The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle
Chapter 8: Missy and Holly
Detective Gummie Horseshoe stood near the wall of the spartan room, glaring at the dangerous and hurtfully judgmental criminal that sat opposite to Officer Flat-Hoof; a small table separated them. Thanks to the mysterious traffic jam, it had the taken the police carriage two hours to get back to the station—two very long hours of vehement criticism and slander levied against Manehattan's finest, and specifically against her, had made the Detective pony quite surly.
Processing the perp had been another eternal nightmare—the criminal's litany of complaints reached a new crescendo when Flat-Hoof presented the ink in which the pony had to dip her hooves to record her hoofprints. The criminal demanded her hooves be washed in purified water from Lake Minnetrotka after she was offered rubbing alcohol for cleaning them. The grievances only escalated after she was denied her fancy water, though she seemed momentarily elated at having her mug shots taken; she insisted she be given her own set of photographs for her portfolio.
Making their way to the sparsely decorated questioning room, Rarity was seated at a small square table in the middle of the space, with Officer Flat-Hoof sitting across from her. Rarity at least found this colt halfway tolerable, unlike the brutish, unladylike filly that wore aviator shades at night and indoors. 'So terribly uncouth! Such appalling behavior! Such obnoxious, unruly hair!' The room was dreary, to say the least. Four walls, painted gray and slightly-grayer-gray, an even grayer door, and a white fluorescent lamp on the ceiling that emitted an annoying, low buzz; the lamp was flickering at the same high frequency as its buzz, bathing the room in a grayish, depressing light.
“Miss Rarity, I'd like to get your own account of this afternoon's events, if it's not too much trouble.” Flat-Hoof produced a small notepad and a pencil from one of his pockets.
Rarity could not stop looking at the policemare.'Does she not own a mirror?' The unicorn took a second to scowl at the offensive-looking, wild-maned light-gray filly, who had been glaring at her the moment they had entered the room. Turning back her attention to the dark blue colt, the seamstress sighed. “I would like to have my attorney present for this, Officer.” Of course, Rarity didn't actually have an attorney, but the longer she could stall being sent off to jail, the better.
Flat-Hoof sighed, wondering how much overtime he was going to work this night. “Alright, Miss Rarity, we'll see to it that you do. May I have the name and address of your attorney?”
“Yes, right... name...” Rarity's mind raced—the unicorn didn't know any law ponies, but perhaps one of her friends could help her out; Twilight would know what to do... 'But she's off gallivanting Celestia-knows-where with that little blue temptress!' Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie were automatically disqualified—too Fluttershy and too... Pinkie. 'Applejack... That pony is a terrible liar!' Rarity winced; that only left one pony she could call upon...
- - -
Miss Spelling placed the contract in a blue binder that had her cutie mark printed on its cover. “It's been a long day, everyone, and I would like to be well rested for tomorrow's discussions.” glancing at Holly Diver, she continued. “Though I do not doubt that Ms. Mistral will bring back Ms. Sparkle tonight, I do not believe any of us are in the mood for negotiations at this hour.” she glanced at the ponies stuffed full of cake, still lazing on the floor around The Great and Powerful Trixie; the dragon among them had been stifling yawns for a while now. “Counselor Dash, I will make lodging arrangements for you and the rest of Ms. Twilight's assistants at the Reinz-Carlton; I know you all came here on very short notice.” Miss Spelling noticed the raised eyebrow and the smirk Holly Diver was giving her, to which the orange unicorn responded with an even look. “I will leave a message at the lobby so that Ms. Sparkle and the rest of her Assistants know where to find you once they arrive.”
“Hey yeah... Where IS Rarity?” Asked Spike as he stood up from the floor, suddenly realizing that the most beautiful of ponies was not bestowing her holy radiance upon the unworthy souls gathered there in the room. “We dropped her off a while ago!”
Pinkie Pie hopped to her hooves. “Ohmygosh Spike, you're right!”
Rainbow Dash got up from the floor and looked at Miss Spelling questioningly. “That's weird; they never called us to tell us Rarity was lookin' for us...”
“Oh, I hope nothing's happened to her... There was such a frightful crowd in the lobby when we arrived...” Fluttershy trotted up to the cyan pegasus's side.
