in silence to contemplate what she had been told. “And you're saying that even I was taken in by this spell?”
Trixie laughed nervously. “I actually thought you hadn't for a while, when I entered the throne room, you couldn't see me properly, I remember you complaining about your vision. When Luna pointed me out to you and I came a little closer however, you began acting like I was an old, trusted friend despite the fact that I had never met you before.”
“Hmm, it seems we've discovered a loop hole in the spell, a Lacuna Arcana if you will. I think I may have an answer to your outdoors problem Trixie.”
Twilight gasped. “If I'm following correctly, Princess, are you saying that if we disguise Trixie, she'll be safe?”
“In essence, yes. From what I've heard, the spell seems to based around visual pattern recognition. Mane and coat colour, cutie mark, anything that would define Trixie visually. I'm sorry to say my dear.” Celestia turned her head to the azure unicorn. “You'll have to get rid of your hat and cape, at least for now.”
Trixie looked oddly comforted by this. “Those things are reminiscent of the old Trixie, I feel that it's time for a new beginning.”
“When you collapsed and were brought to the infirmary, I performed some cursory magical checks on you whilst you were unconscious, nothing too intrusive I assure you-”
“Yes, Twilight already mentioned that to me.”
Celestia took a second to smile at her protégée before turning back to Trixie. “During the scan, I found that the spell was old, powerful and spreading, everything I tried was ineffective against it. The only thing that stopped me from calling in the elders to assist was the sense I had, that there was a distinct lack of malevolence behind the spell.”
Trixie gasped. “There's nothing you can do about it? I'll have to stay hated forever?”
Celestia cut in before Trixie could go any further. “If my theory is correct Trixie, you won't have to be hated. A simple redesign and perhaps a new piece of clothing to cover up your cutie mark and you'll be able to live a perfectly normal life. Even if ponies find out that you're Trixie, by that point you will have already charmed them like you have us at the castle and the spell will fade from them to.”
Celestia smiled at Trixie, it was hard to ignore the sincerity in her eyes. Trixie managed to pry her gaze away and look at Twilight. She stayed mostly silent up to now, taking in the conversation and only replying when she felt it necessary, but Trixie could sense that Twilight was just as invested in the outcome as she was. She felt a kinship with the lavender unicorn in that moment, a strange sensation of togetherness that she had never felt before. It was a feeling that drove her to concern.
“Will you still like me if I change?” she asked, staring half at the unicorn at, and half at her untouched plate of food.
It was a stupid, foalish question and Trixie knew so, but it warmed her to see that Twilight merely thought it was cute. “Regardless of what colour your coat is, no matter how you style your mane and whatever you decide to wear, you'll still be the most beautiful unicorn to me.”
With renewed vigour, Trixie turned to the Princess. “Then I'll do it. I can only hope that it's temporary though, I'm rather fond of my mane.”
“I'm sure with the proper research, I'll be able to find something to help. I'm especially sure that Twilight will be able to help with her special brand of friendship.”
“Oh yes, Princess, I'll be there every step of the way.”
Celestia sighed, this was the part of the conversation she was dreading, “There's one more thing I need to discuss Trixie, it's about the damage you caused to the city of Canterlot and some of it's residents.”
The joy that had been etched on the two unicorns faces vanished, in the haze of the past few days, Trixie had forgotten all about that.
“Whatever the punishment is, I deserve it,” Trixie said, sounding resigned.
“Remorse is good Trixie, but there is no punishment yet, a trial date has been set and you are to attend without question. The courts have given you ample time to get things in order so you are free for the date, it also thankfully gives you enough time to hire someone to act in your defence. It took all of my influence to stop the courts from remanding you into custody, but I assured them that you would be under the watchful eye of my personal protégée the entire time and that she would report back to me if anything happened.” Celestia's serious expression broke for a moment as she gave a wink to Twilight.
She looked around and continued with her serious tone, “This is not saying that you are free from punishment, be warned that the city will do everything in their power to convict you. I have no power to overrule the courts decision despite what I believe regarding the events. So from this point onwards, it is down to you to build a defence that makes the jury believe that you are innocent beyond any reasonable doubt.”
Twilight stood. “Thank you Princess, for everything.”
Trixie mirrored her, “For everything.”
A few days had passed since that dinner, unfortunately, the Princess had been very busy with her royal duties. Despite the assurances from Twilight and Trixie, Celestia still felt guilty that she wasn't able to give the time she wanted to their problem.
Their problem. 'It's funny' Celestia thought, she had seen the two unicorns together for at least a week now, they seemed inseparable and of course she had noticed that they had gone beyond the point of conventional friendship, 'It's getting to the point where I can barely think of them separately. Perhaps I should start calling them Twixie.' Celestia chuckled to herself. It had been far too long since she had been able to enjoy a good joke.
'If only Luna were here.'
“Princess!” Twilight had appeared in the doorway of Luna's room, waving her over. “Trixie's ready.”
'Maybe not all is lost.'
As the alicorn princess entered her sister's room, she noticed a distinct lack of Trixie. “So where is she? Not hiding I hope.”
“She's in the bathroom... saying goodbye to her mane.” Twilight began to giggle uncontrollably.
“I assume you're referring to it's colour, I'm afraid I was never good with style. I seem to remember you having a friend who could help in that department.”
“Rarity would jump at the chance I'm sure. Pinkie will undoubtedly want to throw a party for this 'new friend' I made in Canterlot on my 'extended research trip'.” Twilight punctuated her speech with appropriate winks to her mentor.
Celestia rolled her eyes. “Come now, Trixie. It should be like ripping off a plaster, quick and almost painless.”
