• Published 10th Mar 2014
  • 5,828 Views, 346 Comments

Hopes and Follies - Phaoray



Things haven’t exactly gone well for Trixie. Now Twilight is an Alicorn and Trixie feels left behind. But Trixie has a plan; one Discord is all too willing to aid her in. For a price.

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Ascensions and Encores

BOOM!

Twilight was almost knocked off of her hooves by the force of a sudden explosion. Once she had regained her senses she peered upwards, noting wisps of yellow light fading away in the sky above her.

Was I too late? No, it couldn't be her. Trixie's magic is Magenta, like mine, not yellow. Did Discord just blast something in the air attacking him?

Twilight could hear a loud screeching sound off in the distance, followed by another blast of light appearing somewhere far ahead of her. She could only see the light radiating from the sky dimly due to the forest blocking her sight, but it was clear to her that Discord and whatever was happening were connected. The screeching went on for some time, but faded away as the light disappeared from Twilight's view.

Damnit, Discord! Just what in Equestria is going on!?

She looked down to the compass, noting that it was pointing straight ahead of her, and that it was pulsing brightly. Trixie was very near now.

Okay now. Just remember, if she asks, just say no and explain why you can't return her feelings. Then bring her back to Canterlot and help her through this mess. She won't be happy, but at least she'll be alive, right?

With a slight nod of the head, Twilight restarted her mad run through the forest.


"She failed ..."

Celestia and Luna had only shortly before switched roles as the sun and moon traded places. The day court had begun, and Luna retreated to her bedchambers for a well earned rest. However, she had been asleep less than an hour when she was jolted awake by Celestia to the scene of a moonlit night. Despite their best combined efforts, they had been unable to budge the moon or the sun from their places. Court was cancelled as they withdrew to Celestia's bedchambers, sipping at tea as they discussed what to do in case it was not a very bad joke of Discord's.

Celestia looked out over the room's balcony at the yellow ball of light shooting over the Everfree. While it was very small from this distance, she knew the thrum of power the ritual sent out when it was used. And that little ball of light had 'Alicorn' written all over it.

"Perhaps, Sister. But neither of us anticipated the seed was in danger of being activated. The force to do such a thing, let alone the knowledge to make the ritual work properly is as rare as ... well ... Alicorns in this age. Still ... " Luna looked out over the forest, watching as the ball of yellow light became smaller. "I had expected more out of my creation."

Celestia looked at Luna, confusion clear on her face. " What do you mean?"

"The seed was meant to make an Alicorn closer to us, Sister. T'was supposed to turn our lover or your own, but make them stronger than an Alicorn produced simply from the ritual. That light was clearly the ascension ritual, but, the power of that Alicorn is new. Tis young, and clearly in need of at least centuries to grow. Perhaps we failed in some way in its creation?" Luna hummed to herself in thought, staring down at the table.

Shaking her head briefly, Celestia gently placed a hoof on Luna's shoulder, taking her out of her introspection. "Regardless, we have a new problem to deal with. And if Twilight is in that forest, she may need our help. Clearly somepony had a hoof in Trixie's ascension."

Luna nodded and stood up, following Celestia to the balcony. Once there, Luna flapped her dark wings and took off, hovering in the air and turning to face Celestia. "You are right. Contact Cadence, while we find out what has occurred."

"Are you sure, Luna? I could -"

"No, it was our creation that brought this problem about, and we will work to fix it." Luna sighed sadly and shook her head. "We should have done so in the first place, instead of leaving it to Twilight to deal with alone this long."

Celestia nodded, distraught, but thankful Luna was not blaming her for insisting that Twilight could handle this problem.

Without another word, Luna shot off towards the forest as Celestia went back in and picked up a quill and parchment.


"Huh? Wha-whazzat?"

Trixie yawned and looked around, the screeching in her dream fading in her ears as she rubbed sleep from her eye. It took her a moment to re-orient, but when she did, Trixie's eye bugged out, and her face turned red in anger.

"Th-that stupid bearded oaf! Did he leave Trixie to sleep the entire day!? Just how long was this setup supposed to take!?"

Still, for sleeping the day away, Trixie was still surprisingly tired, and the stinging in her right eye was back again. She was thankful that nothing came upon her while she was unconscious, as Trixie had been too tired to really think about the issues sleeping in a monster filled forest could bring.

Grumbling to herself, Trixie grabbed her saddlebags and made her way through the forest, headed in the direction Discord and Fluttershy had disappeared in that morning.

