Blue like sapphires, The Great and Powerful Trixie saw red. To be precise she saw purple streaked with pink. With her most haughty bearing she descended to the purple, bear vanquishing unicorn. A flick of her mane and a defiant snort said more than words could of Trixie’s undiminished pride. She was anxious to say it in words too, of course.
“You may have vanquished an Ursa Minor, but you will never have the amazing, show stopping power of The Great and Powerful Trixie!” She reared up for dramatic effect, but found herself kicking at the air between herself and the other unicorn. She’d never be so crass as to actually lash out, but the wanting of it made Trixie skew her eyes away. Being so crass would not impress anypony. Then she stomped down.
fwoomph. A billowing cloud of smoke exploded from the sparks of magic she grounded. The great and powerful Trixie felt it caress over her skin with a cool, greasy touch and it rankled her to have to rely on so simple a trick for her finale. This irritant was nothing compared to the personal slight she took from being shown up by such a cowardly purple mare. Hadn’t Sparkle all but run away from Trixie’s challenge before? How she had hemmed and hawed and excused herself then ran! For a unicorn like that to have any magical potency was intrinsically wrong to The Great and Powerful Trixie. Show your power. Make a show of it. Dazzle and beguile and run rings around awed little minds. Bask in their admiration! At least the white mare had understood that much, but clearly lacked The Great and Powerful Trixie’s great power. She fumed inside as she emerged from fumes without, the seething sting of defeat bending her pride to near breaking point. That tension lent her strength that a lifestyle of magic and comfort had never built in her. She was well beyond the town’s periphery before her furious charge away slowed, more for the waning of the internal tempest than the desperate complaint of her muscles.
Forcibly stilling her breath which heaved from the exertion, she came to rest. The Great and Powerful Trixie bows to no one, admits no defeat!
That line of thinking very nearly had her walking the lonesome, long roads with no shelter or provisions between towns. She nearly did too, and her humiliation and fury were nearly enough to keep her warm. For all the turmoil within, the gentle breeze carried a chill that would nip and feint, nip and feint, all the while creeping along her flanks and legs and nose.
The Great and Powerful Trixie turned to check. The town was well out of sight on the far side of a hill. Good. She shook her mane as if trying to get rid of it and screamed. It felt really, really good. As good as it felt to release, it carried away too much of her scorn. The last thing The Great and Powerful Trixie wanted to do now was think rationally. That was half way to swallowing her pride and giving in. A few of her heartstrings hummed a tiny hymn around the edges of her knotted up consciousness, murmuring of acceptance, apology, and calm of which she wanted none. She shook again, this time to dislodge the weak but worryingly persistent little feeling. Like a coat of ice after the night it dislodged from her heart, falling into a display of shards about her blue body.
If she stayed out on the open roads like this tonight she wouldn’t fare much better. Trixie snarled internally. She didn’t need to think rationally, she didn’t, but… She didn’t, but it would mean a bit more sense in dealing with this turn of events. The Great and Powerful Trixie sternly told herself that it wasn’t a concession. It just happened to be useful, and it was cold. Freezing to the genteel unicorn mare. While true that she had travelled many roads and even knew something about them, it was very different to be in an enclosed wagon pulled by working ponies than to do it yourself. For one thing, she couldn’t be condescending when she had no pony to work for her.
For a long minute she stood on the road, her mind caught up in a distracting flight of fancy. Like all angry ponies, she imagined what she’d do to completely wow Twilight Sparkle, leaving her unimportant and crying. The Great and Powerful Trixie didn’t allow herself to think that she wasn’t too far from crying either. It had felt good to scream…
No. She could scream, because that was anger and ponies were cowed by angry ponies. Crying was sad, and that meant sympathy. Sympathy was caustic to everything The Great and Powerful Trixie was. The whole point was to be the pinnacle, the radiant star atop everypony else. You couldn’t do that and get caught up with others. That softened you, took away your specialness. The melting pieces of sad, sympathetic little Trixie played like tiny wind chimes in the breeze.
Everything in The Great and Powerful Trixie pushed her down the road, to take the cold, desolate path out of town and wash up someplace far way. It was a daunting prospect, but demanded by her anger. She didn’t think why she turned back towards Ponyville. She didn’t want to know the answer. The Great and Powerful Trixie told herself that it was for her things that might have survived the Minor’s major stomp. Her cape and hat were surely ruined.
She didn’t feel complete without those. How else could the common pony look up to her in an instant and know that, veritably, she was above them? Keeping her chin up all the time crinkled her neck. If The Great and Powerful Trixie had her cape and hat, she felt full and warm, even when she lacked food and shelter. It was the fullness of self-assurance and the warmth of arrogance, but The Great and Powerful Trixie was not one to notice the shortcomings in that regard.
The stars overhead sparkled… twinkled in a beautiful manner of dancing lights. They reminded The Great and Powerful Trixie all too much of a certain cutie mark. The Great and Powerful Trixie seethed again against the purple mare with a burnt out, worn down doggedness. She realized, pausing on her shameful return to Ponyville, that the cutie mark she was reminded of was not Twilight Sparkle’s, but her own.
Somehow, that was worse.
The sight of a lonely, wistful blue mare only just floating in front the immersion of night atop the hill, her mane and tail languishing to carry her into the breeze was one of beauty enough to ice over bleeding hearts. Of all the ponies in Ponyville who could have possibly witnessed the sight, the two below were the least appreciative of such things. Even so, there was not even the little concession of being seen at all.
Snips and Snails, two dolts that they were, took to cleaning up the wreckage of Trixie’s caravan with a seriousness that made them all the more comically taxing on her patience. The Great and Powerful Trixie approached them. Quietly yes, but no pony as astounding as her would reduce herself to sneaking. They were simply ignorant. Barely tolerable when they’d been fawning over her. How could they have thought it at all a good idea to bring a massive beast from the Everfree Forest into town?
The answer was simple. They didn’t think. That they had been blindly faithful in The Great and Powerful Trixie’s abilities was poor consolation. She turned it to the side of her proverbial plate.
“Ah-hem.” She stamped her hoof, not for effect, but once in unthinking expression of honest feeling. Either way, it worked.
“Heeey, Trixie’s back!” It took Snails entirely too long to say one syllable, especially in a tone of voice that grated the cheese of the soul. A blunt cheese grater voice. Something abominable swung from his face. The Great and Powerful Trixie couldn’t look away, aghast.
The smaller, horridly asymmetrical Snips whined. “Why’d you come back Trixie, huh, huh?” There was a mop of hair on his face too. The Great and Powerful Trixie didn’t ask. She didn’t want to know. They weren’t important. As gushing fancolts they’d been just barely tolerable. Their feeble attempts to gaze at her with critical thought nearly sickened The Great and Powerful Trixie. Silly little colts should know their place.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie demands that you get away from what’s left of her belongings, especially since you two are the ones who got it destroyed in the first place!”
