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

Trixcord - RTStephens



Two grandstanders. Only one horn.

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Encore

The next two weeks were a blur for Trixie. The success of her show at the Grand Galloping Gala produced so much buzz among the aristocracy that she was being booked to perform almost every night. She was the hot new ticket in town and every noblepony wanted to have her to show off to all their friends and rivals. Trixie knew that she was being used as a bragging chip but with the amount of bits they were willing to throw at her, she was content to play their game. Besides, she was getting what she wanted, money and fame, so who was using who?

For the most part, Trixie kept her shows to just retelling the legends of Equestria. She was still building up her rep and didn’t want to take chances in experimenting with her own stories. This proved to be a wise move as one particular night, while acting out the confrontation between the Elements of Harmony and the newly released Nightmare Moon in a wing of the castle, none other than Princess Luna had attended. Trixie hadn’t been sure how the princess of the night was going to react to such a personal tale but the show had gone on regardless and without a hitch. Afterwards, Luna had congratulated her personally for keeping her facts straight and staying true to the spirit of her defeat and subsequent purification. Trixie had been grateful but she was still clearing out her ears of the ringing that Luna’s ye olde Canterlot voice had caused. That princess really had to learn to control her volume if she didn’t want a kingdom full of deaf subjects.

All in all, it was a glorious time to be Trixie. And now was the time to think about leaving.

Trixie was no fool. She knew that her time in the limelight wouldn’t last with the fickle nature of the nobility. The moment they grew bored of her, they’d toss her aside like yesterday’s flan. However, if she left before that time, then she’d leave as the greatest performer Canterlot had known in decades, no questions asked. Trixie had made her mark and now it was time to head to the big time.

All Trixie had were just two more appearances and that would be the end of her time in the capital city. The first was tonight and it was something a bit different from her normal fare. She had been asked to act in one of William Shakesquill’s plays, Macquine. It had been a while since she had used her talents in a classic performance but it would be something different and would help showcase her vast acting range. Trixie had jumped at the chance and had landed the role for Lady Macquine, a character driven to greatness. It was perfect.

So, as the curtain rose within the prestigious Regal Mane Attraction Theatre of Canterlot, Trixie once again took center stage, one step closer to realizing her dreams.

The actress missed seeing a group of six mares taking a seat in a row towards the back of the large auditorium. However, the draconequus currently residing in her horn, did not.

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

A few minutes earlier...

“Why are we here again?” Rainbow Dash asked in disgust. She glared up at the theatre building that she and the rest of her friends were now waiting in line to enter.

“Really, Rainbow, would it hurt you to attend at least one culturally significant play in your life?” Rarity chastised the blue pegasus hovering just above her. “You could stand to sacrifice a few hours and gain a new perspective.”

“A few hours?! Are you serious?!”

“Don’t worry,” Twilight Sparkle said. “There’s an intermission in the middle so that we can stretch out for a while so we’re not sitting all that time.”

“That just makes it longer!” Rainbow exclaimed.

“Ah’m with Dash on this one,” Applejack spoke up. “Ah remember goin’ to some of these fancy shmancy plays when I was living with my Aunt and Uncle Orange. They’re the most boring wastes of time.

“Listen girls,” Twilight said as she faced her friends. “I know it’s strange that Princess Celestia had us travel all the way here just to watch a play but I’m sure there’s a reason for it. She wouldn’t waste our time like that. Once this is over we’ll go see her and she’ll explain everything.”

“Let’s go see her now!” Pinkie Pie suggested, hopping up and down. “I heard that this show is really sad and I don’t want to see anything sad especially when we go see her later. Or we could go do something else! I could get a party going at the castle!”

“No Pinkie,” Twilight said gently. “The princess’s instructions were very clear. We have to see this play and then we go see her.”

“Is it really a sad show?” Fluttershy meekly asked. “I... um... I’m not too sure I can enjoy something like that.”

