• Published 4th Apr 2019
  • 618 Views, 36 Comments

Errors - The Cloptimist

Three unlikely heroines are accidentally sent halfway across the world. How will they get home?

  • ...

Going Out With A Bang

"...And so, they were about to write the Duchess, to, like, contact Princess Twilight and arrange to send us home," said Diamond Tiara, flatly.

"Yes, that is correct, Miss Tiara," said Hoo'far, nodding.

"...But then Trixie went crazy, and so now they want to keep us here," said Diamond Tiara, flatly.

"That is... also correct, yes," said Hoo'far.

"...That explains, like, all the spears," said Diamond Tiara, flatly.

Diamond, Trixie and Derpy looked around at the two dozen guard ponies packed around them in a circle, every one of whom was pointing a spear right at them.

"...I don't like this. I thought we were going to be going home. I don't want to stay here," said Derpy, anxiously.

"What do we do?", asked Trixie, pacing on the spot.

"Well, to begin with, we don't slam metal doors into guard ponies' faces!", hissed Diamond Tiara, and they both looked up into the scowling, bandaged face of the pony they now knew to be called Corporal Fatima.

"Oh, sure, blame Trixie. Not the ponies who hoofcuffed me to a stool for six hours!", snapped Trixie.

"Yeah, well, who-ever would have guessed that picking fights with the guards would end up with us facing down, like, a whole load of big sharp spears?", Diamond spat back at her. Two dozen guard ponies frowned and tightened their grips on their spears.

"Look," said Trixie, trying to pull the conversation back from the brink. "We can spend all day arguing over whose fault this all is -"

"Yours," replied Diamond, without missing a beat.

"- but right now we need to concentrate on getting home," said Trixie, ignoring her interruption. "Hoo'far? Is there any easy way home?"

Hoo'far put a hoof to his chin. "Ordinarily, Miss Powerful, this would be a very simple case to resolve. Given the accidental nature of the spell that you say brought you here, the Duchess would be likely to waive any criminal charges for the three of you turning up uninivited in her country."

"Well, tell them that, then!", said Trixie, flinching as one of the guards scratched his ear and unwittingly waved his spear in her face. "We need to get out of here!"

"Ah, well, Miss Powerful," said Hoo'far, with a grimace. "I would like to help you more directly, but I am currently being employed by these Maretonian ponies. Unfortunately, some of the guards you, ah, accidentally injured in your escape bid feel it would be too dangerous to let you go to the Capital now. They wonder, since they clearly cannot trust you to sit still and not slam a door into anypony's face, whether they can even trust the story you told of the reasons for your sudden appearance."

"What?" blurted Trixie, and immediately regretted it as two dozen spears reacted by moving even closer. She gritted her teeth, panicking. "They could just write to the Princesses!", she hissed through her teeth. "Or Starlight!"

"Yes," said Diamond Tiara, raising an eyebrow. "And I'm sure they reaaaally want to help us out, after you, like, beat up their leader or whatever," she snorted, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

"But, Diamond! I don't think they will want to help us, at all!", wailed Derpy, and Hoo'far raised a hoof to quiet the three of them down.

"There may be a chance to do that... if you can prove to these guards that your story is true. I have smoothed the way a little by explaining that you are a travelling magician, an entertainer, and not a powerful mage as they suspect..."

"Powerful mage?" grinned Trixie, quietly, beaming with pride.

"...and I emphasised to them the stress you all found yourselves under, lost in the desert and then apprehended by strange ponies, before lashing out at the Guard. I think they would be willing to believe me..."

"Yes!" said Trixie, pumping her hoof, as the spears took another shuffling half-step forward. "That's what I'm talking about. Thanks, Hoo'far," she said, jubilantly, but Diamond Tiara held up a hoof, indicating that Hoo'far had more to say.

"...if you were willing to prove you are, indeed, an illusionist, by performing a little magic show," he finished, as Diamond gawped at him.

Trixie fixed him with a cynical stare. "Are you just messing with me again?", she said, in a slightly menacing tone which the surrounding spears definitely picked up.

"I assure you," said Hoo'far, dismissively, "this is by far the easiest path to take. If they are satisfied you are not a mage but rather an excellent traveling magician, they will be much more amenable to letting you go, or sending you to the Duchess."

Trixie looked around at the circle of spears and gave a gulp.

Diamond put a hoof up on her shoulder. "You can save us, Trixie."

Derpy put a hoof on her other shoulder. "I know you can do it," she whispered.

