• Published 29th Jan 2012
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The Dresden Fillies: Strange Friends - psychicscubadiver



Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, accidentally travels to Equestria. What could go wrong?

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Chapter Five

Chapter Five

Written by: Psychicscubadiver
Edited by: Silentcarto

Disclaimer: I don’t own The Dresden Files or My Little Pony, that is Jim Butcher and Hasbro, respectively. This is a fanfiction only. Comments are appreciated, trolling is not. This takes place before season two in MLP and between books five and six in the Dresden Files.

The Great and Powerful Trixie was not happy. The silver-blue light of the thin crescent moon made the cool air seem even colder, but the chill wasn’t what bothered her. No, she had been on top of the world as she crept carefully past Ponyville, sneaking towards her new base of operations deep in the Everfree Forest. Everything had gone exactly according to plan, and she hadn’t heard any alarm since she strode unimpeded straight through the main gates of Canterlot itself. This scheme had been a stroke of genius. Not that any of her other ideas were anything less than brilliant, but this one had been especially good. She had crafted the plan perfectly and struck once both Princesses were gone on their little getaway. The foalish guards hadn’t even noticed anything had been stolen, and Trixie intended that it stay that way for as long as possible. She had even resisted teleporting, despite her pride in finally mastering the difficult skill, uncertain what effect the magic would have on her newly acquired artifacts.

Her bad mood stemmed from what she saw as she neared the edge of the brooding forest. She glowered at the tiny cottage on the edge of town, the home of that timid little pegasus that hung around with her most hated enemy. There was some sort of gathering inside and Trixie just knew that she would be there, Twilight Sparkle. Trixie had never loathed a pony as much as that show-stealing little twit. She’d had the gall to upstage Trixie during the biggest opportunity she’d ever had, a battle with the dreaded Ursa Minor. Trixie could have easily won, had Twilight not intervened and stolen all her glory.

Trixie grimaced at the memory. Life on the road had been hard ever since ponies started spreading stories about that night. They called Trixie a two-bit charlatan and booed her off every stage she tried. She’d come close to hanging up her hat and cape, but pride kept her going. Her frown twisted into a skull’s grin; now she had a plan for revenge, not just on Twilight Sparkle and her friends, but on all of the cruel villages that had mistreated her. She turned away, eager to finish her preparations. Let them have their parties; the Great and Powerful Trixie’s time would come. But the door suddenly swung open, and she had to dive into a bush to avoid being seen. She glared daggers at the carefree ponies forcing her to hide like some common thief. Then she saw her, the mare that was to blame for all of her troubles. Twilight Sparkle looked upset. Good; she deserved it and worse, but what Trixie saw next froze the blood in her veins. Twilight was accompanied by a member of the Royal guard. He looked much like any other guard, unremarkable and fixed in expression, but his mere presence indicated that something was clearly amiss.

How!? Trixie screamed mentally, how could they know where I was headed? She was frantic, almost hyperventilating, but a little voice in the back of her head suggested she study the situation more carefully. There was only one guard, and none of the ponies seemed to be aware of her as they made their goodbyes. Trixie thought carefully. Somepony must have discovered the theft and sent a guard to recruit the Princess’s precious protégé to help. Twilight may have been an annoying upstart, but Trixie couldn’t deny that her abilities might make it difficult to evade capture. She watched her enemies intently. The other ponies left, each headed to her own home, leaving Twilight and the guard alone. Trixie followed them as stealthily as she could, sneaking from patch to patch of cover. She was too far away to see them clearly, but neither pony made an effort to conceal themselves.

Twilight and her escort talked as they hiked back to Ponyville. Trixie wasn’t close enough to hear what was being said, but she could tell from her tone of voice that Twilight was angry with the guard. Not that it mattered; the continued sight of her most hated rival had slowly kindled a fire in her. A new thought unfolded in her mind. She would make a dramatic entrance, quickly incapacitating the foalish sentry, and deliver her challenge to Twilight. They would duel using magic both deadly and clever, and Trixie would prove herself superior. Finally, all of Equestria would have to acknowledge her as the greatest magician in the land.

