• Published 1st Nov 2012
  • 33,369 Views, 1,622 Comments

The Equestrian Wind Mage Classic: Season 1 - LordSiravant



After a teleportation spell goes wrong, Vaati finds himself in Equestria. The world's most powerful mage is about to learn about the world's most powerful magic: Friendship.

  • ...
47
 1,622
 33,369

Episode 2: Boast Busters

Episode Two: Boast Busters

It was a delightfully sunny day in Ponyville. The sunlight filtered through the window of the Books and Branches Library, offering an interesting view of the events taking place within. Spike was leaning forward and staring at Twilight as she prepared a spell. Vaati sat in a nearby chair, reading a book about unicorn magic.

“C’mon, Twilight! You can do it!” Spike encouraged Twilight.

“Okay, here goes!” Twilight replied, her horn glowing.

Spike grinned and closed his eyes as a magical aura shimmered above his upper lip. Suddenly, a mustache appeared on his face, Spike crying out in glee as he noted the success of their experiment. “Ha ha, you did it, Twilight!” he exclaimed, turning around and checking off a list. “Growing magic. That’s number twenty-five! Twenty-five magic tricks and counting!”

Twilight smiled and blushed at the compliment. Vaati, however, was far from impressed. The Wind Mage yawned audibly in a bored fashion and flipped another page. Twilight didn’t pay any attention to him, but Spike quickly caught on to Vaati’s indifference. However, he refrained from calling him out, mostly due to the fact that the last time he had angered the sorcerer, when he had accidentally set Vaati’s cape on fire in the midst of sending a letter, he could have sworn Vaati’s eyes had turned demonic for a second as he yelled at him.

Spike turned to a nearby mirror and rubbed his mustache. “And I think this is the best trick so far! Hellooo, Rarity! Huh, what’s that? Aw, it’s nothing but my awesome mustache!”

Vaati snorted derisively, looking up from his book to sneer at the baby dragon. “Please. You’re still going on about wooing that prissy little fashionista? I hardly believe a dragon has any chance of winning the favor of a member of a separate species entirely.”

Spike glared at him, his cheeks blushing as he realized Vaati had figured out his (admittedly poorly-kept) secret crush on Rarity. “What’s that supposed to mean, huh?” he snapped.

“I’m sorry, I forgot big words hurt your brain. I mean, in what universe do you think a dragon and a pony are compatible? It’s like pairing a bird with a fish. Imagine the offspring.”

Spike’s face turned beet-red from embarrassment as he shook his fists. “Alright, you two,” Twilight interrupted. “Settle down. Spike, I know you look handsome in that mustache and all, but it’s just for practice and it’s gotta go.”

Spike slapped his hands over his mouth and yelped, “W-wait!”

But Spike’s efforts to shield himself ended in failure as the mustache vanished from his face. Seeing this, Spike slumped his shoulders in defeat. “Aw, rats.”

Twilight giggled at Spike’s antics, but Vaati’s laughter was more mocking. Hoping to prevent another confrontation between the two hot-headed purple boys, Twilight spoke up, “Spike, what’s say you and me take a walk around Ponyville and see what everypony’s up to?”

Spike glared at Vaati before sighing. “Oh, all right.”

Twilight looked up at the sorcerer, who had returned to his book. “Will you be alright?”

Vaati waved a hand dismissively in her direction. “Off with you. I’m not a child, I can handle being alone for a while.”

Twilight shook her head before walking out the door with Spike in tow, shutting it behind them. Satisfied he was alone, Vaati leaned back in the chair and continued reading Advanced Unicorn Magic. Some of the spells were familiar to him, but others were completely foreign. One reason why he had picked up this book in the first place was for the purpose of expanding his knowledge of spells. Who knew when they could be useful in the future?

Snapping back to reality, Vaati shook his head. No need to be thinking that, now. He was retired, after all. Suddenly he heard a loud, boastful female voice echoing from outside. “Come one, come all! Come and witness the amazing magic of the Great and Powerful Trixie!”

Vaati cocked an eyebrow in half-interest before jumping in surprise as fireworks exploded not far from the library. “Alright, now I have to see this,” Vaati muttered to himself, closing the book and walking out the door.

XXXXXX

“Twenty-five tricks, Twilight!” Spike exclaimed enthusiastically as he and Twilight walked through the streets of Ponyville. “Twenty-five magic tricks and counting!”

Twilight couldn’t help but smile. “I thought unicorns were only supposed to have a little magic that matches their special talent,” Spike said.

“True,” Twilight replied, “for ponies whose special talent is cooking, singing, or math. But what if your special talent is magic?”

“Like you, Twilight! And you know a ton of magic!”

Twilight laughed nervously. “Oh, Spike, stop. I’m sure there’re just as many unicorns right here in Ponyville that know just as much magic as me.”