“But Uuuuh, Trixie,” Again, the excessive, soul grating monosyllable, “The Ursa Minor stepped on it.”
“And who brought the Ursa Minor here?!”
“Ooooh, uuuh, it was us, Trixie.” Snails bowed his knobbly head wretchedly.
The Great and Powerful Trixie cried out an exasperated whinny.“Just get out!” Lightening flashed from her radiant horn, forking as it crackled and jarred its way through the air in a display of eye stinging brightness against the night stillness. The offensively hideous moustaches smoldered from the strike, reduced to a snarled mass of soot and char. Snips and Snails ran yelling in panic in either direction before turning and colliding in their maddened haste. With a little pop the magic maintaining the duo’s facial hair gave out, releasing the two from an inescapable fount of burnt hair smell. The Great and Powerful Trixie blasted the ground near them to further the point. They might not have understood the first message, the simpletons.
Startled to action, they fled. “We’re sorry, Trixie. Don’t blast us, Trixie!”
If The Great and Powerful Trixie heard her name abused by such an annoying mouth one more time, she would. Again, as it were, but seriously this time. Then they were gone. Night’s quiet serenity poured back into the heart of commotion as if it had never happened. Only a blackened mark of smoking ground said otherwise. Oh, and the entire caravan of all her worldly belongings having been smooshed into splinters just there. That too.
The Great and Powerful Trixie eyed the wreckage. There was nothing hopeful about it. The roof was completely caved in and the walls had exploded from the impact under the crushing weight of the Ursa Minor’s paw.
There was anger, certainly. There was revulsion, notably. This ruined junk was hardly recognizable as having been what The Great and Powerful Trixie adorned her show and herself with. Still, she was in need, and she had come back. How could The Great and Powerful Trixie forgive herself if she were to have slunk back only to slink away again? There weren’t any ponies around, but she imagined their cold and hateful stares from every window and corner. Let them! Apathetic in anger The Great and Powerful Trixie began to root through the debris. A few golden metal bits glimmered faintly. She magicked them aside from the destruction.
A large plate of fractured roofing tiles lifted away, the clawed edges of timber framework fighting to hold on like a sickly beast. Then the last nail gave way, the painfully twisted last piece of frame falling back into the mass below. The Great and Powerful Trixie glared at it. She made no sign of effort, but for her single minded scorn. Saying nothing she walked up through broken tiles and broken glass to the heart of the mess. Coloured fragments, dull by night and dust, were all that remained of her mirror, assorted jars, and fireworks. A hundred abstract, fragmented Trixies looked every which way from the shards of her mirror with confusion and ridicule. The Great and Powerful Trixie chafed, but could do no more than turn her eyes away. She needed to focus. At least, she wanted to focus on the task at hand, for a respite from her sickening anger.
A shred of fabric was revealed to be her blanket. Rent down one side by bent nails, it was now useless, having undergone cotton disembowelment. Probing inquisitively under it, The Great and Powerful Trixie saw her bed frame’s last remnants. The chest that had been next to it was now inseparably blended into a single knot of splinters with the bed. The drapes and capes that had been stored within were horrific, looking like the aftereffects of when amateur magicians tried the poke-a-volunteer-through-the-box trick with nothing but “Magic for Morons” to base it on. There was no saving these.
The Great and Powerful Trixie magicked away much of the bed’s gnarled and tangled bulk, swinging bits of wood dropping off it as it moved. Feathers from The Great and Powerful Trixie’s downy pillows trailed sadly behind it, like dandelion seeds falling tragically short of fertile ground, unable to do anything about winds too weak.
Begrimed, torn and shorn, the silly romance novels emerged brazenly from what had been their cover, both before and after the big stomp. There was Meetings by Moonlight, and there was Rendevous with Royalty, one she could recognize despite its missing cover, by the fact that only one author was audacious enough to make Princess Celestia a subject of conjecture and fantasy. These were two of the more infamous works by Rosy Quillfeather, a mare said to sport an everlasting grin and blush. Trixie had been halfway through Stables and Stability by the same when she had rode into town. That one was missing quite a few chapters though, seeing as a claw larger than a pony’s leg had run through its spine. The Great and Powerful Trixie wasn’t embarrassed. Well, a little, beneath the vexation. Regardless, the books could moulder and rot for all she cared. Rosy Quillfeather had been a companion during the long, lonely, boring hours on the road, but she meant nothing now. It was the same with The Great and Powerful Trixie, regardless of who or what.
Trashy entertainment didn’t matter. Not even a bed seemed that necessary right now. What The Great and Powerful Trixie wanted most of all was her image. The Great and Powerful Trixie could start again with just her cape and hat, and wanted nothing more badly. Why had Trixie taken off those things, just because she wasn’t performing? The Great and Powerful Trixie was always performing. But into the trunk the cape had gone, and now it was torn and ruined. Where had the hat gone...
Ah yes. The dresser by the mirror. The Great and Powerful Trixie scraped at the mess of glass and timber with her hoof, not even bothering to menially magic the debris aside. Bits of wood slid down under her frustrated ministration. She kicked them aside, and little by little the tattered rim of a once fine hat peeked up demurely. It almost seemed hopeful. The Great and Powerful Trixie tugged on it, but it was caught within the mass of rubble somehow. Everything was going wrong!
The Great and Powerful Trixie gripped it tightly in her mouth, muscles straining in all four legs as she tried to pull her hat free. Glass crinkled and cracked underhoof, ground into shiny splinters from her efforts. With a terrible, reverberant shearing it came free. The Great and Powerful Trixie tumbled head over hooves backwards. She cracked her head, face down, into another corner of what had been the caravan, screaming in surprise and fury all the while. Something seared across her rump, but The Great and Powerful Trixie was already shrieking with anger, there was no room for pain. The hat was at least hers again.
Sort of. The conical top was gone, except for a sad little fringe on the new inside rim. Trembling as she rose, The Great and Powerful Trixie let it drop at her hooves. It flopped to the ground, every loose scrap of it, of which there were now many, sinking dejectedly. The once bright stars were muddied and frayed, to the effect that The Great and Powerful Trixie wished for clouds to conceal the little ruin of night at her hooves. Everything was ruined! Everything! All the fault of those two idiots, and that unbearable Twilight Sparkle! Now everything that made The Great and Powerful Trixie the Great and Powerful Trixie was rubbish, and everypony had turned against her. Not so far off from frantic, The Great and Powerful Trixie rushed through thoughts to find something, anything to say otherwise, that The Great and Powerful Trixie was still great, still powerful.
Her wand. That would be just right. The Great and Powerful Trixie’s magic survives, yes! Her magic survives, and she proves that despite losing everything, The Great and Powerful Trixie is still The Great and Powerful Trixie! She rummaged desperately through the ruins of her home. Where had she put it? Where had she put it!? Her flank still stung, but The Great and Powerful Trixie took it in stride, a petty annoyance not worth a second thought. Magically disperse a heap here, kick apart timbers there… Where was the wand!? The Great and Powerful Trixie’s pace hastened.
