The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle

by Gravekeeper

The Volume of Love

The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle
By: Gravekeeper
Chapter 13: The Volume of Love

“I thought Trixie said not to follow her.” The young dragon crossed his arms as he watched his three friends getting ready to leave the apartment. Spike sat on the countertop, exasperation in his eyes as Applejack finished stuffing the picnic basket Pinkie Pie had 'found', while said party pony placed the finishing touches on Fluttershy to conceal her from her adoring public.

Applejack chuckled as she struggled to close the basket, pressing on it with both forelegs. “Shucks Sugarcube, we ain't intendin' to follow Trixie at all!” she winked, finally managing to lock the overcapacity food carrier.

Pinkie Pie happily collected the yellow pegasus's flowing locks under a blue-patterned bandanna, placing a flat-billed cap on top of it after tying it off. “We won't be able to follow Trixie 'cause we're gonna be super busy following Twilight!” she explained, stepping back and admiring her handiwork; aside from a cap, a bandanna, and a pair of large shades, Fluttershy wore an oversized white shirt with 'STUD LYFE' emblazoned on it in gratuitously fancy print. “Perfect!” Pinkie Pie adjusted the cap, turning it to one side and placing it precariously high on the gentle pony's head. “Doesn't she look great, guys?”

Fluttershy demurely turned her head towards her friends, tingeing slightly. Applejack and Spike exchanged a queasy look. “She shore looks... something, Pinkie.” Placing the picnic basket on her back, Applejack trotted to the door. “Just... just don't let Rarity see ya in that getup, Hun.”

The pegasus nodded nervously—Rarity would have a fit to end all fits, that was for certain. Following Applejack out the door, Fluttershy turned to look back at the baby dragon. “Um, Spike... Would you like to come with us?”

The purple reptilian stuck out his tongue. “Ewww, and watch Twi go on a girly, lovey-dovey date? Super gross! Besides,” Spike ran his hands across his head spines, “What if Rarity comes over and finds the apartment empty? A gentleman should never leave a lady stranded like that.” he declared, thrusting out his chest and nonchalantly checking his claws.

'Gross, huh? He's worse than Apple Bloom!' Applejack gave him an amused look. “Heh, whatever you say, Sugarcube... Ya'll behave now!” she said, holding the door open as Pinkie Pie walked out of the apartment as well. The farmer turned to leave, but just before closing the door, she stuck her head back inside and smirked at the dragon. “Oh, and if Rainbow Dash comes back 'fore we do, you tell her Ah love 'er more than apple loves pie, ya hear?”

Spike cringed immaturely at the draft pony. “Ew, Applejack! Not you too!”

“And be shore to give 'er a whole buncha kisses for me, like this!” the orange pony puckered her lips and began exaggeratedly blowing kisses at the scribe as the ponies in the hallway began snickering.

Spike quickly brought his hands to the sides of his head and shut his eyes, “Aaaahhh I'm not listening! Not listening! LA-LA-LA-LAAA!!

- - -

The morning rush hour had subsided by the time the two unicorn mares took to the streets; of course, the change was imperceptible as there were still a multitude of ponies going about their daily lives—even at its sleepiest Manehattan was a bustling city always on the move. Though already late Spring, the temperature was comfortably cool at this hour thanks to the shade provided by the tall skyline of the city.

The Great and Powerful Trixie had a lot going on in her mind as she trotted down the sidewalk alongside Twilight Sparkle, the pony that currently occupied most, if not all of her thoughts. Thankfully, the lavender unicorn had remained quiet since they left the Clydesler Building—just like Trixie, Twilight seemed to be deep in thought. The showmare had to admit that her companion's pensive face was utterly endearing—then again, she was beginning to think that of pretty much any expression the navy blue-maned pony made.

Yup, there was a definite pattern to her thoughts on Twilight Sparkle, Trixie noticed.

This predicament caused the azure mare great annoyance—not at having fallen for the awkward pony in the first place, but at having fallen for her so swiftly. She hadn't noticed it at first; in fact, she hadn't noticed it until days after her magic decided to stop working on the very same night she left Ponyville—what a spectacularly unpleasant experience those magic-less days were! It was quite frankly a miracle she had survived as long as she did in that unnatural forest. 'If it weren't for that zebra...'

