• Published 4th Nov 2011
  • 5,277 Views, 104 Comments

Trixcord - RTStephens



Two grandstanders. Only one horn.

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8
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Oscar Moment

“Come on, come on, come on. Big money, big money, aaaaaaaaand STOP!

“YES! Yeah, baby! Full bars!”

Discord pumped his fist and laughed. Once he settled down, he gave one last look at the small rectangular device in his hand that had a flashing red “TILT” on its screen. Grinning in smug satisfaction, he reached up and unhooked some cords that were attached to his horns and which led into the device. With a flash of magic, they were gone.

“Well, missy,” Discord said while dusting his hands off. He hovered over Trixie who was sleeping in a hospital bed. “That, as they say, is that. All that hullabaloo in Ponyville gave me the last kick I needed to get my batteries recharged. Things are back in disorder for me.

“Which means, dearie, that our deal is now concluded. I’ve got my powers back and you are on your way to fame and fortune. Just as promised.”

Discord landed on the floor and made a showing of walking towards the door. “As fun as this all was, working my chaos through proxy just doesn’t have the same feel to it as hands on work does. There’s nothing like sewing the seeds of disharmony when done on your own.” He reached the door and flung it open. Instead of a hospital hallway, there was a pasture of green under the noonday sun on the other side.

Discord’s parting words as he strode through the door were, “Do remember the spirit of chaos that got you where you are when you reach the big time, would you? Perhaps we could perform a duet together, just like old times!” He laughed long and hard until the door closed behind him. The room with its single occupant was silent afterwards.

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The nurses of the Trottingham hospital were a patient bunch. They had to be in order for them to care for the sick and injured ponies that came in every day to seek treatment. Love and kindness were just as important for recovery as medicine and bandages. A good attitude could be the deciding factor when it came to a patient’s well being.

“Where is more of that special drink?! Trixie demands more of it!”

Still, some days were better than others.

With a resigned sigh, one of the nurses trotted down the hall towards the room where the bellow had originated from. She pushed open the door and gave a half lidded stare at the unicorn laying impatiently in her bed. Trixie huffed and crossed her forelegs in front of her.

“About time,” Trixie said. When the nurse didn’t come forward, she continued, “Well? Where is it?”

“Miss,” the nurse answered with strain to her voice. “That drink needs to be taken in three to four hour periods. You just had one two hours ago. You have to wait a little longer.”

“Preposterous!” Trixie shouted. “Trixie can’t bear to wait! Not when she’s planning the most spectacular show of her life! Her magic needs to return now and that sorry excuse for medicine is the only thing that can help!”

The nurse wished she had thought to call in sick this morning. She had had some difficult patients in her day but she couldn’t think of one as obnoxious as Trixie. The nurse tried to keep her voice level as she responded, “Again, miss. The medicine will help restore your magic but taking too much too quickly will cause you to get sick. You won’t be able to perform anything then.”

Unfortunately, sound reasoning wasn’t what Trixie wanted to hear. “Horseapples! Trixie can take it! There’s nothing she can’t handle. Not even an Ursa Major!” She sprang out of her bed and spread her arms wide. Small, illusionary fireworks exploded on either side of her.

The nurse calmly trotted up to her and poked Trixie on the horn with a hoof.

“Ooooooohhhhh....” Trixie moaned and flopped down on the floor. “Why’d you do that? Trixie doesn’t feel so good...”

“That’s because you still need time to let your magic recover,” the nurse explained with little sympathy. She grabbed hold of Trixie and forced her back into the bed. “Keep straining yourself and you’ll be here longer than necessary.” She shuddered at the thought.

“But Trixie has to tell the world of what she did!” Trixie pointed out emphatically, the nausea from before leaving her. “One minute longer is a minute that some poor pony will never know of Trixie’s great comeback!”

“Whatever...” the nurse drawled, wondering if she would need to get the restraints out. Trixie appeared to be settling down, even with her going on and on about her accomplishments, but she had a feeling she’d be coming back within minutes. “Please, just settle down and I’ll get another shot of that drink. You’ll probably need it now anyways.”

“Good,” Trixie nodded smugly. “Be off with you.”

The nurse glared at her but left to get Trixie’s medicine. Now alone, Trixie sighed as the throbbing in her head cleared and she was able to think clearly again. Immediately, thoughts of her future plans came to the forefront.

Even I never thought I had so much power. Now I know there’s nothing I can’t do! Finally. Finally, I have the trump card to really get my name out! I’ll have every pony from here to Manehattan talking about me in awe! I’ll be at full strength in no time and when I do, the best way get ponies to notice me is...

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“Come one! Come all! And see the magical might of the Great and Powerful Trixie!”

Twilight Sparkle did a double take upon hearing that blaring proclamation. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and herself had arrived in Trottingham only a few hours previously, looking for signs of Trixie. The town was significantly larger than Ponyville, and the local dialect had made for some clumsy exchanges, making their search for the showmare slow and plodding. However, it seemed that wasn’t necessary anymore.

“I guess we found her,” Twilight said back to her companions.

“Ya think?” Rainbow Dash drawled. “Jeez, I was really hoping the others would get to her first.”

“You think you’re disappointed? I wanted to go to the Trottingham museum! There’s so much history there!”

“And just when were you going to tell us about that? It sounds boring!”

“Enough talkie, sillies!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “Let’s go see!” She rushed off towards where the announcement had come from.

“Pinkie!” Twilight called after her friend and chased after her. “Wait up!” Rainbow leaped up and followed by air.

