• Published 20th Aug 2012
  • 9,848 Views, 475 Comments

For I Have no Friends, and Must Scream - Richardson

Trixie's life hangs in the hooves of Twilight Sparkle after an encounter with a cockatrice.

  • ...

Interlude: Learned Dreams

Twilight woke at the tapping of a golden-shod hoof on her shoulder. Her beautiful, graceful, beloved teached stood concernedly above her, smiling with relief. Twilight pressed a hoof to her head, wondering why it hurt so much. "I think I goofed again, Princess."

Celestia nodded, picking up her faithful student in a bubble of magic. She chided Twilight with gentle, motherly words; knowing just what to say. "Twilight, I know that your special talent is magic. I know that you want to do any kind of magic you can get your hooves on. But, Trixie has several kinds of magic that she developed due to her parentage that you need far more control and power in order to copy. Give it some time, when you're older."

Twilight blinked, clearing the sleep from her eyes so that she could inspect her surroundings. She couldn't remember how she had gotten out to the old pavillion in the gardens, or why they had come there. Part of her wondered where her friend had come from as the ghost-blue filly stepped out from behind Celestia, giggling at some aspect of Twilight's appearance. Celestia quizzically looked between Trixie and Twilight a few times before she caught on; joining in after a few moments while trying to politely hide her amusement behind a hoof.

Suspended as she was, Twilight couldn't bend or twist to see what was so amusing to her mentor and trusted friend. Since when had she known Trixie long enough to be a trusted friend? A grumble erupted from Twilight as she wriggled and tried to 'doggie paddle' mid-air as fast as she could to break free.

Trixie and Celestia shared a sly look between them for a moment before they began to guffaw even louder at her antics. Trixie even fell to her side, clutching her barrel in mirthful pain from her laughter as she did.

Twilight growled even harder as she tried to use her magic to conjure something like a mirror or illusion in order to inspect herself; complaining loudly to her companions as she did. "Stop laughing! Is it a snake? Gettitoff!"

Trixie shook her head and rubbed a tear from her eye as she laid upon the marble floor of the pavilion. Calling upon the small fountain at the edge of the overhang, she drew up a sinisterly rippling tendril of water that sloshed and snaked across open air towards Twilight. Hovering before the lavender filly, it smoothed and flattened out into a flawless mirrored surface.
Twilight first frowned at the sight presented to her, before joining her mentor and elder friend in mirthful laughter at the comical bedmane she had inflicted upon herself. It was absolutely hysterical to see her mane swept up into a ruffled spikey mess of stiffened hair. Which... would mean it would be twice as hysterical if it happened to somepony else?

Magenta magic surged around Twilight's horn, growing stronger to punch through Celestia's magic. A faint puff of smoke surrounded the solar diarch's mane as the spell kicked in. Celestia blinked in confusion as she stared into the back of the water-mirror; beholding her new horrific mane-do. Her two young students and surrogate daughters snerked and snickered at their teacher's look. Giving them both long-suffering glances failed to silence them as they burst into raucous laughter at the absurdity of the sight. "Oh Ha-Ha. Very amusing. Perhaps I should render all of us so horrifically styled."

Trixie yelped as a bolt of energy struck her, causing her to join Celestia and Twilight in the ranks of the mess-headed. As Trixie frantically patted down her mane in a vain attempt to tame it, Celestia floated Twilight into their small seating arrangement and swept both of her charges into a nearly crushing hug to her sides. Twilight decided to give all of them a break and used her magic to relax the tension from their manes as she nuzzled in even tighter to Celestia.

"Alright, now that we're all awake and chuckled out, it's time for our lesson of the day." Celestia sobered up as she wiped the last of the tears from her eyes, floating identical textbooks to her students. Twilight eagerly snatched hers from the air, while Trixie more reluctantly took charge of her own as it was set down before her.

The elder student nudged her teacher, distastefully setting the book flat against the off-white tiling before her. "Do we have to use the book? Can't we just go to the practical for once and practice the spells?"

