• Published 4th Nov 2020
  • 2,653 Views, 190 Comments

Another Side of Friendship: Pony Tails - The Great Twixie

The continued adventures of Twilight and her new friends.

  • ...

On the Job

It was a new day in Equestria – one where everypony didn’t have to worry about getting third-degree sunburn. And on this beautiful, sunny summer day, Twilight Sparkle was once again…locked away in her room.

In truth, it was less of a room and more of a miniature library. Every inch of the walls was covered by bookshelves, including the window so that the only source of light came from the few stubby candles that lay scattered about. Hundreds of books filled the shelves, all organized by genre, series, alphabet, and number – an impossible task for anyone less neurotic than Twilight Sparkle. And when there was no more space on the walls, the books were stacked in neat piles on the floor until there was only space for Twilight’s bed and Spike’s basket.

Not gonna lie: this mare has a problem.

Spike was just coming back with a bucket of gemstones that he had stashed away somewhere in the house where he found Twilight exactly as he left her. The lavender unicorn was lying on her bed, using her horn as a headlight while she poured over today’s printing of the Canterlot Chronicler.

Twilight let out an excited squeal when she saw the photo of Mane 6 (the collective name she shared with her new best friends: Sunset Shimmer, Starlight Glimmer, Moon Dancer, Trixie, and Tempest Shadow) spread out on the front underneath the bold headline: “In Their Elements: The Story of How Six Brave Mares Saved The Day (And Night.)

“Oh my Luna, Spike, this is so exciting!” Twilight squealed. “Can you believe it, Spike? My friends and I actually defeated THE Daybreaker! The Mare in the Sun! Can you believe it, Spike?! Can you?!”

“Yeah, I can,” Spike said in a bored tone. “Because it happened yesterday.”

“Sorry, sorry,” Twilight apologized, giggling, as Spike jumped on the bed next to her. “It’s just that so much gas happened in the last twenty-four hours. We - well, technically I - solved the prophecy of Daybreaker's return, then witnessed her return during the Summer Solstice Festival, got knocked off our flanks by a runaway wagon, traveled all across Equestria to find the Elements of Harmony, unlocked the sixth Element, defeated Daybreaker, and restored Princess Celestia to her original self.... It was a pretty weird and terrifying day."

“Good thing our friends were there to help,” said Spike, shoving a clawful of gems in his mouth.

“Friends…,” Twilight murmured softly. “I can’t believe I have friends now…. I never really cared much about having friends before; all I ever needed was my books and my magic. But now I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them in it. Which is very strange since we only just met each other yesterday.”

“That just shows how important they are to you,” Spike remarked kindly.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Twilight chuckled, petting the baby dragon’s head. “Hey, Sunset Shimmer invited everypony to the castle for breakfast. You want to come? Sunset tells me they serve the best sweet apple cinnamon rolls in all of Equestria from apples imported directly from Sweet Apple Acres.”

“Would I?!” said Spike, jumping to his feet in excitement. “What’re we sitting around here for? C’mon, let’s go, let’s go!”

Twilight giggled at his enthusiasm. Just then, a sharp knock came from her bedroom door.

“Come in!” Twilight called. The door opened and Twilight’s parents, Twilight Velvet and Nightlight, entered the room. “Hey, mom. Hey, dad. Can I help you with something? Did dad break the blender again?”

“That happened one time!” Nightlight complained.

“Six,” Twilight Velvet corrected.

“Six times!” said Nightlight.

“And, no, we don’t really need help with anything,” Twilight Velvet shook her head. “We actually wanted to talk to you, Twilight.”

“About what?” Twilight asked curiously.

“First, can we just say that we are so proud of you, Twilight,” said Nightlight, smiling wide with his wife. “We always knew you were special since you were a foal. Hatched a baby dragon on the first try, graduated top of your class at Princess Luna’s School for Gifted Unicorns, and now you’ve saved the world and brought back Princess Celestia from a thousand-year banishment. We couldn’t be any happier.”

“I’m sensing a ‘but’ here,” said Twilight, concerned.

“But…,” Twilight Velvet said hesitantly. “It’s just that…you graduated six months ago and, well, your father and I think it’s time you started focusing on yourself. You know, finding work, getting a place of your own, maybe find a nice stallion to settle down with – “

“Or mare, if that’s your preference,” Nightlight injected.

“Wait, are you kicking me out?!” Twilight yelped, gasping.

“No, no, nothing like that!” Twilight Velvet shook her head. “We love having you around, Twilight, but you’re a grown mare now, and we think you should have some stability in your life. Shining Armor moved out a while ago and now he’s captain of Princess Luna's royal guard. We think it might be time that you do the same.”

“It’s not that we don’t love you, Twilight,” said Nightlight gently. “It’s because we love you that we’re asking you to start thinking about your future. Your mother and I aren’t going to be around forever, you know.”

“Yeah…I guess not…,” Twilight mumbled uncertainly. “But…where do I even start?”

“Why don’t you ask those new friends of yours!” Twilight Velvet suggested optimistically. “They all seem like an interesting assortment of ponies. One of them is even the princess’s student. Maybe they can help you get started.”

“Hmm,” Twilight hummed, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “Yeah…yeah, you’re right! They all have real world experience! If anyone can help me stand on my hooves, it’s them!” Funnily enough, she stood on her hooves at that exact moment. “C’mon, Spike, we’re going to see our friends!”

“Apple cinnamon rolls, here I come!” Spike cheered, pumping his claws in the air.