The bathroom door opened revealing Trixie, she looked downtrodden but sighed in acceptance. Twilight moved closer and nuzzled her neck, eliciting a nervous giggle from the azure unicorn.
“It shouldn't take too long,” Twilight assured.
Twilight lead her to the centre of the room where space had been cleared in a fairly wide circle.
“Now of course this would have been preferable on a pure granite plinth, but every one in the castle has been tied up for the day. I'm sure carpet will prove to be a fantastic alternative.” Celestia smiled as if to say 'everything is going to fine' but Trixie didn't feel any better about it. Don't get her wrong, Trixie thought that the carpet was brilliant, she just didn't trust it to be as magically conducive as a slab of pure granite. Celestia was the most magical being in Equestria however, so it should be fine.
Twilight mirrored her mentors smile, Trixie was able to find a lot more comfort in that than the one of the white alicorn.
“And you must remember that no amount of magic can do anything to your cutie mark. I'm sure an inventive mare like yourself can solve that little problem however. Ready yourself, Trixie... and try to stay and still as possible.”
She stood as still as possible, closing her eyes to make sure she didn't get distracted by anything.
If she had kept them open, she would have seen Celestia's horn glow with an almost blinding golden light, as if it was the very sun she was channelling. The alicorn princess being who she was, it might have well been the case. Next, she would have seen the glyphs appear on the carpet around her, forming a huge circle of arcane power. She would have seen the glyphs begin to move, lines of ancient text rotating in opposite directions, glowing with an intense golden light. Finally, if she had been looking at herself, she would have seen her coat change colour, almost instantly as if each hair suddenly decided to fade it's colour away at the exact same time. Her mane and tail took longer, the change starting from the roots and flowing outwards towards the tips. The usual silvery-blue of her mane and tail darkened into a midnight blue, a solitary strip of lighter blue, akin to her old coat colour, ran the length of it.
The glow around Celestia's horn abated, the glyphs following shortly afterwards. Trixie, even with her eyes closed, could tell that the spell had been completed. She opened her eyes, but didn't look down, instead she said, “So how do I look?”
Twilight looked at the princess, visibly amused.
Celestia managed a chuckle. “Oh well, I got it half-right.”
“What do you mean half-right?” Trixie risked looking down and saw her front hooves first, they were a silvery-grey, then she shook her head causing a curtain of midnight blue hair to come cascading before her eyes.
“I had intended to turn your mane and tail a different colour, but it seems that my mind slipped during the spell.”
“I don't see anything wrong with it,” Trixie mentioned, it was new, but it looked pretty good.
Twilight giggled again. “I think somepony misses their sister.”
Trixie was about to remark that she didn't have a sister when she took another glance at her mane, it was the exact colour of Luna's coat, there was even a light blue stripe the exact colour of Luna's mane. “Ah, I see. I like it though, it carries an air of regal elegance.”
“Then if you like it, I don't see the need to change it. I'm sure it would amuse Luna to see, she'd probably tease me something rotten about it.”
Twilight had a sudden idea, for the past few moments she had been staring distractedly at Trixie, her new coat colour made her cutie mark shine in the most brilliant of ways. “Princess, about Luna, when she was sent away on her...” Twilight coughed embarrassedly. “...Adventure, you were still under the influence of the spell. Shouldn't you ask her to come back now you've regained your senses?”
Celestia thought about it for a few seconds. “No, I think it was a good idea after all. She was keeping herself cooped up in here and in my personal opinion, she was starting to go a little stir crazy. Her nights had been increasingly... abstract. I always knew she was an artist, she could paint the night sky much more beautifully than me, but I had to draw the line when she said she wanted to see what the moon would look like as a cube.”
Twilight shot a sideways glance at Trixie, she was trying not to laugh.
“It will do her a world of good to get to know Equestria as it is in this age, how the ponies function and what they need in their day to day lives. Maybe one day she'll find her way to Ponyville and you can be there to see how much she's changed. When she returns to Canterlot, she can proudly claim the night as her own again.”
Celestia took a deep breath. “Now I believe the pair of you have a lot to discuss about your immediate future. Twilight, I'm sure your friends in Ponyville miss you deeply and poor Spike can't be too pleased that he's had to take over librarian duties for longer than he expected. Trixie, as much as I'm sure I'll miss you, you can't stay in the castle forever, you need to repair a lot of bridges or the spell will have won. It's a tough road, but I'm sure you will perform admirably.”
Trixie and Twilight both smiled, their Canterlot vacation was coming to end, but their future was still wide open. Celestia turned to leave, but Twilight called her back, “Princess, before you go, I know you've been busy, but have you discovered anything else about the spell?”
Celestia closed her eyes and sighed, she hated telling lies, especially to her own student. “No, my faithful student... I haven't.” Some secrets needed to be kept until the time is right, Twilight needed to learn self-reliance, that not everything should be deferred to her mentor. Most importantly, she needed to learn to trust herself and her friends.
Twilight look dejected, Trixie even more so, but Celestia put on an encouraging smile, “It'll be okay, everything will be back to normal soon. No spell is unbreakable.”
Celestia was glad to see the grins returning to the two pony's faces, she watched for a moment more as Twilight insisted she take Trixie to Ponyville and introduce her to her friends and show her the sights. As the alicorn princess turned to leave the room, she heard Trixie mention that she would need a new name to further enhance her disguise, the princess laughed silently to herself, 'They're both in good hooves now.'
The short pleasure flooded from her once she left the room however, with only the surrounding air to keep her company, a sense of dread filled her.
An old enemy, one she thought she had defeated aeons ago.
He's coming back.