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Trixie’s Bargain

by Jay Bear


        “Those FOALS!” Trixie bellowed, stomping her hoof. “They think they can drive the Great and Powerful Trixie from the low-brow, redneck, rump-buck, hayseed, hillbilly town of Ponyville? NEVER!”


        The silver-maned, azure-coated unicorn stomped again, this time hard enough to shake the wooden structure above her.


        “The Great and Powerful and Supreme Trixie will not be caged by this pathetic excuse of an exile! Like Nightmare Moon before me, I shall return to conquer your trifling hamlet and reign as its queen for all eternity!” She stomped a third time. With that, the piece of roof above her that she had fashioned into a lean-to slid from the boulder it had been perched on, falling towards her until she caught it with a levitation spell. She sighed, and willed the edge back onto its former resting place. Tossing her mane back, she resumed her tirade.


        “My cart may be demolished, my props ruined, and my wardrobe shredded, but glorious revenge will be the phoenix that rises from the ashes of this day! Surely, when scholars right this wrong in their history books, they will marvel at how the Great, Powerful, Supreme, and Incredible Trixie called upon the entirety of her repertoire to vanquish not some lowly Ursa Minor, but the whole of Ponyville, neigh, Equestria, and especially that spotlight-stealing purple unicorn! Indeed, it may not even require all of Trixie’s astounding abilities, but only depend on one that purple pain doubtless knows nothing of: demon summoning!"


        Trixie coughed, her throat sore from shouting, and surveyed the area. In front of her, the full moon illuminated a field strewn with rocks and debris, the result of the Ursa Minor’s earlier rampage through Ponyville. Dim outlines of Ponyville’s surviving buildings were visible just beyond the field. Behind her stood a copse of trees, which Trixie was resigned to investigating soon for the reagents necessary to cast her demon-summoning spell. The list of reagents wasn’t long, and none of them hard to acquire, but they were peculiar:


Pumice: 30 grains

Indigo dye: 2 tablespoons

Newt’s eye: 1

Knotgrass: one cup

Ivy: 20 leaves

Epsom salt: just a pinch

Pine needles: 45, chopped fine

Inky cap mushrooms: 5 small, or 3 large

Eye of a newt: 1


        She had learned demon summoning from a nameless stallion unicorn with a gray coat, pale blue mane, one dead eye, and a cutie mark of a pony skull engulfed in green flame. Once, she had asked him why the summoning spell required both a “newt’s eye” and “eye of a newt,” as if there were a distinction. He had given her a hard stare from his good eye, and then quipped, “I suppose it’s a good thing newts usually come with one of each, eh?”


        Trixie headed for the trees and spent half an hour gathering reagents, transmuting a few as circumstances required. She considered herself a master in all forms of magic, and thought transmutations were particularly trivial. However, that night she had a few succulent-related misfires, which she chalked up to stress. On the other hoof, she decided that part of the field really needed a cactus garden all along, and complimented herself on her good work.


        The reagents gathered, she set to work scratching the demonic summoning symbol, a pentagram in a circle surrounded by arcane runes, into the ground near the field’s new cacti. Once it was complete, she carried over the assembled reagents. As she placed them in the center of the pentagram, the wind began to rustle her mane, and an unfamiliar energy started to fill her. There seemed to be voices on the wind singing inaudible words of a far-away place.


        Trixie grinned.


        “Now that I have set the symbol and placed the elements, all that remains is to recite the incantation: to forsake the sun and moon, to curse the names of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, and surrender everything to the lords of the underworld. Have faith in your magic, Trixie, and be resolute, for in this darkest of acts, your destiny awaits!”


        Already the circle glowed red, beckoning her to complete the spell. The Great, Powerful, and Damned Trixie was all too eager to comply. She began to recite the demon-summoning incantation, reveling as its ancient language spilled off her tongue.


        “Sint mihi dei nocturna suppressio propitii!” she called out, rising to her back hooves. “Valeat numen duplex Celestia et Luna! Ignei, aerii, aquatani spiritus, salvete! Ispe nunc surgat nobis dicatus Eip Eiknip!”


