A large cart soared through the dark sky drawn by a lone dark pegasus. It descended through cloud layers from the lofty heights of Canterlot. It swooped over the treetops of the Everfree Forest and settled near a broken tower. A large dark shape followed it down, twisting and soaring in flight. A great pair of black wings sliced through the air.
The Great and Powerful Trixie stepped from the cart onto the ancient stones. Weeds grew where there had once been fine pavement. “What a dump,” she said. Darkbolt, the pegasus drawing the cart snorted. Trixie pulled her cloak around herself.
“You do not approve,” said her mistress, “This was once my home. The place where the greatest joys and greatest pain of my life played out.” She glided to a stop in the small clearing near an ancient well. Her black wings swept the air above the blue unicorn's head. Her dark hooves clicked on the stones.
“Forgive me, mistress,” Trixie said, bowing gracefully, “I meant no offense.” Luna, standing several heads taller, nodded in response.
Luna swept her wing across the visage of the ruined castle. “In its time this was a great place. A true palace with fine roofs of slate and tile,” she said, “Built by hoof and horn.”
“It's nothing compared to Canterlot as it is now,” Luna continued, “But in its time it was the finest palace in the land.” “I've seen so many changes happen in Equestria,” she said, shaking her head, “When one is a prisoner with nothing to do but watch the world from above one notices things.”
Darkbolt unhitched himself from the cart and moved silently to Luna's side. It was unnerving to Trixie how quietly such a large stallion could move. Trixie looked around. “This land is so wild,” she said, “I've never ventured into the Everfree Forest before.”
“And a good thing that is,” Luna responded, pushing aside some unruly shrubs with her magic, “At one time all of Equestria was wild and untamed like this.” “All sorts of dangerous creatures live here and nature makes its own way. Now much of the land is so tamed that nothing happens except under direct pony control.” “But here,” she continued, “Things have been left as they were.” “My sister felt this place was better left alone and for the most part forbidden.” “Few ponies are brave enough to come here now.”
“I understand that my mistress,” Trixie said, “It's hard to believe the whole land was like this.” She kicked at a vine that threatened to twine itself around her hock. Not just a dump, but a dangerous dump full of manticores and giant bears. She shuddered.
Luna strode through the portcullis and into the castle keep. She walked with the confidence of someone who knew a place by heart. Trixie noticed her teacher walk straight across pavement that had collapsed into an ancient cistern without breaking her stride. Her hooves trod on air for a few moments. It must be nice to have such power, she thought. Darkbolt followed them quietly, his hooves making hardly a sound. She had to get a closer look at his shoes, she thought. They must be padded or magically silenced.
Luna seemed to find what she was looking for. Her horn glowed brightly as she tore layers of vines and dirt away with her magic. The smell of freshly turned earth filled the air. Her excavation revealed a stairway angling down into the ground. “Come, my student,” she said airily, “There are treasures within.” Luna turned to her other companion. “Stay here my darling,” she said, “This is something better left to those with magical defenses.” He bowed to her and returned to the cart.
Luna descended the stairwell, the glowing tip of her horn easily passing through the high doorway. The stones were slippery with dripping water. Her light revealed a passage lined with roots and decaying matter. At its end was an ancient wooden door bound with iron. Luna stopped in the passage, keeping her distance from the door. “What do you sense here, little one?” she asked.
Trixie didn't much like her teacher's pet name. Of that she said nothing. Her horn began to glow faintly in the half-light. “A simple ward,” she said, “Nothing too hard to get past.” To herself she thought, not much different from what you'd find on an enchanted trunk. As easy as picking a lock.
Luna levitated a small rock toward the door. When it got near the door cracks appeared on its surface. The stone crumbled into tiny pebbles. “Never assume what feels familiar is,” she said, “You'll be surprised less often.” Her horn glowed again. The door glowed for a moment then something popped and the light vanished. The door swung half-way open, then its hinges came apart and it fell to the floor with a thump. Luna trod on it with her dark silver shoes. Trixie was more careful. She'd only recently gotten her hooves in proper order. They were still tender despite a pair of lovely new shoes.
Inside there was a round room filled with wooden casks covered with dust and spiderwebs. The light from Luna's horn changed color and she swept the room with it like a searchlight. In a moment she'd levitated three of the casks. Those were the only ones that looked in proper order. They had small copper seals inscribed with runes. Many of the others were broken or decayed to pieces. The casks floated up the passage they'd come down.
