• Published 24th May 2015
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My Little Pony Bizarre Adventures - Part 1: Ponyville Central - LateBronyWriter



One Thousand years ago, the saints Celestia and Luna drew upon the power of the Red Stone of Aja to defeat the demon Discord. Now one thousand years later the Stone is destroyed, beginning the tale of six ponies and their quest to redeem the world.

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Chapter 21-Dirty Trick-Take 1

Dirty Trick-Take 1:


“Trixie! I swear this is the last time! Where are you?”

Startled out of her reading, The Great and Powerful Trixie looks around the library foyer for sign of the Lavender unicorn who had disturbed her Great and Powerful reading time. So far it had been a very slow morning at the golden Oaks Library (Twilight had only caused a small fire in the kitchen when she had tried to cook breakfast); however, from Twilight’s little outburst from the kitchen Trixie could tell that the cease-fire between the two was just about to end. Putting down her book ‘Torture and You’ that she had been reading over or the past hour, Trixie sighs lamenting that that she would once more have to put up with her tyrannical roommate. “And Trixie was just on the chapter on psychological interrogation. What could Twilight Sparkle possibly want from Trixie now?”

Trixie watches in slight amusement as a flustered lavender mare trots up to her, carrying a white carton in her telekinesis. Twilight stomps to a halt right in front of her as she pushes the carton into Trixie’s face. “Trixie? What is this?”

With the slightest flick of her horn Trixie magics her hat back onto her head, sparing just enough effort to glancing over at the other unicorn to look interested. “…and here Trixie thought that you were the smart one.”

Not even bothering to rise from the pillow she is sitting on, Trixie squints as she looks at the object in front of her. “Well, Trixie may not have a college degree like some lavender dimwit, but from her limited knowledge Trixie supposes that that object is a carton of milk.”

Twilight stutters in embarrassment. “But….. I know what it is, Trixie! What I want to know is what is it doing here?!”

Trixie blinks. “Well perhaps it’s because you brought it from the kitchen? Wow, a college degree doesn’t count for much these days, now does it?”

“NO! I mean YES! I mean arrrggghhhh!” Twilight raises her hooves to the heaven in exasperation before calming herself down. “Look, my question for you today is this: after you ate your breakfast, which left a mess all over the table, did you leave the milk out again, or not?”

Trixie taps her hoof to her chin. “Hmmmhhhhhh…… Trixie is going to guess, by your angry behavior and her infallible memory, that the answer to your question is answer number one. That I, Trixie Lulamoon, committed the unforgivable sin of leaving the milk out!”

Twilight nods, ignoring Trixie’s sass in favor of actually getting somewhere in this argument. “Very good, Trixie. Now as for question two……” Twilight leans forward into the blue mare’s face. “Why did you think that it was a good idea to leave the milk out again and not clean up after yourself in MY house?”

Trixie inspects her hoof nonchalantly. “Now that is an easy question! The answer is as simple as your mane-style; Trixie saw no problem in it! You were going to get milk for your coffee this morning, no? So Trixie just left it out so you didn’t have to get it! You should be thanking Trixie’s thoughtfulness, not condemning her for your own failure to see her greatness!”

“…….and the mess?

“Trixie was just too busy to bother with such trivial tasks.” Trixie picks up her book with her magic. “Trixie is a big thinker, not a maid, and her time is too valuable to be spent cleaning simple messes.”

Twilight facehooves from the blue showmare’s flippant attitude. “Look, Trixie, I know that you are used to living on your own but your manners are atrocious!” Twilight sighs. “And you’re living in somepony else’s house now, so you have to show some consideration for others’ property and feelings, not just your own.”

Twilight turns to leave, reaching the halfway point between the kitchen and Trixie before the blue mare gets out a snide comment. “Well at least my manners are not as bad as your taste in organization….”

Twilight stops dead in her tracks, her fur bristling as she turns around to face the blue mare. “….What did you say?”

‘Bull’s eye!’ Trixie thinks. “You heard Trixie! I mean, what kind of pony in their right mind uses the LCC method of organizing books? It’s a sham.”

Twilight growls; this time, Trixie has gone too far. “The Princess herself uses the Library of Canterlot Classification system….”

“Yes, yes, the Princess uses it! That’s such a quaint argument!” Trixie rises to her hooves. “I mean, the Princess eats like, what, forty pounds of cake a day; does that mean Trixie should as well?”

“The Princess has a higher metabolism than the average pony!” Twilight argues, “And don’t change the subject! The LCC is the perfect form of literary organization for every library! There’s no problem with it!”

