• Published 12th Oct 2012
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Lunarium - Tramper

In an alternate timeline where magic has vanished together with Discord, six fillies from the city of Canterlot go to find its burial ground and reawaken the ancient powers.

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Chapter 9 ~ Trixie Is Not Amused With Your Shenanigans (V2)

Her own breaths were steady, but the blow had almost taken the air out of her.

Sure enough, earthquakes were a common thing in Equestria. She had grown up with them, everypony had. Some had hit hard, made the walls collapse and left her in a broken room, but the repairs would always be done swiftly. They never gave ponies much trouble under normal circumstance, so she had heard. From all the talking and gossiping around the hospital it seemed like a minor problem. It was as if there were always more important things than them, no matter what broke down.

Sure, there were wounded and there was damaged property, but nothing that scarred the city for an extended period of time.

Twilight knew that this one was different. She was a smart filly and she understood what Lyra just told her, even though the scale must have been exaggerated.

Two earthquakes in two days wasn’t something to worry about, but something like half the city breaking down? That couldn't be true, because the roof above her head was still fine, because the others didn't seem all that fazed. Truly, it couldn't be that bad?

Yet it felt eerie, like there was something else. Even Lyra’s smile did little to hide the unease she must’ve felt. Something was off, incredibly off.

Twilight was a smart filly but she didn't understand. Still, she tried to take a deep breath, hoping to calm herself.

“We’re okay though, everypony’s fine, right?” She asked.

Lyra nodded. “But are you okay? You just collapsed.”

The topic sure changed quickly, Twilight took that as further proof that Lyra must've exaggerated.

“I’m sorry, sometimes my body's just weak. It’s because I’m a unicorn,” Twilight answered as warmly as she could.

Derpy at least nodded understandingly, and Lyra started to nod after a moment, too.

“Yeah, we unicorns are weaker than other ponies," Lyra agreed. "But that means you're fine, that's awesome."

Except we’re not, Twilight thought.

She didn't tell them that she had collapsed as a reaction to using magic. It wasn't often you got to tell somepony that you'd broken the laws by which reality worked and she was quite sure none of them would understand it. She herself had little to no idea about it and she was pretty much the smartest filly here.

Her happy thoughts were quickly broken by the growing feeling of her bladder, telling her that it would soon explode and ruin whatever credibility she held.

“Urgh,” she groaned for a moment, because the sudden pang in the farthest back of her body was far too unexpected. She turned back to Lyra and Derpy. “Can you two help me get to the toilet?”

They both tilted their head, before Lyra seemed to have some sort of enlightenment. “Oh, you don’t know where it is!”

“Oooh,” answered Derpy as if that was truly a revelation unravelling the mysteries of the universe. Twilight would’ve said something, but Derpy immediately followed it up with a more substantial offer. “I’ll lend you a shoulder, Twilight.”

That, she could appreciate and having somepony’s strength to aid her made the way to and back from the bathroom that much easier. Not only that, but Twilight felt at ease, despite the shock of the news, or maybe because of the hole it’d created. These ponies here truly wanted to help, and it made her feel, well, like it was worth it.

Once she sat back in that little bed with the mobile above, Twilight got her first real chance to see the life that was going on in this house.

She observed Raindrops coming into the room, hovering above the ground, her tiny wings flapping like those of a bee. She tagged Derpy and not even a moment later, they’d kicked the toys around and made even more of a mess than there had been previously. The reason behind that might’ve been their hectic play, but it was also that flight technique of theirs. Or lack thereof.

As a matter of fact, two pegasi were really bad at flying and it didn't surprise Twilight that even if they were only a few centimeters above ground, whenever they did try to land, it ended up being face first, always.

Octavia had taken her giant cello to the kitchen and plucked it there, or so Twilight guessed from the sounds reaching her. Another melody that wasn’t quite there, another melody that was in need of some guidance. Octavia wasn’t all that good, but she didn’t lack heart.

