• 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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Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

The Unchosen One
Chapter 5: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
By MagnetBolt

“Run for it.” Twilight grumbled. “That was a great plan, Trixie. Now we're lost in an endless cave deep under the surface of Equestria!” Her shout echoed strangely, for a few moments seeming to come from all around them. Their horns were glowing and providing the only light, though Trixie's was flickering and unstable like an open flame.

“What was I supposed to do, throw a rock at them?” Trixie frowned and kicked at a stalagmite. She'd lost the ten-hoof pole she'd been carrying, though she regretted it now. Luna had been right about it coming in handy. “Adventures are awful. No pony ever tells stories about the heroes getting lost in a dark cave.”

“Trust me, there's always a lot more of this than there is anything else.” Twilight sighed. “This is almost as bad as when I was trapped in the crystal caverns under Canterlot with Cadence, except we're trying to find some lair instead of just a way out.”

“Did that book you found have a map of the cavern?” Trixie asked.

Twilight shook her head. “No. And the Princesses didn't remember the layout either. Luna told me it was like a maze.”

“Well, do you have any books about solving mazes?” Trixie looked back. Twilight gasped.

“Yes!” Twilight smiled. “I mean, not with me. But after the hedge maze with Discord, I read a bunch of books on how to find your way through mazes! A cave should work the same way. What we'll do is, we'll use the right-hoof rule. We navigate like we're keeping our right hoof on the wall. It's not the fastest way to solve a maze, but it's simple and it should work. The only real problem is that sometimes you have to go through the whole maze to get to the end.”

“As long as we get to the end, I don't care.” Trixie looked back. “I'll lead the way.” She started walking, taking a turn as they came to it. The cavern was dark, damp, and quiet. Twilight coughed to try and break the unnerving silence.

“If Pinkie Pie were here she'd probably break out into song about now,” Twilight said. “I mean, not that I'd rather have her here than you. Sorry. I'm just nervous.”

“Trixie doesn't really... sing.” Trixie sighed. “I tried it for my stage shows, a few times. It wasn't worth cleaning the tomatoes from my wagon. I mean, I didn't even sing when I turned evil and took over Ponyville! If there was ever a time in my life to break out into song, that was it.”

“I guess,” Twilight said. “So maybe something else? Like a story?”

“Now that's something Trixie can do!” Trixie smirked. “Though most of Trixie's stories aren't appropriate here. The last thing we need is for me to start telling a scary story and get ourselves worked up before we even find out what's going on.”

“What if you told me... a real story? About yourself?”

“I suppose I could do that... but what kind of story?”

“Something happy. How about a love story?” Twilight smiled. Trixie blushed red at the suggestion. “Um. If it's not too forward. R-romance stories are my favorite thing to read, but if you don't want to tell me, it's okay.”

“Trixie doesn't usually tell this kind of story, so forgive her if it doesn't come out right...”


The first time Trixie had fallen in love had been a few years before she'd gone to Ponyville for the first time. She'd barely been more than a foal. She had been settling into her routine as a showpony and went to one of her usual haunts, a tiny town south of Manehattan called Troton. She had made it a normal part of her route because the people were friendly, they tipped well, and they had very loose local laws about street performances.

She wasn't the only performer in town this time. An earth pony mare had taken her usual spot in town square and was playing, of all things, a standing harp. Trixie didn't know much about music, but she could tell that the mare was playing her heart out, and that she was exceptionally good at it, especially considering she was playing the difficult instrument without the benefit of magic.

Trixie set up on the other side of the square. It irked her a little to lose her favorite place, but not enough to try and make the other mare move. Trixie did a few small shows to warm up, just a simple trick routine with a few twists to suit the audience. She did a little storytelling, a few feats of sorcery, and some close-up magic with volunteers from the audience. It wasn't her best or most dramatic show – she always saved that for the day she was due to leave town. This was just something to get the word out that she was here, and to make a little money to pay for food.

After night fell and the town grew quiet, Trixie closed up shop. She noticed the harp-playing mare from before was doing the same but, unlike Trixie, didn't have her own wagon. She was keeping almost everything she owned in her instrument case. Trixie locked up and went to get dinner, managing to get some day-old bread from a baker along with the leftovers from a vegetable stand. She went and found somewhere quiet to eat.