        The red glow of the circle coalesced around the edges of the pentagram before surging into its center. Crimson beams of light shot from the reagents as the whole pile rose into the air. The ascending mass grew and morphed into a form... the form of an earth pony. Its mane and tail twisted into a thousand manic directions and blazed fuchsia, and its body gleamed in the color of fading scarlet. As the last of its nefarious light waned, it descended until all four hooves met the desecrated ground. Into the circle had emerged a demon of terrifying power, horrifying evil, and pink color.


        “Hi!” the demon chirped with a bounce. Trixie stayed silent for a moment to examine the hell-spawned creature, and took note of its cutie mark: not a skull or pitchfork as she had expected, but only three colorful balloons. She presumed the demon’s cheerful symbol represented something sinister, though its exact meaning eluded her.


        “Demon, you stand before the Great and Powerful Trixie! You have been summoned to do her bidding,” she said, unsure of the protocol when dealing with agents of the underworld. It was the first time she had ever performed this spell.


        “Well, duh!” the demon replied as it began to prance in place. “I mean, obviously, that’s why you drew the símbolo demoníaco, then got all the réactifs de la damnation in the center, and recited the agicmay ordsway. So, what do you wanna do? Please say play charades, please say play charades!”


        “The Great and Powerful Trixie commands...”


        “That we play charades?!”


        “No!” Trixie glowered at the devil. “The first command of the Great and Powerful Trixie is that you stop prancing.”


        The demon halted mid-prance, hovering for a second before extending all four legs down and sticking out its un-forked tongue.


        “That’s better.” Trixie paused to collect her thoughts. The demon seemed vaguely familiar, as if she had seen it in a crowd recently. She concluded that it must have adopted the form of one of the ponies in the herd from her Ponyville performance that morning. The thought of that place brought her attention back to the matter at hoof.


        “Demon, Trixie demands from you power, wealth, and vengeance upon those vile Ponyvillians. You will grant Trixie unbelievable magical abilities, including the power to reverse time. Then, the citizens of Ponyville will struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible as the Great and Powerful Trixie vanquishes both the Ursa Minor and Major! As the tales of her victory against the horrifying beasts spread throughout Equestria, she will be given an audience with Princess Celestia and will grace the royal court with her otherworldly talent. Finally, the Great and Powerful Trixie will live in the luxury she so richly deserves, attended upon by Ponyville’s finest mares and stallions, brought gifts by her many visitors, drinking the most exotic teas and wines, surrounded by precious gems of every kind and color, and knowing wealth beyond anypony’s wildest imagination!”


        The demon whistled. “Oh my gosh, that’s a lot! But if it’s changing the past you want, then it’s rewriting The Script that you got! Or, that you got to do! I mean, if it’s the past you wanna change, it’s The Script you gotta rewrite… wait, that’s not it.” The demon fell back on its haunches and scratched its chin for a few seconds before looking back at Trixie. “You know what I mean, right? That we have to rewrite The Script?”


        Trixe had never heard of The Script before. “Of… of course I do,” she said, struggling to keep the lie from showing. She decided not to push her luck by claiming she had once defeated a manticore by rewriting The Script. “Trixie is quite familiar with the legends of the miracles that can be achieved by rewriting The Script. But... prove to Trixie that you know what it is and have the power to... rewrite it.”


        With a “squee,” the demon reached behind its own flank and pulled out a thin stack of paper held together with a paperclip. On the first page, the words “MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC” were written in large plain letters. Below them, in a smaller font, was “Boast Busters by Chris Savino.” As Trixie studied the cover of the unfamiliar tome, the demon came closer and waved its front hooves spookily in the magician’s face.


        “The Script is an ancient codex of mysterious enigma, within which is written all that has been, all that is, and all that will be. OOOoooooOOOOOoooOOO! By writing something new in The Script, a pony can change the past, the present, or the future. THE HORROR! One need only sign one’s initials to the arcane Routing Slip and Change Log, and this power is yours! Unlimited power!


        Trixie gave the demon a frigid look. “That’s no ancient manuscript, it’s mere scrap paper! Do you dare mock the Great and Powerful Trixie?”


        “Uh-huh! You’re not mad, are you?”


        “Just… please stop.” Trixie rubbed the top of her great and powerful snout and sucked in a loud breath. Oh, of course, a trickster demon for Trixie. Those lords of the underworld must think themselves so clever.


