• Published 19th Feb 2014
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The Unchosen One - MagnetBolt



Princess Twilight decides to reconnect with old friends and ends up exploring a mystery that may end with the destruction of all magic and love in Equestria.

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Knowledge Is Power

The Unchosen One
Chapter 3: Knowledge Is Power
by MagnetBolt

“So let's get the facts straight. First, all magic cast directly on or at you seems to just bounce off back at the person casting it.” Twilight paced around Trixie. They were standing in the library, Trixie surrounded in a circle of small mirrors and candles. Twilight had been trying and failing to get a look at whatever magic was affecting her. So far she'd only caught ghosts of ghosts of suggestions of images.

“Second, you can't seem to directly use any magic within a certain range. If you use a small enough amount of power, like to create those fireworks or smoke clouds, it works almost normally. If you really focus and use all of your power, it breaks through but you have no real control.” Twilight stopped to think.

“Third, any magic you cast on yourself gets bounced away, but you have some control over where it goes.” Spike rolled his eyes at that, picking up another stack of overturned books and putting them down next to the bookshelf they belonged on.

“Enough control that we need to get somepony to fix three of these bookcases,” the little dragon said. “I still don't know how you managed to break the couch. Guess I can get a new one when I go out to get Twilight more quills...”

“Trixie would like to note that control, in this case, is an overstatement. It is like... trying to eat soup with a ten hoof long spoon. Even the smallest change Trixie makes means the magic goes all over the place!” The current state of the library was a testament to that. If Trixie moved slowly and carefully she could almost pretend things were normal, but it was a hair trigger between moving something an inch and throwing it across the room. If she was tired or frustrated any fine control was impossible.

“Right.” Twilight nodded. “Fourth, magic that bounces off of you seems to get enhanced. Rarity trying to pick you up almost put her through the ceiling. Just trying to get yourself unstuck from the mud you blasted out a crater in it.”

Wonderful. Trixie is a walking disaster zone.”

“Fifth,” Twilight continued, ignoring Trixie putting herself down again. “For some reason you're immune to whatever is in this ooze that's blocking magic. Of course since you reflect magic and it absorbs magic, we can't find anything out about it!”

“Can I leave the circle now?” Trixie asked. Twilight shrugged. Trixie walked out. “What about your research? You must have a record or something. Nopony who had seen this... stuff...” She pointed at the ooze. “Would avoid writing about it.”

“That's true,” Twilight said. “But maybe we're looking in the wrong place. My library is only so big. I can write a letter to Princess Celestia and we can go through the Canterlot Archives! They have things in there that nopony else would have!”

“We?” Trixie looked nervous. “You might be a Princess, but I can't just show up at the castle.”

“It'll be fine! We'll just take the train and...” Twilight trailed off. “Maybe the train isn't such a good idea. I mean statistically it's fine but, um. It didn't work so well last time.” Twilight's sprained wing and Trixie's bandaged leg were proof of that. “And we can't teleport since if I try to do that with you, I'll end up banishing myself to the moon or something.”

“So what, we're going to walk all the way? It's a bit far, in case you haven't noticed.” Trixie sat down on a pillow.

“I've got a better idea. I'll ask the princess to send a carriage. She can have the Canterlot librarians go through the archives while we're waiting, and tomorrow we'll go there and see what they've found. Otherwise we'd have to wait hours anyway. They don't like it much when strangers start going through the rare books section.”

“Guess that's my cue,” Spike sighed, going to find an unbroken quill and inkpot amid the mess that had overtaken the library. He started digging in a likely pile.

“That's probably a good option,” Trixie agreed, nodding. “But you don't have to go to this much trouble for me.”

“Well if you'd prefer, you can think of this as repaying me. I've never seen a magical effect like this.” Twilight sat down next to Trixie. “It's a fascinating puzzle. I have a feeling with a little more information we can find out what happened.”

“Maybe it's a side effect of using the Alicorn Amulet,” Trixie suggested. “I barely used any magic since then. Could it be a curse on people who take it off?”

