A Turn of Face
Chapter 1: A Mix Up
The poor and decimated Trixie trotted down Manehatten’s streets. They were dirty and crowded, but Trixie was too tired to care. Her hooves had taken her from place to place after the incident in Ponyville. She tried desperately to wow crowds the way she once did, but came up short time after time. She was pathetic. She barely had enough bits to her name to survive, let alone rebuild her caravan.
She had long since stopped holding a grudge against the ponies that ran her out of Ponyville. She knew it was her boasting that brought this cruel fate upon herself. Still there was one thing she couldn’t forget, the magic the lavender unicorn wielded. If Trixie had that kind of magic, she could wow the crowds once again. That magical ability that was unparalleled to all, except the princesses of course, and Trixie wanted it.
Outside of a miracle however, Trixie would be left as she was, a washed up, has been showmare. She trudged down the street in solemn silence, not caring where she was going. Her mind was on the magic and attention she craved.
“Hey, watch where you’re going!” shouted a pony she knocked over.
The magician didn’t respond. Instead, she kept walking down the street, and would have kept going, had it not been for a humble bookshop owner.
“Miss, why so glum?” he asked as she walked by. He had a dark coat and a blue mane. A set of books converged on his flank, forming his cutie mark.
“Trixie is tired,” Trixie said glumly. “She once wowed the crowds with her magic, but now she is but a washed up showmare.”
The storeowner stopped her from continuing her gloomy walk down the street. “Miss, I haven't seen anyone as sad as you in a long time. It would be my pleasure to let you in my shop until this awful storm passes over.”
“What storm,” Trixie began, when a raindrop landed on her back. She sighed, and looked up to see several pegasi pushing a large group of stormclouds over Manehatten. “Trixie would be delighted to take you up on your offer.”
The shopkeeper ushered her into his store. It was filled with books of all shapes and sizes, placed neatly on several bookcases. “Make yourself comfortable, that storm looks like it will be here for a while,” he said.
Trixie sat down onto a small couch. “Excuse me sir,” she said.
“What is it Trixie?”
“Why did you let me come in?”
“Because you seemed down on your luck. That, and it was the right thing to do,” he said. “If you want, you can read some of the books. I’ll put them back when you’re done. In the meanwhile, I’ll be making some tea in the back. Would you like some?”
“Yes,” Trixie said, eagerly. Her mouth began to water at the very mention of tea.
“Wonderful! Just make yourself at home then," said the owner, as he walked into the back of the store.
Trixie hadn’t read a book in a long time. She picked up a random book from a shelf and began to read. The tile proclaimed, "Making Bits the Easy Way". She was about halfway through the first chapter, when the shopkeeper returned with two cups of tea.
“There you go,” he said. Trixie greedily snagged a cup from his hoof, and gulped it down. The taste was exquisite.
“Whoa, slow down there,” the shopkeeper said, before gingerly sipping his own tea; “You really must be thirsty!”
“Trixie hasn’t had the luxury of freshly brewed tea in quite a long time. She hasn’t had a good beverage in the longest time either.”
“Well, I’m glad to have filled that need,” said the storekeeper.
The showmare was about halfway through her first cup, when she was hit with a sudden realization. “Trixie has just realized, she hasn’t asked your name,” Trixie said, finishing her tea.
“Really? I guess your right. My name is Bibliophile,” said the bookshop owner, taking the cup from Trixie.
Trixie raised an eyebrow.
“No, no, no, not fillyphile, Bibliophile. It means, I like books,” said the shopkeeper, defensively. His body language indicated he had this conversation before.
“Well mister Bibliophile, it is a pleasure to be your guest. Trixie was wondering however, if you had some spell books she could look at. She needs new spells for her act.”
“Well I do have a couple, but they’re mostly beginner level spell books,” said the storeowner.
“That’s fine,” said Trixie. “If Trixie finds just one good spell, it would be worth it.”
“Okay then, the spell books are over there,” said Bibliophile, pointing a hoof at a small bookshelf. It was pitiful when compared with the other bookshelves. “If you need anything else, just let me know. Okay?”
