• Published 1st May 2012
  • 2,219 Views, 143 Comments

Setting the Rules - fic Write Off

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A Pun Too Far

Trixie couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief as Canterlot proper came into view, the wagon’s wheels clattering on the rough cobble. She was sick and tired of backwater towns and uncultured ponies – at last she would have an audience worthy of her brilliance. A small fantasy swept through her mind, dignified ponies chanting her great and powerful name, her hat full of clinking bits. It was enough to bring a smile to her face. With a quick jerk of her head, she directed the wagon towards an opening between two fruit stands. It was her time to shine.

Hopping off the wagon, Trixie landed nimbly on the stone street, cape billowing dramatically – or at least she hoped it was. The wagon’s stage clattered to the ground beside her, the glow of her magic fading as the rest of the backdrop unfolded. With a clearing of her throat, she stepped up on the platform and surveyed the gathering crowd.

“Come one, come all!” she shouted, “Come and see the amazing, astounding magic of The Great an—”

“Ahem!”

Trixie snapped her mouth shut, turning to glare at the source of the interruption – a royal guard standing near the edge of the stage.

“Yes?” she seethed, drawing out the ‘s’ with as much venom as she could muster.

“License please,” the colt demanded.

“License? What licence?”

“Well... you are a street performer, aren’t you? You’re currently in violation of royal edict V34-591 – failure to display vocational license while working. Now, if you would be so kind as to present the proper paperwork...”

“That’s absurd! Why would Trixie need a flimsy piece of paper to share her greatness with the world? Well, it’s not like it matters! The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn’t have one of your licences and she doesn’t need one either. Now if you’ll excuse Trixie, she has a show to put on,” she said, turning away from the guard.

“Ahem!”

Trixie grit her teeth and looked over her shoulder, preparing a verbal lashing the colt wouldn’t soon forget. The words stuck in her throat when she saw that the guard motioning towards the far end of the square. A quick glance told Trixie plenty – there were royal guards posted everywhere. Taking a deep breath, she swallowed her rant and turned to face him.

“Ahem,” he repeated, not even pretending to be clearing his throat anymore.

“What now?”

“No licence, no performing – that’s the law. I’m sorry ma’am, but if you insist on trying to perform, I’ll have no choice but to confiscate your wagon.”

“On whose authority?” Trixie sputtered, trying to contain her indignation and failing miserably.

“Princess Celestia’s, of course. Now then,” he said, his voice lowering, “are you going to pack up and get a proper licence, or are we going to have a disagreement?”

She glared at the guard for a moment, weighing her options. Messing with royal authority was almost always more trouble than it was worth. “Fine!” Trixie spat. “Tell Trixie where she can get your stupid licence and she’ll get one already!”


Trixie had to hoof it to the architect – they had managed to make the Equestrian Vocation Department look even more pathetic than it sounded. The drab, rectangular building looked like the perfect place for sad little pencil-pushers, or a tomb for some unimportant noble. Normally, she wouldn’t even consider gracing such a dull place with her glorious presence, but that guard and his friends had been very persuasive. Trixie grit her teeth and entered the building, determination burning in her eyes.

“The Great and Powerful Trixie has arrived!” she announced, eyes closed and head held high. “As the most magical mare in Equestria, she demands a vocational licence befitting her status this very instant!”

A few seconds ticked by in silence. No rush of apologies, no lowly foals groveling at her hooves – Trixie could feel her blood pressure rising. With a flick of her mane, Trixie opened her eyes, ready to berate the morons who kept her waiting after she so graciously announced her presence.

The building was deserted, nothing but a few scattered benches and a large chalkboard.

Trixie sneered as she walked into the center of the room. That idiotic guard must have sent her to the wrong place – the room looked completely deserted! More of her valuable time, wasted. Her eyes scanned the room, hoping for somepony, anypony, to berate for their obvious incompetence. As second sweep through the room yielded a clerk sitting at his desk – Trixie realized she had mistaken him for a particularly boring chair the first time round.

