Trixie blinked a few times. This... was not what she had expected. "You... your the spirits of the Elements of Harmony?"
Harmony shook its head. "That is not the most accurate way of phrasing it. Technically, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie are the current spirits of the Elements of Harmony."
"What!? They're the spirits of Harmony? I mean, I heard the stories, but I didn't know it was them..."
"Yes. They are. I am Harmony. Forgive the pronoun, I know there are six of me. But then again, odd methods of speech aren't exactly foreign to you, are they?"
"Are you mocking Trixie?" Laughter erupted from the blue one.
If Harmony had a face, Trixie was sure it would be smiling. "Yes. Don't be so angry."
"Equestria is in trouble! Tyr is about to be killed and you interrupt things to make fun of me?"
"Your essencethiefriend is alive. If you like, consider time stopped for the moment. It's true enough from your perspective. As I was saying before, I am Harmony. The Elements of Harmony are my tools. One for each of me, representing my favored trait. If you want to know more, you might hazard asking Celestia or Luna. They know much more of my history than I do. I do not know how much they wish to hide or distort, however."
The orange one spoke up. "I would like to believe that they wouldn't. But it is not in my power to prevent them."
The red one seemed to become agitated. "I trust them to forgo honesty when appropriate. The safety and happiness of their people are not without intrinsic value."
The blue one giggled again. "I shouldn't argue in front of my guest! Her confusion won't be very fun at this rate!"
Harmony, or rather the purple Harmony, since apparently all of them were Harmony, coughed. "Indeed. I will remain the speaker. Before we go any further, do you have any questions, Trixie?"
"Um... right. Yes, what did you mean by "essence thief friend"? I assume you are referring to Tyr?"
"When Tyr touched my tools, he was wearing your energy. I assume he stole some of your magic when he first met you. Luna spoke with us just recently. She confirmed that his essence seemed different, around the time when you apparently met him. Do you not recall anything happening?"
"No, I... well, I did have a gash below my horn after I first met him... but Trixie just assumed I had gotten it while running through the forest. Is that relevant?"
Harmony was silent for a moment. "Perhaps. These creatures seem to operate on the basic of blood to a great extent. I have never encountered anything like them before. Any other questions?"
Trixie took a deep breath to calm her nerves. "What do you need me to do?"
Blue erupted into laughter once more, while Orange seemed to deflate slightly, as if disappointed. Harmony turned away and began circling Trixie. "Celestia has not been very informative as to my nature, then. So many ponies seem to think that I am some sort of ruler or judge. I have no desire to command any of you. I seek to enhance my aspects where I can. If loyalty, kindness, honesty, generosity, laughter, or magic can be increased, preferably without sacrificing any of the others, I will act."
Blue snorted, but managed to keep from laughing. "It helps if it's fun, too! Which is why I have an idea! I'm going to give you a choice!"
Pink spoke, noticeably quieter than the others. "Which is not to imply that you would not have had a choice otherwise. You could always refuse. What I mean is this:"
Green lowered her head. "My gift to you will be one of several options. Refusal is still always an option, as i said. The options I present are based on the assumption that you seek to save Equestria."
Red's agitation seemed to grow. "I certainly hope that I am correct. Luna has infused our tools with energy by sparking us with her magic. This was how she teleported all of us to this castle. We will give you some of this energy. The first option is this: you can imprison Aether in stone. Or use another spell, of course. Such a spell requires a large amount of energy, however, especially if we assist you in casting it before Tyr is killed."
Green raised its head again. "The second option is so: you can ascend. A third true-alicorn. Your domain would be tricky to decide. You are one of the few that are skilled in the school of weather manipulation, so perhaps storms? The pegasi would then be free to pursue other careers. Perhaps aerospace engineering. I understand we have recently acquired alien spacecraft to study."
Trixie gaped. "W-What? Just like that? You would make me a goddess? Why?"
Purple coughed again. "Perhaps you think you are not "worthy"? I'll admit you do not display all the aspects of the Elements, perfectly, but you are fairly loyal when you attach yourself to something. You are not exactly honest, but there is a kind of honor that you try to uphold. Kindness isn't hard for you, but you don't exactly pursue it. Generosity... well your desired career is based on a desire to share with your audience, but at the same time you are fairly selfish. Laughter is a weakness of yours. Magic is inherent in your talent, and is one of your passions, but you are far from perfect."