“Trixie understands perfectly,” said Trixie, pulling a couple books off the shelf. “She will be sure to tell you if she needs assistance.” Trixie then began digging through the spell books, hoping to find anything that could revive her performance.
Trixie couldn’t believe it. Hours of digging through spell book after spell book yielded absolutely no results. Bibliophile had been patiently manning the storefront, asking the occasional question. They were pretty basic stuff like, "Why do you speak in third person". Trixie was more than fine with answering them, but her increasing failures were making her agitated. Finally, she snapped.
“That’s it,” Trixie yelled, throwing away another spell book. “Trixie has had it. She admits it. She’s washed up. A has been. Nopony cares anymore,” Trixie said as she burst into tears.
Bibliophile stood shocked, watching as Trixie began to bawl. He had no clue what to do, but decided to hold the sobbing mare. “Come on Trixie,” he said, attempting to diffuse the situation. “It’s not that bad. I’m sure there are still ponies who love your magic.”
“No there isn’t. I’ve tried to find somepony who cares, but there isn’t. Trixie is tired, hungry, and just wants a nice place to sleep at night,” she sobbed. Now she was just rambling. Bibliophile did hand it to her, she did make quite the performance.
Bibliophile looked around for something to help. Eventually he sighed, and walked into the back of his shop. When he returned, he had a large black book in his mouth.
“I don’t usually like to show ponies this, but you need it more than I do,” he said, plopping the book down at the sobbing mare's hooves. She stopped crying, and looked at the book.
“What is this?” Trixie asked.
“That is an advanced spell book. I don’t like bringing it out, because the spells are tremendously difficult to pull off, even for an expert. It’s also very rare. In fact, I haven’t seen another copy anywhere. It doesn’t even have an author.”
Trixie began to turn through the pages. Bibliophile was right about one thing; the spells in the book would be incredibly difficult to pull off, even for a magician like herself.
“You’re just giving me this?” Trixie asked. She honestly couldn't believe the genorosity this complete stranger was showing her
“Yes,” said Bibliophile. “You can use it more than I can. Please, just promise me one thing.”
Trixie stood up. “Yes?” she asked.
“Don’t ever use the magic in here for greed. I have had more than one unicorn try to use the spells to their advantage, only to have it blow up in their face. It saddens me when my act of generosity ends up hurting somepony, or worse.”
Trixie wiped the remaining tears from her face. “Trixie promises to only use the spells to get her back on her hooves,” she promised.
“Good,” said Bibliophile, as the rain began to die down. “Well look at that, the rainstorm is over,”
the stallion said, pointing outside. Several pegasi were moving the imposing storm clouds away.
“Oh,” said Trixie. “Trixie has enjoyed your company, but she needs to find a inexpensive place to sleep for the night.”
“The motel by the harbors is pretty cheap,” said Bibliophile. “It’s a bit run down, but I don’t know any other cheap places to stay around here.”
“Trixie will keep that in mind,” said Trixie, beginning to gather up her things. “Trixie thanks you for your hospitality.”
“Your welcome,” said Bibliophile, grinning. “Oh and Trixie.”
“Yes?” said Trixie, turning to face the bookshop’s owner.
“Be sure to tell me when you’re performing in Manehatten again.”
“Trixie will be sure to do that,” she said, leaving the store.
The motel was cheap, just as Bibliophile said. The place was worn down, disgustingly grimy, and smelt terrible. Overall, it was ten times better than sleeping on the street again. After purchasing her room, the showmare headed outside to a pier nearby the hotel to watch the sunset.
The pier was mostly empty, though whether that was because of the rain or the condition of the pier, Trixie couldn’t tell. That suited her fine however. The peaceful quiet gave her a chance to read the black book Bibliophile gave her.
The book was absolutely brimming with spells. Creating a shroud of complete darkness, creating small stars, and even teleportation, were just a few spells the book held. Sure they would take practice, but for Trixie that wouldn’t be an issue. Still, it began to dawn on her that the more spells she read, the harder they got to perform. She was almost to the back of the book, when she found a most peculiar spell.
The spell would duplicate another pony’s abilities. Their talents, knowledge, even their belongings, could be transferred to the wielder of the spell. Trixie paid it no mind at first, but thoughts of the mare that showed her up in Ponyville creeped into her mind. The more she thought about her, the more and more appealing the spell became.
