The train was about to depart. Octavia sat in her seat moodily, feeling impossibly low. What could she do now?
It was almost worse that the Elements had gone to all that trouble, even damaged Lyra’s and Trixie’s reputations, just to give Octavia a reason for failing so that Greengrass wouldn't blacklist her. Lyra had implied that she didn’t deserve that kind of consideration. She was probably right.
“What happened to me?” she muttered. “I was happier when I was just dreaming. This wasn’t what my career was supposed to be.” She knew that if she tried playing her cello now, she would only produce noise. Her heart just wasn’t in it.
She heard hoofsteps approaching – Trixie’s. She had the most arrogant gait of any pony Octavia had met. “Get out, Lulamoon,” hissed the cellist.
“So, Octavia!” Trixie sounded very pleased with herself. “We just did you a pretty big favor, so now you owe us one.”
Octavia said nothing.
“From now on, when you hear about Greengrass or anypony else trying to ‘obtain’ one of the Elements? You write me. Got it?”
“Or what?” the cellist hissed.
“Or I let it slip that the reason I had Lyra arrested was not out of stupid jealousy, but because I figured out your plan. No, because you told me your plan. Greengrass won’t like that too much, will he?”
“…go to Tartarus.”
“Hey, the Elements are my friends. I'm going to protect them, whether you like it or not.” Trixie began to walk off. “Have a nice ride back. Say hi to the Duke for me!”
Octavia groaned and sank deeper into her seat. This was the worst day of her life.
A few days later...
Lyra looked at the letter on Trixie’s desk. Only the second page was visible, but it was still quite interesting.
…be advised that some of the nobles are attempting to obtain the services of the Elements of Harmony, and may be using proxies to do so. Philharmonica will probably not be the last one. I will, of course, do all I can to prevent them from succeeding.
Regarding Philharmonica, I have discussed the matter with Lyra, and neither of us wish to see her destroyed over this affair. While she did betray her friend, she was pressured into it, and Lyra still feels a debt to her from her time at the Academy. I understand that one could argue that she be harshly punished because, were she successful in tricking one of the Elements to work for one of the nobles, that Element could be used for political gain instead of the safety of all Equestria. Nonetheless, we both hope that you temper justice with mercy and deal with her lightly.
On a more personal note, I wanted to thank you for insisting that I learn about friendship, even when I was reluctant. If I had still been my old self, I could never have protected Lyra from Greengrass. I acknowledge that I am still learning, but your instruction has already been invaluable for myself and my friends.
Your faithful student,
PS: Incidentally, if you do need a lyre player for any reason, I cannot recommend Lyra highly enough.
“Hey. Don’t you know it’s rude to read somepony else’s mail?”
Lyra turned to see Trixie and grinned. “Just making sure you put in all the good parts.”
“You mean, making sure I didn’t take credit for everything? Nah, it’s all in there. Including…” she sighed. “The part where I almost drove you away.”
“Hey, I forgave you.”
“Still.” Trixie nodded. “I’m trying to be better. I really am. But I still screw up sometimes. I’m sorry—“
“I already told you, it's okay.” Lyra laughed. “Trixie, I know you’re not perfect. Well, that’s probably an understatement. But I also know that you always come through when it really matters. Against Corona… against Twilight… at the performance last month… even now. Sure, sometimes you don’t say the right thing, but you’re still a great friend.”
Trixie blushed. “Thanks, Lyra. That means a lot to me.” She put the letter into her hat and cast the spell to teleport it to Luna. “It really does.”
“And, I guess I should be happy that I scored my first political victory.”
“Over a cellist with absolutely no political training.”
“Gotta start somewhere!”
The two laughed.
Lyra plucked her lyre. “Come on… let’s get to the park. I’ve got some new music that I think the foals will love.”
“I’ll get the Doos,” said Trixie. “And the other Elements.”
“Better hurry. You don’t want to miss the opening. It’s based on our adventures the past week.”
"I'll be there for the opening, but I won't be able to stay for long. There's still twenty homes that haven't filled out their census forms." Trixie looked at the paperwork in her saddlebags. "And Pokey can't help me with this for some legal reason."
"Well, I suppose now you've learned not to sign your friends up for random bureaucratic tasks."
"I certainly have," sighed Trixie.
Lyra smiled kindly. "If you're still working when I'm done, I'll help you."
"Now, come on, let's get going. I've got to regale the crowd with the music of our adventures!"
“…you did omit the part where I got drunk and almost passed out on the judge’s chair, right?”
Lyra giggled and began to leave.
“Right? Lyra? Hello?”
Lyra laughed and galloped out of the room.
“Hey, come back here!” Trixie, smiling radiantly, chased her out into the bright new day.