“Nah. I don’t think there’s another unicorn in all of Equestria with your kind of ability.”

“GANGWAY! LOOK OUT!” a dopey voice suddenly cried from the side.

Twilight and Spike turned just in time for two young ponies to run by, accidentally slamming into Spike and dragging him with them.

“Ah! Snips! Snails!” Spike wheezed. “What’s going on?!”

The two ponies suddenly stopped, sending Spike flying a short distance away and knocking him to the ground. “Oh, haven’t you heard?” Snails, the taller, lanky yellow pony with green hair, said. “There’s a new unicorn in town!”

The shorter faded-turquoise pony with orange hair, Snips, added excitedly, “Yeah, yeah! They say she’s got more magical power than any unicorn ever!”

“Really?” Twilight asked before hanging her head in disappointment.

Spike walked up, rubbing his sore head. “Aw, no way. That honor goes to Twilight here!”

Twilight blushed and smiled again. “Where is this unicorn?” she asked.

“She’s in the town square,” Snails answered. “Come on!”

The three ponies and dragon high-tailed it over to the town square, where a crowd had gathered around a decorated wagon of some kind. Suddenly a proud, arrogant female voice boomed, “Come one, come all! Come and witness the amazing magic of the Great and Powerful Trixie!”

As the voice spoke, the wagon opened up into an elaborate stage. Suddenly, the stage was engulfed in a puff of smoke. When it cleared, a blue unicorn wearing a sorcerer’s hat and cape stood proudly on the stage, smirking at the audience. Most of the crowd gasped in amazement, save for the Mane Six and Spike, who just watched with confused looks on their faces. “Watch in awe,” the pony declared, “as the Great and Powerful Trixie performs the greatest feats of magic ever witnessed by pony eyes!”

Trixie stood on her hind legs as fireworks exploded around the stage, which miraculously didn’t catch on fire. Rarity narrowed her eyes. “My my my, what boasting!” she commented.

“Yeah,” Spike added as he stood next to her. “Nopony’s as magical as Twi…” Spike suddenly stopped, realizing just who he was talking to. “Twi…oh, uh…h-hey, Rarity…uh…mustache!”

Spike sped off while Rarity looked on in confusion. “There’s nothing wrong with being talented, is there?” Twilight asked.

“Nuthin’ at all,” Applejack responded. “’Cept when you’re showin’ it off like a school filly with fancy new ribbons.”

“Just because one has the ability to perform lots of magic does not make one better than the rest of us,” Rarity added, causing Twilight to look away in shame.

“Especially when you got me around bein’ better than the rest of us!” Rainbow Dash snootily replied.

Applejack was about to confront Rainbow, but noticed someone else had beat her to it. “Ahem,” a familiar voice said from behind Rainbow.

The Pegasus turned around and looked up to see Vaati the Wind Mage looming over her, his eyes glaring nastily at her. Vaati’s posture caused his face to be shaded, allowing Rainbow to notice that his red eyes were glowing. “I would refrain from making boasts you can’t uphold if I were you. I’d hate to have to make an example out of you.”

Rainbow couldn’t stop herself from shivering under Vaati’s rather sinister gaze. “Uh…yeah, um…m-magic, shmagic! Boo!”

Trixie had caught on to their conversation, it seemed. “Well well well,” she said haughtily. “It seems we have some neeiggh-sayers in the audience!”

Vaati rolled his eyes. “Oh great. More horse puns.”

“Who could be so bold as to challenge the magical ability of the Great and Powerful Trixie? Do they not know they are in the presence of the most magical unicorn in all of Equestria?!”

Rarity scoffed before turning to Twilight. “Just who does she think she is?”

“Yeah!” Spike interrupted. “Since we all know Twilight is the—“

“Spike, shh!” Twilight whispered, pushing Spike aside.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“Did you see the way they reacted to Trixie?” Twilight whispered. “I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a show-off.”

They both turned to see Trixie activating more of her fireworks with glee. Rainbow, fed up with this showboating pony, flitted up and glared at Trixie eye-to-eye. “So, Great and Powerful Trixie…what makes you think you’re so awesome anyway?”

Trixie sneered. “Why, only the Great and Powerful Trixie has magic strong enough to defeat the dreaded Ursa Major!”

More fireworks lit up and depicted a scene reminiscent of neon signs of a blue bear dotted with stars. Several ponies in the audience gasped in shock. “When all hope was lost, the ponies of Hoofington had no one to turn to,” Trixie boasted. “But the Great and Powerful Trixie stepped in, and with her awesome magical abilities, vanquished the Ursa Major and sent it back to its cave deep within the Everfree Forest!”

More ponies gasped in shock and amazement. Trixie’s smug smile didn’t last for long, though. She suddenly heard a chuckle escape the strange bipedal creature’s mouth. The chuckle grew in volume and intensity until Vaati threw his head back and cackled almost insanely. It had to be one of the scariest laughs anypony had ever heard. Trixie fumed. “And just what are you laughing at, you hairless ape?” she demanded.

