“Oh my. I’ve never seen anypony recover so fast before.”
Fluttershy had woken up earlier in shock at seeing Trixie walking down the stairs on her own. She had been even more surprised to learn Trixie had managed to shower by herself, and wasn’t feeling any of the pains or cramps that had kept her bed-ridden for the last week.
Fluttershy looked Trixie over one more time, checking her eyes, tongue, and prodding her in various places to see if she still had any soreness.
“Unhoof Trixie!” Trixie slapped Fluttershy’s hoof away, slowly getting irritated by the last few minutes of continuous prodding. “She is thankful for your concern, Trixie she assures you that she is feeling better than she has in a long time.”
Fluttershy’s ears lowered as she turned two apologetic eyes towards Trixie. “I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t mean to upset you, Trixie. I just don’t understand how you recovered so quickly.”
“About time you stopped lazing around. I’ve been running myself ragged covering for your flank this week.”
Trixie looked around, unable to find where Discord’s voice was emanating from. Fluttershy poked her shoulder to get Trixie’s attention and nodded towards the kitchen. Discord’s head was leaning out one of the cabinets and looking in their direction. Trixie rolled her eyes at the chaos god’s oddity, while Fluttershy calmly walked into the kitchen.
This is ridiculous. She cowers and apologizes if Trixie raises her voice just a little, but Discord talks from out of nowhere and she doesn’t even flinch.
Trixie entered the kitchen to see Fluttershy slowly pushing Discord out of her cabinet as he ate a sandwich. After a few seconds of pushing, Discord popped out and lazily made his way over to one of the chairs. He ignored the yellow Pegasus, who was still pushing on him with her eyes closed.
“Fluttershy dear, I’m glad to see you again, but would you mind giving me and Trixie a little privacy?”
Fluttershy opened her eyes and looked up at Discord, blushing a bit and setting herself down on the floor. “Oh … umm … okay. Don’t be long, if you can help it, that is. I still need to feed all the animals.”
Discord gave Fluttershy a pat on the head and a nod as she made her way out of the kitchen. Trixie took a seat opposite of Discord and brushed her hair back with a hoof nonchalantly. “Trixie hopes everything on your end went well while she was writhing in misery. Also, your way of hiding Trixie from Luna was just as disgusting and perverted as Trixie should have expected from an old letch like you.”
Discord gave Trixie a wide grin as he sipped tea out of a large acorn that he hadn’t had a few seconds ago. “I’m quite shocked at what you’re implying. It simply seemed the best way to hide you and let you get a…’feel’ for your enemy.” Discord gave Trixie a very suggestive wink as he leaned back in his chair.
Trixie rolled her eyes at his choice of words. “Enemy, right. Despite Luna’s current … interest in removing Trixie’s wondrous appendages, she is quite sure that once Trixie is an Alicorn, we’ll be able to put this little incident behind us. Until then, it would please Trixie greatly were you to make the dreams this stupid amulet hides her in less … awkward.”
Discord snorted at Trixie’s words and set his acorn on the table, which was promptly stolen by several scurrying squirrels. “I really doubt Luna will ever let this go. She’s still not forgiven me for having a bit of fun several thousand years ago.”
“A bit of fun? Didn’t you turn the world upside down? Not to mention you practically confessed to Trixie in the garden to killing off Alicorns.”
“Hey! Those Alicorns attacked me first! And I never killed any of them per se, they just..met with unlucky circumstances. Besides, those two put me in time out for several thousand years. So we should be even by now you’d think. But noooo, those two hold grudges no matter how much you say you’re sorry.”
“… You never really said you were sorry, did you?”
“That’s not the point! The point is, Alicorn or not, the minute Luna finds you, she won’t laugh this off. Now, shouldn’t we be discussing what your next step is? Or would you like to wait around until somepony shows up and drags you off to show you just how ‘forgiving’ Luna is?”
Paling a bit at Discord’s words, Trixie gave a small nod. “Point taken. So, Trixie has the seed, she went through a week of horrid pain and nightmares, and now she’s back on her hooves. How much longer until this thing turns Trixie into an Alicorn? ”
Discord chuckled at Trixie, causing her excited face to quickly turn back to irritated. “Pffft! You … you actually thought this was it? No, my lazy little friend, there is still a couple of ingredients we need before you can join Twilight in the mile high club.”
