• Published 16th Jul 2012
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Pony POV Series Season Three: Butterflies - Alex Warlorn



Discord beaten. Reality restored. But invisible wounds must heal too. Time for butterflies to fly.

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Pony POV Series Episode 25: "Trixie's Last Hurdle"

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic
Healing Pony POV Series

It is about time you got around to interviewing the One and Only Trixie. Yes yes, I know I was in a catatonic state during your previous visits, but that didn't seem to deter you with others. My adoring fans wish to know what I have been up to. Overexposure? Moi? Of Trixie? That is an oxymoron! What was it like when the others actually had time to think about me being a . . . -second- Element of Magic? Well, of course they were naturally more interested in Fluttershy's not-so-imaginary friend inside her head, hard to believe I know. As talented a storyteller as I am, even I couldn't make something like that up. I would have had much more to say about a Cute-ceañera for a split personality created by the same spirit of chaos that had destroyed me, but I had my own problems.

Princess Celestia, in her infinite and infallible wisdom, chose to hold a celebration in honor of the good results of Fluttershy's attempt to crown herself another Princess of Equestria after being accidentally driven mad by the same personality she was insisting on holding a Cute-ceañera for!

Celestia also in her list of perfect decisions chose personally to have Trixie perform. In public. After I had been a laughingstock and catatonic for weeks. Having not even practiced my old routines, let alone having time to come up with new ones. On short notice. With none of my costumes or props.

I did what any rational and reasonable pony would do at such bountiful news from our perfect sun goddess. I emptied a bottle of sake and cups of salt and ... The One and Only Trixie does not really recall what happened.

++++

What?! You want to know what Trixie did while -drunk-?! Thorough aren't you? Okay fine. I suppose I can tell you. Just please don't tell her I told you. Please. just don't.

"And that is how I defeated twenty Ursa Majors In D Minor with my horns tied behind my back and my hoof shinning as brightly as Princess Luna's sun!" Declared Trixie with sloppy dramatic gestures, the fireworks sparking again.

"Oooh! Tell me again! Tell me again!" Pinkie Pie hopped up and down.

"Ha! The Only and One Trixie never repeats the same story thrice!" Trixie slurred.

"Oh. Okay. How about another?"

"Good idea." Trixie agreed as she took another swing of the sake, nearly falling backwards.

I still don't know where Trixie found all that sake or all that salt -or- the bits to pay for it.

Yes Trixie is still terrified of Ursas, but Pinkie helped her so she can now think about them while drunk without breaking down into a cowering wreck.

This was after we had all been formally introduced to Fluttercruel. It was rather awkward introducing ourselves to someone else using Fluttershy's body. She might not have -quite- been acting like the shameless bully Discord warped Fluttershy into, but I kept my eye open for water buckets.

Trixie on the other hoof had no comparison, and was more fixated on Fluttershy apparently having a co-inhabitant.

We were all tired after saving Equestria and Fluttershy from herself, so the impact of the Flutters, and that Fluttercruel was an Element of Kindness, had to take backstage to Everfree restoring itself and Princess Luna's sudden arrival and her doing something to Fluttershy, and us having evening dinner with Princess Celestia. Then the others got hit by the double whammy of Trixie having the same Element of Harmony as me. Well, Pinkie Pie apparently already knew. Don't ask me how she figured it out.

But before any of them had a chance to ask Trixie questions, let alone figure out that I had known 'all along', Celestia transported us all back to our homes and all of us had to reset our priorities with seeing our families safe after Fluttershy's, er, Princess Gaia, ugh, Nightmare Whisper's rampage.

We barely got a chance to collect our wits the next morning when everypony was acting like themselves again, but nearly everypony in Ponyville was calling Fluttershy 'Princess Gaia' with affection!

It was all so much, so fast, too much I think. I am very proud of myself for not having a breakdown that morning. My psychologist would be thrilled.

Sorry if this is sparse on detail, there was so much going on at once, I had trouble keeping track. If this was an experiment or a magic equation it would have been easy. But ponies never seem to fit into nice neat variables. You can ask Fluttershy, I mean the Flutters on Fluttercruel's special day.