Putting on her best airs of condescension, Trixie approached the clerk.

“The Great and Powerful Trixie has arrived!” she repeated. “As the most magical mare in Eques—”

“Take a number,” the clerk said flatly, pointing to a stack of wooden tokens on his desk.

“The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn’t have time for your boorish bureaucratic games – simply hand over a vocational licence and Trixie will be on her way.”

“Number?”

“Trixie doesn’t have a number! Just give Trixie a licence!”

“No number, no can do,” the clerk said, picking up a magazine and casually flipping to a seemingly random page.

“Impudence! Do you have any idea who the Great and Powerful Trixie is? Vanquisher of the Ursa Major, Master of the Hydra, Cham—”

“Listen, lady, Vanquisher, whatever. Do you have a number?”

Trixie grit her teeth and put her hooves on the counter. “Yes! Trixie is number one!”

“Token?”

“Trixie doesn’t have one!”

“Then take one and have a seat. When your number is called,” he said, pointing at the chalkboard, “come over here and I’ll process your request.”

Trixie snatched a token off the stack, trying to glare a hole through the clerk’s head. The token placed her as number 237. Trixie looked at the board.

“Now Serving: 48”

An objection was already halfway out of her throat when the clerk causally closed the booth’s blinds on her. Trixie’s mouth flapped wordlessly as she stared at the gray blinds, rendered speechless by her fury.

“Hmph!” she said loudly, turning away from the booth with as much scorn as she could muster. “Fine. Trixie will wait.”


For about the hundredth time, Trixie drew another three cards off the deck – princess of the sun, three of turnips, five of clouds. She scanned the cards before her. Not a single move to be made. A cry of frustration started low, rising up her lungs as she smashed the cards onto the ground.

“Arrrrgghhhh!” she cried, leaping to her hooves. “That boring, lowly, useless colt thinks he can make a fool out of Trixie, does he?”

Trixie stomped around the empty waiting room as her temper dissipated, brooding. She had been there for hours, although how many, she wasn’t sure – she knew it had definitely been light out when she arrived, that much was obvious.

“Trixie will not stand for this level of disrespect! She will report you to your superiors, do you hear Trixie? You’ll never work again!”

Trixie’s voice echoed back to her as she caught her breath. With a bit of magic, Trixie filtered the cards back into her hat as she straightened her cape. If she was going to get that foal fired, then she was going to have to look her best. With a deep breath, she composed herself as best she could and scanned the room for a door, a plaque, anything that might indicate a pony who could drive that clerk out of a job.

“Now Serving: 237”

Trixie did a double-take. Somepony must have been updating the board while she was waiting. Thoughts of vengeance were quickly shoved aside as hope of escaping the dreadful waiting room and getting the licence quickly took priority. Trixie trotted over to the clerk’s booth and knocked on the blinds.

“Hey! You there, pencil-pusher! It’s Trixie’s turn now, open up!”

The blinds quickly parted, revealing the clerk in mid-yawn. Trixie’s eyes narrowed – they had been sleeping on the job! Still, she swallowed her indignation. Escape, and with it, profit, took a priority over justice.

“Number?” the clerk asked.

Trixie wordlessly levitated the token across the counter.

“Name? First, middle, last, please.”

“The Great and Powerful Trixie!”

“Come again?”

“Trixie’s name is the Great and Powerful Trixie! Trixie couldn’t make it any more clear!”

“How do you spell that?”

Trixie could feel her temper slipping. “It’s spelled like it sounds, you moron!”

“Alright then, Ms. Trixie, no need to get snippy. Occupation?”

“The greatest showmare and entertainer who ever lived!”

“Uh huh,” the clerk replied, turning to a filing cabinet behind him. Trixie waited, tapping her hoof impatiently on the counter.

“Could you be more specific, Ms. Trixie? What is it you do, exactly?” the clerk asked, still facing the cabinet.

“Trixie performs some of the most amazing feats of magic and daring in all of Equestria!” she said proudly, striking one of her more dramatic poses.