“And I am telling you now, Twilight, your trust in the Library of Canterlot Calcification system will only lead to your own downfall; everypony knows that the Dewey Decimal System is far superior.”

“And that’s why I’m telling you are being completely illogical! The Princess herself has used the LCC system in the royal archives for over a thousand years. Compared to that track record the DDC barely holds a candle.”

And once again the two residents of Golden Oaks Library, one Trixie Lulamoon: Stand Agent, and Twilight Sparkle: Princess Representative, prepare for their mutually-shared pastime of arguing until both mares are blue in the face, or in Trixie’s case until she is purple in the face. Though a library is normally a place where one might hear the quiet sound of pages turning, any place where the two unicorns, each one as different from the other as night is from day, would gather would quickly become a place of conflict between them.

Preparing for yet another intense argument, the blue showmare adjusts her hat. “And once again you cannot hold true to the changing of the times. It is clear from looking at the various libraries NOT in Canterlot that the Dewey Decimal system is the logical choice. Your LCC may be an organization standard in the narrow-minded corridors of Canterlot, but the rest of the world sees the superiority of Dewey’s methods. ”

“The LCC is far better suited for the research-intensive and studious-minded ponies that often frequent libraries,” Twilight retorts, “though I wouldn’t expect a hard-headed, stuck-up pony like yourself would blaspheme against a system that has aided scholars for thousands of years!”

“How dare you! And you dare to call Trixie illogical!” Trixie fumes stomping her hoof. “You have just proven yourself that the LCC is not the best kind of organization system for this library! The Great and Powerful Trixie can easily see that the LCC is only suited for scholars and bookish nerds like yourself, who are too set in their ways to see the truth of progress. The Dewey Decimal system is far superior and more appealing to the masses than your outdated models. Or are you so sheltered and alienated from the common pony that you can’t even realize that?”

“You want to debate who is more illogical, hunh miss ‘wheels can’t be trusted’?” Twilight remarks with venom. “You went into a thirty minute rant that wheels are dangerous and destructive, all before breakfast, despite the fact that your wagon rolls on them.”

“WHEELS ARE DANGEROUS! Anypony with half a brain can see that they are a resource that must be used as sparingly as possible. That is why Trixie places three charms on each of her wheels to protect others from their untapped wrath.”

“What? That is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard!” Twilight remarks with exasperation, just as a sly grin crosses her face. “…..Though I suppose that I should have expected such an antiquated belief from somepony that never went to magic college!”

“You’ve crossed the line, Sparkle!” Trixie buts heads with the lavender unicorn. “Normally Trixie would resort to violence, however Trixie is feeling merciful today. So for the last time, let me state my demands. Purchase more cheesy crackers, stop belittling Trixie’s obviously superior talents, and rearrange the entire library to adhere to the much more superior Dewey Decimal system instead of your outdated Library of Canterlot Classification system that only serves to infuriate the local populace!!”

“And I have a demand for you, Great and Powerful Trixie:” Twilight counters. “Stop being such a stuck-up freeloading jerk! Your snoring wakes the dead, you’ve left out the milk Celestia-knows how many times, you can’t go five minutes working with our friends without complaining, and you are consistently rude to anypony that you meet!” Twilight shouts over her adversary, adrenaline rushing through her veins as she pushes back against Trixie’s despotism with sheer physical force. “I’m letting you stay in this library to repay a debt and because I respected your abilities, but if you keep acting like a savage slob all the time then you can find somewhere else to sleep!!”

Both mares stare each other down, eye-to-eye, horn-to-horn, magic-to-magic, with a enough anger and pride that could move mountains. However, the first to break this epic stalemate is Trixie, who simply shrugs off Twilight’s glare with a superiority complex and a level of emotional control only an experienced performer could pull off.

“Humph, this is getting Trixie nowhere; arguing with you is a complete waste of time,” Trixie remarks as she turns away from the purple librarian, trotting up the stairs of the treehouse without a single word more.

Stomping up the stairs, Twilight recovers from her self-induced rage just in time to see Trixie open the door to her room. “Trixie, come down here! I haven’t finished talking!”

“Yes, Twilight, but Trixie has finished listening,” the showmare states with finality. “Now if you can excuse me, I will be taking a nap in MY room and will not be disturbed.”

Trixie slams the door with her fury, sending a vibration through the entire tree house and leaving the lavender mare staring dumbstruck at the closed door. Unsatisfied with the conclusion of their argument, both mares simultaneously growl in primal fury, expressing their deep frustrations with the other.

