The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle
Chapter 14: Panic at the Bibliothèque
It was a fairly innocent request; at least, that's what The Great and Powerful Trixie had thought over half an hour ago when she had first made it: Twilight knew a spell that allowed her to teleport, and Trixie wanted to learn it. Rather straightforward, all things considered. Of course, the magician had apparently committed a mortal sin against the Sun by so carelessly implying that Pinkie Pie could teleport as Twilight Sparkle was wont to do. To say Twilight took issue with that implication was a colossal understatement. The lavender mare seemed to be emotionally and physically offended by Trixie's statement, going so far as to insinuate that the showmare had verbally transgressed against the entirety of unicorn life—past, present and future.
Now, Pinkie's shenanigans were certainly trying on the azure unicorn's belief in the laws of nature and causality, but her complaints were relatively minor—by orders of magnitude, in fact—compared to Twilight's ire. Instead of demonstrating the spell, the streak-maned pony had veered straight into the mother of all tirades, much to Trixie's initial chagrin. The showmare had attempted to distract Twilight with a meandering tour of downtown Manehattan and its famous locales, but the lavender pony was locked in frustration-venting mode and her eloquent indignation would not be easily derailed... That is, until her growling stomach made its own, separate indignation apparent.
Raising an eyebrow at the sheepish bookworm but feeling quite hungry herself, Trixie pointed a hoof towards an oat-dog vendor on a nearby street corner; the line was somewhat long, but seemed to be moving quickly. Feeling uncommonly benign, Trixie chose not to mention the slice of chocolate cake Twilight had already consumed from Spurbucks, or the fact that they were hungry because the studious mare had detonated their original breakfast earlier that day in a dazzling display of petulance.
The magician had to marvel at the immediate reversal in Twilight's mood as soon as she bit into that first oat-dog—clearly, there was some real merit to the suggestion of keeping her fed throughout the day. Trixie hadn't even finished paying when she spotted the other unicorn making the line again, happily licking her lips; she hadn't figured Twilight for the kind of pony to enjoy greasy street-food—somehow, she couldn't quite picture carnival food being served in the majestic halls of Canterlot Castle.
Nonetheless, Trixie found herself happy to be able to indulge without feeling self-conscious; she had developed a rather healthy appetite from her years of exhaustive traveling and constant use of magic, yet Twilight matched her dog for dog like an Ursa Minor preparing for hibernation.
After having had their fill and turning down the oat-dog vendor's offer of sponsorship in the next Poney Island Eating Contest, the sated unicorn pair continued their trot down the busy sidewalk in content silence. That is, until Twilight shifted her gaze upward, muzzle scrunching up slightly as she searched for a seemingly stray thought. “What were we talking about, again?”
It was only after the words had left her mouth that The Great and Powerful Trixie realized her terrible mistake—disarmed by her post-breakfast bliss, the magician had given Twilight an honest answer, reminding her exactly where to start off her rant once more. Rolling her eyes, Trixie led the other unicorn down a few more streets as she listened to a seemingly endless list of reasons why Pinkie Pie's magic was not magic. Their walk ended at the bottom of an alabaster staircase at least half a city block wide and an inordinate number of steps high; after climbing halfway up said steps, Trixie sat down and watched Twilight do the same, all the while still deeply committed to her magical lecture.
They rested there for at least another half hour, and The Great and Powerful Trixie smirked to herself as she watched the vexed pony; very soon after Twilight had restarted her rant, the magician had begun to playfully interrupt it every few minutes with illogical counter-points. Twilight, apparently extremely easy to bait, seemed completely oblivious to Trixie's teasing tone—the librarian took each and every fallacious argument in total seriousness, much to her own mounting exasperation.
Now, in the back of her mind, Trixie knew that fueling Twilight Sparkle's aggravation was perhaps counterproductive to a hypothetical future reciprocation of her as-of-now unrequited love. Why do it, then? Aside from getting back at the other unicorn for talking her ears off (especially the constant Celestia name-dropping), the expressions and spirited gesticulation Twilight displayed during her infinite nerd rage were undeniably adorable and utterly amusing—this was truly a pony that wore her heart on her saddle! Trixie could certainly see what drove school-age ponies to mercilessly pick on their crushes: it was very, very entertaining.