Trixie looked at her two companions, and at Hoo'far, and the circle of angry guards. She gulped, loudly, and half expected the spears to take another step forward.

"Okay, fine," she spat under her breath. "The Great and Powerful Trixie will do this, to save her friend's lives."

The hooves on her shoulders turned into a hug as she nodded her assent to Hoo'far, who must have relayed the news to the spear carriers, because they all stood at ease.

"Now... Trixie will need some time to prepare," she said, addressing the crowd. "In order to put on a truly Great and Powerful display of grand illusions, I shall need my stage props, the smoke bombs they took from me when they... threw me in that cell, a chance to see the stage, and..."

She trailed off as she realised Hoo'far was no longer translating her words for the benefit of the watching guards.

"You will be working there," said Hoo'far, gesturing outside to a tiny exercise yard. "The show will take place tomorrow morning, before the sun is too high for such frivolities. You will not be allowed to use your smoke bombs, for reasons of security. And you will not be able to go and buy props. Even if the guards would allow you to leave, which they will not, well, in any case no such items are available for many leagues, in all directions."

"And you just happened to remember all of these restrictions now, did you?", muttered Trixie.

"I would advise you not to waste time. This show will need to be all of your own work, and you will need to prepare it quickly," said Hoo'far with a wave of his hoof.

"Well, what kind of tricks can I do if I haven't got any of my stage props?!", wailed Trixie, and pressed her eyes closed, before slowly opening them again to see the guards still standing safely and stiffly to attention, with their spear tips in the air.

"Miss Powerful," said Hoo'far, as he walked across to join the guards, "that is really more of a question for you."

"I really don't like that guy," said Trixie, under her breath.

The sound of metal clanking and warping filled the courtyard, as Diamond Tiara and Derpy watched on in fascination; their interest was matched by Constable Aysha, who'd volunteered immediately to watch the detained-but-not-detained ponies in the courtyard as Trixie made her preparations, and who now looked on with a curious expression on her face.

"What is she doing now?", asked Derpy, and Diamond squinted to see. The courtyard was getting dark, but every few seconds Trixie's face would be illuminated in red, orange or yellow, as she heated and welded different components with her magic.

"It looks like she's got two of those, like, metal band... thingies, from a barrel," said Diamond, and Trixie looked up at her in annoyance. "Hey, Trixie, is that a loop-de-hoop?", asked Diamond. "Because I remember Apple Bloom doing, like, a bunch of hula tricks with one of those in class a few years ago, and I don't think that's really going to impress these ponies. They're probably a little bit harder to please than a bunch of foals..."

She looked back across the courtyard, to where Derpy was lying on her back, having her chin and belly tickled by a giggly Constable Aysha.

"...Or, y'know, maybe they are," said Diamond, shaking her head.

"It is not a... loop-de-whatever," spat Trixie, levitating a flat stone before using it to bash and beat the metal.

"...It looks like a loop-de-hoop," said Diamond.

"IT'S NOT A LOOP-DE-HOOP!", shouted Trixie, and Constable Aysha looked up in surprise. Trixie gave her a nervous smile, and Aysha looked at her for a moment before resuming playing with Derpy.

"...And Trixie is trying to concentrate here, and not completely freak out! And you are not helping!", hissed Trixie, once Aysha was no longer on alert. "If I don't get this show right, we could be stuck here for months, and I don't have any of my props!"

"You have to keep it together," said Diamond, not unkindly. "The ponies here are weird, and we have to get home. I don't know why they want you to do a magic show, but... I saw your show back in Ponyville, and it was, like, really good."

Trixie looked at her, and Diamond smiled as she continued. "Just... do what you can, and I think it'll be enough. And me and Muffins will be there to watch. So, maybe, you could, like, do it for her? She could use some fun."

Trixie didn't respond, and instead levitated the two metal rings up into the air with her magic. She knocked them against each other twice, and then when she did it a third time, there was a metallic clinking noise, and Constable Aysha gave a loud gasp, followed by a squee of delight as she clapped her hooves together.

"Kayf faealt dhilka?!" asked Aysha, breathlessly, staring at the now-interlocked rings in wide-eyed wonder.

"...A good magician... never reveals her secrets?", said Trixie, somewhat taken aback at the reaction.

"...See? Maybe this will work after all," said Diamond Tiara, staring at Aysha in confusion.

