The doors swing open to The Feed Bag; a cosy pub on Manehatten’s outskirts. Being such well-known local figures, you expected the ponies there to throw their sideways glances your way. Honestly, you’re still not used to being so famous. Not after spending so much of your life purposefully trying to be as invisible as possible. At times like this, though, it’s a good thing you can look to Trixie, the mare who lives for the limelight, and follow her example.
“Ugh, sorry about this,” Trixie mutters as you take a seat near the back of the bar, “I wasn’t expecting the tables here to be so sticky.”
“What’s there to apologise for?” you grin, “Sticky tables are a sign of a good pub. It shows the guys at this table before us had a fun time getting drunk and spilling beer. Speaking of which, shall I get the first round in while you check the menu?”
“Ask if they have wine.”
“Red or white?”
Red it is. You opt for a smooth, refreshing ale straight from the barrel. Hey, all the best beverages come from small bars like this.
“So tell me,” she leans forward, sitting across from you, “Did you enjoy small-time pubs back in Canterlot?”
“Oh yeah,” you think back, taking a sip from your pint glass, growing nostalgic of the old inns you used to frequent, “If my fellow scumbags could see me now; headlining stage shows in the big city while they’re probably in their Canterlot bars right now bragging about the latest pocket they picked.”
“You call them scumbags, yet you hung around with that crowd?” she takes a sip of wine, “What does that say about you?”
“Well, exactly. They were so bad, somepony like me was the most gentlecoltly out of them all; it wasn’t hard to be. Heck, I was the only one there who didn’t go after mare’s purses back then.”
“And why was that?” she asks nonchalantly. You pause, thinking why that was the case yourself… oh. Now you remember.
“Well, before I get into the gory details,” you calmly place the ale back onto the table, “How much did Officer Tenbit tell you?”
“Only as much as you heard yourself,” she says with a look of intrigue in her violet eyes, “just that you’ve never once went after a mare or filly. That you’ve only robbed stallions.”
“I see.” you take a deep breath, and hunch over your glass, leaning a little closer to Trixie. The less ponies in the pub hear you, the better.
“The fellow thieves I used to work alongside, we were all pretty close with each other. I’d only just started stealing, and they were keen to get me into places nopony else there could go, since they couldn’t undo a lock as well as I could. One day, a mare comes up to us. A young mare, she looked like she was still in the phase of showing off her cutie mark. We had no idea why she’d suddenly trotted over to us. Apparently, she wanted to join our little gang. Thought being a wily thief was a cool life to live or something. She probably read too many fantasy books.”
You take a swig of the sweet swill in your glass, just to calm yourself down, and continue.
“So we humour her. Pretend that being a crook is some big important thing that involves initiations and whatnot. Which it doesn’t, by the way. It’s just jerks taking things. Anyway, we made a big deal out of it, made a joke about passing an initiation test to be part of the gang. Made something up about getting a big magical something-something from a cave outside Canterlot in order to join. She fell for it hook, line and sinker.”
Another swig. You hate this part of the story.
“She was so psyched about this nonexistent task we’d given her, she asked us to point out this cave so she could join us. We really didn’t know anything about the caves around Canterlot’s mountains, so the next day we went out as a group and pointed to the first cave we came across. Told her there was some big important thing that if she could successfully steal, she’d be in with us. Sh- she just trotted right into that cave, happy as can be, and…” you trail off. You wish your story was just that; a story.
“And then what happened?” Trixie’s whisper drags you back to present day. She’s been hanging on every word so far. You finish the last of your ale, and think about getting another one.
“I didn’t know there was a fully-grown dragon in that cave. None of us did. It was just supposed to be a joke, Trixie. A harmless joke, I swear.”
The look on the magician’s face says that she knew exactly what you meant by that. She knew you were a thief, a crook, a scoundrel. But she never thought you’d be indirectly responsible for something like that.
She gets up and leaves the table. You wouldn’t blame her if she was leaving the pub in disgust right there and then. Instead, she heads towards the bar and buys you another ale, replacing your empty glass. She wanted to stay and hear the last of it. You don’t know whether or not to be thankful for that.
“After the incident, it shook us all for a while. Some swore off theft entirely, others shrugged the incident off and sank back into their slimy ways. Myself? I needed the money, as always. I felt it would be a waste of my talents to quit before I properly started. But in my entire career, I’ve never once mugged or robbed a woman, be it pony, griffin or anything.” You take a thankful sip of the ale Trixie bought, to let the story sink in. “I feel I’ve taken away too much from womankind as it is.”
The awkward silence at the table is almost too much to bear. The rest of the pub churns on with the world, mostly unbothered by the problems of one individual. As it always has done.
“You know that wasn‘t your fault, right?” Trixie breaks through the stillness at your table, “That wasn’t anypony’s. It was just an accident.”