How did everypony react to Trixie being an Element of Magic after we had time to collect their horse sense? Well:

+++

"You're kiddin! You gotta me kiddin! Miss 'I'm-Better-Than-Everyone!' is an Element Of Harmony? Magic?! She's nothing like you! She's the OPPOSITE of you! She should be the Element of Anti-Magic or somethin'! This makes absolutely no sense! This has gotta be a fraud!" Spike's incredulousness turned to pleading, "Twilight please! This is too much! Just say this is a joke! Please-?!"

+++

So yeah, Spike didn't take it all that well. He and Trixie did a lot of shouting I am NOT going to repeat thank you very much! I certainly didn't teach him such language!

The climax ended with Spike admitting Trixie wasn't a nag anymore and managing a hoof/claw shake. After which I marched him straight to the bathroom and washed his mouth out! He won't be saying any of those things again.

The others had time to digest the news however, and had time to see Trixie wasn't as awful as she used to be, so things went a little bit better. In the order I first ran into them in Ponyville:


"Hmmm. Should we have Fluttercruel's Cute-ceañera party first? Or Trixie's 'welcome to the Elements of Harmony' party first? The reveal with both has been building up for so long I can't decide. Huh? Oh don't worry Twilight the more the merrier!"


"Look Sugahcube, Ah still think this is plum-loco. But Ah know you, Trixie, and the Princess ain't lying. So I'm just gonna haveta accept it! Look! Ah -know- yer techin' Trixie not ta be an uppity nag. And she watched our flanks durin' the fight with Fluttershy's Nightmare as truly as any of us. But learnin' ta be nice ain't the same as embodin' an Element of Harmony!"


"It's all kinda creepy if you ask me. Hey don't look at me that way! I finally get where she's coming from and maybe she's not a jerkwad anymore, but it's still a little creepy how we ended up crossing paths with her. Huh? Like us and my Sonic Rainboom? Okay, okay, I get it. Just don't tell me next she got HER Cutie Mark because of it or I'm flying into the nearest mountain! If she's gonna be part of the team, I promise not to make her feel like horse apples. I guess there really was a good filly underneath all that bragging, boasting and 'I'm better than everyone.' Yeah like me... HEY!"


"I cannot say I am not surprised darling. Heavens, I am completely shocked! I never imagined there were more than just the six of us! I suppose it's better than there being a seventh Element of Harmony that somehow has gone without note or reference up until now. As for it being -Trixie- of all ponies? That is something else all together. Another great shock I must say! I can't believe she of all ponies would have kept something like this private rather than parading it for all to see! I . . . I honestly don't know -what- to think Twilight! I won't be so small as to hold a grudge against her after her violation of my mane after she had experienced similar damage herself. But I suppose I'll have to wait and see what this New Trixie is going to turn into."


"Pst? What do I think of that Trixie having the same Element as you? Heh. Personally I think it's a blast! If she could have only waited a little while longer to actually say it! Geeze! I mean come on! What happened to my day in the limelight-?!"

"Erm, sorry about that Twilight. 'Cruel's not mean, just opinionated. And I feel happy for Trixie. She's come a long way. And I think this is going to help her become the good pony I know she can be! And if we're all there for her, I know that she can do it! Yay!"

+++

So yeah, a lot was happening, all at once, and we all learned a lot at the same time, and it took us a while to figure it all out.

I'm just happy everypony and Spike accepted I couldn't tell them because Trixie was my patient and it was wrong for me to tell them.

-More- about Trixie when she was drunk? Fine. But you don't get to ask again!

"Say, Robin, when did you become a filly?" Trixie said eying Pinkie Diane carefully.

"Robin? I'm not a Robin! I don't even know Batmare!" Pinkie Diane laughed, "But seriously Trixie maybe you've had enough."

Yes. For the hundredth time. We've gotten used enough to Pinkie's new attitude that we don't go crazy when Pinkie uses the word 'seriously.' Can we move on from that now -please?-

"Don't tell your big sister what to do Robin." Trixie said holding the sake protectively. She pointed at AJ, "And Puck you should . . . you should . . . I forget what you should do big brother . . . "

AJ turned beet red. "Okay. It's Pinkie Minus Coffee time."

"Roger." RD said at once and the other nodded except Pinkie Diane who tilted her head for a minute before nodding and grinning.

Drunk unicorns aren't quite as dangerous as you think we are. Magic takes concentration, which when you're drunk . . . is really not there.