Twilight rolled her eyes amusingly and levitated the baby dragon on her flank. The lavender mare bounced off the bed and galloped out of the room, shouting good-byes to her parents before she left. Though she was understandably worried about the sudden change in her life, Twilight felt assured that her new friends would help her along the way.

One of the perks of being the heroes that saved Equestria from a painful, fiery doom: free passes into the princess’s castle. The guards didn’t even think twice about letting Twilight and Spike in through the gates, especially because the last time they stopped them, it nearly caused the end of the world.

Twilight was practically buzzing with excitement as she sat at the lengthy dining room table directly on Princess Luna’s left side, opposite of the more composed Sunset Shimmer. She had only met the Princess of Equestria once during the Daybreaker Incident, so having the privilege of sitting next to royalty nearly made her faint. The rest of the Mane 6 (and Spike and Grubber) were more focused on the massive spread laid out before them.

The table was lined with a fancy silk cloth; expensive-looking dishware was set in front of everypony complete with sterling silver utensils and crystal goblet. Everything looked like it came out of a three-hoof restaurant from the promised Sweet Apple cinnamon rolls to a bunch of foods that Twilight couldn’t even pronounce the name of.

In short, the entire table was more expensive than her parent’s house.

“Oh man, this is the best breakfast ever!” Spike said through stuffed cheeks, sending bits of cinnamon rolls flying everywhere. “We should eat here more often!”

“Spike, manners!” Twilight chastised him. “We’re in the company of the princess!”

“It’s quite all right, Twilight Sparkle,” said Luna amusingly, taking a delicate sip of her morning tea. “It’s rare that I have such lively company in the morning. I actually quite enjoy it.”

“Yeah, she enjoys it, so stop being such a tightwad,” said Grubber, who had just swallowed a pancake whole before rolling up another stuffing it in his quills. “I am so saving this for later.”

“Grubber, don’t steal pancakes,” said Tempest, scowling. “Steal the fruit tarts; they’re more expensive.”

“You know you don’t have to steal anything, right?” said Sunset with a quirked brow. “You’re basically eating for free?”

“Where’s the fun in that?” Tempest smirked teasingly.

“You know, I thought Princess Celestia would’ve shown up by now,” Starlight commented curiously as she took a big gulp of her coffee. “Is she not coming?”

“My sister is still very weak from her time as Daybreaker,” Luna answered with a hint of sadness in her voice. “The royal physician said it could be many moons before she is stable, so she is confined to her room for the time being.”

“And just after she got out of her prison in the sun,” said Moon Dancer, shaking her head morosely.

“Well, on to more cheerful topics that don’t involve crippled princesses,” said Sunset aloud. “How’s everypony been doing since yesterday? All of Equestria has been buzzing about how we defeated Daybreaker. The royal guards have actually had to throw a bunch of ponies in jail for trying to sneak into the palace for photos.”

“Trixie has gained quite a following recently,” said Trixie proudly. “Trixie gained the sponsorship of the Wonderbolts for her brilliant performance in the Everfree Forest and has been offered to perform regularly at the Crescent Club.”

“Impressive,” Starlight compliment. “I got offered a tutoring position at the School for Gifted Unicorns. I figured if I’m going to keep looking for Sunburst, there’s no better place to keep an ear out than the school he went to.”

“Nothing’s really changed for me,” said Moon Dancer, shrugging nonchalantly. “I’m still working at the book store, but we’ve been getting a lot more customers lately. Now if only they actually bought something instead of taking selfies…”

“We’ve been up to the usual,” Tempest said, gesturing to herself and Grubber. “Stealing, pickpocketing, though ponies don’t chase us as much anymore…. I surprisingly miss the chasing. It was fun.”

“Speak for yourself,” Grubber grumbled, practically inhaling the basket of muffins.

“I would ask you to stop stealing, but that would be a fruitless endeavor,” Luna sighed in defeat before rounding to Twilight. “And what about you, Twilight Sparkle? Has your life undergone any recent changes?”

“Well…,” Twilight said slowly, tapping her hoof awkwardly on the table. “My mom and dad think it’s time I moved out of the house….”

“Wait a second…,” said Starlight strangely. “You still live with your parents? When I was old enough, I could wait to get out of the house! Of course, that didn’t stop my dad from coming to my apartment every day. Thank Luna I moved here….”

“So your parents are finally kicking you out, huh?” said Trixie with a smug smile.

“They’re not kicking me out!” Twilight retorted. “They think that, now that I’ve graduated from school and, you know, saved the world with you girls, I should start preparing for my future. Get a job, find my own place to live, start a relationship with a nice pony…”

Moon Dancer and Trixie perked up at the last item on Twilight’s checklist. Then they noticed each other and shot challenging glares at one another, sparks metaphorically flying between them. All of this went unnoticed by the object of their affection, but not to everypony else. Sunset rolled her eyes at the pair before addressing Twilight.

“I don’t know how to help you with the job and the relationship problem,” she said, “but you could stay in the castle, if you want. At least until you’re on your hooves. Tempest and Grubber are staying in the room just down the hall from mine.”

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t want to impose on you or the princess!” said Twilight, shaking her head frantically.

“It would be no trouble at all!” said Luna delightfully with a kind smile and her wings aflutter. “It’s the least Equestria can do for its heroes. Besides, I do so enjoy the company. I’m not sure you noticed, but the castle is quite big and it can get very lonely at times.”