“Well, it is categorized as a tragedy,” Twilight admitted. “From what I’ve read, it’s one of Shakesquill’s darker works-”

“You’re not helping your case, dear,” Rarity interrupted. She stepped in the center of the loose circle the girls had made while talking. “Tell you what, everypony. You all promise to get through this play and I’ll treat you all at the fabulous Bon Sejour. Doesn’t that sound nice?”

“What’s in it fer you?” Applejack wanted to know.

“What? Can’t a pony treat her friends out after a delightful night of camaraderie?”

“She just wants to make sure all the nobleponies see her at this fashionable soiree,” Fluttershy said aloud. Her eyes then widened and her hoof came up to her mouth but it was too late to take it back. “Oops. I... wasn’t suppose to say that, was I?”

From the glare that she was receiving from her spa buddy, Fluttershy took that as a yes.

“Come on,” Twilight urged before anypony else could come up with an excuse to leave. “We’re going in and that’s final. Or do you want to explain to the princess why the tickets she gave us weren’t used?”

“We could burn ‘em,” Rainbow Dash murmured under her breath, even as she landed on the ground and slid back in line. “No one would have to know...”

A few more grumbles were heard but eventually the others relented and resigned themselves to a boring evening. They passed through the ticket counter and made their way through the main hall that would take them to the amphitheater. Pinkie Pie held them up a bit when she broke off and proceeded to raid the concession stand for all the sweets and drinks that she could carry. She’d be darned if she wasn’t going to enjoy something about tonight’s show!

Once suitably loaded, the group entered the auditorium and took their seats in a row near the back of the room. Despite being what others would call “The Nosebleed” section, each of them could clearly see the stage, and judging from the acoustics being generated from other ponies milling around, they’d be able to hear whomever was speaking just fine.

They had arrived just in time too, as the curtain had already gone up and a line of actors and actresses had filed out and bowed to the gathered crowd. An earth pony, a dark grey stallion with a black mane and a grinning theatre mask for a cutie mark, stepped forward. He stood up on his hind legs and spread out his forelegs to address the entire audience.

“Welcome, one and all!” the stallion announced in a strong voice that carried over everypony in attendance. “Tonight, the Regal Mane Attraction Theatre is proud to presents to you the William Shakesquill classic, Macquine! Please enjoy the show! We ask that everypony be quiet and respectful during the performance!”

A loud belch sounded from the back of the room, generating nasty looks from the speaker on stage and everypony else.

“Sorry,” Pinkie Pie squeaked out meekly and sank down into her seat.

“As I was saying,” the actor continued dryly. “There will be a half hour intermission after the third act. Until then, please remain seated. On with the show!” With that, the actors and actresses all bowed once again and trotted off the stage.

Watching from further up, Rainbow Dash nudged Twilight Sparkle who was sitting next to her. “Did... one of those girls down there look... familiar to you?” she asked hesitantly.

“No,” Twilight answered, shaking her head. “Why?”

“I don’t know. I just had the strangest feeling of being watched is all. Eh, don’t worry about it.” Sighing, Rainbow settled back into her seat and prepared herself for a long night.

The play began, and as many in their tight knit group feared, it was both boring and very creepy. Applejack and Rainbow Dash were soon dozing off despite Twilight’s best efforts to shake them awake. The scene with the three witches had sent Fluttershy into an uncontrollable fit of tremors that even a reassuring hoof from Rarity couldn’t stop. Pinkie Pie was chewing on her food so loudly that she could hardly hear the words coming from the stage, not that she considered that a bad thing.

It was during the fourth scene of the first act that Lady Macquine made her entrance. As the actress gave her lines, haughty and boisterous to match the character she was portraying, a minor miracle happened. Applejack and Rainbow Dash became alert.

“Wait a dang-blang minute here,” Applejack murmured to the others. “I know that voice.”