“Mhmmm... one moment...”

Trixie fell back on all four hooves, annoyed that the clerk hadn’t even seen her amazing pose. As the seconds dragged on, she amused herself by staring at the back of the clerk’s head and imagining them prostrated on the ground before her. The daydream grew more vivid, other ponies also groveling before her greatness, before a strange motion snapped her back into the present. The clerk appeared to be convulsing, his shoulders shaking wildly.

Trixie almost felt a twinge of concern, at least until the clerk turned around. The colt had tears in his eyes and was biting his lip as if fighting to keep his mouth under control.

“H-h-heh-her,” the clerk started, cut short as the convulsions grew until he had to bend over, shoulders rolling like waves.

Trixie watched and waited, gritting her teeth as her patience wore thin.

“H-here you are,” the clerk continued, still on the floor, his hoof appearing at the edge of the counter. “Your—haha—licence, Ms. Trixie...”

Trixie stared at the large document as it slid across the smooth wood, blood draining from her face.

“Great and Powerful Trixie: Maregician”

Trixie stared in horror as her eyes focused on her title, written plain and clear in bold, dark ink. The clerk, seemingly giving in, burst out laughing, the sound of his hooves beating against the floor barely registering in Trixie’s ears. All she could hear was the laughter. Blood rushed back into her face like a tsunami, a deep red blush radiating down her body. Trixie bit her lip and snatched the scroll off the table, shoving it as deep in her hat as possible as she galloped out of the building, the clerk’s echoing laughter still ringing in her ears.


“Unacceptable! Unacceptable!”

She had been shouting the same word over and over again for hours, but the licence refused to change. Trixie glared at the piece of paper through the tears, but even then she could read the shameful, horrifying word.

“Maregician? Maregician! Shameful! Unacceptable! Ludacris!” she screamed again, her ragged voice barely leaving her throat. She took a deep gulp from her mug of tea and continued storming around her wagon, as if walking away from the word would make it disappear.

“What foal would give Trixie such a title? What foal would accept such a title? Trixie will be the laughing stock of all Equestria! Display that... display that thing every time she wants to perform? Don’t make Trixie laugh!” she cried, her voice breaking as she slammed her hoof on the table.

“Trixie will never accept this, never! The Great and Powerful Trixie isn’t somepony to be trifled with!”

Trixie shot another withering glare at the scroll, silently demanding reality to take its rightful place as subservient to her whim. As if in response, the scroll slid off the table, flipping end over end as it fell. Trixie trotted over, contemplating grinding the offending document beneath her hoof – a fate it so clearly deserved – when a sparkle caught her eye.

The Celestial seal of approval glowing in all its glory.

Trixie’s eyes widened, an idea taking shape. Why should she bother going back to that impudent clerk, or their superior, when she could go straight to the top? Princess Celestia was the one who instituted the system after all, so it was clearly her fault! Trixie admonished herself for being so dense. It was so very simple! All Trixie had to do was get an audience with Princess Celestia and demand that her title be changed! Then she wouldn’t have to deal with this annoyance anymore.

But time was of the essence – every minute she couldn’t perform was another bout of applause for somepony else, another hat full of bits that she wasn’t making. Trixie swept through the wagon, gathering her hat and cape, absent-mindedly tossing the last of the mug in the sink. As she burst through the door, she barely registered that she had spent the whole night seething. There were more pressing matters at hoof.


“The Great and Powerful Trixie demands an audience with Princess Celestia!” Trixie said, trying to stare the guard down.

The colt stood motionless, staring off into space.

“Trixie said: ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie demands and audience with Princess Celestia!’”

“Um, excuse me miss...” a voice called from beside her.

“Not now, Trixie is trying to talk,” Trixie replied, not taking her eyes from the colt’s.

“That’s just the thing, you see...”

Trixie groaned and turned to confront the minor annoyance. The small mare shrank under her glare, and rightfully so.

