My dear unicorn
Trixie groaned. The voice(s?) in her head sounded strange and powerful. Hearing them seemed to bring order to her thoughts.
An interloper under your fair guise accosts me
What did that mean?
He bears your aura
What was this voice? Where was she?
Everfree forest, and I am the six elements of harmony, irrespectively, heehee!
Shall we aid he who passes as you? Ah, so those are your thoughts and feelings on the matter
Be careful, Trixie
Trixie suddenly jolted awake. After taking a few shuddering breaths, she took in her surroundings. She was inside an unfamiliar castle. It looked like it had seen better days. She saw a cracked pedestal in the center. It looked like it was designed to hold six spheres, but it was bare. 'This must be that ancient castle. Where the Elements were found.'
"You're awake." Trixie swung around to see Kuthrine leaning against the wall. "Tiamat will want to know." She kicked off the wall and exited through the main entrance. Trixie noted that it was now evening. A few moments later, Tiamat entered. She strode over and stood directly in front if Trixie.
"Your life has little value to me right now, aside from nourishment. Don't test me. That said, I'm not in a hurry to kill you. A measure of civility in the following discussion is all I request."
'So I should just follow your own example, then?' She remembered that these star dragons hated being accused of hypocrisy, though, and kept her retort to herself. Instead, she smiled. "Of course, Epona."
Tiamat flinched and flapped her wings a couple times. "I intend no harm. My only goal is to restore harmony as best as I am able."
Trixie stood and straightened out her cape. She noticed her hat laying and the ground and levitated it to her head. "Very well. An admirable goal, to be sure. Trixie wishes you the very best." She started trotting towards the exit. Tiamat just stared, inasmuch as a sightless creature could stare.
"I'm truly sorry, but The Great and Powerful Trixie must be off. I have a debt to repay and a career to rebuild, after all." Trixie turned to give a goodbye wave, but Tiamat was already walking out of the room in the other direction. She slowly lowered her hoof and frowned before exiting herself.
The Everfree forest was as dark and oppressive as ever. A thick fog lurked in the trees. A nearby rope bridge spanned a dark, fog-filled chasm. 'The most inviting thing I've seen today.' She would take a monster-filled forest of evil and death over insane aliens any day of the week.
She took a step forward. "You aren't actually going to walk through that at night, are you?" She jumped and looked to her right. Kuthrine was sitting near the entrance, looking at her.
Trixie looked back at the forest. "So what if Trixie is? She can handle herself!"
Kuthrine sighed. "Not that I want to keep you here against your will, but if you want to get perforated, go ahead. Aside from the usual monsters, there's also an Empire reclamation team out there. I'd wait until dawn, at least."
"And why should here be any safer?"
"It's defensible and you have to other people to serve as a distraction if you need to escape. Besides, you just woke up from getting hit by some powerful magic. You should take it easy."
"...Fine." She trotted over to Kuthrine and sat next to her.
Neither spoke for a few minutes. The forest seemed to press in around them. While neither of them wanted to talk, they wanted the eerie silence even less. Kuthrine broke first.
"You know, I'm a little surprised that you're leaving now."
Trixie gave a hollow laugh. "Given the current situation?"
Kuthrine frowned. "You were unconscious. What do you even know about the current situation?"
"I have suspicions. Go ahead and dispel them, if you want."
Kuthrine sighed. "Kelly's dead, Anderson is missing, Tyr teleported away with some other unicorn that showed up."
'Other unicorn... could it be- no!' Trixie shook her head. She didn't care what Twilight was doing. If she was getting further involved, that was her problem now. Trixie was done with this. "Do you know why Tyr needed my help? Yeah, I got those books for him and told him a few things that anypony could have told him. Why didn't he just part ways with me after-" Trixie let out a breath. "Huh... right..." She decided to examine the ground. Blades of grass hid an amazing amount of detail within their small stature.
"I'd be a bit more sympathetic to your disillusionment regarding your hero, but for the life of me I can't understand your infatuation in the first place. You had, what, two conversations with him? And you didn't even say anything meaningful to each other until the second one, if that?"
"I'M NOT INFATUATED WITH HIM!" Trixie took a deep breath. "I was just... I hoped... he... I mean I..." She sighed. "It's a bit of a long story. I might as well tell you, because it's not like I have much of a reputation to protect from you. Maybe talking about it will help me feel better."
"So, what, I'm just the nearest eligible shoulder for you to cry on?"
Trixie smirked at her. "Pretty much. You're lucky I'm such a tolerant and gracious unicorn! Most probably wouldn't even deign to look at you. You should be honored to even be worthy of notice by The Great and Powerful Trixie!"
Kuthrine just gave her a sidelong stare.
Trixie coughed into her hoof. "Uh, yes, anyway... I guess I always wanted to do something important with my life. Something big. I didn't want to be Miss Trixie, famous for being somepony's daughter. I wanted to make my own fame! I wanted to be a hero, spreading joy through the tales of my heroic deeds! It never really matter if I actually accomplished any of those deeds, as long as the crowd loved the stories. Recent events, though... have made me reevaluate myself. Recent as in before you showed up. And then this dangerous creature corners me in a wrecked airship, and lets me go while requesting my help?" Trixie stood and walked away from the wall. She stopped and looked up at the stars.
"I.. he wanted my help. He wanted my help. Tiamat also made some compelling... arguments. And then Princess Luna showed up and I had lied about defeating Tyr and she would find out and I ran and Tiamat bumped into me and told me to bring those supplies and then Tyr..." She looked down at the ground.
