• 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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Hurtful Heckling Part 1

Tr…I…I can’t believe how amazing this feels.

Trixie continued to run along the old overgrown dirt road, an azure blur to any onlooking animals. The creatures themselves were quite skittish at the sight, considering almost nopony had used the roadway since the trains came into operation.

Trixie marveled at how slow her surroundings seemed in comparison as she flew past them. Her horn glowed with magenta energy continuously throughout her day of travel. Despite the speed Trixie’s spell gave her, she was more aware of any potential obstacles than ever before thanks to a minor tweak to her own eyes. Trixie thought back to her professor’s lecture as she ran towards Canterlot.

A gryphon’s sight is beyond compare, one very few unicorns can ever learn to imitate safely. Their sight allows them to gauge distances in seconds, as well as allowing them to react to obstacles in their path in almost an instant. Some of you who specialize in this type of magic may be able to emulate a gryphon’s eyes. However, transformation magic is dangerous, and only those of you with a talent for it are advised to try these next spells, unless you’d like to risk going blind that is.

He was right though, for once. Trix..I...I was not happy being blind in one eye for over a week. But I still found a way around that stupidly advanced spell. So maybe I can’t ‘see like a gryphon’, but a hawk’s eyes are still pretty good, and a lot less complicated to mimic.

Trixie smiled in pride, both at her own ingenuity from her old school days, and at how long she had managed to maintain her vision and speed enhancing spells.

I’ll be at the caves in less than a few hours at this rate! It used to take me days to get from Canterlot to Ponyville with my wagon. I truly have become a great and powerful unicorn! And soon I’ll be even stronger. Strong enough to show those idiot’s my shows are no laughing matter. Strong enough to prove myself against an Ursa Major. And strong enough to be noticed by her.

Trixie smiled as she continued on throughout the day, brimming with pride and confidence in herself that she had thought lost long ago.


Twilight found herself gaping over the small table at Celestia.

“Prin-I mean, Celestia! I, I don’t understand! How can you be so calm about this? Discord is causing havoc in Manehattan and wasted a week of my search! Whoever stole Luna’s artifact wouldn’t be up and trotting around now if he didn’t interfere like he did.”

Celestia hummed to herself in thought before speaking. “Twilight, do you really know that Discord didn’t just make a mistake?”

Twilight’s ears lowered and she looked to the side, shifting a little uncomfortable under Celestia’s gaze. “Well no, but it just seems unlikely. It’s his compass. He should have known to reset it before giving it to me. And why would he have it targeted to find himself in the first place?”

Celestia brought her teacup to her lips and quietly sipped at it, enjoying the taste and the feeling of sunlight across her back. She gave a little sigh as she looked over to her frustrated and confused former student.

“Twilight, what do you know of the time of Discord’s reign?”

Cocking an eyebrow at her former mentor, Twilight thought back and started to repeat in a lecturing tone what she had read on the subject. “Discord ruled over Equestria and everything beyond for an unknown amount of time. Some believe it was centuries, others believe that, being chaos, everything and everypony originated from the madness that he wove throughout the world. However, you and Luna managed to find the elements and imprison him, bringing harmony and order.”

Celestia gave a dainty snort and grinned at Twilight. “Don’t let him know that some ponies think he’s the reason everything came into existence. It’ll go straight to his head. Now, do you know of what he did during his reign? Specifically I mean?”

Twilight thought back, but quickly realized that she did not. “No, that little bit is all I have ever been able to find out about Discord’s reign, and even then it’s mostly conjecture. I remember tearing the royal library apart as a filly trying to find something more concrete. But, why are you asking me about this?”

“Because Twilight, I need you to understand why I am not furious at Discord. According to the reports I received from Manehattan, despite the ferry’s crashing and fighting in the sky, not a single pony was injured. Nor was anypony hurt during the loss of the chariots.”

Celestia looked sadly to the side, gazing out the large window in her room out over Canterlot as she thought back to a darker time.

“The Discord I knew in the past wouldn’t have done that Twilight. He wouldn’t have used boats or chariots to fight to the death for entertainment. He’d have used ponies, or gryphons, or whatever poor souls he came across. Discord didn’t create new races Twilight, he wiped them out. Or, at best, he twisted them for his own amusement.”