“Me too,” Rainbow seconded and sat up fully in her chair. She and the rest squinted their eyes to make out the mare that was delivering a grand performance. Recognition slowly entered their eyes as they took in the sight of the light blue unicorn speaking on stage. It was as she whirled in a flash of movement to address Macquine entering the scene that the noble robes that she was wearing rose up to expose her cutie mark for a brief moment. The mark of a star topped wand against a magical dust trail confirmed her identity.

“By Celestia...” Rarity breathed.

“That’s...” Fluttershy continued.

“Trixie!” Twilight finished with a gasp.

“SSSSSHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

The six mares flinched from the irritated crowd around them urging them to stay quiet.

Rainbow tried to keep her voice as low as possible. “What’s she doing here?”

“Acting, obviously,” Rarity pointed out.

“Golly, I haven’t seen her in years,” Applejack commented.

“Not long enough, if you ask me,” Rainbow spit out.

“Well, it seems she’s found her calling,” Twilight said. “Let’s just keep watching and-”

She never got to finish as suddenly, the legs from under her chair and the ones of her friends’ disappeared in a flash. A second later and the mares crashed to the floor.

Immediately, ushers rushed to their sides and helped them back to their hooves. The personnel were quick to get them quieted down before the show could be disturbed. When they attempted to get the girls back in their seats, they realized that that would be a problem since without their legs, the chairs were essentially useless. Improvising, the personnel led them to another set of seats further back and next to one of the side walls that weren’t occupied. They hoped that way up here that the mares wouldn’t cause any more trouble.

Once she was sitting again, Rainbow Dash was quick to blame. “She did it!” she hissed, pointing a hoof at Trixie who hadn’t stopped working even with the disturbance. “I know she did!”

“Hush!” Twilight urged. “We don’t know that. Besides, her horn wasn’t even glowing when we fell.”

“Oh please, darling,” Rarity whispered over to her. “How is that only we were affected and nopony else?”

Twilight, for once, didn’t have an answer for that. However, everyone settled down but kept alert on the proceedings. The show continued with no more disturbances and one by one, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie began losing interest once again. Slowly, Rainbow and Applejack’s eyes began to close and Pinkie found pawing at the tuft of her mane dangling in front of her muzzle far more appealing than paying attention to the play. Fluttershy was content with shivering in fright at the continued appearances of the witches and later the ghosts of those that had been murdered from earlier in the show. Finally, the curtain closed on the third act and an announcement was given to have everypony leave for intermission.

“Thank Celestia,” Rainbow groaned as she got up and stretched out her cramped muscles. “How much longer is this?”

“Once we get back, it’s just two more acts,” Twilight explained, also taking the time to stretch.

“Ugh, I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”

“Hang in there, sugarcube,” Applejack tried to bolster her friend’s patience. “I ain’t enjoying things any better than you.”

“If only there weren’t so many scary... things going on,” Fluttershy squeaked.

“They certainly didn’t skimp on the production values for the special effects,” Rarity commented. “I wonder if that braggart had anything to do with it.” Nopony had to ask who she was referring to.

“Whatever,” Pinkie Pie said as she impatiently waited for the crowds to thin out. “I’m going to get some more snacks!”

It was then that the emergency sprinkler systems above them decided to drench the area.

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

In her private dressing room, Trixie checked to make sure that everything was in place on her costume and read over her lines for a quick refresher. Most of her big monologues were already finished and there wasn’t much more that her character did in the play. She didn’t even appear in the next act but that didn’t mean she wasn’t busy. Many of the effects, particularly the ones during the witches’ scenes, were provided by her but out of sight of the audience. It added more realism than just simple stage props and helped fill out her resume;. The more she could offer to interested talent agencies, the better for her.

Her preparations were interrupted by a knock on her door. Frowning, she ignored it and continued reading the script. A few seconds later, another knock came.

“Trixie does not want to be disturbed!” she shouted at the door and turned back to the script.

When a third knock came, she gnashed her teeth and huffed. She slammed the script closed with a hoof and marched up to the door. She magically threw it open and prepared to give a mighty tongue lashing to the moron that couldn’t take a hint.