“URRRRRRRR!! Why does that mare have to be so stubborn!?!” Both Twilight and Trixie shout out at the same time, their anger at the other mare and their own stubborn pride getting the best of their better natures.

Content that she is safe from the purple aggressor once more, Trixie casts a simple voice-proof charm on the door so that she won’t have to hear a certain annoying pony’s obnoxious voice. The Great and Powerful Trixie breathes in and out several times in repetition, an old trick but a good one for calming frayed nerves and soothing soaring tempers.

Taking a long steady breath, Trixie counts backwards in an effort to calm her nerves from her recent spat with the librarian. “Ten……. Nine…… eight…… seven…… six…… five…… UGH! This isn’t working!” The showmare stamps the ground furiously. “Twilight Sparkle! Why do you have to be so infuriating?! Why can’t you simply see that Trixie is in the right?! URGH!” The blue mare kicks a nearby bookshelf, sending a book falling onto her head with a loud thump.

The caped showmare once again attempts to calm her raging temper as she rubs her sensitive head. “Do not lose your cool, Trixie, that is only what Twilbright Snarkle wants.” The showmare removes her hat and throws it on her bed. “Just think through the situation like you always do.” Trixie paces to her left. “Pros and Cons of living in the library with Twilight. Pro: free room and board. Well, relatively-free room and board.”

Trixie pivots as she paces to her right. “Con: annoying roommate. Pro: Strategic location in the center of town, allowing easy access to any part of Ponyville.”

Trixie turns again this time to the left. “Con: really annoying roommate. Pro: access to key pieces of intelligence in gathering pieces of the Red Stone and monitoring Twilight Sparkle. Con…” Trixie falls to her plot in exasperation. “…….. Con: really REALLY annoying roommate, AKA: Twilight Sparkle.”

The blue showmare sighs, falling to her rump as she realizes her base problem is both her means of shelter and her mission. Celestia had assigned her to not only watch Twilight for anything suspicious, but also to protect her from any danger. But why of all ponies did it have to be HER?! Why did fate have to be so cruel that it would have her protecting the very pony she despised the most? True, Twilight was talented and considerate at times, but she was so pig-headed and naïve. How she managed to not die while facing down dangerous Stand users was beyond the showmare’s comprehension. How could she expect to complete her mission when she kept trying to befriend everypony she met?! How could Twilight Sparkle be so smart, but so incredibly stupid at the same time? It was infuriating!

“I mean, FRIENDSHIP?! How dumb could you get? Everypony knows it’s every mare for….. OW!!” Another book falls on Trixie’s head, causing the mare to wince in pain as the slighter heavier volume rebounds off her head. “Trixie thought that that was the last time a book would get the better of her!” Trixie looks up to see the very bookshelf that she kicked falling right on top of her, hundreds of pounds of literature threatening to crush her flat.

Reacting with reflexes honed over hundreds of life-or-death battles, the mare’s Stand Magic Mare leaps out in an instant, stopping the collapsing bookshelf before a single book can slide off and hit her in te cranium. “Ha! Take that, faulty literature container! You will have to try better than that if you want to stop the Great and Powe…… OW!” A small spurt of blood falls from Trixie’s hoof as her Stand’s hoof is injured, the feedback causing Trixie’s own hoof to open up and bleed painfully. The bookshelf quakes as Magic Mare winces from the pain; however, Trixie re-exerts her control over the Stand, moving the bookshelf back into place on the floor.

With the shelf now firmly on the floor Trixie extends her hoof, looking at the small but painful gash on her foreleg. “Humh. That was odd, and this wound…… This is not a paper cut or a wound you would get from a bookshelf.” Trixie’s eyes scan the room as she applies her twenty-twenty vision with the aid of her Stand. “In fact, it looks more like a form of bite than anything.”

Finally Trixie’s eyes catch something as she looks up to see a dark shape hanging from the chandelier, its vacant white eyes reflecting ambient light from the shadows above. Trixie prepares to call out and readies her Stand to strike only to once again feel a book falling on her head. Trixie turns sharply this time, just as she sees the same bookshelf that she stopped a second ago falling towards her again. Yet this time Trixie is far too slow to react and the entire bookshelf falls on her, burying her under a mountain of letters and pages.

……………..

Meanwhile, on the ground floor of Golden Oaks Library, a very distracted unicorn rereads the same book’s passage over again. Twilight is doing what she always does when she feels flustered: reading. However despite her cathartic actions, the blue showmare and her stinging words have a way of buzzing in her brain like a fly in her ear, and Twilight finds it very difficult to focus on what she is doing. Suddenly, a loud crash echoes through the library and the lavender mare sighs in defeat. “Ugh, now she’s wrecking the guest room, too. Well, I had better go up and stop her before the Great and Angry Trixie destroys something of real value.”