The quiet voice in her mind whispered again, cooling her temper and giving more suggestions. Hints and possibilities swirled like mist in her mind, coalescing into a solid strategy. She would wait. Her mission wasn’t over yet and she couldn’t afford even the slightest risk given what she had taken. Subtlety was the most important thing for now; grand entrances and flashy magic would have to wait until later. However, Twilight needed to be cut off from the Princesses and contained. Luckily, Trixie had been studying everything she could about Twilight Sparkle and her friends. She knew the perfect weakness to exploit. She stopped watching the odd pair in the distance and concentrated. Her teleportation had improved remarkably under her most recent teacher, and she would simply have to take the risk to her precious cargo. As the magic flowed through her, shifting her elsewhere, her face twisted into an expression that could only technically be defined as a smile. It combined all the warmth of a shark’s bloodthirsty grin with the mercy of a slaughterhouse, and it blazed with the satisfaction of vengeance close at hoof.

………

Spike waited impatiently by the library’s top-floor window. Twilight had promised she’d be back in a few hours, but it was already night, and he was getting sleepy. He sighed as he glanced over his handiwork. The library was squeaky clean. He’d started cleaning once his regular chores were done, but he’d finished that more than an hour ago and had nothing else to do. Owlowiscious had gone off to hunt, leaving Spike bored and alone. He’d tried to read one of his favorite sci-fi stories to pass the time, but he just couldn’t focus on it. Fictional space creatures couldn’t compete with the thought of a real one so close at hand.

I wonder what the alien looks like? Twilight said he was tall. Does he have a raygun? That would be so cool! Spike lost himself in daydreams of flying in an awesome spaceship with their new extra-esquestrial friend. So much so, that he didn’t even notice the pony in the yard until she coughed delicately. He jumped, startled, and was helplessly drawn to a pair of exceedingly beautiful, deep blue eyes.

“Rarity?” He cried, his voice cracking slightly. He glanced around nervously, he didn’t see anypony else, but there was no sense taking chances. “I thought you were with Twilight and the others. You know, about our new friend.”

“I know, but I left early. There is something I wanted to … confess to you.” She shuffled her hooves nervously and blushed. Spike’s heart almost stopped. He quickly pinched himself to be sure he wasn’t dreaming. It hurt. This was actually happening. Rarity stared at him, with a hopeful smile. “Would you come down here? A lady doesn’t yell her feelings to the world.” She blushed again, deeper this time.

“Of course!” Spike nearly tripped over his own tail in his hurry to get down the stairs and outside the library. A quick thought made him pause before he opened the door. He grabbed a flower from a nearby vase and tried to slick his spines back. He took a second to compose himself and then opened the door. Rarity was only a few feet away. She looked absolutely stunning, her pale coat seeming to glow in the faint moonlight. It took every ounce to willpower Spike possessed to keep himself from drooling as she turned those mesmerizing eyes on him.

He held out the flower and gave a small bow. “For you, milady”

Rarity laughed softly, “Oh, you are quite the gentlecolt, aren’t you, Spike?” He blushed but didn’t look away. She gazed lovingly at the flower and levitated it behind one ear.

“Come closer, Spike,” she said. “I have something important to tell you.” Spike’s heart thumped in his chest as he leaned closer. She was so very beautiful; he was the luckiest dragon in the world right now. She bent her head until her mouth was next to his ear and paused for a long moment. He could feel her breath on the back of his neck as she began to speak.

“You are a hopeless dolt.”

Spike didn’t even have time to react before the sleep spell she had been holding took effect. He sank bonelessly to the ground, unconscious before he even hit the dirt. Rarity gave a small, arrogant laugh, and levitated him through the open door. She followed, and once inside, let the illusion drop.