All the while, Lyra seemed to be in an endless talk with Madame Hoove, but she neither heard nor saw Hugh Jelly being around. That weirded her out, and so she turned to the two playing fillies to ask about his whereabouts.

Raindrops stared at her, but didn’t say anything. She hadn’t spoken even to Derpy, and only her laughter during the game had hinted at her not being a mute.

At least Derpy herself was eager to give an answer. “He’s out helping the others with the damage, but he forbade us to go too. It’s too dangerous for kids.”

In all honesty, Twilight agreed with that assessment, and she only wanted to stay hidden beneath her blankets, where it was warm and cozy. So it came easy to her to enjoy watching the other two continue their game, but then they took it to the floor, and then the kitchen, leaving Twilight on her own.

It was a quiet moment, or at least one where all the sounds in the world seemed to be far, far away from her, and Twilight looked to the mobile, at how the stars and the moon turned in circles. Her eyes lingered on the crescent moon, a slightly misshapen scrap that served to calm little children.

The Lunarium, she thought, and even the word seemed, like something impossible to reach. Her thoughts turned to the Wise Goat, the mysterious ghost of Canterlot, but only for a second, because then, the silence was broken, and Trixie marched into the room.

She was quiet, her hat too big for her head, her cape catching dirt on the floor as she walked across it.

“Hey, Trixie,” Twilight said, “I’m better now.”

Trixie didn’t answer, she only sat down by the side of the bed, and then the sounds of the other foals became the loudest noise again, despite the distance. Trixie’s eyes were fixated on the ground before the bed, but Twilight ignored how she looked.

“I, I wanted to thank you,” that made Trixie move a little, maybe startled her. “It’s really nice here and if I could, I would want to stay here forever. Thank you for bringing me.”

Silence was a dreadful thing, especially between two children. Twilight knew not the finer points of conversation, but she noted how quiet Trixie was, and how she shook. Was she cold too?”

"So ...“ Trixie started. "Has that 'wise goat' thing talked to you again?“ she asked.

And there was a poison in her voice like whenever she spoke Lyra’s name, a seething hatred that Twilight could feel burn.

"Yeah,“ she answered, not knowing what else she could say.

"He said that you could do magic.“ Twilight noted how hollow Trixie's voice sounded.

"Y-yeah,“ she said, with a bit of hesitation but also pride. She had to be the first unicorn since forever to be able to do magic.

So, yes, she was proud, actually. And Trixie would probably be proud to, and happy, because magic existed and she could make an even better magic show than the one she had shown Twilight.

Yet Trixie only sighed, like she gave up on something again, and then there followed another long, dreadful quiet. Another hollow moment filled only with the most distant of sounds, the light from the lamps and the movement of the stars and the moon above their tiny heads.

The hooves went to the hat, grabbed it, and pulled it down. Trixie looked at the pointy thing, it’s pale purple color and the stars on it, they seemed so close to falling off. She then started to hug her head, and took a sniff at it, recapturing a smell that Twilight couldn’t scent.

"Trixie was born in a tower by the cliffs. There were fields of grass all around my home and if you followed the road for half an hour you'd reach a small town,“ Trixie suddenly said. "Trixie's parents were called Great Stars and Powerful Echo. They gave Trixie the cloak and hat and told her that she would become the greatestest wizard in the world if only she tried.

“They were stage magicians, you see, but nopony had liked their show, so they had bought the tower, to spend their remaining days out by the cliffs. They always put shows on until they went to sleep and ponies came to take Trixie to Canterlot. The cloak and hat were taken from Trixie and she had to get them back. They're all that's left from them, that and that she's going to become a great and powerful unicorn. I promised them, after all. But … I can’t do magic. I’m not a wizard. I’m useless.“

Trixie looked to the ground. She seemed a truly downtrodden and broken thing at that very moment. Twilight Sparkle didn't know how to respond, other than a meek; “I'm sorry.“

There were no tears, no whimpering, Trixie didn't show any emotion on her face. Maybe it was because she was strong, at least Twilight presumed that to be the reason. She's stronger than me, at least, Twilight figured, but kept quiet.