“I don't know. I didn't see any reference to a curse beyond making the wearer succumb to their own darkest desires.” Twilight levitated a book over. “Before we leave, is there anypony else you want to apologize to?”

Trixie wasn't sure where to start, and her thinking was interrupted with a knock on the door. Twilight looked over.

“Come in!” She yelled, and a yellow pegasus quietly entered. She looked vaguely familiar, but Trixie couldn't quite place her. “Oh, hello Fluttershy. Did you need something?”

“Um. I didn't know you had company.” The pegausus looked away and started backing up out the door. “I'm sorry. I can come back later...”

“No, no, it's okay!” Twilight smiled and stood up, ushering Fluttershy inside to sit her down across the table from Trixie. “How about you two talk and I'll compose the letter to the Princess? I'm sure you have a lot to talk about.”

“I don't think we have a lot to...” Fluttershy trailed off as Twilight dragged Spike away to give the two a little privacy.

“She means that she wants me to apologize to you,” Trixie explained with a sigh. “I think you're the last one on the list, aside from some kind of apology to the mayor for putting her in a birdcage, and Snips and Snails for, well, a long list of things. Not that Trixie needs to apologize to them after they got all of her worldly possessions crushed by an Ursa Minor!”

“Oh...” Fluttershy touched a book, adjusting it slightly to make it square with the edge of the table. “I don't think you really need to apologize to me. You weren't all bad, like when you let the beavers out of your glass jar spell. Most ponies wouldn't have listened, especially if they were busy being tyrannical dictators ruling with an iron hoof.”

“I...” Trixie considered how to take that. It had been phrased so nicely, and Fluttershy was so quiet. She decided to leave it at face value. “Regardless, Trixie apologizes. I hope you can forgive me.” The mare nodded quietly, smiling a little but still not looking at Trixie.

“It's good that you're trying to be nice. Things would be much easier if everypony was nice to each other.” Fluttershy moved another book, stacking it on top of the first. “Um. Are you going to be staying in Ponyville for long?”

“I'm going to Canterlot in the morning. Probably. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, it's nothing really... I was just thinking that it would be nice if you stayed. You seem like you're really lonely and, um, it's a lot easier to make friends here.” Fluttershy blushed and picked up another book. “I used to be really lonely too.”

“I don't-” Trixie was going to protest that she didn't get lonely but the words died on her tongue. “I don't know how long I'll be in Canterlot. But I'll try to come back when I'm done. If anypony in town even wants a washed-up performer to hang around, anyway.”

“Most ponies in the town actually kind of liked you until the time you took over town,” Fluttershy said. “Not that I talk to a lot of them. I just heard it around. They mostly blamed Snips and Snails for the Ursa Minor.”

“I didn't know,” Trixie said, quietly. “I thought if I came back to town everypony would just laugh me right back out again.”

Fluttershy looked up, alarmed at the suggestion. “Oh no, nopony is as mean as that! Especially not after you lost your cart...”

“They were just things,” Trixie said, smiling a little. “It was everything I owned but it didn't matter much. And I don't really have good memories of it anymore, so it's for the best. I went back to the rock farm to make a clean start. Until Twilight showed up I thought that just meant trying to be everything I hadn't been before.” She looked across the library to where the alicorn was dictating a letter to Spike.

“What about now?” Fluttershy asked.

“Hm?” Trixie had gotten distracted for a moment. “Oh. Well, I guess I learned that atoning means apologizing instead of just punishing yourself. Trying to fix myself doesn't matter unless I use my experience to fix what I did wrong.” She thought for a second and laughed. “Trixie sounds like an old lecturing nag.”

“Oh no, I thought you had it just right.” Fluttershy smiled warmly.

***

“This is such a bad idea,” Trixie muttered as one of the stern-looking guards helped her into the carriage. She barely felt awake. Twilight's guest bed had been all too comfortable and the alicorn had almost had to kick her out from under the covers.

