The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle
Chapter 10: Breakfast in Bed
Cheerilee hummed softly to herself as she set the teakettle on the stove. Yawning, the grape-colored pony arched her back and stretched her hooves; trying to put the Cutie Mark Crusaders to bed had been... an adventure, to say the least. The teacher had found it difficult to deny Rarity's babysitting request after getting a good look at the well-armed stylist; she had found it even more difficult to keep the young fillies tucked in—Cheerilee wondered what it was about the Everfree Forest that attracted the girls so readily.
Hearing the sudden ruckus coming from upstairs, the earth pony smiled wearily. 'And now they're awake again.' Cheerilee really had to wonder what sort of power source was nestled within each of the Crusaders—looking at the clock on her kitchen wall, she realized that the girls had only slept for two, perhaps three hours, and yet they were already up and back on the path to material ruin and destruction. Setting the table for four, the teacher placed a large plate full of sandwiches in the middle of it, as well as a jar of apple juice and four glasses. Making her way to the front door, she could hear her young charges running down the stairs and screaming something she didn't quite make out—apparently, it involved anesthesiology and magnetic pulse welding.
Cheerilee stepped outside of the house and picked up the morning paper; she felt surprisingly well rested despite having spent most of the night braving the Everfree Forest's special brand of terror; the mare preferred to ignore her inner-filly, who had actually enjoyed the thrill of being chased around by Manticores and Basilisks. Stepping back inside, she found the Cutie Mark Crusaders hungrily and messily devouring the breakfast she had laid out for them. Placing the newspaper on the table, she smiled at the young ponies. “Quite the appetite you girls have!” With a spring in her step, the teacher trotted back to the stove to check on the teakettle.
Cheerilee turned her attention back to the Crusaders, who were standing on the table excitedly hovering over the newspaper. “Girls! Hooves off the table!” Quickly making her way over to them, she scowled at the fillies that seemed to be ignoring her. “Girls! Off the table, now!” she lightly stamped her hoof.
“Your sister looks so awesome!”
“She shore is givin' them city folk a what-for!”
Dread befell the mulberry-colored mare; she had the sinking feeling that her childhood friend's evident appearance on the news was not fashion-related. Cheerilee used her head to nudge Scootaloo to the side, and then directed her attention to the paper on the table.
Cheerilee felt faint—there on the cover was a large, grainy picture of a beautiful white unicorn, her back to the camera. Her curled, indigo mane made her unmistakable to those who knew her. The pictured pony was reared up on her hind legs, forelegs kicking wildly in the air, if the blurring was any indication. Out of her weaponized horn pulsed a large white ring of light, its ripple having apparently picked up and tossed a number of security ponies. 'WARMARE ON THE WARPATH' read the headline—the flower-flanked pony had to sit down before she collapsed.
“'The unir... unindentefyied mare...'”
“That's 'unidentified', Apple Bloom.” corrected the teacher out of habit as she stared at the ceiling, not sure what to think or do.
The red-maned filly smiled at her teacher as she began reading again. “Right, that! 'The underdentified mare was taken into police custody for 17 counts of aggur... aggrababiated assault with magic...'”
Cheerilee covered her eyes with one of her hooves. “'Aggravated'.”
“That's what Ah said!” complained the filly, pushing Scootaloo away when the orange pegasus stuck her head close to the newspaper to look at the picture. “'...an' 25 counts of abbreviated assault an' batteries!”
Scootaloo's eyes shone with admiration. “She hit them with batteries?! Man, your sister is almost as cool as Rainbow Dash!”
Sweetie Belle's chest swelled with pride at the revelation. She knew her sister was talented, and smart, and pretty, but cool? Rainbow Dash Cool? “Well that's to be expected—she is my sister, after all!”
Cheerilee picked up Sweetie Belle from the table and sat her down on the chair next to her. “Girls, becoming a felon is not 'cool'! Sweetie Belle, what your sister has done is nothing to cheer about...” She lightly stroked the filly's mane. “You should never, ever resort to violence!”
Sweetie Belle quickly swatted away the comforting hoof. “But she's doing it to save Twilight!” huffed the young pony, crossing her forelegs.
“Yeah!” Apple Bloom turned her head to face the teacher. “Ain't you always tellin' us how important it is to help yer friends?”
Scootaloo picked up the paper and showed it to Cheerilee once more. “And besides, did you not see the picture? So. Cool!”