And she found another mare there already, that same harpist. She was simply sitting and watching the stars. Trixie was going to leave, but was stopped when the mare introduced herself and apologized for taking Trixie's spot. She was named Angelsong, an attractive mare with a blue coat so light it was almost white, a golden mane, and eyes that were the brass finish of a fine instrument. She was new to the life of a showpony, and Trixie sat with her and regaled her of tales of life on the road, the good times and the bad times. When Angelsong's stomach grumbled, Trixie shared her food with her, and the two mares had a private dinner between new friends.

The next day the two went back to their sides of the plaza and played, but neither was able to make much money. It was before lunch when Angelsong took a break from playing and approached Trixie with an offer, to work together, where she would provide music for Trixie's dramatic tales. After going over things quickly, they improvised a performance of the take of Prince Heartblood and his true love, the griffoness Queen Gytha. The two had fallen in love while Equestria was at the brink of war with the Griffons, and their tale was tragic until, in the end, they decided to abandon duty to country and people for their love, bringing about an end to the war by uniting their families in marriage.

Angelsong's playing made the story all the more dramatic, so that even Trixie's silences could carry the great weight of the story they were telling. Trixie gave it her all, using every trick she knew to illustrate the tale. By the climax of the story, when the two leaders had abandoned their thrones, they had gathered a great crowd. Foals and ponies alike gasped as Trixie detailed the way the griffons and ponies worked to find their leaders, only for them to appear together, wed, on the battlefield. Prince Heartblood's denouncement of the war, and Queen Gytha's final challenge against her corrupt vizier, had them on the edge of their seats.

It was the first time Trixie had ever received a standing applause at the end of one of her tales. While they were taking bows, Angelsong hugged Trixie in front of the crowd and kissed her. It had shocked the mare, but she was enough of a showpony to not let it show. When the kiss made the crowd throw in even more money, Trixie returned it, not sure what she was feeling.

The two mares split the profits down the middle. Trixie considered herself as having done more work, but she was feeling generous and could see how the extended show had tired Angelsong. The two discussed the next performance, and it wasn't until later that night, when Trixie had offered room in her wagon to Angelsong so her things would be safe from predators, that their discussion turned to each other.

Angelsong told Trixie her own story, that she was a dropout from an elite musical school who had left to avoid her family's wishes. They'd wanted her to get married to somepony she barely knew and to give up her instrument so she could focus on business. Angelsong ran away a few weeks ago, and was finding life on her own to be difficult.

Trixie had never felt anything for another pony before. At least not since her first crush when she was a foal (and she refuses to discuss who it was on). She hadn't realized it could come on so quickly. She told Angelsong a little about herself, and asked about the kiss. Angelsong just laughed.

The two played two more songs the next day. While not the same blockbuster smash as that first tale, they were easily among the best performances Trixie had ever given. Even splitting the profits she had already made more than she'd planned to for the whole time in Troton, and her final show wasn't going to be until tomorrow.

Trixie arranged to have a romantic dinner with Angelsong, and things went quickly, almost too quickly. They shared a bed that night and neither got much sleep. When Trixie woke up, she was alone. Angelsong had left, taken her things with her before dawn. Trixie wasted almost a whole day trying to find her, only to discover she'd left town entirely. She'd left a note for Trixie, telling her it had been fun, but that was all it had been.

Trixie never saw her again.


“...She probably went back to her family. They were rich, and, well, I wasn't. Not everypony wants to live on the road. I should have known she'd never cut it when I saw her dragging that harp around but part of me wanted it to work.” Trixie shrugged, sniffling. “Sorry if it's not a happy story. I don't really have any happy stories about me.”

“I thought it was beautiful,” Twilight said, softly. “I never knew you were such a romantic.”

“It's not romantic.” Trixie corrected. “If it was romantic I would have run off to find her and swept her off her feet before she got away from me. It wouldn't have just ended there because I was too hurt to go after her.”

“I'd rather hear about how it really happened, even if it isn't as dramatic.” Twilight smiled. “Getting to know you was what I wanted all along, before we found this trouble and got into a giant mess. And now you don't have to be alone. You've got me.” Twilight blushed. “A-and all of our other friends too! We'll be there for you, even if it means telling you to stop being stupid and go after somepony you care about.”