“Well…if you don’t mind, I suppose I could take up your offer,” said Twilight.

“ Sweet! We’re moving on up!” Spike cheered, pumping his claws in the air.

“That takes care of the living situation,” said Twilight, humming thoughtfully with a hoof to her chin. “Now I should think about finding a job. But what kind of job should I get?”

“Come work at the bookstore!” Moon Dancer shouted before Trixie had a chance to speak. “We both love books, right? What better place to work than a place surrounded by who you love – I mean, what you love,” she corrected quickly, her cheeks tinged pink.

“Great idea, Moon Dancer!” said Twilight giddily. “A bookstore would be the perfect place for me!”

"Stupid four-eyed mare-stealing nerd,” Trixie grumbled under her breath.

“It sounds like you have your affairs in order,” said Luna, smiling. “Maybe afterwards, we could – “ she was interrupted by a loud knocking at the dining room’s double doors. “Enter!”

A well-groomed Earth pony stallion with a stone-gray coat and a Cutie Mark of a pocket watch entered the room with a clipboard in hoof. The stallion bowed his head in Princess Luna’s direction, then bowed to the Mane 6, readjusted his round glasses and walked around the table next to the moon goddess.

“Good morning, your majesty,” the stallion greet politely.

“Good morning, Timetable,” said Princess Luna. “Care to join us for breakfast?”

“I’m afraid I must decline, your majesty – much too busy; not enough time,” said Timetable swiftly. “I thought you might want to go over the today’s schedule, if you don’t mind?”

“Not at all,” said Luna, using her horn to raise her tea to her lips. “Proceed.”

Timetable coughed importantly in his hoof and started to read off the clipboard in a low, drawling voice:

“From nine A.M. to ten A.M. is the daily meeting with the captain of the guard, then you will be hosting a trade agreement with Saddle Arabia between ten A.M. and twelve-thirty P.M. You will be judging the Royal Rose Contest from Twelve-thirty P.M. to one P.M., mediating a dispute between the mayors of Baltimare and Fillydelphia from one P.M. to two P.M., then give a guest lecture for the Canterlot Historical Society at two-thirty – “

Luna spit her tea out in a most undignified fashion, somehow spraying Grubber from across the table. Spike and the mares laughed at the hedgehog’s misfortune, but Luna stared aghast at her aide.

“You only scheduled an hour with the mayors?!” Luna shrieked. “Those two never agree on anything! Anything involving those two together always takes at least three hours! Please tell me you didn’t finalize the meeting with them!”

“Uh…,” Timetable stammered.

Timetable!” Luna yelled.

“I’m sorry, your majesty!” Timetable whimpered. “I thought I was being proactive!”

“This isn’t the first time this has happened, Timetable!” Luna snapped. “You know you should always check in with me before finalizing everything! Now how’re we going to sort this mess out – “

“We should probably get out of here,” Sunset muttered behind her hoof to the other mares. “This could go on for a while.”

The Mane 6 quietly slipped out of their chairs while Luna continued to berate Timebtable, silently slipping out the door, but not before Spike ran back to grab another clawful of cinnamon buns.

Novella’s Books wasn’t a particularly popular shop, especially with the Canterlot Carousel on the opposite side of the street, but it drummed up enough business to make a stable income. Just enough to convince the owner, Novella, that it was worth taking on another employee.

The kindly old unicorn had given Twilight an apron with the store’s logo to match the one that Moon Dancer was wearing. The bespectacled mare looked even more excited that Twilight was working there than Twilight herself. Maybe she was just happy to have a friend to work with, Twilight thought obliviously.

“I’m glad to have another pony working with us,” said Novella with a gentle smile. “Usually it’s just Moon Dancer and myself working alone, but the little filly absolutely insisted that I give you the job.” She chuckled as she shot a meaningful look to Moon Dancer. “I wonder why….”

“Uh, n-no real reason,” Moon Dancer stuttered, flushed. “Just – helping a friend out, you know.”

“M-hmm,” Novella hummed amusingly, then faced Twilight. “So, Twilight, Moon Dancer tells me you love books.”

“’Love’ doesn’t even begin to describe it,” said Twilight passionately. “I’ve read every book I could get my hooves on ever since I was a foal. I’ve read all 983,755 books in the Canterlot Library – twice!”

“My, that is impressive,” said Novella delightfully. “I think you’re going to fit right in, Twilight Sparkle.”

“I won’t let you down, ma’am!” Twilight declared with an eager salute.

“Well, aren’t you just a bundle of energy?” Novella chuckled good-naturedly. Her horn lit up with magic and levitated two large boxes and a scroll over the counter in front of Twilight. “We just got a new shipment of books in today. You can get started by stocking these on the shelves and taking down the ones on this list to be put in storage.”

“Right away, ma’am,” Twilight said cheerfully with another salute. She levitated the boxes and scroll with her horn, walking to the left side of the store with a skip in her step.

Novella chuckled at the excited little unicorn and said to Moon Dancer, “I can see why you’re so fond of her.”

Moon Dancer groaned, burying her burning face in her hooves.

Twilight hummed a happy little tune under her breath as she walked around the shelf labeled “Adventure” and unrolled the scroll, looking over the list of names. With her natural gift for multitasking, Twilight used her horn to pull down the discontinued books without looking, crossing each name off the list as she went. She completed her checklist in record time, stacking the books neatly in two piles off to the side. This wasn’t so hard, Twilight thought to herself.

