“Reina,” Trixie began, the filly looking back to her as she was about to enter the carriage, “There's something Trixie bought for you, it's in the red box,” she said with a smile, getting an intrigued look from the filly, “Trixie thought you should have it, but wasn't sure if you'd want it. Well, Trixie is sure now!” she added with a nod, “So help yourself.”
“O- Okay!” the filly replied excitedly, entering the carriage. Trixie closed the door behind her, glancing to Zecora, who was giving her a curious look.
“What?” Trixie asked bluntly.
“Since you left, it's closer you two seem. Did the climb make you more a team?” she asked with a wry smile, making Trixie blink.
“A team... Well, that's one way of looking at it,” Trixie replied dismissively, “Reina wants to help, and Trixie doesn't want to stop her,” she added matter-of-factly, before unlocking the wheels of the wagon and strapping in. “So you know, we're returning to the park. There's some work to be done.”
Inside the carriage, Reina was eyeing the box. It was flat, only a little thicker than the thickest book they had. Tearing off the ribbon, she freed the two contents onto the bed. One was a filly sized cape, one side black, the other red. The other item was a flat disc, with a similar color scheme. She eyed the disc curiously, a confused look in her eyes as she picked it up. She spun it around on her tail for a moment, uncertainty in her actions.
The disc suddenly expanded with a loud pop, making the filly flinch back, letting out a embarrassing squeak. Her faced reddened as she glanced around, getting a small chuckle from the doll, which she glared at. She then let out a short sigh, before looking back to the disc, now a top-hat, which had landed sideways on the bed. She blinked at it, poking it with her tail, before picking it up. Looking over the hat and cape drew Reina's gaze to Trixie's costume, hanging on the wall. Yesterday's show played through her eyes as she smiled, before looking back to her costume.
With amazing haste, she slipped the hat on her head, lining her ears to the holes in its rim, before clasping the cape around her neck. Eyeing what she wore, she spun around, an excited look in her eyes as she glanced to Tiko.
“How do I look?” she asked.
“Like you're ready to steal the dum-dum's show!” he replied, Reina still smiling as she shook her head.
“We're not stealing anypony's show. And stop calling her a dum-dum.”
“Well, you still look cool,” Tiko replied, losing the filly's attention as she climbed to the front window.
“Trixie!” she let out, catching the eyes of the others. Reina simply smiled as they looked to her, tail swinging side-to-side as they saw her in all her glory.
“Trixie knew those would suit you,” the mare replied with a small grin. Zecora considered the filly for a moment, before adopting a similar look.
“Well Reina, if it makes you happy, then there's nothing wrong with looking snappy,” she said, making Trixie blink, before looking to the zebra.
“What, you're not impressed?” Trixie asked accusingly, getting a flustered look from Zecora.
“M- Many count on what's seen skin deep, but looking deeper is the rule I keep,” she quickly replied, getting a smile from the showpony.
“Sounds like something Luna would say,” she admitted, before her brow furrowed, “Not that it matters,” she said, getting an odd look from Reina and Zecora, before the filly noticed where they were heading.
“We're going back to the park?” she asked as she tilted her head, “I thought we were gonna leave.”
“We are, but that'll be later. Trixie has it all figured out! Those goons probably don't want to try anything in the city. That's why that one bird brain acted alone. So, they're gonna wait outside, and they know where we wanna go, so Trixie knows which exit they think we'll take. So, we'll head out late, and choose a different exit.”
“That's … a lot of assuming,” Reina said in a negative tone, getting a small laugh from Zecora as Trixie blushed.
“Well, Trixie doesn't expect a filly to appreciate Trixie's Sharp and Insightful mind!” the mare replied smugly, making Reina frown at her. “Your disapproval aside, isn't there something you wanted to do?” she asked, parking the carriage close to where they were earlier as she did, giving the filly an amused look. Reina tilted her head for a moment, becoming aware of the weight on it.