Once the pair caught up to Pinkie Pie, she was behind a growing crowd of ponies. She bounced up and down, not in a display of excess energy, but to try to get a look at what everypony was watching. Pinkie could only get fleeting glances, but sure enough, Trixie was standing on a set of wooden beams that had been set aside for a nearby building construction project. She was dressed in her trademark hat and cloak and hamming it up for the gathered audience.

Rainbow flew up a bit to get her own look and her expression soured. “Yep. It’s her alright. Well, might as well get her.” She reared back and prepared to dart forward-

-only to be yanked back to the ground when Twilight magically pulled on her tail.

“Hold up, Rainbow!” Twilight said. “We’re not here to confront her. We just need to watch her.”

“Aw, c’mon!” Rainbow whined. “I don’t want to sit through another one of her lame shows! Just listen to her! It’s just like back in Ponyville.”

Twilight spared one more look to Rainbow to make sure she wouldn’t try to fly off and listened.

“... wasn’t until the Great and Powerful Trixie appeared,” Trixie was saying to the audience, “that the dreaded Ursa Major was driven back from destroying the poor town! Using her spectacular magic, she drove it back to the Everfree Forest, never to return!”

The crowd around them murmured to themselves, many commenting that they were having a hard time believing what they were hearing. One pony spoke up, “And just how did you do this?”

“Trixie will gladly show you!” Trixie yelled out. “Be prepared citizens of Trottingham! The ursa was defeated... by this!”

Suddenly, a gigantic image of Trixie appeared above them, startling the ponies and making a few cower in fright. The illusion looked down at them with a gloating smirk before her voice boomed out, “Feast your eyes, my fellow Equestrians! As large as an Ursa Major is, Trixie knew that it was still just a dumb animal! She grew to twice its size and scared it away. Such is the awesome magic of the Great and Powerful Trixie!” Her form shrank back down, removing Trixie from Twilight’s sight.

Twilight closed her eyes and shook her head. “Why is she doing this?” she asked the others. “I thought she had found her way in Canterlot but now she’s back to lying. Didn’t she learn her lesson last time? What’s the point, guys?” Twilight looked up and blinked. “Guys?”

Twilight whipped her head back and forth but couldn’t find any trace of her friends. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash were gone.

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“Pinkie, this is going to be our best prank yet!” Rainbow Dash squealed.

“You betcha!” Pinkie Pie agreed. “Maybe this will teach her it isn’t nice to be mean and tell lies!”

“Meh, I don’t care about that. This is for what happened at the play!”

The two pranksters were climbing up the uncompleted building that Trixie was performing in front of. They reached the second story and peeked their heads out from a window. Trixie was right below them.

“Ready?” Rainbow asked.

Pinkie held up a bucket of water. “Ready!”

“Then lets do this!”

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Trixie stood on her hind legs and basked in the cheers from the crowd. Nothing felt better than getting an ovation up close and personal from adoring fans. Nothing could ruin this moment for her.

“I have a question,” the voice of a mare from the back called out to her. It barely rose above the din of the applauding ponies.

Trixie heard it. Her ears were always on alert to single out potential naysayers. She set herself down on all fours and gestured for the speaker to continue. “By all means, the Great and Powerful Trixie will entertain your curiosity. No doubt you want to know just how Trixie became so wonderful?”

“Actually,” the speaker said a little timidly, “I wanted to know just where this happened. For authenticity’s sake.”

“Ah! A simple request.” Trixie cleared her throat and once again reared up to her hind legs. “The encounter with the Ursa Major took place in none other than...!”

The audience leaned forward, expecting Trixie to drag out the answer for dramatic effect. They waited with bated breath as Trixie remained standing in a dramatic pose. The anticipation was palpable.

“... um,” the magician squeaked out. Sweat began to roll down her head as she tried desperately to recall the name of the village that she had scared the ursa away from. What was the name?! What was the name?! I know I went a bit off track when I dealt with the small one, but come on! I can’t botch this up because of a stupid name of a village!

Trixie whipped around so that she was no longer facing the crowd and took off her hat. She reached inside, pulled out a map and spread it out before her with her magic. She could hear the confused mutterings of the ponies behind her and frantically tried to pinpoint her location from last night. She traced her planned route with a hoof, growing confident as she began remembering the landscape-

“What’s the holdup? Don’t you know?”

“Silence!” Trixie shouted back at the speaker. “Don’t interrupt!”

“I will not be silent! You might have fooled everypony else but you can’t fool me! You’re as much a liar as you ever were, Trixie!”

Trixie halted in her scanning of the map. That voice... I... know it. But it... it... it can’t be... her. Slowly, Trixie turned around and looked towards the back of the crowd. Despite the multitude of eyes staring at her, she was drawn to one set in particular. The look of disgust and disappointment that the many times cursed purple unicorn was sending back to her sent a tingle down Trixie’s spine.

Trixie whirled around and took up an aggressive stance. “YOU!” she screamed out. “What are you doing-?!”

A torrent of water splashed on her head. She coughed and sputtered and shook her head to clear the water from her eyes. She looked up and saw the culprits who were racked with laughter near an open window. Even through her dripping eyelashes, Trixie could make out the rainbow colored mane of one of them.

Trixe roared in rage and shot out a concussive blast from her horn towards the duo. Her aim was off and it struck a wooden beam next to them, shattering it to splinters. The pair of ponies jerked away, no longer laughing. They both took one look at the beam, gulped and bolted.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Trixie yelled at their retreating forms. “You’ll pay for this!” She shot out several more blasts, trying to strike down her fleeing tormentors. Her magical bullets ripped through the building like rocks through wet tissue paper.

“Trixie! Please! Stop!”

The sound of her nemesis only spurred Trixie on. She’d show her. She’d show them all not to mess with her!

