• Published 26th Nov 2012
  • 20,640 Views, 1,656 Comments

Letters From a Friend at the End of the World - alexmagnet

Twilight receives a letter from Trixie one day, but it raises more questions than it answers.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
12 — Dragon's Eye

Chapter 12:
Dragon's Eye

The first thing she noticed was the overwhelming smell of sulphur assaulting her nostrils as she entered the dank, smoky room. Her nose crinkled in disgust and her eyes watered.

It was difficult to see anything in detail as the entire room was lit only by two small candles hanging from the ceiling and nestled in a cocoon of animal bones, a small fire burning beneath a bubbling flask, and what little sunlight was let in through the single grimy window, but she could see shelves stocked with various jars and ingredients, covering each of the walls, as well as a small end table shoved haphazardly in the one open corner in the far left of the room.

Hmph, not exactly the nicest shop I’ve ever seen. There was a large jar just to the right of her that contained, well, something. She leaned forward to look more closely at it, peering into its murky depths.

Inside was a lumpy, oblong object suspended in a thick substance which was a sickly yellow. Whatever it was, it was pointed at one end, smooth along the shaft, except for the ridges that seemed to spiral up to the tip, and it got wider as it went down, finally terminating in a jagged-edged end that looked like it had been roughly cut from wherever it had come from. It had a familiar look to it, but she couldn’t place why.

It almost looks like a—

Her thoughts were interrupted by a high-pitched shriek from behind her. She whipped around quickly, horn alight.

She scanned the room, searching for the source of the noise, blue light emanating from her horn. Sitting on the small end table, she noticed the large glass flask was bubbling more violently than before. The fire beneath it now burned a bright blue and the sinister looking liquid inside the flask splashed about furiously.

Blood-red and frothing angrily, the contents filled the small room with the sounds of something being boiled alive. Trixie cringed as the ear-piercing shrieks grew louder and louder. She backed away, attempting to cover her ears as best she could, but it didn’t even slightly muffle the sound.

Seconds seemed to crawl by as the shrieking grew louder, eventually smothering all other sounds. Her horn glowed brightly as she prepared to remove the infernal noise. As she was taking aim, a metal claw reached out and snatched the bubbling flask by the neck. Almost instantly, the room became deathly silent.

Her eyes were drawn to the other end of the metal claw where a shadowy figure stood, shrouded in smoke and covered in frayed and graying robes.

It moved stiffly into the center of the room—almost limping—ignoring her. She watched, transfixed, as it poured the liquid into a metal bowl. It splashed as it hit the bottom of the bowl, and a few droplets landed on the wooden desk the bowl was sitting on, causing it to sizzle and smoke. It didn’t seem to bother it though as it was now grabbing a silver spoon from a drawer and stirring the liquid.

She stared silently, unable to say anything, as it worked. After a few seconds of steady, calculated stirring, it looked up at her. She started, unaware that it had even noticed her.

Its metal appendage gleamed dimly in the light as it pulled back the hood obscuring its face. As the hood fell away, an ashen mare’s face was revealed. Her chalky mane fell about her shoulders, unkempt and knotted. Her dull iron claw extended outwards and a single digit pointed at Trixie, then curled in on itself, motioning for her to approach. Trixie swallowed her fear and stepped forward.

The tiny room was cramped enough as it was, but the desk that nearly split the remaining floor space in half made the whole area feel much smaller than it was. But, it kept Trixie physically separated from the mare, an attribute for which she was grateful.

As she walked towards the center of the room, she weaved her way through piles of wood, glassware, crates, and somethings she was fairly sure were severed bird wings. She ducked under a string of garlic hung from the ceiling, and around what she hoped wasn’t a pony’s skull.

Trixie had taken her hat off before entering the room, but she had neglected remove her cape, which she was now regretting as it dragged along the dirt-caked floor and over piles of rat skeletons. The strange mare watched her carefully as she made her way through the maze of objects, and eventually reached the desk.

Now that she was closer, Trixie could see the mare’s features more clearly. She was taken aback at how young she looked. Her emerald eyes seemed to shine almost unnaturally bright in the dim light, and her frayed and dirty mane still managed to somehow look strangely beautiful, in a macabre sort of way. Thin and dull pink, her lips were curled into a near frown, pulling her gray cheeks down with it.