“If I may ask,” Trixie asked, “What magical substances do these casks contain?” To her they looked like ordinary barrels of wine or mead.
“Nothing but the finest aged spirits,” she said, “Magically preserved for a millennium.” She smiled.
Trixie shook her head. Luna followed the casks up the passage. Trixie followed her in turn, watching her levitate them into the cart. Darkbolt packed straw around them as padding.
Luna pushed aside a fallen door and entered a huge space, its ceiling long since fallen in. Moonlight filtered through broken rafters overhead. “Aah, the grand ballroom,” she said, spreading her wings, “What a glorious place it was.” At her words light flared forth. Great iron chandeliers appeared where there was no ceiling and a floor of polished stone shone their reflection. Translucent ponies twirled and danced in unfamiliar patterns for a moment before the vision faded.
Trixie marveled at the illusion. It was far beyond anything she could produce. She ran to catch up to her mistress, who was already headed into a passage going downward. The two twisted and turned, guided by the light of Luna's horn. At last they entered an expansive chamber with a ceiling of huge stone slabs. The remains of ancient boxes and bits of furniture lay against the walls. Bronze rings that must have once have held wall hangings were attached to the walls. Luna's horn flared bright. A rectangle of blue light appeared on the rough-hewn floor. The slab slowly tilted upward to reveal a ramp going down still further. The edges of the slab looked damaged is if it had once been pried open.
At the bottom there was a door made of black iron without a spot of rust or even dust on it. Trixie's horn tingled. Magical defenses indeed. Something about the door outright scared her. “I see you feel it,” her mistress said and laughed, “You should be careful with something like this.” Luna's horn lit along its full length. The door glowed and made some sharp metallic sounds. When they ended it opened inward silently. The door slid closed behind them as quietly as a ghost.
“This was once my private retreat,” Luna said quietly, “So don't be too surprised if it's a bit more… girly and less arcane than you may expect.”
Luna was right about that. The place was hung with purple satin and gold cords. The chamber smelled of lovely incense, somehow still hanging in air that had been still for a millennium. There were tasseled cushions with fancy throw pillows. A portrait of Celestia as a young innocent looking mare hung in a special place. It did surprise Trixie a little to see how much her mistress must have once cared for her royal sister before turning against her. In the center was a huge and frightfully complex orrery, its central light supported by a tiny statuette of Celestia. The moon, she noticed, was a simple silvery orb. The walls were lined with bookshelves.
Luna trotted around the chamber with light hooves. “There are so many memories here,” she said, “Both joyful and sad.” Some of the memories seemed to be more than just that. Wispy figures faded in and out of existence in the air. Trixie immediately noticed a stunningly beautiful mare with a long flowing mane among them before she faded from visibility. Luna levitated two wooden trunks from behind other furniture and started carefully packing books into them one by one.
Then she picked up a pair of lovely black leather saddlebags with silver fittings that had been left slung over a writing desk.. Ancient looking bound manuscripts floated out of drawers and slid themselves into the bags. Luna snapped the crescent moon clasps shut and lay the bags carefully on one of the trunks.
The larger unicorn sat on a deeply padded cushion and faced the center of the room. The orrery's sun instantly lit, filling the room with its golden light. She turned to Trixie. “I've shown you how to read the orreries they have in Canterlot but can you decipher what this one is telling you?” she asked.
Trixie came closer. She examined the planetary hour wheel and the moon phase indicator. The symbols were unknown to her and labels were in archaic runes. Even the ordinary orrery in Celestia's school was new to her. “I'm not sure but I believe it's showing the current time,” she said, “I think it should be…”
Her teacher cut her off. “But you can't say from reading this,” she said gently, “Because many things have changed in a thousand years. These symbols are much more familiar to me but the simpler system that's currently in fashion was a mystery at first.” “You'll learn to read this in time and it will be like second nature to decipher either system,” she continued, “This is coming with us when we leave. It's truly one of a kind and a treasure in itself.”
Luna looked at her standing uncomfortably in the light. “Please sit, Trixie,” she said. The familiarity was new to the mare. Luna hadn't been distant toward her but had been more a teacher than a friend so far. She noticed a comfortable looking cushion and pulled it toward herself to sit. She must have still looked uncomfortable.
“Have you enjoyed your time in Canterlot so far?” Luna asked.