Trixie glared. She didn't like this thing criticizing her. She wasn't a bad pony!
"No, you are far from perfect, but you are not a bad pony. What pony is perfect? At any rate, I think you are improving, and I see potential for you. Besides, Luna and Celestia obviously do not embody the nature of the Elements perfectly, and yet remain "goddesses" as you call them. Frankly, the reason I would make you an alicorn is because I think it would improve the aspect of magic, if not the others."
Pink spoke up. "If you accept, we will expend our excess energy. You will be able to easily deal with Aether, but not before He cuts down Tyr. He may prove useful in protecting Equestria, one way or another, so you might wish to take the other option. However, you could easily assume control of The Escape yourself. They are leaderless, and the majority are trained for unquestioning loyalty, as far as I know."
"You... are suggesting I become a dictator?"
Orange sighed. "If you want to use that word, I can't stop you. Celestia and Luna clearly enjoy their positions of power. Anyway, it's not a suggestion, it's an option. Besides, I am not inherently a force for good, I am a force for harmony, or, more specifically, I am a force for Honesty, Loyalty, Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, and/or Magic. Anyway, those are the options."
Trixie looked at the ground. Becoming a goddess was nothing to sneer at. But did she really want that? Almost unlimited power, ponies waiting on her day and night, potentially her own army of loyal aliens even. She would enter the royalty on her own merits, instead of her parents, and she would be a leader instead of a follower. She could even reunite with her parents! It would still be awkward, but how could she feel ashamed returning as a god?
She sighed. 'No, I don't think I want to be an alicorn. I want to show the world what unicorns are capable of, and that only really works if I'm a unicorn. And what kind of heroic story would this be if I suddenly became a god just in time to fix everything? Sure, the audience would eat it up anyway, but I want higher standards for my future shows! Besides... I don't want to let Tyr die. We aren't really friends, but I don't want him dead.'
She looked back at Harmony. "Help me stop Aether."
Purple sighed. "Very well, if you are sure of your decision."
Blue seemed to sink a bit. "Awww, that's not as fun!"
Green started prancing about. "I hope you wont regret this. I think you won't!"
Trixie felt the colors fade away as she returned to her own body.
As Trixie disappeared, Pink turned to face Red. "I'm almost fearful that she will partly succeed."
Orange looked at her. "Oh?"
Red shrugged. "Well yeah. So far it seems like many of those involved are achieving their goals, or part of them, to the letter in the worst possible way, at least from their own perspective."
Purple shook its head. "Enough. Let's prepare to cast the spell."
Trixie opened her eyes to see Aether still standing above Tyr, sword descending. A split second later, she felt power surge through her. 'Stone spell stone spell stone spell!' A bolt of energy flew from her horn and struck Aether in the back of the head. He froze and then crumpled to the ground.
Trixie felt a voice in her head. 'The spell was less powerful than what a full usage of the Elements would have been. I am afraid that we merely destroyed his brain. Luna shall be arriving shortly. I will do no more.' The Elements stopped sparking and Trixie felt drained. She slowly walked over to Tyr. "I turned down immortality to save your life. Sort of. Okay it wasn't all about you but Trixie still demands that you appreciate her sacrifice! You're going to help us deal with your invading nation."
"You... I... thank you? Yes, with Nyx gone I think I can work to stop The Escape from harming you. I had thought Syn would be reorganizing things, but I suppose that falls to me. Where's Tiamat?"
At the moment Luna entered the room. "I assume that you refer to the remaining member of your kind? She's dead. Nyx landed on her when she knocked her out of a third story window. Your kind seems fairly fragile."
Tyr slumped against the wall. "I see. I had hoped she might be able to help me with the humans." A beep came from Nyx's body. Tyr reached over and pulled her helmet off. He ripped the communication device off and held it to his ear. "Yes?"
A burst of static came through, followed by Anderson's voice. "Hey, which lizard are you? I can't tell your voices apart."
"This is Tyr."
"Ah! Great! I assume you're still arguably on our side? We've got this dras cruiser up here in orbit, and we aren't really sure how to fly it. I'm assuming Nyx is dead? Why don't you grab Nyx's shuttle and meet us up here. You can help us end this stupid war before it get warmed up."
Tyr sighed. "Yes. You should return first." He glanced at Luna. "There is some politicking to be done before we depart."