"Lexy, sorry for not paying more attention to you. Mixie, you're bossy but you're still my big sister." Trixie shot off looking at RD and Rarity. Rarity managed her self control while RD didn't know what to say.

"And Nyxie." Trixie looked right at Fluttershy.

"Uh, yes?"

"Thanks for always being there when mom and dad couldn't little sister." Trixie hugged her. Fluttershy stiffened and blushed.

The others carried away the contraband as Trixie fell asleep in Fluttershy's wings.

I carried her off to bed myself. Trixie opened her eyes slightly and focused a bit on me as I carried her up the stairs. By process of elimination I guessed I was Pixie.

"M-mom?" Trixie whispered.

Well, I've been wrong before.

"Yes Trixie?"

"I, I made you proud right? I'm a good magician, aren't I?"

"Yes, yes you are Trixie." I whispered back to her as she went back to sleep.

+++++

The get together wound down after that, though AJ did strangely chose that time to ask Fluttershy why she acted like she didn't know who Trixie was when she had been in the audience during Trixie's show. I myself realized that was a perfectly logical question!

"Well . . . we didn't talk then. And, er, that is, it was the first time Fluttercruel had met her."

When AJ proceeded to ask the same question of Pinkie Diane, her eyes shifted for a bit before saying. "Well. Honestly speaking. I had never met Trixie before then. I hadn't met any of you before I came down the stairs at Sugar Cube Corner! That was Pinkie Pie who saw her before! Pinkie finally made up with Pinkamena and became me remember? It's not like I sent mane dye to Spitfire with a fake note from her manager too and I'm trying to cover up plot holes so I don't have to witness the recycling of everyone I love again." AJ just stared with her jaw hanging loose, and went for the cider. And kept drinking it until she went home, taking the bottle with her. I later overheard Applebloom telling her friends that AJ didn't stop hugging her for an hour when she got home.

+++++

And the rest I'm sure you know. I, Trixie, ended up getting mystery gifts to help my first show as the One and Only Trixie be presentable. I made sure they weren't from Discord, and ended up celebrating. Twilight's shadow was along as my chaperone, but was soon out like a light.

And I was ambushed on all sides with all six of my siblings, my brothers and sisters, all together. I was subjected to Equestria's biggest hug from a family I had done my best to pretend I didn't have. The show I put on was a smash, or at least it was greatly successful! It was a new routine, and it felt rather alien not to challenge the audience and bait those with enough pride in themselves for me to trip up for the on-lookers to laugh at.

At least my impossible stories were taken a lot more warmly. Strangely I didn't get any neigh-sayers about how my stories were obvious fiction. And ponies did love my fireworks. I tossed in some electrical shows the audience ate up. I did not, and will never use the spells that thing gave me ever again.

Yes, yes, Fluttershy made her speech to everypony, one tried to start a public stoning and nothing happened, no, I didn't see who it was. And Fluttershy managed to win over the crowd completely and utterly with barely a few words and one duet with herself. I found myself wanting to ask her, them, ugh, for pointers.

My family stayed as long as their wallets allowed. Sorry! But what I spoke to them about is private! . . . We talked. It had been so long. I couldn't even figure out what to say. They did most of the talking. Telling me what had been going on in their lives, for the first time I could remember, I CARED. They told me how badly mom and dad wanted to be there too, but they were both needed back in Hoofington. I didn't ask with what. And for the first time in a LONG time, I wanted to see them. Mother. Father. To be near them. To be with them. To hold them. To touch them. To tell them how much I loved them. Not just go through the motions like I did every Hearth Warming's Eve! To see my REAL mother instead of that... that... that THING with her face that had been living in my head for Celestia knows how long.

Mixie told me to come back with her and the rest of my siblings. Pixie said mom and dad would be sad if I didn't come back with them. Puck told me to make my own choice. Robin looked at me with puppy dog eyes I had to look away from. Lexy said she'd tell every one of my old classmates about my time as a robot if I didn't come back. I will confess, the look on her face when I told her I didn't care was priceless. Nyxie said please.

You have NO IDEA how close I came to breaking and trotting along like a loyal sister from that last one.

I promised her I'd be back home to mom and the rest soon. When was the last time I made a promise with no intention of abusing loopholes? I can't remember anymore.

That evening I trotted along Ponyville, seeing it for the first time. It had a face, it had a name. I took a look at each of the . . . other, Elements' houses. No, I didn't go in. I don't know what kind of magic it was, but I felt like a tiny string in me was pulled taut as I walked from each.

