“Where was she when you found her?” asked a quiet mare’s voice.
“She was just layin’ on the shore of the pond and wouldn’t wake up,” a gruff voice answered her. “She musta been caught in that storm yesterday. She probably didn’t know how dangerous that ‘scenic’ path was. She seems like one of them city folks who don’t know a lick ‘bout this half of Equestria or hiking. She probably didn’t even check the weather before she left. Dumb mare.”
The mare frowned. “Now dear, I’m sure that she had good reason to think it wasn’t gonna go rain somethin’ furious. She probably didn’t realize how dangerous that path got. No need to be harsh on her.”
He sighed in submission. “Fine. I’ll leave her to you.”
She returned with a smile. “Good. Now, you want me to send Starry to pick some carrots?”
“Naw, I’ll get ‘em. I need to get my tools in the shed anyways.” He left to do his chores. She tucked the sleeping unicorn in further, and then followed him out the door.
The unicorn took for herself a desk in the far back of the classroom under a window. She yawned, not adjusted to the early mornings of a farm filly’s morning chores, and fetched her book on basic magic out of her school bag. She read and reread the same sentence before surrendering to her foul mood. “Stupid chores on the stupid farm, all because of,” she paused and spat out, “him...her son. Argh, and this stupid book isn’t teaching me anything new.” She stuffed the book into her bag and chose to sit there and brood at her empty desk.
After a few minutes passed, a verdant green earth pony carrying a tan notebook in her maw walked into the room. She tossed the notebook on her desk and started to hum a happy tune as she unpacked her items. She washed the chalkboard then checked the desks to make certain that her room was tidy before the students arrived. She gasped upon seeing the unicorn. “Oh my, I’m sorry I didn’t see you there. Ah, you must be the new student, Sown Oat’s grandfilly? It’s Beatrix, right?”
The filly snapped to attention upon hearing her name and scowled. “Call me Trixie. I hate that name.” She sighed and buried her head in her hooves wishing for more sleep.
The teacher responded, “Oh, well that’s fine. Trixie’s a cute name. So what’s your favorite subject?”
She answered back with voice muffled by her hooves. “Magic.”
“Math you say? That’s nice. It’s rare for fillies your age, but I love it too.”
The unicorn lifted her head and growled, “No, I said ma-gic.”
The teacher strolled over to the window and opened it. “Oh, well we don’t learn magic here. Sorry about that. The library might have some books on it if you-”
She cut her off. “I know. I have one. It’s useless.” She muttered under her breath, “Just like everypony in this town.”
The teacher frowned but quickly smiled when another student walked into the classroom. “Well, Trixie, I think you’ll have a wonderful time learning all about the different histories and reading books and wonderful arts and...”
The unicorn leaned her head against the window and watched the fog of her breath spread across the pane. She ignored the teacher’s excited ramblings and instead lost herself in dreams of magics and show stages. She thought of headlines mentioning ‘The Great and Power Trixie’ daily and the fans of her extraordinary skills giddly mentioning her name in idle chitchat every day. She knew she would be known by all someday; her mother told her so.
The soft creak of the white door was quickly followed by a wave of early morning sun that washed a small warmth over the bed. A beige mare blocked some of the light, set down a bowl of soup, and softly spoke. “Good morning, dear. I hope the bed wasn’t too hard on your injuries.”
Trixie snapped awake and shuffled from under the blanket to see whose voice woke her. She leaned herself up on one hoof, but yelped in pain and collapsed back onto the bed. The earth pony tried to calm her. “Now now, dearie, don’t hurt yourself no more.”
The unicorn sputtered, “What? Where? Happened? Wha-?”
“Calm down, dearie.” She chuckled. “You’re fine. You just had a nasty tumble and were found clean out and frighteningly cold at the lake. Oh Luna, I don’t want to forget.” She set down the bowl of dandelion soup. “Here, you’ve been out for a little over a day now. You must be hungry.”
Trixie allowed herself a small smile. “Thank you. It smells good.”
The earth pony’s expression lightened. “That’s good, dear.” She giggled. “Oh silly me, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Sandy Shores. My husband Rocky is the one who found you.”
Trixie had already finished the bowl by the time she learned of her hosts’ names. She sheepishly smiled and wiped her muzzle on her fetlock. “Uhh, my name’s Trixie.” She lifted her other foreleg to offer a shake but cringed and quickly grabbed her shoulder.