Trixie swears if one of them messed up the ritual and makes Trixie lose one single iota of the power she was promised she'll have their hides! How could Discord have not mentioned the ritual taking all day to prepare!? Wh-what if Twilight found him and ruined it?

She slowed down at that thought and did her best to listen for any sounds of fighting as she continued. Trixie let out a sigh of relief as she finally broke through the bushes and into a clearing containing Discord. For some reason, he was wielding a huge butterfly net, and giving practice swings in the air. Discord's body also seemed to be covered in black soot, specks of it flying off with each swing. There were also several odd, glowing butterflies fluttering around the clearing, but Trixie wasn't really concerned with those.

"DISCORD! WHAT THE FU-"

Trixie's angry, righteous rant was brought to a quick close as she suddenly found herself ensnared by the net Discord was practicing with.


Huh, I didn't think that would actually work. Not the time for an angry tirade, my dear.

Discord wasn't in the mood to be reminded of his other problems right now, Trixie and his mixed emotions about her being one of them. He lifted the net off of her and gave a fake grin. "Oh, sorry my dear. I was simply making sure the net was big enough. Turns out I have a small ... erm ... large bat problem to deal with right now. So, I'm going to go and take care of that. But good luck with the whole 'Twilight thing'."

I'll come back and deal with this later, I need to find Fluttershy before she ... I don't know ... ruins a farm show, or meets a bat more charming then me.

He noted Trixie was regaining her ability to speak instead of look at him and gape like a fish. Just as he was about to snap his fingers and chase after Fluttershy however, he felt another problem hurtling in his direction.

W-well, this is escalating a bit quicker then I had hoped.

He looked off to Canterlot and tried to gauge how long until Luna arrived, then, he looked in the direction of Twilight.

"What do you mean 'good luck'!? You still have something to do, remember? Or has age rotted your tiny brain!? Do the words 'Trixie' and 'Alicorn' ring any bells in that head of yours!? ... Are you even listening to her!?"

I need another distraction, something to keep the sisters off my tail while I figure out what happened to Fluttershy. The last thing I want is them to hunt her down, I've seen how 'kind' they are to potential threats to their ponies.

Oddly enough, this was when the world turned sideways for Discord, as Trixie swept one of his legs out from under him, knocking him over. He was about to become snarky with the needy Unicorn, but the sight of her face quickly killed that idea. Barely controlled panic was showing through as Trixie attempted to keep her expression angry. Her eyes were wide, she couldn't stand still, and her breathing had become heavy. Discord was well aware of what a pony experiencing a fight or flight response was, he even took pride in causing it most of the time. However, this was not one of those times. In fact, he was getting a odd, nauseating feeling somewhere in his chest at being the one to cause it in Trixie.

"L-look, we don't have time. Trixie can literally feel Sparkle approaching now. You need to do the ritual. Trixie did her part! She-she can't be brought to Luna, not after everything Trixie's done!"

Slowly, Trixie sat down in front of him, one of her hooves going up to her bandaged eye as she swayed a little. She mumbled to herself as she tried to keep herself steady. Trixie's good eye kept trying to close itself in sympathy with the clenching her other eyelid must have been doing at that moment. Throughout this bout of pain, she still kept trying to stare at Discord. However, after a short time, her eye gave up and closed, and her face contorted into a mix of pain and sorrow.

"W-what's wrong with you ...? W-why are you just ... laying there? Why aren't you he-helping?"

Sheesh, she's good at making others feel bad for her, isn't she? I do need a distraction, but turning her won't be enough now. Without that ether, she'll be too weak to put up any kind of resistance.

Still, he knew if he didn't think of something before chasing after Fluttershy, he'd have this image of Trixie burned into his mind for quite awhile. Calmly, and with his usual smiling mask on again, Discord stood up, and addressed her.

"Their was a bit of a ... complication ... with the ether."

Discord gestured around the clearing, Trixie's eye following his movements, having opened again shortly after he started to talk.

"A small incident happened with Fluttershy and the ether, and because of it, the ether is gone, and Fluttershy took off, quite upset."

"F-figures. S-something always seems to go w-wrong for Trixie." Trixie sighed deeply, and closed her eye for a minute, working to calm herself down. After this brief time, she opened her eye again and asked, "Do you need a full vial?"

"Wwweeeeellllll ... no. But, the more, the better."

Discord raised a eyebrow as Trixie nodded and opened her saddlebag. After rummaging through it for a few seconds, she pulled out another vial, this one half full of ether.