The schoolteacher stared at her young students, not really sure how to respond to them. Looking at the picture once more reminded Cheerilee of one undeniable fact—Rarity never hesitates to fiercely protect all that she holds dear. Cheerilee ventured a smile as she recalled her own youth, and all her escapes to the Everfree Forest with her unicorn friend from school.
- - -
“So you tellin' me, instead of writin' a love letter or sendin' her flowers, ya'll wrote her a love movie?”
That must have been the longest elevator wait and elevator ride in Trixie's life. “Trixie did not write a love movie!” The mortified unicorn's blush now competed with the cyan pegasus's earlier one.
Said pegasus gave the showmare a good-natured shove. “Pffft! C'mon! The movie’s called 'The Brave and Beautiful Glitter Dawn'! Helloooo?”
Trixie turned her nose up and closed her eyes. “All ponies appearing in this movie are fictitious. Any resemblance to real ponies is purely coincidental.” She couldn't believe Miss Spelling had not made Rainbow Dash sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Applejack smirked; Rainbow Dash had been giving Trixie a hard time all the way from the Observation Deck to the apartment, which they were now getting back to. “Glitter Dawn, eh? This's just me takin' wild guesses here but, that there name sounds mighty familiar...”
“Ooh! Ooh! Does it remind you of Fluttershy?” asked the party pony, raising her hoof excitedly.
Fluttershy giggled airily. “Um, I don't think it's me, Pinkie Pie.”
Rainbow Dash lazily brought a hoof around Trixie's neck as the showmare unlocked the apartment door with her card key. “C'mon Trix, you can totally tell us how much you loooooooooove Twi, we're all friends here!” the acrobat waved her hoof towards the rest of the ponies.
The Great and Powerful Trixie turned to the light-blue pony, eyebrow hitched up high. “'Trix?'”
Rainbow Dash smirked. “What, you want me to call you by your full name? Cause I totally saw it in the contract, B—”
Trixie quickly held the rainbow-maned pony's mouth closed with magic. “Trix will be just fine, Pegasus… Er, Rainbow Dash.”
Pinkie Pie hopped happily into the apartment, quickly making her way to the kitchen table where all the alcohol was still laid out. “So you are going to tell us how much you loooooooove Twilight?” she asked, filling up five shot glasses.
“Trixie...” Trixie could feel everypony's eyes on her as she turned away and made her way to one of the large sofas in the living room. “Trixie respects Twilight's... Magic.” The azure mare sat on the plush sofa, her back to the kitchen as she faced the large window that made up the outer wall of the apartment.
Unfortunately for her, the penthouse's bright lighting, combined with the nighttime darkness outside, effectively made the wall-to-wall window a large mirror that reflected back the shy, blushing face Trixie was trying to hide. Trixie knew this because she could see not only her reflection, but also the reflection of four ponies looking back at her with apple-eating grins. Trixie could only stare wide-eyed at the window.
“Alright pardner.” Applejack chuckled, trotting towards the sofa. “Ah think we can help you win Twilight's... Respect.” The farmer took a seat close to the armrest of a second sofa, this one placed at a 90-degree angle from the armrest of the large sofa the showmare was occupying. 'Not like it's gonna be that hard, anyways!' mused the draft pony.
Trixie, who was having a hard time meeting Applejack's gaze, turned to her right when she felt someone gently take seat next to her. Fluttershy smiled softly at the unicorn. “That is, if you wish for us, to um, assist you.”
Trixie felt a hoof quickly wrap around her neck and pull her into a half hug. “Oh dude, she's gonna respect you so hard when we're through with you, Trix!” Trixie could smell the alcohol in Rainbow Dash's breath—she had to marvel at this group's speed when it came to imbibing.
“I'm gonna have to make new banners soon!” Pinkie Pie walked to the sofa, balancing on her head a tray full of tall drinking glasses—each one was filled to the brim, and two of them actually had small shot glasses submerged in their contents. Every drink was different and color-coded to match each pony present; Trixie had to admit that they looked downright amazing.
The Great and Powerful Trixie decided not to comment on the fact that the glass apparently assigned to her was a lavender drink that faded into dark blue towards the top, with a magenta and purple straw. “Trixie is... willing to accept… assistance.” she replied, closing her eyes and taking a sip of her drink. She could feel the ponies grinning at her.
- - -
“So, so then, then one'f these little brrats aks... asks Trrrixie, 'Is Twilight Sparrrkle yourrr Special Frriend?' in, in frront of the whole crrrowd!” The Great and Powerful Trixie guffawed, throwing her head back, her hooves at either side of her around Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash in a friendly embrace; both ponies were also laughing drunkenly with her.