"He was there again. He offered me an adventure. A chance to be a real hero. I could fix everything, just like that! I just had to help him find the Elements of Harmony, which everpony knows are in Canterlot. With my talent and grace I could have convinced the Princesses, and we could work together with Tyr to save his people, and stop the war with yours, and protect Equestria from invasion! I would be there, a key figure in the next chapter of Equestria, when we discovered civilizations from other worlds, and achieved harmony with them! It wouldn't be like what happened with the griffins, or the dragons, or the diamond dogs! I would be a real hero! Not some fake that hides being lies and fake stories!"
Trixie wiped her eyes. She was crying, now. "I was such an idiot! As if there hadn't been ponies before that had wanted peace and tried to smooth things over! It seems like conflict is inevitable in these situations, and if the Princesses couldn't fix everything, what hope do I have now? Tyr was just using me, anyway. I don't even know if he was telling me the truth, since Kelly told me they're basically liars! They can go get caught by the royal guards and imprisoned or whatever Celestia or Luna will do and Luna can send her scientists to study your crashed ship and they can petition the dragons and the griffins for help in mustering an army and I'll go hide in a corner and hope nopony decides to blame me somehow for all this and I can go back to being a small-time no-name showpony that ran away from home thinking she could be somepony important!"
She choked back a sob and then laughed. "Who was I kidding?! What business do I have trying to save the world? Twilight Sparkle would make a better hero than me! I'm just a sad little unicorn that didn't want to admit she wasn't anypony special. Heh, I'm almost a microcosm of the unicorn tribe."
Kuthrine didn't follow most of that, but it's not like the details were that important anyway. That last bit caught her attention though. "What do you mean?"
Trixie glanced back at her. She seemed to have forgotten that Kuthrine was there. "Before the rule of the Royal Pony Sisters, before the Unification, the unicorn tribe control the sun and the heavens. They were responsible for night and day. The pegasus tribe controlled the weather, and the earth tribe was in charge of agriculture. The pegasi are still in charge of the weather today, and earth ponies are still our best farmers. When Celestia and Luna took charge of the heavens, the unicorns were left with nothing. They weren't useful anymore, aside from their magic, and magic is really needed to survive."
She sighed and half turned toward Kuthrine. "And yet for some reason we are still selfishly clinging to the lofty, noble positions that we held before the Unification. Some ponies talk about "politics this" and "organization that", but I think our only legitimate strength is in our magic, and most unicorns these days seem to ignore it! Oh sure, they'll levitate their cups of tea to show off, but they don't pursue any real mastery of it! The academic ones do, but they're generally about as snobby as the others, in their own way! The unicorn tribe thinks its the best but it's just hiding behind its old glory and a snobby attitude!"
Kuthrine chuckled. "Microcosm, indeed."
Trixie's ears folded back and she looked away. "As much as I wish I was, I'm not perfect. I want to show what a unicorn is really capable of, to prove that the other unicorns are all lazy snobs and that they should be doing better than they are!"
"I doubt all unicorns are actually that bad. You seem to be generalizing a lot."
"I-" She hoofed the ground a few times. "Maybe. I've met a couple exceptions. Maybe its not unicorns, maybe it's just the royals. Maybe it's not even all of them. I mean, the Princesses are royals, too, so they obviously can't all be bad..."
"Are your parents nobles?"
"...yeah, I guess they were. Now that I think about it, I... I was upset because they didn't pay as much attention to me as I wanted them to. They seemed to become aloof like the other royals when we went to Canterlot. But... I don't know. Was it really that bad? Was I just being selfish, expecting and demanding too much?"
"I don't have answers for you. Even if this wasn't an entirely different culture, I couldn't help you with that."
"Yeah... I guess I don't have very good reasons for not helping Equestria. Except for my epiphany regarding my uselessness."
"Well, for what it's worth, you do seem to have some influence over Tyr. Not that I begrudge you walking away from this mess. Believe me, I wish I could! Still, don't sell yourself short just because your feeling mopey. You're also a h- ugh, a hell of a lot more powerful than any human mage I've heard of. What can you do with magic, anyway?"
"Well, there's basic telekinesis that all unicorns have. Most unicorns can use a simple light spell, as well. Since "magic related to the performing arts" isn't very narrow, my talent isn't as restricted as some unicorns. I've studied some weather manipulation, illusions, pyrotechnics, and some combat related spells for acting out scenes on stage."
"Heat, light, and advanced kinetics." Kuthrine whistled. "Human mages can't do much that isn't related to heat. I'm impressed."
Trixie blushed. "Well, aside from the technical details of the pyrotechnics, only weather manipulation and advanced illusions count. Pyrotechnics and simple combat spells aren't too hard for most unicorns to learn, and with a little creativity any unicorn can make a simple illusion." She looked to see if Kuthrine was following along, and noticed her eyes drooping. "Hmph. I suppose that if I'm boring you, I can stop."
Kuthrine shook her head. "No no no! It's fascinating, it really is. I'm just exhausted." She stifled a yawn. "Running from the Empire while carrying you wore me out. No offense. Seeing a dead colleague isn't exactly an invigorating experience, either."
Trixie dropped her gaze. "Oh, right. Uh, I'm sorry about Kelly. I didn't really know him, but he seemed nice enough."
"Appreciated." She stifled another yawn.
"You can go ahead an sleep. I'll keep watch. I'm not leaving until morning anyway, apparently." Kelly gave her a thumbs up an shifted to lie on her side. "And... thanks for listening."