“What is it? What is so important that you have to interrupt Trixie when she is trying to conduct business?”

“Uh... well, you do know you can just go right in, right? C-canterlot Castle is open to the public,” the teal mare murmured, motioning towards the open door.

Trixie glared at the mousy unicorn for a moment, gathering her thoughts. “Of course Trixie knew that!” she said loudly, making sure the guard heard her. “Trixie just thought it would be much simpler if Trixie asked this guard for directions.”

“Well, if you need directions to administration, I could... show you?”

“Yes, you’ll do. Guide the Great and Powerful Trixie to Princess Celestia!”

Trixie chuckled to herself as she followed the mare into the castle. Everything was going according to plan: now all she had to do was find Princess Celestia, and everything would be exactly as she wished.

As they traveled through the winding castle hallways, Trixie watched other ponies bustle about, carrying loads of paperwork and scrolls throughout the castle. The entire building seemed to be alive, a giant hive of bureaucrats and frivolous nobles all spinning around in circles. Trixie smiled as she watched a colt bumble past, overloaded with scrolls. What a sad, meaningless existence.

Trixie turned to watch him go, the precarious pile of scrolls tilting, almost falling, when she was knocked on her haunches by something soft.

“Ah... are you o-okay?” the mare asked.

“Yes, Trixie is fine, no thanks to you! You shouldn’t stop so suddenly.”

“Yes, you’re right, sorry... we’re here, b-by the way. The Visitation Department,” the mare stuttered, waving a hoof towards a row of counters staffed by clerks.

The sight of the clerks and counters sent a wave of deja vu and anger sweeping down Trixie’s spine. “This will do, thank you. Trixie will be leaving you now.”

“Ah, you’re welcome... m-my name is—”

“Yes, thank you,” Trixie said, trotting off towards the nearest clerk.

“Trixie demands an audience with Princess Celestia.”

The clerk showed no sign of hearing her.

“Hey, you there, you!” Trixie continued, tapping on the glass that formed the upper half of the booth. “Don’t you dare ignore the Great and Powerful Trixie!”

Still, the clerk didn’t even so much as bat an eye.

“Do you have any idea who you are dealing with, you meaningless worm? Trixie is the Great and Powerful Trixie! What Trixie wants, Trixie gets – and Trixie wants an audience with Princess Celestia. Do you understand?”

Silence.

“Fine! If you insist on being so useless, Trixie will just take her business elsewhere!” With a sharp turn, Trixie raised her head high and trotted down three booths. A good snubbing would teach that foal a lesson, she was sure of that.

Trixie puffed herself up as she approached the next clerk, a elderly mare. In her most regal, demanding tone, Trixie said, “The Great and Powerful Trixie demands an audience with Princess Celestia.”

Nothing. Once again, the clerk didn’t move so much as a hair.

Trixie felt her head start to throb.

“You foal! You unimportant, meaningless cog in this giant, useless lump of stone! Listen to Trixie! You think you can ignore Trixie and get away with it? Huh? Trixie is talking, why don’t you say something, hm? Maybe, just maybe, if you say something right now, if the first words you say are ‘Sorry, oh Great, Amazing, Magical, Powerful Trixie, I was too dumb to hear your command, would you please forgive me?’ and you prostrate yourself before Trixie, Trix—”

The sound of hoofsteps behind her snapped Trixie out of her rant. Spinning around, Trixie spotted a clerk trying to tip-hoof around the corner. Trixie snarled – some foal thought they could avoid her, make a fool out of her!

The clerk, seemingly aware that he had been spotted, tried to make a dash for it, but was simply no match for Trixie’s enraged speed.

“You there, caterpillar, stop this instant!” Trixie screamed, tackling the fleeing pony.

“I-I-I H-h-hel—”

“Shh, quiet. The Great and Powerful Trixie is speaking,” Trixie said quietly, her hoof pressed against his snout. “Now then, Trixie is going to remove her hoof and ask you a few questions, and you are going to answer them. Is that clear? Nod if you understand.”