“Oh, I certainly have, your majesty,” Trixie responded, “I've never been treated to such luxury.” She raised a forehoof. “It has been ages since I'd even had a pedicure.”
“It must be hard for you my dear,” Luna said, “Being thrown into such a circumstance and being so unfamiliar with study.” “I grew up with all the advantages and you, from your unique background, had very few chances to learn.”
Trixie turned away shyly. It was indeed a difficult background. She was still ashamed of it. Luna had insisted she tell all she knew about her family. She told the truth, suspecting that Luna could tell of find out any untruths. Telling the tale was a hard task in itself. Growing up with a troupe of traveling performers hadn't been easy but it was the only life she'd ever known. At least, that is, until a disastrous performance in Ponyville and the Harvest Festival months later.
“Did you know there were magical unicorns in your family, not just singers and circus performers?” Luna asked, “And some of very significant talent.”
Trixie admitted she hadn't. “I didn't know much about that,” she said, her head downcast, “I only knew my grandmother Lara to have any magical talent at all.”
“Quite a talent,” Luna said, “At least when she was younger.” “Did you know she could teleport?”
Trixie's eyes brightened. “I certainly didn't,” she admitted, “I only knew her as a dotty old mare full of wild stories.”
“The palace library is full of those stories,” Luna said, lying back on her cushion, “I'll lend you the volumes.” “She was quite the adventurer. According to one account she once reached the door of the chamber we're now in. If not for certain wards she might have breached it, but I can tell no one has.”
“She couldn't teleport in?” Trixie asked, genuinely curious.
“Would you like to try it,” Luna asked in return, “The results could be quite interesting.”
“Err, no thanks,” the blue unicorn responded, “Even if I could I'd rather my insides stay inside.”
“Nothing like that,” Luna laughed, “But you might end up someplace far away in a colder climate.” She leaned closer to her companion. “And I'm certain you will be able to teleport some day, sooner than you believe.”
Trixie found that hard to believe but certainly didn't discount the possibility. She'd seen enough of Luna's judgement of her abilities to not doubt her. She noticed the princess scanning the shelves. The princess levitated one volume toward herself. It floated before her and opened. The cover said “Nematodes of the Great Salt Marsh.” Surely a fascinating title.
A red crystal floated up out of its pages. Luna put the book down, revealing a hollow cut out in its middle. The hollow was surrounded by somewhat disturbing illustrations of worms. The light around the crystal changed color several times. It seemed to have its own light within. Something danced inside its facets.
“Take this with you,” Luna said, “You'll appreciate it when you learn what it is.” She floated it toward Trixie, who slipped it into a pocket in her cloak. “I think it's time for us to go,” she said, “I don't want to keep our ride waiting too much longer.” “We can chat about things later tonight in my chambers.”
Luna rose and levitated the saddlebags onto her back. She looked up at the wall, toward the portrait of her sister Celestia. She floated it off the wall and wrapped a violet drapery around it. It settled into one of the trunks. Then she closed and warded both trunk lids. “Can you handle these trunks, dear?” she asked, “I'll have to manage the orrery. It's very delicate.”
“As if I hadn't packed half a dozen trunks every day of my life,” Trixie responded, “At least until you came into my life.” She found herself smiling. Both trunks lifted from the floor and practically danced through the air. The door swung open and Luna slowly lifted the orrery from its mountings, sparkles drifting around it. Its light led them up the ramp and through the passages back to ground level. Luna used her power to settle it carefully into a packing case in the cart that seemed to be made for it. She kept the saddlebags on her own back and nuzzled her cart pegasus before taking off and heading back toward Canterlot.
She left Trixie to load the trunks and climb into the cart. They rose into the night air, trailing behind their mistress and heading back to the beautiful city built into a mountainside. The waterfalls were bright in the moonlight, silhouetted against the dark sky.
• • •
Despite being Luna's personal pupil Trixie spent most of her time in Celestia's school. Princess Luna was often busy with her own affairs. The teachers were very accommodating of her needs and limited education. The most helpful pony in the school was a studious but tempting little filly on the verge of maturity with the unappetizing name of Molly Mudd. Her cutie mark was a book and wand. She came from a less than magical background as well. Trixie was more than glad to spend evenings studying with her. She didn't look down on a somewhat uneducated adult. She also loved Trixie's tales of adventure, a few of which were actually true.