As Trixie worked wildly, she fell into fevered imagination. The wand had to be here. That’s how the story would go. It’d be here, and she’d pick it up just so and it would spa- shimmer in the moonlight, and The Great and Powerful Trixie would leave all this behind. The caravan, the bed, the chest -- they had only been weighing her down anyway. Her wand had to be here!
And here it was.
Trixie’s heart sank. She sat, unable to bear this. Hewn in half to impeccable exactness was the length of her wand. The star was still on top, holding the very nearly split wood together. Everything else The Great and Powerful Trixie could take. The Great and Powerful Trixie... no... just Trixie sat, no longer sure. The pain in her rump nagged her, and distractedly Trixie wondered if she shouldn’t check what that was. The pain in her heart took her attention away before she could act on that. Her head was thrumming too.
If she wasn’t The Great and Powerful Trixie, she was just Trixie. Trixie was nopony special. No pony at all. What greater symbol had she had of her magic than that? She closed her eyes, sighing. Anything she’d want to see right now was so far away, another world. Stewing as she was in tragedy and self pity, something boiled over within.
“I am The Great and Powerful Trixie!” Defiance surged through her being from some hidden well of passion. It tore through her hair and danced furiously along her every rib. The Great and Powerful Trixie trembled with the deep seated anger she felt. The entire world seemed out to bring her down.
It pretty much had.
There was nothing more it could do now. Her limelight, her image, her self respect had been crushed with one Minor step, and still The Great and Powerful Trixie stood rebellious against it all. The hot condescension that flooded through her was The Great and Powerful Trixie’s soup and shelter, her home and hearth. With it, she could conquer anything. The Great and Powerful Trixie snarled a taut little grin, one truly fearful.
As quickly as the rush had come upon her it recessed into the ebb and flow. Still, The Great and Powerful Trixie was invigorated by the dwindling few drops of that rush. The broken wand fell to her side. The headache was throbbing slowly and intractable.
The Great and Powerful Trixie could rebuild this. She’d need a new cape and hat, a new wand and stage, but that could be done. The truth, she realized, was that none of them mattered. It really was all about The Great and Powerful Trixie. Everything else was just a part of the show, as much as the lights and audience. All Trixie needed was Trixie… the bits she’d found scattered as well, would be helpful little things too. A second with the torn fabric of The Great and Powerful Trixie’s bedsheet and a piece of frayed rope yielded a wretched little pouch, but it would serve. The Great and Powerful Trixie was not concerned with rooting through the mess any further, to stoop to counting and squirrelling the bits like a craven sot.
All The Great and Powerful Trixie really needed was The Great and Powerful Trixie. Better. With those thoughts chasing one another, a peculiar calmness settled like dew on her. She’d still need a new cape and hat. That alone would earn her food and shelter on the road. She still didn’t feel complete without them. Not being recognized, or worse, being mistaken for another were torments not to bear thinking about. Ponies looked like one another, but the right clothes served to distinguish them one from another. The pain in her side was still bothering her, but with little sense she decided to not look back. The Great and Powerful Trixie didn’t look back for anything.
So first things first, a new cape and hat were to be found right away. A wand was special, while fundamentally meaningless, but nevertheless special. The Great and Powerful Trixie wanted to give the pursuit of one special consideration. Drunken with exhaustion and emotional turmoil she set out from what hours ago had been her home. The manifold shortcomings of her plan berated The Great and Powerful Trixie, no matter how many times she quashed them in her nigh demented state of mind. She’d seen a boutique in town earlier. That was her present destination.
It won’t even be open, her last sensible vestige whispered. Everything else was a twisted imagined scenario. It had to be open, she’d bedazzle the owner and they’d be happy to serve. It’s how it had to go, how it would go.
She rounded the corner of a night-emptied street, seeing that indeed the Boutique was still open. Instead of vindication, The Great and Powerful Trixie felt perplexed. The softly emanating light was an open invitation, but loaded with a mystery. Why light where she wanted it to be, when everywhere else was dark and sleeping? It irked her.
No matter. It was what she wanted and now The Great and Powerful Trixie would have it. A new get up… some paltry, distasteful days as a simple show pony… She’d rebuild everything, better than before. The Great and Powerful Trixie had proven her worth before, and would again.
All starting here.
Not just a change of lighting, the nimbus of illumination settled about The Great and Powerful Trixie like a proffered coat, calming her. Even so her headache had made her eyes sensitive so that The Great and Powerful Trixie squinted against the light.
She rang the bell. She was frustrated that it wasn’t answered in seconds. The Great and Powerful Trixie rang again, holding it. What? Oh right, it was a store. You rang at homes, but entered stores. Why am I so dizzy? The thought slicked across her mind like oil on rolling waters. The thought melted away to a general angst that The Great and Powerful Trixie never did visit anypony. The ponies that went to see her went exclusively for The Great and Powerful Trixie. That thought wasn’t as consoling as The Great and Powerful Trixie wanted it to be.
Her quasi-delirious deliberation had rooted The Great and Powerful Trixie to the pristine porch of the boutique. The door did open, to The Great and Powerful Trixie’s immutable surprise. Surely she had demanded it, but expected? Not really.
At least the emotion was mutual. A sleepy winter white mare luminous from the backdrop of warm light stood before her.
Rarity’s eyes narrowed sharply. Her every muscle tensed with unmitigated displeasure, recoiling to an instinctive, decidedly cold yet proper pose.
“You.” Rarity growled, as much as she could. There could be no mistaking the disdain in that carefully measured icy tone.
The Great and Powerful Trixie’s brain kicked at her mind to catch up. Uncertain, she reverted to her most known behaviour; she postured aggressively.
“Yes! The Great and Powerful Trixie!” She reared and whinnied, and though her head swam, she could no more break from the ingrained habit of a hundred poses than an ant could from its place in the trail of thousands. This was the graceful pony. The Great and Powerful Trixie had certainly put her in her place! Of all the ponies that would have her cape and hat… Fiddlesticks.
Rarity marched intently to The Great and Powerful Trixie’s face, “You are an utter fool, if you have merely come to harass me with your unbearable boasting after being so thoroughly educated in magic by my friend Twilight Sparkle! If for a single minute, a single moment, you think that you will ever afflict me with such hideousness again, you are sorely deluded.” She was glaring with withering intensity from right up close. The Great and Powerful Trixie turned her head up and aside with a snobbish “Hmph!”. Rarity allowed herself a dainty little exhalation and prideful turning of her cheek. She flicked her perfect trail nonchalantly, its edge grazing The Great and Powerful Trixie in the lightest touch of gauze. In this battlefield, that was grievous slight.
It was one The Great and Powerful Trixie took to heart. Rarity certainly knew the game of keeping up appearances. Trixie’s wrath roared at the insolence, but the tailored clothes were already hers, by some inexplicable emotional projection and The Great and Powerful Trixie would not be detracted from having them. She was having to bite back her bridled emotions a lot tonight. The Great and Powerful Trixie could handle a bit more.