Concentrating, Trixie let loose a much larger blast than the ones before. It ripped through the pockmarked building with the force of a cannonball and shot out through the other side. The furious showmare finally stopped her assault and smirked evilly through the opening she had created. The pink and blue ponies were now revealed to her and was delighted to see them cowering in fright.

“Got you now!” She set herself and prepared to fire off one last shot.

The sound of splintering wood stopped her. She blinked and looked up just in time to see that the corner of the building she was next to was collapsing. Too many supports had been destroyed during her tantrum and gravity was taking care of the rest.

“Uh oh,” was all Trixie managed to get out before the broken structure fell on top of her.

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In a large, open field far from any pony civilization, Discord skipped merrily as he tossed a handful of seeds from a bag strapped to his side. When the seeds landed on the ground they immediately spun around until they had buried themselves into the dirt.

What would come out? Who knew! That was the fun of it all!

“This would be the point where I would break out into a song,” Discord commented as he continued to prance around like a demented Johnny Appleseed. “Good thing I was able to work that clause into my contract that states I’m exempt from such silly things. Let the ponies do it.”

The draconequus stopped sewing the seeds of his chaos and looked out over his work. He rubbed his hands together in glee and said, “Oh, I wonder what kind of things will grow! Maybe orange spotted bells? Or marshmallows that taste like brussels sprouts? Or maybe even bubbles that when they burst, they paint everything green!”

Discord paused and thought about that last one for a bit. “Wait. No. Strike that. I don’t want my world covered in green! Far too boring if everything is just one color!”

Discord chuckled and willed his bag of seeds to disappear. His work was done here and it was time to move on to another location. Soon, all of Equestria, not just that bum town of Ponyville, would be swept up by his chaos. Content that he had everything under control (figuratively anyway), Discord floated up to spot a good place to plant more havoc.

That’s when pain blossomed over his head and he crashed to the ground.

“Ooooh, what happened?” Discord moaned out. Groggily, he picked himself up and gingerly poked his head where the pain had come from. He winced as he felt a lump growing behind his horns. “What could have possibly...? What is going on?”

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Twilight Sparkle pushed her way through the crowd of ponies, many of whom were staring in horror at where Trixie had stood, until she was in front of the pile of broken timber. Since nopony else was doing anything to help, she got to work. Her horn lit up and she began to lift off pieces of wood and tossed them to the side.

Twilight had only managed to move a few pieces when Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie came up beside her. She regarded them through the corner of her eyes but didn’t stop with her rescue attempt. “Are you two okay?” she asked them. The duo nodded. “Good. Help me get her out of this.”

“After what she tried to do to us?!” Rainbow cried. She shrank back when Twilight shot her an angry glare.

“I don’t care who’s fault it is!” Twilight yelled. She went back to moving the wood but continued, “We’ll worry about who’s to blame later! Trixie might be hurt!”

Rainbow looked to Pinkie but the earth pony merely shrugged and began kicking beams out of the way. Rainbow sighed and followed her example. With all three of them working on the pile of fallen wood, they quickly dug their way to the bottom. Eventually, a blue hoof came into view which spurred them on to move faster.

Suddenly, a burst of power from underneath the wreckage blasted the rest of the wood away, making the three ponies to jump back. Trixie was now fully revealed, standing up and with her horn slowly losing its glow. She had several scrapes and bumps over her body and her cape was ripped in numerous places. She remained standing, motionless and unblinking.

Twilight cautiously walked up to her. “Um, Trixie? You okay?”

Trixie didn’t respond and kept staring ahead.

Twilight moved closer and waved a hoof in front of Trixie’s face. No response came from that either.

“What’s wrong with her?” Rainbow asked with a hint of worry.

“I think... she’s unconscious,” Twilight concluded.

Rainbow scoffed. “What? Is her pride that big that she can’t even fall down when knocked out?”

Twilight was about to scold the pegasus for her comment when Pinkie bounced forward and pointed at Trixie’s head. “Look!” she said with a giggle. “Now she’s got two horns!” Twilight and Rainbow leaned forward and saw what Pinkie was talking about. A red lump just behind her horn was protruding from her skull.

Twilight groaned. “She must have gotten hit there from the falling debris. We need to get her to a doctor or... Pinkie? What are you doing?”

“Drawing on her, of course!” The pony was indeed drawing on Trixie’s muzzle with a black marker she had produced from... somewhere. Already, a set of glasses and whiskers had been traced out. “When else am I going to get the chance?”

“Oh! Oh! I got dibs on her nose and chin!” Rainbow exclaimed. “I’ve got a wicked idea for a beard!”

“Stop that!” Twilight yelled and slapped the marker out of Pinkie’s hoof. “Come on! You shouldn’t be doing that when she needs help! Now help me move her.” Acting before either of them could object, Twilight levitated Trixie up and then placed her gently on Rainbow’s back.

“Why do I have to carry her?” Rainbow complained.

“Because you’re the most athletic among us. And I need to use the Find-Me Crystal to alert the others. Now let’s go!” She ushered Rainbow and Pinkie to get moving, leaving behind the dispersing crowd and towards the center of town. Twilight pulled out her piece of the crystal but was startled to find that it was already emitting a pulsing light.

“That’s odd,” Twilight said as she held up the crystal in front of her with her magic. “Why is this already turned on? The others didn’t find Trixie...”

Her musings were interrupted when Trixie let out a moan and began squirming.

“Shoot,” Rainbow cursed as her passenger threatened to fall off her back. “I was hoping we’d drop her off before she woke up. This won’t end well.” She stopped and knelt down, allowing Trixie to stumble off. Trixie staggered a few steps and then shook her head. She gingerly touched the spot behind her horn and winced.