“Don’t you move that the leg, missy. You bruised it pretty bad. You just lie down and take it easy.”
“Okay.” Trixie resigned to her advice and rested back onto the bed.
“Now you just rest and I’ll send Starry in with another bowl. You get some more sleep after you eat to help that bruised shoulder.”
The earth pony took the bowl out with her. The azure mare fluffed her pillows and let drowsiness set in. A loud knock came from the door that jostled her from her stupor. “Come in.” A black coated colt walked in with another bowl of soup. His small stature moved up to the bed and offered her the bowl. “Thank you.” She took a small sip of the soup before hungrily drinking the entire bowl. Silence filled the room and the colt nervously scratched at the floor. “Oh, right, the bowl.” She gave him the emptied bowl and grumbled, “Could’ve just asked.”
The colt took the bowl and was beckoned by his mother. “Starry dear, can you bring this canteen out to your father?” The colt scurried out of the room to do his mother’s bidding. Trixie remembered all the pains of her recent perils and carefully reclined onto the bed. Her joints throbbed and her neck ached, giving her a good idea of how far down the mountain she had traveled.
Her door creaked open once again and stirred her from her daze. She leaned up and saw her host come in with an extra feather pillow. “Here, Trixie dear, I thought you might like an extra pillow.”
Trixie grunted as she pulled herself up and let her host put the pillow under her. She commented while the earth pony fluffed her pillows. “Your son is awfully quiet.” She rested onto the new set of padding.
“Oh, well that’s because our little Starry can’t speak. They don’t know why, but he’s not said a word his whole life.” She had yet to stop smiling on the thought of her son. “He’s a good kid and doesn’t let it bother him none. Now I’ll let you get some sleep.”
She walked out once again to leave the tired unicorn to a slumber that quickly came.
“I’m home granny,” the filly called out to the aged earth pony as she flopped on the couch. Her first semester of school had just ended.
Her grandmare greeted her. “How was ya day at the school house?”
The unicorn responded, “Better than most I guess. At least today Miss Posy let me use magic. The others laughed when I couldn’t make real fire...all they wanted was for me to get in trouble. Thank Luna it’s vacation.” She rolled over and sighed in bliss.
Her elder chided her. “Now, I am certain that they didn’t want to get you in trouble, Beatrix.”
The filly snapped back. “I SAID DON’T CALL ME THAT!” She calmed slightly. “My name is Trixie, not Beatrix. I’ll call myself Trixie until you remember. Trixie, Trixie, Trixie!” She was panting by the end. The silence gradually sobered the filly from her rage until she beheld the tears hiding in her grandmere’s emerald eyes. “I-Trixie will be in m-her room reading.” She silently walked up the stairs to her room; she felt a sorrow after her anger, but no regret.
For the first time since Las Pegasus, Trixie awoke on her own. She felt soreness and pain throughout her body, but also an odd sense of restlessness. She slowly stretched her stiff legs out and gingerly set them on the floor, then gradually set her full weight onto her legs. She ignored the warm throbs and discomfort that standing caused; she would not tolerate being that somepony waited on hoof and heel. She softly walked on her hooves into the homely living area of the homestead. Her presence startled her host who immediately dropped what she was doing.
Sandy rushed over and fretted over Trixie’s state. “Oh dearie, what are you doing up? You need your rest. Oh my, you’re limping, dear. please let me help you to bed and-”
“No!” Trixie stopped moving and calmed her host. “No, thank you, but I won’t let myself lie in bed all day.” She limped towards the table with her host still trying to give her a helping hoof. “I’ll be fine.” She plopped down and immediately regretted jarring her joints. “See, I’m fine. I don’t need you to wait on me all day. I feel fine.”
Her host frowned. “Okay, but don’t do anything to hurt yourself.” The earth pony filled a glass of water and was bringing it to the table before Trixie’s horn glowed and grabbed it from her host. “Oh dearie, I don’t mind...”
Trixie took a small sip and dismissed her. “No, it’s quite alright. I’m not useless; I do still have my magic after all.”
The unicorn’s gaze averted the worried eyes and settled on watching the birds out the window. “Alrighty, dear. Just lie down on the couch if you start to feel tired.”
