Hopes and Follies

by Phaoray

Setting the Stage

“Spike! Spiiiike!” Twilight called loudly out from her bedroom; stuffing yet another book into her already loaded down saddlebags.

“Twilight, calm down! We still have over an hour before the chariot arrives, and I’m already packed!” Spike called up to her from the castle library where he was currently checking through the ‘Leaving castle for one week and two days’ preparatory checklist.

With the soft sound of hooves on stone, Twilight appeared at the top of the stairs, staring down them unamusedly before calling out again. “Spike, are you using the right checklist? The ones I made for this trip had a blue stripe on the back; you’re not using the one with a red stripe on it, right?"

Spike looked over the list carefully before picking up a blue striped one from the nearby table and looking it over as well. “Twilight…this is the same thing.”

"Spike! Use the blue one! This is why we have the checklist for proper checklist disposals you know.”

With a groan, Spike chucked the red scroll to the floor" It's the same thing!"

Twilight rolled her eyes at Spike and turned around, heading to the bathroom to start packing her less necessary necessities; books being first priority. “They aren’t anything alike Spike! Owlicious put on a few pounds this month so the food we leave for him is marked down by 1/8th, and I replaced the blue closed sign for the castle library with a red one a week ago so that part of the previous list doesn’t even make sense anymore!”

Spike groaned when he was sure Twilight wouldn’t hear and started hastily going through the new checklist, marking off everything as he went. He ignored the preparatory checklist he was supposed to do before the real checklist this time and simply marked off everything on it as complete. By the time he was done, Twilight was making her way down the stairs, laden with several saddlebags in her magical grasp. Rarity was still having issues designing a ‘saddlebag worthy of seeing Royalty wearing’ and if she saw Twilight wearing her old ones at the farewell she’d probably faint.

“Why are we even going to this meeting Twilight? It’s not like you’re a ruler or make any laws; beyond library policy I mean.”

“Apparently the Gryphon ambassadors got ‘upset’ that the new ‘Princess’ didn’t have ‘time’ for them, or thought the new ‘Princess’ thought they were beneath her ‘notice’.” Twilight said this while moving her wings to emphasize her words. It was amusing to Spike how quickly Twilight had adapted to using her wings when she was irritated at something, occasionally pointing a wing at him and using it to make shooing motions for him to go away when she was busy studying.

Twilight herself was pretty upset to have to delay a week of friends and studies to share niceties with a bunch of politicians. When she was younger and just Princess Celestia’s student– no, just Celestia now, and no bowing or she’ll embarrass you again! When she was Celestia’s student, nothing was expected of her and others ignored her at the formal dinners or when she was taking notes at meetings. Now others were starting to expect more from her, including other countries apparently. She blushed a little at the memory of Celestia bowing to her as well and calling her “Princess Twilight” in front of everyone last time. Old habits die hard and Twilight was sure she’d be embarrassed a few more times before she remembered to treat Celestia as an equal, at least in public.

“So why are we staying over a week if all you need to do is say hi to some ambassadors?”

Twilight’s feathers ruffled a bit at this as her embarrassing thoughts were replaced with irritated ones from the last letter Celestia sent her. Her head came up and her eyes rolled up to look at the ceiling while she muttered  “ Because not only do I now have to speak with them, but after they heard I was coming to meet the Gryphons, every other ambassador insisted on ‘congratulating’ and expressing their deepest ‘respects’ for the new Princess. Now I have meetings booked with them for a solid week! Celestia even had to warn me that some might try to get me to convince her or Luna on some policy or other they are pushing. My entire week is going to go into meetings with people that don’t understand that I don’t rule anything!”

Twilight’s ears lowered and her eyes looked to the floor as she continued in a quieter and more depressed tone “...and not only that, but I don’t even know what to do or say, these people are very important in keeping peace with Equestria, Spike. If I upset them it could cause more troubles for the princesses. They might even be able to embargo Equestria, or get Celestia to banish me and embargo the place I’m banished to! “ Twilight’s breathing started to come in short gasps as her mind started coming up with ridiculous scenarios. “And what if she decides to banish me back to the castle and embargoes Ponyville Spike! What’ll happen to Applejack’s farm!? Where will Pinkie get supplies for….ok, somehow she’ll get party supplies anyways, but it’ll still be rough on her!”