Heh, well, I seem to have some luck left. This might be just the chaos I need to keep everypony away from Flutters while I figure out what went wrong.

Discord quickly grabbed the vial out of Trixie's magic. "This will do nicely, my dear."

Trixie nodded, standing up again and glaring at him and getting back a semblance of her usual voice. "Good, it's about time you finally decided to pull your weight again. For a moment, Trixie thought she was going to have to perform the ritual herself, for all the use you were being!"

And there goes my sympathy. It was starting to feel annoying anyways.

"Now, mix it up quickly and let's both be on our way."

" ... What?"

Trixie continued to glare and spoke to him as if she was speaking to a foal. "Mix. The. Potion! The wind root! The wine! The ether! Mix it all however you need to and let's get this over with, quickly! She only spilled the ether, right!?"

Discord cast a sneaky glance at the overturned wine bottle lying in the clearing to his right. " ... O-oh, right. Yes, uhmm ... one second."

Discord turned away from Trixie and quickly grabbed the bottle on the ground, noting the tiny amount of liquid still clinging to the bottom of the bottle. Quickly, Discord dumped the vial of ether in, and started making exaggerated motions while mumbling. After what he considered long enough to make Trixie think he was actually doing something, he turned around again, and walked back over to her. Trixie eyed the bottle confusedly.

"Why ... is there so little left?"

"Ah, the umm ... ritual causes it to boil down, refines the ingredients and all that, gets rid of the useless parts."

Trixie nodded, a bit dubious. "Trixie sees ... umm ... why-"

Discord gave a dramatic gasp and pretended to look at something behind Trixie. "Oh! Is that Twilight!?"

Her eyes turned to saucers, and Trixie grabbed a hold of Discord's paw. "What!? Do the ritual! NOW NOW NOW!"

Phew "Okay, drink this quickly!"

Without hesitation, Trixie grabbed the vial out of Discord's paws and drank the potion.


The vial dropped from Trixie's hooves almost immediately after she swallowed the last of the potion, her body and mind literally feeling like something was trying to tear them apart. Raw magic ripped through Trixie's core, far more than any Unicorn could safely handle at once.

"D-D-DISCORD! I-I CAN'T-"

"Tch, of course not, why do you think I'm here after all? Now-" Trixie felt the pressure lessen slightly, now only feeling like a stampede of buffalo were tearing across her instead of being repeatedly hit by a train. "-I need to let you know a few, quick little things. Try to pay attention."

D-Damnit, Discord!

"First-" Trixie felt the magic inside her spread out to encompass her, simply meaning every part of her was now wracked with equal pain. Her pulse pounded in her head as Trixie wondered how long her body would hold together. She swore she could literally feel cracks appearing across her skin as the magic sought to escape. "-I am going to be away for awhile, some bad bat business, like I said. Meaning I won't be watching your back for a bit, so don't screw up too badly."

"Second-" The intensity lessened, but began to take on a wholly different, yet equally discomforting feeling now. It felt like the magic, along with Trixie's insides, were funneling into something within Trixie, slowly leaving her an empty husk. "-Twilight, and one of the sisters are almost here, sooooo, I'd hit the ground running if I were you."

"And third-" Trixie felt dead. Her body was completely drained of magic and energy by this point. She tried, but failed to panic as she felt her heart give up and cease beating. Yet, somehow, Trixie was still conscious, and heard Discord's next words. "Well, okay, there is no third. Don't die? Yeah, that'll work. Now, just have to do the words, and you'll be good to go!"

Words? Oh, right, what ritual wouldn't have them? I wonder what-

Unicorn Trixie,

Go Away,

Come back,

An Alicorn,

This day.

-Kind of an IDIOT made the words to this ritual!? Of all the-

SNAP!

-Stupid things to say, why-Why is Trixie floating?


Was that ... another ascension? Just what nefarious plot is our creation involved in?

Luna blinked her eyes, trying to rid them of the spots dancing before her. She had seen a ball of magenta light suddenly rise up above the forest canopy, and then explode, leaving her blinded. She blinked the spots from her eyes as best she could, though bright lights had always affected her badly. Once she could see again, Luna scanned the surrounding area with her magic, noting the unmoving form of Twilight's aura far ahead of her. Twilight seemed to be surrounded by another ponies aura, almost like a wave of mist that had slowly circled her. This new aura hadn't made a move to assault Twilight yet. The energy was emanating directly below where Luna saw the ball of light, given credence to yet another Ascension ritual completing.

