Things haven’t exactly gone well for Trixie. Now Twilight is an Alicorn and Trixie feels left behind. But Trixie has a plan; one Discord is all too willing to aid her in. For a price.
Things haven’t exactly gone well for Trixie. Ever since the Alicorn Amulet incident she has seen her own fortunes shrink while Twilight's continues to soar. Now Twilight is an Alicorn and Trixie feels left behind. But Trixie has a plan; one Discord is all too willing to aid her in. For a price.
Note: (Immortal Twilight) Takes place shortly after the defeat of Tirek.
Early chapters Primarily Proofread by Auramane and Slrvertigo. Mid to late chapters edited by myself.
Much thanks to Crowscrowcrow for help along the way with some scenes and ideas.
“Spike! Spiiiike!” Twilight called loudly out from her bedroom; stuffing yet another book into her already loaded down saddlebags.
“Twilight, calm down! We still have over an hour before the chariot arrives, and I’m already packed!” Spike called up to her from the castle library where he was currently checking through the ‘Leaving castle for one week and two days’ preparatory checklist.
With the soft sound of hooves on stone, Twilight appeared at the top of the stairs, staring down them unamusedly before calling out again. “Spike, are you using the right checklist? The ones I made for this trip had a blue stripe on the back; you’re not using the one with a red stripe on it, right?"
Spike looked over the list carefully before picking up a blue striped one from the nearby table and looking it over as well. “Twilight…this is the same thing.”
"Spike! Use the blue one! This is why we have the checklist for proper checklist disposals you know.”
With a groan, Spike chucked the red scroll to the floor" It's the same thing!"
Twilight rolled her eyes at Spike and turned around, heading to the bathroom to start packing her less necessary necessities; books being first priority. “They aren’t anything alike Spike! Owlicious put on a few pounds this month so the food we leave for him is marked down by 1/8th, and I replaced the blue closed sign for the castle library with a red one a week ago so that part of the previous list doesn’t even make sense anymore!”
Spike groaned when he was sure Twilight wouldn’t hear and started hastily going through the new checklist, marking off everything as he went. He ignored the preparatory checklist he was supposed to do before the real checklist this time and simply marked off everything on it as complete. By the time he was done, Twilight was making her way down the stairs, laden with several saddlebags in her magical grasp. Rarity was still having issues designing a ‘saddlebag worthy of seeing Royalty wearing’ and if she saw Twilight wearing her old ones at the farewell she’d probably faint.
“Why are we even going to this meeting Twilight? It’s not like you’re a ruler or make any laws; beyond library policy I mean.”
“Apparently the Gryphon ambassadors got ‘upset’ that the new ‘Princess’ didn’t have ‘time’ for them, or thought the new ‘Princess’ thought they were beneath her ‘notice’.” Twilight said this while moving her wings to emphasize her words. It was amusing to Spike how quickly Twilight had adapted to using her wings when she was irritated at something, occasionally pointing a wing at him and using it to make shooing motions for him to go away when she was busy studying.
Twilight herself was pretty upset to have to delay a week of friends and studies to share niceties with a bunch of politicians. When she was younger and just Princess Celestia’s student– no, just Celestia now, and no bowing or she’ll embarrass you again! When she was Celestia’s student, nothing was expected of her and others ignored her at the formal dinners or when she was taking notes at meetings. Now others were starting to expect more from her, including other countries apparently. She blushed a little at the memory of Celestia bowing to her as well and calling her “Princess Twilight” in front of everyone last time. Old habits die hard and Twilight was sure she’d be embarrassed a few more times before she remembered to treat Celestia as an equal, at least in public.
“So why are we staying over a week if all you need to do is say hi to some ambassadors?”
Twilight’s feathers ruffled a bit at this as her embarrassing thoughts were replaced with irritated ones from the last letter Celestia sent her. Her head came up and her eyes rolled up to look at the ceiling while she muttered “ Because not only do I now have to speak with them, but after they heard I was coming to meet the Gryphons, every other ambassador insisted on ‘congratulating’ and expressing their deepest ‘respects’ for the new Princess. Now I have meetings booked with them for a solid week! Celestia even had to warn me that some might try to get me to convince her or Luna on some policy or other they are pushing. My entire week is going to go into meetings with people that don’t understand that I don’t rule anything!”
Twilight’s ears lowered and her eyes looked to the floor as she continued in a quieter and more depressed tone “...and not only that, but I don’t even know what to do or say, these people are very important in keeping peace with Equestria, Spike. If I upset them it could cause more troubles for the princesses. They might even be able to embargo Equestria, or get Celestia to banish me and embargo the place I’m banished to! “ Twilight’s breathing started to come in short gasps as her mind started coming up with ridiculous scenarios. “And what if she decides to banish me back to the castle and embargoes Ponyville Spike! What’ll happen to Applejack’s farm!? Where will Pinkie get supplies for….ok, somehow she’ll get party supplies anyways, but it’ll still be rough on her!”
Spike gave a deadpan expression to the side and then patted Twilight on the back “Do you really think Celestia would do something like that because you upset a few bird brains Twilight? Do you and I know different Celestias?“
Twilight took a deep breath and then looked over to Spike, panic mode averted. “Not really, but I’m not going to take any chances and just make sure this goes well. It might be good to learn a little about this since I swear Luna’s been dropping hints to Celestia about taking a vacation, and she might try to convince me into trying to run things while they are gone.“ Fat chance Luna.
Twilight was thankful that Discord was, at least, behaving. By behaving, she meant being mysteriously absent for the entire week. While amusing to Dash, the Gryphons had a fit last time they woke up and had their feathers painted ridiculously bright colors. Discord had said he had other things to amuse himself with while the meetings were happening this time, though didn’t hint at what those were. So long as it keeps him away for this week I couldn’t care less what he’s up to.
A knocking was heard at the door, taking Twilight out of her thoughts. Upon being opened by Spike, she saw two Solar Guards who quickly bowed to her. Twilight's friends were revealed to be waiting behind them next to a chariot and waving frantically at her. The Guards took Twilight’s bags and placed them away as she made her way over to say her goodbyes for the week.
“Time to get going Spike, a week of talking to ambassadors and not with the princesses” sigh. How do the Princesses put up with this nonsense? Who would want this kind of drama in their life?
Princess Twilight Sparkle to meet Zebra and Gryphon ambassadors! Is the new Princess finally ready to take on her Royal Duties?
The Equestria Enquirer hit Trixie right in the muzzle as she walked through the Royal Gardens. Growling angrily, Trixie tore the paper off of her face, looked at the heading, and threw it on the ground.
“Who dares throw trash like this in the Royal Gardens!? Trixie would find and tan their hides herself if she had the time to waste!”
Or if she was supposed to be in here in the first place, she mentally added.
Trixie looked around wearily to make sure no one had heard her outburst before sitting down next to several of the garden's marble statues. Several depicted old heroes of Equestria like Starswirl the Bearded and Commander Hurricane. Even a pedestal with a statue of Discord was present. Trixie guessed Celestia had it rebuilt after the real one was set free, much to everyone’s dismay. Sighing a little, Trixie sat down in front of the Discord statue, levitating her ill-gotten book over and starting to leaf through it. Sure, she wasn’t supposed to be in the gardens. And yes, borrowing a book from the Royal Library without checking it out, or not even having legal access to the library might be considered a crime in some places. But Trixie was having a rough enough time as it was. So she was sure Celestia could forgive her these little slights.
Trixie sighed, a bit tired from all of the amazing acting skills she had used today. But she didn't sneak into the castle, pretend that she belonged in the royal library, ‘borrow’ a book from a restricted section, and sneak into the royal gardens just to give up now! Ok, admittedly, she didn’t need to sneak into the gardens to read, but no one else was there and Trixie figured since she was already on a roll with less than legal activities why stop now? The grass here looked so much nicer than the parks she had been forced to start occupying, and she deserved the rest.
Alicorn Anatomy and Reproduction rested in her hooves as Trixie quietly read through the book, hoping to find something specific on the mysterious creatures while ignoring the hunger pains of her stomach. The book was incredibly old and looked to have not been touched in generations, and as Trixie continued, she also found it to be completely worthless.
“When a male Alicorn puts his….and a female Alicorn….gestation periods of ten years!? What about the part where no male Alicorn is involved!?” Trixie cried, tossing the book to the ground in her anger.
“Hmph! The things ponies will read in public these days. And that’s called filly fooling by the way; though why you’re looking for pictures of that in a book on reproduction I’ll never know.”
Trixie let out a cry and whirled around at the unknown voice, one of her hooves slipping on the discarded book and pitching her forward into the statue. Luckily she missed the pedestal, and the statue was fairly soft, leaving her beloved muzzle uninjured.
Wait, Statues aren’t soft.
“Really now, I’m sure a book like that will get any mare in the mood, but as flattered as I am I’ve already got my eye on somepony else at the moment.”
Fluttershy looked at the large yellow eye staring at her from the other side of the kitchen table and gave an exasperated little sigh. She quietly sipped at her tea while the eye's lashes held their own little cup, occasionally pouring some tea onto itself to keep wet.
“Discord…” Fluttershy spoke quietly “when you said you would worry about your best friend if you couldn’t keep an eye on them I didn’t think….well…I guess I really should have…but…” Fluttershy stopped talking as the eye turned toward the front door as it was loudly opened.
Angel hopped in with a smug grin on his face as both the eye and Fluttershy’s own two widened at the sight behind the rabbit. Looking at Discord's eye from the little fence by Fluttershy’s cottage were a dozen large ravens. Yet more of the large black birds seemed to be flying closer by the second. Each one almost seemed to lick its beak in anticipation as the largest raven suddenly took flight, angling for the open doorway.
“Discord...” CAW! “Run! “The eye looked to Fluttershy “err...roll?”
Looking up at the statue now turned to life, Trixie gave out a gasp of surprise. In the statue’s place stood the real Discord, sans one eye. Trixie couldn’t help but stare at the socket in both confusion and revulsion as the inside looked like nothing but a black hole.
“Now my little pony, what could you possibly be doing here and…” Discord's looked down at the book, with a snap of his fingers the book slowly flapped its way over to Discord’s paws “What’s with this naughty little book of yours?” Discord turned the book to Trixie, showing her a picture of two Alicorns in the position believed to best assure the making of a foal.
A few seconds of staring wide-eyed allowed Trixie’s brain to restart itself after her near fit of meeting the God of Chaos, and the embarrassment of what he was saying to her caused her to start blurting out denials. “Trixie is NOT looking at the book for THAT! If she ever wanted something so…base she would simply honor one of her adoring fans by allowing them a night with her. Not that Trixie has ever done that! Or would! She’s just saying she could if she wanted to!”
“Riiight….so then why did you feel the need to hide away from everypony in the gardens and read your filth by my statue, hmmm…? An exhibitionist perhaps?“ Discord’s eyebrows wiggled up and down at her suggestively. Out of all the strange things to happen to her, Trixie was grateful that Discord had at least put an eye patch labelled “Out to Lunch” over his empty eye socket. Though she didn’t recall seeing him ever put it on.
“Hmph, Trixie's pretty sure that's not what that word means." She said arrogantly, glaring at Discord in annoyance. "Even if you look like a beast, Trixie is still surprised how perverted your thoughts are." Trixie walked a little bit away from Discord and sat back down near a statue of a guard. She gave shooing motions to Discord as she tried to magically take the book from his paws. “Now if you don’t mind, Trixie needs to return this and plan on what she will do next.”
Discord didn’t let go of the book though, no matter how much Trixie’s magic tried to pull at it “Now come my dear, we both see you’re in need of help. It not only looks like you’ve been bathing in lakes for the past month, but it seems as though you pinned all your tiny little hopes and short-lived dreams on something in this book.” Discord slithered over to her and put a clawed hand on her shoulder. “Now, I just so happened to be around before this particular book was even made. I also may have happened to have spoken to one of the last male Alicorns before he met a very unfortunate…but admittedly funny, fate.”
Trixie looked away from Discord, only to come face to face with him again. “Now, my dear friend Fluttershy has gone on, in unfortunate length sometimes…that I should consider helping other ponies from time to time. And it would make her very happy to hear that I aided a mare down on her luck such as yourself.”
Trixie’s horn flared dangerously in Discord’s face, but he merely put a finger on it and Trixie’s magic fizzled out, leaving a small stream of smoke to rise into the air ah he shook his head back and forth a little, as if scolding a child. “Trixie, Trixie, no need to be rude. What would the guards say if they heard magic blasts in the garden and found a unicorn with a bad reputation and a stolen book where she shouldn’t be? There’d be no running away this time.”
Trixie was a little uneasy with how quickly Discord had extinguished her magic, but saw his warning for the threat it was if she continued and stopped trying to blast him.
“Good, way to be civilized." Discord said, wearing a cold smile that almost turned to a sneer as he continued speaking. "Do you feel all warm and ‘harmonious’ like the sisters want everypony to feel now that we’re talking? Did you feel that bond of friendship that nearly all you Equestrian’s seem to ooze out when I seemed concerned about your problems? No? Good.”
Discord distanced himself a little from Trixie, letting her sigh in relief. She had been feeling tense that close to him, and was still concerned at how fast he kept shifting from near threats to smiles.
“Let’s be a little more…blunt than I am used to." Discord said. "You seem like a mare who can handle it as opposed to all of the soft, sugarcoated ponies I keep having to deal with. You’re looking for something about Alicorns, right? Luna and Celestia won’t help you, and in fact if they saw you had that book they’d lock it away. They’re a bit greedy like that these days, not one's to share certain knowledge or power with others despite how bad they may need it. I, on the other hand, the god of Chaos, know a great deal about Alicorns, and am willing to share that knowledge with you, if it entertains me to do so. Now, are you going to tell me what you’re looking for, or should I go see if there is some other unicorn interested in Alicorns in the garden somewhere?” Discord put a hand to his ear and mimicked listening for someone.
Well, it's not like telling him a little would make Trixie's situation any worse than it is now, right?
“Trixie thought it might…help her with a little problem….one involving getting wings if you’re so insistent on knowing…”
“OH! oh….." Discord looked at her boredly. "You’re just another pony trying to gain power, aren’t you? Luna, Sunset, Starswirl, and there’s another hundred names I frankly don’t care to remember who wanted that.” Discord sat down on the pedestal his statue had been on. After getting comfortable, the King of Chaos took out a long swirly straw and brought it down to the grass. As he gulped, the grass slowly started to change colors from green to brown.
“So what makes you oh so worthy of living forever? It’s a small club and personally its grown far too…syrupy with Crylight Snarkle and Mi Aborea Credenza joining. I might be sick to my stomach if I was forced to spend eternity with the embodiment of ‘cuddles’ or ‘tranquility’.”
Trixie scoffed at this, giving Discord a glare and tipping her hat forward a little “Trixie is nothing like those two! If Trixie was an Alicorn, Equestria would be far less boring! Do you have any idea the kind of illusions and magic shows Trixie could do with that kind of power?" She gestured wildly. "Twilight and all the lesser Alicorns wouldn’t hold a candle to the excitement that the Great and Powerful Princess Trixie would spread with her shows!”
“Puh-leaze my underfed blue friend. Magic shows? Power?” Discord yawned loudly and put his silly straw back into his ear, standing up onto the pedestal and giving a stretch. “If your reasons really are this dull, then I think I’m just going to go back to being a statue.”
Trixie’s eyes went wide with the realization that her only chance could be slipping away from her. “Wait…I want….er…Trixie wants to….change the colors of all the birds! Why keep them such drab colors, right?”
Discord’s feet started turning, the cracks and cricks of flesh becoming stone. “Now you’re not only sounding dull but dumb.”
“Trixie….I….uh…I…want to make my parents proud of me and prove that I’m not a failure to them and everypony!”
The stoning was near Discords chest by this time, to Trixie, Discord seemed to be paying less and less attention to her, his one eye looking through her now as opposed to actually staring at her. “You never knew your parents, you little liar. It's not like you ever will either, even if you do become a 'success', the dead can't hear. If that’s really all you’re after, then there’s no reason for me to not let you continue being a failure.”
Trixie’s visions went blurry and she had to work hard to only let a few short sobs come out of her mouth from the revelation Discord dropped on her about her parents. By the time Trixie recovered her eyesight thanks to a few hard rubs on her cloak and a several poorly hidden sniffles, Discord was stoned up to his neck. Trixie scrambled to tell Discord another reason besides the truth as she fought off the effects of what Discord had told her.
“No! Wait! I….it’s…..”
“I actually had some hopes for you, Trixie. I figured a showmare could have provided some entertainment worth what you were asking for.”
“What? I mean…I want…no, need to become an Alicorn because…b-because...”
“Aaaahhhhh, you know, being a statue for a thousand years sure can leave an impression on you.”
Discord’s eye had closed and the stoning was almost up to his ears. Time was out. Trixie’s eyes had become as wide as possible and she was fighting off both panic and embarrassment in order to tell Discord the truth.
“It’s because-it’s because…IT’S BECAUSE OF TWILIGHT! I HAVE TO BECAUSE OF TWILIGHT!”
Unclenching her eyes that had closed without Trixie even realizing, she looked up to the stone figure of Discord.
No…I was so cl….wait…his ears…?
The stoning had stopped right before Discord’s ears, one of them seeming to have swiveled in her direction and listening to her.
Swallowing her saliva, and not to mention her pride, Trixie looked at the attentive ear of Discord. “I have to become an Alicorn or Twilight won’t notice me, she doesn’t care about my existence, but I want her to. I don’t care if it winds up with her hate-hating me but I can’t stand the thought of her living for so long and just forgetting me! Of growing old and seeing her exactly as she is now, passing me on the street in her chariot, and not even recognizing me. Or recognizing me and not caring, I don’t know which would be worse.”
Trixie hung her head sadly as she saw the rest of Discord’s ears turn to stone. She collapsed to the ground and let her tears run freely.
My chance…my only chance and I BUCKED it up! But I told him the truth, what more did he want from me!?
Trixie’s wallowing would have lasted for longer, but someone started laughing at her from off to her side.
Great, even the stone faced royal guards are getting a laugh at my expense.
Swallowing her pain down for later, Trixie slowly got up and turned around, doing her best to ignore the now stone statue of Discord.
“Look you stupid foal, Trixie may be a bit of a mess right now, but the least a worthless guard like you could do is not laugh at a mare and act-“
Trixie glanced at the one laughing at her, then back at the statue, and then back to the laughter. “But...how…what…?”
While Trixie muttered stupidly at him, Discord proceeded to bounce on his tail around her singing “Trixie loves Twilight Trixie Loves Twilight!”
Blushing a bit and coming out of her stupor, Trixie gave a weak glare at Discord, more relieved that he was still talking to her than upset at his mocking. “Trixie never said love…she just...doesn’t want that purple menace forgetting the one who should be her greatest rival in life.”
“Twilight and Trixie where everyone can see, H-O-R-N-J-O-B!”
Trixie’s face turned scarlet and she gave Discord a swift kick with her back legs, knocking him over, but not stopping his laughter.
“Are you going to help Trixie now or just laugh at her!?”
“hahahaha….hehehe….hooo…woo…that was fun. And to answer your question my dear, I plan to do both throughout this little endeavor of yours. BUT!” Discord swiftly wrapped his body around Trixie much like a snake, leaving his goat-like face mere inches from her own. “I need to know if you are willing to go all the way with this, I don’t play for teams that give up mid-season. Celestia might hate and stone you, Luna will try to skin you, and Twilight, well, you’ll be a hard sell for her. However! If you follow me all the way to the goal post, hit a homerun, and tackle the goalie at the 60 yard line when I tell you to, Twilight will definitely not be able to forget you. Neither will Luna and Celestia for that matter. Even if they want to.”
Trixie didn’t hear Discord’s last barely muttered sentence, too wrapped up in her own thoughts to be aware it was even said.
There’s a chance…
Trixie’s face seemed to light up for a second after Discord's words.
A chance that Twilight will notice me…
A proud half smirk emerged on Trixie’s face.
Maybe eventually as a friend, or even if it is a rival or an enemy…She’ll notice…
Trixie looked into Discord’s eye, her own two set in a hard and determined stare.
And that chance is all I need.
“Trixie never gives up. She’s ready for whatever Celestia and Luna throw at her!”
Discord gave Trixie a toothy grin before unwrapping from around her, one that would have put chills down the spines of any who dealt with him in the past. “Well then, let’s give Cake flank and Moon butt a reason to worry, shall we?”
Fluttershy quickly closed the bedroom door behind Discord's eye and herself. Seconds later, the polite rapping sounds of a dozen raven beaks started beating on the door. Fluttershy didn’t want to be impolite, but she knew that a little rudeness was probably worth it to save Discord the view of a bird’s digestive system. She quickly trotted over to the bedroom window and, after checking for anymore ravens, silently opened it.
“Okay Discord, it’s been really wonderful seeing you...umm…some of you anyways, but if you don’t mind I think you would be safer with the rest of...well...you. I’ll talk to the ravens and see you again in a few days, if you want to I mean. Okay?” Fluttershy gave Discord's eye a gentle pat and helped it onto the windowsill. The eye spread its lashes wide and started flapping them, taking off into the sky about as majestically as a headless turkey. When Discord’s eye was almost out of sight, Fluttershy turned around and made her way to the door, thinking about what else she could offer the hungry ravens.
“Alicorn problems when ruling the world, pigeon problems as a statue, raven problems now, does every creature with wings have it in for me?”
“What was that, Discord?”
“hmm? Oh, nothing to worry your tattered little head about."
“Trixie’s head is not tattered! It may be a little…less maintained then normal, but only a unicorn of Trixie’s caliber could pull off looking this good despite her not exactly…ideal living conditions.”
“Sure, whatever. Now then, shall we get down to plotting?” Disord started to pace back and forth in front of Trixie, his upper half moving to her right as his lower went left, combining in the middle for just a few seconds as they passed one another.
“Now, for some ponies this would be a bit easier, fortunately for me, you’re not one of them. So you’ll have to do this the fun way!” Discord’s body reattached as he stopped pacing and looked over to Trixie.
Trixie raised an eyebrow at him. “And what does the ‘fun way’ entail? And why would Trixie not have what these other ponies have? She is the most magical unicorn in Equestria….with Twilight being an Alicorn now….”
Discord waved a dismissive paw at her “You don’t have it, let’s just leave it at that. And the fun way involves trials, traps, tribulations, and a very ticked off lunar Princess.”
“Trixie is not sure about your definition of fun anymore…”
Discord shrugged at her “Eh, it can be an acquired taste. But let me explain your part in all this.”
Discord then wrapped around Trixie’s body again, his head moving from one of her ears to the other as he spoke into them in an eerie tone “To be graced with the power of an Alicorn upon your cheek, Nightmare’s final fall you must seek. Upon the walls and upon the floors, a hole can be found that time bores. Through the twists and through the turns, find the essence that sparks blue and burns. Should you live and find this great seed, swallow it before Luna gets a bead. For if by Luna you’re found, she will beat your flank into the...ummm…Trixie? You listening? This is kind of important.”
Trixie’s shook the glazed look from her eyes and peered at Discord confusedly “Sorry, Trixie thought you were just rambling to yourself again. Could you stop making up nonsense now and explain the plan to her?”
Discord sighed and put a paw over his face “Right, so riddles aren’t your thing. Yet something else the love of your life Twilight has over you.”
She growled at him threateningly. “For the last time, this isn’t about love! It’s about Trixie getting the recognition from Twilight that she so deserves! Unlike Twilight, who wasted most of her time in school in her own private little book club, Trixie went and lived her school days. Trixie had a life! Don’t blame Trixie for not sitting under a tree most of the day reading when she had better things to do. Trixie will have you know she became an exceptional player at the sport of cider pong.” Trixie flicked her mane in the air and put her nose up in pride.
“It’s like ping pong, but better, and with a couple different rules and variants that Trixie easily mastered. One of the most played forms in school was strip cider pong where-”
She’s actually lecturing me on cider pong…I guess her and Twilight have one thing in common, No wait, Trixie’s lectures are just as dull. Two things then.
Discord shook both paws in Trixie’s direction to interrupt her “Nevermind! Fine, no riddles! Just stop talking about this!” Discord took a map and small box from behind of one of his wings and placed it in Trixie’s hooves. He then brought out a tourist-looking straw hat and placed it over her magician’s hat. “Now look, just go to the ruins in the Everfree forest, go into the lobby before the throne room, take a left, take the next right, and go down about three flights of stairs. There’ll be a hole in the wall by some giant glowing doors. Use that opening, trying the door will most likely kill you. Then, if you survive the traps and old enchantments Luna set up to protect that area, you'll find a dull looking square room with a star in the middle of it, put the box in the center and step back. Past there, unless you really want to make this fun and take some risks, don't touch anything until you get to her old bedroom. It'll be a little messy, it's the maid's century off. In there you’ll find a small glowing blue ball of energy among everything else. Swallow it and run. If you survive what happens next I’ll meet you outside of Ponyville. If not then, well…at least we had a few interesting hours together, right?”
Trixie swallowed hard at his nonchalant statement, and at where her next destination laid. “R-right, Trixie assumes you mean not to travel with her to this destination then?”
Discord looked a little startled at the thought, though Trixie was pretty sure he was faking it “While I would just love to take a stroll through the forest and reminisce about old times with you, I already have plans that day. And besides, I have to get sooo much else ready for when you succeed. Which I’m positive such a talented mare like yourself will.”
Trixie glared defiantly at Discord and turned her back to him, discarding her now unimportant book to the ground. “Of course she will succeed. And once Trixie beats Luna’s little traps and returns to Ponyville, she will finally capture Twilight’s attention, not to mention the minds and hearts of all who witness her new and improved shows! Now,-“ Trixie stood up on her hind legs and pointed a hoof towards Discord “As it has taking you so long to finally explain to Trixie what must be done, she has lost her chance today to garner the affections of the lesser ponies. Due to this she finds herself a little...short on bits. But no worries! Trixie will not only forgive this loss, but also honor you with the chance to bestow on her an offering.”
Discord’s one eye rolled at the showmare’s display, not to mention the way her stomach growled half-way through her speech, causing her bravado to lose a little of its effect. “Fine, let no one say that the God of Chaos is heartless.” Discord peeled away the fur, skin, and muscle along his ribs and looked to the beating organ. “Well, at least not today apparently”. Letting his skin snap back into place he pulled a pouch of bits out from behind his back and tossed it in front of the showmare. “Those will last for the next day or so, after that I wouldn’t recommend having any on you.” He grinned at Trixie before making a mocking bow and disappearing in a cloud of what looked to be powdered cheese.
Trixie grabbed the bits in her mouth and quickly backed away from the cheese cloud. No park for Trixie tonight! Trixie jingled the bag in her mouth a few times and then placed it underneath her cape. She started to walk off but went into a gallop as she heard hoofsteps and the clinking of metal approaching.
How can I be so exhausted? All I did was sit, smile and talk as little as possible all day. Twilight collapsed onto her bed after her first day of meetings. At least Celestia had the foresight to assign a diplomat to me. That helped keep things less awkward with the cues he kept giving. I didn’t even know half the things I was urged to laugh at were jokes. I’ll never understand Gryphon humor.
Twilight groaned and stretched, rolling onto her side and getting comfortable. I wonder what that book was? Celestia was surprised it existed, but took it away before I even had a chance to look at it. And what was Discord doing with it in the garden? Probably another prank I’ll find out about soon enough. I just hope he keeps his word and waits to do it till after all these ambassadors finally leave me alone!
It should be Trixie up there, being fawned over by diplomats from foreign lands. Twilight would be next to her of course. It’d be wonderful for her to get flustered over a question so Trixie could leap in and help her...
Trixie shook the pleasing but intrusive thoughts out of her head as she reined her glance away from distant Canterlot castle and back to the Everfree forest. She popped the last pieces of bit-shaped popcorn into her mouth. Though Discord had told her not to, she couldn’t resist seeing what would happen to the bits he gave her after the day's time.
I’m really going in there, aren’t I? Well, Trixie left Canterlot early, so there should still be plenty of daylight.
Stepping into the woods, Trixie did her best to stay to a quick, quiet pace. Her horn lit up as she placed several minor spells upon her body. The soft pads of her hooves became hard, preventing damage from rocks or thorns. Her body became lighter; allowing her steps to be quieter than a mare her size would normally be. Her final enchantment caused her to look like a timber wolf to everything but herself.
So useful, and yet if those idiots at the Institute had their way Trixie would have only bothered to learn to look like a timber wolf.
As Trixie continued deeper into the forest, she let her mind wander back to her time at Celestia’s school and the comments her instructors and classmates sent her way.
Trixie, it’s not your talent, you’ll never learn the cloud walking spell, why learn what you can’t use?
Imbeciles, all of them! Sure Trixie can’t cloud walk, but that spell helped her learn how to make herself weigh less than her already amazingly lithe body does! Trixie’s glad she left that place and all those close-minded fools!
The sounds of twigs snapping nearby took Trixie out of her reminiscing and helped remind her of how stupid it was not to pay attention in this particular forest. She passed within ten feet of several wolves who eyed her warily, but otherwise ignored her. The scent of blood was on the air several times during Trixie’s journey, as well as the sounds of large creatures chewing, or the occasional screams of prey being felled.
Trixie took note of one particular oddity that made her entire trip all the more eerie. Several times during her travel she ran across old piles of rubble that looked to have been foundations at one point in the past.
The battle between Nightmare and Celestia tore the castle to pieces, but also ended the lives of so many caught in the crossfire. It was so bad that this place was abandoned as monsters started to emerge from the forests at a rate no one at the time understood. And I’m going against that kind of power? Discord better be right about this…
After several hours Trixie was at the end of her nerves when she finally saw a clearing up ahead the map had indicated.
She carefully made her way over a wooden bridge that Trixie felt had no right to still be standing, then moved her eyes upwards to finally look over the old castle ruins.
No part of the ruins had survived unscathed from the claws of time, and many sections of it looked to have been ripped apart from a siege or battle ages ago. The giant doors depicting the two sisters were slightly ajar at the front of the derelict ruin, being the only part not covered in moss of some color. Most of the ceiling looked to have caved in or just rotted away at some point, though a few of the stone sections held on stubbornly. She slowly made her way to the double doors as she let her illusion drop. Peering inside, Trixie noted that the stonework on the floor was in surprisingly good shape for being left to the elements for so long. She could practically feel the hum of old magic that was still doing its best to preserve what was left of the castle. Several tattered banners hung along the walls, with the odd few missing here and there. Trixie’s hooves made small noises as she picked along the rubble cautiously and proceeded to follow Discord’s instructions to the doorway she needed.
“Well, Trixie supposes this is it…” She eyed the giant door with trepidation. The door Discord’s advice led her to was large enough that a minotaur was probably needed to open it. A giant steel bar held it closed from this side, and looked heavy enough to be impossible for most creatures to move. The door was made from a strange blue metal that glowed an ominous green and depicted a silhouette of Luna’s head. Trixie was quite sure she’d be dead several times over if she even tried to touch it. Among all the ruins, this door and its bar looked to be as pristine as the day it was placed.
Trixie’s glance went to the small hole to the right of the door. It was maybe a dozen hooves in length away and was just big enough for Trixie to squeeze through. The hole itself looked to have been made from a large blast some time ago; as the black scars on the floor and wall around it showed. Age hadn't helped either as just touching the wall around it caused some of it to fall into her hoof. “Trixie guesses she should be thankful that Luna only thought to protect the door and forgot how much easier it’d be to go through the wall...” Trixie made her light spell a bit brighter, and entered into the hole, emerging into a ruined hallway.
The banners in the hallway seemed less tattered, though dust was everywhere. Thankfully, except for around the hole, no debris was present to hinder Trixie. The banners themselves were all star covered and clearly showed this to be Luna’s dominion. Even the torches in the walls glowed a soft bluish white like the moon, and gave off no heat. Trixie grabbed one of them from the wall and put out her horn to save her magic for what was to come. Strangely, except for the door and torches, nothing else revealed itself as magic to Trixie’s scan.
Trixie slowly walked down the hallway, expecting some giant ball of magic to pop out of the walls and consume her at any moment. She was constantly scanning the area near her for magic but oddly enough besides herself and the torch nothing was coming up. Did Luna hide it somehow? Can you even hide magic from magic? You can hide magic inside another magic but then I’d still be detecting something.
Trixie’s thoughts abruptly came to an end as a sword popped out of the wall above to impale itself on her with a loud crash.
Trixie gave a pain filled whinny as the sword struck her neck but was incredibly surprised when she realized she wasn’t staring up at her headless body. Shivering and looking at what was left of the sword, she saw how incredibly rust covered and pitted the weapon was. The device that the sword looked to have been attached to was still popping out of the wall, too broken to continue its rotation back into its hiding place. Trixie could only guess that the sword had mostly broken apart from age as she had triggered it, what was left must have hit her neck. Thankfully, what little edge remained had warped and curved too badly to pierce.
T-too close, that was too close. The next one might work like it’s supposed to.
After calming herself down Trixie looked around and noticed several other spots that would be just perfect to hide traps like this. A slight curve in the hallway to conceal something as the victim came around it; a few thin pillars on opposite sides of the walkway that could easily conceal the slot a sword or arrow could emerge from. Her mind rattled on for a minute on all the potential ways she could die down here from this hallway alone.
Ok, so a bunch of traps that may or may not malfunction are in my way, that’s why I didn’t detect any magic traps, there are none. No big deal, this’ll be easy for somepony as great as me, right?
Once her confidence was back and her ego stroked a little, Trixie cast a barrier spell around herself. Ok, so it’ll be worthless against spells, but it should be good enough against an arrow or two. Not that Trixie’s ever tested it quite like this, or wanted to.
Trixie’s prepared her next spell and got into a running stance. Trixie can’t teleport over this, but she can boost her speed. If the traps are that old, then maybe she can move past them before they react. Considering who she is, Trixie should be able to get past them all before the spell ends, hopefully.
She shook her head at that last thought.
No being hopeful about it, Trixie will succeed! There is no other option for a pony as great as her. Great enough to make Twilight turn her head!
"Trixie is great, Trixie is powerful. Trixie is great, Trixie is powerful!" she muttered to herself for the next minute, working herself up and trying to ignore the clawing fear of what might happen to her in the coming minutes. Finally, she lowered herself into a racing position.
With a small burst of magic from her horn, Trixie sped down the hallway. Her eyes were barely open so she wouldn’t see her possible end. She heard the sounds of clangs, bangs and even a few small explosions coming from behind, and at times, right next to her. Trixie felt the breeze of sword traps as they just missed her, and the thump of shrapnel from malfunctioning traps hitting against her barrier as they fell apart and sent their gears flying everywhere. Trixie saw the end of the hallway approaching and put a desperate burst of magic into her speed spell. The barrier took one last hit from a sword clanking off of it and shattered as Trixie made her way through the hallway.
Trixie made it! She-
Her celebration was sadly cut short as Trixie realized the next room’s floor abruptly cut off ten feet in.
Son of a-
She tried to stop her forward momentum but was unable to halt herself from going over the ledge.
Celestia looked over the table in front of her. It was a simple, yet elegant wooden table, one she might have had for the past hundred years or so; she rarely bothered to keep track on her furniture’s age anymore. There was a pony who did that for her now, though she didn’t know their name. So instead, Celestia focused on what was on the table itself.
A large glass bowl holding a dozen frogs was currently acting as the table’s centerpiece. Next to the frogs was a straw doll, two pieces of corn, a half-eating ham sandwich that had caused several of the novice guards to lose their lunch, a wet paper bag that was on fire when first found, and now smelled of something rather unpleasant, and a counterfeit bit that showed the royal plot on both sides.
“So, how exactly did these get in the royal treasury?” Her question was directed at a dark green earth pony named Twobit.
“I don’t understand it your highness! I was just going over the accounts and making sure everything in the treasury was up to date when they just…popped in! Some of the frogs jumped from out of the coin piles, and the guards found the rest after searching through the room. I took count after the…invading objects were removed, and found that several bits had disappeared, the exact amount to much up the number of random objects in the room no less.” The Royal Treasurer scratched her brown mane in confusion.
“So you’re saying the royal currency turned into frogs, among other things…” Celestia sighed and rubbed her hoof on her own head a little. Since she woke up there had been rumors of bits changing across Canterlot. While it wasn’t a large sum of bits that had shifted into random objects and creatures, it was enough that Celestia would have to assure the nobles that the official Equestrian currency was not cursed. Even now a few more paranoid investors were in the process of dumping the Royal coin for foreign denominations.
“Thank you, Twobit, that will be all. Miss Pennsworth?” A grey unicorn near the door bowed her head in Celestia’s direction and got a quill and parchment ready. “ Have a release in tomorrow’s paper assuring everypony that the Royal currency is in no danger of disappearing or turning into something else in mass. Also, set up an appointment with the more...problematic nobility for me, you know the ones.” Pennsworth nodded and left to fulfill her orders.
While I shouldn’t point hooves, this has Discord written all over it. I’d like to ask him to refrain from actions like this, but compared to the last several messes he’s made when ambassadors showed up, this is rather tame. I’ll let him know it wasn’t appreciated, but not be too harsh if this is all he disrupts this week.
Well, things could be worse I suppose. Trixie lamented irritably.
Luckily, her cape had snagged on a rock above her, saving her from falling into the glowing, bubbling green lake of what she assumed to be acid seven dozen hooves below her. Though she was alive, Trixie wasn’t willing to bet on how long her cape could hold her. Not to mention that it was acting as a make-shift noose at the moment, and breathing was becoming harder. After struggling through a few deep breaths and pushing through the desire to panic, she used her weight lessening spell again, allowing her to breathe easier and hopefully for her cape to hold her up a little longer.
Looking over the cavern, Trixie could see on the far end of the acid lake another ledge with a cavernous exit on it. She shuddered a bit as she looked down again at the mammoth skeletons of what looked to be wingless dragons half-way jutting up from some sections of the lake. In Celestia’s name, please let them all be long dead and gone. Trixie’s having enough trouble right now without any other help.
Trixie felt her cloak give a little, and stopped gazing around for hidden dangers to work on the very obvious one of falling. A glow of magenta magic slowly oozed out of her horn and into her small travel pack. As she continued to concentrate, a rope slipped out of the pack and slithered its way up to the ledge, tying itself around one of the stalagmites. With a lot of grunting, slipping, and choking from twisting her cloak the wrong way around herself, Trixie managed to climb back up to the ridge. Reaching the top, Trixie saw her cape had luckily been caught on a smaller stalagmite and was now sporting a fairly large hole near the lower end of it.
Well, better the cloak than Trixie, she isn’t replaceable, despite what some ignorant foals might say.
Trixie took a few minutes to rest and gathered up her rope again. She sighed and looked over to the other ledge. Ok, so if Trixie was an Alicorn, she could just fly over. The rope isn’t long enough to use it to tight walk across. Not that Trixie was looking forward to that. But how did Luna ever get anyone else over? Teleport? Trixie used her magic to scan around the area again, but unlike the hallway, this cavern was fairly saturated in magic, causing her to have no luck in finding anything helpful.
Perhaps Trixie might have skipped a few too many classes on detection, it would be nice to know if this is all just residual magic or some sort of spell. Still, the magic did look a bit deeper in tone to Trixie along both ledge’s, but looking them over showed her nothing special.
“Well, if magic won’t help, Trixie will simply have to use her brilliant deductive skills to get over this hurdle!” With that she promptly kicked the nearest pillar. When that did nothing, she then proceeded to kick and poke the other pillars and walls randomly. After about ten minutes of this and the painful reminder of how bad of an idea it is to buck stone, Trixie noticed a fairly obvious lever on the wall next to the entrance.
"Hmph, always the last place you look."