There was no attempt to mask the emotion behind her voice. “The Great and Powerful Trixie insists that The Great and Powerful Trixie have a new cape and magic hat. She will not leave until she has them, you weak magicked mare.” To that effect she tossed the sad little pouch at her hooves.
Rarity recoiled visibly from the insult. She had always wrapped her sharp tongue in silk, but such a blatant insult was to her sophistication a board with a nail in it. The barbarism appalled her. Her eyes narrowed another gear like those of a stretching rack. She launched into riposte.
With her chin up, she circled The Great and Powerful Trixie, eyes closed in her air of superiority. The image she saw behind her infallibly sculptured eyes did better, more ruthless justice than they could. “You come here to demand of me? I think not. More than being simply the worst behaved pony I have ever encountered, you are now also the greatest eyesore I have ever had to look upon. Finally, your outside matches your inside,” she snickered derisively. “Look at this mane, positively dreadful,” she magicked it alongside the blue mare’s flank, as if to brush it from The Great and Powerful Trixie furiously trembling back.
Whatever tirade Rarity had been leading into died with a tiny, sharp inhalation. The Great and Powerful Trixie was suddenly greatly worried. It was a sound that rent the soul, and lathered terror over the wound.
“You’re, you’re bleeding! It’s everywhere.”
I’m bleeding? I’m bleeding? I’m bleeding?! The Great and Powerful Trixie panicked. A seen wound was bad enough, but inflamed by exhaustion and pain, her imagination ran through primal gibbering fear. The Great and Powerful Trixie spun and pranced madly on the spot, as if the hurt could be shaken off much the same as a rodeo rider.
Rarity recovered from the shock, a lingering shakiness upsetting both her visual and verbal display. She wouldn’t mind a good melodramatic panic herself, but somepony had to be sensible and gracious. The back of Trixie’s hoof was minting sanguine little bowls into her lavishly designed porch, Rarity noted grimly. Immediately she chastised herself for thinking such things at this time.
Even if this was the most abrasive pony ever encountered, she was in need of help, and it simply wouldn’t do to leave a bleeding mare on her doorstep. She could always save up her continued revulsion for later, when it was on again. Even so, what to do?
The Great and Powerful Trixie was being worse than helpless. She was frightened and on the cusp of lashing out, except that her mindless singularity was focused on picking the proverbial scab.
As far as Rarity could see, distasteful as it was to have to look at all, The Great and Powerful Trixie’s flank hadn’t even gotten that far yet. This foolish prancing simply had to stop.
Incredibly dexterous with magic, able to effortlessly coordinate dozens of lifted items at once, Rarity had trouble with the simple, brutish task of lifting The Great and Powerful Trixie a pace off the ground. Rarity grunted, as her preened voice allowed for with the exertion. Her perfectly powdered face contorted with effort. It was a sacrifice she was willing to make, but one also acutely noted.
The Great and Powerful Trixie was slowly enveloped in a wobbling haze of purple light, precariously wavering with the blue mare’s every motion and insensible cry. It sank in like velvet pulled to the wake of flailing limbs until it entrapped The Great and Powerful Trixie. Knowing that her composure would be ruined by this obnoxious dolt twice in one day, Rarity muttered darkly to herself under the weight.
With the slightest reward of elevation, Rarity redoubled her efforts. The Great and Powerful Trixie had something to notice now.
“Put The Great and Powerful Trixie down! Down, right now! What are you doing?” She kicked against the magic and tossed her head side to side.
It didn’t help matters at all.
“Calm down right this instant! Will you just stop- I’m trying to help you and I don’t particularly want to. Calm down right this instant!” Caught between the constricting inhalations and exhalations of strenuous effort, Rarity spoke in little more than a growl. “And you could stand to lose a few.”
Something in that jarred The Great and Powerful Trixie back to her senses. At least she stopped fighting, making sustaining the spell all the easier. “The Great and Powerful Trixie is perfect just as she is; you’re just weak.” It took considerable reserves of haughtiness to be arrogant to the very pony that literally held her up.
Resigned to doing the right thing, as much as she might hate it, Rarity tiredly took the abuse. “Yes, yes whatever. Except that you are bleeding on my floor.” It was still a great strain to keep The Great and Powerful Trixie aloft.
The thin purple gauze of light evaporated. Gravity is suspected to influence bodies at the speed of light or even instantaneously, but The Great and Powerful Trixie’s sudden wide eyed look still beat it for a harrowing second. She fell the hoof-length heavily with a thud of resolute timber, her bloodied black leg crumpling under her. The Great and Powerful Trixie fell back onto her hind quarters, adding to her stinging pain. The Great and Powerful Trixie winced, fighting back tears.
“Oops, did I do that? Very sorry dear, I am quite weak after all, as you said so yourself.” Rarity felt guilty, but that hadn’t been exactly intentional, it was more of a slip than anything. So she told herself.
“Oww! You did that on purpose!” The Great and Powerful Trixie glared hot death at the white unicorn. “You don’t want to help me! Just leave The Great and Powerful Trixie alone, you insufferable, insignificant pony.”
For the second time Rarity walked right up close to The Great and Powerful Trixie’s face, commanding undivided attention.
“At last, a single point on which we agree unanimously! I don’t want to help you. Not one bit, you conceited vagabond. But it is the right thing to do, and I am bound for better or worse with generosity, and even you can see that you need help.” Her glare intensified to a degree worthy of Fluttershy’s most penetrating stare. “Make no mistake; right now, right now, generosity is nothing of what I’m feeling for you. Don’t push me.” Then she turned to the boutique. She’d need a damp cloth.
The Great and Powerful Trixie’s watering eyes were finally granted an honourable rest. She hadn’t broken off first. Spent, she slumped. Her eyes needed a lot of rest after that. The Great and Powerful Trixie sighed to herself.
Intolerable, narcissistic unicorn.
The white one, obviously.
Rarity strolled purposefully inside. “Just stay there, all right? I’ll be back in a bit to clean you up. I don’t want you making a mess of my interior as well as exterior.” With that, she disappeared into the shop.
There was nothing The Great and Powerful Trixie could do to the contrary. She sat as helpless as a foal. Being told to wait made the actual necessity to do so unbearable.
Before she could coil into her darkening thoughts, a cat stole her attention. It made an absolute point of entirely ignoring her, as they do. Its carriage was one of utter disregard for anything not as grandiose as itself. White, primped and criminally fluffy, Opalescence strolled up beside the blue mare. With a little purr of satisfaction she curled up against The Great and Powerful Trixie’s front hooves to sleep.
The Great and Powerful Trixie didn’t like cats.
She prodded at it, pushing the poof with her hoof to the very verge of tipping, only to be ignored. As soon as she stopped, Opalescence fell back into place.