The magician couldn't hold back the chuckle that escaped her throat as she recalled the picture of filly Twilight that she had seen during her stay at the Canterlot—
“What's so funny?”
Busted. 'Took her a while.' The Great and Powerful Trixie trained her aloof, half-smirking face at the mare sitting two steps down, but said half-smirk quickly fell away as she met Twilight's gaze; the look being cast her way brought pause to her comeback. “Er...” she replied smartly, not entirely sure what to make of the utter disappointment in those purple eyes glaring back at her.
Twilight turned away from the azure mare, her face still glowering but not focusing on anything in particular. “Of course you weren't really listening.” she spat disdainfully before catching herself and blinking; she appeared genuinely surprised at her own words. “Ah,” she began, turning her attention back to Trixie and looking honestly apologetic, “I didn't mean that, I just...” Her eyes nervously flickered left and right as she searched for a way to excuse her caustic tone of voice.
Trixie raised an eyebrow as the chip on Twilight's shoulder made itself blatantly conspicuous—enlightenment sparked across the showmare's mind as her thoughts flashed back to the previous day, and specifically, to Pinkie Pie's antics. Ridiculously impossible? Absolutely. Did Fluttershy mind? She was all smiles. Did Applejack mind? Too trifling for her to fuss about. Did The Pegasus mind? She at least had the common decency to look somewhat weary, but that went out the window as soon as Pinkie offered her something sweet to eat or drink.
“Heh.” Trixie smirked at Twilight Sparkle, whose gaze snapped back to the entertainer's own violet eyes. The fact that all of her new friends barely acknowledged Pinkie Pie's utter disregard for the laws and limitations of time and space was quite a bit more jarring to Trixie than the very acts themselves—and Twilight, ever the fastidious scholar, was probably much worse off. Trixie turned her face with a condescending huff, peering at Twilight out of the corner of her vision.
“It seems all you ever do is make erroneous accusations against Trixie's character, Twilight Sparkle.” She smiled as Twilight's shamefaced countenance quickly contorted into indignation and anger. 'Nopony around you is interested in finding out how she does what she does.' Trixie loosed another chuckle. “You must enjoy being proven wrong.” she added in a patronizing tone as she stood up, keeping her gaze trained on the lavender pony. Trixie recalled one of The Pegasus's nicknames for the bookworm: The One Nerd to Bore Them All.
Twilight was deeply cared for by her friends, that much was evident, but she was still the nerd in the group—forget the Pinkie Pie matter: it was very likely that Twilight didn't have anypony she could geek out to about any subject matter. 'That's what she gets for moving to such a backwoods little town!' The blue unicorn very loudly shushed Twilight as soon as she opened her muzzle to voice her thoughts on the magician's attitude; Trixie smiled wide as the other mare's bruised eye twitched with barely contained fury.
Very, very entertaining indeed!
“Ah-HEM.” Trixie made a show of clearing her throat as she looked pointedly at Twilight; she loved this part of the act, the moment right before show time—when she could feel the apprehension in the crowd; their disinterest, their disdain. A street performer? Probably some glorified panhandler plucking coins from behind the ears of ponies with real jobs.
Look at you, a unicorn doing magic; so very novel. How could you possibly impress us?
“'Pinkie Pie, or Pinkieus Piecus, is a female Equestrian Thoroughbred Earth Pony, six hands tall, twenty Summers old and the Element of Laughter,'” recited Trixie, 'Whatever that means.'
Twilight Sparkle's jaw hit the floor as an uncanny imitation of her own voice flowed smoothly out of The Great and Powerful Trixie's mouth, her rant being quoted word for word. It would have been perfect if not for the slightly condescending inflection imparted upon it; apparently, Trixie couldn't turn that off voluntarily.
Trixie paced up and down the steps, walking in slow circles around Twilight. “'As everypony knows, the magical domain of Earth Ponies is the manipulation, manufacture, and repurposing of the land and its gifts. Their magic, thought to be the most ancient of the Pony Arts after the magic of our very own Goddesses of the Sun and Moon, is at the same time the most subtle and most direct expression of Magic known to Ponykind.'”
