• Published 4th Nov 2011
  • 5,282 Views, 104 Comments

Trixcord - RTStephens



Two grandstanders. Only one horn.

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Actor Meetup

A single mare trotted through the night. An upcoming show, the biggest of her life, weighed heavily on her thoughts and she needed this time to calm her mind. Plus, a walk in the world famous Canterlot Sculpture Garden would take her to a certain statue that she needed to see.

Trixie turned her head back and forth to gaze at the stone statues she passed by, each of which represented a different aspect of harmony. Friendship, loyalty, forgiveness and many others went by as she trotted through the garden. She would have found the experience of being in this place inspirational had her mind not been focused on the next night.

This is it, Trixie, the light blue unicorn thought to herself as she made her way through the darkened hedges. Only a few firefly-filled lights hanging from wooden poles lit the path she walked upon, just enough for the showmare to see by. This is your big comeback. You can’t screw it up. It’s taken you too long to get to this point and there are no more second chances.

The harsh sounds of her hooves clopping against the ground, much harder than necessary, broke her out of her musings. Trixie frowned and forced herself to trot at a more sedate pace. She couldn’t allow that particular nervous habit of hers to potentially chip a hoof on a stray rock. It would be one of many things that she didn’t need to deal with in preparing for the following night’s show.

“Calm down,” Trixie said aloud, hoping the sound of her voice would quell the growing unease that she felt. “You’ll do fine. In fact, better than fine. To really impress those stuck up nobles, you need to see that statue. Everything will be perfect once you do.”

A grin came to Trixie's face as she imagined the shocked faces of the aristocracy. “I’ll bring the worst threat this world has ever seen right before them. They’ll never see it coming. Tomorrow, I’ll knock ‘em dead! The Grand Galloping Gala will be the start of my glorious rise!”

Trixie reared up on her hind legs and neighed in delight. Finally, her chance had come! Just a little more research and she’d have the most perfect performance of her life! Trixie lowered herself down to all fours and took off into the depths of the sculpture garden.

---------------------------------------------------

“What do you mean Trixie can’t pass?!”

“I mean exactly what I said.”

Trixie glared up at the unicorn guard standing in her way. The grey coated stallion stood over a head taller than herself, and his muscled body was adorned with dark blue armor. His no-nonsense gaze clearly indicated that he wasn’t going to let any pony through.

Unfortunately for him, Trixie didn’t consider herself just any pony. “Do you have any idea who you are speaking to?! Trixie is the new rising star of Canterlot and she doesn’t have time to stand around and argue! Let her through or she will have you reported and demoted to kitchen duty!”

The guard, Barricade, maintained his dispassionate demeanor. “Ma’am, if you don’t vacate the premises, I will be forced to show you out.”

A low growl escaped from Trixie’s clenched teeth. Of all the rotten luck, she had to encounter a coltscout on duty. What was so important back there that needed guarding, anyway? There were only statues here, for Pete’s sake!

Trixie took a breath through her nose and released it through her mouth. Now calmer, Trixie said, “Look, my good stallion, perhaps an exception could be made for--OH MY, CELESTIA! Is that Sapphire Shores?!”

“Where?! Where?!” Barricade exclaimed. He whipped his head from side to side in hopes of catching sight of the famous pony of pop. “I love her work! Maybe I can get her auto... graph.” He noticed that the troublesome mare no longer stood next to him and the sound of galloping hooves fading into the distance reached his ears.

“Stop! Come back here!”

If Trixie heard the order, she ignored it and continued running as fast as she could. Just one glimpse; that’s all she needed. She raced through the hedge maze, eyes darting to and fro to spot the statue she was looking for. She turned a corner and gasped. There it was! A creature unlike any other lay on a pedestal just a few feet away. Just a few more seconds and she’d have everything she needed-

An impact from behind sent her sprawling to the ground to land at the base of the statute.

“Gotcha!”

Trixie shook her head and looked up from her position on the ground. The guard from before stood over her and reached forward to grab her. She cried out and blindly lashed out with a hind leg. The unexpected attack caught the guard on the nose.

Barricade cursed and stepped back, rubbing his sore snout. Trixie didn’t waste the opportunity and gazed up at the stone figure. She could see the details of it now. The mismatched horns on top of the creature’s pony head, the serpentine body with four different arms and legs and the dragon-like tail coiling at its feet. There was more on the back but the angle she was looking from hid them. She moved to circle around.