“W-what!?" Trixie cried out, wishing to get this over with and move on with her life. "Trixie has the seed, you have the magic. Just get on with it already!”
Shaking his head at her, Discord shrugged apologetically. “Sorry, but that’s not how it works. There’s still a list of things I need you to go out and collect. Once you have them, I’ll perform the ritual and all your minuscule dreams will come true. You can become an endless thorn in Twilight’s side, or more; if you’re lucky. And I get to enjoy seeing the two Alicorn sisters go crazy trying to figure out if they should get rid of you.”
"Wait...would those items you wish Trixie to procure have tipped them off?"
Discord pretended to think for a few seconds, grinning the whole time. "Nope."
Trixie growled at him, slamming a hoof on the table. "Then why didn't you have Trixie get them BEFORE the seed!?"
With a chuckle, Discord began to make little claw marks in the table as he explained. "Remember the deal we made? What fun would I have if you didn't have to struggle a little? What would I really get out of this if I couldn't sense the sisters perfect orderly lives get broken down a little at the thought of a unknown pony gallivanting around Equestria with a powerful artifact at her disposal?"
Trixie took an audible gulp and gave a shaky laugh. “Oh, come now. Surely with a kingdom to run they won’t fret that much over Trixie, right? Trixie doesn’t care for the mundane task of paperwork and listening to lesser ponies problems all day. They can keep that to themselves. Trixie's more than fine with them keeping to their duties while Trixie performs across Equestria and upstages Twilight.”
Grinning, Discord gave Trixie another shrug. “Who knows, maybe you'll be lucky? But they were never really fond of having creature’s they have a hard time controlling around. Me, Sombra, Chrysalis, Tirek, Catrina, I could go on. Once we are done here, you’ll be part of that list. Then you’ll get to see how they really are when their perfect order is disturbed.”
Discord noticed Trixie’s face getting paler and gave a laugh while patting her on the back. “Awww, what’s the matter, oh Great and Powerful Trixie? Just realized how deep you’re in? Cheer up! You’re trying something I think no other pony in Equestria ever has. Alicornhood without the princesses approval!”
He’s right. Trixie didn’t really consider the princesses might track her down after this. What if they won’t see Trixie as a pony anymore and just another enemy like Sombra? Being an alicorn won’t mean much if the only way Twilight sees Trixie is as a statue!
Discord sighed upon seeing how freaked out Trixie still was. “Hmph, Looks like that seed might have given you a few more brain cells in exchange for your guts. I’ll let you in on a little secret or two so you don’t become a shivering mess in front of Fluttershy, all right?”
Trixie growled and pointed an accusing hoof at Discord. The effect was lost a little by the slight shaking of said hoof. “As if Trixie could trust anything you say now! You didn’t tell Trixie the artifact would knock her out for a week! You also didn’t mention anything on how either Princess would react!”
“Uhm..is…is everything okay in there? It’s just … there’s a lot of yelling …”
Discord and Trixie glanced over at the meek Pegasus whose head was just visible from the kitchen entrance. Both responded to her inquiry in the exact same way. “NOT NOW!”
“MEEP! Uh … uhm … o-okay…if-if you need me, I’m just going to be outside. If-if that’s all right, that is.” Not receiving any reply from either, Fluttershy retracted her head from the kitchen. Seconds later, the front door opening and closing was heard by the two.
Discord face-pawed and sighed, noting how upset Fluttershy’s expression had been. “Great, yet more drama I have to deal with, and it’s not even lunch yet.” Discord looked over to the still pale unicorn. “Look, how about we both calm down a little? I oh so graciously told you how to become an Alicorn. I even told you that Luna would want to skin you, didn’t I? You knew the risks when you agreed to this little endeavor.”
She shook her head vehemently. “Trixie’s a show pony! She just thought you were being dramatic! How was she to know that the princesses had some sort of secret, sadistic side? Trixie’s not sure she should trust you after this.”
Grinning, Discord rested his head on his two paws. “While I was being dramatic, the best kind of drama is the true kind. Oh, and congratulation! You have no idea how surprising it was when you just went along with everything I told you. Of course It’s ridiculous to trust everything I say! I’m Chaos for Equestria’s sake! Where would the fun be for me if I was completely honest in my deals?”