The teachers weren't bad. They did seem uncomfortable with teaching a grown mare who was so ignorant of the basics. It made for a slow go and reading through many books intended for much younger ponies that tended to talk down to their audience.
When Luna did appear it could be wonderful or scary or somewhere in between. She kept her promise to lend books about Trixie's grandmother. They were waiting for her at the librarian's desk. The illustrated volumes showed a unicorn who only resembled the mare she knew by her cutie mark and braided mane. Trixie shuddered to think that her nana once faced an ice bear. The things were outright terrifying. She'd faced a vicious enough ursine herself. She kept in mind that Lara had faced that bear thanks in part to Luna's ancient wards.
• • •
Trixie sat in the library opposite Molly. Her silvery mane was somewhat disordered and mushed under her pointed hat. Her school robe hid the scruffy state of her coat. Both of them were levitating multiple books at once, Molly also taking notes. A blue unicorn in a purple robe embroidered with a crescent moon and stars trotted up to the two of them. She could have easily been Trixie's sister. She looked at them with her violet eyes over a pair of tiny spectacles.
“I'm afraid I need to speak with your study partner, Molly dear,” she said. She gestured for Trixie to follow her.
“Yes, Ms. Selene,” Molly said, almost doing a curtsey though she was sitting down. Her floating books bobbled.
Ms. Selene led Trixie out of the library and up a spiral staircase to a tower that was used for astronomy and astrology classes. Its railings were dotted with mounts for student telescopes. The sky was dotted with stars, a golden comet lying near the Western horizon. This unfamiliar mare smiled at her enigmatically. “What do you know about transfiguration?” she asked.
“Uh, I haven't learned more than the basics, miss, but before starting school I learned a few transfigurations by rote,” Trixie responded. She suddenly felt out of her depth. Her few lessons in transfiguration hadn't ended well. A mouse she'd tried to use to pin a notice on a corkboard had bitten her. She looked at Selene in the moonlight. Trixie's horn glowed faintly.
“That bubblehead Gina hasn't taught you how to detect transfigured ponies?” she asked.
Trixie's tail twitched. She stared at this strange double. Selene grinned in response and spun around. “It's a good look, don't you think?” “Quite appropriate for a visiting teacher of the dark arts.”
“Oh surely not,” Trixie said, “Isn't that forbidden?”
“Long neglected but not forbidden,” she said, her robe slipped, exposing her flank which bore a familiar moon. “At least not anymore. The arts of the dark are no more or less wicked than the arts of the light,” she explained, “They're merely darker and more secretive.” Her spectacles glittered in the starlight.
“We will be meeting at midnight starting on the new moon,” she said, “Deep in the old catacombs. That crystal in your robe pocket will lead you there.”
“Yes, mistress,” Trixie responded, then realized her mistake.
“You know and I know,” Selene said, “but the other students aren't to know unless I want them to,” she said, “Thus one reason I've chosen to tell you in such an occult place.” “And these classes are by invitation only. Molly has been invited to be part of the class, so you may discuss it with her and study together.”
Trixie nodded. “Are there any books for your new class?” she asked.
“Not as yet,” she answered, “I have a scribe working on that. If they're done by the time of the first class you'll have one.”
Trixie watched her teacher grow and spread her wings. She soared off into the night leaving her student behind. Trixie kicked with her hind leg. Why had her teacher told Molly about the class before her? Wasn't The Great and Powerful Trixie her personal student? She already knew that stuck-up Twilight was to be Luna's student as well. Were there to be others? A whole class? Trixie snorted.
• • •
The chamber proved to be very deep indeed. Trixie began to wonder if it weren't somewhere in the heart of the mountain. The flickering light in the crystal shone straight down one dark tunnel after another. Thankfully she had left plenty of time to arrive. It had to be very nearly midnight by the time she stood before the black iron door. It looked familiar but a bit more modern in style and less scary. It opened to admit her. Molly was already there of course. So were many other ponies. Some, she noticed were adults like herself. One skinny white unicorn stallion was levitating a crystal like her own, only it was blue. Its light danced happily. A white unicorn with a purple striped mane and stars on her hip chatted with an oddly mustachioed little dragon. She had a notepad floating ready.
Selene was nowhere in sight. But… Trixie sensed something. She didn't know how. She sidled up to Molly. “Nervous,” she asked.
“Not at all,” Molly responded, her long ears upright, “More excited by the prospect.”