Celestia continued: “Sea ponies, Flutterponies, the Alicorn’s, even I don’t know how many races were destroyed for his mad games. He was like a child, selfish, and didn’t care how much pain he inflicted. However, something changed.”

Celestia took her time taking another sip of her tea, grimacing at the painful memories she had buried for so long.

“By the time Luna and I were the last two Alicorns left, the world had gone through a change for the better. More and more parts of it became stable; it almost appeared like Discord’s chaos was receding. Either he was weakening for reasons we couldn’t understand, or, I wish to think, he grew to realize how horrible a world alone would be if he didn’t ease his hold over it. When we tracked him down to his new home he was noticeably changed from the monster we had grown up knowing. We still thought him a monster, but he was…softer. He treated ponies more like important toys than just something to break and forget about. Maybe that’s why the elements didn’t destroy him. I don’t know.”

Celestia looked over to Twilight with a bittersweet grin. “So, no Twilight, I’m not that angry over him breaking a bunch of boats. Bits can pay for that, and a scolding will hopefully convince him not to do something like it for some time. But I can’t be truly upset at him. Not after seeing what he used to be.”

Twilight was silent for a long moment, trying to wrap her brain around what she heard. "I...I don't understand. I-if he did that to any of my friends, I don't think I could ever forgive him. Even now I don't trust him, especially after Tirek...don't you hate him?"

Celestia looked to the side sadly. "Would it be so wrong for me not to, Twilight?" She sighed. "I know what he did, I lived through some of it. It...it may sound odd Twilight, but, when you see him, don't you feel encouraged? Or, if not that, just a little bit of vindication?"

"...What..?" Twilight blinked owlishly at Celestia, beginning to grow concerned for her former mentor. "Hope? I feel lucky he isn't attacking anypony at that moment."

"But that's just it, Twilight." Celestia said with a small grin. "Think on it a little. Tirek, Sombra, Chrysalis; each one pale in comparison to the evil and destruction that Discord once did to the world. Yet, now he works with me and Luna to keep Equestria safe. He may grumble about it, and believe me, he has caused me to need more than a few moments alone before I could face anypony with a smile again. But, he has changed. He is learning that their is a better place for him, isn't that encouraging, Twilight?"


Twilight kept her head low to the ground as she followed the compass across Canterlot. She hadn’t bothered with the magic earring and so would repeatedly hear ponies calling their well wishes, or vaguely see them bowing to her. She wasn’t in the mood however to deal with this, and continued to brood as she searched.

I just don’t understand it. How can Celestia or Luna even fake being nice to Discord? I can barely contemplate the type of world they grew up in, and just hearing about it makes me want to turn him to stone so he doesn’t hurt anypony again.

Twilight stamped on a small rock in frustration. The sound startled several nearby ponies who had just greeted her, and caused them to bow to the ground quickly. Twilight looked over to them sheepishly, noticing that she had badly cracked the stone walkway underneath her hoof.

When did this all get so complicated? So Discord was a bad guy, but now he’s not. I could understand and accept that a little more before Celestia told me how many ponies he hurt. How do you forgive somepony who destroyed so many others in the past for his own amusement? Wasn't Tirek proof that he may do it again?

Grumbling in frustration, Twilight tried to get her mind back to the task at hand. Looking around, she realized she had apparently attracted over a dozen eyes. More than a few little fillies and colts were giggling in her direction and the adults looked very confused. Twilight started to wonder what they were staring at when she nearly fell over out of dizziness.

What? Wait, what just happened? Twilight looked down to the compass and started to walk again, only to have the needle turn around. Twilight then turned around and walked a few feet before the needle turned around again. Twilight’s face became covered in a light blush of embarrassment as she realized what must have happened.

Great, I must have been turning in circles for a while without even realizing it to get this much attention. No wonder I’m dizzy. But…why’s it doing this?

Twilight looked around, but the compass was certainly not pointing at anypony nearby. She then looked up to the cloudless, empty sky.

Ok, so whoever this compass is pointing at isn’t above me…so that only leaves…

Twilight looked down at the ground and groaned as memories of a certain wedding disaster came back to mind.