Twilight blushed brightly once she realized that Trixie was expressively imitating her mannerisms as well. 'Do I really... flail like that?'
“'To quote Princess Celestia et al,'” continued Trixie with a dreamy sigh, “'Earth Pony Magic is fueled by the land, the energy drawn through their hooves like the roots of a tree; every single step molds and shapes our world. Pegasus Pony Magic radiates from their wings; every single beat from every single pegasus molds and shapes our atmosphere. Unicorn Pony Magic comes from within; every single unicorn heart molds and shapes our innermost thoughts and wishes—'”
The librarian was beside herself, almost literally, in fact. She hadn't seen Trixie cast any sort of memory spell or voice alteration spell, so it must—heywaitaminute! “I don't, don't swoon like that!” Twilight interjected, quickly rising to her hooves and blushing further.
The interruption momentarily surprised The Great and Powerful Trixie—she was getting into her groove and would have recited the entire thing since it was still fresh in her mind. Shaking it off, she managed to offer Twilight an incredulous look. “Oh, is that a fact? Perhaps that is just your way of pronouncing The Princess's name then, all seventeen times you quoted her in the past hour.” Trixie did not want to think about what that implied of Twilight and her now-apparent affinity for beautiful, white-coated unicorns.
“I didn't...!” Twilight blinked. 'She counted? Did I really?' Twilight's mouth opened and closed wordlessly as she searched for an explanation. “W-well, how could I not? Princess Celestia is an amazing polymath, after all!” she replied as she flailed slightly, not entirely sure why she felt like Trixie was accusing her of some sort of wrongdoing.
Trixie gasped in a way that would make Pinkie Pie proud, looking positively scandalized by Twilight's shockingly frank revelation. “The filth! The utter perversion! Trixie should have known that such a power-hungry charlatan would live in absolute decadence of the flesh!” The magician was utterly mortified at the detailed mental pictures, or rather, by her mind's ability to come up with (and readily approve) them; certainly this was cause for concern, considering she always kept her acts free of ribaldry. “P-please tell Trixie you did not partake in that cabal of sin, Twilight Sparkle!”
Twilight took a step back, caught off-guard by Trixie's words. “D-decadence of the...? What?!” Well, she was definitely getting accused of something, alright. “Trixie, I don't quite understand what you're gettin—Why are you looking at me like that?”
- - -
“Huh. Ah never woulda fig'erd Twilight being into that sorta thing... An' jus’ when you think you know a pony.” the farmer scratched her head, an eyebrow hitched as she observed the unicorn pair from her not-that-much-of-a-hiding-spot at the bottom corner of the expansive steps.
Rafale, Miss Spelling, Holly Diver, the bale of hay, and a crimson Fluttershy all turned to look at Applejack with varying degrees of incredulity. Pinkie Pie, wearing red-cyan glasses, happily munched on some popcorn and appeared completely focused on the scene developing between Twilight and Trixie.
Ignoring Holly Diver's apple-eating smirk, Miss Spelling sighed as she cleaned her glasses with a napkin from Spurbucks. “It means that she dominates numerous subjects,” she deadpanned, replacing her glasses.
Applejack whistled, her sensibilities a bit overwhelmed with the added information. “Well shoot, Ah could figure out that much, Sug, but what's goin' on behind closed doors between a Princess an’ her subjects ain't no concern of mine; least, that's what Ah reckon.”
“No, what I...” a flustered Miss Spelling had to hold on to her reply for a couple of minutes while Holly Diver rolled around on the sidewalk in uncontrollable laughter. Halfway through, Pinkie Pie had joined the dark pegasus on the ground, each mare apparently laughing at the fact that the other was laughing. Miss Spelling could see that Fluttershy seemed conflicted between being embarrassed and holding back her own mirth; Applejack, on the other hoof, seemed utterly confused as to what was so funny. Rafale, meanwhile, just stared back at the bespectacled unicorn with a weary sigh.
As their laughter finally died down, Miss Spelling cleared her throat and gave Holly Diver a quick glare before turning to address the farmer. “You misunderstand. What I meant to say is that she is well-read on various sciences and arts.”