Spike gave a deadpan expression to the side and then patted Twilight on the back “Do you really think Celestia would do something like that because you upset a few bird brains Twilight? Do you and I know different Celestias?“

Twilight took a deep breath and then looked over to Spike, panic mode averted. “Not really, but I’m not going to take any chances and just make sure this goes well. It might be good to learn a little about this since I swear Luna’s been dropping hints to Celestia about taking a vacation, and she might try to convince me into trying to run things while they are gone.“ Fat chance Luna.

Twilight was thankful that Discord was, at least, behaving. By behaving, she meant being mysteriously absent for the entire week. While amusing to Dash, the Gryphons had a fit last time they woke up and had their feathers painted ridiculously bright colors. Discord had said he had other things to amuse himself with while the meetings were happening this time, though didn’t hint at what those were. So long as it keeps him away for this week I couldn’t care less what he’s up to.

A knocking was heard at the door, taking Twilight out of her thoughts.  Upon being opened by Spike, she saw two Solar Guards who quickly bowed to her. Twilight's friends were revealed to be waiting behind them next to a chariot and waving frantically at her. The Guards took Twilight’s bags and placed them away as she made her way over to say her goodbyes for the week.

“Time to get going Spike, a week of talking to ambassadors and not with the princesses” sigh. How do the Princesses put up with this nonsense? Who would want this kind of drama in their life?


Princess Twilight Sparkle to meet Zebra and Gryphon ambassadors! Is the new Princess finally ready to take on her Royal Duties?

The Equestria Enquirer hit Trixie right in the muzzle as she walked through the Royal Gardens. Growling angrily, Trixie tore the paper off of her face, looked at the heading, and threw it on the ground.

“Who dares throw trash like this in the Royal Gardens!? Trixie would find and tan their hides herself if she had the time to waste!”

Or if she was supposed to be in here in the first place, she mentally added.

Trixie looked around wearily to make sure no one had heard her outburst before sitting down next to several of the garden's marble statues.  Several depicted old heroes of Equestria like Starswirl the Bearded and Commander Hurricane. Even a pedestal with a statue of Discord was present. Trixie guessed Celestia had it rebuilt after the real one was set free, much to everyone’s dismay. Sighing a little, Trixie sat down in front of the Discord statue, levitating her ill-gotten book over and starting to leaf through it. Sure, she wasn’t supposed to be in the gardens. And yes, borrowing a book from the Royal Library without checking it out, or not even having legal access to the library might be considered a crime in some places. But Trixie was having a rough enough time as it was. So she was sure Celestia could forgive her these little slights.

Trixie sighed, a bit tired from all of the amazing acting skills she had used today. But she didn't sneak into the castle, pretend that she belonged in the royal library, ‘borrow’ a book from a restricted section, and sneak into the royal gardens just to give up now! Ok, admittedly, she didn’t need to sneak into the gardens to read, but no one else was there and Trixie figured since she was already on a roll with less than legal activities why stop now? The grass here looked so much nicer than the parks she had been forced to start occupying, and she deserved the rest.

Alicorn Anatomy and Reproduction rested in her hooves as Trixie quietly read through the book, hoping to find something specific on the mysterious creatures while ignoring the hunger pains of her stomach. The book was incredibly old and looked to have not been touched in generations, and as Trixie continued, she also found it to be completely worthless.

“When a male Alicorn puts his….and a female Alicorn….gestation periods of ten years!? What about the part where no male Alicorn is involved!?” Trixie cried, tossing the book to the ground in her anger.

“Hmph! The things ponies will read in public these days. And that’s called filly fooling by the way; though why you’re looking for pictures of that in a book on reproduction I’ll never know.”

Trixie let out a cry and whirled around at the unknown voice, one of her hooves slipping on the discarded book and pitching her forward into the statue. Luckily she missed the pedestal, and the statue was fairly soft, leaving her beloved muzzle uninjured.

