• Published 3rd Jun 2014
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Lulamoon's Castle - Bookish Delight



The Great And Powerful Trixie has returned to Ponyville at last, and Twilight Sparkle doesn't stand a cha--hold on. What's this giant shiny house doing sitting in the middle of everything?

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3: In Motion

The applause was deafening.

There was no doubt in Trixie's mind that she would receive applause, but she had no idea how loud it would be. She allowed herself a little bit of a blush before waving to the music hall's crowd, still standing on their hind hooves.

"Thank you so much, Bridleway!" Trixie bellowed. "You've been a wonderful audience. But now, it is time for The Great And Mysterious Trixie to make her exit!"

She disappeared from the stage in a puff of smoke. Awed murmurs, gasps, and delighted squeals erupted from the audience, then gave way to one last round of applause.

Backstage, she took off her hat and wiped sweat from her brow. Whoever said show business wasn't hard work had clearly never done a two-hour magic act. Showcasing everything from basic illusions to dimensional space magic, Trixie had earned her sweat tonight.

Still, when she looked back in the mirror, she smiled. And that smile told her it had all been worth it.

For the first time in years, The Great And Powerful Trixie may actually be happy with who she is, she thought.

"TrixieTrixieTrixieTrixieTrixieTrixieTrixieTrixieTrixieTrixieTrixie!"

The voice startled her near out of her horseshoes.

"What? Who dares-" Trixie whirled around to see a pony rushing into her dressing room. Curses. She'd left it unlocked! Well, at least it was a filly. Foal fans were less annoying by default.

She put her entertainer's face back on. "And what have we here? Hello there, little one!"

"Miss Great And Mysterious Trixie!" the pink-coated, glasses-wearing filly said. "I loved your show and it was awesome and I learned so much from it except I totally know how you pulled off your big finale and-"

"Whoa!" Trixie said amidst laughter. "Slow down there -- and wait a second." She knelt down to the filly's level. "You said you know how The Great And Mysterious Trixie pulled off her final act?"

"Yep! The one where you pulled an entire drawn carriage out of your hat!"

"All right." Trixie stood back up. This she had to hear. "Tell me how I did it."

"It's simple!" The filly produced a miniature notebook from her wild green mane. She opened up a page to show Trixie a diagram. "Everypony does the rabbit-out-of-a-hat thing in magic shows. It's so boring, and we can all see right through it! But you're Trixie!"

"Flattery will only get you so far," Trixie said, holding back a smug grin. "Keep explaining."

"Well, you're the only non-princess pony who knows enough dimensional magic to show an actual whole other place on the other side of your hat!" She pointed to the hat on top of Trixie's dresser. "But your hat's still not large enough to pull anything bigger than a rabbit through... unless you break it up first."

Trixie could no longer keep her grin at bay.

"So what happened was that you broke up the carriage down to molecules, moved 'em through the hat one by one, and put 'em back together on stage!" She threw up her hooves, her notebook flying in the process. "There was a huge amount of magic going on, but also just as much science!" The filly looked up in expectancy. "Am I right?"

Trixie laughed. This girl had cracked it! "Looks like you got me. But you can't tell anypony else, okay?" She nudged the filly's forehead. "I see the mark of a mage in you. And you know how secretive we must sometimes be."

"Do I ever!" said the filly. "I wanna grow up and do the same stuff you do!"

Trixie blinked, taken aback. "You... you do?"

The filly calmed down, and rubbed her right foreleg with her left hoof. "Well, yeah. Your act makes ponies happy, right? I... I don't know how long you've been in Manehattan, but it takes a lot to make anyone smile here. Including my family."

Trixie's mind spun in thought. "Dear, what is your name?"

"Gearloose," the filly replied.

"Well, Gearloose, The Great And Mysterious Trixie is going to let you in on a little secret: anypony can be happy. Anypony can smile. The ability is in them. And you're absolutely right. Our job, as magicians -- as entertainers -- is to remind them of that very fact. You'd be surprised how long a way it goes."

"Comes a little easier to some ponies than others, though," Gearloose said.