She went back to cooking their dinner but constantly checked on the azure mare despite her assurances. The pot set to boil began to bubble over; the water sizzled as it dripped to the bottom of the hot metal and into the fire. The sudden noises of the kitchen distracted the mare from noticing a young and silent colt enter and sit at the table. With the boiling water under control and the hot loaf of bread set to cool, the beige pony finally noticed her son. “Oh, Starry, could you be a dear and tell your father dinner is ready?” Her son gave her a polite nod then left them as quietly as he came.
Trixie’s focus faded from the frame and onto the aroma of fresh bread. “Sorry, did you ask me a question?”
“Oh no, I just sent little Starry out to get Rocky for dinner.” She hummed a little ditty off tune as she set the table. “So, Miss Trixie, do you remember why you were out in that nasty storm?” She pushed a newly filled glass of water across the table. “I just was wondering what led you out onto the mountain trail during that storm.” She set the pot on the table and patiently waited for a response.
Trixie swirled the glass dejectedly and gave her an inaudible response. “I didn’t know about it.” She intently stared at the gently building vortex.
Sandy leaned in slightly and asked, “What was that?”
The unicorn sighed. “I didn’t know there was going to be a storm...I forgot to check.”
“Of course you did,” replied a gruff voice. “City folk got their heads in the clouds more than the Pegasi do. Anypony worth their own two bits knows not to travel blind and empty hooved.” The stocky figure of Rocky strolled up to the table; the dark burgundy stallion towered over his wife’s figure. His son followed and sat quiet as ever between the mares.
Trixie mumbled again, “Well I’m not exactly a city pony; I did have a bag with me but I lost it.” She finally stopped playing with her glass and spoke up. “I don’t really want to talk about it.”
Sandy took this moment of silence to serve everypony their meal of carrot soup and farm fresh bread. “It’s fine, dear, we won’t hassle you about it. I just hope that you’ll find your way back to Las Pegasus. That old hiking trail can be a toughie.”
Trixie balked at the thought of returning to the city. “What do you mean? I was trying to leave the city, not go to it. Where else could I have gone heading south?”
The stallion guffawed before responding. “That path is a damn circle, filly. Not only did you ignore the weather, you had no idea where you were heading? Ha, that’s rich.” He shook his head and muttered inaudibly “city folk” and grabbed an extra slice of bread.
“Oh dearie, if you didn’t want to go back you woulda had to go east,” she offered consolingly.
Blood rushed to Trixie’s face from the oversight. “Well, I’m not heading there anymore.” She stared at her plate to avoid the patronizing look of the stallion. She grabbed her slice of bread and dutifully nibbled on it. The rest of the family followed suit and left the table in silence.
Trixie finished her meal first and asked to be excused. She gingerly crept her way to her room and plopped down onto the bed only to immediately regret it. She groaned and rolled off her bruised shoulder. Her ears caught sound of an almost silent clank, followed by poorly hushed voices from the dining room.
“She’s just gonna sit here all day and do nothing. It’s already bad enough with my own boy being useless ‘round the farm, now I got her to care for too? She’s a unicorn; they can’t grown nothin’.”
“What do you want me to do? I’m not going to just kick her out. I can’t not help her. She’s-”
“Enough.” Silence pervaded the homestead. “It’s fine. Take care of her however long you need.” The sound of dishes hitting the marble sink echoed throughout the house. “Just do what you want. I’m going to rinse off then go to bed.”
Heavy hoofsteps led themselves down the hall and behind a door. Trixie fumed at being talked about so callously. Fine, if I’m so worthless then I’ll just leave. Trixie’s pride let her forget her shoulder for a moment before reality reminded her of injury. She locked up in pain and rolled back onto her good side. She was grinding her teeth but simmered down. Okay, I’ll leave as soon as possible. No need to overstay my welcome.
She brooded and shifted restlessly. Time crept and the moon shone and the mare’s eyes finally grew heavy. Her angry thoughts lulled and eventually led to sleep.
“So ya think y’all’s somethin’ special? Sure ya can make some purty lights, but ya can’t even grow a stalk o’ corn!” All the foals joined in laughter with the tallest colt, all but the azure unicorn.
“So what if Ah can’t grow some stupid plant.” She became furious over the small slip into their accent. She shouted back with force. “Trixie is a magician. She is great and powerful and gonna be the best, not some hick farmer who does nothing special!”