“Oh, no you don’t!”

A white aura of magic surrounded Trixie’s body a second before her forward momentum stopped completely.

“NO!” Trixie yelled. She tried thrashing, but Barricade’s magical grip didn’t break. Calling on her own magic didn’t work either. “I need to see a little more!”

“Lady, you’re out of here,” Barricade spoke with finality.

“Trixie will never forgive you for this!” Trixie continued to scream. It was all she could do as the guard levitated her away from the statue.

Neither heard the small sound of stone cracking.

With his quarry in tow, Barricade led Trixie towards the exit to the gardens. With a flick of his head, he flung Trixie into the air. The unicorn landed in a row of bushes, cushioning her fall but leaving her covered in twigs and leaves.

“And don’t let me catch you around here again!” Barricade yelled at her. He turned sharply and marched back to his post, missing the hate filled glare Trixie sent his way.

Barricade reached his designated spot and began patrolling once again. Only a few minutes passed since dealing with the obnoxious mare when he felt something tap him on the back. He whirled and brandished his horn, ready to take on any new threats.

“Whoa! Take it easy!” another guardspony cried out. He stepped back and held up a hoof in a placating manner. “You’re awfully jumpy tonight.”

“Sorry,” Barricade apologized and stepped back. “I’ve had some trouble tonight.”

“I heard on my way here. What was the commotion all about?”

“Just some mare trying to get in. I don’t know why she wanted to get into the new restricted area.”

“Crazy ponies.”

“Right. So, why are you here?”

“Oh, right! I’m here to take over your shift.”

Barricade raised an eyebrow. “My shift doesn’t end for a few more hours.”

“Ah...,” the replacement guard trailed off. He shuffled a hoof nervously in the dirt before straightening up and said, “Well... I... I’ve been trying to get more overtime, see? I have a new... girlfriend to impress so I need the bits for a nice date.” The guard smiled widely.

Barricade frowned and narrowed his eyes. He walked up to the newcomer and peered at him intensely. The other guard began to sweat and his smile became more forced the longer he was scrutinized.

A grin broke out on Barricade’s face and he wrapped a hoof against the second guard’s chest. “Ha! I’ve been there! Before I married the missus, I was pulling all-nighters for weeks just to afford tickets to the theatre. I hated that stuff but she loves it. Got engaged that night so it was worth it!” Barricade saluted and trotted off. “Make sure you get flowers!” he called back. “Never fails!”

The second guard smiled weakly and waved back until Barricade was out of sight. Now alone, he wiped the beads of sweat rolling down his forehead and activated his horn. A soft purple glow surrounded it before encompassing his entire body. His form was briefly lost in a flash of light and when the light faded away, a different pony stood in his place.

“Loser,” Trixie scoffed. With a flip of her mane, she turned and trotted towards her goal.

---------------------------------------------------

“Now, let’s do this the right way and without any interruptions,” said Trixie, standing before Discord’s statue. Without the presence of the guard, she walked behind the creature known as a draconequus and examined the final parts she needed; a bat and pegasus wings protruding from its back.

“My, you are an ugly thing,” Trixie commented as she returned to the front of the statue. Her horn lit up and a magical aura surrounded the stone monument. “Trixie hopes you don’t mind, but she needs to make sure she gets every detail. A little scan won’t hurt you.” Trixie’s magic flowed around the statue, feeling out every nook and cranny to help form the most perfect picture of the creature in her mind.

After a few moments, Trixie ended her scan. At least she tried to. Her horn remained alight and a small glimmer of her magic was still visible on the draconequus’ goat foot. Trixie warily eyed the glow and began to edge away. Suddenly, she felt a tug on her horn.

“Wha?!” Trixie cried out in alarm and attempted to wrench her head away. There was another tug, stronger than before, and to her horror she felt her whole body being pulled towards the statue. “S-s-top! Help! Someone help Trixie!”

She dug her hooves into the ground, but this did nothing to slow her down. The pull was insistent and unshakeable. Trixie raised her hooves and braced herself against the pedestal, finally stopping her torso but her head continued to be forced forward. She gritted her teeth, tears streaming down her cheeks, as her horn pulled her head forward even as she strained to pull it back.

