“Like earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns. The elements are balanced and one cannot live without the other, with various exceptions of course.”
Trixie rested her flank on the ground as Zecora was giving a demonstration on how elements work together, visibly bored. “Uhuh…” She idly muttered.
The shaman glared at her student for her lack of attention. “Your first lesson is to master earth into your alchemical knowledge.”
“And how exactly am I supposed to do that? Read about rocks?” Snorted Trixie.
Zecora smirked, pointing to a large boulder that had ropes wrapped around it and connected to reins and a saddle. “If you can pull this stone, you are ready for the next lesson.”
“Uh.” Trixie slowly stared up at the rock, it was large enough for the tip to go past the clearing. She turned back to point at the rock while giving a wide eyed stare at her teacher. “Me? Pull that?” She stammered.
“That is the idea.”
Throwing up her forelegs in frustration, the azure unicorn attempted to find the words to describe how utterly absurd this is. “Why?” Was all she could croak out.
“Like a stone, you must be stoic, resistant and always stand your ground like nature!” Zecora exclaimed, grabbing the saddle with her teeth and pulling the boulder over with minimal effort. If it were not for the muscles keeping her jaw in place, Trixie’s jaw would be gone beyond the ground. “Can you remain stoic and stand your ground?” Sternly asked the shaman.
“Fuck that, how are you so strong?!” Shouted the azure unicorn, trying to not faint at the thought of putting her body under such physical stress.
“Put this on and try.” Reassured Zecora.
“What happens if I can’t?”
“Then we train.”
Reasonable enough at least, strapping the saddle to herself, Trixie broke into a headstrong gallop. Nothing all get in her way this time, nothing. The rope snapped into a straight line, pulling her back against the rock with a loud thump. Groaning in pain she looked up to see Zecora staring down at her.
“Training it is.”
Less than an hour later…
On all fours with her hind hooves stretched out, Trixie was doing pushups while weight in the form of stones were added to her back. Grunting with determination she pushed her forelegs to raise the frame of her body much to the shaman’s surprise. “More weight!” Trixie called out.
Obliging to her demand, another rock was piled on. Beads of sweat streamed down the azure unicorn, dripping on the thirsty ground like rain in a desert. Struggling to keep her balance, she fell flat with the rocks acting as a mountain on her back. “Did you honestly think that strength alone could overcome this task?” Zecora facehoofed, bucking the rocks off of Trixie’s back with ease.
“For the last few tries…yeah?” Weakly replied Trixie.
“Like you, nature has spirit, life. You can’t simply pander to one element by completely copying their characteristics, this is not the art of mystics. Ask nature to lend a hoof, unless your connection to it is aloof.”
Rolling her eyes with a groan, Trixie glared at one of the rocks. “Please be light for me.” She asked sincerely. Zecora burst into laughter, wiping a tear away from her eye. “What’s so funny?!”
“You’re speaking to something that can’t or won’t hear you.” Zecora deadpanned. “Observe.” She rested down with her hind legs outstretched. “Place those rocks upon my back.”
“Alright…” Trixie obeyed with a high level of uncertainty, placing rocks one by one upon her teacher’s back. Stopping a while to catch her breath she noticed not one falter in Zecora’s stance, not one tremble or flinch. Still…like a stone. Lugging another rock upon Zecora, a sick sense of curiosity grew in her mind. How many rocks will it take before she gets crushed?
Stone after stone, there was practically a mountain upon the shaman. Not a single movement since they started. “Get the idea?” She spoke for the first time in a while.
Trixie jumped back at her teacher’s sudden question. But she did get the idea, no movement. Be a stone to join stones, how? By simply remaining as still as possible by ignoring all outside stimuli.
“Well, I think I do.” She attempted to remove the rocks to place back into the pile, but one wrong move caused the entire pile to shudder and let off one stone which landed directly on the azure unicorn’s head, knocking her out.
“Well well, weak aren’t you?” A voice spitefully mocked in the darkness.
“Who…are you…?” Trixie weakly asked, trying to stand in the void of her dreams.
“I’m you, the real you.” A figure resembling Trixie with her horn stepped forward, red irises from a certain amulet around her neck.
“If you’re me, then who am I?”