You’ve got to be kidding me…


“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Trixie glared at the spot where a stone bridge was supposed to be according to the map Discord had giving her. Now, it was simply a grey fog-covered chasm. All that was left of the bridge was two stone pillars holding a few broken and horribly eroded metal chains, and a barely see-able ridge with a cave entrance on the opposite side of her.

“I’ve been stuck down here two days already! He could have at least kept his stupid map updated! Now how do I get across?”

Trixie looked around the clear but grey and black room. Her self-proclaimed ‘owl’ spell drained the color from her vision, but let her see clearly for a decent distance. Her eyes glowed a very dim blue due to the spell, but she considered it a lot safer than looking like a giant beacon of light in this circumstance.

The chasm was too large to jump over, and she didn’t trust how bad her sight was at the moment to aim her jump right even if she could jump it. The fog in the cave was a little too thick to see very well, and she wasn’t sure as to where it was emanating from.

“Stupid bridge builders! Probably hired a bunch of diamond dogs to build it and then slacked off the entire time! Of all the-EEP!”

Trixie had tried to stomp her hoof down on the ground in frustration, only for it not to reach. The hoof seemed to hit something and tried to push through, causing her to go off balance and fall over. Trixie expected a bruising impact with the ground, but was caught in something soft that she slowly sunk through before gently coming to rest on the ground.

“…What in Equestria just happened…?”

Trixie stood back up and sat down in contemplation. She looked around the ledge, and then back down to her hooves. Slowly she put one up in the air and brought it down again, only to feel it nearly stop as it came in contact with the fog. Slowly her hoof went through the fog and came in contact with the ground again.

Next, Trixie put both forehooves in the air and brought them down onto the fog, having the same result of them hitting it and sluggishly slipping through.

“…I’m going to have to have a long talk with Discord on exactly what in Tartarus is going on later.”

Trixie experimented with her newfound power over fog for some time, finally jumping a little into the air to fully stand on it and sink through after several seconds. She looked over to the ledge opposite of her and started to breathe a little heavier in anxiety as a crazy idea came to her mind.

Ok, I can do this, it’ll just be for a little while, and it’s unlikely for this…fog power to disappear suddenly. Just don’t look down.

Trixie cast her lightening spell and hopped up onto the fog, sinking much slower now that her weight was reduced. She proceeded to walk over the fog gingerly, eyes widening as she came closer to the gap. As soon as her first hoof was over the edge, she started to scurry forward frantically.

DontlookdowndontlookdowndontlookdownOhCelestiaIcantbelieveImdoingthis!

Letting out a strangled gasp of relief, Trixie removed her lighten spell as she hit the other ridge and started to slowly calm down when her hooves finally met the ground again.

O-okay. That wasn’t so bad. Oh Celestia, I’m going to have to do that again on the way back aren’t I? …I’ll just let future Trixie worry about that.


Twilight panted in exhaustion and finally let the light emitting from her horn die out, casting her into darkness. She’d found a narrow tunnel that lead into a much larger chamber to rest in, believing it to be safer in the tunnel than the unexplored chamber. Twilight wiped sweat from her face as she tried to calm down her racing heart and mind.

Why didn’t I bring a guard with me? Or somepony who knows the mines? Discord already broke his promise to help, so why am I still doing this alone?

Twilight twitched and whipped her head around at the sound of stones falling in the large nearby chamber. Her ears perked trying to pick up any other noises while her eyes desperately tried to see anything in the dark.

Keep it together! Chrysalis isn’t here, she wouldn’t be here. She shouldn’t be here. I really hope she isn’t here. Twilight fought back the urge to light her horn again. After a panic filled day following the compass down through the old Canterlot mines she was exhausted both mentally and physically. She knew she should have been resting and not constantly using her magic, but memories of her previous time in the caves kept her too on edge to relax. Twilight gave a sharp cry as she heard something scurrying around in the other room and quickly put her hooves over her muzzle to stifle it.

“H-hello? I-is anypony in there?”

Seconds after her call, the scurrying sound came back, much closer to her. Twilight let out a fearful shout and shot a bolt of energy into the chamber, lighting it up for a few short seconds before it hit the other wall of the cavern. The scurrying sounds revealed themselves to be about a dozen rats quickly fleeing in all directions from the light.

Twilight let out a shaky laugh. Rats, just rats. Okay, let's try to calm down. Using that bolt hurt so I shouldn’t do anything stupid like that again until I get some rest. Even if they escape the cave while I sleep, I'm not in any shape to confront them as it is.