The colt shook his head slightly, and Trixie removed her hoof.

“Now then, Trixie wants an audience with Princess Celestia. How does Trixie get one?”

“Uh... Princess Celestia isn’t tak—” the colt started, but Trixie placed her hoof over his mouth again.

“That doesn’t sound like a ‘how,’ that sounds like a ‘no.’ Trixie doesn’t want to hear ‘no,’ do you understand? Trixie will remove her hoof now.”

“You n-need to talk to get form T2-439 from that clerk over there,” the colt answered shakily, gesturing towards the first clerk Trixie had talked to.

“Trixie already tried talking to that one,” she snapped, “and they ignored Trixie, the nerve!”

“That’s because you need form D452-930 to speak to a T2-439 clerk.”

“And where, pray tell, would Trixie get this D452-whatever?” Trixie asked, allowing the colt to get back to his hooves.

“From that booth over there,” the colt said, nodding towards the elderly mare clerk.

Trixie looked down the row of booths, which continued off into the distance and around the corner, and felt the pieces come together. When she turned to face the clerk again, she found nothing but empty air, the colt long gone. Trixie felt a tremor travel up her hind legs, her left eye started twitching, and then something snapped.


When she came-to, Trixie found herself in the grasp of two of Celestia’s high guards, screaming Celestia’s name at the top of her lungs. After a few minutes commanding, demanding, and eventually, attempting to reason with the guards, Trixie simply resigned herself to being carried. Not that it was all bad – being carried by the royal guards made Trixie feel like a princess, at least until they dumped her on the pavement outside the gate and slammed it shut behind her.

Trixie watched them go. Good riddance to bad rubbish! Who needed guards who couldn’t even follow simple orders, especially ones given by one as great and powerful as herself? She picked herself up and brushed the dust away with magic, straightening her hat and cape. As she finished preening, a large scroll tumbled out of her hat and unfurled on the ground. The vocational licence – just the sight of it ignited a blazing fire of hatred in her chest.

As Trixie swept up the shameful evidence, her thoughts turned towards the source of her misery – Princess Celestia. It was her fault that Trixie was stuck with this shameful title, that she was tossed out on her rump in the dust like some commoner. Oh, Celestia would pay for this indignity, Trixie swore to herself. On her Great and Powerful name, Trixie swore that Celestia would pay for every single ounce of humiliation Trixie had experience, thousand-fold.

“Now then,” Trixie muttered to herself, “Trixie, Trixie, how are you going to do this?”

“Simple,” she replied, “The Great and Powerful Trixie is going to do what she does best – be the best!”

Trixie laughed to herself. If those foals were going to try and stop her with paperwork, then she would one-up them. Not a stack, not a pile, not a tome, but an avalanche of paperwork. She would crush them all at their own game! Those pencil-pushers wouldn’t know what hit them. With one last chuckle, Trixie galloped off towards the royal Canterlotian library.


“What do you mean, Trixie isn’t allowed into the law archives? This is a public library, isn’t it?”

“Well, yes, it is, but that doesn’t mea—”

“Yes, it does! Public means public, and that means open to everypony, all the time! Don’t try and muddy the issue by re-defining terms,” Trixie hissed, tapping her hooves on the librarian’s desk. Trixie was starting to run out of patience. She had been arguing with the same donkey librarian for over twenty minutes, forced to maintain a whisper by the library rules. Trixie was not so low-brow as to be loud in a library.

“Look, Trixie, I know it’s a public library, but the law archives haven’t been sorted or organized in years! If you need to find something, why no—”

“Then Trixie will sort it herself, she doesn’t care. Just let Trixie into the archives already! Trixie doesn’t have all the time in the world.”

“Even if you did, it’s been sealed by royal decree—”

Trixie could tell that her sudden grin had startled the librarian, and for good reason. Trixie put on her sweetest, kindest smile, and started whispering as quietly as possible.