Discord rubbed his beard with a paw, glancing over the room and leaning closer to Trixie conspiratorially. “Now, to calm you down a little, let me tell you what you have that all those other deadbeats before didn’t. For one, you don’t have to worry about being blasted with that rainbow. Ugh! That thing’s locked away in a rotting old tree somewhere, so no banishment or stoning for you. Second, well, let’s say you do become an Alicorn and cause havoc for the two princesses; unintentionally or not. So long as you don’t start blathering about enslaving ponies or a need for more power like those other idiots, I might be inclined to help you out from time to time. It’s more fun for me to have you out there, running around and leading Twilight on a merry chase away from Celestia.”
Discord pointed a finger to the front door of the cottage. “And third, you’ve been around Fluttershy. While it may not mean as much to the princesses, if Fluttershy disapproves of them trying to skin you alive, then that at least means Twilight will be much less inclined to help them dismember you.”
Giving a small, toothy grin, Discord leaned back in his chair and gestured with a paw to Trixie. “Now, how about we just concentrate on making you an Alicorn, then you can worry about what happens to you after that, all right? As it is you have no chance, but after the ritual well…you’ll be on more even terms.”
Trixie nodded dumbly at Discord’s words, surprised that she was unable to find any lies in his explanation. Right, Alicorn first, Twilight and the Princesses later. No need to panic about it yet. “Okay, tell Trixie what she has to do next.”
“Glad to have you back on board. Now, you’ll have to move fast. I had some fun with the pony the princesses sent out to track you down, but let’s say she wasn’t very … appreciative of my efforts.”
I ... I can’t believe this place.
Twilight gazed in wonder every which way in the cavern. With her magic, she levitated a scroll, ink pen, and quill. Furious scribbling could be heard throughout the cave system, as well as the appreciative ooh’s and ahh’s of the purple Alicorn as she poked around the cavern.
All thoughts of the upcoming conflict had fled Twilight upon seeing the various insects and plant life glowing a myriad of colors within the cave. The sight had immediately caused Twilight to run back out and retrieve writing materials and sample jars from her abandoned saddlebags. Twilight spent over an hour cataloging and coaxing samples into jars before the compass around her neck clicked against her chest, reminding her of why she was here. Blushing in embarrassment, Twilight quickly trotted outside and carefully placed everything back into her saddlebag before re-entering.
Following the compass proved fairly easy, though several spots had her facing a dead end, causing her to turn around and find a new route. The small, glowing insects seemed to have no interest in Twilight, despite how often she let out a whine at being unable to stay and study each new one she saw.
The compass led Twilight down many narrow pathways, and after an hour or so, she emerged into a fairly large cavern. Twilight only knew there was a roof of the cave due to the different plants glowing softly above her, though she could not gauge the distance to the ceiling. The various plants near the ground glowed a dull green in the room, while dozens of illuminated yellow butterflies flew back and forth among the vegetation. Oddly, the butterflies left small trails of glowing yellow dust behind them. She stood and stared at the beauty of the cavern for a few seconds before proceeding forward.
Clack! Clack clack clack clack
Twilight began to step cautiously, hearing a small commotion ahead of her that she assumed was her target. The compass around her neck glowed a slightly brighter grey as she quietly crept closer.
A shadowy figure came into view, running around the cavern on two legs, in seemingly random patterns. As she drew closer, she noticed that the figure was tall, with tiny wings … and mismatched legs … it was Discord.
Twilight gaped at Discord. He was wearing a safari hat, and was running around the cavern with a large net, chasing after the glowing butterflies. Pulling out a handkerchief from his ear, he proceeded to wipe the sweat from his forehead and mumble to himself.
“Rotten little bugs, I just need to borrow a few more of you, why are you so-Twilight?” Discord blinked in surprise at Twilight, though she was almost positive he was trying to hide a grin behind it.
“What are you doing here? Already taking a break from your chase? Or did you finish and couldn’t wait to see my wonderful face again?”
Twilght simply gaped at his nonchalant attitude. “I-who-why…WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” She finally screamed out, the words echoing across the chamber.