“Trixie would be able to pull it off,” Trixie told herself reassuringly. “Besides, it’s not like I’m stealing her power. I’d only be duplicating it. If Trixie can pull this off, she won't even need to bother with the other spells.”
After a little more self-convincing, Trixie finally mustered the courage to perform the spell. Placing the book at her hooves, she focused all her magical energy into the spell. Her magic coursed through her body, creating an odd and painful sensation. “Ah,” Trixie gasped. She wasn’t about to give up though. Trixie fought through the pain, increasing the rate the magic coursed through her, as well as the pain. Trixie’s horn began to glow as intense magical energy coursed into it, waiting to be released. Trixie kept building up the magic until it was too much for her to bear. With a scream she unleashed all of her magic, creating a powerful light show from her horn. The force was so great it knocked her back, almost off the pier.
Trixie rubbed her head. The pain was beginning to ebb away. Trixie knew she performed the spell. The force she exerted was indication of that. Still something was off. Trixie didn’t feel any different than she usually did. After the pain subsided, Trixie attempted another spell. To her dismay she found it was no easier to perform than it normally was. Streams of tears rolling down her checks, she began hopelessly throwing insults at the black book.
“How dare you trick Trixie,” she screamed. Luckily, there was nopony around to hear her. “Trixie has done nothing to you! She...she.” The agitated mare finally got a hold on herself. Quickly, she closed the book, and scurried back to her hotel. She resolved to continue looking through the spell book the following day, after a good nights rest.
Entering her room, Trixie was overcome with just how tired she really was. After setting her things in the corner of the room, Trixie hoped onto the bed. It was uncomfortable, but Trixie didn’t mind. She was asleep almost immediately.
Trixie awoke feeling strangely comfortable. In fact, she would say this was the most comfortable bed she had ever slept in. Groggily, Trixie arose from bed. She was rather shocked to find herself standing on hardwood floors. “Didn’t the hotel have carpeting before?” Trixie wondered. Trixie’s eyes jolted open, and what she saw only furthered her amazement.
This certainly wasn’t the hotel room she had rented for the night. For one thing, it was actually clean, and didn’t smell awful. Bookshelves were practically built in the walls of the place. She turned toward the bed, to find it completely different from the bed she fell asleep in. The nightstand was different too, and on it, rested a clock reading eleven thirty. In a panic she looked down at her hooves. To her surprise, she found they were purple. “My coat isn’t purple,” she thought in a panic. She began to rush for the mirror, placed in a corner of the room.
Trixie was shocked at her reflection. For one thing, it wasn’t her in the mirror. Rather, it was another unicorn mare. She had a lavender coat, a plainly styled mane, and a group of stars as her cutie mark. Then it finally hit Trixie, she was the mare who showed her up in Ponyville. This was her body, and her house too. The magician was about to scream, when a voice stopped her.
“Twilight, are you up yet?” asked the voice, which was vaguely familiar to Trixie. Trixie also made a mental note, her name was Twilight now.
Trixie didn’t answer immediately. Instead she scrambled about the room, hoping to find a name to put with the voice. Part of her wanted to explain her dilema, but the last thing she needed was to cause a ruckus. She eventually stumbled across a to do list for the day. One of the first items on the list was, give Spike his lunch before he plays with the CMC. Trixie had no clue what the CMC were, but that wasn’t important. What was important was she found a name to put with the voice. Just in time too, as the door to the room busted open, revealing a small purple and green dragon.
“Twilight, what are you doing?” he asked. "You never sleep in this long. Is everything ok?"
“I was just looking for my to do list,” the panicked mare said, resisting the powerful urge to speak in third person. “I found it though, so everything is alright." As for the sleeping question Trixie didn't have a real answer. Luckily, the dragon didn't seem to care
“Wow Twilight, You found it all by yourself,” said Spike, sounding impressed. “Eventually you may not even need me to find stuff for you. Anyways, I’m going to hang out with the Cutie Mark Crusaders now.”
“Okay,” said Trixie, trying desperately to maintain her sanity. This was all so wrong. “Be sure to pick up a lunch on the way out.”