Trixie let out a pained gasp as her horn touched the glow on the statue’s goat leg and shivered as a chill flowed through her. Immediately, her entire body felt tired and her struggles began to lessen. Her eyelids drooped down and the urge to stop and sleep started to overwhelm her.

“NO!”

A surge of magic blasted out of Trixie’s horn, breaking her free of the invisible force that had held her. Trixie flew back and landed heavily on the ground. With her energy spent from her desperate gambit, Trixie gave one last wheeze of breath before passing out.

The glade became still and quiet. No living creature in the area dared break the absolute calm that had descended. That is until a finger on the stone draconequus’ eagle claw twitched.

Slowly, the hands of the statue began to creak and groan as they moved, the screech of stone grinding against stone breaking the silence of the garden. The lion paw and eagle talon strained and pushed as they reached up towards the head of the statue. The hands managed to grab hold of the face that had been frozen in horror. With a sickening crack, the hands wrenched the head in the opposite direction it had been facing, leaving it at an angle that would have been the death of any flesh and blood creature. Even so, the hands repositioned themselves and repeated the action from before, only this time jerking the head in the other direction. The hands removed themselves, revealing that the expression of the statue had changed to that of a grimace rather than one of terror. The hands placed themselves behind the wings of the creature’s back and with a strained heave, they pushed. The whole statue bent in half, backwards, as it stretched itself as much as it could.

“Ooooohhhhhh...,” the draconequus managed to moan from its mouth. “Being stuck in stone is terrible for my back.”

Discord smiled as his movements became much more fluid and raised himself into a standing position. Using his mismatched hands, he began brushing his body, pushing flecks of stone to the ground. Finally, he finished and hopped down from the pedestal he had been standing on. With one last stretch to the sky, Discord took stock of his surroundings.

“Celestia put me back in the same spot again?” He tsked. “That self-righteous twit really has no sense of originality.”

Discord suddenly lost his scowl and jumped into the air. “Freedom! Oh, how wonderfully unexpected that was!”

Despite being elated that he was no longer trapped, Discord figured he didn’t have much time before Celestia and her little pack of brats descended upon this garden and tried to put him right back where he had come from. As if he’d let that happen again. Getting turned to stone was so boring!

Acting swiftly, Discord snapped his eagle talons. The discarded stone pieces that had trapped him rose up and quickly reassembled themselves onto the pedestal. In seconds, the statue from before was back in place, expression and all.

“There. That should keep Celestia off my tail for a bit.” Dusting his hands in satisfaction, he turned towards the only other being in the grove with him. He knelt down and patted the sleeping unicorn on the head.

“Thank you, dear,” he said down to Trixie. “You performed splendidly. Perhaps I’ll look you up again once I’ve got this place to my liking.” Chuckling darkly, he rose back up-

-and then his body gave out. He crashed next to Trixie and nearly joined her in unconsciousness. He groggily attempted to push himself back up but there was no strength in his hands to do so.

“W-what... what is hap... happening... to me?” Discord gasped out. His entire body felt heavy and it was a struggle to even keep his eyes open. He tried summoning his magic, an act that was as natural for him as breathing was for other creatures, but nothing happened. A sense of panic began welling up within him, a sensation that he was largely unfamiliar with. Only in the moments when his body had begun turning to stone had he ever felt this way before.

“What is with all the racket back here?!”

Discord’s eyes widened in alarm as the sounds of a pony approaching could be heard. He had to do something quick or he’d be caught even before he’d had a chance to get away. He hadn’t risked everything just so that he would return as a roosting spot for the birds! Using every ounce of strength that remained, he reached forward with his lion paw towards the unicorn next to him. With one last thrust of his furry finger, he managed to touch Trixie’s horn. Immediately, he felt himself sucked into the protruding skull bone until there was no more trace of him.

Barricade galloped into the glade a moment later. He quickly spotted Trixie laying on the ground and growled in frustration. “You again?! Darn, stubborn mare!” When the mare in question didn’t respond, he lost his angry look to be replaced by a concerned one. He trotted up and nudged Trixie with a hoof. “Ma’am? You okay?” He bent down and placed his head against her chest and was relieved to feel her heartbeat.