“Oh, Trixie understands, she understands exactly what the situation is. You tried to hide it, didn’t you? But it’s too late, Trixie saw. After all, it has to be ‘displayed at all times,’ right? Your license, right there, under that pile of scrolls...”

The librarian noticeably paled. “P-please, don’t tell anypony,” she quietly sobbed, “I couldn’t bear it, please.”

“Sure, sure, Trixie’s little ‘Librayrian,’ Trixie won’t tell anypony. Just give her the keys to the law archives, and it will be our little secret.”

Trixie watched with glee as the donkey quietly shoved a set of iron keys across the desk, which she quickly snatched up with magic.

“Third door on the left, second basement,” the mare whispered, biting her lower lip to hold back the tears.

Trixie tossed the set of keys up in the air, catching them with magic as she walked away, laughing to herself. Librayrian? What sort of pathetic pony would you have to be to allow yourself to be called that? It made Trixie sick to think that there were ponies out there who were so weak. Her thoughts flew back to the vocational licences and the task at hand, and she doubled her pace.

The stairs she conquered easily, the door was located, and the lock undone, but she hadn’t expected the mountain. The landscape of the archives was less of a library and more of a paper dumping ground. Trixie could see why the librarians, and the princesses, had sealed the archives – if they hadn’t, somepony might have seen how incompetent they had been, and for how long! Trixie shook her head in disgust.

“Well, if Trixie wants something done right, Trixie needs to do it herself,” she whispered, releasing a burst of magic. A few books and scrolls picked themselves up, floating their way onto the shelves. A moment later, another bunch picked themselves up and continued to their new resting place. Trixie hunkered down on a pile of old tomes and picked up the nearest volume. Something told her this process would take a while.


“An Equestrian Lawmaker, assuming they are a qualified citizen, must have all proposed bills and forms checked and signed by an Equestrian Official Notary before they may be considered official... now where did Trixie see that term before?”

A scroll covered in scribbles, numbers, and titles floated closer, called by Trixie’s magic.

“Right! Volume 1.30.485, Equestrian Legislative Procedure, Staffing Regulations.”

Trixie double-check her notes, cross-referencing the freshly-summoned volumes. A wayward quill floated by as she scratched her head.

“None of this makes any sense... the records go back for hundreds of years, and yet there has never been a law repealed? Not even one? What madness is this?”

Trixie’s descent into Equestrian law had been slow and painful. The archives were entirely disorganized, some tomes defying all reasonable chronology. Initially, Trixie had searched for a means to have her title changed. When she found no such official pathway, she instead looked for a way to repeal a royal decree, but that too seemed impossible – so much as altering a law seemed impossible, let alone repealing one. Trixie summoned another volume, taking a bite of an apple at the same time.

“A ’questrian Offishal Notry,” she muttered, swallowing, “is defined as a citizen of Equestria given Notary status via entry into the Reliable Witness Table via document 34-B/4-5... and according to ‘Officiale Documentae, Canterlotian Justice,’ anypony on the Reliable Witness Table can apply for the position of royal Equestrian Judge, who can propose ratification of law...” Trixie trailed off.

With a cry of frustration, Trixie summoned up the three newest tomes in the archive. The trio had been the cause of most of her headaches. Broken tables and missing figures abounded. Opening to a page at random, she started taking notes.

“... according to subsection M3.9, as defined by Princess Celestia, the subject in question may, according to their rights as listed in table 4F, something.”

Trixie did a double-take, re-reading the sentence carefully. It really did say ‘something,’ literally spelled out, clear as day, black and white, ‘something!’ Things started to click. Picking another random page, in another volume, Trixie read on.

“If at any time, time as defined by Princess Celestia, the information in question were to be in existence, then the item in question is to be held in question, as if it never existed. The question in question must then be questioned for proper detaining.”

Now Trixie was sure of it – that sentence had convinced her. Equestrian lawmaking and bureaucracy was a total sham. The entire thing was a shambling monstrosity of self-referential and self-contradictory paperwork, not to mention that most of the laws were full of nonsense, and did nothing but obfuscate the already complicated system. As she continued reading, one thing kept coming back – the laws increasingly required Princess Celestia’s definitions to function, something that wasn’t clearly given in any of the volumes – which meant that ponies still had to ask her for clarification.