"Now, what makes you say that?"

Gearloose pointed up at her forehead, and Trixie looked. Hair, and nothing else. True enough, Gearloose was an earth pony.

"Pah! No matter." Trixie shook her head. "All ponies are magical. Anyone can entertain audiences with unseen magical wonders! But it takes adherence to a few basic tenets. If you wish to follow this path, there are three things that you need to remember."

Gearloose hopped to attention. "I'm all ears!"

"Excellent. First: never stop learning. Second: never stop practicing. Finally: never compare yourselves to others. Especially highly magical unicorns. There are ponies, and other things, that will test you every step of the way -- but if you simply stay confident, believing in your own worth, you'll be able to weather any of life's storms."

Trixie put her hooves on the filly's shoulders. "Do these three things, and it will never, ever matter if you have a horn or not. You'll find out how to walk my path, in your own way -- though hopefully even better than I did. Understand?"

Gearloose nodded, but said nothing. Instead she reached into her mane again and pulled out a small, blue plush doll that had been stuck in it. She gave the doll to Trixie, who turned it around in her hooves. It was crude, but still easily recognizable as herself. Even her cutie mark was there, albeit a little crooked.

"The Great And Mysterious Trixie will treasure this always," Trixie said, with a sincere smile.

She levitated a bouquet of flowers from a nearby vase and gave it to Gearloose. As the filly looked at with curiosity, she said, "It's a trick bouquet. Neverending."

"Never... ending?"

Trixie's horn glowed, and the number of flowers in the bouquet increased in quantity.

"Infuse it with magic, and the flowers will never stop blooming or multiplying. If you, as an earth pony, can make it work, then you're well on your way to your dream."

Gearloose's eyes lit up. "Thanks, Miss Trixie!"

"Gearloose!" A mare's voice sounded from the hallway outside. "Young filly, you had better not be where I think you are!"

Gearloose's face fell. "My parents." She sighed.

"Worry not, young one. Trixie will handle this," she whispered. Raising her head, Trixie called out, "She's in here!"

A mare and stallion walked into the room, and instantly ran towards their daughter. "There you are!" said the mare. "What have we told you about running off?"

"But who knows when we'd ever see her again?" Gearloose protested.

The stallion rolled his eyes. "We're sorry, ma'am. Whenever our daughter decides she wants something..."

"Quite all right," Trixie said. "Your daughter's been nothing short of wonderful."

"She talks about you all the time," said the mare, getting up and shaking Trixie's hoof. "I'm Readmare, and this is my husband Waterfield. We're her parents."

"Yes, I gathered. Listen. I know it's not my place to give... well, advice on raising young ones." She walked to a corner of the room, gesturing for the couple to follow. "But it would appear that this girl has a rather strong dream. I'm sure we've all realized that she will come across some hardships attempting to pursue it."

The parents nodded.

"Still, I speak as somepony who went through several changes and hardships herself to get here." She looked at them earnestly. "Never let her give up, for her reasoning is just and kind. Also, feed her some smiles. I believe she could use them. Manehattan certainly won't provide them unbidden, so they must come from those she trusts the most."

The two ponies hesitated, looked back at their daughter, then back at Trixie. "We understand," Readmare said. "And thanks."

Trixie nodded. "I do what I can. When I can. Farewell, Gearloose." Trixie waved. "I expect great things!"

"I'll do my best!" Gearloose waved back.

The family left, and Trixie was alone again. She turned back to the mirror.

"We do what we can," she and her reflection repeated in unison. "When we can."

---

"Lulamoon's Castle"

A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fanfiction

Chapter 3: "In Motion"

Bookish Delight, 2014. MLP:FiM belongs to Hasbro.

---

At the sound of several hard knocks, Trixie stirred.

The knocks stopped, and she rolled in her bed in an attempt to resume her rest. She would have succeeded, too, had she not been fully awoken by a thunderclap, followed by the sound of rain.

No choice but to get up, then. Once her head cleared of sleep, she looked down and saw that she had been hugging Gearloose's plush doll in her forelegs.

Had she cried herself to sleep? Shameful. At least nopony had been there to see it.