She was about to remove her saddlebag and try to get some shuteye, when she noticed a pair of tiny lights near the chamber’s ceiling. Twilight watched with increasing fear as the one pair of lights became a dozen, and then two, three. A screeching sound echoed across the cave as all the little lights started moving towards her quickly, much too quickly.

“No No No No NO!” She screamed as the little red lights were all around her. Tiny bodies landed on her from different directions and she felt the pain of small bites along her torso and neck. Twilight started shooting bolts of magic in random directions as she felt her body start to shake in panic. Then as suddenly as the attack started, it stopped. Shaking like a leaf, Twilight looked around for the little lights, but only heard the distant sound of screeching and the rumbling of an on-coming headache. She sobbed and tried to stop herself from shaking when a few stones hit her flank.

T-that’s not me shaking…

Twilight looked up into the blackness and let out a scream as the tunnel collapsed on top of her.


Trixie looked around the large open chamber confusedly. She had come to another ledge looking over a huge cavern. The difference this time was no bridge missing as there were no signs one had been built in the first place. The sounds of falling water from the towering waterfalls encircling the room was all Trixie could hear. They cascaded down into a large underwater lake where Trixie could see several large white bodies surface and then submerge again every so often.

Think I’ll avoid swimming if I can.

The spray of water kicked up from the waterfalls refreshed her from her sweaty two day search for this chamber. Trixie looked back at the map, noting the fountain she was in search of was supposed to be right in front of her, but all she saw was waterfalls. There was no way to go around the waterfalls either, any ledges that may have existed had eroded a long time ago. Still, as Trixie’s eyes went to the map and over the room, she kept coming back to the center waterfall in front of her, noting how much it jutted out compared to the others.

“Something is off with this picture.”

Looking over the waterfall for a minute, Trixie began to notice subtle differences compared to the others, causing her to laugh when it all came together in her head.

“Finally! A trap I’m familiar with! Still, how do I get across?”

Trixie glanced at her hat nervously, remembering the only type of teleportation spell she was ever barely capable of. As Trixie’s horn lit up, she placed her hoof inside her hat. She glanced to the side, seeing her hoof come back through another small hole several feet in the air away from her.

“Well…maybe…” Trixie looked up at her horn, wondering if she was strong enough now to try something a little more…unorthodox.

Pulling her hoof out from her hat, Trixie spread her legs and started to concentrate, causing a deep magenta aura to slowly form around her horn. Cautiously Trixie worked her spell, adding more power into it than ever before. A hole began forming in front of Trixie, showing her the sight of a distant old stone fountain. She grunted from the exertion of the spell, but knew she had already gone far beyond what she had been capable of less than a week ago. As the portal became just large enough for her to fit through, Trixie slowly walked into it, concentrating on maintaining the spell, and trying to ignore thoughts of her being cut in half from it collapsing.

As Trixie exited the portal, she collapsed to the ground and allowed the spell to unravel. The hole quickly shrunk in on itself, consuming the magic until nothing was left.

“H-hah! O-once again I prove my amazing…amazing…how amazing I am!” Trixie laid there, recovering for several minutes as she thought to herself.

I may have to stay in here for a while, there’s no way I can do that again anytime soon.

Trixie looked around the stone cavern, grinning at how easy she saw through the waterfall ruse. She had noticed none of the water from the middle waterfall appeared to be splashing into the lake, instead simply slipping unnaturally in without any currents. She was quite sure if it wasn’t for the noise of the other real waterfalls, she would have heard no sound coming from this one in particular. The last thing that brought it all together for her, was how the waterfall had jutted out. After hundreds of years, the others had eroded and slowly retreated from the center of the room, whereas the fake was still in the same place it had been put who knows how many years ago.

Amateurs.

Trixie finally stood up and slowly walked forward, looking over the large stone tunnel. Unlike the other tunnels in the mines, this one had arches that once depicted scenes now too illegible for her to make out. The fountain itself was three feet in height and its depth was unknown due to the glowing blue liquid inside of it. A large statue of a male Alicorn was centered in the middle of the fountain on a stone dais. The Alicorn’s head was lowered, as if gazing into the glowing depths of the fountain. Trixie quickly began to feel uncomfortable as she noticed the Alicorn’s face. Its expression was one of misery, as if something heartbreaking was occurring in front of it. A single blue drop of the liquid hung off of the statue’s nose, and another drop seemed to be slowly forming in the statue’s eyes.