And so Trixie made to leave the room, but as she hopped off the bed, for a moment Twilight thought to catch the scent of salt and water, there in the wind that followed the tiny foal of brown and white. It was a strange sensation, too, for it was gone only a second later, like it'd never been there at all.

Twilight wanted to say something, but as it was, she never got to.

The third earthquake shook the foundations of Canterlot even more than the last two. The raging earth’s power caused the walls and the ceiling of Madame's house to crack. Twilight felt it down to her bones as she looked up and remembered how the bed beside her had once been crushed. The walls loosened up and dust rained from the ceiling as it started to give in to the might of the shaking.

“Come on,” Trixie beckoned, and Twilight looked at her waving.

It wasn’t safe in the middle of the room and she needed to move. Quick as she could she tried to get up and down from the bed, but entangled herself in the blankets, falling down to the ground, only barely managing to land on her right arm. Though the blankets quickly covered her sight up.

It hurt, but as she tried to get herself moving again, the quake stopped, vanishing as quickly as it’d come.

She saw Trixie not moving from her spot, not coming to aid her. She wondered why, but it was probably because she was looking in another direction, checking whether the others were alright. Probably, but Twilight couldn’t tell.

With six not-so-swift motions, she rid herself of the entanglement and stood on the floor covered in but one remaining blanket, the one she’d taken from the warehouse. She moved closer to Trixie, but just then the others came in, with the tall Madame Hooves right behind them.

“I’m sorry, but I need to look where Hugh is,” she had written on a piece of paper for them.

“You need to stay here, where it’s safe. Don’t leave the house.”

Twilight wanted to ask her why they couldn’t come, wanted to tell her that she was scared on her own, without an adult nearby, but the Madame had other things on her mind and stormed out of the room again, grabbing her own coat and leaving the house with a bang of the door. She didn’t lock it, however. Lyra walked out into the floor, and started to giggle.

“She’s so fast,” she said, highly amused by the small detail, even though everypony else just stood there, shaking with fear.

Twilight allowed herself to fall onto her rump and let out a sigh. How could three earthquakes hit the city in such a short span? This can’t be good. Again, she thought of the Wise Goat, and again, she thought about the Lunarium.

But she was only a child and couldn’t actually do anything, right?

She spent the next few minutes in the puddle of blankets she had created on the floor, fighting the growing shaking of her body. The cold wasn't going away and she became weaker as time went by. Her stomach felt bad, not only because of her illness, but because she felt something in the air. Something terrible. Without any idea why she thought about that, and what it was, she couldn’t help but be a little bit scared.

You know, I couldn't help but notice a small thing. Tiny, really. You know ... It is actually quite a bit funny, so I thought I'd tell you. You see, I have actually noticed that you haven't really moved towards the gardens. Why?

She looked at the ceiling when the voice said that. "You talk too much and I don't understand what you're saying.“

The others turned their heads.

“Wha–” started Octavia.

“She’s talking to the Wise Goat!” Lyra said, a wide smile on her face.

While Derpy and Lyra looked confused and bewildered, Octavia only barely lifted an eyebrow at that statement.

It's simple, really: Go to the gardens, get to the Lunarium, save the world.

"But the magic nearly-“

That's not because of the magic, but rather because other than a talent you've got no connection. It's complicated, all you need to know is this: You get magic back, you get better.

There was a pause, Twilight said nothing.

That's not what you wanted to hear, though, right?

The others were by the front door, waiting, she knew. "Even if I get better, Shining's gone and papa ...“ She couldn't finish that sentence.

So, you don't think going to where I tell you to go isn't going to help? Even if I'd tell you that you'd revive the princesses there and get harmony back to the land?