“Ah, Trixie? How are you feeling?”

The sharp pain and Twilight’s voice cut through her grogginess and she turned to spot the last ponies in Equestria that she wanted to see. “What do you think?!” Trixie snapped. “Trixie only had a whole house fall on top of her.”

“Actually, it was only part of a house,” Pinkie corrected.

“Shut up! If you hadn’t angered her then it wouldn’t have happened in the first place! Why do you idiots keep showing up where you’re not wanted?!”

“Hey! You’re the one that keeps telling all that baloney about beating an Ursa Major!” Rainbow shot back. “We both know you can’t hack it for real.”

“Hmph. Shows how much you know.” Trixie tossed her head to the side. “Things have changed and the Great and Powerful Trixie has accomplished the impossible. Trixie was telling the absolute truth when she said that she had vanquished an Ursa Major. She even has witnesses.”

“Oh, really,” Twilight drawled. “Then how come you couldn’t answer when I asked where you did this?”

Trixie’s features became uncertain as she once again tried to recall the town she had ended up in that night. She berated herself for not asking any of the hospital staff how she had gotten to Trottingham. She wasn’t even sure how long she had been out. The rush of excitement and her impatience to get out totally let slip those crucial details.

Twilight shook her head when it became apparent that Trixie wouldn’t answer. “You know, I was actually thinking that you had changed Trixie. I should have known better. You’re still a hopeless liar.”

I am not lying!”

The force of Trixie’s bellow blew Twilight and the others off their hooves. They lay in a groaning pile for a time before Twilight laboriously picked herself up. When she looked up, Trixie was right in front of her, her horn glowing brightly and utter fury etched onto her marker covered face.

Twilight gulped. She couldn’t remember a time in her life when she was on the receiving end of such hatred. Anger and contempt she had been exposed to before but nothing like this. It didn’t sit well with her and she hoped to never have to experience it again.

“Trixie,” Twilight said as gently as she could. “Trixie, please. Calm down. Let’s talk this over.”

If anything, Trixie features contorted even further and she snarled through gnashed teeth.

“I’m sorry for what I said,” Twilight continued. “Let’s not fight, okay? We’ll listen to what you have to say. I promise.”

Trixie once again didn’t respond with words. She advanced forward, her torn cape billowing behind her from the discharge coming from her horn.

Twilight kept her eyes locked on the other unicorn and edge herself in front of her friends. Reluctantly, she began calling forth her own magic. Luckily, the local ponies were smart enough to not interfere and gave plenty of room for the unicorns facing off with each other. Twilight prayed that whatever came next, nopony got hurt.

A sniffle was the last thing she was expecting.

Twilight blinked. She regarded Trixie a bit more closely and noticed tears beginning to build up in the magician’s eyes. “Trixie?” Twilight asked. Tentatively, she held up a hoof and reached forward.

Trixie flinched back. She sobbed and slapped the approaching hoof away. With a wordless cry, Trixie turned and galloped off, disappearing in the gathered crowd of confused ponies.

Twilight watched her go, too astounded to do anything.

“What was that all about?”

Rainbow Dash’s question roused Twilight out of her stupor. She noticed that Rainbow and Pinkie Pie had stepped up beside her.

“I... I don’t know,” Twilight admitted.

“Hey! There ya’ll are!”

Any further conversation was halted by the sound of Applejack’s voice. She, Fluttershy and Rarity came running out of the mass of surrounding Trottingham civilians. Spike was riding on Applejack’s back.

“Girls?” Twilight said to them once they had reached her. “Why’d you come looking for us so quickly?”

“We came across some important information and it couldn’t wait, darling,” Rarity answered for them. “Besides, we had reason to believe that Trixie would be here anyway.”

“Ya just missed her,” Rainbow stated and pointed at where Trixie had run off to.

“Really?” Applejack gasped. “Well, still, we’ve got things to tell ya and-”

“Hold that thought, AJ,” Twilight interrupted her. “We need to catch up to Trixie first. She’s really upset and I don’t want her doing something she’ll regret later.”

“That’s assuming she can feel regret,” Spike mumbled.

Twilight pretended not to hear that. “Come on! Before we lose her again!” She ran off in the direction that Trixie had taken with the others following close by. The throng of ponies had thinned out, making it easier to run through the streets. Rainbow Dash took this further by taking to the air and getting a higher view. After a few moments of flying ahead, she spotted a blue pony with a purple cape galloping through the streets.

“There she is!” Rainbow called back to them. “I’ll cut her off!” Not waiting for a response, Rainbow zipped ahead. In no time she was gliding just above the fleeing unicorn and dived down to intercept her.

Unexpectedly, Trixie changed course and ducked into an alleyway. Rainbow lost sight of her for only a second so that she could adjust her flight plan. She banked hard and flew into the alleyway.

She immediately crashed into a large balloon shaped like a storm cloud.

Panicked and confused, Rainbow batted away the balloon and looked down. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open as a full blown parade, with ponies marching, playing instruments and blowing streamers, flowed underneath her. The parade headed towards the opening of the alley where she saw her friends stop in their tracks and stare in shock at what was passing by them. The ponies on parade continued marching on, heedless of the stares, and out into the open streets. Finally, the last pony in line trotted by, allowing the others to squeeze into the alley and meet up with Rainbow.

“What the hay was that all about?!” Rainbow asked.

“No idea,” Twilight answered. She shook her head to clear it of irrelevant thoughts and said to Rainbow, “Where’s Trixie?”