Building up a familiar magic charge in her horn, Twilight teleports up the flight of stairs, unceremoniously landing on her hooves at the door to Trixie’s room. Clearing her voice, Twilight knocks. “Trixie! Open up. I know that you are angry about the ‘wheels’ comment, but destroying the library isn’t going to help.” Hearing nothing significant from inside, Twilight knocks again.

Meanwhile, on the inside of the door, The Great and Powerful Trixie, thanks to her own noise-proof charm, fails to hear Twilight’s voice, or her knocking. As she pulls herself out from the ruins of the bookshelf, she flings several of the books off her back. “That didn’t just happen. Somepony please tell Trixie that she didn’t just lose to a bookshelf.”

Trixie shakes off the damage as she clears her mind. Noticing the wound in her hoof is still bleeding she uses a minor healing spell to patch the wound, stopping the bleeding and leaving a small but significant scar as the only sign of her damage. Scanning the room, Trixie spies her hat on her bed and reaches to pick it up with a hoof. Yet, hearing a clunk from above Trixie removes her foreleg just in time as a flaming chandelier falls from the ceiling, smashing into the bedding right where her arm was half a second ago. “What the…… this is no coincidence! Whoever you are, show yourself! The Great and Powerful Trixie demands it!”

A snide and winy laughter fills the room as Trixie’s head begins to spin. “Oh, we don’t think that you are any position to demand anything, Trick-less. Not after the little gift that we gave you….” Trixie’s head continues to swim as she takes a knee on the floor, looking at the injury in her hoof with open eyes as a look of realization crosses her muzzle.

Meanwhile, just outside Trixie’s door, Twilight finishes her knocking as she stares at the door in front of her with a frustrated look. “Alright, Trixie, enough playing around, I’m coming in.” Twilight’s telekinesis grabs the door handle, turning it sharply as she charges… right into the closed door. Sliding to the ground after her failed attempt to open the door with her face, Twilight picks herself up groggily. “Uh. way to lock the door, Trixie…….”

Twilight blinks in confusion. “Wait, this is odd, Trixie never locks her door.” Twilight resumes her frenzied knocking. “Trixie! Why have you locked the door? Open up right now!”

Twilight nearly considers teleporting inside when she hears the familiar click of the lock, and the door opens from the inside. Standing in the doorway is a Not Very Great Trixie, her hat is missing, she is covered in several books, and her mane appears to be a complete mess. However, what Twilight notices first is the fact that her room is a complete mess.

Twilight gapes as she sees her priceless bookshelf demolished and her books are lying unceremoniously on her floor. Trixie’s bed has scorch marks over it and is currently filled by her flaming chandelier. And, most disturbingly, there is a small but noticeable trail of blood on the floor, and Twilight sees a small blotch of red on Trixie’s right hoof.

“Trixie? What’s going on? Why are you bleeding and why is the bed on fire?”

Trixie pants heavily as she takes a shaky hoofstep out of the door. “Twilight…… Just….. Leave…….”

“What? You trash my library and you expect me to leave?!” The outraged librarian shouts in protest. “What in the wide wide world of Equestria has gotten into you, Trixie!?”

Extending her hoof, Trixie gives the mare a weak but attention-grabbing slap across the face. “Twilight, you idiot….. We need to leave….. It’s an attack…… by……” Yet, the mare fails to finish her statement, her body swooning forward and landing in Twilight’s outstretched arms.

Twilight looks down at the heavily-breathing mare as a pit of worry begins to fester in her heart. She had never seen Trixie this weak, even after their magical duel Trixie had possessed far more energy than this; and the fact that anything could bring the normally exuberant showmare so low worried Twilight more than the abysmal condition of her room. “Trixie, I sincerely hope that this is a joke to get back at me for saying that you didn’t go to college.” Twilight extends her hoof, placing it over Trixie’s forehead. What Twilight feels leaves no doubt to Trixie’s condition.

‘But she was just fine a second ago,’ the lavender mare thinks to herself, as she feels the heat radiating from the showmare’s face. ‘and no illness works that fast unless it’s a……’ Twilight gasps as she looks back at the wound on Trixie’s arm. “…..Poison? Trixie, what happened to you? What’s going on?”

Trixie raise her gaze to look wearily into Twilight’s eyes. “You…… idiot…… we need to run……. Stand…… it’s crawling in the walls…….”

