Is has been a long time since High School. Trixie Lulamoon struggles to make it as a professional magician, when she runs into old classmates and learns to re-evaluate things she'd done or said in the past.
Thank you's and disclaimer So, this is my first ever written and edited short story. I hope you all like what you read. So enjoy!
But first and foremost I want and need to express my highest gratitude to my proofreader, editor and sometimes inspirational pony: PixiePony. If it weren't for them, parts of my story such as the flashbacks in later chapters wouldn't be in it.
So thank you PixiePony. You really pushed me to finish this, even if you don't know about that. ^^
Updates will be every other day until everything is uploaded (6 chapters).
Rating and Summary This story get's a teen rating for being emotionally challenging.
The story is set in the world of Equestria Girls, 20 years after graduating from High School. Trixie is struggling to make it as a stage performer and after a particularly bad gig she runs into Sunset and Twilight, who want to help her get on her feet again.
If it weren't for some bad blood and Equestrian Magic involved, it could have been a nice reunion of friends.
Content Notes Since I can't tag that here on fimfiction, I decided to use content notes so that everybody feels save to read my story. I put them in spoiler tags if someone wants to be surprised by the contents. Chapter 1:Mild Injuries Chapter 2:Emotional distress Chapter 3: None Chapter 4:Emotional distress Chapter 5: None Chapter 6:Claustophobia; Drowning; Near-death
"You can't do this to Trixie you arrogant buffoon!"
"Watch me, Blue."
The door slammed shut and Trixie stood outside the back of the vaudeville theatre fuming with rage. "Open back up, you haven't paid Trixie yet!" She hammered against the door, before she cried out in frustration and kicked the frame one last time, hurting her toes in the process. "OUCH!"
Miserable and upset she hobbled down the steps to the streets realising, as she reached the bottom, that she forgot her props case near the door. With a grunt she turned around and made her way back up to retrieve her belongings. It took her a good 20 minutes balancing everything from the top of the stairs into the trunk of her car with only one of her feet working properly.
Driving home was a task in and of itself. Every time she needed to use the brake, pain shot from her foot up into her thigh and she hissed in discomfort. Quite possibly she needed to see a doctor about this. But that was a problem for future Trixie.
Right now, she was too angry at herself for botching the show, again. She didn't even know where it went wrong. This particular trick was in her repertoire for years now. Every time she practised the routine it came out flawlessly. Yet again, once she was on stage, it somehow didn't.
She huffed and looked at herself in the rear-view mirror. The bags under her eyes made her look puffy and exhausted. The energetic sparkle she used to see in her reflections every time - when she was in school - had vanished over time and was replaced with the cold realisation that not everything is shits and giggles in real life. Not that it ever had been for her.
Sighing exasperatedly, Trixie sank back onto her couch and closed her eyes, massaging her temples with two fingers from either hand. After a few minutes of doing so she relaxed considerably until she moved her body and was painfully aware that the toes of her right foot were still hurting. Slowly she pulled at her shoes to finally get more comfortable and release the pressure that had been on her limb up until now. Her mouth opened slightly as a sigh of relief slipped through her lips.
This ridiculous excuse for a man, she thought, stretching herself onto the couch as she did. Her mind raced as she tried to figure out a way to get him to pay her after all. Most of the times when a show went south, she at least got part of the payment, if not all of it. That's to say if it wasn't so bad, that she got booed off the stage.
With a muffled thud she put a pillow over her face and screamed her lungs out in frustration. I used to be the great and powerful Trixie! What ever happened? She slid the pillow down and her eyes started to burn as they were watering. "Obviously, the world happened, you dumb and washed-up Trixie," she told herself, tears streaming down her face.
With a snort, Trixie woke up the next day, jumping up from her very uncomfortable sleeping position on the couch with a mumbled, “Eep.” She rubbed her eyes, yawning uncontrollably and swung her legs over the edge to stand up. She remembered a little too late that her foot was supposed to hurt, but it was only a dull sensation that - much to her delight - was surprisingly manageable.
She tested it by bouncing a little up and down and eventually nodded to herself. Maybe she wouldn’t have to see a doctor after all. Well, maybe aside from that uncontrollable saliva flow that happened every time she didn’t sleep in her bed. With a disgusted sound she wiped her mouth dry.
About half an hour later she was on her way to the theatre again. After all, she got hired to do a show, which she did. Up until the end it was fairly ok. Just the grand finale was a bust. And besides, why is it her fault that the crowd was tough.
Instinctively she concluded that it couldn’t be her fault. By the time she reached her destination, she was absolutely sure that her magic act was the best thing that ever happened to that stupid vaudeville theatre.
The thing about confidence though is that as long as you are among people who support you and agree with you - even if it’s just yourself - it’s way easier to uphold. She sighed and let her head drop to the steering wheel. A sudden honk from under the hood made her jump back up.
Gosh this was so much easier back in High School, where everyone else was as insecure as she was. Now she had to put up with people way older, more experienced and worst of all, way more confident than herself.
A few minutes later she mustered up the courage to leave her car and get to the front door. It appeared that nobody was in there, but that was something she was used to. People would try to hide for a lot less than owing money. So, the next few minutes, Trixie tried to get around the theatre and knock on every door and window she could find, only to have no one answer her beckoning.
She ended up in front of the theatre again after she struggled to get around the building for some time, “Trixie demands that you open that door immediately. Do you hear me?”
“Um, can I help you?” came a voice from behind her and she turned around with a surprised jump.
“Whaaa?” Trixie enquired and straightened up right away “Who are you and what do you want from me?” Trixie eyed the person in front of her closely.
“I’m almost inclined to ask you the same thing,” the woman chuckled, “But since you are so vocal about it I think I know exactly who you are, Trixie Lulamoon.”
Suspiciously, Trixie eyed her before she came to a realisation. “Sunset? Shimmer?”
“But the greatest and most powerfullest Trixie demands it.”
“I don’t care. The not at all interested Sunset will not get into that thing.” She folded her arms and gave her friend a stern look. “Also, as I told you repeatedly over the last few months, just because I put your superlative in the yearbook, doesn’t mean you can use it time and again to get your way.”
Trixie stood right in front of her and looked at her with big round puppy eyes. “Pleaaaase” she almost squealed. “Do it for Trixie?”
“Ugh.” She rolled her eyes. However, she couldn’t help but smile at Trixie’s dramatic overcompensation. In the last few weeks, these outbursts had become less frequent. At least when she was around. But right now, Trixie was all up in her act, piecing together every detail she needed for this evening.
“Mhm hm mhmmmmmfine,” Sunset finally retorted, “On one condition!” She picked up the very tight looking dress Trixie had provided. It was slitted almost to the hip and it was sequinned from top to bottom, making it sparkle no matter which way the light shone on it. “You give me your top hat. I think It would make a wonderful addition to this dress. And, it will distract people from the general slinkiness it radiates,” she grinned and watched Trixie hyperventilating.
“WHAT? No, no, no, no, Sunset. Trixie is the magician here! You are not going to use my top hat. You are a mere assistant to my greatness, and it is I, Trixie, who should wear this accessory. It is vital to some of my Illusions, you can’t just take it and ruin everything.” Trixie rambled on and walked up and down, passing Sunset every few paces.
Sunset tried to hold it together for way longer, before she burst out laughing, but she couldn’t. “Calm down, I didn’t mean it. I just wanted to see you get a little flustered. It is delightful to watch when you are freaking out about something this small.”
The other girl inhaled again to let out another rant: “Sunset Shimmer, this is not a tiny, little show or some random school performance. This is a pivotal moment for the great and powerful Trixie. Today will be the day where I, Trixie, will be discovered as the new rising star on this stage and the greatest and most powerfullest career of Canterlot will begin this evening! Trixie will then live a glamorous life like all the famous magicians. And you, Sunset Shimmer, can be of service to achieve that. Not only can you help Trixie as her greatest and most powerful assistant. No, you can –”
In general, Sunset would have interrupted her by now, but this time Trixie’s outburst seemed to have more punch to it than usual, so she decided to let her talk. Trixie was very earnest and determined.
As the words tumbled out of her counterpart’s mouth, she couldn’t help but ask herself what would happen if Trixie really got discovered tonight. Right before the end of the school year and just a few weeks before graduation. It really could help her career afterwards. And it sure wouldn’t be her to let Trixie down.
“– to be honest you can’t really do anything wrong. And therefore, you and Trixie are going to be the best…”
Sunset took a step forward and just hugged her. A gesture that Trixie had come to love in her, she would never admit in public, though. But in a personal setting, she had confessed that Sunset’s hugs comforted her and helped her get stage-Trixie under control if she went rampant again.
Sunset wasn’t sure if that was the only reason though. In the last couple of weeks the casual hugs had become more frequent. Now it wasn’t unusual for Sunset to hug her friends every so often. But Trixie’s embraces were - for lack of a better word - more intimate than with her other friends.
As usual, Trixie went rigid in surprise, presumably because she was so preoccupied with herself at the moment. Sunset then proceeded to whisper something in her ear that made her friend relax considerably: “Don’t worry. I got your back.”
She felt the other girl shiver and then put her arms around her, squeezing very tightly. A warm feeling spread through Sunset’s body and she wasn’t sure if she herself didn’t enjoy the intimate hugs a little more than she cared to admit.
“But how could you employ such a terrible man?” Trixie asked briskly, before putting more sugar in her coffee, stirring it vigorously.