Still, this one is quite different from the first. It feels ... stronger, older. Wait ... is this!?

It had to be the seed, there was no other explanation for it to Luna. The aura was stronger then Twilight's, but not as strong as her own, or her sister's. It was clearly the aura of a pony, not a creature like Discord, or a dragon.

But ... if it wasn't the seed we felt before, then ... who was that first blast of light from?

Luna shook her head to regain her focus.

We must worry about that later, for now, tis best we dealt with what is in front of us. But, if this really is the seed blooming we just felt, then that means ...

"It worked ... our experiment worked!"

In fact, it had gone beyond her expectations! She couldn't explain why, but the Alicorn created felt far stronger than the one she had expected to emerge. She was truly a genius!

"Huzzah!" She cried out jubilantly, pointing a forehoof skyward in triumph. " We can't wait to show Tia our ... our ... oh ..."

Sheepishly, Luna resumed her flight towards what she hoped to be a brief conflict.

Perhaps Tia doesn't need to hear of this success.


Almost there!

Twilight's compass was glowing strongly as she burst through the foliage and into a large, disheveled clearing. She spotted Discord with a net in his hands, and was about to shout when she noticed him looking upward, a smug expression on his face. Twilight only now noticed the field being lit up by a magenta light emanating from above her. Twilight's ears pressed themselves to her skull as her eyes gazed towards the sky.

No!

As her eyes reached the glowing ball of pinkish light hovering above her, it exploded. The force blew her to the ground, rolling over the field with a huge rush of wind. In her blinded state, Twilight heard what she swore to be Trixie's giggling echo over the forest. The echoing giggles hadn't ceased by the time Twilight's eyes started to come back into focus, though she couldn't tell where they were coming from. A quick glance to her neck showed Twilight that the compass had completely shattered, bits of it now littering the ground. Looking towards Discord, she found him to be looking around the clearing in surprise, almost like he was seeing something Twilight couldn't.

"Huh ... " Discord mused, rubbing his goatee. "Wasn't expecting that from half a vial of ether. Guess I'm not cut out for this 'Ascension' stuff after all. Ah well ..." He gazed over to Twilight with a smile, giving her a slightly mocking bow. "She's your problem now, Princess. Good luck." Twilight heard a sharp snap, and Discord was gone. The only things left in the clearing now were Twilight, a few butterflies, and the creepy echoed giggling of Trixie.

I ... I failed ...

"She ... she did it! Trixie did it!"

Trixie's giggling turned to laughter, continuing to emanate from multiple sides of Twilight, and setting her on edge. Her fur stood up as Trixie casually walked down the side of a tree in front of Twilight. Laughter to her left drew Twilight's eye as yet another Trixie defied the rules of gravity and walked down from the canopy of another tree. As Twilight's head and body moved to do a full arc of the clearing, more and more of the Trixies showed themselves to her. The area felt heavy with power to Twilight, making her sweat a little as she nervously watched the spectacle unfolding in front of her.

The Trixies were each a half head taller than Twilight, sporting noticeably longer legs as well, causing her to think of Cadence. A pair of wings adorned each Trixie, lined with silver primaries, and the rest blue, like her coat. Each Trixie looked elegant in a way Twilight couldn't place, perhaps because despite their actions, none were dirty or disheveled.

Some were gazing at their wings in awe, while others were hopping around happily, making an echoing laughter resound throughout the forest. A few were even gazing at Twilight interestedly. The look of each Trixie's face though, is what kept Twilight silent.

The left eye of every Trixie was no longer bandaged, though what laid underneath now made Twilight wince. Trixie's eye looked to have been restored from Twilight's unintentional blast, but around the eye were several horrible looking scars. A few were just white lines that met at random intervals and faded off, others were deep, permanent gashes in Trixie's skin where no fur had grown back. It looked as if somepony had given a scalpel to a foal and let it play directly around Trixie's eye, yet not with the eye itself.

Still, despite the scarring, Twilight found herself watching one of the Trixies in particular. She was positioned near some of the butterflies, whistling a tune to herself happily as she gazed over the other Trixie's with a smile. One of the butterflies was flying around her, shedding long trails of beautiful golden dust over her back. The glowing dust bouncing off of this Trixie's wings and sides caused Twilight to start blushing and need work to keep her wings to her sides.

With a grin, this Trixie looked over to Twilight and blew a kiss, before quickly turning her head to look at something above the canopy afterwards. The other Trixies stopped what they were doing to look as well, then started making their way over to the Trixie Twilight had been watching. One by one, they turned clear and misty, entering the first Trixie, until only one remained. Smiling towards Twilight, Trixie started to make her way over.

