• Published 13th Mar 2012
  • 1,613 Views, 104 Comments

Double-edged Sword - fic Write Off

/fic/ Write Off Mar 10 Entries

  • ...

A True Magician

The wagon rolled smoothly along the dirt path, its contents clattering with every bump, the harness hanging empty. Accelerating, the wagon blasted through a curve, wheels almost lifting off the road. The road twisted and turned sharply, but the wagon stuck tightly to the path, not for a moment straying from the packed earth. Still it continued to accelerate, a hill cresting the horizon further down the road.

Within the wagon, Trixie yawned. Another day, another backwater town, she thought, trying to muffle the yawn with a hoof. Rolling on her side, Trixie inspected the map tacked to the wall besides her bed. Whinneysota... sounds like it’s full of foalish ponies - how else could they come up with such a ridiculous name? Trixie chuckled to herself, scraping the red circle around the city before rolling on her back again. Oh Trixie, you truly are magnificent! Who but you would be clever enough to animate an entire wagon? What common fools others are, to do all the hard work themselves!

Outside, the wagon zipped up the hill, showing no signs of slowing down. Faster, faster, the wagon crested the hill, back wheels leaving the ground entirely. Trixie blinked, momentarily weightless, before crashing to the floor as gravity caught up with the wagon.

“Hey!” she yelled, smacking a hoof against the wood floor. “What do you think you’re doing, treating The Great and Powerful Trixie like that?” Trixie leapt to her hooves, making her way to the ceiling hatch with a huff. A moment latter, the small door slammed open with a burst of magic, an annoyed Trixie levering herself partially onto the roof. It didn’t take her long to notice that the wagon was now hurtling down the road.

Her horn glowing, Trixie tapped twice on the roof of the wagon, clearing her throat. “The Great and Powerful Trixie commands you to slow down,” she shouted over the roar of the wheels. Seconds passed, and the wagon showed little signs of doing anything but accelerate. Now Trixie was annoyed. “The Great and Powerful Trixie,” she shouted, beating her hooves on the wagon, “commands you to slow down this instant!” The wagon shuddered in response, the clattering growing more rapid. Trixie’s eyes narrowed. She wasn’t in the mood to argue with a mere wagon. “Now,” she whispered, putting some extra venom and magic behind the command. With a great groan, the wagon complied, the wheels skidding in the dirt as it slowed to a fast trot.

“Good!” Trixie exclaimed, suddenly chipper. Shielding her eyes with a hoof, she examined her surroundings, spotting a small cluster of buildings off in the distance. So that must be Whinneysota... looks as simple as Trixie expected, she thought, tapping her hoof idly on the roof before ducking back into the wagon, the hatch shutting behind her. Trixie hopes the foals are prepared, Trixie thought, because The Great and Powerful Trixie is coming to town.

Wheels grinding against the earth, the wagon came to an abrupt halt in the middle of town square. Trixie watched from the window with glee as ponies from all over town gathered as the dust settled. Like apples lining up to be picked, she thought, rubbing her hooves together. With a practiced kick, Trixie sent the stage clattering forwards, watching the shocked look on the townies faces. This place must be even duller than Trixie thought! she mused, laughing smugly. These ponies would be impressed by just about anything... easiest bits Trixie could ask for. Eyeing the crowd’s reactions carefully, she lit the fuses to the built-in fireworks and began her classical monologue.

“Come one, come all! Come and witness amazing feats and listen to astounding tales, the likes of which nopony has ever seen or heard before! Come and see the stunning feats of cunning and magic of The Great and Powerful Trixie!” she said, leaping on stage just as the smoke bombs detonated. Trixie put on her best grin as the crowed gathered, their eyes wide. How pathetic, to already be in awe of my magnificence... time to give them a show they will tell their foals about for years to come! With a stomp and a tight smile, Trixie began her routine.

She started with simple conjurations at first, to draw a larger crowed. Fresh flowers from seemingly nowhere, cards appearing and disappearing, sudden bursts of confetti and smoke, the works. As Trixie fell into her routine, her smile became less and less forced. This was what she lived for, this moment. Everypony’s eyes were on her, watching her every movement, hanging on her every word. She loved it. Their eyes wide, shining, following her and only her.