Trixie could still remember the striped equine's haughty laugh when she examined the non-magical magician—the showmare realized that, one of these days, she would need to go back and apologize to the wise mare; her words were completely and utterly true, but of course Trixie had not been in any mood to listen back then.

What a silly mare, why must you act so dramatic? Can you not see your affliction is purely psychosomatic?

The Great and Powerful Trixie rolled her eyes, 'A simple “You're in denial!” would have sufficed, zebra!' she mused, wondering how many days of suffering that would have saved her. Of course, things didn't exactly get much better for her mental health once her magic did return...

...In the form of Twilight Sparkle illusions, and only of her.

The showmare could have done without the psychological trauma of spending a few days as a glorified Twilight Sparkle photo album. It was probably the first time she had cursed her exceptional memory, especially considering she hadn’t even tried to burn any detail about the lavender mare into her mind in the first place. Technically, this was still the case; Trixie still didn’t know much about the object of her unwitting affection, except from what little she had observed or gathered from the unicorn’s friends.

One thing she did know was that somehow, Twilight Sparkle had appeared at some of the towns the deep blue unicorn was about to perform at, probably following the main trails that connected the larger villages. After that realization, Trixie had started taking the back roads and skipping over towns neighboring those she had just performed in. Of course, she had apparently been somewhat hasty in assuming that the lavender mare had stopped looking for her just because Trixie had succeeded in throwing her off her trail.

‘And she kept looking for Trixie all this time, just because she wanted to be Trixie’s friend? What an idiot! What a stubborn mule!’ The thought should have exasperated the showmare, but instead she found herself grinning stupidly and uncontrollably. In fact, she actually had to suppress a giggle; a giggle! That’s where she had to draw the line though—Trixie chortles, chuckles, and laughs jovially (or derisively, some would claim), but she does not giggle like some 15-year-old with a crush!

Trixie blinked. She had giggled the day before, hadn't she? Confound this streak-maned pony!

'Well, no more! Trixie is above such schoolfilly anti—' A very loud CLANG startled Trixie out of her introspection; Twilight Sparkle had apparently slammed right into a large post box, running her horn clean through its side and probably into some of the mail within. The lavender unicorn looked utterly bewildered at her predicament; whatever it was that was occupying her mind must have been incredibly distracting—Trixie could do nothing more than to burst into snorting giggles at the sight.

- - -

Twilight Sparkle had a lot on her mind as she trotted down the sidewalk alongside The Great and Powerful Trixie, the pony who some speculate she may or may not be infatuated with. Thankfully, the azure unicorn had remained silent since they left the Clydesler Building—just like Twilight, Trixie seemed to have something weighing on her mind. This suited the bookworm just fine as it gave her more time to analyze the situation she now found herself in; specifically, she had been trying to work out a way to accurately measure love empirically.

The way she figured it, she had a wealth of raw data on love already: what she felt for her parents, for Spike, for her friends, for Princess Celestia, and for her books. Although she could certainly feel how each of those was different, feelings were hardly scientific or appropriate for inclusion in a serious dissertation. What Twilight Sparkle needed was a way to precisely quantify the volume of love she was outputting at any given moment. 'That is, if love actually occupies a three-dimensional space... What if love radiates in a circle of straight lines at very high frequencies? I'll need some sort of love measuring tool... A Love Caliper?... Wait, is love a wave or a particle?'

Clearly, actually converting love into a usable number was going to be the hard part; once that phase of the investigation was completed all Twilight really needed to do was compare her love of Trixie to a random sampling of her love for her friends and family. 'Love of Trixie...' The studious unicorn could feel herself grinning like an idiot—this could be a problem, she realized; Trixie seemed to possess some form of passive magic that could interfere with Twilight's motor skills, thought process, and nervous system just by proximity! Sure, the interference made the librarian pony feel really, really good about being around the other mare, but that could invalidate the entire experiment! How could she investigate her feelings for Trixie if her feelings for Trixie kept getting in the way?