Pushing it down, Trixie caught the sight of a iridescent bridge slowly being formed with magic between the two ledges. The outer skeleton of it formed first, with magic running along the rope-like black lines and archways to slowly fill it in. Once the bridge had coalesced, Trixie had a semi-solid looking walkway of purple and bluish magic to the other side. She nervously trotted over the bridge, eyeing the acid and huge bones below her warily. Trixie breathed a sigh of relief at making it to the other side without incident, and continued on.
She peered into the next room, seeing it to be made of roughly hewn stone. The room looked to be a giant box, maybe going twenty hooves up and roughly ten hoofs in length. There was an archway with a closed door on the far end of it, exactly like the first magic door Trixie encountered, but a bit smaller and minus the bar in front of it. The room had an eight pointed star in the middle surrounded by a white glowing circle. Unless Discord was messing with her, which Trixie wouldn’t be surprised about; this was the last obstacle before she reached Luna’s sanctum. With an audible gulp, Trixie slowly walked forward, pulling the small box out of her backpack with her magic as she approached the star.
“P-Princess Luna…?” Twilight said, feeling just as disturbed by Luna’s actions as the Zebra and Crystal Empire ambassadors seemed to be. This was one of the few meetings Twilight had actually looked forward to. The Zebra ambassador, Troika, was almost as interesting as Zecora in his own ways, and it was wonderful for Twilight to talk to somepony from her Sister-in-laws capital. Having Luna here was just an added bonus, resulting in a nice relaxed talk with few, if any, undertones to the conversation.
Then, in mid-laugh, Luna had cocked her head to the side, as if listening to something the rest of them couldn't hear. Her eyes went wide and she quickly stood up, knocking the large throne-looking chair she was in over. Her stance had turned rigid, her ears perked in alarm, and her wings had spread like she was about to take flight, despite the small size of the room. Everything and everyone was still for a few scant seconds before Luna’s magic tore the doors off their hinges as she rushed through them like a tempest.
"Luna! Wait!" Twilight cried out in alarm, quickly getting to her hooves and following in Luna's wake.
Twilight caught sight of Luna as she emerged from the room, watching wordlessly as Luna charged down the hall and crashed through the large stained window of herself at the end and took flight. Luna was out of Twilight’s sight in seconds after this, leaving her, and two very perplexed ambassadors to explain what just happened to the emerging guards now pouring into the hallway.
Once Trixie followed Discord's instructions and went through the last trap, she found herself in what she could only assume to be Luna’s old Laboratory. Her lavender eyes widened in awe and a little drool even made its way to the floor as she realized just how many palpably magical artifacts were in the room, with more almost calling to her from nearby. Dozens of trinkets littered stone tables around her, illegible notes on chalkboards which lined the entire room near each table. A beautiful red gem on a pendant almost sang to her from one table, calling her to it like a siren. Before she knew it, Trixie was gazing down at the pendant before a flash of memory caused her to shake her head and back away.
Discord said Luna would be alerted the moment Trixie touched anything…but the things she could do if she could take even a couple of these with her… Trixie looked over the various notes and papers strewn about and continued forward, ignoring the treasures around her as best she could.
Trixie can’t risk being the pawn of another Alicorn amulet, and she won’t ruin her chances at Alicornhood, among other reasons...
An image of Twilight tried to force its way into her head at this thought but she shook it off. Trixie started to open doors and search for the object Discord had sent her here for. She came upon several other rooms with work tables that looked innocent enough, and barely glanced at the assorted beakers and flowerpots assembled for experiments long gone. The next few rooms caused Trixie to cringe a little as they were revealed to have bones of long dead animals kept in cages with diagrams of their anatomies around the walls.
Well, Luna is a researcher like Twilight, so of course she works with animals. Nothing you need to get too worked up about Trixie.
Moving further down the hall and into yet more new rooms caused Trixie to let out a gasp of horror. Pony skeletons were shackled in what looked like dentist chairs with dozens of rusted over blades and dissection instruments attached to hooks on the walls and laying on rusted medical tables. The skeletons themselves were missing various parts that Trixie was pretty sure she saw resting on shelves in the back of the room. Quickly trotting away from these and opening another door, Trixie saw the the next room contained a few giant greenish orbs taller than Trixie hovering in the air. The orbs were seemingly filled with water and a few looked to contain sleeping ponies, but Trixie chose not to investigate further. She shivered upon seeing several unicorn horns on one of the medical tables in the room as she walked past, hoping this plan wouldn’t end up with her facing the same fate.
What in Equestria happened here? What was Luna doing to these ponies? Are these literally the skeletons in Luna’s closet that Trixie is now witnessing? These…experiments of Luna’s are getting worse as Trixie goes deeper. What else was Luna hiding here?
Shaking a little, Trixie left the rooms of nameless skeletons and proceeded down the corridor. She came to the last door, which was larger and far more ornamental than the others she had passed, and took a few shaky breaths before slowly easing it open. The room was easily three times the size of any other Trixie had come across, and held the closest explanation she felt she would ever get for Luna’s creepy experiments.
The ceiling had a glowing full moon etched into it that bathed the room in light, eliminating the need for torches, though definitely would require Trixie to wear a sleep mask if she ever had to stay in it overnight. A huge and unkempt bed was placed by the wall at the far end of the room along with a small dresser. Bother were corroded badly due to their age.
A large, shattered mirror was off to the side, and in fact, it looked as though a lot of things had been broken in this room at one point. Gouges were in several places in the walls, painting were ripped beyond comprehension, and the debris of other things destroyed and ravaged by time were strewn about, with only a few surviving and recognizable among the mess.
Trixie quietly clopped up to a still intact table that had been centered in the room. On it was a large and impressive looking mechanical display depicting ponies living in a small village. Trixie could only guess it was a wind up device of some kind. Several holes and wires were obvious in the village where ponies had been violently ripped out. A crescent moon attached to what looked to be a clock hand rested above the village, and was attached to the back of the device.
I’ve heard of these displays before, but why did Luna have one? It looks like the ponies moved at one point, probably to wake up with the sun and lay down at night. So if I move this moon…
Trixie slowly moved the moon hand behind the device to bring up the sun. But, as the sun hand came up, Trixie only saw a black colored moon where the sun was supposed to be. Looking the hand over, Trixie quickly realized that Luna had glued the moon over the sun.
Trixie felt herself shiver and looked around, becoming aware of all the beady little eyes of the broken villagers around the room. She glanced at the diagrams of an Alicorn far too similar looking to Celestia for Trixie’s comfort. Her eyes went past the half done and crazed looking scribbles that were in the notes all over the table. With a audible gulp, she turned away from the table.
I..I don’t need to see this. Or think about it. Or still be here for that matter. I’m going to get that orb and forget this as soon as possible.
“No no no no no no no no no!”
Luna continued her beloved mantra as she rocketed toward the Everfree Forest, the warning spells in the ruins still giving off shrill cries in her head. Luna cursed her own ingenuity, practically having to fly within a few feet of the old castle before the old spells recognized her and let her teleport into her private sanctum. Said teleport was a little off, as Luna hadn’t gone to her old rooms in a thousand years, and ended up with her crashing into the bed. She could swear she heard the distant sound of hooves before the bed showed its disapproval of her landing by promptly collapsing into itself and breaking the head board over Luna’s back. After half a minute of fighting to get out of the sheets and rotted wood, Luna righted herself and took a few steps out of the remains, coughing and sneezing at all the kicked up dust.
Luna looked around her old chambers quickly and shivered at old half-forgotten memories of her final years here, the memories being only half experienced due to Nightmare Moon being fairly in control of her by that point. The hate, the loneliness, the experiments on corpses that showed her how to twist her own powers into something so much darker than she had thought possible. She wanted to flee from here and put all of this behind her, but some thing, somepony had drawn her back.
No, we must not be consumed by these thoughts, somepony was here, and something was stolen. How did they get through our traps though? Has magic improved so much over the past thousand years?
Luna scanned the room, finally remembering what experiment had been important enough to be kept in her private chambers. Opening the drawer of the small dresser, she let out a scream of anger and distress. The bottle she had stored the orb in was empty, save for the warning note next to the empty vial.
Should any snooping maid or pony with ill intent find this, know that thou shall rule rue the day if thine intent is to consume this precious artifact of ours.
With love, Luna
“Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap!”
Trixie continued to yell her beloved mantra as she jammed herself into the hole at the end of the hallway, getting a few cuts and scrapes due to her carelessness. She could practically feel the orb she had swallowed moving around uncomfortably in her stomach for the last few minutes as she ran for her life from the crashing sounds approaching behind her. A distant scream echoed down the hallway as Trixie finally squirmed through the hole and started up the stairs.
That must be Luna! Or-or Trixie woke something! Forget what it is, just keep running!
Luna charged down the laboratories hallway, hoping to hear the sound of hooves again, but picking up nothing. As she came up to the last trap that only she was supposed to be capable of getting through alive, she gave a cursory look around. When a pony stepped onto the eight pointed star in the middle, both doors would seal and they would only have ten seconds to identify themselves as Luna, else the room would crush them and warn Luna of the threat, and need for a cleaning crew. It was, perhaps a little much, but what she experimented on down here needed to be kept safe.
As she continued to look around more, Luna's gaze focused on a strange metallic object on the floor with a button near the star. With a little hesitation she picked it up and gave the button on it a firm push with her magic. Less than a second later, Luna was listening to a very familiar voice.
“I’m Luna, the most lonely and boring Princess to ever exist," a voice from the box that sounded exactly like hers said. "Thou shalt not tell Celestia that we hath wet the bed again! Before courting us thee would do well to remember that our sister's horn is longer and plot much more -"
Luna let the remains of the device fall to the floor as she ran forward in a rage. “How dare you! Come back here and we swear you’ll never be able to wake again unsoiled!”
The acid Wyrms, how did they fail!? Only one with the powers of an Alicorn or dragon could withstand such beasts!
Luna ran through the cavern and over the bridge, looking over the acid pools and at the numerous skeletons. She let out a grunt of frustration at her obvious oversight. Right…we weren’t here to feed them…
As she approached the trapped hallway, Luna once again slowed down and looked at the wrecks that were once traps. No pony to oil or maintain them, and we’re pretty sure Nightmare added some kind of poison to them. Wonderful to kill, but if not cared after, the poison surely would only make the traps corrode even faster over time…
Finally, Luna slowed down to a trot, a menacing smile on her face.
Still, even if everything else fell apart, the fool can’t know about the door.
Luna’s horn glowed a soft blue as she confirmed the door ahead was sealed. They may have somehow opened it once, but they cannot know that it would reseal once the alarm went off, and only we could reopen it this time. They are trapped, and have only us to look forward to.
Luna tried to calm her anger down, despite the memory of what that device said in her voice. No true harm was done, and the intruder had forced her to come back to a place she had badly needed to visit since her return, if only to seal away the magic relics here in a safer location.
But still…she mused It would not be unseemly to make them grovel for forgiveness, and if they swallowed the trigger…well..their next few weeks will be most unpleasant as we remove it from them.
Her smile started to slip from her face however, as the door came into sight with nopony desperately beating on it to escape, or groveling in fear at her approach. It disappeared completely, and her jaw hung loosely as she looked to the door, and then a scant few hooves over to the pony-sized hole in the wall, then back to the door. She did this several times as her mind worked for a proper response to the situation.
After several more seconds, and the world taking on a slight tinge of red, Luna decided on her course of action.
“FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-” Luna’s form shifted to mist in mid scream, shooting through the hole in search for somepony to skin alive.
Trixie had just re-cast her weight reduction spell, and was midway through her wolf illusion when a scream pierced the night and mist erupted out of the ruins behind her. She promptly let the spell fall apart and ran for her life. The Everfree had turned dead silent, save for the galloping hooves of a desperate mare and the enraged screams of another; the monsters and denizens of the forest apparently knowing to stay hidden.
Trixie felt rocks and bushes slap against her legs as she ran, leaving bruises and abrasions. But the pain barely registered as she tried to stay ahead of the ever approaching mist and constant screams she knew were directed at her.
“WE’LL FIND YOU! DON’T THINK YOU CAN OUTRUN THE NIGHT ITSELF! YOUR DREAMS WILL BECOME LIVING NIGHTMARES! THOSE EXPERIMENTS YOU SAW WILL BE LIKE A TROT IN THE PARK COMPARED TO WHAT WE DO TO YOU IF YOU DO NOT COME BACK HERE NOW!”
The warnings of pain and demands for her return continued to call out as if from right behind Trixie for several minutes. Her brain practically shut down from the fear filtering through her with only one order repeatedly going over and over through it.
Run run run run run run run run run!
Trixie collapsed to the ground finally, those last two words carrying out to her, but now sounding from a great distance. After less than a minute, she urged her beaten and exhausted body back up, knowing if she stayed still any longer she would cramp up and be unable to move again before Luna found her. Her mad dash became a limping walk now, with her tongue sticking out to one side and spittle flying with every ragged breath, But somehow, she had made it out. she was still alive.
I…I did it…I got the orb…Luna’s going to fucking kill me if I’m found now…but Trixie did it! Now she just has to make it to Ponyville…and not get run out of town…and find Discord…
A more prominent thought welled up quickly after, dispelling her bravado.
I really hope Luna can’t just find me when I sleep…would I ever wake up again?
Trixie stopped for a second, laughing quietly to herself while trying to stop her body from shaking.
Twilight better appreciate the shit Trixie is doing for her. If she hadn't gone Alicorn on Trixie, then Trixie wouldn't have to go to such lengths to prove her already obvious worth as a rival!
Despite bleeding, aches, pains, constant fear for the future and probable whiplash from various tree branches, thoughts of Twilight helped Trixie’s stumbling trek to Ponyville go just a little bit easier.
The grey, thick mist swirled in front of the castle, gathering itself back together. A short time later Luna reformed and started gasping for air. Her body ached a little, not having been spread out over such a length of land in a very long time.
“COME BACK! YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE STOLEN!” She called out one last time into the dark forest.
She didn't expect a reply, but waited a minute nonetheless before Luna quickly turned around and began a tired flight back to Canterlot.
They had to have swallowed the artifact, if not, they would have been easy to track down. Now their own magic hides it. We’ll have to search the dreams of everypony near here and hope the culprit accidentally reveals themself. But first, we have to warn Tia! Too much time was spent on the Alicorn Trigger for somepony to use it against us!
Celestia slowly opened her eyes from her nap at the sound of someone landing on her balcony. She yawned and let out a small smile as her sister opened the glass doors and walked in. “Luna, I’m happy to see you back and well. I took care of what I could in the Night Court and cancelled the rest. Well, after preventing the guards from trying to put the palace on lockdown due to your rather dramatic exit. Where did you go? Twilight and the palace guards were quite panicked at your sudden departure…as was I.”
Luna trotted over to the bed and gave her sister an apologetic nuzzle, resting their heads against each other for a moment before she pulled back. “We are sorry, dear Sister, but much has gone amiss for us this day. Our ancient domicile was broken into and an artifact of worrying power stolen from it.”
“Oh? Did you see who or what stole it?” Celestia raised her head as her expression turned to one of concern. ”Twilight and her friends will need all the information they can to track the artifact down.”
Luna gave Celestia a curious look “We haven’t even told you what was stolen yet Tia, why are you so quick to think that the elements should be the one's to handle its recovery?”
Celestia gave Luna a deadpan expression, her eyes up in a ‘are you serious?’ look. “Lulu, these last few years an old enemy we sealed away, or an ancient evil artifact we thought long lost seems to surface every few months. In each of these events it has been Twilight and her friends who safely defeated them, or recovered said artifact. Why would I think of sending anypony else?”
Luna snorted at her sister “You know Tia, you could instead, help us to try and recover the artifact without getting Twilight involved. It doesn’t have to always be your former student and her friends that take these risks.”
Celestia smiled back and winked “I agree Lulu, and we will take care of some of these issues on our own, just as soon as Twilight learns to say ‘no’ to me. As an Alicorn, she needs to become strong enough to refuse something even you or I ask of her.”
Luna grumbled a bit and laid down in Celestia’s bed, opening her sore wings and giving them a good stretch “Well we would appreciate if you helped her with that. Leaving Twilight in charge while we solved problems like this would get her prepared for the future. It would be quite wonderful if both of us could finally take that vacation to Los Pegasus.”
Celestia tried to suppress a shudder at memories of previous vacations with Luna in the distant past and gave her a nod. She thought back to the embarrassment of Luna’s drunken antics, the over the top jokes Luna would play on her, the noises at night from the bedroom they shared that drove Celestia to start discreetly having a second room prepared for her to flee to. Hopefully booked at the other end of the inns they stayed at.
Vacation with you? Fat chance Luna. Your actions were hard enough to hide when the media was nothing more than town criers. I can’t imagine the cost involved to keep you out of the papers now, not to mention having the photo’s burned before they got published. She’s always so regal and serious in public appearances and about her duties. However, she was the element of laughter, and by the stars it shows when she’s on vacation.
“So…” Celestia continued, changing the subject quickly. ”By the way you are talking and acting, am I to assume this artifact isn’t of immediate danger?”
“hmm?” Luna mouthed, lifting her head back up from where it was resting on the bed. “Oh, not really. The trigger won’t be of use for another week at least from its consumption. Though we would love to find and skin the pony whom dared to steal from us this very second, waking up Twilight now to retrieve it would be both rude and fruitless. That pony is somewhere in the Everfree forest, and until they emerge it will be next to impossible to find them.” Luna grinned at Celestia.
“So you’re on board with sending Twilight out to find it?” Celestia grinned back at Luna’s nod.
“Since this is part of your plan to train Twilight in her new role we will go along with it."
"Thank you Lulu. I don't wish to continue with her lessons after telling Twilight that she is my equal. But, she even refuses servants, let along guards!" Celestia let a hoof wildly gesture in the air in exasperation. "She understands what I feel is most important for a ruler, but not the...politics of it yet."
"Luna nodded along in agreement, having noticed the emptiness of Twilight's castle despite her having it for several months already. "Though what will you do if she starts to resent you for sending her and her friends out on these dangerous missions instead of her learning to refuse them?”
“Oh Lulu, that’s why she is graded on so many of her missions. And there is no shortage of stained glass windows in the palace I can have replaced. Especially if you continue to go through them.”
Luna chuckled at this statement “Despite your coat color Tia, you’re pure evil.”
Celestia tsked at Luna “Twilight has never failed to learn a lesson I’ve placed before her. I am positive she’ll learn this one before she becomes truly upset with me. And if not, I will have others help nudge her in that direction as always.Twilight is too much like a daughter to me to hurt her intentionally like that.”
Celestia yawned and wrapped a wing lovingly around her sister. “Now, care to tell me what this ‘trigger’ you were speaking of is? It’s been a long time since I thought of all those cute little experiments you used to do."
Luna blushed and squeaked out a protest. "Cute? Dear sister, we were working to unravel the mysteries of magic and the world itself! Why would you say-" Luna's eyes turned to slits as she peered at her sister in annoyance. "You are referring to our days in the kitchen, aren't you?"
"You were the most beautiful little kitchen ghost!" Celestia gushed. "While I thought it was rude of the staff to call you a calamity, they did have my sympathies for all the white prints they had to clean up."
With a groan, Luna hid her head. "Let it go Sister. We learned long ago that the kitchen was not our place for experiments, and switched to a laboratory just as soon as Starswirl trusted us enough."
Celestia giggled at that. "So, what cute little items did you keep in your personal rooms? I admit to never wishing to go down there after you left...”
Luna cleared her throat and actually seemed to blush a little, piquing Celestia’s curiosity.
“Well, the-the thing is Sister, the Alicorn Trigger…”
Trixie did her best to keep her moans quiet, but the pain combined with her exhaustion prevented it. Blearily, she looked to the distant lights of Ponyville, thinking they were almost mocking her. Somehow, she had made it this far, despite the pain that had slowly encased her entire body over the last couple of hours. But now, her body refused her every command. If she hadn’t been lost in the forest for so long, she was positive she would have made it before this sudden explosion of agony began ravaging her insides. Trixie could feel the orb in her stomach, pulsing in time with her heart.
Trixie laid there for what felt like hours, trying her best to go unconscious so she wouldn’t have to bear the torture wracking her body. Despite the pounding in her head, Trixie vaguely noticed the sky start to brighten from a deep, dark blue to a pinkish purple as the two sisters brought night to day. All of a sudden, Trixie heard the sound of cheering and hoof stomping surrounding her.
“Ah now there’s the winning team in all her glory!”
Trixie made out a very disjointed vision of Discord’s face several inches away from her own. A huge grin was visible, as well as a blue foam hand with something written on it Trixie couldn’t see very well.
“So, tell your adoring audience how it went! Did you meet up with Luna? Was she mad that you stole her little marble? I bet she was mad, wasn’t she? What was your favorite play of this season?” Discord held a microphone up to Trixie’s lips, looking expectantly at her.
“Hmm…fascinating. Riveting even! Let’s get to the in-depth interview later so you can hit the showers. No offense, but you look a little too….dead-ish right now to be shown in public.”
Trixie groaned again as she felt her body lift up from the ground and could merely twitch her legs a little as Discord levitated her body behind him as he walked off.
“Feeling like you’re burning up a little huh? It’s okay, no pain no gain after all! It’s just weakness leaving the body! It’s the sensation of victory!”
Trixie could do nothing but groan and listen to Discord as he continued to ramble off stupid motivational quotes to her, despite how much she focused on mentally telling him to shut up. She vaguely noticed that they were not in fact headed into Ponyville. Instead, they seemed to still be in Ponyville’s outskirts and headed to a distant cottage.
“Okay.” Discord stated as he stopped in front of the cottage’s door moments later. Looking to Trixie, he brought up a feather duster and proceeded to dust her off. Afterwards he straightened her hat and cape before giving her a once over. “Meh, it’ll have to do. Just let me do all of the talking, all right?” Trixie groaned again and tried to glare at him. “Good, glad we’re on the same page. By the way, you’re going to be feeling some strange magic surges in the next few days. Direct one of them at Fluttershy, and you’re going to be wishing Luna found you instead of me, got it?” Discord didn’t bother to wait for an acknowledgment as he turned around and snapped his fingers, causing him to suddenly be dressed in a pink nurse’s outfit with a blonde wig on his head. Discord proceeded to knock on the door several times in a random pattern, then stop, then start knocking again. He kept this up until the door opened a few inches to reveal the face of a yellow Pegasus with an eye-patch and a tired look on her face. Surprisingly to Trixie, the Pegasus’s face didn’t change at all as she stared at Nurse Discord.
“Oh…g-good morning Discord. I wasn’t expecting you to come home till later this week. Umm…would you like to come in?”
Discord’s quickly snapped his costume away as his face went from mischievous to serious. He grabbed Fluttershy’s chin in his paw and directed her gaze up to his face.
“Fluttershy, what happened to your eye?”
Fluttershy looked a bit surprised at this statement, bringing her hoof up to the eye-patch as if just remembering it was there. She then smiled a little shyly up at Discord. “O-oh, this? W-well you see, those raven’s were awfully hungry. A-and since I couldn’t let them have yours…well…”
As Discord’s face started to freeze up in a horrified expression rivaling the one he was first placed to stone in, Fluttershy let out a little snort and giggle. She then flipped the eye-patch up, revealing that her eye was in fact not in the gullet of some bird.
Discord’s face remained locked in the same expression for several more seconds. Cracks began to appear all across his body until he shattered, leaving a large pile of brown and grey shards where he once stood. Fluttershy looked down at the pile and proceeded to give it a few prods with her hoof.
“U-um…was…was that too mean?”
Less than a second later, Fluttershy gave a surprised squeak as Discord picked her up from behind and proceeded to give her a noogie as he laughed.
“My dear Fluttershy, you actually pranked me! ME! The very essence of chaotic actions! Do you know what this means!?” Discord held Fluttershy at arms length and grinned at her as she caught her breath.
“Th-that you’re a b-bad influence?” Trixie managed to mutter out despite the pain.
Discord looked over to the Unicorn floating in the air several feet away “Oh, you can finally do more than moan now? Good for you. But no! Well, yes, but no!” Discord stretched out one paw to the sky and moved it to indicate a large area “It means that it’s time for me and sweet little Flutters here to take a road trip! The places we’ll go, the pranks we’ll pull, the things we’ll turn ponies into!” Discord put Fluttershy down and snapped his fingers, causing a large open suitcase to appear in the air next to him. Nearby animals started to float over to the suitcase from inside the cottage and the fields around it. Most were quite alarmed as they were placed into the suitcase and disappeared from view, particularly a large brown bear.
“D-Discord? W-what’s Trixie doing here?” Fluttershy approached the floating Unicorn. Seeing Trixie’s face wincing in pain, her expression quickly changed from slightly scared to concerned.
Discord stopped packing the animals and looked over at the two ponies “Oh. Right. I still have THAT little detail to take care of. Sorry everyone, looks like the trip will have to wait for another day.” The suitcase turned in the air and deposited the distressed animals in a large pile on the ground. Many of the animals were too dizzy from the rough treatment to run off immediately, though one particular white rabbit hopped up to Discord and gave him a solid kick before walking back into the cottage.
“Discord, what’s wrong with Trixie? Did something happen? Bring her inside this minute!” Fluttershy ran into the cottage to retrieve her medical bag.
“…and now Pegasi are bossing me around. Yep, I was right. Everything with wings in Equestria is after me in some way.” Discord continued to grumble as he walked into Fluttershy’s house, Trixie floating in behind him.
“Pr-I mean; Celestia, Luna, you said you needed to see me?” Twilight said shortly after taken her seat.
Twilight, Celestia, and Luna were all sitting in one of the conference rooms. Guards were stationed by the closed doors to assure their privacy, making it clear they were not to be bothered.
“Twilight,” Celestia started “We apologize for having to cut your meetings with the ambassadors short…” Twilight snorted at this, making it clear how little she was actually bothered by this interruption. “But it has come to our attention that somepony broke in and stole an artifact from our ancient home. We need you and the element bearers to track whoever has it and bring them to the palace.”
A curious expression came over Twilight’s face at Celestia’s phrasing of her mission. “You didn’t mention anything about bringing back the artifact, just who was responsible for stealing it. And why did they take it?”
Princess Luna spoke up “To answer the first part, it is because the artifact is most assuredly in the gut of whichever pony was foolish enough to steal from us. Once you corner the unfortunate soul who dared steal the Alicorn Trigger and bring them here, we will…remove the artifact from their miserable body.”
Twilight’s fur stood on end at Luna’s words, getting a sense of foreboding from the Princess’s tone.
“Luna, you’re being as…particular, with your choice of words as Celestia. What exactly are you planning on doing to this pony once we bring them back here?”
“Well, if they are lucky, and we choose to be in a forgiving mood, we will only take a few weeks to extract the Trigger from their body. After that, we would not mind a new hoofstool in our bedroom.”
“Luna!” Celestia scolded, turning to Twilight with a soothing smile. “Don’t listen to Luna, Twilight. The artifact stolen is very personal to her, so she is quite upset over its loss. She won’t really kill the pony in question over this. However, as they consumed the Trigger, it will take Luna quite some time to remove it from their body, and it will most likely be a painful experience for them.”
Twilight eyed the scowling Luna a little warily, but relaxed at her old mentors’ calming tone. “All right, could you tell me what we’ll be up against? You called it the ‘Alicorn Trigger’, does that mean it’ll be similar to the Alicorn Amulet incident?”
Celestia shook her head and turned back to Luna questioningly. Receiving a nod from her sister, Celestia turned back to Twilight.
“Please understand Twilight, to fully explain the trigger, we will have to impart to you some information that cannot be made public. We have yet to share this information with even Cadence. If this was spread, it would cause an untold amount of chaos among ponies and quite likely put the element bearers at risk.”
Twilight’s ears lowered at the thought of her friends being injured from her own actions and nodded to Celestia. “I promise, if this secret is so dangerous, that I will not tell anypony.”
“Very well.” Luna stood up and started to pace the room as she spoke. “Understand that, as far as we are aware, there are in fact only three ways one may become an Alicorn. The first is through birth like us and our sister. Despite past attempts by others, the birth of an Alicorn can only occur between Alicorns. Due to the lack of males, this option is currently closed. The second is...well...problematic” Luna stopped her pacing and looked over to Twilight.
“Magic is….fickle in some ways, we suppose. The three tribes were unexpectedly blessed with a unique chance that no other species has. Very, very rarely, a pony may be born with a unique brand of magic wrapped around their soul. A chance at a unique destiny. Think of it like a seed if you will. When cared for correctly, the seed will grow, causing the magic to tightly entwine itself with that ponies soul and natural energies. This will cause said pony, with help, to become an Alicorn.” Luna paused slightly and smirked as Twilight’s eyes widened in recognition of how she ascended.
“If looked for, an Alicorn can sense this seed in a pony, but it is literally like looking for a piece of hay in a needle stack. Only once have we seen more than one pony with the possibility of ascension within every century.”
Celestia cut in. “The seed, if never grown, is still of use to the wielder. It gives them an edge other ponies do not have, the ability to dig down when desperate and find the power they need to deal with many situations others couldn’t. A Pegasus being able to outfly an athletic friend despite being a poor flyer themselves, an earth pony growing a fruit or vegetable dozens of times larger than they should be capable of, and a Unicorn capable of hatching a dragon’s egg that was never meant to hatch in the first place, are all past examples of this.“
Celestia patiently waited for Twilight to come out of her paralyzed state. After a moment she began to grown concerned, and lightly tapped Twilight with her hoof, causing the pole-axed mare to let out a strangled squawk as she fell out of her seat. Celestia spent the next few minutes coaxing Twilight to breath and return to her seat, only speaking again once she was sure Twilight was no longer in danger of fainting.
“Hopefully now you understand why this is kept hidden. Ponies would start coming to the castle in droves with the hopes of being told they held such potential all day, others would think we were lying to them, and still others would hunt down those known to have these seeds and try to remove them.”
“So you mean, my friends, they all could be….?”
Celestia nodded, though her eyes held a soft sadness to them “They could Twilight, but Luna and I have no plans to carry out the ritual on them. Becoming an Alicorn is as much of a blessing as it is a curse. Could you see Rarity watching Sweetie Belle age and die before her eyes? What of Applejack and Apple Bloom? Not to mention the upheaval that is still going on at your own recent coronation. To add five more Alicorns to that list would panic the country to no end. You alone were trained and taught to one day join my sister and I, Twilight. I’m sorry, I know it hurts, but that is how it must stay.”
Twilight nodded dumbly to Celestia, too overwhelmed with this new information to make any argument with her decision for the moment. “S-so, you only mentioned the first two ways to become an Alicorn, I take it this trigger is the third way?”
After giving Twilight's face a once-over to make sure she should continue, Luna nodded. “The Alicorn Trigger; we experimented with the tree of harmony for a long time before coming up with it. Unfortunately, the experiment proved too dangerous for the tree, and only one was ever completed. We kept it a secret from our sister...” Luna blushed a little and looked to the floor. “It-it is capable of making a pony without the seed into an Alicorn. We kept it in case we or our sister found a special somepony to spend an eternity with. We wished it to be a surprise in case our sister found somepony first.”
Celestia stood up and nuzzled her sister lovingly, hugging her with a wing. “I thank you for your intentions, sister, but as of now I am more than happy for the next few centuries just having you returned to me. And now with Cadence and Twilight joining us, so long as we support one another I think we will have no cause to feel alone again.”
Twilight silently mulled over what she learned as the two sisters had a tender moment together. She spoke up only when she saw them break apart. “So, the Alicorn trigger allows somepony to go beyond their normal limits when pressed, and to become an Alicorn if they have the ritual. Is that right?”
Luna nodded, focusing on Twilight as she sat down next to Celestia, touching by the barest of margins. “That is for the most part correct. The Trigger we designed is capable of a bit more than the normal seeds however. After a week of excruciating pain as the trigger bonds itself with the users magic and soul, the user gains a small boost of all three tribes magics. To run along clouds and survive long falls with little injury like a Pegasus; a touch of the stamina, strength, and hardiness earth ponies are blessed with; and finally, the capability to use stronger spells and store more magic in their body. Admittedly, the third is of little use if the user is not a unicorn. We are, however, very positive that we sensed traces of a unicorn’s magic in our old rooms.”
Luna continued. “Even if the trigger becomes bound to them, we know how to unbind it. It’ll be painful for them, but better than the alternative Celestia will most likely forbid us from doing. We have little fear of them having, or even being capable of the ascension ritual. The powers needed to perform it are beyond even the strongest unicorn. As of this age, the only ones we know capable of such a ritual are Alicorns, Discord, and, with enough love, perhaps Chrysalis. Of these, Chrysalis is the only enemy Equestria still has, but it is still very suspect to think her capable of this, considering her recent defeat and desire to not share power. This pony most likely doesn’t truly know what they stole, and is merely using it to boost their own magic as opposed to seeking Alicornhood.”
A slow clapping was heard echoing in the room. The three Alicorns tilted their heads to look all over the room warily before spotting a miniature Discord resting on a duck float in Twilight's cup of tea.
“Congratulations! I thought it was going to take you two the next few weeks to explain the situation to little Twilight there. And what an interesting little device you lost Luna! Tell me, are you sad that someone ‘swallowed’ your precious seed?” Discord waggled his eyebrows at Luna as he emphasized the word.
Luna pointed a hoof at Discord and glared angrily at Celestia “See? This is EXACTLY why we were opposed to the seed explanation! The first time a weak minded pervert hears it, and already we are being accused of activities befitting a harlot!”
Celestia ignored Luna’s outburst and focused on the little Draconequus. “Discord, why are you here? This conversation does not involve you.”
“Oh poor misinformed Celly, this conversation involves me far more than you realize.”
Celestia raised an eyebrow at Discord, her friendly tone dropping a few levels. “Oh? And how are you involved in this mess then?”
Discord looked up in shock at Celestia “Involved? Why what would make you say such a thing Celestia? Aren’t we friends after all? I merely meant I have a way to help you recover Luna’s lost marble.”
Celestia looked taken aback a little at Discord’s words. “I am sorry if I sounded like I was accusing you Discord. If you have a way to help it would be very appreciated.”
Discord waved a paw at her “Already forgotten my dear cake craving comrade. And I will happily aid Twilight in this adventure of hers. Buuuuuuut! There’ll be a catch.”
Twilight rolled her eyes at him. “Of course there would be. What is it this time? Another maze? A rhyming puzzle?”
Discord shook his head at Twilight. “No no, nothing as difficult or unoriginal as that. All I require is for you to take on this task on your own. You and yourself, sans friends, viva la alono.”
Twilight looked at him with both confusion and anger on her face. “What!? Why would I agree to that?”
Discord grinned up at Twilight, taking a sip of the tepid tea he was lounging in “ Poor little Twilight, you ARE an Alicorn now, yes?” Looking a bit quizzically, Twilight nodded to him. “And yet, all of your achievements beyond simple tests would have been failures if you were on your own. From what Luna said, this pony isn’t becoming an Alicorn anytime soon, if they even know they can become one. So what easier task to start off with on your own than getting back this artifact? The compass I give you will lead right to them so this task is fairly straight forward.”
Celestia looked at Twilight’s crestfallen features and nuzzled her gently. “It’s okay Twilight, you don’t have to accept his help if you don’t wish to. Simply discuss what is happening with your friends and head out from Ponyville when you can.”
“Tut-tut Celestia, you really need to stop coddling her like this. Twilight?” Twilight lifted her eyes to gaze into Discord’s far tinier ones. “Yes, you are the-" Discord gave a gagging sound "princess of friendship. However, don't you think you need to learn to at least be able to do the smallest of tasks on your own?" Discord's voice became much louder as he peered at Twilight, frowning. "You. Are. Immortal. Barring a few unlikely incidents, you are going to outlive your friends. What good are you going to be to anyone if you haven’t learned to function on your own by that point, hmm?”
Twilight’s pupils contracted at Discord’s last words, causing her eyes to look like two large glistening mirrors as she turned her head towards Celestia. Twilight stared at Celestia for almost a minute, clear to everyone that she was waiting for her mentor to say something comforting, or to deny Discord’s claim. As time passed, a few tears started their trek down Twilight's face as Celestia stared at her with a sorrowed expression, causing Twilight to realize the truth in Discords words. Half blind, Twilight stumbled to her legs and headed for one of the doors as she mumbled a few words to Discord in a very subdued tone. “No…you’re right. Just...get me the compass when you can and I...I’ll head out…e-excuse me...I need to get ready…”
Celestia quickly got up to follow Twilight out the door, glaring at Discord as she made her exit. “That was too far Discord. She’s too young to have worry about such things. Do not bother appearing before me again until you’ve apologized to her.”
Discord looked over to Luna as she got up and headed for a different door. “Should I assume you aren’t happy with me either right now?”
“Do not get us wrong Discord. We believe you are right in what you said to Twilight. But it does not mean we think you any less of a dick for saying it.”
Twilight headed out the doors of her room at a swift trot, mentally going over her supplies for the sixth time in the last hour.
Maps, food, bits, climbing gear, winter gear, summer gear, should I have brought the spring gear? Those wide hats never really fit my horn correctly though…
Twilight continued her list, avidly trying to keep her mind off of yesterday’s meeting and the events that followed.
"Twilight? What happened?" Spike had uttered out, clenching and unclenching his paws nervously at the wailing ball of purple on the bed that he had been trying to talk to the last few minutes.
Twilight barely heard the sound of a door opening and closing, her head buried under a pillow. Images of staring out across Ponyville and watching it rot away kept running through her mind as Spike talked to somepony in the background. Twilight saw Sugarcube Corner being replaced to make a new showroom for Davenport's sofa's.
A door opened and closed briefly. Seconds later, someone large approached the bed Twilight was holed up in.
However, Twilight was too lost in her own pain. She saw Rarity's Boutique becoming dilapidated and finally torn down to make way for the inventory space Quills and Sofa needed. Oh, Twilight just knew it'd be her fault too! Why did she need so many quills that Davenport had to expand the business like that!? Why had she not ordered them from Canterlot instead of giving Davenport more than enough bits to take her friends old homes!?
Twilight's thoughts were interrupted by a rather large weight settling onto the bed and pressing lightly against her. Seconds later, a white muzzle poked under Twilight's pillow, blowing warm air on Twilight's cheek before gently nuzzling her.
After Twilight had finally calmed down a little, she had stayed up half the night talking with Celestia. She wasn't sure when, but at some point between the crying and talking, she had fallen asleep. Either through luck, or the graces of a certain Alicorn of dreams, Twilight had awoke hours later, undisturbed by a single nightmare. That morning, after she had blearily wiped sleep from her eyes, she had looked over the bed, and, more importantly, at the warm, white wing still wrapped around her, Twilight couldn't even begin to explain how immensely grateful she had been when she realized that Celestia had stayed with her the entire night.
“I promise you, Twilight.” Celestia had said to her that morning. “That Luna, Cadence, and myself will always be here for you. Whenever you need to talk you only need ask and I will give you all the time you need.”
Twilight had then tried to broach the subject about her friends, but Celestia rebuffed her as gently as she could, saying, “While not all of them have the same family dilemmas as Applejack or Rarity, only you were trained and prepared for what it means to be an Alicorn. Luna and I cannot risk the creation of Alicorns that might be led astray; one's that haven’t shown themselves to be capable leaders in Equestria’s time of need. Your friends have all shown themselves to be wonderful ponies several times over, but only you have the qualities of an Alicorn in you, Twilight.”.
Afterwards they spoke a little more as Twilight prepared for her first solo mission. Celestia eventually said her goodbyes as she was already late for the sun court, leaving Twilight to think through everything she had learned over the last day.
Maybe Celestia is right about my friends, but couldn’t I try to teach them to become leaders? I don’t feel half as capable as Celestia thinks I am, and even less so knowing my friends one day won’t be there with me. It couldn't hurt to run some tests after this, right? There has to be books on being a good leader in the castle. But, which one of them should I ask first? Twilight started to compile a list of her friends pros and cons when…
“GAH!” Twilight screamed at the bellowing voice whose sheer force alone had violently whipped her hair behind her head. Twilight promptly lost her balance and fell onto her back, finding herself staring up at an extremely irritated and tired looking Princess Luna.