“W -We're gonna do a show!?” she asked excitedly, getting a devious smile from the mare.
“One of us is,” she replied, her horn glowing as she gave the wagon a kick, causing it to lurch as the stage folded out.
“...Who?” Reina asked, causing the filly to let out a yelp as Trixie levitated her over to the stage. “L- Let me know when you're about to do that!” she said with a blush, getting a haughty laugh from Trixie.
“As Trixie's assistant, you get the rare privilege of sharing her stage!” she replied, following Reina as the filly was placed on the platform. “Such a privilege has been given to only two other ponies!” she then gave the filly a flat look, “They both did poorly. But,” she added with a grin, “We all had fun, and that's what's important.” She then gave Reina a focused look, “Seriously though, if you want to be Trixie's assistant, you need to show Trixie you can strut your stuff!”
“Lamias don't strut,” Reina replied with a flat look, getting another haughty laugh from the showpony.
“Lamias also don't cast spells, so, how are you going to entertain your audience?” she asked with a whimsical smile, before turning away, walking away from the stage, “You may want to figure that out, as the show begins when you get on that stage,” she finished, her magic fading, leaving the filly alone with a shocked look.
“Let the dum-dum go,” Tiko stated, “You can't ask her for help! You're the one that's gonna help her!” he added defiantly, making the filly consider the doll for a moment, before hesitantly nodding. She then looked to the 'audience', her shoulders sagging in relief.
There was no audience.
While the park had plenty of ponies going about it, many of them children, few were giving the stage more than curious glances. Her eyes then widened when she noticed a pair of colts coming closer, their eyes on the snappily dressed lamia.
Reina's eyes darted in Trixie's direction, seeing no sign of the blue mare. However, Zecora was sitting near the carriage, giving the filly an encouraging smile.
“That's a pretty cool costume you got there!” one of the colts, the older one, let out, making Reina look to them, her heart pounding. She then glanced to the side for the moment, hugging Tiko tighter, before taking a deep breath.
“Th- Thanks!” she replied, spinning in place to show it off.
“Neato! The tail moves!” the younger colt let out wide eyed, making the stagefilly blink. She then adopted a smile as she transferred Tiko to her tail.
“That's not part of the costume, sillies!” Tiko let out, making the colts gasp!
“That doll talked!”
“She's a snake-pony!?”
They let out energetically, their surprise and excitement filling Reina with an odd sensation. She felt energized, her heart racing at the sights of their smiles. The unfamiliar sensation made her hesitate, making her aware of the fact that more children were approaching.
“That's right, I can talk. What of it!?” Tiko asked.
“B- Be nice Tiko,” Reina replied sheepishly before looking to the children, “This is Tiko, and yes, I'm a 'snake-pony'.”
“That's so cool!” the colts replied in unison.
“What's your name?” a fast-talking filly asked.
“I'm Reina!” she replied, her face filled with happiness.
Inside the carriage, Trixie had a smile of her own. With the stage deployed, the wall between Trixie and her assistant was quite thin, easily hearing what was going on. Nodding to herself, she pulled out the magic crystal she bought.
Her horn glowed brighter, Luna's seal on the carriage glowing briefly as Trixie infused the crystal to the cupboard the old one had. As it melded into the wood, the spell matrix glimmered for a moment, letting out a magical hum. The energy grew even more radiant, making Trixie's eyes widened at the gem's potency. The power suddenly flickered out, cracking the cupboard in the process.
Trixie adopted an annoyed look, horn still glowing as she gave the gem a couple hard taps, making it flicker back to life. The humming continued for a moment longer, the cracks seeming back together, before the light gradually died down. Running her hoof over the warm gem, Trixie nodded to herself, before returning outside.
Glancing around the carriage, she saw her assistant foal-deep in attention, getting a small laugh from the showpony. An idea flashed through the mare's eyes, making her glance back to the city, before looking to Zecora.
