Secondary Author's Note for republishing in comments.
My legs feel weak. I’m sure that if I don’t sit down soon they’ll fall out from underneath me.
Regardless, I continue to stand, bracing myself against the wall of the cage as me and the three mares trade horrified expressions.
My hands are bone white, clenched so tightly around the bars of my cage that I'm in danger of hurting myself, and my mind is a blur as I rapidly sift through my memories and the facts.
The worst part is how well it explains everything - All the ponies talking about me objectively. The empty backstage. Trixie not allowing me to talk to the audiences.
All this time, she’s been masquerading me as some sort of non-sentient creature. Some sort of animal.
And that is where things stop making sense. How could this have worked? I was playing a piano. Animals can’t play instruments. It takes a level of focus and the ultra-fine motor skills only available to intelligent creatures.
I’m in no state to properly crunch the facts here. There are so many thoughts cluttering up my mind that I’m afraid my brain is about to suffer from a Blue Screen of Death.
With my mind still grinding away at this shocking revelation, my mouth manages to flop open, my next question rolling of my tongue with as much grace as an invalid performing a ballet.
“Nobody knew? You’re telling me that all this time nobody knew what she was doing to me?”
Twilight’s ears droop in a heart-wrenching display of sorrow and sympathy. “I… I can’t believe it either. You can talk!”
“Yes.” My throat feels tight. “All of the… all of the pain… I could have stopped it… I…”
Cadance looks like she’s about to faint. Of course; she’s sensitive to emotions, so the stuff I’m emanating must make her want to be sick.
“What… What pain?” She asks tentatively.
“My nose…” I cross my eyes to stare at the crooked appendage, feeling the first pricks of tears in my eyes. “And… and…”
I can’t bring myself to say it, but the hand now clutching at my hair seems to convey to general message of ‘She did something horrible’.
The tears are flowing freely now, although the reason for why is something I cannot fathom. Am I happy that this is all finally over, or am I crying over the needless hardships I suffered?
I wish I knew.
“God… If she hadn’t stopped me…” I whimper. “Then I wouldn’t… I’d be…”
“Stop you from what, darling?” Rarity’s eyes are so full of concern, I can hardly bear it. So many days full of nothing but scorn and hatred, and now I have these three mares here, each one of them conveying nothing short of complete and utter sympathy.
“From… from…” There’s no dignity in saying this, or the amount of water on my face. Looks like I’ve finally lost that as well – although it’s a small price to pay for freedom.
“From…” I drag it out for a third time, unwilling to admit that I had given up, while the three mares all press closer to the cage. I’m sure that they’ve already realised what I’m referring to.
“…Hanging…” I tighten my grip on my hair. “…myself...” The words come out in a choked whisper, but even so all three of the mares visibly recoil at my admission. “I just… I… I c-couldn’t take it any more. The pain… the…”
It feels wonderful to tell this story. To know that these three ponies now know what Trixie has done to me.
Rarity finally puts a stop to the pain of reliving the last three weeks as she stops me.
“It’s okay, dear. She can’t hurt you anymore.”
Oh wow. She just used that line.
“We’ll get you out of here, then we’ll go and find the princess… and then…” The white unicorn looked over at Twilight and Cadance who were both looking equally ‘happy’ at what was to come. “And then Trixie will get her punishment.”
It’s too much for me. The pain of reliving the last three weeks, and the shock of a hope I had given up on coming to fruition.
I collapse to my knees, sobbing uncontrollably. Less than five minutes ago I was fully prepared to die. I wouldn’t have cared in the slightest – In fact, I would have been happy. Now… all I can think of is getting away.
The three ponies refrain from talking to me while I go through my break-down. I can’t listen properly over my sobs of joy and grief, but the general gist seems to be that they are talking about what Trixie did to make me suicidal. The amount of times I catch the words ‘awful’, ‘sorry’ and ‘justice’ is heart warming.
Eventually, my sobs die down, and I finally look up at the three.
“You…” I give a small hiccup. “Have no idea how much… What this changes… I…”
“You don’t need to tell us.” Cadance replies softly. Of course I don’t need to explain it to the alicorn that can feel emotions.
