Trixie found herself in Whitetail Woods once more. She had run as far as she could, until she could run no more. Her ability to run was completely exhausted. She was an ex-runner. Running was something that was no longer in her repertoire of skills in any capacity, for the time being. One could not make her run for anything. Basically, she was tired.
She looked around, and felt she recognized the place: it could not be very far from where Rapier Wit had originally found her. Something inside her broke at this.
'Run Trixie, run! It's all she ever seems to be able to do! Here she is, a few years later, right back where she started! Worse, even! She doesn't even have her silly hat and cape!' She felt tears welling up in her eyes. 'No! Trixie will not cry! Even in utter failure, she has more than enough grace for that.' She quickly wiped her eyes and tried to calm down. She analyzed her options. With nothing to her name, they weren't many. She tried to list the positives.
'Well, I still have my looks. My showstopping talent. Rapier Wit's training.' She smiled to herself. That was something she didn't have last time. 'I can recover from this! I am The Great and Powerful Trixie, after all! I'll show them all that they can't keep me down!' Trixie began pacing back and forth, brimming with excitement. She suddenly stopped. 'I still don't know what to do next, though...'
She thought about going to Rapier Wit for help, but quickly dismissed the idea. 'That old stallion doesn't need another reason to pity me. Let him play in his pretend sword fights in Stalliongrad or wherever he was headed. The Great and Powerful Trixie ill needs him!'
Rapier Wit slowed to a halt at the edge of town. "Well, this is Hoofington. This is where we part ways, I suppose."
"indeed. I'll probably be here for a while myself: even with my talents, I won't be able to make many bits until I can afford my own stage and props." Trixie sighed.
"Actually, that's what I wanted to talk about. You're free to join me, if you want. I wouldn't be your mentor anymore, but we could still work together." Rapier looked at her hopefully. "It wouldn't feel right, leaving you here with nothing."
"Ha! The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn't need your charity!" She turned her nose up at him. Rapier wondered why he tried so hard.
He took out a bag with a large number of bits inside and threw it at her feet. "Yes you do, even if you won't admit it. Good luck, then. Maybe I'll see you around sometime." He left before she could refuse the bits. She sat there, staring at the bits with a practiced neutrality...
Trixie was pacing again. Remembering Rapier had made her angry, so she channeled the energy into solving her problems. 'I must identify what went wrong in Ponyville so I don't make the same mistakes again. Those two colts bringing an Ursa into town had something to do with it. If that purple unicorn hadn't helped me defeat it, the whole town could have been destroyed.' Trixie brought a hoof to her chin.
'Step 1: don't brag about being able to defeat massive monsters that reside nearby. Well, there goes that entire act. I guess I'll have to focus on traditional storytelling and taking challengers. Those are usually the more popular acts anyway.' She thought for a while, and started heading back the way she had come.
'I need more material. Aside from a couple of stories from Rapier, I don't have anything that would wow audiences. Ponyville's library should have plenty of history, fiction, and legends for me to add to my repertoire. Plus, I might run into that purple unicorn again. Maybe I could convince her to teach me a few spells!' Armed with confidence and a goal once more, Trixie felt indestructible.
'Maybe I should have thought this out more...'
Trixie was currently on the outskirts of Ponyville. It had been a few days since she decided to return. She had opted to camp out for a few days to let the worst of the incident blow over and to recover her energy in case she needed to run again. A few transformation spells gave her enough comforts, even without her caravan. It also gave her time to plan.
She hadn't planned on how to actually enter, though. 'I wasn't exactly run out of town, but I didn't leave on the best terms, either. They can't really stop me from entering, but I don't want to start some sort of spectacle.' She smirked. 'At least, a spectacle that isn't one of my shows.' Trixie was too preoccupied with her thoughts to notice the pony approaching from behind. 'I suppose it's conceivable that the ponies might not recognize me...'