The Great and Powerful Trixie smirked at her motionless prey. He was fast asleep, and would be for several more hours. She took the flower out from behind her ear and causally crushed it underhoof. This was the method the voice had suggested to contain and control Twilight. Her dragon assistant not only magically teleported her letters to Princess Celestia, but was also the closest thing she had to a little brother.

Even Trixie had to admit that subtlety wasn’t her strong suit. Normally, she’d have forced her way into the library and taken Spike by sheer magical might alone. But such a strategy would attract unwanted attention. She still needed time to complete her mission. At that thought she anxiously checked her saddlebags. The precious contents were all there without a scratch on them. That was a relief. She returned to her mental gloating, wishing fervently for an audience other than the quiet voice.

Ever since Twilight had shouted Spike’s love for Rarity in a dressing room after one of Photo Finish’s shows, it had become a common piece of gossip. It was inevitable that such an interesting bit of news would come to Trixie, and she had used it fully to her advantage. Now, there was only one more thing to do before she left with her new hostage.

The voice urged her to leave now and let Twilight wonder where her assistant had gone. Trixie usually heeded its quiet council, but this time she had other plans in mind. She began to pen a quick note, one that would fill Twilight with despair and further restrict her actions. Trixie would send another note to bait the trap when she was ready. Until then, let Twilight worry and fear for her precious friend’s safety. The voice reminded her that its way would give them more time, but she wanted Twilight to suffer. Trixie finished with a flourish and left the scroll on the desk. She felt a fit of laughter bubble up as she thought of the anguish it would cause her hated nemesis.

Laugh manically later, the voice murmured, escape with the dragonling for now.

Trixie sighed but dutifully began the spell to teleport herself and her hostage away. There was a flash of magic, and the library was empty.

………………………..

“What do you mean, don’t worry about it?!” Was she mental?

“I said exactly what I meant.” Twilight declared. She turned backed to glare at me as we walked. “Now be quiet, we’re almost to Ponyville.” I drew close to her.

“Fine,” I whispered, “But why the hell not? You’ve got some strange unicorn, one skilled enough to teleport, following you, and you don’t think it’s a problem? In Chicago, that’s a good way to get dead in a hurry.”

Twilight snorted, “In case you didn’t notice, this isn’t Chicago. I don’t know who that pony was, but things like murder just don’t happen in Equestria. You said they weren’t close to us?”

“No, but-”

“Then we shouldn’t have to worry.” She interrupted. “If they weren’t close, they couldn’t see that your mouth didn’t match your speech, so we’re fine. Even if they overheard us, our conversation wouldn’t give them any clues about your true nature. It’s not like anypony else knows what a human is. We stick to the plan, keep you hidden and wait for the Princess. She can find a safe way back to your home, and everything will go back to normal.”

I ground my teeth in frustration; she wasn’t getting it. “Just one more thing and I’ll shut up. What if that pony wasn’t following us because of me? Until they teleported, you had no idea they were even there. Maybe they were watching you.” I paused for dramatic effect. “And maybe this isn’t the first time.”

Twilight opened her mouth to respond, but shut it quickly. She thought for a moment more before her eyes narrowed, and she spoke. “You are just a ray of cheerful sunshine, aren’t you?” I suppressed a laugh, and she sighed, “Just stay quiet.” She’d gotten the message, so I complied. Maybe, our stalker was as harmless as she hoped. But my gut said otherwise, and I’d learned to trust its opinion. I shouldn’t have given Twilight my word not to use magic. I’d felt safe doing it at the time, but in hindsight it was easily the dumbest thing I’d done since I had arrived. Well, except the whole ‘Cyclone from Hell’ thing. That took first place, but this was a damned close second. I would just have to soldier on until I could get Twilight to release me from my stupid impulse.