“Well, not to you.” I mumble, slowly standing up and rubbing at my eyes. “Please, get me out of here, before that monster comes back.”
“Right.” Twilight’s horn lights up, and her aura encircles the cage door, thrusting it open.
I grin weakly. I never thought I’d see the day when that door was just… open, with no-one forcing me to walk through it.
I look to Twilight, trying to convey exactly how grateful I am with one expression.
Realizing that such a feat would be beyond Celestia herself, I open my mouth to speak when everything goes wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
I watch in shock as Trixie emerges from the shadows behind Twilight, Rarity and Cadance, her eyes wild with rage and disbelief.
My very first thought is ‘How did she sneak up on us?’, followed quickly by ‘Why did she sneak up on us? How could she possibly know that they were in here?'
I quickly search my memory, and almost immediately realize that my saviours never closed the door to the wagon. Trixie could have – must have, actually – heard our exchange at a distance, and then crept up on us.
I want to scream. I want to shout, and point her out to the others, and yet I cannot. Trixie has already seized control of my mind, filling it with a presence that writhes with rage and unbridled hatred. Her horn is surrounded by its aura, the dull ambient light going unnoticed by the three mares.
My eyes widen as she sneers at me, before pointing her hoof at The three mares and me in turn, and then drawing the same hoof across her throat as her horn starts to grow brighter.
No, she wouldn't. Not the princess!
She would, and she does.
I watch in horror as Trixie takes a step forward, lifting one hoof and bringing it down on Cadance’s head. The Princess drops to the ground instantly, clearly out cold.
While this is going on, Twilight and Rarity are busy staring at me. My wide-eyed stare has them unnerved. They only turn - hopefully realizing what is happening in the process – when they hear the thud of Cadance's collapse.
Twilight’s horn lights up, but Trixie’s charging has already reached its zenith, with the entire length of her horn crackling with energy.
Too much energy. It looks dangerous – scratch that; it looks frightening.
The tip of her horn flashes white, blinding me - and presumably the others - with its intensity.
I lean against the bars of the cage as the white glare fades away, only to find that nothing has changed. Twilight and Rarity seem similarly confused, but they quickly place their attention on Trixie, who is snarling at the pair.
“You shouldn’t have come here!” The blue unicorn shouts, her face contorted into a mask of rage. “You should have stayed away!”
Ignoring Trixie’s cries, Twilight charges her horn again, filling the wagon with light.
Everything will be fine. Twilight is a much better magician than Trixie, and the monster's spell did nothing.
I let out a little sigh of relief at the thought as Twilight and Rarity make their advance towards the offending mare. Nothing has changed. In fact, now there’s more evidence against my tormentor.
"Trixie." Twilight speaks in a low and angry voice that I have never heard her use. "Give yourself up. Face justice."
In the tension of the scene, the corniness of the different lines flying through the air is almost lost on me. Almost.
Suddenly, the entire wagon heaves, its boards adopting a strange blue-purple hue as the front end rises into the air, putting a sharp tilt on the floor.
It happens in slow motion – whether or not that’s the spell or just my perception, I have no idea.
Twilight and Rarity both slip immediately, falling straight against the bars of my prison, while Cadance’s unconscious form drops through the open door of the cage.
I myself collapse against the step angle, before sliding feet-first to the far end of the cage, giving out a loud shout as the incline becomes steeper. I have no idea what has happened to Trixie, but she definitely hasn't joined everyone else in our respective falls.
The incline is almost vertical now, which means that I am once again standing – now against the bars of my cage. This is horrifying. Can Twilight still beat Trixie? Surely the wagon isn’t going to-
It is. It's starting to continue its arc, and once gravity kicks in...
It is to my relief that I see Twilight's horn flare, producing a magical aura that encircles close to half of the wooden planks that make up the wagon.
It is to my horror that I realize that it isn't enough. The other boards aren't surrounded by Trixie's aura, they are imbued with it. Whatever spell she cast, it’s not a normal one.
The wagon stops the arc that would bring it down on its roof, but now there is a new problem.
The planks are fighting each other. They're all trying to move, but close to half are being stopped by Twilight, with a further few being stopped by Rarity. Different parts of the wagon are literally fighting against the others to move, and the entire thing is producing a myriad of frightening groans.