But when she opened the box and picked up the first book, that was when her first test began…

“Ooh, the new Daring-Do novel,” Twilight gasped excitedly. “I’ve been waiting months for this to come out! I have to read it – no, Twilight, don’t,” The lavender mare scolded herself. “You’re on the clock. You can read it after work. Think of it as a reward for a job well done.”

Twilight congratulated herself for resisting the temptation, but just as she was about to shelve the book, she paused, rubbing her muzzle with a thoughtful hum.

“You know…Daring-Do is one of the most popular series,” she said to herself. “I should put it in the front of the row where it’s most visible…but then it would be next to Tides of the Horse Sea, which is more of a nautical adventure instead of jungle-based. I could put it next to Lord of the Horseshoe, but then the fantasy genre would clash with Daring-Do’s exploratory type. Maybe I could put it next to the King of Kaiju series….”

Meanwhile, Moon Dancer was going over the ledger of the weekly profits when Novella poked her head out of the backroom, looking around curiously.

“Moon Dancer, have you seen Twilight Sparkle?” she asked. “I told her to stock those shelves ages ago and she’s not done yet.”

“Huh, that’s weird,” Moon Dancer commented strangely. “She’s usually on top of things like that. I’ll check it out.”

The bespectacled pony walked around the counter and trotted toward the adventure section where she last saw Twilight. But when she came around the bookcase, her jaw dropped in horror. Every shelf in the entire section had been cleared out, all the books in piles (neat, numerical, and alphabetized piles). Twilight was floating several books in the air, glaring at the bookcase in front of her like it had issued a challenge. She put one book on the first shelf, but then removed it and replaced it with a new book, only to replace that one with another book.

It was all too much for Moon Dancer to handle.

“Twilight, what did you do?!” Moon Dancer cried.

“Oh, hey, Moon Dancer,” Twilight greeted cheerfully, not understanding the issue. “I was thinking about reorganizing the whole system. What do you think? Should we go with genre type followed by author name and series order, or background type followed by series name and alphabetical order?”

“Twilight, you need to put those back right now!” Moon hissed urgently, panicking. “If Miss Novella sees this, she’s gonna have a – “

Moon Dancer winced when she heard a sharp gasp from behind her, followed by a dull thud. She and Twilight turned their heads slowly to the end of the row, breathing sharply inward. They found Novella lying on her back, her hooves over her heart, her eyes bulging and her mouth open in a silent scream. Twilight and Moon Dancer cringed, exchanging uncomfortable looks.

“Should we call somepony…?” Twilight asked awkwardly.

“That would probably be a good idea…,” Moon Dancer grimaced.

SPIKE, TAKE A LETTER!” Twilight shouted to the backroom.

“You almost killed an old mare by giving her a heart attack?” Starlight guffawed loudly. “No wonder they fired you!”

“I didn’t mean to; I was trying to help!” Twilight complained.

Starlight threw back head, her laughter echoing down the hall.

Twilight never thought she would come back to Princess Luna’s School for Gifted Unicorns since she graduated. But after Miss Novella was carted off to the hospital and Twilight’s subsequent firing from the bookstore, she and Spike had run into Starlight on her way to school and was kind enough to invite Twilight to her tutoring job. After putting in a good word with Professor Inkwell (who Twilight remembers was not particular fond of her or Spike back in school), she accepted.

Twilight felt a wave of nostalgia as they cantered through the halls of Princess Luna’s schools. She had a lot of fond memories here: reading books in class, reading books in the library, reading books during recess, reading books during lunch, reading books during school carnivals….

Twilight hanged her head in shame.

“I’ve lived a sad, pathetic life,” Twilight realized.

“I coulda told you that,” Spike commented.

“Not helping,” Twilight grumbled.

“This job should be a cinch for you,” Starlight told Twilight positively. “At least once a day, some colts or fillies come asking for help practicing their magic or need some guidance on assignments. All we have to do is help them to the best of our abilities. Shouldn’t be a problem for the pony who graduated top of her class, right? Oh, but don’t give them the answer straight out. They need to learn these things for themselves.”

“Okay, sounds easy enough,” said Twilight optimistically.

“Is what Twilight always says before something blows up in her face,” Spike commented.

“Hush, you,” Twilight scolded the baby dragon before turning to Starlight. “So, is there anything I can help with?”

“You’re in luck,” said Starlight cheerfully. “Two colts have signed up for morning tutoring sessions. We can each take one and cut our work time in half.”

“Sounds great!” said Twilight chipperly.

Starlight leads them to room 102 and pushes the door open. Inside, they found two young unicorn colts sitting at separate round tables away from each other with their textbooks opened in front of them. They perked their heads up as the mares and the baby dragon walked in.

“Good Morning, you two,” Starlight greeted cheerfully. “I’m Starlight Glimmer and this is my good friend, Twilight Sparkle. We’ll be your tutors for today.”

“You’re with the Mane 6, aren’t you?” one of the colts gasped excitedly while the other clapped his hooves.

“Heh, yeah, we are,” Starlight chuckled. “Don’t know how that name got out, but moving on. We’ll be helping you with whatever you need. Not to brag or anything, but Twilight and I are pretty good with magic.”

And I graduated top of my class when I went to school here,” Twilight announced proudly.

“So much for not bragging,” Spike commented.

“We’re going to be working with you individually,” Starlight announced. “I’ll be working with Newton. Twilight, why don’t you see what you can do with Darwin over there?”