There was a pause. "What?“

Go to the gardens, the old castle plaza. Twilight Sparkle, take the dive and change the fate of the world. You are the pony to do it. You'll get stronger as the journey will continue and in the end, I'm sure, you might even become a bearer of an Element of Harmony. Trust me on that, Twilight Sparkle.

The voice was reassuring to her, yes. She sat there, looking at the ceiling and the mobile above her, still no idea why Raindrops had one above her bed as she seemed way too old for one.

However, now those stars told her something. Revive the princesses, bring back harmony.

She had read stories, she had heard so much about the old world, how wonderful it had been, how Equestria had flourished and peace had been there.

But most important: How family had mattered. Twilight thought about her father, about her brother, and a mother whose smile she’d never known.

With a stern expression on her face she stood up, standing even more shaky on her hooves than usual. Nonetheless, she threw off all the blankets but the most colorful, leaving that warm haven behind. That remaining one would serve as a cape, the warmest and cuddliest of all, because somewhere down the line, she just knew she needed something to snuggle.

Then she moved, step by step, slowly stumbling towards the first door. The others were watching her quietly, wondering what she was doing. Twilight reached it and then went to the hallway, setting her sights on the front door. Five ponies followed her, and yet not really. They didn’t know where she was going, and they were still hoping for the mare and the stallion to return.

Maybe that was enough, but Twilight had a chance to do something now, to save everypony. Somehow she felt like she knew this entire scene. Every step felt familiar, every time she blinked, everything felt like she had seen it before. Deja-vu that feeling was called, or so she had memorized, or maybe it was just a story she’d once read, about somepony leaving everything behind for a brighter tomorrow. It was time to play hero!

Reaching the door, Lyra was the first to react to her: "What are you doing?“

"Going on an adventure!“ The declaration came easy to Twilight, she felt good, even though she felt weak and cold.

The other ponies looked at her for a moment, mouths agape.

"Trixie is not amused with your shenanigans. You should rest,“ Trixie said, trying to be the voice of reason, despite trying to sound like she did, in fact, not care.

"Anypony want to go with me on an adventure? We might even see Madame and Hugh on our way,“ Twilight asked.

A quiet moment passed, but Derpy declared a “Woohoo,” and started to move, taken in by the prospect of doing something but remain here. Raindrops followed her without saying a word. Octavia stared at them and then at Lyra whose smile looked as painful as ever.

“We can totally help some adults out, too!” She said, eager to break some rules.

That made Octavia sigh and nod, though she turned around again, unsure whether to leave something important behind. She started to move towards the front door, too, however.

And that left only Trixie, staring at them with a blank look on her face. “They told us to stay.”

“But if it’s as bad as they say, we need to help. You can’t just want to stay here,” Octavia answered, surprising Twilight.

"We're going to follow that voice?“ she still asked.

"Yeah. We're going to revive the princesses and save Canterlot!“ Twilight declared.

The rest of the group took it with smiles and laughter, and Twilight could understand. This might well become a great adventure. Even now, as her heart smashed against her chest and her legs were trembling under the weight of her own body, she felt like this was the first glorious step towards the dawn, and the sun hadn’t even set yet.

"It's dangerous, you know? Two earthquakes in just a few hours, we should wait for Hugh and Madame to return and then leave, we ... We can't do anything anyhow," Trixie took a step forward, her voice shook with desperation.

Yet Twilight offered her a smile, despite the fact that she knew Trixie to be absolutely correct. "Nonetheless, this might be the chance to save the world. You saw the other world, you saw me do magic. If we could bring that to everypony, all this will have seemed like a breeze. And you, too, can become a wizard, just like you wanted."

Trixie stared at them, her mouth half-open, revealing the missing teeth. She hesitated, but took another look at her hat. Twilight couldn't guess her thoughts, but hoped that the words would reach her, and they did. Trixie put her hat on again and looked at Twilight with newfound resolve. “Alright, I’ll come with you.”

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