Twilight’s ears immediately perk up at the mention of a Stand, her eyes glancing side to side in an attempt to locate this mysterious attacker. Seeing nothing, Twilight quickly deduces that she and Trixie are at a distinct disadvantage fighting a Stand that they themselves can’t locate. And worse than that, from Trixie’s condition she needs to get her to a proper doctor as quickly as possible.

Twilight feels the mare’s head again and checks her pulse, wishing that she could properly diagnose Trixie’s afflictions. Potions and poisons were never a strong area for Twilight, as the art of advanced poison-making was regulated by the Equestrian government. Besides, Zecora, being one of her best friends and a Zebra shaman, had always been there to help her with her potions. However, despite her lack of experience in anatomy, the signs Trixie is giving her tell her that the blue mare is not faring well.

Flinging the blue mare on her back (and struggling a bit against her weight), Twilight trots down the stairs. “Don’t worry, Trixie. I’ll get some help.” Upon reaching the front door, Twilight grabs the handle and yanks on the handle with her magic before charging into it, learning from her last mistake of trying to open doors with her skull. However Twilight struggles in vain as she looks to see that some pony has nailed the door shut completely from the top and bottom.

“Oh Come ON! Can this get any worse?” Hearing a snapping rope Twilight looks up to see a large, heavy box of books swinging on a long rope towards her head. Conjuring a quick shield Twilight blocks the attack, causing the box to fall to pieces from the shock of the recoil.

“As if I had to ask……” Twilight looks around the room. “Great, now how will I get out of here when the door is locked?” Twilight spies the back door through the kitchen, several windows, and the upstairs balcony, all of them promising exits in their own right. “And If I had to guess, I’d say that every door and window in the library is booby trapped, so there is no real easy way out of this.”

Twilight wracks her brain as she considers her situation: she is under attack and being held hostage in her own library by a rogue assassin of some kind, and she needs to get Trixie to a hospital. All the doors and windows are booby trapped, and it’s not as if she can just teleport out. The assassin had probably placed wards around the library to prevent that. “……But I just teleported up the stairs, which means……”

Concentrating a small burst of magic as not to hurt herself should the teleport fail, Twilight conjures up magical forces beyond a normal unicorn’s comprehension. With expert precision, Twilight and her passenger jump through space, landing completely unharmed four hooves away. Twilight blinks in skepticism. “Wow, I can’t believe that worked! This assassin must be an idiot if he expected to trap two magically adept unicorns without sealing their teleportation with runes.” Twilight builds up a much larger charge in her horn this time as the glow of her magic fills the room. “Well, you know what they say: one pony’s incompetence is another pony’s blessing.”

The spell is nearly complete when several voices, speaking in unison, call out from around the library. “Not so fast, Twilight Sparkle! We wouldn’t leave if we were you! That is unless you value the life of your little fillyfriend there!”

The glow of Twilight’s horn dims slightly as she places the spell on hold, searching the surrounding room for her assailant. “SHE IS NOT MY..…. Never mind, just who are you and what do you want?”

Directly in front of her, Twilight watches as a strange shape crawls out of the wooden floor, the wood rippling and bending as the small figure crawls out of solid ground. Taking the shape of a sickeningly yellow mouse, its tail completely missing and its hole filled ears twitching every which way. Its milky-white eyes and gaunt appearance make it all the more terrifying and otherworldly, and the mouse smiles evilly at her with its yellowed crooked teeth. “Now then, allow me to introduce myself. I am one of many, and believe me when I say that we are many. This is the Stand Dirty Trick, and you have been watched by us for quite some time.”

The rat paces through the floor with the same ripping effect it created when it appeared circling around the lavender mare with ill intent. “And in case you were beginning to doubt our powers, we could have finished you and your little marefriend any time we wished. However we have been given an objective at this point that is of far more importance than your filthy lives.”

“And that would be….?” Twilight circles around the rat as well, trying to get to a more advantageous position to defend again the Stand’s attack should it strike.

“I am talking about the objects that you call ‘Strange Stones’; the objects currently locked in that safe of yours under this library.”

Twilight’s breath catches as she realizes that the Stand was telling part of the truth; if it knew about the Strange Stones then it really had been watching her and Trixie foran extended period of time,an idea that was as dangerous to them as it was creepy. Twilight shudders inwardly at the image of being watched in her most private moments by the creepy rat thing in front of her, but retains her cool none the less. “And you just expect me to hoof them over to you? What a great plan. Let’s ask the unicorn nicely to hoof over an object of immeasurable power; I’m sure that’ll work.”