“Trixie will be right back,” she said, looking to the carriage as her horn glowed. “If that pegasus comes back, give the carriage a tap while looking at her,” she explained, getting a curious look from the zebra.
“If she comes to disrupt the stage, will she be placed in another cage?”
“Yes, and this one won't break,” Trixie said confidently, before looking back to Reina.
“It's odd, since she's no friends to call her own, yet on that stage I see no shyness shown,” the zebra pointed out with a smile, making Trixie turn to her for a moment.
“Guess Tiko is to thank for that,” she said in a thoughtful tone, getting an agreeing nod from the zebra.
“So, it is herself to thank, if we were being frank,” she said with a small chuckle, making Trixie glance to the side, before continuing towards the city. “Aren't you being a little remiss, leaving her alone like this?”
“That's why Trixie told you about the spell,” the mare replied in an put-off tone, before her eyes widened. “Oh, you mean about the stage?” she asked, getting a nod. “Well, she can't copy Trixie. She isn't a unicorn, so it would be hard to do that. Still, Trixie trusts Reina will be fine by herself. Trixie's already seen that the filly has talent, so she's not worried.”
“Who will be teaching her? You or me, do you prefer?” Zecora asked, making Trixie sigh.
“Trixie will teach her how to be a good assistant, if that's what you're asking. You can teach her the alphabet and all that. Now, if you're quite done wasting Trixie's time, there's something Trixie must-”
The showpony's eyes widened when a wisp of ash gathered in front of her, popping into the form of a letter, with Luna's seal. “O- On second thought, Trixie isn't going anywhere,” she said, quickly taking the letter and returning to her carriage, leaving a confused zebra in her wake. Falling onto the bed, she broke the seal, ready to read, but she paused, her ears perking at a question from Reina's audience.
“So you don't need the glasses?” a confused, bespectacled filly asked Reina, getting a troubled look from the filly.
“That is...” the showfilly began, her ears falling.
“That's because her eyes shoot magical lazer-beams!” Tiko finished.
“Nuh-uh!” one of the colts replied, “You made that up!”
“You would doubt a talking doll!?” Tiko replied indignantly, getting a murmur from the crowd of children.
“Tiko does have a point,” one of the fillies said, getting agreeing nods from the others.
“These are training glasses!” the doll added, “Without them, these eyes would start randomly shooting beams of tingly-annoying-badness! That is not fun!”
“W- What Tiko said?” Reina added in an unsure tone, getting an unheard chuckle from Trixie, as the mare returned her attention to the letter.
Hello, my Greatest and most Powerful former student. :)
There was never a doubt in my heart that you would be just fine. I'm glad to hear that you made it to Vanhoover well, and that your performance was a smash! Oh, and enough bits for Manehattan you say? And an assistant? I'm quite eager to hear more about all this.
Are you staying for the Grand Performance Tribute? Maybe train your assistant for it? If so, I would not minding waiting to meet the lucky[unlucky? :) ] mare/stallion a few weeks before the big show!
Or are you going to continue on to Manehattan?
I mean, it would be a shame if you didn't attend the GPT. I mean, it shares your acronym after all-
Trixie could almost hear Luna chuckling as she read that line.
Well, either way, just do what you feel is right. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your assistant. Sunset didn't seem all that interested, but Spike is eager to hear more.
Sunset sends her best wishes, and you'll be hearing from Twilight soon.
Continue to smile. Love, P. Luna.
Trixie smiled, reading the letter all over again, her eyes stinging slightly, before she folded the letter up, placing it in a drawer that had three other letters like it. She eyed those letters nostalgically, before closing it.
“You're Trixie's assistant?” one of the children asked, making Trixie's ears perk again, before placing it against the wall.
“The Great and Powerful Dum-dum, Trixie!” Tiko quickly replied.
“Who's that?” a filly asked.