Coming muzzle to muzzle with six waterlogged mares caused her planned tirade to abruptly die on her lips.

At first, Trixie just stared at the sextet glaring at her through water soaked manes falling over their faces. As she studied them a little bit more closely however, a range of emotions ran through her. An uncomfortable silence filled the room until Trixie frowned and glared at the ponies across from her.

“What... are you doing here?”

Rainbow Dash zipped forward and thrust her nose right into Trixie’s. “Cut the act! What’s the big idea of getting us all wet?!”

Trixie grimaced as Rainbow’s movements were throwing water droplets all over the floor and more importantly, over her costume. She pushed the blue pegasus away with a hoof and wiped the water from her snout. “Do you mind? This dress isn’t Trixie’s and she has to give it back after the show.”

Applejack approached Trixie, the rest of her friends following closely behind. “Ah plum reckon you’ve got more to deal with than gettin’ your fancy dress all dirtied up!” she snarled.

Trixie took an involuntary step back. However, she wasn’t one to back down from a confrontation and certainly not from this particular group. Finding her resolve, Trixie stood her ground, raised her head and looked down her nose with a stare just as intense as the ones she was receiving. “Trixie has no idea what you are talking about. And she certainly doesn’t have time to deal with the likes of you! Begone and drip over somepony else!”

“Stop with the lies!” Applejack shot back, standing just inches from the unicorn. “We know ya did this to us! First with the chairs and then with the sprinklers!”

Trixie snorted. “As much as Trixie would love to take credit for whatever misfortune fell upon you, she was too busy giving the performance of her life. And if she had known you all would be here, she still wouldn’t have bothered. Trixie is beyond such petty vengeance.”

“I find that just as hard to believe as your story with the Ursa Major,” Rarity said with a dramatic toss of her head. “You haven’t changed at all.”

Trixie’s eyes narrowed. She lowered her head until she was eye level with the others and bared her teeth. “Is that how it’s going to be? Trixie is guilty until proven innocent? Then Trixie supposes you wouldn’t believe her if she said that ever since she left that wretched town of yours that she’s been fighting her way back to the top! It took years to get her to where she is now! And now that she’s finally made it, you come along and are trying to ruin it all again!” Trixie moved forward and the blazing anger in her eyes caused Applejack and the rest to take their own involuntary step back.

“I see how it is now,” Trixie seethed, too upset to keep up with her third pony narration. “You all came here to make a fool out of me. You can’t stand to see me with one ounce of success and are seeking to send me back to the dredges of the streets. I may have made some stnanks in my day but I’ll never claim to have made another pony’s life completely miserable!”

“Wait! Wait!” Twilight Sparkle desperately called out. “You got it all wro-”

“You stay silent!” Trixie roared at the unicorn, her anger doubling at being in the same proximity to the one that had gotten lucky and had humiliated her. “Didn’t I tell you that you would never have my show stopping abilities?!” She continued forward, forcing the Ponyvillian’s to tumble through the door and out of the room. “Well, I’ve proven it! Those ponies out there love me and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

Trixie suddenly sat back, looking down at the tangle of bodies before her. Smirking triumphantly, she said, “Now, remove yourselves from Trixie’s sight before she has security throw you out. Trixie never wants to see any of you ever again.” And with that, she magically slammed the door shut in their faces.

Silence claimed the hallway for a time. Then, slowly, the six ponies made their way to their hoofs and looked at each other for guidance.

“Well, that went splendidly,” Rarity drawled sarcastically.

“Actually, it went better than I expected,” Twilight admitted.

“How so?”

“None of us ended up with a messed up mane this time.”

“You just had to bring that back up, didn’t you?” Rarity hissed. “It was a nightmare trying to get that rat’s nest sorted out!”

Rainbow hovered up next to the door and glared at it as though it was responsible for what the pony on the other side did to them. “I say we barge back in there and teach her that lesson I wanted to give to her last time,” she heatedly suggested, smacking her front hooves together for emphasis.