Sunset blinked a few times and realised that she must have zoned out for a minute. She frowned at the cup Trixie had in front of her. It wasn’t to be blamed for anything and yet still had to take the punches. “He is not working for me, he rented the theatre from me. There is a difference in that,” she retorted as the memory faded away, “I have no control over his business, nor is it my responsibility as a landlady to look after what he is doing with his place as long as he is not breaking the law.”
“But he broke the contract!” she shrieked “With me, Trixie! How could he do that!”
Raising her hands in a calming manner, Sunset tried not to anger her further. She knew Trixie and her outbursts. Arguing against it most likely ended in her throwing a smoke bomb and vanishing through the back door. She had to suppress a snicker as she thought of the multitude of times Trixie had done that in her youth and failed miserably in vanishing unnoticed.
“Look,” she began, “I can’t tell him to pay what he owes you. That’s simply not my place.”
Trixie mumbled something under her breath and finally put her spoon aside, trying to take a sip from her coffee. To Sunset’s astonishment, it did seem to calm her a little. “I don’t know. If you hadn’t interrupted me, I would have gotten my money from him”
“I’m pretty sure that nobody was inside at –” Sunset looked at her watch “– 10.30 in the morning.” She smiled and took a sip from her own cup.
“That’s… true, I guess.” She wiped her eyes with her hand and looked up again. “I was trying to get someone to open up for twenty minutes, before you arrived,” she responded.
It took her a moment to come to a realisation and then she looked at Sunset suspiciously. “Hm, why did you arrive there? That’s a big coincidence, if you are not the resident of the building, isn’t it?”
Sunset cleared her throat and her cheeks heated up as she tried not to blush. “I… was on my way to work,” she answered hesitantly.
It did not go unnoticed, and Trixie continued to stare at her former friend.
Trixie was never good on a social level aside from the stage. Whenever it got heated, or awkward, or even if she just had a plain conversation that went a little deeper than a puddle, she tended to brag her way to the top of that social interaction, just for the sake of it. But she could tell when someone was lying.
Most likely this resonated from the early days of her magical career. From the beginning she was keen to learn the art of deception. Her parents always tried to encourage her - if she did not fool them entirely - to become better and better at hiding emotions, telltale signs like looks, or even blushing when something went wrong.
As long as she was the great and powerful Trixie, almost nothing could get the better of her. Maybe that was the reason she could boast herself out of most situations, even if everything else went wrong. At least stage Trixie could.
And that’s why an uneasy Sunset Shimmer, or any person for that matter, told her exactly that they were lying or better yet, hiding something from her if they behave like that.
“Trixie doesn’t believe you,” she said while staring holes into the redhead in front of her.
Looking helpless, Sunset took in a deep breath to say something, but then she resigned and deflated like a balloon.
“I wasn’t on my way to work,” she admitted, “I received an alarm from the security system of the theatre. You got caught on camera.” She shifted on her seat embarrassedly.
Trixie on the other hand was too baffled to even get a straight reaction out of herself. “Y-you knew it was me? Y-you were following me?”
“I wasn’t. I recognised you on the cameras. So, I thought I would come over, you know, see what the problem was.”
“That’s preposterous!” she replied, “I don’t know what to say to that. Followed. Like a common criminal. Just because your staff—”
“Whatever!” she exclaimed, “You thought it would be appropriate to follow me! Me! The great and powerful—,” she rambled just to be silenced by Sunset’s raised hand.
“You don’t have to do this again,” Sunset said softly.
“Do what? Trixie is not doing any—”,
“This,” Sunset raised her voice just above speaking level, before quieting down again, “– this, Trixie. Your demeanour. The whole ‘Trixie persona’.” She sighed and tried to look the other woman in her eyes which was harder than she thought it would be.
Trixie went silent as Sunset spoke up which – in High School – never happened. She avoided Sunset’s gaze and folded her arms in defiance.
Most people didn’t call her out on her behaviour. And even if they did, she usually talked over them just to get to her point. But this was different. Sunset wasn’t mean, nor loud or aggressive. And there was more.
Sunset knew her. They had been through some pretty rough times, like the time someone tried to erase all of Sunset’s memories. She was the only one by her side as that happened. The next few months they were friends. Good friends even.
After graduation they kind of drifted apart, as it usually goes. But apart from any other people around her, her friendship with Sunset had been real. Something she never came close to again after that.
All of a sudden, the café they were sitting in seemed way too small for her taste. Her breathing sped up and she clutched her arms tight, wrapping them around her body. She became much smaller in her chair as her thoughts went haywire and raced through her mind. Her pupils dilated, as her anxiety level rose and she felt that she was losing control.
Taking deep breaths, she tried to decide if she should just jump up and leave or curl into a ball on the ground.
Her eyes darted from her cup to the sugar dispenser and every other object on the table. How could Sunset talk to her like that? They haven’t seen each other in years. And now she felt that it was her right to scold her? For what? Wanting to get paid? Being herself?
Trixie flinched as something pulled her away from her train of thoughts.
Sunset Shimmer had switched places and now sat just beside her, placing her hand on her shoulder.
Trixie looked up, tears in her eyes, right into her old friend’s worried looking face. She felt her warm breath touching her cheek. How long had she been sitting next to me? she thought, gazing into Sunset’s light blue eyes. Had they always been this bright?
Sunset tried to wrap her arms around her but hesitated. Trixie knew that Sunset would only try to comfort her, so she nodded very lightly. Still her eyes widened as Sunset pulled her into a gentle hug.
Trixie hadn’t had this much physical contact in who knows how long, so she returned the gesture vividly and pulled herself deeper into the embrace. She pressed her face against the redhead’s neck and tears kept streaming silently over her face.
The moment their skins touched, Sunset’s eyes flashed in a silvery, white burst of magic, overwhelming her with images of her thoughts.
Trixie in front of the theatre, frustrated.
A child, resembling Trixie, wearing a magician’s outfit on stage, while everybody is laughing at her for her failed tricks.
Her, arguing with a man in a suit in front of a stage
A man’s voice, singing a lullaby
A heartbeat later, Trixie heard a small whisper in her ear. A quiet and soothing tune brushed warm over the side of her face and it felt tranquilising.
Her eyes opened up and her lips parted with an inaudible gasp as she remembered. She remembered the lullaby her father used to sing to her, every time a show went wrong, or anytime she was upset. She hadn’t heard that song out loud in years, barely remembering the words that faded from her memory as time went by.
After Sunset was finished, they broke apart, both in tears. Trixie’s eyes were wide. After what felt like an eternity she finally spoke: “How did you—,” she whispered, her voice cracking.
Instinctively Sunset raised her hand and grasped at the small amulet that hung around her neck. Usually people didn’t notice when her magic did her thing. Then again, usually she didn’t use her knowledge gained to influence someone. At least not that obvious. And especially not in recent years with her magic diminishing more and more.
The only other person she’d offer help in that way was her best friend. But she had known Twilight for years. They discovered their magic together. That is a bond you can’t share with many other people.
“I-I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it,” she answered in shock, “My magic wasn’t supposed to do that. It hasn’t done this in years. It showed me some of your emotions and… and this song seemed to be of help when—”
She stopped talking when Trixie embraced her again. Suddenly she was very aware of her heartbeat and a rush of sensation flooded her every being.
Twilight was standing on the stage inside the cafeteria and rubbed her chin. She promised Sunset to help with the setup for her friend Trixie’s magic show this evening. A few months ago, she probably wouldn’t have helped Trixie to do that sort of thing. But since Sunset befriended her, Trixie often partook in group activities. So, Twilight came to hang out with and even like her. Plus, she could do a lot of planning and she would aid her friend Sunset, which in turn was reason enough to help.
Carefully she laid out the plan of the setup in her head. Speakers had to go on either side on top of their pedestals. Without really thinking about it anymore, her hands glowed and a purple cloud formed around the speakers to lift them up and hover them on stage.
Trixie provided a banner which read “The great and powerful Trixie” in all caps. Twilight couldn’t help herself but chuckle. Trixie was kind of sweet in her overcompensating, self-doubt overriding, hyper-boastful way of life. But only in small doses. Her sweetness deteriorated rapidly, when all of her characteristics were on max level for more than an hour or so.
That’s why Twilight couldn’t pinpoint how Sunset was able to be friends with her, giving her sometimes impatient nature. But she told her that Trixie was only doing it when others were around and that it had become much better since they were friends.
That was something Twilight could attest to if she thought about it a little. When all of her friends were around, especially Rainbow Dash and Applejack, Trixie pumped up her volume to the top, to outboast even Rainbow Dash. And that in and of itself was a feat not easy to accomplish.
But whenever Trixie, Sunset, and she were alone, her demeanor changed subtly. She sometimes dropped the stage-act entirely and spoke and laughed with them in first person form. That’s when she liked her the most.
Still thinking about that, Twilight fixed the banner with her magic and tied the knots at the top of the stage. Some props that were lying around next to the stage flew up and made their way to the stage when something clattered to the ground.
Since she had already looked another way, to simultaneously tie the curtain to the side, she looked back, surprised at the sound.
She finished strapping the curtain and set down the props on the stage. She went to the side and looked down over the rim curiously. On the ground, a metre and a half down, two of the three juggling pins laid there on the floor, one still rolling around.
That was odd. She looked back and saw the box they were supposed to be in. She actually saw them there earlier. Granted, they were placed on top of it, so they could easily be dropped when someone was carrying it. But with her magic everything was safe inside the purple cloud.