Sighing, Barricade carefully lifted Trixie up with his magic and headed out of the maze. “They don’t pay me enough for this job.”

---------------------------------------------------

“She’s in here, your majesty.”

Princess Celestia nodded as Barricade stopped and stood at attention next to the medical center within Canterlot castle. Upon learning of a pony that had entered the restricted area, Celestia had asked to see her. Discord’s statue was still where it was suppose to be, but if a single unicorn could slip through then perhaps it was time to move it out of the garden altogether. Having a repeat of his last escape wasn’t something that Celestia wanted to experience twice in a millenium.

Stepping inside the ward, Celestia quickly spotted a blue unicorn sleeping on a bed and being attended to by a nurse pony. The nurse looked up from the chart attached to the unicorn’s bed and said, “Princess, how nice of you to come. Our mysterious pony hasn’t woken up since she was brought here but she seems to be doing well.”

“Thank you, Nurse Pulse,” Celestia replied, moving next to the bed. “I would like to inspect her myself, if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all.” Nurse Pulse stepped aside and allowed Celestia to hover over her patient.

The princess didn’t waste any time and lowered her horn to touch Trixie’s forehead. A golden glow surrounded her horn, starting a spell that would detect any strange anomalies. The results she got back were not encouraging. The mare was just exhausted but something about her horn felt... off. There was something there. Something... familiar. It was as if an object was just at the edge of her awareness but whenever she directed her magic to it, it would move to stay just out of reach. Celestia focused harder.

“Almost have you...” she said with some strain. “There you are-What? It’s... it’s gone!”

“Your majesty?” the nurse asked in concern.

Celestia ignored her and cast her spell again. She scanned every inch of the unicorn’s horn but could no longer detect the anomaly from before. After a second search that provided the same results, she huffed in annoyance and stopped, regarding the pony resting before her.

The princess’ musing were cut short as Trixie moaned and slowly blinked her eyes open. The unicorn studied the room briefly before resting her gaze upon the princess and gasped.

“Oh, you’re finally awake, young one,” Celestia greeted gently. “Looks like I timed my visit just right.”

Trixie involuntarily gulped. Even though she had never met either of the princesses of Equestria in person, there was no mistaking the sight of the regal winged unicorn. The soft lighting of the room was enough to display her presence but there seemed to be an inner glow to the princess, as if any room that Celestia walked into would brighten no matter how dark the surroundings.

“Feeling any better?” the princess asked.

Trixie wasn’t one to be struck speechless very often. However, waking up to find the ruler of the kingdom talking to her was quickly sapping any manner of thought from her brain. Focus! Trixie scolded herself before she clamped up completely. Obviously, the princess is here because she’s heard about my exploits and wants to be sure the most powerful unicorn of her kingdom is well! Say something before you look foalish! Trixie raised her head, took a deep breath and opened her mouth to answer.

Yes,” she squeaked out.

Nice one, moron.

Celestia smiled, softening her expression and setting Trixie a little more at ease. Though Celestia never once took her eyes off the smaller pony. “I hope you don’t mind but I have a few questions that I’d like you to answer for me. Are you feeling up to talking?”

“O-o-of... of course, your majesty,” Trixie finally managed to get out. What else could she have possibly said? Tell her to buzz off?

“Wonderful.” Celestia came around the bed and sat down next to Trixie’s side. “Now, I’d like to know what you were doing last night in the sculpture garden. Take your time, dear.”

Trixie swallowed to try to get some moisture in her suddenly dry mouth and took a moment to better collect her thoughts. She’d already messed up once and couldn’t bear to continue appearing stupid.

“Trix-I mean, I-I just... wanted to get a look at that weird statue,” Trixie began to explain. “I was going to use it in my show tonight. I wanted to make sure I got it as accurate as possible.”

“Oh, really?” Celestia raised a delicate eyebrow at that admission. “What type of show were you planning?”

"I wanted to tell the story of how the Elements of Harmony defeated the spirit of chaos. I'm good with illusions you see and I use them to help illustrate my stories."

“I see...” Celestia trailed off, going into thought.

“Can..can I ask a question?”

Celestia was brought out of her musings by the timid voice. “Certainly.”

“What... happened to me back there?”