She nudged her window up just enough to see outside. It was already evening, and sure enough, a storm was in full swing. Heavens, she'd been out for hours. She must have been more tired than she thought.

The knocks started up again.

"Who dares to disturb-" She stopped herself. It was time to try a different line for once. "Who is it?" she asked.

"It's... it's Twilight," said a muffled voice from outside. "Can I come in?"

"T-Twilight!?"

Trixie bristled. The old drive, the old motivation, the adrenaline, came surging back. Here and now would be the perfect chance, the perfect time, to prove herself, to herself, against one of Equestria's so-called prin-

Trixie froze.

Princesses.

The events of earlier that day came back to her. Her heart twisted. Her drive was replaced with hollowness, emptiness. Visions of Princess Twilight, with the world standing behind her, standing over Trixie's face-down, defeated form refused to leave her.

Who was she kidding? The writing was on the wall. It had been for years. A chill rushed through Trixie, punctuated by more thunder outside. She shivered.

"Go away and leave Trixie in peace," was her response.

"Huh? But-"

"I said go!"

Trixie plopped on her bed. All was silence for minutes.

What I should have done with that stupid amulet, Trixie thought, was turn back time! Stopped myself from ever leaving the school! Then maybe I could be half the-

Her stewing was interrupted by a wonderful scent wafting in through the window.

What in the world...?

She opened the window fully, and got a faceful of rain for her troubles. Ignoring this, she looked around to see Twilight Sparkle with an umbrella over her head, and levitating a steaming tin next to herself.

"Why are you still here?" Trixie barked.

"Technically I left, then came back," Twilight said, conjuring an umbrella over Trixie's head. "I thought you might be hungry. These are best when hot, though."

Trixie opened her mouth to refuse Twilight's invitation again. Unfortunately, when she inhaled, the smell invaded her completely. It was a rich, dense sweetness which made her mouth water and her stomach growl.

Hunger overcame stubbornness. She looked back down at Twilight. Curse that smile. The smile of superiority, no doubt.

Trixie sighed and closed the window. She carefully tucked the doll of herself in a nearby drawer, and did a quick straightening-over spell to put her mane and coat in order. She lit the magic lamps on her wall with quick illumination spells. Finally, she cast one more spell to unlock and open the carriage's door.

She ran one last nervous hoof through her mane, then said, "You may enter."

Twilight Sparkle stepped inside, levitating the still-steaming tin behind her. She looked around. "Wow. I mean, I know it's big on the outside, but..."

Trixie shrugged. "Trixie is simply good at using space. When you travel with your home, you have to. Now, what is that you have there?" She pointed to the tin. "Are you trying to poison The Great And Powerful-"

"Trixie." Twilight cut her off. "I would never do that. Not to you. Besides, think about it. As a princess of Equestria, how would that look?"

Trixie thought about it. "The Great And Powerful Trixie finds your explanation acceptable." She looked closer at the tin, taking a sniff. The heavenly, sugared scents filled her nostrils, more intensely than before. "Truly, then, what... what are these? They smell..." The word escaped against her will. "...spectacular."

"Hay and oatmeal cookies," said Twilight. "Fresh, too."

Trixie stopped, and looked straight at Twilight with an accusing glare. "Did these come from your kitchen?"

"No," Twilight said, with a laugh. "Cookie-baking is next week's lesson. These are from Sugarcube Corner. It's a bakery close by."

Trixie's face brightened. "Ahhh, you went to professionals! Clearly you understand that Trixie warrants naught but the best." She patted the cushion beside her, motioning for Twilight to sit. Twilight did so.

"Excellent. And now, you may feed Trixie." Trixie opened her mouth.

Twilight shook her head. "Sorry, but I've gotta draw the line somewhere. You want food, you'll need to feed yourself."

Trixie huffed. "Fine, fine, but only this once." She grabbed a cookie, took a bite, and gave a small sound of pleasure. "These cookies are worthy of Trixie! Congratulate yourself, Sparkle, for there can be no higher compliment."