I ... failed ... but, maybe ... she'll still listen to me? M-maybe I can still fix this? Oh, Trixie, your eye ... I ...

Twilight involuntarily cringed and glanced away from Trixie for a few seconds, causing Trixie to frown at her. Glancing over at Trixie again, Twilight could see her looking away now and staring at herself in a small floating mirror. Trixie's ears were flat to her head, and though Twilight couldn't see what it was, she could tell Trixie was doing something with her mane. When Trixie turned back to Twilight, the hair on her left side was covering her scarred eye in a way akin to what Twilight so often saw Fluttershy do.

"Well ... " Trixie started in a subdued tone. "It's ... not what Trixie had hoped to happen. But ... it was worth it."

Trixie gave Twilight a small smile as she walked up to her, getting within a hooves length of Twilight before stopping.

"It was all worth it. Finally, Trixie won't be forgotten, she can't be now. Not by you, at least."

Slowly, Trixie brought her forehoof up to Twilight's muzzle. Gently, but firmly, Trixie tilted Twilight's head upward, forcing her to look Trixie in the eye. The way Twilight had to look up at Trixie for eye contact now unnerved her, yet, it wasn't as unwelcome of a sensation as she thought it would be. The calm, smoldering look in Trixie's eye, the firm hoof on her muzzle, and the way the golden specks of pollen floated between the two struck Twilight with a longing she was finding hard to keep under control.

" I win."

The two words resounded in Twilight's head for a minute, causing a surprising response from her. A mix of sorrow and anger appeared on her face as she put her hoof over Trixie's and forced it away from her muzzle. "Win? You idiot. I ... I failed. Now, both Princesses are going to get involved, Trixie. I .. I wanted to save you, but ... " Twilight took a step back, looking at Trixie with sad eyes. "I can't help you with what happens now."

Trixie bridged the gap between them again, the soft smile still on her face. "It doesn't matter to Trixie. She found a way around death, she'll find a way around two angry Princesses. More importantly, Trixie needs to tell you something important, before we are interrupted. And before she comes down from this rush."

Just say no.

"Trixie will admit, part of this was her desire to become as great and powerful as she boasted about. But, that is barely worth mentioning anymore. Twilight, Trixie desired nothing more but to not be forgotten. She, she couldn't just stand back and age, she couldn't become a speck in your past that faded away like so many others will."

Trixie looked away, a small blush coating her cheeks. "Trixie was going to either be your greatest rival or ... or your greatest, and only, marefriend. W-well, the third option was to die trying, but she's past that outcome now. And she, she understands how impossible the second one is. Our talk in the caves made that clear enough. But, the first is still in reach. T-trixie will work on her new powers, she'll become worth your time, she promises."

Wait, what?

At this, Trixie brought a hoof up and under her mane, most likely feeling the scars along her right eye. "She'll also find a way to cover this ... 'blemish', it won't do for us to meet up again and not be able to look each other in the eyes without one of us cringing away. "

She, she's not going to ask?

Twilight's eyes slid from Trixie's as she began to think to herself. The long silence seemed to be making Trixie uncomfortable, and she started to shift in place. Unseen, Trixie's smile slowly turned to a forced grin.

"L-look, Twilight. Just now, Trixie was in the heat of the moment. It's its not like she is going to try to destroy you or anything. She's not looking for 'that' kind of rivalry at all. B-but, wouldn't it be nice to cross horns with somepony you know?

I can't believe I worried about all of this for nothing. Why didn't she ask?

Trixie began visibly wilting in front of Twilight. Her ears started to droop, while her wings dipped and touched the ground. A few beads of sweat even formed on Trixie's face as her breathing increased.

"A-and if somepony else tries to go after you, Trixie could help you with them! T-that way, the rivalry stays just between us. Wouldn't it be nice? You come after Trixie for some slight, while Trixie does the same, ensuring we each have somepony looking out for them in case of trouble. Trixie can be that pony! She, she wouldn't let anypony else harm you, Twilight."

So maybe I gave the wrong impression in the cave. I was injured! It's not like her to just give up on something important to her like this.

" ... S-stop ignoring Trixie ..."

In fact, its my duty as a friend to set her straight, right? You shouldn't just give up on something, or somepony, just because its hard.