“Come on, Trixie, it's perfectly safe. It's not like it can derail.” Twilight easily stepped up, quietly motioning for the guards to stop bowing. “Celestia travels this way all the time. It's probably the safest way to get to Canterlot.”

“She's got wings,” Trixie pointed out. “And she's immortal!” Twilight smiled nervously.

“It'll be fine,” Twilight reassured her again. The pegasus guards took off, easily bearing the palanquin into the air. Trixie watched the ground drop away with some trepidation. “What's wrong? You act like you've never gone flying before.”

“I haven't!” Trixie said, backing up until she couldn't see over the edge. “It's not like I have pegasus friends or go for private lessons with Princess Celestia!”

“You don't have to make it sound like having friends is my fault,” Twilight replied quietly. Trixie groaned and sat down.

“I didn't mean to say it like that.” Trixie said, looking away. Unfortunately that made her gaze go right over to the ground that was already far below them. She paled and focused on her hooves. “Don't look down, Trixie...”

“You're going to make friends too, as long as you don't hide alone in some shack,” Twilight said. “I mean I consider you a friend. And I'm sure a lot of the others do, too. You're a lot less, um, overbearing than you used to be.” She smiled weakly.

***

Once the spires of Canterlot came into view, Trixie only felt even more nervous. She'd never really met royalty before, not counting Twilight, and the one time she'd tried taking her show to Canterlot she'd been unable to find a stage and then gotten kicked out after performing on the street without a license. She really hoped the Princess wasn't going to take her short but very present criminal record into account.

They were put down in front of the Palace, and Trixie was more than happy to have Twilight take the lead. The purple alicorn started towards the doors and they swung open wide, golden-armored guards playing trumpets as a flash of blazing white light was visible for a moment, fading to reveal the graceful alabaster form of Princess Celestia. She smiled down at the two.

“Twilight, it's good to see you again.” Celestia smiled warmly. “It has been too long since I was able to see my favorite former student.” She stepped towards them. Trixie started to bow, and the alicorn laughed. “And you must be The Great and Powerful Trixie. Please, don't bow. From what I've heard about you such humility is ill-becoming.” She gave the blue unicorn a mischievous smile.

“I-it's just Trixie, your majesty.” Trixie said, quietly, as she rose.

“Well, then you can just call me Celestia.” The princess motioned for them to follow her inside. They fell into step, Trixie falling behind. It had been easy enough to forget what Twilight was while in her library in Ponyville. Here, though, there were ponies saluting, and the larger-than-life form of the Princess walking silently a few paces ahead. Trixie felt more out of place than she had since magic kindergarten.

“Did you get word to the archivists?” Twilight asked, as she sped up a moment to walk alongside Celestia. “I don't know how much they've been able to find but-”

“Don't worry,” Celestia said. She was as calm as a cloudless sky. “They've been looking all night. There's even a team going through the unpublished manuscripts. We have a few hours before they'll be ready to give a detailed report of their findings.”

“I'm not worried. I just want to make sure Trixie isn't in any danger.”

“I am quite sure she has been more than safe enough in your hooves,” Celestia glanced back, smiling with her expression unreadable. “Though I didn't think she was quite so shy.”

***

“Trixie is not okay with this!” The blue unicorn's eyes went wide as a bolt of blue light struck her and rebounded, fizzling out as it hit a shield around its caster, Celestia. The princess had been throwing spell after spell at Trixie.

“Seeing how the curse affecting you reacts to magic is the best way to figure out what it is,” Twilight explained again, as the beam suddenly changed color and reflected at a slightly different angle. “It's not the easiest way to get information, but it's not like it's hurting you, right?” She smiled hopefully.

“Trixie doesn't see why the Princess needs to be the one to attack her!”

“Twilight and I are of equal rank,” Celestia said. “Regardless of which of us was casting the spells, you would be under attack by a Princess. And my former student is far better equipped to analyze the results.” Celestia turned to look at Twilight. “In fact, why don't we take a break? I'm sure you'll want to cross-reference your findings so far.”