“Oh, shoot! Hang on-”

“Hold up!” Applejack spoke up before the pegasus could take off again. “Do ya’ll hear that?”

One of Fluttershy’s perked up. “I don’t hear anything.”

“Exactly! Look!” Applejack pointed out into the streets. “That parade! It’s gone!”

It took a moment for that to sink in for everyone. The parade had dozens of ponies, each of them making noise with their streamers and music. However, now there was no sign of them out in the streets and not enough time had passed to have partied out of sight. The citizens of Trottingham were strolling along on their business, seemingly unaware that a celebration had been in their midst only moments before.

The mares all looked at each other with trepidation. As one, they all glanced down the alleyway, which showed that it was a dead end only a few pony lengths in. There was no trace of Trixie.

Applejack swallowed through a suddenly dry mouth. “Gals,” she began. “I have a bad feelin’ about all this. And yer not going to believe what it is we’ve got to tell ya.”

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Miles outside of Trottingham, next to a secluded pond, a flash of magic signaled the arrival of the spirit of chaos. Discord quickly looked around but didn’t see any ponies in sight. Well, besides the sleeping one he was carrying in the crook of his arm.

Discord set Trixie down on the ground and inspected the mare before him. “My, it looks like you’ve been through a lot since I last saw you,” he commented as he took in her disheveled state. Bumps and bruises covered her body, her muzzle was covered in marker, her cape was almost completely in tatters and her cheeks were streaked with dried tears.

However, Discord ignored all that in favor of the most prominent injury that Trixie was sporting. Gingerly, he poked at the large bump that was just behind her horn. The moment he put pressure on it, he winced and pulled back. The lump next to his own horns throbbed painfully.

“This can’t be happening,” he snarled. “I have to get to the bottom of this.”

He conjured up a magnifying glass and used it to carefully scan over Trixie’s body. He stroked his beard as he traced over her, starting from her flank and working his way towards her head. It was as he passed over Trixie’s chest that he spotted something odd. A thin purple line was flowing out of where Discord figured her heart was located. He followed the path of the line with the magnifying glass, bending over as it extended away from her and towards himself. Eventually, he came to the end of the line. It was flowing into his own chest.

“Oh dear,” the draconequus breathed out.

With a sinking feeling, Discord increased the magnification of the glass eye piece tenfold. The line he had been investigating zoomed in. He quickly discovered that the line wasn’t just one strand but two: one red and one blue. The strands were tightly woven together; so close that they seemed to blend into each other, creating the purplish color he had seen before.

“This is... my life force. My soul. It’s combined... with hers.”

A sudden flash of memory sprang forth.

Princess Celestia was staring down at him, her horn casting some sort of detection spell on the unicorn he had hidden himself in. He panicked as he had no power to counter it or try to disguise himself. She was going to find him and ruin everything! It wasn’t fair! He’d only just escaped! How was he going to bring about his wonderful chaos to the ponies of the world if he was sent right back to the podium?!

He desperately dodged Celestia’s efforts to pin him down. He searched for anything that could help him; a path or a hiding spot. She was on to him and was getting closer! Just as he was sure he was done for, an avenue for escape suddenly presented itself. A beam of blue light appeared before him, leading further down into the unicorn’s consciousness. Without thinking or hesitating, he plunged himself into the beam. He immediately felt himself merging with the unicorn’s very life essence. Mentally crossing his fingers, he allowed himself to disperse and float within the either that was Trixie’s spirit.

Discord blinked away the memories and came back to the present.

“It... it was only supposed to be temporary,” he whispered to himself. “Once Celestia was gone I separated my soul from this one. I know I did! Then why am I still connected to her?”

Forcing himself to stay calm and focused, Discord transformed the magnifying glass into a set of thin, bifocal glasses and affixed them in front of his eyes. With both of his hands now free, he carefully reached forward and grasped the line that connected him with Trixie. Working as delicately as a surgeon, he slowly picked at the intersection of the two strands of spirit with his claws. However, a few minutes later and he hadn’t managed to work his claws in between the threads. He increased his glasses’ magnification once again and got a better look. One of his eyes twitched when he saw that the strands weren’t just twisted around each other, but were halfway fused together as well. Trying to unravel them would be impossible.

Discord didn’t get the chance to further ponder this latest revelation as he detected an intruder bearing down on him and his unknowing host from above.

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“I so don’t believe you.”

“You doubtin’ the Element of Honesty?”

“Well, no,” Rainbow Dash admitted to Applejack. “But still! This is Trixie we’re talkin’ about! She couldn’t cast her way out of a closet!”

“She’d just tear the whole house down instead!” Pinkie Pie pointed out and laughed at the image that came to mind. Having just escaped from a collapsing building made it easy for her to do.

“Rainbow Dash, I know this is hard to believe, but I saw it with my own eyes,” Spike explained to the stubborn pegasus flapping above him. The group had moved to a park within the town so that they could converse in relative peace. The now combined teams had swapped stories but it was this last piece of information that didn’t fly with everypony. “She grew huge and scared the Ursa Major off. There are a ton of its footprints left over to prove it.”

Twilight Sparkle frowned at hearing this and gained a thoughtful look. “I suppose that’s why she got so mad at us. She was telling the truth the whole time and we threw it back in her face.”

“C’mon, Twilight,” Rainbow said to the librarian. “How were we supposed to know? Her track record stinks. I mean... c’mon.”

Despite the words, Twilight didn’t appear to be comforted by them. She sighed and said, “In any case, we have to find her. Again. From what you guys said and what just happened with that marching band, it really looks like Discord is behind this. Problem is, she could be anywhere now.”

“Why don’t we just use that Find-Me Whatchamacallit?” Pinkie Pie brought up.

