Stranger in the Forest

by TrixterCat

Chapter 12 - Aftermath

“How are you feeling, Trixie?” Twilight asked as she levitated two cups of tea down.

“Trixie is fine…” Trixie muttered in response and levitated her cup closer. It wavered slightly, but didn’t fall.

The two of them were sitting (or lying in Trixie’s case) in Twilight’s library. After Scruffy’s…handling of Trixie, she had barricaded herself in the town hall. Twilight had to teleport inside, and even then, it took nearly half an hour of coaxing and reassuring that Scruffy wasn’t going to do anything to her before Trixie agreed to follow her to the library.

Now that Trixie didn’t have the amulet anymore, life in Ponyville was getting back to normal. Rainbow and the weather team were still in the process of getting the last few black clouds under control, and Rarity had agreed together with Fluttershy to take down all the Trixie banners. Applejack had decided to take Scruffy to Sweet Apple Acres, so that there wouldn't be any more conflict between Trixie and him. After Twilight had undone the spell put on Pinkie, the usually so jubilant party mare had quietly slipped away somewhere, and nopony had seen her since. The only thing they couldn't do anything about was Snips and Snails, who would have to stay as foals until the spell ran out, or until Celestia's arrival later that evening.

Twilight glanced at Trixie, who was in her own world as she drank her tea. She looked tired, haggard, and slightly ill. She must be feeling terrible, Twilight thought. With the amulets removal, Trixie's body was now able to slowly purge its corruption. The tainted magic that the amulet had imbued in her would dissipate as her thaumic pool worked to replenish itself with her own magic again. Trixie had said that the corrupted magic felt like rubbery sludge trying to get out of her body. Twilight shuddered at the mere thought. Luckily the amulet was removed before there would be any serious consequences.

"Trixie, you must still be feeling the effects of the amulet’s corruption. I could go and ask Zecora if she has a potion that would help, or maybe-"

"No, Trixie...Trixie will be fine..." Trixie replied and smiled weakly.

The two of them went quiet, neither being able to think of anything to say. Twilight’s thoughts wandered towards the imminent visit from Princess Celestia and the Saddle Arabian delegates. What should she say to her? Should she tell her what happened today? Would Celestia punish Trixie further for what she did? The Alicorn Amulet was a concern, although Twilight trusted that Zecora could keep it hidden away. With good luck, Zecora would be able to hide it so well that it wouldn’t see the light of day ever again. Not that Twilight doubted if Celestia could keep it safe. She probably had dozens of artifacts hidden somewhere in Canterlot castle, but Twilight didn’t want to bother her about it today. She surely had enough on her hoofs already with the delegates.

“T-Twilight Sparkle…” Trixie snapped Twilight out of her thoughts.

“Yes?” She turned to look towards the azure mare, who debated with herself a moment longer.

“Trixie…Trixie wishes to apologize...for what she did today…”

“Huh?” Twilight blinked.

“Trixie acted horribly towards all of you. Trixie never meant to take it so far…” Trixie gazed downwards at her teacup and fiddled with it lazily. When Twilight didn’t say anything, she continued. “Trixie only wanted to show you that she too was good with magic. That she wasn’t a…a liar…Trixie had trained and prepared her magic to show you…but when Trixie found out that you were the bearer of the element of magic…” Trixie’s ears went down. It took a moment for Twilight to understand.

“You thought it wouldn’t be enough?”

“…Trixie searched high and low for anything that could help Trixie’s magic…”

“And you found the Alicorn Amulet.”

“Yes…Trixie had heard of it, that it would make its wearer stronger. Trixie didn’t know it would also make you so…mean.”

“Well, according to the book that I read, the amulet was created before the unification by a unicorn leader, whose weak magic often made others question her ability to lead. The amulet works by leaching magic from its surroundings and storing it, which it then gives to the user when worn. This mix of different ambient magics, however, isn’t good for you, and prolonged use will cause…erm…well…” Twilight smiled sheepishly when she realized that she was rambling again.

“And that caused Trixie to…to do what she did?”

“Ehm ehm…yes, the overcharge of mixed magic would also affect you in a way similar to alcohol. It would have lowered your inhibitions and made you more impulsive and aggressive. It made you drunk on magic, so to say.”

“…Trixie never should have bought it…”

“Trixie, it’s okay.” Twilight said as she circled the table to sit next to Trixie. She brushed her mane in a calming manner. “It wasn’t your fault. I’m not angry at you, and I’m sure that if you apologize to the others as well, they too will forgive you.”

“You…you’ll forgive Trixie?” Trixie turned towards Twilight with hope in her eyes.

“Yes. After what you went through today, I think you’ve learned your lesson,” Twilight said devilishly with a smirk. Trixie immediately blushed and turned away with a pout on her face. Twilight had to admit, it was a bit cute.