Trixie’s eyes drifted down towards her where her right hoof should’ve been. Instead she found the same iron claw she had seen before. Now that she saw it up close, she could tell that it was just as dirty as the rest of her. The metal leg, which disappeared beneath the faded robes, was rusted at the joints, and spotted with flecks of dirt. It rested on the wooden desk, claw splayed out, displaying its four separate digits.

Each digit ended in a sharp-looking talon that curved downwards malevolently. Each looked as if it had been sharpened to a fine point, and it was the only part of the leg that looked clean. Trixie could even see the fire bizarrely reflected in the shiny surface of each talon.

Suddenly realizing that she was staring, Trixie’s eyes shot up and she saw the brief flash of a smirk skirt across the mare’s face before it returned to its previous state of apparent disinterest. She opened her mouth for the first time, and said, “You won’t find what you’re looking for here, Trixie Lulamoon.” Her tone was even and words were neutral, but Trixie sensed a hint of remorse in her voice.

“Wait, how do you know my name?” Trixie asked, surprised.

Ignoring Trixie’s question, she continued, “I know why you have come here, and I know what you seek.” She paused, staring directly into Trixie’s eyes. “Power is not something that is easily gained, Trixie Lulamoon. You seek to ascend your strength to the next plane, but you don’t even know what true strength is.”

“Hmph,” Trixie huffed. “How dare you. Trixie is the most powerful unicorn in all of Equestria!”

The smirk from before briefly flashed across the mare’s face again before it returned to the same deadpan expression. “If that is the truth, then why have you come here?”

Trixie stumbled over her words. “I, uhh, Trixie is the most powerful unicorn in Equestria, but she just can’t prove it yet.” Trixie stomped her hoof on the ground. “That’s why I came here. I want something that will make me the greatest and most powerful unicorn of all time.” She glared at the mare. “I want to prove I’m better than Twilight.”

Gears whirred as the metal leg lifted from the desk and made a fist in the air between Trixie and the mare. “You want power? The strength to move mountains, turn back the hands of time, create everything from nothing, make the very stars weep in awe, and make even the goddesses envy you?”

Trixie’s eyes widened. She nodded.

“I cannot give you that power,” said the mare. “I do not have the ability to, nor would I if I did.”


“I cannot give you that power,” she repeated, “true strength is earned, not given away freely.”

Trixie face was crestfallen. She bit her lip. “But there must be something you can do, right? You have to help me.”

“It is true that I cannot give you the power you seek, but I can help you find it yourself.”

Trixie’s eyes gleamed, then she frowned after a moment. “Wait, what does that mean?”

The mare removed her metal leg from the desk and turned to the wall of ingredients. Trixie noticed her gray tail poking out from beneath her cloak, just as frayed and knotted as her mane. There was the clinking of glass on glass as she picked small bottles from the wall and dropped them in her robes which she held up like a basket with her other hoof.

After what felt like ten minutes, Trixie began to tap her hoof impatiently on the ground. The mare ignored her and reached for a small crystal bottle on the top shelf. It was filled with a vibrant green liquid, and it seemed to give off a dim inner light.

Finally, with the last bottle in her grasp, the mare turned back to the desk and dumped the ingredients out. Bottles rolled left and right as she carefully placed the crystal bottle down.

Trixie eyed all the various glass objects rolling around, then looked at the mare. “Is this for a potion that will make me stronger?” she asked.

“No,” the mare replied as evenly as before. Her metal claw grabbed a pair of bones tied together with string and dropped them into a large stone mortar. She also added some dried leaves, a jet-black flower, three orange mushrooms, and a tiny pearlescent opal. Using her regular furred-hoof to hold the mortar in place, she used her claw to grab the stone pestle and began grinding the ingredients into a fine powder. As she ground, she said, “As I said before, there is nothing that I can do that will make you anything other than what you already are. Your true strength is buried inside yourself and only you can dig it out. I can only guide you on your path, not walk it for you.”