Twilight rubbed her temples. “Pinkie, Trixie has to be carrying one of the crystals for it to work that way.”

“I know that!”

“Then why did you ask?”

“Because, silly-filly! I put it on Trixie before she ran away.”

Five ponies and one baby dragon blinked at her words. “Come again?”

“Well, I had this feeling, just like one of my Pinkie Senses, that I should place it on her. So I did! When you dropped yours when she woke up I stuck it under her cape so it wouldn’t fall out.”

Twilight was speechless for a moment but then turned to Rarity. “Do you still have yours?”

“Already on it,” Rarity said and pulled out her Find-Me Crystal with her magic. It was pulsing with a slow but steady light.

Twilight’s face split into a grin and she rushed forward to wrap Pinkie Pie up in a hug. “Pinkie, you’re a genius!”

“You keep calling me that but I’m still just a pony,” Pinkie corrected her. Still, she happily returned the hug.

“Alright, Darlings,” Rarity called to them. “Let’s save the heartwarming stuff for later. We still have a mission-”

Rainbow Dash streaked by and snatched the Find-Me Crystal out of Rarity’s magical grasp. Before anyone could think straight, Rainbow was already high above them.

Twilight found her voice first. “Rainbow! Come back! We have to do this together!”

“Don’t worry!” Rainbow yelled down to them. “I’m going to get this all taken care of! Too much time has been wasted already!”

“Dash, you come down here this minute!” Applejack roared up at the pegasus. “Don’t be getting all high and mighty now!”

However, her words didn’t have any effect as Rainbow blasted off, a rainbow trail following behind her. The ponies left behind looked at each other in astonishment. Then, as one, they raced after her, galloping as fast as their hooves would take them.

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

“Okay, so maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” Rainbow Dash said to herself as she flew through the sky. Dusk was now settling in and she wanted to find Trixie before it got too dark to spot anything. Luckily, the Find-Me Crystal in her hoof was leading the way for her. “But, I just can’t stand the thought of some pony hating me...

“Jeez, I’ve had ponies angry at me before... but nothing like that. I gotta find her and... apologize. Maybe then she’ll calm down and we can all laugh about it later.”

It felt like the right thing to do and Rainbow would rather do it on her own and not let her friends see such a scene. It would be embarrassing enough to admit to Trixie that she may have gone a tad overboard with her prank earlier. Especially knowing now that Trixie had earned her right to brag this time. Rainbow was still trying to wrap her head around that.

“Guilt stinks.”

The crystal in her hoof began to pulse at a faster rate. Rainbow scanned the ground below her, trying to pick out where Trixie was against all the lengthening shadows of the oncoming twilight. The crystal was now pulsing so fast that it may as well have been one continuous stream of light. Rainbow passed over a large pond and that’s when the crystal gave a ringing ping. She circled around and dove down. Sitting by the edge of the pond, looking confused, was Trixie.

“There you are!” Rainbow announced as she stopped herself just a few feet above where Trixie sat. “Thought you could get away that easily?”

Trixie jerked her head upwards and spotted the newcomer. Her face shifted from a lost look into a scowl. “Now what do you want?! Haven’t you done enough?!”

“Hold on! Hold on!” Rainbow waved her hooves in front of her. “I just came to-”

“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say! Leave me alone!”

“If you’d just let me finish-”

“No! Begone with you!” To help punctuate her statement, Trixie levitated up a rock laying next to her and flung it towards Rainbow.

“Whoa!” Rainbow yelped and darted out of the way of the stone. “Hey! That could have hit me!”

“That’s the idea,” Trixie intoned darkly. A half dozen more rocks were lifted all around her. “Are you familiar with a shooting gallery?”

“Uh... yeah?”

The unicorn smirked. “Good. Because Trixie has the ammo. She just needs a target. Let’s see you get in touch with your inner duck.” With that, Trixie shot several rocks forward.

“Ah!” Rainbow whipped to the side to avoid a rock aimed at her chest. “Wait!” Another zipped past where her head had just been. “You got it...” One grazed by her mane. “... all...” She lifted her rear from being struck on her flank. “... wrong!” She twirled away from more projectiles coming from all directions.

Below, Trixie laughed as Rainbow Dash desperately danced through wave after wave of her makeshift bullets. “This is too much fun! You really know how to cheer up a pony! But do you have what it takes to keep up with Trixie?”

“Ha! I can keep this up all night!” Rainbow taunted. “I’ve been in tag games that were closer than this!” Indeed, she was finding a groove to Trixie’s attacks. Rainbow casually skipped away from a trio of rocks that flew past her head, neck and hind legs. A backflip sent her through a ring of stone pieces that Trixie failed to close fast enough. “Thanks for the exercise though, oh Lame and Pathetic Trixie! Easy breezy-OW!”

Rainbow felt a stinging pain to the back of her head from an unnoticed stone. Rainbow saw the showmare grin in triumph while she rubbed the spot that was struck. “Oh, that’s it! It. Is. On!”

Rainbow dove down, aiming herself straight at Trixie. The unicorn rose up more rocks and shot them forward, confident that she had the upper hoof. Trixie’s smug grin died when Rainbow plowed her way through them without even flinching and continued towards her. She was on top of Trixie before the magician had a chance to cast another spell. However, instead of tackling her opponent to the ground, Rainbow changed course at the last instant and spun around Trixie faster than her eyes could follow.

“One Rainblow Dry, coming up!”

Trixie tried getting a fix on Rainbow’s movements but it proved impossible. All she could see was a multi-colored blur. Her eyes began to whirl in their sockets and she fell over in dizziness. She was in no shape to tell but her mane and tail were now completely frizzled. She regained her senses when she felt something grab onto her tail and lift her off the ground.

