Following closely behind Twilight, Trixie felt shivers up her spine while inside the Everfree. “Are you sure this is a good idea…? Trixie- I mean, I hate forests…”
“For the five hundredth and sixty seventh time, yes.” Groaned Twilight. “She’s your best bet at using your talents for something other than magic, though it does have magical elements.”
Trixie stopped to blink a few times at the response, had she been keeping count all this time? Then again this lavender unicorn always had a tendency to stare at minuscule details for hours on end. In the distance was a hut, exhuming green smoke from the windows. On the various tree branches hung bottles, possibly remedies or to keep the monsters away. Knocking on the door, Twilight turned to wave her friend over who stepped back in response, clearly terrified of the place.
“Come in, pardon my not meeting you at the door, Twilight Sparkle. This remedy I am brewing must have full attention or its effect shall be null.” Called out a voice in the hut.
Waving Trixie over once more the azure unicorn stepped back onto a twig which snapped, causing her to yelp loudly and within seconds clinging to Twilight with a terrified expression. “Scared?”
“N-No! The Great and Powerful Trixie knows no fear!” She gloated, putting on her bravest face.
“In that case, can you get off my back? It’s not exactly easy going into a door when you can hurt your head on the door frame.” Laughed Twilight.
Blushing in embarrassment, Trixie hopped off, circling her hoof in the dirt. “I’m not sure I can even do this, you of all ponies should know I’m horrible and uncoordinated when it comes to learning.”
Twilight smiled, shaking her head. “That’s why I found you the best teacher in the non unicorn arcane arts of potion making and alchemy.” She opened the door. Inside was Zecora in her cloak, tossing in ingredients to a large cauldron which bubbled, grabbing her staff she plunged the end of it it to churn the mixture until it was the perfect colour.
“Good afternoon, is this my new student? Hopefully to her my books are fluent.” She asked, keeping her eyes on the mixture.
“Yup, I hope you won’t mind cutting down on the rhyming though.” The lavender unicorn looked over to see Trixie poking a mask with a hairy mane, sneezing once a hair flicked into her muzzle and began vinously wiping her muzzle as if slime from the mask had splattered onto her. “She’s kinda slow.”
Zecora stopped mixing, the mixture bubbling intensely with a red glow. Trixie and Twilight both attempted hiding behind each other as Zecora slowly turned her head towards them, her eyes glowing a piercing yellow under her hood. The mixture bubbled even more intensely before bursting into a butterfly shaped cloud. “…Very well…if she is as slow as you say I shall make an exception this day.”
Sighing with relief, both mares slid to the ground on their flanks. “Thanks..” Stuttered Twilight. “I’ll leave you to it, send me a letter if it doesn’t work out.”
“What do you mean by slo- No! Don’t leave me alone here!” Panicked the azure unicorn, locking to Twilight’s hind legs in a vice grip with her forelegs. “There might still be that Ursa Minor in the woods!”
“You’ll be fine, this area of the Everfree is..well, free from monsters and mythical creatures.” She clears her throat. “Save for a few Timberwolf packs.” Twilight levitated Trixie until she stood on all fours again, levitating the bag of horn fragments over to her. “Trust me, Zecora’s the best around when it comes to this sort of thing.”
Once the door closed Trixie felt the looming shadow upon her back, turning around she was met face to face with the shaman herself. “So, you wish to find new powers? Secrets within the arcane arts that are secret even to the alicorns?” Zecora circled the unicorn like a lion stalking it’s prey. “As much as I am sorry to hear for your loss, I will not hold back on the brutality my lessons involve.” She sounded even more terrifying without the rhymes, sinister even.
“Y-Yes… Yes! The Great and Powerful Trixie wishes to learn your secrets!”
“Good.” Smiled Zecora, lightening her tone and flicking off her hood to show a mohawk styled striped mane and golden hoop earrings with five neck rings made of gold lining her neck. It was anypony’s guess to how she had not collapsed from exhaustion from the collective weight of her jewellery. “You’re training begins next morning.” She flatly stated.