Joy filled her heart as she sent multicolored clouds out over the crowd, each one bursting into a shower of harmless sparks. In the resulting pause, she stared out into the crowed, their attention drawn upwards, their eyes full of wonder. A bitter voice cut through her satisfaction. Could they be any stupider? it said, laughing dryly in the back of her mind. Nothing but levitating smoke bombs - any moron with two bits and some magic could do that trick! To think that they even find it interesting, pathetic.

Trixie cringed, her smile faltering but not fading. The voice was right, of course - there was nothing special about her routine, nothing special at all. No! Now is not the time to lose focus, the show must go on, she commanded herself, levitating a new set of props on stage. The audience stared with rapt attention as she continued, ropes dancing and floating across the stage. Trixie conjured rope ponies and rope hydra, an epic battle taking place across her stage. The cries of horror and delight washed over her as she continued the performance, narrating the tale of how she, The Great and Powerful Trixie, so valiantly vanquished a hydra. She watched their eyes grow wide as she told of the terrible swamp, the snapping jaws, the horrid roar. They ate it up, every word. The fillies in the front cowered with every strike of the great rope hydra, and cheered as the rope pony effortlessly dodged the attacks.

Trixie watched her audience with fondness. They loved her stories, they loved her tricks, they loved her act, and they loved her. Warmth once again filled her heart, but it didn’t last long. The voice spoke out again, tearing through her. Don’t be stupid. They don’t love you, it’s all lies and they’re just too dim to see it. You’ve never done anything worth boasting about, the voice hissed. Trixie stopped, the words cutting deep. She looked out at the audience again, but this time there was nothing in their eyes for her, no love, no wonder. Just the empty eyes of ponies who didn’t know anything at all. A void opened up in her chest, cold and harsh. What do they know? she thought, anger mixing with her act, the narration growing more impassioned. How sad, how pitiable! In awe over some simple, made up story! They don’t know anything, anything at all! What morons, what simpletons, what foolish foals! How gullible could you be? Trixie masked her sneer with a thin smile as she quickly delivered the final lines of the tale, the hydra collapsing as the rope pony stood triumphant.

Trixie joylessly finished up the routine, changing cards into butterflies. The fillies in the front jumped with joy, one in particular catching her eye. The little filly’s eyes were so wide, so full of joy. It filled Trixie’s heart with black hate, to see the look on the simpleton’s face. She doesn’t know anything about how life works, Trixie thought, biting her lip, the butterflies transforming into flowers. Any foal with eyes could see that those butterflies are fake, just folded up dried flowers! Only a moron would really believe any of this! As the flowers rained down on the audience, the entire crowed roared with applause, and Trixie took a bow, her face a grim mask. This town is full of simpletons and foals after all... Trixie will just take her money and leave, simple and easy as that.

Collecting her fee from the audience, Trixie felt a hoof gingerly tap her in the side. She spun around, a sharp reproach ready to leap from her lips. It was the filly from before, the one with the big eyes - the little pony seemed to be working up the courage to say something. Trixie’s words died on her lips.

“Miss Trixie,” the filly began, her voice squeaking slightly.

“That’s The Great and Powerful Trixie,” Trixie snapped. The show had left her in a bad mood, as usual.

“Ah...” the filly faltered, blushing, before continuing, “Sorry, Miss Great and Powerful Trixie, but how did you do that last one? Cus my mommy says it wasn’t real, that it was just a trick, but...” The filly trailed off.

Dark and terrible words boiled in Trixie’s heart, but something sweeter left her lips. “A trick? Why, The Great and Powerful Trixie would never perform something as low as a ‘trick.’ What you saw there was magic,” Trixie said, almost hissing the last word.

“But mommy said—”

“Never mind what mommy said!” Trixie snapped, taking a breath to recover her composure. “What you saw was real magic, plain and simple. There was no trick, no secret. It was real magic - don’t you let anypony else tell you otherwise, okay?”

“O-okay, thanks Miss Great and Powerful Trixie,” the filly said, blushing before scampering away.

Trixie watched the filly go, a long-dead sensation stirring in her chest.

The bits piled up neatly on the table, the peaks shining in the candlelight. Trixie sighed before removing another coin from the bag, inspecting and sorting it with a quick glance. In her mind, the voice gloated. A fair haul today from those common foals, it whispered, biting. It’s a blessing that backwater towns are full of such feeble minds! Otherwise, Trixie would starve to death, nothing but bones and empty words. Trixie ground her hoof into her forehead. She wanted to scream at the voice, to tear at it for destroying her happiness, but she couldn’t. After all, the voice was her voice.

