• Published 26th Nov 2012
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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.

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23 — Just a Friendly Reminder

Chapter 23:
Just a Friendly Reminder

Twilight absentmindedly watched Applejack and Rainbow Dash as they argued over which Daring Do villain was the most “radical”. Of course, since Applejack had never read any of the books in the series, it was a rather one-sided debate. She watched with a sort of detached interest, her mind more focused on her own internal debate.

I don’t know if I should tell them about Trixie or not, I mean, I don’t even know for sure what she’s up to. What did Nadir mean about Trixie 'seeking to become a god'? And why did she say that Trixie didn’t know it yet? Twilight racked her brain, calling on all the knowledge she possessed to try to solve this puzzling situation. Think, Twilight. Lay out the facts. What do we know?

Rainbow Dash puffed out her chest and stood on her hind legs, bobbing her head up and down. She stuck her tongue out and began making hissing noises while holding her fore-legs tightly against her side. Moving her body like a wave, she writhed around awkwardly, much to Applejack’s amusement.

Stifling a chuckle, she said, “Uh huh, and what are you supposed to be again? Some kinda worm or somethin’?”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. “Not what,” she said defensively, “who. I’m being Adhi, y’know, that big snake dude from Temple of Time?” She waited for Applejack to respond, but she just shrugged apologetically. “Ugh, he was, like, the major antagonist three books running.”

“‘Antagonist’, eh? Using fancy words now because you’ve been readin’ all them books, huh?” Applejack said, with more than a hint of teasing in her voice.

Rainbow’s cheeks flushed, and she quickly added, “I mean, like, that’s what Twilight told me at least. All I know is that he was one wicked cool snake guy.”

Twilight and Applejack hid smiles of amusement beneath masks of calmness, though Applejack did it better than Twilight. Twilight’s tiny smile blossomed into a full-grown smirk, and then metamorphosed into a quiet snort. Applejack meanwhile maintained her composure perfectly.

She put a hoof to her chin, tapping it thoughtfully. “Hmm, Adji, no I don’t think I remember that guy.”

“Adhi,” Rainbow snapped.



Applejack removed her hat in one quick motion and scratched her head, squinting as she looked up at the sky. “Nope,” she finally said, looking back at Rainbow, “t’ain’ ringin’ any bells.”

Rainbow groaned. “He’s only, like, the coolest villain that Daring Do ever fought. I mean, he’s a snake, AJ! A giant freaking snake!”

“Oh, well that does sound cool,” Applejack said. “This Adgi fella sounds like a right pain in the flanks.”

Rainbow bit her tongue and clenched her eyes shut, practically shaking.

Twilight drew her attention away from the two mares and decided to answer her self-imposed question. Okay, here’s everything we know. One: Trixie has been sending me letters for almost a year, according to the timespan between when she sent the first letter, and the most recent letter. Two: she’s on a mission of some kind. Three: she was sent on that mission presumably by Nadir, who wouldn’t tell me exactly what that mission was. Four: according to Nadir, she’s trying to become a god, but I don’t know the details, and, apparently, neither does Trixie, which I guess is good... or something. Five: Trixie went to Hoofington next, which is why we’re going there now. Six: I’ve somehow managed to drag my friends into following me on this potentially wild goose chase. Seven: I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going outside of a vague North. Eight: I’m leading my friends on what could possibly be a very dangerous journey blindly. Nine: I can’t even decide if I should tell them about Trixie. Her head sunk lower and lower as she thought about the danger she may have unwittingly put her friends in. But they wanted to come. Practically forced me to let them come. They don’t even know what they’re possibly getting into though. I don’t even know what we’re possibly getting into. Twilight glanced up and saw Rarity and Spike walking side-by-side, chatting away happily, and Applejack and Rainbow Dash still embroiled in their “debate”. Ten: I’m a terrible friend.

In that moment, Twilight felt supremely alone. Despite her friends’ physical proximity, it felt like she was a million miles from anywhere. The weight of the world rested on her shoulders.

“...And so Rainbow Dash comes shooting out of the house like she just saw a ghost, right?” Spike said, using his hand to imitate a pegasus swooping into the sky.

“Why would she do that?” Rarity asked, cocking her head to the side.