“We have been calling to you for the last five minutes! Just what cause do you have to ignore us like this!?”
Twilight’s ears lowered as she scrambled back to her hooves and brushed some dust off of her coat “I’m so sorry Luna. I just have a lot on my mind right now, and I guess I tuned everything else out.”
Luna grumbled a bit but nodded her assent. “We understand the last few days have not been easy on you, Twilight. Forgive us if we are acting irritated, we have delayed our sleep to make sure to say goodbye when you left and to give you this…” Luna levitated a small emerald earring over to Twilight which shimmered in the sunlight.
Twilight smiled at Luna’s gift, but raised her eyebrows questioningly “Thank you Luna, it’s very pretty, but why was it so important for you to give this to me now?”
Luna loudly yawned and then blinked her eyes wearily at Twilight “Oh, yes. The earring will hide your wings from sight. We use such trinkets to disguise ourselves when we do not wish for attention. Luckily, you are still of normal height for a pony so this is all you need to blend in. Your investigation will be quite hampered if word of your arrival is heard of every time you step into a town.”
“Well, that makes a lot of sense actually, I didn’t think of a disguise. But Luna?” Luna was busy rubbing her hoof over her mane to massage away a headache. She stared tiredly at Twilight and motioned for her to proceed. “Maybe you forgot, but…I don’t have an ear piercing…”
Luna rolled her eyes at Twilight and growled a bit, causing Twilight to wish she hadn’t pointed out the flaw in Luna’s plan when she was so irritable. “Right, right, hold still then.”
Twilight squirmed on her seat in the train, doing her best to keep her hooves away from her throbbing ear.
“I can’t believe she did that! Is she crazy!? I’m never going near her again in the morning.”
Twilight mumbled out irritated words about Luna as she checked the compass Discord provided her. The arrow was still pointing South East.
“Ok, according to my books, one of the easiest places to hide is in plain sight. The only major city South East of Canterlot looks to be Baltimare. I’ll just ride the train there and have the compass lead me to where this thief is hiding. Since they should still be suffering from the artifact, It shouldn’t be too difficult to catch them. Then, I’ll ask some of the cities guards to help me escort them back to Canterlot; just as soon as I take this stupid earring out.” Twilight groaned a little in pain and massaged her still throbbing ear.
And then Luna can do whatever she needs to, though if she’s willing to do something like this to me I’m not feeling particularly good on what she’s going to do to somepony she doesn’t like.
Fluttershy placed the latest ice pack on Trixie’s head, causing the vaguely conscious mare to sigh in relief.
“Y-you have the great and p-powerful Trixie’s thanks, Buttershy.”
“Oh. I’m happy to help a friend of Discord’s. Though, um, my name is Fluttershy.” Fluttershy waved her hooves with a slightly guilty look in Trixie’s direction. “B-but if you want you can keep calling me that.”
“…I’m not actually okay with it you know…”
Trixie coughed a few times and weakly looked over to the Pegasus by the door of the bedroom. “What was that, Buttershy?”
“Nothing Trixie, I’m just going to go check on Discord. Call me if you need anything.” Fluttershy mumbled a bit to herself as she walked out the door. Her wings twitched with suppressed irritation as Trixie quickly called out to her.
“All right Buttershy, Trixie will see you in a bit.”
Is she doing that on purpose? No, don’t think like that Fluttershy, she’s sick and confused. When she’s better, you’ll just correct her.
Trixie snickered a little to herself but came up short as pain bolted through her body again. Closing her eyes, she tried to concentrate on the humorous feeling of teasing Fluttershy while she waited out the spasms.
“What is it, my little Buttershy?”
Fluttershy’s wings flared in annoyance as she stared at Discord while he relaxed on the couch downstairs and grinned at her. “Not to sound mean, but I still have the cod-liver oil you know. I won’t use it on Trixie, but you’re not sick mister.”
Discord laughed nervously and nodded. “All right Fluttershy, I’d rather not have a repeat of last month’s little misunderstanding. What can dear old Discord do for you?”
Fluttershy kept an eyebrow raised at Discord while he smiled back at her apprehensively. When Fluttershy started to see sweat run down Discord’s face, she let up her stare and trotted over to sit on the sofa opposite of Discord.
“I’m worried about Trixie; she’s been in pain for the last three days now no matter what medicine I give her. And her sickness doesn’t seem to be getting any better. She’s just lingering; half the time I check on her she is gritting her teeth no matter what pain relievers I give her. That’s not normal Discord. I think she needs to go to a hospital.”
Discord’s limbs and head fell to the floor and rolled their way over to Fluttershy, reassembling next to her on the couch. Discord placed a gentle paw on Fluttershy’s shoulder and gave her his best ‘I’m going to convince you I’m right’ face.
“Oh Fluttershy, you are doing a fine job of taking care of Trixie. I assure you that no pony else would be able to keep her as comfortable as you have considering the…stomach bug poor little Trixie has.”
“But how do you know that, Discord? A doctor could do tests to find out what is wrong; you even made me promise not to ask Zecora for help, and surely she could think of something I haven’t tried yet that might help Trixie.” Fluttershy looked at Discord, teary eyed with her lip quivering in a quiet pout.
Discord’s paw grasped at his heart as he stared at Fluttershy, his face coming to within inches of hers. ”You…are...too…fucking adorable.”
Fluttershy blushed and hid behind her mane, looking away from Discord. He heard a small reproving mumble from her.
“…language…” She said in a tone Discord knew far too well. It meant she was happy with his words, but felt she had to be disapproving in some way anyways.
Discord rolled his eyes and looked the shy pegasus over. “Fluttershy, I’m older than Celestia. Swearing isn’t that big of a deal. I already promised you I would stop swearing around foals, despite how funny the faces their parents make are. Let me have this.”
“…Okay, but not too often, all right? And what about Trixie?”
Discord used a paw to direct Fluttershy’s gaze back towards his face. “Look my dear, Trixie isn’t liked in Ponyville. Just the stress of getting her to the hospital might make her worse. Plus, this happens to be a magical malady. I swear to you that within a week Trixie will be right as rain and ready for you to shove as much cod-liver oil down her throat as it takes for her to remember your name.”
Fluttershy gave a small grin at Discord’s words. “Okay, but if she isn’t by next week then we are bringing her to the hospital, or at least having a doctor come here to look at her.”
“If by some odd chance I’m wrong on this, then fine. We’ll get a doctor, Zecora, Granny Smith, and a priest in here to argue cures with each other. We’ll make a day out of it.”
Poke Poke Poke.
Trixie grumbled as she came back to the pain filled world of the living and ushered up the strength to roll over to get an idea of what fool was assaulting her. Opening a tired eye, she spotted Discord towering over her with his usual irritating grin.
“Hello there, oh Great and Grouchy Trixie. Sorry to spoil your little nap, but I’m just here to say goodbye for a few days.”
Trixie did her best to sit-up in alarm, but her muscles started to immediately spasm and forced her back down. “Gah! W-what do you mean? Tr-Trixie thought you were staying here to keep her safe?”
Discord shook his head. “I am leaving to keep you safe actually. The Alicorn duo sent one of their smarter goons out to find you. I’m going to make sure they stay occupied while you get over your little stomach flu.”
He pointed to the beryl amulet around Trixie’s neck. “Just keep that on and you should be fine for now. Luna’s not the only one who knows how to play with dreams.”
Discord then walked over and opened the bedroom window. He gave Trixie a quick wave as he stepped out of it and began to flap his ridiculously little wings. “Now, you be good and listen to whatever Flutter-butter says. And remember my warning on magical surges.” Discord looked over to Trixie, giving her a devious smirk that sent chills down her already overly tensed spine. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a goon to mess with.”
“Well now what do I do?”
Twilight was irritated beyond belief. Three days on a train to Baltimare, only to find out the compass wasn’t directly aimed at the large city. Instead, it had slowly swiveled south, pointing her into the Hayseed swamps.
“Hmm...Maybe I can get a ferry across Horseshoe Bay then? It would save a lot of time instead of going through the swamp to wherever this unicorn is hiding. Not to mention I’ll be able to easily see if they are hiding in the small towns along the coast.”
Twilight walked through Baltimare, having to pause for, and push against large groups of ponies going back and forth throughout the bustling city. Having lived in Canterlot, she was used to large crowds, and wasn’t too perturbed by this. What she was not used to however, was all the debris around the city.
Large, broken piles of wood were strewn haphazardly among the streets as cleaning crews worked to remove them. Looking up at some of the buildings, Twilight could only stare uncomprehendingly at the various lances protruding from the sides of some skyscrapers and the ponies trying to dislodge them.
Twilight ducked into a bakery and trotted up to the counter. A young brown Pegasus with a pie for a cutie mark was manning the front at the minute. The stallion gave her a small nod as she approached. “Good Afternoon miss, what can I get you?”
“Actually, I’m sort of new in town and was hoping you could tell me directions to the port? I need to catch a ferry over to the other side of Horseshoe Bay.”
The stallion, Eclair Steve according to his name tag, shook his head at Twilight. “I’m sorry miss, but the ferries are kind of...all over the city at the moment. From what I heard, and saw when I was looking for cover; all of the ferries in the bay sprouted wings and lances and just started jousting each other throughout the city. Did a lot of damage that’s still being cleaned up too. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, but I made some money on the betting pool that sprung up while it was happening.”
Twilight knew she shouldn’t, but out of morbid curiosity she had to ask. “ ...What happened to the ferry who won?”
“Oh, it just flew away actually, not really sure where it flew off to.”
“All right. Then what about-”
“A chariot?” He quickly interrupted. “From what I hear, those lined up on their own down at the harbor shortly after the ferry’s took off. Then they all dived into the water and no one’s seen them since.”
“...Thank you for your time.”
Twilight stepped out of the bakery, her mind jumbled by random thoughts. This sounds like Discord, but he gave me the compass! Why would he interfere if he’s supposed to be helping me with this?
Twilight sighed and worked her way to the outskirts of the city.
“Well...only one thing to do now…”
“Ugh!” Twilight cried out in irritation as the swamp boot on her forehoof got stuck in the bog again. She was perhaps a little too happy every time she heard a zap come from her bug repellent spell. It was less of a ‘repellent’ spell and more of a ‘Die you damn mosquito’s, die!’ spell. But Fluttershy wasn’t here to complain, and Twilight had no thoughts of telling her about the multiple little lives she was taking a twisted pleasure in ending.
“Just another-Guh-few miles of this and-Urk!-It’ll get a lot drier. You can do this Twilight, you’re a princess now! What’s a little mud? Rarity bathes in this weekly at the spa. A few more miles and it will be smooth trotting from there.”
As the door to Trixie’s temporary room opened, an irritated looking Fluttershy walked in. Fluttershy however, did try her best to keep any irritation out of her voice in front of her sick patient.
“What is it this time, Trixie? You’re not feeling hungry again, are you?”
Trixie nodded slightly “It’s not her fault! Trixie usually eats like a dainty, majestic, bird!”
Fluttershy quietly sighed. “Well…I guess it is a good sign that you are so hungry. It means your body is starting to repair itself. I’ll go make you something while you rest okay? Have you been sleeping any better lately?”
Trixie turned away from Fluttershy, and pretended to be interested in something on the wall. “Trixie is … still having some issues with that.”
Fluttershy shook her head and gave Trixie a stern look despite knowing she wouldn’t see it. “I know you’re having bad dreams, but you need your rest. Would it help if I asked a friend to make sure you slept better?”
“Wha-no! Trixie already told you she doesn’t want anypony in Ponyville knowing she is here!”
Fluttershy smiled assuredly at her. “Then it’ll be fine, Trixie. The pony I’m going to ask isn’t from Ponyville.”
Trixie felt her body tighten up to mind-numbingly painful levels while her stomach screamed at her for sustenance. Shaking from head to hoof, she looked at Fluttershy. “Do. Not. Tell. Princess. Luna!”
Fluttershy’s eyes grew wide at the pain and fear in Trixie’s face. “T-Trixie! She’s not like that anymore! We got rid of Nightmare Moon! Princess Luna is a very nice Alicorn now, I’m sure she’d be happy to help-“
“NO! No No No No No!” Trixie was forced to lie back on the bed and stop speaking as pain overtook her shaking form.
Holding off her own panic attack, Fluttershy started backing away from Trixie’s bed. “Okay, okay! Calm down, I won’t tell Luna! J-just try to relax, I’ll, I'll go get you some food, and then try to massage out those cramps. J-just wait right here!” Without waiting for a response, Fluttershy ran from the room, wanting to get back as soon as she could to help Trixie.
Later that night found Trixie trying to keep her eyes open, but it was clearly a losing battle.
“No … not again … stupid Discord …”
I don’t want those dreams again, not of her. Not again …
Every time the sun dipped, Trixie would start to think about Luna. From Luna skinning her and using her as another experiment, to turning her to a statue aware of its surroundings for all eternity. Trixie’s dreams were much worse though.
Trixie gave one last groan of resistance before her eyelids closed, and her nightmare began again.
Four nights. Four nights we have wasted searching for hints of this foal’s dreams. Surely by now they would have dreamed something about their theft of our property, but we have felt nothing of it.
Luna sighed as she flew through the dreamscape, deciding to heed the request dear Fluttershy sent her that day through Spike.
While I wish not to tread into the dreams of those unwilling, if what Fluttershy sent was true, this sick mare could use a good night’s rest. Especially if this pony truly bears such a family name.
Lulamoon. Luna thought back to the past on that. An old house who served us well before our … transgression. Just one more thing we have to regret about those dark days, as our actions doomed us to a thousand years on the moon, and our followers to be persecuted. It is good to hear that at least one line that once followed us still exists, albeit in such a diminished form.
Sensing the dreamscape of the distressed mare, Luna swept down to get a look at the nightmare that was reportedly causing so many issues. The dream world Luna flew into was of a night filled with the sight of her moon in its full glory, though far larger than normal. She stepped onto the dew-covered grass and looked around, noticing the quiet sounds of crickets from all around her. Gazing upon a large pond, Luna could make out a blanket and a squirming figure on top of it on the opposite side. Cautiously, she stepped forward, walking upon the top of the water quietly as she approached the other side of the lake. She gave out a loud gasp when she was close enough to make out what was occurring.
“No…” Trixie squirmed in her sleep, grunting in annoyance and distress. “Get … get off of me …”
“Huh…” Was all Luna could say at the sight of herself making out with the azure unicorn. “Well…it appears that at least one aspect of the Lulamoon family hasn’t changed in a thousand years…”
Luna considered taking her doppelganger’s place. It has been awhile since our last dream dalliance, but if this is her first pleasant dream in days, then it would be best for us to leave it be. Knowing the Lulamoons, there’ll be other chances.
Luna quietly flew away, making one last pass over the dreamscape.
“G-get your tongue off of me…” Trixie groused as the sheets became tangled over her form from her struggling. “You F-fucking…psychotic…moon…bitch.”
Throughout the night Trixie struggled against the dream, while the beryl amulet around her neck glowed a dark red.
Twilight gasped for breath as she scrambled up the ridge, only to peer down into a large pond of brown water. She was trapped!
As she was about to turn around from the cliff face, she felt a forceful kick to her flank. With a yelp, she fell over the edge.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-“Her cry was cut off with a large splash as she hit the muddy water. A few seconds later, her head resurfaced and she gasped for air. Remembering her swimming lessons as a filly, Twilight slowly kicked her way to the pond’s edge, the saddlebags weighing her down drastically due to being waterlogged.
Twilight finally made it to land and turned around, flopping onto her stomach. She looked up at the cliff as she gulped in fresh air. Upon the ridge was a family of boars, grunting out what sounded like laughter as they looked down at her drenched and muddy state.
“Don’t- pant- even THINK that I’m not going to tell Fluttershy about this! You boars are in so much trouble!”
The boars simply snorted and grunted out laughter for a few more seconds before walking out of her sight.
“That’s right! Walk away! If I had wings I’d….If…I…wings….” Twilight looked back at her long forgotten invisible appendages and gave them a flap. She then face-hoofed and let out a loud groan at her own stupidity. After giving out an irritated sigh, Twilight turned around and spotted the distant lights of a small settlement perhaps a half mile off.
“… Okay, I’m done with this for today. I’ll just fly where I need to tomorrow when I’m away from this town…like I should have been doing all day.”
Mumbling to herself, Twilight started her short trip to the town as dusk settled around the swamp.
“Trixie! Calm down and tell me what’s wrong!”
Trixie ignored Fluttershy’s cries and proceeded to hold onto her horn with both hooves. Trixie's horn felt like it was on fire, and she was doing her best to hold down the panic rising inside her head. She could feel magic pouring out of her body and spiraling up her head, but was unable to control or turn it away like she normally could. Giving a loud cry, Trixie aimed her horn away from Fluttershy and shot out a beam of dark magenta energy. The beam hit a writing desk, quickly causing it to start glowing a magenta aura.
“Ugh…my head…” Trixie tried to massage her horn but it was practically smoking and painful to touch. Her eyes came up abruptly to look at the desk as it suddenly started to buck like a buffalo, throwing papers and ink quills everywhere. Trixie used the blanket as a shield, though Fluttershy wasn’t so lucky. An ink well went soaring through the air and hit Fluttershy’s back, causing the black liquid to stain across her fur and feathers.
“Just look at what you’ve done!”
Trixie peeked out from behind the covers at the strange tone she never heard the pegasus use before. Fluttershy was staring intensely enough at the desk that her pupils had turned to two tiny pinpricks. The desk was standing there in mid buck, frozen by whatever Fluttershy was doing to it with her eyes. Slowly, the desk’s two upraised legs slowly came down and the entire thing slumped to the floor shaking.
“I try very hard to keep this room and you clean. I dust and wash you every week. I make sure not to leave any crumpled paper on you, and this is how you repay me?” Fluttershy pointed to her ink-covered wings. Fluttershy then pointed over to the corner the desk had originally been in. “Now I want you to stand over there and think about what you’ve done! And don’t move from that spot until I say so!” The desk quickly got to its legs and ran over to the corner, becoming still as stone afterwards.
Fluttershy looked over to Trixie and her demeanor instantly shifted. Her eyes went back to normal and she quickly trotted over to Trixie. “Oh, I’m so sorry Trixie. Are you hurt? Did he hit you with anything?”
“N-no Fluttershy, Trixie is just fine thank you. Though her horn feels like it’s on fire.”
Fluttershy gently put a hoof to Trixie’s horn and quickly withdrew it, wincing from the heat. “Let me get you a bucket of ice water. After that will you be okay alone for a little? I’m going to need Aloe and Lotus to get this ink out of my feathers.”
Trixie nodded appreciatively. “That’s fine, Trixie is kind of tired after that. U-umm, she's sorry about your desk.”
Fluttershy shook her head and smiled. “It’s okay Trixie. This happens a lot more than you’d think around here. And it wasn’t your fault that somepony-“ Fluttershy looked over at the desk, causing it’s legs to quiver a bit in shame, “-couldn’t manage being alive for three seconds without acting up.”
Twilight walked out of the inn, stretching a little and ready to start her investigation again.
Let’s see…the compass is still pointing south. What else is south of here?
Smiling, Twilight approached a dark red pony at a flower stand with what looked to be a black Lotus as a cutie mark. The same flower was placed in her long green mane and Twilight could see some were also among the flowers being sold.
“Umm…excuse me miss..?”
The earth pony smiled at Twilight. “Ha’bis’cus luck ma’am. Wha’ can ah do foh ya?”
Luck? Maybe she is related to Rose Luck.”I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m new to Gettysherd, and need to know if there is anything south of here? Is there another town maybe?”
Hibiscus brought a hoof up and tapped it to her head for a second before her teal eyes lit up. “Wehll, the’re is tha’ lumi’ nose cave thang. But’s’ best ta nawt go to if’n ya can. S’posed ta be no good.”
“Lumi-nose? Luminous cave? Is it dangerous?”
“kin’a. Ya see, tha cave’s called tha’ caus’ ov’ all the thangs innit being all glowy like. Flowah’s, the lil bugs, da rocks, som’ o’ da mold…”
Twilight quickly shook her hooves in Hibiscus’s direction to get her to stop. “Okay, I get it! But why is the cave thought to be a bad place?”
Hibiscus looked at Twilight as if she was an idiot. “It taint nat’ oral o' course! All them glowy thangs ‘n’ one spot like tha’? No de’cent erff pony’d think of going near somethang so wrong! But...ya aint a erff pony, now are ya?”
Twilight’s ears lowered at the way Hibiscus’s words almost ended in a growl, and how her eyes seemed to narrow at Twilight.
“Umm…right…so I’ll just…be on my way then. Thanks for the help.”
“Yeah…you go’ n do that.”
Twilight made her way down the dirt street and after the encounter with Hibiscus she became a lot more aware of the barely hidden glares many of the earth ponies sent her way as she went past them. A few long minutes later and she was headed out of Gettysherd’s southern exit.
“I miss Ponyville…”
Trixie was shooting a slightly guilty look towards Angel’s direction as she held a pack of ice on her horn. A sizzling sound was clearly audible throughout the room.
“Sorry about your little pet, he startled Trixie and it just … happened …”
Despite the guilty look, Angel was very aware of the amusement in the azure intruder’s eyes, and started pantomiming a very detailed description of what he thought of her.
“Angel! That’s not nice! She said she was sorry. And she didn’t hurt you…she just made you more … unique …”
Angel huffed and glared at Fluttershy, pointing a paw at his now plaid fur.
“It’ll be fine Angel, Discord should be back in a day or two and he’ll fix all of this. Now why don’t you go outside and play with the desk for a while? He’s been having trouble making friends. Outside of Mr. Beaverton, I mean.”
Sighing, Angel sent Trixie one more death glare before hopping off.
Twilight set herself down a few feet from the Luminous cave, sweaty from the long flight. She took a few deep breathes before looking to her compass. The compass was pointing directly into the inky depths of the cavern in front of her.
“Finally!” Twilight coursed magic through her horn and body, much in the same way somepony would stretch a muscle before exercising. “Okay, magic ready.” Twilight levitated the regalia Rarity had made for her upon her coronation out of her saddlebag and put it on, hoping a shock and awe tactic would end the coming confrontation peacefully. “Gold horseshoes, check! Necklace, check! Removal of real earring...OOOWWWW!!....check. Fake earrings-“Screw you Luna!”-check! Big crown thingy, check!” After giving herself a once over with a small mirror, and placing the saddlebags near the cave entrance; Twilight entered the Luminous cavern.
“Oh my. I’ve never seen anypony recover so fast before.”
Fluttershy had woken up earlier in shock at seeing Trixie walking down the stairs on her own. She had been even more surprised to learn Trixie had managed to shower by herself, and wasn’t feeling any of the pains or cramps that had kept her bed-ridden for the last week.
Fluttershy looked Trixie over one more time, checking her eyes, tongue, and prodding her in various places to see if she still had any soreness.
“Unhoof Trixie!” Trixie slapped Fluttershy’s hoof away, slowly getting irritated by the last few minutes of continuous prodding. “She is thankful for your concern, Trixie she assures you that she is feeling better than she has in a long time.”
Fluttershy’s ears lowered as she turned two apologetic eyes towards Trixie. “I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t mean to upset you, Trixie. I just don’t understand how you recovered so quickly.”
“About time you stopped lazing around. I’ve been running myself ragged covering for your flank this week.”
Trixie looked around, unable to find where Discord’s voice was emanating from. Fluttershy poked her shoulder to get Trixie’s attention and nodded towards the kitchen. Discord’s head was leaning out one of the cabinets and looking in their direction. Trixie rolled her eyes at the chaos god’s oddity, while Fluttershy calmly walked into the kitchen.
This is ridiculous. She cowers and apologizes if Trixie raises her voice just a little, but Discord talks from out of nowhere and she doesn’t even flinch.
Trixie entered the kitchen to see Fluttershy slowly pushing Discord out of her cabinet as he ate a sandwich. After a few seconds of pushing, Discord popped out and lazily made his way over to one of the chairs. He ignored the yellow Pegasus, who was still pushing on him with her eyes closed.
“Fluttershy dear, I’m glad to see you again, but would you mind giving me and Trixie a little privacy?”
Fluttershy opened her eyes and looked up at Discord, blushing a bit and setting herself down on the floor. “Oh … umm … okay. Don’t be long, if you can help it, that is. I still need to feed all the animals.”
Discord gave Fluttershy a pat on the head and a nod as she made her way out of the kitchen. Trixie took a seat opposite of Discord and brushed her hair back with a hoof nonchalantly. “Trixie hopes everything on your end went well while she was writhing in misery. Also, your way of hiding Trixie from Luna was just as disgusting and perverted as Trixie should have expected from an old letch like you.”
Discord gave Trixie a wide grin as he sipped tea out of a large acorn that he hadn’t had a few seconds ago. “I’m quite shocked at what you’re implying. It simply seemed the best way to hide you and let you get a…’feel’ for your enemy.” Discord gave Trixie a very suggestive wink as he leaned back in his chair.
Trixie rolled her eyes at his choice of words. “Enemy, right. Despite Luna’s current … interest in removing Trixie’s wondrous appendages, she is quite sure that once Trixie is an Alicorn, we’ll be able to put this little incident behind us. Until then, it would please Trixie greatly were you to make the dreams this stupid amulet hides her in less … awkward.”
Discord snorted at Trixie’s words and set his acorn on the table, which was promptly stolen by several scurrying squirrels. “I really doubt Luna will ever let this go. She’s still not forgiven me for having a bit of fun several thousand years ago.”
“A bit of fun? Didn’t you turn the world upside down? Not to mention you practically confessed to Trixie in the garden to killing off Alicorns.”
“Hey! Those Alicorns attacked me first! And I never killed any of them per se, they just..met with unlucky circumstances. Besides, those two put me in time out for several thousand years. So we should be even by now you’d think. But noooo, those two hold grudges no matter how much you say you’re sorry.”
“… You never really said you were sorry, did you?”
“That’s not the point! The point is, Alicorn or not, the minute Luna finds you, she won’t laugh this off. Now, shouldn’t we be discussing what your next step is? Or would you like to wait around until somepony shows up and drags you off to show you just how ‘forgiving’ Luna is?”
Paling a bit at Discord’s words, Trixie gave a small nod. “Point taken. So, Trixie has the seed, she went through a week of horrid pain and nightmares, and now she’s back on her hooves. How much longer until this thing turns Trixie into an Alicorn? ”
Discord chuckled at Trixie, causing her excited face to quickly turn back to irritated. “Pffft! You … you actually thought this was it? No, my lazy little friend, there is still a couple of ingredients we need before you can join Twilight in the mile high club.”
“W-what!?" Trixie cried out, wishing to get this over with and move on with her life. "Trixie has the seed, you have the magic. Just get on with it already!”
Shaking his head at her, Discord shrugged apologetically. “Sorry, but that’s not how it works. There’s still a list of things I need you to go out and collect. Once you have them, I’ll perform the ritual and all your minuscule dreams will come true. You can become an endless thorn in Twilight’s side, or more; if you’re lucky. And I get to enjoy seeing the two Alicorn sisters go crazy trying to figure out if they should get rid of you.”
"Wait...would those items you wish Trixie to procure have tipped them off?"
Discord pretended to think for a few seconds, grinning the whole time. "Nope."
Trixie growled at him, slamming a hoof on the table. "Then why didn't you have Trixie get them BEFORE the seed!?"
With a chuckle, Discord began to make little claw marks in the table as he explained. "Remember the deal we made? What fun would I have if you didn't have to struggle a little? What would I really get out of this if I couldn't sense the sisters perfect orderly lives get broken down a little at the thought of a unknown pony gallivanting around Equestria with a powerful artifact at her disposal?"
Trixie took an audible gulp and gave a shaky laugh. “Oh, come now. Surely with a kingdom to run they won’t fret that much over Trixie, right? Trixie doesn’t care for the mundane task of paperwork and listening to lesser ponies problems all day. They can keep that to themselves. Trixie's more than fine with them keeping to their duties while Trixie performs across Equestria and upstages Twilight.”
Grinning, Discord gave Trixie another shrug. “Who knows, maybe you'll be lucky? But they were never really fond of having creature’s they have a hard time controlling around. Me, Sombra, Chrysalis, Tirek, Catrina, I could go on. Once we are done here, you’ll be part of that list. Then you’ll get to see how they really are when their perfect order is disturbed.”
Discord noticed Trixie’s face getting paler and gave a laugh while patting her on the back. “Awww, what’s the matter, oh Great and Powerful Trixie? Just realized how deep you’re in? Cheer up! You’re trying something I think no other pony in Equestria ever has. Alicornhood without the princesses approval!”
He’s right. Trixie didn’t really consider the princesses might track her down after this. What if they won’t see Trixie as a pony anymore and just another enemy like Sombra? Being an alicorn won’t mean much if the only way Twilight sees Trixie is as a statue!
Discord sighed upon seeing how freaked out Trixie still was. “Hmph, Looks like that seed might have given you a few more brain cells in exchange for your guts. I’ll let you in on a little secret or two so you don’t become a shivering mess in front of Fluttershy, all right?”
Trixie growled and pointed an accusing hoof at Discord. The effect was lost a little by the slight shaking of said hoof. “As if Trixie could trust anything you say now! You didn’t tell Trixie the artifact would knock her out for a week! You also didn’t mention anything on how either Princess would react!”
“Uhm..is…is everything okay in there? It’s just … there’s a lot of yelling …”
Discord and Trixie glanced over at the meek Pegasus whose head was just visible from the kitchen entrance. Both responded to her inquiry in the exact same way. “NOT NOW!”
“MEEP! Uh … uhm … o-okay…if-if you need me, I’m just going to be outside. If-if that’s all right, that is.” Not receiving any reply from either, Fluttershy retracted her head from the kitchen. Seconds later, the front door opening and closing was heard by the two.
Discord face-pawed and sighed, noting how upset Fluttershy’s expression had been. “Great, yet more drama I have to deal with, and it’s not even lunch yet.” Discord looked over to the still pale unicorn. “Look, how about we both calm down a little? I oh so graciously told you how to become an Alicorn. I even told you that Luna would want to skin you, didn’t I? You knew the risks when you agreed to this little endeavor.”
She shook her head vehemently. “Trixie’s a show pony! She just thought you were being dramatic! How was she to know that the princesses had some sort of secret, sadistic side? Trixie’s not sure she should trust you after this.”
Grinning, Discord rested his head on his two paws. “While I was being dramatic, the best kind of drama is the true kind. Oh, and congratulation! You have no idea how surprising it was when you just went along with everything I told you. Of course It’s ridiculous to trust everything I say! I’m Chaos for Equestria’s sake! Where would the fun be for me if I was completely honest in my deals?”
Discord rubbed his beard with a paw, glancing over the room and leaning closer to Trixie conspiratorially. “Now, to calm you down a little, let me tell you what you have that all those other deadbeats before didn’t. For one, you don’t have to worry about being blasted with that rainbow. Ugh! That thing’s locked away in a rotting old tree somewhere, so no banishment or stoning for you. Second, well, let’s say you do become an Alicorn and cause havoc for the two princesses; unintentionally or not. So long as you don’t start blathering about enslaving ponies or a need for more power like those other idiots, I might be inclined to help you out from time to time. It’s more fun for me to have you out there, running around and leading Twilight on a merry chase away from Celestia.”
Discord pointed a finger to the front door of the cottage. “And third, you’ve been around Fluttershy. While it may not mean as much to the princesses, if Fluttershy disapproves of them trying to skin you alive, then that at least means Twilight will be much less inclined to help them dismember you.”
Giving a small, toothy grin, Discord leaned back in his chair and gestured with a paw to Trixie. “Now, how about we just concentrate on making you an Alicorn, then you can worry about what happens to you after that, all right? As it is you have no chance, but after the ritual well…you’ll be on more even terms.”
Trixie nodded dumbly at Discord’s words, surprised that she was unable to find any lies in his explanation. Right, Alicorn first, Twilight and the Princesses later. No need to panic about it yet. “Okay, tell Trixie what she has to do next.”
“Glad to have you back on board. Now, you’ll have to move fast. I had some fun with the pony the princesses sent out to track you down, but let’s say she wasn’t very … appreciative of my efforts.”
I ... I can’t believe this place.
Twilight gazed in wonder every which way in the cavern. With her magic, she levitated a scroll, ink pen, and quill. Furious scribbling could be heard throughout the cave system, as well as the appreciative ooh’s and ahh’s of the purple Alicorn as she poked around the cavern.
All thoughts of the upcoming conflict had fled Twilight upon seeing the various insects and plant life glowing a myriad of colors within the cave. The sight had immediately caused Twilight to run back out and retrieve writing materials and sample jars from her abandoned saddlebags. Twilight spent over an hour cataloging and coaxing samples into jars before the compass around her neck clicked against her chest, reminding her of why she was here. Blushing in embarrassment, Twilight quickly trotted outside and carefully placed everything back into her saddlebag before re-entering.
Following the compass proved fairly easy, though several spots had her facing a dead end, causing her to turn around and find a new route. The small, glowing insects seemed to have no interest in Twilight, despite how often she let out a whine at being unable to stay and study each new one she saw.
The compass led Twilight down many narrow pathways, and after an hour or so, she emerged into a fairly large cavern. Twilight only knew there was a roof of the cave due to the different plants glowing softly above her, though she could not gauge the distance to the ceiling. The various plants near the ground glowed a dull green in the room, while dozens of illuminated yellow butterflies flew back and forth among the vegetation. Oddly, the butterflies left small trails of glowing yellow dust behind them. She stood and stared at the beauty of the cavern for a few seconds before proceeding forward.
Clack! Clack clack clack clack
Twilight began to step cautiously, hearing a small commotion ahead of her that she assumed was her target. The compass around her neck glowed a slightly brighter grey as she quietly crept closer.
A shadowy figure came into view, running around the cavern on two legs, in seemingly random patterns. As she drew closer, she noticed that the figure was tall, with tiny wings … and mismatched legs … it was Discord.
Twilight gaped at Discord. He was wearing a safari hat, and was running around the cavern with a large net, chasing after the glowing butterflies. Pulling out a handkerchief from his ear, he proceeded to wipe the sweat from his forehead and mumble to himself.
“Rotten little bugs, I just need to borrow a few more of you, why are you so-Twilight?” Discord blinked in surprise at Twilight, though she was almost positive he was trying to hide a grin behind it.
“What are you doing here? Already taking a break from your chase? Or did you finish and couldn’t wait to see my wonderful face again?”
Twilght simply gaped at his nonchalant attitude. “I-who-why…WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” She finally screamed out, the words echoing across the chamber.
Smiling, Discord took a jar out from behind his back. Inside were several of the glowing yellow butterflies, along with a small pile of yellow pollen clinging to the bottom.
“Just collecting some of these for a pet project of mine. You know, I really wish I could take credit for making these little guys. You wouldn’t believe how much easier their pollen makes it to get ponies to accept their more chaotic side.”
Twilight blinked a few times, her emotions going from rage to curiosity and back again. “Wait, you’re saying you use that pollen to control ponies? And why is this compass pointing directly at you? Is this some roundabout joke way of telling me you stole Luna’s artifact!?”
Discord placed a hand to his chest as if he was offended. “Always with the accusations. You really are Celestia’s student. But no, I don’t have that silly little trigger of Luna’s. Why would I need it? The King of Chaos, choosing to be brought down to the title of princess? No thank you.”
Discord placed the jar of butterflies behind his back again. “And I didn’t say the pollen controls ponies, it simply lets them … choose more openly. You’ve no idea how many ponies I’ve seen desire something but be too afraid to reach for it. Whether they are just shy, or they fear breaking some silly little law. You ponies find a hundred different ways to deny yourselves what you really want; it’s rather pathetic really.”
Twilight grabbed the compass and pointed it to Discord. “While all of that is fascinating, especially the thought of you knowing anything about ethics, this compass is supposed to be pointing to the artifact, and right now it’s pointing at you!”
Discord hummed to himself as he looked over the compass. After a few seconds he nodded and gave the compass a poke. The grayish glow of the compass slowly turned to a bright blue before fading away entirely. When Twilight looked at the compass, it was pointing North East instead of at Discord.
“There you go. Good luck.”
Discord got out his butterfly net again and started to walk over to a small vine where several of the butterflies were resting. He was however, cut short by a dark magenta glow holding onto his tail and a very angry voice behind him.
“…That’s it? You just accidently set the compass to track yourself?”
“Ah-heh, yes, that would be the case. Quite a slip-up on my part, but at least you had a nice trip here, right?”
“Nice? Nice!?” Twilight’s magic dragged Discord towards her and brought his head down so she could look him eye to eye. “I spent two days on a train with nothing to do but think about how much my ear hurt! You try ignoring that kind of pain to read! Then, THEN I get to Manehatten, only to find that you destroyed any easy way for me to get over the bay. So I had to walk for the next two days through the swamp, Discord! I was chased and taunted by a pack of boars for getting too close to their territory for over a day of that! If that wasn't enough, I then got the joy of finding a town ready to lynch anypony who has wings or a horn, and come here, only to find that all this effort was a total waste!”
Discord sighed, clearly unimpressed with Twilight’s tirade. He gave Twilight’s horn a flick with his fingers, causing her to yelp and release him. “Yes, sounds quite horrible. How about I make it up to you a little then? I’ll loan you the ferry who won the right to fly me out here. He’s waiting right outside for me. I’ll just fly back on my own. And here. “Discord handed Twilight a train ticket. “The ferry will drop you off at Manehattan, that way you can take the train out to wherever you need to go.”
Twilight glared at Discord while she thought through his proposition. I really don’t want to fly all the way back to the train station. Maybe it was a mistake, but I know he’s involved in this somehow. Still, if he is being honest about the compass then it would be wrong of me to not accept his apology.
Twilight stared at the smiling Discord for a little longer before wrapping the ticket in her levitation and taking it from him. “Don’t misunderstand me Discord, I still think you’re involved in this somehow, but I really don’t want to walk all the way back. Especially if the unicorn that stole that artifact is now up and running around. I don’t have time for anymore delays. So, are you sure this compass is pointed at the artifact now?”
Discord nodded in Twilight’s direction, picking up his safari helmet that had fallen off. “Yes, yes, I swear to you by Luna’s beard that the compass is pointed at the trigger. Now do you mind? I am actually a little busy here.”
Twilight gave Discord a suspicious look. “Luna doesn’t have a beard.”
Discord winked at Twilight. “Oh? So she shaves now? How modern of her.”
Blinking, Twilight looked at Discord confusedly for a moment. Discord’s grin slowly slipped away as time passed and he eventually brought his paw to his head. “Nevermind. I’m sure somepony will explain it to you when you’re older, or less oblivious. Didn’t you say you had something important to do now? Shoo.”
Trixie checked herself over one last time in the mirror. Beautiful, mesmerizing, majestic, elusive; it’s no wonder Trixie has so many trouble’s with her performances now. The mares of every town Trixie enters must be climbing the walls to get her away before their husband’s throw themselves at Trixie’s hooves. Trixie blew a kiss at the mirror and giggled a bit. Too bad for all those stallion’s that Trixie’s body was not meant to be touched by such rough hooves as theirs.
Trixie’s hoof flicked her cape up, allowing her the chance to look over her own curves. Trixie was amazed by how smooth she looked, considering less than a week ago she had numerous small scars across her body from years of travel. Whatever else the seed of Luna’s had done to her, it had also removed every little imperfection the mare’s less than ideal life had delivered onto her. That alone was worth the trip out to the Everfree in her opinion.
She didn't quite understand it, but Trixie felt as though something inside herself had shifted, like a wound she never knew of had started to heal.
I may not even need to become an Alicorn to stay on Twilight’s mind now. After all, if Trixie can’t keep her eyes off of Trixie, what hope could Twilight have?
