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Trixie and Big Macintosh continued their trek through the woods, stepping lightly to avoid exposed roots that jutted out of the ground. Trixie winced as the early morning sun caught her in the eyes. She narrowed her eyes as she took a step, not seeing the exposed root until her hoof caught it. Barely having time to let out a startled squawk, Trixie felt herself falling forward until she was caught by something sturdy and warm. Blinking she found herself staring up into the face of Big Mac.
“Y-you saved Tri—me?” She shuddered slightly. How long had been since she had somepony hold her in their hooves?
Big Macintosh slowly guided her back to her hooves. “Reckon so. Ah was raised t’be a gentlepony.” He nodded at her.
Heat spread across her cheeks. Trixie wasn’t used to the sensation. She tugged on the collar of her cape. It felt tight all of a sudden. “T-thank you.” She murmured gratefully. This was a record setting day for things Trixie seldom ever experienced.
Mac just grunted. “C’mon. Let’s keep going.”
He started walking again, Trixie this time letting him take the lead. She idly found herself licking her lips as she watched Macintosh’s firm rump sway back and forth in front of her as he walked.
Either the uncharacteristic silence of the showpony was unnerving him or because he felt her gaze on his backside, Mac felt prompted to turn around. “Can ah help you?” He asked evenly as if commenting on the weather.
“Yes!” Trixie coughed. “Trixie would like to know what you do.”
Macintosh slowed down so they were walking astride once more. “Ah’m an apple farmer.”
“With your physique Trixie should have guessed as much, though you could have been a body builder or a model.” She looked at him in what she thought was a subtle if smoldering look. Big Macintosh was left wondering if something she ate was disagreeing with her.
He shook his head. “Eenope. Ah know a body builder back in Ponyville, a pegasus who done bulked hisself up so much that his wings shrunk to the size of a foal’s.” Trixie snerked at the mental image. “He can still fly though.” Macintosh added. “Can’t rightly see how though.”
With a practiced air of nonchalance, Trixie shrugged. “Flying isn’t exactly thaumaturgical theory. Any mule with a pair of wings can apparently do it.” Her lip curled as she planted the barb.
Big Macintosh gave her a lidded stare. “Miss Trixie, if you wanna keep flapping your gums ah suggest you do it where ah can’t hear you. Mah granny taught me never to hit a filly, but she also raised me to defend the honor of the ponies ah care about. Don’t make me find out which lesson ah learned better.”
The rest of the morning didn’t fair much better. Trixie found herself biting her tongue again after that and settled for sneaking looks at the well built stallion who did his best to ignore her altogether. What’s worse, the was a bright rainbow in the sky, just visible through the trees as they walked. Trixie could see the dopey look on Big Macintosh’s face as he looked at it. She knew he wasn’t just admiring the pretty colors for their own sake. He was clearly thinking of something else.
Finally she could take it no more. “Trixie fails to see why you are so enamored of that skinny little slip of a filly.” She all but snarled.
Reminded of her presence, Big Macintosh frowned but determined not to let this interfere with their search for Dinky and Pip. “Then that’s your loss.” Mac shrugged his massive shoulders as he turned away, hoping that would be the end of it. He should’ve known better.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie will not be ignored!” She trotted up, glaring at him. “I asked you a question!”
“Eenope. You didn’t.”
“What?” She blinked. “I just did!”
“You made a statement.” Big Mac drawled. “T’aint the same thing.”
Trixie facehooved. “So suddenly you’re a grammar expert?”
“Better than being a dictionary, or so ah’m told.” Macintosh observed airily.
Her lower eyelid twitched. “Enough! Explain to Trixie just how you and the pegasus came to be?”
Big Macintosh rubbed his muzzle with his hoof. “Well, ah reckon it started back with my parents. Y’see, when a mare and a stallion love each other very much…” He was enjoying himself way too much.
“Is it possible for you to be serious for a moment?” Trixie’s horn glowed threateningly. Unfazed, Big Mac shrugged.
“If you’d like. So you want to know about me and Rainbow Dash?”
“That is what Trixie has been saying.” She ground out between clenched teeth. Big Macintosh chewed his piece of wheat as he marshaled his thoughts.
“Well, ah suppose I like her spunk. She’s lively, energetic and a lot of fun once you git used to her. Dash is brave, loyal, and while she’ll never admit it, very caring.”
“Are we talking about the same pegasus? That brash, loudmouthed hothead?” She looked at him demandingly.
“Jealous, are ya?” Macintosh chuckled.