“That means a lot to me,” Trixie said, wiping her eyes. “Thank you. Maybe having real friends will keep me from making so many stupid mistakes in my life.”

“I wouldn't go that far. You wouldn't believe how many I've managed to make even with them!” Twilight laughed, then sighed. “Wow, I wish I was kidding. But I learned a lot too, and I'm a better pony for it.”

“Good to know you aren't completely perfect,” Trixie said. They got to a flight of stairs leading down. “Is it just Trixie or have we gone down these stairs already?”

“That's impossible. We haven't gone up any stairs. We're just going deeper.” Trixie shrugged and walked down. They followed the twisting corridor until they got to stairs again. This time, Twilight frowned and looked at them suspiciously. “Okay, I don't know if this place is just getting to me or if we really did circle around somehow.”

“Could it be magic?” Trixie asked.

“I don't think so. The only pony who's ever done magic around me without me being able to tell is Discord. And he's... I don't even know what to call that. If we're up against something like that then we might as well not even try to figure this place out, so let's assume it's something else.”

Trixie sat down. “If you hadn't left the chalk at the castle we could mark the walls.”

“I don't think it'd help. The stone's all wet and muddy.” Twilight avoided touching it, just in case. “Chalk might not mark on it. What else do we have?”

“I could go back and you wait here. If we meet up from the other direction we know it loops.” Trixie suggested. Twilight shook her head at that too.

“No way. Splitting up has never worked well, ever.” Twilight sounded firm about that. “We're stronger if we stay together.” She swallowed. “Also, I don't want to be alone down here.”

“Okay, fine, but what else do we have?” Trixie opened up her saddlebags and started looking. “We've got some pens and paper. We could try drawing a map.” A bag fell out onto the floor, marbles spilling out. “Argh! I didn't even think we brought those!” They started rolling down the hallway. Trixie sighed and let them go.

“Without proper surveying tools?” Twilight looked aghast. “The map wouldn't be accurate!”

“It doesn't need to be accurate. It just needs to be good enough.” This started an argument about what constituted 'good enough', with Twilight refusing to budge and claiming that it needed to be perfectly accurate so they could properly find hidden rooms, while Trixie just wanted to get an idea about where they'd been.

They'd been arguing for almost half an hour and things were starting to get really heated when Trixie accused Twilight's method of just getting them lost when the marbles came back. At the bottom of the stairs. The gentle tink of glass against stone was loud in the blackness, even getting their attention over their raised voices.

“Wait, are those-” Twilight asked. Trixie walked down the stairs to look.

“They are!” Trixie picked one up. “But how did they get down here?”

Twilight rubbed her chin, then gasped. “Of course! We are going in circles! This whole path is just a trap! The stairs make it seem like you're making progress, but then the long path circles around with a gentle slope and you end up right back where you were without even realizing it!”

“Did they just make this whole place to frustrate us?!” Trixie snapped

“Well that is the point of a maze,” Twilight said. “But now that we know the trick, we can beat it. If this corridor was designed to defeat ponies that are trying to solve the maze by following the wall, it means we just have to change tactics. We'll walk until we find somewhere we can take a turn we haven't tried before.”


They made more progress, or at least managed to get lose somewhere new. The air was getting more and more moist, and what had been smooth, if damp, stone was quickly becoming covered with a layer of mud.

“We're getting close,” Twilight said. “This stuff is definitely Smooze. It's already wrecking my magic.” Her horn was flickering and starting to go out. Even Trixie's was outshining it now.

“Luna made me take something for just this occasion...” Trixie reached into her bag and pulled out something wrapped in dark cloth. She unwrapped it and it started glowing with green light. “Apparently the pendant is filled with firefly dust.” It wasn't as bright as the light they'd had, but the Smooze wouldn't put it out, either. Trixie fastened it around Twilight's neck.

“How does it look?” Twilight asked.

“It looks like you won't walk into a wall face-first,” Trixie said dryly.

“You know for a royal guard you've got a lot to learn about complimenting your Princess.”