Trixie looked at her oddly. She examined the mare's face carefully. Something was wrong but nothing looked wrong. Nothing smelled wrong. Nothing sounded wrong.
“Very good,” she said, “I told you your innate abilities were greater than you know.”
The door slid open, admitting one more student. Her pointed hat was askew and bits of disordered mane stuck out from beneath it. She trotted over to Trixie, then stood stock still, staring at her twin, her eyes wide and her ears back. The other Molly winked at Trixie and pranced to the end of the room. She placed her hooves on a dark stone podium and spoke.
“Now that all our students have arrived we can begin,” she said. Her dull and worn robe became fresh purple velvet covered with silver stars. Her earth tone coat swirled with blue as she changed. “Welcome to your first class in the dark arts, students,” she said nodding toward Molly, “As I believe you can see I've chosen transfiguration for the first subject we will survey. I'm afraid your textbooks aren't ready yet but they won't be essential for the first few lessons.”
“Please step forward, Miss Mudd,” Selene said, “I don't mean to single you out but I believe you may be our most gifted student in this subject.”
Molly stepped forward reluctantly, looking back at Trixie. Her legs trembled.
“The dark arts are the arts of secrecy and stealth,” Selene intoned, “The magic done in the dark that never sees the light of day.” “But the one thing that must shine in the dark is the talent of our students.” “I'm afraid I must ask you to show your true self, my dear.”
Molly looked ready to either run or cry or possibly both. But she bowed her head. Her hat floated to the floor. The assembled students gasped. Her mane became a stiff row of bristles and her worn shrunk to a dark stump. When she raised her head her brown eyes were filled with tears. Multicolored sparkles erupted around her, her hooves widening and her messy tail turning to a thin thing with tuft of dark hairs on the tip. Her long ears lay against her neck. Her mulish flank was devoid of any mark.
Selene slowly walked to the trembling student. “Your true appearance is nothing to be ashamed of, Molly,” she said with great kindness in her voice, “And your talent is something to be truly proud of.”
“Students,” she continued, “I trust this secret and many others you shall be made aware of will never leave this room. You may discuss certain things among yourselves but other things shall not be spread abroad under painful penalty.” Her voice was serious as death.
“You will surely know that unicorns aren't the only magical creatures in the land. There will be a class on that subject in fact. By long tradition unicorns and their winged sisters have seen themselves as the supreme rulers of magic. Indeed it is our nature.”
Trixie smiled to herself. She thought she detected a tiny slip in the monologue. The Great and Powerful Trixie's theatrical training wasn't without benefits.
“But,” Selene said, “even an earth pony or a mule like our talented sister here can be very powerful in magic.” She lightly touched Molly's shoulder. “And in our studies we will have to shed many prejudices.” “Indeed Molly is our sister in magic and an amazing talent. She has had much greater obstacles to overcome than most of you,” she said, “In this class you will meet others that may amaze you, though they may not be unicorns.”
“I'm so sorry, Molly,” she said, “But certain secrets must be known among us. The sooner the better.” Her horn glowed and Molly changed from the hooves up. Her coat lightened and her mane and tail lengthened. When the wave of magical energy reached her head her ears shortened and a shining horn appeared. The teacher floated a silver mirror in front of her.
Molly was startled by her appearance. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “Your raw talent is fantastic,” Selene said “And with further training will become much more polished. Your abilities in this and other things know no bounds.” She gestured to Trixie, who moved to Molly's side.
Trixie had tears in her eyes too. Any resentment of her teacher's taking this filly on as a student vanished. The two embraced. There was nothing Trixie would rather do at that moment than comfort her young friend.
“Dragons you will surely know,” Selene said indicating a unicorn and dragon near the front of the group, “And that they have their own magical uses.”
The little purple dragon harrumphed. His equine companion giggled.
“Please step forward, Ms. Sparkle,” Selene said. The pale unicorn levitated her notepad to the dragon and stepped forward. She stood in the middle of the room in a rather prissy pose. “Do any of you sense anything about this mare?” she asked, “And this dragon?”
One student's tail twitched. “Yes, Mister Cake?” the teacher asked, instantly turning to the skinny unicorn.
“Uh, the dragon's mustache is false,” he said, uncertain.
“Indeed it is,” she said. The mustache vanished in a puff of smoke. The dragon looked disappointed.