Wait, Statues aren’t soft.

“Really now, I’m sure a book like that will get any mare in the mood, but as flattered as I am I’ve already got my eye on somepony else at the moment.”

Fluttershy looked at the large yellow eye staring at her from the other side of the kitchen table and gave an exasperated little sigh. She quietly sipped at her tea while the eye's lashes held their own little cup, occasionally pouring some tea onto itself to keep wet.

“Discord…” Fluttershy spoke quietly “when you said you would worry about your best friend if you couldn’t keep an eye on them I didn’t think….well…I guess I really should have…but…”  Fluttershy stopped talking as the eye turned toward the front door as it was loudly opened.

Angel hopped in with a smug grin on his face as both the eye and Fluttershy’s own two widened at the sight behind the rabbit.  Looking at Discord's eye from the little fence by Fluttershy’s cottage were a dozen large ravens. Yet more of the large black birds seemed to be flying closer by the second. Each one almost seemed to lick its beak in anticipation as the largest raven suddenly took flight, angling for the open doorway.

“Discord...” CAW! “Run! “The eye looked to Fluttershy “err...roll?”

        Looking up at the statue now turned to life, Trixie gave out a gasp of surprise. In the statue’s place stood the real Discord, sans one eye. Trixie couldn’t help but stare at the socket in both confusion and revulsion as the inside looked like nothing but a black hole.

“Now my little pony, what could you possibly be doing here and…” Discord's looked down at the book, with a snap of his fingers the book slowly flapped its way over to Discord’s paws “What’s with this naughty little book of yours?” Discord turned the book to Trixie, showing her a picture of two Alicorns in the position believed to best assure the making of a foal.

         A few seconds of staring wide-eyed allowed Trixie’s brain to restart itself after her near fit of meeting the God of Chaos, and the embarrassment of what he was saying to her caused her to start blurting out denials. “Trixie is NOT looking at the book for THAT! If she ever wanted something so…base she would simply honor one of her adoring fans by allowing them a night with her. Not that Trixie has ever done that! Or would! She’s just saying she could if she wanted to!”

“Riiight….so then why did you feel the need to hide away from everypony in the gardens and read your filth by my statue, hmmm…? An exhibitionist perhaps?“ Discord’s eyebrows wiggled up and down at her suggestively. Out of all the strange things to happen to her, Trixie was grateful that Discord had at least put an eye patch labelled “Out to Lunch” over his empty eye socket. Though she didn’t recall seeing him ever put it on.

“Hmph, Trixie's pretty sure that's not what that word means." She said arrogantly, glaring at Discord in annoyance. "Even if you look like a beast, Trixie is still surprised how perverted your thoughts are." Trixie walked a little bit away from Discord and sat back down near a statue of a guard. She gave shooing motions to Discord as she tried to magically take the book from his paws. “Now if you don’t mind, Trixie needs to return this and plan on what she will do next.”

Discord didn’t let go of the book though, no matter how much Trixie’s magic tried to pull at it “Now come my dear, we both see you’re in need of help. It not only looks like you’ve been bathing in lakes for the past month, but it seems as though you pinned all your tiny little hopes and short-lived dreams on something in this book.” Discord slithered over to her and put a clawed hand on her shoulder. “Now, I just so happened to be around before this particular book was even made. I also may have happened to have spoken to one of the last male Alicorns before he met a very unfortunate…but admittedly funny, fate.”

Trixie looked away from Discord, only to come face to face with him again. “Now, my dear friend Fluttershy has gone on, in unfortunate length sometimes…that I should consider helping other ponies from time to time. And it would make her very happy to hear that I aided a mare down on her luck such as yourself.”

Trixie’s horn flared dangerously in Discord’s face, but he merely put a finger on it and Trixie’s magic fizzled out, leaving a small stream of smoke to rise into the air ah he shook his head back and forth a little, as if scolding a child. “Trixie, Trixie, no need to be rude. What would the guards say if they heard magic blasts in the garden and found a unicorn with a bad reputation and a stolen book where she shouldn’t be? There’d be no running away this time.”