Spike chuckled, “That’s the funny thing. See, Twilight had gotten a letter earlier that morning from Trixie, and then another one that the mailpony had given to me to give to her.” Rarity nodded along. “So when we read the letters, it was pretty obvious that these weren’t the first she had sent, but for some reason Twilight had never gotten any others. Twilight was really confused and so we went to the post office to try and see what happened. When we finally got to the bottom of things, we found out that Rainbow Dash had managed to intercept all the letters Trixie had sent, except for the two Twilight got that morning.” He held up his hand indicating he wasn’t finished yet. “But the really crazy thing is how Rainbow Dash tried to deny it when we asked her about the letters.”

Rarity’s brow furrowed. “So, Rainbow Dash was deliberately withholding this information from Twilight?” Spike nodded. “But, why?”

Spike opened his mouth to respond, but Rainbow Dash interrupted him.

“Hey, what are you guys talking about?” she asked. “I heard someone say my name.”

“I was just asking Spike what your reasoning was for lying to Twilight for all that time. That doesn’t seem like something somepony’s friend would do.”

This prompted Applejack to jump in the conversation too.

“Now hang on just a moment,” she said. “What’s all this about lying and such?” She looked up at Rainbow Dash. “They talkin’ about you, Dash? What’d you lie about this time?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Rainbow Dash said, waving her hooves frantically. “When did this turn into ‘let’s all blame Rainbow Dash’?”

“Ain’t nobody blaming you, sugarcube, calm down. I’m just tryin’ to figure out what’s going on. We’ll save the blamin’ and hoof pointin’ for later.”

Twilight cleared her throat, drawing the others’ attention. “Perhaps it’s best if I explain everything. Besides, you girls did ask about the letters earlier, but we never got around to discussing them.”

“That sounds like a mighty fine idea,” Applejack said. “Shoot, Twi.”

“Yes, dear, I would like to have this whole letter business cleared up before the journey gets too out of hand.”

Spike waved his hand over the area in front of them. “I guess that means you have the floor, Twilight.”

Twilight let out a soft sigh. “Hmm, maybe it’ll be best if I start from the beginning.” She produced one of the letters from Trixie from her saddlebag and looked down at it, opening the envelope and pulling the letter itself out slowly. “This is the letter I received from Trixie yesterday morning,” she explained. “Here, perhaps you girls should read it for yourselves.”

Soft, blueish light surrounded the letter as Rarity pulled the letter between her and Applejack so both of them could read it.

In unison, their eyes widened and softened as they read down the letter, stopping occasionally to re-read a certain part, or point something out. By the time they had finished, Rarity was thoroughly confused, even re-reading the letter, but Applejack had a look of understanding on her face, softened features and a hint of a smile.

Rarity shook her head. “I don’t understand, what’s all this about the Crystal Mountains and the brooch? Why would she send you this letter?”

“That’s what I was wondering too,” Twilight answered. “And that’s why I knew I had to find the other letters.”

“And did you?”

In answer, Twilight produced a handful more letter from her bag and then carefully placed them back inside. “Rainbow Dash had them,” she explained.

Rarity’s lip curled into a frown. “You hid these from Twilight?”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, quickly answering, “Well, yeah, but I thought I was doing her a favor. You shoulda seen some of the first letters. She was a real jerk.”

“Still, dear, does it not seem a tad disingenuous to hide these from your friend?”

Rainbow cocked her head to the side.


Rainbow shrugged.


“Well, like, I guess maybe a little dishonest,” Rainbow said slowly. Then added quickly, “But it was only because I thought it was the right thing to do. I mean, who wants to read letters from some jerk who only blames you for ruining her life?”

Rarity made to reprimand Rainbow Dash again, but Applejack stopped her, holding out a hoof, saying, “Her heart was in the right place, Rare, even if her mind wasn’t. You can’t blame her for doing something she thought was right. ‘Sides, it’s not like she destroyed the letters or anything.”

“Well, not all of them,” Rainbow Dash muttered under her breath.

“Anyway, that’s neither here nor there,” Applejack continued. “What matters now is finding out what exactly Trixie is after and why we’re trying to find her.”

“She might be in grave danger,” Twilight said. Applejack seemed to understand, but Rarity furrowed her brow in confusion. “I don’t know that for sure, but she sounds like she’s on a quest to defeat some kind of monster or something, the way she talks about it.” Twilight bit her lip. “I can’t help but feel like this is my fault. She’s doing this to prove she’s better than me, but she might get herself killed in the process, and I can’t let that happen.”