“Um... actually,” Fluttershy quietly spoke up. “I think it would be best if we just left. I... I don’t want to be here anymore.”

“What?! And let her get away with everything?!”

“Fluttershy’s right,” Twilight said and began walking away. “I don’t want to deal with Trixie anymore, either. Besides, I have a feeling we’ve seen what the princess wanted us to see.”

“Ooh, so we can dump this dreary-weary place?” Pinkie Pie asked in growing excitement. “Because it’s been a total buzz kill all night and the food isn’t even that good and it’s way overpriced!”

“Ah suppose,” Applejack reluctantly agreed. She herself wanted a piece of that insufferable showmare but figured that it had been a long evening already. They still needed to speak to the princess before calling it a night. Trixie could have her stuffy and boring show.

“Then let’s go,” Twilight said and lead her friends towards Canterlot Castle.

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

Princess Celestia was waiting for them when they arrived in her throne room.

“So, did everypony enjoy the show?” she asked them once they finished bowing to her.

Judging from the way that none of them could look her in the eye, she guessed that they hadn’t.

“Hmm, I see,” Celestia stated. She rose up from her throne and stepped down to stand among them. “Please, tell me everything.”

Twilight and the others recounted their evening at the Regal Mane Attraction Theatre, being sure to leave out the dull play itself and focused on the unusual happenings that had befell them. Celestia listened intently, her features betraying nothing as they spoke. Once they finished, the princess gained a thoughtful, but troubled, look.

When Celestia didn’t say anything for close to a minute, Twilight dared to ask, “Princess? Is everything alright?”

Celestia closed her eyes. “I’m not sure, my student,” she said at length. “Tell me, did you notice anything strange about the actress you confronted?”

“Other than her being the biggest blowhard in all of Equestria?” Rainbow Dash offered. “Nope. Trixie’s just like she was back when she came to Ponyville.”

Celestia nodded in acknowledgement. “I suppose it’s time to tell you why I brought you here. You see, a few weeks ago, she was found lying next to Discord’s statue.”

A shocked gasp escaped from the six gathered ponies’ mouths.

The princess turned away from them and began pacing. “When Discord was sealed back up, I placed him back in the garden but under surveillance,” she began explaining. “I wanted to avoid having someone stumble upon him and accidentally let him loose again. Somehow, Trixie got past the guard.”

“Did he escape then?” Fluttershy asked, trembling at the thought of that meanie once again roaming free.

“That’s another strange thing. When I arrived after checking on Trixie, his statue was right where I left it. Nothing was out of place and I couldn’t detect his presence.” She stopped her movement and looked up at the ceiling above her, a calculated look crossing her muzzle. “It doesn’t make any sense!” she suddenly called out.

Everypony in the room held their breath, expecting at any moment for a malicious chuckle to fill the air. After several moments of nothing happening, Celestia grit her teeth together in a very unprincessly manner.

Even when he’s not around, he still manages to vex me, the princess thought bitterly.

Turning back towards her loyal ponies, Celestia said, “I’ve moved Discord’s statue to a more secure place. It was unwise to keep it out in the open for others to stumble upon it. But I’m still not convinced that things are alright. I think Trixie may still be in trouble. I’ve had my guards keep watch over her since that night but they report that nothing is out of the ordinary.”

“Not even any chocolate rain?!” Pinkie Pie cried out.

“Not even that,” Celestia confirmed, causing Pinkie to pout.

“So what is it you want us to do?” Twilight asked.

“You all have had more experience with Trixie than myself. That’s why I called you in to see if you would notice anything different about her. Though it seems that isn’t the case. Still, I want to keep an eye on her for a little while longer. That’s where you come in.”

“Do we get to blast her with the Elements?!” Rainbow guessed excitedly. “Because that would be awesome and she’d totally have it coming!”

“Rainbow!” Twilight scolded the pegasus. “We can’t just use them against any pony we don’t like!”