It was like I was leaving Hoofington again. But that's a lie. I never once looked back, and I didn't feel a thing when I left home.

Was this how I was supposed to feel?

I think it dawned on Twilight Sparkle that I had spell-copied her teleportation magic when I appeared on top of her library. Princess Luna's nights were cold and turning colder. I wished I still had my old costume.

I didn't see but felt Twilight teleport next to me.

"Hello Trixie. You ... you like star gazing too?"

"Not really." I said, glancing at her. "I never saw the point. It's always just the same sky."

Twilight smiled and shook her head enthusiastically. I realize what I've brought on myself. "No no no! No it isn't! It's always changing! Princess Luna's sky is always changing! Even the cycle is always changing slowly. The positions of the stars isn't static! Two thousand years ago the stars were in slightly different positions! And new stars have been born and old ones have died. Orion The Hunter no longer has the Ursa pair with him in the heavens. There's entire schools based around mapping and examining the night sky! Most of them are now under Luna's authority, I bet they never stop asking her questions! I wonder if seeing those pop up since she's been gone made her happy... Oh! Um. What are you doing out here?"

"Looking at the sky."

"But you said-"

"I said I didn't like to. I didn't say I didn't."

"Oh."

"Don't ask why. Call it an impulse. Maybe I just want to see if the sky is really going to be the same here as it's going to be back . . . home." No word. has any right. To induce that much confusion!

Twilight gasped. "You're going back to Hoofington? But Hearth's Warming Eve is coming up and . . . that is exactly why you have to go," Twilight said in saudade.

"You were hoping I'd be here." It wasn't a question.

"Celestia is talking about us putting on the dramatization of the founding of Equestria in Canterlot. You're a show pony. I figured you could pitch in."

"Heh. I'd make a good Princess Platinum don't you think?"

I saw Twilight grin ear to ear. "I know you would."

"I'm surprised, Twilight. I didn't think a pony like you would care for a show that was as much fluff as fact."

"It's not about the story, it's about the message it gives for ponies of all ages." Twilight said with a small hint of pride I wasn't used to hearing from her before her tone became more sober. "When are you going?"

"Tomorrow. Morning. Early. I'll try not to wake you up."

"You told the others?"

"No."

"Trixie. Let us say good-bye."

"NO! I mean! Agh! You have enough to handle! And I have enough waiting for me! There have been enough complications."

"Friends aren't complications. They're a gift. . . . I take that back. Friendship is a gift, friends are something you earn. And you've earned them. You saved my life. Remember all the fun we had singing that song on Pinkie Pie's machine? And 'Cruel's Cute-ceañera? Heh. We've had some good times haven't we?"

"Twilight! I don't . . ." And the truth hits me. "I don't want this to be any more painful than it has to be."

"Trixie . . . you're not going away forever. You can still visit. And I know Ponyville would welcome another mage-unicorn in town!"

"This town . .. this isn't, isn't my . . . " I try to force the last word out, it's lodged in my throat. I sigh. I chose another path. "My family is waiting for me. They have been waiting a lot longer than when you took me here to save me from Discord."

"I understand. Hey, maybe we can all visit you instead! It's not the first time all six of us got together and got away from Ponyville just for the sake of someone! When's your Winter Wrap-Up?"

"That wouldn't be very practical if you're hoping for everypony to take part . . . it's been taboo to use anything but magic in Hoofington to change the winter season to spring for over a hundred years."

Twilight stares. "But Hoofington was founded by Earth Ponies!"

"And now the majority are unicorns."

Being a fellow unicorn, I appreciated Twilight didn't ask if it was because of the stereotype among Earth Ponies that unicorns were physically frail. I hauled a gypsy wagon across half of Equestria by myself! I know some Earth Ponies would say that's only because my father is one of them, but they clearly hadn't met Rarity or Twilight. It was almost as aggravating as the old ponytale that magic wasn't labor.

I should have known what Twilight was going to ask next. "What about the Earth Ponies?"

"They pretty much take the day off. Some unicorns take it a step further and ONLY use their magic for everything on that day. My mother told me it was supposed to insure unicorns didn't neglect the gift Celestia gave us. 'Magic is a gift. It should be worn proudly. Not used as some last resort.' "

" 'Magic is a muscle. Exercise it like any other.'" Twilight finished the quote.