Somehow, Trixie sincerely doubted that anypony actually did that anymore. If anything, Celestia had just capitalized on the confusion to completely control the government, beyond simply her royal rights. The princess was probably sure that nopony would ever be able to comprehend enough of the system to challenge her, let alone use it against her. That arrogance would be her undoing, if Trixie had anything to say about it.

“Now let Trixie see,” she said, taking another bite. “Whersh dish 34-B/4-5 table?”


Trixie dipped her hooves into the wagon’s sink, splashing water on her face. The lack of sleep had done a number on her, but that was secondary when she thought of how close and sweet vengeance would be. She smiled, remembering the look on the librarians’ faces when she had left the archives after three days of intense work. They looked like they had seen a ghost or something. Trixie turned, gathering up the remains of the paperwork, the last briefcase snapping shut with a satisfying click. With a last count, Trixie was out the door, on the way to Canterlot Castle.


The first obstacle was always going to be the guards. After her last outburst, she expected to have been placed on some sort of blacklist, but no matter: Trixie was prepared for such an eventuality. As she approached the entrance, the guards predictably barred the door with their wings. Trixie simply smiled.

“Lower your wings,” she commanded.

No response.

“You dare ignore a direct command from a superior officer?” Trixie shouted, turning to the nearest guard.

The guard’s expression wavered, confusion in his eyes.

“That’s right! Trixie is the General of the Royal Guard!” she continued, a slip of paper freeing itself from one of the seven briefcases floating around her. With a quick flash, she waved the certificate before both of their faces before sealing it back in the briefcase. It wouldn’t do for them to see that every signature on it was hers.

“Trixie’s shown you the proper paperwork – will you allow Trixie through as commanded, or will Trixie have to hold you in contempt?” Trixie chuckled at that last part – as if she didn’t do that already!

The two guards looked at each other, as if pleading the other for help. Trixie sensed weakness.

“There might be a promot—”

Before she had even finished her sentence, the two guards had folded their wings and were kneeling before her.

“Much better! Now then, ach-ten-chun, step aside, and follow Trixie!”

Trixie burst through the door, making as much noise as physically possible, anything to get the bureaucrats attention.

“You there, number one,” she said to one of the guards, “point Trixie towards Princess Celestia’s chamber. Do a good job, and Trixie might not have you thrown out of the force.”

The guard pointed down a side-hall.

“Good, Trixie’ll be taking the long route then! You two stay here,” she said, laughing, as she barreled into the stream of paperwork-bearing ponies. Now came the fun part.

“Wait! Ma’am, you can’t be here—”

“You dare to speak in such a manner to an Equestrian Judge?” Trixie said, looking down at the grey colt.

“B-but...”

“Here, take this,” Trixie commanded, floating a briefcase to the clerk, “and file this immediately. And Trixie does mean immediately!”

“Uh...”

“Snap to it!”

Trixie shoved past the still stunned clerk and continued on, meeting nothing but the expected resistance as she traveled the floor towards Celestia’s chambers.

Minor Floor Clerk, 3rd Class: briefcase.

Master Notary Clerk, 1st Class: briefcase.

Security Checkpoint One: briefcase.

Security Checkpoint Two: briefcase.

A different briefcase for each situation, a different set of forms specifically tailored for the challenge. Trixie couldn’t stop laughing – it was so much easier than she had anticipated. Not one of the ponies had expected to be challenged, let alone out-maneuvered. Trixie took a deep breath, composing herself. Now, outside of Celestia’s main chambers, it wouldn’t do to show the slightest weakness. Still, Trixie smiled. It was time to put on a show, after all.