“Trixie will be happy to learn once we're not in mortal danger,” she said. They started walking again, then Trixie slipped and fell. Twlight followed, and the two slid down the corridor until they slammed into a wall. Trixie's armor protected her quite well, but that just gave Twilight an even harder surface to go face-first into.

“...Trixie. You were wrong about not finding walls with my face.” Twilight said, her voice muffled. It took Trixie a moment to realize just where Twilight's face had gone when they'd awkwardly collided. She quickly tried to get up so the Princess' snout wasn't there and only managed to slip again and end up in an even worse position.

“This isn't working,” Trixie said. Twilight said something that was completely muffled by a blue rump. Trixie tried to get up again, more slowly this time, and Twilight gasped as she was able to breathe again. Both of them were blushing bright red.

“This whole corridor is like ice!” Twilight said, trying to get up herself.

“Ah! I know! Luna gave me crampons so we could walk on ice!” Trixie started going through her pack. Twilight coughed.

“I, um. Took those out. They were heavy and I didn't think we'd need them.” Twilight couldn't meet Trixie's gaze. “How was I supposed to know Luna would be right?!”

“Well we're going to need some other plan. Could you fly in here?”

“No. The walls are too close together. Rainbow Dash might be able to do it but, um. My wings are too big. And... I kind of haven't done precision flying yet. She keeps telling me I need to do more training and I sort of skipped it to read a book...”

“I hope it was a good book.”

“It was kind of boring actually.” Twilight coughed. “Anyway, we need a better plan!”

“Ugh. Trixie didn't want to have to try this...” The unicorn pushed on herself with her magic, and after a moment, the mud splattered from around her. The straps on her borrowed armor creaked ominously as she tried to push harder, and she backed off before it tore free.

“How long can you keep that up?” Twilight asked. Trixie shrugged.

“I'll have to go slowly to sweep the floor ahead of you. If we don't get somewhere easier to walk with before I get tired... Well, start thinking of something!”


“Okay. I admit. I am completely out of ideas.” Twilight sighed. They'd gotten pretty far, but keeping up constant telekinesis was tiring even for Trixie. It took just as much effort as having to shovel the mud out of the way herself.

“I need to rest for a while,” Trixie said, unsteady on her feet. Twilight helped brace her, pressing her shoulder against Trixie's to keep the unicorn upright.

“There's still a blanket in here,” Twilight said, taking it out of Trixie's saddlebag with a wing. “If we put it down on the ground, we can lie down without getting completely covered in this stuff.” Trixie nodded at the suggestion and stretched it out in the dry spot she'd created before She almost collapsed onto it the second she was able to.

“This is worse than having to drag a plow through a field full of gravel,” Trixie sighed. Twilight laid down next to her. There wasn't much room on the blanket, so they were forced to lay pressed against each other to stay out of the mud. The warmth wasn't unwelcome in the gloom and cold of the dungeon they found themselves in.

“It's not fun having no magic at all again,” Twilight said. “I feel almost naked without it.”

“You are naked. I'm the one wearing the armor, remember?”

“That's not what I mean. I just feel like... I can't really do anything. I used to have these awful nightmares about not being prepared for something. I'd dream I just kept forgetting about things, really important things, and then when I remembered and tried to do them, it would be too late. Like completely forgetting to go to class, or missing lunch with Princess Celestia, or trying to take a test for a class I didn't remember being in.” Twilight sighed. “They got really bad sometimes. It's why I make lists for everything now. That way I can't possibly forget.”

Trixie snorted. “I took half of my tests without studying at all. The material was so dry and boring. You need to learn to improvise more. How did you manage on all those adventures if you're afraid of a little unexpected test?”

“It's not just the test. It was about what it would make people think if I got something wrong. Everyone knew I was Celestia's student, and so if I did something wrong it meant that I was failing her and that I didn't respect her and then she'd tell me she was disappointed!” Twilight started hyperventilating. Trixie raised an eyebrow and nudged her.

“Please don't start dying on Trixie. If you get killed Trixie will be banished to a dungeon on the moon, or whatever Celestia does to people these days.” Twilight slowly started to relax. “Besides, now you don't have anything to prove. Celestia is your friend instead of your teacher. Trixie, of course, still has no equals.”