As Princess Celestia’s personal student, Twilight often had the privilege of seeing a different side of her mentor than most ponies had. Celestia was known to have a legendary poker face, and she would stay calm in any situation. When she talked to her subjects, she always had that warm, motherly smile on her face. Twilight, however, had also seen what she was like around those she was close to. She had seen Celestia be embarrassed, frustrated, and once, she had even see her cry, but this was something she had never witnessed before.

Celestia, the bringer of the dawn, co-ruler of Equestria and her mentor, was rolling on the library floor, laughing her flank off.

After Celestia arrived with the delegates and after Twilight’s magic show for them (Trixie had asked to help with it, to make up for all the trouble she caused.), Celestia unexpectedly decided to visit her in the library. As they enjoyed a cup of tea together, Celestia asked her how her day had been, and Twilight decided to tell her what had happened.

At first Celestia’s expression was serious, and Twilight noticed her eyes narrow slightly when she mentioned the Alicorn Amulet. Undoubtedly, she had encountered it before. She nodded approvingly when Twilight told of her plan for getting the amulet away from Trixie. When she told her what actually happened, however, Celestia’s expression turned in to bafflement. Twilight saw the smile that was tugging at her mentor’s lips, and eventually a single snort of laughter escaped. Celestia tried desperately to prevent it, but after a brief struggle she started to giggle. When Twilight mentioned that as soon as Trixie got free, she had sprinted towards the town hall and barricaded herself there, all the barriers broke down, and Celestia fell on the floor, laughing.

Just when Celestia’s laughter was finally dying down, Trixie chose that unfortunate time to arrive in the library with Spike. She and Celestia locked eyes for a moment, before Celestia burst in to renewed laughter. After Trixie figured out why one of the rulers of ponykind was rolling on the floor and laughing at her, she blushed and tried to hide her face behind her pointy hat, which only caused Celestia to laugh even harder. Spike eventually joined in the laughter, although not entirely sure why.

As Twilight watched Celestia desperately trying to gasp for air, with tears streaming down her face, she realized that she had rarely seen her laugh before Luna’s return. She wondered if this was the first time she had properly laughed in centuries.

“I…ahahaa…I-I’m so s-sorry my little pony…” Celestia finally managed when she had gotten up. Twilight offered her a handkerchief, and Celestia levitated it onto her face to dry her tears. “I shouldn’t have laughed.”

“It’s…fine…” Trixie responded tersely.

“No, I shouldn’t have acted like that.” A few more giggles escaped Celestia as she blew her nose. “I sincerely apologize for my behavior,” she said and bowed her head. Trixie sighed.

“Trixie accepts your apology…although she is afraid that at this rate, Trixie will never live this down…”

“Don’t lose heart, my little pony,” Celestia said with her usual smile. “We all make little mistakes at times, and that in turn will shape us. I’m only happy that you got away from this with just a scare, and nothing permanent. How are you feeling? Has the amulet’s magic worn off completely?” Celestia walked next to Trixie, who shied away from her slightly.

“Trixie is fine…She doesn’t feel sick anymore.”

“That’s good. Don’t hesitate to go to the Ponyville Hospital if you start feeling nauseous.” Trixie’s response was a simple nod. “Now Twilight, there is one more thing I wish to discuss with you.”

“What is it?”

“Let’s go have a walk outside.”

The two of them walked outside, and went on a path that led away from the town.

“Twilight, there is something I wish to ask you to do.”

“Yes? Does it have something to do with the delegates?”

“No, my faithful student. It involves Scruffy.”

“Huh? What about him?” Twilight asked as they made their way to a tree and sat down. The sun had long since gone below the horizon, and a beautiful canvas of stars was on the sky.

“I asked my sister to try to find more of Scruffy’s kind in the Everfree forest while she was dream walking. I wanted a confirmation if he and others of his kind live in the Everfree, if there’s a town or a community there.”

“And?” Twilight asked eagerly, but her enthusiasm was dampened when Celestia looked back with seriousness.

“Luna could only sense a few ponies and your zebra friend in the Everfree. She couldn’t find anyone like Scruffy there, not even a trace. Even if the creatures don’t dream, she should have been able to sense something if they are asleep.”

“Oh…how can that be?” Twilight asked with a raised eyebrow.

“We don’t know. She said there was something in the forest, but she couldn’t make it out what it was. It was as if something was masking it from her.”

“But how can I help with this?”

“From your reports, and what has happened today, I think it’s safe to say that Scruffy considers the citizens of Ponyville as his friends.”

“Yes, I would say so.”

“I would like to ask you to persuade him to stay in Ponyville overnight, so that my sister can try to sense him when he is asleep. Once she is familiar with what she is looking for, perhaps she can try to search the Everfree again.”

“I see. I’m sure I can get him to stay overnight. I won’t let you down Princess!” Celestia chuckled.

“Twilight, you don’t have to be so formal when it’s just the two of us.”


Celestia offered a warm smile, and the two of them simply enjoyed each other’s company as they sat under the stars.