She reached over the rim and the pins were slowly lifted upwards by her powers to her outstretched hands.
Just before she could catch them, she felt the magic amulet around her neck getting hot and a mild static twitched through her hand. The purple glow around her hand and the pins flickered and then went out. She snapped the pins before they could fall back down and looked at her hands in shock.
What. Just. Happened?
Raising her hands to her eye level, Twilight squeezed the top of the pipette, letting a single drop of clear liquid fall into the test tube. Her eyes were closing almost in slow motion as the big droplet plunged into the gooey substance she had formulated earlier today. The moment she opened them again - and stared through her safety goggles at the experiment - the substance hissed, and her eyes widened in shock.
Without skipping a beat, Twilight grabbed the handle of the fume hood and yanked it open with a violent push, threw the test tube inside the ventilation shaft, and pulled the hood back down as fast as she could. In an unnecessary but reflexive motion she turned her back and kept her head down attempting to shield herself from whatever happened next.
Her lab partner looked over to her across the room, raising her eyebrows in astonishment. "Everything alright there, Twilight?"
A sudden plopping sound and a low sizzle from under the hood let Twilight flinch a little, before looking back at the failed experiment. "It appears so. Thanks for asking." She straightened herself up and smoothed the wrinkles out of her lab coat. "That was rather disappointing," she mused, pushing the button for the ventilation and watched the toxic fumes being sucked into oblivion.
"Back to the drawing board then," she sighed and wrote something in her notebook as her phone vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out and frowned at the screen, "Huh-," she exclaimed, earning another look.
"What is it?" Scribble asked while she came over to look at the notes Twilight had written down. "Something wrong?"
Twilight looked up at her friend and shrugged. "I'm not sure." She took her safety goggles off and used her index finger to push her glasses up her nose as they were coming down again. "I got a message from Sunset. She said it's urgent and I should meet her in the city. She just ran into Trixie Lulamoon."
"Trixie? From High School? Wow, I haven't thought about her in a long time." Scribble laughed and looked amused. "Do you think she still refers to herself in the third person? That was so weird."
"I guess we all were," Twilight answered absentmindedly, "But I'm not sure why Sunny wants me to meet up with them. It's not like Trixie and I were close or anything."
"I guess you have to go there to find out. Knowing Sunset Shimmer, she is not going to tell you via text, just to tease you."
"Yeah, you're right." Twilight looked back at her experiment and down at her notes.
"Don't worry, I’ll clean it up"
"You would? Thank you, Scribble." She grabbed her notes and put them neatly in her shoulder bag, sorting them just behind her pencil case and in front of the Laptop, as usual. Zipping the bag shut and already moving to the door, she half turned to say something as her ponytail whacked her cheek, causing her eye to twitch. "Ow!"
Scribble Dee smiled, "Yes, Twilight, I will be careful. I know the compound is unstable and highly responsive to phenylalanine. I helped you develop it, remember? Plus, I saw you throwing it under there" – she jerked her thumb over her shoulder – "because you used too much of the reagent."
Feeling her cheeks burn up from the inside, Twilight just nodded. "Right. Yes. See you tomorrow, Scrib"
Twilight skipped down the stairs in front of the university to get to her car. On her way to the parking lot, she waved at Micro Chips, who just arrived for his first lecture after he was appointed to a professorship. “Micro,” she called and waved.
He smiled wearily and waved back.
The way he looked, he must have prepared all night long. She tried to give him an encouraging smile “Good luck in there. You are going to ace it, Professor.”
This seemed to motivate him a great deal and he straightened up, to take the steps in front of him with more energy than before. “Thanks, Twilight.”
Twilight chuckled and put her bag in the back seat before she got in the front and started her car.
On her drive over to the city her thoughts began to wander around. Sunset knew she was at work and still she felt the need to text and ask her to get to her as soon as she could. That was very peculiar, since she really hadn’t thought about Trixie in ages. She knew that Sunset and her were friends for a while.
But Sunny went on a travel spree after High School, before going off to college. She stayed in touch with Twilight and her friends because they used to hang out together all the time.
Trixie however didn’t; that’s just how things are sometimes. As far as Twilight knew, she stayed here in Canterlot her whole life. But what happened after their time at CHS was beyond her.
Thoughtfully, Twilight pursed her lips and tried to remember what Trixie was like at school. But all she could ever think of was her attitude and her over the top stage persona that led to more than one laugh she shared with her friends. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t a very nice thing to do.
As her mind pondered what the last 20 years had been like, she realised that she circled the café that Sunset and Trixie were supposed to be in at least twice. “Oops,” she chided herself and pulled over to get a parking spot nearby.
As soon as she entered the small shop, she spotted both women at a table towards the back wall. She waved and went to greet them. She gave her friend a heartfelt hug, before she turned around to meet Trixie’s eyes. “Hello, Trixie,” she addressed her, “It’s nice to see you again. I mean, It has been a long time, hasn’t it?”
She nodded. “Yes it has,” she replied, and then sniffled a little under her breath.
Twilight frowned at her and then looked back at Sunset. Both of their eyes were reddened, and Sunset clutched a handkerchief in her fist. “Have you been crying?” She asked rather baffled.
Trixie inhaled to let out an all so familiar rant about how the great and powerful Trixie would never cry or something like that, but Sunset laid a hand on her shoulder to calm her down.
“Yes, Twi, we have. Why don’t you sit down and we tell you everything there is to know about what happened.”
Twilight listened intently while Sunset summarised the last couple of hours. The closer she got to telling Twilight about using her magic, the lighter Trixie’s blue skin went as she paled. Twilight saw her shifting on her chair uncomfortably.
Sunset stopped talking when Twilight laid a hand on her forearm, using her chin to gesture towards Trixie.
For the first time since they arrived, Twilight realised that Trixie without her swaggering demeanor that she was used to, looked very tired. There were dark circles beneath her eyes, and she looked as though she hadn’t slept properly in a long time.
“Are you alright?” Twilight asked and smiled warmly. “You look like you could use a glass of water.” She looked over her shoulder and tried to get someone from the staff to see her.
“No, it’s alright,” Trixie replied, “I-I just need to-” she gestured towards the restrooms and stood up.
Before any of the other two could muster a response, Trixie was already in motion and made her way to the door she had pointed to.
“If she weren’t so stressed out, I’d make a joke about her at least not using a smoke bomb.”
Sunset couldn’t help but smile at Twilight’s remark.
“Come on, that was a classical magician’s exit. At least it would have been twenty years ago. She would have avoided such a situation at all costs. Just like that.” She pointed after her. “And the way she looked, and the direction your story was taking, I fear that you were only missing the big ending, huh?”
The redhead buried her face in her hands and sighed heavily “You are right, it’s not funny at all,” came her muffled voice from underneath her hands. She wiped her face and drew in a deep breath. “You see, Trixie is in a very bad place right now. Her whole life seemed to be one pitfall after another.”
“Hold on. She actually told you that? You meet her after 20 years and the first thing she does is spill her guts just like that?”
“Well, not exactly,” Sunset confessed, “Twilight, I texted you to come right away, because something happened.”
She looked around, as if she thought someone would attack her at any moment, automatically clutching her amulet as she often did when she talked about her magic. “I saw her memories.” She raised her head and looked at Twilight pleadingly “It hasn’t been this strong in years, Twi,” she almost whispered. “I could see everything. Her thoughts, her feelings. Everything! Even things from her childhood.”
Twilight’s eyes went round and she touched her own violet pentacle that hung around her neck. “Are you serious? What does that mean? Did Princess Twilight write to you? Did she find a way to reopen the portal again?” Twilight bombarded her friend with questions who sat there, helplessly shrugging her shoulders at every single one of them.
“I-I don’t know,” she just said, “I haven’t checked the book yet, it just happened an hour ago.” Sunset held up her hand and touched her temple, squeezing her eyes together at the same time. “Thinking back… it-it was a lot to process. I feel very mushy.” She opened one eye to look back at her friend. “Twi? I think Trixie was the reason my magic surged.”
Worried about her, Twilight reached over and took Sunset’s other hand, smiling encouragingly. “Since nothing else is out of the ordinary and the only thing different is you meeting Trixie; I think you might be right.”
Sunset nodded and seemed to regret that decision right away, judging by her face distorting in pain.
“Ok, maybe we should get you home first. Then we can talk about it.” She looked across the room where Trixie had vanished. “And maybe her, too,” she contemplated. “Do you know if she has anybody who could take care of her?” she asked, looking back at her.
“No,” Sunset replied, “I mean, no I don’t know.”
“Hm, do you think we should take her? You know, let her sleep in our guest room? She looks really exhausted. Maybe –” she stopped and put on a small smile “– maybe she needs a friend right now.”
Sunset returned the smile and nodded “I think that is a good idea. I do hope she will come with us.” She turned her head just in time to see Trixie leave the restroom and make her way back to them.
“Let’s ask then, shall we?” Sunset got up and wobbled as she came to her feet, but found her balance eventually.
Twilight tried to stabilize her and put an arm around her waist. “Careful.”
With a barely noticeable indecision, Trixie arrived at the table. She looked fresher and the bags under her eyes were hardly visible anymore. “Well, it was nice meeting you two again,” she chirped in a cheerful manner, “Let’s do that again sometime shall we?”
Twilight raised her eyebrows and both she and Sunset looked at each other at the same time. She could see the surprise in her eyes as well as a hint of scepticism. Sunset had the same thoughts apparently.