“So now you’re followin’ the letters right back to where she sent them from in the hopes of finding out where she is now.” Applejack stated more than asked. She grinned. “Sounds like a plan to me.”

Twilight gave a short nod. “Yes, that was my plan. I had hoped not to drag you girls into it, at least not past Emerald Falls, but—”

“Nonsense, dear, we’d help you no matter what. That’s what friends are for, are they not?” Rarity said, giving a demure smile.

Applejack smiled, adding, “Yep, even if it’s to help that uppity showmare.” Handing the letter back to Twilight, she said, “Well, now that we got all that sorted out, I guess we best hurry ourselves along to Hoofington.”

“Hang on a sec,” Rainbow Dash said suddenly. “I just had an idea. Why is that we don’t just read all the letters now and figure out where Trixie went, y’know, instead of all this wandering around?”

“Hey, that’s not a bad idea,” Spike agreed. He looked over to Twilight. “Yeah, how come we’re not doing that?”

Twilight tapped a hoof to her chin, “Hm, I suppose that is a possibility, but we already know that Trixie doesn’t say exactly where she’s going because we have her most recent letter, and that doesn’t say where her destination is, right? Plus, by following her path, we’re more likely to figure out what she’s doing, and find clues about where she’s going along the way. If we read all the letters at once, we could easily miss something about a specific place if we don’t go to that place. It’d be like only reading the last chapter of a book to find out the ending, or conducting an experiment but only observing the end result. You’d miss out on all the stuff in the middle that helps you understand why the ending is the way it is.”

“Y’know, for once, I actually understand what you mean, Twilight,” Rainbow Dash said unexpectedly,. “I mean, sure, we’d get to see Daring Do beat the heck the outta that manticore, but then we’d miss all the cool puzzle-solving and that part where she jumps over the sea of snakes.” Everyone but Twilight gave Rainbow raised eyebrows in response. “Ugh, I’m talking about The Monkey’s Paw, duh.”

Twilight nodded. “Right, and Daring would’ve never even have known to find that manticore if she hadn’t explored that underwater temple and found those carvings.”

“Oh man, that part was awesome! Then right after that, she has to escape the mermares and—”

“I think we get the point, Rainbow,” Applejack cut in. She turned to Twilight. “Okay, so do we have the letter she sent right after she left Nadir’s hut? That might help us figure out what she did on her way to Hoofington, right?”

“If she even sent a letter then,” Spike said. “The best we can do is look at the dates and the origins of the letters to try and guess where she sent them from, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be of any use.”

“Perhaps not, but it’s still worth a go, isn’t it?” Rarity said, glancing over to Twilight.

They all looked to her for an answer, but she wasn’t sure what to tell them. Her heart told her to tell them that everything would work out, but her mind told her that that might not be the case. She bit her lip, then said, “Yes, it’s worth a shot. Let’s see what Trixie has to say about her journey to Hoofington.”

Unfastening the clasp on her saddlebag, she pulled a pile of letters out and began searching through them. Envelope after envelope flashed by as she worked her way through the pile, finally stopping on a pair of letters. She slipped the remainder into her bags and then held the two in her magic field up, saying, “There’s two here from Hoofington. One was sent a week after the other.”

“Well go on, read the first one then,” Rarity said eagerly.

Twilight carefully sliced open the top of the letter and removed the contents. Along with a folded piece of paper, a small silver coin also popped out. Etched on it, was a depiction of a pony who looked entirely normal, save the fish tail that sprouted from its rear, where its back legs should’ve been. Deciding to ignore the coin for now, Twilight instead turned her attention to the letter.

Upon unfolding the letter, she immediately noticed that it was much shorter than the others. Only one small passage was written in the middle of the paper, followed by Trixie’s usual flowery signature.

Dear Twilight,

Just a friendly reminder, not everything is as it appears.

Trixie Lulamoon

Twilight flipped the letter over, looking for more, but the other side was blank. She even tried casting a spell of revealing on it, hoping that maybe there was some hidden message on it, but the letter remained stubbornly bare. Quickly, she opened the second letter and scanned it.