“Oh.” A beat. “So, she ain't horsin' around with a whole buncha—”
“No.” Miss Spelling replied curtly. Sensing Holly Diver's grin boring into the back of her skull, the red-maned pony turned around. “Yes, Holly? Do you have something that you want to say?”
Holly Diver could feel her paycheck becoming smaller by the minute. “Nothing much... Just that I love it when you talk dirty.” she replied, very literally going for broke.
- - -
The Great and Powerful Trixie was enveloped in a full-body blush as she looked down at Twilight Sparkle, who was on her belly, banging her hoof against a step as she nearly asphyxiated in the throes of a laughter-induced asthma attack.
“It was a simple mistake.” she explained, poking the lavender pony's side. For a second, the bookworm stopped laughing and looked up at the red-tinged performer. With a loud raspberry, she carried on with her guffawing, making Trixie's eye twitch. “It is not in your best interest to mock Trixie, Twilight Sparkle, lest you seek retribution.” Seeing her warning and accompanying glower summarily ignored, Trixie decided to get Twilight where it would hurt the most. “Hmm, it seems all this insolence has made Trixie forget the location of the library...” she commented offhandedly, flicking her hair.
Twilight's chortling swiftly died down. “Hwah? Library?” she asked, tilting her head to one side.
The Great and Powerful Trixie raised her eyebrows at the bemused mare, staring at her with half-lidded eyes. “You are kidding, right? Were you not shamelessly begging Trixie to take time out from her very occupied schedule to bring you to a library this morning? Trixie remembers your impertinence quite vividly.”
The streak-maned pony tilted her head to the other side. “What are you talking about? ...Oh! OH!” Twilight's eyes widened in realization—she had completely forgotten the reason she was out with the magician in the first place! “Yes! The library! Let's go!” she exclaimed giddily, hopping in place.
“Oh, so now are you done openly mocking Trixie? How convenient for you. Trixie is a busy pony, Twilight Sparkle, she doesn't know if there will be time now to walk to the library.” she cautioned, turning up her nose at Twilight.
The bookworm's ears and mane dropped. “Oh, I see...”
Trixie blinked at the abject dejection on Twilight's face—she had intended to draw out the teasing, but of course, all this love nonsense had made Trixie soft. Damn those bright purple eyes! “Trixie is feeling magnanimous, Twilight Sparkle; she will be the better pony and ignore your transgressions,” she smiled imperiously, “For now, anyways.” raising an eyebrow at the other unicorn.
Twilight Sparkle's face quickly brightened, her eyes sparkling. “So, we'll go?” she asked, voice full of hope; it looked like she was physically restraining herself from hopping with joy.
“No.” Trixie couldn't help but chuckle as Twilight's face fell once more. She would do this all day if she could. “We are already here, you see.”
“What.” Twilight asked flatly, giving the azure mare a look that asked, Do you really think I'm that gullible?
The Great and Powerful Trixie merely returned the look, Yes, you are, before raising a hoof and pointing to her left.
Against her better judgment, Twilight panned her gaze up the remaining steps and focused on the massive edifice at the top; apparently, she had been sitting in front of the thing for the past half hour. Clearly, Trixie's proximity had once again dimmed Twilight's situational awareness, but the studious mare could hardly bring herself to care at the moment—what with a massive library in front of her. Happily galloping past Trixie and up the rest of the stairs, the bookish mare stared in amazement at the sight before her eyes, her smile widening as she took in the wonder of it all.
The entire building was constructed out of granite, and was a wonderful recreation of Ancient Griff and Pegan architecture—a pseudoperipteral structure welcomed those seeking knowledge, its imposing white columns supporting an entablature with the words 'MANEHATTAN PVBLIC LIBRARY' in the angular font typical of the Griff alphabet. Above it all, the pediment's tympanum had intricate carvings of pegasi and griffons holding various instruments of study, their heads all turned towards the center of the triangular space, their gazes locked to a carving of the sun and the moon, the latter superimposed over the former.
Past the majestic porch, Twilight could see that the building proper was a large domed-roofed structure; she realized it must be incredibly spacious inside—spacious enough to house thousands of books! Hundreds of thousands! As her heartbeat quickened and her chest tightened in excitement, Twilight briefly wondered if this is how Pinkie Pie felt all the time.