“Wha? What?” Trixie moaned. She saw the earth below her move further away causing a bout of vertigo. She shut her eyes and yelled out, “Let go of Trixie this instant, you ruffian!”

“Waff fat?” Rainbow mumbled around Trixie’s tail that she had clenched in her mouth. “Af camf hearff youff!”

“I said put me down!”

“Offkay!”

Trixie screamed as she received her wish and plummeted to the ground. She smacked down onto the unyielding turf and let out a whoosh of air. Groaning at all the punishment her body had taken today, she tried making it back to her hooves only to get a head rush and fall back down.

“You ready to listen or do I need to get ruff with ya again?”

Trixie wearily looked up. Rainbow Dash was staring down at her. The pegasus was smirking at her with the same triumphant expression that Trixie had worn only moments ago. The sight of it on the receiving end infuriated the magician and gave her new strength to pull herself up.

“Never,” Trixie seethed. “The Great and Powerful Trixie never gives in.”

“Ah, pony feathers,” Rainbow sighed. “Why don’t we just call it even then?”

“Giving up? Then you admit that Trixie is the superior equine?”

“As if! Who’s the pony on her last legs here?!”

“Then prove it. I dare you to try that last move again.”

Rainbow scowled and prepared herself for another round. “Fine. Don’t say I didn’t offer the chance to stop later. One-two-three-GO!” Rainbow blasted forward and whirled around Trixie once again.

Trixie shut her eyes as it was still impossible to get a bead on the speedy flier. However, with what she had planned, she didn’t have to. She bent down and touched her horn to the ground and shot off a bolt of magic. Instantly, a wall of dirt over a meter high erupted from the earth.

On Rainbow Dash’s next pass, immovable object met irresistible force.

The pegasus crashed into the wall with a sickening smack. Her body speared through the dirt and came out the other end. But only half way. Rainbow’s head and forelegs dangled over one side while her rear and tail drooped over the other. "Owie...," Rainbow moaned as she watched the stars swirling over her head.

“My, my,” Trixie tsked as she gazed at her new trophy. “If only I could get this mounted. Too bad Trixie doesn’t have a living room to show you off in.” She tapped the mound of dirt with her horn and it crumbled to the ground, sending Rainbow with it. Before Rainbow Dash could gather her wits, Trixie encompassed the pegasus with her magic. Rainbow’s eyes widened and she struggled against the power holding her but it was a futile effort. Trixie’s grip was inescapable.

“Now,” Trixie drawled as she held Rainbow up to eye level. “Let’s hope this teaches you not to mess with the Great and Powerful Trixie. Be sure to tell your loser friends the same thing.” She brought Rainbow in close so that their noses were touching and glared into her eyes. “Now make like a tree... and get out of here.”

“Uh, that’s not how it gooooooooeeeeessssss!”

Rainbow’s receding cry came from being flung through the air, twirling end over end. A second later, she splashed into the pond that they had been battling next to. Trixie walked over to the edge of the pond, looking forward to seeing the annoying pony drag herself out all waterlogged and humbled. She was going to savor this victory to the fullest.

Just as soon as the pegasus broke the surface of the water.

… any second now.

A tinge of worry began to creep into Trixie as she continued to wait for Rainbow to appear. Just what could be taking the brat so long?

“Oh, don’t tell me,” Trixie stated with dread, “that she can’t swim!”

There was still no sign of Rainbow and the ripples from her landing had long since disappeared. Panic swept over her and with a cry of frustration, Trixie made a leaping dive into the dark water. She lit her horn and swam down to where she suspected Rainbow would be. The pond didn’t appear to be that deep but it was still enough that a pony wouldn’t be able to stand in the center and be able to peek their head above water. Trixie cast her gaze to and fro and spotted what she was searching for.

It was fortunate that Rainbow’s mane was so bright and colorful. It stood out against the dark ground at the bottom of the pond. Trixie swam forward as hard as she could and wrapped her hooves around the pegasus’ midsection. Trixie kicked her hind legs for all she was worth but Rainbow’s extra weight kept her from moving. Her lungs began to burn with a lack of oxygen and she realized that she wasn’t going to be able to pull Rainbow along with her in time. Desperate, Trixie aimed her horn down and shot off a burst of magic with as much power as she could summon.

Seconds later, Trixie and Rainbow Dash rocketed out of the pond. They arced in the air in an ungraceful heap and landed hard on the muddy shore. Trixie coughed and sputtered on the ground for a few moments before collecting herself and rising to her hooves. She felt woozy from expelling so much magic so quickly but forced herself to continue on. She shook as much water off of her as she could and staggered over to Rainbow. Trixie gulped as the other pony didn’t appear to be breathing and her coat was taking on an unhealthy purple hue.

Trixie panicked, unsure of what to do. She was showmare, not a doctor! Regardless, she was going to give it her best try! Trixie pushed Rainbow so that she was on her stomach, reared up on her hind legs and brought her forelegs down onto Rainbow’s back. Hard.

Rainbow Dash’s eyes bugged out and a stream of water shot from her mouth. She hacked and wheezed as air began filling in her lungs. Once she began to breathe regularly, her body decided that she’d been through enough and passed out.

Trixie heaved a breath that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. “What a day,” she grumbled.

Seeing as how Rainbow wasn’t going to expire any time soon, Trixie got to work creating a fire. The water from the pond was seeping into her skin and she shivered from the coolness of the night air. She didn’t have to imagine that the same was happening to her unexpected guest. In short order, she had gathered enough dry twigs and sticks into a pile and lit a fire under it with a spark from her horn. Trixie pulled Rainbow over next to the growing flames and sat down next to her.