"Ugh. You have no idea. Lexy used to call it 'Horn Warm Up.' "

"Let me guess. The Great and Powerful Trixie always spent the day after with a horn ache?" Twilight smirked.

I bristled. "Don't you dare laugh."

"Haven't you learned anything Trixie? When friends laughs, it's NOT to be mean."

Learned anything? And it flashed through my mind. That day coming to Ponyville. Just another spot on the road. Doing my normal show, say the lines I had said a hundred times. Tell the defeat of the Ursa Major. Put a few more upstarts in their place who dared challenge my Ego. Getting the two slavishly devoted fanboys I always wanted until I actually had them. I quaked like a leaf at the image of a blue mass of stars and teeth.

"When I fought the Ursa Major, er, Minor and you . . . " I, Trixie said reluctantly, "Saved my life. Trixie does not believe, she ever thanked you. Thank you, Twilight."

++++

"You're welcome Trixie." I smiled warmly. "There's no real need for thanks though, I would have done the same for- I mean, I never had any intention of holding a grudge, Trixie. You humiliated my friends, but I wasn't about to let you -die- for it."

Trixie looked at me, small and embarrassed, "Twilight, I, er, I wasn't -that- horrible a pony was I? When we first met?"

'You just acted like you were queen of Equestria, took a sadistic pleasure in those you humiliated on stage, and panned off your tall ponytails like they were fact.' "You weren't that awful." I told her what she needed to hear.

'From what everypony else told me. You screamed like a chicken and ran for your life seconds before your house got crushed. You only tried to fight it when cornered and Snips and Snails encouraged you, and you tried your hardest even though you were scared out of your mind. Then you ran like Pony Hell again when you came close to being squashed or Ursa food.

'I was there for the rest of the 'show' when Snips and Snails talked about you 'vanquishing it' and you finally admitting you invented the whole story just to improve your image. I pushed my magic farther than I could remember besides purifying Princess Luna. I saw the look on your face when I said that it was the infant half of the Ursas that just destroyed your carefully crafted lie of being the best thing since Starswirl. It brought me no pleasure Trixie, not in the least.

'I don't know what Rainbow planned to do to you if she caught you after your last immature and pathetic attempt at a comeback then running away. But I'm happy she listened when I asked her to stop (no matter how reluctant she was). I wish I could say it was because I hoped there was a good pony inside you somewhere. But I think I was just tired and didn't think you were worth the trouble. I think I was talking to myself more than Rainbow when I suggested you could one day 'learn your lesson.' As if I wanted to justify it somehow.'

Then I thought the one thing in a thousand years I never believed I would (and I'd have called you insane if you told me I would) . . . 'I'm sorry Trixie.'

+++++

I felt a chill run through the air, and I hoofed my non-existent cloak. So many winters. So many Hearth Warming's Eves.

"You think unicorns -took- Hoofington away from the Earth ponies, don't you?" I asked.

"WHA?" She gasped. "No, I didn't! I wasn't even thinking that!"

"You ever wondered why the Windigos appeared as they did? Instead of as unicorns, pegasi or Alicorns? One of my teachers offered the theory it wasn't random luck they looked the way they did. Unicorns and Pegasi looked down on Earth Ponies like beasts of burden. Unicorns saw Pegasi as thugs. While Pegasi saw Unicorns as weaklings, snobs, spoiled, and you get the idea.

But the Earth Ponies were special. They didn't just want their tyrants gone. They wanted the other two tribes dead. Those horned and winged freaks who endlessly extorted their crops and harvests from them as little better than slaves. Who treated them like dumb animals that knew how to speak. They wanted to see them extinct, to disappear, right after seeing them cower before the Earth ponies they stood on the backs of."

Twilight drew strength from words we had both heard since we were fillies, " Though quarrels exist their numbers are few. "

"We're not foals Twilight."

"That isn't the point. The point of Hearth Warming's Eve isn't that selfishness doesn't exist or that ponies don't find important things they can't agree on that effect them all! The -point- is that love and friendship can and should always triumph over those flaws."

"Makes you wonder why ponies were given flaws at all."

"No it doesn't. Because those flaws exist, so we can all know by experience how great love and friendship really are. Light shines brighter in the darkness."