“I’m not sure. All I’ve been told was that you were found asleep in the gardens. Do you remember anything before that?”

Trixie shook her head. “No. All I can remember was that my magic wasn’t working right and then everything went black.”

Celestia hummed to herself. She didn’t sense that the unicorn before her was lying so there was no point in trying to pry more information out of her. For now, at least. Standing to her full height, Celestia looked down at Trixie. “Thank you for taking time to speak to me. If you still feel up to it, I’m looking forward to your show tonight at the Gala. Are you still planning on performing?”

Trixie suddenly jumped to her hooves as though she had been laying on a spring. Celestia reared back in surprise. “Of course!” Trixie loudly proclaimed, finally feeling her energy return. “Trixie wouldn’t dream of cancelling after such an insignificant incident! We have a saying in the business she works in. ‘The show must go on!’ and Trixie does not disappoint!”

“Really,” Celestia drawled.

Trixie blinked. “You... will be there?”

“Why, yes. I’m curious to see your interpretation of Discord's defeat. It sounds interesting.”

Trixie was left speechless before her professionalism took over and kept her from making a foal out of herself in front the princess. “Y-yes, of course. Of course! It will be beyond anything anypony has ever seen!” She stood up on her hind legs and spread her forelegs wide, appearing ready to start her performance at this very second.

Celestia chuckled at the sight of such an excited pony, her worries of the past few minutes gradually washing away. Still, a nagging voice in the back of her head remained, insisting that something was rotten in Stallmark. Keeping an eye on Trixie for a bit longer would be necessary.

---------------------------------------------------

Trixie paced back and forth behind the curtain of the stage. The butterflies flying around in her stomach had started the moment she’d arrived to get a quick rehearsal in, and hadn’t left since. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had stage fright this badly.

But she couldn’t help it! This was it! This was the show that would determine if she made it or not. After picking up the pieces of her act and struggling to make it this far, this was the night that held her future in its hooves.

In an attempt to calm herself, Trixie fussed with the garbs she now wore; a purple magician’s hat and flowing cape covered in yellow stars of varying sizes. A cheap set to replace the ones lost in Ponyville. Trixie shifted the hat to better cover her head, frustrated that no matter how much she adjusted the position, it never seemed to fit right. A pang of nostalgia for her old set briefly overcame her, but she ruthlessly pushed it back. This was no time for regrets. Perhaps if things went well a better set could be afforded, one that made her feel great and powerful once again.

If things go well, Trixie thought sourly.

She smacked herself in the head.

NO! Don’t think like that! You’re Trixie! You’ll knock those royal snobs right on their flanks! You can do this!

“Trixie, you’re on in five,” a male pony called to her from the other side of the curtain.

Trixie adjusted her hat once more and took a deep breath. The churning of her stomach gradually settled down, replaced with an iron determination to make this the best night ever.

“Prepare yourself, Canterlot,” Trixie said intensely to the ponies seated just beyond the curtain. “Because this will be a night you will never forget.” With that, she strode through the curtain and onto the stage.

The stage had been set up in the grand hall of the castle, one of the largest interiors in all of Equestria. The setup crew had done their work well, designing the stage to take up the entirety of the end of the hall, stretching from wall to wall. Trixie had plenty of room to do her thing. This would be the main attraction to end a rather dull Grand Galloping Gala thus far. Trixie had to drudge her way through the lower entertainment circuits before getting noticed by an influential noble, but it had been worth it. He had been entranced by her performances and had decided to give her a chance at a much larger gathering. The hall was packed with spectators, eager to see just what this up and coming actress could do. In the center of the room, a raised pedestal had been set up. Princess Celestia sat there on a plush pillow, patiently waiting for the show to start.

Trixie walked to the center of the massive stage and gave a deep bow. She raised herself back up and gazed out to the audience, adding a brilliant smile. “Mares and gentlecolts!” she announced to them in a voice amplified by her magic. It easily carried to every ear of the large room. “And our magnificent ruler, Princess Celestia! Thank you for coming! Tonight, Trixie will perform to you a tale that is well known to you all but has never been told like this!”

Trixie began to dance around, punctuating her words with movements. Standing still was much too boring and would lose her audience quickly. Energy was what it would take to wow them in their place.

