• Published 19th Jan 2015
  • 915 Views, 32 Comments

The Elements of Friendship, Book IS [interlude one-point-five]: Bonds - Amras Felagund


Empowered by the Alicorn Amulet, Trixie foalnaps Queen Celestia's little sister. Twilight and her new friends must save her!

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Prologue

DROW TSAL MORF KCAB DROW TSRIF NI SRETTEL FO REBMUN

Humiliation.

That is what they thought was her due.

To have her name dragged through the mud, all over a simple parlor trick.

The sheer unmitigated gall of some ponies!

She put so much of herself into her illusions and tricks, and ponies could not have the common decency to not see through her sleights of hoof and give her the rewards that a hero deserved. After all, was not her ursa major a spectacle to behold? Were the ponies of Ponyville not given a thrill that they needed in the doldrums of everlasting night? Was the magic of The Great And Powerful Trixie really such a pittance to them?

Such nerve!

And that… that nag, Twilight Sparkle!

She had to have told everypony of the humiliation that Trixie Lulamoon had faced in that wretched hovel of Ponyville! Word had to have spread to the far corners of Harmonia by now; it’s what Trixie would have ensured if the tables were turned! And for what reason? Out of jealousy that Trixie could project an uncanny image of an ursa major from her mind and Twilight Sparkle could not?

What could possibly be more petty than that?

Because of such pettiness on Twilight Sparkle’s part, Trixie had to force herself to not make any further performances until she had cleared her name. But traveling from town to town, all attempts to explain that she had been swindled in Ponyville were only met with incredulity. Trixie’s heart burned with rage; they were playing dumb, misdirecting her, tricking her into thinking that they did not know. That was the only explanation! They had to know, even if they would not tell her! Just how deplorable had ponies become nowadays if the most inestimably great and undeniably powerful Trixie Lulamoon was the subject of such cowardly mockery?

What did it matter that the queen had been missing for the past two months? Why was it so terrible that frosty nighttime had descended and could very well never end? The Great And Powerful Trixie had had to sell her assets to cover the lack of expenses from her lack of performances! That should have been the real travesty that got Equestria in a tizzy!

But… Trixie grinned to herself, pulling her hat down over her alicorn, that will all change very soon.

Soon all of Equestria will see the majesty of the Great And Powerful Trixie!

Upon reaching the western edge of the Saddle Valley, Trixie had had to sell her many assets − amassed from the many towns which she had previously entertained with her grand illusory spells − so that she could make ends meet and attempt to find her place now that her very special talent had been all but robbed of her. Los Pegasus, Salt Lick City, Anahoof… every one of them ended poorly. And just when Trixie had considered the notion of sinking all her bits into a zeppelin ticket to Shire, she caught wind of a lead.

A lead that had ignited a spark that lit a new path for Trixie.

Bartering passage to the other side of the Equinus Mountains, where her lead indicated that she could find it, Trixie wound up in Dodge Junction, a ramshackle burrow at the edge of the Descort Fields. She looked about, holding her nose at the idea of taking a job far below her station. Nopony had an opening.

Nopony save for a rock farm run by a rather well-to-do family. Name your wage!, the advertisement said with a vehemence and a color that betrayed the stony stoic expressions of the stallion, his wife and their three daughters.

A rock farm…

Trixie recognized the name of the Pie family for their wealth in rock molasses, but the idea of Trixie Lulamoon working at a rock farm was utterly onerous.

But… Trixie could name her own wage…!

Swallowing bile, Trixie approached the main building on the Pie Rock Farm complex and set forth her application.

“The Great And Powerful Trixie is the most powerful Unicorn in all of Equestria!” she’d said emphatically before the stone-faced Earth Pony mare. “You will not find a mare better at splitting rocks and rotating rock crops if you would travel to the very ends of Harmonia!”

The stone-gray mare with a sheet of pale-purple mane gave Trixie a very flat expression, though the marginal widening of her eyes told Trixie that she had piqued the Pie mare’s interest.

“‘Great And Powerful Trixie’?” echoed Ms. Pie. “My little sister wrote about you recently. She liked your show a lot.”

Trixie swelled with pride, “As she should. But tragically, because of a travesty which you must have heard of, The Great And Powerful Trixie is left destitute! She requires work, any work!”

Turquoise eyes blinked slowly.

“Very well. What would you like your wage to be?”

“As high as you can manage!”

The mare picked up a pencil in her mouth and scribbled down a number which Trixie could not see on the clipboard on the desk.

“That seems to be in order. When can you begin?”

“Immediately!”

Rock farming was far worse than Trixie could have imagined. The three Pie daughters were stocky and heavily built, almost as if their bones and muscle were made of steel rather than bone and sinew. This work of rotating rock crops from one field to another was laborious, and keeping time with the flow of magical currents in the air so that the minerals in the ore could grow was tedious. Trixie could not imagine why anypony would want to undertake this job, especially not when one was sitting on a wealth of rock molasses!