She turned back to face Trixie again and started talking: “Trixie, Sunset and I had an idea. Would you like to accompany us back to our flat? Maybe we’ll find a way to get you back on your feet.” Twilight instantly blushed as she saw the look of displeasure on Trixie’s face “Wait no. I meant that I know some people who might like to hire a professional magician. We could talk about that if you’d like.”
A wide smile appeared on Trixie’s face “Well not that Trixie needs to have help to get a gig, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to check out new options, am I right?” She gestured towards the entry of the café. “Lead the way.”
Twilight shared another look with her friend and finally led Sunset to the door, paying the bill as they walked past the counter.
A few steps away from the car she stopped and looked over her shoulder to see Trixie following her, smiling disturbingly bright.
Before getting into the car, Sunset glanced back at her as well. “I’ll text you the address.”
Trixie nodded and walked down the street to get to her own car.
Twilight shook her head and removed her arm from around her friend. “Let’s get you home, ok?” She proceeded to put Sunset in her car and walked around the hood to get to the driver’s seat.
For a second, she stared after Trixie, her fingers gently touching her amulet again. She looked at her other hand and then up. The aerial seesawed gently in the wind as she concentrated and tried to move it. Purple sparks erupted from her fingertips, but fizzled out after a few centimetres. “Hmm,” she mused and finally got into her car.
“Trixie, would you stop gawking at me like that and help me prepare for tonight?” Sunset wore high heels and the sleek looking, iridescent dress Trixie had picked out for her, standing in front of a mirror and frowning. First at herself, then at the now smug looking girl behind her.
Trixie took a step towards Sunset and brushed her red and gold hair over her shoulder, before zipping up her dress. “Told you, you would look good in that dress,” she cooed.
Sunset shivered as she felt the girl’s fingers touching her neck and turned around to face her directly, ignoring the warm feeling she sensed in her stomach. She wobbled a little on her shoes that definitely wouldn’t be her favourite choice in like, ever.
She tapped Trixie on her chest so that she needed to take a step back “I still don’t like it,” she answered, but had to smile. “Admit it, you just don’t like my leather jacket.”
Trixie grinned. “I won’t concede nor deny the truth of that statement.”
Sunset rolled her eyes, shook her head but laughed to herself. “You are one of a kind,” she said and then looked at Trixie, contemplating something. “Could you help me with that?” she finally asked and held up a garter.
Trixie hesitated, blushing at the same time.
An instance later the red in her face was gone and her voice turned up in volume “Why do you need Trixie to do that?” she asked. “A menial task to dress a girl like a common maid.” She put a hand to her forehead and Sunset wasn’t sure if Rarity was an influence here at some point.
“Quit the act, showgirl,” she smirked and threw the rubber band at her friend, who caught it with a surprised yelp.
“You know very well that I can’t get it on myself because these heels are not very– eep” she tumbled and braced herself on a nearby chair “Case in point,” she huffed.
Trixie looked at the garter suspiciously and then at Sunset who still leaned on the chair.
Sunset gave her a prompting look and Trixie finally knelt down in front of her.
Carefully she lifted her foot from the ground so that Trixie could slip the rubber belt over her shoe and then up her leg.
None of them were talking and a cackling tension filled the air.
Putting her foot back on the ground, she bent over and grabbed the apparel at her knee level, stopping Trixie to slide it further up. Flaming hot blood shot into her face and she looked at the girl to her feet. “Th–Thanks. I can get it from here.”
Trixie, blushing profusely herself, nodded and pulled herself up and away from Sunset.
An awkward silence fell on the room.
“Hey did I tell you?” Sunset croaked hoarsely to break the suspense. “I have been accepted at the university I was telling you about.”
Baffled and overrun by this abrupt change of subject, Trixie grasped for the wall to support her suddenly weak knees. “The one overseas?” she asked bewildered.
“Yes,” Sunset answered slowly and gulped, all of a sudden very aware that her impulsive demeanour once again bubbled to the surface at the wrong time.
“So you’ll be gone after the summer?” Trixie asked crestfallen.
“Well, yeah” Sunset awkwardly rubbed her neck, one hand still on the chair to not fall over. “But I’ll be home during the breaks. And I’ll write to you.” she smiled. “And you’ll write to me. It’ll be fun right?”
“Yeah–” Trixie responded and after a second she smiled a well trained smile. “Yeah, it’ll be fun.”
Sunset fixed some drinks for Twilight and Trixie who had sat down in the spacious living room she and her friend called home.
She heard the two of them chatter politely. While she put three glasses, a bottle of water and apple juice on a tray, she overheard some snippets of conversation.
“Yes, I agree, if you did in fact do a full feature-length show, of course he should have paid you. Even if there were some blunders. That could always happen in a live show, right?” she heard Twilight say.
“Thank you,” Trixie answered.
Sunset re-entered the living room and put the tray in the middle of the coffee table encouraging them to help themselves with a simple gesture.
Both women smiled at her, and she sat down opposite Twilight - who was seated in her comfortable wingback chair - to the left of Trixie, who now sat in between her two hosts.
“So,” Trixie started, “you were about to offer me some job opportunities?” she enquired.
“Um–” was the only thing Twilight could muster and she looked helplessly at Sunset.
On their ride over, Twilight and her had rehearsed parts of what would happen when they meet with Trixie in their home. Twilight wasn’t actually lying, when she said that she knew people who might want to hire Trixie as a performer. But they came to an understanding that it might be more important to know why Sunset’s magic had returned so strongly. And after that, they could offer to help Trixie.
Twilight had already contacted a few people and before she hadn’t heard back from anyone, they wouldn’t be able to tell Trixie something positive anyway.
“Look Trixie, we have something we wanted to discuss with you prior to the potential job offerings.” Sunset jumped in and earned a relieved look from Twilight.
Nervously, she rubbed her arm and looked at Trixie. “As you noticed, in the café, something happened there between us,” Sunset said. “Well actually it happened to me.”
Trixie put a strand of hair behind her ear and looked down. Her cheeks flushed with colour and she nodded. “I recall, yes. But what does that have to do with me? You used to use your magic all the time if I remember correctly.”
“Yes, I did. But what you don’t know is that my magic,” she looked across the table at Twilight, “our magic, vanished.”
“What are you talking about?” Trixie countered. “Even after–,” she fell silent and a bittersweet expression mixed in with her embarrassment. “Even after you left, you wrote me a last letter, and in there you said that you used it.”
Awkwardly, Sunset shuffled on her seat and put on a pained expression. Sooner or later the subject had to come up. After she told Trixie about leaving Canterlot and before she actually left for university, the relationship between Trixie and her had become much deeper than she could ever anticipate. It wasn’t romantic at the point she was leaving, but she couldn’t say if it wouldn’t have led to that if she had stayed.
That’s why it pained her so much to face the thing she had done. After she got the answer to her first letter, it became apparent that it would be way more difficult to be apart from Trixie than she had imagined. So to bury her feelings and to not think about her anymore, she decided to cut all ties and stayed overseas even for the breaks. A few letters arrived during her first year, but eventually Trixie stopped writing. It was one of the stupidest decisions Sunset had made in her life.
“I– it wasn’t supposed to be my last letter to you,” was the only thing she could say in her not very well thought out defense.
“That’s what you wrote in it,” Trixie spat. “Yet here we are, 20 something years later and the first thing you do to me after not answering back anymore is read my mind to– to what?” she burst out, welling up at the same time. “See how pathetic I became? Well congratulations, Sunset. You got it. And you have the audacity to tell me that you don’t have magic? What is the matter with you?” A tear left the corner of her eye and slowly trickled down her cheek. Trixie trembled but seemed to be unable to move more than a few centimetres at the same time.
“I-it wasn’t like that. I had no control,” Sunset tried to explain. She buried her face in her palms and started to cry, herself. “I’m sorry Trixie. I didn’t want to hurt you. Not then, not now,” she sobbed.
“Trixie,” Twilight intervened with a small voice and both women looked at her with reddened eyes, as if they had forgotten she was even there. “May I try to explain some things that have happened since– we lost touch?”
Wiping her eyes with her sleeve, Trixie looked like she was torn between jumping up and leaving and giving Twilight a chance to tell her what’s going on.
After a few seconds of consideration, she slowly nodded at Twilight and wiped her eyes one last time.
Sunset offered her a handkerchief which she begrudginglytook.
Twilight nodded herself. “First of all, I know we didn’t spend much time getting to know each other in High School,” she said, “but I always thought you and Sunset were great together. Sunny was always in a great mood after you two were out.”
Sunset and Trixie both looked at each other and Sunset sniffled, before Twilight carried on.
“The last few months at CHS our magic somehow faded. There were no more threats emerging again and we used our powers less and less. Well except for Rainbow Dash,” she chuckled softly.
“It was around that time, we found out that the connection to Equestria must have been severed somehow. Sunset had a book –” she looked over to Sunset and waited for her approving nod to carry on “– where she could exchange messages with Princess Twilight. One day she just didn’t write back anymore. And after that we found that the portal to Equestria had closed. To this day, we don’t know why. And it hasn’t been open ever since. We check regularly.
“And after High School,” she continued, “even during the last semester, we had problems focussing our powers.” She pointed at the amulet around her neck. “These were supposed to channel Equestrian magic. But with no connection to Equestria, the magic just seemed to– vanish. There was some energy stored in them, but the more we’d use them, the more it diminished and, in some cases, disappeared for good.” she ended and a sad look flickered across her face.