“My student is right,” Celestia seconded with a frown. “I don’t know what affect the Elements would have on a pony that doesn’t have anything wrong with her. I will only give them to you as an absolute last resort. Until then, I have something else in mind for you.”

This time, it was Applejack that offered a guess. “Ya want us to follow her?”

“Precisely.”

The six friends looked at each other with varying looks of incredulity. Coming all the way here to learn that their new mission was to eavesdrop on one of the most insufferable ponies they knew? It wasn’t exactly how they had expected to spend their time. However, none even considered refusing their princess’s request.

“You can count on us, princess” Twilight said for the group.

Celestia nodded her head in thanks. “As always, I know none of you will let me down. Hopefully, this is all just a false alarm and nothing will come of it. Good luck, my little ponies.”

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

“So, how are we going to go about this?” Rarity spoke up as she and the rest left the castle

“Oh! Oh!” Pinkie Pie raised a hoof while jumping up and down to gain their attention. “We can go undercover! We’ll ponynap the other actors, take their costumes and then we’ll be able to watch Trixie right under her nosie!”

“Pinkie,” Twilight let out a sigh as she tried to think of how to put this delicately. “As thick as Trixie is, I’d think she’d know something was up when our ‘thou’s’ and ‘thy’s’ don’t come out right. Besides I... can’t act. At least not like that.”

“Then we’ll just throw her an after play party!”

“Seein’ as how she hates our guts, Ah don’t think that will work either,” Applejack said.

“Well, I’ve got nothin’ then,” Pinkie finished, her ears flattening.

“When is the next time she performs?” Fluttershy asked. “Perhaps we could just watch Trixie from far away without her noticing.”

“Sounds perfect to me,” Twilight agreed with a smile. “Thanks Fluttershy!”

“Don’t mention it,” the pegasus said, blushing at the praise.

“Ugh. Do we really have to put up with more of her?” Rainbow groaned.

“You heard the princess,” Twilight was quick to remind everypony present. “We have to figure out if Trixie is being used by Discord or not. I don’t think I have to remind you all of what he’s capable of. Until we’re certain, I’m willing to deal with whatever Trixie can throw at us.”

It was hard to argue the reasoning, even if Rainbow didn’t want to admit it, but that still didn’t mean she had to like it. The mares grew silent then and continued on towards the theatre that they had last seen Trixie at. When they arrived, they found that the play must have ended a while ago due to the building’s lights being off and the lack of any pony entering or leaving. However, just as Twilight was about to suggest that they leave, a stallion exited the main doors and then locked them up.

“Excuse me,” Twilight greeted as she trotted up to the pony. “Would you happen to know the actress that played Lady Macquine?”

“Trixie?” the stallion asked for clarification as he pocketed his keys. Twilight nodded. “Sure do. Most of our audience came tonight just to see her. Gal’s got some real talent. Hard to believe I’ve never heard of her until a few weeks ago.”

“Yeah, um, you wouldn’t happen to know when her next show is, would you?”

“Well,” the stallion rubbed the back of his head with a hoof, looking reluctant to continue. “You see, she was scheduled for one last appearance here tomorrow but we had an accident with one of our sprinkler systems. Flooded out several rows of seats and damaged the flooring. We had to cancel the show to get that fixed up. Shame too since we were expecting to sell out again.”

“Oh, sorry to hear that.” Twilight and the rest looked sheepishly away, even though they hadn’t been the ones to cause it. “Will the show be rescheduled?”

“Not for a few days, sadly. I’m also afraid to say Trixie won’t be there.”

“She’s not? How come?”

“Said she had other plans that couldn’t wait. Once the play ended, she packed everything up and headed out.”

“Where’d she go?”

“From what I heard she’s leaving to head for the big time. In our business that means only one place. Manehattan.”