As we entered Ponyville, I tried to keep a careful eye out. Not just for suspicious ponies (you know your life is weird when you can use that phrase seriously), but because the town itself was fascinating. Most of the buildings were built in the old-town Bavarian style, complete with overhanging upper stories and brightly stained shutters. Most had thatched roofs, which seemed odd, given that a few of the other buildings had actual shingles. I wondered briefly if it was a financial choice or tourist attraction. The latter seemed more likely. All of the ponies I saw on the street looked prosperous, and the town was so clean and quaint it practically screamed ‘photo op’. There were a few exceptions to the old school architecture though. We passed more than a few merchant’s tents, and a multistoried meeting hall sat proudly in the distance. One business was called ‘Sugarcube Corner’, and just looking at it made my blood sugar spike. It was a bakery made to look like a gingerbread house thick with frosting, but the sweets-based architecture didn’t stop there. There were candy cane posts on the porch, and a pair of stacked cupcakes gave it a second and third floor. It didn’t surprise me in the least to see Pinkie Pie open one of the cupcake’s windows and wave wildly at us. She was leaning way too far out for comfort, but Twilight just smiled and waved back. I wanted to, but the illusion, unfortunately, only copied foot movements. If I tried waving one of those I wouldn’t just look foolish, I’d also trip and expose my eldritch ass for all of Ponyville to see.

The ponies matched the scenery for the most part, looking very serene and picturesque, almost like they belonged in a pastoral landscape. One painted by a colorblind artist. I’d had one of those giant boxes of crayons as a kid, but these ponies beat it to hell in terms of color. There were more shades and combinations than I could count. To make it worse most of them bordered on cartoonish brightness; my eyes hurt just looking at them. The street wasn’t crowded, but there were plenty of equines out enjoying the evening. I watched them with interest. Applejack had told me true, there appeared to be at least as many unicorns as pegasi or regular ponies. All of them seemed to travel mostly in pairs or groups; herd instinct, I supposed, though there were a few loners. The groups were fairly evenly mixed in race. There didn’t seem to be any hierarchy or caste system. I nodded approvingly. I doubt humans could have done the same if that many of us were magical.

Even as I watched them, most of the ponies were eying me as well. They didn’t say anything, but I could tell that having a Royal guard in town was outside the norm. My illusion served me well while I took a look at everything. Its head stayed right on course, looking in the direction I was walking, allowing me to look back at any of the bystanders without them knowing it. I could get used to that. Most of the stares were curious, some nervous, but none were suspicious or watchful. I couldn’t see any pony following us, and I didn’t feel it either. Whoever our mystery friend was, they seemed to have taken the rest of the night off.

“Here we are.” Twilight said. “Home, sweet home.” I stopped watching the few ponies still in sight and turned to look ahead. As cartoonish as it may have looked, I had to do a double take. Twilight didn’t just live in what appeared to be library. She lived in a library in a tree. Not a tree house. Not a house built to look like a tree. It was an actual hollowed-out tree that was somehow still alive, if the leafy canopy was any clue. Either Equestrian trees were vastly different from their Terran counterparts, or a lot of time and magic had gone into making this place. It was an impressive piece of spell-craft, but the only thing I could think of was how big a fire hazard the whole thing was. Especially if I was there. Maybe I am something of a pyromaniac, because I could easily imagine the place going up in flames.

“We’re here, Spike!” Twilight called as we entered. “Spike?” Hmm, no threshold. I couldn’t sense even a slight barrier to my passing. Odd, but I suppose magic doesn’t work the same everywhere. Of course, I hadn’t seen anything yet that made one necessary; there weren’t any creatures of the night waiting to strike helpless ponies in their sleep, it seemed. “Spike?” Twilight’s concerned tone brought me back to the present. The little mare was looking around with an expression of confusion that was starting to turn into worry.

“Maybe he fell asleep.” I yawned, “I know that’s what I’m in the mood for.” I had other suspicions, but I dismissed them. This isn’t Chicago, I reminded myself sternly

Twilight nodded. “You’re probably right. I’ll go get him. He was so excited to meet you; I don’t think he’d forgive me if I just let him sleep.” She went upstairs, but I chose not to follow. The ceiling down here was just barely tall enough; I didn’t want to squeeze up that stairwell if I didn’t have to.