Trixie sat in Twilight's library, levitating a medal and staring at it. Twilight came down the stairs leading to her room. "Still staring at the medal Trixie? Are you upset that you didn't get anything bigger?"
"Trixie is wondering why she received even this."
Twilight stopped dead in her tracks. "What? Trixie being humble? When did this happen?"
"I'm not a hero, Twilight. I may like to pretend to be one, but I'm not. That's what the Great and Powerful Trixie is: a way for me to try and become a hero, even if it's only on stage. I didn't even do anything. I just shot an alien in the back of the head. And that was while I was channeling some ancient, powerful artifacts, so it wasn't even as though I did it myself."
Twilight shook her head. "At the risk of feeding your ego, you did do a lot of important things! You found the aliens in the first place, even if you didn't tell us the truth at first. You learned a lot about them, and managed to get Tyr on our side, one way or another. Without Tyr, the dras would have no one on their side working for peace."
Trixie continued examining the medal, tilting it from side to side. "What did they decide on anyway?"
Twilight sighed. "Princess Celestia wouldn't give me the details. I think she was still preoccupied with her... whatever it is that she and Princess Luna are doing right now. I mean, she didn't seem mad while I was there, but Luna seemed to be taking every little thing she said way too seriously, and I saw Celestia frown a few times! Frown! I just hope that they can resolve things soon.
"Anyway, She did tell me that Tyr, Kuthrine, and Anderson were all leaving for Earth. Tyr sent out a message for all dras to cease hostilities, and the three of them were going to end the war and get rid of the police state the humans have fallen into. Somehow. Apparently Anderson is part of some secret organization that will handle it. Like I said, I didn't get any details, but I did hear something about Kuthrine using a spell that you taught her to help a lot of people." Twilight shot her a sly grin.
Trixie slammed the medal down on the table and glared at her. "Okay! Trixie admits it. She is a powerful, heroic unicorn that saved Equestria from certain doom! Are you happy now? What about Equestria, since I saved it and everything?"
"Well, after they fix everything, they're going to leave Equestria alone. Princess Luna didn't want them bothering us, and Princess Celestia didn't really object. Celestia told me that she set up some way to remain in contact, though, just in case."
Twilight tilted her head. "Trixie? Is something wrong?"
"Well... Trixie was wondering... you haven't exactly... fired her. Does this mean that she is still allowed to reside and work here?"
Twilight chuckled. "Of course, or Great and Powerful Trixie. I'm not about to turn you out when you just helped save Equestria. Maybe we can try actually becoming friends this time?"
Trixie lowered her gaze. Maybe she could allow herself to be friends with Twilight. She hadn't betrayed her yet, even given ample opportunity and reason to do so.
She glanced back at Twilight and smiled. "Yes. Trixie can accept that."
Tyr listened to the Empire news feed detailing the end of the recently reignited Dras War. All drones were released when the citizens of the Empire learned that they were actually slaves. Umbra had been rooted out and shut down after the mages were freed from compulsory service. The U.N. was apparently still arguing over mages rights, but progress was being made. They were also working toward demilitarizing space again.
Tyr heard a door slide open as Kuthrine entered the common room. "Looks like team "peace and prosperity" is winning. I'm still foggy as to why your helping us. I thought you just wanted nothing to do with humanity."
"I learned to look at things differently. Tiamat helped me realize that, as children of the stars, we are all cousins. Trixie helped me realize that there is a benefit to us working together. Something like Nyx's ideals, but embracing the reality of our shared existence."
"Wow. Trust a dras to get all philosophical at the slightest provocation. What are you going to do about the Escape?"
"I do not know yet. Our nomadic lifestyle necessitates conflict from time to time, but I have no desire to see more... do you think the Empire would mind sparing some of its Jovian satellites?"
"I don't know? We don't really use most of them, but gifting land to foreigners for nothing isn't exactly a time-honored human tradition. Do you want to settle them?"
"It is a possibility. I will petition your United Nations. If they refuse, we can always find somewhere else. There are also our clients. They will have to be handled on a case by case basis. I think humanity should be included in determining their fate: some of them may not be friendly toward your people, and I would not want to set them loose on you unannounced."
"Right. Opaque is gonna have a field day with that. What about Equestria?"
"Time will tell, I believe is the idiom. Time will tell."