"Well, if it ain't that loudmouth braggart, Trixie. What do you think you're doin' back in Ponyville?" Trixie jumped at the sudden voice behind her. She turned to see an orange earth pony pulling a cart of apples. She recognized her as the same earth pony that had challenged her during her last performance.
"Unless I'm mistaken, I have every right to enter Ponyville, little hayseed." Trixie figured there was no point in over-thinking it and started walking into town. Applejack started following her.
"What, not "Great and Powerful" and third-pony nonsense?"
"Ha! Do you honestly believe that my stage persona is how I actually act? You have a lot to learn about the show business, miss."
Applejack muttered under her breath: "I don't see too much difference right now..." She huffed and drew level with Trixie. "I'd still like to know what you're up to. Tryin' to stir up trouble again?"
""Stirring up trouble" was never Trixie's intention. If you must know, I'm seeking the library. You could reduce the amount of time that I'm tainting your fair city by directing me there, if you even know what a library is." Applejack rolled her eyes.
"It's inside the big ol' tree near the center of town, over that way." She pointed her hoof.
Trixie grinned at her. "Cute and knowledgeable? Be still my beating heart!"
Applejack gave her a quizzical look. "Beg pardon? Are you makin' fun of me?"
Trixie laughed "Not at all, my dear." Applejack glared at her. "Well, only a little. If you want, you can try to prove how knowledgeable you really are to me later. But for now, I have research to do. Adieu, little hayseed." Trixie winked and headed towards to library, leaving Applejack to wonder what she had meant. She shook her head and headed towards the market. 'Unicorns...'
As Trixie neared the large tree, she wondered whether she would bump into the purple unicorn again. 'That cute farmer seemed to know her last time. Maybe I can ask her.' She entered the library and spotted a purple unicorn and baby dragon sorting some books. The unicorn looked up.
"Trixie?" Twilight looked shocked.
'Well, that was fast.'
Trixie and Twilight stared at each other for a few moments. Trixie had hoped to plan out their meeting beforehand. 'I guess there's no avoiding it now'. "Ah, yes, hello. I, uh... do you know where the librarian is?" 'Stupid! I just had to chicken out and change the subject!'
Twilight blinked. "Oh, that would be me, I guess. I'm in charge of the library. Can I, er, help you with something?" She smiled nervously.
'She's the librarian? I was bested by a librarian? Never mind that she's barely even a mare.' Trixie thought about it for second. 'Actually... this means she would be well suited to helping me after all.' Twilight was still staring at her, expecting a reply. "Oh, uh, yes, indeed! I wanted to do some research. History, legends, famous tales and the like."
Twilight narrowed her eyes. "Uh-huh... well, I was about to head into town, but I'm sure Spike would be happy to help find any books you need!" She preemptively zippered Spike's mouth with a spell, cutting off whatever protest he was about to make. "Just be sure to return the books to their shelves when you're finished! Now I really must be going." She quickly walked to the front door. "Good bye!" The shelves shook as she slammed the door. Spike approached Trixie with his arms crossed.
Trixie sighed and undid the zipper spell. "That was... odd, yes?"
"I guess. Whatever, Twilight told me to help you, so I guess that's what I'm doing now. What kind of books did you want, again?" Spike's tone made it clear that he didn't want much to do with Trixie.
"Well, I wanted material for my performances. What do you have on ancient legends?"
"C'mon Twilight! Stop being a grouchy sad-pants! Trixie hasn't even done anything yet!" Pinkie Pie, utilizing her favorite method of locomotion, bounced behind Twilight.
"I know, Pinkie, but I'm not sure why she's here. She seemed a lot different than she was a few days ago. Applejack said something about her acting flirty, of all things."
"Well, it's not like you even got to know her, really! *GASP* That's right! I didn't even throw her a "Welcome To Ponyville" party yet!"
"Pinkie! It's late! Please stop shouting!" A nearby window opened. A pony stuck their head out and shushed Twilight, slamming the window closed shortly after. Twilight continued in a more subdued voice. "I don't even know how long she's staying in Ponyville. She was rather quick to leave last night, after all. You might not have time to throw her a party."