“You're right!” Twilight went to grab for a quill and found them gone. “What? When did I run out of quills? And where's the paper?!” She started looking around, picking up books and moving the writing desk to look behind it.

“There should be more in the supply closet. I trust you still remember where it is?” Celestia smiled. Twilight nodded and ran off. Once she was gone, the quills and paper were returned to the desk from where they had been floating among the rafters.

“That was a mean trick,” Trixie said, not really sounding displeased since it meant she was getting a break from having beams of deadly magic flung at her.

“She's very precious to me, but she still needs to learn a few things. Only pegasai ever think to look up for something that's gone missing.” Celestia smiled. “And I wanted to spend a few moments alone with the mare that has been occupying my fellow Princess' thoughts so much recently.”

“And you couldn't order her away since you're the same rank.”

“I could ask her, and she would follow it like an order, but I want to avoid doing it. She needs to learn how to be a leader, and following my orders even after becoming my equal is the wrong way to do it.” Celestia motioned for Trixie to sit next to her. “I want her to be ready to assume her duties when it's her time.”

“What duties?” Trixie asked. Celestia smiled, looking down at her. She leaned down like she was going to whisper something into Trixie's ear, then stopped and pulled back, grinning.

“You'll find out,” She said, mysteriously. “She still has some growing to do first. Can you imagine if she was in charge of raising the sun?”

“Mornings wouldn't start until practically noon because she'd have to go through a ten page checklist before doing anything.” Trixie snorted, then stopped herself. “Though if they did, Trixie would be able to sleep in more...” Trixie trailed off in thought. Celestia coughed politely to break her train of thought.

“So, you two are quite close,” Celestia noted. Trixie blushed. “What do you think of my former student?”

Trixie looked up at the Princess nervously. “What do you mean?”

“You used to be one of her most powerful rivals, and now you two are close friends. I suppose I'm just curious and a little nosy about how close you two are.” Celestia smiled.

“H-how close?!” Trixie stammered. “Trixie is-”

“Remember, lying to a Princess can be a severe crime.” Celestia prodded Trixie in the side.

“What? Then if, hypothetically, I had lied to Twilight-” Trixie swallowed. “Of course it is a purely theoretical situation! But if it had, perhaps, come to happen...”

“Up to fifty years in the dungeon.”

Trixie gasped. “She wouldn't do that!”

“Sister, are thou teasing this foal?” Luna was walking up to them from behind, having entered silently while they were talking. The Princess of the Night looked seriously at Celestia. “I would hope thou would have better taste than to make jest about banishing somepony.”

“Luna, this is Trixie Lulamoon.”

“Ah! The Lulamoon clan! It is good to see that name is still alive!” Luna looked pleased, smiling and walking up to Trixie to examine her more closely. “Your family were once among my most devoted followers!”

“They were?” Trixie asked, surprised. Luna nodded.

“Indeed. Where did you find this foal, sister? It is unkind of you to hide such a present from me.”

Celestia looked down at Trixie. “I believe the first time we met was at my school for gifted unicorns. You put on quite a show for your final exam.”

***

“Trixie Lulamoon,” The instructor called. Trixie walked out past the curtain, the lights blinding her for a moment as she became the center of attention. It was her first time on stage, and she was trying hard not to show just how much she was sweating. The foals were taken before a panel of instructors one at a time, and they weren't allowed to see each others performances. Trixie's jaw dropped as she saw the massive and graceful form of Princess Celestia watching from behind the panel, sipping tea and discussing something quietly with the headmaster.

“Your scores on the written part of the exam were passable.” Trixie would learn later that she'd scored second in her class. “But you're going to have to impress us quite a bit with the practical portion. First, basic levitation. Please keep as many of the testing cubes in the air at one time as possible.” Trixie looked down at them. She had no idea how many earned a passing grade, but there were ten in total. No doubt most of the unicorns were able to manage all of them, or nearly so.

Trixie focused on one and lifted it. It was easy. The cubes weren't particularly heavy, only weighing as much as a standard reference pear. But each additional cube was an exponential effort more. After the fourth, it was like trying to lift boulders. She was never going to be able to get all of the off the ground! She looked out into the darkness of the seats and saw Celestia there. She couldn't bear to embarrass herself in front of the Princess.