"Glad you like them. I'll have to send Mrs. Cake those compliments, though."

Trixie blinked. "Mrs. Who?"

"She's the one who baked these. She runs Sugarcube Corner with her husband. And sometimes Pinkie Pie," Twilight added after some thought.

Trixie chuckled in remembrance. "The pink pony whose mouth Trixie stole last time she was here?"

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Same one," she said dryly. "I'm surprised you know her name, though."

"It was impossible for Trixie not to. The Pie family are celebrities in all things granite. You work on a rock farm, you can't escape any of their names." Trixie scoffed. "Mind you, Trixie has no clue why this is, and doesn't particularly care. Rock farming is a dreadful 'profession' that The Great And Powerful Trixie was not built for, and will never go back to, so help her Celestia."

Not knowing how to respond, Twilight instead left the bed and wandered around the room. Her eyes fell to the several shiny trophies. "You probably don't have to worry about that. It looks like you've been busy."

"The Great And Powerful Trixie is always busy! If you don't stay on your toes, someone will come along and make your act obsolete."

"But you've been everywhere." She pointed to an especially large golden goblet. "Look at all these magic competition prizes! What pony doesn't know your name?"

Trixie cocked her head. "If you're trying to butter me up, Sparkle, it won't work. The Great And Powerful Trixie is already quite aware of how great and powerful she is."

"I know it might sound like buttering up, but I'm not." Twilight turned back to look at Trixie. "You know how I said when I attend political gatherings, it always weirds me out?"

After a short hesitation, Trixie slowly nodded.

"Well, that's just the tip of the iceberg. I never was a very social pony. I only learned how nice it was to know lots of other ponies when I moved here a few years back. Performing in front of others might be easy for you, but I have to muster up all my nerve just to stay silent in front of a procession. I'm actually jealous."

"Hmmmm." Trixie put her hoof to her chin. "I suppose that makes sense. You really didn't get out much as a filly, did you?"

Twilight did a double take. "How did you kno-" She sighed. "Well, I guess lots of ponies are hearing more and more of the 'Great Princess Twilight Sparkle's' humble origins," she said in a derisive tone.

"Mmmm," Trixie replied. "Something like that."

She left the bed and stepped in front of Twilight, peering straight at her. Twilight did the same, with a confused expression.

Trixie levitated another cookie to her muzzle, and munched. She closed her eyes, basked in the flavor, and relaxed. "Twilight?"

"Yes, Trixie?"

The nervousness returned. Trixie turned her back to Twilight, tapping her hoof on the floor repeatedly and doing her best not to shake.

"T-The Great And Powerful Trixie w-wishes to... ask for forgiveness regarding her outburst a few hours ago. She was a guest in another's home, and no matter one's opinion, it is ever uncouth to sound out such sentiments."

There. It was out. After a few deep breaths, the nervousness passed. Good riddance to it -- nervousness was the bane of all performance artists.

Twilight blinked in surprise. "I... uh... wow. Apology accepted," she said.

Trixie didn't reply.

"But you wanna know something?" Twilight continued. "I actually agreed with you."

Trixie whirled around. "What?"

"You think the castle intimidates you? I have to live in it. All the time. It's still overwhelming. And I keep getting lost! Heck, that's kind of why I came out here."

"You're kidding," said Trixie, now not knowing what to think.

Twilight shook her head. "Like I said, a lot of this fell into my lap. I know I should be grateful for it all, and I know I've done a lot of hard work to get to this point. But that doesn't mean I ever plan to be rewarded for it, nor does it mean I know what to do when I am." Twilight chuckled. "Not that it stops my friends from giving suggestions. Rarity is always telling me to 'live a little,' and now that she knows she has a seat in the castle, believe me, she-"

Trixie cut Twilight off with boisterous laughter.

Twilight took a step back. "W-w-what's so funny?"

"Ah, yes, Rarity!" Trixie said amidst laughs. "Sorry, it's just that I know her as the reason so many ponies are prancing about in hotel curtains on Bridleway these days! The Great And Powerful Trixie has never witnessed a sight so hilarious! She almost wishes she has that sort of influence."