She pointed to the unicorn colt at the farthest table, and Twilight silently nodded in agreement. The pair trotted to their separate tables while Spike took a seat next to the door, pulling out a bag of gemstones from who knows where. The baby dragon already knew how this was going to go and was content on watching it all play out.

“Hello, Darwin,” Twilight greeted the colt cheerfully. “I’m Twilight Sparkle, your tutor. Well, you know that already, because Starlight just said so and…. Well, anyway, what can I help you with?”

“I can’t figure out this one spell for transmutation class,” Darwin complained, shoving the book across the table in front of Twilight. “We’re supposed to use magic to change the phases of matter. I can turn a solid into a liquid with no problem, but I can't figure out how to change a liquid to a gas.”

“Ah, I remember this one,” said Twilight reminiscently. “The vaporization spell. Lots of ponies had trouble with this back when I was in school. Of course, I got it on the first try, not that I’m bragging or anything – “

“You totally are!” Spike called across the room.

“Anyway, it’s really quite simple once you understand the theory behind the spell,” Twilight explained, ignoring Spike’s comment as she pointed her hoof at various points of the textbook. “First thing you have to do is calculate the density of – “

The lavender mare went into a long, overcomplicated tangent about the various states of matter, the dozens of magical theories that went behind transmutation magic, and a bunch of complicated equations. It was so long, tedious and boring that even the author couldn’t bring themselves to write it down and skipped over the whole thing for the sake of their sanity. It was even worse for Darwin, who had lost focused three minutes into Twilight’s lecture and was leaning his head on his hoof, staring ahead with a glazed look in his eye, drool dripping down his slackened muzzle.

“ - and that’s the secret to the three phases of matter,” Twilight concluded brightly. “Did you get all that, Darwin?”

The colt just stared dimwittedly. Twilight frowned, pounding her hoof on the table to snap him out of it.

“Huh? Wha? What happened?” Darwin asked disoriented.

“Hmm, it looks like we’re going to have to go over your poor study habits before we get into the real work,” said Twilight, shaking her head disappointedly. “Luckily, I’m willing to take the time to help you reach your full potential.” She then summoned a notebook and started scribbling wildly on the paper. “I think we should schedule regular meetings twice a day, five times a week to get the very best results. How do you feel about meeting during free period and after school?”

Meanwhile, Starlight watched her student with a proud smile as the young colt blasted the apple on the table with magic, causing it to float in the air on its own.

“Good work, Newton,” Starlight praised, patting the colts head. “You picked up that gravity spell in record time.”

“I had a really great tutor,” Newton said cheerfully.

“Don’t be silly, you did it all on your own; I just gave you a nudge in the right direction,” said Starlight, nudging the colt playfully, which earned a happy giggle. She then shouted across the room, “Hey, Twilight, how’s it going over there?”

Starlight blinked, taken aback as Darwin suddenly stood up from his chair, carrying his books across the room, and dumped them into the trash bin next to the door.

“I can’t take any more of this! I’m dropping out of school” Darwin declared furiously. “If anypony needs me, I’ll be bird watching at the Galapegasus Islands!”

And the young colt slammed the door behind him as hard as he could, cracking the window. Starlight and Newton blinked dull-wittedly, then turned their heads slowly to Twilight. The lavender unicorn chuckled sheepishly with a nervous grin.

“Yep, totally called it,” said Spike dryly, chewing another clawful of gems.

Twilight trotted down the streets of upper Canterlot, Spike bouncing on her flank, following a step behind Trixie. After she got chewed out by Professor Inkwell for causing one of her top students to drop out, Twilight had literally been kicked to the curb. That curb just happened to be where Trixie had parked her wagon that day. The showmare had been brewing potions when Twilight slammed into her walls, and Trixie stuck her head out the window in confusion. After she explained the situation, Trixie was more than delighted to help.

“You’re going to love working for the Great and Powerful Trixie,” Trixie proclaimed proudly. “Be warned: The Great and Powerful Trixie can be as tough as she is magically gifted.”

“So not that much,” Spike remarked.

“Spike!” Twilight chastised him, then rounded to the blue mare “Thanks for helping me out, Trixie. After the bookstore and the tutor jobs failed, I was starting to worry I would never find work.”

“It is Trixie’s pleasure,” said Trixie.

“So, what’s the job?” Twilight asked eagerly. “Are you going to make me your Great and Powerful assistant to help you perform on stage? Because I know some neat spells that could really make the show pop.”

“Uh, no,” Trixie said shortly with an unimpressed stare. “Trixie does not share the stage. Ever. Besides, Twilight Sparkle would only distract the audience from performance with her beauty – “

“What?” Twilight asked, blinking.

“Nothing!” Trixie yelped quickly. She coughed in her hoof, and continued, “Trixie has decided that Twilight Sparkle will become Trixie’s manager.”

“Manager?” asked Twilight curiously.

“Yes, Trixie’s manager,” Trixie explained. “Your job is to manage Trixie’s schedule, make sure that Trixie is always available for the best opportunities, and overall think of ways to promote the Great and Powerful Trixie.”

“So…basically I’m the one in charge of your whole career, right?” asked Twilight uncertainly.

“Well, I wouldn’t put it that way,” mumbled Trixie. “Just make good decisions that are best for Trixie. I remember you were always good with schedules and checklists back in school, so this should be easy for you.”

“You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into,” Spike commented.

“Oh, hush, Spike,” said Twilight. “Don’t worry, Trixie, I’ll be the best manager you could ever ask for.”