Trixie turned her head toward the new pair of subjects, still embracing her mulish friend. She sensed something indeed. She hadn't noticed it at first but that dragon was very familiar, and so was the unicorn. But there was something strange about her. Trixie felt her horn glow and sensed something stranger than she had expected. She didn't know what was going on. This was Twilight, she just knew it, but her magical senses told her this was Twilight Sparkle, not the Twilight Sparkle she had met and been bested by but instead Twilight Sparkle. She was confused and must have looked it.
“Miss Trixie,” the teacher said, “You sense something strange, don't you?”
Trixie touched Molly gently one last time and let her go from her embrace. “Yes, Miss Selene, but I'm very confused.”
Selene turned to the class. “There is a certain aspect of transfiguration that we will be studying in depth and I wish to introduce it to you tonight. Our subject here is already familiar with it from her own studies and from other aspects of magic.” “It is called sympathy and it affects transfiguration in a particular way,” she continued, “Transfiguring one thing or person into something completely different is difficult to achieve and easy to detect.” “In this case Trixie here already knows our subject. She's the best natural talent I've seen at seeing through these illusions but this problem I've presented confuses even her.”
She turned to the pale unicorn. “If I meant to show you a transfiguration that's easy to detect I'd have changed a mouse into a pushpin or some such thing as Miss Gina would do.” Some in the class giggled. “But our student here is quite a different case.” “Please explain yourself, Miss Sparkle.”
“Well,” she began, sounding quite bookish, “Due to sympathy it is easy to transform a pony into the appearance of another who is similar or even related.” “I've always admired my mother, who happens to have had the same name once she married my father, and the image of her is very strong in my memory, which also makes working transfiguration easier…”
“Thank you, Miss Sparkle,” the teacher interrupted, “But teaching is my job. Still, thank you. Now please reveal your true self.” “Our talented student here has taken on the appearance of her mother.”
Momentarily a wave of purple sparks passed over Twilight and she became a purple unicorn with a streak of pink in her mane. She looked at Trixie and shrugged. Trixie was beginning to get a headache.
“Because of the similarity between Twilight and her mother the transfiguration was easy to work bu difficult to detect,” she said, “I don't believe any of you detected anything amiss and she was the first student to arrive.”
“Now, Class,” Selene said, “We'll get on with the regular lessons.” “With a little work even you won't know who you are anymore. And don't take that as a joke, it's a serious danger.”
• • •
Three unicorns and a little dragon made their way through the dimly lit passages of the school.
“Oh Spike, my love,” crooned Rarity, “We must away to Manehattan for the night life, and the fashion!”
Spike, riding on Trixie's back, facing backward, scowled. “I'm pretty sure it's past my bedtime.”
“Why do you reject me so, dragon of my heart,” she cried a bit too dramatically, “If you continue to deny our love I shall have to cast myself from the tallest tower in Canterlot!” Rarity held a hoof to her heart. The dragon rolled his eyes.
“Ahem,” Trixie said, “I believe we've arrived.” Her horn glowed for a moment and a tall door opened.
“Basket, sweet basket,” Spike exclaimed and toddled into the room. “Farewell and goodnight ladies!”
Trixie shook her head.
Rarity trotted in and gazed in wonder. “This is your quarters, Tw…ixie?” she stumbled over her own tongue, “It's the most fabulous place I've ever seen!” She trotted around peering at the titles on the bookshelves and gazing up at the telescope and a bronze bust of some ancient stallion.
“Well, it was my home here in Canterlot for a long time,” Trixie said, “I guess being a special student has its advantages.” “It's a good thing it's still vacant,” she said, “so I have a little place to stay.”
Twilight gazed in wonder too. A twinge of envy touched her heart. She felt it and chose to chase it away with bombast. “Truly a fitting home for The Great and Powerful Trixie!” She said in a projecting stage voice, quite mismatched to her appearance. It was more grand than her own quarters. Then she thought of the dormitory room Molly stayed in.
“You forgot beautiful,” said Trixie, striking a pose.
“The Great, Powerful, Beautiful, and of course Fashionable Trixie,” said Rarity, giggling. She looked at her distorted reflection in a great hourglass. “Oh girls,” she squealed, bouncing in front of them, “I don't know if this has been the scariest or most wonderful night of my life.”
“I think it must have been both,” said Trixie, swirling her purple robe, “For me it's been very enlightening. It's not often you get to learn so much about magic and so much about yourself in one night.”