“Get off, go away, shoo!” The Great and Powerful Trixie snapped at the white cat, earning its attention. What it pondered for a long second as it stared at her was only for it to know, ending with a sudden snarl and swipe of its claw at The Great and Powerful Trixie’s nose. She’d flinched away just in time. That, or Opal hadn’t been aiming to land one. As quickly as it’d happened, the cat snuggled back against Trixie’s hooves, all the more invasive of space with every wiggle to comfort.
The Great and Powerful Trixie wormed her hoof out from under the rolls of cat, about to give it a right good kicking to send it off. Opal paid no mind, sitting there as the most presumptuous creature The Great and Powerful Trixie had ever met. The Great and Powerful Trixie was going to enjoy this.
The hoof worked free, and got a good bit of windup for the desired kick-
-“Well, so it seems that someone in Ponyville likes you after all.” Rarity had with her a small yellow cloth, a tiny pail of warm sudsy water, and a small mirror, each item levitating easily about her in a lazy orbit. Trixie froze up, caught in the act of premeditated kick. Rarity hadn’t seemed to notice. Slowly, The Great and Powerful Trixie lowered her hoof.
“Like Trixie? This thing is unbearable; get it away from me! It attacked me a minute ago!”
Rarity was genuinely entertained. Opalescence took neither chiding nor cheek from anypony.
“Oh? Did she actually now?” A faint smile on her alabaster face bloomed under the white of winter.
“Of course it did, you, you, ahh! This thing nearly scratched me!” The Great and Powerful Trixie rebuked, frustrated at her inability to win respect or appreciation from either white creature. Besides, those claws looked sharp.
“Ah, but see? Opalescence didn’t. She likes you. I, for one, can hardly see why. But enough of this, there is still the matter of you to sort out.” To the cat she knelt close, coddling it with babying tones. “Now come on Opalescence, Momma has some things she needs to do with this mare. Be a good kitty and run along.”
There was a pause, just long enough for the cat to infer that she would stay if she wanted to, but happened to want to leave now. It was very clearly said without words that she was not to be mistaken for obeying Rarity in this action that just happened to be coincidentally compliant. Opal strolled inside.
Trixie was told to stand with a deadpan voice as if she were little more than a dressing ponyquin. Grudgingly she did so. The cold air snuck in under her legs, while the head rush was stronger than she expected.
Trixie allowed herself to tune out as the white mare droned on and on, the fastidious attention to detail becoming tedious in the utmost. The warm water that was dabbed at her wounded flank stung and what warmth it had quickly gave way to the greater chill of being wet in open, cold air.
With each dab and rinse, another bit of sticky, partially formed scab was washed away. Though she winced with each touch of cleansing, it was not unpleasant. It certainly felt nice to have somepony else attending to her like a servant again. It’d only been a few hours, but the upsetting of her entire world had made everything seem much longer. She relished the attention whereas Rarity ignored the mare as much as she could, entirely focused on applying her ministrations to the task at hoof. Rarity had no love lost for either this work or its benefactor, but she couldn’t deny that it was the right thing to do.
I should have just pointed her towards Nurse Redheart and shooed her on her way. The sponge she used was rinsed anew in the warm soapy water, than reapplied with an aggrevated vigour that made The Great and Powerful Trixie wince.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie insists that you cease to be so clumsy and do it right.” The sponge was not suddenly ground into the cut, though narrowing eyes showed it was a definite possibility. Oh yes, that’s why. I’m too selfless to inflict this obnoxious blue show off onto anypony else. But enough is enough.
Then the painful scrubbing commenced. “Oh, I say! Firstly, I am Rarity or Miss Rarity, and expect you to call me as such. The slightest bit of common courtesy would be most welcome, seeing as I am presently helping you, when I would much rather be left to my own more gracious company.” Every word had Trixie squirming and struggling, though it was from the abuse she was receiving. “Clean up your act, and show a bit of appreciation for once! And stop using that dreadfully long and convoluted title you’ve felt free to mount atop yourself like a tacky trophy. You are Trixie, or Miss Trixie, and I will call you by nothing else. Understood?” She still had a little steam left, and so quipped: “…And stop speaking in third pony!”
Trixie’s eyes were watering just a little from the onslaught. Her flank was utterly clean, to the point of blasted sterility. Ow. She made eye contact with the glaring white mare. Trixie, feeling no other option available relinquished a small nod.
Rarity’s entire manner flipped, and immediately she was the polite, friendly pony again. Only the sharp, crystalline word of acknowledgement gave hint of her reservations under the proper façade. I’ll pretend to be nice, and you’ll pretend to be nice, and we won’t end up strangling one another. It was all said in the eye contact. With that, a soft towel patted down the blue mare’s side.
Then Rarity turned, humming melodies to herself as she magicked the mirror. The habit of a thousand dresses and innumerable beauty treatments couldn’t be broken as easily with a bit of blood and enmity as one might’ve thought. She expertly floated it into position so that Trixie could see her wound. Habit pressed on, leading Rarity to thrill out a musical little call to look.
Trixie ignored the annoyance. It’d only get worse if she made something of it. It had been a very, very long day after all. That was the excuse she told herself, and even knowing it wasn’t watertight she was sticking to it. The mirror showed her cutie mark, the stunning display of a wand conjuring great and powerful feats of magic. For a brief moment she contemplated it before the nagging sting of her cut demanded her attention.
Cutie mark and cut were in fact one and the same, she realized. Whatever had scraped her, perhaps a nail of her wagon, had traced a perfect score down the wand’s length in her cutie mark, splitting it exactly from the base of the star right to the end of the shaft. Just like her actual wand, which she had expressly and no doubt expressively commissioned to match her flank exactly. It was downright freaky that they’d both been split as they had. Other than that, it had very little substance as scrapes went. The cut was little more than a graze, and thin at that. Washed out, it had already stopped bleeding. It’d seemed like much more before.
Always one to read the moods around her, Rarity empathetically nudged Trixie.
“It really is a shame. As much as I can’t stand you, your cutie mark is quite fetching. The stars match your coat so well,” she mused.
Trixie had nothing to contribute. Her anger was spent, her high tragedy made mediocre, her front broken. The Great and Powerful Trixie was not quite either of those anymore and she was exactly what all this time she’d hated the possibility of being.
Yet, all in all, it wasn’t so bad. She couldn’t comprehend why. Perhaps she was just too tired to worry, or she had met a stress quota for the day and had the evening off. Who knew? At least her leg felt fine, other than a lingering sting. She’d hate to walk with any limp, but it held her weight just as it always had.
Rarity sighed. For once, it was not some complex social cue. Merely a sigh for the sake of sighing. It was nice, as Fluttershy would say.
If neither was far along in actually coming to like the other, the air between them had changed subtly. Neither actively disliked the other at this particular moment. Trixie had given up, and Rarity was genuinely kind. The air between them was prompted with a sudden gust of night air, at which both unicorns shivered.