But it would all be worth it when she received her pay.

Would it…?

The revelation that the Sun had resumed its rise and fall came as little consequence to Trixie. So that uppity NightMare Moon got tired of her little trick and decided to become a good little mare again, so what? It did not affect her lifestyle. Once she led the life of a truly spectacular mare, the likes of which her parents would have truly envied. Now, she was forced to make a living on a rock farm, dragging stupid rocks to and fro across stupid fields for stupid ponies!

And she knew exactly who to blame for her misery!

Each time she took a pickaxe in her dwimmer shimmer and split a rock in two, she imagined that she was caving in Twilight Sparkle’s skull.

A fortnight later, Trixie was called into the main building of the Pie Rock Farm complex. As kind as they were to offer her one of their daughters’ bedrooms − did they have a fourth? − Trixie dreaded what they would have paid her. If she were in their position, she would not have given an employee even a single halfbit for their trouble! Surely these Pies would swindle her and pay her mere quadbits for all of her blood, sweat and toil!

“Your pay,” said the eldest daughter, whom Trixie had learned was named Maud Pie, as she pushed a check across the desk towards the azure Unicorn. “I hope that you find it satisfactory.”

Sniffing derisively, Trixie took the check in her pale-magenta dwimmer shimmer and read the pay with half-lidded eyes and great Trixie she could not remember seeing that many thoroughbits!

Trixie looked in bemusement at the stone-gray Earth Pony who was almost twice as big as she was. Were these ponies completely poor of money sense? What could they possibly have to gain from giving so much money to somepony else? It just made no sense!

But, as Trixie recalled the lead she’d uncovered, why second-guess a sudden windfall? This really simplified the matter of paying off the pony who carried it.

Trixie galloped off without a second glance at the eldest Pie daughter, retrieving her beloved hat and cape from the peg by the door and tearing off across the eastern field towards the distant Dodge Junction.

Emerging brightly from the bank with a bag of bits jangling at her side, Trixie strode with prideful purpose past several local mares and stallions. Each of the Dodge Junction ponies were dressed in fine denim, many of the stallions bearing cowpony hats and several mares with their manes done up in buns at the backs of their heads.

“Oh my, now that is a good number of bits!” interjected a rather dreadfully dressed Unicorn mare, approaching Trixie with an ingratiating smile that reached too far across her muzzle. She wore a large pink bow that clashed terribly with her pale-spring-bud mane, a ring of imitation gold set with a very large zircon around her right foreleg, and an obnoxiously frilly pink dress. Her frizzy mane bounced as she trotted alongside Trixie, who tried to ignore the obnoxious and self-absorbed mare.

“I mean, of course, it really is none of my business what you got all of those bits for,” continued the mare, eyeing Trixie’s matted and dirt-stained coat and her chipped hooves with a wrinkled nose. “But with all of that money, you must be looking to buy something very valuable.”

Trixie glowered at the mare.

“What is the business of The Great And Powerful Trixie to you?”

The other mare’s smile did not falter.

“Nothing at all… unless you’re looking to buy something very pretty and very valuable.” Her voice suddenly lost its honey-sweet coating and took on the vocal equivalent of the sheen of a silver knife. “You better not take what rightfully belongs to me. Whatever it is you want, it’s mine!”

Trixie snorted, her teeth bared.

“What is your hubris when set against the humiliation I’ve felt?”

What is it that you want?

Trixie turned her gaze from the other mare and set her eyes upon her destination: a run-down old shack at the edge of Dodge Junction with windows all boarded up and no lights showing from inside. The paint had long since chipped off from neglect, but it was not so ill-cared-for that the wood had rotted away. Still, the mare who now trotted a pace behind Trixie grimaced at the sight of the place, but Trixie turned a victorious smile upon her.

“Power.”

Trixie knocked at the door with a rough forehoof. It fell completely from its hinges onto the dusty foyer floor. Trixie and the other mare leapt back slightly in shock.

“Come in,” came the boyish voice of a stallion, a dwimmer-flame flicking from a wax-white alicorn and lighting up several candles in the pitch-black hovel. The dim light revealed a very dusty and very old shop, empty glass cabinets reflecting the silhouettes of the two Unicorn mares against the near-blinding doorway.

Standing behind a desk which was missing a leg and supported by yellow-paged books in its stead, was a wax-white Unicorn stallion with a wild flame-orange and fire-yellow mane. He had a strange youth about the shape of his muzzle, and a bright smile that showed perfect white teeth. Red cloven hooves rested on the edge of the desk.

“Welcome to my humble shop, dear ladies,” he said jovially, his red eyes shining brightly. “My name is Candlelight. What service might I render to you?”

Trixie looked past the stallion onto the empty shelves… but one shelf was not really empty. Under a glass bubble was a single item: a silver carcanet set with a large rhomb-cut ruby that seemed to gleam with its own light. Above the ruby was a Unicorn head in profile with a single gleaming ruby eye, flanked by a pair of ruby-and-silver wings.