Starlight Glimmer made as if to light up her horn and levitate the papers around, before remembering yet again. The damping effect of the bandage on her horn sent a cold, shivering sensation through her limbs, and she grimaced in discomfort.

"Ugh," she groaned, and looked up at the unimpressed guard, who was standing there examining her hooves. "Can you pass me that map over there, please?"

The guard made a show of annoyance, before lighting up her horn and floating a stack of papers over to Starlight. She paused, and hovered the papers in mid-air in front of Starlight, holding them there for a moment before shaking the stack impatiently at her.

"Gee," said Starlight, as she looked through the floating papers to find the map she needed. "Thanks so much for being so helpful."

"Oh, you're welcome," snapped the guard. "Are there any more important duties a combat veteran lieutenant of the Royal Lunar Guard such as myself can help you with, ma'am? Maybe you'd like me to go and get your groceries, or give you a hooficure?"

"Ugh," moaned Starlight. "Listen. I know you don't want to be here, but Princess Luna asked you to help me, right? And I've had just about enough of -"

"You've had just about enough? It's the middle of the night. I'm meant to be on duty protecting Equestria, not watching you read!"

"QUIET!", snarled Filthy Rich, and the two mares both stopped to look at him.

"We're all tired," he growled. "Starlight Glimmer has been awake for going on forty-eight hours now, trying to find a way to bring my Diamond Tiara home. She came with me to Tartarus when she should probably be in hospital. We need her. So you need to back off and do as she says, because she's our best chance of saving my daughter! Or would you prefer I told Princess Luna just how helpful you're being?!"

The guard drew herself up to her full height for a moment, before seemingly thinking better of it and calming down.

"...Yes sir," said the guard, with a stiff salute.

"Go and get us some more coffee," said Filthy, and the guard nodded and left the room.

Starlight stared at Filthy for a moment, before giving him a grateful smile.

"I'm still mad at you," he said, but the usual edge of anger was missing.

"I know," she smiled. "But we're going to do this. I promise, I'm not going to give up."

Filthy nodded in approval. "That's why I needed that guard to back off," he said. "I can see how hard you're working to save my Diamond Tiara. What you did was dangerous... but what you're doing now, to make up for it... I guess I see why Princess Twilight forgave you."

"I spend most of my life trying to atone for things I did in the past," said Starlight. "This is just another one for the 'Starlight Messed Up Again' pile by now. And I'm going to fix it," she said, scanning the map some more. "I'm so close, I can feel it - I just need to figure out this one last part. The spell must have sent them somewhere. If it didn't send them to Tartarus, and it didn't send them to Maretonia like it was meant to, well, it can't just invent co-ordinates out of nowhere without fresh instructions. I think being hit while I cast the spell, and getting mixed up with Trixie's spell, gave it those fresh instructions. If it wasn't for... this," she gestured at her bandaged horn, "I could track exactly where it had sent them. But with all of these calculations, and a good map, I can try and at least eliminate some places. Then we can arrange for a search party, and then we can get to bringing Diamond home, and you can concentrate on being the new Comptroller!"

"Oh, I'm not gonna do that any more," said Filthy, as he took the stack of papers the guard had been floating around and neatly put them back where they came from. "I withdrew from the race."

"What?!", said Starlight, shocked. "You can't do that!"

"I most assuredly can," said Filthy, firmly. "There are more important things in life. Who'd want a Comptroller who can't even keep his own daughter safe at his own campaign event?", asked Filthy. "I know I wouldn't vote for me right now."

Starlight put the map down and fixed him with a determined look. "Well," she said, "I would. I'd vote for the candidate who's best for the job. I'd vote for the candidate who's working night and day to save his family. I'd vote for the candidate who's showing what kind of pony he is."

For maybe the first time in his life, Filthy Rich was speechless.

"Now, pass me that piece of parchment there," said Starlight. "We can work on the election later. Right now, we have some ponies to save!"

"Maybe you should have run for mayor," muttered Filthy under his breath.

The Maretonian guard ponies stomped their hooves in delighted approval as Trixie held up the two newly-separated metal rings, soaking up the applause.

"The Great and Powerful Trixie thanks you for being such a wonderful audience!", she beamed, as Hoo'far translated. She beckoned him closer, and whispered to him.

"These ponies really like magic, huh?", she asked, under her breath.

"Not a lot of entertainers make their way this far away from Equestria," he replied. "They have never seen these tricks before. I knew they would be won over seeing your wonderful show. Even... this version of it."