Vaati continued laughing a few seconds longer before stopping. “You little fool. You poor, misguided, insipid little fool. Do you really expect us to believe that your parlor tricks are enough to defeat something as powerful as an Ursa Major? What kind of idiots do you take us for? You, Trixie, have shown me absolutely nothing that proves you deserve the title of Great and Powerful, and frankly, I don’t think you can.”

Trixie gritted her teeth. “Is that so? Well then, Ponyvillians, I hereby challenge you: anything you can do, I can do better!”

The magician looked over the audience. “Any takers? Anyone? Or is Trixie destined to be the greatest equine who has ever lived?!”

Trixie stood on her hind legs as more fireworks exploded behind her. Spike grabbed hold of Twilight’s legs and begged, “Ple-e-ease! She’s unbearable! You just gotta show her, Twilight! You just gotta!”

“There’s no way I’m going to use my magic now, Spike,” Twilight said. “Especially since—“

“Alright, that’s it!” Applejack suddenly cried angrily. “Ah can’t stand fer no more-a this!”

The cowpony stepped onto the stage, somehow bringing a length of rope out of nowhere and tying one end to her tail. Trixie looked on, unimpressed. “Can yer fancy magic do this?” Applejack said as she began performing some rather impressive lasso tricks.

The crowd oohed in amazement as Applejack suddenly threw the loop of the rope towards a nearby apple tree, plucked one of the fruits off the branches, and threw it in her mouth, all with the lasso. The crowd went wild. Applejack swallowed and clicked her hoof against the ground. “Ha! Top that, missy!”

Trixie smirked. “Oh, ye of little talent…” Her horn began to glow as her hat lifted from her head. “Watch and be amazed at the magic of Trixie!”

Suddenly one end of Applejack’s rope lifted up and started waving in front of Applejack like a serpent, mesmerizing the farm pony. While she was distracted, the other end stretched over to the apple tree and pulled another apple from its branches. Suddenly, before Applejack could blink, the rope wrapped itself around her legs, tied them together, and threw her on her back, with the other end stuffing the apple in her mouth. The crowd laughed as Applejack awkwardly left the stage. Putting the hat back on her head, Trixie said, “Once again, the magic of Trixie prevails!”

Rainbow then got in her face. “There’s no need to be showing off like that!” she snapped.

“Oh?”

“That’s my job!”

Rainbow then sped off, spinning around a nearby windmill to gain momentum before catapulting into the air, penetrating a row of clouds before stopping in front of the sun for a moment. Then she sped back down through the holes she had made in the clouds, gathering moisture around her body as she reached the windmill and spun on its blades some more before catapulting back onto the stage. She suddenly came to a screeching halt as a rainbow appeared above her. “They don’t call me Rainbow and Dash for nuthin’!” she boasted, the audience cheering for her.

Trixie sneered. “When Trixie is through, the only thing they’ll call you is loser.”

A beam of magic shot out of Trixie’s horn and hit the rainbow above Dash, causing it to suddenly spin rapidly around her, trapping her in a colorful tornado that began spinning through the air as Rainbow cried out in surprise. Finally the rainbow came to rest on the ground and stopped spinning, leaving the cyan Pegasus faceplanted in the ground, her eyes spinning dizzily. “Ugh…I think I’m…gonna be sick…”

“It seems anypony with a ‘dash’ of good sense would think twice before tussling with the great Trixie!”

Suddenly a small storm cloud appeared behind Rainbow and struck her in the flank with a lightning bolt, causing her to cry out in shock and pain. The gathered ponies laughed in amusement. Vaati narrowed his eyes at the scene and glared at the audience. “So, you all think this is funny, do you?” he snapped before whirling around to face Trixie. “You’re boastful and arrogant, and I can put up with that, to a point. But that there was going way too far. Inflicting physical pain against your victims when their backs are turned? You’re nothing but a Great and Powerful coward!”

The crowd went perfectly silent. Recovering from her shock, Trixie matched Vaati’s glare. “Is that so? Care to put your magic where your mouth is, ape?”

Vaati’s lips curved upward into a malevolent smirk. “Are you challenging me, little girl?” he asked, his voice a dangerous calm.

Vaati’s back was to the crowd, leaving only Trixie able to see the maniacal expression on the mage’s face. Though she would never admit it, something about those eyes told her there was a lot more to this creature than met the eye. But her pride would not allow her to back down from this challenge. Not in front of a crowd that adored her. She discreetly swallowed and put on her confident sneer. “Don’t feel up to it? You could always just turn around and walk away.”