It doesn’t take long for the eventual escalation of what is happening to occur. All I can do Is brace myself as the groans transform into the ruckus of splintering wood.
The noise berates my ears as I shield my head, and I shut my eyes while the wagon proceeds to tear itself apart.
My vision is fuzzy – an experience I have had to go through far too many times over the last three weeks - although I can hear just fine.
Somebody nearby is groaning. Beyond that I can hear a lot of angry grunting, and some odd ‘magical’ sounds like tinkling wind chimes and electrical discharges. I only hear enough discharges for one unicorn, not two.
I shake my head, bringing everything into focus, which reveals a splintered beam hanging just over my head.
The cage has been ripped apart, with individual bars strewn everywhere, some of them bent, others completely snapped. The wagon itself has been demolished, spreading the area around me with wood fragments and splintered planks.
I sit up, and look around. It didn’t take long for things to go wrong. Fuck you Murphy.
Twilight is lying next to me, clearly unconscious. She looks like she’s been hit by a train – although what’s actually happened is too far off.
I don’t see Rarity or Cadance, although from the sound of things I’d say one of them is either attacking or being attacked by Trixie – probably Rarity, and hopefully it is her magic I hear.
To be honest, I have no idea how powerful Trixie is compared to other unicorns. She could never beat Twilight, but what about Cadance or Rarity? Rarity was already shown up by her once in Boast Busters, and I don’t know how powerful the likely unconscious Cadance is when it comes to ‘normal’ magic.
I struggle to my feet, completely disorientated.
This is my chance. I can get my revenge on Trixie. I’m free, and she’s busy.
Bending down, I pick up one of the snapped bars of the cage.
I savour the weight in my hands. A few good strikes with this… and…
Pausing, I stoop down again and grab another item from the floor.
It’s one of the lengths of piano-wire that Trixie used to bind me. Like I said: Useless for suicide, perfect as a garrote. I'll probably never get the chance to use it, but I feel better with it in my hand.
The sounds of what can best be analogised as a magical beating have ceased, and I can hear the sound of Rarity moaning. The idea that Trixie would hurt these three mares… it brings my rage bubbling back – and I’m ready to act on it.
I straighten up and look around at the mess. It’s like a hurricane blew through, ripping the wagon to shreds. That spell Trixie cast, just what was it that could resist Twilight?
Trixie is speaking to her foe, her voice distraught and strained.
“I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt another pony. This should never have happened!”
I take a tentative step towards her voice, taking a second to check that my legs aren’t injured before suddenly bounding forwards.
It’s time for retribution.
I step out of the centre of the wreckage, grasping the metal bar firmly in my hand.
Trixie has her ‘back’ to me, facing the crumpled white unicorn that lies sprawled on the ground. Perfect - not for Rarity, of course, but that doesn't matter anymore. Right now, all that matters is my revenge.
“You bitch.” I hiss before tightening my grip on the metal bar and swinging, only to have my arm come to a standstill.
I shouldn’t have said anything. I should have just done it. Stupid, stupid melodramatic me.
Trixie’s magical aura envelops my arm, and lifts me into the air, before dumping me on the ground.
My head is swimming. You would think by now I was used to seeing double, what with how often it’s been happening – and without even the comfort of being drunk. Maybe if I can get through this, I’ll be able to find out what that’s like.
I shake my head, managing to bring everything back into focus just as Trixie finishes approaching me, an expression of rage on her face the likes of which I’ve never seen.
“YOU!!” She screams. “YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!!”
“Trixie…” I cough, slowly standing up. “It’s over. Everyone will figure it out. It’s so obvious.”
“Oh really?” Trixie’s face doesn’t change as she glares at me, even though her voice has dropped to something much closer to her normal speaking tone.
“I disagree! What’s there to figure out? These three foolish mares came to see the dangerous human without my supervision! I can’t be held responsible for what it did. At least I managed to slay it before it could go on a brutal rampage.”
That seems oddly well thought out for something she’s making up on the spot, but like so many other things at the moment, it doesn't matter at the moment.
“Do you really think that’ll work?”
“What do you think everypony will believe? That I managed to kill a princess and Celestia’s protégée, or that the mysterious animal with unknown abilities did it?”