“So what you are saying is, that the portal has reopened, because Sunset can use her magic again?” Trixie asked, her voice still raspy.
“That’s it, we don’t know,” Sunset answered instead of Twilight, avoiding Trixie’s gaze and looking at her feet instead, wrangling her hands. “We talked about it on our way home, but we don’t have an explanation. I wasn’t even consciously doing it. It was just– I think it might have been triggered– by you.” She looked up and saw a bewildered Trixie in front of her.
“But why would I channel your magic? That doesn’t make sense.” Trixie replied. She shook her head and stood up.
Both Sunset and Twilight raised themselves.
“Look, this was a mistake,” Trixie rambled. “I should–
Sunset had taken a step forward and her heart raced inside her chest as she reached for Trixie’s arm, but stopped herself, clenching her hand into a fist and forcing her arm to come down. “Please,” she interrupted her. “stay.”
Trixie hesitated and looked from one to the other.
“Trixie, I want to ask for your forgiveness. I was a bad friend. I was selfish and I should have written back after you answered me. I should have called. Visited.
“When I saw you today on those cameras, I took it as a sign. I wanted to see you. Talk to you. I wanted to apologise to you for what I have done.” she looked down.
It felt like an eternity, but then a hand was placed on her shoulder and gave it a squeeze. Trixie’s voice was very soft, almost broken: “Thank you, Sunset. I didn’t know how much it meant to me hearing that until now.”
Sunset’s heart skipped a beat at the touch and she looked up with a weak smiling face and watery eyes. She met her gaze and Trixie moved in, waiting for her to signal that it was ok. Only after that, Trixie embraced her.
Although careful not to touch any of her exposed skin, Sunset couldn’t help but smile, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Twilight stood next to them, clutching her hands in front of her mouth, looking like she was one step away from squealing in joy.
Trixie opened her eyes and looked at Twilight “What are you so happy about?” she asked, wiping away the tears again. “We don’t even know each other that well.”
“I know, but seeing Sunny happy makes me happy,” she replied cheerfully “Also, we might not know each other well, but I think what just happened was super cute. And yes, being 39 doesn’t change that fact one bit.”
Trixie struggled between being offended and being flattered and instinctively decided to go the Trixie route: “Trixie is not cute!”
The three of them were standing at the kitchen counter and Sunset was bent over her magic book, flipping through the pages to see if Princess Twilight had written back to her.
Trixie and Twilight stood opposite her, waiting intently.
“Nothing,” Sunset finally snapped the book shut and pushed it away from the edge. “No answer, no new messages, no nothing.”
Twilight rubbed her chin and hummed. “That is very curious. Then it’s got to be something else.” Her phone beeped and she pulled it out. After reading something she groaned. “And it’s not the portal. Fluttershy just texted.”
“Well, what about what you said earlier?” Trixie wondered. “About me being the catalyst? What was that about? Or was it just a fixed idea?”
“Actually yes,” Sunset admitted, “that was merely a hypothesis. When I hugged you, and touched your skin, there was a sensation I haven’t felt in a long time.”
“Would you like to tell us what it was?” Trixie asked.
Sunset sat down on a bar stool and put her elbows on the counter. “Actually, I could barely remember at first. The only time I felt like that was when my magic first came to life. At the Battle of the Bands.”
Trixie snorted. “You mean where you stole Trixie’s spot in the finale?”
“And defeated the sirens in the wake of it,” Sunset added. “Guess we weren’t such good friends back then”
“No, we weren’t,” Trixie retorted, but couldn’t quite suppress a smile.
“I’ve only heard of it, since I was still in Crystal Prep. So do you mind skipping forward?” Twilight asked, smirking.
“Yes, sorry. I was on the hill with Princess Twilight,” she emphasised the title, “and the others. I had to jump in. And when we all sang together,” she gulped, “as friends, I ponied up, stubs for ears and everything.”
“Ponied up,” Trixie laughed, “I still can’t get over that you called it that.”
Both Sunset and Twilight chose to ignore her outburst to not further fuel her teasing.
“Anyway, that was the first time I experienced true positive Magic again after leaving Equestria. And today felt exactly like that. Except that it went off by itself. I used to have control over my power. It just worked, when I wanted it to work. It never just went haywire.”
“Well once,” Twilight added, “when Rainbow Dash abused her superspeed, all of our powers kind of went overboard.”
“That’s true. But it was different then. And our amulets glowed so we could see that there was something wrong.”
“So you are saying, that despite you leaving back then and only seeing me today just rekindled your magic because we were friends in High School?” Trixie looked wary.
Sunset shrugged helplessly and couldn’t even muster a proper response that went past a dumbfounded “Eh–”
“Well, then try it,” Trixie suggested. “Here, touch me.” She pushed her sleeve upwards and extended her arm across the counter towards Sunset.
Who, despite her first impulse just to grab the arm, backed away, careful not to touch her. “I– don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I want to know what happens just as much as you do.” Maybe even more. She looked to the side and rubbed her arm. “But I don’t want to invade your mind like I did before.”
Trixie retracted her arm and nodded sympathetically. “I understand. But let me tell you something. Back then you were always asking me if I was ok with everything. And even in the café today you waited for my approval. And I appreciate that a lot. But you couldn’t have foreseen what would happen, when the last time you did something like that was years ago. And even then, it was always a conscious decision. You couldn’t know it was going off, let alone being on autopilot.”
“I guess so.”
“So don’t make a fuss about it. You can’t control it, yet. But you learned to control it once. So you can do it again. And you know what? You have my consent to read my mind by accident,” Trixie chuckled. “We just have to catch up on the last 20 years, and then I have nothing to hide from you anymore.” she smiled.
Sunset smiled back carefully “Thank you for your trust Trixie. I do hope that I am worthy of it. And I would love to bring us both up to date.”
Someone cleared her throat. Sunset and Trixie looked at Twilight simultaneously and then giggled. “Ok, we have a lot of catching up to do then,” Sunset laughed and the other two chimed in.
Twilight and Sunset were standing at the back of the cafeteria and watched Trixie going over her performance one last time. They heard her talking and showing off her talent to the empty rows of chairs.
Both looked at each other and giggled.
“Well, she certainly seems prepared,” Twilight said, “And I see that you are not the only one wearing revealing stuff.” she blushed as she realised that Trixie in fact looked stunning in her stage outfit, and she just admitted that to her friend.
Sunset murmured something that could easily have been an insult, but chuckled. “Let me tell you one thing. When this is over, I’ll never wear something with that much bling ever again.”
“That’s not fair,” Twilight offered, happy about her friend not reacting to her embarrassment. “You have a lifetime ahead of you. Don’t just dismiss–”
“I told her.”
Twilight looked at her, taken aback. “You told her what?”
“That I am going to leave after the summer,” Sunset answered and looked sheepish. “She didn’t take it very well.”
“Oh,” Twilight rubbed her arm and looked at Trixie first, then back at her friend. “What do you think is going to happen?”
“I don’t know” Sunset blurted out and lowered her voice instantly. Fortunately, Trixie didn’t seem to have heard the outburst. She was too much into her performance. “I– we have a good two month left. We can have fun during that time, right?”
Twilight nodded awkwardly. “Yes, of course. I mean it’s not like you will be gone forever. And you could write to her once you are away?”
“That’s what I said!” Sunset threw her hands in the air, before she buried her face into them. Remembering that she already wore her stage outfit, she resisted the urge to just slide down the wall to sit on the ground. “It still feels weird.” Her voice sounded muffled and drawn-out.
Carefully, Twilight got closer and bumped her shoulder into her friend’s. “Hey, if we can stay in touch, so can you two” she tried to cheer her up.
Sunset looked up and gave Twilight a weak smile and a nod, before she watched her magician friend popping things out of her top hat. “Look at her. She really does look the part, doesn’t she?”
“Hey, if it comes to magic and stage appearance nobody beats Trixie,” Twilight laughed.
“That’s very true. And her outfit really is something else. Makes her look, I don’t know– irresistible. You just have to watch what she is doing on stage. You know what I mean?” Sunset looked over and lifted her eyebrows.
“Yeah, there is something about her, hm?” Twilight answered, wrapped up in thought.
“Yes. there is.”
Both girls crossed over to watch her again, immersed in the captivating stage presence that was the great and powerful Trixie.
During their first night and after a long talk, Twilight caught up to the fact that Trixie didn’t want to leave to go back to being alone in her one bedroom apartment. So, on the second day, after Trixie spent the night, she had a swift talk with Sunset while Trixie was out of the room. They quickly came to terms that they wanted to invite her to stay with them in their guest room.
Trixie, although she seemed disinclined at first, reluctantly agreed after a while. Once they settled on this new temporary living situation and everyone got used to the thought, they felt quite comfortable cooking for three in the evening.
The first few days of living together, the three of them did in fact try to update one another on what had happened since they last saw each other. There was a lot of giggling and laughing involved, as well as some tears as Sunset and Trixie took their time processing their relationship and what might have been, had Sunset not moved away.
Otherwise the first week had been a blur.
Twilight remembered a gadget she had almost forgotten about. A refined version of her magic stealing device she had once utilised against her friends.
After the portal closed for the first time, she had worked on it for days on end, just to figure out that she couldn’t make it work. With twenty years of knowledge however, she could bring the device to do her bidding in an evenings’ worth of time.
It now focussed on the detecting magic side of its design and forfeited the stealing part. She installed it near the portal in front of Canterlot High, but it still hadn’t peaked once since then.