It was an hour later when Rainbow began to stir. She groaned and coughed a few times before peering out at her surroundings. She noticed the fire crackling close by. “Ohhh, what happened?”

“You nearly drowned, you fool.”

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash slowly lifted her head and searched for the voice. Her confusion only grew when she noticed Trixie lying close by. “Trixie?”

“Trixie assumes that they don’t teach swimming 101 in your cloud city, do they?”

“Ah, no. Don’t need to. Not enough water to :cough: :cough: swim in.”

Trixie snorted and continued to gaze into the fire.

“You... saved me?” Rainbow prodded.

Trixie glanced at her through the corner of her eye. She looked away again but gave a barely perceptible nod.

“Why?”

Trixie huffed and explained, “Because whatever you and your friends might think of me, I am not a monster.”

Rainbow shifted uncomfortably where she lay. “I don’t think you’re a monster. Just a jerk.”

“No more than yourself,” Trixie shot back. “Why did you come looking for Trixie, anyway? She made it perfectly clear that she didn’t want anything to do with you.”

Rainbow took a moment to run through what she wanted to say. This whole situation she found herself in had become so bizarre. “I... believe you about the Ursa Major.”

“Oh? What made you change your mind?”

“My friends told me. One of them saw you do it. Said you made yourself really big to scare it away.”

Trixie looked at her with an unreadable expression. Seeing as she now had the magician’s attention, and before she lost her nerve, Rainbow continued, “And I wanted to say that... that I’m sorry. For pulling that prank on you. I didn’t think you’d get so mad over it.”

Trixie remained silent. After a few seconds she turned away and back to the fire.

“Aren’t you going to say all is forgiven and it’s all wind through the clouds?” Rainbow asked.

“Trixie doesn’t see any reason to,” Trixie responded. “You admitted you were wrong, as you rightly are.”

“Wait! What? I just :cough: got everything off my chest and you can’t :cough: do the same?!”

“There is nothing to ‘get off’ Trixie’s chest.”

“The hay there is! That’s not how ponies treat each other you ungrateful-”

“Enough!” Trixie shouted. She trotted over until she was standing right above Rainbow Dash’s recovering body. Trixie pointed a hoof at her and said, “Let’s get something straight between us. I don’t like you. At all. The only reason I’m putting up with you is so I don’t have the death of another hanging over my head. Once the morning comes, I’m dumping you off at the next village. Your friends can find you on their own.” She stomped away and sat on the opposite side of the fire, furthest away from Rainbow.

Rainbow herself didn’t know what to say. Dealing with Trixie was so unlike dealing with other ponies she knew. When somepony apologized to you, you accepted it gratefully and all was set to right. Life went on and all was forgiven and forgotten. Apparently, Trixie followed a very different set of rules.

Rainbow shivered as the night’s chill air reminded her of the cold water that she had been pulled from. Thoughts of Trixie and what made her tick were cast aside in favor of curling up as tightly as she could. The heat of the fire wasn’t doing enough to make her feel warm. Even so, she eventually fell asleep, her soft snoring sounding into the quiet landscape.

Trixie remained where she was for a few minutes before getting up and checking on Rainbow’s condition. The pegasus’ body trembled and every few seconds she let out a cough. Sighing, Trixie unhooked what was left of her cape and wrapped up Rainbow Dash in it as tightly as she could. It was useless for anything else anyway. That done, she threw more kindle onto the fire so that it would last a little longer and curled up next to it. She too fell asleep within minutes.

Some time later, mist spilled out of Trixie’s horn. Discord coalesced from the mist and sat down on an unoccupied spot between the two ponies. With a snap of his fingers, a stick with a marshmallow stuck at the end appeared in his hand and he began roasting it over the fire.

“Well, I must admit, I was highly entertained by you two!” Discord stated and flicked the burning marshmallow into his mouth. He greedily swallowed it and began preparing a new one. “I haven’t seen such disharmony since the founding of Equestria. Makes me wonder what you need me for. Don’t take that literally, though,” he warned.

Discord snapped down on the end of the stick that held his latest marshmallow, eating it (and part of the stick) in one gulp. He tossed away the stick, leaned back and rested against a conjured up cushion floating in the air. He regarded Trixie with a lazy smile. “Once again, I’m glad it was you that I ended up with. Can you imagine if I had gotten stuck with a goodie-goodie like Twilight Sparkle? Bleh!

“But you. You are delightfully unpredictable. You fight like a pony possessed against Rainbow Crash here but then save her from the brink of death minutes later. Such wonderful chaotic potential.”

He groaned as he remembered why he had come seeking Trixie in the first place. “I still don’t get why our life forces or souls or whatever are so tangled up. I suppose I’m stuck with you for now until I can figure out how to separate them. Be grateful that I’m in a good mood from your little tussle earlier.”

His gaze fell on Rainbow Dash and he pondered what to do with her. It would be a shame to let her leave without a parting gift. He rose up and hovered above her. “I’ll probably end up kicking myself for this later but a game is far more interesting when there are more players.” He reached down and placed a taloned finger against Rainbow’s forehead. A spark of light flowed down his digit and into her noggin. When he was finished, Discord floated back and nodded in satisfaction.

“There. Even Twilight Sparkle should be able to figure that one out. By the time those twits get it, I’ll be off this leash I’m on.” The draconequus chuckled and rubbed his hands together. “Then, the real fun can begin!”

With that, Discord flowed back into his hiding spot within Trixie’s horn. The campsite belonged to Trixie and Rainbow Rainbow once again.

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