Trixie was a little uneasy with how quickly Discord had extinguished her magic, but saw his warning for the threat it was if she continued and stopped trying to blast him.

“Good, way to be civilized." Discord said, wearing a cold smile that almost turned to a sneer as he continued speaking. "Do you feel all warm and ‘harmonious’ like the sisters want everypony to feel now that we’re talking? Did you feel that bond of friendship that nearly all you Equestrian’s seem to ooze out when I seemed concerned about your problems? No? Good.”

Discord distanced himself a little from Trixie, letting her sigh in relief. She had been feeling tense that close to him, and was still concerned at how fast he kept shifting from near threats to smiles.

“Let’s be a little more…blunt than I am used to." Discord said. "You seem like a mare who can handle it as opposed to all of the soft, sugarcoated ponies I keep having to deal with. You’re looking for something about Alicorns, right? Luna and Celestia won’t help you, and in fact if they saw you had that book they’d lock it away. They’re a bit greedy like that these days, not one's to share certain knowledge or power with others despite how bad they may need it. I, on the other hand, the god of Chaos, know a great deal about Alicorns, and am willing to share that knowledge with you, if it entertains me to do so. Now, are you going to tell me what you’re looking for, or should I go see if there is some other unicorn interested in Alicorns in the garden somewhere?” Discord put a hand to his ear and mimicked listening for someone.

Well, it's not like telling him a little would make Trixie's situation any worse than it is now, right?

“Trixie thought it might…help her with a little problem….one involving getting wings if you’re so insistent on knowing…”

“OH! oh….." Discord looked at her boredly. "You’re just another pony trying to gain power, aren’t you? Luna, Sunset, Starswirl, and there’s another hundred names I frankly don’t care to remember who wanted that.” Discord sat down on the pedestal his statue had been on. After getting comfortable, the King of Chaos took out a long swirly straw and brought it down to the grass. As he gulped, the grass slowly started to change colors from green to brown.

“So what makes you oh so worthy of living forever? It’s a small club and personally its grown far too…syrupy with Crylight Snarkle and Mi Aborea Credenza joining. I might be sick to my stomach if I was forced to spend eternity with the embodiment of ‘cuddles’ or ‘tranquility’.”

Trixie scoffed at this, giving Discord a glare and tipping her hat forward a little “Trixie is nothing like those two! If Trixie was an Alicorn, Equestria would be far less boring! Do you have any idea the kind of illusions and magic shows Trixie could do with that kind of power?" She gestured wildly. "Twilight and all the lesser Alicorns wouldn’t hold a candle to the excitement that the Great and Powerful Princess Trixie would spread with her shows!”

“Puh-leaze my underfed blue friend. Magic shows? Power?” Discord yawned loudly and put his silly straw back into his ear, standing up onto the pedestal and giving a stretch. “If your reasons really are this dull, then I think I’m just going to go back to being a statue.”  
Trixie’s eyes went wide with the realization that her only chance could be slipping away from her. “Wait…I want….er…Trixie wants to….change the colors of all the birds! Why keep them such drab colors, right?”

Discord’s feet started turning, the cracks and cricks of flesh becoming stone. “Now you’re not only sounding dull but dumb.”

“Trixie….I….uh…I…want to make my parents proud of me and prove that I’m not a failure to them and everypony!”

The stoning was near Discords chest by this time, to Trixie, Discord seemed to be paying less and less attention to her, his one eye looking through her now as opposed to actually staring at her. “You never knew your parents, you little liar. It's not like you ever will either, even if you do become a 'success', the dead can't hear. If that’s really all you’re after, then there’s no reason for me to not let you continue being a failure.”

Trixie’s visions went blurry and she had to work hard to only let a few short sobs come out of her mouth from the revelation Discord dropped on her about her parents. By the time Trixie recovered her eyesight thanks to a few hard rubs on her cloak and a several poorly hidden sniffles, Discord was stoned up to his neck. Trixie scrambled to tell Discord another reason besides the truth as she fought off the effects of what Discord had told her.