And aside from the portal not opening again, Princess Twilight hadn’t written back either.
Sunset even tried to use her magic purposefully on Twilight. They figured it’d be a better idea to try it on her, than on Trixie. Sunset was used to doing it to her friend, even though the opportunity was less frequent over the last few years.
But it appeared that the involuntary outburst in the café was in fact so strong, because it not only drew its energy from Trixie’s and Sunset’s friendship. It seemed that it used up all the extra power that had been stored and cared for in her amulet.
After another week and a half of not figuring out their magic problem, Twilight could keep her promise to Trixie though. She finally got a message from one of her acquaintances, who was in league with the owner of the Canterlot Amphitheatre. She actually got to rent the venue for a special event magic show in seven weeks’ time.
Twilight texted Trixie as soon as she knew and got bombarded with voice messages, asking her if she was serious and what she deserved to be played such a cruel trick on. A lot of third person talking was involved in this and every time Twilight opened a voice message she had to grin.
After an extensive rant about the atrocity of this practical joke, an absentminded Twilight laid her phone back on the table next to her spectrometer.
The moment she wanted to get back to work, she looked at the wide grinning face of Scribble Dee, who had propped her elbows down on the table and put her face inside her palms.
“Well?” she asked.
Twilight flinched back and scowled at her lab partner. “Scrib! You startled me.” She put her hand on her chest and took a deep breath. Then she looked at her table, wondering if she was at the right one.
She frowned at Scribble and raised an eyebrow. “What are you doing here? Your workplace is over there. Shoo.”
Scribble’s grin widened even more if that was possible. “So, she still does use the third person when she speaks of herself, hm?”
“Yes, she does– sometimes. What’s your point?”
“Nothing, nothing. I just thought it sounds cute when she does it, don’t you think?” Scribble raised her head from her hands and smiled innocently at Twilight.
“Wh–What are you implying?” Twilight felt her cheeks heating up, but swallowed the embarrassment down for now.
“Me? I’m not implying anything. Yet, I’m not the one smiling from ear to ear whenever my phone is vibrating.” she turned to get back to her table, leaving Twilight struggling to keep her face from turning red all around.
“That’s preposterous,” she retorted and rubbed her cheeks, which in fact positively hurt from smiling a lot today. She hadn’t even noticed until Scribble pointed it out.
Scribble just looked over her shoulder and nodded “If you say so.”
Twilight could spot her smirk, before she turned away to get back to work.
As soon as Trixie realised that the booking of the Amphitheatre hadn’t been a practical joke, she almost freaked out. Twilight and Sunset had to do their very best to calm her down, which was rather difficult, since stage-Trixie had taken over to process everything that was going on.
After the initial outbreak of the great and powerful Trixie being like they remembered her to be, she already had begun to plan the show.
Since Sunset usually worked the night shift, and Twilight really liked to plan things, she offered to help Trixie after her days at the university were over.
In the wake of the nightly planning sessions, Twilight realised what this chance actually meant for Trixie. She was more determined than Twilight had ever experienced in High School and she realised, when it came to her performances, the magician was as meticulous and precise as Twilight was in every part of her life.
They talked for hours about different mechanics she would use and wardrobe changes or even gimmicks she needed to have to make this show work. The sheer effort of will on Trixies side and Twilight’s concise enquiries made her realise that Trixie hadn’t had a show in her entire life, that went as she had planned.
As soon as Twilight realised that, she ramped up her efforts. Planning was the one thing she had always excelled at and the very idea of something not going as planned, made her shiver on the inside. Trixie needed to win in life for once and inadvertently Twilight had provided her with the biggest opportunity of her lifetime to do so.
Trixie seemed to realise that pretty quickly too and started to think big. Every part of the performance had to top the previous one which wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for one tiny detail: The farther down the road they went, the more Twilight realised that this wasn’t going to work if Trixie would do everything on her own. As thorough as Trixie’s planning was, she never even had the idea of not doing it alone.
Twilight tried her best to help her plan everything to her satisfaction, but one late evening, she couldn’t justify going any further.
“Um. Trixie, could you just help me with that?” she asked and pointed at one of the sheets of paper where a rather tricky illusion was scribbled down. “Have you ever done that before?”
The magician just glanced at the note and shook her head absentmindedly. “No, I did not. But I have some pretty good ideas on how to do it.”
“Oh kay–,” Twilight wasn’t sure how to react to this. “But what about this one?” she tapped on another piece of paper. “That illusion seemed to be needing at least four hands to pull it off”
“Pfft, please. The great and powerful Trixie can do it with one hand if necessary!”
Twilight struggled and had to push herself to speak again. “Trixie, I don’t think this will be possible without help from–”
“What are you talking about?” Trixie interrupted her “It is–”
“Please,” Twilight shot back, “Please let me finish.”
Trixie looked like she wanted to start an argument on that, but ultimately decided against it.
“I think you would be better off with an assistant.” she scrambled through the pages which she had sorted by their difficulty of execution. “Better yet two or three.” she lifted her eyebrows and sighed.
“Don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty cool ideas in here. And I am very grateful and honoured that you cared to share them with me. I know that magicians don’t do that lightly. But I am pretty sure that everything in here would be less taxing if you had help.“
“And how do you suggest I’ll do that?” Trixie responded and crossed her arms. “It’s not that there are a lot of assistants standing in line to work with a magician. Never mind the fact that I don’t have the money to pay them. I barely make rent as is. I don’t have fancy money to hire an assistant, let alone three.”
Twilight thought about that and put her hand to her chin. “Sunset used to help you out, right? A–and, I don’t know. I already read a lot of your stuff and I know how the tricks work by now–,” she went silent and her face flushed bright red.
“You–You are offering to help me?” Trixie seemed perplexed at the thought.
“I guess– I am?” Twilight answered and folded her hands in her lap.
“Why? Why would you do that for me?” Distraught, Trixie fiddled with some papers she picked up from the table while she stared at Twilight disbelievingly. “You don’t even know me that well. I can’t even believe that you let me stay here.” She looked at the papers to not face the other woman’s gaze.
Twilight shrugged her shoulders. “Well, you needed a friend.” She smiled at her, the colour slowly going down from her cheeks.
Trixie’s mouth dropped open and she just stared at her.
Still smiling, Twilight simply shrugged. “Don’t look so surprised. Yes, there are people in the world that like you. And yes, maybe I am one of them.”
Trixie closed her mouth, opened it again, and then closed it once more.
“I think I have never seen you speechless,” Twilight chuckled.
“It’s not a state of being I am used to, I have to admit.”
“Well, I like you. So get used to it. And therefore, I’ll ask again. Will you let me help you do this the proper way? Just assisting. So you can concentrate on everything that makes you the great and powerful magician you always claimed to be. I believe you can do it, if you let me –” she stopped and thought about it for a second “– us, help you. I’m pretty sure Sunset is on board, too.”
Trixie thought about it for a long moment. “I suppose I could give it a shot,” she said and smiled warily. “If you work very hard on it! You have to know every illusion by heart!”
“Very well,” Twilight answered. “Would you now please lay down your papers, I have to throw this couch cushion into your face for being a weirdo when it comes to friendship.
Eyebrows shooting up, Trixie slowly put the papers she was holding down on the table, looking at Twilight in defiance. “You wouldn’t dare,” she countered challengingly.
Twilight waited a second, just enough to see Trixie’s lip curl upwards, telling her that she needed this distraction as well. And then she threw a pillow at her face.
Trixie ducked and grabbed one herself, throwing it back and even following up and pushing Twilight down with the big pillow herself.
Twilight mumbled under the vast amount of fabric and she pulled it down hard so that Trixie lost her balance and had to intercept herself to not smother the woman beneath her.
Their faces were only centimetres away from each other as Twilight adjusted her glasses and involuntarily gazed into Trixie’s eyes. She hadn’t seen it coming and her heart raced inside her chest. Do something, Twilight,she scolded herself. Say something.
“H–hey, what are you doing? Have you been trying to kiss me?” she laughed awkwardly and pushed a pillow in Trixie’s face. You could have said anything and you went for that? her brain berated her. “From why do you even like me to this in under 2 minutes. That’s got to be a new record or something.” She tried to save the situation and let out another uncomfortable laugh.
Trixie backed off and mumbled something under her breath before she got articulate again: “I wasn’t. And believe you me, if I wanted to kiss you unexpectedly, one of the first things you’d hear from me was: ‘May I?’, that’s for sure.”
Twilight chuckled and got back up while her eyes darted everywhere: “Sure.”
Trixie scowled at her “Despite what you may think, Twilight Sparkle, I would never invade someone’s personal space like that.”
Waving it aside, Twilight nodded. “I believe you Trixie. I have never seen you overstep physical set boundaries. Auditory boundaries, well, that’s a whole other story.”
She started laughing as a huffing Trixie thumped a fluffy pillow right into her face. She let herself fall onto her back again and squinted over the edge of the cushion. Trixie looked at her with a triumphant smirk. Her eyes were closed half way, she had a predatory look on her face and another pillow in hand. Fortunately, the rest of Twilight’s face was hidden as she blushed under the magician’s gaze.
Another six weeks had gone by and Twilight, Sunset and Trixie worked every minute they could spare on Trixie’s show.
Twilight sat on a chair, standing at their improvised stage area that they built in their living room. Dreamily she looked over at Trixie showing Sunset how to best palm a small item and get it to her without anyone else noticing.