Trixie had to do a double-take at the idiotic look plastered on the lavender unicorn's face; was she drooling? Never mind that Twilight could apparently make mental deficiency look so adorable, The Great and Powerful Trixie was more worried about the good-natured jokes her new friends had made about Twilight's love of books—she had assumed that they were just having a little fun at the dark-maned pony's expense, but the look on her face was almost lustful.
Trixie blinked, her eyes turning to small dots as she managed to pinpoint that strange feeling suddenly brewing in the pit of her stomach. 'Impossible! Ridiculous! Simply beneath Trixie!' There was no way she could be feeling jealous of a building, of all things! How could she even compete with that, anyways?
“Ohmygosh ohmygosh c'mon c'mon!” Twilight called from the door, waving her forelegs excitedly; when Trixie didn't immediately start moving, the lavender pony used her magic to telekinetically bring the other unicorn to the entrance of the library. The Slightly Miffed and Jealous Trixie allowed herself to be floated into the building, expecting to be set back on the floor once inside. That's what she anticipated, but as she was guided directly towards Twilight's open forelegs and into a crushing hug Trixie realized that she should really stop assuming normal behavior from this specific pony by now. “Thank you thank you THANK YOU!” squealed the bibliophile, hopping in place with the blue unicorn still in her grasp.
A security pony swiftly separated them and admonished Twilight for tearing through the library's quietude with her loud outburst and shrieking; meanwhile, a blushing Trixie couldn't help but look up towards the distinctive domed roof of the building and smirk boastfully—Trixie 1, Library, 0. Catching up to the lavender pony, she could see that the small run-in with the rent-a-cop had done little to dampen her spirits. The sight actually made Trixie smile a bit—Twilight was almost glowing with happiness.
Twilight skipped lightly towards the large, circular desk in the middle of the library, placed squarely beneath the skylight of the high dome that made up the roof. A small number of ponies sat within, occupied with busy work and with the tending of visitors. As she neared the desk, Twilight slowed her gait to appreciate the spacious public venue and its rows upon rows of very tall shelves that filled its cavernous hall; she could see all kinds of ponies going through the massive collection of books. Especially conspicuous were the pegasi fluttering about, since they could effortlessly reach the reading material without the use of ladders or magic.
Twilight briefly wondered if Ancient Pegans had become such an incredibly intellectual and scientifically thriving race specifically because they could reach any and all books when other pony races could not—the thought actually made her giggle a bit. 'And to think that Rainbow Dash of all ponies is descended from history's greatest minds!' For many months now, Twilight had entertained a particular fantasy involving her chromatic friend: the day she would get to fill out the form required to grant Rainbow Dash a library card. 'A girl can dream...'
“Good morning Miss, and welcome! May I ask what brings you to the Manehattan Public Library today?” Twilight was snapped away from her deviant thoughts by a cheery, deep purple pegasus that greeted her from behind the desk with a smile.
Twilight returned the warm smile, closing her eyes happily. “Yes, yes you may! I am looking for some books in the scientific field of looooooooooouuuhhh—” Twilight drawled in panic as she immediately realized the critically grievous mistake she was in the process of making: Trixie was right there with her! How in Equestria was she going to read up on love with the Test Subject present? “...Loooong... distance... teleportation.” she added evenly, her slightly swollen eye twitching a bit as she tried to will away her blush. At least it hadn't been a complete lie; she would need some reference to better introduce Trixie to the teleportation spell.
Both the pegasus and Trixie gave Twilight slightly confused and thoroughly unconvinced stares, even more so when the lavender pony tried to grin away the awkward silence that cut through the library's normal silence. A minute later, the silence was thankfully broken by the library worker, who quickly switched back to customer service mode. “Teleportation...?” The pegasus brought a hoof to her chin. “Well, they don't concentrate on teleportation specifically, but I can certainly show you a few hard science-fiction series that rely heavily on teleportation and faster-than-light travel.”