The Manehattan library was sure to have quite a lot of scientific literature on the topic of love—Twilight knew for a fact that Rarity owned a large amount of books on that very same subject; in fact, the white unicorn would probably make for a very useful case study and assistant in this investigation. The stylish mare was sure to have compiled an abundance of information on love already; plus, as the most vocal opponent to Twilight's search for the once-missing magician, Rarity would provide much needed counter-arguments against any pro-love bias that Applejack may have subconsciously planted on Twilight.

Taking a subtle glance to her right, Twilight was surprised to find that her Test Subject was actually grinning quite happily for some reason. Something had obviously put the showmare in a great mood; it was the most uncanny thing—Twilight hadn't seen such pure mirth on Trixie’s face before; whenever the blue pony smiled, her eyes always held an edge of defiance, a confrontational glint that reflected her belief in every other pony’s amusing inferiority.

Trixie looked almost like an entirely different pony, smiling like that. Twilight definitely liked that look but in the back of her head, a small voice echoed its complaints across her mind, and quite loudly. Twilight reddened—did part of her actually prefer the azure unicorn's brazen, boastful attitude? It was painfully obvious now that Trixie's magical influence on the lavender unicorn went much deeper than initially thought—sudden, shooting pain snaked its way across Twilight's face as her world became a mass of blue with blots of throbbing lights whirling around the periphery of her field of vision. As the pain subsided, she became aware of a dull ringing in her ears, and an unsettling sensation of being held in place by some unknown force that seemed to be clutching her horn.

'What's going on?!' Twilight Sparkle's mind went into panic mode as she began fidgeting against the metal abomination that had taken hold of her so violently. What a frighteningly tenacious grip! The lavender unicorn gritted her teeth as she funneled and gathered as much magic as she could into her horn—When time is of the essence, a massive application of force will always yield results—those had been Princess Celestia's wise words.

Twilight blinked in surprise as the sound of musical giggling and assonant snorting filled her ears. A quick look to her right revealed the source: The Great and Powerful Trixie sat on the sidewalk, forelegs covering her face as she tried to no avail to stifle her laughter. “H-hey!”

Trixie quickly clammed up and stood up straight, eyes shut tight and biting her lip as she shuddered with restrained laughter that escaped her body through her nose, judging by the loud sniffling she was unable to hide. Opening one teary eye, she peeked at the little siege pony still stuck in the innocent metal box. “Perhaps it would be easier to go around the mailbox?” she grinned brightly.

Twilight turned beet-red as it dawned on her exactly what had happened. Dispelling her magic buildup lest she be arrested for destroying government property, the bookish mare instead used telekinesis to free herself from the post box before hanging her head in shame—shame that only escalated as she realized that a few ponies around the sidewalk and in a couple of carriages on the street were also openly laughing at her. 'Well, this day is turning out to be just as great as yesterday...'

W-what the moon—”

Oh sweet Celestia why?!

Twilight was startled into raising her head as soon as she heard the crackling thunderclap that silenced all the laughter—she was met with the sight of one of the carriage drivers and her passengers fleeing from the vehicle, and specifically, fleeing from the storm cloud that just happened to materialize within its cabin. The incredulous mare quickly turned around to see The Great and Powerful Trixie's horn flickering off, a stern expression on her face as she glared at anypony within line of sight. The unicorn mares were quickly left alone on the sidewalk as every pony on their side crossed the street so as not to go near The Great and Powerful Trixie.

Raising an eyebrow at the strange look Twilight was giving her, the magician could only blush. “What?” she asked, a bit more tersely than she'd intended.

Twilight flinched slightly, but still had her eyes locked on the showmare's own. “Why did—”

The azure mare stared straight back at her companion, but remembering Applejack's earlier words caused Trixie to tear her eyes away from Twilight's questioning gaze. “Laughing at Trixie's acquaintance is the same thing as laughing at Trixie herself!” she huffed, facing away from the lavender pony.

Twilight raised an eyebrow and shook her head as the fallacy physically struck her. “Wha... Trixie, you were laughing at me too!” she complained, getting up from her haunches and stepping close to the showmare, craning her neck as she tried to meet Trixie's eyes again.

Trixie, for her part, avoided Twilight by turning her body away from the streak-maned pony. “Trixie was not,” she lied, taking a step back and away from the librarian.