Of course Sunset had agreed to help and it hadn’t taken long for the three of them to agree on a setlist of illusions.
With two assistants on her side, Trixie admitted that everything Twilight had pointed out to her that maybe was manageable alone, would work much better with a second set of hands. She actually showed them more tricks that definitely were out of the question to perform alone but she had studied and practised for years now.
Twilight was nodding to everything she had been shown and her respect for the magician rose with every new piece that had been revealed to her. The capabilities of the illusions to wow an audience was very high and still most of them hadn’t seen the light of day in a stage performance.
Twilight often thought about this at night, laying awake for hours. With three people it was no problem to do everything Trixie wanted to. And after careful consideration, she realised that the only thing that was holding Trixie back to achieve greatness all this time was– herself.
She never had help after Sunset left and she always tried to make it on her own. Her ambition and her ego counteracted which she never even realised.
“Twi?” She heard Sunset calling and then she shook herself to get out of her thoughts.
“Yes? What?” Twilight realised that she had been staring at the two of them and cleared her throat. What she didn’t notice was that both women must have looked at her for some time now. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
Sunset chuckled. “I was asking if you could help me with this.” She held up a key. “Trixie wanted to grab some dinner and you are way better with the fiddly stuff than me. Maybe we can work on it a little bit?”
Twilight rose from her chair and moved over to Sunset, nodding. “Sure thing.” She took the key while she watched Trixie out of the corner of her eye getting dressed and walking towards the door.
“Later” she heard Trixie call and saw her smile in their direction.
Twilight gulped and she felt her pulse rising dramatically. Ignoring the weird feeling in her stomach, she showed Sunset how to vanish the key properly.
After all, the big show was only days away and thinking about the magic part distracted her from thinking about Trixie all the time.
“Trixie!” Sunset looked back over her shoulder and hissed her friend’s name, drawing out the last syllable longer than she should have for it to not be obvious to the audience. She stood there with outstretched arms in the glistening dress Trixie made her wear. A crooked smile was on her lips, as she tried to get the attention away from her magician friend.
A few metres behind her, Trixie tried anxiously to get one of her stage illusions to work properly. The latch on this case never jammed up, so why did it have to start now! Finally, she ripped open the spring lock, hurting her index finger in the process.
She suppressed a foul-mouthed curse and wheeled the chest to the front of the stage.
“Finally,” Sunset breathed, which earned her an evil eye from Trixie.
With a strained look Trixie put the box into place. “Concentrate,” she hissed.
Looking up, the perfect stage-smile was back on her face. The audience never knew how much it cost her right now to do that. But she had to do it. For her career’s sake.
“Dear people of Canterlot. The great and powerful Trixie will now perform the most dangerous trick you will ever see. Watch her, as she will get into this trunk bound by a straightjacket.”
Sunset came from behind and held up a white jacket with leather straps and elongated arms that could be wrapped around the wearer and tied behind their back. She helped Trixie get in there as the girl continued to speak.
“But that’s not all! You will watch me, the great and powerful Trixie not only escape these restraints while in the box.”
Sunset made a knot like Trixie had shown her. Beads of sweat were on her forehead, as she reminded herself of every step of this trick. She promised herself that Trixie could count on her. And she intended to keep that promise. No matter what.
Of course it absolutely didn’t help that her impulsive self just picked this afternoon to break the news of moving to Trixie. So to take the pressure off of her friend, she had to double her efforts. And later, she really had to have a talk with Trixie.
But first, for the big dangerous reveal. She looked stage left and saw the garden hose lying there. With a big tadaa movement of her arms she showed that Trixie had been bound and went to retrieve the hose while Trixie steadily pumped up the crowd.
“Trixie will lie inside the box and will only have three minutes to escape her certain death. As her assistant will open a hole on the top and water from this garden hose –“ she looked at Sunset, who entered the stage again, the dripping tube in her hand “– will pour into the box and slowly drown her.”
The audience inside the cafeteria of Canterlot High gasped as they realised what Trixie was about to do.
She climbed into the trunk, careful not to topple while Sunset steadied it so it couldn’t roll away.
Trixie still almost tripped, having no hands to help her with her efforts. This time a curse did leave her mouth but was instantly replaced with a wide smile as she turned to the audience one last time. “Now for the grand finale! I’d say wish me luck, but you know Trixie won’t need it. Magic is on her side.”
She ducked and laid down on the floor of the box, already trying to get out of the jacket once she was out of sight from the audience.
Sunset looked down on her before she slowly started to close the lid. “Are you sure you spread your arms wide enough? It doesn’t look like it’s gonna be enough” she asked worriedly in a hushed tone of voice.
“Of course I did,” she snapped anxiously, “Don’t you ruin this right now. This is my big break. The talent scouts won’t have me with a sub-par performance. So know your place, assistant, close the lid and start pouring.”
Trixie saw Sunset flinched at her words but she shut the box. The fake lock clicked into place.
After that she heard Sunset address the crowd. Was there a tremble in her voice? Trixie bit her lip. She shouldn’t have barked at her like that. She had to apologise later.
But at that moment she needed to concentrate. Sunset was supposed to give her a minute or two to have a better chance of getting out of the straightjacket. She huffed and tried to loosen the arms to get them above her head, but it was more difficult than it should have been.
Her mind raced as she saw Sunset’s worried face before her inner eye. Maybe she was right. Her arms weren’t spread out enough. Or were they? She had to try!
Another gasp from the audience told her what would happen next.
Water flowed through the hole and drenched her clothes, which would make it even harder to get out of the jacket. She should have been almost done by now, but she couldn’t get her elbow over her head to free her arms.
The water had almost reached her head and she started bustling inside the trunk which rolled a little across the stage. She heard Sunset speak calming words to the crowd, but she couldn’t make out what exactly she was saying.
In a desperate attempt to free herself she held her breath and submerged, struggling against the restraints that were too tight to get out of them. Panic rose in her chest and gasping for air she broke the surface of the water which had filled the trunk almost two thirds of the way.
“SUNSET!” she shrieked, “HELP!”
“Trixie?” She heard from outside and the water stopped pouring in as the hose was yanked away. “TRIXIE, HOLD ON!” Sunset screamed and she heard rattling from the lock. “It’s jammed!” Sunset’s muffled voice was panicked and shrill.
Trixie couldn’t speak. Her arm was stuck behind her head and she struggled to keep her mouth above the water line. Her own rapid breathing rang in her ears.
Something hammered against the box and the water splashed in her face, leaving her coughing and gasping for air.
Finally the lid swung open and someone pulled her out of the trunk.
The blinding rays of the spotlights deprived her of her sight and all she could hear was Sunset yelling Nurse Redheart’s name and feeling her fiddle with the straightjacket to get her out of it.
At the backstage of the Canterlot Amphitheatre, Trixie paced nervously back and forth between Sunset and Twilight. Both looked worried at the magician.
“Don’t be nervous. It will be awesome, trust me.”
“Of course it will be awesome, Sunset Shimmer!” Trixie replied anxiously. “The great and powerful Trixie is always awesome. Failing isn’t an option,” she huffed, but wasn’t so sure about that herself.
The last couple of weeks flew by like a jet and her mind tried to make sense of what had happened.
She was standing here, in one of the largest venues in all of Canterlot and was about to perform a magic show. No, not only a magic show. The biggest magic show she had ever done. She still couldn’t believe that over seven hundred tickets had been sold. Twilight really had outdone herself with that.
Trixie smiled and reminded herself that she had to thank her for this later. Twilight really did mean it when she said she wanted to help her find an opportunity to show what she is capable of.
She stopped mid-pace and looked at the two other women, dressed as her assistants. ‘Two beautiful assistants,’ her mind added. She couldn’t help but smile.
Both Twilight and Sunset smiled back, apparently very relieved that Trixie seemed to relax a little.
Sunset looked down at herself and then she bent her arm and propped her hand onto her hip.” I can’t believe you got me wearing this thing again” she smiled provocatively, gesturing down at herself.
As soon as the words left Sunset’s mouth, Twilight seemed to shrink down a couple of centimetres.
Trixie looked from one woman to the other. Both looked positively stunning in their black dresses; slitted to the hip; sequinned from top to bottom. And yet the differences were obvious. Sunset, although dressed practically most of the time, wore the dress with an assertiveness that you just have to bring with you.
Twilight on the other hand looked sheepish and embarrassed in her skintight piece of cloth. Trixie couldn’t decide who would resonate better with the audience. A purple haired shy assistant, or a redhead assistant with stage presence.
Both were a very welcome addition to a magician’s toolkit, because both could misdirect different parts of the audience. Twilight apparently wasn’t used to big crowds anymore. Her band years were long in the past and even then she was a backup vocalist. Now she had to be center stage and deceiving the audience.
“Well, Sunset. I was inexperienced the last time you wore this,” a somber expression flickered over her and Sunset's face alike.
“But I have become much more experienced since then. Tonight I will be the great and powerful Trixie,” she vowed. “And nothing can stop me from being fabulous!” She smirked at the other women who genuinely smiled back.
“I know you can do it, Trixie,” Twilight provided and came a little closer to put a hand on her shoulder. “I believe in you.”
Twilight let go of her and stretched out her arms. Both Trixie and Sunset went in for the hug and Trixie held tight.
She inhaled deeply and shivered for a second as the felt warm breaths on either side of her neck, goosebumps erupting all over her body.
Trixie cleared her throat and took a step back. All three of them were smiling. All three of them had a slight blush on their face. Neither of them was trying to hide it nor cared.