“Not without teaching you a little lesson about biting off more than you can chew first,” Vaati responded. “If you are still bold enough to challenge me to a magical duel, then meet me at sundown in the Everfree Forest. Follow the winged eye.”

“The winged what?” Trixie asked before noticing Vaati’s Eye Sentry flitting over and perching on the mage’s shoulder.

“He’ll lead you to me,” Vaati explained, glancing towards it.

“Then we have an agreement,” Trixie said. “Anypony wanting to watch is more than welcome—“

“No.”

Trixie blinked at the still-glaring sorcerer. “You will come alone,” Vaati continued before speaking to the crowd. “No one shall seek out this fight for their petty entertainment. What you see will scar you for life. That is, if you are lucky enough to not get caught in the crossfire.”

The gathering of ponies muttered to each other as the Mane Six and Spike glanced worriedly at one another. “I’ll be waiting, Trixie,” Vaati intoned as the wind began whipping around him, making him appear even more intimidating. “Pray that your gods show you mercy…because I will not.”

With a final, bone-chilling laugh, Vaati disappeared inside a small tornado. Once the swirling winds dissipated, Vaati was nowhere to be found. Trixie stared at the spot where the sorcerer once stood for a moment before scoffing haughtily. “Well, it seems my afternoon performance has been cancelled. But don’t worry, tomorrow’s performance will be twice as grand!”

Twilight and her friends weren’t so sure.

XXXXXX

Twilight and Spike eventually returned to the library to see Vaati right back where he had been earlier that morning, casually reading the book about unicorn magic as if the debacle with Trixie had never happened. “Well, you made one hay of a scene out there,” Twilight commented.

“I’ve been known to put on a bit of a show from time to time,” Vaati dully replied.

Twilight sighed in relief. “A show? Good, then you weren’t being serious about challenging Trixie to a duel in the Everfree Forest.”

“Yes I was.”

Twilight’s eyes widened in shock. “W-what?” she stuttered. “You’re actually going through with it?”

“She challenged me. It’s only logical that I respond in kind. Besides, she won’t be difficult for me to handle, I can assure you of that.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about!” Twilight groused. “The fact you’re willing to actually fight someone for the sake of preserving your own masculinity is ridiculous!”

“Of course a woman would say that.”

Vaati looked up from his book and flashed her a smug smile as she sputtered in surprise at Vaati’s utter lack of tact. Spike couldn’t stop himself from giggling at Twilight’s reaction. “You…you…gnn…rrr!” Twilight was so frustrated that it took her several seconds to form coherent words. “You’re unbelievable! I can’t believe you’re doing this!”

Vaati’s face lost the smirk and was replaced by a more serious look. “Are you that dead-set against me doing this?”

“It’s stupid!”

“Well, if you want to stop it, then why don’t you go out there and deal with her yourself?”

Spike grinned as he realized Vaati wanted her to confront Trixie too. Maybe he could convince her. “I already told Spike, no!” Twilight responded.

“And why not?”

“Because I don’t want to be seen as a braggart! You saw how my friends reacted to her! What if they thought I was a show-off?”
That’s what you’re worried about?” Vaati asked, raising an eyebrow. “Silly girl, it’s not the same thing.”

“Yes it is! I’m not doing it, and that’s final!”

Vaati suddenly roughly closed the book and stood up abruptly, startling Twilight. “So that’s how it’s going to be? If you won’t stand up for your friends, then you don’t deserve to have them!”

Twilight was now really angry. “How would you know?! You’ve never had any!”

Her eyes widened in horror as she realized what she had just said. Spike was speechless. Vaati just stared at her with a shocked look on his face that was slowly darkening in anger. Twilight’s eyes started to well up with tears as the severity of the situation got to her. “I-I’m sorry,” she uttered before galloping out the door, crying.

“W-wait!” Spike yelled. “Twilight, wait!”

The little dragon rushed after the pony, leaving Vaati alone in the library. Vaati started shaking profusely in fury as he growled, “How dare she…”

Why did this affect him so? She was right, after all. Throughout his life, Vaati never got close enough to anyone to actually have friends. And that was BEFORE he became the dreaded Sorcerer of Winds. And for centuries, he had preferred it that way.

Or had he?

Wasn’t the whole reason he was who he was today because of how alone he was? Living the first eight years of his life in that Goddessforsaken orphanage as a target for other kids had done terrible things to his self-esteem. Even when he was accepted into the tutelage of Ezlo, the sage never treated him as anything more than a servant.

Then Ezlo had created that cap. That cap that started him on his descent into dark legends. Why had he taken it? To prove he was good enough to be recognized as something more than a pale-skinned freak who needed to be beaten into submission. Perhaps, if he were a great and powerful being, people would love him, respect him, and…

…want to be his friend.