Twilight's face contorted into a half-grimace at the mention of the word 'fiction'. “...Or perhaps you were looking for speculative science material? We have some tapes in the audio-visual department in which well-known scientists are asked to give their opinion on things like teleportation, cryptids, and Extra-Equestrial life.” The pegasus watched as the lavender mare visibly paled at the suggestion, her mane sagging slightly. “Er, there's this series of comic books that—” The library worker stopped herself as Twilight's countenance became jaundiced. 'Was it something I said?'
Twilight Sparkle shook off her momentary intellectual discomfort when she noticed the slightly distressed look on the librarian's face; the poor pegasus must really have no idea what to offer her. 'I suppose nopony's ever seriously researched teleportation...' In all her years spent cooped up in libraries, she had never come across any scientific documentation on the subject—much less any account of anypony but the Princess actually performing the feat. “Um, you know what? I think I'll just browse around for a bit. Thanks anyways!” she explained, grinning sheepishly.
“Well alright, come find me if you need anything else; I'll be glad to give you any help I can.” replied the pegasus, fluttering away towards another pony that had just come up to the desk.
With a small sigh, Twilight turned to face Trixie, finding the magician with an insufferable smirk plastered across her face. “...What?” she asked, glowering slightly.
Trixie's smirk widened. “Twilight Sparkle, have you ever played poker?”
As a matter of fact, she had. “As a matter of fact, I have. Why do you ask?”
“You've never won a round of poker in your life, have you?” The sheer satisfaction in Trixie's voice was palpable.
Twilight's left eye twitched. “As a matter of fact...!” As a matter of fact, Trixie was entirely right. “...!” she replied smartly, her mane becoming slightly frazzled in her indignation. “...How did you know?” She was genuinely curious, not to mention genuinely peeved.
Trixie let out a short giggle-chuckle, managing to sound cute and condescending at the same time. “It's magic, Twilight Sparkle; Trixie does not owe you an explanation!”
Twilight shrank a bit as everypony nearby shushed her loudly; Manehattanites took their quiet time seriously. Trixie merely grinned at the embarrassed pony. “You, however, do owe Trixie an explanation,” she mentioned, casually motioning for the other unicorn to follow her down the main hall of the library.
Of course, Twilight knew what Trixie was getting at, but without reference books, how could she teach the azure mare? The spell itself was second-nature to Twilight, and it dawned on her that she had no idea of how to even begin explaining something that she performed almost subconsciously. 'Now that I think about it, nopony's ever asked me about this before!' Did everypony just assume it was her special talent? Was it her special talent? The other two ponies with the ability to teleport were the Sun and Moon incarnate; that made her technically the only normal pony that could cast the spell.
Blinking, Twilight cast a quick, unnoticed glare at Trixie, who was trotting a few paces ahead of her. 'And Pinkie Pie does not count as a normal pony!' Then again, wasn't magic itself her special talent? Perhaps her prodigious stores of raw magic allowed her to teleport. Princess Celestia herself had told Twilight that she'd never seen a pony with such potential; it could be that the energy needed was just too much for any other unicorn to muster in one go. 'Any way I look at it, I probably won't be able to teach Trixie the spell...' She felt a small knot in her throat—part of her had been looking forward to having a student of her own, no matter how briefly. Then again, she had more important things to tend to: how was she going to make time for love research with Trixie at her side?
The pair of unicorns continued their walk in silence for a few moments longer before stepping up to a row of glass doors at the back of the library. The Great and Powerful Trixie actually held the door open for Twilight and ushered her out with a small bow; Twilight was pleasantly surprised at the gesture, and not so surprised at the fact that even during an act of genuine courtesy, the magician managed to seep arrogance. Could swagger be a special talent?
“Oh wow!” Twilight's eyes widened as she stepped out to a lush, well-maintained yard that was flanked by the building's wings on either side. It looked almost like a miniature version of the park back at Ponyville, down to the ornate, centrally-located fountain; the verdant garden contrasted starkly with the city skyline encircling the entire place. Looking around, she could see ponies of all kinds lounging about the breezy area, lost in their books.
Twilight blinked; how did Trixie know about this place? 'Clearly, she's been here before.' Could it be? Could Trixie be... a scholar? 'Is that the reason why she wants to learn about teleportation?' A surge of tingling giddiness shot through Twilight's spine at the thought of an eager, young, open mind asking her for instruction... And to think she was about to give up and tell Trixie it couldn't be done!