Smiling, Discord took a jar out from behind his back. Inside were several of the glowing yellow butterflies, along with a small pile of yellow pollen clinging to the bottom.
“Just collecting some of these for a pet project of mine. You know, I really wish I could take credit for making these little guys. You wouldn’t believe how much easier their pollen makes it to get ponies to accept their more chaotic side.”
Twilight blinked a few times, her emotions going from rage to curiosity and back again. “Wait, you’re saying you use that pollen to control ponies? And why is this compass pointing directly at you? Is this some roundabout joke way of telling me you stole Luna’s artifact!?”
Discord placed a hand to his chest as if he was offended. “Always with the accusations. You really are Celestia’s student. But no, I don’t have that silly little trigger of Luna’s. Why would I need it? The King of Chaos, choosing to be brought down to the title of princess? No thank you.”
Discord placed the jar of butterflies behind his back again. “And I didn’t say the pollen controls ponies, it simply lets them … choose more openly. You’ve no idea how many ponies I’ve seen desire something but be too afraid to reach for it. Whether they are just shy, or they fear breaking some silly little law. You ponies find a hundred different ways to deny yourselves what you really want; it’s rather pathetic really.”
Twilight grabbed the compass and pointed it to Discord. “While all of that is fascinating, especially the thought of you knowing anything about ethics, this compass is supposed to be pointing to the artifact, and right now it’s pointing at you!”
Discord hummed to himself as he looked over the compass. After a few seconds he nodded and gave the compass a poke. The grayish glow of the compass slowly turned to a bright blue before fading away entirely. When Twilight looked at the compass, it was pointing North East instead of at Discord.
“There you go. Good luck.”
Discord got out his butterfly net again and started to walk over to a small vine where several of the butterflies were resting. He was however, cut short by a dark magenta glow holding onto his tail and a very angry voice behind him.
“…That’s it? You just accidently set the compass to track yourself?”
“Ah-heh, yes, that would be the case. Quite a slip-up on my part, but at least you had a nice trip here, right?”
“Nice? Nice!?” Twilight’s magic dragged Discord towards her and brought his head down so she could look him eye to eye. “I spent two days on a train with nothing to do but think about how much my ear hurt! You try ignoring that kind of pain to read! Then, THEN I get to Manehatten, only to find that you destroyed any easy way for me to get over the bay. So I had to walk for the next two days through the swamp, Discord! I was chased and taunted by a pack of boars for getting too close to their territory for over a day of that! If that wasn't enough, I then got the joy of finding a town ready to lynch anypony who has wings or a horn, and come here, only to find that all this effort was a total waste!”
Discord sighed, clearly unimpressed with Twilight’s tirade. He gave Twilight’s horn a flick with his fingers, causing her to yelp and release him. “Yes, sounds quite horrible. How about I make it up to you a little then? I’ll loan you the ferry who won the right to fly me out here. He’s waiting right outside for me. I’ll just fly back on my own. And here. “Discord handed Twilight a train ticket. “The ferry will drop you off at Manehattan, that way you can take the train out to wherever you need to go.”
Twilight glared at Discord while she thought through his proposition. I really don’t want to fly all the way back to the train station. Maybe it was a mistake, but I know he’s involved in this somehow. Still, if he is being honest about the compass then it would be wrong of me to not accept his apology.
Twilight stared at the smiling Discord for a little longer before wrapping the ticket in her levitation and taking it from him. “Don’t misunderstand me Discord, I still think you’re involved in this somehow, but I really don’t want to walk all the way back. Especially if the unicorn that stole that artifact is now up and running around. I don’t have time for anymore delays. So, are you sure this compass is pointed at the artifact now?”
Discord nodded in Twilight’s direction, picking up his safari helmet that had fallen off. “Yes, yes, I swear to you by Luna’s beard that the compass is pointed at the trigger. Now do you mind? I am actually a little busy here.”
Twilight gave Discord a suspicious look. “Luna doesn’t have a beard.”
Discord winked at Twilight. “Oh? So she shaves now? How modern of her.”