Applejack was kneeling at the coffee table loudly banging her hoof on it, her head down and cradled by her other foreleg. “Whooee!” she exclaimed, raising her head and revealing tears of laughter around her eyes. “That little pony had you all fig'erd out!”
“Trrixie had to 'splain to hurr and to the whole ah, audience that it was all just a show, not a trrrue storry!” Trixie used her magic to unsteadily bring her 12th shot to the general direction her mouth. After a few attempts, she managed to take it to her lips, quickly downing it. “That little filly starr'd at Trrrixie for the rrrest of the show! She didn't believe Trrrrixie!”
Peals of laughter filled the air as Pinkie Pie hopped back from the kitchen, balancing four more trays full of drinks.
- - -
“And... Ish not f-fairr!” The Great and Powerful Trixie cried while hugging a blubbering Rainbow Dash. Both were being hugged by a weeping Fluttershy. “I means... I... Trrrixie already made uh, a shtupid shhhow about you! Ish like, get out of my head, you stupid unicorrm! L-let me shleep! Stop-stop lookin' forr me!”
Applejack covered her eyes with her hooves as she wept softly, laying face up under the coffee table, hiding from the glare of the apartment's lighting. “So sad, ya'll... Iff'in only we'd known...” The orange pony hiccup-burped. “...we woulda help'd ya'll a lot sooner!”
Empathic sorrow filled the room as Pinkie blew her nose with a napkin, somehow managing not to drop her tray.
- - -
Trixie's eyes fluttered open as the bright sunlight coming from the apartment's window cruelly singed her face; at least, that’s what it felt like. The pounding in her head had a punishing intensity that she could feel reverberating throughout her whole body. She felt trapped, for some reason. Her blurry vision slowly came back into focus after a few minutes of hung-over amnesia, and it settled on an unamused baby dragon standing before her.
“You guys are just as bad as Twi.” The dragon crossed his arms.
The Great and Powerful Trixie could not for the life of her remember this purple thing's name. “Whah... What did you do to your face...?” she said hoarsely, her throat utterly dry.
Spike's thin pupils shrank. “W-what do you mean?”
Trixie tried to move, but turning her head made her realize that she had four ponies spooning her at various angles. Apparently, all five of them had somehow ended up under the coffee table, surrounded by empty bottles, cups, glasses, and cans. “Hgnnr...” she weakly tried to squeeze out from the pony embrace without much success. “Bathroom. Mirror.” she deadpanned, turning back to Spike and shakily pointing towards a hallway behind the young reptile.
The dragon quickly padded down through it, checking each door until he found the bathroom, promptly and worriedly stepping inside. Even with the door closed, his scream woke up everypony in the drunken pile.
- - -
Spike sat in the kitchen sink, sniffling as Fluttershy scrubbed him firmly with a large wire brush, sparks flying off of his hard scales. At some point during the night, the group of giggling, drunken ponies—permanent markers in mouth—had walked into the bedroom the young dragon had been put to bed in after the office meeting. As the artist of the most offensive and tasteless body graffiti (the beautiful cursive a dead giveaway), Fluttershy had volunteered to wash the poor dragon before Twilight woke up and reported them to Celestia for immediate banishment.
After taking very cold showers and the unusually effective Pinkie's Patented Prairie Pony hangover remedy, everypony had gathered at the kitchen, where Applejack and Pinkie Pie quickly set to work on making a grand breakfast.
“You want Twilight eating out of the sole of your hoof, right? Then what better way than to feed her for reals?” grinned Rainbow Dash, doing her best to project her confidence waves towards the unicorn sitting across from her at the kitchen table. ‘If Fluttershy can do it...’
Fluttershy was still hard at work erasing Spike's unwanted markings, turning to face the unicorn as well. “Rainbow Dash is right, um, Trixie. Whenever my little Angel is feeling grumpy, I just put a nice carrot in his cuddly paws and he instantly becomes my very best friend!” the yellow pegasus blinked. “Oh! Um, you guys are also, um, my best friends... I meant, um, best critter friend...”
“An' my cookin's definitely gon' to earn you lots and lots of respect!” grinned the farmer-turned-cook as she tended to three different pans, all filled with french toasts.
“After breakfast, you should totally take Twilight out and show her the city!” Pinkie Pie added copious amounts of strawberry syrup to the large stack of chocolate-chip pancakes she had just made. “And then, and then you should take her to the movies and—” Trixie flinched, and Pinkie Pie grinned sheepishly. “—uh… on second thought, how about a visit to the park?”