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

I’m beginning to think that I shouldn’t have sent you that coin. It may have bought me some food, or at the very least, some passage out of this town. I wish that I had never stopped here. I never really liked Hoofington, even when I was a filly. What am I telling you this for? It’s not like you’d care.

Anyway, I’m sending you this letter now to tell you that I’ve found out where I need to go next, but I won’t be able to leave for awhile. The master of the smithy has been kind to me, but I have to work for him to earn some money before I can leave. Don’t worry though, soon I’ll be back on track and on my way to defeating you. Every day that I spend here hammering away at shoes and farmer’s tools is just another day that I get stronger. I may not have the range of spells that I need yet, but my magic is getting stronger everyday.

Keep an eye on the horizon, the Great and Powerful Trixie will return one day, more powerful than ever.

Ever greater and more powerful,

Trixie Lulamoon

Well that didn’t really help explain much.

“What does it say, Twilight?” Applejack asked. “Is there anything useful?”

“I’m... not really sure,” Twilight answered slowly. “But I at least know that Trixie stayed in Hoofington for some time. I don’t know for how long though.”

“What about that coin?” Spike asked, pointing to the silver coin still floating in front of Twilight. “What’s that all about?”

Twilight shrugged. “She doesn’t say. The letter the coin was in only says, ‘Not everything is as it appears’.”

“That’s it? Like, nothing else... at all?” Rainbow Dash asked.

Twilight shook her head. “Nothing. I don’t get it either. It must be some kind of clue, or something, but what?”

“May I see it, dear?” Rarity asked, motioning towards the coin.

“Please, maybe you can tell us something about it,” Twilight said as she handed the coin to Rarity.

For a few moments, they waited for Rarity to examine the coin. She furrowed her brow and squinted as she slowly spun it around, carefully looking at it from every angle. Once she flipped it to the side with the mermare, her eyes seemed to light up.

“Ah, I’ve heard of these,” she said. “They say they’re given as tokens of gratitude by sea-dwelling ponies, but that’s just an old mare’s tale. I’ve seen a few fakes in my day, but this one—” she used her magic to try and bend the coin, unsuccessfully “—seems to be real. It’s truly remarkable that Trixie happened to find one.” She held the coin in her hoof, weighing it. “I wonder how it came into her possession?”

“She didn’t say,” Twilight replied. “The letter doesn’t mention anything about the coin except to say that she wished she had sold it instead of putting it in the envelope.”

“Mm, I can imagine it would’ve fetched quite a sum had she indeed sold it. I wonder why she mailed it away then?” Rarity handed the coin back to Twilight. “Perhaps it was meant as a sort of trophy?”

“Pff, that thing, a trophy?” Rainbow scoffed. “Please, couldn’t she have come up with something a little bigger, and more impressive? I got bigger trophies than that when I was just a stupid kid.”

“It ain’t the size of the thing that matters, Dash, it’s the size of the deed,” Applejack said as if she were admonishing a child. “She musta done somethin’ impressive to earn that, I reckon.”

“Yeah, but what?” Spike asked.

“Who knows?” Twilight, giving the coin one last look, slipped it, along with the two letters, back into her bags and then fastened them tightly. “Either way, we’ve wasted enough time sitting around talking about it. We should get moving before the sun starts to set.”

Rainbow Dash glanced up at the sky and noticed that the sun was well past its zenith and had begun making its way west, and in a few hours or so it would sink beneath the distant mountains, casting the land into darkness.

“Dang, I hadn’t realized it was so late,” she said. “I guess that whole thing with the chimaera took longer than I thought.”

“It certainly seems that way,” Twilight said. “At least we’re pretty close to Hoofington now. We should be there in an hour two.”

Spike raised an eyebrow. “How do you know that?”

“Because I’ve been this way before.”

“You have?”

“Once,” Twilight answered. She brought out Trixie’s brooch and stared into its depths, seeing herself reflected a thousand times in its surface. “I had to find something out.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Rainbow Dash asked, oblivious to Twilight’s pained look.

“Hush now, Rainbow,” Applejack said quietly. “There’s no need to go pryin’ into others' affairs.”

“No, it’s fine,” Twilight said, equally quietly. “I just wanted to find out if anything Trixie had said was the truth. Whether there was any grain of sincerity in her claims. There wasn’t,” she said, answering their unasked question. She flipped the brooch over and read the inscription on the back.

M. L.

“Not a single grain,” she whispered.

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