“That’s what I like to hear, Twilight Sparkle!” said Trixie as they stopped outside Joe’s Donuts. “Now if you’ll excuse Trixie, Trixie will be getting an oat smoothie. We’ll talk more when Trixie comes back.”

While the showmare walked inside Joe’s Donuts, Twilight looked back at Spike and said, “Spike, take a note.”

“Uh, okay,” said Spike uncertainly, but pulled a roll of paper and a quill from somewhere. “What for?”

“Trixie says she wants me to think of ways to promote her, right?” said Twilight with a thoughtful look. “Well, I might have a few ideas….”

A few short minutes later, Trixie walked out of Joe’s Donuts with her smoothie in hoof, slurping her drink with a contented sigh.

“Ah, extra hay, just the way Trixie likes it,” said Trixie.

Trixie!” Twilight suddenly yelled, thrusting herself into Trixie’s personal space so fast, the showmare jumped and nearly dropped her smoothie. “Good news! I found some work for you!”

“You did?” Trixie asked, surprised.

“I know you wanted me to wait for you,” Twilight explained, “but I wanted to get a head start on being your manager. So I asked around and promoted you like you said. There are a bunch of ponies who are interested in hiring you for several social events, including Fancy Part’s garden party. A lot of ponies are really interested in getting to meet one of the Mane 6 who saved Equestria from Daybreaker.”

“Wait, seriously?” Trixie gasped excitedly. “Twilight, that’s amazing! I need to start thinking about which act to go with. Maybe the Saddle Arabian rope climbing trick or maybe the Vanhoover disappearing box act. When does the party start?"

“In twenty minutes!” Twilight answered happily.

“…huh?” Trixie gaped, dumbfounded.

Twilight nodded her head back at Spike, who rolled his eyes and then unfurled the scroll he was holding. Trixie’s jaw dropped as she watched the scroll slide past her hoofs and continued for ten more hooves. Twilight levitated the start of the list in front of her and said aloud:

“Then you are providing entertainment for Fleur-de-Lis’s tea time social ten minutes after that, followed by Jet Set and Upper Crust’s weekly get-togethers. And I know the Wonderbolts were looking forward to seeing your performance again after what happened in the Everfree Forest, so I set some time directly after Jet Set and Upper Crust’s event. Then you’re scheduled to make a a special guest appearance at the Canterlot historical society, an autograph signing at the House of Enchanted Comics, a photo shoot with Photo Finish at the Canterlot Carousel, and you will be hosting at Golden Gavel’s auction house. I set each event twenty minutes apart so that there’s room for schedule changes. Oh, and don’t worry about lunch and dinner. I’ve scheduled an interview with the Pony Press at Cinnamon Chai’s Tea and Cake Shop and a dinner meeting with Prince Blueblood.”

Trixie stared at Twilight…then down at her oat smoothie…then back at Joe’s Donut’s…then back at Twilight again, all without blinking.

“Trixie was only in there for five minutes…” Trixie said in a soft, mystified voice.

“Yah, I didn’t even get to do half the things I wanted,” said Twilight. “But don’t worry; this is only today’s schedule. Wait until you see what I have planned out for the rest of the week. Tomorrow, you’ll – “

“Twilight, she’s gone,” Spike cut in.

The lavender mare raised her head in time to see the last wisps of Trixie’s patented smoke bomb disappear. She noticed there was something on the ground. It was a folded note with Trixie’s Cutie Mark on it. Spike hopped down from Twilight’s flank, picked it up, and looked inside.

“What’s it say?” Twilight asked.

“You’re fired,” Spike answered plainly.

“Thought that’s what it said,” Twilight said grumpily.

Evenings in the Canterlot Restaurant Row was its busiest time of the day, filled with rich ponies dining at three-hoof establishments even though the food was bland and flavorless. This is where Twilight found herself, leaning her head around the corner of a restaurant called “The Smoked Oat” with Tempest Shadow above her and Grubber below her. All three of them were watching the various rich ponies walking up and down the streets with their noses turned up and harping on about whatever in snooty tones. Were Canterlot ponies always this stuck-up, Twilight wondered.

“I’m surprised you were interested in joining Grubber and I on our regular patrol,” Tempest said to Twilight.

“Well, after I pretty much failed at every other job, you were the last friend I had left,” Twilight admitted dreadfully. “At this point, I’m willing to give anything a try.”

“Trust me, you’re gonna love being a thief,” Grubber assured giddily. “You get to decide your own hours, the wages are pretty good depending on who you fleece, and you get to be your own boss – “

“Shut it, Grubber,” said Tempest.

“Yes, boss!” Grubber saluted.

“Since this is your first time on the job, I’ll give you a few pointers,” said Tempest. “Rule number one on being a successfully thief: know how to pick your targets. Do you know why we’re at Restaurant Row in the evening?”

“…Because you skipped lunch?” Twilight answered cautiously.

“No - well, yes - but no," said Tempest, sahking her head. It's because that’s when it’s filled with rich ponies looking to flaunt their wealth. Out of all the places I’ve been in Equestria, the ponies in Canterlot are the easiest marks I’ve ever seen. They have no sense of awareness. They think that just because they live in the shadow of their princess that it’ll keep them safe, so they completely leave themselves wide open for stealing. I could swipe their purses right in front of them and they wouldn’t even notice.”

“Oh, come on, they can’t be that bad,” Twilight argued.