“I know,” you shrug, “but sometimes you take the blame on yourself for things because nopony else is there to, if that makes sense.”
Trixie gives a small, slow nod, and takes another sip of her wine, “Taking the blame for something that wasn’t your fault, huh. That reminds me of this one time I nearly destroyed a whole town.”
“You nearly did what now?”
“No, really,” she eyes the contents of her wine glass nonchalantly, “There was an Ursa Major there and everything. You know what an Ursa Major is, right?”
You shake your head.
“Well, it’s this huge beast made from the stars! Teeth as big as three ponies, and paws as big as a house!”
“You’re making this up, aren’t you? There’s no way…”
“Trust me, I wish I was,” Trixie mumbles with a touch of irritation at recalling the event, “See, before I came to Manehatten, all I did was rove from town to town in a caravan, putting on magic shows there. Then there was this one town called Ponyville. You know the one I’m talking about? The one near the foot of Canterlot’s mountain range..?”
She goes on to spin one of the strangest tales you’ve heard in a long time. A tale of how she not only brought a monster to a small town, but also how it destroyed the most of the homes there, her old caravan and nearly herself in the process. At first, she starts distastefully cursing a couple of ‘dumb colts’ whose foolish idea it was to bring the monster to the town in the first place. By the time she finished her story (and her wine), she’s only cursing herself and her arrogance.
This time it’s your turn to buy her a drink.
The food comes and goes, however the drinks continue to flow for the rest of the night. The more you both drink, the more you both seem to lighten up in each other’s company, spending the hours sharing stories that mostly began with the words ’this one time’. By the time it gets dark, you’re trotting out of the pub taking extra care not to fall flat on your face.
You and Trixie manage to find your way back to the theatre, and stumble your way back to the shared apartment a few floors above. However, as Trixie heads for the bathroom to wash and clean before bed, you opt out of returning to your sofa-bed in the living room. In your inebriated judgement, you decide to make do with somepony else’s bed. It’s a good job there’s room for two.
By the time your Great and Powerful roommate leaves the bathroom, you’re lying on her bed, one fore-hoof on your hip, the other propping your head up, giving her your best bedroom-eyes. She freezes for a moment, eyeing every inch of you up with a faint smile. You’d best believe she’s enjoying the view.
“Come to bed, Trixie…” you smoothly beckon her, “And take off the cape. I think it’ll look a lot better on the bedroom floor.”
If there’s one thing you liked about Trixie, it was how she did things; meaningfully and professionally. That same way she slowly removes her cape, letting it caress her alluring flank as it drifts to the ground. She trots toward the bed, one step after another, before seductively crawling onto it next to you.
From there, she lies on her back, sprawled out invitingly. You can’t help it. You just roll over her, placing each hoof on either side of her. And there you are, face to face with the most beautiful, attractive and, if the events of your night out was any indication, compatible mare you’ve ever met.
You can feel her warm breath on you face as you lower yourself closer to her. And closer. And closer. Her eyes flutter shut, her mouth opens just slightly, ready to accept a kiss. Slowly, you lean forward, your lips brushing against hers, until they finally-
In an instance, you’re scooped up by an unknown force. Before you know it, you’re dangling upside down several feet above Trixie, her magical aura keeping you suspended in the air.
“My, you really are a scoundrel, aren’t you?” she teases with a smirk, “Taking advantage of a mare who’s had a glass too much to drink.”
“Hey, I’ve been drinking too,” you slur, merrily swinging back and forth as her magic keeps you airborne, “You’re taking advantage of poor little me, hopeless against your… overwhelming sexiness. How could I possibly control my innybriat…. my ineebratted… my drunk self when you’re around? You’re way too sexy, Trixie. S’dangerous! You’re a sexy danger!”
Her blush betrays her true feelings to being called a sexy danger. “Well, I suppose I am pretty irresistible, aren’t I? I’ll tell you what…”
Her violet magic rearranges you, correcting your stance until you’re drifting upright. There, she gently holds your head still, keeping you face-to-face with her.
“Since you’re such an interesting guy, and such a good listener, you can have this.” She gives you a quick, warming peck on your snout. Something that made your heart skip a beat. “We’ll talk more about tomorrow night’s show in the morning. Be a good assistant, and you might get another one.”
Deep down, you can think of many more things she could give you other than a kiss. Nevertheless, you bid her goodnight, and leave for your sofa-bed in the other room.
Your dreams are filled with nothing but you and Trixie. Thoughts about going to bars, seeing the world, putting on a great show onstage… and an even better show in private. It’s a free world; free thought is just as acceptable, and you’re enjoying the thoughts in your head very much indeed. And maybe one day soon, it could be a reality.