Vaati’s eyes narrowed in menace. This was all her fault. That stupid, prideful, arrogant little snot who thought she was hot stuff just because of her talent in parlor tricks. She was the one who started all of this. Vaati glanced out the window to see that the sun was beginning to lower over the horizon. He glanced over at the dozing Sentry and snapped his fingers, awaking it from its nap. “Find Trixie. Bring her to me.”

And with that, Vaati disappeared, teleporting into an area of the Everfree Forest he had chosen for their arena: a large clearing a short distance away from a cave. As he awaited his opponent, his mind flooded with thoughts about how much he was going to make her regret showing her face in Ponyville.

XXXXXX

Spike eventually found Twilight huddled in an alley where nopony could see her, crying her eyes out. As he ran towards her, somepony else reached her before he could.

“Whoa, Twilight! What’s wrong?” Rainbow Dash asked, concerned.

Twilight didn’t answer her, instead burying her face in her hooves as she sobbed some more. “She and Vaati got into a fight,” Spike explained as he reached them. “You okay, Twi?”

“What!” Rainbow yelled. “What’d that jerk do? I swear, if he—“

“Whoa, calm down, Rainbow Dash!” Spike ushered. “Vaati just tried to convince her to go and show Trixie what real magic is. But when she wouldn’t budge, they both kinda snapped at each other and said stuff they didn’t mean…at least, I hope they didn’t mean it.”

Rainbow looked down at Twilight, who was still sobbing. “Why don’t you wanna show off your magic to Trixie?” she asked softly, much more softly than one might think capable of her considering her tough-girl attitude. “You’re so much better than she is.”

Twilight lifted her face from her hooves and stared at Rainbow with red, puffy eyes. “I-I’m not better than anypony! I saw how you all hated Trixie’s showing off! I don’t want you to hate me!”

Rainbow put a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “That’s what this is all about?” she asked. “You’re afraid to show off who you really are based on how we judged someone else? Trixie’s just a loudmouth! We like you for who you are, Twilight. Never doubt that.”

Twilight managed to smile through her tears. “Thanks, Dash,” she said. “You’re a good friend.”

“Hey, I look out for my pals!” Rainbow said proudly. “I gotta if I’m gonna be their most awesome friend!”

Twilight couldn’t help but giggle as she hugged Rainbow tightly. Rainbow returned her embrace, smiling as Spike joined in as well. It was then that Spike noticed the sun was starting to go down. “Uh, guys?” he said. “I know our little moment is great, but Vaati’s still pretty mad. And he gets real scary when he’s mad. And judging by where the sun is, that fight between him and Trixie’s gonna start in a few minutes!”

“Ah, I probably wouldn’t worry,” Rainbow laughed. “She’ll probably turn tail and run first chance she gets!”

“Do you really think Vaati’s gonna give her that chance?” Spike asked rhetorically. “I saw that crazy look in his eye.”

Twilight broke down sobbing again. “It’s all my fault!” she wailed. “If I’d just stood up for you guys before, none of this would’ve happened! I don’t want anypony to get hurt because of my decisions!”

Twilight sucked in her breath and wiped away her tears, a determined look crossing her face. “We gotta stop that fight.”

“I’ll get the others!” Rainbow started.

“No!” Twilight shouted. “The more there are, the harder this’ll be! We gotta hurry!”

“But Twilight,” Spike questioned. “How are we gonna find them?”

Twilight’s horn started to glow. “I’ll lock onto Vaati’s power signature and lead us to him. Let’s go!”

XXXXXX

Trixie continued following the strange, admittedly rather creepy winged eyeball as it led her further into the forest. Finally she entered a wide clearing with a large cave situated off to the side. Standing there at the mouth of the cave, his arms folded and his lips curved up into a menacing smirk, was Vaati. “You actually came,” Vaati sneered. “I was expecting you to flee the minute no one was looking.”

Trixie seethed. “The Great and Powerful Trixie has heard enough of your belittlement! Now I will show you why I’m great and powerful!”

Oh please.”

Trixie’s blood immediately ran cold at how demonic Vaati’s voice suddenly sounded. She instinctively took a step back in fear as the wind began whipping around Vaati while his body was covered in dark energy. His satanic laughter echoed through the trees as his body grew taller. Finally the dark energy dissipated from Vaati’s body, but the wind still whirled around him. Trixie gasped.

Vaati was now much taller than before. His hair was now even longer and moved with the wind. A golden headdress with two long horns was situated on his head. His pupil-less eyes now shined blood-red. He was clothed in robes of darkness, the folds underneath his hands glowing with fire. A massive eye on his stomach stared unblinkingly at Trixie as Vaati laughed again. “What’s the matter, ‘Great and Powerful’ Trixie? You expected a man, but instead found a god?!”

