• Published 16th Dec 2020
  • 391 Views, 14 Comments

24k Lush - The Red Parade

Sweetie Belle believes in magic. She hopes that'll be enough.

  • ...


History is rife with evidence that magic seems to go beyond its common definition. Alicorns themselves serve as a trinity of the three forces at play within each pony, harnessing an earth pony’s strength, a pegasus’s flight, and a unicorn’s spellcasting. With this in mind, it becomes clear that there is a kind of magic in all of us. Even unicorns who have lost their horns or possess birth defects have claimed to feel a moving force beneath their skin, begging to be released.

Earth ponies may not be able to describe what runs through their bodies, but there is undeniably something there. Something that helps them to pull wagons and find the perfect spot to buck a tree, something that tells them the best place to plant or the best time to harvest. Even those who aren’t farmers seem to possess some strange ability along these lines.

The same can be said for pegasi. I myself have realized that I have an intricate understanding of the way the wind moves, and how to best position myself for it to carry me. Grounded pegasi as well have claimed that the sky speaks to them, that it calls out to them, even if they can not rise to meet it. My colleagues call these feelings a number of things, such as instinct, but to me, these feelings are magic.

The distant sound of laughter pulled Sweetie from her musings. Her ear twitched in annoyance as she glanced up, watching as a group of young students trotted out of a classroom.

Sweetie rolled her eyes, flipping another page in her book. But it was no use, as the magic was lost and the words no longer encapsulated her. She groaned in defeat, flipping the book shut and slumping backwards on the bench.

Her eyes drifted up to the arched ceiling of the School of Friendship, and a part of her wondered how her life could have been different if this very school existed when she was a foal.

A foal. The thought put a smile on her face. She still remembered when she would wake up sweaty and crying from a nightmare of being a blank flank forever. But those days were gone now. The fact that she was alone was proof enough.

Her smile wavered a bit as a creeping length of loneliness found its way into her heart. It wasn’t like she could blame her friends. They were destined for great things, after all. But sometimes Sweetie wished she knew what she was destined for.

She never expected for Scootaloo to hang around. The mare was always bouncing off the walls, after all, so it didn’t surprise anyone when she signed up as a roadie for the Wonderbolts tour. Sweetie figured she’d still have Apple Bloom at least, but instead she was dismayed to learn that her friend wanted to travel and help out the members of her clan all over Equestria.

Which left her alone. Spending time with Twilight and her sister’s friends instead of her own.

“Sweetie Belle!”

The door to her right opened, and a booming, dramatic voice ripped out her name.

“What a pleasure it is to see you! Tell me, what brings you to see the Great and Powerful Professor Trixie?”

Sweetie smiled, quickly gathering her things and leaping to her hooves. The two shared a quick embrace before Sweetie replied. “Hi Trixie! I was just hoping to talk with you if that’s okay?’

Trixie’s grin grew wider as she tipped the brim of her magician’s cap at her. “Why of course! The Great and Powerful Trixie always has time for you!” Her horn glowed a faint blue and the door opened fully. Trixie turned on her hoof and trotted inside the classroom, Sweetie following behind.

“Please, make yourself at home,” Trixie declared, throwing out a foreleg and gesturing to the wide away of empty seats and desks in front of her. “Are you well? How has your stage magic and sleight of hoof been developing?”

Sweetie grinned, pulling a playing card from her saddlebag. She fired a quick spell at the base of the card and it flew upwards. As it reached the apex of its arc she let loose another spell, and the card vanished from view, only for Sweetie to reach behind her own ear and pull it out. “Ta-da!”

“Most impressive!” praised Trixie. “Truly, one day you may be as powerful as Trixie herself.”

“Thanks!” Sweetie replied, sticking the card back into her bag. “You’re not busy right now, are you?”

“There are indeed many ponies waiting to see the Great and Powerful Trixie,” Trixie answered, levitating a mug full of coffee in her magic. She quickly winked at Sweetie before continuing. “But don’t worry. My office hours don’t start for another twenty minutes.”

Sweetie nodded, setting her bag on the floor. “This shouldn’t take that long. How have you been, Trixie?”

“Trixie has been most wonderful!” Trixie declared, kicking her rear legs up on the desk. Her smile shimmered for a second as she reached out to touch a framed photograph on her desk. “Headmare Starlight… not so much.”

“Oh. Is everything alright?” Sweetie asked, leaning in.

Trixie pushed the photo gently to the right. “Stress, I suppose. It gets to all of us.” With a sigh, she waved her hoof dismissively. “Bah, that’s not why you’re here. Tell me, how can Trixie help you today.”