“Never! I’m simply pointing out the unfairness of it all!” Trixie stamped her hoof. “Why should that pegasus get all the breaks and not Trixie? She’s a featherbrained, big headed egomaniac who only cares about herself! How is she so much better than Trixie then?!” She screamed at him.
Big Macintosh scrunched up his face, frustrated and annoyed. “Ifn you really wanna know. Fine. Here’s it is: I’ll admit that Rainbow Dash gets a big head sometimes, but she more than makes up for it by having an even bigger heart. And as for only caring about herself, you’re couldn’t be any wronger about Rainbow Dash if you tried. Whenever there’s trouble she’s allus the first pony to face it…which sometimes bites her in the rump, but she’ll never leave a friend hanging when they really need her and will risk anything for the ponies she cares about. What’s more, she can admit to being wrong now and again and apologize.” Big Macintosh looked Trixie in the eyes. “When was the last time you did that?”
“…But she and her friends wrecked my show…my carriage…” Trixie defended herself.
“And I’m supposin’ you had nothing to do with that?” Big Macintosh gave the look he gave Apple Bloom that time she denied she was sneaking cookies…while her hoof was in the jar. “Miss Trixie, you came into town a boasting and a bragging worse than a prize pig with a blue ribbon.”
“I’m an entertainer. I make my living impressing ponies.” Trixie snorted indignantly, drawing herself up.
“Maybe so. But I bet if the Wonderbolts started every show by spending half an hour announcing how great they were, no pony would stick around long enough for them to do their act. You started bragging before you even did anything. And what did you do when Rainbow Dash, mah sister and her friends called you out on it? Instead of performing, you made up some cockamamie story about battling an Ursa Major. That weren’t even an exaggeration of yer skills, it was a bald-faced lie. And then *you* challenged anypony to come up on stage with you so you could outdo them. Only you didn’t outdo anypony, you just tried to embarrass them. If you can’t deliver what you say you can and kin only get applause by making some other pony look bad, then get a new line of work.”
An’ as for your carriage…that was a shame what happened to it, and I’m sorry times have been tough for you, but you can’t blame a pair of foals for swallowing a lie you told them. You wrapped those two little foals around your hooves. They looked up to you and you fed them a pack of lies. What they did wrong was to trust you—believe in—you. If you’re going through life and things go wrong because ponies trust you, then yer doing something wrong.”
Big Macintosh towered over her. Trixie looked down and away, suddenly feeling even smaller before him than she normally did. He exhaled suddenly feeling very tired. “Look Miss Trixie, ah don’t know your whole story. But if you’re looking at Rainbow Dash and wondering why she has friends and admirers and why we can put up with her big-headedness and not yours, that’s why. We’ve all seen there’s more to her than her braggin’ admits. Hay, ah’d go so far t’say that she’s actually better than her own bragging makes her out to be. Ah haven’t seen anything like that from you. Mebe you’ve got something beneath all that ‘Great and Powerful’ hooey, mebe not. Ah don’t rightly know. But if you want to have what Rainbow Dash has, you best be changing that. One of the foals with us, Silver Spoon? Well she was one of the school bullies, made fun of my little sister something awful. But she’s been workin’ hard to be somethin’ different. Ah reckon it might be easier for her since she’s a young filly, but if she can do it then you can too. The question you got to ask yourself is: are you happy now?” He smacked his lips, his throat feeling very dry. He was not used to doing that much talking. “Ah’ve said my piece, let’s not talk about it anymore, all right?”
Trixie nodded. “Okay.” She murmured softly. The red stallion nodded and kept walking with her tagging along behind him. In her head her mind was awash with confusion. One part of her mind raged at the unfairness of it all. She was the Great and Powerful Trixie! She should have legions of fans all across Equestria, she deserved it! They should be descending to rescue Trixie from the uncouth company she’d found herself in and march back to Ponyville to properly deal with those ponies who had doubted her. But another part of her mind—a calmer, quieter and somehow powerful part—asked her: what does the Great and Powerful Trixie have? Friends? Ponies who’d care about her if she went missing? If so, why didn’t they come to her aid after she lost her carriage? And if she didn’t have anypony, then why not? If being Great and Powerful didn’t attract companionship, then that begged the question: what did?
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Dinky Doo scrunched her eyes closed when she felt the sun’s rays shine into her eyes. She groaned and snuggled closer to the soft, warmth beside her. Her stirring woke Pipsqueak who yawned and scratched himself. “Hrram?” He mumbled unintelligibly. Climbing to his hooves, Pip shook himself awake and started stretching. Looking around he saw bright drops of dew shimmering on leaves. Thirsty, he greedily started sucking the water from the plants.