I sway on the spot, slowly lifting the metal bar in my right hand. “You haven’t won ye-”
My body lurches at the impact, and I look down in shock.
Did she just do that? Did Trixie really just-
She jerks back, violently extricating her horn from my abdomen. It’s slick with my blood.
I stare down at the wound, which is already leaking a generous amount of blood. It hurts like hell, filling me with both a burning and chilling sensation at the same time.
“Yes. I. Have.” Trixie growls back. “You’ve earned this, human.” She turns away, most likely to finish off the three mares.
I look down at my abdomen. Is this a mortal wound? Am I going to die? Does she think that this will kill me right away? It'll take awhile to bleed out - A good three minutes, at least. probably longer, unless she hit something really important. I know that much.
I look back up, lifting the cage bar. I must be in shock. Any normal person would be screaming their head off right now. I'm sure that in any other situation, I would be too.
“And you’ve earned this.”
Trixie starts to turn her head back to me, the rage in her eyes now augmented by a glint of confusion as I swing the cage fragment.
The bar collides with her head – or more accurately, her horn. Right at the base.
And when that happens, two things occur.
Firstly, I drop the bar, my hand jarred by the impact.
Secondly, the air is filled with an ear-splitting crack, and Trixie’s horn shatters. Just like that.
It fragments, throwing shards of the horn in all directions, while Trixie is sent flying for a full two meters.
She skids and then rolls along the ground for a further two meters, screaming in agony as what was her horn is dispersed over the area, while I simply bound after her.
My god. That felt so good. That horn has caused me so much pain – including what may be a mortal wound.
Slowly, I bend over and retrieve the metal bar, before limping over towards Trixie, dropping my length of piano-wire so that I can use my left hand to apply pressure to my wound.
I've won. Trixie’s horn is gone. She can’t do anything. I actually won.
Murphy can kiss, my, ass.
I lift the metal bar above my head as I approach Trixie. The action takes a lot of effort – far more than it should. I must be bleeding out faster than I thought. I need to make this count.
I look down at the blue mare. She no longer looks terrifying. All I can think of is the last three weeks. All the horrors, the contradictions, the beatings. None of them mean anything now. Even the blood seeping around the hand applied to my abdomen is meaningless.
Her eyes flicker open, looking up at me – and have to notice that for the first time there’s no gleam in them… just a dull glassy image. The look of resignation.
“Just make it quick.” She whispers feebly, before closing her eyes again.
Quick is much more than she deserves, but I’m running out of time, so I'll happily oblige.
I lift the bar as high as I can, and bring it down on Trixie’s head.
It strikes with far less force than I would like, although still creating a satisfying crunch.
I have no idea if Trixie is dead or not. I’m having trouble seeing her, and I can’t see if her chest is rising or falling. Her eyes are still closed, though. So at least I did something.
My vision may be fading, but I can still hear, and what I hear is shouting. The closest voice sounds like Twilight, but the more distant ones are foreign. With any luck - and I think I'm due a bit of good luck - they’ll be doctors, because I really need one.
My body even seems to feel a need to emphasize that point, and my legs fold underneath me.
I stare up at the glass ceiling of the courtyard. Does it end here? Am I okay with that? I got what I wanted. My revenge. Trixie’s retribution – more or less. Even if she survives, Twilight will make sure she goes away until the day she dies.
It’s been so long since I’ve smiled – and I mean really smiled. So long since I’ve smiled because I was truly happy. I suppose that makes me feel all the more better as my face is graced with a grin that would make Pinkie proud.
I see Twilight. She’s standing over me – her mouth forming wordless shouts.
Oh look, and there’s Celestia. I’m meeting the princess on what could very well be my death-bed. Amazing.
Impossibly, my smile gets wider as I open my mouth. I can’t hear anything, but that doesn’t stop me from speaking.
“I won.” I don’t hear my words, but the two staring down at me clearly do. “I beat her.”
Twilight renews her shouting. She clearly doesn't know that I can’t hear a word she's saying.
I give a little chuckle as my eyelids start to feel extremely heavy. I suppose it’s time - Or hell, maybe I'm just being overly dramatic.
Feeling more content than I have in years, I allow my eyes to close.
I could really use a good rest.