Rainbow Dash flapped her wings excitedly. “Aw dude, that's an awesome idea! We'll make a picnic basket for you guys!”
“Perhaps later, um, after the picnic and after the meeting... Perhaps you could take Twilight Sparkle out to dinner?” Fluttershy inspected her handiwork as she put down the abrasive cloth—Spike's scales were so clean each one was like a miniature purple mirror. “All done!” she smiled at the dragon, which still looked quite grumpy.
The Great and Powerful Trixie looked around herself at each of the ponies in the kitchen. “Did the lot of you just suggest that Trixie spend her entire day feeding Twilight Sparkle to gain her... respect?”
- - -
Twilight stretched happily—she felt incredibly well rested, unlike the morning of her first hangover. Turning over to her other side, the smile quickly ran away from her face as her blush made a triumphant return. Next to the bed, magically floating a tray full of food, stood a smiling, equally-blushing blue unicorn.
“G-g-good morning, Twilight Sparkle—”
The lavender unicorn's body reacted on instinct as her magic quickly flared. All of the previous day's memories quickly rushed back in to her once-peaceful mind; the letter, the carriage ride, the mare she longed for, the incident, the suffocating meeting room, Rainbow Dash, Trixie's manipulation, and most prominently, Applejack's words. The things she had insinuated. “NO!” shouted the librarian as every light bulb in the room quickly sparked to life brighter than possible before exploding.
Trixie stepped back, eyes wide. “Uh, d-do you not... like pancakes?” the showmare shrieked and dropped the tray when the stack of pancakes exploded as well, covering her in syrup and crumbs. The plates and the glass of juice shattered as they hit the floor. “What is the matter with—!”
“Why why why why?!” Twilight stood on all fours on the bed, horn pointed at Trixie, tears flowing. 'How could I be in love with her! She hasn't changed one bit!'
Trixie's own horn started glowing with magic—she wasn't sure what the apparently insane lavender pony might make explode next. “Why what?” asked the azure mare, unsure of where Twilight was going with her little magic outburst. Looking at the wasted food scattered on the floor, she turned back to the bookworm. “The breakfast? Is it the breakfast? Trixie just wanted to do something nice for—”
“No! You are not nice! I wanted to believe you were—but everypony was right about you!!” How much time had she spent searching for this unicorn? Applejack had been right, Twilight realized; her searches had become more than mere worrying for the safety of the showmare. “I spent months looking for you! I wanted us to be... to be friends!” the blue-maned pony blushed despite herself.
Trixie sighed; this was not going as she had hoped. “Look, Trixie knew that you were following her but—”
“YOU KNEW?!” Twilight let out a scream as she magically picked up a pillow and flung it at Trixie, who was too slow to react to the cuddly projectile.
The fluffy kinetic energy imparted upon her face was powerful enough to cause Trixie to do a full flip backwards, landing on her hooves again, slightly dazed. Trixie briefly considered that she should have held on to that last bit of information. “Throwing pillows at Trixie?! That is real mature, Twilight Sparkle!” Using her magic, the showmare picked up the same pillow and swung it in a wide horizontal arc, smacking Twilight's face with it.
Twilight was mostly unfazed as she used her magic to try to wrest control of the pillow from Trixie. Horns glowing, the pillow floated in the air, pulsating with white and pink energy as both unicorns tried to take possession of it. “If... If you knew, then WHY?! Why did you run from me?!” the lavender pony's voice strained with her effort.
The Great and Powerful Trixie was starting to sweat as she tried her hardest to pull on the pillow. “Why... why were you chasing me in the... in the first place?!” Trixie could feel Twilight's magic permeating the entire room; it felt nearly oppressive and it was a small wonder she was holding out this well.
The tug-of-war ended abruptly as the pillow simply burst from the pressure, showering the entire room in feathers. The loud explosion only stunned Twilight Sparkle for a few seconds, before she picked up another pillow. “I asked you first! Why would you do that? Do you like to make me suffer?!” There was no other explanation—Twilight's mind raced as she remembered all the sleepless nights she spent tracking down a pony that apparently didn't want to be found.
Trixie quickly blasted the incoming pillow with magic, turning into a mass of rose petals that started raining down on Twilight Sparkle. The deep blue unicorn stared wide-eyed at the crying pony in front of her. “Why would you suffer over Trixie?”
Twilight glared at the showmare. “Why aren't you answering my question?”
