The streets of Canterlot buzzed with activity under the late morning sun. Canterlot Castle was alive with the business of the day. All but one pony cleaned, cooked, or went about their work in high spirits.
Princess Luna stirred in bed. It had been a long night, and even after almost two years back, she had much to learn about modern day Equestria. Exhausted, she had expected to fall asleep easily, but after tossing and turning for several hours she only slipped into an uneasy slumber.
Do you really believe anypony’s forgiven you?
The Princess of the Night turned, covering her body with a dark blue wing. Her starry mane spread across the pillows like a tangled web from her constant tossing.
Do you think anypony should forgive you after everything you’ve done?
Luna tucked her snout under a hoof and snuggled deeper into the bed as the nightmares started. Ponies chased her through the streets of Canterlot, shouting for her banishment.
It’s only a matter of time. They will come for you. They won’t let you steal their precious sun.
She stood against the angry crowd in her dream and shouted, “Ponies of Canterlot, we do not wish for eternal night any longer! We wish to live peacefully with our sister!”
Liar! You’re jealous of your sister. You’ve always been jealous of her!
“Tis not true! We love our sister!”
But does your sister love you? She left you on the moon for a thousand years after all. What kind of sister would do that?
She hesitated as the crowd in her dream pushed toward her.
She’ll do it again, as soon as you put one hoof out of line. As long as she has the Elements of Harmony on her side, there’s nothing you can do.
Spike, you know this can’t last.
The dragon tossed and turned, clutching at his blankets as he swam in nightmares of his own.
Oh, I’m sure your pony friends want you around now, while it’s convenient. You’re small. You’re useful, taking notes and sending letters. You’re Twilight’s number one assistant, but do you really mean anything more to her?
Will anypony want you around when you’re too big to fit in the library? How will you live with the ponies when you can’t even come into town?
Dragons and ponies can’t live together in harmony.
“Who’s there?” The Great and Powerful Trixie asked, head snapping up at the sound of somepony breathing.
Just somepony who wants to help.
“Are you the one who’s been speaking to Trixie the past few weeks?”
I’ve been trying, but you never seem to answer.
The powder blue unicorn dipped her head and mumbled, “I was starting to think I’d gone crazy.” She raised her voice and said, “The Great and Powerful Trixie wishes to know what you want with her.”
I want your help casting a spell.
“And what is in it for Trixie?”
I will help you get back at Twilight Sparkle.
“What makes you think I need help?”
You haven’t spoken to Dash in months. Neither of you will apologize. I am a spirit with quite a bit of experience in these matters, but if you’d rather leave her be, I’ll just be going.
“Well wait a second,” the griffon said, missing a beat of her wings and dropping several feet.
“Do you really mean it?” the filly asked, a smug grin on her face.
The answer is plain as day. What else could a tiara for a cutie mark mean? The words roll off the tongue, Princess Diamond Tiara.
Diamond Tiara’s eyes lit up at the sound of it. “That does sound good, but how would I be a princess? Don’t you have to be, like, related to Princess Celestia?”
Just leave that to me. Do as I say, and everypony will know your name by the end of the month.
“But what do you need Trixie for?”
Well I thought The Great and Powerful Trixie was the most magical unicorn in Equestria.
“Of course she is. The Great and Powerful Trixie singlehoofedly defeated at least half the monsters now locked away in Tartarus. So what task could possibly be worth her valuable time?”
I’ll get right to the point. I’m gathering six ponies to represent the opposites of the elements of Harmony.
Trixie faltered, her confident smirk slipping for a moment. “That’s...” She trailed off.
Of course, you know Twilight Sparkle is the element of magic. Most ponies believe she’s the most powerful unicorn in Equestria. But we know better. So why shouldn’t The Great and Powerful Trixie represent the new Element of Power.
“Element of Power? Trixie does like the sound of that.” She paused again before asking, “How is power the opposite of magic?”
Twilight Sparkle only beat Nightmare Moon with the help of her friends. She represents the magic of friendship. Discord put a sarcastic emphasis on the last three words. The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn’t need anypony else. Your power alone is enough to accomplish great things.
“Of course, Trixie doesn’t need anypony else but herself. Now, why don’t you tell Trixie more of your plan.”
“So you want me because I’m the opposite of Pinkie Pie? Guess I can’t argue with you there, I’ve got ten times as much cool as her.”
Of course you do. That’s why I need you.
“But, isn’t Dash one of the elements too?”
She is, along with Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. This could be your chance to show her who the real losers are.
“What exactly do I have to do?”
Come to Canterlot when I ask you to. Wear a necklace, stand in a circle with some other ponies. That’s about it.
“I’ll have to ask my parents. I can’t just run off to Canterlot.”
What kind of princess has to ask permission to do something?
“But I’m not a princess yet.”
No, but you should start acting like one. You want to be ready, don’t you?
“Well, yes. But-”
Just trust me on this one, and you’ll be on your way to princesshood in no time. You just need some faith.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie will accept your deal. She would like to know one thing though, who are you?”
Oh, it’s not important. Just somepony Twilight Sparkle humiliated, like you.
“So you were run out of town by those losers too? But how are you talking to me?”
Oh, a simple spell. I’m stuck here in Canterlot, otherwise I’d talk to you face to face.
The griffon shrugged and adjusted her wings slightly. “Fine, you help me with Dash and I’ll think about helping out with your lame spell.”
Rainbow Dash stared at the paper as the minutes slipped by. She sat quietly in a corner as Spike went about readying the library to close.
A mug touched down on the table in front of her, interrupting her thoughts. She glanced up to see Twilight smiling kindly. “Dash, are you sure you don’t want to tell me what’s bothering you.”
Dash shook her head and gave Twilight a forced grin. “It’s nothing, really.”
“I don’t know. You seem a little worried.”
“Psh,” Dash scoffed, “I’m Rainbow Dash, bravest pony in Equestria. What would I be worried about?”
Twilight just stared, eyebrows raised skeptically, until the smile slipped from Dash’s face.
“Okay, maybe I’m a little worried. I’m not good with stuff like this.”
“Stuff like what?”
“It’s just some stuff I heard from Applejack and Rarity. Probably nothing.”
Twilight gave a frustrated sigh. Getting a straight answer from her pegasus friend was harder than herding parasprites. “Well, you know I’ll help if it does turn out to be something.”
Dash nodded and grabbed the quill between her teeth. Twilight watched her scratch out a quick note and roll it up. “So you’re sure they’ll get it?”
“Of course,” Twilight said, lifting the rolled letter gently with her magic. “Spike, could you come here?”
Spike took a moment to answer, “Sure.”
“We have a letter for you to send.”
“Another friendship letter for the princess?”
“No,” Twilight said. “It’s actually not to the princess. It’s going to Cloudsdale.”
“Oh. Uh, I don’t know Twilight. I don’t have much practice sending letters to anypony but Princess Celestia.”
“I have complete faith in you, my number one assistant.”
Spike almost smiled at the compliment, but it was gone a moment later. He reached for the letter. “Alright, where to then?”
Twilight looked at Dash for the answer. Rainbow looked almost sick with nerves as she answered, “Saint Mare-ies Orphanage, 1600 Cumulus Drive, Cloudsdale.”