“Only the greatest ever!” the fast-talking filly answered, her words traveling at a speed only a child would understand, “She told this story about some fairies and sprites and there were fireworks and I was standing on daddy's back and it was flashing and amazing and she looked at me and I waved at her!”
“Yeah, I saw that from my home,” the younger colt from earlier said, pointing to a nearby building, “You're her assistant! That's so awesome!”
“Is that Trixie?” the older colt asked, pointing at Zecora.
“A zebra~” a number of children let out.
“She's not Trixie,” Tiko explained.
“She's traveling with us though,” Reina added, getting a small nod from the zebra.
“Oh, so she's a groupie!” the younger colt stated, making Zecora's eyes widen, before quickly shaking her head.
“Yeah, a groupie!” a number of the kids let out, making Trixie snort, covering her mouth to stifle her laughter.
“Can we see Trixie?” somefilly asked, making Reina hesitate, a number of children matching that wish.
“If you're her assistant, that means you can bring her out, right!?”
“That's not how being an assistant works,” the older colt said.
“Like you would know,” the fast-talker replied.
“Trixie went to do something, so it's just me,” Reina explained, getting a small murmur of disappointment from the crowd, which made her adopt a determined look.
“What's that about?” Tiko asked indignantly, “A talking doll and a snake-pony isn't good enough?”
“How does Tiko talk?” the older colt asked.
“He's haunted!” the fast-talker replied, making Reina dip Tiko, making it look like the doll just nodded.
“That's right! I'm a ghost. But not just any ghost!” he said in an eerie voice, making the group fall silent with anticipation. “But, a friendly, totally awesome ghost! Watch, as I leave my body!” he let out, everypony's eyes widening as Reina let Tiko drop, the doll falling to the stage lifelessly. Many of the children exchanged confused looks. “What?” Tiko asked, his voice coming from the curtains, which fluttered in the breeze, “I'm a ghost! Everypony knows you can't see ghosts during the day!” he let out, making Reina smile as her audience was filled with awe.
Trixie nodded to herself, feeling oddly content as she pulled her ear from the wall. She then appraised the messy state of her carriage, her horn glowing as the books and empty box were levitated around. After a quick clean-up and organizing of their new things, Trixie pulled out a piece of parchment. Quill hovering over it, she glanced to the drawer of letters with a considering look on her face, before letting out a small sigh.
Thinking to herself for several moments, she tapped the parchment before her eyes widened with an idea. The quill went to work, forming a seven line list, which she then hung on the wall, close to the door on the side her bed rested on. With one ear still listening for her assistant, she continued her actions, pulling out her dated map of Equestria.
Eyeing over its features for a minute, she started to draw a line. It started in Vanhoover, leading to Tall Tale, before striking east, hitting Ponyville and Canterlot. Between Tall Tale and Ponyville, she wrote 'Cloudsdale?', circling it before returning to the line. From Canterlot, it went south to Dodge City, before curving up to just south of Baltimare; Horseshoe Bay.
Eyeing the map for a moment longer, she nodded to herself, before placing it on the wall, adjacent to the list. She then eyed the wall, hearing a great deal of giggling from the other side. Feeling satisfied, she left the carriage, coming around to see how things were going.
Reina was no longer on the stage.
All the children were in a large pony pile, making Trixie blink in surprise. She looked to Zecora, the zebra laughing at what transpired. Trixie tilted her head, hopping onto the stage as she watched the cluster. The mob shifted, getting an alarmed look from the fast talking filly standing on the very top.
“She's coming!” she cried out.
“W-Whoa!” a colt let out as he slid down the pile, a doll bursting out from the dark recesses of the multicolored blob of giggles.
“Tiko will not be contained!!” the doll let out triumphantly, his voice sounding muffled, considering the source was still buried. Trixie raised an eyebrow as the kids let out false cries of alarm. The showpony then cleared her throat, making some of the children take notice of her.