“Well, Twilight Sparkle? Trixie is wait—”
“And you shan't wait any longer, my faithful student!” Twilight exclaimed in utter jubilation, swiftly turning around to face her Test Subject.
'Faithful student?!' Trixie blinked. Shan't? “Did Twilight just make up that word?”
“Trixie, I don't know if you'll be able to learn this spell, but I'm definitely going to try to teach you!”
Trixie glared at the other unicorn. “And just what is that supposed to mean?”
“I don't mean to discourage you Trixie, but the first step to learning any new spell is to study all the facts beforehand, and in this case the fact is that this spell is entirely undocumented. There has never been any mention of it in any book or scientific journal I've ever read—as far as anypony knows, pony teleportation does not exist. It's probably impossible to—”
The Great and Powerful Trixie's scowl quickly turned into a smirk. “No other unicorn knows how to teleport?” she asked, her violet eyes shining. Impossible? That sounded like a challenge.
The lavender unicorn was slightly taken aback by Trixie's quick turnaround. “Uh, well, not that I know of...”
Trixie huffed disdainfully, tilting her head and grinning at a confused Twilight Sparkle. “So the white unicorn can't teleport either, is that correct?”
“White unicorn?” The librarian blinked. “Rarity? You mean Rarity?” she asked, receiving a curt nod from the azure pony. “She, she can't, I mean, I think the only reason I can is—”
“Then Trixie will learn to teleport.” she declared matter-of-factly as she took a few sure steps forward. Twilight blushed at the wide, self-assured smile on the other unicorn's face; her eyes appeared to burn with unfettered defiance. Go on, tell Trixie she can't, they seemed to say.
Twilight could feel herself getting redder and redder as the showmare stared her down; Trixie had unabashedly invaded her personal space in an aggressive show of confidence, and it was working. The bookworm was momentarily paralyzed by what she hoped was Trixie's sheer arrogance, though she suspected it might actually be Trixie's proximity. And her imposing presence. And her beautiful eyes. And her toned, curvaceous “OK THEN!” Twilight Sparkle quickly teleported herself to the base of a tree a short distance away, startling a couple of ponies that were resting under its shade.
The Great and Powerful Trixie shook her head and blinked as she watched the flabbergasted ponies run away from the other unicorn. '...What just happened...?' Had she just made Twilight blush—without even trying? 'Trixie does not give herself enough credit!' she smiled to herself; what an auspicious surprise! Trixie quickly began to wonder if she could make it happen again.
The azure pony hitched an eyebrow; why did the other mare blush in the first place, though? Trixie hadn't done anything out of the ordinary; perhaps Twilight was taken in by the magician's stunning countenance? Trixie's shining beauty was second only to her vast talent—it would only be natural for Twilight to be affected by its closeness. Of course, that didn't necessarily mean that the dark-maned pony had suddenly fallen in love with Equestria's most amazing unicorn—after all, it was a common enough occurrence for the showmare to have smitten ponies knocking at her dressing room door after every show; a blushing pony was nothing particularly new.
'But, it's a start.' If Twilight Sparkle managed to notice her obvious, truly spectacular good looks, then it was just a matter of time before the lavender unicorn fell for Trixie's winning personality and overflowing talent! Could she do it? Could she make Twilight Sparkle fall in love with her?
Trixie rolled her eyes. 'Such an unnecessary question; Trixie can do anything!'
With that reassuring thought, the performer started calmly trotting up to the tree, looking upon the slightly frazzled unicorn waiting for her. 'Time to turn this not-date into a date!' There was just one small problem, she realized—though many ponies had tried hopelessly to romance The Great and Powerful Trixie, no pony in Equestria had ever experienced the divine blessing of being courted by the showmare herself. Other than doing the opposite of whatever Rarity did to Twilight, Trixie was drawing a blank as to how to proceed on her new mission, though this did little to discourage her—in fact, it brought a small grin to her lips; it had been a while since she flexed her improv muscles!