Before a now-terrified Trixie could step further back, a wall of fire appeared behind her, trapping her with this insane monster. Trixie started hyperventilating as she realized just how screwed she was. The pony magician turned back to face the approaching Vaati Reborn, and did the one thing she had hoped never to do; she curled herself up on the ground and began crying in terror. “P-please, d-d-don’t kill me,” she whimpered desperately. “I-I’ll do anything you want! Please, just let me go!”

Vaati Reborn loomed over her, grinning sadistically. “Not so great and powerful now, are you, little girl?” he said, glaring down at the terrified pony. “You talked big, but when the real challenge comes along, you huddle like a little coward and beg for your life. You worthless, pathetic little cretin!”

Trixie just put her hooves over her head and shook in terror as tears streamed down her face. Vaati tore right into her with his words. “Your magic is hardly impressive. So, to make yourself look bigger, you make up stories and embarrass those who have shown you what talent really is. You’re not Great or Powerful. You’re not even a magician! You know what you are?”

Vaati leaned down close to Trixie’s ear. “You’re nothing,” he whispered.

Trixie started sobbing louder as Vaati stood upright. “You’ve already begged for your life. But I want to hear something else come out of your mouth.”

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Trixie wailed.

“Not that, you blubbering idiot!” Vaati snarled. “I want you to admit how worthless you are! I want to hear the words come out of your mouth! SAY IT!”

“Please…” Trixie sobbed.

“Say it!”

“Please…don’t…”

“I said say it!”

“I can’t…”

“SAY IT IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE!”

“I’M WORTHLESS!” Trixie yelled miserably, her sobbing louder than ever. “I’m not great and powerful! I’m just a worthless nobody who’ll never amount to anything! I don’t deserve my fans! I don’t deserve anything! I DON’T EVEN DESERVE TO LIVE!”

Trixie covered her face and sobbed some more, her secretly-kept low self-esteem rearing its ugly head. Vaati’s lip curled in disgust. “That’s just pathetic. So this is the real Trixie. Beneath all the dramatic flair and bravado, you’re just a sad, little girl who can’t deal with the fact that the world’s a cold, cruel place. You disgust me. You’re not worth my time. Or anyone else’s, for that matter. I will spare your life today, Trixie, but know this…if you ever show your face in Ponyville again, I will not show mercy a second time.”

GGRRRRRRRRR.

Vaati and Trixie suddenly both went very quiet. Neither of them had made that noise. So what…?

Vaati slowly turned his head, and even his heart skipped a beat in sudden fear at the creature looming over him.
It had to be the biggest bear he had ever seen in his life. It was much larger than even Vaati’s winged eye form. Its body appeared almost spectral, being slightly transparent and reminiscent of a light-blue starscape. The humongous animal growled again as it left its cave. “That’s a…that’s a…” Vaati stuttered.

“IT’S AN URSA MAJOR!” Trixie shrieked, so terrified she didn’t even notice herself running headlong through the flames, her cloak catching on fire.

Vaati remembered a little bit of what he had read about them. Their power level was on par with the Princesses’, and they were quite literally impossible to kill. All that aside, there was no way he was going to let this thing get anywhere close to Ponyville. As the Ursa growled at Vaati, the sorcerer gathered energy in his palms. “You should have stayed in your little cave,” he intoned, his eyes glowing brighter. “Let’s go.”

XXXXXX

Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Spike nervously trudged through the thick foliage of the Everfree Forest, Twilight’s horn lighting the way. Spike shivered in fear from where he sat atop Twilight’s back. “Why? Why did they have to meet in the Everfree Forest? At night?”

“Don’t worry, Spike,” Twilight assured. “We’ll find them soon enough and get this whole thing sorted—“

A bloodcurdling scream interrupted Twilight, causing all three of them to tense up in alarm. “That sounded like Trixie!” Rainbow gasped.

“Oh no!” Twilight exclaimed. “Are we too late?”

“AAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”

Trixie, looking absolutely terrified, burst out from the bushes and ran past them, her cape still smoking. “Trixie!” Twilight yelled, turning around to follow her.

Suddenly her heart stopped as she heard a distant roar, followed by a familiar voice crying out in shock and pain.

Vaati.

The two ponies and dragon rushed towards the source of the noise, but before they got much further, something else flew by them, crashing painfully into a tree hard enough to split the trunk. Vaati, back in his normal form and looking badly injured and extremely fatigued, slumped to the ground, groaning in pain.

“VAATI!” Twilight, Rainbow, and Spike all screamed in horror, rushing to the mage’s side.

“Guh…nngh…” Vaati moaned weakly. “Twilight…get…out…of here…”

“Vaati! What happened?” Twilight screamed, tears flowing down her eyes.

Vaati, with what little strength he had left, grabbed her by the neck and brought her to eye level. “I said…get…out…of…here…Ur…sa…”

Vaati’s grip loosened as he blacked out from his injuries. “Nonono, please don’t die!” Twilight begged, putting her ear on his chest, sighing in relief as she felt his heart beating. “Oh, thank Celestia, he’s just unconscious.”