They both looked over to the back of the crowd, where Corporal Fatima was still glaring at Trixie, a bandage on her head.

"Well, most of them," said Hoo'far.

Trixie smiled, and took a deep breath.

"Time for the big finish," she said. "I need a Great and Powerful volunteer... Diamond Tiara, come on up here!"

"What?!" blurted Diamond, but Trixie beckoned her up onto the stage. "What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to change your mane color," grinned Trixie. "I haven't done this one for a little while, but since I don't have my escapology chest, or my trick saw cabinet, or my cards, well, I thought this was something I could do without props!"

Diamond glared at her. "I am going to, like, have some stuff to say about this later," she snorted.

"Oh, shush," said Trixie. "Now, hold still, while the Great and Powerful Trixie works her magic!"

"Fix it," snarled Diamond, from behind her huge, bushy green mop of hair, as it continued to grow. "Fix it. Fix it. Fix it."

"Hold on," said Trixie. "I just need a little Great and Powerful correction, and... voilà!"

Diamond's mane was now glowing bright pink and purple as it shrank back to its normal length.

"Now, let's have some applause for my Great and Powerful Volunteer!", said Trixie, motioning for Hoo'far to translate; but before he could finish, the crowd were already stomping their hooves in appreciation, and Diamond Tiara blushed before giving a well-drilled curtsy.

"Great. They liked it. Now, put it back," hissed Diamond, and Trixie grinned. She reared up theatrically, charging up her horn...

There was a bright, blinding flash, and a thunderous KABOOM!, and everypony in the courtyard ducked and covered their heads.

"What did you do now?!" barked an incredulous Diamond Tiara, as Derpy stared in confusion.

"That wasn't me!", whimpered Trixie, as the two uncovered their eyes to look at what had happened.

A group of ponies was standing in a huge cloud of smoke in the middle of the courtyard. As the mist cleared, a tall white pony in an elaborate headdress stepped forward, and a murmur went around the crowd. Corporal Fatima blinked in astonishment, and started babbling something to Hoo'far, who drew himself up to his own full height before making an announcement.

"Miss Powerful, may I present... her Grace, the Duchess of Maretonia!"

"The Equestrians told us where we should be looking, and suggested the Western Desert... and then Constable Aysha here sent word and notified us that three strange ponies were found in the desert," said the Duchess, as Derpy gave Aysha a huge, warm hug.

"Did she now?", said Corporal Fatima, giving Aysha a long sideways glare.

"Indeed," said the Duchess, "and a good thing too. She may have prevented an international incident!"

"...I always encourage that kind of initiative in my troops, Your Grace," said Captain Abdul, and his look told Fatima to stay quiet.

One Week Later

"Alright, my little ponies!", cheered Pinkie Pie as she danced across the rebuilt stage, and the crowd stomped in appreciation. "Let's have a round of applause for the REAL comptroller!"

"What a strange line," said Trixie, as the newly-elected Comptroller Filthy Rich appeared on stage, waving and making victory salutes as Diamond clung to him tightly.

"Hey, I'm just glad that you had Muffins with you," grinned Starlight, as she pulled Trixie in for a hug of her own. "Her being cute saved you!"

"You saved us," said Trixie. "You figured out where the spell must have sent us. You never gave up."

"Of course not," said Starlight, nuzzling her. "I'd never give up on my best friend!"

"Your horn's looking better," smiled Trixie. "How long until those bandages can come off?"

"Nurse Redheart said another couple of weeks," said Starlight. "Although now that we know what happened with the spell, Princess Twilight can cast it whenever she wants. We're going to work on refining it some more, so that it isn't so draining..."

"Good," said Trixie, cutting her off. "You deserve a break. Let Twilight take some of the risk for once."

"She takes risks all the time..." murmured Starlight, but Trixie hushed her with a knowing smirk, looking back up to the stage as Diamond blew kisses to the crowd. She caught her eye, and the two ponies smiled and nodded to each other.

"It's funny," said Starlight. "It all worked out better than if nothing went wrong!"

"You wouldn't be saying that if it was you who got zapp-poof-banged into the middle of the desert," frowned Trixie. "I never want to see sand again!"

"No, Trix, not like that," smiled Starlight. "I just mean, if everything had gone perfectly... Well, do you know what Filthy says he thinks swung the election for him? An endorsement from the Duchess of Maretonia herself, commending his efforts to rescue his daughter, and to not blame the Maretonians for what happened."

"Really?", said Trixie, as she watched the new Comptroller lapping up the applause from his supporters.