“Oh, you will hoof over the Stones to us!” The rat crawls up a nearby bookshelf, staring down at the mare from above. “You have little choice in the matter. You see, before I bit that mare’s Stand I coated my jaws with a rare and powerful poison. Needless to say, if you chose to take her to a hospital she would not survive the night.”

Twilight yells in rage as she fires a beam of powerful magic through the wall right were the Stand was. Yet Dirty Trick slips through the wooden shelf as if passing through water, completely avoiding the blow. “Well, it seems somepony doesn’t have a lot of patience so I will cut to the chase:” the rat stand states with a senar. “I have the antidote to the poison that is killing Trixie and you have the Strange Stones, so let’s make a trade, shall we?”

The chuckling of rats echoes off the walls, and the mare can almost feel the wretched beings circling her. “The deal is simple: you hand over the, what is it you call them, the Strange Stone pieces. And in exchange I’ll give you the antidote to the poison that I injected into Trixie!”

Another copy of the Stand lounges on the bookshelf like a tiger staring at its prey as Twilight struggles with the offer placed before her. “It’s not like you have any other choice, Without another Stand to fuse with, you are completely helpless before me, so you might as well give in now and save me the trouble.”

Twilight lowers her head, looking at the ground beneath her in deep thought. A lesser pony would think that she was considering giving up, of surrendering to save her friend’s life. However, any companion of Twilight’s could tell you that if there is one thing she was bad at, it was throwing in the towel and giving in, especially when a friend’s life was on the line.

“Heh, you may have been watching me for days, but you still don’t seem to know anything.” Twilight raises her head, her eyes brimming with newfound confidence “My Stand may work well with others, but you seem to forget that I’m the personal student of Princess Celestia, Alicorn of the Sun, and I don’t need a fancy offensive Stand power to crush a measly rat.”

Turning to the mare on her back, Twilight watches as Trixie breathes in and out with laborious breaths. “Don’t worry, Trixie, this will be all over soon. I’ll finish this guy and get the antidote…… in ten seconds flat!”

……………….

“…and another thing, Pinkie! You can’t just expect........”

“Um, Dashie? Are you okay?”

“………..”

“Hello there! Earth to Dashie! IS ANYPONY HOME!?!”

“………..Twilight just used my catchphrase…….”

“Really? How did you…..”

“Dashie Sense.”

“…….You have a Dashie Sense?”

“No, I can just tell when someone uses a copyrighted trademark of the series.”

“That makes sense! So what are you going to do about it, Dashie?”

“Same thing I always do. Crash into her library, scattering all her books in a thousand different directions the moment she finishes reorganizing them.”

“Wait, you crash into her library on purpose? Ha! I knew crashing into her library wasn’t an accident! You’re way too good for that, Dashie!”

“Well, the first time was sort of an accident, but after that I just liked messing with the egghead…. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, you can’t just expect something to be a good cupcake ingredient just because……”

………………

Twilight takes a cautious step towards the evil, rat-like Stand, her horn blazing with fury as she prepares to strike at a moment’s notice. Suddenly, with a flick of her horn Twilight slings another of her spells, trapping the rat in a bubble of force. As the rat struggles to escape from its new confinement Twilight flings the creature into the air; manifesting her Stand in an instant, the mare pounds the rat with a single powerful punch that connects perfectly. The rat falls as Twilight raises her own hoof, bringing it down to crush the rat flat against the ground, grinding its body against the hardwood floor. A second passes, then two, yet the mare doesn’t feel any resistance from the creature she is crushing into the ground. Twilight raises her hoof and sees no sign of the rat Stand. Taking advantage of the unicorn’s surprise, the rat leaps from beneath the ground, it’s teeth bared to bite and fill Twilight’s veins with its deadly poison. However, Twilight reacts too quickly for the stand’s attack to have any meaning, and jumps back onto the table in the middle of the room, blasting away at the rat with a bolt of her magic.

The rat vanishes beneath the ground as the bolt hits, the ground rippling like water as the rat swims through it. A feral hissing fills the room as Twilight looks around to to see not one, not two, but three rats, all as ugly as the first, peering at her, their heads sticking up from under the ground. “Hsssssssss! Fool, you cannot harm us! And even if you could, my Stand does not inflict damage to my body when it is injured! Hsssssssss! Do you get it now, filly? Your little Stand cannot harm me! Surrender the Stones.”

Twilight, however, retains her level head as she looks at the Stands around her, unphased by the Rat’s intimidation. “That may be……. There are many Stands that don’t transition damage to their user’s bodies.”