After a few more minutes of posing and wishing she had a camera, Trixie sighed and regretfully dragged herself away from the mirror and toward the two stuffed saddlebags placed on the bed. With a flick of her horn, they levitated over and slid onto her shoulders. Amazing, Trixie can hardly believe how easy it was to move those, and how light they feel.
Laughing a little at her newfound strength, Trixie proceeded down the stairs of the cottage and out the front door. Looking around, she quickly found Fluttershy and Discord having a small picnic with several other animals and the desk. As she approached, Fluttershy stood up and gave Trixie a nervous smile.
“Are-are you sure you’re ready to go, Trixie?”
She grinned at Fluttershy and gave her a pat on the head. “Now don’t you worry about me. Trixie has never felt this good in her entire life. And despite how nice it would be to stay here and perfect her already near perfect show, Trixie is running late for some very important engagements.”
“Allright, well … good luck, Trixie. Thank you for being Discord’s friend. I-I’m happy to be your friend too. I-if you want to be friends, I mean. You don’t have to, but it would be nice, and you’re welcome back here anytime. But, don’t think I’m pressuring you to visit or anything.”
Chuckling, Trixie gave Fluttershy a nod. “Thank you, Fluttershy, Trixie will take you up on your offer when she has the time. And for how well you took care of her, Trixie promises that you will never have to pay for admission to her shows, or to get backstage even. Should you care to bask in Trixie’s presence and make your friends jealous.”
Fluttershy gave a small smile and nodded. “I-I’ll consider it. Good luck.”
Trixie looked over to Discord, giving him a nod before trotting off. Fluttershy looked over to the Draconequus confusedly. “Are you two fighting? She didn’t even say goodbye to you …”
Discord stretched out in a grass and continued to alter the colors of the leaves on the tree he was laying under. “I wouldn’t worry about it Fluttershy, we said more than enough to each other this morning. Besides, I’ll be seeing her again in a few days.”
Fluttershy’s ears lowered at this news and she began poking at the ground with one of her hooves. A strange feeling of sadness had come over her, mixed with something like resentment, though she couldn’t understand why.
“O-oh … well … that’s … nice.”
Discord looked over to Fluttershy confusedly for a few seconds, causing Fluttershy to turn her head away from him. “Why yes, it is nice. She is quite the mare, very different from other ponies I’ve met so far. Confident, brash, and very willing to take what she believes she deserves, even if she really doesn’t. Sure, your blue pegasus friend is similar, but her mind is a little too ... one-track for me.”
Discord grinned as he observed Fluttershy’s head proceed to get lower each time he described something he liked about Trixie.
“With how driven she is, I doubt the mare Trixie’s trying to impress really has a chance.”
Fluttershy looked over to Discord, both confused but strangely relieved. Her tail even wagged briefly. “I-I don’t want to be rude, b-but do you mean, Trixie…?”
Discord gave Fluttershy a slight nod. “It seems the Great and Powerful Trixie has a Great and Powerful crush. A crush she needed help from yours truly with, though she is having a hard time admitting it.”
Fluttershy smiled widely at Discord as all of the strange emotions inside of her disappeared. “That, that really is just wonderful! Oh, I hope it turns out well for her and her special somepony.”
Dreamily, Fluttershy laid down next to Discord and thought about the mare who spent the last week sick in her care. She must have left in such a hurry because being so sick caused her plan with Discord to run late. I hope she has time to get whatever she needs together to confess to her crush. I wonder who the lucky mare is? She must be very special for Trixie to worry about impressing her.
“Tha new Princesh haz gone crazy!”
“She’s e’re ta keel of' all da erff ponies!”
“De har’or! De har’or!”
As Twilight buzzed the town of Gettysherd again, she screamed. “I said I can’t control this stupid thing! Stop blaming me!”
Twilight continued to pull on the wheel of the ferry panickedly, but it proved just as worthless as every other attempt she had made. Things had been fine till she reached the town. Then, suddenly, the ferry took a nose-dive, and started to buzz the heads of the panicking ponies.
“yah’ll nawt eet mah fama’ly ya mon’star! Tak’ that!
Twilight heard the smash of a bottle and looked to the small deck of the ferry to see it was now on fire. The ferry started to sway back and forth, but Twilight was now able to partially control it with the wheel. She could hear cheers as her flaming ship finally started to haphazardly fly away from the small village and over the bay.
The small ferry started swaying back and forth worse as more of it was engulfed. The ship continued picking up speed as it continued across the water and finally into the Manehattan airspace. All Twilight could hear was a loud screeching as the wind went past her and the ferries front started to dip. Looking at the flames approaching her, Twilight cast a protective bubble and held onto the wheel for dear life as the entire ferry started spinning out of control.
“... I really miss Ponyville …”
Teller nodded and handed the ticket back to the young unicorn, tipping his hat to her.
“Train leaves in a half hour, ma’am. Be sure to take your seat prior to last call.”
The yellow unicorn nodded to Teller and perked her ears at about the same time that he did, a whistling sound suddenly being picked up by both of them. The whistling grew louder and louder, causing ponies all over the train depot to start looking around.
Someone pointed a hoof up in the sky and that was when Teller saw it. A flaming meteor was headed straight for the station! As more ponies noticed the ball of fire, they started panicking, running back and forth, or simply fainting where they stood. Teller stood paralyzed, unsure of what to do. When he could almost swear to feeling the heat of the meteor on his face, he jolted out of his paralysis and hid under the ticket desk. Oddly enough, the screaming of the meteor above him literally sounded like a pony screaming to his ears.
Teller was jolted from the nearby explosion, and hid under the desk for a few more minutes. As time stretched on, he heard the faint sound of a set of hooves walking, followed by multiple gasps. The hooves kept getting closer and closer, until they stopped all together.
The bell on Teller’s desk went off, causing him to give an audible swallow and slowly pull himself out from under it. He instantly regretted peeking his head up over the desk at who he saw standing there.
A black unicorn, no, a purple Alicorn covered in soot was standing at his desk, looking half ready to tear into the first thing that moved. Smoke was coming off of her, and several small fires burned merrily on her mane and tail, slowly dwindling out while the Alicorn and Teller looked at each other.
A small, scorched ticket slowly levitated its way over to his hooves, and he shakily grabbed it, blowing out the tickets burning top. The Alicorn in front of Teller opened her mouth, letting out more smoke as she said a single word.
Teller slowly looked down at the ticket, noticing it was out of date by several months, then deciding that he, in fact, had not noticed that.
Teller nodded and picked up the train system’s microphone. “A-attention. There has been a change in schedule. The train to Canterlot will be leaving in ten-" The right eye of the Alicorn in front of him twitched. "-no, five minutes. I repeat, the train to Canterlot will be leaving in five minutes.”
The Alicorn looked at Teller for a few seconds longer before inhaling and blowing out a small fire on her bedraggled mane.
She then turned around and slowly made her way over to the train. With her gone, Teller finally noticed the sound of sirens coming closer, as well as the smoking and burning rubble about twenty feet from the train station. He cautiously looked around to make sure he was, in fact, now safe, and fainted.
Trixie continued to run along the old overgrown dirt road, an azure blur to any onlooking animals. The creatures themselves were quite skittish at the sight, considering almost nopony had used the roadway since the trains came into operation.
Trixie marveled at how slow her surroundings seemed in comparison as she flew past them. Her horn glowed with magenta energy continuously throughout her day of travel. Despite the speed Trixie’s spell gave her, she was more aware of any potential obstacles than ever before thanks to a minor tweak to her own eyes. Trixie thought back to her professor’s lecture as she ran towards Canterlot.
A gryphon’s sight is beyond compare, one very few unicorns can ever learn to imitate safely. Their sight allows them to gauge distances in seconds, as well as allowing them to react to obstacles in their path in almost an instant. Some of you who specialize in this type of magic may be able to emulate a gryphon’s eyes. However, transformation magic is dangerous, and only those of you with a talent for it are advised to try these next spells, unless you’d like to risk going blind that is.
He was right though, for once. Trix..I...I was not happy being blind in one eye for over a week. But I still found a way around that stupidly advanced spell. So maybe I can’t ‘see like a gryphon’, but a hawk’s eyes are still pretty good, and a lot less complicated to mimic.
Trixie smiled in pride, both at her own ingenuity from her old school days, and at how long she had managed to maintain her vision and speed enhancing spells.
I’ll be at the caves in less than a few hours at this rate! It used to take me days to get from Canterlot to Ponyville with my wagon. I truly have become a great and powerful unicorn! And soon I’ll be even stronger. Strong enough to show those idiot’s my shows are no laughing matter. Strong enough to prove myself against an Ursa Major. And strong enough to be noticed by her.
Trixie smiled as she continued on throughout the day, brimming with pride and confidence in herself that she had thought lost long ago.
Twilight found herself gaping over the small table at Celestia.
“Prin-I mean, Celestia! I, I don’t understand! How can you be so calm about this? Discord is causing havoc in Manehattan and wasted a week of my search! Whoever stole Luna’s artifact wouldn’t be up and trotting around now if he didn’t interfere like he did.”
Celestia hummed to herself in thought before speaking. “Twilight, do you really know that Discord didn’t just make a mistake?”
Twilight’s ears lowered and she looked to the side, shifting a little uncomfortable under Celestia’s gaze. “Well no, but it just seems unlikely. It’s his compass. He should have known to reset it before giving it to me. And why would he have it targeted to find himself in the first place?”
Celestia brought her teacup to her lips and quietly sipped at it, enjoying the taste and the feeling of sunlight across her back. She gave a little sigh as she looked over to her frustrated and confused former student.
“Twilight, what do you know of the time of Discord’s reign?”
Cocking an eyebrow at her former mentor, Twilight thought back and started to repeat in a lecturing tone what she had read on the subject. “Discord ruled over Equestria and everything beyond for an unknown amount of time. Some believe it was centuries, others believe that, being chaos, everything and everypony originated from the madness that he wove throughout the world. However, you and Luna managed to find the elements and imprison him, bringing harmony and order.”
Celestia gave a dainty snort and grinned at Twilight. “Don’t let him know that some ponies think he’s the reason everything came into existence. It’ll go straight to his head. Now, do you know of what he did during his reign? Specifically I mean?”
Twilight thought back, but quickly realized that she did not. “No, that little bit is all I have ever been able to find out about Discord’s reign, and even then it’s mostly conjecture. I remember tearing the royal library apart as a filly trying to find something more concrete. But, why are you asking me about this?”
“Because Twilight, I need you to understand why I am not furious at Discord. According to the reports I received from Manehattan, despite the ferry’s crashing and fighting in the sky, not a single pony was injured. Nor was anypony hurt during the loss of the chariots.”
Celestia looked sadly to the side, gazing out the large window in her room out over Canterlot as she thought back to a darker time.
“The Discord I knew in the past wouldn’t have done that Twilight. He wouldn’t have used boats or chariots to fight to the death for entertainment. He’d have used ponies, or gryphons, or whatever poor souls he came across. Discord didn’t create new races Twilight, he wiped them out. Or, at best, he twisted them for his own amusement.”
Celestia continued: “Sea ponies, Flutterponies, the Alicorn’s, even I don’t know how many races were destroyed for his mad games. He was like a child, selfish, and didn’t care how much pain he inflicted. However, something changed.”
Celestia took her time taking another sip of her tea, grimacing at the painful memories she had buried for so long.
“By the time Luna and I were the last two Alicorns left, the world had gone through a change for the better. More and more parts of it became stable; it almost appeared like Discord’s chaos was receding. Either he was weakening for reasons we couldn’t understand, or, I wish to think, he grew to realize how horrible a world alone would be if he didn’t ease his hold over it. When we tracked him down to his new home he was noticeably changed from the monster we had grown up knowing. We still thought him a monster, but he was…softer. He treated ponies more like important toys than just something to break and forget about. Maybe that’s why the elements didn’t destroy him. I don’t know.”
Celestia looked over to Twilight with a bittersweet grin. “So, no Twilight, I’m not that angry over him breaking a bunch of boats. Bits can pay for that, and a scolding will hopefully convince him not to do something like it for some time. But I can’t be truly upset at him. Not after seeing what he used to be.”
Twilight was silent for a long moment, trying to wrap her brain around what she heard. "I...I don't understand. I-if he did that to any of my friends, I don't think I could ever forgive him. Even now I don't trust him, especially after Tirek...don't you hate him?"
Celestia looked to the side sadly. "Would it be so wrong for me not to, Twilight?" She sighed. "I know what he did, I lived through some of it. It...it may sound odd Twilight, but, when you see him, don't you feel encouraged? Or, if not that, just a little bit of vindication?"
"...What..?" Twilight blinked owlishly at Celestia, beginning to grow concerned for her former mentor. "Hope? I feel lucky he isn't attacking anypony at that moment."
"But that's just it, Twilight." Celestia said with a small grin. "Think on it a little. Tirek, Sombra, Chrysalis; each one pale in comparison to the evil and destruction that Discord once did to the world. Yet, now he works with me and Luna to keep Equestria safe. He may grumble about it, and believe me, he has caused me to need more than a few moments alone before I could face anypony with a smile again. But, he has changed. He is learning that their is a better place for him, isn't that encouraging, Twilight?"
Twilight kept her head low to the ground as she followed the compass across Canterlot. She hadn’t bothered with the magic earring and so would repeatedly hear ponies calling their well wishes, or vaguely see them bowing to her. She wasn’t in the mood however to deal with this, and continued to brood as she searched.
I just don’t understand it. How can Celestia or Luna even fake being nice to Discord? I can barely contemplate the type of world they grew up in, and just hearing about it makes me want to turn him to stone so he doesn’t hurt anypony again.
Twilight stamped on a small rock in frustration. The sound startled several nearby ponies who had just greeted her, and caused them to bow to the ground quickly. Twilight looked over to them sheepishly, noticing that she had badly cracked the stone walkway underneath her hoof.
When did this all get so complicated? So Discord was a bad guy, but now he’s not. I could understand and accept that a little more before Celestia told me how many ponies he hurt. How do you forgive somepony who destroyed so many others in the past for his own amusement? Wasn't Tirek proof that he may do it again?
Grumbling in frustration, Twilight tried to get her mind back to the task at hand. Looking around, she realized she had apparently attracted over a dozen eyes. More than a few little fillies and colts were giggling in her direction and the adults looked very confused. Twilight started to wonder what they were staring at when she nearly fell over out of dizziness.
What? Wait, what just happened? Twilight looked down to the compass and started to walk again, only to have the needle turn around. Twilight then turned around and walked a few feet before the needle turned around again. Twilight’s face became covered in a light blush of embarrassment as she realized what must have happened.
Great, I must have been turning in circles for a while without even realizing it to get this much attention. No wonder I’m dizzy. But…why’s it doing this?
Twilight looked around, but the compass was certainly not pointing at anypony nearby. She then looked up to the cloudless, empty sky.
Ok, so whoever this compass is pointing at isn’t above me…so that only leaves…
Twilight looked down at the ground and groaned as memories of a certain wedding disaster came back to mind.
You’ve got to be kidding me…
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Trixie glared at the spot where a stone bridge was supposed to be according to the map Discord had giving her. Now, it was simply a grey fog-covered chasm. All that was left of the bridge was two stone pillars holding a few broken and horribly eroded metal chains, and a barely see-able ridge with a cave entrance on the opposite side of her.
“I’ve been stuck down here two days already! He could have at least kept his stupid map updated! Now how do I get across?”
Trixie looked around the clear but grey and black room. Her self-proclaimed ‘owl’ spell drained the color from her vision, but let her see clearly for a decent distance. Her eyes glowed a very dim blue due to the spell, but she considered it a lot safer than looking like a giant beacon of light in this circumstance.
The chasm was too large to jump over, and she didn’t trust how bad her sight was at the moment to aim her jump right even if she could jump it. The fog in the cave was a little too thick to see very well, and she wasn’t sure as to where it was emanating from.
“Stupid bridge builders! Probably hired a bunch of diamond dogs to build it and then slacked off the entire time! Of all the-EEP!”
Trixie had tried to stomp her hoof down on the ground in frustration, only for it not to reach. The hoof seemed to hit something and tried to push through, causing her to go off balance and fall over. Trixie expected a bruising impact with the ground, but was caught in something soft that she slowly sunk through before gently coming to rest on the ground.
“…What in Equestria just happened…?”
Trixie stood back up and sat down in contemplation. She looked around the ledge, and then back down to her hooves. Slowly she put one up in the air and brought it down again, only to feel it nearly stop as it came in contact with the fog. Slowly her hoof went through the fog and came in contact with the ground again.
Next, Trixie put both forehooves in the air and brought them down onto the fog, having the same result of them hitting it and sluggishly slipping through.
“…I’m going to have to have a long talk with Discord on exactly what in Tartarus is going on later.”
Trixie experimented with her newfound power over fog for some time, finally jumping a little into the air to fully stand on it and sink through after several seconds. She looked over to the ledge opposite of her and started to breathe a little heavier in anxiety as a crazy idea came to her mind.
Ok, I can do this, it’ll just be for a little while, and it’s unlikely for this…fog power to disappear suddenly. Just don’t look down.
Trixie cast her lightening spell and hopped up onto the fog, sinking much slower now that her weight was reduced. She proceeded to walk over the fog gingerly, eyes widening as she came closer to the gap. As soon as her first hoof was over the edge, she started to scurry forward frantically.
Letting out a strangled gasp of relief, Trixie removed her lighten spell as she hit the other ridge and started to slowly calm down when her hooves finally met the ground again.
O-okay. That wasn’t so bad. Oh Celestia, I’m going to have to do that again on the way back aren’t I? …I’ll just let future Trixie worry about that.
Twilight panted in exhaustion and finally let the light emitting from her horn die out, casting her into darkness. She’d found a narrow tunnel that lead into a much larger chamber to rest in, believing it to be safer in the tunnel than the unexplored chamber. Twilight wiped sweat from her face as she tried to calm down her racing heart and mind.
Why didn’t I bring a guard with me? Or somepony who knows the mines? Discord already broke his promise to help, so why am I still doing this alone?
Twilight twitched and whipped her head around at the sound of stones falling in the large nearby chamber. Her ears perked trying to pick up any other noises while her eyes desperately tried to see anything in the dark.
Keep it together! Chrysalis isn’t here, she wouldn’t be here. She shouldn’t be here. I really hope she isn’t here. Twilight fought back the urge to light her horn again. After a panic filled day following the compass down through the old Canterlot mines she was exhausted both mentally and physically. She knew she should have been resting and not constantly using her magic, but memories of her previous time in the caves kept her too on edge to relax. Twilight gave a sharp cry as she heard something scurrying around in the other room and quickly put her hooves over her muzzle to stifle it.
“H-hello? I-is anypony in there?”
Seconds after her call, the scurrying sound came back, much closer to her. Twilight let out a fearful shout and shot a bolt of energy into the chamber, lighting it up for a few short seconds before it hit the other wall of the cavern. The scurrying sounds revealed themselves to be about a dozen rats quickly fleeing in all directions from the light.
Twilight let out a shaky laugh. Rats, just rats. Okay, let's try to calm down. Using that bolt hurt so I shouldn’t do anything stupid like that again until I get some rest. Even if they escape the cave while I sleep, I'm not in any shape to confront them as it is.
She was about to remove her saddlebag and try to get some shuteye, when she noticed a pair of tiny lights near the chamber’s ceiling. Twilight watched with increasing fear as the one pair of lights became a dozen, and then two, three. A screeching sound echoed across the cave as all the little lights started moving towards her quickly, much too quickly.
“No No No No NO!” She screamed as the little red lights were all around her. Tiny bodies landed on her from different directions and she felt the pain of small bites along her torso and neck. Twilight started shooting bolts of magic in random directions as she felt her body start to shake in panic. Then as suddenly as the attack started, it stopped. Shaking like a leaf, Twilight looked around for the little lights, but only heard the distant sound of screeching and the rumbling of an on-coming headache. She sobbed and tried to stop herself from shaking when a few stones hit her flank.
T-that’s not me shaking…
Twilight looked up into the blackness and let out a scream as the tunnel collapsed on top of her.
Trixie looked around the large open chamber confusedly. She had come to another ledge looking over a huge cavern. The difference this time was no bridge missing as there were no signs one had been built in the first place. The sounds of falling water from the towering waterfalls encircling the room was all Trixie could hear. They cascaded down into a large underwater lake where Trixie could see several large white bodies surface and then submerge again every so often.
Think I’ll avoid swimming if I can.
The spray of water kicked up from the waterfalls refreshed her from her sweaty two day search for this chamber. Trixie looked back at the map, noting the fountain she was in search of was supposed to be right in front of her, but all she saw was waterfalls. There was no way to go around the waterfalls either, any ledges that may have existed had eroded a long time ago. Still, as Trixie’s eyes went to the map and over the room, she kept coming back to the center waterfall in front of her, noting how much it jutted out compared to the others.
“Something is off with this picture.”
Looking over the waterfall for a minute, Trixie began to notice subtle differences compared to the others, causing her to laugh when it all came together in her head.
“Finally! A trap I’m familiar with! Still, how do I get across?”
Trixie glanced at her hat nervously, remembering the only type of teleportation spell she was ever barely capable of. As Trixie’s horn lit up, she placed her hoof inside her hat. She glanced to the side, seeing her hoof come back through another small hole several feet in the air away from her.
“Well…maybe…” Trixie looked up at her horn, wondering if she was strong enough now to try something a little more…unorthodox.
Pulling her hoof out from her hat, Trixie spread her legs and started to concentrate, causing a deep magenta aura to slowly form around her horn. Cautiously Trixie worked her spell, adding more power into it than ever before. A hole began forming in front of Trixie, showing her the sight of a distant old stone fountain. She grunted from the exertion of the spell, but knew she had already gone far beyond what she had been capable of less than a week ago. As the portal became just large enough for her to fit through, Trixie slowly walked into it, concentrating on maintaining the spell, and trying to ignore thoughts of her being cut in half from it collapsing.
As Trixie exited the portal, she collapsed to the ground and allowed the spell to unravel. The hole quickly shrunk in on itself, consuming the magic until nothing was left.
“H-hah! O-once again I prove my amazing…amazing…how amazing I am!” Trixie laid there, recovering for several minutes as she thought to herself.
I may have to stay in here for a while, there’s no way I can do that again anytime soon.
Trixie looked around the stone cavern, grinning at how easy she saw through the waterfall ruse. She had noticed none of the water from the middle waterfall appeared to be splashing into the lake, instead simply slipping unnaturally in without any currents. She was quite sure if it wasn’t for the noise of the other real waterfalls, she would have heard no sound coming from this one in particular. The last thing that brought it all together for her, was how the waterfall had jutted out. After hundreds of years, the others had eroded and slowly retreated from the center of the room, whereas the fake was still in the same place it had been put who knows how many years ago.
Trixie finally stood up and slowly walked forward, looking over the large stone tunnel. Unlike the other tunnels in the mines, this one had arches that once depicted scenes now too illegible for her to make out. The fountain itself was three feet in height and its depth was unknown due to the glowing blue liquid inside of it. A large statue of a male Alicorn was centered in the middle of the fountain on a stone dais. The Alicorn’s head was lowered, as if gazing into the glowing depths of the fountain. Trixie quickly began to feel uncomfortable as she noticed the Alicorn’s face. Its expression was one of misery, as if something heartbreaking was occurring in front of it. A single blue drop of the liquid hung off of the statue’s nose, and another drop seemed to be slowly forming in the statue’s eyes.
Trixie slowly took out a vial Discord had giving her and dipped it into the fountain. She watched the statue for any signs of activity as she filled it, but the statue stayed in its sad pose. Trixie corked the vial and then produced a second one.
Pure magic…well Discord didn’t say I couldn’t take more than just the one vial.
She drank a little of the liquid from the vial, quickly feeling her magical fatigue disappear.
Better be careful with this, too much magic and I’m liable to pop.
She corked the second vial after refilling it, gave a curt nod to the statue, and proceeded back to the caverns entrance. Walking back, Trixie failed to notice as one of the tears fell down the stone Alicorn's muzzle and dripped into the fountain. The ripples spread across the water, and, for a few seconds, a female Alicorn gazed up into the face of the stone statue, an equal mask of sorrow over her face.
Trixie sat for a few moments, panting. Between re-casting her new and improved door spell, and then going over the fog again, she was mentally, physically, and magically drained.
I’ll just head to the surface for a bit longer, then make camp. One down, three to go! I’ll be back to Discord in no time! Now, what’s next on the list?
Trixie looked over the top of the list Discord gave her and checked off ‘Ether vial”. Looking down to the next item quickly devolved into slapping her hoof to her forehead and groaning. Dejectedly, Trixie levitated a small vial of pink liquid out of her saddlebags.
I was RIGHT THERE! How’d I forget to dump this in the lake!? Forget it, I’m not going over that fog again today. I’ll just sleep here and do it tomorrow…or whatever time it turns out to be.
As Trixie started to set up her small camp, she heard a loud rumbling in the distance, followed by an almost equally loud scream. After less than a minute, the rumbling stopped, but the screaming continued.
T-that’s not an animal scream!
Quickly setting down everything in her saddlebags save the first aid kit, Trixie ran towards the screams. Unfortunately the caves caused the cries to echo, making it difficult to figure out where they were coming from. By the time Trixie finally made progress and knew she was getting closer they had lowered in volume, as if the pony was too tired or injured to continue. Rounding a final bend, Trixie was able to see a collapsed tunnel connected to the large chamber she had just entered. The screams had turned to sobs and labored crying as Trixie walked towards the rubble, clearly seeing somepony caught underneath it and weakly struggling. Her eyes widened and heart began to ache as she realized just who the pony was.
Twilight rapidly blinked the dust out of her eyes as she screamed in pain, her left hind leg and wing was burning and buried under the rubble, while her chest felt incredibly compressed from the weight on top of her back. Her right side was fairly free, but trying to yank at her wing or leg only brought more searing agony. She couldn’t concentrate to cast any spells, and was lying on her stomach, making it impossible to do more than feebly flail her limbs and head around. After screaming for what felt like hours her throat had gone dry, turning her to simply coughing and sobbing at her predicament.
Nopony knows I’m down here! Why didn’t I tell anypony? What in Tartarus is wrong with me! I don’t want to die!
Twilight continued to panic and try to pull herself free, despite the pain and how light-headed it was causing her to feel when-
Twilight’s eyes widened to their fullest extent as she turned her head to her would be rescuer.
Thank Celestia I’m saved! I’m…AAAAHHHHH!!!!
Twilight gave a raspy scream as she caught sight of two large glowing blue eyes peering at her from the darkness. Whatever the creature was repeated her name, and to Twilight’s pain-filled head it sounded menacing. As her head began to swim, she swore she could hear the hissing sound of changelings nearby.
“No…NO! You can’t! Stay back!” With her vision blurring due to her problems breathing and her mind shutting down in fear, Twilight shot a large blast of magic right at the two glowing blue eyes before blackness took her.
Twilight gave a small groan from her bed. She couldn’t feel any light filtering through her closed eyes, so she must have woken up earlier than normal. Her left hoof tried to reach up and pull the covers over her head, but the slightest action caused her to ache.
Ugh, my left side feels horrible. Did I sleep on a book again last night?
Her ears twitched a little at a familiar crackling sound.
“Spike….” Twilight grumbled out sleepily. “It’s Summer…we…we don’t need a fire. Put it out…”
Twilight heard a strange chuckle come from Spike. Her mind started to become a little less fogged as the entirety of her left side started to ache in earnest. She then began taking stock of her memories, trying to remember what she did last night that was causing her so much pain this morning.
Pinkie didn’t talk me into going to another club, right? No, she didn’t, I ached all over last time, not just one side. Did Rainbow crash into me again? No, that’s not it either…
Slowly Twilight partially opened one of her eyes, revealing a grey stone wall. A half second later both of her eyes opened in shock as the memories began streaming back to her. She was currently facing the wall of a greyish cave, whose ceiling was maybe ten feet above her head. She was very grateful for being able to see, apparently due to a fire from somewhere behind her. It was comforting to Twilight to have such a light source near, despite how eerily the shadows crawled along the walls.
Twilight mustered her courage and slowly looked away from the wall and down to her pained left side. Oddly enough, she couldn’t see most of it, due to the amount of white bandages she was covered in. Her left wing and hoof were completely covered, and moving either proved to be a bad idea, causing Twilight to blanch from the pain. Her ribs hurt a little when she breathed, but asides from a few cuts and a lot of bruises, that was the extent of her damage.
“How are you feeling, Twilight?”
Twilight was startled and jumped a little from the sudden voice, causing her to clench her teeth in pain. Looking over, Twilight saw Trixie several feet away, laying down by the fire and looking at her. At least, she thought it was Trixie.
Twilight leered at her, looking the unicorn over and comparing the Trixie in front of her to the one she had met twice before.
No cape and hat…wait, they are lying over by her bag. Okay, a changeling wouldn’t have something so…odd on them all the time. Still…
Twilight couldn’t quite grasp it, but something seemed very off about Trixie. She was just too…whole.
Right…that’s it! Besides that bandage over her left eye, I can’t see any scars, and there’s no frown line around her cheeks. It’s like i’m looking at a model in a magazine.
Twilight’s leer turned to a glare. The alleged Trixie raised her visible eye at Twilight in confusion.
“Are you okay, Twilight? Is there something on my face?”
“Ha! You’ve already giving yourself away changeling! The Trixie I know doesn’t speak at all like that!” Twilight waved her right hoof, pointing at Trixie’s head, and then down the rest of her body. “And she doesn’t look so…perfect!”
Wait…why did I just say that!? I should have pretended to be fooled and got away when its guard was down! Ok Twilight, you can still…wait…what’s it doing?
The disguised changeling was laughing at Twilight. “P-perfect, am I?” chuckling a little, the changeling stood up and exercised its limbs, giving Twilight a good view as it slowly stretched them out. “I’ve always been perfect Twilight, a few…beauty tricks just made it easier for you to realize it.” She giggled and gave Twilight a coy wink. “You’re not so bad yourself you know, Miss Alicorn Princess.”
Twilight blushed and looked away, confused and flustered. “Y-you can’t be Trixie. You don’t sound like her, I mean, you’ve got the bragging down, but not the rest.”
She heard a sigh come from the supposed Azure mare. “Twilight, watch me while I feed the fire. What you see will prove to you I’m not some disgusting bug.”
Twilight slowly looked over to the fire and the changeling. The changeling’s horn glowed a light magenta as a small line of magic swept out of it and connected to the fire. Twilight then sighed in relief, knowing the one thing a changeling can’t hide is its magic aura. Her curiosity quickly overcame her after this revelation and she inspected the fire.
No logs, no smoke. Is it an illusion? But the light is real, and I can feel heat coming off of it.
Twilight’s horn gave off a small spark of magic, causing her to wince. Her eyes glowed a gentle lighter Magenta than Trixie’s as she looked over the fire and tried to ignore the small jolts of pain that ran up and down her horn.
Hmm…the fire seems to be fake, an illusion? But if it was just an illusion it wouldn’t give off heat or shadows. However it isn’t giving off smoke, so it must be fake. There’s more to this. Okay, so, the main structure looks like an illusion, but then what are these other sections inside it? Argh!
Twilight’s horn abruptly stopped glowing as she gave out a pained groan and rubbed her head.
“Huh, if you can already cast again then you must be feeling better. You were quite a mess when I first found you.”
“Well, Alicorns tend to heal a lot faster, both physically and magically than other equine races. But I’d like to talk to you about something more important…” Twilight removed her hoof from her head and gave Trixie a serious stare, causing her to slightly squirm from nerves.
“What...is that spell!?” Twilight’s hoof pointed over to the small fire. “I didn’t have time to fully look it over, but it’s definitely not in any of the books I’ve read.”
Sighing in relief and grinning proudly, Trixie gestured towards the fire. “Well, you won’t find it in a spellbook actually. It’s one of my own.”
Twilight’s expression clearly showed disbelief for a split second before she shot Trixie a small grin. “It’s okay Trixie, you don’t have to try to impress me.”
Trixie frowned at Twilight and stuck her nose in the air. “As if I have any need to impress you, Sparkle. It’s a spell I designed for when I was traveling. It’s easier than having to lug all of the firewood I’d have needed in my trailer.”
Yep, still as conceited as ever I see.
Trying to hide her slight irritation with Trixie’s continued lie, Twilight smiled at Trixie and did what she did best, lecture. “Now Trixie, we both know you couldn’t have made this spell. I mean, I’m still learning spells made by other unicorns. And I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I was taught by Princess Celestia. Even with that teaching, I’ve only finished a spell that somepony else did half the work on beforehoof.”
Better not mention it was a spell from Starswirl himself, she’d think I was bragging.
Oddly enough to Twilight, Trixie simply tsked in her direction and imitated Twilight’s lecturing tone. “Now Twilight, just because you’re not adequate enough in magic to make up your own spells doesn’t mean I am too.”
Feeling a vein in her head start to pulse, Twilight responded to Trixie with a hint of heat in her voice. “I am not inadequate! I am far more capable of making spells than you Trixie!”
“Hmph, is that so? All right Twilight, name the spells you’ve made, or even you’ve majorly altered for another purpose.”
Twilight shook her head. “I’ve not done anything like that yet Trixie. It takes years and years of study to make your own spells. You need to first see what spells others have made and memorize enough of them to form a good foundation. Then, read the proper books on spell alteration. After several years of slightly changing other unicorns' spells, you work on major changes guided by a certified unicorn to make sure you are following the proper ethical standards and safety procedures. I’ve been learning spells my entire life Trixie, and I’m only up to minor alterations. If I continue like I am, by the time I’m thirty I have a good shot of being the youngest certified spell creator in history!”
Instead of being impressed or acknowledging the spells origins, Trixie had put a hoof over her face while Twilight explained the proper procedure for spell creation. “By Celestia…you…you actually follow all of that, don’t you?”
Smiling, Twilight nodded. “Of course, if you don’t follow proper procedure, then you’re doing it wrong. Now, is the spell from Flashbang’s ‘Alterations and Illusions vol.3’ by chance? I’m not through the second one quite yet. Or maybe Smokescreen’s ‘Guide to Faking the Eye’?”
Trixie responded with an annoyed expression on her face. “I’ll have you know those hacks have nothing on my skills! Flashbang was a good illusionist, but his spells are for novices, and haven’t been properly updated in ages! And Smokescreen? You’d have to be an Alicorn to have the magic to pull off the stupid formulas and runes he used! Did you know he only performed his shows once every month because of how exhausted he was after each one?”
“Hey! I’ll have you know the teaching from those two came highly recommended from my professors at school! And Flashbang and Smokescreen were both certified spell creators!”
Rolling her eye at Twilight’s statement, Trixie then proceeded to walk over to her. She continued to speak, while checking to make sure none of Twilight’s bandages needed replacing. “Right, that’d probably be Professor Displacement and Quick Glance who recommended those useless things to you. Hold still already!” Trixie emphasized her last point by whapping Twilight on her good side with a hoof.
Twilight glared at Trixie and grumbled, doing her best to hold still while Trixie inspected her. She blushed a bit as she felt Trixie’s hooves slowly roam over her bandaged side. “T-that’s right actually. Did you meet the professors before?”
Trixie’s finished her inspection and slowly backed out of Twilight’s personal space, despite feeling a strong desire to linger close for just a little longer. “You could say that, I suppose. I did attend that school for several years after all.”
“You went to Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns!?”
“Now just why in the hay are you so surprised about that? What part of “Great and Powerful” did you not understand?”
Twilight gave Trixie a deadpan look. “Trixie, there is no title “Great and Powerful” given out at the school, so it’s not related at all. And I am pretty sure I would have remembered somepony like you in my classes.”
Trixie grinned a bit at Twilight’s words and brushed a hoof down her own chest, her anger subsiding at the unintentional compliment. “Of course you would have, everypony I met there couldn’t help but remember me. But you and I didn’t have the same classes. I did see you, but you were always this little purple unicorn with her muzzle stuck in a book that ignored everything around her. So I didn’t pay attention to you. Besides, I left when I was eighteen. That place was so stifling I can’t believe I was able to stand living there for six years.”
Twilight looked confusedly at Trixie. “Wait, that doesn’t make sense. I was there since I was six, and was forced to graduate at nineteen. How did you complete everything in just six years?”
Trixie’s eyebrow rose a bit in a questioning manner. “Forced to graduate?”
Blushing, Twilight nodded. “I had everything required to graduate done at sixteen. But, who would choose to leave school? There were still so many classes on different types of magic I hadn’t taken yet. Since I spent so much time being taught by Celestia, I missed out on a lot of the professors' lectures and their views on what Celestia was teaching me. I just kept taking classes and discussing my finding with the teachers whenever I could. I think it was the day after Professor Strainer and I had a wonderful three hour discussion during one of his lectures that I woke up to my bags packed and a diploma being put into my hooves. I never did learn why.”
“….Right. Anyways, I was…busy with things until I was twelve. And I never said I graduated. Pfft, as far as I’m concerned, it wouldn’t have been worth wasting another year there.”
Twilight’s feathers ruffled out as she threw a death glare at Trixie and tried to stand. “WHAT!? What do you mean!? That school made me who I am today!”
Trixie quickly went over to Twilight and put a hoof on her shoulder to keep her from trying to get up. Despite putting little weight on it, the pressure was enough to keep the Alicorn on the ground. “Calm down Twilight! I used most of the bandages on you already! And I didn’t say it was a bad school per se, it just wasn’t for me. It may have made you who you are, but I was already who I was by the time I went there. The professors there were horrid to me about spells. It was all “Trixie, you didn’t use the proper power in this part of the spell” or “It’s not your talent Trixie, just wait like the others while I explain this to those who can use it properly.” My illusion classes with Displacement and Quick Glance were the worst of it! I was the only pony with illusion magic in the class, so the others took notes while I learned some of the most pointless and wasteful ways to do spells I already knew.”
Twilight sighed at Trixie’s explanation, irritation lacing her words. “So, you joined late, mocked the teachers for showing you the proper way to do spells, then abandoned your studies early, and did what? Travel and boast about making up spells and defeating Ursa Majors?”
Something akin to a growl came out of Trixie, followed by the weight of Trixie’s hoof holding Twilight down becoming strong enough to make her wince. “Shut. Up. Fine! You just sit there, Sparkle. Sit there like an injured foal who got caught in a cave-in and blasted the only pony dumb enough to come rescue them. While you do that, I will explain to you how this spell works and then you can search through that pretty little head of yours to see if any of your spellbooks or so called wise Professors taught you anything like it.”
Twilight’s ears had pinned themselves to her head right after Trixie’s reminder of the rescue, and the anger followed shortly after at the reminder of how she had obviously injured Trixie.
“Trixie, I’m sorry, I-“
“The illusion to make the fire appear is pretty simple-“Trixie started, glaring at Twilight as if daring her to interrupt. After staring at each other for several seconds, Trixie resumed speaking. Her tone was angry, and her tail twitched back and forth as she paced and explained the spell to Twilight. Twilight, on the other hoof, kept herself low to the ground and simply nodded when she thought it was appropriate for her to, not wanting to anger Trixie any more than she already had.
Trixie continued to pace back and forth after her lecture on the spell. She felt agitated and restless. Twilight quietly laid in Trixie’s sleeping bag and tried to hide the fact that she was looking over at Trixie whenever her head was turned.
What is she thinking? Trixie wondered. Why? Why is it every time I encounter her it always turns out so horrible? Even when I save her I turn out to be the bad pony.
Just ask her…
Trixie bit her lip and looked over to Twilight, admiring how she looked in the firelight. Twilight’s head was on her hooves while she kept her eyes on the fire, but kept sneaking concerned looks over to Trixie.
It’s cute how bad she is at being subtle…
She shook the thought out of her head and finally stopped pacing. The feeling of wholeness she had since she first gazed at herself in the mirror after her recovery felt skin tight now.