Tempest scoffed amusingly and gestured a hoof at Grubber. The pudgy hedgehog saluted and waddled across the street.

There was a pack of three mares that were unnecessarily overdressed in stuffy formal gowns and big, feathery hats. Grubber nonchalantly walked up to their table and waved at the mares; they didn’t even bat an eye in his direction, talking animatedly about something. Grubber snorted as he swiped all three of their purses off the table and walked away, but the mares still didn’t notice anything wrong. He waddled back to Twilight and Tempest; the latter giving her partner a high-hoof.

“I stand corrected,” Twilight admitted.

“It’s easy once you get the hang of it,” said Tempest, looking around. “Now, let’s find you a good mark…. Ah, he’ll do.”

She pointed a hoof at a haughty-looking stallion standing in the middle of a pack of other rich ponies, all of whom laughed in a snooty way. He stood out among the other ponies with his expensive sunglasses, his perfectly coiffed mane, and the stuffy collar and cufflinks that adorned his person.

“That’s Hoity Toity!” Twilight gasped. “He’s a major representative in the fashion world!”

“How do you know that?” Tempest asked strangely.

“My mom has a whole stack of magazines about his clothes,” Twilight answered dryly.

“With a name like that, the guy’s just begging to be robbed,” Grubber snickered.

“Okay, you’ve got this, Twilight,” said Tempest, giving her a confident shove forward. “He’s distracted right now, so he won’t see you coming. Just blend in with the crowd and swiping his bits when his head is turned the other way. But don’t go too fast, or he’ll notice something is up. Just try to act like you belong.”

“Should I be taking notes?” Twilight asked apprehensively. “I feel like I should be taking notes.”

“You’ll be fine,” Tempest waved her off. “Now go.”

Twilight certainly didn’t feel fine. But Tempest was going out of her way to help Twilight, so the least she could do was give it her very best. The Lavender unicorn took a deep, calming breath, centered herself, and marched forward with purpose. She approached the crowd and –


Twilight winced as the cell door slammed in her face, the police pony in charge giving her a dirty look before walking over to his desk. The lavender mare gulped loudly and chanced a peek to her right. Tempest and Grubber were standing stock still, looking forward with blank stares. Twilight rubbed the back of her head, giggling nervously.

“So um…that didn’t go well,” said Twilight apprehensively.

“No, it did not,” said Tempest blandly, turning her head slowly. “Word of advice, Twilight: Next time you try to steal from somepony, don’t tell the pony your stealing from.”

“I’m sorry, I panicked!” Twilight cried. “I’ve never stolen anything before!”

“Well, did you have to tell them where we were hiding, too?” Grubber complained.

“Hey, quiet down over there, I’m trying to work over here!” the police pony shouted. There was a messy pile of folders littered on his desk and it looks like Twilight, Tempest, and Grubber were the latest addition to the heap. “Ugh, it’s gonna take me forever to get all this organized.”

A lightbulb suddenly went off in Twilight’s head. The lavender mare pressed herself against the bars and said to the officer, “Excuse me, sir.”

“Yeah, whaddya want?” The officer grumbled.

“I willing to make a deal with you,” Twilight offered. “I’m pretty good at catalogue and organizing things. If I handle all your paperwork, will you let me and my friends go?"

The police pony looked at Twilight, genuinely considering her offer, as he looked between his ever-growing pile and the lavender mare.

Fast forward twenty minutes and Twilight, Tempest, and Grubber were spotted leaving the police station; Twilight waving back at the delighted cop.

“Thanks for handling all my invoices, Twilight,” the officer said gratefully.

“No problem,” Twilight replied cheerfully. “Just remember the filing system I showed you, and you’ll never have to worry about organizing again.” The police pony tipped his hat and walked back inside. Twilight smiled brightly until she rounded to Tempest and Grubber, both looking very displeased. “….I’m fired, aren’t I?”

“Eeyup,” said Tempest shortly.

Meanwhile, a large red stallion was glaring at Tempest from a distance.

Princess Luna had already raised the moon for the night when Twilight and Spike returned to the castle. The baby dragon was lying flat across Twilight’s back in exhaustion, which was unfair in Twilight’s opinion since she was the one doing all the work. But the lavender unicorn kept her opinion to herself, sighing tiredly as she followed Sunset Shimmer down the hall to the sleeping quarters at a snail’s pace. Dear Luna, her hooves were tired….

Sunset stopped so suddenly Twilight nearly bumped into her flank. They were standing outside a pair of ornate double doors with a piece of paper taped on the front. The paper had Twilight’s Cutie Mark drawn crudely in crayon; Twilight didn’t ask who made the picture, suspicious of who it may be. Sunset used her horn to push the doors open and gestured Twilight inside.

If Twilight weren’t so exhausted, she would’ve been impressed by the sheer size of the chamber; it looked big enough to fit two of Twilight’s old bedrooms back-to-back. The chamber was pretty bare, only having the essentials: a queen size bed, an ornate dresser with a vanity mirror, and a polished mahogany desk tucked away in the corner. They even put in a little basket next to the bed for Spike.

“You can use this room for as long as you like,” said Sunset as they crossed the room. “The royal guard will bringing your stuff over from your house tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Sunset,” said Twilight gratefully. She walked up the bedside basket, levitated Spike off her flank, and tucked the little dragon in. “I promise I’ll pay you and Princess Luna back for this one day.”