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

A bright, starry night was one of the most wonderful things that Trixie had ever seen. The tapestry of brightly twinkling lights high in the sky never ceased to amaze her. The stars were always a big inspiration to her as they told stories that few ponies were even aware of. There was the hunter Orion, shooting his bow towards his latest kill. In a few months, he would shift and lay down, stung by a scorpion that had come to seek revenge against all the creatures that Orion had slain. There was Draco, a dragon of colossal size, said to have guarded a tree that grew golden apples. The easiest to find was the Big Dipper, though some claimed it was a cart being pulled by ponies. Some even said it was a bear and its offspring were the giant ursas that roamed the land.

Stargazing was a secret pleasure for the showmare. While traveling the countryside of Equestria with her stage wagon, she would lay out under the stars rather than sleep inside whenever it was warm out. She would bring out her book of “Astronomical Astronomer's Almanac to All Things Astronomy” and read through the mythology surrounding all the different constellations above her. There was never a night that didn’t offer something new to see or experience. She often imagined that she would one day be placed among the stars so that every pony in the world could see just how great and powerful she was.

It brought back a lot of fond memories, a rarity these past few years. Though with her meteoric rise in fame recently, Trixie had a feeling that she’d be getting a lot of new ones to replace the old.

‘Not to mention how glorious it was to finally give those noponies a piece of my mind!’ she inwardly crowed.

It had been incredibly satisfying to finally meet the ones that had so cruelly brought her low at the height of her success. What made it even better was that they had come looking to accuse her of things she wasn’t responsible for and made it easy for her to fight back. The shocked looks that they had given her were going to have her smiling for weeks.

"I hope they never forget the day that Trixie triumphed over their wickedness!" she called out to the night sky.

As marvelous as it was to replay that scene over and over again in her mind, Trixie had other things to think about. Such as her plans for Manehattan. The show that was scheduled for tomorrow had unexpectedly been pushed back a few days, but it may have been a blessing in disguise. She had decided to bow out which meant she was now free of any obligations and could get her plans set in motion now rather than later.

The fact that she had been paid in advance didn’t hurt either.

The first step was getting to Manehattan. Trixie had thought about renting a pegasus carriage and flying there that night but had ultimately decided against it. Instead, she had packed what things she had and mailed them ahead of her. She would walk to the city, taking her time to formulate what she wanted to show for her auditions to the talent agencies. There were a few towns between here and there where she could practice and refine her craft, making sure everything was perfect when she arrived. It would almost be like old times.

Except, of course, without her wagon. Not that she would need one. Something so bulky wouldn’t be of much use for her in the tight streets of the Big Apple, especially since she would probably be indoors most times. Besides, she had gotten quite good at using the main squares of the towns she had traveled to for her stage. It helped with her improvisational skills and kept the crowds on her side when they saw her perform next to something they were familiar with. Some ponies just didn’t appreciate the special effects a stage could bring to liven up a performance.

Once at Manehattan, it would be time to get her name recognized. She already had several recommendations from the nobles and theatres she had worked for. Trixie’s reputation would get her ahead of the line of all the poor saps that tried to squeak ahead with no talent to back them up. Once she displayed to the agencies what she was capable of, then it would be time to show everypony in the land how much she could shine.

“Just like a star in the night sky,” Trixie said dreamily up at Luna’s creations.

She walked a few more miles before finding a nice grassy spot on a hill to lay on. She magicked out a blanket from one of the pouches from her saddlebags hanging over her back and sat down. She ate a small supper of hay and oats before settling down and drifting off to sleep, content with how things were going with her life.

When Trixie was deep in sleep, Discord flowed out of her horn and landed next to his unicorn host.

“By all that is disorderly and chaotic, I’m going positively stir-crazy in there!” he whined to the heavens.

The draconequus went through his now normal routine of loosening himself up whenever he popped out of Trixie’s horn. It wasn’t nearly as bad as being stuck in stone but it was a close second. The fact that Discord was slowly regaining his power was the only reason he was putting up with such an itty-bitty living space.

“Now, let’s try this,” Discord said and lifted his lion paw. A little concentration brought forth a small pink cloud just above his furry hand. He then tossed it up high in the sky where it expanded to ten times its original size. A moment later and the cotton candy confection began leaking its signature chocolate milk and Discord greedily drank up all that fell in his opened mouth.