Their teacher called from the schoolhouse door, “My little ponies, recess is over so come on in.” A chorus of groans came from the children except the unicorn and the colt.
“What do they say, saved by the bell? I was about to use that rope on you.” the filly mocked him.
“Ha, watcha mean ‘saved’? Y’all’s just a wimpy unicorn.” The colt snickered at his classmate.
“Take that back! Trixie is THE Great and Power Trixie.” Her pout gave way to a grin. “If you don’t believe me, you foal, Trixie will prove she’s the best.” She dug her hooves into the soft sand and telekinetically latched onto an abandoned jump rope and snaked it through the air and around the colt.
In an instant, the colt was upside down and tied like a hog before the panic set in. His delayed scream alerted the foals of excitement and the teacher of dismay as they all scurried back out onto the playground.
The filly towered over him triumphantly. “Trixie told you: you were saved by the bell. Trixie can do anything better than anypony and is the greatest magician alive. She’s-”
“Untie him and get over here this instant.” Her teacher’s composure left along with the foals’ discipline, all of whom were now clamoring for front row seats at the only thing more exciting than cupcakes for lunch. “Beatrix, do as I say.”
The unicorn was loving the attention until she heard her full name. The noise of her crowd faded as the name’s echo grew louder. Her face flushed red as she roared back. “Don’t you call me that!” Her chest heaved and lungs hurt as she clenched back tears. “You will call me Trixie. Everypony will know my name.” She opened her watery, purple eyes and saw the state of the playground. A sudden calm washed over her as the thought of her mother’s confidence soothed her anger. She whispered, “Yes, the Great and Powerful Trixie will be known by all.” Then she ran; her path was drawn in her wake with the tears pouring down her face.
The teacher knocked on the door. School had finally let out after an arduous day, and her responsibility as a caretaker of the foals led her to the steps of Oats Farm. The grandmare of the house greeted her with slightly puffy eyes. “Oh, come on in, Miss Posy. I’ll just set on a pot of tea.”
The elder guided the way to the antiquated coffee table and told her guest, “I know ya here ‘cause ma grandfilly left in the middle of the school day.” The aged pony plodded to the kitchen and returned with a tea platter. Her hoof started to rattle the teacups and table. “I just d-don’t know what...”
The muffled sobs were met by the apologetic embrace of the verdant green pony. “Ms. Oats, it’s fine, it’s fine. She just had a really tough day. She’s just upset and-”
The clattering stopped and the air held still. The teacher tried to speak but words of comfort they left her.
“She came home and grabbed her hat and bag and just sat at the front door. She waited for me. . .”
The unicorn was staring at the window in the door. “I’m leaving. I’ve learned more from a book than anypony in this backwards town can teach me. I...no, Trixie will find herself ponies worthy of her magic. He was useless and left on his own accord.” She turned a stepped towards her grandmare with an angry fire in her chest. “You, you both gave me nothing. You both were useless to Trixie.” Then the sadness returned. “She left me before the name Trixie would be known by all. She was going to teach me how to be great, but...but that’s too late. But Trixie is already THE Great and Powerful Trixie; just like she promised; Equestria just has to see it first.” She opened the door and stepped into the frame. “Beatrix says goodbye.”
A new river of tears trickled onto the green mare’s coat. “By time I got out the front door, she disappeared behind a cloud of smoke. She...she just left.” The younger mare wordlessly comforted the brokenhearted elder.
Trixie waited through the last three days but constantly lost the battle to her shoulder. The unicorn lay awake for the last rays of the moon to be cast before she’d leave; she had no appetite for resistance from the family. She left the bed and willed herself into a proper strut then slipped out the door with a soft click.
Her breath was heavy in the warming morning air. Her joints stiffened and her coat chilled as she adjusted to being outside for the first time in days. The mare pushed her sore legs forward as she headed towards the rising sun and the farther reaches of Equestria.
The path to the front was long, but soon came to a fence accompanied by a colt of black fur. She stopped next to him and followed his eyes up to the sky and smiled with him. “They can be beautiful.” She gave him a polite nod and set down the new road untraveled and let the breeze brush her mane to the side.
The winds started to build and viciously rustle the leaves. She pinned her ears as she fought the wind and weakly pressed on.