The Great and Powerful Trixie looked into Twilight's deep, purple eyes. They were still full of pain, just like the day before, when she had disappeared from the office. 'Why do you even care? Why did you come looking for me? We only met once before, you stupid filly!' Trixie almost let loose a chuckle at the hypocrisy of her own thoughts. 'That's right, we only met once before and I wrote a movie about you, so who's the stupid filly?'
Trixie came back from her thoughts only to realize Twilight Sparkle was walking past her and towards the door, sniffling quietly. The showmare was hit with a powerful sense of finality as she watched the lavender pony walk away. 'DON'T LET HER LEAVE!' screamed her mind, startling the silver-maned pony into action. Without even thinking it, The Great and Powerful Trixie used her magic to scoop up Twilight in a magic bubble and put her back on the bed.
“Trixie, I'm going.” sniffed the unicorn sternly, dispelling the pink telekinesis surrounding her body.
Say something! Anything! “Trixie's new road show is called 'The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle'.” blurted out the showmare.
Twilight, who was getting off the bed and was mid-jump, fell flat on her face. “Wha—”
Trixie's face flushed—of course she had to say the first thing on her mind. “It's all about some stupid pony from Nowhere, Equestria that just happens to be the most powerful unicorn in the land.” Trixie tried to avoid Twilight’s eyes, to no avail. ‘Well, so much for her never finding out.’
The lavender mare was still in her fallen position, front half on the floor, rear half on the bed. Both ponies were silent for a minute as the statement sunk into Twilight’s head. “You... you made a show about me...?”
“Trixie would prefer not to go into the details, but yes, the title character bears passing resemblance to you.” The blue unicorn tried to put on her best act of nonchalance.
Twilight let the rest of her body fall from the bed with a loud thump; she lay on her back, staring at Trixie from the floor. “You. Made a show. About me.” the lavender pony's face was unreadable.
Trixie rolled her eyes. “Yes, did Trixie stutter or something? And just to make this clear, all of Trixie’s shows are free, so she did not profit from your name.” The showmare had no idea what was going through Twilight’s mind at that moment, but Trixie certainly wished that the lavender pony would get up from her ridiculously cute position on the floor, legs up, bed-mane everywhere; it was terribly disarming—especially her eyes, now more curious than anything else. ‘At least the tears have stopped.’
“T-Trixie would like to add that in no way was your name slandered—in fact, Trixie made sure to always cast you in a positive light…” the azure mare blushed brightly. “Um, e-exceedingly so, some would say.” The showmare began fidgeting. “E-enough that were somepony to view it out of context, that pony might arrive at certain misunderstandings, which is something that Trixie would prefer to avoid if possible. After all, Trixie couldn't help make you look so good!” the blue unicorn winced at the path her own rant had taken. “Because! Because T-Trixie's magnificent stage magic can make anypony look good, not um, only just you s-specifically—it just so happened that this specific show is about you, so you ended up looking good, and after the way Trixie left Ponyville and then uh, if you saw Trixie's show and—”
“Trixie!” Twilight Sparkle couldn't believe her ears—was The Great and Powerful Trixie rambling? 'Is she... nervous?' The librarian blinked. “Um, Trixie, did you avoid me... because of what I might think of your show?” It never occurred to the bookworm that Trixie even knew how to feel embarrassed.
The blue unicorn's blush deepened considerably as she raised an anxious hoof. “W-well like, like I said, certain parts of the show could be misconstrued, and—”
Twilight ventured a shy smile. “What happened to your illeism?”
Trixie turned her head from side to side, frantically inspecting her own body. “My what?” Trixie stopped her search when she heard the light, almost musical laughter that escaped from the lavender unicorn. The Great and Powerful Trixie's heart skipped a beat—she had never actually heard Twilight laughing. 'Um, wow.' The azure mare decided that she'd like to hear that again, and possibly once more after that as well.
“Trixie, were you afraid I wouldn't have liked it?” Twilight found the showmare's sudden insecurity oddly charming; she took a step forward as Trixie took one step back. “Are you nervous because you care about my opinion?” Twilight's face reddened—she had almost asked something slightly different, as she again considered what Applejack had told her. 'How would I even know if I really feel that way?' The unicorn blinked. 'Duh! Time to do some research!'
The Great and Powerful Trixie's eyes widened as Twilight Sparkle's eyes, well, sparkled with determination. 'What just happened? Why are you smiling like that?'
Twilight hopped energetically towards the blue unicorn. “Trixie, can you take me to a library?”
“And after that, I want to see your show!”
End Chapter 10