• Published 16th Dec 2020
  • 395 Views, 15 Comments

24k Lush - The Red Parade

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

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I’ve come to find that there are many definitions of the concept of magic. Some consider the spells unicorns cast to be magic, while others claim that it is the energy itself that lets them spellcast. I find both definitions to be intriguing.

Can it be true that magic is both? Surely, each spell must feed on something in order to come to fruition. But yet it wouldn’t seem out of scope to call the discharge itself magic as well. By expanding our conception of what is magic, I believe that we can open up whole new avenues of discovery. No matter how frustrating these avenues might be to navigate, I think that each path is worth exploring.

“I don’t know.” Starlight frowned, tapping her front hooves together before resting her chin on them. She squinted at the parchment below her as if it had offended her. “It’d take a lot of work.”

“Luckily for you, Trixie is no stranger to work,” Trixie replied, placing a hoof on Starlight’s shoulder.

Starlight glared at Trixie before brushing it off, going back to the paper. “Sweetie, I think this idea definitely has merit, but it’ll take a lot to pull off. By my calculations we’re going to need a small army of unicorns to generate anything even close to being powerful enough.”

“I know,” Sweetie replied, “But I think that we can get that many unicorns! Twilight has a lot of connections who I’m sure would be happy to help, and she was saying that we might even be able to get Luna and Celestia to pitch in!”

Starlight sighed again, squinting harder at the paper.

“Come on, Starlight,” Trixie urged, poking at her side. “It’ll be fun!”

“It could also be a logistical nightmare,” Starlight proclaimed, setting the paper down on the table. “I mean, I can’t even imagine trying to get that many unicorns to tune in to the same radial frequency, much less maintain the same shade of color that you want.”

Sweetie wavered, but Trixie gave her an encouraging nod from Starlight’s side. “Well, if there’s anypony who can pull it off, I’m sure it’s you guys.”

“Besides, we have Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Solving Logistical Nightmares,” Trixie chimed in. “In fact, she’s probably been dreaming of some problem like this, waiting to be solved!”

Starlight sighed again, squeezing her eye shut and raising a hoof to the bridge of her nose. “I just don’t know, Sweetie. There are so many variables to account for…” Without looking, Starlight pulled one of her desk drawers open in her magic and levitated a small pill bottle into her hoof. She popped the cap and placed a tablet of aspirin in her mouth, swallowing it quickly.

“Oh, come on Starlight!” Trixie said, leaning her back against the desk.

Starlight flinched as Trixie raised her voice, but the magician didn’t notice.

“Where’s your sense of adventure? This’ll be fun! And it could even be, dare I say, romantic?” Trixie swept her foreleg backwards in a grand gesture, but her hoof made contact with a stack of binders. They came crashing to the floor, but Starlight quickly caught them in her magic before they hit the ground.

“Cut it out!” Starlight hissed at Trixie, her eyes suddenly burning with a hazy rage. “Do you always have to make a mess out of everything?”

Trixie frowned before crossing her forelegs. “Well if it is the only way I can get your attention, then yes!”

“What in Equestria are you on about?!” Starlight’s voice climbed an octave and Sweetie shrunk backwards in her seat, suddenly becoming very interested in the office carpet.

“This is the first time you’ve even addressed me in this conversation!” Trixie replied, matching Starlight in tone.

“Maybe it’s because I have nothing to say to you!”

“Oh, is that where we are now? Well, the Great and Powerful Trixie is seriously reconsidering where we stand in this relationship!”

Starlight growled, and Sweetie could practically see veins popping out of her head. “Sweetie,” she said without breaking eye contact with Trixie. “Why don’t you come back later.”

Sensing that it wasn’t a suggestion, Sweetie hastily shoved her things into her saddlebag and bolted for the office door. She kicked it shut behind her, flinching as the noise echoed down the empty halls.

Sweetie sighed, slumping down on her haunches with her back pressed against the door. She flinched as she heard yelling from the other side, words clashing like swords and colliding with the force of a thousand suns.

Her ear twitched as Trixie’s voice carried over from the other side of the door. “Why are you so against this, Starlight?”

“Because it’s impossible!” Starlight shouted back. “It isn’t going to happen!”

Sweetie went numb at that. She shakily opened her sketchbook, putting a hoof down on the pages. Scribbled notes and sketches stared back at her: eager plans and optimistic smiley faces, mixed in with color charts and frequency notes. Hopes for the future.

With a growl, Sweetie tossed the book down the hall as far as she could. “Useless,” she muttered. “This isn’t happening. Stupid of me to even think that I could have pulled this off.”

She leaned her head back, staring up at the foam ceiling tiles. If she pretended hard enough, she could see Apple Bloom and Scootaloo staring back at her. She wondered if their faces were looking on in sadness or disappointment.


Starlight’s shout shattered the image, and the shapes of her friends quickly became nothing more than random dots decorating the tile.

Her eyes blurred and her breath became shaky. A wave of feeling flushed through her, a flash flood of humiliation, defeat, nostalgia, and regret. She cried and wished that Apple Bloom would embrace her in a hug, or Scootaloo would take her hoof and squeeze it.

But it wouldn’t happen, because they weren’t there. Not even if she believed…

Sweetie froze when she felt a hoof on her shoulder. She jerked her head up to see a hazy orange and red figure before her, face obscured by a veil of tears.

“Sweetie Belle? What’s wrong?”