“Ahhh,” he sighed in delight as the last of the cloud’s contents were expelled. “Nothing like a little pick me up after a hard day of chaos.” He wiped his mouth with one of his arms before looking down at Trixie.

“You naughty girl, you,” Discord chided sweetly. “You never said anything about knowing Celestia’s little twerps. And not only that, but you actually managed to give them a good what’s for!” He chuckled in genuine amusement at how the Elements of Foolery had been cussed and thrown out by a single pony. “I like you more every day, dear!”

“But that’s just the beginning,” he continued, more to himself. “Those simple parlor tricks I caused on them were just a warm-up. Soon I’ll be good as new and they’ll wish a soggy mane was all they had to deal with.

“I just wish my magic would return quicker. Think of all the dastardly deeds I’ve been missing out on! My presence alone is usually enough to make the lives of all you little ponies much more interesting! I haven’t so much as seen a doorknob disappear or a puddle lead some unsuspecting pony into an alternate dimension. Bah! Such a waste.”

Discord held a frown, thinking of what he could do to really throw Equestria for a loop, before brightening as he remembered a nugget of conversation that had perked his interests back in Trixie’s dressing room. “That’s right. That Element of Generosity, Rarity, said something about an Ursa Major. Did you perhaps tell a tall tale about it? My, and here others call me a showoff. But it gives me an idea and I’d like to see a demonstration of what it is you really can do, oh great and powerful filly.”

The draconequus cracked his knuckles and prepared himself. This would be his first true test since escaping and hiding out in Trixie’s horn. While making minor mischief was all sick and bad, it was time to up his game. The future ruler of Equestria wouldn’t settle for anything less than his worst. With a snap of his fingers, Discord vanished from the hilltop.

He reappeared miles away, deep within the Everfree Forest. While taking a pleasant stroll through the woods would bring back such fond memories of random chance and circumstance, Discord wanted to get things rolling now. He had teleported right where he wanted to be; in front of a massive cave entrance.

Strolling in as though he owned the place, Discord soon found what he was looking for. It was hard to miss, even in the darkness, seeing as the slumbering Ursa Minor was as large as a pony house. Possibly even bigger. However, as impressive as the blue minor was, the red Ursa Major sleeping just behind it was truly gargantuan. Even levitating up as high as the ceiling allowed, Discord couldn’t see all of it at once. He wasn’t easy to impress but the sight before him had him whistling in appreciation.

Discord normally didn’t bother with animals too much, other than to let whatever chaos surrounding him decided what to do with them. Messing with ponies was so much more fun as they were aware of the troubles that he caused. Most animals eventually adjusted to the disharmony of their surroundings, even if their bodies morphed into parodies of their original selves.

However, this would be an exception. The mischievous spirit wanted something big to test his unsuspecting host and there was certainly nothing bigger than an Ursa Major. Even if Trixie failed, the anarchy caused by a raging major would be far too much fun not to miss. Gathering up his magic, Discord pointed at the Ursa Minor and it disappeared in a flash. Floating down to the major next, he lifted up a gigantic eyelid of the beast and his eyes rippled with hypnotic power.

“You might want to wake up,” Discord suggested. “You’re missing something.” He then teleported out of sight.

The major rumbled a yawn and blinked to clear its vision. It sniffed the air, detecting a smell unlike anything it had ever smelled before. Growing curious, the major awoke fully and looked down to check on its cub. However, its baby was nowhere to be seen.

Usually, the major wouldn’t have been too worried, as it was important for its cub to get out and hunt on its own now that it was growing up. However, a powerful urge flared within it that made it want, no, need to find its baby. Growling with parental worry, the major stormed out of the cave and began its search, its paws causing tremors to rock the earth with every step.

Discord watched it go from above the cave entrance. “The stage is set, my little pony. Time to break a leg.” The next instant, he was gone in a flash, his maniacal laughter being all that was left behind.

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