“No! Wait! I….it’s…..”

“I actually had some hopes for you, Trixie. I figured a showmare could have provided some entertainment worth what you were asking for.”

“What? I mean…I want…no, need to become an Alicorn because…b-because...”

“Aaaahhhhh, you know, being a statue for a thousand years sure can leave an impression on you.”

Discord’s eye had closed and the stoning was almost up to his ears. Time was out. Trixie’s eyes had become as wide as possible and she was fighting off both panic and embarrassment in order to tell Discord the truth.


Unclenching her eyes that had closed without Trixie even realizing, she looked up to the stone figure of Discord.

No…I was so cl….wait…his ears…?

The stoning had stopped right before Discord’s ears, one of them seeming to have swiveled in her direction and listening to her.

Swallowing her saliva, and not to mention her pride, Trixie looked at the attentive ear of Discord. “I have to become an Alicorn or Twilight won’t notice me, she doesn’t care about my existence, but I want her to. I don’t care if it winds up with her hate-hating me but I can’t stand the thought of her living for so long and just forgetting me! Of growing old and seeing her exactly as she is now, passing me on the street in her chariot, and not even recognizing me. Or recognizing me and not caring, I don’t know which would be worse.”

Trixie hung her head sadly as she saw the rest of Discord’s ears turn to stone. She collapsed to the ground and let her tears run freely.

My chance…my only chance and I BUCKED it up! But I told him the truth, what more did he want from me!?

Trixie’s wallowing would have lasted for longer, but someone started laughing at her from off to her side.

Great, even the stone faced royal guards are getting a laugh at my expense. 

Swallowing her pain down for later, Trixie slowly got up and turned around, doing her best to ignore the now stone statue of Discord.

“Look you stupid foal, Trixie may be a bit of a mess right now, but the least a worthless guard like you could do is not laugh at a mare and act-“

Trixie glanced at the one laughing at her, then back at the statue, and then back to the laughter. “But...how…what…?”

While Trixie muttered stupidly at him, Discord proceeded to bounce on his tail around her singing “Trixie loves Twilight Trixie Loves Twilight!”

Blushing a bit and coming out of her stupor, Trixie gave a weak glare at Discord, more relieved that he was still talking to her than upset at his mocking. “Trixie never said love…she just...doesn’t want that purple menace forgetting the one who should be her greatest rival in life.”

“Twilight and Trixie where everyone can see, H-O-R-N-J-O-B!”

Trixie’s face turned scarlet and she gave Discord a swift kick with her back legs, knocking him over, but not stopping his laughter.

“Are you going to help Trixie now or just laugh at her!?”

“hahahaha….hehehe….hooo…woo…that was fun. And to answer your question my dear, I plan to do both throughout this little endeavor of yours. BUT!” Discord swiftly wrapped his body around Trixie much like a snake, leaving his goat-like face mere inches from her own. “I need to know if you are willing to go all the way with this, I don’t play for teams that give up mid-season. Celestia might hate and stone you, Luna will try to skin you, and Twilight, well, you’ll be a hard sell for her. However! If you follow me all the way to the goal post, hit a homerun, and tackle the goalie at the 60 yard line when I tell you to, Twilight will definitely not be able to forget you. Neither will Luna and Celestia for that matter. Even if they want to.

Trixie didn’t hear Discord’s last barely muttered sentence, too wrapped up in her own thoughts to be aware it was even said.

There’s a chance…

Trixie’s face seemed to light up for a second after Discord's words.

A chance that Twilight will notice me…

A proud half smirk emerged on Trixie’s face.

Maybe eventually as a friend, or even if it is a rival or an enemy…She’ll notice…

Trixie looked into Discord’s eye, her own two set in a hard and determined stare.

And that chance is all I need.

“Trixie never gives up. She’s ready for whatever Celestia and Luna throw at her!”

Discord gave Trixie a toothy grin before unwrapping from around her, one that would have put chills down the spines of any who dealt with him in the past. “Well then, let’s give Cake flank and Moon butt a reason to worry, shall we?”