“Tomorrow?!” Whined Trixie, stomping her hoof. “I did not come all this way just to wait longer!” This earned her a glare from Zecora, who sighed.
“It can’t be helped I suppose,” She trotted over to a bookshelf and threw a few across the room, landing in a perfect pile on the desk parallel. “Read all these, unless you wish to oppose?”
“I thought you weren’t gonna rhyme…”
“…Read all these books….” The shaman deadpanned with a twitch in her eye, it took all her might to not speak in rhyme. “I’ll let you know when dinner is ready.” She kicked a stool with one hind leg that sent it sliding to the table then leaving through the door to gather materials.
Groaning in annoyance the azure unicorn might as well pass the time, the forest terrified her to the core and there was no way to use magic to entertain herself. Placing herself on the creaking hoof made stool, she picked out the top book from the pile while rolling her eyes at her new teacher’s order. “Rules of Alchemy.” She read aloud, skimming through the first page with a bored expression. Already she had gotten bored and was resting her head upon a hoof while using the other to turn the page over once she finished reading.
Six pages later…
“Place six ounces of rockodile scale on the alchemic transmuting table or circle section a. and seven pounds of rose petals, contained or simply placed parallel and you get a stone rose, a basic component in the following creations of page 193.” Trixie read aloud, staring at the diagrams with interest. One in particular marked out what the circle for combining what are considered basic components and how it would be made in a pinch, it required magic from the air around her. Quite refreshing, without a horn it was impossible for her until Zecora would decide to begin the training.
The words turned to sentences, the sentences turned to paragraphs and note taking and soon she had exhausted the supply the shaman gave her permission, or more so demanded her to read. Trixie’s stomach rumbled loudly, and Zecora had still not returned. It must have been hours since she had started reading. Staring up at the clock, only two hours and she had read through every book. She slightly recoiled at herself, she now felt more like Twilight than anything. Disturbing thoughts aside, the azure unicorn felt prideful for the first time since losing her horn. Wiping her brilliant silver mane away from her eyes she hunched over to read through some of the books once more in case she missed anything.
An idea sprung into her head, maybe she could at least practise until Zecora came back. Picking up a piece of paper that contained a drawing of a transmutation circle she idly doodled from the book while reading, she stepped out into the afternoon of the Everfree forest. Observing the patterns in the level one circle she used a stick to draw a slightly larger version in the dirt. Satisfied with her work, she looked around for any materials that isn’t Zecora’s stuff or rooted to the ground.
Seeing a flower, Trixie thought she might as well use that. Heading over to the flower she hit a stone with her hoof, sending her stumbling towards the circle. Holding out her forelegs just in time she stopped herself from performing a pratfall to the nature around her, as soon as her hooves made contact with the circle it dissipated into the dirt with smoke leaving the circle pattern. Must have been a dud.
As if by magic the ground below her shook, causing tree roots to grow rapidly from the ground and link together around her, forming a cage. Petrified by the reaction she received from just a circle with markings in the ground, the cage being the second of her worries. “Oh, I can do it…I can do it!” Trixie shouted in triumph. “…Now how the heck do I get out?” She poked the roots, they stood their ground figuratively and literally. She attempted ripping the roots away, all they did was stiffen in place. “Open for the Great and Powerful Trixie, nature!” Trixie began bashing her full body against the roots like a mad bull. “Open…the…damn…way!” She growled with each ram against the linked roots.
“I see you could not resist trying without training.” Zecora chuckled, passing by with a bag full of groceries. “Though I am impressed, when I first started all I could make were rusty kettles that only would boil nettles.”
“Getting a little desperate with the rhyming…?” Sighed Trixie, resting against the roots.
“I kid not.” Zecora replied, knocking the root cage with a foreleg which caused it to writhe and retract into the ground, Trixie completed her pratfall into the ground. “Shall we?”
Trixie laid there gawking at the amount of power the zebra had for not being a unicorn. “Screw what I said this morning…totally going to be worth it to be better at something than Twilight for once.” The azure unicorn spoke quietly to herself. “Uh, coming!” She called out, entering the hut as the sun fully faded into horizon.