You can’t go forward until you ask her…
Giving a resigned sigh, Trixie slowly made her way over to Twilight, stopping just a few feet from her. Twilight noticed this and turned herself as best she could to face Trixie.
“I-I answered some of the questions you asked. So, it’s only fair I get to ask you a few in return, right?”
Twilight nodded and gave Trixie a small smile. “Of course Trixie, ask away.”
Twilight smiled at Trixie, trying to encourage her to speak about whatever it was that was bothering her.
I screwed up a bit earlier. I know she’s…temperamental. And she’s probably irritated about that blast, and my disbelief about her spell. I still can’t believe she actually makes spells without going through the proper channels.
After scuffing her hoof on the ground a few times, Trixie gave Twilight a sideways look and quietly started. “A-after the Ursa incident, when I ran off; what happened? What were you thinking, or doing for the next few days after?”
Twilight brought a hoof to her chin as she thought. Why’s she curious about something that happened so long ago? Maybe she feels guilty?
“Well, the town cleaned up the small mess the Ursa had made, along with your trailer. After that, everything was back to normal for a little bit. I wrote out my report on the incident to Celestia, and I guess everypony was just glad it was over with.”
Trixie nodded and kept her eye glued to Twilight’s face. The way Trixie held herself and watched her made Twilight feel like alot was riding on her answers to Trixie’s questions.
“So, I didn’t come up again? No one thought to look for, or go after me? You didn’t really think about the incident after that at all?”
Twilight swallowed, feeling Trixie’s eye bore into her own. I swear she’s looking for something, but what? Okay Twilight, just answer truthfully.
“Well, a week later we had an incident with a dragon, and then parasprites shortly after that. I had just moved in and was spending a lot of time learning about friendship and getting acquainted to Ponyville. Between my studies, friends, and solving issues around the town there was just always something to be busy with.”
“I see…w-well…what about the Amulet incident? After I ran off again, did my name come up at all?”
“You did, in a sense. I made another report to Celestia on what I learned from that encounter. There were a lot of ponies that said some nasty things about you as well. But I promise you Trixie it didn’t last long. Ponyville gets over issues like that all the time, so in the end it wasn’t a big deal.”
Twilight’s eyes widened as Trixie flinched like Twilight had hit her. Trixie looked back at Twilight, starting to shake in rage as her face came within a few inches of Twilight’s. Twilight licked her lips nervously, unable to look away from Trixie’s piercing stare. I-I don’t understand. I’m saying the right words. Why’s she getting so upset?
“Then what about later? When you became an Alicorn? Did you think to come to any of my shows? Find out where I was? See where I ran off to?”
“T-Trixie, look, if you’re worried about getting in trouble for the amulet, I promise you’re not. It’s all in the past, and it’s long forgotten. I swear, I haven’t thought of you since I last saw you. I’m not a pony to go after somepony else for some stupid revenge. Between being a Princess, my studies, and my friends, I’ve not had time to think about any of the obstacles I’ve faced in the past.”
Trixie looked at Twilight with her one eye for several more seconds. Then, she slowly moved her face away from Twilight and turned around. the soft clops of her hooves and the crackling of the fire where the only sounds in the small camp as Trixie walked away from Twilight.Twilight knew something was wrong. She couldn’t place it, but something was…different in Trixie’s body language. From the corner of her eye, Twilight saw the folded cape and hat float over to Trixie and don their usual places on her.
“Trixie … I didn’t mean it in a negative way. But my friends and I encounter somepony or something new every month that we have to deal with. Heck, I want to forget about Discord, but he’s just so irritating and won’t leave me alone! You and I, we resolved things. You apologized and left. Then I just, went from there. I … I don’t understand why you’re upset over this.”
“Never mind, Sparkle. I …T-Trixie understands … and is just fine now. Y-you should rest while Trixie sees if she can clear us a way out.” Trixie slowly started to walk down a tunnel connecting into their camping room.
Twilight’s anxiety was running high by this point. Trixie clearly wasn’t fine, and her sudden switch in speech unnerved her. “Trixie, calm down! I didn’t mean-“
“JUST REST IT SPARKLE!”
After shouting, Trixie glared at Twilight, letting her briefly see that Trixie’s face had become wet before she hid her eye by pulling her hat down. She then trotted off, becoming engulfed in the blackness of the adjoining cavern before Twilight could find anything else to say..
Groaning, Twilight tried to get up and follow her, knowing she had somehow hurt Trixie's feelings. But her body refused to respond.
She’ll be back. I don’t understand what’s wrong, but she’s clearly upset at me.
Twilight continued to ponder over Trixie’s actions, happy to at least have the fire now to keep the darkness away while Trixie was gone. But her mind was heavily weighted down by how upset Trixie was with her.
Happy now Trixie?
Trixie sniffled as she continued forward, barely conscious of casting her vision spell as she walked in the direction of the collapse.
Trixie was right all along, wasn’t she?
After the Alicorn Amulet incident, Trixie apologized to Twilight, not wanting to be hated by somepony she so secretly admired. And Twilight had forgiving her like it was nothing.
That’s just it, isn’t it? Trixie knew she was nothing to Twilight, she just needed it confirmed to sink in…
Her right eye continued to leak out tears that dripped to the floor as she walked, while Trixie's left burned from the salt gathering in her wounds as the bandages became wet. Coming to the collapsed tunnel, Trixie held in a sob and gave a hard glare to the fallen rubble. She started to channel magic into her horn while thinking about the entire horrid outcome of her and Twilight’s meeting.
Not a friend, not a rival, Trixie’s just a little pain in Twilights perfect purple hide that came into her life twice and left just as quickly. Twilight never cared to see if Trixie was okay on her own when the Ursa crushed her wagon. Twilight hadn’t cared when Trixie revealed how hard her life became after that incident, and she didn’t care when Trixie had run away a second time into an even worse life. Twilight didn’t care because Trixie is beneath her notice...
As Trixie railed against the unfairness of it all, the rubble began to glow with magenta energy, some of the smaller rocks floating up in the air before being shattered into dust.
Sparkle. All Trixie wanted was to get closer to you. She was so sure the Alicorn Amulet would give Trixie the power to rival you, to intrigue you to travel with her and explore magic together. It’s not Trixie’s fault she couldn’t match your power on her own. It was fate. Well to Tartarus with fate!
The sounds of boulders being crushed to dust could be heard all around Trixie. More stones fell down from the rubble but never reached the ground, each one being grabbed by Trixie’s magic and reduced to pebbles. The sounds of rocks being torn apart continued until the pathway in front of her was finally cleared.
Heaving a large sigh and wiping the tears from her eye, she turned back to the tunnel leading to Twilight and started weaving a portal back to the waterfalls. She hardly focused on her casting as her emotions took over her mind. A particular phrase of Twilight’s floated to the top of her thoughts while she worked.
“Heck, I want to forget about Discord, but he’s just so irritating and won’t leave me alone!”
Stepping through the portal, Trixie found herself back on the ledge overlooking the waterfalls. She levitated the vial out of her cape and uncorked it, silently watching as the pink liquid poured out and into the water below. Within seconds, the water started turning pink. Within a minute, the pink coloration was actually proceeding up the waterfalls and spreading out to Celestia knows where.
Trixie tried being a friend and got forgotten. Discord upsets Twilight enough that she thinks about him all the time. Discord has enough power to force Twilight to notice him, and Trixie doesn’t. But Discord’s plan will change that. It has to change that!
Growling a little, Trixie turned around, feeling the need to walk and cool down before returning to camp and seeing Twilight again. Walking proved to be a bit more difficult considering her state of mind and being half blind.
Trixie doesn’t have time to take care of her eye now. Discord said the Princesses sent somepony after her, and now Sparkle’s down here? It doesn’t take a genius like Trixie to put two and two together. After Trixie gets Sparkle out of these caves, it’ll be a matter of days before she is on Trixie’s trail again. Trixie can’t waste time in a hospital. Not if she is serious about keeping Twilight’s attention for herself.
Twilight had laid down for close to an hour, contemplating what she knew of friendship and Trixie’s personality. She cursed her own stupidity as she reviewed their conversation in her head.
Trixie’s so different than my other friends, asides from showboating like Rainbow. It’s no excuse for what I did to her, but at least I know more about her and what I did wrong.
Giving a small sigh, Twilight decided to re-re-re-review what she had come up with over the last hour.
“First, Trixie wants attention. While that's kind of obvious, it turns out she wants attention whether it is bad or good.”
That explains why she was so upset about what I said, I was trying to assure her that her actions weren’t anything odd in Ponyville so she wouldn’t fear being punished, but she didn’t want to hear that. She wanted to be remembered even if it was in a negative way. She’s a show mare for crying out loud!
“Second, Trixie is good at magic.”
I argued with her about what you need to know about proper spell creation when she’s been making spells since before she arrived at Celestia’s School. She knows magic, crud, she’s good at it if this campfire spell of hers is any indicator. I insulted her by telling her she wasn’t good enough to make spells when she clearly is and she already has.
“Third...Trixie’s more confident than I am. Even if I think she’s not right.”
I can’t even imagine not going by the book. If she really was in Celestia’s school, she knows the proper channels she’s supposed to follow, but she doesn’t use them. I’d say that was crazy and dangerous, but she’s still alive and whole. So it must work for her, somehow. She must have made her own system to create and alter spells by now. C-could I really make my own system like her and get results? Should I ask her to show me hers if we get out of this as friends?
“And last, historical data of our interactions prove that I’ve...I’ve not been a good friend.”
Not seeing her shows, it’d be like not coming to see Rainbow perform, or never going to Pinkie’s parties. She travels alot, but I should have at least found the time to see a few of them every year if I really counted her as a friend. I’ve never even thought to see if she was doing okay after her life took such drastic downturns. Come to think of it, what has she been up to all this time? And…
“…Why is Trixie down here anyways?”
Twilight realized she had been so caught up in spells, and the sheer fact that she was alive and relatively safe, that she hadn’t bothered to ask such an important question.
It’s too odd to just be coincidence…but she seemed to learn her lesson after the Alicorn Amulet incident, right? She wouldn’t try to get another artifact just to be more powerful, would she?
Nervously, Twilight looked over to her pack.
I should trust her, but…
As her horn glowed and gave off sparks, Twilight’s saddlebags lethargically levitated over to her. When they were well within reach, she quickly shut her magic down, letting the bags fall with a soft thump to the ground. Gasping from the pain emitting from her horn, Twilight decided to stay still for a few minutes before enacting the next part of her plan. When she felt she was in no immediate danger of blacking out, she felt around in her saddlebag and took out her compass.
Nervously, she looked down the path Trixie had taken.
Please let me be wrong about this, I don’t know what she’ll do if she thinks I’m hunting her for the princesses.
Twilight opened the compass and…sighed in relief. The compass pointed almost directly behind her, nowhere near the direction she had seen Trixie go.
Well...I’m glad to be wrong about that. I really need to stop doubting Trixie if I want her as a friend. And I really do now. It’d be wonderful to finally have a friend interested in magic. Maybe we could even trade spell theories.
Smiling a little, Twilight put the compass back and rested her head, feeling her eyelids getting heavy as she let out a soft yawn.
Once I’m done with this task, I’ll see if Trixie wants to meet up, maybe come to Ponyville for a bit even.
Closing her eyes, Twilight slowly drifted off to a dreamless sleep.
Yeah…once this is over…I’ll make it up to her.
Trixie yawned as she finally stumbled into camp, having walked out most of her anger and what energy she had left after such a strenuous day. Or days, she couldn’t really tell down in these caves.
Trixie walked over and ensured the campfire had enough energy to hold up for a few more hours before making her way to the sleeping Alicorn. She sighed as she looked over Twilight, whom was sleeping on her stomach with all her legs but the bandaged left front hoof tucked in as much as possible. Both her wings were fully spread out and touching the ground.
Maybe…just for now…Trixie can pretend everything is okay.
Trixie carefully removed and stored her cape and hat. Afterwards, she carefully laid down and inched her way under Twilight’s right wing. The feathers felt wondrous to Trixie, and the faint lavender scent and heat coming off of Twilight helped Trixie’s tense body relax almost immediately. She carefully rested her head against Twilight’s shoulder and listened to Twilight’s rhythmic breathing.
Trixie really does like you, you stupid purple Alicorn. Even though you are leaving Trixie to sleep on the ground because you didn’t think to bring your own sleeping bag.
She gently nuzzled Twilight’s cheek as she started to drift off.
This is probably the closest Trixie will ever get to you, huh? Well, perhaps if Trixie’s strong enough, she’ll be able to curl up with your unconscious form after some of our battles.
“Trixie…will become…the only rival…you ever need, Twilight.”
Twilight sighed contentedly, almost purring as her mother slowly brushed her mane, painlessly removing any knots she came across with gentle hooves.
Mmmmm….this is better than any day at the spa, no matter what Rarity might think.
The brushing continued on to Twilight’s back and sides, though she absentmindedly noticed the brushing was only on her right side for the moment. She also didn’t remember there being so much of her to brush the last time her mother did this for her.
After what felt like a far too short eternity, the brushing ceased. Twilight mewled in protest, hoping her mother would take the clue and continue, when…
“GAH!” Twilight cried, waking up from an incredibly sharp pain coming from her right wing. The pain continued to permeate for several seconds before dulling into a sore feeling along her primary feathers. Looking over, Twilight saw Trixie sitting beside her, quickly packing a few things into her saddlebags.
“Oh! Umm…Good morning Trixie. D-did you just poke my wing or something? It’s really sore right now…”
Trixie replied while keeping most of her face in her saddlebag. “Trixie’s sorry about that, you were just more grey then lavender last night, and after Trixie finished packing the camp, she figured you wouldn’t mind if she cleaned you up a little. Trixie’s not the…best with wings, so she must have pressed a little too hard.”
“O-oh.” Twilight lightly flushed and looked her wing over. The pleasant feeling of just being preened was still lingering, as was the soreness. She supposed her wing looked a bit better than it had last night, though admittedly, she was preoccupied with other issues at the time. She did, however, notice her own mane and non-bandaged fur on her right side looking and feeling much better.
“I see you also did a little bit with my coat … umm … thank you, Trixie. And I’m sorry about last night. I didn’t mean to make you upset.”
Trixie seemed to have finished packing her saddlebag and took her muzzle out of it to flash Twilight a small smile. “It’s okay, Twilight. Actually, it let Trixie work out some issues she has been struggling with for a while now. Trixie’s head is much clearer now thanks to last nights … discussion.”
Twilight smiled back at Trixie, happy that her screw up last night had inadvertently done some good. Right, if she was still mad at me, and didn’t think of me as a friend, she wouldn’t have groomed me. The preening is a little embarrassing, but I doubt she knows what that implies in Pegasus society.
Twilight winced a little as she started to stand up. Trixie noticed this, and stayed near her side to let Twilight lean on her as she got to her hooves. “Thanks. I’m sorry Trixie, but I may need to lean on you a bit until we get out of here. Were you able to clear the path at all last night?”
Trixie gave a dismissive snort. “Trixie did work on a rock farm after all. If there is one thing she is capable of, besides being an amazing and talented unicorn loved by all, it’s rock clearing.”
Twilight rolled her eyes but kept a grin on her face at Trixie’s statement. “Right, well, let’s get out of here and get looked at by a doctor then, Miss amazing and talented. How’s your eye?”
Trixie levitated Twilight’s saddlebags onto her back, and after making sure Twilight was okay, began to slowly walk towards the cavern’s exit. Twilight in turn leaned her right side against Trixie and did her best to keep the slow pace.
“It feels…heated for the most part. Burns a little, but something like this won’t stop Trixie for long.”
Twilight nodded. “That’s good to hear. Look, once we both recover, and I finish an important assignment the princesses gave to me, would you like to come to Ponyville? At least, for a little while? I know you’re not fond of the town, but it would be really nice to talk a bit more and get to know you better. I realized after what happened last night that…despite being friends, we hardly know anything about each other.”
Trixie gave a small sigh and looked away from Twilight for a few minutes. She was starting to worry that she had said something wrong again; when Trixie turned back to her with the same small smile she had seen earlier.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie assures you Twilight, that regardless of whatever task the princesses have you on, you will be seeing a lot more of her...”
Twilight and Trixie were standing outside of the tunnel’s entrance, having spent the last several hours slowly making their way through the caverns. Twilight leaned against Trixie for another minute to catch her breath, and then slowly sat down where she was with a groan.
“I-pant-know I’m more injured, but how are you still standing after that?”
With a grass eating smirk on her face, Trixie sat down in front of Twilight. Her fur was damp from perspiration, and she was breathing fast, but she was in far better shape than her lavender counterpart at the moment.
“Trixie guesses you don’t get out much, apart from your Equestria saving adventures, hmm? Trixie needs to haul her cart and everything in it all throughout Equestria after all, so that helps. Plus-“Trixie stood up and turned to her side, emphasizing her toned body to Twilight with a hoof. “If Trixie were to do something silly, like hide in a library all the time, well, tips from stallions make up over half of what Trixie makes each year, and they may not be as rampant fans of hers if she changed her figure.”
Twilight blushed a little and quickly directed her gaze to Trixie’s face, while raising an eyebrow at her. “A-are you calling me fat? And I don’t recall anything from your show that implies what I think you’re describing.”
Giving an amused snort, Trixie launched several bursts of different colored magic into the air, letting them linger high above them and act as an emergency beacon for the Canterlot guards. “Trixie thinks the word ‘sedentary’, or ‘inactive’ fits you better. Though Trixie must say that you carry it in all the right places.” Winking, Trixie stood up and walked a little closer to Twilight, almost causing their muzzles to touch.
“And as for Trixie’s shows, you only saw the one for general audiences. You didn’t see her midnight showing. Adults only, of course.”
Twilight blushed at the sudden closeness and the images trying to force their way into her mind. Trixie’s breath tickling her muzzle didn’t help much either. She was about to stand up and put some distance between them, when she felt Trixie’s hooves wrap around her.
Confused at the sudden action, Twilight didn’t respond when Trixie put her head on Twilight’s shoulder and tightly hugged her.
“A-are you okay, Trixie?”
“Mhmm, just stay like this for a little longer, Twilight.”
I really wish I could understand what is going on in your head Trixie. Are you feeling ill? Do you just need a hug, like Pinkie Pie sometimes does?
Without any idea on what she should do, Twilight gently rubbed Trixie’s back, hoping the azure Unicorn was okay. After the hug went on long enough to enter awkward territory, Trixie finally let go and took a few steps back. To add to Twilight’s confusion, Trixie then turned around and started slowly walking away from her, horn glowing as she weaved some type of enchantment around herself.
Twilight raised a hoof up reflexively to grab onto Trixie, despite now being too far away. “What do you mean goodbye? The guards will be here soon, and your eye is hurt Trixie!”
Trixie continued to walk away from Twilight, but talked to her over her shoulder. “Don’t worry Twilight; Trixie just doesn’t have time to waste in a hospital right now. She’s on an important mission of her own, actually.”
“Trixie! Stop being as cryptic as Celestia and get back here! I’m sure whatever show you’re going to be late to isn’t worth letting your injury get worse!”
Trixie stopped about a hundred yards away from Twilight and turned around. She had that same small smile on her muzzle from earlier, and the tone of her reply was melancholy, as if she was thinking of something pleasant, yet distant.
“Believe Trixie, Twilight; it’ll be worth it, even if the cost turns out to be both of her eyes.”
Her horn lit up, and a small item clothed in a black hoof towel levitated out of Trixie’s bag. It shot over to Twilight, sliding a few inches as it landed at her hooves. Twilight ignored it for the moment, more concerned with the infuriating Unicorn in front of her.
“Trixie…what do you mean by both of your eyes? W-what in Tartarus did I do to you…? Trixie! Show me what I did to you!”
Trixie looked away from Twilight and towards Canterlot, acting like she hadn’t heard her. Looking in that direction herself, Twilight could barely make out two Pegasus flying in their direction.
“Don’t worry about Trixie, Twilight. She’s more than amazing enough to keep going. Just worry about getting better again. Unless … you’re giving up on retrieving Luna’s lost little toy.”
Trixie had turned back around and was walking away again. Twilight looked down to the clothed object on the ground, and slowly levitated it up to her face. She brushed the towel aside to reveal her compass, pointing straight ahead of her, the same direction as Trixie. The compass’s point glowed with a grey energy, quickly pulsing to display just how close Twilight’s target was.
…You’re kidding me…
Twilight stood up and started limping after Trixie, her horn sputtering sparks as she became angrier and tried to work a spell, any spell, to stop the Unicorn that had now proceeded to do a fast trot away from Twilight after looking over her shoulder.
You’re FUCKING kidding me!
“TRIXIE! COME BACK HERE!”
Twilight’s teeth grinded together as her horn kept sputtering uselessly; too much of her magic had been used over the last few days though for her to cast anything useful at the moment, even if she wasn’t currently too angry to concentrate. And any magic she had regained over her rest was reflexively being used to fuel her bodies’ recovery. She kept her eyes on Trixie the whole time she continued to limp after her, realizing that Trixie was looking less and less like a Unicorn and more and more like a blue speck in the distance.
“TRIXIE! GIVE ME BACK LUNA’S SEED AND I PROMISE SHE WON’T HURT YOU!”
“…Luna’s not the one Trixie is concerned about being hurt by at the moment, but thanks! And she can’t give it back to you, Trixie assimilated it! We are now one!”
“QUIT JOKING AROUND!”
"Oh lighten up, Twilight!"
“TRIXIE! I CAN’T HEAR WHAT YOU’RE SAYING! GET BACK HERE SO I CAN YELL AT YOU PROPERLY!”
“TRIXIE SAID LIGHTEN UP!”
Twilight fell over to her side and gave a groan before looking to where the sudden shout had come from. A weird….something, had formed behind her, about as tall as a pony and outlined with Magenta energy.
It’s some kind of…magical hole I guess?
Looking into the hole, she could see Trixie standing on the other side of it, grinning and blowing Twilight a raspberry while the opening quickly grew smaller and smaller.
“Get better Twilight, and then try to catch Trixie, if you can.”
Twilight’s eyes bulged, and her embarrassment was fighting with her anger on who could make her face the most red at the last thing she saw before the hole had disappeared. Some of Trixie’s mane must have worked itself loose from her hat as she ran, as the left side of her mane was now sporting a braid. Wrapped in this braid was a large lavender feather that caused Twilight’s wing to ache again on sight.
….No! Nonononono! She can’t…if it’s seen…rumors! Misunderstandings!
It was at this point where Twilight’s brain thought it was best to shut down for a few minutes and let her scream it all out.
Trixie continued to run, a blue blur across the rarely used dirt road as she headed towards the next target on her list. She giggled giddily at her last few moments with Twilight. That went perfectly! Oh, she was so cute with all those dumbfounded expressions! Thank Celestia I had the time this morning to figure out how to direct that little show! She’ll definitely chase after me now when she’s recovered!
Her happiness was abruptly diluted as she noticed heat and pain growing in her left eye again. She was thankful that her medical kit had a large supply of pain relievers, as they would be desperately needed over the next few days.
Despite that, it almost feels like everything is becoming easier for Trixie. For once, everything has become so…simple.
She thought back to the few sentences that had decided which path to take in what had been her hardest decision to date.
“I’ve not had time to think about any of the obstacles I’ve faced in the past.” “I want to forget about Discord, but he’s just so irritating and won’t leave me alone! You and I, we resolved things. You apologized and left.”
Those words had hurt so badly at the time, but…
They also made it so Trixie knows how to handle Twilight now. Bother her, Trixie. Be the obstacle that she has to deal with. Don’t try to resolve or apologize for anything if you can.
Everything felt easier now that she finally had a choice, and one that Twilight had made for her no less! Of the two, rival or friend and maybe even more, it … wasn’t the choice Trixie was hoping for … But she’d take what she could get.
Twilight sighed and cursed her luck and whoever was responsible for the insane situations she kept finding herself in. Her hoof tapped impatiently on the ground as she watched the patrol get closer and closer to her.
Irritation once again turned to confusion for Twilight that day, as she squinted to see the guards better. She then groaned and rubbed the side of her head with a hoof.
“Now what happened!? I was gone less than two days!”
After raising the sun, Celestia walked into her and Luna’s shared bath chambers. Celestia had seen little need for a second bathing room the size of several houses, so upon having Luna’s rooms made a few years before her return, simply had an adjoining door made connecting it to Luna’s chambers.
Sighing contentedly, Celestia turned the showers on, reveling in the feel of multiple shower heads warming her up to be ready to face the day. Closing her eyes, she silently thought over recent events.
I wonder where Twilight went to in such a rush. She was here less than a day before disappearing. She’s not returned to Ponyville, and yet I’ve had no visits from her, nor is she using her rooms in the castle. Strange ...
Celestia heard Luna’s door opening, and the loud yawning of her sister as she entered the bath chambers.
I shouldn’t be worrying, I’m sure she is fine so long as she is keeping a level head.
“Good morning, Luna.”
“G-good morning, Tia.”
Celestia heard the sounds of the second shower turning on, and could already imagine the sleepy look her sister must have right now. Eyes nearly closed, and doing her best not to nod off before reaching her bed.
“Ugh, we feel so … filthy, listening to those fools for so long. And of course, we seem to only attract the nobles with plans you already turned down due to how slimy they were.”
“I’m sorry Lulu; it’s just that you’ve only returned a few short years ago. The nobility is testing you, seeing where your limits are and if they can get away with anything they know they can’t with me.”
“Hmmm…a test then? Perhaps we shall start testing them in turn to repay the favor.”
Celestia lightly laughed, imagining the grin her sister must have on her face. “Just don’t hurt any pony.”
“Perish the thought dear sister; we only desire to offer them a little of what they have offered us.”
A loud banging was suddenly heard on the door from Celestia’s room, causing her to sigh.
I must really have a word with the new Chancellor. The court will not fall apart from my staying a few more minutes in the shower. She was quickly brought out of her musings though by a deep male voice.
“Get out of the shower!”
Celestia growled, irritated at the command, and levitated a white towel over to herself as she walked towards the door. She started preparing to gently, and kindly, remind whoever was there that she could have them removed from their position and packed for an outpost on the border within the hour if she so chose.
Wiping the water from her eyes, she unlocked and opened the bathroom door. Three royal guards, or at least three ponies dressed as royal guards, were staring back at her, wide eyed. The reason she at first doubted them being actual guards was a simple one.
Two of them were light pink.
“Princess! There is something wrong with Canterlot’s water!”
Celestia looked down at herself.
“Huh. So there is.”
She then dropped her pink towel onto the floor and looked over to her still showering and barely awake sister. Celestia cringed.
“Luna? By chance, are you asleep?
“Nay we are not, sister.”
“I see. Forgive my curiosity, but what did you think of my mane when we were younger?
“What are you blathering about?”
“Never mind. Are your eyes still closed?”
“I want you to keep them that way, if you could please.”
“For how long?”
“I think it should only take a couple of days for the dyes to wear off, so just till then.”
Trixie was currently in the cellar of a small mansion located by the Unicorn Range. Surrounding her were hundreds of poorly labelled wine bottles in wooden racks. While the trip here took her the better part of two days, it had been easy enough to sneak her way through the vineyards, and pathetically simple for Trixie to slip in an open window and enter the small mansion. A few illusions, and standing still till they passed her by took care of any pony she came across.
But…it’s not like many ponies would risk their lives upsetting a royal family for a bottle of wine.
Trixie never did understand how the Blood family was related to Celestia, but that was the general claim the family toted, and Celestia had never been heard to deny it.
Nobles, Trixie doubts any of them have stepped a hoof in this mansion in years. Probably just has the staff send whatever wine they want to Canterlot.
Trixie suddenly felt the world shift on her, and spots started to appear in her vision.
Lying down on the cool cellar floor, Trixie did her best to calm her breathing and close her good eye as she felt the vertigo start to course through her. Her stomach felt slightly nauseated, but it paled in comparison to the heat and pain blooming from her left eye. The vertigo spells had started a day ago, and were happening more often now. After enduring it for several minutes, the worst finally passed, letting her open her eye again and shakily stand up.
Ugh, Trixie’s feeling weaker after each of those. She doesn’t have time for this! Now, which one of these bottles is the stupid 200 year old sweet Pinot Neigh?
Trixie carefully looked around and finally placed her hoof on one of the bottles. As she was about to pull it off the shelf however, she noticed a note wedged between it and another bottle. Curious, Trixie picked up the note.
Not this bottle! It’s over there, to the right! What kind of show mare doesn’t even know her wines? Nice eye patch by the way, real classy! Eyebrow twitching, she almost unconsciously burned the note to cinders before looking to her right, noticing another note sticking out between two bottles. With a sour look on her face, Trixie quietly walked over and picked up the folded paper.
Sheesh, talk about being easily led by the coat tails. You should really work on that. Also, work on your reading, you had the right bottle the first time.
Growling, Trixie turned around, seeing a tag hanging by a string on the wine bottle she had previously picked up. The tag had a picture of Discord on it giving her a thumbs up. She grabbed the bottle and promptly tossed the tag to the floor, giving it a stamp with her hoof.
“Really Discord? You sent Trixie all the way out here when you could have just picked it up yourself!? “
She levitated a small list out of her cape and crossed off the wine, feeling a little elated to realize only one more item was on Discord’s list. Putting away both the list and wine, Trixie quickly made her way to the stairs and back up from the cellar. Upon reaching the door however, she found yet another note resting against the handle.
Hey, not my job. This is all you, little miss wanna-be Alicorn. Or are you starting to lean towards becoming a pirate instead? Rolling her eye, Trixie promptly turned the note to ashes and then quietly opened the door.
One more to go, just need to hold it together till then. Then Trixie can smack some sense into that stupid goat-dragon thing.
Looking over the railing of the balcony to her room, Twilight gulped and, after a few nervous seconds, leapt over it, flapping her wings inexpertly to restart her pursuit. Once she stabilized her flight slightly, Twilight checked the compass around her neck. It was pointing to the South West and so she set course in that direction.
Three days. Three wonderful, yet, insufferable days. It’s not fair for Trixie to make me feel so much anxiety in what should have been such a nice time.
A fairly pink Celestia had fussed over her, periodically checking up on her several times each day and keeping her company. If it hadn’t been for Celestia’s constant attention, Twilight would have most likely set fire to a good deal of the nurses and doctors in frustration.
I need to send them something for putting up with me, especially poor Doctor Stabilize. Her first day in the doctors care was tense on both sides. Twilight was enraged at Trixie’s deception and was near to ordering the doctors to burn themselves out so she could immediately fly after her. The doctors had refused. It all came to a head when Twilight had impulsively ordered them to heal her until she was up to flying again. After doctor Stabilize had knocked himself out from mana drain, Twilight had come back to her senses and apologized, letting them treat her as they saw fit from then on.
Still, I’ve lost three days, who knows what Trixie has been up to in that time? At least my talk with Luna went well…
“-But thankfully, it has turned out to not be as dire as we had feared, the water is quite drinkable, despite the unfortunate effect of dying everything it comes in contact with pink.”
Luna and Twilight were sitting in the small den of Luna’s chambers, both outstretched on couches opposite of each other. A small table separated them, black with Luna’s cutie mark adorning it, and a small jade tea set rested upon it.
“I’m glad to hear that. It was a little awkward to see so many pink ponies on my way to the hospital. Though I’m sure Pinkie will be disappointed at missing out on the next few days.”
Luna nodded before taking a sip of her tea. “Right, speaking of which, we would like to know the source of your injuries. We find it quite surprising for you to have acquired them in such a short time as last we met, let alone so close to Canterlot.”
Twilight nodded, her face getting a little heated from embarrassment. She slowly sipped at her tea for a moment to gather her thoughts, and then began to explain to Luna all that she had been through for the last day and a half.
Luna tsked sadly at Twilight once her explanation was done. “Tis a shame Trixie evaded you so easily, but thou still has the compass, yes? Permitting that thou ... err ... sorry … you … yes? Permitting that ‘you’ do not get into any more accidents while spelunking, you should be more than a match for her. Even with the seed aiding her.”
Putting down her teacup, Luna gave Twilight a comforting smile. “While we wish to punish Trixie for her actions, she does seem to care for you, or at least, she went through the actions of caring in the mines. And though you seem very … upset with her right now, we do not think you really wish harm on her. Therefore, if you can bring her to us, and she is willing to cooperate, we promise to make the removal of the seed as painless as we can, as well as show lenience to her transgression upon us.”
Twilight sighed with relief at hearing this, having worried about Trixie’s fate at Luna’s hooves. Now Trixie just had to be concerned with her fate at Twilight’s hooves. She felt the need to rip into Trixie’s hide at least a little for putting her through all of this after all.
“Thank you, Luna. She may be a little insufferable at times, but she’s good at heart. She knew I was after her, but still helped me when I was in trouble after all.”
“Think nothing of it, Twilight. Actually, we may make her into a servant of ours for some time. It would be good to have a Lulamoon back in our retinue after so long. Call it nostalgia if you will.”
Twilight chuckled a little at this, having read about the old families who once followed Luna. “I know she needs to be punished, but I think she’d rather stay in a cell then ‘lower’ herself to serving any pony other than herself, Alicorn or not.”
Luna smirked over at Twilight and gave her a wicked enough expression to cause Twilight’s face to heat up again. “We wouldn’t worry about that Twilight, we’ve seen a little of Trixie’s dreams, and think she will be easier to persuade then you realize.”
Twilight gulped audibly and nodded to Luna before rolling off of the couch and getting to all fours. “I’ll just … leave that to you then. If you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a little tired so I’m going to head to my room now. I also want to look and see if I can find out what Trixie did to the water.”
Luna nodded in understanding. “Of course Twilight, we totally under-wait! Did thou just say Trixie is responsible for this pink travesty?”
Twilight nodded warily at Luna. “Besides me, she was the only pony in those mines, and it is known that Canterlot’s water runs through those caverns. It’s highly unlikely to be a coincidence that she was down there right when the water started turning ponies pink.”
“… We see … why that little … Night Light! Piercing Star!” At Luna’s shout, two pink bat ponies entered the room and bowed low to Luna.
“You called, Princess?”
Luna’s eyes started to glow a dangerous red in stark contrast to her comically bright pink body. “Yes, we need your assistance in tracking and killing…no, severely maiming a pony and bringing her to us!”
Well, it went as well as I could have hoped, given Luna’s temper. At least Celestia was able to calm her down enough not to send those guards after Trixie. Still, Celestia had recommended that Twilight quickly find Trixie before Luna decides to take matters into her own hooves.
But, Trixie wouldn’t have done something so odd to Canterlot’s water if she had nothing to get out of it. She was far too focused when I saw her to cause a prank like that. Discord. He has to be involved in this, the dirty liar.
Okay, focus! One thing at a time. First, bring in Trixie, and hope her injury isn’t getting any worse. Then, the princesses and I will deal with Discord.
Two days of near constant travel and increasingly problematic dizzy spells finally brought Trixie to her next destination; White Tail Woods. She tiredly walked into the forest, doing her best to keep her bleary eye open for signs of danger. However, the pain, and having forced herself to go on with little sleep for so long, made paying any real attention difficult. Sluggishly, Trixie’s mind wandered to the next item on Discord’s list.
Wind root. Trixie had heard all of the trees were nearly cut down ages ago. Hmm … a tree whose roots opened up and strengthened the magical channels within a pony. Trixie guesses she can understand why Discord wants that for the ritual.
Still, they had been used to near extinction by ponies trying to get a short boost of magical strength, or on foals by their parents, hoping it would let their children learn magic earlier in life. The few Trixie has heard of still intact are said to be well cared for and only used in medical surgery to help the doctor’s magic flow better in Pegasi and Earth Ponies, or something along those lines. Does Discord not know about their rarity now? Or does he know of a few hidden in this forest still?
She looked back at the list and Discord’s little statement concerning the Wind root.
The older the root, the stronger it is. Want to risk blowing up? Then find a sapling to steal from. Want to be an Alicorn? Find something closer to Sunbutt’s age.
Sighing, Trixie thought through the list of ingredients for the ritual.
Pure magic for power, Wind Root to strengthen and open up magical channels, and alcohol to … what? Make the taste of the first two go down better? Is he going to have Trixie eat this stuff?
Trixie was so lost in thought that she ended up bumping into something with her muzzle, something most certainly not a tree. Groaning from the sudden impact, Trixie rubbed her nose and looked at what obstructed her.
What’s something like this doing out here?
She eyed the little home curiously, not expecting anypony to be living in a forest. It was a small house, probably only a few rooms in total on the inside. It was painted a dull brown, blending in a bit with the nearby trees, and emanated the smell of herbs.
Trixie gave an undignified yelp and pitched forward from the sudden voice behind her, hitting her head into the side of the house. She gasped as the impact sent a thousand little needles of pain into her injured eye, and promptly sat down with both hooves covering it.
“Oh for the love of-are you okay?”
The rough mare’s voice Trixie had heard a moment ago was now laced with concern, and caused Trixie to slowly glance behind her, her body still slow to respond due to the pain.
Behind Trixie stood a brown Earth pony, giving her a worried look with her olive green eyes. One of her hooves held a small sickle, which Trixie assumed to have been pointed at her until her collision with the house. The mare’s hair was a light green and cropped short, except for a long braid on her right side that held a large blue feather in place. Her cutie mark was of some pink and white plant that Trixie couldn’t identify.
“Trixie … Trixie is just f-fine, just give her a moment and she’ll … she’ll … “
Trixie felt a liquid slowly oozing out of her injured eye. Little by little, she went from sitting on the ground to laying down, barely aware of it occuring.
Maybe Trixie will just rest here for a bit …
As a strange buzzing began in Trixie's head, she noticed the Earth ponies eyes widen at her behavior, or maybe it was at whatever Trixie felt leaking down her face. The other mare quickly walked over to Trixie, dropping the scythe as she got closer. She worked to force Trixie back to her hooves, despite the show mare’s obvious preference to remain where she was. Trixie’s head was starting to swim and it took a few seconds before she realized the mare was speaking heatedly at her.
“For Celestia’s sake, work with me here! Stand up at least! I’m doing most of the heavy lifting for you as it is!”
Groaning a bit, Trixie did her best to comply with the mare, blackness running along the sides of her vision.
“Good, that’s right, keep going! Now, just lean against me, you can collapse just as soon as I get you inside, all right?”
The mare had to keep a hoof around Trixie, as every few steps the show mare’s body refused to respond to her orders and tried to slump to the side. Slowly they made their way around the home, Trixie’s sight lessening as her breathing started to become more and more labored. At least her eye didn’t hurt anymore, though she didn’t know why. With the Earth ponies help, Trixie actually made it several feet inside of the house before her face met the floor.
Moaning, Trixie slowly regained consciousness. The first thing she noticed was that the fire in her eye had returned, causing her to bring a hoof up and feel along the side of it. The new bandage felt a lot better placed than the one she had inexpertly put around it two days ago and not been able to replace.
She snorted wryly. Whoever thought Sparkle would be such a bandage hog?
Trixie only had a few seconds to notice she was on a bed inside the house when the voice from earlier returned. “Trixie? Are you awake?”
The mare from earlier stepped into the small room, relief mixed with caution over her face. “Are you feeling better now? Do you know who I am?”
Trixie looked at the mare confusedly. “What are you talking about? Of course Trixie doesn’t know who you are, she fell asleep right after getting inside, remember?”
Sighing softly, the Earth mare continued. “Not exactly, you and I talked for a bit in between your blackouts and my bandaging. I’m Clary Sage. Nice to meet you again, Trixie.”
“Right … umm … Trixie thanks you for the help. She was a bit woozy, but she really needs to get going.” Trixie looked out of the nearby window, noticing how dark it was getting outside. “Just how long has Trixie been out?”