“Princess Luna says you’ve already repaid her by bringing back Princess Celestia, so don’t sweat it,” said Sunset, waving a hoof nonchalantly. “By the way, I saw Tempest and Grubber heading to their rooms earlier. Tempest was a little grumpy…er than usual. I take it the thief gig didn’t work out?”

“I got us thrown in jail,” Twilight admitted embarrassingly.

“Oof! She’s gonna be ticked at your for a while,” said Sunset, wincing sympathetically.

“She’s not the only one,” said Twilight, groaning as she climbed into bed. “I gave Moon Dancer’s boss a heart attack, Professor Inkwell is just one step away from banning from Princess Luna’s school, and no one can find Trixie. It’s just been one failure after another.”

“So, what’re you gonna do now?” asked Sunset, concerned. “You’re not going to give up, are you?”

“What? No, of course not,” said Twilight, looking at Sunset like she had just said two plus two equaled fish. “I don’t give up that easily. I’m determined to find a suitable job so that I can support myself like a grown pony should.”

“At least you’ve still got your fighting spirit,” said Sunset, slightly relieved. “So what’re you gonna do tomorrow, Twilight?”

“I’m glad you asked, Sunset,” said Twilight

Twilight’s horn lit up and levitated several sheets of papers from her saddlebag, floating them in the air around Sunset’s head. The sunny mare’s eyes roamed over them curiously. They were all timetables with color-coded markers and tiny notes written in each square. Sunset realized as she examined the rows that just one sheet was a complete schedule of the entire coming week.

“I’ve planned it all out,” Twilight explained proudly. “Tomorrow, I’ll try out for the mail delivery service from 8:00 A.M. until noon, then I’ll try working at Joe’s Donut’s from 1:00 P.M to 5 P.M. From there, I’ll try working as a waitress at DJ Pon-3’s dance club from 6:00 P.M. to 10 P.M. I’ve left a few hours in between jobs to give myself an adjustment period. If none of those jobs work out, I have another three planned for the following day. And if those don't work out, I've made plans to repeat this pattern for the next four weeks until I find something that suits me.”

“Wow, this is incredibly detailed,” said Sunset, thoroughly impressed as she took the schedule with her horn.

“Thanks,” said Twilight, grinning. “If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s my organizational skills.”

“Well, I guess I should let you get to sleep; you apparently have a big day tomorrow,” said Sunset. She trotted to the door, paused at the threshold, and looked back at Twilight as she tucked herself in. “Good night, Twilight.”

“Good night, Sunset,” Twilight answered with a wide yawn.

Sunset used her horn to dim the lights and closed the door behind her.

The sunny mare was still looking over Twilight packed schedule, commenting on her impressively organized it was, when Princess Luna appeared around the corner. The moon goddess looked especially haggard this evening; the dark circles were prominent under her eyes and her starry mane somehow appeared duller.

“Good evening, Princess Luna,” Sunset greeted with a polite bow.

“Huh? Oh, good evening, Sunset Shimmer,” said Luna, looking momentarily stupefied before realizing her student was there.

“I take it things didn’t go so well with the mayors?” asked Sunset, looking sympathetically up at her teacher.

“I managed to convince them to put it off for another time,” Luna explained with a tired sigh and a hoof to her head, “But I fear I’m going to have to organize it. I’m not sure I can trust Timetable with something this important again.”

“You would think somepony with a name like Timetable would know how to work a schedule,” Sunset commented teasingly.

“You would think,” Luna grimaced. “But I don’t know what to do. It’s not like there’s anypony else around to replace him.”

Sunset took a momentary pause as something clicked in her brain. She looked down at Twilight’s extremely packed, but well organized plans for the next four weeks and smiled.

“Excuse me, Princess Luna, but if I might make a suggestion….,” said Sunset.

The following morning, Princess Luna stretched her wings with a contented sigh, trotting down the hall leisurely after raising the sun for the day. She was on her way to the dining hall when she spotted Twilight Sparkle standing off to the side of the corridor. The lavender mare was taking a quill to a lengthy piece of scroll with gusto, her tongue sticking out in concentration as she scribbled something down and scratched another off. Twilight’s head perked up when she heard the princess’s hoofsteps and bounced up like the floor had been electrified.

“Good morning, Princess Luna!” Twilight greet enthusiastically, cantering alongside her.

“Good morning, Twilight Sparkle,” Luna returned the greeting kindly. “I see your eager to get started today.”

“You bet I am!” Twilight answered with a giddy smile, levitating the scroll ahead of her. “I was hoping we could go over the schedule for today before finalizing anything.”

“You can tell me on the way to breakfast,” said Princess Luna delightfully. “I hear Chase Palomino is making his famous jelly tarts this morning.”

“Of course, your majesty,” said Twilight with a polite bow. “After breakfast, you’ll be having your daily meeting with Shining Armor from 9 A.M to 10 A.M., followed by – “

Author's Note:

And that's the first chapter.

I knew from the start, I wanted to find something for Twilight to do since she's not the princess's student in this universe, and she's not living in the Golden Oaks library in Ponyville. My initial thought was to make her a librarian at the Canterlot library, but I thought that would be too boring and really just a copy of the original canon.

Then I thought, with Twilight's OCD tendencies and her running gag of making schedules and checklists, she could work as Princess Luna's aide, which also gives reason to include the princesses more in the story.

So tell me what you think.

Next time: Sunset Shimmer is invited to the biggest social event of the year, but she only has one extra ticket. Everypony wants to go and you can bet they'll do whatever it takes to get it.