Pinkie just giggled. "Silly Twilight, there's always time for a party!"
Twilight just sighed. She noticed they were nearing the library. "She might have already left for all we know." 'Maybe I shouldn't have just left her with Spike. I can't imagine spending a whole day with her though. It's kind of odd that she was so interested in history and legends. If I didn't know any better, I would say she's trying to fake common ground with me. Maybe she's trying to get "revenge" in some weird, roundabout way.' Twilight and Pinkie entered to library to see Trixie deep within an ancient tome, surrounded by piles of books and scrolls. She looked up at the intruders.
"Ah, purple is back. Oh!" She caught sight of Pinkie as she bounced into the room. "Who's your friend?" Pinkie giggled.
"Hi! I'm Pinkie Pie! I'd like to throw you a "Welcome To Ponyville" party, since I didn't get to last time you were here! I mean, you did run away super fast, before I even knew you were in town! But now you're back, also super fast, I mean it hasn't even been a full week! You must be super talented if you finished whatever you were doing already! Anyway the party will be tons of fun! There'll be cake and balloons and punch and little umbrellas! Also, her name isn't purple, it's Twilight Sparkle!"
Trixie grinned. "I'll keep that in mind. My name is Trixie, and I'd be delighted to attend one of your parties." She winked at Pinkie. Twilight didn't know what she had expected if she were to ever meet Trixie again, but this probably wasn't it.
Pinkie grinned like a maniac. "Hurray! I'll go begin preparations. Here's your invitation!" She produced a card from somewhere and handed it to Trixie, then bounced out of the library.
Twilight stood shocked. "Are... you... did... did you just flirt with Pinkie?" Trixie shrugged.
"It's not my fault earth pony mares are so cute. I suppose I should try to accommodate you." Trixie drew herself up. "The Great and Powerful Trixie had not realized how late it has gotten. Trixie requires lodgings for the night, and likely several nights to come. She would be most appreciative if you could advise her in this matter." Twilight just stared.
"What? Trixie would hope you could deal with Trixie more easily if she assumed a familiar persona. Come on then, speak, purple. Trixie needs a bed for the night, unless you want her to sleep on your floor." Trixie smirked and drew close to Twilight and continued in a whisper. "At night. With nopony around. Helpless. Anything could happen. No one would believe me over you." Twilight blushed as Trixie brushed her neck with her tail and walked away, looking over the bookshelves with disinterest. "As if Trixie would ever grace a unicorn like you with her affection, anyway."
She returned to her usual volume. "Staying here would certainly be convenient. Spike mentioned that you had a spare bed. I don't have the bits for boarding, but I assume I could help you with one of your research projects that Spike was talking about in exchange. Of course, I could always find a park bench otherwise." She looked at Twilight with an expression of feigned indifference.
Twilight had no idea what had just happened. She didn't know what Trixie was up to, but she had managed to utterly disarm Twilight and leave her bewildered. She was about to ask Trixie to leave when she spoke up again. "Oh, thank you for helping me with the Ursa Minor, by the way. It would have been absolutely horrible if the town had been destroyed. I might not have even made it out of that situation alive." Twilight felt some of her anger defuse. It was late, and Trixie had nowhere to go. It wouldn't hurt to let her stay at least one night. Maybe she could finish her research and leave faster this way.
Twilight sighed. "Okay, Trixie, you can stay, at least for tonight. Spike! go set up the spare bed." Trixie grinned.
"Thank you, purple. I look forward to helping you with your research!"
"I never said-"
"Oh, come now. I have to pay for my bed somehow, and I don't have the bits. A free assistant is nothing to turn down, purple. Besides, if you agree, I'll stop calling you purple."
"Ugh, fine." 'Maybe Trixie's special talent is manipulating others to get her own way. She certainly seems pretty good at it.' Twilight watched as Trixie set about marking her place in several books.
'I just hope I don't end up regretting this.'