Once Trixie's words sunk in, Twilight's eyes lit up, and she laughed as well. "She'll be so glad to hear that! Wow, so you've been to Manehattan recently?"

Trixie's eyes glinted. "Perhaps."

Twilight gave a little hop. "See? This is exactly what I meant earlier! It's got to be the most amazing thing ever to be able to see the world, yet always be home."

Trixie scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous! What are you talking about? A grand home, atop an owned plot of land is a symbol of your success as a pony!" She turned her head and gave a small 'hmph'. "Please. I know patronization when I see it, Sparkle."

To Trixie's surprise, Twilight walked around and gave a challenging glare in response. "Do you really?"

"W-what?" Trixie stammered, thrown off guard.

"When I need to see Princess Celestia in Canterlot, I need to take a train there. If it then turns out I need something from my house, I have to go back. This is to say nothing of if I have to visit the Crystal Empire, or if I just feel like seeing my family on the spur of the moment, or I go to whole a new place that needs my help!"

"Your point?"

Twilight sighed. "The point is, if I didn't have a dragon able to transport things to me, I'd practically live on the train." She gave a small flap of her wings. "Or in the sky, I guess. But the kind of freedom your carriage offers allows you to make and see friends all over the world, without stopping for a second unless you want to! To say nothing of entertaining them. All of that's a lot harder to do if your home's rooted to one spot." Twilight giggled. "Pun not intended."

Trixie rolled her eyes at the joke, but otherwise was set to thinking again. Why did this girl have a halfway-sensible point for everything?

"When you put it that way... I suppose it has its benefits. My wagons have seen many miles in pursuit of the perfect magic act."

"I believe it!" Twilight nodded, gesturing around the room. "Especially given my new responsibilities, I can't see this as anything but efficient. Not to mention fun."

And before Trixie could react, Twilight scooped Trixie's hooves into hers. She stared into the blue unicorn's eyes with a serene smile.

"Can we ride somewhere, Trixie? Please?"

Trixie's blush would have been impossible for even Celestia to prevent. To say nothing of how warm she was suddenly feeling.

"I-I-I don't see why not..." Trixie's head darted left and right. "But Ponyville's a little out of the way. I have no idea what notable place we could ride to at this time of night without it being morning by the time we got there."

Twilight conjured a map of the area, marked an X at its eastern end, and showed it to Trixie.

"We won't have to go far. But there's a place I'm sure would give you a much nicer view than my crazy shiny castle."

"Hmmmm." Trixie looked at the map, which showed a clear trail that gradually became narrower the further on it went towards Twilight's marked destination. "Alright, this is doable."

She applied her own magic to the map, enveloping it in a blue light. Soon, that light coated the outside of the carriage, and it moved.

"Wow!" Twilight bounced to the window, looking out at the moving Ponyville nightscape as the carriage picked up speed. "It's like a theme park ride!"

Lounging on the bed, Trixie yawned. "Quit that. I swear, you're like a schoolfilly."

"Oh, come on. You mean you've never looked out of your carriage before just to enjoy the view?"

"Of course I used to! But when you live in it, it sort of becomes old hat."

"What about looking with someone else? That tends to make the old new again."

"Pfft. What do you mean, someone else? You're..."

Trixie fell quiet. She shook her head.

"You're still very, very, odd. But Trixie will humor you just this once."

She left the bed, walked over to the window and stood next to Twilight.

The rain was down to a light drizzle. The moon was peeking ever-so-slightly out from behind the clouds. If weather patterns held, it would be be a nice breezy summer night.

She can't be right... can she? thought Trixie as she looked out the window. Pah. I'm only testing a theory. So what if she's the first pony to ride with me in this carriage?

She looked at Twilight, who was still entranced by the view.

Or any of my carriages?

Twilight's ear twitched. Trixie jolted in place, and quickly turned her head back to the window.

Don't look at her! Keep your eyes front. I don't know why I keep listening to her tonight anyway.

Trixie looked up at the moon, which was still struggling to escape the clouds.

It was clear the storm wouldn't let it do so without a fight.

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