Her voice grew louder, bitterness permeating her soul. Nothing but emptiness, just tricks and lies. You couldn’t do real magic if your life depended on it! All you have are your props, your figments, your stories, all these things you use to pretend there is such a thing as real magic. Real magic makes dreams come true, real magic makes ponies happy - you, you just take their bits, she thought, tears edging their way into her eyes. Long repressed memories came flooding back, overwhelming her.

Her, as a little filly, seeing a street performer for the first time. How wondrous his magic was, how amazing his stories! She was captivated instantly. She remembered waiting until after the show, she remembered asking him about all his travels. Oh the tales he wove for her, the images bright and vivid. He had laughed when she told him how she wanted to be a showmare, but it had been a kind laugh, full of joy. He told her to live her dreams, whatever they might be, before transforming a bit into a piece of candy and giving it to her.

“Magic isn’t just for show - magic is for making dreams come true,” he had told her.

It was the best day of her life. She left the town square that day, her heart full of hope and promise.

From that day on, she threw herself into becoming the best showmare possible, but it wasn’t an easy path. Weeks and weeks of practice, hours of reading and studying, being a showmare filled her being with purpose. She read tales of famous adventurers and wanderers, of amazing unicorns who could do anything with their magic, manuals on the arts of conjuring and dazzling displays, anything she could get a hold of. As the weeks turned into months, her dreams slowly soured. She didn’t realize it at first, of course - such a thing would have been too merciful. Oh no, it wasn’t until it was too late that the final blow was struck.

After having read through almost all the books on performance arts at the local library, a small red one had caught her eye. The simple gold text on the front had declared it as being penned by none other than that performer she had met so long ago! It was nothing more than a foal’s guide to basic magic, but her curiosity got the best of her. Everything in it was elementary, trivial, but then she reached that page. Changing a bit into candy using nothing but slight-of-hoof. It was simple, really, just a little trick spread across a few pages, but every word shredded something from her. The book had recommended using it on the young and the gullible.

Something inside her broke at that moment. His laughed went from warm and kind to cruel and heartless in an instant. He was laughing at her, making fun of her.

It was all a trick! A filthy, filthy trick! How he must have laughed at that stupid filly who thought he was amazing, who believed his lies... Trixie was such a foal! How he laughed! He took advantage of Trixie, lead her on to believe that things like that were possible, that dreams meant something... none of it was real! His magic, his stories, his words, none of them meant anything... and now Trixie’s the same as him, leading all these ponies on...

Trixie glared at the pile of bits in disgust, hating how they gleamed in the candlelight. A faint reflection caught her eye, her face distorted on the smooth coin edge. The filly popped into her mind, her eyes so full of hope. Trixie stared, unseeing, into the darkness of the wagon. The little filly, asking her if she had performed real magic!

“How absurd,” Trixie muttered, slumping down on the table, tears once again in her eyes. “Trixie can’t do real magic... ” she trailed off, tears streaming down her cheeks. The smile on the filly’s face as she trotted off, how she almost skipped, burst the dam. Trixie couldn’t control herself any more, not her voice, not her thoughts. She wailed suddenly, wordless cry, rolling out of the chair and into bed, blinded by tears she couldn’t stem anymore.

She mourned herself. She cried for her hopes, for her dreams, for her naivety, for her failure.

Trixie woke to the sound of chirping birds, her mind foggy. She turned over, a beam of sunlight illuminating the room for her. With two sharp knocks on the wooden wall, she simply muttered “Fillydelphia,” and the cart began to roll on its own. Trixie laid in bed, slowly waking up, the previous nights events rushing back to her. She felt empty, hollow, but somehow better than before. It was a good kind of hollow.

The filly’s smile still floated in her mind. The way her face had brightened when Trixie had talked to her, the way she perked up when Trixie said it was ‘real magic’ haunted her mind. She saw the filly, she saw herself as a filly, smiling, thanking an adult Trixie. Trixie smiled a weak smile, thinking about the looks on her audience’s faces, about the look on the filly’s face - how full of wonder and joy they were. Trixie rolled over, her smile widening as she drifted off to sleep.

Maybe Trixie isn’t the same... not quite. Maybe Trixie can cast a little bit of real magic, every once in a while...

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