Trixie watched as she ground used the pestle to crush the opal with quick thrusts. It remained unbroken for a few seconds, until one particularly powerful thrust cracked the opal in half. As it was ground away, Trixie said, “Then what is this for?” She nodded at desk, cluttered with ingredients.

“It is a potion that will help you see, truly see.”

“How’s that supposed to help me?”

The mare paused, her mortar now filled with a fine, shiny dust. She turned the stone bowl over, dumping its contents into the blood-red solution that was still sitting on the desk. It crackled and fizzed as it disappeared into the mix, soon followed by a number of other liquids, each one causing a tiny puff of smoke to emit from the bowl as it joined the concoction. Finally, all the ingredients had been added, except for the crystal bottle which the mare held up to the light where it shined brightly.

As she held the bottle up, the mare said, “This will show you exactly what you need to see, nothing more, and nothing less.” Her eyes fell on Trixie. “But before we begin, I need something from you.”

Trixie took a small step backwards. “What do you mean?”

“I want something only a unicorn can give. Something precious to you,” she said coolly.

Trixie’s hoof moved reflexively to her horn, as if she were trying to shield it from something. “You don’t mean...” she trailed off, glancing over her shoulder at the jar she saw when she came in.

The mare grunted. “Hmph, despite what you may think of me, I do not maim my fellows. No, what I want is far less sinister.”

Trixie’s hoof fell. “But, what about—”

She curled her claw into a fist and held it up, examining it and silencing Trixie. “Sometimes, pieces must be sacrificed for the betterment of the whole.” She uncurled her fist, and motioned Trixie forward. “Come, I need your magic.” She held up the crystalline bottle as Trixie approached. “This is dragon’s blood mixed with the nectar of the dragonsbane flower, and an uncut emerald,” she explained. She offered the bottle to Trixie. “You must drink this before we can begin.”

Trixie eyed the bottle suspiciously. Then, after a moment, took it. She held it up and examined its contents. Inside, a milky green substance swirled about. If she strained her eyes, she thought she could almost see the face of a dragon amongst the cloudy jade.

“I just need to drink this, then?” she asked.

The mare nodded. “When ingested by unicorns, that mixture has the ability to transform your magic, briefly, to that of a dragon’s. For a few seconds, you will have all the magical prowess of Equestria’s oldest and most powerful beings. But only for a few seconds,” she said, stressing the limited nature of the potion. “In those brief moments, you will need to use your newly acquired magic to breathe fire on this mixture.” She indicated the blood-red potion that sat ominously between them.

Trixie put the bottle down. “How come we can’t just use the fire you already have? Why do I need to drink dragon’s blood?”

The mare grabbed the silver spoon and began stirring the mixture slowly. “Dragonflame has unique properties,” she explained. “It can burn in the coldest wind, and will never go out unless commanded to do so by the one who created it. It also burns hot enough to melt gold and even steel, if given long enough. But since you are not a dragon, the flame you create will not be strong enough to melt gold, and it will only burn for as long as you have the powers of a dragon.” She stopped stirring and set the spoon aside. “However, while your flame will not be as hot, or as potent as a real dragon’s, it will still retain the other magical properties of dragonflame. And for our purposes, that will be more than enough. When you breathe fire on this potion, it will dissipate and you will see exactly what you need to see.”

Trixie’s eyebrow rose. “And this will show me how to become more powerful?”

“It will show you what it needs to show you,” she said simply. “What that will be, I cannot say. What the Dragon’s Eye shows is different for everyone. You may see nothing, and you may see everything. The Eye sees all, past, present, and future, but it only reveals what needs to be revealed.” She took a step back from the desk, her face becoming obscured in shadow now that the candle’s glow couldn’t reach her. “Drink, Trixie Lulamoon. See what the Eye would have you see.”

Trixie gazed at the crystal bottle, watching its contents swirl about. Finally, she picked it up again. Biting down on the rubber stopper, she pulled it out with a muffled pop. Taking one final look at the slightly luminescent green liquid, she swallowed her trepidation and brought the small bottle’s mouth to hers.