Miss Spelling adjusted her glasses. “Then it would seem she was turned away by security for some reason. I've got to talk to the ponies down at the lobby anyways, I will ask about her. For now, if it's not too much trouble for Ms. Trixie, perhaps you could all wait in the Executive Penthouse while I make the arrangements with the hotel?”
The Great and Powerful Trixie blushed as the Ponyville denizens looked at her expectantly. It would be no trouble at all, the azure mare realized—she wanted to spend more time with these ponies. “That will be more than fine, for Trixie is as philanthropic as she is talented!” She could hardly contain her smile—these ponies had seen the most magnificent pony in all of Equestria for who she really was: an immature, scared little filly—and they still treated her as an equal! They wanted to help her! “In fact, Miss Spelling should forget her silly little hotels,” Trixie waved a dismissive hoof at the orange unicorn, “...there is more than enough room in Trixie's penthouse for everypony.” The prospect of a sleepover made the showmare quite giddy.
Miss Spelling used her magic to remove her glasses, floating a napkin to clean them. She was surprised, to say the least, at The Great and Powerful Trixie's offer: it was probably the first time Trixie had actively sought a cheaper solution to anything. “Is that alright with you ladies, Mr. Spike?”
Rainbow Dash shrugged and gave a lazy smile. “Cool with me.” Besides her, Spike yawned as he nodded, joining the ponies as they started gathering near the door.
“And if Dashie's cool with it, then so am I, cause Dashie totally knows her Cool!” the pink earth pony hopped over to the cyan pegasus and ruffled her mane under her hat.
Fluttershy watched as Rainbow Dash tried to bite Pinkie Pie's hoof, before proceeding to chase her around the room. “If... if we're not imposing...” she offered demurely, giggling at her friends’ antics.
Putting her glasses back on, Miss Spelling nodded. “Well if that's the case, then that's quite alright.” Spelling's horn glowed as she floated her binder into a saddlebag that was under the large table. Placing the bag around her back, she turned to Holly Diver, who nodded silently at her. “I will draft the revised contract tonight and present it to the shareholders in the morning. If all goes as planned, I'd like to meet back here after lunch, say, at around three in the afternoon?”
With everyone in agreement, Miss Spelling and Holly Diver stayed behind as the rest of the ponies and one dragon made their way to the elevator. “I've got the key to the office; you can leave the cameras here and finish up tomorrow.”
Holly smiled at the unicorn as she slung one of the cameras around her neck with a camera brace. “You're just saying that ‘cause you've had me and Rafale on overtime since three in the afternoon.”
Stepping out to the hallway, both ponies bid goodbye to the secretary, who was also packing up to leave. The unicorn and the pegasus made their way to the elevators in comfortable silence. It didn't take long for one to reach their floor; it was probably the returning one Trixie and her new friends had used.
Once inside, Miss Spelling used her magic to press the button for the main lobby's floor; watching the elevator doors close, she addressed the pegasus besides her. “You didn't delete all the pictures, did you?”
Holly Diver, who had been eying the camera's display, looked up at the unicorn. “Well, I deleted all the pictures, you know, all the blurry ones. And the ones with bad lighting. And with bad composition.”
The dark pegasus smiled broadly as she stepped closer to the unicorn. “Look.” Holly Diver tilted the camera to the side, presenting its back to the orange mare.
Miss Spelling examined the picture on display. “You've got a good eye, Holly. I'd like to have a copy of that one, it could be useful.”
“No problem.” Holly Diver said, smirking.
The silence that followed was punctuated only by the muted chimes indicating each floor that passed by. The whole time, Holly Diver was smirking at the unicorn in front of her. “Is there anything else, Holly?” asked Miss Spelling, slightly unnerved by the simpering pegasus.
“Oh, well I don't know, maybe you can tell me.” Holly Diver turned off the camera. “You're making a new contract for Ms. Sparkle, you were gonna put them up in an expensive-as-Luna hotel, and you’ve had that goofy smile plastered on your face for at least a couple of hours now.” The pegasus’s own smile was nearly insufferable. “You're up to something.”
Miss Spelling quickly trained her smile into an even line; the unicorn really thought she had put that thing away as soon as it had edged across her muzzle. “…I am allowed to smile, Holly.”