“But then what would that make you?”
“Look, you’re you. I’m you’re true self.”
“But I am my true self.”
“Ok you know what? Just shut up and listen. You’re becoming a disgrace to your title, our title. You’re taking pity from not only a zebra, but ‘HER’.”
“Twilight?” The hornless of the two tilted her head.
The horned counterpart scoffed in disgust at the name. “Don’t you dare mention that name.”
“Why? She’s my friend, she’s the only pony who even gave me the benefit of the doubt and bothered to help me.” Trixie justified, poking the amulet with a baneful glare. “And that pathetic trinket only ruined my life further after those stupid fanboys, Snips and Snails, summoned an Ursa Minor.”
Smirking with a red glow, a red aura gripped Trixie’s throat, bringing her closer to her own grinning face. “The only reason you got her pity was because of me, if you truly believe her to be a friend. And what if she’s only using you to make herself look better by making you practise this lower form of power? Either way, you need me to show your true potential.”
“As if I’d need you!” A magenta glow encompassed her body, pushing the entity of spite away. “For once in my life, I feel like I have friends who care to help! And I will not have a failed fashion accessory ruin that for me!”
Her spiteful double grinned even wider. “So be it.” She turned away, glancing over her shoulder with the same chilling red eyed glare. “I will be in the usual place if you change your mind.” It disappeared with a haunting cackle.
A mobile stable, taking refuge among the edge of a large and for boding forest seemingly sat. It was large for its general appearance, but then again it was built for two. Ace Lulamoon of the Lulamoon travelling performers clan and his wife, Bright Flair, were the residents of such a home.
Ace had a modest appearance with a well kept moustache that curled upwards, a slicked back mane and short tail that had a striking colour of blond with a contrasting white for his coat. If he looked any more formal, ponies would mistaken him for an older Blueblood. Ace’s eyes are a deep green, which is shown in his magical aura when levitating notes around him. His cutie mark, as his name implies, is an ace playing card with a hypnotising eye in the centre.
“Nope, nope, nope. Flair? Have you seen our duo performance notes?” He called out to his wife.
Poking her head through the door, she shook her head. “I thought you had them, did we leave them at the last town?” Bright Flair replied, entering fully. Her features are where Trixie definitely gets her looks from, azure coat and silver mane and tail that complimented her violet eyes. Though the differences being her cutie mark and her overall appearance aside from her colour scheme were noticeable, unless one was a complete fool. Mane was definitely shorter in comparison to her long tail, giving her a tomboyish appearance. The cutie mark is a single light showing wooden panels of a stage, reflecting her talent for the stage and love of the spotlight.
“This never happened before, we might find them somewhere…” His ear flicked at has wife giggling at him. “What’s so funny?”
Flair broke into a fit of laughter, landing on her back and pointing with a hoof at his forehead. “Pff, hahaha! Oh sweet Celestia, I can’t take you seriously like this!” She cackled. “The paper’s on your horn, silly!”
Grunting with annoyance he rubbed the paper that was previously impaled on his horn until it came off, writing and late nights never mix too well for him. Or unicorns in general, for that matter. Surely enough they were the notes for their next gig, a secret crowd pleaser called ‘the spotlight carnival’ written in bold letters. “Where was this next performance again?”
“Ponyville, dear. The place where our darling daughter travelled to for her career? She sent us the letter, remember?”
Stroking his moustache, Ace recalled reading the letter and swelling his chest in pride that his daughter was going to follow the family tradition. “Now that you mention it, yep. Also is Ponyville the place where they supply stores with their apples?” His mouth watered at the thought of fresh apples. "Those sweet...juicy...delectable-"
Smacking the back of her husband’s head to free him from another food related trance, Flair sighed. “Yes, dear. The main branch, no pun intended, of the apple farms is located there.”
“Excellent!” He leaped out the stable, strapping himself to the saddle. “To Ponyville!” Ace exclaimed, blinded by the thought once more of apples. The things his wife must deal with in order to keep his high metabolism intact must be astounding, after all, his appetite is rather glutinous for his slender frame.
“Wait dear let me help yo- AAAHH.” She screamed, clinging onto the bed frame inside while the mobile stable sped off through the dirt track.