“Um, T-Twilight?” Rainbow stuttered fearfully. “Did he just say U-Ursa?”

Suddenly they heard a loud, earth-shaking thump not far away as trees gave way as a huge form pushed its way through. “We gotta go!” Twilight yelled, lifting Vaati’s body with her magic as the Ursa burst out of the trees, roaring angrily.

Spike held on for dear life as Twilight weaved through the foliage while still carrying Vaati’s body, Rainbow flying a short distance above them. The Ursa plowed right through the trees, intent on its prey. “Where’re we going?!” Rainbow yelled. “We can’t just lead that thing to Ponyville!”

“I know it sounds crazy, but it might be our only chance!” Twilight responded. “Go on ahead and warn everypony!”

“Got it!” Rainbow said, saluting before speeding off ahead of Twilight.

Twilight just kept running, concentrating on holding Vaati’s body in front of her as she ducked and weaved through the trees and branches, the Ursa not far behind.

XXXXXX

Rainbow emerged from the forest and hovered in the air. “EVERYPONY LISTEN UP!” she yelled, catching the townsponies’ attention. “There’s an Ursa Major coming to town, and unless you wanna get your flanks stomped on, then you’ll GET THE BUCK OUT OF TOWN RIGHT NOW!”

As if to back up her argument, a thunderous roar sounded from the forest, accompanied by a loud thumping that resembled footsteps. Everypony promptly flew into a panic, running about in random directions, some running into their houses and locking their doors. Suddenly Twilight appeared from the forest’s edge, still carrying Spike on her back and Vaati with her magic. Not two seconds later, the Ursa burst forth from the trees as well, bellowing fiercely.

Twilight ran into a nearby alley and set Vaati down against the wall. “Spike, stay with him,” Twilight ordered.

“Gotcha,” Spike answered, jumping off her back.

Leaving her charges, Twilight ran back out into the town square, where the Ursa was making quite the mess, biting the roofs off houses and stomping on random carts. Snips and Snails pounded on the door of Trixie’s wagon, but she didn’t answer. “Great and Powerful Trixie!” Snails cried. “There’s an Ursa Major out there! Aren’t ya gonna vanquish it like the last one?”

“Yeah, come on!” Snips added. “Vanquish it!”

“I can’t,” came Trixie’s morose reply. “That story was made up. I never vanquished an Ursa Major. Nopony can.”

“WHAT?!” Snips and Snails both cried in shock and horror.

“Just get out of here. Leave Trixie to her fate.”

Just then, both ponies noticed the shadow looming over them. They slowly turned to see the Ursa glaring down at them. Screaming in fright, they bolted, leaving Trixie’s wagon unguarded. Trixie looked out the window of her wagon to see the enraged animal about to crush her wagon underfoot. She did nothing. She just stared.

Seeing this, Twilight, with her magic, pushed the wagon out of the Ursa’s path just before its paw could flatten the carriage and its suicidal occupant. Sensing the magic, the Ursa whipped its head around and stared down at Twilight, who stood alone in the square with a determined look. The Ursa stomped towards her, growling.

“Okay, here goes,” Twilight muttered nervously to herself as her horn glowed.

A light breeze suddenly picked up, whistling through the cattails of a nearby pond and creating a soothing melody that reverberated through the Ursa’s ears, calming it. “Whoa, nice use of number sixteen!” Spike quietly congratulated her as the Ursa began swaying on its feet.

Twilight’s horn began glowing more brightly, sparks flickering around it. The water tower near Sweet Apple Acres suddenly lifted off its pedestal and unscrewed the cap, pouring out all the water before sending it through the large barn, gathering milk from the complaining cows as it passed through. Once filled and out of the barn, the cap closed, and Twilight brought the improvised bottle over to the swaying Ursa, lifting it onto its back and placing the bottle between its paws. The Ursa closed its eyes and started suckling on the bottle much like an infant. Twilight’s horn was now glowing so brightly it almost hurt to look at it.

Vaati blearily opened his eyes and saw Twilight out there dealing with the Ursa. A small smile crept across his face at Twilight stepping up to the plate before lapsing out of consciousness again. Twilight then sent the Ursa floating away, back into its cave in the Everfree Forest, where it would hopefully stay. Once she was certain Ponyville was safe, she slowly let her magic die down before collapsing from exhaustion, the sounds of raucous cheers slowly becoming muffled as she fell into a nice, quiet realm of unconsciousness.

XXXXXX

“Unnhh…”

Twilight slowly opened her eyes to see all her friends surrounding her, worried smiles on their faces. She took note of her surroundings and realized she was in her bed at the library. However, much to her surprise, there was one other pony hanging towards the back, looking dejected.

It was Trixie.

It was at that moment she realized someone was missing. “Vaati…?” she murmured.