Holly Diver nonchalantly supported her weight on her two right legs as she crossed her left legs over. “I never said you weren’t.”
Silence befell them once more, Miss Spelling still staring straight ahead. The chimes continued. A few seconds passed. “Is there anything else, Diver?” asked the unicorn tersely, feeling the pegasus’s grin boring into the back of her skull.
“What?” Even her words were smiling, “Am I not allowed to smile too?”
A beat. “I suppose you are.” The unicorn closed her eyes and breathed deeply.
“I suppose so too.” They were nearing the ground floor now. “Hey Missy.”
Miss Spelling opened her eyes but still maintained her gaze forward. “…Yes?”
The elevator dinged one last time as it finally reached the lobby. “You should smile more often.”
With a scowling blush Miss Spelling finally turned her head to face the pegasus, but Holly Diver was already trotting past her and out the elevator door. Regaining her composure after a few seconds, the orange mare caught up to the gray pegasus, who was already waiting for her at the main lobby.
Apple-eating grin in place, Holly Diver had been watching her long-time employer walk over from the elevator when something caught her peripheral vision. “Whoa Daze, what happened, man? Do you transform into a Stud at night or something?”
The lazy security guard placed an elbow on the desk, giving the pegasus his profile, wind caressing his mane. “Like what you see, Diver?”
“Eh, I could get used to it.” she smiled and shrugged, not noticing the odd look that passed by Miss Spelling's face for a brief moment.
The colt raised his eyebrow. “Really now? My shift's over in a couple of hours, maybe you and I could—”
“Pfffft!” Holly quickly brought a hoof to her mouth so as not to spray the colt. “I'd rather spend a thousand years banished to the moon.” she smiled brightly.
The security pony cringed. At least he was alone at the desk; he didn't really need the day-shift guards to see him get shot down for the umpteenth time. “Ouch! That's cold, Diver. Dark-side-of-the-Moon cold!”
“What can I say,” she began, quickly glancing at Miss Spelling and giving her a wink, “...I'm married to my job.”
With a slight reddening of her cheeks, and wishing she had a napkin to clean her glasses, the unicorn turned to the security guard. “Mr. D-daze.” She flushed a little as her voice faltered. Clearing her throat, she continued, “Mr. Daze, I'm expecting some acquaintances of Ms. Trixie to come in tonight. Ms. Mistral will be escorting Ms. Twilight Sparkle, and you will also meet Ms. Applejack.” Miss Spelling stopped for a second to wonder why the colt's mane was swaying in the wind. “Please direct them to the Executive Penthouse when they come in, and tell them that negotiations will resume tomorrow at 3:00pm.”
The colt wrote down the instructions in an oddly alluring manner, finishing by gently biting the end of the pen as he winked at the mares. “Anything else?”
Holly Diver stepped back involuntarily, her body reacting negatively to the colt's mannerisms. Miss Spelling simply adjusted her glasses. “Yes, we were expecting another mare during the afternoon, according to Ms. Twilight's associates. We did not receive any calls from the front desk; did anypony by the name of Ms. Rarity drop by?”
The pen dropped from the colt's mouth with a loud clatter as his eyes glazed over for a second. Slowly, he turned to face the unicorn mare. “U-uh, yeah, but we uh, took care of her.”
“Took... care of her...?” Miss Spelling used her magic to remove her glasses.
Daze slammed his hoof on the desk, his eyes suddenly wide. “The filly was crazy! She barged in here armed to the teeth! I swear she looked like one of those legendary desert warmares!” The lazy colt's eyes flicked between the two mares in front of him. “It took like twenty of us to take her out!”
“Wicked!” Holly Diver was quite impressed, and at the same time disappointed she had missed the battle. “What was she armed with?”
The security pony locked eyes with the pegasus. “Swords, spears, shields, this weird ax thing on her horn... She was a trotting armory!” He excitedly flailed his front hooves, almost reliving the moment.
Miss Spelling felt faint for a moment. She did not need any more controversy around this movie, and now an assistant of Twilight Sparkle's had apparently tried to rush the building, swords a-blazing? “So, she came in, swords swinging... Why?”
Daze went silent for a moment, before turning away from the mares. “Well ok, I guess it was one sword, and she never did... swing it.”