"Ah gag me!" The voice of Twilight's servant called out behind us.

Twilight didn't even look behind her, "Owlowiscious."

"Who-Who!"

"Hey! Put me down! Watch it! You feather-brain!"

"Who-Who."

"Am not!"

With that distraction out of the way, Twilight looked me, in the eyes. I saw that loathsome pity that I hated so much. Or was it something else? . . .

"Trixie . . . I'm sorry you had to hurt like that. I'm sorry there are ponies who still cling to that unicorn 'pure-blood' nonsense."

"I never suffered it once. Not even a little." I said with a perfectly straight face.

"Liar."

My ears flattened, "Have I really gotten that bad?"

Twilight shook her head, "No. I saw it all in the memory spell remember? I saw the image of your mother defending you in front of a unicorn who thought you had less worth for being you."

"Oh right." Somehow I kept forgetting this pony has been inside my soul in a way no other pony had ever been or could hope to be. I laughed. I didn't sound funny. "That has never been my reason for being the way I am, Twilight Sparkle. Blue Flame herself said it wasn't my genetics that made me not be able to excel at anything. She said that was giving me excuses. She laughed and said I was just a slacker... "

"No one goes through that without it leaving a mark on them Trixie," Twilight said in a no nonsense tone.

I let go. This last time. Before I bid this burg farewell. I let go one last time. No one can see but us, no one hear it but us. No one needs to know but us. Twilight won't say a thing. I, I trust her. "What is that everyone thinks of when they mention my name in Ponyville?"

She tried to say it kindly, bless her soul. "Er, outside? Storyteller? Boaster?"

"Say it."

She lowered her head said breathed out, "'Liar.'"

"And you never once asked. How I became a master of lies? You've asked about everything else about me."

"It . . . it didn't matter to me."

Twilight was a very poor liar.

I slip into my stage persona, even for an audience of one, even for a story that I wasn't going to embellish on, I had my pride of showmareship.

"You know Twilight, I didn't lie to my parents when I broke something, after all, it was something -I- did. Something that was my mark on the world.

"Heh sometimes I lied about something Mixie and the others did, bad or good, saying it was me, just for the attention ... some spanking got that knocked out of me." I let out an ironic laugh. I knew Pinkie Pie would be overjoyed that I had finally learned to somehow laugh at myself.

"Lexy learned lying from me! It's ... funny ... I never realized how much she was modeling herself after me until just now.

"I just assumed Nyxie, Pixie, and her were all trying to be like Mixie as the 'master copy.' I took it for granted. I never tried to understand."

And the barrels of toxic waste I had buried for so long were dug up at last.

I looked at the crescent moon, silently, begging Princess Luna herself for forgiveness as I remembered it all. With a painful clarity no memory had a right to have.

~

While it wasn't exactly a day's journey from the school to the town below, most parents as a rule much preferred to pick up their foal whose time table didn't allow for the bus.

The tribes of unicorn colts and unicorn fillies sat on opposite sides of the great stairs, the rail acting as the sacred barrier neither side could cross.

The colors of the unicorns ranged from neon-green to electric-red. After all, if you couldn't have a pure white coat like Celestia, it was still a sign of prestige to have fur that defied Earth color schemes. Celestia's repeated declaration that her white coat was in fact all colors and that the Alicorns themselves embodied all three surviving tribes united as one had been glazed over.

A bright green unicorn said to small assembly, "You hear? I heard more half-dirt unicorns got accepted with my eavesdropping spell!"

A dark red with a black mane grumbled. "Greedy old fogies. They'd teach a Diamond Dog if they had enough bits thrown at 'em!"

A unicorn a lighter shade of red than the first said, "Isn't half the town dirt? So aren't we all a little dirt?"

"Bite yer tongue," said the bright green unicorn. The majority of the other fillies chose to keep their distance from the small group repeating their parents' prejudices. One chose to keep her distance from the entire herd. And like lone herd animal was vulnerable to predators.

"Hey! New girl! You half-dirt?" Called the green one.

The dark red unicorn said, "Don't be rude! Mother says innocent until proven dirty! Besides, she says they have tiny bumps for horns. That's how you can tell."

The new girl with a pale blue coat barely looked at them, closing her eyes and spoke in a proud practiced tone. "Heh. Of course not. Do you really think they'd let anything but a unicorn of exception and special ability into these fine halls? Your rumors are nothing but nonsense. Your eavesdropping spell must be faulty."