“It's Trixie!” one of them let out.
“The dum-dum!? Where!?” Tiko asked, the small tail wrapped around his waist turning him to look around. Tiko was left hanging as the pile melted, many of the foals coming closer to the stage.
In the pile's center was a disheveled showfilly. Her hat was flat, resting to the side. Her glasses were crooked, and her mane was scuffed up. Her cape was covered in dirt and hoofmarks. And, she looked very happy. As she sat up, her glasses fell off, making Trixie adopt a mischievous smile.
“Having fun, assistant?” Trixie asked with a smile, making the filly look to her sheepishly. Trixie's horn glowed as she did, making beams of green light shoot out of the filly's eyes, barely missing Trixie. “And what'd Trixie tell you about your glasses!?” she asked, as she put her hooves up defensively, making Reina adopt a confused look as she fished for the spectacles. The children looked at her, clearly surprised.
“I- I told you!” Tiko let out, breaking the ice as several of the children voiced out just how cool that was. As they did, Trixie ushered a few of them away from the stage, before folding it up, getting a confused look from everypony.
“Show's over, for now. Trixie will be putting one on around sundown,” she assured with a smile, before looking to Reina, “Assistant, you have the rest of the day to yourself, just stay close, okay?” she asked, taking the cape and hat from the filly. Reina looked at her for a confused moment, before glancing to the fast-talking filly and two colts, a smile growing on her.
“Really?” she asked, making the mare sigh. Trixie then came closer to her, catching the filly off guard as she whispered something in her ear.
“Yes, really. We'll be leaving tonight, so have fun,” she emphasized, making Reina look over her for a moment, before looking down.
“Thanks, Trixie,” she said, getting only a smile from the mare, before the filly turned to the others.
Having fun, was exactly what she did.
And as it goes with such things, time flew by faster than what was considered fair.
Trixie's show had come to an end. A show that wasn't as grand as the first, and not as profitable, a fact that didn't bother the showpony in the least. Reina had the opportunity of being with the audience this time, spending it with the children that stayed with her since her own show started. Now, it was time to bid them farewell, which they all did with a smile. She remembered their names, and carried a small hope in her heart that they'd meet again someday, before they left to return home.
As the crowd thinned, Reina stood put, her eyes following her friends long after they fell out of sight, looking to the darkening city, now washed by night. The day was over, and it was one she hoped to never forget.
Slowly turning around, she saw Trixie waiting for her patiently on the stage. Reina closed her eyes for a moment, before stretching, and letting out a yawn, her body sore and looking for reprieve.
Trixie and Zecora endeavored to stay up, intending to leave in the night while the filly slept, so Reina knew she'd have the carriage all to herself tonight. As she entered the cart, she noticed the map, and the list next to it. The additions made her pause, but before she could ask about them, Trixie came to her side.
“This is a map of Equestria, and where we'll be going to reach your mother,” she explained quickly, before slapping a hoof on the small list, “This, is for you.”
“I can't read it,” Reina said flatly, getting a nod from the mare.
“You'll have to learn then, won't you?” she pointed out, before looking to the parchment, “This list has what Trixie thinks is important for being a good showpony. Learn this, and you'll be the best assistant Trixie could ask for. Okay?”
“Okay,” Reina said with a nod, looking at the alien writing for a moment, before letting out another yawn.
“She can start tomorrow,” Tiko added, sounding just as tired.
“Sounds great. Sleep well~” Trixie replied, rubbing the filly's head, which got an annoyed look from Reina, before Trixie left. As the door closed, Reina looked to the list, then the map. Her eyes fell to the large circle at the end of the line, giving the filly the urge to touch it. Her destination, where mother was waiting.
Her eyes drooping, she instead curled up under the table, pulling close an extra pillow and blanket, that were just for her. As she closed her eyes, the faces of the colts and filly she befriended played out in her head, making her smile, as she fell into sweet dreams.