Remembering to save some in a curled up leaf, he turned back to Dinky. The little gray unicorn filly was still curled up. Grinning, Pip nudged her with his snout. “Hey Dinky. It’s morning.”
She groaned and curled up tighter. After thinking for a moment, Pip wandered over and bit off one of the dew-covered leaves. Then he carried it over in his mouth and gently sprinkled some of the dew on her face.
Shivering as the cold dew splashed her face, Dinky forced her eyes open. “No fair…” She yawned. Pipsqueak laughed.
“Sorry.” He couldn’t keep the smile off his face. “Thirsty?”
Dinky swallowed, her mouth dry. “Gimme.” Pip set it down in front of her so she could drink her fill. She got up and drank another couple of leafs worth of dew. Sighing in satisfaction she wandered back to Pipsqueak. “So what do we do now?”
Pip shrugged. “I guess we wait some more…I’m sure they’ll find us soon.” Dinky sat down looking morose as she looked up at the pink sky.
“Momma’s probably just starting her mail run now.” She commented sadly. Pip sat down next to her, letting her lean against him. “She’ll swing by Sugarcube Corner for her morning muffin when she goes to drop off their mail. S-she’d always get one for me for later for w-when she got ho-ome and…” Dinky started to cry. “I miss my momma so mu-uch!” She hiccupped.
“It’s okay Dinky, please don’t cry.” Pip put a hoof on her back only to be startled when she hugged him around his middle and start bawling on his shoulder. He started rubbing her back the way his mom did for him when he was upset. “It’ll be okay, I promise.”
Dinky sniffled. “M’kay.” Her stomach growled loudly. Pip snorted, making her blush. “Sorry. I guess I’m hungry.”
“It’s okay. Maybe we can do something to take our minds off it.”
Pip thought for a moment, then his eyes lit up. “Hey, can you do any magic?”
Shyly, Dinky scraped her hoof in the dirt. “Not really…I can sorta do only one thing, but it’s silly.”
“I’d like to see it.” Pip nudged her.
“I-I dunno…” Dinky squirmed, embarrassed.
Pip’s ears lowered as he gave the most adorable pout. “Pleeeease?”
“You promise not to laugh?” She asked hesitantly. Pip nodded.
“I Pipsqueak Pirate Promise!” He made a random gesture over his heart with his hoof.
Dinky giggled, guessing he was still too scared to invoke a Pinkie Promise. “Well, okay! Here goes!” She closed her eyes and concentrated hard. Her horn shimmered faintly with a lavender light. Sweat started to trickle down her face as she focused. Then at the very tip of her horn a small bubble started to form. It grew larger and larger until it was about hoof sized and then it detached from her horn and started wafting in the breeze. Other bubbles soon followed until the air above them was full of them. Dinky panted as she stopped, exhausted.
Pipsqueak’s eyes grew large. “Wow! That’s amazing!”
“Really?” She squeaked. Pip nodded then his eyes crossed as he watched one bubble lazily float down and land on the tip of his nose. He blinked and it popped.
He grinned. “Betcha I can catch more than you can!” Without waiting for her to answer he started to run after the other bubbles as they started to float down, popping them adorably with his little nose. Dinky squealed and ran after him.
The two foals laughed as they leaped up in the air, catching and popping bubbles on their noses, their flanks, with their tails, their hooves until there was only one left. Dinky saw it in the exact same moment that Pipsqueak did.
They both ran for it as it descended. Pip had his muzzle upturned so he could catch it on his nose and Dinky quickly imitated him. The two little ponies reached the bubble at the same time, with it delicately landing on both their noses.
Pip and Dinky scrunched up their faces to prevent the bubble from popping as they stood there, still as the trees, fighting back giggles. For a second the bubble shimmered, then they could see clear through it, their eyes meeting.
The bubble twitched, threatening to fall between them. They moved closer together to support the last bubble until their faces drew closer and closer. Then, without either one of them fully realizing it, their lips pressed together. The bubble burst, revealing two red-faced little ponies staring at each other, their lips still locked in their first kiss.
Slowly they took a step back, blushing too brightly to even look at one another. Then, still perfectly synchronized, they looked back at each other. Seeing the same sheepish expression on the other that they knew they were wearing themselves made them start to giggle with soon exploded into all out laughter as they hugged each other.
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