"Hey!"

"Anypony can get in here with the right connections or enough bits." Said the dark red filly. "It's those who manage to STAY here that are worth something."

"Well just you watch. This filly is going places while you're going to be lost in the crowd."

"Heh! Nice talk, but talk is cheap. Only those who accomplish something have a right to say what they wish."

"Oh I am. I am." The new girl grinned at the dark red pony.

"Hail and well met my princess! Your knight has come to bring thee to our homely castle! Thy mother is making cookies! Don't worry! She promised not to magic the fire this time!" Said a dark blue Earth Pony with a lighter blue mane. His cutie mark was a knight's helmet.

The fillies all looked from the little blue newcomer to the Earth pony.

~

"So I told them the stallion who they saw that day wasn't my father, but a servant of my family. Yes, servants.

"And my father he . . . HE WENT ALONG WITH IT! He never once shouted at me! Never once frowned or cried! He just played along whenever he needed to keep up the illusion I made. . . " I must have looked ready to break down into a brawling mess. I knew I was just rambling by this point. I didn't care.

"Trixie," Twilight implored. "There's no way your school could have been that infested by bigots! They're ghosts! Only a tiny handful of pony have been enthralled by this nonsense for eons!"

"And I know that, now. And . . ." I swallowed hard. "And The Little Filly Desperate For Attention Trixie realized that too soon enough! But I didn't -want- to stop lying! I had power!

"That was the day I realized how easy it was to lie to get what you wanted. It was more powerful than any magic I had ever learned. Invent a few words, breath them through your throat, and ponies believe what you want them to believe."

Twilight asked. "Let me guess . . . you told them your father defeated an Ursa Major?"

I blushed and tapped my forehooves together, "Heh-heh. That did sort of become a trademark of mine didn't it?"

She asked breathlessly. "I figured you'd -like any- attention."

"That was before I went to Hoofington's magic school. I told myself I just wanted an even playing field. After the Want It Need It spell, I told myself I'd do it without being pitied or felt sorry for. Of course, like any new talent I wanted to see how far I could push it. You have no idea the sense of power it gave me. I taught myself what to say and how to say it. Tell ponies what they want to believe, or fear to believe, and they'll eat up anything you slip between the lines.

"My mother recognized as an arch mage in Canterlot? Of course. Not banned from magical studies when all she could learn were spells that blew stuff up!"

"She couldn't have been that crippled in her diversity."

"The name 'Morgan' was synonyms with explosions even after she left. She lasted exactly half a lesson in the 'caring of familiars' class. She doesn't say what happened. Apparently some of her classmates needed therapy."

Twilight looked ill.

"The only thing I couldn't lie about were my sisters. No one believed three and later four fillies could all just happen to look exactly like me. So I lied about my brothers instead. And they just PLAYED ALONG. Without even being ASKED! They smiled and nodded at every lie I said about them in their presence! I remember . . . during a school outing, and we ran into each other. And I said to the other students, 'Naw, I don't know them.' "

My stomach clenched, the muscled ring inside my throat provided futile resistance. So much for medical science. And I ended up staining the top of Twilight's tree with my dinner.

"They never told our parents. They never even mentioned it. My family are saints and I threw them under a carriage to save my own flanks! The illusion began to fall apart by the time I left. All my teachers knew of course. Blue Flame found out early, but she never told anyone. She said she didn't want me to have any excuses to hide behind when I fell short. 'Failures and weaklings don't deserve excuses. We each get what we earn.' She said.

"When I left, I told her she could think what she wanted about me. I'd have millions who'd think greatly of me soon enough.

I also told Mixie to be on the look out for that sort of thing when I gave her my scholarship. She didn't try to hide what she was not. Not for a minute, not for a second. She wasn't a coward. She added a new spell to the books by the time she graduated as a full grown mare, and even claimed to have found a way to translate Zebra voodoo into unicorn magic. No one gave her funding."

Twilight hugged me. I didn't stop her. "Trixie. I won't lie and say those weren't awful things. But Trixie, you're free now. You don't have to lie anymore."

"You know what scares me the most, Twilight? All this time, I never felt sorry. I was able to lie about my family TO THEIR FACES and I never felt sorry... Now I feel like glue!"

"Well, you ARE a New Trixie."