Trixie opened her mouth.

The lead was true!

“I want that!” cried out the mare beside Trixie, her eyes shining with unbridled greed. “That’s mine!”

“No!” snarled Trixie, her bag of bits jingling impatiently. “That amulet belongs to The Great And Powerful Trixie!”

“It belongs to Ignobility!”

Trixie paused.

“‘Ignobility’?” she repeated. “What absurdity was in your parents’ minds to give you such an appalling name?”

“‘The Great And Powerful Trixie’ is an abomination of a name!”

“Ladies! Ladies…” interjected Candlelight, interceding in between the quarreling mares. “Please… I know that that is a very valuable artifact. Practically priceless. But… it’s exceptionally dangerous. I’m afraid you’d quite lose your head if you put it on. I don’t know if either of you ladies could rub enough bits together to persuade me to part with it.”

Brushing past Ignobility, Trixie took her bag of bits in her dwimmer shimmer and shook it before the wax-white stallion. Candlelight arched a fiery eyebrow at the sack, taking it in his own flame-colored dwimmer shimmer and settling it upon the desk. Undoing the drawstring, Candlelight tipped the bits out of the bag and onto the tabletop, the innumerable thoroughbits spilling out freely.

Candlelight’s eyes flickered with gold, and he faced Trixie with a toothy grin, the flame-shaped skirt at the end of his leonine tail flickering exactly like fire.

“Would you like it gift-wrapped?”

Trixie replied with a far wider grin.

“The Great And Powerful Trixie will wear it out, thank you.”

No!!” screamed Ignobility, tears streaming down her crestfallen muzzle. “It belongs to me! It’s so beautiful!”

“Sorry, dear Iggy,” replied Candlelight lightly, “but money talks.”

“But…!” Ignobility stammered.

“Quit whining, you fool of a mare,” came Trixie’s voice, a new melodrama reborn from her days of glory as she levitated the amulet in question in her dwimmer shimmer. Her eyes glimmered in the light of the altogether precious ruby in its heart. All the power in the world awaited her in this necklace, and all it took was to put it on…!

Fastening it around her neck, Trixie took in a deep breath as she felt power coursing into her chest-first. Energy swelled within her heart, engorging her feelings of rage and indignation. All of the deeds that she dreamed of seemed all too real now. Ursae major and minor now seemed altogether akin to ants. There was nothing that could stand before her now.

Nothing.

Trixie turned upon Ignobility, Candlelight beaming behind her, the light of Trixie’s dwimmer shimmer gleaming crimson in her eyes.

“This is no ordinary trinket, Ignobility. You don’t know the true power that it holds, that The Great And Powerful Trixie holds now! The Great And Powerful Trixie's absolute power lies in this carcanet! Behold, the greatest magical artifact on Harmonia: The Alicorn Amulet!”


EAE QNR EFWLVV RREENY YQLQ WNEH GQWEI?
TPD TCN BRX ROEA WVXAUTRPD GLX HOIEE BJ LWCY C TEMGMEK?
VHR EGUWVT LVIL GLJGWUIKG…

Author's Note:

And so a new story begins, as the old story continues. Welcome to Book IS [interlude one-point five]: Bonds! To any readers who might be confused about the S in the title, there is a Latin word semis, which means “half”. In the Roman numerals, there is a lesser-known numeral: S, for “six-twelfths” (since they used a duodecimal system for counting). So I don’t have to awkwardly write I.5.
There will be, between each “major” Book in the series, a more “minour” interlude Book. These interludes will still be important to the overarching plot, but each will have shorter chapters and have fewer chapters in general. Consider them to be sort of like Breather Episodes, but don’t for an instant think that any of them will be uneventful. They also carry shades of Innocuously Important Episode.
I must say, writing for Trixie was fun, but it is tough to stick in a narcissistic mindset for the duration of the writing. For someone with low self-esteem, that can be difficult. But I think I managed.
Also, I think you may have noticed that I have watched Gravity Falls in the intervening time between Book I and Book IS. You can tell by the cryptogram at the end of the prologue. See if you can figure out the meaning of the cipher. There will be plenty more where that came from~!
I imagine that there are some who are confused by the references to thoroughbits in this chapter. For the purposes of this universe, there are thirteen denominations of Equestrian currency: Unbit, worth one-twelfth of a bit; hexbit, worth one-sixth of a bit; quadbit, worth one-quarter of a bit; tribit, worth one-third of a bit; halfbit (pronounced hay-bit), worth one-half of a bit; bit; shoebit, worth two bits; bridlebit, worth three bits; reinbit, worth four bits; saddlebit, worth six bits; spurbit, worth twelve bits; cinchbit, worth seventy-two bits; and the thoroughbit, worth one-forty-four bits.
Well, I hope this was enjoyable. Welcome back to the world of The Elements of Friendship!