“I suppose it would be best if I invite you in for the night. It is much too cold and lonely to close my door on somepony. Ah-he-hem,” she prepared herself for something that, hours ago in the light of day, she would have vehemently opposed. “Would you come inside for some tea and a chance to warm up from this frigid night air?”
“The… I’d… yes.” A cup of tea seemed like a really nice idea. Not incredible, or dazzling, or fantastic. Nice. Nice was good. Nice was kind and simple, and Trixie wanted nice.
As quickly as that tenuous bridge was built and crossed, Rarity began to fuss. To those who knew her, it was a good sign. She gently and firmly insisted that the blue mare go inside, she’d just be a minute herself cleaning up the porch. No boutique worth anything could allow a porch to be in such a state, that any pony might happen across it and think badly of her state of repair. Rarity shut the door behind her as she stayed out, scrubbing the bits of scuffed in specks of blood with the bucket and tools she had at hoof.
Trixie could hear her working away. The thought to go help her crossed her mind, but she didn’t act upon it. She wouldn’t be sure what to do anyway. The great and powerful Trixie didn’t do that kind of thing. It was cold out there, though from the sounds of it Rarity seemed more than happy to put up with the nip to get the job done, even at this unusual hour. It wasn’t much work anyway, just a few hoof prints to mop up. Sure, they were Trixie’s, but she couldn’t be expected to clean up after herself just like that, could she? Should she?
She let the thoughts slip from her mind as she took in the boutique. Soft colours that soothed the mind were illuminated by the faint glow of tastefully decorative candles, their flickering light emanating from everywhere she looked. Soft, mellow waxes graced the air with fragrant hints of various flowers, none too sweet, and herbs that made the very air within the shop seem to be a proudly displayed feature.
“All done.” Rarity announced happily as she re-entered her shop, her voice showing no hint of strain or frustration at the unexpected task. Beauty had to be cared for at all hours, after all.
“Do come on in and have a seat. I will have the tea on in just a moment, and we will both be much the better for it.” Nopony this side of Canterlot was more qualified to maintain the standard of good society. This would hardly be the first pony Rarity thought utterly drab, uncouth, or intractable and had had to make the best of for the sake of it.
It surprised her very much to think that Trixie, despite everything, did have a good taste she could appreciate. The mare certainly knew how to present herself, even if she did flaunt it in such a distasteful manner. Rarity felt her guard relaxing. Maybe I don’t have to force civility so much after all.
Opalescence made her return from one of the many reclusive, spectacular corners of her home. Head high, the white poof made a processional beeline to Trixie, instantly delegating her to being a cushion of sorts. Trixie still didn’t like cats, but chose to leave it. She did throw a perplexed, nigh pleading glance to her hostess.
Rarity smiled, a sight to melt the heart. “I’ve never seen her take to a pony so suddenly. Do give her a chance; she really is a nice little kitty.”
Trixie felt as if she should have been keeping tally for words. She was used to winning at that game, but again there was that curious mind frame that insisted it should be bad to remain quiet, but for some reason wasn’t. The niceness floated before her with all its cloying scents.
Rarity had left her to that thought as she set about making a pot of tea. Not many ponies enjoyed the classy drink or more precisely, classy as she made it out to be, but most indulged her with the ceremony. Trixie followed suit. Feeling nice, expecting niceness… these things were new and weird. Dazzling she knew, but here and now? That was just noisiness. Trixie was the best at it, and could enrapture the crowds, but it had no place here.
As the steaming drinks were poured with honed precision, Rarity’s conversational skills and good society came to the forefront. With an insightful, prodding question here and there, she enticed Trixie to open up and speak. Ever the apt listener, she took what details she could, contributing where it was appropriate, and refining the generalities of her statements until the conversation was moving along well under its own power. Occasionally Trixie needed to be reined in from her gloating, and doing this while leaving her none the wiser was Rarity’s masterful touch.
Trixie had found herself feeling uncomfortable, despite everything’s niceness. What roiled away in the pit of stomach, mingling with tea, was the alien desire to apologise. Better to get it out, don’t think about it
“Rarity, about earlier today… I’m… I’m sorry. I was wrong.” She felt winded from the effort, and Rarity’s unreadable expression worried her. These Ponyville ponies weren’t all so bad. There had to be better terms she could leave them on than a defiant smoke cloud in the night. Had she dashed that new notion already? Oh well. She’d done it, and nothing could be held against her now. She realized with a start that her headache had vanished too. She tried to think of when that’d happened. It’d been gone now for some time, but she hadn’t thought of it.
Rarity softened by degrees. “Thank you. I must admit, I’m thoroughly surprised to hear that, but all the more impressed for it. Thank you.” That heart melting smile was catching, Trixie finding herself warmed by it. Or perhaps it was just the tea. No, it’d be the smile. She was happy to believe.
Trixie, for perhaps the first time, had proven herself.
“I just happen to be better at magic, but some pony has to be,” she added smugly. Rarity’s teacup wobbled ever so slightly. She let it slide this time. She’d take her victories where she could. Trixie was tolerably behaved for now. Even likeable, in her assertive manner. Sure, she’d been a little shaken from the evening, but Rarity found herself admiring the way the blue unicorn could carry herself so confidently, and with such fine form as well. An idle fantasy of having her display one of the dresses frittered across her mind. Such bearing, such poise. Rarity was sure that if she could just polish up the ugly pride Trixie could be quite the stunner. Well, she did come here for something anyway…
Glee snuck into Rarity’s expression. Trixie matched it with a grin of her own.
“You know, I think I do have just what could get you back on your hooves. It has been a very ugly day today, after all.” The teacup settled perfectly onto its dish, Rarity excusing herself from the table. She’d certainly have something around. Oh, where had she put the darned things?
What followed was something of a controlled storm of fabric. More colours than Trixie had words for flitted quickly in front of Rarity, only to be flung away just as suddenly. Trixie even knew fuchsia and vermillion, but still more colours of clothes pranced madly around the white unicorn. A fine purple piece tumbled through the air, warranting a second consideration from the fashionista. Purple had worked for the magic mare before, but Rarity wanted to bring in something new.
Something passed by which froze the whole systemic chaos.
Rarity cooed to herself, the murmurs and appraisals coalescing into open speech. “Oh Rarity, this could work, this could be it.”
Curiosity craned Trixie’s neck for her.
“Oh yes, this really may be just the thing.” The general chaos of the search was redoubled, focused. Pins and needles glittered as they swept around like sparrows, pale thread gracefully prancing through the wakes. The fabric itself tossed and heaved with the liquid motion of fire, though its colour couldn’t be further from flame.
“Ta da!” Rarity stepped aside to reveal a cape, glittering in the magic that buoyed it. Where before there had been purple, regal and loud, sea green now rolled gently. The hushed tones were of calm, still water. Rippling along the edges as if carried by the wind were winding little waves of sequins, and they caught the light just right, vivifying the whole.