Holly Diver rolled her eyes. “Pfft, knew it sounded too awesome to be true.”
The unicorn glowered at the security colt. “So she came in and threatened to strike you with her sword.”
“Uh...” Daze scratched his lustrous black mane. “She uh, she asked if we would be kind enough to show her to her friend's meeting.” the colt was suddenly finding it hard to meet the unicorn's eyes.
Miss Spelling felt a headache coming on. “So you detained her and explained that her carrying weapons could be misconstrued as intent to assault.”
Daze winced. Holly Diver winced as well; hers was a pity wince towards the poor security guard. The colt coughed. “A few of the guys tackled her to the ground when she was signing her name—you know, when you break it down like that, of course it's gonna sound bad!” the colt did not like where this line of questioning was headed. “She started bucking and kicking us really, really hard!”
Having no napkins nearby, Miss Spelling shakily put her glasses back on. Counting to ten, she breathed in and out a few times. “Self-defense.” she muttered, before using her magic to drag the colt over the desk and to the floor in front of her. “You're going to personally call your superiors, and you will tell them that the security firm is not going press charges against Miss Rarity.”
“But—” he yipped as Miss Spelling pulled on his ear with her telekinetic magic. 'What are you, my mom?!' Worst of all, he was being admonished in front of Holly Diver!
“It's either that or a long, expensive, and very public trial that the firm will definitely lose. I know for a fact that you will lose because Miss Rarity's attorney will most likely be Counselor Dash, who is as brilliant as you and your ponies are unprofessional.” Miss Spelling's horn flickered off, releasing the guard's ear.
Daze had never actually seen the orange unicorn in anything other than a neutral mood; it was rather unnerving. “But I can't just—”
Miss Spelling stamped her hoof loudly. “Did your ponies identify themselves as security ponies, and clarify their intent and reasons before engaging Miss Rarity?”
Holly Diver could only shake her head in disappointment at the poor colt's drawn-out silence; that kind of rookie mistake could cost quite a few ponies their job. Giving an apologetic look at the crest-fallen guard, the pegasus hurried to the building's main entrance, stepping out to the plaza where Miss Spelling was walking away without another word.
“A little harsh on the guy, don'tcha think?” Holly Diver caught up with the unicorn, slowing her trot to match her employer's gait.
“Perhaps.” Both ponies stepped down the stairs of the plaza, before continuing down on the sidewalk. “But this movie's got enough forces trying to work against it... I will apologize to your friend once I know for sure that Miss Rarity is in the clear.”
Holly Diver snickered. “You're such a softie, Missy.”
“Also, I am docking your overtime pay for unprofessional conduct and suggestive comments made to your employer.”
“. . .”
“. . .”
- - -
The Great and Powerful Trixie could not remember the last time she felt this kind of pleasant contentment. She had spent the better part of an hour just talking and drinking with the three ponies from Ponyville, shooting the breeze and trading tales of adventure with them over the generous amounts of liquor that Metro Goldmane Brayer had stocked the apartment with. They were all gathered at the kitchen table, the pink earth pony doing an admirable job as bartender, seeming to know just the right amount of alcohol needed to keep the group in a relaxed buzz and the conversation flowing carelessly. Where Pinkie Pie had gotten the bartender outfit she was wearing, Trixie chose not to ask.
“And it was the most infuriating thing!” Trixie pointed her swaying hoof at Fluttershy, or at least towards the light-yellow pegasus's general direction across the table. “Those first couple of weeks, the only thing Trixie could cast was images of that, that...!” Raising her shot glass with magic, Trixie quickly downed the pink concoction the bartender had provided. “...That, that...”
“Omega Nerd?” Offered Rainbow Dash, nursing a warm beer and sitting to Trixie's left.
Fluttershy downed her 15th shot of Friendship Lubricant. “Um, nice, kind pony?”
“Super-duper, pretty smart smarty-pants?” Pinkie very quickly placed another shot in front of Fluttershy, this one seemed to be on fire. Pink fire.
“Yeah! That!” Trixie pointed at no one in particular, “The pretty pony one, who said that one?”
Pinkie Pie placed a very colorful drink in front of Trixie. “I think Rainbow Dash did! What does she win?”