"Yeah, actually," said Starlight. "Her exact words were that his big press conference speech really showed how Ponyville was a friend to Maretonia, and how much better this was than if he'd just sent her a crate of apples or something."

Derpy fluttered down to land next to them, and Trixie leaned over to draw her into the hug too.

"I'm glad you were there with us, Muffins," said Trixie, and Derpy beamed happily.

"You are all nice ponies," she said, with a huge smile. "I'm glad I could help my friends. And Aysha is a nice pony too, and she's going to learn Ponish, and we are going to write letters, and she is going to visit Ponyville and I'm going to show her the town and give her some apples, and we're going to be good friends!"

"I'm sure you will," said Trixie, as Derpy flew away, and Starlight giggled.

"Well, this was... fun," said Trixie, looking at the bunting and campaign posters and confetti. "But I think maybe the Great and Powerful Trixie might not be cut out for politics."

Comments ( 17 )

The End! With a couple of hours to spare!

Sorry the finish was a little rushed there - the contest had a hard 20k word limit and I was right up against it. I hope you enjoyed the story, anyway - I don't think I'll be doing another multi-chapter adventure again in a hurry!

Aye, as Trixie said, it was fun; thanks. :)

Thanks, I had a lot of fun writing it! I think I'm better at character pieces than multi-chapter adventure things that need actual storylines, but it was great to try something like this anyway.

"Maybe you should have run for mayor," muttered Filthy under his breath.

"Been there. Did that. Got run out of town."

In any case, a truly delightful conclusion. Even if Trixie nearly ruined everythig. And of course Hoo'far was the interpreter. She just can't get away from that guy.

Thank you for a wonderful adventure. Best of luck in the judging.

Aw, thank you very much! I had so much fun writing it.

Even though this didn't get anywhere at all in the contest it was written for, and it's my least-viewed story ever (although as of today there are no downvotes, which is a novel experience!), I had an absolute blast writing it. Thanks to everyone who read it, I hope you had fun too!

I realised that - probably because she wasn't featured in the contest prompts - I'd not tagged Starlight as a major character here, but she obviously is (all the Ponyville and Tartarus chapters revolve around her!), so I've made that little change and also added this story to a couple of the best Starlight groups.

This gang was fun to follow. I really liked how well Diamond Tiara tended to take charge. I guess there’s a future in leadership waiting for her with that attitude.

I was wondering when someone would notice that! It's actually not (supposed to be) inconsistent - she's Derpy in the narration, and Muffins in dialogue. (Unless I missed one or two, in which case oops.) My little nod to/poke at the enforced name change.

I can't take credit for that, I'm afraid! That comes from the comics, where he runs for Mayor of Ponyville (and where the Pony Politics bingo tile image came from).

Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it!

Oh wow, thank you so much! Nopony ever reviews my longer pieces, so it's great to be able to talk about this one.

Yeah, the ending was badly rushed - the contest had a hard 20,000 word limit and I was right up against it. I had, indeed, planned to have a whole extra chapter in there detailing the rescue a bit more, but just ran out of space. It feels wrong going back to "fix" it now.

And the machine-generated Arabic - I mean, I did apologise for it likely being horribly mangled gibberish in the author's note for that chapter. I was going to just have the Maretonians talking in generic Unintelligble Foreign Language as far as the Equestrians were concerned (with their POV then revealing what was being said), but then thought it might as well be something analogous from Earth, even if I knew Google was butchering both the translation and transliteration the words! If anyone out there does speak Arabic and wants to provide an actual translation/transliteration of what the Maretonian ponies are saying, I'd be glad to have it.

Thank you again for the kind review, I'm really glad you enjoyed the story! And if you do decide to read anything else I wrote, I hope you enjoy that too.

You're welcome - I was skimming the whole bingo group to see how the different parts got mixed.

And with that, you have earned your 176th follower!

This story was a delightful adventure. Who knew that Tiara, Trixie and Derpy would have such great chemistry? And poor, poor Starlight. My heart went out to her; poor mare was taking all the blame and trying her best to fix it.

Also, might I add that I love the moment where Filthy stood up for Starlight and got the guard to back off, and Starlight returned the favor minutes later by encouraging him to keep running in the election.

Thank you! This is one of my least popular stories, but I've always had a soft spot for it. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I don't know if I'll ever write anything new, but I'm grateful for the follow! :eeyup:

You’re welcome, Cloptimist. :twilightsmile:

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