Twilight quickly circled the other unicorn, still trying to face her. “Trixie!” she called, as the showmare quickly spun away from her again. The lavender pony just barely managed to catch the taunting smirk on the magician's face before she turned away. “Trixie, stop that!” Twilight couldn't keep the laughter out of her voice as she began running around the showmare, who kept turning around to avoid her stare. Twilight Sparkle had the distinct feeling that they both looked like idiots, spinning around as they were.

- - -

“They look like idiots.” Rafale deadpanned, peeking at the pair of unicorns from behind a newspaper as she sat on a bus stop bench across the street from them.

“Well Ah dunno,” chuckled the farmer seated next to the white pegasus, also hidden by a newspaper, “Ah mean yeah, they do, but it's kinda cute—ain't that right, Pinkie Pie?” she asked as she leaned on the large and very conspicuous bale of hay next to her; said bale seemed to be wearing fake glasses and mustache.

Next to the bale and in plain sight sat Pinkie Pie, looking as merry as ever. “Is it ever! I already sent my designs to the print shop! We should do a double ultra 'You Finally Hooked Up' party for them and for you and Dashie when we go back home!”

“That would be lovely, actually... That is, if you don't mind, um, Applejack...” said the bale of hay demurely.

Applejack tinged slightly. “Ya'll don't have to make such a big fuss on account of us, fellas.”

The party pony quickly peeked around the bale to smile at the other earth pony. “Oh it's not any trouble at all, Jackie! Besides, I already sent the invitations!”


“Dashie and Jackie! Besides, everypony in town's been waiting on you guys since like, forever!” she flailed, rolling her eyes.

Applejack half-smirked. “That obvious, huh?” She asked, already knowing the answer; it's pretty difficult to hide anything when you're Honesty incarnate.

“We um, we had a betting pool.” replied the bale, shifting slightly. Before Applejack could respond to that, a sharp cracking sound startled both the bale and the farmer.

Rafale sighed as she turned a page on her newspaper. “...Aaaaand she used one of her smokebombs. I hate those things.

The three Ponyville denizens turned their gaze across the street, where they spotted Trixie running away from a slightly blackened and completely surprised Twilight, a dissipating plume of smoke before her. “Come back here, you witch!” she shouted in false anger, giving chase after the cackling blue pony.

“Ok, so that's one new carriage, five Non-Disclosure Agreements, and whatever the fine is for defacing government property,” listed Rafale, seemingly talking to herself.

Applejack folded her newspaper and placed it on top of the bale of hay. “Say what?” she asked, turning to face the uniformed pegasus. Behind Rafale, another pegasus mare nodded and flew off with a checkbook in mouth. “Who was that?”

“That was Mirage, one of my coworkers. She's gonna take care of...” Rafale waved her hoof in the general direction of where the unicorn spectacle had occurred, “...this mess while I keep an eye on Trixie.”

“Oh.” Applejack got up from the bench. “Ah was wonderin' why you were followin' us followin' Twilight.”

Rafale got up from the bench as well and fixed a bemused stare at Applejack. “What...? But you guys're the ones following me! I'm her private security, I'm supposed to be following Trixie!”

The bale of hay sprouted yellow wings and gently left the bench as well, hovering next to the orange earth pony. “Oh that's so nice of you to worry over Trixie like that, um... uh....”

The white pegasus bristled slightly at the accusation. “Rafale Mistral, and it's kind of my job to...” her words died down as she stared at the winged bundle. “...why are you wearing hay?”

Pinkie Pie hopped excitedly from the bench and over to Rafale's side, throwing a friendly hoof over her withers. “Isn't it pure genius? See, I thought, 'Duh, everypony's already seen me in this disguise, so if I don't wear it now, they'll never recognize me since they're totally gonna be expecting me to be disguised like that and then I won't be!”

“Uh... What?

Applejack grinned at the confused security pony. “Can't argue with that logic!”

- - -

The Giggling and Powerful Trixie galloped down the sidewalk at full tilt, deftly avoiding all the not-having-fun ponies walking in her way. She had no idea what had gotten into her—a small voice in the back of her head was actually scolding her for acting like an immature little foal, but for some reason, the showmare just couldn't bring herself to care, especially when Twilight Sparkle was acting every bit as foalish as her!