“Oh, thank goodness you’re awake, Twilight!” Fluttershy said.

“You gave us quite the scare there, sugarcube,” Applejack added. “Vaati’s in th’ hospital, recoverin’ from his injuries, but he’ll be fine.”

“The Ursa?”

“Still in the Everfree,” Rainbow Dash answered. “That was really awesome, how you sent him away like that!”

Twilight’s ears flattened against her head in shame. “I’m so sorry,” she apologized. “For letting you all down like I did. I was just afraid—“

“Rainbow already told us, darling,” Rarity interrupted with a soft smile. “We don’t think any less of you for your magical abilities, Twilight. They’re a part of who you are, and you should never try and hide that based on how others are judged.”

“Besides, I should be the one apologizing,” Trixie suddenly said, catching everypony’s attention. “I was so caught up in my own image I started acting unfair to my own audience.”

Trixie held her head low, her hair falling over her eyes. She was not wearing her costume. “I spent so many years building up that false image, trying to get noticed, to become famous…I…started to believe my own lies.”

Trixie was trying to hold back tears, and failing miserably. “I was a stupid foal, thinking that a bunch of made-up stories and exaggerated abilities would change what I really was. A nopony. Just a sad, little girl who can’t deal with the fact the world’s a cold, cruel place.”

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow. “Okay, that just sounds melodramatic.”

“Tell that to your resident spawn of Tartarus, Vaati,” Trixie snapped, unable to stop the tears flowing from her eyes. “I hate that monster! I hate him because he’s right!”

“What in tarnation d’ya mean ‘spawn ‘a Tartarus’?” Applejack questioned, narrowing her eyes.

Trixie shivered. “I…saw him…change…The whipping winds…that horrid eye…”

The Mane Six traded worried, confused looks. Just what was she talking about? What had Vaati done? “Sooo, like I was saying,” Rainbow said, trying to change the subject, “that was really awesome how you dealt with that Ursa Major!”

Twilight shook her head. “That’s the thing. That wasn’t an Ursa Major. That was just a baby. An Ursa Minor.”

Everypony’s heads all shot upright. “That was just a baby?!” Trixie exclaimed.

“If that was an Ursa Minor,” Spike said, shaking, “what’s an Ursa Major like?”

“…You don’t wanna know.”

“Minor or not, I won’t feel safe until Vaati’s locked up in Tartarus where he belongs,” Trixie said quietly, walking down the stairs. “I’ve overstayed my welcome anyways. Goodbye, Twilight Sparkle.”

Trixie then disappeared down the stairs. Shortly they heard the door slam, signaling her exit from the library. Glancing out the window, Rarity saw Trixie slowly hitch herself to her travelling carriage and head out of town, hanging her head low to hide her face in shame. No one paid her any attention. It really was sad seeing something like that. “You think somepony should go after her?” Rarity asked. “She looked so down in the dumps.”

“No, let her go,” Twilight answered. “I’m sure she’ll learn her lesson. We’ve got enough to worry about anyways.”

“Vaati, ya mean?” Applejack inquired.

“I don’t know what he did that made Trixie say that, but it worries me. I’ve lived with him for more than a week now and I still know virtually nothing about him or his abilities. All I know is that he has an affinity for weather-based magic, especially if it involves strong winds. I want to know more about him, but at the same time…I’m afraid of what I’ll discover.”

The gathered ponies and dragon could not think of what to say.

XXXXXX

Dear Princess Celestia,

I have learned a very valuable lesson about friendship. I was so afraid of being thought of as a showoff that I was hiding a part of who I am. My friends helped me realize that it’s okay to be proud of your talents, and there are times when it’s appropriate to show them of, especially when you’re standing up for your friends.

Your Faithful Student,

Twilight Sparkle

P.S. – My doubt in myself and my friends caused me to get into an argument with Vaati. He went off to confront the mare that started all this and somehow left her a depressed wreck. Trixie was a showoff and a braggart, but I am still unsettled by how Vaati was able to break her like that. She also mentioned him being a spawn of Tartarus, and changing somehow. I don’t know what she meant by that, but I aim to find out.

Princess Celestia closed the letter and cast a worried glance towards her sister. “I’m worried for my student, Luna,” Celestia said.

“I hath gazed into the dreamscape of the Sorcerer of Winds,” Luna answered. “His dreams are dark and full of pain and hate. I hath done thy best to expulse his nightmares, but unless he faces his past sins, I fear it will only worsen.”

“Maybe it was a mistake to let Vaati stay with Twilight.”

“Do not doubt thine judgment, dear sister. Twilight Sparkle and her friends represent the very elements of friendship. Thou must have faith that they can help him.”

Celestia could not bring herself to doubt her sister’s words. But neither could she shake the feeling that Vaati was more dangerous than she wanted to believe.