Then something clicked, and she realized what she could do. She threw one of the cubes up, letting go of it with her magic, making all of them feel lighter, and started juggling them. Even with her talents it was easy to get all ten in the air at once like that, adjusting them here and there but only having to keep a grip on one or two at a time. Trixie smiled. The judges watched her with raised eyebrows. The headmaster looked angry. He stood up as if to say something before the Princess whispered something and he sat down.

“By the rules, that is technically all ten cubes, though I believe we will have to amend those rules before next year's class,” the instructor said, marking something down. “You may put them down now.” Trixie did so one at a time with a flourish, making a show of it and leaving them stacked neatly.

“Next, you are going to demonstrate a basic familiarity with battle magic. Professor Pentacle?” The older stallion stepped onto the stage, walking to a painted circle on the floor.

“I want you to hit me as hard as you can. Don't worry about hurting me. You won't be able to.” He smirked. Trixie frowned. How dare he assume that she couldn't stand up to him? Someday, Trixie would be great and powerful and would show them all! The air gleamed around him as a magical shield appeared like a bubble around him. Trixie stood her ground, bracing herself. She'd have to give it everything she got.

There was a whistling sound as light blossomed at the tip of her horn, then a bolt of lightning blared out, striking the shield and dissipating. Sparks flew, and the shield rippled, but it was useless. The defense was holding perfectly. Trixie was going to fail!

She panicked and tried to think of what to do. There wasn't anything she could do to break the shield with her power! The professor had decades of training on her! It was totally unfair! Shivering with anger, she stamped a hoof. The stage floor echoed, the empty space under making her stamp ring loud. Trixie gasped. The professor was shielded, but he was still standing on the stage! That was what she could do!

Trixie charged up again and fired another bolt of lightning. Not at the professor this time, but at the stage under him, just before the shield. The board cracked and broke.

“Trixie-” The professor started. But before he could finish whatever he was about to say, Trixie yelled with effort and kept the bolt going, dragging it to the right, blasting the floor out from under him. The professor screamed with surprise and fell, his shield popping. There was a crash as he landed on the concrete floor a few feet below. Gasps came from the assembled panel, and even Celestia looked shocked. Trixie shivered. Had she done something wrong?

“Ugh...” Professor Pentacle pulled himself up and back onto the stage. His mane was a mess and he was covered in dust. “Well, far be it from me to tell somepony to hit me as hard as they can and be upset when they do it.” He looked at the other instructors. “No harm done except to my pride. I suppose it was a solution of sorts, though.” He tried to hide a limp as he left the stage. Trixie panted and caught her breath while he sat down, nursing a twisted hoof.

“And lastly,” the instructor on the panel said. “Show us something of your own devising. Impress us.” Trixie blinked at the request. Just impress them? Impress professors who had seen just about everything? Impress the Princess?! How was she supposed to do that? Trixie wasn't even sure what they wanted from her. Then she remembered advice that the theatre teacher, Miss Masquerade, had given her. The trick to improvisation was to be confident, remain in character, and take something you already knew well and use it to fill in the blanks.

Trixie took a deep breath and fixed her expression in a confident and determined stare. Or at least that's what she hoped she was projecting.

“Behold, the might of the Great and Powerful Trixie!” Her horn lit up, and she filled the air with every illusion and firework spell she could think of, and a few she made up on the spot. It was another thing Miss Masquerade had taught her. If you couldn't give the audience something of substance, then give them as much razzle-dazzle as you could manage.

***

“...they had to do the rest of the exams in classrooms,” Celestia explained to her sister. “It took them a week to repair the damage to the stage and the burns on the theatre roof.”

“I didn't mean to cause that much damage,” Trixie said, blushing and ashamed. “Trixie has just been causing trouble ever since she was a foal.”