“Gotcha!” shouted the lavender pony as she materialized right in front of the speeding Trixie. A couple of things occurred to Twilight Sparkle as the surprisingly sturdy magician mowed her down: first, does Trixie work out? She hits like a tank; second, perhaps she should have given the showmare a bit more distance to stop. A bit more than none.

- - -

“Besides, I believed you would be somewhat,” Miss Spelling reddened a bit as she sipped on her chocolate milkshake, “...well, pleased with my eventual dismissal from the studio, seeing as our—you're not even listening to me, are you?” she asked, noticing that the smirking pegasus had her attention focused on something happening over the orange pony's shoulder.

“You just missed like the greatest thing ever, and you are not going to get yourself fired because that's stupid.” Holly Diver took one of the pieces of dark chocolate from Miss Spelling's plate.

The unicorn adjusted her glasses. “And what, exactly, did I miss? You know very well that the studio's been trying to get rid of me from day one.”

Holly Diver reached for another piece of chocolate, but the unicorn batted her hoof away. “So what, you're just gonna let them win? That's not like you at all, Missy. Oh, and you just missed Twilight Sparkle getting absolutely destroyed by Ms. Trixie.” she smiled, reaching for Miss Spelling's plate again. A pulsating, octagonal barrier materialized in front of the chocolate. “I bought those for you!”

“Yes, you did. You bought them for me, which is why I couldn't possibly let you eat them.” she explained, taking another piece for herself. “Unlike you, I take no pleasure in antagonizing my superiors. And I hope you are not being too literal with the word 'destroyed'.”

Holly Diver shrugged. “I think I've got a pretty good handle on what you take pleasure from by now—oh, here she comes, here she comes!” flailed the pegasus eagerly, pointing towards the entrance to Spurbucks.

“Right, because I am going to turn around so you can steal all of my chocolate.”

A pleasant chime from the bell placed on top of the doorframe heralded The Great and Powerful Trixie's arrival to everypony present. “You! Servant!” she declared, quickly stepping up to the counter and cutting in line. “Trixie demands a paper towel and a cup of ice!”

The pale brown colt behind the counter eyed the azure mare with the weary, dead eyes of an Equestrian Classical Studies graduate turned barista. “Gjere, Goljam, Bolsoj, or Llarg?”

Trixie eyed the the barista incredulously, momentarily confused. “T-Trixie does not speak Proletarian! Where is your manager?!”

“Those are the sizes of our artisanal beverages, Miss.” explained the colt tiredly, waving his hoof over four near-identical display cups to his left.

The showmare stared dumbly between the cups and the colt with the meticulously unkempt-looking mane—it must have taken him hours to it get to look like that. “Just... Just give Trixie the first one...”

“One Gjere Minnetrotka Chilled Ice, that'll be fifteen bits. Would you care to join our Mochaholics Rewards Prog—”

“Are you charging Trixie for ice?!” The scandalized pony was quickly finding everything about this colt highly offensive—especially the ascot he was wearing along with his uniform.

The colt gave a short, exasperated sigh as he theatrically rolled his eyes. “Miss, all of Spurbucks's chilled beverages, including Chilled Ice Cubes, are mixed exclusively with ice made from the pure waters of—”

“Oi! Perfect Mane Forever!” Both the barista and the magician (and a number of the more stylish patrons) turned to the source of the voice: a gray pegasus mare in one of the booths towards the back of the shop. “We got her tab, just give the lady what she wants, my good colt!”

- - -

Twilight held the improvised bag of ice over her left eye with magic as she trotted alongside Trixie down the street—she figured that being trampled had not been an entirely bad experience; Trixie had brought her a big slice of chocolate cake as an apology, even though the haughty unicorn had come up with a very flimsy lie about how they were giving out free samples and her not being hungry.

Twilight was feeling quite a bit chipper, despite the bruised ribs—she had begun to suspect that Trixie had chased away the laughing ponies earlier because she didn't want them laughing at the slightly absentminded mare. The thought that Trixie might actually care just a little bit was making her feel as light as a pegasus.

“...How do you do it?”

“Huh?” the librarian stopped her trot, eyeing the magician curiously.

Trixie stopped as well. “Show Trixie how you teleport.”


The showmare blushed; she hated asking for help. “It can't possibly be that hard to learn if the pink earth pony can do it.”


End Chapter 13