"I TOLD YOU NEVER TO CALL ME THAT!"

" . . . sorry. But Trixie. When we fought Nightmare Whisper, I realized something. We're never the same. We're always becoming something new."

"I . . . Great and Powerful Trixie, One and Only Trixie. But . . . OH TO THE MOON WITH IT! First I say that the old me is dead! Then I still feel guilty over everything I never so much as felt a drop of guilty about before! And now here I am. Acting like a filly, on top of a house-tree, being a baby! Needing help -again-, needing ponies to stop what they're doing to help ME along, again. Twilight, I loved attention, I still do, but Trixie always wanted to be her own pony!"

"Then maybe it's about time this Trixie, decided what it was she really wanted."

"They were a family better than I deserved."

"Family is a gift. It's not meant to be deserved. But what do you REALLY want Trixie?"

I don't know what magic was secretly transmitted through Twilight hug, but I felt something flow through us. Something kind and gentle that wanted me to be honest with myself for once. Something that made me, for one brief moment, laugh at how foalish and foolish I kept being. Something that didn't mind being part of something greater with bonds that were stronger than simple obligation. Something that was willing to give what I needed at expense to itself.

" . . . . I . . . I . . " I swallowed. "I, I WANT TO BE A PART OF MY FAMILY! I want to be The One And Only Trixie whose loved for her performance! I want to be a great magician whose magic is remembered and respected after I'm gone! And ... and ... I want to be loved by my FRIENDS!" The last one was like lightning struck me from the inside from all directions at once.

Force pulled at me from a half dozen directions, I was scared I was going to be torn apart, then I realized, it wasn't tearing me, it was supporting me! It was like I had been so small before and now, and now--white light.

I gasped out and fell to all four hooves. I panted. I was covered in sweat in the cold cold night. Twilight's gentle hug never let go. We stayed like that for a few minutes before I said anything. "Twilight. Thank you."

"It's what friends are for."

"I've just been a comrade at best. I've barely done anything for you or the others as a friend."

"Good thing friends don't keep score cards then. And I promise they'll be waiting for you, I'll be waiting for you too when you come back."

"Thank you Twilight and--" What I said next, I felt no humiliation or shame. It was strange, but not a bad strange. "I'm sorry for being ... cruel to your friends under false pretenses when we first met."

"Already forgiven."

We stayed like that for a while more, before going inside before we could die of pneumonia.

Twilight insisted on me using the bed one last time.

I don't really remember what I dreamed about, just a sense of peace and comfort, and just that I was safe.

Next early morning just as Celestia's sun rose, I looked around at Twilight's bedroom that had been mine for so longer that I had stopped caring. It felt so natural now.

I was startled when I found a spell book next to the bed that hadn't been there the night before. Looked like a laymare's version of one of Starswirl's books almost. On top of it was a small folded note with my cutie mark.

I tentatively read the inside.

Dear Trixie,
I got powerful not just because of any Element or my friends. I also studied. I learned. Long and hard until my eyes nearly fell out. Here's a book on magical academics. I hope it proves useful to you. I hope you fulfill your dreams. Happy Hearth Warming's Eve.
-- Your Friend, Twilight Sparkle

I took the book with me.

I stepped out carefully, having memorized which stairs steps creaked under my hooves and which ones didn't. I had five or ten minutes time ahead before Spike woke up.

There was Twilight sleeping peacefully on the couch. I didn't disturb her.

I didn't really have anything that was my own, I had always been in transition here. I floated the book in front of me. But I felt like I fit better here than even my own gypsy cart. But this wasn't where I belonged. At least it wasn't where I belonged the most.

I stopped at Twilight's spare desk in the living room. And I felt one final wave of insanity overcome me.

Dear Princess Celestia

I am not sure what I've learned that's new. But I've learned many of the lessons I thought were true were false. Lying is the easy answer, but easy answers are often not the right ones. I thought standing alone would make . . . I drew a blank. I tore it up and started again. I made it out just before Spike woke up.

Dear Princess Celestia

I learned last night I shouldn't be scared of myself changing if those changes are for the better. And if I have friends I can trust and believe in, they can help me see if those changes are bad or good. Also, family -and- friends are both wonderful things. Neither is about whether you're -worthy- or not. And they can sometimes blur. Blood is where family starts, but it isn't where it ends.

-New Trixie