Celestia shook her head at the suggestion, replying in turn. "We're discussing petrification today, Trixie. It's causes, cures, and its effects. The 'practical' is not only dangerous to your body, but your mind as well. Most ponies don't know that the spirit can be petrified as well. I don't want to add you to the statue garden, Trixie." Celestia firmly rebuked her most eager student, though not angrily. Her motherly concern sounded more along the lines of worry for the sake of the foal of a showmare. Unheeding of the discussion, Twilight opened the front cover of her textbook, scowling at the strange sight within.

Trixie yelped suddenly, trying to struggle to her hooves as something began to happen. "My legs! They're- they're petrifying!"

Celestia nodded, her tone almost robotically toneless as her face twitched. Strange, as she watched Trixie struggling to save herself. "Yes, they are. You activated the final test early. Twilight, Trixie is under the influence of a cockatrice stare spell. Reverse it or preserve her before she is fully transformed. Page 182 may help you." Celestia's horn began to glow as she called upon some spell with her magic, sweeping it about in wide arcs for some unfathomable reason.

Twilight frantically began flipping through her book, discovering page after page blank no matter how hard she looked. Lacking any other option, Twilight cast every failsafe and counter-transformation spell she could think of to no avail. "Princess Celestia! The book is blank!"

Celestia nodded, even as she watched the transformation cover Trixie's blank flanks with deathly grey. "That is because you have not read it yet. Two minutes left, Twilight. Save or preserve Trixie by any means necessary."

"Yes, please! Trixie can't- ulp... move!" The ghostly blue mare struggled ever more fiercely as the malicious magic claimed more of her body under creeping tendrils of stone. Her ice blue magic joined Twilight's own reddish aura in trying to hold the cold away from her.

"One minute, thirty seconds."

Twilight shook her head frantically, throwing the book to one side. "I need more information!"

Thousands of books began to flood into the pavillion through the archways, each as blank as the first and black as the night skies. Celestia seemingly impassively watched on as Twilight waded through the deepening tide of parchment towards Trixie's nearly entirely frozen form. "One minute to save or preserve her, Twilight."

Trixie's neck was changing, even as the book flood buried her torso beneath the sea of pages. A lone tear leaked from her eyes as she feebly called for help with the last of her air. "Twilight- please... -elp me."

As Twilight waded through the sharp covers and sweeping waves of pages, what Celestia had said echoed in her mind. A spirit could be petrified and frozen just like a body! And this... this place had to be a dream! How else could she explain the inexplicable sudden transformation Trixie was undergoing, or the flood of books?

She looked over her shoulder at Celestia, who had dropped the pretext of her impassive clinical oversight to wear a look of utter terror and motherly fear upon her face. Twilight suddenly realized that she had slipped into adult form once more from her size and the shape of her body. She knew what she had to do now, no matter how mad it was to most ponies.

"Save her, Twilight!"

Twilight reached her... friend, embracing her and worriedly looking into Trixie's fearfully trembling eyes. The stone had crept over her head, and was advancing up her horn and into her gaze as Twilight formulated what had to be the single most insane spell she had ever thought up or had ever heard of. "Trixie, I need you to reach to me! Reach to me with your magic!"

Flickering and fading magic waivered from what little was left of Trixie's horn, reaching towards Twilight as a tide of books nearly dislodged the purple mare. Twilight clutched tighter, looking deep into Trixie's eyes for the points of magic she searched for. Her own magic caught Trixie's unguided tendril, tying itself around the faint blue aura into a nearly unbreakable knot as it surged back towards Trixie along the path.

Trixie's transformation halted abruptly as Twilight's magic squeezed between showmare and stone, seperating the two with a layer of Twilight's own soul and power as the bearer of magic searched for the center of Trixie. Trixie's eyes glinted, the shimmer of what Twilight had been looking for shining deep within. And as Twilight made the last connection, the world turned white.

And Twilight woke up.

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