Blinking, Twilight looked at Discord confusedly for a moment. Discord’s grin slowly slipped away as time passed and he eventually brought his paw to his head. “Nevermind. I’m sure somepony will explain it to you when you’re older, or less oblivious. Didn’t you say you had something important to do now? Shoo.”
Trixie checked herself over one last time in the mirror. Beautiful, mesmerizing, majestic, elusive; it’s no wonder Trixie has so many trouble’s with her performances now. The mares of every town Trixie enters must be climbing the walls to get her away before their husband’s throw themselves at Trixie’s hooves. Trixie blew a kiss at the mirror and giggled a bit. Too bad for all those stallion’s that Trixie’s body was not meant to be touched by such rough hooves as theirs.
Trixie’s hoof flicked her cape up, allowing her the chance to look over her own curves. Trixie was amazed by how smooth she looked, considering less than a week ago she had numerous small scars across her body from years of travel. Whatever else the seed of Luna’s had done to her, it had also removed every little imperfection the mare’s less than ideal life had delivered onto her. That alone was worth the trip out to the Everfree in her opinion.
She didn't quite understand it, but Trixie felt as though something inside herself had shifted, like a wound she never knew of had started to heal.
I may not even need to become an Alicorn to stay on Twilight’s mind now. After all, if Trixie can’t keep her eyes off of Trixie, what hope could Twilight have?
After a few more minutes of posing and wishing she had a camera, Trixie sighed and regretfully dragged herself away from the mirror and toward the two stuffed saddlebags placed on the bed. With a flick of her horn, they levitated over and slid onto her shoulders. Amazing, Trixie can hardly believe how easy it was to move those, and how light they feel.
Laughing a little at her newfound strength, Trixie proceeded down the stairs of the cottage and out the front door. Looking around, she quickly found Fluttershy and Discord having a small picnic with several other animals and the desk. As she approached, Fluttershy stood up and gave Trixie a nervous smile.
“Are-are you sure you’re ready to go, Trixie?”
She grinned at Fluttershy and gave her a pat on the head. “Now don’t you worry about me. Trixie has never felt this good in her entire life. And despite how nice it would be to stay here and perfect her already near perfect show, Trixie is running late for some very important engagements.”
“Allright, well … good luck, Trixie. Thank you for being Discord’s friend. I-I’m happy to be your friend too. I-if you want to be friends, I mean. You don’t have to, but it would be nice, and you’re welcome back here anytime. But, don’t think I’m pressuring you to visit or anything.”
Chuckling, Trixie gave Fluttershy a nod. “Thank you, Fluttershy, Trixie will take you up on your offer when she has the time. And for how well you took care of her, Trixie promises that you will never have to pay for admission to her shows, or to get backstage even. Should you care to bask in Trixie’s presence and make your friends jealous.”
Fluttershy gave a small smile and nodded. “I-I’ll consider it. Good luck.”
Trixie looked over to Discord, giving him a nod before trotting off. Fluttershy looked over to the Draconequus confusedly. “Are you two fighting? She didn’t even say goodbye to you …”
Discord stretched out in a grass and continued to alter the colors of the leaves on the tree he was laying under. “I wouldn’t worry about it Fluttershy, we said more than enough to each other this morning. Besides, I’ll be seeing her again in a few days.”
Fluttershy’s ears lowered at this news and she began poking at the ground with one of her hooves. A strange feeling of sadness had come over her, mixed with something like resentment, though she couldn’t understand why.
“O-oh … well … that’s … nice.”
Discord looked over to Fluttershy confusedly for a few seconds, causing Fluttershy to turn her head away from him. “Why yes, it is nice. She is quite the mare, very different from other ponies I’ve met so far. Confident, brash, and very willing to take what she believes she deserves, even if she really doesn’t. Sure, your blue pegasus friend is similar, but her mind is a little too ... one-track for me.”
Discord grinned as he observed Fluttershy’s head proceed to get lower each time he described something he liked about Trixie.
“With how driven she is, I doubt the mare Trixie’s trying to impress really has a chance.”
Fluttershy looked over to Discord, both confused but strangely relieved. Her tail even wagged briefly. “I-I don’t want to be rude, b-but do you mean, Trixie…?”
Discord gave Fluttershy a slight nod. “It seems the Great and Powerful Trixie has a Great and Powerful crush. A crush she needed help from yours truly with, though she is having a hard time admitting it.”