Trixie slowly took out a vial Discord had giving her and dipped it into the fountain. She watched the statue for any signs of activity as she filled it, but the statue stayed in its sad pose. Trixie corked the vial and then produced a second one.

Pure magic…well Discord didn’t say I couldn’t take more than just the one vial.

She drank a little of the liquid from the vial, quickly feeling her magical fatigue disappear.

Better be careful with this, too much magic and I’m liable to pop.

She corked the second vial after refilling it, gave a curt nod to the statue, and proceeded back to the caverns entrance. Walking back, Trixie failed to notice as one of the tears fell down the stone Alicorn's muzzle and dripped into the fountain. The ripples spread across the water, and, for a few seconds, a female Alicorn gazed up into the face of the stone statue, an equal mask of sorrow over her face.


Trixie sat for a few moments, panting. Between re-casting her new and improved door spell, and then going over the fog again, she was mentally, physically, and magically drained.

I’ll just head to the surface for a bit longer, then make camp. One down, three to go! I’ll be back to Discord in no time! Now, what’s next on the list?

Trixie looked over the top of the list Discord gave her and checked off ‘Ether vial”. Looking down to the next item quickly devolved into slapping her hoof to her forehead and groaning. Dejectedly, Trixie levitated a small vial of pink liquid out of her saddlebags.

I was RIGHT THERE! How’d I forget to dump this in the lake!? Forget it, I’m not going over that fog again today. I’ll just sleep here and do it tomorrow…or whatever time it turns out to be.

As Trixie started to set up her small camp, she heard a loud rumbling in the distance, followed by an almost equally loud scream. After less than a minute, the rumbling stopped, but the screaming continued.

T-that’s not an animal scream!

Quickly setting down everything in her saddlebags save the first aid kit, Trixie ran towards the screams. Unfortunately the caves caused the cries to echo, making it difficult to figure out where they were coming from. By the time Trixie finally made progress and knew she was getting closer they had lowered in volume, as if the pony was too tired or injured to continue. Rounding a final bend, Trixie was able to see a collapsed tunnel connected to the large chamber she had just entered. The screams had turned to sobs and labored crying as Trixie walked towards the rubble, clearly seeing somepony caught underneath it and weakly struggling. Her eyes widened and heart began to ache as she realized just who the pony was.

“Twilight…?”


Twilight rapidly blinked the dust out of her eyes as she screamed in pain, her left hind leg and wing was burning and buried under the rubble, while her chest felt incredibly compressed from the weight on top of her back. Her right side was fairly free, but trying to yank at her wing or leg only brought more searing agony. She couldn’t concentrate to cast any spells, and was lying on her stomach, making it impossible to do more than feebly flail her limbs and head around. After screaming for what felt like hours her throat had gone dry, turning her to simply coughing and sobbing at her predicament.

Nopony knows I’m down here! Why didn’t I tell anypony? What in Tartarus is wrong with me! I don’t want to die!

Twilight continued to panic and try to pull herself free, despite the pain and how light-headed it was causing her to feel when-

“Twilight?”

Twilight’s eyes widened to their fullest extent as she turned her head to her would be rescuer.

Thank Celestia I’m saved! I’m…AAAAHHHHH!!!!

Twilight gave a raspy scream as she caught sight of two large glowing blue eyes peering at her from the darkness. Whatever the creature was repeated her name, and to Twilight’s pain-filled head it sounded menacing. As her head began to swim, she swore she could hear the hissing sound of changelings nearby.

“No…NO! You can’t! Stay back!” With her vision blurring due to her problems breathing and her mind shutting down in fear, Twilight shot a large blast of magic right at the two glowing blue eyes before blackness took her.

Author's Note:

Funny, but no matter how short I think a concept for a chapter is going to be it always turns out ridiculously longer. I figured this would only be about 2k to get up to this point, but things kept coming into my head to make it longer as usual. So hey, because of that you get a cliffhanger ending. Enjoy.

Revised on 11/4/2017