Twilight Sparkle had her back to her approaching predator as she worked her mind for an explanation on the nature of teleportation; she figured that filling her head with mathematical formulas would drive out her unscientific observations on Trixie's... physique. Of course, substituting one sexy thought for a different sexy thought was doing nothing to calm her nerves; she always did get a bit worked up by relativistic equations. 'Stupid, sexy Reinstein!'
Twilight sighed; she had a feeling Trixie would not have the patience to be lectured on the finer points of time dilation and superluminal propagation of pony mass—she knew from first-hoof experience that almost nopony in Ponyville or Canterlot ever did.
'What would Princess Celestia do?' The lavender unicorn thought back to her early days as a sorceress apprentice—everything was so easy to visualize when her mentor explained it; Celestia's words were simple and straightforward, making sense of even the most abstract magical spells. Twilight raised her eyebrows—the Princess of the Sun never used math formulas when tutoring the dark-maned pony, did she? Looking back, Twilight wasn't even sure her beloved teacher even brought books with her half the time!
The studious pony smiled contentedly as she recalled the mantra Trixie had repeated earlier; Celestia would often recite it at the beginning of a study session, usually accompanying it with vivid images crafted from her powerful magic. The Solar Sage tended to speak with pictures when dispensing wisdom—a teaching method that Twilight once believed to be best saved for little foals too young to conceptualize magical math... Nowadays, the top-scoring student was quite grateful for her instructor's intuitive approach.
“Trixie thought that she... shan't wait any longer?”
Twilight jumped slightly, snapping out of her daydreams. “R-right, yes! Let's get right to it then, shall we?” she asked, turning to face the magician. Twilight yelped and backed into the tree behind her; Trixie had been standing rather close to her when she turned around. Feeling the heat reaching her face once more, Twilight immediately looked for a way to make some distance. “L-let's start with a demonstration of the spell!” she almost shouted, disappearing in crackle of magic before Trixie could even ask her to hold on for a second.
“Twilight Sparkle?” The Great and Powerful Trixie smiled, scanning the garden. “You dare hide from Trixie?” she asked teasingly, trotting towards the center of the yard. 'This is going to be fun! Now, where—' Trixie came to an abrupt stop as she noticed two very familiar rainbows sprouting from the Clydesler Building's spire out in the distance. “What.”
- - -
“Ok I really really really really need your help!”
The deep purple pegasus blinked nervously at the unicorn that was currently holding her in the air with magic. It had caused her no small amount to dismay to be unceremoniously picked up from her desk and telekinetically pulled across the library and into a dark, lonely corner near the chemistry section. “Um...?”
It was a panic-induced idea, but it was brilliant! While instructing Trixie on the finer details of teleportation, Twilight would have the perfect excuse to sneak into the library and collect some reading material for future study! Now she just needed a subtle way to ask for the books she required. “Here's my currently confounding conundrum: there's this annoying and adamantly arrogant magical mare that somepony I know may or may not have more-than-friendly feelings for. This however, is a seriously sensitive situation that calls for rigorous research and methodical measurement and involved investigations and organized observations and—”
“Oh.” The pegasus brought down her right hoof onto the sole of her left hoof as realization dawned on her. “You needed a book on love because you like that other girl?”
Twilight let out a frustrated grunt as she dispelled the magic surrounding the librarian—how did everypony manage to see through her so easily all the time?
“Now c'mon,” the pegasus gave her a cheeky smile, “let's start in the anatomy section!”
End Chapter 14
Took a while, huh guys? Thanks for being patient after all these months, and let me give a quick shout out to my beta readers and editors, who got my flank in gear after I'd bogged myself down with writing 5-6 different versions of this chapter:
Armando, the brony that first got me into this pony business and proof-reader for all the chapters so far
CrusaderVX, the first beta reader for this chapter (and keeper of future spoilers!)
CoffeeGrunt, who has been taunting me since forever with all the fics he's written in my absence
FifthAlicorn, editor extraordinaire, he was great help in getting the syntax and flow down (grammar nazi brofist!)
Liz, who decided to grab the fic by the... dock and get it posted on FimFiction in record time
Thanks guys, and a big thanks to everyone else that offered their support and their comments (and their complaints about the tardiness even after so long!)