I took the time to examine the room. It was a small library, but books lined the shelves everywhere, with hardly a spare inch left empty. I examined a few of the books. Some were written in English (though how we shared the language I couldn’t even begin to fathom) but other, mostly older, books were instead written in a strange series of pictographs. Before I could delve too deeply into this linguistic mystery, though, I noticed an open scroll, lying on the room’s main desk. Spike, I think that was his name, must have gone somewhere and left a note.

I picked up the note and read. It was short, but the bottom had dropped out of my stomach by the time I was done. Maybe my instincts hadn’t been wrong after all. Twilight came back down a moment later shaking her head. “I couldn’t find Spike upstairs, but where could he have gone?”

I offered her the scroll, “You may want to read this.”
It read as follows

Hello, Twilight Sparkle. You have probably noticed that your young assistant is missing. I have taken him and am holding him to ensure you follow my demands, the most important of which is that you do not attempt to contact the Princess in any way. I will know if you do so, and Spike will suffer for it. Second, the Royal guard accompanying you must stay here in Ponyville and not report to any authority. Third and lastly, keep this a secret from your friends. Explain it however you want, but they may not know what has happened. You will wait for my next letter for further instructions. It will arrive in a few days, and, so long as you have done what I said, Spike will be returned mostly unharmed. Disobey even one of these commands, and I will hurt him in ways you cannot even imagine.

Insincerely yours,

The signature was a flourished letter. It was hard to make out, but I think it was a T. I opened my mouth to say I told you so, but my survival instincts (weak though they may be) throttled it before a word left my mouth.

I thought she’d been angry before, but that emotion was a guttering candle compared to the fire she burned with now. Her eyes flashed neon white and her hair stood on end as she read. When she finished, the letter burst into flames she began to levitate as she growled in rage. The entire damn library shook with her fury as she let out a wordless scream.

Ye gods and little fishes. She had more power than I’d thought. Then, just as quickly as it started, her eyes dimmed, the library stopped shaking and she fell to the floor in a defeated slump. And if her posture tugged at my heartstrings, the next words just about tore them out.

“Oh Spike, I-I’m so sorry.” She choked back a sob and every protective instinct I ever had reared its head. A calmer part of my mind considered her reaction and his size, and drew an unpleasant conclusion.

“Twilight?” She turned toward me, barely lifting her face from her hooves. “How old is Spike?” She shook, and her eyes filled with tears. She started crying; not the movie perfect tears that make sadness look beautiful and noble. No, in real life, pain and loss are never pretty.

I thought for a moment that she wouldn’t answer, but she steeled herself and managed to stop. Her voice, though, was still shaky. “He’s just … just a baby dragon. I still remember the day he hatched, the day we took him home.” She stopped, and after a moment whispered, “He’s my baby brother.”

That tore it. I felt my outrage growing with every word. It didn’t matter that this wasn’t my world. It didn’t matter that this wasn’t my enemy. I was making it my fight; no one and nothing harms children on my watch. I had more than a few scars from teaching that to the monsters of Chicago. I wouldn’t mind a few more if it meant spreading the word. I kept the anger under control, though, putting it at a low simmer in the back of my mind. As much as my wrath would help later, Twilight needed something different right now.

“Normally my retainer is pretty steep, but I think I can make an exception here.” I gave her a wry smile and put a hand on her shoulder. “We’ll get him back. I promise you that.” She blinked away an unshed tear and locked eyes with me. I met those eyes without fear. She studied my face, and I watched as her expression changed. Sadness, guilt, anger, and suspicion, flashed across her face until it finally settled on a look of hope and determination.

Her grin was still sad, but she no longer looked hopeless. “You’re right. We will get him back.” Her voice dropped to a quiet that would have done Fluttershy proud, and I just barely heard her add, “And thank you.”