“Trouble?” Celestia laughed. “I thought it was a wonderful display. They were rather creative solutions to the first two tests. All of the other students were rather prosaic in comparison.” She sipped from a cup of tea and continued. “The average for the first test still holds at three cubes, I believe, and even managing to hit the professor in the second test is a passing grade.”

“How did Twilight do?” Trixie asked, curious.

“As you would expect, my most faithful student barely made it to the testing hall at all. She had been studying so hard the night before that she had passed out and only woke up a few minutes before testing closed. Her solutions weren't as... creative as yours. She managed nine cubes and used a Disrupt Magic spell to lower the professor's shield for the second portion. Thankfully he wasn't badly hurt, but his mane never was the same.”

“Oh...” Trixie looked down. The gulf in power between her and Twilight seemed even larger than ever. Even now she probably wasn't capable of what Twilight had managed as a foal.

“Twilight was inconsolable for weeks. She thought not getting all ten cubes meant she failed. Of course it didn't help that one of her classmates did manage it, even if there was a footnote to that achievement.” Celestia nudged Trixie.

“Hah! Tis better to be clever than strong.” Luna looked out the window. “As I have learned through harsh lessons, being mighty means nothing if you have not the wisdom to use it properly.” Celestia gave her a sad look.

“When Twilight beat me the first time, I was angry because I lost everything. My wagon, almost everything I owned, and the respect I tried to earn.” Trixie prodded a pillow with a hoof idly. “I wanted to get revenge on her, and I just ended up hurting a lot of people to do it. Then she beat me again with my own tricks.”

“Were you angry at her?” Celestia asked.

Trixie shook her head. “No. Once I could think clearly I felt awful about everything that had happened. I just wanted to make everypony forget about me.”

“You still came back to apologize to Twilight. I recognized those fireworks you used, you know,” The solar princess smiled. “It was a nice touch.”

“Trixie owed her for putting her through all that.” The unicorn sighed and laid down on the pillows. “She treated me far more kindly than I would have in the same circumstances.”

“Twilight Sparkle is possessed of a great capacity for friendship,” Luna said, nodding. “It is her greatest talent, more than her magical prowess.”

The purple princess in question burst into the room with enough quills, ink, and paper to supply a small school. “I'm back! I grabbed everything they had just in case we start to run out again! She stopped. Oh, hi Luna!” Her eyes drifted to the desk where there was already paper and ink.

“We found some quills while you were gone,” Celestia explained. It was technically true.

***

Hours later, Celestia and Luna had retired to perform their duties. Most of their time was taken up by holding court and the countless appointments that they had to attend to. Twilight wondered just how many of those appointments had been put aside on a moment's notice just so she could come up and study what had happened to Trixie.

It made her wonder if it was because she was a Princess herself or if it was because Celestia just trusted her that much.

“Twilight, are the Princesses always so...” Trixie moved her hoof in small circles as she searched for a term that wouldn't quite be offensive. “...Informal?”

“That probably just means they like you.” Twilight smiled back at her. “Which is good. It'd be awkward if they didn't like one of my friends.” Trixie blushed at that. “Anyway, I've got good news and bad news. Which one do you want first?”

“Give Trixie the bad news first. She can handle it.” The unicorn braced herself for the worst.

“The bad news is that whatever happened to you, it could be permanent. I found some notes on that ribbon you had wrapped around your horn to block the magic.” Twilight brought a book over. “They were first made around the time Luna was exiled to the moon as a sign of ultimate mourning. Some unicorns thought that magic had led to her downfall, so they decided to give it up permanently.”

“That was also Trixie's intention.”

“I'm aware of the parallel.”

“Trixie could have told you all of that herself, though. She found it in her own research.” The unicorn waved a hoof lazily.

“Well did you know about the malfunctions?” Twilight raised an eyebrow. Trixie stopped waving, freezing in place. A bead of sweat dripped down from her brow.

“Trixie... was not aware of any problems with the ribbons.”