Clary sat down by the bed. “You’ve been out for a few hours. And you don’t just need a little rest, you need a doctor. I could only do so much with the herbs I have.”
Nodding, Trixie looked over to Clary, her eyes quickly surveying the room as she did so. A few odd plants were growing on a nearby desk, and several faded paintings adorned the walls. Several of the paintings depicted ponies, and a couple showed different flowers. The room had several shelves of knick knacks, and had a well lived in feel to it.
“Trixie will see a doctor soon, she has an important task to accomplish first, however.”
Clary shook her head. “I don’t think you understand Trixie. I-I’m not a doctor, but … I’m not sure that if we even get you to a hospital right now that your eye could … recover. It’s … there was just so much pus and … I don’t even know how you were still walking when I found you.”
Clary looked at her, wide eyed. “I … what?”
Trixie glared at Clary, or at least, as best as she could, her vision in her good eye was starting to get blurry again. “You’re lying, Trixie’s eye will be f-fine in a few days, s-she can’t afford to wait and rest until then. Everything will get better just as soon as she has what she needs.”
Clary’s ears were pressed to her head and she looked at Trixie sorrowfully, slowly shaking her head.
“D-don’t you dare pity Trixie! S-she’s on her way to the top! I-if she can just find some Wind root in this forest, then-“
Clary interrupted her with a soft, but firm tone. “I already told you Trixie, there is no Wind trees in this forest. Or at least, none a pony in your condition can get to. I would know …”
Trixie growled, feeling her temper flare at Clary’s cryptic words. “Which is it? There is no Wind root in this forest or there is?”
Sighing, Clary sat down next to the bed, pawing a bit at the floor with her hoof. “If you forget it this time Trixie, I’m not going to repeat it. Going after the Wind trees in this forest will only leave the mare that feather belongs to all alone.”
Trixie’s hoof made its way to the feather still in her braid, the soft touch calmed her a little. “H-how did you know this was from a mare? Just what did Trixie tell you?”
“Well, you said you were here to find Wind root in order to stay noticed by the mare whose feather that is. But Trixie, if they really care for you, the bits you could get from selling those roots aren’t needed. She’ll just be happy to see you come back to her alive.”
Trixie barely repressed the urge to roll her eye. Well… if she interpreted what Trixie told her that way, then better to just run with it for now.
“That’s a … nice sentiment Clary. But it won’t work with the mare Trixie is after. Trixie’s already sacrificed a lot for this, and there’s no going back for her now. “
“Are you sure of that, Trixie?”
For a minute, Trixie thought through the most likely scenario of letting Twilight bring her to Luna and Celestia. She then shivered at the thought of what Discord would do if she quit now. “Trixie’s sure.”
Clary nodded, bringing a hoof up to stroke the blue feather in her mane. “Well, then I’m sorry, Trixie. But I’ve only seen one Wind root come out of this forest, and that was from my coltfriend, Goldenseal.”
Trixie smiled for the first time that day. ”Well then, could Trixie talk to Goldenseal and find out where he found it?”
“No. He’s … been dead for some time now …”
“… Oh … umm … Trixie is … sorry.”
Leaning over the bed, Clary removed a small bundle from underneath the pillow Trixie had been laying on while asleep. Unwrapping it, Trixie could see a withered brown dried out root. “Sorry, I forgot to remove it before.”
Clary’s muzzle moved down and gave the root a gentle nuzzle. “Ten years ago, Goldenseal and I moved here, hoping to make a good living off of the herbs we could find and sell. We were happy, but Golden, he always wanted to give me more.”
“There’s a tale of a grove of Wind tree’s somewhere in the forest. Tree’s that survived Discord’s reign unmolested and that still live to this day. If they were to be believed, the age of these tree’s would have meant thousands of bits for just a few samplings of the roots. They were said to have avoided being cut down thanks to a fierce creature that jealously guards them.”
Clary looked over to Trixie, the painful memories clear on her face. “It’s so odd how many ponies wish to believe one part of a legend, and think the rest is hogwash. Golden assured me that the woods had been tamed years ago, and the Royal Guard would have slain such a creature if it still existed. He promised to fly away if he saw anything dangerous. I thought the whole legend was just silly, and he was just having fun acting like an adventurer in some two-bit novel.”
Clary gently folded the cloth over the root again and held it in her hooves. “Then one afternoon, he didn’t return. I grew concerned and started looking through the forest for him.”
A few tears started to drip down Clary’s face. “W-when I found him, it was like something had chewed him up and spit him back out. His wings were mangled and torn, and the blood … so much blood …”
She glared at Trixie, stained cheeks visible in the fading sunlight. “And that’s why it’s not worth it, Trixie. My Goldenseal lost his life to give me this root. Do you think this mare of yours wants that to happen to you? Golden was young, fit, healthy; and you, you collapsed at my door. Even if you found it Trixie, you’d die.”
Trixie woke up the next day to a grey and cast over sky. How long did Trixie sleep? gah, she shouldn’t have stayed last night as it is, let alone still be lying here like this.
Her injured eye felt worse, though she suspected it was because the rest of her wasn’t exhausted and in pain, letting her focus on only her eye injury now. She laid in bed a little longer, contemplating.
Clary may be the smallest bit right on Trixie’s condition. If she traipses through the woods looking for this root, there’s no telling when Twilight will catch up to her. Trixie’s sure she can take on whatever is guarding the trees, but the delay in finding them might be too long. This ritual has to be done before Trixie’s found out, it’s doubtful Twilight will hold back when we meet up again. Perhaps it was a bit foolish of Trixie to tease her, but she didn’t know she’d be on her back in somepony’s house for this long! And besides, there was no other way for Trixie to flaunt that she had this.
Gently, Trixie rubbed her hoof over the feather in her braid, enjoying the softness of it, and the light smell of ink and lavender that came from it still.
But, what other option does Trixie have now? Clary can’t tell Trixie where the grove is, Trixie doesn’t have time to find it, what is she to do?
“About time you woke up.”
Trixie looked over to find Clary looking in from the doorway at her, a bowl smelling of a mix of potatoes and herbs in one of her hooves. Trixie wrinkled her muzzle up.
“Sorry if it smells like medicine again, but with how bad of shape you’re in, what else did you expect?”
Trixie slowly took the bowl in her magic and brought it over. “Trixie thanks you, as does her many fans.” Clary rolled her eyes while Trixie started to eat, but nodded to her with a grin. “Even if you have been sleeping most of the time, it has been good to have a little company again.”
Trixie nodded, finishing up her food faster than she had expected. Trixie will work it off soon enough, she deserves a bit of pampering right now. “Is there a town nearby?”
Clary shook her head. “Closest town is three hours away from here, I’m pretty isolated out here, but it’s okay. The White Tail woods has herbs you can’t find anywhere else, so I always sell out when I go to the market. I’ve been thinking of moving, but I’m just … used to living here now. Not sure what I’d do if I left, ya know?”
Trixie nodded again, not knowing what to say.
“Speaking of town-“ Clary started “if you are up for it tomorrow, we should head there to get you looked at by a real doctor. It’s a little … odd how yesterday you looked like you were about to keel over in delusions and today, well, you’ve slept a lot, but asides from the eye, and the need for a bath, you seem to be a lot better.”
Trixie grinned nervously. “T-Trixie’s always been a fast healer. Give her another day or two and she’ll be her perfect self again.” Hmm…maybe it’s the seed’s power? Why does it not work this well all the time? Trixie wonders…
Trixie looked over to the dresser and tried lifting it with her telekinesis, getting it up half a foot before needing to place it down again and clutch at her pained head.
Clary looked confusedly between Trixie and the dresser. “I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this question by now, but are you all right?”
Wincing a little while rubbing her head with her hoof, Trixie looked over to Clary and nodded. “J-just a headache, makes using magic a lot more difficult. Trixie will be fine once it passes.”
“If you say so.”
Damn it all! Trixie thought to herself. That’s why Trixie’s wondrous body is doing so well now … her magic burned out whatever was wrong with her while she was resting.
Trixie had this happen before, she remembered the times she was sick in bed due to a cold. While a unicorn seemed to get over simple things like colds quickly, it was because their magic burned through the illness. Unicorns were second of the three races to get over small illnesses, Earth ponies being first, on the rare chance an Earth pony was even affected by something simple like a cold. The issue with Unicorns however, was that their magic was drained for a few days following the event, pending on how bad of an illness it was. While most Unicorns could deal with a cold easily, anything more serious could leave the Unicorn feeling like a foal magically for weeks on end while they recovered.
J-just how close was Trixie to death for her to feel this weak? It’ll be days for Trixie to do more than simple spells without risking a relapse, s-she can’t afford that time ... Trixie has to find that root … Twilight …
Clary had left, thinking Trixie was falling back to sleep as opposed to contemplating her plight. She had left the door open however, giving Trixie a view of the couch Clary had slept on the night before, and the pillow she had been sleeping on …
Grumbling a little to herself, Twilight took in her surroundings.
“White Tail woods, just what are you up to now, Trixie?”
Looking down, Twilight could see the compass, merrily glowing a bright grey color against her chest. It had been progressively getting brighter as Twilight traveled, and was akin to a torch for the Alicorn now that night had settled.
If I make camp, there’s no telling if Trixie will be this close in the morning, especially with that strange teleport spell of hers. I wish I had time to study how she did that, maybe when she’s back to normal? I still don’t understand why she’s doing this; did Discord promise her something in return for pranking everypony in Canterlot? Was that her payment for the seed? Or is there something more happening?
Twilight sighed and shook her head, taking to the air and starting a slow flight towards the woods. A deft display of magic caused the compass to glow considerably less, so as not to alert Trixie of her presence as easily.
Yawning tiredly, Twilight grumbled about the weight of her saddle bags. I’m never going to get to sleep tonight anyways, not until I finally settle this with her. I hope I make it to her before whatever else Trixie is doing affects somepony.
It’s not like she’s using it …
Trixie had stayed in bed for most of the day, resting and thinking through the turbulent circumstances she was faced with. She’d even thought up a small Twilight on both of her shoulders, to argue her choices back and forth. One was clad in white raiment, and the other in red. If anything, it had helped stem boredom.
But somepony died getting this for her …
Moments ago, Trixie had made her way out of bed as quietly as possible. Her magic was nowhere near strong enough at the moment, but it would have to do. She’d already levitated her saddlebags next to the front door while she watched to make sure Clary was actually asleep.
It’s not like her holding onto it is helping anypony though, and it would be a simple feat for you to find her another one when you become an Alicorn …
Carefully, Trixie made her way over to Clary’s sleeping form, eyeing the pillow she was resting her head on. The nights were a little warm, so Clary had slept with a simple green bed sheet over her form.
And what would she do in the meantime? Are you really going to leave her clutching and crying over an empty cloth when she wakes up? The white clad Twilight in her head cried. Replacing it with a new one isn’t the same as the one her beloved gave her!
Trixie was shaking a little, the debate had raged in her for hours already as she laid in bed, but it was almost an idle thought then, something to toy over and pass the time. Like talking about the weather, there had been little emotion placed in her thinking until now. Just the right and wrong of her actions, and the simple logic that she could easily replace the root once the ritual was done. Now though ...
Tsk, tsk, Trixie. The Red clad Twilight said in her head, an image of Twilight looking at Trixie over her shoulder as if saying farewell came to the forefront of her mind. And here I thought you would risk anything, perform any act needed short of losing your mind again like with the amulet, so long as we could become eternal rivals. The real Twilight won’t have any interest in sparring with somepony who gives up on their dreams so easily.
“T-Trixie will do something, she’ll, she’ll figure out a way to repay Clary for this.” Trixie whispered. Her mind made up, Trixie’s horn began to glow as a tendril of magic slowly made its way over to Clary and underneath her pillow.
Twilight will never forgive you if she finds out about this you know …
You don’t want her forgiveness. Did you forget, Trixie? Forgiveness means being forgotten. What you want is her attention …
Trixie could feel the cloth underneath Clary’s pillow, and gripped it in her magic. Slowly, she brought the cloth out, doing her best not to disturb the sleeping mare.
Good. Trixie thought, looking over to her saddlebags. Another tendril of magic shot out and gripped them, levitating them onto Trixie’s back. Now to just –
Trixie froze at hearing that simple word. Slowly, she looked over her shoulder to the couch. Clary’s hoof was gripped around the cloth, trying to pull it closer to herself, though getting no traction due to Trixie’s magic grip. Clary was looking at Trixie, her ears lowered, and a hurt look on her face.
“Why would you do this, Trixie? I took you in, I treated you, I told you how important this is to me!”
Clary did her best to quickly scramble off the couch while still gripping the cloth. She now had both of her hooves around it as she glared at Trixie.
“There’s a million ways to get bits Trixie! What would this mare you’re looking to impress say if she found out you got them through stealing! Do you think She’d be happy with you? Still want to be with you!?”
“She doesn’t want to be with Trixie ...”
Clary blinked, surprised at this statement. “W-what?”
Trixie huffed angrily, pulling harder on the root. “She doesn’t see Trixie in that way. Trixie doesn’t think she ever will, either. This root however, will let Trixie stay on her mind, will keep Trixie close to her, at the least. It-it’s not perfect, but it’s close enough to Trixie’s dream to be worth it.”
Clary growled angrily as a few tears ran down her muzzle. “So you’re choosing your dream over my memories!? That’s not right Trixie and you know it! If she doesn’t want to be with you, then let her go!”
Trixie stayed silent as slowly, Clary and the root were forced towards her. Trixie felt weak magically, but, thanks to the seed, her weakest was far above what most normal unicorns could do. Another tendril shot out and gripped around one of Clary’s front hooves, starting to pry her grip loose from the root.
“T-Trixie is sorry, Clary. She swears to make this up to you, somehow. Trixie … she can’t let her go, not anymore. This either ends with Trixie’s dream or Trixie’s death.” A tear rolled down her cheek as she finally pried the root away from Clary, the mare dropping to the floor as Trixie quickly levitated the root into her saddle bag.
Clary cried, not holding back as sobs racked her body and Trixie’s ears. Slowly, she pulled herself up to her hooves, and turned away from Trixie. “F-fine! J-just leave me alone then, you monster! L-leave me to my memories and DON’T COME BACK!”
Trixie nodded, hiding her own face underneath her hat. “S-sorry, T-Trixie didn’t want any of this to happen. S-she will make this up to you, whether you want her to or not.”
Without another word, Trixie left Clary’s house, and didn’t look back until she could neither see the little home in the woods, or hear the cries coming from it.
What is she doing? And why did I think going into the woods this late was a good idea?
Twilight was not the most graceful, or sneaky of ponies, but it didn’t take a lot to follow a slow moving mare that didn’t look up.
Twilight had followed Discord’s compass as quickly as possible in her pursuit of Trixie. The occasional tree crash, and her limited vision did not help her cause, but she had persevered. Upon realizing her target was almost directly beneath her, Twilight had quickly shut the compass, and proceeded to quietly fly over Trixie as she plodded forward. Several minutes later however, Twilight was still struggling with a plan.
How do I approach her? Should I just drop a net over her and trap her? Maybe she’ll listen to reason instead? Why in Equestria did I only plan on finding her, and not on what to do when I did!?
Twilight stifled a surprised sound as she realized Trixie was no longer in sight. A quick, panicked spin around and search revealed a barely visible Trixie leaning up against a tree, her shadows jerking movements being the only thing to give her away in the darkness of the forest.
Why is her body heaving like that? Is she sick?
As cautiously as possible, Twilight landed on the ground, perhaps a hundred hooves away from Trixie. Her ears pressed against her skull as she heard Trixie making a wet coughing sound.
No, it’s not coughing. Wait … is she crying?
“T-Trixie? Are you okay?”
Too late. Trixie took too long to get this far ...
A grey, glowing light was behind Trixie, destroying her night vision and causing her to squint even while looking away from its source. Trixie dried her eyes as best as she could with the wet cloth she had been crying into between her hooves. The brief though of Clary doing the exact same thing at this moment came to mind, only to be forced down as Trixie worked to prepare for what was about to happen.
It’s-it’s not fair, why does Trixie never get a break?
When Trixie felt she was as in control of her emotions as she was going to get, she turned around to address the familiar voice.
Of course, its never been fair, has it? Not growing up, not becoming the greatest show mare that little hick town of Twilight’s will ever see, not being forgiven, or making friends. Why would it start being fair now?
Trixie’s eyes turned to meet Twilight’s, causing Twilight to take a step back. Twilight had placed the brightly glowing device off to the side, allowing light, but making it so they weren't going blind trying to look at each other.
Hmph, Trixie never wished for her to see Trixie in this way, no helping it now.
“Trixie assures you, Twilight-” She almost purred, doing her best to appear calm despite her desire to break down as she had been not a minute ago. “That she is doing quite well, despite you catching up to her a little sooner then she may have liked.”
Trixie will not let Clary’s sacrifice be for nothing, time for one last gamble.
Trixie gathered what magic she had left, preparing to defend her dream.
Maybe everything has finally gotten to her? Maybe she’s finally tired of what Discord is doing? I sure hope so.
Twilight was facing Trixie, the ambient grey light making it so they could clearly see each other. Contrary to the grin on her lips, Trixie’s eye was bloodshot, and dried stains marred her complexion, confirming Twilight’s belief that she had been crying.
The way she just spoke to me doesn’t match what her face is telling me, just what has Discord been putting her through?
Twilight gave a gentle smile, and slowly walked closer to Trixie. “It’s okay, Trixie. I think I understand now.”
Trixie continued to smile at Twilight, though her words betrayed a tone of confusion. “W-what do you mean?”
Twilight took it as a good sign that despite halving the distance, Trixie hadn’t fled yet. “I understand why you’re doing this now, Trixie. And I’m sorry I didn’t realize it sooner. It just took me longer to piece everything together then it should have.”
Twilight was close now, cautiously, she reached out and placed a hoof on Trixie’s shoulder. Trixie jumped a little at the contact, but remained still. Twilight was pretty sure she could feel Trixie trembling a little. “It must have been hard for you, keeping this to yourself all this time.”
Twilight gently nuzzled Trixie’s cheek, keeping away from the bandage. Slowly, she felt Trixie wrap her hooves around Twilight and bury her muzzle in her shoulder. Twilight stayed still, waiting until Trixie was ready to continue their talk. Shortly after starting the embrace, Trixie seemed to calm down, and start to stir in Twilight’s hold.
Twilight couldn’t see Trixie’s face, but she could feel Trixie’s muzzle nosing through her hair, slowly trailing up to her ear. In a very soft voice, Trixie asked “So, you’re okay with this? What Trixie’s done? What Trixie wants?”
Twilight nodded, feeling a little awkward now as she could feel the feather Trixie took from her brushing up against her neck. She held the embrace though, sensing that Trixie needed the comfort. “I’m okay with what you’ve had to do Trixie, though I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. Discord … he’s done this before to ponies. I thought he had learned, but it’s clear he hasn’t. I promise you, I won’t let him threaten you again. Once we get you back to Canterlot, we can solve all of this, together.”
Trixie sighed into Twilight’s ear at this, then, after a few seconds of silence, she did something completely unexpected. Trixie began to nibble on Twilight’s ear, forcing her to repress a surprised squeak as her ear twitched back and forth trying to get away from Trixie’s teeth. Twilight blushed and tried to wiggle away from Trixie, but was held tight by her hooves around Twilight’s neck.
With a soft giggle, Trixie ceased her assault and gave Twilight’s ear a kiss, forcing more heat out of Twilight’s cheeks. With the same, soft voice, Trixie said “And just how do you expect to resolve this, Twilight?”
I-is she always this affectionate to her friends? Or is this how she just messes with others? Is she teasing me about something? Wait, she just asked a question, okay, okay. Calm down, relax, she’s probably just very freaked out and doesn’t know what she’s doing. Maybe biting is how she deals with nerves, like how Rainbow sometimes bites her hooves when she’s nervous.
“U-um … well, I figure-eep! “Twilight couldn’t suppress her surprise, or the nervousness in her voice as Trixie started gently rubbing her muzzle across Twilight’s ear. “I-I figured, we’d get that … uhm … t-that seed out of you and m-make a plan with t-the p-princesses. T-then we c-could find Discord and and d-deal with what h-he’s done.” Twilight was trying to move her ear away from Trixie’s muzzle throughout this, blushing like mad as Trixie simply followed Twilight’s head movements.
“Right, and then what, Twilight? What happens to Trixie after the seed is gone, and Discord is dealt with?” Trixie had giving up on Twilight’s ear, and had started alternating between nibbling and grooming Twilight’s mane and the back of her neck with her mouth. Currently hating her wings, which had reacted to all of the attention by making it look like she was about to take flight, Twilight shook her head back and forth. Her head was starting to swim and her body heat up in a way she was not familiar with.
“C-could you please stop that Trixie? Y-you’re not helping me f-focus on your questions.”
Twilight was trembling now from the weird feelings that washed over her at Trixie’s attentions. She couldn’t help but recall how moments ago Trixie had been the one acting unsure and trembling in Twilight’s hooves.
Chuckling softly, Trixie slowly relented, causing one last spark of electricity to shoot through Twilight as she gently kissed Twilight’s neck before letting go. A smug expression was on her face as she put a few feet of distance between them and sat down. “Hmmmm … Trixie needed that. You’re fun to tease, Twilight.” Trixie’s hoof slowly moved up until it was gently stroking the feather wrapped in her braid.
Gah! Just WHY is she still wearing that!? Okay, deep breathes, one thing at a time. A list! Work off of the list of things that need to be done. What order they need to be done. Oh, and start talking again, before she tries to get closer.
Slowly, Twilight went through the relaxation routine she learned from Cadence. Her blushing ceased after the first few repeats, and her mind was able to clear, though for some reason, it still kept trying to recapture the feeling of what Trixie had been doing to her mere moments ago.
As calm as possible, Twilight took her saddlebags off, with Trixie’s eyes following them interestedly. Her royal regalia levitated out of them and within seconds Twilight was fully outfitted. With the weight of her tiara to keep her emotions in check, Twilight looked at Trixie and began.
“Okay, so first, we need to get you to Canterlot, and to a doctor. After that, Luna will get the seed out. I had her promise to go easy on you, and I think she’ll still hold to it. With Discord forcing you into whatever plan he has brewing, I’m sure she’ll understand and be lenient. From there, the princesses and I will make a plan to deal with Discord.”
“As for what happens afterwards?” Twilight shrugged “I don’t completely know. The most likely scenario from what I’ve been told is Luna taking you into her service. Apparently your family line once served her and she is interested in re-establishing that bond. She is a little um … upset right now, but she is really a nice pony once she’s calmed down. I’ll visit, and you’ll be able to visit me too. I do feel bad for not seeing any of your shows, and I promise you I won’t let Discord put you through anything like this again.”
Smiling, Twilight held out a golden shoed hoof to Trixie. “Ready to leave this nightmare behind, Trixie? I can’t imagine what Discord said to make a pony as stubborn as you obey him, but I promise, if you come with me, you’ll never have to hear from him again.”
Although she still felt bad for Clary, and would until she somehow made up for what she did, meeting Twilight like this had helped remind Trixie of her own dreams.
Time to break the bad news to her.
“Oh Twilight,” Trixie started, smiling at the mare in front of her “you’ve always been a smart pony, but your upbringing is showing.”
Twilight’s smile slipped, and her face turned to confusion. “W-what do you mean?”
Trixie shook her head sadly “You always think the best of ponies, you even somehow have yourself convinced that Discord forced Trixie into this situation. As if even the god of chaos could force a mare like Trixie into such a deplorable state as obedience.”
“Trixie’s here because she wants to be Twilight, she’s not a bad pony for this, but Trixie wouldn’t call herself a good one either. She just is. And she can’t, she won’t go back to Canterlot and lose out on what she has, and what she can gain with just a little more work.”
Twilight had lowered her hoof by this point and was frowning at Trixie. “But … you know this is wrong, you stole from Luna, and I can only imagine you’ve done other things you shouldn’t because of Discord.”
Trixie nodded to Twilight. “Yes, she has.”
Twilight looked a bit dumbfounded. “I … don’t understand. You’re … not like Sombra, or Night Mare Moon. What, what are you trying to accomplish with the power you stole, Trixie?”
“No, Trixie is not like them. But Trixie doesn’t have to be like them to want power, does she? As for what she is going to do with it, well, she can’t tell you the main reason. A mare has to have her secrets. But can you imagine the shows Trixie could pull off with the power of an Alicorn, Twilight? Her name will be known and loved throughout Equestria and beyond. Ponies, Gryphons, all will come to her shows, beg her to help with their problems, and, of course, love her. Well … not all, Trixie is a bit doubtful of how the Alicorn sisters will take her ascension. But she will cross that bridge when she comes to it.”
Twilight’s jaw had dropped by this point, and her eyes had widened considerably. “A-ascension!? Wait … the seed … Discord’s going to awaken your seed! Are you crazy!? Do you really think you’d make a good princess!? You, you haven’t studied with either of them, you’ve not seen how much work Celestia put into raising me to be worthy of joining her and her sister!”
Trixie raised an eyebrow at Twilight “Just why would Trixie care about Celestia’s standards? Just what gives her the right to determine if Trixie is meant to become an Alicorn or not? That’s for Trixie to determine. And as for that ‘Princess’ title, Trixie already has a title, a better one at that.”
Twilight shook her head, dumb-founded. “The right? She’s an Alicorn and a Princess of Equestria, Trixie! She’s been alive for thousands of years, what else does she need to be the one who decides who can and can’t become an Alicorn?”
“Discord’s just as old you know. Doesn’t he have the right to make Trixie an Alicorn if he wants?”
“Discord’s … Discord! He messes with anypony he comes across! He’s probably just using you for a laugh, Trixie. Or he knows you becoming an Alicorn will mess up Equestria!”
Glaring at Trixie, Twilight shook her head and scratched at the ground with one of her forehooves. “No, if Discord is helping you to become an Alicorn, I can’t let it happen. I don’t understand what drove you to this, Trixie. But, I can’t let you go. The Princesses tasked me with bringing you and the seed back, and I’m not going to fail them.”
Trixie sighed and closed her eye briefly. “Spoken like a true lackey. Of course you wouldn’t understand, you haven’t wanted for anything in your life, have you? You’ve not been on the street, or been laughed at, or told you’d never be able to do something. The rest of the world isn’t like that, Twilight. You live in a bubble, and if you really care about becoming a princess, then you’d better burst it soon.”
Twilight’s glare hardened as Trixie saw her horn start to light up. “I’m sorry you feel that way, Trixie. But I have to bring you in. Please make this easy, I want to help you, but you’re not leaving me any choice.”
Crap. She’s getting a bit too serious about this now. I need to knock her off balance again, long enough to come up with a plan.
On reflex, Trixie stroked the feather again for comfort, and noticed Twilight’s eyes dart to it and a light blush start up on her face.
Thank Celes-thank Discord she has such a bad poker face. Trixie might just get through this.
Twilight squawked in protest as Trixie took the feather in one hoof and brought it up to her muzzle, loudly sniffing it as her tongue lewdly licked up and down the feather’s edge. Throughout this display, Trixie never broke eye contact with Twilight.
Before Twilight knew it, she had teleported right in front of Trixie and was grabbing at the feather with her telekinesis. “Stop doing that! I can’t even START to explain how wrong that was!”
Trixie held the feather tighter, struggling against Twilight’s attempt at taking the feather out of her braid. “It’s Trixie’s feather now, and she’ll do what she likes with it!”
Growling and blushing red, Twilight pulled harder. “No, it’s MY feather and you stole it! Do you have any idea what you’re implying just by wearing it!? I’m not even going to think about the meaning behind what you just did to it! N-no ponies seen you wearing this yet, right?”
Smirking a bit and using her own weakened telekinesis to hold onto the feather, Trixie nodded. “Oh, there’s been a few. You’re the first pony Trixie’s done that around, but she thinks she might start doing it a bit more. In public.”
Twilight let only a snippet of a thought of that scene happening in her head before going all out with her pulling. Violently, Twilight yanked the feather out of Trixie’s magical hold, causing Trixie to cry in pain as Twilight pulled too hard on the braid. A few seconds later, Twilight slackened up, her ears pressed to her head as she realized what she’d just done.
“T-Trixie, I’m sorry, I just-“
Twilight put a hoof up to her cheek, feeling the heat coming off of it as she stared wide-eyed at a very upset looking Trixie who just placed her hoof back over the feather with a defiant look in her eye.
Twilight’s mind started to go blank, and she ended her magical hold over the feather. Glared back at Trixie, Twilight’s complexion starting to flush in annoyance and anger.
“Give me the feather.”
“Give me the Feather!”
Twilight’s eye twitched.
STAY C-error, logic override activated. Testosterone now assuming direct control.
Twilight’s voice cracked into a shrill yell as the world became tinged in red. “GIVEMEBACKMYFEATHER!”
Twilight’s crown flew off her head as she tackled Trixie to the ground. Her teeth clamped hard on Trixie’s braid in a blind attempt to pull the feather out. Trixie shrieked in pain and started to bite at Twilight’s neck while kicking her in the chest to make her let go.
For several minutes, the forest was filled with the sounds of girlish screams as two grown mare’s bit at hooves, pulled hair and stepped on tails. The two combatants repeatedly flipped eachother over, causing them to roll across the clearing and randomly hit into trees. Neither really knew what to do though when they were on top, causing them to just slap and bite while trying to get the feather. Both had trained in magic most of their lives, leaving their attempt at an actual hoof fight akin to two children fighting over a toy to any observers.Trixie was in better shape, having traveled throughout her life and carried her own cart, but missing half of her vision made it hard to counter Twilight’s random blows. A few minutes of this activity left them both to the point of exhaustion. Cheeks had been reddened from exertion and hooves clumsily trying to punch but ending up more as slaps, red spots littered their bodies at random points from bites, and feathers were splayed across in a wide arc from their constant rolling around.
In the end, Twilight somehow managed to triumphantly remove the feather from Trixie’s braid, along with some of the braid itself. Gasping, she quickly untangled from Trixie’s limbs and put some distance between them, growling loudly with the feather between her teeth. After a few seconds of concentration, Twilight spit out the feather as her horn flared and reduced the primary to ash.
Both then stood there, panting while they watched the other warily. Trixie slump down onto the ground tiredly, giving Twilight a reprieve. She closed her eyes in an effort to focus on getting her breathing and temper back under control.
“Okay *pant* okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, let’s-“
Twilight screamed from the new pain coming from her right wing. Her eyes had opened just seconds after she felt a sharp tug on the wing, giving her a good view of Trixie quickly fleeing back to the tree where her saddlebag laid. Biting her lip and looking her wing over revealed yet another primary feather missing.
I’m not going to fly straight for a month now! Rainbow’s going to flip out at me when she sees my wings. “Come back here with that, you little feather thief!”
Twilight was a little more alert this time, and planned her charge to knock Trixie into the tree she was limping over to with her prize.
That’s it! I’m pinning her down, getting my feather back, and putting her in that net Luna suggested I bring! This is going to end before I look like a plucked bird!
Trixie quickly placed the feather to the side of the saddlebag with her magic to keep it safe from what was about to happen. Another nearby smaller feather floated up and into her mouth as a replacement. She had kept her ears perked to listen for Twilight’s rapid approach, her breathing heavy enough to let Trixie know her relative distance easily. She felt the impact from behind as Twilight’s body hit into her own, sending Trixie off balance and into the exact spot she had planned on landing.
With a loud SMACK, Twilight violently collided with Trixie. The impact sent Trixie face first into the tree, forcing a loud grunt out of her lips. Just as Twilight was about to continue by grabbing at the feather, she noticed Trixie’s whole body start to shake. Then, the screaming began.
“TRIXIE’S EYE! OH LUNA, TRIXIE’S EYE!”
Gasping in shock, Twilight quickly got off of Trixie, nearly throwing herself several feet from the whimpering and screaming showmare. Looking over, Twilight felt like a bucket of ice water had just been dumped over her head at the realization that she must have knocked Trixie’s injured eye against the tree.
Trixie was flailing about with one hoof while the other held itself over her bandaged eye. After a few seconds, the flailing hoof grasped onto the saddle bag and dove in, desperately searching for something in it while Trixie cried.
“I didn’t mean it! I swear I didn’t mean it! I’m so sorry Trixie!”
Twilight had started to hyperventilate and looked around for anything she could do to help. Hundreds of facts on medical knowledge and eye care books she had read crashed into her head, only causing her more confusion and a headache. Whimpering, she kept moving her head back and forth, paralyzed in indecision.
After what felt like minutes but had probably only been a few seconds, Twilight managed to focus and looked over to Trixie again. She still had a hoof over one eye, but the shaking and screaming had slowed while she drank from something in her saddlebags.
Cautiously, Twilight took baby steps over to Trixie, her whole body alert and twitching, ready to leap back if Trixie started screaming again.
“T-Trixie … A-are you okay now? W-was that medicine?”
Weakly and with her head still hidden in the bag, Trixie waved a hoof to Twilight. “T-Twilight. Could you please come over here? Trixie needs help with her bandage.”
Twilight nodded, not in a rational enough mindset to remember Trixie couldn’t see it, and quickly started trotting over to Trixie.
Always eager to help others, well, it’s not like she had any chance against Trixie’s acting skills anyways. Trixie waited until Twilight was just behind her before she began casting, hiding her horn in the saddlebag as best she could.
“I can’t help with your bandage like this, Trixie. Please, I know it hurts and I’m so so sorry, but I need you to raise your head so I can look at your eye.”
Such a sweet girl when she wants to be, I hope we meet up again soon, Twilight.
Oh thank goodness, she’s sounding a lot better now. I’m just glad she had such fast pain relievers on her.
“Sorry? For what? The fight?”
“No … this.”
Twilight saw a strange light suddenly appear from behind her, overpowering the grey one she had been using up to this point. Quickly, she whipped her head around, giving Twilight a view of a portal coalescing. The purple hole quickly gave way to the view of a hilltop somewhere outside of the forest.
Twilight let out a grunt of pain as two hooves smashed into her chest, throwing her into the portal. She tumbled through it, landing flat on her back on the other side.
This cannot be happening.
As quickly as her sore body allowed, Twilight stood up and looked through the portal. It was already half the size it was when she first caught sight of it, and Trixie was on the other side with a grin, levitating the purple primary feather that was waving goodbye to Twilight.
Twilight’s magic shot out and grabbed onto the sides of the portal, attempting to feed it, attempting to hold it, attempting to just not let Trixie escape!
I am NOT going to lose her this time! She’s fooled me too many times already!
Grinding her teeth together, Twilight put her all into manipulating Trixie’s spell. Trixie looked back at Twilight in shock, and then quickly leapt up to grab at her saddlebags.
No. You. Don’t! Inch by inch, the portal slowly started to grow. Twilight didn’t understand how the spell worked, causing her to throw large amounts of magic at it just to make some of it stick. It was wasteful, messy, and slowly, it was working.
Yes! Yes! Yes! … NO!
Suddenly, Twilight was blind. Without sight, she couldn’t direct her magic, causing her to throw it around aimlessly. A few seconds later, her sight returned, just in time for her to see the portal disappear with a soft pop!
“Aww … I’m sorry, did I interrupt something?”
Growling, Twilight looked over to the one who had just removed his paws from over her eyes.
Despite the aches and pains her body complained about, Trixie ran on through the forest, following a trail of glowing blue flowers that kept appearing every few yards in front of her. She had felt so relieved when Discord snuck up behind Twilight and winked at her through the portal. He mouthed the word ‘run’ to Trixie just as he placed his paws over Twilight’s sight, and she had done just that the minute she had gathered her belongings.
There’s no telling how long he can keep her off of Trixie’s trail. But … it’s over! Trixie’s finally done! She just has to meet up with Discord now and all this running around will finally pay off! Laughing a little in relief, Trixie slowed down and took out Discord’s list to cross off the Wind root. Her laughter stopped, and she nearly tumbled over her hooves however, at what she found.
“… That’s not fair … why is it never fair?”
A new item had appeared on the list, A item Trixie was fairly familiar with, followed by where to meet Discord in the Everfree Forest afterwards.
“But … why does he want Trixie to bring her? What does she have to do with this?”
Twilight kept throwing everything her telekinesis could grab around her at Discord. Rocks, small trees, even a rabbit or two by accident were flung at the mischievous Draconequus. Discord had on a dueling mask and was using an umbrella like a rapier, deflecting the thrown objects away with ease.
“Parry, thrust, parry! Aaannnd attack!”
Twilight let out a short cry as Discord conked her on the head with the umbrella. Immediately afterward Discord’s blow the sound of an air horn went off from somewhere. Rubbing her head, Twilight looked over to Discord to see him with a towel over his shoulders and rubbing sweat off of his body, the umbrella and mask having disappeared.
“I’ve not had a sparring partner in centuries, good show my dear, good show!”
Glaring death at him, Twilight let out a snort and turned around, slowly starting her way down the hill and back to the forest. Before she made it more than a few steps however, Discord’s paw was in her face again, preventing her from continuing.
“Now don’t be like that Twilight, we’re all friends here after all. It’s not nice to ignore friends.”
“What … just what makes you think we are friends after what you’ve done!?”
Discord looked down at her confusedly. A large armoire appeared underneath him and he sat on it comfortably, peering down at Twilight from his new vantage point. “What I’ve done? And just what have I done? You mean the coins?”
“Coins? No, I don’t even know what-“
“Baltimare then? I’ll admit, it may have been a little over the top, but nopony was injured, just … inconvenienced. And Trixie needed the help.”
“No she didn’t!”
Cocking an eyebrow up, Discord waved a claw at Twilight to continue.
“She didn’t need any of this! She didn’t need you roping her into whatever you’re planning! She doesn’t need to become an Alicorn, Discord! Do you realize how much trouble she’s in because of you? Heck, do you realize how much trouble you are in because of you!?”
Discord sighed and looked at Twilight like she was an idiot.
“Why Twilight, I’m shocked, hurt even! I told her exactly what would happen if she agreed to this. I told her what she needed, and where to get it, yes. I never told her she had to steal any of it though. That was all her. So I haven’t done anything wrong, now have I?”
Twilight continued to glare at Discord, not giving an inch. “Even if I believed that, which I don’t, you still told her where to find the seed. You still aided her.”
Discord shrugged. “And? Is it wrong to help a potential friend? You give out advice to your friends all the time. I told her what I know and agreed to help, if she helped me with my boredom. And so far, she’s more than kept her end of the bargain. I’ve not had a bored moment this whole week!”
“Gah! You’re impossible! You keep twisting everything around, none of this has to do with friendship, it’s all just what you want!”
“None of this is about friendship, is it? … Well, we may have a problem then.”
Discord slithered off of the armoire. After giving it a kick, the armoire burst into a small cloud of corn, which promptly fell to the ground. Discord then approached Twilight with a slight frown on his face.
“Purple, I can’t begin to tell you the times you and Fluttershy have droned on and on about me making new friends. Are you saying everything with Trixie so far hasn’t counted? I even followed that stupid list you had made up for me. Introductions, small talk, finding out about them, listening to their needs, helping when in trouble, sharing secrets.”
Twilight took on a more confused tone. “So, what? Are you trying to tell me this is your attempt at making a new friend? Couldn’t you have just started small, maybe with somepony a little less … Trixie?”
Discord snorted and rolled his eyes at Twilight. “Do you realize how boring most of you ponies are? You just go about your day to day lives. “Ooh, I need to get my hair done!” “I hope it doesn’t rain today!” “Buy some apples!” Trixie’s … amusing. “
Twilight shook her head, unconvinced by Discord’s claims.” You’ve never gone this far for any of us, Discord. I mean, you’ve done it for your own amusement, but it was never to help at all.”
Discord crossed his paws in indignation. “Hmph! You’re in quite the mood today. None of you ever needed my help. Think about it.”
Discord began circling Twilight as he walked, listening off names.