Trixie took a deep breath and looked over to the stairs leading from the backstage area up to the stage.
Usually she wasn’t nervous before a performance and she sure as heck wasn’t going to start now. They had been practising everything about the upcoming show. And although it had been twenty years since she last saw them, the past weeks had been inspiring.
She felt that she could trust these two. That they cared. She felt– not alone. They would help her be great and powerful. The dumb and washed-up Trixie would not be a part of her anymore. It ended here. Tonight. She would show Canterlot what she was made of.
A wide smile on her face, she climbed the stairs in front of her and her well trained stage-self kicked in, ignoring the blinding spotlights that were on her. Both Twilight and Sunset were at her side, only a few steps behind, one on her left, one on her right.
With a well practised movement she spread her arms and went to the front of the stage just outside the circle of lights to look at her audience and greet everyone that had bothered to show up.
The great—,” she started and tumbled over her own words. She faltered and cleared her throat gaping at the fully loaded seats. People were even standing in between and behind the rows. The sheer amount of eyes that were looking at her was breathtaking. Tears welled up in her eyes and her chest heaved and dropped heavily.
Sunset and Twilight flanked her without getting in front of her and Sunset began whispering out of the corner of her mouth. “Trix, you have to start. Everybody is waiting.”
Murmurs from the audience grew louder and everybody was either concerned or puzzled if this was part of the show or not.
Trixie just stood there, ingesting every bit of atmosphere that engulfed the theatre. And then, in the blink of an eye everything inside her head clicked into place.
Memories started to rise up as she stared blankly into nothingness.
*** The great and powerful Trixie, smoke bombing her way out of a situation, where she made her point and didn’t want or need any objections. *** The great and powerful Trixie, talking to a couple of peers, explaining how she could not have botched the performance, it had to be the clumsy stagehand. *** The great and powerful Trixie, at a magic show, being so much into impressing the audience that she forgot in which secret pouch she hid her extra deck of cards. *** The great and powerful Trixie, in front of an audience during a street performance, yelling at everyone after they told her she failed every trick because of her ostentatious presentation and her lack of talent. *** The great and powerful Trixie, on the hospital wing’s bed, surrounded by Nurse Redheart, Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Rarity, already telling everyone how it was not her fault for almost drowning but the equipment’s and that everything would be awesome the next time she would be on stage. *** Trixie, working hard with Twilight and Sunset to get the stage act in front of the amphitheatre’s live audience to work. ***
Sunset waited another second and while she looked helplessly over at Twilight, she saw that Twilight’s amulet around her neck glowed in the faintest of colour. She reached for her own, and the moment Twilight reciprocated her look, she tapped on it, to show what was happening.
Twilight looked down and her eyes went round. She looked at her hands, then at Trixie’s back and finally, she couldn’t help herself. She closed her eyes, stretched out her hand and concentrated. A purple spark erupted from her fingertips and a soft: “Ooh.” went through the crowd.
The magic flipped through the air and bounced from Trixie’s shoulders back into Twilight’s hand who looked at it with curious astonishment. “It’s back,” she whispered under her breath.
After that, Trixie blinked several times and with a swift motion she wiped the tears from her eyes, being brought back to the here and now. She turned and faced her lovely assistants who looked at her questioningly.
Trixie moved in between the other women and turned around, adjusting the microphone at her cheek.
Shoulder to shoulder with the others she raised her voice again.
“Distinguished guest. My name is Trixie Lulamoon.” Her words echoed through the speakers that were placed all around the theatre. “These are my partners for tonight”. She placed an arm around the waists of either of the women standing next to her. Polite applause superseded the confusion of the audience.
“Together we will present you with a show of wonders and magic. These two women are responsible for you looking in one direction while the magic is happening in another.” She winked at a camera and the big screen above the stage showed her face in full view.
Twilight and Sunset stood there silently and smiled awkwardly as Trixie obviously threw all of their plans out of the window and improvised the start of the show.
“Furthermore, they will help me orchestrate my magic and keep me safe in the process.” She squeezed Sunsets waist a little. From the corner of her eye, she could see the redhead next to her blush.
After that she took a step back and gave the others a gentle nudge to get them in front of her. “Please give it up for Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer!”
Applause kept rising and Sunset got into her presenting-the-magic-stance, hands in the air, a big smile on her face. Still awkwardly stiff.
Twilight wasn’t that quick to react and her chest kept rising rapidly.
Trixie saw that she was close to hyperventilating and moved in a little to lay her hand on Twilight’s shoulder and get her mouth as close to her ear as possible.
Almost inaudible and too quiet for the microphone to catch the words she whispered: “You got this, Twilight. I believe in you. Thanks for doing the same for me.” Then she turned to Sunset and mouthed four words: “Do you trust me?”
Sunset hesitated for a brief second and then nodded. Trixie looked back at Twilight and noticed her rosy cheeks. She looked in her eyes and lost herself for a second in the clear purple that was so much of a contrast to Sunset’s light blue ones.
“Let’s do this,” Twilight spoke under her breath.
Trixie smiled and stepped forward. “Let’s begin!” she shouted.
Blue sparks sprayed from devices at her wrists above her head and fireworks – shot from the edges of the stage – rose up in the sky, wailing and exploding into star showers above the crowd.
The audience “Oh’d” and “Ah’d”, leaving Trixie enough time to quickly brief her friends on the new set-up. She turned, pulled down her mic to her chin and wrapped her hand around it.
“I’m sorry for the change of plans. I couldn’t do it. Everytime stage-me kicks in, I lose control and everything goes wrong.” She smiled tentatively. “This time, I will do it right. We will do it right. Let’s give Canterlot a show they’ll remember.”
“We knew you had it in you all along,” Twilight said.
“It’s gonna be fantastic,” Sunset added.
The next two hours the three women worked the magic show seamlessly. Whenever something was about to go wrong, either Sunset or Twilight swooped in to catch a rolling apple, or find the missing dagger just in time to finish the trick without the audience ever noticing.
Trixie, knowing her tricks the best, instructed the women on the go on what to do while they were doing it. Her stage-smile more often than not transformed into straight-up laughter and pure joy radiated from her every time the audience clapped for one of her tricks, astonishing them.
She danced around her friends between tricks and everything she learned and worked hard for as a performer came out as naturally as breathing.
For her finale, Trixie and her partners worked on a vanishing act that required perfect timing and care.
“And now for the grand finale, you will see something that will make you question your eyes even more than you might have done tonight anyway,” she preluded.
With a wave of her hand the sprinkler at the top of the stage began raining down on them.
Water running over her face and drenching every part of her clothes, she still smiled when she climbed a ladder to an elevated platform 4 metres above the stage floor.
As she reached the top, she turned to face the audience again.
Twilight and Sunset stood at the front of the stage, an arm’s length apart, hands on their hips. Water kept running down their faces and their breathing was heavy from the more than taxing show they delivered. But they still smiled proudly and braced themselves for the upcoming big ending.
“Honored people of Canterlot,” Trixie yelled against the roar of the artificial rain. “Please let the rain be a reminder, that I can not cross distance without you noticing the water parting ways. Still I will be vanishing and reappearing in an instant, beating time and space for all of you to see. And I want you to count down from five to one to give you absolute control about what will happen next.” She held up her hand. “Please start the count”
The audience fell silent as they listened to Trixie’s voice, watching the water drizzling down on the performers. The spotlights on the three women made the rain visible around them and on Trixie’s command they started counting down.
With a loud bang the lights flashed one last time and then went dark. A heartbeat later they flickered back to life and Trixie was gone from the plattform.
Everything on the stage seemed to slow down to a point where it almost felt that time had stopped. The water froze and just hovered midair.
In the middle of the stage Trixie had appeared in between Sunset and Twilight, holding them in her arms, both seemed to have fainted.
A blue light emanated from her and with a blast of energy the rain shot in every direction away from them.
Trixie’s eyes flashed bright blue and an invisible force lifted her and her friends up in the air. With a glowing beam of light two blue stubs appeared on her head, resembling pony ears. Despite it being soaked, her hair doubled in length and flowed in smooth, wavy movements around her face.
The power that emitted from the flowing form of the magician and her two partners even overshadowed the stage lights and every single pair of eyes from the audience was locked onto the newborn pony form of Trixie Lulamoon, stage magician.
Very slowly Trixie sank back to the ground, supporting her partners, who now stared at her with open mouths.
She bent over Twilight, still supporting her at the back and tears glistening in her eyes. “May I?” she croaked.
Twilight blinked and then let out a little laugh. “Sure,” she answered lightheartedly and met her lips half way, kissing her partner wistfully.
Purple sparks burst out from Twilight's hands, tingling over their bodies.
Their lips parted as Trixie felt a hand on her cheek, belonging to Sunset. As she turned, she could see the silvery white flash in Sunset’s eyes. Hot flames made her cheeks go red as Sunset saw her thoughts and Trixie gazed into her light blue eyes.
“Yes,” Sunset whispered her agreement, reached around Trixies neck and pulled her into a demanding kiss.
Breathless and with weak knees she pulled them both up. She watched the blue light radiating from her skin as she was made aware that they weren’t alone.
The whole Amphitheatre erupted into cheers and applause. People sprang to their feet and cried in awe.
Trixie looked around and had the biggest smile on her face.
“Thank you Canterlot!” she screamed into her microphone, threw her head back and laughed in relief, tears of joy mixing with the rain from above.