“Don’t just stand there looking at it. Do try it on.” It was fitted about Trixie as quickly as she could stand, the hem being fussed over until the fit was perfect. Sea green had not been what she expected, but it wasn’t bad.
“You do like it? I just threw it together you well know, but I am quite good with my fabrics. I think it goes well with your coat, the colour helps soften your looks.”
“Wouldn’t purple have been better? My last cape was purple.” Best to stick to what she knew.
“If you insist, I could redo it from scratch, but I say out with the old and in with the new! Just wait on your judgement until you see the hat as well.”
Happy anarchy erupted once more, the same thread and fabric twisting in new and insidious ways. What it yielded was a hat quite unlike that which had gone before. Brim. Purple. Stars. The former hat had been these, straight and prominent, and said a loud simple message.
Trixie’s eyes meandered over the new. ‘Hat’ was too simple a word to attribute to this decorative piece. It eschewed the simple lines of its predecessor. Candlelight explored its folding surface and the curve of the apex where shadows nestled. The brim met with the crown only after each had wandered an embroidered landscape of ripples and swells as if an ocean wave had been twisted into a bending spire and frozen into softness. Made from the same fabric of the cape, it nevertheless hinted at a mystifying centre, where might dwell something most mysterious. It’d be fitting to sheath her horn with this.
It fit perfectly the first time. It shouldn’t have. There should have had to be frustrating little adjustments that spoiled the whole thing. Instead, it cozied atop her head with total comfort. Rarity beamed at her success. Trixie’s wide mouth sharpened to a grin. Things were starting to look good.
She pushed out her chest and lifted her chin. Oh yes. Working her magic, she brightened the room to daylight, flaring her new cape for the showing of it. Oh yes! Caught up in it all, Trixie reared back, whinnying triumphantly. Now that she was looking the part again, she started feeling it too.
“I’m glad you like them.” Rarity squinted against the sudden brightness, saying nothing else.
Trixie realized the effect she was having. Content, she let the magic fade as she landed gently back onto her hooves. Her smile sloshed across her face with a nigh drunken self-assuredness. Steadily it faded to a relaxed glow of emotion.
“They’re good enough,” Trixie said dismissively. Even so, her tone was such that she was well happy with the results.
She paused a moment while Rarity congratulated herself. Her visit had been for these, even if along the way it had become little more than pretence. Now that she had what she’d come for, why linger here? It’s frigid and dark outside? Oh yeah.
The cape slid away as Rarity magically folded it neatly, placing the tight square of sea green clothing into a bag. The hat followed, not quite high enough to peep out over the rim. Rarity’s acute sense caught onto Trixie’s latest confusion.
“Now that we are through with business, why don’t we take this chance to freshen up?” It sounded nice. Trixie set aside the desire to prod at her sudden fondness for ‘nice.’ She’d leave that one for the light of day. In a moment Rarity had led her further into the building, where the amenities of home showed it to be her place of residence as much as work space.
The room she was led into was entirely too large for a single mare. Humming a little melody, Rarity concentrated her unicorn magic to light the candles around the place. As the darkness receded, Trixie noted that her host had made use of the ample space in an impressive manner. The far corner of the room had an large tub more for pleasure than purpose, while the nearer wall was adorned with a great mirror and vanity stand, atop which ranged products and applicators of all sorts.
Rarity was really enjoying herself. In truth she was a little tired, but even had Trixie not stamped up onto her doorstep, she’d have still needed to remove her make up. Trixie was even sort of fun, in manners she hadn’t thought to rationalize out just yet. Glamour was much better when you shared it with other ponies. She was astonished to see the mare in the mirror.
“Oh my! I’m an utter ruin to look at.” Her face had smudged a little from the efforts earlier. To Rarity, that constituted ‘ruin.’ “I must rectify this at once.” She dabbed away with cotton and cleanser, industriously undoing her marred work.
Trixie watched, having little to do herself. “You’re not bad to look at.” Matter-of-factly said, though both ponies pulled back from the hearing of it.
I didn’t mean it like… what I meant is… oh never mind.
Rarity laughed away the awkwardness like water from a duck’s back. No duck could boast this swan’s beauty. “A lady does try,” she said between dabbing. Trixie watched a moment longer, crimson sneaking into her cheeks. She had meant it innocently, but now that the connotations of what she said were in her head, she couldn’t help but consider them. It took no less than a forced blink and mane shake to dislodge them, and even then they giggled at bay. Besides. Rarity should be fawning over her, not the other way around. Or both- Stop it.
“All done. Isn’t it just so nice to take one’s face off at the end of the day? Well, it might be just a teensy bit later than that.”
Trixie escaped her internal processes enough to wash her own face. From a demure little sink. The stage make up she’d been wearing during the day she’d already washed off before it had all gone to horse apples. It felt good to have fresh water soaking into her muzzle, sensations of tingling chill pricking as welcome distractions.
“Of course, you’ll spend the night, won’t you?” Rarity turned with a sudden, imploring look to Trixie. “At first I just meant to clean you up a bit and shoo you along, but I might have been just a little too quick to see you in the worst possible light. All that aside, it is still a cold night out there. I can’t imagine you having anywhere else in Ponyville besides that wagon, and there’s no use in it now.”
It was true. Every word of it. Especially the bit about being prejudiced too quickly, Trixie thought snidely. She didn’t like being cared for in a manner so sympathetic, but what else was there? Storm out and wander the night? Decline nicely and wander the night? The cutting wind hardly cared which.
“Trixie would like that.” A night with a fri… a frien... a pony wouldn’t be so bad. She’d want her own bed though.
“Very good. Now I propose running a nice hot bath to melt away the tension. I’m certain I can safely say that we have both had a stressful day, and I spent all afternoon dispelling and combing my hair,” Rarity added with a passing touch of bitterness. Neither dwelt upon it.
It took the white mare all of two minutes to fill the room with steam, hot water pipes running at full. An entire concoction of bath salts dissolved into the big tub, turning the water to ‘simply divine.’
Rarity dipped one hoof tenderly into the water, heat racing up her leg. Jitters of its hot intensity blossomed along her nerves. She panted for an unseemly moment before pressing further, inch by inch. The water rolled in over her body in an enveloping glow that melted everything away from Rarity, and she sighed with the greatest of relaxations.
Trixie, meanwhile, watched awkwardly from the side. Rarity, though her eyes were covered by the two slices of cucumber to go with the soothing bath, didn’t ignore her guest either.
“I would not have taken you for a shy pony. Do come in. It is positively splendid!” Rarity lifted her forelegs with exclamation, only to sink back all the deeper into the enrapturing hot water.
“Trixie is no shy pony!” She was getting defensive, but one second in the bath melted her apprehension. Her cutie mark tingled enough to make her wince. Instantly Rarity was fussing over her, asking if it was too much or if the salts hurt. Trixie cut her off before she’d ruin both their baths trying to tone it down. “I’m fine,” she said harshly, stinging Rarity as much as she herself stung. She drew a steady breath and released it, repeating herself in a calmer manner. “Thank you, I’m fine.”