Twilight raises her Stand, its hoof pointed right at the main rat. “However, I learned something from Rarity’s Stand, which also doesn’t convey damage to her body. My Stand’s attack isn’t a physical one; it’s purely mental, and so it can affect even Stands like yours, since a Stand is a manifestation of a pony’s psyche!”

Twilight laughs with bravado as she tries to get the scheming rat to back down. “Amazing, isn’t it? What I once thought of as a weakness turns out to be a golden strength. Now I’ll make a demand of you, Dirty Trick, give up the antidote and I’ll let you leave here with your mind still in one piece.”

The rats glare at Twilight as they attempt to stare down the confident mare before them. After a few seconds their ears twitch, and all three sink back into the walls of the library. “You seem to have spirit, little filly……. But spirit can’t help you against us.”

Twilight hears another snap of chords and feels a weight press down on her back, pushing her flat against the table. Twilight struggles against the force holding her down until she looks above her, just in time to see another book trap swing past, right where her head was a mere second ago. Twilight turns to see Trixie lying on top of her, pressing her against the table, her face strained but serious. Twilight opens her mouth to say something, however Trixie presses her hoof against her mouth, silencing her as Trixie scans the room for signs of the Stand. Confident that she can see no more traps, the blue showmare lights her horn, casting a translucent bubble over the table and breathing a sigh of relief. “Whew, now that’s better…….. Another…… successful plan from….. Trixie…….”

Twilight looks around her at the barrier as she taps her hoof to the translucent shield. “A sound-proof bubble? Trixie, what is the point of this? We’re in plain sight!”

“You imbecile, do you think….. Do you think that the Great and Powerful Trixie would just lie there……” Trixie coughs into her elbow as if she is struggling with every breath. “…….while you did all the work? While you were flinging spells like a mad mare……. I was watching, learning; and I learned something important about the Stand while you were panicking.”

“I was so not…..” Twilight is interrupted by Trixie’s hoof again.

“Listen well, Twilight…… we don’t have much time before the other Stand catches on……..” Trixie gasps heavily in and out, catching her breath before she continues. “First, I noticed the Stand…. there are three of them… can travel through solid objects like the library and a hoof… But not magic like Stands and shields…… it’s probably how he caught us by surprise.”

Twilight rolls her eyes. “No duh, Trixie, I already figured that out.”

Trixie smirks at the lavender mare’s attitude. “Yes, but you missed the most important part of the Stand. If it can travel through solid objects…… how can it find its prey?” Trixie taps the barrier, exhaustion leaving her voice as she stares with a focused gaze out to the library proper. “The answer is ‘sound’. If you haven’t noticed already, all the rats are blind, so it finds its prey and makes traps based on vibrations sent through the air…… and the ground.”

Twilight eyes widen at Trixie’s logic as the lavender mare thinks through Trixie’s words carefully. With flawless logic, Twilight analyzes her claims and filters through the list of possibilities to determine if Trixie is correct. “Trixie…… that’s amazing if it’s true! But are you sure? What if he can attack us right now? We’re sitting ducks here.”

“It’s the job of a Stand agent to be able to quickly analyze a Stand’s powers. So, yes….. I am sure.” Trixie takes a single book off the table in her telekinetic magic. “Just be quiet and watch.” Throwing the book out of the shield, the heavy tome lands on the ground with a thud. Not a second later, several sharpened pencils and broken scissor blades fly out from the shadows, embedding themselves deeply into the book itself.

Trixie adjusts her posture, kneeling down on the table. “The Stand can only hear us……..that means as long as this sound-proof bubble surrounds this table, we have time…… time to plan and counter-attack the target.”

Twilight scans the room, looking for any sign of the enemy and his tricks. “Well, I can’t see him anywhere. Plus, we’ll know if he tries to come from underneath since he can only come through one of the four table legs on the floor, as they are wider than the body of his Stand. If I had to guess, because the user seems cowardly and because he can’t locate us till we make a move, he’ll simply wait to strike us from somewhere we can’t attack.”

Twilight turns her gaze to the mare next to her and she sees the Great and Powerful Trixie breathing heavily, and from what Twilight can tell, she is not in the best of states. “But…… But we can’t let this turn into a waiting game; if we do, they’ll have the advantage. That means that we simply have to make the first move, and counter-attack when he pops-up his ugly head.” Twilight manifests her Stand, moving its hoof closer to the blue mare. “Maybe if we combine Stands then we’ll be able to boost your power, and …….”

The blue mare slaps the hoof of Twilight’s Stand away with her own. “Don’t worry about Trixie! And keep your pathetic Stand away from her!”