“Applejack? Her dream is her farm. Rarity? Her shop. Rainbow? Well, even if I was inclined to help her, she knows what to do already to become a Wonderbolt. Pinkie … Celestia help me if I ever understand her, but she seems happy enough doing … whatever she does. And you? You’re an Alicorn Princess; I somehow doubt you’re planning on becoming anything more.”
“What about Fluttershy?”
“Oh … yes … Fluttershy …” The way Discord said her friend’s name sent a shiver down Twilight’s spine. “She has her cottage, her animals, she’s quite happy as she is. I’m hoping to persuade her to want something a bit more … random in her life someday, but she’s a work in progress.”
Discord put his paws out to Twilight, empathizing holding nothing in them. “But Trixie? When I found her, she had no chance at what she wanted, no direction. And her desire … oh, the laughter I got out of hearing it. How could I not help that little blue unicorn risk life and eye for it? How could I not try to be her friend when I saw the benefits?”
“Rrright … do you have … any idea, what your other friends have had to go through, Discord? You helped Trixie steal from Luna, you’ve sent me running all over Equestria, and you made a mess of Canterlot. Just what do you think will happen if Trixie gets the power of an Alicorn?”
Discord gave a wide grin. “I have no idea, and that’s what makes it so fun!” Discord hopped in the air excitedly before catching the look Twilight was giving him. Discord snapped his fingers, and suddenly appeared in front of Twilight, his muzzle near her ear as he whispered. “I’ll let you in on a little secret, being such a good friend and all.”
Discord conspiratorially looked around before continuing. “I once saw Fluttershy watching the storms over the Everfree. Now, normally I would expect that pony to be hiding under the covers in her room, shaking and holding that little bear she has on her bed. Or, the real one, if Harry was visiting that day. She does that often enough when a storm rolls into Ponyville. Yet, there she was, staring out the window, just watching this one. So, being the curious Draconequus I am, I asked her about it.”
Since Discord’s face was next to the side of her head, Twilight could barely make out Discord’s eyes widening. “She told me that Rainbow once told her all about storms, how the pegasi control them, how they make them, and, to scare her a bit, about what injuries she’s seen others get when a storm went out of control. Her fear of storms has to do with being afraid that something will go wrong and a Pegasus might get hurt, Rainbow especially. Yet, the storms over the Everfree have no pegasi involvement, no logic to her for their creation. There’s no fear of a friend being injured, so she can just watch and enjoy the little bit of entropy rolling across the sky.”
“W-why are you telling me this?”
“Because, Twilight. I want to do that too. Do you know how my skin crawls when I look over countless towns and ponies, seeing nothing but harmony and order? I’ve had some part in Trixie’s success, but watching her antics has been very … soothing, I suppose? For once, I’m not the only one making the chaos. And when she’s an Alicorn? I’ll have times where I can finally just sit back and watch.”
Twilight shook her head as Discord backed away from her. “Discord, a storm over the Everfree is a lot different than an Alicorn running around causing chaos. That storm won’t hurt anypony as long as they stay away from it, but Trixie can, whether she means to or not. I’ve barely touched my new powers around other ponies, but Trixie won’t show that restraint.”
“Tch, please Twilight, whether or not Trixie feels like she has to hurt other ponies is totally up to you.”
“… And just what does that mean!?”
Waving a claw at her, Discord continued. “Don’t worry about it, I’m sure you’ll figure it … ok, I really doubt you’ll figure it out, but hey, you might surprise me. If not, I’ll tell you a little later. For now, though, let me pick at your brain. Non-literally this time.”
Despite his words, Twilight kept her distance, mind whirling from the ups and downs their conversation had taking so far. “Okay?”
“You’re the ‘Princess of friendship’ and all that now, yes? So, let’s go with your expertise, as a couple things you’ve said made me curious. Say Trixie becomes an Alicorn, does that really somehow affect my friendship with you or the others? And if so, why?”
“I already told you, Luna and Celestia are upset as it is, if Trixie were to become an Alicorn, and they find out you had a hoof in it, which they will, they may start seeing you as an enemy again. Knowing you’re willing to give that much power to somepony like Trixie makes you harder to trust. If Trixie does injure other ponies, how do you think Fluttershy will feel, knowing you had a hoof … a claw, in it? You’re literally creating a mess that your other friends will have to clean up. This isn’t even going into what you’ve put me through!”
Discord nodded slowly as Twilight spoke, his grin slipping and leaving his face hard to read. Letting out a long Sigh, Discord summoned into his paw what looked to Twilight to be a little metal box. “Well, you’re the expert. It’s such a shame to end the fun so early; I’d hoped to see a lot more of what was to come. Ah well, you can have the honors.” Discord brought the box down to Twilight’s level. Looking at it from this angle, she could see a large red button on the top of the box.
Now what is he playing at?
“What is that?”
“That, my dear, is the button that ends this whole thing. One press, and this whole ‘Alicorn business’ ends.”
Twilight looked at Discord, mistrust clear in her tone. “So what, that’s it? You’re actually letting this go? What about that whole ‘Sit back and watch Equestria burn’ speech?”
“Oh don’t get me wrong, Twilight. I am not happy at all with this outcome, and I know for a fact that Trixie wouldn’t make Equestria burn, she needs an audience after all. I was just unaware that making a new friend could make me lose my other friends, so if that is the case, I’ll let it go this time.”
For the first time since getting tossed onto this hill, Twilight actually gave Discord a small smile. “I’m … actually proud of you, this is really mature of you to do, I’m sure the princesses will be proud too.”
Discord rolled his eyes at her. “Well, don’t expect it to happen again, now hurry up so I can figure out what to do with the rest of this soon to be dull week.”
Chuckling a little, Twilight placed her hoof on the button. “I’ll have to still track Trixie down after this, but at least this is one issue finally put to rest.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about her, Twilight. Like I said, this button ends this whole thing.”
Twilight scrunched her face up in confusion. Just what is it with immortals and cryptic sentences? Am I going to start doing that too in a hundred years? “Discord, what happens to Trixie after I press this button?”
“Just WHAT is wrong with you!? No, better yet, is there anything RIGHT with you!?”
Twilight continued angrily walking through the forest, followed by what she was beginning to now consider the spirit of insanity. She levitated the metal box next to her, keeping a shield around it for protection.
“Oh come on Twilight, was that violence really necessary? And to think, there I was, ready to let it all go, do the mature thing.”
Discord floated around Twilight, curling up in a circle mid-air and partially obscuring her sight with his head. “But noooo, instead, what do I get for it? My claw slapped and two rear legs to the gut, how ‘mature’ on your part.”
Twilight snorted as she used her telekinesis to push the spirit away so she could see again. “I’m not mature!? You literally tried to get me to blow a pony up! What was all of that talk about liking Trixie about anyways? Friends don’t blow up friends Discord! … You don’t have one of these for all of your ‘friends’, do you?”
“Oh Twilight, of course I don’t! I occasionally mail Rainbow an explosion or two, and I stopped trying with the pink one after receiving a letter back saying ‘Thanks! These are soooooo delicious!’ seriously Twilight, you have some strange friends.”
“No kidding …”
“Now don’t be like that, I do like Trixie, but you made a very good case for having her blown up.”
It had felt like hours to Twilight, but she finally found her way to where she last encountered Trixie. Looking around, she breathed a sigh of relief and levitated the saddlebags onto her back.
Wait … where is the compass?
Carefully, she repacked anything that had dropped during her scuffle, but there was no grey glowing compass in sight. Twilight sighed in annoyance.
Great, of course she’d take it this time …
After she finished packing, Twilight gave one last look around the clearing, she was certain something else was missing, but was having a hard time placing what it was. Her mouth quirked and she gave a groan as she realized what Trixie had done.
“She took all of them …”
Discord looked around, a touch confused. “All of what?”
“All of my feathers …”
Twilight was exaggerating a little, but a great deal of the feathers that had dropped during their brief battle had disappeared. She glanced over at Discord as he began laughing from behind her.
“Heh, well, obsessions will do that to a pony I suppose … quite glad you didn’t blow her up if I can look forward to random surprises like this in the future.”
Twilight glared at Discord. “I was NEVER going to blow her up! And at least one problem is over anyways. You aren’t turning her into an Alicorn.”
Discord answered in a questioning tone. “Now … why would I not do that?”
Twilight’s ear twitched a few times in confusion, turning her head to face him. “Y-you already admitted that Trixie being an Alicorn will cause all sorts of problems for you, so instead of blowing her up, you just don’t turn her into an Alicorn. It’s simple, and nopony has to explode.”
Discord shook his head, following along as Twilight started tracing Trixie’s frantic hoofsteps. “I can’t really do that; I am a Draconequus of my word, after all. If Trixie gets the last of the agreed upon parts for the ritual, and meets up with me, then it would be very rude to go back on our deal, don’t you think? It’s why I needed that little red button, If she can’t make it to the meeting spot in the next day or two now, then the deal is off.”
“So, instead of just restraining her, or getting her lost in a swamp or something, you chose to blow her up?”
“Pfft, Twilight? If you’ve seen half the things she went through to get what I requested, you’d understand. She’s refreshingly resourceful, and anything short of you catching her, or me blowing her up, will stop her from reaching that meeting point in time.”
“And where is this meeting point?”
“Not telling! You’ll need to follow that little compass of mine to the end, it’s already giving you two chances to stop her after all, you bumbling them isn’t my fault.”
Sighing, Twilight continued on, using her horn to light the way as she tried to follow Trixie’s hoofsteps despite how weary her body was feeling. “Well I can’t follow your compass anymore, now can I? Trixie took it with her.”
Discord shook his head, and indicated with a paw for Twilight to stop walking. “Here, let me help you with that, my dear.”
He then began running his paws along his body, checking under his armpits, wings, and even the little fur at the end of his tail to no avail. Finally, Discord looked over to Twilight and shrugged. Just as Twilight was about to continue walking, Discord’s eyes widened and he began to cough loudly. After hitting his chest with his paw a few times, and letting out several loud coughs, Discord hacked out the compass from between his lips. The compass fell right in front of Twilight, covered in Discord’s saliva and glowing merrily.
“Oh, excuse me, how embarrassing.”
Discord neatly wiped his mouth with a handkerchief while Twilight levitated the compass over to a small body of water and tried to remove Discord’s drool before having to actually touch it. Once finished, she slowly placed it over her neck again, trying not to think of where it had been.
“Umm … thanks, I guess?”
“Oh, no problem at all, Twilight. After all, the deal I made with you is to provide you with the compass to find Trixie with. Trixie running off with it and me not helping wouldn’t be very friend-like, now would it?”
Ugh, I can’t really tell if he’s just pulling my tail again or if his view of friendship is still that badly skewed. Still, he promised Trixie he would help her become an Alicorn, and he promised to help me find Trixie. I guess a conflict of interest and friendship was bound to happen and he wasn’t really aware of it.
Twilight doubted this theory, but she was trying to stay positive.
As Twilight continued on, her eyelids slowly drooped lower and lower. After two stumbles, several near collisions with tree’s, and a decent amount of chuckling from Discord, she finally stopped.
“Okay, I can’t keep going, that fight with Trixie took more out of me then I thought.”
Discord shook his head disappointedly at her, watching Twilight take out and start to set up a small tent. “If you’re sleeping, just how are you going to catch up with Trixie?”
Twilight didn’t answer right away, focused more on getting the tent finished. Yawning, Twilight entered the tent and laid down, staring out of it at Discord as she got comfortable. “Well, I’ll be in a better state of mind tomorrow, so I’ll just do some quick teleports. That should help me catch up to her.”
Shrugging, Discord boredly watched Twilight lightly preen one of her wings. “Fine, solves my need to keep distracting you for tonight anyways.”
Sighing, Twilight looked over to Discord. “Keep distracting? I assume that means you have been distracting me somehow this whole time?”
Nodding, Discord gave a slight grin. “If we walked another, oh … five minutes, we’d have crossed the spot you and Trixie fought for … I’d say … the third time tonight? I was honestly surprised you didn’t notice anything by our second walk through.”
“You know what? I’m actually too tired to be angry at you right now.”
Twilight pressed her head underneath one of her wings, appreciating the warmth and softness they exuded. Thinking about them brought Twilight back to wondering on Discord’s earlier words. “I never would have thought Trixie to have an obsession with feathers, how does that even happen to a unicorn?”
How much longer is Trixie going to need to keep running like this?
She was getting tired of running. Twice now, she had met Twilight and both times she was forced to flee.
Even as an Alicorn, Trixie will need to avoid some places. Canterlot will be suicide if what Discord says about the princesses is right.
It was a laughable situation for Trixie, really. As she was now, Trixie was an unknown in Canterlot, ignored due to a lack of prestige, power, or fame. As an Alicorn, she would at least have the power and fame, but the city would be closed off to her, most likely on pain of death, or stoning, or something equally bad. Well … Trixie supposes power can’t get her through every situation. Besides, it’s not like Canterlot is Trixie’s only venue, or even the greatest one for her shows and new power. In the end though … Trixie briefly brushed the feather across her cheek as she galloped on. This was never really about Trixie’s shows to begin with …
Trixie ran on throughout the night, rejuvenated from the ether she had drunk earlier and the need to finish the ritual before anything else went wrong for her. It was a slow gallop admittedly, but she somehow was able to maintain it throughout the night despite how badly her body cried for rest. As dawn finally arrived, Trixie had made it to a small hill overlooking Ponyville, the town she would trap the pony Discord needed for the ritual. Trixie still wasn’t sure what her part in it would be, but it wasn’t like Discord was around to question about it.
She briefly looked over her shoulder at the now distant White Tail Woods. Right, Trixie needs to lure her in with a trap of some kind. Once caught, Trixie will just have to drag her to Discord, or something. It should be easy enough. Trixie’s a genius at this sort of thing after all.
“She doesn’t, you know.”
Twilight raised an eyebrow at Discord, having just packed her tent after a small breakfast of dried fruits. A large amount of wires and broken metal bits were splayed across the ground by her, along with a large red button, propped up on its side. Twilight looked to where the compass was pointing, and started a quick trot before answering.
“She doesn’t what?”
“She doesn’t have an obsession with feathers.”
“Ah, you didn’t mean it literally then.”
Discord shook his head, smiling as he slowly ice skated alongside Twilight. “Oh, I did mean it literally, she has an obsession, but it’s not with feathers.” Is … he trying to give me a clue to trap Trixie with?
Twilight slowed her trot and waved a hoof at Discord, her curiosity piqued. “So, if it’s not feathers, then what is it?”
A large purple feather appeared in front of Twilight, floating along as she continued her slow walk. The forest around her was finally beginning to clear, giving her hope that she would arrive at the edge of it soon.
“What, Twilight, might this little feather mean to somepony with an obsession?”
“Well, what obsessions could come from this feather?”
“ … A purple one?”
Discord sighed, face-palming. “Does Trixie, the Azure unicorn, who hasn’t as of yet painted herself purple, look like she has a purple fetish?”
“… Well no, but what else could it be?” Twilight looked the feather over from every angle, trying to figure out what else somepony could see in it.
An image of Trixie looking at Twilight through a portal came to mind, the first time Twilight had seen Trixie with the feather in her mane.
“Get better Twilight, and then try to catch Trixie, if you can.” Obsession: the state of being obsessed with somepony or something.
Twilight then thought back to her recent meet up with Trixie.
Chuckling softly, Trixie slowly relented, causing one last spark of electricity to shoot through Twilight as she gently kissed Twilight’s neck before letting go. T-there was no feather involved in her actions until right before the fight, right? She only started paying attention to them when … when she wasn’t touching me. She then only bothered to collect them when she was alone. So, the feather represents something else … or somepony else. My feathers represent somepony else to her … my feathers …
Discord stopped after a few feet, realizing Twilight wasn’t next to him anymore. Looking over, it took every ounce of willpower he had not to laugh at the poor mare. Twilight’s eyes were the size of dinner plates, and if she was Pinkie, he was sure her jaw would have dropped to the ground by now. Still, it was trying its best. Her wings kept furling and unfurling, almost as if they were unsure if their owner wanted to take flight, or have them curl up and hide against her sides. She was still up on all fours, but her left forehoof was up in the air, paused in mid step as it teetered between stepping forward or back.
“Well …” Discord said as casually as possible, though he was not capable of keeping a large grin off of his face as Twilight slowly looked over to him. “I’ll give you this, Twilight. You actually managed to figure it out before the wedding day.”
W-what am I supposed to do with this?
Fluttershy gave out a quiet, upset sigh and continued to look around, her body was low to the ground and ears pressed to her skull in anxiety. It was clear to her a pony was trying to get her attention, but for what, and why, she did not know.
Fluttershy had almost finished her morning walk when she noticed a sign pointing towards a far off tree with something beneath it. The sign had caused Fluttershy to gallop over, as it had read “Injured bunnies!” but, it was clear to her that the bunnies were in fact not injured, or even alive. A box, with a small twig holding up one side of it, and a few fake rabbits under it was all she had seen upon her arrival. I just don’t understand. Why would somepony lie about something so serious? This must be for me, but I don’t think I could even fit in that box if it fell on me.
She figured she might be able to get most of her head in the box before causing it to fall, but that was it. She had been standing underneath the tree for several minutes now, trying to figure out what to do. She didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the pony that made the trap, but if she went through with falling into it, it’d be clear that the trapper’s trap wasn’t a very good one. And if she walked away it would be rude of her, somepony clearly wanted her attention. Fluttershy supposed that she could pretend to be trapped, but she wasn’t a very good actor. T-this is exactly why I’m no good with other ponies. she thought glumly. Animal’s intentions are just so much easier to understand, they don’t hide their feelings or what they want. I-I just don’t know what this pony wants from me!
Fluttershy took a few short breaths, trying to calm down. She looked the trap over again while keeping her distance, trying to figure out anything she could about the pony behind it. W-well, it’s kind of a … foalish trap. T-there’s nothing wrong with it, but no adult pony would think it would work on anypony else. It’s not Discord, there’d be more … flair.
Nodding to herself, Fluttershy slowly came to the conclusion that it must be the Cutie Mark Crusader’s. She had not seen them in a few days and from what she’d heard, this seemed like something they would do. Still, a trapping cutie mark? I’m going to have to talk with them again. What if a poor animal was caught in something like this for hours?
Fluttershy decided that she might be able to pretend to be trapped until the Crusader’s took the box off of her head, letting them feel good about their trap. Taking one more deep breath, Fluttershy approached the box and dropped her head down, preparing to stick it under the trap’s opening.
A loud rustling and the cracking of branches suddenly assaulted Fluttershy’s ears, causing her to look up. A large, square green object was hurtling towards her from above.
“It’s a tarp!” I know that voice.
A second after this thought, Fluttershy’s world went dark.
“Well, that went as well as Trixie could have hoped for.”
As Trixie levitated the bag-shaped tarp a few inch above the ground, she slowly made her way down the tree, happy at how the thick foliage and silence spell kept her hidden so well. Upon making it to the ground, she brought the slightly moving bag closer.
“Are you alright in there, Fluttershy?”
“Uhm, Trixie? I’m fine, thanks! But, could you let me out of here, please?”
“Sorry, Trixie really can’t at the moment.”
“Oh … okay then …” Seriously, just what does Discord need from this pushover for Trixie’s agreement with him? Hmph, probably just wants somepony to show off to. Trixie supposes she can’t blame him for wanting an audience.
Trixie looked over the bag and sighed. “Trixie is ponynapping you, you know? She expected something like screams for help, or maybe even some struggle?”
“Oh … I’m sorry, this is my first time being ponynapped.”
Trixie heard a sound like Fluttershy was clearing her throat, followed by a soft, high pitched scream emitting from the bag. Trixie groaned a bit as the bag moved around a little, but she was almost positive Fluttershy was making herself more comfortable rather than trying to escape. She started a slow walk towards the Everfree, the bag following behind her.
“C-could somepony please help me? Trixie put me in this bag and won’t let me out! I mean, I’m sure she has a good reason for it, but she didn’t ask if I wanted to be in here, which was a little rude …”
“N-not that I’m saying she’s a rude pony or anything! She just might be a teensy bit bad at asking ponies what they want. B-but everypony has things they need to work on after all.”
“Thank you for trying, but you can stop now.”
“Oh, all right.”
Trixie sighed and shook her head, facing forward just in time to get a carrot between the eyes. A few feet away from her stood an angry looking white rabbit.
“Angel, was it? Could you move? Trixie is on a tight schedule.”
Angel’s nose twitched, but he stayed where he was and threw another carrot at Trixie’s head.
“ … Okay, then, Trixie gave you a chance, now she will just move you herself!”
“Y-you can’t be serious!”
Twilight’s blush only seemed to deepen as she walked on, staring at the ground. Discord continued to giggle loudly at her antics.
“Oh, what’s the matter, my little purple play piece? Not happy to have somepony, let alone a mare, interested in you?”
“T-that’s not the problem at all! It’s just … why? What in the world did I do to make Trixie interested in me in that kind of way?”
Discord suddenly appeared in front of Twilight, lifting her chin up with one finger. “Oh, now don’t put yourself down like that Twilight. While you’re usually an absolute bore to me, it’s not like there aren’t ponies out there that might like you enough to want you all to themselves.”
She pushed his finger away. “That doesn’t exactly make me feel better, not if that’s the reason she’s doing something as crazy as upsetting the princesses. What even made her think that I’d want her to be an Alicorn!?”
Discord shrugged, letting Twilight trudge past him. “Well now, that I’m not completely sure about. I only found her trying to figure out how to be one, after all. Perhaps you should ask her on your first date, hmm?”
Twilight’s eyes promised pain if Discord continued teasing her. “We are not dating!”
Discord sighed and put up two placating paws. “Fine, fine, don’t blow a gasket. So, let’s say Trixie becomes an Alicorn, and is interested in getting … closer to you. She might even take the dull route and ask you out instead of forcing you to chase her all over Equestria. You aren’t going to say no and get any Alicorns mad at you, are you, Twilight?”
“Which Alicorns, Trixie or the princesses? I don’t really know what I’d do. I haven’t read anything on love for Celestia’s sake! I’ve read about things friends do together, I’m happy just having friends! And why would she not … I don’t know … come by the library and ask if I was interested? Why go straight to something as crazy as this?”
Chuckling, Discord slowly floated along with Twilight. “She is a bit … dramatic, isn’t she? At least it shows what lengths she’ll go for you, right? Personally, I love when I get a chance to witness things like this; when a pony gets so wrapped up in a emotion that it takes control. It makes them very … interesting to watch. You’re a lucky mare, Twilight Sparkle.”
Discord shrugged his shoulders as Twilight ignored him and floated in front of her, making it hard for her to see where she was going as she walked. “Besides, what do you think you would have done if Trixie came to the library and asked before all of this?”
Twilight only had to think for a few seconds before answering Discord. “I would probably have said no, I guess? I have a lot of royal duties now, not to mention spell theory and magic analysis to do in between time with my friends. Plus baby dragons don’t raise themselves you know, no matter how much they say they had to.”
“Right, and now, if that baby blue colored showmare walked up to you?”
Twilight snorted “Well first, I’d blast her upside the head for doing this whole stupid plan in the first place! And after that …”
Twilight thought hard on her time with Trixie, face going through a myriad of changes. I mean, I am kind of flattered, and it explains all the… touching she did. But … what would Celestia think if I did something like that? Luna’s already furious about this whole thing. Still …
Twilight’s facial changed ended on her blushing and turning away from Discord. She started down the correct path leading her out of the forest as opposed to the one he had been trying to get her to follow. “I … would have to say no …” I can't deny some signs of attraction are there, the weird feelings and mixed emotions connected to memories of her indicate that at least chemically I find her as an acceptable match. But … logically, there’s just too many ways for it to go bad and hurt the princesses. I’m sure she’ll understand if I explain it to her based on those findings. And if not, how hard can it be for me to just say no?
“Hmph, really Twilight? Well, your call on that one. Just don’t come crying to Discord if she-“ BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Confusedly, Twilight looked over to Discord who had just taken a small device out of … somewhere. It looked to be square, but smaller than the box with the red button that Twilight had dismantled earlier. She sneaked a little closer while Discord was distracted and peered at what he was looking at on the box. One side had some kind of glass panel and writing on it. Peering at it, Twilight was able to make out Trixie’s name, along with ten numbers following it. Discord covered the device with a paw and looked over at her just as Twilight managed to look to the side uninterestedly.
“Well, would you look at the time! You’ll have to excuse me, Twilight; I just … remembered something I needed to do today.”
“Discord-“Twilight said while glaring over at him and quickly holding onto his leg with a hoof. “For the last time, you can’t turn her into an Alicorn! Just … give me ten minutes to talk with her or something, please?”
Discord slithered out of Twilight’s hold and held his paw up to the air. In it, Discord had what looked to be a small fishing net with no actual net, leaving just the handle and circular hole.
“Sorry my dear, but I feel it may be important to actually keep this promise. And besides …” Discord grinned over at Twilight. “I’m really not so sure you want to stop me now. I’m even starting to think that a little chaotic side of you wants to see what happens next. It’s okay, you don’t have to admit it; I’m a master at seeing these kinds of things in others after all.”
Suddenly, a weird, gobbling sound caused Twilight’s ears to perk up. From out of the forest, a large turkey appeared, flying erratically as its small wings tried desperately to keep it airborne. The turkey flew past Twilight, and aimed directly for Discords raised hand. Its head caught in the loop of Discord’s net, but, instead of just stopping and flailing like Twilight expected, the bird just kept flying. The turkey brought Discord into the sky with it as if he weighed nothing. The bird continued to slowly and awkwardly ascend, with Discord giving it a few pokes as they flew up, somehow causing it to quickly pick up speed and leave Twilight far behind.
Twilight quickly lost sight of Discord and the turkey, running for the easy to see edge of the forest. No Discord, I am not interested in seeing everything go crazy around me again. You caused that to happen twice already, and that’s more than enough! I’m happy with how my life is! I’m already busy enough without dealing with love! As Twilight readied herself to start a marathon of small teleports after her target, a little part in the back of her mind demanded her attention. Was she just scared of even entertaining the thought of something new? Was it merely because she felt doing so would be admittance that her Celestia blessed life was not perfect as it was? That deep down, Trixie made her feel like she selfishly wanted more than she was given? Twilight shook her head to clear her mind. This is irrelevant; I have to see Trixie- Find! I have to find Trixie before it’s too late!
“Let go, you stupid furball!”
Trixie yelped in pain as she threw her head forward, dislodging the rabbit for the third time in a row, but causing Angel to once again dangle from her mane painfully. Angel doggedly tried clawing his way up Trixie’s mane, leaving little scratch marks on her side as his back legs kicked to help him climb.
“Now Angel, please don’t be too mean to Trixie, I’m sure whatever she is doing must be really important if she is ponynapping me.”
Angel merely rolled his eyes as he got up onto Trixie’s back again, despite the show mare’s protests or struggles. He began kicking her in the back of the head repeatedly while she tried to buck him off.
“Gah! Stop doing that! Get off of Trixie’s back you freeloader!”
“Oh, please go easy on him Trixie! He’s just a little bunny!”
Trixie let out a snort of irritation at her current situation. She was having enough trouble holding up the bag with Fluttershy in it without the scratches and blows the rabbit was pelting her with. Every time she had thrown him off or tossed Angel to the side, the stupid rabbit just came right back, throwing rocks or trying to climb up and pull at Trixie’s mane.
“Trixie wouldn’t have to ‘go easy on him’, if he’d just stop attacking her! Can’t you tell him to go home or something? He’s your pet!”
“W-well, I could try, but, umm, I’d need to be out of the bag for it. If that’s okay with you? I’ll go back in afterwards, really.”
Trixie glared down at the rabbit who was grasping at one of her hooves now. No matter how much she shook, she couldn’t get Angel to let go of it. Looking over to the bag, she saw how it was now merely inches above the ground as her already overtaxed magic struggled to keep it afloat.
“Fine! Just … make it quick, Trixie has somewhere to be soon.”
Trixie gently dropped the bag, letting the sides of the tarp fall back to reveal Fluttershy lying on her side inside. She looked a little sweaty, but was relatively unperturbed by her abduction. Angel quickly hopped over to Fluttershy, pushing on her chest to get her to stand up as he pointed back towards the cottage.
“Now Angel, I know you’re worried for me, but that’s no excuse to hurt other ponies. Just look at all those scratches you put on poor Trixie over there.” Fluttershy indicated Trixie with her muzzle. Angel’s jaw dropped and he then began pantomiming.
“Well, yes, she did do that, but it’s not like she hurt me or anything. Umm … you’re not planning on hurting me, right Trixie?”
Trixie shook her head as she faced the pair. “Trixie wouldn’t have even grabbed you like this, but apparently she needs you for something. Why, she’s not entirely sure, but it’s doubtful to be for something painful.”
Fluttershy nodded and looked back at Angel, lightly petting his head. “There, see? She didn’t mean any harm. Now, you be a good bunny and head back home, okay? I will be back as soon as I’m done with Trixie.”
Angel slapped her hoof away from his head and turned around; pantomiming something to Trixie she was rather glad to not understand before hopping away.
“Sorry about that Trixie, he didn’t mean it. And he really wouldn’t do something like that to you with a spoon. He’s just been picking up some bad habits from Mr. Beaverton lately.”
“Whatever, so, shall we?” Trixie pointed to the tarp Fluttershy was laying on.
“Oh, all right. B-but, Trixie? M-maybe if you explained a little to me, I could, um, just walk with you there, instead of the whole, ponynapping thing? N-not that there’s anything wrong with it! W-well, there is something wrong with ponynapping, but-!”
Trixie rubbed a scratch on her cheek and looked away as she interrupted Fluttershy’s rambling. “Well, Discord said he needed you to meet him somewhere and asked if Trixie could bring you there.”
One of Fluttershy’s eyebrows rose a little. “But, why did you need to ponynap me for that? You know Discord is a good friend of mine, right?”
Trixie nodded, but pointed to the nearby woods. “She knows, but she figured it’d be easier to catch you then convince you to knowingly go into a monster filled forest. Trixie may also at times be a little more … theatrical then she should be.”
Fluttershy giggled a little at that and stood up, making her way over to Trixie. “I think the same thing about Discord sometimes, but it’s just who he is so I accept it. And I’m actually okay with the Everfree, so long as I’m not alone. Quite a few of my friends live in there actually.”
“Friends? You know what, never mind. Shall we get going then?”
“Are you sure? Some of those scratches look painful, and, um, no offense, but you look pretty worn out, Trixie.”
“While Trixie would love nothing more than to lie down and sleep for the next few days, she needs to get to Discord first, and quickly.” With that said, she started walking towards the forest, looking over to Fluttershy as she started following along.
“Okay then. So, we are really going to see Discord? I’ve been a little worried about him lately. He hasn’t been back home for a few days now. I-is he okay?”
Trixie looked forward, trying to sound nonchalant “Oh, Trixie’s sure he’s just fine. He’s probably just upsetting one of the Alicorn sisters right now, or the other one … what’s her name?”
“Twilight? Oh, that would be nice; she’s actually been away from Ponyville a lot longer than we thought she would. Spike’s been acting brave, but he’s not used to her being gone so long. Is Twilight going to be wherever we are meeting with Discord?”
“Maybe. At the least, Trixie would not be … surprised if she joined us at some point today.”
Everything had gone well so far for Discord. The last time he had had so much entertainment was the day he broke out of his stone prison. And that amusement was mostly Discord’s own doing. Secretly watching and helping Trixie’s antics however, was a class of chaos he hadn’t been able to pull off in millennia. Letting someone else, a pony no less, take the forefront, while he watched and intervened when it seemed the most amusing, was an art unto itself. Reveling in the entropy caused by helping a quasi-friend was even better. For once, there had been almost no blackmail or threats to get the pony he was manipulating into joining in on his fun. Discord was also risking a lot with this gamble, and that just made the rush that much more intense for him.
Still, waiting on Trixie and Fluttershy to get here is awfully boring. Perhaps I should have added some kind of sub-plot to keep myself busy during moments like this …
Discord looked up at the sudden sound of thunder. A storm was amassing across the Everfree, partly on its own, and partly due to Discord’s influence. Still, it was growing too fast for his plan, causing Discord to have to disperse the clouds for now. The last thing he wanted was another delay due to Fluttershy hiding in a bush after all.
Hmm … Twilight is still far enough away not to be an issue until this is over. With luck, she’ll stay that way until I get what I want out of this.
His mind still debated on whether or not this was going to work. One voice in his head explained about how he should try to keep a low profile for a few more years and try this plan then. Another argued that there was no time like the present to grab what he wanted, regardless of what he put others through. A dozen others mumbled in the background, mostly about unimportant things. And still another turned into a pink pony and tried to make friends with the others before bouncing off to do its own thing.
“A-are you sure this is the right way, Trixie?”
“Discord damnit, Fluttershy! Trixie’s a show mare, not a Cartographer!”
Discord grinned as a bedraggled and exhausted Trixie stumbled through a bush and out into the small field he was waiting in. Fluttershy quietly followed after, smiling as she caught sight of Discord.
“Using my name in vain now, Trixie? I’m honored.”
Trixie rolled her eyes at him. “Considering most of Trixie’s suffering involves you these days, she thinks it’s only fair.”
Trixie walked up to Discord, levitating her saddle bags off of her back as she did so. Opening them, she pulled out the list and all of the items he had had her collect. “There! I’m here, you’re here, and for some reason, Fluttershy is here. Now, can we get this over with so Trixie can bask in her new glory and maybe even get a nap in before something happens?”
Discord grabbed the items floating in front of Trixie and placed them into a small duffle bag before tossing it over one of his shoulders.
“Right, right. Now, about that. This ritual is going to take a short time for me to setup. There are quite a few moving parts to something like this after all. So, I am just going to take Fluttershy with me for a bit to prepare it. Why don’t you go and curl up, or practice your victory speech while little Flutters and I take care of the rest?”
Trixie had already slumped against the side of a tree, her adrenaline rush clearly running out as her eyes took on a glazed look. “Hmph, nothing is ever easy with you, is it? What about Twilight? She can’t be that far behind.”
Discord shrugged. “Oh, you should be fine; she’s not close just yet. But the longer we blab about this, the more time she has to show up and try to put a dent in everything. As usual.”
“U-umm … w-what …?” Fluttershy looked between the two of them nervously. The other two continued on, ignoring her.
“All right then, Trixie will see you in a short while then.”
Looking a little confusedly at her, Discord asked. “Wait, that’s it?”
Trixie looked back, just as confused. “What’s it?”
“I mean no questions? No demands or arguing? You’re just going along with this? What about if Twilight gets here while I’m busy with Flu-err- busy with the ritual?”
Trixie shrugged, closing her eyes and leaning her head against the tree. “You’ve kept your word, you’ve been irritating, but, you did assist Trixie throughout this endeavor. Is it that strange that Trixie trusts you with this now? If Twilight does show up, then Trixie will try to buy you time until you can assist her again. Like you did in the forest last night.”
Discord rubbed the back of his head, feeling that nagging feeling inside of him come up. It was a slight cross between embarrassment at Trixie’s words, and guilt.
Great. And here I was, hoping Fluttershy was the only one to be able to make me feel like this. I’d only butted in because it seemed like a fun time to get involved again. I suppose Trixie took it to mean something more.
Discord looked over to Fluttershy, who was currently looking worriedly up at him. He then looked back over to Trixie, currently half asleep under the tree. Fluttershy trusted him enough to meet him out in the Everfree with next to no explanation. Trixie trusted him enough for some reason to have followed through with this entire plan.
Hmm … maybe this is more of that magic of friendship Flutters and the others keep harping about. It’s a little weird in its timing. These kinds of thoughts never come up with the others, I wonder why betraying the trust of these two feels more … problematic.
Well … with Fluttershy he understood why, not so much Trixie. Discord shook his head, placing it as something else he would need to work out later if they all made it out of this intact. Discord’s magic gathered and burst into the sky discreetly, his plan beginning.
He smiled to Fluttershy and started walking off. “My dear, if you wouldn't mind following me, I can explain a little of what is happening.”
Fluttershy nodded to him, but was slow to follow. “Discord? You’re not doing something to hurt somepony, are you? I-it just, kind of sounds like, Twilight may not like whatever it is you and Trixie are doing.”
Discord continued on, urging Fluttershy to follow him with his paws. “She does and doesn’t, my dear. However, I can promise you, that no pony is going to get hurt by what we are up to. There’s no silly plan to take over Equestria, or force Celestia to sing and dance for our pleasure in a banana suit, or anything else you may be thinking. This is about something … very important, concerning the two of us. ”
Fluttershy followed more readily as Discord talked, brushing through shrubs and other vegetation as they continued. The forest seemed to be getting darker by the minute around her, but it was probably just her imagination. “You mean you and Trixie, right?”
Discord shook his head. “No, while Trixie has an important part in all of this, she is playing second fiddle to you, my friend.”
Fluttershy was very confused by these words. She was about to ask what Discord meant when the brush separated, and they came upon another clearing. The stars shined overhead beautifully, while in the middle of the small glade stood a candlelit table for two, a bottle of wine, and what Fluttershy’s nose was pretty sure to be two plates of linguini in a red sauce. A small grumble came from Fluttershy’s stomach at the scent, her own breakfast never being eating that morning due to the ponynapping.
“Now, Fluttershy-“Discord started, placing a paw on her shoulder and urging her towards the table. “How about we eat, and talk about the future?”
Twilight panted after what had to have been her twelfth, maybe thirteenth, teleport. She could see that Ponyville was in the distance, and figured she’d arrive in another hour if she kept this pace up. Not bad, considering it took most ponies a day of travel to get there from the part of the White Tail Woods she had emerged from.
Twilight sighed appreciatively as a cloud blocked the sun from her body, helping her to cool down. The Compass still pointed towards Ponyville, but was a bit skewed by this point, indicating Trixie was near Ponyville, but probably not in it. She could see the compass glowing softly as it began to get darker around her.
A-are the clouds getting thicker …?
Twilight looked up in concern, quickly realizing that there was no cloud overhead. Her eyes widened, and a chill went down her spine as she saw the sun quickly moving towards the horizon. Within a minute, the sun had set and the moon was careening into the sky. The moon was full at least, making it easy for her to see.
W-What’s going on …? Discord? But, why? Can the ritual only be performed at night?
Twilight shook herself from contemplating on it for long. Her next round of teleports needed to be a bit more risky if she was to make it in time. With a flash of light, she was off.
“Ooooh, I’ve never even seen such bright little critters before.”
The food had been delicious, with Discord acting as quite the gentle stallion. Not once had Fluttershy’s food attacked her, or the chair try to buck her off, or one of his jokes result in any of his body parts landing in her food. A mare had to alter her standards a bit when eating with the embodiment of chaos.
Fluttershy was feeling full, and a little lethargic from the food. While she only had a glass or two of the wine, it was fairly strong, and managed to give her a nice warm feeling in the back of her head. Currently, she was admiring the beautiful glowing butterflies roaming around their little area of the forest. One or two had landed on her nose throughout the night, eliciting a giggle from the Pegasus, and causing her to sneeze from the pollen shedding from their wings. Sighing contentedly, she looked up at the stars.
“I wish night’s like this could last forever.”
Discord replied to her, a hint of amusement in his voice. “I think you helped remove any chance of that happening with the elements. But tell me, would you really want something like that?”
“Hmm … I suppose not … it’s funny but, a year or two ago, I would have meant what I said. Now … well …”
Discord waved a paw at her, urging her to continue. Somehow, Fluttershy managed to stammer out something she had been thinking about for some time.
“W-well, e-ever since Twilight and the others came into my life, e-everything for me, sorta, c-changed. I-it’s not bad, just … different. “
Though she wasn’t aware of it, Fluttershy’s stuttering and nervousness disappeared as she continued opening up to Discord.