I pretended not to notice and helped her back to her hooves. She rose quickly and began pace. “Okay, what do we know and what can we do about it? One, you were right; we were being followed by somepony that knows me well and bears a grudge. Two, the unicorn responsible is powerful or clever enough to kidnap…” Her voice shook a little, but she pushed past it. Good girl. “To kidnap Spike without a struggle. Three, they don’t want anypony else to know about them for a few days. Four,” her voice lowered into a threatening growl, “they’re arrogant enough to think they can actually get away with this.” She stopped pacing and thought for a moment. “I might know who did it, but I can’t figure out why.”

I raised an eyebrow. “You solved it that quickly? If you’ve got an enemy, why didn’t you worry about being followed?”

Twilight shook her head. “She’s not really an enemy, but she is the only unicorn I know who might be holding a grudge.” I grunted inquisitively, and she obliged. “There was a stage magician who called herself the Great and Powerful Trixie. She’s talented, but not nearly as much as she thinks. She claimed she could vanquish an Ursa Major, so a pair of her fans tried to find one so she could prove it in front of the town. Luckily, they only woke up an Ursa Minor, but that was still too much for her. I had to step in to save the town. After that, the story spread that she was a fraud, and last I heard she’d given up her routine.”

Twilight Sparkle had fought a monster with magic and saved her town. Somehow, that sounded familiar. I stroked my chin and mused. “Holy villainous clichés, Batman. We’ve got an angry unicorn, convinced that you’ve ruined her life, kidnapping a loved one for revenge. I think I can fill in the rest for you.”

She looked dubious, but this was something I had experience with. “If she quit a while ago, she’s had time to follow you, learn everything she can, and plan her revenge. But tonight she sees you with a Royal Guard. She panics, thinks you know about her. So she grabs Spike. That serves dual purposes. It buys her more time. Since this caught her by surprise, she probably isn’t ready yet. Holding him also baits the trap; she’ll set up her plan, and then send you that second note. She’ll probably order you to come alone. If you play by her rules, she knifes you in the back, and if you don’t, she pulls a tactical retreat with Spike still hostage. Not a half-bad plan.”

“Great. So what do we do?”

I bared my teeth like a wolf. “Simple, we do a quick smash and grab. She needs time, so we don’t give her any. We follow now and catch her unprepared.”

Twilight snorted. “How? We can check to see if anypony saw anything, but she probably teleported away. There’s not going to be a trial to follow.”

I gave a quick, slightly maniacal laugh. “I never told you what I do for a living, did I?” She shook her head slowly and I grinned. “I’m a private investigator; I find things for a living. Does Spike live here?”

The change in topic confused her, but Twilight played along. “Yes, does that matter?”

I nodded and pulled out my simple bar crystal. “I need something that was part of him. A claw or scale or tooth. The more recently he lost it, the better.”

“I’ll check.” Her expression said I was crazy but to her credit she went upstairs to look. She was learning. I wandered into the kitchen and found a container of kitchen salt. I grabbed the whole thing and started making a circle in the middle of the library floor. Twilight came back downstairs about halfway through.

“What are you doing?” She asked with the tired patience of a teacher who has an especially dull student.

I ignored her tone and answered without stopping my work. “I’m making a circle, duh.” I glanced up and grinned at her, but she didn’t laugh. Some people. I went back to pouring salt.

Anger danced in her eyes, but her voice was steady. “I can see that, but I want to know why you’re making a circle. And why you need to pour salt on my clean floor to make it.”

“Do you have something of Spike’s?” I finished the circle and started smoothing its curves.

Twilight sighed and held a small purple scale between us. “I found that in his bed, so he must have shed it last night. Will that work for whatever you’re planning?” I nodded and reached out to take it, but she quickly moved it away. “You don’t get it until you tell me how all of this nonsense helps me get Spike back.”

I scowled, but she kept that scale floating tantalizingly just out of reach. It was my turn to sigh. “So much for the dramatic reveal. Pro-tip: if you want hang out with wizards, don’t ruin the whole mystic knowledge shtick.” I gave a smile at her confused expression, and switched to lecture mode.