Sweetie levitated her sketchbook from her bag, flipping it open and setting it in front of Trixie. “Well, Twilight put me in charge of organizing the Friendship Festival in Ponyville this year. I was thinking about Rainbow’s Sonic Rainboom being able to unite Twilight and her friends originally, and I was thinking to base the theme off of that!”

Trixie accepted the sketchbook and began flipping through the pages, rubbing her chin and nodding. “Trixie thinks that the idea has merit. Would you like Trixie to assist with anything? Perform a magic show? Supervise pyrotechnics?”

“Sorry, Trixie, but after last year, Fizzlepop said that she wouldn’t come if she wasn’t the one in charge of the firework display.”

The two mares giggled at the memory.

“But there’s a little bit more,” Sweetie said. “Check the last page.”

Trixie complied, and the mare’s eyes went wide.

“See, I was wondering what we could do to replicate the Rainboom itself,” Sweetie explained. “I brought it up with Twilight, and she mentioned some spell called--”

“The 24k Lush,” Trixie finished.

Sweetie perked up. “You know it? Twilight said it was associated with the Magician’s Guild, so I thought maybe you would have known.”

Trixie nodded, exhaling slowly as she set down the notepad. “Of course. The 24k Lush was… a legendary tale, Sweetie. From long before the three tribes were united.” Trixie stood up, walking over to the blackboard. “The story goes that there was a solar eclipse that overtook the land. The founding ponies of the Magician’s Guild feared that the sun would never return, so they hatched a plan to make a… replacement, of sorts.

“They cast a beam of light so bright and powerful it was seen all over Equestria. A pegasus general was awakened by it and was believed to have said it must have been the product of twenty four thousand drunkards, giving it its name.”

Trixie frowned, running her hoof against the side of her desk. “I’ve only heard some stories myself from older magicians. Nopony’s really thought to try and replicate it before, and even then, we don’t know how it was originally done.”

Sweetie perked up. “Well, we have some of the smartest ponies in Equestria around now! Starlight, Twilight, Sunburst, Starswirl… even Celestia and Luna! Maybe one of them could know?”

Trixie trotted back to the desk, flipping through Sweetie’s notebook again. “Perhaps… From what I’ve heard, it will take a lot of magic. Twenty four thousand ponies may have been an overestimate, but for something this scale…”

“But you’re saying it might be possible!” Sweetie eagerly levitated a pencil in her magic, scribbling notes and sketches into her book. “This is great! It’d fit in with the theme perfectly. A giant signal across the sky for everypony to see. Think of all the ponies it’d inspire! Oh, this is great, Trixie!”

Trixie chuckled, fetching her own paper and quill. “Trixie does agree. The 24k Lush spell is one that Trixie has heard of in passing, but never even thought about casting!”

Sweetie nodded, grinning widely. “I know! Of course there’s still a lot to figure out, but I think this is just the thing I was looking for to tie this whole thing together!”

Trixie clapped her hooves together, still scribbling furiously. “Trixie has not been this excited about anything in a long time! But you’re right, there is a lot to figure out. In a way though, Trixie thinks that casting this spell is very similar to stage magic.”

“How so?”

“Well, the spell is like an illusion. It may be as bright as the sun but it certainly won’t burn like one. Starlight would definitely know more! Trixie will ask her...” The magician’s ears dropped and her ears began to fold. “...when Starlight has time.”

“Are… are you sure everything is okay?” Sweetie asked, the foalish glee slipping from her face.

“Trixie… Hm. I am worried about Starlight,” Trixie answered. “She has been working herself pretty hard lately. Nowadays it seems that she has more bad days than good ones, and it frustrates me that there isn’t much I can do.”

Sweetie reached out and gently placed her hoof over Trixie’s. “I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, “but I know you two can get through it. Is there anything you need from me?”

Trixie chuckled softly. “Many thanks, but it isn’t something you need to concern yourself with.” She glanced up at the clock and snatched her sheet of paper, tacking it to her corkboard. “Trixie will ask Starlight when she is free. Unfortunately, I must prepare for office hours soon. Will you be fine without me?”

Sweetie nodded, packing her things. “I think so! Thanks a ton, Trixie!”

Trixie responded with a salute, and Sweetie Belle headed for a door.

“But the Great and Powerful Trixie still gets to do a magic show, right?” Trixie called after her.

Sweetie laughed. “Of course, Trixie. Of course.”

“Then that is all Trixie could ask for. Good luck!”

As Sweetie ran down the hall, she paused. A group of three students passed her by, laughing and making jokes with each other. Her ears drooped down and her pace slowed down, the loneliness creeping back into her heart.

The foals laughed again, but it fell upon deaf ears.