Three days later.
After two days of examinations run by the three Princesses, it was decided that the statue was not to stay at Canterlot, in the empty space left by Discord’s, as originally intended. They wouldn’t allow it. Her friends wouldn’t allow it.
They all agreed to take Trixie to Ponyville. It wasn’t where she was born, nor where she lived most of her life. But it was there where they met and it was there where they became friends. There wasn’t a service this time. First, because it would have make things harder to everypony, but mostly because no one wanted to think this was definitive. She had come back twice before after all, and this wasn’t death. Not really. Princess Celestia understood that position, remembering all too well a similar instance. It wasn’t unheard of that the Element’s judgement wasn’t definitive, as it happened with Nightmare Moon. Also, as Fluttershy recently proved, there were other ways.
So, the petrified figures of Trixie and Discord became part of Ponyville’s landscape. They were placed right where her first show took place, so Trixie could be remembered as a performer first. She would have liked that.
“Trixie will like that.” Twilight thought to herself as the princesses placed the figures on their pedestal. “One day we will talk about this with her.”
The Regal Sisters left the ponies to be by themselves after that.
For some reason, the Elements didn’t seal Trixie in marble like they did Discord, but in obsidian. Pinkie Pie remembered how Twilight cracked her skull for an entire night, coming up with multiple hypothesis on the matter. But none of them would free Trixie from the imprisonment, or from the Alicorn Amulet. Pinkie found her, crying over a pile of books and unfinished investigative reports, on the morning of the second day. Only after they took the matter to the others did Twilight let the investigation go… for the moment. Pinkie lowered her gaze to put a hoof around Fluttershy’s shoulders.
While the other mares were comforting each other, Rarity looked up at the statue’s face. Always the artist, she couldn’t help but marvel at its design. Trixie’s pose had her rearing back on her hind legs, forepaws outstretched before her. Discord still rode the saddle on her back, the bridle he had conjured still visible on her head as he held the reins and appeared to be yelling in excitement. Only seven ponies in the entire town knew that Trixie was struggling to get free and keep on attacking, while Discord fought to keep her at bay. To the rest of Ponyville, it looked looked like a pair of performers posing dramatically to entertain their audience.
“Always the illusionist.” Rarity tried to conceal a smile. She would make sure to talk about it with Trixie when she was free. “You’re going to love this when you wake up.”
Twilight's tears hit the ground as she got closer to the statue. She touched the smooth obsidian with a hoof. Twilight felt something in her shoulder. Rarity was next to her, holding herself together better — she was smiling at her — but still showing the traces of tears on her face. Next to them, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were looking at the statue too.
Behind them all was Spike standing next to Lightning Dust. It took some convincing for the hospital to let her out, even for this short trip. Her wounds were severe and she couldn’t even walk without a wheelchair cart for her forelegs. However, Lightning wasn’t a pony who took ‘no’ for an answer, even more so in a situation like this. Even if it amounted to nothing, she felt she owed the world to Trixie, and being present at that moment was the absolute least Lightning could do.
The friends looked at each other as the tears stopped. They smiled and nodded, making a silent agreement. Slowly they turned away to go on with their lives, but also keep a promise they all made without needing to say it.
Twilight and Spike went to the library, with Rarity alongside to make sure Twilight wouldn’t overtax herself. Fluttershy accompanied Lightning to the hospital, while Rainbow flew to her home to pick some books for Lightning during her stay. She knew how boring it could be to be cooped up like that. Applejack stayed until Big Macintosh came for her. There was work to do and she was needed at the farm. In the end, Pinkie was left alone with the statue, still locking eyes with Trixie’s.
“You will be free, Trixie,” she pledged softly. She didn’t look away as she made the signs with her hoof. “Pinkie promise.”
Originally designed by opium addicted unicornian occultists with their last breath and meant to be a fortress of power. Built by their surviving zebra servants with the sweat if their brows and the strength of their backs to make a home for their families. Expanded through the ages by passing travelers to finally create a place for all the tired, the strange, and the lonely. A place of community, openly offered to all and everyone. That was Neigh Orleans. Too aware to belong to nature’s reign, too free to be civilized. As weird as it could get in Equestria.
It was a warm evening. The last rays of sun graced the simple, yet colorful streets of the city by the bayou, as the lamplights took their place to keep the light on. Music could be heard at every corner, and even if not always the same song, it was always the same rhythm. Through singing, bass and cords, the heartbeat of the city never stopped.
There was a small tavern down by the water’s edge, right after the town ended but before nature could reign uninterrupted. The ‘Tabaco y Chanel’ was as old as Neigh Orleans itself, although rumor said it was in fact older. One local legend said it was enchanted by Starswirl the Bearded during one of his long trips. No power, magical or mundane, could be lifted while on the tavern’s ground. As long as anyone could recall, the Tabaco y Chanel has been the neutral place for heroes and villains of every age.
Right before the last ray of sun could depart and let the night take over, a disheveled figure pushed open the main door and entered. If there was a universal ideal for the weary traveler, it would be the brown stallion walking inside the tavern. The colors of his reddish brown coat and yellow mane were severely muted by a fine layer of dust and ashes. Same with the old trench coat he was wearing, which covered most of his body and the entirety of his cutie mark. The only signs of life coming from the stranger were his piercing blue eyes. But even those were cold as ice, and looked old, so very old. Almost as if the stranger has seen so much in his life that his gaze couldn’t change from boredom anymore.
The disheveled stallion sat down at the bar, where a gray mare with yellow eyes and an orange mane, wearing a maid uniform, put a newspaper and a cup of tea before him. He barely looked up to acknowledge the mare and nodded in gratitude. She returned the gesture and went back to attend the other patrons at the tavern. The not-so-stranger took the newspaper and tea to a table in a corner, near the end of the bar and almost invisible from the entrance. There, he let himself fall into the chair.
The stranger lit a cigarette and took a long sip of tea before straightening the newspaper and starting to read it. For the major part of the first hour, he only found the usual crap. Some cult starting an ‘equal community’ up north and a new re-collapse of the griffon economy. A bunch of wankers doing wanker’s things in the stallion’s opinion. He was about to close the paper and call it a night when he reached the article about the incidents in Ponyville.
The old and cynical heart of the stallion was suddenly beating like a living one again. His eyes ran down the entire article with voracity, looking again for that one detail that forced him to feel again.
… to prevent more damage being done, the showpony known as Trixie Silverlight Lulamoon had to be sealed in stone by the Elements of Harmony…
The stallion gulped down the emotions threatening to burst out from his chest. He took one final drag of his cigarette and tossed it away. His cold eyes got glazed, but he didn’t allow them to do more than that. The stranger snapped the newspaper closed in anger, the cigarette smoke hissing between his teeth, and finally looked up.
“Bollocks,” muttered Hell’s Blazer in anger and sadness.