“No, you definitely don't.” Twilight smiled and sighed, pressing up against her. Trixie tried to keep still. “You know, I was serious before. When I said you could be my personal guard. I'd actually like that. I know it's not as glamorous as show business, though.”

“Trixie is...” The unicorn sighed and forced herself to drop the facade. “I'm out of show business. I'm an amateur rock farmer now, remember? It doesn't get much less glamorous than that. But you don't want me. You need somepony who's dependable. At least somepony who hasn't tried to completely destroy your life.”

“You are dependable. Even Mister Pie thought so, and he seems like he has high standards. We're a lot alike, and I trust you. Plus, you know. Look at my other friends. Pinkie Pie would be an awful guard, Fluttershy would either hide or end up throwing everypony into a dungeon, Applejack's too busy with her farm, Rarity would never be able to handle standing around in armor, and Rainbow Dash doesn't want any uniform that isn't from the Wonderbolts.”

“Oh, so I'm your last choice.”

“Don't say that!” Twilight started to panic. “I just- I like having you around! And if you were my official guard we could always hang out, and you'd have a really elite job, and...” Twilight hung her head a little. “And I wouldn't feel like I totally ruined your life.”

Trixie's expression softened. “Twilight... don't do that.” She hugged the princess. “You didn't ruin my life. I did. And I've been trying to put it back together, but I realized some of the parts were always broken. I just didn't know how to fix them until now.”

“Until now?”

“If you really want me to be a guard... Trixie will have to do it. She can't just let a friend down, even if it will mean the Pies will have to hire new help for the granite field.” Trixie smiled. “Trixie will have to learn to deal with being among a rather exclusive group.”

“Thank you,” Twilight said, blushing.

“Of course that will only make it easier for Luna to try and steal Trixie away, so Trixie expects you to keep her safe from certain ravaging Princesses of the night.”

“She can't have you!” Twilight said, standing suddenly. “You're my- guard. And, um, friend.” She blushed and settled back down. Trixie laughed. “Can I ask you a really personal question?”

“You've asked Trixie a lot of very personal questions.”

“I know. But just one more?” Trixie shrugged. “I was just wondering... what you thought about me. I mean, I never did a lot of... anything in Canterlot, and in Ponyville I was always jumping from one crisis to another and even when it came up I just avoided it...” Twilight swallowed. “What I mean to say is that I really like spending time with you and when this is over I want to know if you would spend more time with me. Somewhere nice. Instead of a mud cave.”

“Are you trying to ask me out on a date?” Trixie inquired, amused.

“I guess you could put it that way.” Twilight lowered her face and blushed, not able to look at the other mare. “I'm sorry. This is an awful time and now you're going to hate me and this whole adventure is going to be awkward and it's my fault! I should have made a-”

“Yes,” Trixie said. Twilight froze. “I mean, usually it would be improper for the mare to ask the stallion out, but you're of much higher social rank than I am, so it's your prerogative.”

“Wait, why are you the stallion?”

“Because I'm the one wearing armor, and you're a Princess.” Trixie smirked.

“Does this mean I can start calling you Consort?”

“Not unless you want me to forget to guard you the next time an assassin shows up.” Trixie gave Twilight a look. “And I'm probably a terrible date, so if it goes poorly, we're going to pretend it never happened. I don't want to mess things up forever just because I'm an awful pony.”

“It won't get messed up. I'll make a list to make sure we don't forget anything!” There was a rumbling, gurgling sound. Trixie raised an eyebrow.

“Don't tell me you need food that badly.”

“That wasn't my stomach,” Twilight said, with a sudden sense of dread. The two ponies looked back over their shoulders and saw a wave of brown muck surging towards them, filling the passageway. They screamed as it overtook them, the mud enveloping them and sending them careening through stone halls, both of them fighting to keep their heads above water.

"Twilight!" Trixie screamed, blacking out as she slammed into the stone wall.

Author's Note:

Trixie's entire life is one giant battle against mud, and she's losing it. We're rapidly approaching the no-doubt-final battle against the evil witch doing all of this, and the two ponies definitely aren't outmatched or anything.

Expect a lot more in the way of fighting and magic next chapter as Trixie has to push herself to her very limits. This chapter is a little shorter than usual because I decided to push back some things into the next chapter to let it flow better.