Almost instantly, she felt the liquid rushing down her throat. It burned as it went down, but it wasn’t hot, or painful. It was like a cool flame that danced its way into her stomach. The taste was unlike anything she had ever experienced. It was oddly refreshing, like a glass of ice water on a hot summer day, but it warmed her as it ran down her throat, like a mulled wine. As it hit her stomach it began to feel like a fire was burning inside of her. Her chest warmed to an almost uncomfortable level, and her forehead burned.

There was the quiet thump of glass on wood as Trixie set the bottle down. She stood quietly for a moment, waiting for something to happen. Besides the odd sensation of a fire burning in her stomach, she didn’t feel any different. Her magic felt the same as it always did, coursing through her body like the dragon’s blood she just drank.

“I don’t feel any different,” she said after a moment. She looked over to the mare, worriedly. “Maybe it didn’t wo—”

She was interrupted by the sudden sensation of a thousand fires burning all throughout her body. All along her limbs and in her head, she felt heat emanating. It was like someone had just wrapped her in the world’s warmest blanket. Besides the heat though, she also felt a sudden surge of power. Her magic, normally a muted feeling, suddenly burst with life. She could practically feel herself brimming with magic just itching for release. She felt as if she had the power to rip apart the very fabric of reality. She wondered for a moment how dragons were able to keep their power in check, then, all of its own accord, her horn began glowing a dark, vibrant green. It pulsated with each beat of her heart. Her mouth slowly fell open. Unable to speak, she simply stood agape of her own power.

Remembering the mare’s warning about the time limit imposed upon her, Trixie immediately turned her attention to the Dragon’s Eye potion on the desk. She almost stopped, realizing that she didn’t know how to breathe fire but was amazed when she suddenly did know how. It was like the knowledge and experience of the eldest dragons had been passed on to her through their blood.

Taking in a deep breath, she aimed at the bowl. Then she breathed outwards, but not from her lungs. From her gut, flames poured out of her mouth, flames as green as the emerald used in their creation.

The fire washed over the potion like an emerald wave, and lit the room in a ghostly green glow. For a few seconds, the mare’s face was visible. The beginnings of a smile tugged at her lips, but there was a hint of sadness in her eyes as she looked down at her mechanical leg.

After a few seconds of sustained fire-breathing, the potion was completely gone and Trixie could feel the effects of the dragon’s blood ebbing away. As she the fires in her body died, so did the strength in her heart. She felt all the power of the dragons escaping, leaving her the very same mare she was before.

Even as she lost her briefly attained power, however, she felt a new sensation take hold of her mind. Her head swam and she felt dizzy. She stumbled backwards, losing her balance. With a loud thud, she fell over a pile of logs and crashed to the ground. As she lay there amongst the wood, and the dirt, her vision darkened. She felt weak, unable to move as the darkness overtook her.

As her eyes fell shut, the inky blackness was instantly replaced with bright, blinding white light. She would’ve tried to shield her eyes if they weren’t already shut. Into this white void an astral shape appeared. It was nothing at first, an amorphous pile of white lights encased in a glow as deep green as the fire she had spewed. As time passed, it began to take a more defined shape. It flattened into an oval, and its ends became more pronounced. The lights gathered in a circle near the center of the oval, which was becoming flatter every second, around a black spot.

A few seconds later and Trixie recognized the shape. “The Eye,” she whispered under her breath. The Eye hung there in the void, silently. Its pitch black pupil stared at Trixie, unflinching. A loud, deep voice boomed out, breaking the silence.

“Gaze into the Eye, Beholder, and bear witness to your destiny...”

Trixie watched as the Eye drew closer and closer, consuming her vision. Eventually, its massive pupil was the only thing she could see. Blackness surrounded her once again.

Suddenly, she found herself in the middle a snowstorm. Wind rushed past her, blowing snow in her face and obscuring her vision. She instinctively began shivering, then realized that she wasn’t actually cold, and she couldn’t feel the snow on her face. She didn’t even feel the snow beneath her hooves, or hear the wind in her ears.

Vast, empty whiteness stretched out endlessly before her.

Where am I?

“The End,” the voice answered. “The End of the World.”

PreviousChapters Next