" ... Stop ignoring me!" Trixie's hoof frantically wiped away at the tears flowing down her cheeks now, her face had twisted up in despair. The scream knocked Twilight out of her thoughts, causing her to realize that for the last few minutes she had been looking at the ground, barely registering Trixie's antics from the corner of her eye. Seeing she had Twilight's attention again, Trixie's look became much more intense, as if afraid Twilight would suddenly disappear on her.

"Trixie went through too much for you to ignore her, Sparkle! Yell at her! Tell her to leave you alone! Tell her you refuse to have her as a rival! But don't ignore her! N-not after all of this ... Is ... is this about her scars ...?"

At the question, Twilight lifted her head up and closed her eyes.

Twilight inhaled.

A second for the mind to gather your words.

Twilight exhaled.

And a second to add your heart to them.

"No."

Trixie looked at Twilight confusedly. "No?"

Twilight nodded, working to keep her cheeks from flaring up a she calmly looked into Trixie's eye. "No. If you didn't come after me, I'd worry that something happened to you. To my rival. So, just, don't think like that. And, I don't care about your scars either, it just, hurts to know I caused them."

Twilight looked away for the next part, concentrating on keeping her voice from wavering. Oddly enough to her, the words seemed to flow out much easier then she had anticipated.

"Also, for a Unicorn who went this far for what she wanted, it's a little, weird, to hear you say something is 'impossible'."

Glancing over briefly, Twilight saw Trixie with a pole-axed look over her face. A few seconds later after glancing away again, Twilight heard a rich laughter coming from Trixie.

"Really now, Sparkle?" Trixie purred from behind her.

Blushing a bit, Twilight wasn't able to stop her tail from giving a little swish back and forth along the ground. "W-what? It's, just, saying something like that is 'impossible' seems a little ... I mean, you haven't even worked up a hypothesis beyond it being impossible yet ... just jumped to making it a theory ... no documentation ... tests ..." Twilight's speech continued to break down to the point of mumbles after this.

Twilight felt a warm body pressed next to hers shortly after. A few golden sparks hung in the air, tugging at something in Twilight's mind, but she couldn't focus well, not with Trixie's scent making her head feel fuzzy.

"Trixie ... gets it, Sparkle." Twilight could hear the confidence in Trixie's voice. "She'll work on her theory a bit more."

Twilight nodded mutely, shifting her hooves in an uncommon bout of excitement at Trixie's closeness. "Well, good. So ... what happens now?"

"Now" Trixie said. "Trixie runs."

Twilight glanced at Trixie, confusion written over her face. "What?"

Trixie took the opportunity to lean over and deliver a little kiss to Twilight's cheek, causing her to let out a squeal and back up a few feet from her azure assailant.

"Trixie runs-" She said, with a smirk on her face. "She needs to learn what she can do now, if she hopes to keep her freedom. But, don't worry, Sparkle. In a few months, Trixie will return to challenge you."

"Hmph-" Twilight rubbed her cheek and gave a nervous grin back to Trixie. "What makes you think I won't be asked to bring you back still? You might not have a few months before you have to run again, Trixie."

Chuckling, Trixie turned away from Twilight and made her way near the edge of the clearing, her form turning misty. "Oh, Twilight. Trixie promises you, if you manage to catch up to her, she won't run anymore. At least, not from you. Good luck, Little Sparkle."

Twilight was about to retort, when suddenly a huge blast of energy hit right where Trixie had been standing.

"Another fake!? What mockery do you seek to make of us, whelp! Come out and face us! Cease thine hiding!"

Luna swooped down and landed in the field a few yards from Twilight, breathing heavily and looking around, trying to spot her prey. After a minute of this, Luna looked over to Twilight. "Our apologies for not arriving earlier, Twilight. It seems your foe is well experienced at delaying others. It was good of you to hold her here as long as you did. Sadly, all I can sense are spooks and illusions in the forest now, I fear the real Trixie has escaped us."

"L-Luna, what-"

Luna raised a hoof. "This is not the place, Twilight. Come, we must head back to the castle. Tis safe to talk their. A gathering of power that this area has witnessed tonight will bring prying eyes and questions that we can ill afford."

Luna took off into the air again, circling the clearing once to verify the danger had passed before gesturing for Twilight to follow her. Looking around, Twilight felt eerily calm about what had just happened. Perhaps, even a little elated at the sudden changes her life had gone through. Maybe it was the scent of Trixie still in the air, or the feel of her magic lingering. But for Twilight, Equestria had changed, and she was looking forward to seeing where this new path would lead her.