“What'd I do now what?” Rainbow Dash hadn't been paying that much attention—now that the excitement of the day's events had passed, her mind had been allowed to mull over certain other things, and a certain other pony. She was quickly brought out of her thoughts, however, by a forceful knock at the door; raising her head and looking around the gathered ponies, she smiled a bit, “That's gotta be Twilight!”
The Great and Powerful Trixie was stock-still for a moment as Pinkie Pie took hold of her hooves and started swinging them happily. “She's here she's here she's here! Aren't you like, so mega-ultra-happy that you could explode thrice?!”
Fluttershy gave the showmare a bright smile. “I bet she'll be just as happy to see you, Trixie.” the yellow pegasus blew out her drink before quickly downing it.
Rainbow Dash grinned at The Great and Powerful Trixie's luminescent blush, the filly couldn't even form any words. “Such a dork!” she said, flapping her way to the door. Adjusting her hat, she put on her best smirk as she opened the door. “'Bout time you got here babe, a certain somepony was starting to miss ya—” Rainbow Dash lost the ability to form words as a luminescent blush covered her face, her wings quickly springing to attention.
Applejack's confident, half-lidded eyes stared back at the cyan pegasus with a raised eyebrow. “Is that right?” a half-smile, “Well, you tell that certin' somepony that this here filly's been missin' her an awful lot too, Sugarcube.” the farmer winked at the weather pony.
Rainbow Dash's eyes widened in surprise as she suddenly skidded backwards a few feet by way of telekinesis, before the now-sober Trixie quickly took her place at the apartment entrance. The showmare's horn was still pulsating with purple magic as she pointed it at Applejack. “What happened to her? What'd you DO to her?!”
It was at that moment that Rainbow Dash noticed for the first time that the Omega Nerd was slumped over Applejack's back.
“Will ya quit yer yellin', ya bronc!” Applejack hissed at The Great and Powerful Trixie, “Twilight's just sleepin'!” Stepping forward to enter the apartment, the farmer eyed the azure pony. “Don't ever let me catch you implyin' I'd hurt any of my friends ever again, unless ya'll wanna lose that fancy horn o' yours.”
Fluttershy approached the showmare and put a comforting hoof on her withers, as she turned to address the farmer. “Um, please don't be mad at her Applejack, Trixie has been feeling just awful about everything that's happened.”
The Great and Powerful Trixie lowered her head in shame, softly scratching the floor with her hoof. “Trixie is sorry, A-Applejack. Trixie was... worried.”
For a second, Applejack wondered if she may have had too much to drink at the pub. 'Did The Great and Powerful Trixie just... apologize?!' Then, she noticed it. Fluttershy, that sweet, gentle pony, had her sweet, gentle hoof on a crest-fallen, almost-teary Trixie. 'Poor foal must've gotten Stared something fierce!' Applejack couldn't help but chuckle. “Ah s'pose Ah would'of had a similar reaction if Ah saw one of my friends all unconscious-like.” Trotting further into the apartment, she whistled softly. “Fancier than a’ apple tree in full bloom! Now, we should put this filly to bed, she's plum tucker'd out on account-a yesterday's drinkin' and today's... whatever happened to her today.”
The Great and Powerful Trixie trotted to Applejack's side. “Come, let's put her in Trixie's bed.”
Rainbow Dash cheered. “Yeah baby!”
“Ooh! Ooh!” Pinkie Pie quickly undid the bow tie from her bartender outfit, “Remember to hang this around the doorknob!” she exclaimed, galloping towards Trixie and tying it around her horn.
Fluttershy softly padded to Trixie's side. “Please be gentle, Twilight is such a tender soul.”
The room was silent for a full minute as Trixie, enveloped in a full-body blush, tried in vain to pick her jaw up from the floor. “Wh—... whuh.. THAT IS NOT WHAT TRIXIE MEANT.” her voice squeaked nervously. Her head flicked anxiously from side to side as she looked at each of the ponies gathered.
Fluttershy was the first to break. “Pfft...”
Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy all started rolling on the floor, laughing themselves to tears. Trixie blushed further, trying to find somewhere to hide her embarrassment. Applejack just looked on, mightily confused.
End Chapter 8