“They went out of style because they permanently damaged unicorn's magic. They'd end up crippled for life, and they'd only find out after they wanted their magic back.” Twilight turned the page. “And that's not all. Because of the way the ribbons were made, they were particularly vulnerable to outside magical influence. One notable example is when a unicorn walked in range of a warmth spell and spontaneously combusted!” There was a woodcut print of the event. It looked incredibly gruesome.

Trixie shuddered. “But Trixie hasn't been around any magic! I was on a rock farm!”

“You're forgetting that ooze.”

“The... magic canceling ooze. That we got all over ourselves.”

“That's the one. Ready for the good news?”

Trixie nodded slowly.

“I found out why no one had ever written much about the ooze. Well, two reasons. First, anypony who did find it had a heck of a time finding anything out about it, so all the notes were never published. Thankfully, the archive here has the original manuscripts! So that's a lot of information, even if it is mostly all notes about failed experiments.”

“Wonderful. Did the notes tell you how it ended up under an apple farm and in the middle of a forest?” Twilight had to pull out bundles of scrolls and papers so old that they were starting to fall apart into dust.

“Not exactly. They mention an ancient witch named Bibbidi Boo. It says she created an ooze creature called the Smooze that grew and became more powerful by consuming magic. Celestia and Luna worked together to stop her shortly before...” Twilight trailed off.

“Before Luna went crazy with loneliness, yes. Thank you. Trixie is smart enough to figure that part out.” The unicorn tried to carefully turn the next page on her own but stopped when her lack of precision and control caused it to start tearing.

“It's not only that. Celestia got nearly all the credit for Bibbidi Boo's defeat. I don't want to press them on it, but given the timing, some scholars suggest it's one of the things that finally pushed Luna over the edge. She saved all of Equestria and no one gave her any credit.”

“Ugh. I know that feeling.” Trixie stuck out her tongue. “Trixie has saved countless ponies from all sorts of disasters, yes because of one minor incident with an Ursa Minor, she gets no credit for any of it!” Twilight gave her a look. “Some of my stories may be exaggerated a bit, but Trixie really has defeated monsters before.”

“What really bothers me is that Celestia never mentioned anything,” Twilight said. “I mean, shouldn't she recognize the ooze? What if Bibbidi Boo is back? I mean, everything else seems to be coming back. Luna, the Crystal Empire, Discord...”

“Tis a time of prophesy,” Luna agreed. Twilight and Trixie nearly jumped out of their skins. “Many things that once were will be again.” The alicorn was laying down right behind them. How long had she been there before they noticed?

“Luna, we didn't know you were there,” Twilight said, looking guilty.

“I am aware,” Luna said, tilting her head. “But as to why my sister didn't mention Bibbidi Boo, it is because that witch cannot come back.” Luna looked very sure. “Sombra and the Crystal Empire merely vanished. I was banished to the moon. Discord was turned to stone. Unlike all of them, we were not able to give Bibbidi such a forgiving fate. Even the Elements of Harmony were unable to harm her or her creation, and in the end, we were forced to make a terrible choice to save Equestria.”

“You killed her,” Twilight whispered, shocked.

“I did what I had to do in order to save my sister's life. She did not agree with my decision, nor did many of our court. I have had a thousand years to think about the blood on my hooves, and if I had to make the same decision again, I would not hesitate. Equestria needed Celestia more than it needed the life of a witch who would not yield in her own insanity.”

“There had to be another way-”

“No, Twilight. There was not. If there had been another way I would have taken it. And if you had been in my position, being forced to choose between the life of my beloved sister and Bibbidi Boo, you would have done the same.”

Twilight looked down, obviously deep in thought. Trixie looked at Luna. “Princess, for what it's worth, I'm sorry you had to make that kind of decision.”

“Tis better than not having the will to make a decision at all.” Luna folded her hooves. “If this slime is indeed the same as appeared long ago, it means it may have well been in vain. Either the Smooze has escaped on its own, which I find unlikely, or somepony has managed to replicate Bibbidi's spell and is using it for their own evil ends.”

Twilight frowned. “Why would somepony intentionally try to just... ruin Equestria?”