Trixie glares at the floor as she scans for sign of the Stand. “Besides, didn’t you hear him? Destroying his Stand has no benefit! So combining our Stands wouldn’t help us win!” Trixie narrows her gaze out the window. “If we are to win, we need to find the real user and beat him to a pulp before he can defend himself……. That is the only way we can win.”

“But Trixie! You’ve been poisoned! We need to beat the user now! Before the poison spreads!” Twilight begins to tear up. “Otherwise….. otherwise…….”

Twilight looks upon the face of a dead mare trotting, as Trixie does something a dying mare could not possibly do: sigh in flippant disappointment. “Twilight, you imbecile……. Don’t you get it? Didn’t you hear the user’s claim about HOW he injected me with his poison?” The blue showmare looks accusingly at Twilight. “I thought that you could see through tricks like Trixie’s? Or was that a bluff said casually during our last match?”

“Trixie……. What are you talking about?” Twilight moves closer to the blue mare. “What trick are you…….”

“WHERE ARE YOU BRATS?” A loud hissing voice resonates from the walls as he mares snap to attention. “Where are you? How can I not hear you? Is this some kind of trick? Did you find out how I find my opponents? Clever girls, but not clever enough.” Twilight and Trixie look around as the sound of scurrying from the walls becomes impossible to ignore. The mares press their backs together as they prepare for an imminent attack.

“You think that you little brats can hide from me? Well think again!” Dirty Trick yells. “It’s true I usually locate my prey by sound, but if I can attack the whole area where I know my prey is, I don’t even need to know exactly where they are.” Twilight and Trixie continue to watch the room for any sign of attack, peering at every dark corner and shadow. Suddenly, a small cold object lands on Twilight’s back, and she almost leaps three hooves into the air in shock.

“Twilight, stop jumping around! You need to stay inside the barrier!”

“It was an attack, Trixie! The Stand attacked me with……” Twilight raises her hoof as another drop of clear liquid lands in front of her, the drops becoming more and more frequent as they continue to fall down like rain. Looking up, both mares see drops of liquid falling from holes in the ceiling, with more and more holes being made by the second. “….Great. Now he’s tearing apart my ceiling. Now there’s no way that I’m getting my deposit back.”

“But still…. “Twilight extends her hoof, catching a drop of the mystery liquid in her palm. “What is this? Is this water?” Twilight lifts her hoof to her nose, sniffing the unknown, clear compound. “No it’s not water, it smells like….. like……”

“Gasoline,” Trixie finishes, her eyes growing wide. Both mares look around the library in a blind panic as they realize that now they are surrounded in a potential holocaust of fire. “Twilight, whatever you do don’t panic or try and leave the soundproof shield! He’s trying to force us out into the open!”

“Hear that?” Dirty Trick laughs, “That, my friends, is the sound thousands of gallons of highly flammable gasoline raining down from the ceiling! Now all I have to do now is light it and you will all burn to death along with your precious books!”

Twilight raises her hoof in righteous fury. “No! Not the Books! You Tartarus-forsaken monster!”

Trixie facehoofs at Twilight’s list of priorities. “Twilight….. Focus, please.”

“Ha ha, that is right! The only way to save yourselves is to agree to my demands and open this safe right now.” Twilight and Trixie watch in fascination as the safe itself comes up from the ground, bobbing on the floor like a cork in water. “See, look how nice I am, even brought the safe up from the basement so you won’t have to leave your little friend to hoof them to me. If only I could move through the safe, then I could have just finished you off; but no, I had to do things the hard way.”

Twilight watches the safe rise and settle on the floor in fascination as a practical thought passes through her mind. “Wait, how did you even find the safe?”

“In case you were wondering how I found the safe…..” the Stand says, as if reading Twilight’s mind, “it was behind a false bookshelf; I mean, talk about a cliché hiding place.”

“…. I knew I should have moved it somewhere safer.” Twilight looks grudgingly at her safe, deep in thought.

True, Twilight thinks, if she gave up the Stones to this Stand user she might never see them again; they would disappear, and she and her friends would never get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding them. On the other hoof, what choice did she have? The Stand was right: if so much as a spark was lit, the entire library and the two of them as well would go up in flames, and the user would take the safe away and open it elsewhere. And Trixie - Twilight looks back at the showmare - Trixie was obviously trying to put on a brave face, but if she didn’t get the antidote soon then there was no question that she would die. Even if they succeeded in defeating their opponent, it would be a shallow victory if she lost a friend, even one like Trixie. Twilight’s mind is wracked with indecision as she considers her only two options, give up the Stones, or lose a friend.

And the stakes couldn't possibly be higher.

Author's Note:

To Be Continued →

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