“Okay Twilight. Have fun with Rarity and Fluttershy,” he said, leaving the room.
Once Trixie was sure he had left, she began searching through the to do list. Indeed, in two hours she was to meet with Rarity and Fluttershy at the spa. “Oh a spa trip sounds wonderful,” she thought, before snapping back into conscious thought. No, she needed to find a way to fix this. There were plenty of books in Twilight’s house. One could have a way to fix this.
Not surprisingly, none of the books in Twilight’s house had any way to fix this. Trixie spent an hour and a half looking through every spell book she could, but none of them said anything about switching bodies. She knew Bibliophile said the black book was one of a kind, but she tried anyway. She was about halfway through her sixteenth book, when there was a knock at the door.
Trixie opened the door to find herself staring at a yellow pegasus. “ Um hi, Twilight. I know we are supposed to meet in a half an hour, but Angel cut our picnic a little short,” she mumbled, barely loud enough to hear. Trixie could only assume this was Fluttershy. “So I was just wondering if you wanted to hang out until then. If that's ok with you of course.”
“Um,” Trixie managed to stammer out. She needed to find a way back into her own body, but she also didn’t want to arouse suspicion. “Sure,” she said, after contemplating her options.
“Thank you Twilight,” said Fluttershy, strolling into the house. “Oh my, you have quite the mess in here.”
Trixie then noticed how much of a mess she did make in the house. A pile of books sat in the middle of a mess of papers and scrolls she had yanked out of their selves haphazardly.
“Let me help you with that Twilight,” said Fluttershy, picking up some scrolls. “Why is there such a big mess anyway?”
“A spell I learned didn’t turn out so well, and now I’m trying to fix it,” said Trixie, beggining to pick up the books. She put them in any open shelf, hoping desperately the pegasus wouldn't know if she was doing it wrong. “I’ve spent the past hour and a half looking for an answer.”
“Well I’m sure you’ll find it,” said Fluttershy happily. “You know, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Rarity and I have so much fun going to the spa with you.”
“Thank you Fluttershy,” said Trixie, trying to sound like Twilight. “I've been looking forward to this too.”
After finishing cleaning up, Fluttershy looked at the clock. “Oh my goodness Twilight. If we don’t leave soon we’ll be late.”
Trixie wanted to object, but a spa trip seemed so appealing. She decided to postpone looking for a solution. Now was a time to get pampered.
Fluttershy lead her straight to the spa. A white mare Trixie assumed was Rarity, sat on a couch inside, waiting for her companions.
“Good afternoon Twilight,” she said, moving from the couch she sat on. Rarity motioned to the two spa ponies, which in turn, motioned them into the spa. “What took you girls so long? I was about to start without you two.”
“I was looking up stuff for a new spell I learned,” said Trixie. “Then Fluttershy came over and...”
“Her house was a bit messy,” finished Fluttershy. “So we spent some time cleaning up.”
“Well then, you have a nice herbal bath waiting to clean you girls off,” said Rarity, slipping into a spa robe. “In the meanwhile, I’ll be getting a pedicure.”
Trixie smiled, “A herbal bath will be perfect.”
The spa trip went over swimmingly. Trixie hadn’t been pampered like that in a long time. For that brief hour, all of her troubles disappeared. Sure, she had to carefully avoid the landmine that was speaking in third person. She even said her own name once, but was lucky enough to get away with it. Rarity and Fluttershy were nice too. Trixie never expected to be talking with the pony whose hair she ruined just a few weeks ago. She felt really bad about it afterwards, but for the time being, she was happy. Part of her didn’t want to go back into her body anymore. She was happy in ways she had never been before. Perhaps this wasn’t so bad. Perhaps it was a blessing.
When Trixie returned to the library, Spike still wasn’t back. Rather than search for an answer to her issue, Trixie instead, gleefully went upstairs to see what was on the agenda for tomorrow. Luckily, the list was already made. Just before she could start reading it, there was a knock at the door. She happily trotted over, and opened the front door to the library. Her happiness went away as soon as she saw who was behind it. It wasn't Spike, as she had expected, but a eerily familiar looking unicorn. The familiar azure mane and coat left no question who she was staring at. There, standing in the doorway, was herself.