Twilight sighed. “I didn't expect our teacher to be so tough,” she said, “But I suppose it's expected.”
Trixie approached and touched a hoof to her shoulder. “I'm so glad we can be friends after all, uh, Twilight.”
Twilight smiled. “Thank you, Great and Powerful Trixie,” she said, “It is so magnanimous of you to forgive the past as you have.” She bowed her head then looked up at Trixie. “Don't you think you've looked that fabulous long enough?”
“Hmm,” said Trixie, “I guess it has been a while.” Her coat swirled, purple replacing the blue. Twilight faced herself.
“You call that a transformation?” Twilight asked, “I'll show you a transformation.”
Twilight stood on her hind legs and kicked her forelegs in the air. “I am…” she began. Blue light danced around her. She exploded in a shower of sparks, emerging as a bright blue unicorn in pointed hat and robe. “The Great and Powerful Trixie!”
The remaining Twilight clopped her forehooves together. “You truly are a great showpony,” she said, embracing Trixie once the sparks had dissipated. They both looked toward Rarity.
The purple-maned unicorn frowned. “I suppose I've been beautiful long enough,” she said, resignation in her voice. She seemed to deflate, her horn crumpling and her coat darkening. She looked uncomfortable standing there so exposed.
“Molly,” Twilight said, “You don't have to drop all your illusions if you don't want to.”
“But,” she said, “You two already know. You know I'm an outcast who snuck into the school.”
Trixie ran to her and held the filly tight. “You're a fantastic magical pony who overcame more than I or Twilight ever could,” she said, tears in her eyes. Molly's brown eyes were watery as well.
“Molly,” Twilight said, “I really appreciate you showing your true appearance around us. It's takes a lot of trust.” “I think you're the bravest little pony I know, and I've met some very brave ponies.”
“Thank you, Twilight,” Molly said, a tear in her eye, “I know I can trust both of you to keep my little secret.”
Twilight sat on her hocks and pantomimed zipping her lips, locking them with a lock, digging a hole, throwing the key in the hole, burying it, and building a house over it.
Both other ponies looked at her, puzzled.
“Nevermind,” Twilight said, “It's a Pinkie Pie thing. You'll meet her.” “In the meantime,” she continued, “There are some guest bedrooms in the back. You’re both welcome to stay the night.”
Since Lauren Faust's 'mix it up' comment on her DA I've thought about it and the consequences. Magical hybrids should be entirely possible. Since mules exist in canon a magic mule could be a powerful but misunderstood outcast in Equestria. I wanted to do a talented sympathetic OC from a humble background like Molly.
Luna’s a tougher teacher than Celestia, isn’t she? I probably wouldn’t want her as my teacher but I think that kind of teaching has a place. She’s not the gentle tutor of studious wild talents (Twilight) like her sister. She’s the one who chooses and pushes highly gifted students. I see her as being full of knowledge and ways from Equestria a thousand years ago when it was much wilder, darker, and more violent. That doesn’t mean it should go back to being violent but the vitality of the moon and the dark has been lost. It’s the magic of uncontrolled nature and fertility cycles. The world, even Equestria, should never be fully tamed.
After a millennium of Celestia being in solo charge the land has been tamed, with the exception of the Everfree Forest, which has been left alone. I believe that’s no coincidence. The area around their castle has been turned into possibly the last truly wild land in Equestria.
Why choose Trixie? As far as I can tell she’s the most talented magic unicorn other than Twilight and the princesses. I see her as an untrained talent who didn’t have the advantages Twilight had as a result of the Sonic Rainboom and Celestia’s training and resources. Luna can give her that now and I think she could be a wilder equal of Twilight. Hopefully as allies, not rivals.
The Dark Arts? The practices that have been forgotten or even forbidden during the reign of Celestia. That doesn’t mean curses and such. Or not just curses and such. I had to get Luna’s comment about light magic being wicked. Why couldn’t it be? It’s a tool like anything else and as far as I know doesn’t choose the purposes it’s put to. The first thing I went after was transfiguration because it’s really fun and something that would’ve been frowned upon during the thousand year sun. If you watch FiM Part II, it’s obvious Nightmare Moon is very talented at transfiguration. She does those various blue smoke tricks, including horribly mangling Steven Magnet’s ‘stache.
Spellcheckers don’t like orreries.