“It began on a day like any other. Celestia’s sun shone brightly in the sky and the ponies of the world went about their happy lives. Everything was well in this marvelous land of ours. But, there was a foul wind that blew that day. From somewhere and yet nowhere, strange clouds began to appear. These clouds were colored an unnatural pink and instead of the life-giving rain that we all need, they instead drenched the land in chocolate! This occurrence was strange enough but this rain not only muddied our lands but turned the plants and animals into grotesque parodies of themselves.

“Princess Celestia, in her infinite wisdom, saw these signs and knew what needed to be done before events spiraled out of control. She summoned the legendary sextet that made up the Elements of Harmony and was about to bestow upon them their individual jewel that marked their special trait-”

Trixie began pooling her magic, readying herself for the first illusion of the night. This was it! The moment she had been preparing for!

“-when he appeared!”

From her horn, a figure shot out, stretching far past the end of the stage and towering over the shocked ponies before her. This figure was made up of an amalgam of several different animals that sent a shiver through everpony present. It spread it mismatched arm, legs and wings wide, appearing even larger to the masses. It threw its pony head back and gave a laugh that shook the walls of the hall.

“Discord!”

Trixie nearly lost control of her illusion from Celestia’s rage fueled cry. The princess had sprung to her hooves and her horn glowed a brilliant golden hue in preparation to strike the spirit of chaos down where he floated before her. She spread her wings, ready to take off and bring the battle to him if necessary.

Trixie flinched back, unprepared for such a reaction. Swallowing through a suddenly dry mouth, she proclaimed, “Yes! The princess is right! The very same being that ruled our lands over a thousand years ago before our great rulers, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, sealed him up in stone. However, as you all well know, he had returned to spread his evil over all ponies of Equestria again!” Trixie breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that Celestia, appearing a bit embarrassed by her outburst, settle back down into her seat.

Resisting the urge to wipe the sweat that had gathered just under her horn, Trixie concentrated again. With a flash of magic and stage lighting, six ponies appeared on the other end of the stage. These were much less detailed than Discord, since Trixie only had the stained glass window to go by, but each was identifiable by their colors, horns and wings. One particular purple unicorn was a little too familiar for her tastes but chalked it up as a coincidence. What were the chances of that show off in Ponyville being the same one as the Element of Magic?

Trixie stood up with her hind legs and with a wave of her forehooves, beckoned her actors to come to the front of the stage. The six ponies and Discord faced off with each other as the curtains in back shifted colors, creating a backdrop of tall, green hedgerows. “The new bearers confronted Discord in the palace hedge maze, seeking to reclaim the precious elements that he had stolen from them. But, he was crafty, and managed to turn our heroes against each other.”

Trixie settled back to all four of her legs and pointed a hoof towards the six ponies. Discord gave another chilling laugh and snapped his talon claws. One by one, the ponies’ colors slowly faded away to a dull grey, until only the purple pony was left. The ponies turned to each other and began swiping their hooves and butting heads with each other, with the purple pony trying to placate them.

The Discord illusion laughed again then burst into a blinding white light that forced the crowd to look away. When the light receded and they were able to turn back, the scenery of the curtains had changed, displaying floating buildings, checkered ground, tap-dancing bulls and many more depictions of randomness. Some in the crowd gasped as they recognized the town of Ponyville, seeing for the first time the chaos that had descended upon that unlucky town.

Served them right, Trixie thought.

A fine sheen of perspiration developed over Trixie’s coat as she hopped to her hind legs again, her horn glowing brightly in preparation for her next spell. So far, everything was going to plan but there was much left to do. In front of the storyteller, the purple unicorn reached out a hoof towards her five greyed-out friends, but they ignored her pleas and walked off stage. The pony dropped her head and wept for friendship lost while her colors drained out of her. Trixie suppressed a smile after spotting a few audience members actually wiping some tears from their eyes with a pocket handkerchief.

Suddenly, a solid ball of golden light appeared above the crowd’s heads, catching their attention. The light drifted back and forth above them, slowly making its way towards the stage. The light stopped in front of the purple unicorn and bobbed up and down in front of her. The discorded pony hesitantly reached for the light and when she touched it, it enveloped her body completely. The golden washed away, revealing the unicorn’s colors restored.