“You need to understand two concepts from my brand of magic. First, this scale was a small part of Spike. Magically speaking, it’s still a part of him. They may be separated physically, but in a mystic sense they’re still connected, for a while anyway. With a spell, I can sense that connection and use this scale to lead us to Spike.”

Twilight nodded studiously, her anger fading in the thrill of learning. “Interesting. That makes sense, but what about the circle?”

“I was getting to that.” I replied peevishly. “The second concept is a magic circle. A circle, once constructed and activated by will, acts as a barrier to magical energy. It can be used for defense against a mystic attack or to screen out background magic while constructing a spell. In this case I’m going use it while I put together the tracking spell. Now, the scale if you would be so kind?” The last sentence practically dripped sarcasm but she didn’t seem to notice.

“Why use salt?”

This curious student crap was getting old fast. “Salt is pretty good at conducting magic and it’s easy to make a circle with. Now, hand over the scale unless you want to spend all night talking instead of rescuing.” She blinked, remembering what was at stake, and blushed slightly as she gave me the tiny focus.

I tucked it into a pocket. “I’ll stay here and work on the spell, but first, I need your permission.”

“For what?” came her confused reply.

I resisted rolling my eyes. “To use my magic, remember? That oath is still binding, and I’m not any use without my power.”

“Oh right, that.” She coughed once and composed herself, becoming formal. “I do so release you from your promise. Thank you for giving it, though.”

“De nada,” I said, but having access to my power again was a real relief. Gun or no, a wizard is damned near helpless in a fight without his magic. I turned back to her, “Gather whoever you want on the rescue, but whatever you do, be quick and be careful. We can’t waste time, or let Trixie know we’re coming.”

Twilight smiled with renewed confidence. “Don’t worry, Mr. Dresden. I’ll be back in thirty minutes or my name’s not Twilight Sparkle!” Her horn gave a flash that would have put a searchlight to shame, and she disappeared with only a soft fizzle to mark her departure. I had a weird feeling as she teleported, but I couldn’t say why. Something didn’t seem right. I shrugged it off as a case of nerves, and got to work.

The circle was just big enough to hold me, sitting cross-legged. I touched the line of salt and willed the circle to close. It rose instantly, cutting me off from the surging power that filled this world. Trying a subtle spell like this in the middle of all that magic would have been like trying to fly a kite in a tornado. In my circle, there was nothing, but the steady thrum of my own power.

I took out Spike’s scale and examined it. It was strong and thick, reminding me of turtle shell more than any scale I’d ever seen. I flicked it lightly and grunted in approval as it resisted the force easily. The stronger the material, the more magic I could pump through it and the stronger the spell would be. Usually, at least. I’d never worked with dragon scale before, so I didn’t know its capabilities; I’d have to start out slow and build up power in increments. The scale gave me trouble for a minute, but I had just enough string to tie into onto the crystal. I began to mumble in quasi-latin and reached for my magic. The crystal swung like a pendulum as I formed my spell. It needed to be strong, long-lasting and work over long distances, but still be sensitive enough work at close range too. It was a challenge, but I had plenty of magic and an ocean of experience. I finished in three or four minutes. I relaxed and eyed the crystal; it spun aimlessly, weighed down by the scale at one end. I reached out and broke the circle, letting the spell rush out into the real world. This was the moment of truth; if Spike was out of range or heavily shrouded, the spell would be useless and I’d have to start over.

But the crystal stopped spinning only a moment after the barrier fell. The weighted tip swung sharply in one direction and stayed fixed, glowing softly. I looked out the window, careful to stay out of sight, and saw that it pointed the way we had come. Toward Fluttershy’s cottage and the dark forest that lay beyond it. I grinned, staring into the black distance. Trixie had no idea the trouble she’d gotten herself into.

Of course, I thought, I’m fighting an unknown enemy on her own turf, so who’s to say the same isn’t true for me? The night had no answer, but all the same I felt a dull chill that only grew worse as I waited.



Author’s Note: More plot than comedy this time, but 100% more Trixie. Thanks and major kudos once more to my editor, Silentcarto.

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