        “Ooooh, speaking of dares, we should totally play Truth or Dare! Maybe you can transmute some water into punch, then we’ll have a real party going!” The demon glanced at the cactus garden behind it. “Or, you know, you can transmute water into another cactus instead. Those are fun, too.”


        Trixie stomped her hoof down and looked into the demon’s blue eyes. “Let’s get this over with,” she said through gritted teeth. “If you demand the initials of the Great and Powerful Trixie, then they are yours, whether the paper she writes them on be a spell book or a sham!”


        “Okie doki loki!” The demon produced a quill and jar of red fluid, and then placed them on the ground. “Oh, I almost forgot, I’m gonna need your immortal soul, too.”


        “My... Trixie’s... soul?” A flash of terror shot across the showmare’s face. “What will you do with the immortal soul of… the Great and Powerful Trixie?”


        “I’ll bake a pastry!” the demon said with a bounce. “With other ponies’ souls I’ll usually make some brownies or muffins, but yours is waaaay too spicy for something like that. So, I was thinking... biscotti! You know, those long biscuit thingies you dip in hot cocoa.” The demon mimed holding a mug in one hoof and dipping something into the mug with its other hoof, the lack of opposable digits be damned.


        Trixie gulped, trying to suppress her growing terror, and focused on what she was about to gain: power, fame, fortune, and most importantly, vengeance.


        “If it is a soul you demand, then I bargain mine freely to have my desires granted. Bring your scrap paper, demon, and begin your rituals, for as surely as Celestia raises the sun in the morning, and Luna summons the moon at night, from this hour forth, Trixie shall be... is that blood?” She pointed to the jar of red liquid.


        “Oh, no no no no, it’s just ketchup.” The demon knocked off the bottle’s cork. “I was on my way to a hot dog eating contest when you summoned me, and I don’t have any ink. But if you want, I can run to the ink and sofa cushion shop real fast.”


        With a snort, Trixie levitated the quill and stabbed it into the jar of ketchup. “No. Whatever the case may be, the Great and Powerful Trixie will grant her soul and sign her initials. Now,” she said, scratching a few letters on the required page of The Script, “give me what I want!


        “All right!” the demon squealed as it took the quill and began to write in The Script.


        * * * * *


        “Then they all made out, and oh, boy, was it hot,” Lauren Faust read aloud in the empty conference room. “First, the Cute and Adorable Twilight, her horn getting really big from all the magical passion in the musky air... seriously? Ok, I’m done with this.”


        Lauren tossed the “alternate ending” script of Boast Busters onto the conference table and stretched. It was just past 11 p.m. on October 26, and the second episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic had aired last Friday to mostly good reviews. Now the artists, voice actors, musicians, and writers for the show were spending their days, nights, and weekends trying to complete the next twenty-four episodes on time.


        As deadlines approached, she accepted that little pranks would show up in the workflow from time to time. Maybe Applejack would be drinking from a liquor jug in a storyboard, or one of the voice actors would drop an F-bomb in a rough-cut animatic. Those were the kinds of harmless ways for creative talent to relieve the stress of an eighty-hour workweek devoted to a show that was, at one level, an extended toy commercial.


        However, a forty-page “alternate ending” to a nearly-completed episode, including a gratuitous make-out scene with Twilight Sparkle and the other five main cast ponies, was crossing the line.


        Not that this prank had been all bad. There had been some funny parts, such as Trixie rolling around in a giant hamster ball, or how anytime she tried to transmute something it’d turn into a cactus instead. The part where Celestia had been dyed pink was funny too, but the following gag where Trixie turned invisible and threw firecrackers at Celestia felt forced.


        A few scenes had even surprised Lauren with their poignancy: Trixie pleading for a second chance “to make things right” when the Ursa Minor appeared; Twilight convincing her friends to forgive Trixie; and Trixie waking up in a dingy basement, unaware that the dust-covered chests surrounding her were filled with precious gems of every kind and color.


        Mostly, though, it was terrible: the catapult that hurled the Ursa Minor into the Ursa Major; a giant, toothless alligator that tried to eat Snips and Snails; jarring scene shifts between Ponyville, Canterlot, a new town called Stalliongrad, and “The Land of Magical Cupcakes that Were Delicious;” blackmail pictures of the Ponyville Mayor in “hot and very naked” poses; a debate between Rarity and Rainbow Dash about “Hayn Rand” that went on for twelve pages before Dash “sonic rainboomed Carousel Boutique into a billion dumb little pieces;” Applejack trying to give Trixie an apple with razorblades hidden in it; Fluttershy buying arsenic for a tea party; and, of course, the make-out scene, where Lauren had stopped reading.