“What Discord didn’t count on was that ponies hold their friendships very dear to their hearts and are willing to fight with all their might to keep it!” Trixie explained.

The unicorn reared on her hind legs and galloped off to where her friends had left the stage. “In her darkest hour, the Element of Magic found the courage to rise up and vanquish Discord’s taint from her friends.” The purple unicorn returned on stage, followed by the brightly colored forms of the other Elements of Harmony. In a flash of light, Discord appeared before them. He pointed his lion claw at them and laughed at their pathetic attempt to stand up to him.

Finally, Trixie was ready for her climax. The bearers were once again their uncorrupted selves and began to rise up into the air. Trixie rushed over to join them and raised her forelegs to the sky. Pouring the last of her magic into a spectacular rainbow that erupted from her horn, it swirled over the heads of those gathered before striking the spirit of chaos. The illusion struggled against the rainbow, trying to push back the harmony with its claws. Discord’s image was overwhelmed and it was slowly replaced by the sight of the statue that was right now displayed in the sculpture gardens. With a final “poof!” of magic, all the conjured displays on the stage disappeared, leaving Trixie the sole occupant. She took off her magician’s hat and bowed to the crowd.

“And so did it end with harmony once again restored and chaos sealed away. The six brave ponies were honored for their duty to their country, forever immortalized within the grand tower of Canterlot for all to see. They are living legends for they still walk among us, ready to lend their strength and courage whenever it is needed.

“Glory to them! Glory to our princesses! And glory to Equestria!”

The roar of applause from the hall of gathered ponies rattled the windows and furnishings of the entire castle. Princess Celestia herself gave a vigorous clap of her hooves. The cheers and hoof stomping lasted for over a minute.

On stage, Trixie graciously basked in her well deserved moment of triumph.

---------------------------------------------------

“YES! YES! You did it Trixie! You did it, did it, did it! Who the mare?! You the mare! YOU! YOU! YOU! YES!”

To say that Trixie was pleased with herself was quite an understatement. Dancing, cartwheeling and bouncing around her dressing room, all the while yelling how awesome she was, Trixie felt the happiest she had ever been in a long time. A very long time.

Her jubilation lasted a few more minutes until she was just too exhausted to continue. She plopped down on the provided bed and rolled over so that she was staring at the ceiling, a huge grin spread across her muzzle. She raised her hooves into the air and imagined her name in lights above the archway that lead into the royal city. The Return of the Great and Powerful Trixie.

Tonight, Canterlot. Tomorrow, Equestria.

“Was there ever any doubt?” Trixie said softly. She giggled like a schoolfilly and turned over onto her stomach. Slowly, her eyes began to close as the day’s events finally caught up to her. As excited as she was, it had been a trying time, and rest would allow her to meet the bright new future waiting for her when the sun rose. She was soon fast asleep, her smile remaining in place.

It was an hour later when Trixie’s horn glowed softly. A clear mist began leaking out of the tip and began pooling in the center of the room. More and more of the mist spilled out and coalesced into a figure much larger than herself. Soon, the mist stopped coming and in the space next to her bed stood a much different being than anything else that lived in the castle.

Discord stretched out himself with a groan. “Ugh, it’s cramped in there,” he said. He took a moment to continue loosening himself up, glad to be out of such a confined space. Once he felt limber again, he turned towards the sleeping unicorn in the bed.

“Well, little one, I must say I’m grateful for you letting me shack up in your horn for a while and letting me leech off some magic here and there. And, this is just between you and me, but I rather enjoyed that show you put on. Even if it was about me losing,” he finished with a grumble.

The draconequus placed his taloned claw to his chin in thought and then smiled as he remembered one moment in particular during the performance. “Still, it was worth it to see the look on Celestia’s face when I popped out. That was priceless! I just know she’s going to have the most fitful sleep tonight!

“Did you like the laugh that I added?” he continued speaking to his unaware companion. “I thought it would bring a bit more authenticity to the whole thing. A proper spirit of chaos always has to cackle when revealing itself among you little ponies. I have a reputation to uphold, after all.”

Finished with his one sided conversation, he stepped away and into the center of the room. “Well, it’s been fun but I’ve got far too much work to do. Disharmony and chaos and all that jazz, don’t you know. I’ll put in a bad word for you once I’ve got this place buzzing. Ta ta.” With that, he closed his eyes and snapped his lion fingers together, willing himself away.