With a burst of magic and smoke, Trixie slammed the doors open and lept into the chamber, one briefcase already open, the papers swirling around her like a tornado. The high royal guards were fast, but not fast enough to avoid the small seeker-missiles of paper, each one a copy of an appointment form. Trixie stood confident amongst the chaos – after all, she had every legal right to be there. She should know, she ratified a third of them just a few days ago.

The guards, recovering from the initial shock, circled her, preparing to strike – but it was too late. The last paper-missile had reached its intended target. Trixie watched as Princess Celestia read the document, both front and back, before silently waving the guards aside. The princess spoke first.

“So, Judge-Notary-Lawmaker-Scribe-Carrier Trixie, why is it that you so greatly wish to have an audience with me?”

“The Great and Powerful Trixie will do fine for our purposes, your highness,” Trixie said, tipping her hat slightly. “I’ve come to demand that you repeal V34-591 and associated addendums V34-590 and V34-591B.”

“I’m afraid that’s impossible, my beloved subject. The vocational tracking system is already in full swing, and has already proven quite useful to the tax and relief fund system.”

“Then at the very least,” Trixie cried, “Trixie demands you change her job title to showmare!”

“That, too, is impossible. Just glancing over the paperwork you’ve done to arrive at this point shows that you know the current state of things here in Equestrian bureaucracy – once something has been filed, making an addendum or alteration to it is beyond impossible!”

Trixie bit her lip and hung her head, her hat casting her face in shadow.

“I’m sorry, my little pony,” Princess Celestia continued, a smile on her face, “but you seem to have wasted your time. I’m sorry for your circumstances.”

Trixie could hear the insincerity in the princess's voice. “One more thing, my Princess!”

“Yes?”

“Am I correct in believing that this entire system, including the titles, was authored and ratified by yourself, as recorded in the archives?”

“That is correct, Great and Powerful Trixie.”

“Then,” Trixie said, snapping her head up straight, unable to hide her triumphant grin any longer, “you wouldn’t mind also being a part of the system, would you?”

Trixie watched with glee as the princess’s cool demeanor started to fail. Trixie could see it in her eyes – she knew what was coming, she just had no concept of how bad it really was.

“Why, it just doesn’t seem fair to Trixie that all the citizens of this fair country have to display these vocational licences, and our princess does not – so, as Trixie made her way here, she put a few documents in motion beyond the required ones. An application, in fact. Filed in septuplicate,” Trixie added, opening the final briefcase onto the floor.

Celestia levitated one of the license forms up to her chair while Trixie watched, eager. The dawning look of horror on Celestia’s face was almost enough to sooth Trixie’s anger, but she had to rub it in as much as she could.

“That’s right, Prancess Celestia. Could you imagine it now, a being like you, immortal, Equestria’s Prancess for all time? By your own law, you will need to have that form displayed publicly at all times. It’s a shame you can’t somehow repeal the application, but by your own admission such a thing is impossible... right?”

Trixie sneered a smile at the newly appointed Prancess Celestia, watching as the cage the former princess had constructed for Trixie now clamped around herself instead.

Trixie continued talking, ignoring the increasingly pale prancess. “Now, if something were to happen to the archives for the Vocational System, such as a freak fire that destroyed all evidence that such a thing ever existed, then nopony would have to know, isn’t that right, my prancess?”

Celestia nodded slowly, the idea taking hold.

“Good, then we are in agreement. The Great and Powerful Trixie will be taking her leave now, Prancess Celestia,” Trixie said, and with a final laugh, dashed a smokescreen on the ground.


Trixie took a sip from the mug of tea, watching the column of smoke rise off into the distance. There was something nostalgic about the smell of a roaring fire and a hot cup of tea that just relaxed Trixie to no end. With a contented sigh, Trixie stood up from the soft grass and trotted over to the road, where her wagon waited. The hill had been the perfect viewing point for the growing bonfire outside Canterlot, but now it was time to get moving. After her little show in Canterlot Castle, it would probably be wise to make herself scarce. With one last glance at the city, Trixie set the wagon in motion, her way lit by a particularly well burning 'Maregician' license.