        There were still several pages left unread, but she had no inclination to continue. She picked up the script again and examined the routing slip for clues about whom to chew out for this prank. On the last filled-out line, just below her own “LF” initials, was “The GAPT” in red splotchy letters.


        “Very funny, guys.” She ripped out the forty pages that the mysterious prankster had “contributed” and flung them towards a trashcan near the door before leaning back in her chair with a yawn.


        I really should be getting some sort of work done. Her stomach growled.


        Or, finally get some dinner… and lunch. She eyed a basket of pastries at the center of the conference table, which held the leftovers of that morning’s staff meeting.


        As she surveyed the basket, parts of the prank script kept running through her head. In this version, Trixie actually had vanquished the Ursa Major. It may have involved rolling around in a hamster ball and building the “Ursapult Minor,” but in the right light it could sound heroic. The boastful unicorn had then traveled to Canterlot, believing she’d grow rich from retelling her story throughout Equestria.


        That didn’t work out, and she wound up in Ponyville again. At first, the other ponies had ostracized her, but Twilight convinced her friends to forgive Trixie. When they tried to talk to her, though, Trixie refused to admit doing anything wrong. It was only after Twlight and the gang left that Trixie realized the room she was in was filled with chests of precious gems.


        That’s kind of symbolic, Lauren thought. Trixie’s so busy keeping up her Great and Powerful persona that she doesn’t realize all the wealth already around her. Not just the gems – it’s the friendship she’s missing out on.


        Lauren spun a red editor’s pen between her fingers, mulling over that moment. The skeleton of an idea came together in her mind, and she pulled a small steno pad from her jeans pocket. On the front cover she had written, “Should, by the Grace of Cthulu and The Flying Spaghetti Monster combined, Hasbro Green-light Season 2 of FIM, Herein Lie Some Funny Ideas to Use.” Below that was a sketch of Surprise, the pegasus from the first generation of My Little Pony toys that Lauren had based Pinkie Pie on.


        Flipping to a blank page midway through the book, she jotted down, “ep. plot: Trixie rich & famous from road show telling story (not true) of defeating Ursa Major @ Ponyville, now lives in luxury (in Hoofywood? L-Hay? Mare-ami?). Twi+gang show up, tell real story (Rainbow D confronts Trx? Rarity spreads gossip? too mean?? AJ lets truth slip out somehow?), Trx loses everything. But when gang helps get her back on her feet hooves, she learns value of friendship (and telling truth?). Gang learns value of forgiveness/redemption? (too much?) Trx writes letter to Cel at end?”


        She rubbed her chin for a few seconds, and then added, “Pinkie throws a party for Trx afterward to show there’s no hard feelings.”


        With a sigh, she closed the steno pad and set it down on the table. She spent a moment admiring her sketch of the pegasus Surprise, retracing the lines in her head and thinking of how the pose would look from different angles.


        Then, Surprise winked at her.


        Lauren blinked in shock. “No, no, no,” she said out loud and rubbed her eyes. “You did not just see one of your drawings wink at you. You are not going crazy. It’s just a trick of the light. Maybe you’re a little tired, and maybe a little hungry, but you. Are. Not. Going. Crazy.”


        She pulled her hands away and peered at the sketch for any signs that it had momentarily come to life. When she was certain it wouldn’t make any other sudden movements, she pushed her chair away and slipped the steno pad back into her pocket.


        Ho-kay, that’s my cue to get some sleep. After all, tomorrow is another busy day of working on this ol’ toy commercial.

A smile crept onto her face. A pretty damned awesome toy commercial, if I say so myself.


        She eyed the pastry basket again.

Maybe a little snack for the road… Lauren grabbed two pieces of biscotti from the basket and headed for the door, pausing at the light switch to nibble on one of them.


        Huh, this biscotti isn’t too bad for something that’s been sitting out all day, she thought as she turned off the lights. Kind of spicy, though.


Author’s note: Thanks to Twilight Snarkle and Llama Llumps for their help on Ponychan!

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