“I mean, there I was, just living a simple life helping my animal friends. There was the occasional meet up with Rainbow, and weekly spa session with Rarity. Then suddenly, Nightmare moon shows up. All of a sudden, I’m making plans to go to the Gala. After that, I make a dragon cry. And the list just goes on and on from there. At first, my life was only a bit different. I had friends who visited and activities outside of my animals and cottage. Maybe something scary and odd happened every month we had to deal with. But, changes in my life have been happening faster and faster ever since that first meeting. And ever since you and I became friends Discord, I’m actually finding it a little odd, even wrong, to get through an entire day with nothing unexpected happening.”
Discord grinned, making eye contact with Fluttershy. “It seems that we are rubbing off on each other my dear. Your life has gotten much more chaotic, while for once, I have a little desire for … something stable.”
Discord shivered as though just admitting such a thing was disturbing to him. With a sorrowful voice, Discord cryptically continued.
“Such a shame that these feelings of friendship won’t last long though …”
Fluttershy’s eyes filled with concern, and she reached over to place a hoof on top of Discord’s paw. She knew she should be nervous, and even embarrassed at initiating such contact, but none of the normal voices of doubt seemed to be bothering her this night.
“What do you mean, Discord? Our friendship will last our entire lives, I mean, if you want it to that is …”
He smiled and patted her hoof, though his face looked a bit pained. “You phrased it wrong, my dear. Our friendship will, in fact, last your entire life. Not mine, at least, not how things are right now.”
Discord paused and held Fluttershy’s eyes with his own for a moment, ignoring the frantic pull of both Luna and Celestia upon their celestial bodies. He knew they were going to be very upset with him next time they met, but he expected by that time they would have bigger issues to deal with.
“Dear Fluttershy, you were my first real friend in longer than I can remember. You are the sole reason I chose to try to get along with the Sisters ‘status quo’ over Equestria. But one day, you will be gone. All I’ll have of you is a grave and memories. Just look at Celestia, Luna, and even Twilight. You can tell how they only barely tolerate my existence. I’m sure you’ve seen their relieved looks whenever I leave and their annoyed faces when they have to be in my presence. They do not send letters like you do. They do not make any effort to contact me, unless they need something. That will not change anytime soon, if ever. And my promise to you to reform my ways will break at some point after you are gone, a memory can only hold sway for so long."
A few gentle tears were making their way down Fluttershy’s cheek at Discord’s bleak look at a future without her. “I-I know how hard it is for you to be their friends Discord, b-but, they will be here long after me. I’m sure they will warm up to you, one day.”
Discord placed a paw on Fluttershy’s cheek, gently using a claw to wipe at her tears. “You may be right, Fluttershy. But, that will take centuries. And do you really see me trying to bridge anything like that with them on my own, ever? And what if they push too much after you are gone? Do you know how tempting it will be to go back to playing with the world?”
Fluttershy’s ears flattened at the horrible things Discord was saying. She turned her head to the side and looked away from him, though she was unable to dislodge his gentle grip on her muzzle. “W-why are you telling me this?”
“Because, I’m asking you to not leave.”
“I-I’m not planning to, you know. It’s not like I’m intentionally planning to grow old and … go away, someday.”
“… Then, would you intentionally plan to stay, if you had the choice …?”
Fluttershy looked up at him, her eyes widening at how serious the normally jovial Draconequus’s face looked. To her, it seemed as though Discord was hanging onto every word she had said since this conversation started.
“I-I couldn’t! It’d be unnatural!” She blurted out.
Discord looked at her as if she had wounded him. “Unnatural? Is that what you think of me?”
“N-no! You were born like this! B-but, for somepony like me to-to …”
“To what? Become immortal? What of Twilight? She wasn’t born with wings, remember? Do you consider her unnatural now?”
Fluttershy frantically shook her head. “No! B-but … it-it wouldn’t be fair …”
Discord’s stare became a little harder, and his voice betrayed some irritation. “Fair? Is it ‘fair’ for me to be without my first friend for the next millennia? Is it ‘fair’ that Twilight gets to break down in a few decades as all of her best friends disappear on her? Fluttershy, nothing is ever truly fair. It’s not like I planned to ask somepony else to make a choice like this. The only one you’re not being fair to would be me right now.”
Discord forced Fluttershy’s head up a little, bringing his own face inches away from hers. Fluttershy could feel his breath lightly caressing her muzzle as he continued to hold her gaze with his own. The glowing butterflies continued to fly around the clearing as, for a few seconds, everything was still. The world was ignored by the pair as they remained so intimately close to one another.
“Fluttershy, I am asking you to stay with me. To help me not return to my old ways, and to become more than a friend, until the day we both disappear. I’m also asking you to be there for your friend Twilight, who is going to see her world crumble around her in a few decades. Would you please be that odd little yellow rock my madness clings to and settles against? Would you be that butterfly that rests on Twilight’s shoulder as her apple’s crumble, her balloons pop, her rainbows disappear, and her diamonds shatter? Could you be that kindness we are going to need to make it through the coming centuries?”
Fluttershy’s breathing hitched at Discord’s words. She felt afraid, yet elated. Her heart was pounding in her head at hearing the words she had secretly wanted to hear from Discord, though the eternity part was a bit unexpected. Oddly enough, none of her normal voices of doubt or panic were yelling at her like they should have been. She was, for once, alone with her thoughts and desires.
They remained locked in this pose for several minutes, the blushing yellow Pegasus looking into the eyes of a Draconequus who had laid out his feelings before her. Finally, Fluttershy made up her mind.
Discord slowly nodded, holding back the desire to laugh like a mad pony.
“Then …close your eyes my dear …”
She said it … she finally said it!
He had begun to worry, and even get a little frustrated at Fluttershy’s arguments against the change. The pollen had removed her normal fears and insecurities like he wanted, but it apparently hadn’t stopped her from still having some concerns. When she finally said yes though, Discord knew all of his planning had finally paid off.
Fluttershy’s permission was the last thing Discord had needed to begin the ritual. Trixie had seen to getting him the rest, not to mention how she had kindly kept Twilight and the Alicorn sisters concentrated on somepony else throughout his scheming.
He was quite sure if the spell hadn’t required Fluttershy’s permission, that he would have done this ritual on her one way or another. Eventually, he would have cracked as he started to see her age away and simply hoped her kindness would be enough to forgive him for it in time.
Discord silently levitated the now half bottle of wine over to them, pouring the vial of ether in, while mixing the now powdered Wind Root into the bottle. The wine took on the blue translucent glow of the ether before turning into a brown luminescent liquid.
Discord placed his paw over Fluttershy’s closed eyes as he drank down the potion, making sure to keep it from merging with the rest of his body.
T-this is it, Discord my boy, hopefully you’re not too out of practice …
Discord’s own muzzle inched towards Fluttershy’s slowly, until he was quite sure she could smell the wine on his breath. Gently, their lips met, quickly turning into a hard kiss as Discord pressed his muzzle against hers.
It was everything that Discord had hoped for, a kiss that promised him an eternity with somepony else along for the ride that he actually wanted there. To Fluttershy, it was a meeting between their lips that she had secretly desired for months now, but had been too afraid to admit. Kindness wrestled with Chaos as the kiss went on, Discord’s lips brushing against hers as they moved to different positions against her mouth. No kiss of Discord’s ever felt the same, his odd nature leaving Fluttershy unable to pin point what they felt like, other than wonderful.
While Fluttershy was gentle and eager, Discord was urgent and needy, though part of the urgency was the potion held within his body, its power simmering and demanding release. Discord’s tongue licked along Fluttershy's lips, desiring entry. Though she was hesitant, Fluttershy slowly craned her neck upward and opened her mouth wider, giving him access as her own tongue gently massaged the invading appendage. Discord enthusiastically returned the stimulation with strong strokes across Fluttershy’s tongue, causing her to let out a muffled sigh of appreciation. Every so often, Discord would run his tongue over Fluttershy’s little fangs, enjoying the thrill he always got when he realized just how unique among ponies she was.
Discord grasped the back of Fluttershy’s head, though by the little squeals and squeaks emitting from her lips, she wasn’t planning on parting from him anytime soon. The table had long since disappeared, leaving nothing in the way of Discord as he picked her up from her chair and held her against himself. He kept them both locked in this position for another long, sweet moment, before forcing his hazed mind to focus.
With Fluttershy clinging to him, and his lips sealed around her own, Discord slowly ushered the liquid up his throat, tasting the sweetness of the wine as it coated his mouth and entered Fluttershy’s. At first, Fluttershy choked and tried to pull away at the sudden intrusive taste. But, Discord held her in place, leaving her with little choice but to swallow the potion once she calmed down. The kiss slowly relaxed in intensity until it was simply their lips touching one another as Discord fed the potion into Fluttershy, her little gulps the only sound heard in the clearing.
Discord’s magic went along for the ride into Fluttershy, letting him feel the subtle changes the potion was making to her. He had to be oh so careful now, as one wrong move could leave him in the middle of a crater as the power leaking into Fluttershy’s body went out of control. He felt as the Windroot opened her magic channels wide, letting the ether’s magic flow safely through without the threat of rupturing. It could have been minutes, it could have been hours, but all Discord knew was, at some point, Fluttershy’s body was finally alive with magical ether. Her magic channels were opened and full to bursting, the power was ready. All Discord had to do was connect the seed to it, and the ether would permanently connect to both the seed and Fluttershy’s essence.
Fluttershy twitched and groaned in his grasp, her mind trying to make sense of the feelings her nerve endings were trying to send it. If it wasn’t for the magic of the ritual, the sensory overload would have made her unconscious long ago. It felt comforting beyond comfort, it felt pleasurable beyond her body’s natural ability to react, and it made her feel like she was dangling on a knife’s edge throughout. One slip, and she would simply cease to be.
Cautiously, Discord’s magic caressed over Fluttershy’s seed, preparing the final link. He felt over it carefully as little tendrils of ether began to touch upon and connect to it.
So close now, just a little … wait … what … now, that’s not right …
Discord felt over Fluttershy’s seed again, confused at what he was feeling.
Somepony … touched this before, was is it the element? Her seed feels …warped somehow.
Compared to the few other seeds he had felt before, Fluttershy’s was in fact, tampered with. Almost as though someone had altered it, and then tried to put it back to how it originally was.
Unfortunately, Discord didn’t have time to think any more about what it meant. The lines of ether to the seed were growing larger and were nearly encompassing the entirety of it now. Discord placed the last connections the seed needed and quickly brought his magic out of her. Fluttershy’s eyes were open, and they had a far off look to them as her body twitched and spasmed in his arms. Gently, he placed her on the ground and stepped back, knowing what should happen next.
Awareness came back to Fluttershy’s eyes quickly. Though, before she could do anything, a yellow ball of light shot out of her chest. Discord squinted his eyes and watched with some small concern as the ball of yellow turned into a beam that started to quickly makes circles around Fluttershy. He caught sight of a odd thin strand of purple energy wrapped up with the yellow beam.
That shouldn’t be there, just what-
His thoughts were interrupted as Fluttershy’s torso was encompassed in yellow and lavender light, her entire body rising quickly from the ground. Fluttershy was stopped a little over twenty feet up as the glowing light wrapped tightly around her body and grew brighter and brighter. Discord could briefly see a pained look on Fluttershy’s face before she was completely encompassed in light. Then, the screaming began.
Discord watched in horror, aware that the yellow energy was Fluttershy’s essence, and that it was supposed to be transforming her painlessly into an Alicorn. But, the purple strands of light were entwined with the yellow, causing brief spikes of lavender to burst and disappear repeatedly along the ball of light wrapped around her. Fluttershy’s pained screams turned guttural and deep after a few more seconds, ending in a hiss as the ball of energy exploded.
Discord was blinded by the light, too filled with concern for Fluttershy to think to look away in time. The spots in his sight ended just in time for the glow around Fluttershy to start to fade away as the magic returned her to the ground. She was slowly getting to her hooves from what he could make out, and once the magical energies around Fluttershy finally dissipated, Discord was looking at a pony he could hardly recognize anymore.
Her small fangs had increased in size, making them visible even when her mouth was closed. With a hiss, it was revealed that she had also gained several other smaller fangs to go with them. Gone were the gentle teal eyes Discord had always known, replaced with angry, reddish pink ones. Her hair had lost its smooth, gentle flow, and was now spiked at unnatural angles that defied logic. Her ears were now akin to those of a bat, large and attentive. Even her gorgeous, fluffy wings had been altered. Both were much thinner, and covered in fur instead of feathers. The bones could be seen along both wings, and a large, black claw tipped them both. Oddest of all, was her cutie mark, now a trio of pink bats instead of butterflies.
“… huh … umm … Fluttershy, dear? Are you oka-“
He was cut off with a hiss as Fluttershy stared him down. Before, Fluttershy could, at best, make Discord feel nervous with her stare. But now, those red eyes pierced right through him, destroying his ability to think and turning him into a scared little animal. He cowered in front of her for what felt like minutes, awaiting her judgment. With a screech and a blast from her wings, he found himself being flung head over heels backwards, to crash into a tree. He slowly stood up from his collision, recovering in time to watch a yellow blur shoot off into the sky, screeching into the night. Dozens of bats burst forth from the Everfree, trying to follow her as if commanded.
He continued to stare after Fluttershy, his mouth agape at what he just witnessed. Discord only now started to notice the burn marks and smoke covering his body, though he wasn’t exactly sure where they had come from.
Discord was all for randomness, for wrenches being thrown into whatever he planned. But for once, he wished everything had gone the way he had intended.
Twilight was almost knocked off of her hooves by the force of a sudden explosion. Once she had regained her senses she peered upwards, noting wisps of yellow light fading away in the sky above her.
Was I too late? No, it couldn't be her. Trixie's magic is Magenta, like mine, not yellow. Did Discord just blast something in the air attacking him?
Twilight could hear a loud screeching sound off in the distance, followed by another blast of light appearing somewhere far ahead of her. She could only see the light radiating from the sky dimly due to the forest blocking her sight, but it was clear to her that Discord and whatever was happening were connected. The screeching went on for some time, but faded away as the light disappeared from Twilight's view.
Damnit, Discord! Just what in Equestria is going on!?
She looked down to the compass, noting that it was pointing straight ahead of her, and that it was pulsing brightly. Trixie was very near now.
Okay now. Just remember, if she asks, just say no and explain why you can't return her feelings. Then bring her back to Canterlot and help her through this mess. She won't be happy, but at least she'll be alive, right?
With a slight nod of the head, Twilight restarted her mad run through the forest.
"She failed ..."
Celestia and Luna had only shortly before switched roles as the sun and moon traded places. The day court had begun, and Luna retreated to her bedchambers for a well earned rest. However, she had been asleep less than an hour when she was jolted awake by Celestia to the scene of a moonlit night. Despite their best combined efforts, they had been unable to budge the moon or the sun from their places. Court was cancelled as they withdrew to Celestia's bedchambers, sipping at tea as they discussed what to do in case it was not a very bad joke of Discord's.
Celestia looked out over the room's balcony at the yellow ball of light shooting over the Everfree. While it was very small from this distance, she knew the thrum of power the ritual sent out when it was used. And that little ball of light had 'Alicorn' written all over it.
"Perhaps, Sister. But neither of us anticipated the seed was in danger of being activated. The force to do such a thing, let alone the knowledge to make the ritual work properly is as rare as ... well ... Alicorns in this age. Still ... " Luna looked out over the forest, watching as the ball of yellow light became smaller. "I had expected more out of my creation."
Celestia looked at Luna, confusion clear on her face. " What do you mean?"
"The seed was meant to make an Alicorn closer to us, Sister. T'was supposed to turn our lover or your own, but make them stronger than an Alicorn produced simply from the ritual. That light was clearly the ascension ritual, but, the power of that Alicorn is new. Tis young, and clearly in need of at least centuries to grow. Perhaps we failed in some way in its creation?" Luna hummed to herself in thought, staring down at the table.
Shaking her head briefly, Celestia gently placed a hoof on Luna's shoulder, taking her out of her introspection. "Regardless, we have a new problem to deal with. And if Twilight is in that forest, she may need our help. Clearly somepony had a hoof in Trixie's ascension."
Luna nodded and stood up, following Celestia to the balcony. Once there, Luna flapped her dark wings and took off, hovering in the air and turning to face Celestia. "You are right. Contact Cadence, while we find out what has occurred."
"Are you sure, Luna? I could -"
"No, it was our creation that brought this problem about, and we will work to fix it." Luna sighed sadly and shook her head. "We should have done so in the first place, instead of leaving it to Twilight to deal with alone this long."
Celestia nodded, distraught, but thankful Luna was not blaming her for insisting that Twilight could handle this problem.
Without another word, Luna shot off towards the forest as Celestia went back in and picked up a quill and parchment.
Trixie yawned and looked around, the screeching in her dream fading in her ears as she rubbed sleep from her eye. It took her a moment to re-orient, but when she did, Trixie's eye bugged out, and her face turned red in anger.
"Th-that stupid bearded oaf! Did he leave Trixie to sleep the entire day!? Just how long was this setup supposed to take!?"
Still, for sleeping the day away, Trixie was still surprisingly tired, and the stinging in her right eye was back again. She was thankful that nothing came upon her while she was unconscious, as Trixie had been too tired to really think about the issues sleeping in a monster filled forest could bring.
Grumbling to herself, Trixie grabbed her saddlebags and made her way through the forest, headed in the direction Discord and Fluttershy had disappeared in that morning.
Trixie swears if one of them messed up the ritual and makes Trixie lose one single iota of the power she was promised she'll have their hides! How could Discord have not mentioned the ritual taking all day to prepare!? Wh-what if Twilight found him and ruined it?
She slowed down at that thought and did her best to listen for any sounds of fighting as she continued. Trixie let out a sigh of relief as she finally broke through the bushes and into a clearing containing Discord. For some reason, he was wielding a huge butterfly net, and giving practice swings in the air. Discord's body also seemed to be covered in black soot, specks of it flying off with each swing. There were also several odd, glowing butterflies fluttering around the clearing, but Trixie wasn't really concerned with those.
"DISCORD! WHAT THE FU-"
Trixie's angry, righteous rant was brought to a quick close as she suddenly found herself ensnared by the net Discord was practicing with.
Huh, I didn't think that would actually work. Not the time for an angry tirade, my dear.
Discord wasn't in the mood to be reminded of his other problems right now, Trixie and his mixed emotions about her being one of them. He lifted the net off of her and gave a fake grin. "Oh, sorry my dear. I was simply making sure the net was big enough. Turns out I have a small ... erm ... large bat problem to deal with right now. So, I'm going to go and take care of that. But good luck with the whole 'Twilight thing'."
I'll come back and deal with this later, I need to find Fluttershy before she ... I don't know ... ruins a farm show, or meets a bat more charming then me.
He noted Trixie was regaining her ability to speak instead of look at him and gape like a fish. Just as he was about to snap his fingers and chase after Fluttershy however, he felt another problem hurtling in his direction.
W-well, this is escalating a bit quicker then I had hoped.
He looked off to Canterlot and tried to gauge how long until Luna arrived, then, he looked in the direction of Twilight.
"What do you mean 'good luck'!? You still have something to do, remember? Or has age rotted your tiny brain!? Do the words 'Trixie' and 'Alicorn' ring any bells in that head of yours!? ... Are you even listening to her!?"
I need another distraction, something to keep the sisters off my tail while I figure out what happened to Fluttershy. The last thing I want is them to hunt her down, I've seen how 'kind' they are to potential threats to their ponies.
Oddly enough, this was when the world turned sideways for Discord, as Trixie swept one of his legs out from under him, knocking him over. He was about to become snarky with the needy Unicorn, but the sight of her face quickly killed that idea. Barely controlled panic was showing through as Trixie attempted to keep her expression angry. Her eyes were wide, she couldn't stand still, and her breathing had become heavy. Discord was well aware of what a pony experiencing a fight or flight response was, he even took pride in causing it most of the time. However, this was not one of those times. In fact, he was getting a odd, nauseating feeling somewhere in his chest at being the one to cause it in Trixie.
"L-look, we don't have time. Trixie can literally feel Sparkle approaching now. You need to do the ritual. Trixie did her part! She-she can't be brought to Luna, not after everything Trixie's done!"
Slowly, Trixie sat down in front of him, one of her hooves going up to her bandaged eye as she swayed a little. She mumbled to herself as she tried to keep herself steady. Trixie's good eye kept trying to close itself in sympathy with the clenching her other eyelid must have been doing at that moment. Throughout this bout of pain, she still kept trying to stare at Discord. However, after a short time, her eye gave up and closed, and her face contorted into a mix of pain and sorrow.
"W-what's wrong with you ...? W-why are you just ... laying there? Why aren't you he-helping?"
Sheesh, she's good at making others feel bad for her, isn't she? I do need a distraction, but turning her won't be enough now. Without that ether, she'll be too weak to put up any kind of resistance.
Still, he knew if he didn't think of something before chasing after Fluttershy, he'd have this image of Trixie burned into his mind for quite awhile. Calmly, and with his usual smiling mask on again, Discord stood up, and addressed her.
"Their was a bit of a ... complication ... with the ether."
Discord gestured around the clearing, Trixie's eye following his movements, having opened again shortly after he started to talk.
"A small incident happened with Fluttershy and the ether, and because of it, the ether is gone, and Fluttershy took off, quite upset."
"F-figures. S-something always seems to go w-wrong for Trixie." Trixie sighed deeply, and closed her eye for a minute, working to calm herself down. After this brief time, she opened her eye again and asked, "Do you need a full vial?"
"Wwweeeeellllll ... no. But, the more, the better."
Discord raised a eyebrow as Trixie nodded and opened her saddlebag. After rummaging through it for a few seconds, she pulled out another vial, this one half full of ether.
Heh, well, I seem to have some luck left. This might be just the chaos I need to keep everypony away from Flutters while I figure out what went wrong.
Discord quickly grabbed the vial out of Trixie's magic. "This will do nicely, my dear."
Trixie nodded, standing up again and glaring at him and getting back a semblance of her usual voice. "Good, it's about time you finally decided to pull your weight again. For a moment, Trixie thought she was going to have to perform the ritual herself, for all the use you were being!"
And there goes my sympathy. It was starting to feel annoying anyways.
"Now, mix it up quickly and let's both be on our way."
" ... What?"
Trixie continued to glare and spoke to him as if she was speaking to a foal. "Mix. The. Potion! The wind root! The wine! The ether! Mix it all however you need to and let's get this over with, quickly! She only spilled the ether, right!?"
Discord cast a sneaky glance at the overturned wine bottle lying in the clearing to his right. " ... O-oh, right. Yes, uhmm ... one second."
Discord turned away from Trixie and quickly grabbed the bottle on the ground, noting the tiny amount of liquid still clinging to the bottom of the bottle. Quickly, Discord dumped the vial of ether in, and started making exaggerated motions while mumbling. After what he considered long enough to make Trixie think he was actually doing something, he turned around again, and walked back over to her. Trixie eyed the bottle confusedly.
"Why ... is there so little left?"
"Ah, the umm ... ritual causes it to boil down, refines the ingredients and all that, gets rid of the useless parts."
Trixie nodded, a bit dubious. "Trixie sees ... umm ... why-"
Discord gave a dramatic gasp and pretended to look at something behind Trixie. "Oh! Is that Twilight!?"
Her eyes turned to saucers, and Trixie grabbed a hold of Discord's paw. "What!? Do the ritual! NOW NOW NOW!"
Phew "Okay, drink this quickly!"
Without hesitation, Trixie grabbed the vial out of Discord's paws and drank the potion.
The vial dropped from Trixie's hooves almost immediately after she swallowed the last of the potion, her body and mind literally feeling like something was trying to tear them apart. Raw magic ripped through Trixie's core, far more than any Unicorn could safely handle at once.
"D-D-DISCORD! I-I CAN'T-"
"Tch, of course not, why do you think I'm here after all? Now-" Trixie felt the pressure lessen slightly, now only feeling like a stampede of buffalo were tearing across her instead of being repeatedly hit by a train. "-I need to let you know a few, quick little things. Try to pay attention."
"First-" Trixie felt the magic inside her spread out to encompass her, simply meaning every part of her was now wracked with equal pain. Her pulse pounded in her head as Trixie wondered how long her body would hold together. She swore she could literally feel cracks appearing across her skin as the magic sought to escape. "-I am going to be away for awhile, some bad bat business, like I said. Meaning I won't be watching your back for a bit, so don't screw up too badly."
"Second-" The intensity lessened, but began to take on a wholly different, yet equally discomforting feeling now. It felt like the magic, along with Trixie's insides, were funneling into something within Trixie, slowly leaving her an empty husk. "-Twilight, and one of the sisters are almost here, sooooo, I'd hit the ground running if I were you."
"And third-" Trixie felt dead. Her body was completely drained of magic and energy by this point. She tried, but failed to panic as she felt her heart give up and cease beating. Yet, somehow, Trixie was still conscious, and heard Discord's next words. "Well, okay, there is no third. Don't die? Yeah, that'll work. Now, just have to do the words, and you'll be good to go!"
Words? Oh, right, what ritual wouldn't have them? I wonder what-
-Kind of an IDIOT made the words to this ritual!? Of all the-
-Stupid things to say, why-Why is Trixie floating?
Was that ... another ascension? Just what nefarious plot is our creation involved in?
Luna blinked her eyes, trying to rid them of the spots dancing before her. She had seen a ball of magenta light suddenly rise up above the forest canopy, and then explode, leaving her blinded. She blinked the spots from her eyes as best she could, though bright lights had always affected her badly. Once she could see again, Luna scanned the surrounding area with her magic, noting the unmoving form of Twilight's aura far ahead of her. Twilight seemed to be surrounded by another ponies aura, almost like a wave of mist that had slowly circled her. This new aura hadn't made a move to assault Twilight yet. The energy was emanating directly below where Luna saw the ball of light, given credence to yet another Ascension ritual completing.
Still, this one is quite different from the first. It feels ... stronger, older. Wait ... is this!?
It had to be the seed, there was no other explanation for it to Luna. The aura was stronger then Twilight's, but not as strong as her own, or her sister's. It was clearly the aura of a pony, not a creature like Discord, or a dragon.
But ... if it wasn't the seed we felt before, then ... who was that first blast of light from?
Luna shook her head to regain her focus.
We must worry about that later, for now, tis best we dealt with what is in front of us. But, if this really is the seed blooming we just felt, then that means ...
"It worked ... our experiment worked!"
In fact, it had gone beyond her expectations! She couldn't explain why, but the Alicorn created felt far stronger than the one she had expected to emerge. She was truly a genius!
"Huzzah!" She cried out jubilantly, pointing a forehoof skyward in triumph. " We can't wait to show Tia our ... our ... oh ..."
Sheepishly, Luna resumed her flight towards what she hoped to be a brief conflict.
Perhaps Tia doesn't need to hear of this success.
Twilight's compass was glowing strongly as she burst through the foliage and into a large, disheveled clearing. She spotted Discord with a net in his hands, and was about to shout when she noticed him looking upward, a smug expression on his face. Twilight only now noticed the field being lit up by a magenta light emanating from above her. Twilight's ears pressed themselves to her skull as her eyes gazed towards the sky.
As her eyes reached the glowing ball of pinkish light hovering above her, it exploded. The force blew her to the ground, rolling over the field with a huge rush of wind. In her blinded state, Twilight heard what she swore to be Trixie's giggling echo over the forest. The echoing giggles hadn't ceased by the time Twilight's eyes started to come back into focus, though she couldn't tell where they were coming from. A quick glance to her neck showed Twilight that the compass had completely shattered, bits of it now littering the ground. Looking towards Discord, she found him to be looking around the clearing in surprise, almost like he was seeing something Twilight couldn't.
"Huh ... " Discord mused, rubbing his goatee. "Wasn't expecting that from half a vial of ether. Guess I'm not cut out for this 'Ascension' stuff after all. Ah well ..." He gazed over to Twilight with a smile, giving her a slightly mocking bow. "She's your problem now, Princess. Good luck." Twilight heard a sharp snap, and Discord was gone. The only things left in the clearing now were Twilight, a few butterflies, and the creepy echoed giggling of Trixie.
I ... I failed ...
"She ... she did it! Trixie did it!"
Trixie's giggling turned to laughter, continuing to emanate from multiple sides of Twilight, and setting her on edge. Her fur stood up as Trixie casually walked down the side of a tree in front of Twilight. Laughter to her left drew Twilight's eye as yet another Trixie defied the rules of gravity and walked down from the canopy of another tree. As Twilight's head and body moved to do a full arc of the clearing, more and more of the Trixies showed themselves to her. The area felt heavy with power to Twilight, making her sweat a little as she nervously watched the spectacle unfolding in front of her.
The Trixies were each a half head taller than Twilight, sporting noticeably longer legs as well, causing her to think of Cadence. A pair of wings adorned each Trixie, lined with silver primaries, and the rest blue, like her coat. Each Trixie looked elegant in a way Twilight couldn't place, perhaps because despite their actions, none were dirty or disheveled.
Some were gazing at their wings in awe, while others were hopping around happily, making an echoing laughter resound throughout the forest. A few were even gazing at Twilight interestedly. The look of each Trixie's face though, is what kept Twilight silent.
The left eye of every Trixie was no longer bandaged, though what laid underneath now made Twilight wince. Trixie's eye looked to have been restored from Twilight's unintentional blast, but around the eye were several horrible looking scars. A few were just white lines that met at random intervals and faded off, others were deep, permanent gashes in Trixie's skin where no fur had grown back. It looked as if somepony had given a scalpel to a foal and let it play directly around Trixie's eye, yet not with the eye itself.
Still, despite the scarring, Twilight found herself watching one of the Trixies in particular. She was positioned near some of the butterflies, whistling a tune to herself happily as she gazed over the other Trixie's with a smile. One of the butterflies was flying around her, shedding long trails of beautiful golden dust over her back. The glowing dust bouncing off of this Trixie's wings and sides caused Twilight to start blushing and need work to keep her wings to her sides.
With a grin, this Trixie looked over to Twilight and blew a kiss, before quickly turning her head to look at something above the canopy afterwards. The other Trixies stopped what they were doing to look as well, then started making their way over to the Trixie Twilight had been watching. One by one, they turned clear and misty, entering the first Trixie, until only one remained. Smiling towards Twilight, Trixie started to make her way over.
I ... failed ... but, maybe ... she'll still listen to me? M-maybe I can still fix this? Oh, Trixie, your eye ... I ...
Twilight involuntarily cringed and glanced away from Trixie for a few seconds, causing Trixie to frown at her. Glancing over at Trixie again, Twilight could see her looking away now and staring at herself in a small floating mirror. Trixie's ears were flat to her head, and though Twilight couldn't see what it was, she could tell Trixie was doing something with her mane. When Trixie turned back to Twilight, the hair on her left side was covering her scarred eye in a way akin to what Twilight so often saw Fluttershy do.
"Well ... " Trixie started in a subdued tone. "It's ... not what Trixie had hoped to happen. But ... it was worth it."
Trixie gave Twilight a small smile as she walked up to her, getting within a hooves length of Twilight before stopping.
"It was all worth it. Finally, Trixie won't be forgotten, she can't be now. Not by you, at least."
Slowly, Trixie brought her forehoof up to Twilight's muzzle. Gently, but firmly, Trixie tilted Twilight's head upward, forcing her to look Trixie in the eye. The way Twilight had to look up at Trixie for eye contact now unnerved her, yet, it wasn't as unwelcome of a sensation as she thought it would be. The calm, smoldering look in Trixie's eye, the firm hoof on her muzzle, and the way the golden specks of pollen floated between the two struck Twilight with a longing she was finding hard to keep under control.
" I win."
The two words resounded in Twilight's head for a minute, causing a surprising response from her. A mix of sorrow and anger appeared on her face as she put her hoof over Trixie's and forced it away from her muzzle. "Win? You idiot. I ... I failed. Now, both Princesses are going to get involved, Trixie. I .. I wanted to save you, but ... " Twilight took a step back, looking at Trixie with sad eyes. "I can't help you with what happens now."
Trixie bridged the gap between them again, the soft smile still on her face. "It doesn't matter to Trixie. She found a way around death, she'll find a way around two angry Princesses. More importantly, Trixie needs to tell you something important, before we are interrupted. And before she comes down from this rush."
Just say no.
"Trixie will admit, part of this was her desire to become as great and powerful as she boasted about. But, that is barely worth mentioning anymore. Twilight, Trixie desired nothing more but to not be forgotten. She, she couldn't just stand back and age, she couldn't become a speck in your past that faded away like so many others will."
Trixie looked away, a small blush coating her cheeks. "Trixie was going to either be your greatest rival or ... or your greatest, and only, marefriend. W-well, the third option was to die trying, but she's past that outcome now. And she, she understands how impossible the second one is. Our talk in the caves made that clear enough. But, the first is still in reach. T-trixie will work on her new powers, she'll become worth your time, she promises."
At this, Trixie brought a hoof up and under her mane, most likely feeling the scars along her right eye. "She'll also find a way to cover this ... 'blemish', it won't do for us to meet up again and not be able to look each other in the eyes without one of us cringing away. "
She, she's not going to ask?
Twilight's eyes slid from Trixie's as she began to think to herself. The long silence seemed to be making Trixie uncomfortable, and she started to shift in place. Unseen, Trixie's smile slowly turned to a forced grin.
"L-look, Twilight. Just now, Trixie was in the heat of the moment. It's its not like she is going to try to destroy you or anything. She's not looking for 'that' kind of rivalry at all. B-but, wouldn't it be nice to cross horns with somepony you know?
I can't believe I worried about all of this for nothing. Why didn't she ask?
Trixie began visibly wilting in front of Twilight. Her ears started to droop, while her wings dipped and touched the ground. A few beads of sweat even formed on Trixie's face as her breathing increased.
"A-and if somepony else tries to go after you, Trixie could help you with them! T-that way, the rivalry stays just between us. Wouldn't it be nice? You come after Trixie for some slight, while Trixie does the same, ensuring we each have somepony looking out for them in case of trouble. Trixie can be that pony! She, she wouldn't let anypony else harm you, Twilight."
So maybe I gave the wrong impression in the cave. I was injured! It's not like her to just give up on something important to her like this.
" ... S-stop ignoring Trixie ..."
In fact, its my duty as a friend to set her straight, right? You shouldn't just give up on something, or somepony, just because its hard.
" ... Stop ignoring me!" Trixie's hoof frantically wiped away at the tears flowing down her cheeks now, her face had twisted up in despair. The scream knocked Twilight out of her thoughts, causing her to realize that for the last few minutes she had been looking at the ground, barely registering Trixie's antics from the corner of her eye. Seeing she had Twilight's attention again, Trixie's look became much more intense, as if afraid Twilight would suddenly disappear on her.
"Trixie went through too much for you to ignore her, Sparkle! Yell at her! Tell her to leave you alone! Tell her you refuse to have her as a rival! But don't ignore her! N-not after all of this ... Is ... is this about her scars ...?"
At the question, Twilight lifted her head up and closed her eyes.
A second for the mind to gather your words.
And a second to add your heart to them.
Trixie looked at Twilight confusedly. "No?"
Twilight nodded, working to keep her cheeks from flaring up a she calmly looked into Trixie's eye. "No. If you didn't come after me, I'd worry that something happened to you. To my rival. So, just, don't think like that. And, I don't care about your scars either, it just, hurts to know I caused them."
Twilight looked away for the next part, concentrating on keeping her voice from wavering. Oddly enough to her, the words seemed to flow out much easier then she had anticipated.
"Also, for a Unicorn who went this far for what she wanted, it's a little, weird, to hear you say something is 'impossible'."
Glancing over briefly, Twilight saw Trixie with a pole-axed look over her face. A few seconds later after glancing away again, Twilight heard a rich laughter coming from Trixie.
"Really now, Sparkle?" Trixie purred from behind her.
Blushing a bit, Twilight wasn't able to stop her tail from giving a little swish back and forth along the ground. "W-what? It's, just, saying something like that is 'impossible' seems a little ... I mean, you haven't even worked up a hypothesis beyond it being impossible yet ... just jumped to making it a theory ... no documentation ... tests ..." Twilight's speech continued to break down to the point of mumbles after this.
Twilight felt a warm body pressed next to hers shortly after. A few golden sparks hung in the air, tugging at something in Twilight's mind, but she couldn't focus well, not with Trixie's scent making her head feel fuzzy.
"Trixie ... gets it, Sparkle." Twilight could hear the confidence in Trixie's voice. "She'll work on her theory a bit more."
Twilight nodded mutely, shifting her hooves in an uncommon bout of excitement at Trixie's closeness. "Well, good. So ... what happens now?"
"Now" Trixie said. "Trixie runs."
Twilight glanced at Trixie, confusion written over her face. "What?"
Trixie took the opportunity to lean over and deliver a little kiss to Twilight's cheek, causing her to let out a squeal and back up a few feet from her azure assailant.
"Trixie runs-" She said, with a smirk on her face. "She needs to learn what she can do now, if she hopes to keep her freedom. But, don't worry, Sparkle. In a few months, Trixie will return to challenge you."
"Hmph-" Twilight rubbed her cheek and gave a nervous grin back to Trixie. "What makes you think I won't be asked to bring you back still? You might not have a few months before you have to run again, Trixie."
Chuckling, Trixie turned away from Twilight and made her way near the edge of the clearing, her form turning misty. "Oh, Twilight. Trixie promises you, if you manage to catch up to her, she won't run anymore. At least, not from you. Good luck, Little Sparkle."
Twilight was about to retort, when suddenly a huge blast of energy hit right where Trixie had been standing.
"Another fake!? What mockery do you seek to make of us, whelp! Come out and face us! Cease thine hiding!"
Luna swooped down and landed in the field a few yards from Twilight, breathing heavily and looking around, trying to spot her prey. After a minute of this, Luna looked over to Twilight. "Our apologies for not arriving earlier, Twilight. It seems your foe is well experienced at delaying others. It was good of you to hold her here as long as you did. Sadly, all I can sense are spooks and illusions in the forest now, I fear the real Trixie has escaped us."
Luna raised a hoof. "This is not the place, Twilight. Come, we must head back to the castle. Tis safe to talk their. A gathering of power that this area has witnessed tonight will bring prying eyes and questions that we can ill afford."
Luna took off into the air again, circling the clearing once to verify the danger had passed before gesturing for Twilight to follow her. Looking around, Twilight felt eerily calm about what had just happened. Perhaps, even a little elated at the sudden changes her life had gone through. Maybe it was the scent of Trixie still in the air, or the feel of her magic lingering. But for Twilight, Equestria had changed, and she was looking forward to seeing where this new path would lead her.
So, first fic done now. Curious to see how it goes, as I've read many stories, and seen some writer's have major issues ending a story well.
Now, before anything happens, I will say I do have plans to continue this, but this was the first arc. Trixie's an Alicorn, Fluttershy's a bat pony, alot of things are in turmoil. But its a decent place to have a breather I think. I like this story, but I have a few others ideas I wish to try, and I only focus on writing one at a time.
Thanks to Crowscrowcrow, Auramane, and Slrvertigo for their help on this story, outside help and opinions are almost always helpful in seeing a story from a different angle, and theirs helped me improve several chapters quite a bit.
The comment's I've received on this story have also been great to read through, and a few helped me shape the story differently then originally intended. Plus I've learned alot more about punctuation from several earlier comments.
I will say I am mixed on "The Finale of Chaos and Kindness", saw quite the visceral response to it, and it caused more than half the dislikes I now see on the story. I guess few reader's liked the story veering to a side plot, though I see that happen quite often with other, better liked, stories. "Green" being a good example of it. Ah well. The Fluttercord will continue, but close to the same level it has had in this arc I would guess.
Funny enough, this story turned out to be more 'adventure' than 'romance'. I was expecting the opposite really. Think I'll work to fix that gap next arc.
So, thanks for reading my first fic. And I hope what I do next will be equally well received.