When he reopened them, Discord found himself still in the dressing room.

The draconequus blinked stupidly.

Frowning, Discord once again called upon his disorderly power and attempted to teleport out of the room. He remained exactly where he was. “What in blazes...?” Discord held out his talon hand and concentrated on summoning a cotton candy cloud, one of his favorite creations. Not a spec of pink appeared before him.

Forcing himself to remain calm, he pointed at a comb laying on Trixie’s dresser, his thoughts on simply having it levitate to him. Not a single hair from the showmare’s mane stuck in the bristles even so much as drifted towards him. Dumbstruck, Discord raised his hands up and looked at them as though seeing them for the first time.

“I’m... out of magic?” he whispered to no one in particular.

Impossible. Ludicrous. This couldn’t be happening. His entire being was magic. He wouldn’t be standing here in this dressing room if his body was out of magic. He felt fine, nothing like last night when he had literally keeled over in an overwhelming sense of weakness.

Discord wasn’t one to panic. The only times he could remember ever feeling that emotion was when his body was being encased in stone. Now, he was getting that feeling again and he didn’t like it.

He began pacing the room, intent on keeping his mind on figuring out what was going on, rather than losing himself to fear. “Let’s see,” Discord said to himself as he walked in circles. It helped him keep his wits in order to hear his own voice. “I know I had to strain a lot from being trapped in stone to leach magic from that pony, but all the power she let out should have rejuvenated me. I was even able to make a replacement statue without any trouble. But that’s exactly when I felt weak. Perhaps I didn’t take in enough of her magic? Or maybe I used even more than I thought to start the whole thing? I thought hiding in her horn and stealing a little magic whenever she cast a spell would do the trick and it seems to have helped. But I still can’t cast even basic magic. And yet I’m still alive...”

Discord stopped and pulled at his horns on top of his head in frustration. “Agh! This doesn’t make sense!” He suddenly whirled and roared at Trixie, “And don’t think the irony is lost on me!”

Trixie’s sleeping form didn’t respond.

The (sort of) spirit of (semi) chaos heaved a long sigh and sat heavily on the floor. He placed his lion elbow on his lizard knee and rested his pony chin on the furry knuckles. He stared off into space, pouting at this latest turn of events. He should have been raging and frothing at being so powerless, but Discord just couldn’t summon the energy to do so. While it might have made him feel better, the tiny portion of his mind that was still rational figured that it would be the quickest way for him to be found out by Princess Drool and the Elements of Lamery.

“This is intolerable,” he muttered. “To think that I, chaos incarnate, have been reduced to this.”

He sat there for a time, running through his options and not coming up with much that boded well for him. He certainly couldn’t go walking through the streets of Canterlot, proclaiming his return. Despite the idiots that lived in this country, it wouldn’t take long for somepony to point and say, “Hey, isn’t he that big dumb meanie that got sealed up in stone?” No, he had to stay hidden until his power returned to him. That meant being patient, something Discord wasn’t very good at when not stuck as a statue for a thousand years.

His eyes finally fell on Trixie, still dead to the world and completely oblivious to being in the same room with the creature that even Celestia had trouble dealing with. “I suppose if I have to be out of sight, it might as well be with you,” Discord reasoned. The corners of his mouth raised up into a smile, the first he’d had since discovering his predicament. “At least you’re interesting, what with being an actor and all. I myself have a flair for the dramatic, if I do say so myself. What do you say, my dear? Care to make a bargain?”

He rose to his feet, intent on doing this the correct way. His way. “I come before you to make a deal. I need your help so that I can heal. I propose that I stay in your horn until I am well and in return I will aid you with the stories that you tell.

“How about it?”

For a moment, the only movement Trixie made was the steady lifting of her chest as she breathed. Then, she shifted slightly in her sleep, dipping her head down into the crevasse of her legs for a better position. After that, she remained still.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

Satisfied that the pact was done, Discord reached forward and touched the tip of the unicorn’s horn. As before, he was sucked into it, once again merging himself with the mare’s life force. There he would stay until he was ready to take the world by storm.

Trixie, on the verge of reclaiming the title of Great and Powerful, murmured quietly about hay smoothies before returning to a deep sleep.

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