Fluttershy smiled widely at Discord as all of the strange emotions inside of her disappeared. “That, that really is just wonderful! Oh, I hope it turns out well for her and her special somepony.”
Dreamily, Fluttershy laid down next to Discord and thought about the mare who spent the last week sick in her care. She must have left in such a hurry because being so sick caused her plan with Discord to run late. I hope she has time to get whatever she needs together to confess to her crush. I wonder who the lucky mare is? She must be very special for Trixie to worry about impressing her.
“Tha new Princesh haz gone crazy!”
“She’s e’re ta keel of' all da erff ponies!”
“De har’or! De har’or!”
As Twilight buzzed the town of Gettysherd again, she screamed. “I said I can’t control this stupid thing! Stop blaming me!”
Twilight continued to pull on the wheel of the ferry panickedly, but it proved just as worthless as every other attempt she had made. Things had been fine till she reached the town. Then, suddenly, the ferry took a nose-dive, and started to buzz the heads of the panicking ponies.
“yah’ll nawt eet mah fama’ly ya mon’star! Tak’ that!
Twilight heard the smash of a bottle and looked to the small deck of the ferry to see it was now on fire. The ferry started to sway back and forth, but Twilight was now able to partially control it with the wheel. She could hear cheers as her flaming ship finally started to haphazardly fly away from the small village and over the bay.
The small ferry started swaying back and forth worse as more of it was engulfed. The ship continued picking up speed as it continued across the water and finally into the Manehattan airspace. All Twilight could hear was a loud screeching as the wind went past her and the ferries front started to dip. Looking at the flames approaching her, Twilight cast a protective bubble and held onto the wheel for dear life as the entire ferry started spinning out of control.
“... I really miss Ponyville …”
Teller nodded and handed the ticket back to the young unicorn, tipping his hat to her.
“Train leaves in a half hour, ma’am. Be sure to take your seat prior to last call.”
The yellow unicorn nodded to Teller and perked her ears at about the same time that he did, a whistling sound suddenly being picked up by both of them. The whistling grew louder and louder, causing ponies all over the train depot to start looking around.
Someone pointed a hoof up in the sky and that was when Teller saw it. A flaming meteor was headed straight for the station! As more ponies noticed the ball of fire, they started panicking, running back and forth, or simply fainting where they stood. Teller stood paralyzed, unsure of what to do. When he could almost swear to feeling the heat of the meteor on his face, he jolted out of his paralysis and hid under the ticket desk. Oddly enough, the screaming of the meteor above him literally sounded like a pony screaming to his ears.
Teller was jolted from the nearby explosion, and hid under the desk for a few more minutes. As time stretched on, he heard the faint sound of a set of hooves walking, followed by multiple gasps. The hooves kept getting closer and closer, until they stopped all together.
The bell on Teller’s desk went off, causing him to give an audible swallow and slowly pull himself out from under it. He instantly regretted peeking his head up over the desk at who he saw standing there.
A black unicorn, no, a purple Alicorn covered in soot was standing at his desk, looking half ready to tear into the first thing that moved. Smoke was coming off of her, and several small fires burned merrily on her mane and tail, slowly dwindling out while the Alicorn and Teller looked at each other.
A small, scorched ticket slowly levitated its way over to his hooves, and he shakily grabbed it, blowing out the tickets burning top. The Alicorn in front of Teller opened her mouth, letting out more smoke as she said a single word.
Teller slowly looked down at the ticket, noticing it was out of date by several months, then deciding that he, in fact, had not noticed that.
Teller nodded and picked up the train system’s microphone. “A-attention. There has been a change in schedule. The train to Canterlot will be leaving in ten-" The right eye of the Alicorn in front of him twitched. "-no, five minutes. I repeat, the train to Canterlot will be leaving in five minutes.”
The Alicorn looked at Teller for a few seconds longer before inhaling and blowing out a small fire on her bedraggled mane.
She then turned around and slowly made her way over to the train. With her gone, Teller finally noticed the sound of sirens coming closer, as well as the smoking and burning rubble about twenty feet from the train station. He cautiously looked around to make sure he was, in fact, now safe, and fainted.