Both mares let the steaming water carry away the weight of the world.
“Oh, let me give you some cucumber slices. However did I forget?” Two floated over lazily, settling onto Trixie’s eyes with two cool kisses. Illumination blinked out under them, leaving Trixie only the sense of bliss.
She ascended slowly from a doozy, happy place at sounds from Rarity. The alabaster unicorn was idly combing her purple hair or something like, by the sounds of it. It didn’t matter enough to investigate.
Without words, Rarity combed Trixie’s mane. She was surprised at the sudden tug of the brush, but let it happen. It was niceness, folded in on itself and thickened a dozen times over. Rarity seemed to get a kick from it anyway, so let her at it.
Who am I kidding? I’m loving this. Trixie sighed delightedly under Rarity’s attentions. It was as close to admitting anything as she’d make utterance of. It was only natural that a pony who pampered herself religiously every week would be adept at giving as good as she got.
*gasp!* Ears! She touched my ears! There was more than one reason Trixie was fond of hats, it turned out…
“Are you alright? I didn’t get water in your eye, did I?”
“Y-yes, no! I’m good. This is good!” So good! Just bite the lip.
Bemused, Rarity continued happily. Every touch of the brush against Trixie’s ears sending trembles blooming through her body. Trixie held down on her lip defiantly, forcing herself to remain still against the sensational onslaught. She squinted with the effort to not melt entirely. She couldn’t get out of this now, it’d be too embarrassing to admit.
That was the reason she was sticking to. Shivers of delight were arbitrary. Sure…
Then it was over. Her hair was combed, the bath was cooling, and the towels came out. Relief mingled in civility with disappointment as each pony dried.
“A nice bath is just the thing I find to settle oneself in for a good night’s rest. Now come along Trixie, I’ll show you my room.”
“Don’t I get a bed of my own?”
“Now be reasonable,” Rarity assured. “There’s only my bed and Sweetie Belle’s. Mine is more than big enough for two ponies. Have you never had a sleep over before?” She had asked jokingly, but Trixie couldn’t remember ever having attended one. With Trixie, it’d always been a very big over to try and sleep across.
Rarity didn’t seem flustered. If she wasn’t, then Trixie refused to let herself be. The candles were silently extinguished one by one as she was lead through the halls of the Boutique, past storage and work rooms to a room making a very reasonable attempt at being promoted to chamber.
Illuminated in the soft light, shadows danced their slow and inviting waltz of dreams. Trixie was impressed. It was a good thing that fashion was inferior to real magic, or she might even feel challenged. Be that as it may, she felt good from the tea and the bath. Not to mention ears, but…
It was fortunate that blush did not show prominently in the dark, as Rarity addressed her now. “Welcome to my humble abode. Oh do pardon me; I’ve just always wanted to say that. My Princess sized bed will be more than accommodating for you, I think. It is certainly more than anything you could have fit into that cramped little caravan. Now let us get some sleep after such an interesting day.”
Trixie had nothing. There was a bed, and a mare she’d just met today, and spent half the day belittling and tormenting. The bed was the mare’s, and now she was being friendly, and Trixie was being frie- agreeable..., and it felt nice. Everything bubbled together in a big bubble of thought toned to the words of what the hay?
That burst quickly. The underlying confusion was still there, but a nice bed was a good start. Rarity watched her from under the covers, having slid under the covers with utter delicacy.
“Well? Come on you.”
Quilts and duvets fell over Trixie like snowfall, insulating the sheltered seeds beneath. Everything was pristine. Despite her apprehension, she couldn’t deny the creeping appreciation working its way through her.
The lights dimmed to night’s own hue. Trixie saw only with the suggestion of silhouettes and by her memory of the chamber. Under the snow, something shed the husk of seed casing and was working up through Trixie. It scared her, but she was more fearful to stop it. In the darkness, it bloomed.
“Rarity… Thank you.”
“Why certainly dear.”
“No… I mean, Thank you.”
There was a quiet rustling, which she imagined to be Rarity turning to her. “Whatever for? It is merely good etiquette to help a pony down on her luck.”
“After today? I wouldn’t have expected anyone to treat me like this, let alone you.”
“Well yes, I was certainly riled by that whole thing, but that is in the past. No harm done.”
Thoughts and emotions turned peacefully through Trixie. She didn’t understand most of them yet, but there was no rush to. She had a soft bed under her, a roof over her, a… come on Trixie you can do this… a fri-fri-fri- pal beside her, and good feelings within her. How could The Great and Powerful Trixie trump that feat? Sleep was settling on her, but something was making the pillow sit rough.
With calm magic she rooted around under the pillow, finding the source of discomfort. It was a book, but in the dark Trixie could tell no more than that.
Rarity stifled a gasp. “Oh! Just a little thing I was skimming through and I forgot all about it.” Rarity quickly took up the weight with her magic, eagerly shifting the piece to whatever bit of counter nearby had room.
That sorted, Trixie fell asleep quickly. Rarity’s unlikely companion was nuzzling against her in sleep. Rarity opened her mouth to speak, but then thought otherwise. Pouting, she silently magicked a tiny plushie bear from a collection along the wall. Let her cuddle that instead. Rarity still needed beauty sleep after all.
Morning comes by many entries. Sublime, gallant, inspiring, unrelenting, it could be all these and more. Sometimes however, morning came simply by a felonious feline acupuncturist and an all too natural know-how of pressure points. Opalescence was flung from the bed by her unwilling patient.
Rarity awoke, stressed and in being so, frazzled. In being frazzled, she became stressed. At least the cat was off her now. They never could just wait patiently for food. Rarity went through the motions of feeding Opalescence, wondering wearily about Trixie. The bed was rumpled, more so than even a rudely woken Rarity would ever allow for. The bear plushie laid atop the folds, staring dreamily at the ceiling.
Sure enough, Trixie had left bright and early. Whether that had been to make a bright new start, or to avoid the shame of facing the rest of Ponyville, Rarity didn’t know. Both were true, perhaps. At least she’d remembered to take the gifts of new hat and cape. Trixie really did look quite fetching in those.
There was no knowing where the blue magician had gone. Maybe one day she’d make her reappearance. Maybe she wouldn’t. After their brief and tumultuous meeting, Rarity found herself glad that the sapphire mare had wound up on her doorstep.
Now she could enjoy a little bit of a read to bring her mood back. She rummaged under the pillow where her copy of Stables and Stability was hidden. She laughed like chimes, remembering she’d moved it hastily last night. To the counter, than.
Except it wasn’t there. Or anywhere. Oh, she didn’t! Now I’ll never know how their story ends!
Trixie had left bright and early after all, beaming all the way.
Thanks to Ran and jodyjm13, both of Equestria Daily, for their contributions in making this nice. Not grand, not spectacular: nice. Nice ;D
And another heap’o’thanks to Zonra of DeviantArt for my use of the image “Trixie: a lost reflection.”