[MLP:FiM] Dice of Life (Trixie-centric)


Well-Known Member
Something I wrote up over the last week. Already posted on FIMFiction here. Thank goodness the formatting coding for each site is the exact same!

There are some author notes on the FIMFiction chapters which I won't repost wholesale. Just know that you should have watched Slice of Life, episode 100 for this to make sense.


Monster Hunters

Even with the day long passed, the central plaza of Ponyville was filled with enough ponies to please the dominion’s resident princess of the night. Many of them were disgruntled, having been roughly awoken by large tremors and loud noises. Upon investigating, they had found an enormous bear-like monster rampaging through the town, leaving destruction behind in its wake.

Fortunately, the bear had been gently removed from Ponyville premises by the creative magic use of their local librarian. With the outdoors now safe, many of the ponies wandered out, forming a crowd as they watched a war of words going on between a cast of friends that had rallied around the librarian, and the showmare who had only earlier in the day set up a stage in the town, giving a dazzling but controversial performance.

“That wasn’t an ursa major,” Twilight Sparkle, former resident of Canterlot, current librarian and ongoing student of the realm’s solar deity explained aloud. “It was a baby, an ursa minor,” She continued, putting sound emphasis on her last word.

The cyan-coloured stage magician’s eyes widened, as it seemed to dawn on her just how over her head she had been earlier in the day when claiming to have once defeated an ursa major. “That was just a baby?!”

Unintentionally being ironic, the town’s resident baby dragon asked what a major was like, only to be told he didn’t want to know. Secretly, Twilight Sparkle thought it was rather like the difference between the baby dragon and an adult dragon.

The wandering showmare suddenly snorted, and all attention returned to her. “Hmph!” She said, tossing her head up, showing what she thought of other ponies in general, “You may have vanquished an ursa minor, but you will never have the amazing, show-stopping ability of the Great and Powerful Trixie!”

Rearing up on her hind legs, she let out a loud neigh, before throwing a smoke bomb. Multiple ponies coughed at the sudden noxious cloud, eyes watering and noses wrinkled, before it quickly cleared, showing the self-declared Great and Powerful Trixie departing at a quick gallop.

One of the Pegasus ponies among the Ponyvillians, a blue-coloured mare with a mane of multicoloured hues, made to dash after the departing unicorn, only to get held back. Twilight Sparkle shook her head, telling her friend Rainbow Dash to leave the runaway Trixie be. Rainbow Dash crossed her front hooves in annoyance, but complied with her friend’s wishes. Most of the ponies in the background observing this agreed with the sentiment, wishing only a good riddance to the unicorn whose bragging ways had inadvertently brought a monster down on their fair town.

However, one cream-coloured Earth pony stood her ground as the masses returned to their homes around her. “So that’s what she’s been doing since…well,” She looked at the wagon Trixie had carted into town, now smashed into pieces. Eyes darting back and forth, she waited until all the ponies had emptied out of the plaza before moving to sift through the smashed boards and loose nails, retrieving the few possessions of Trixie’s she recalled her former colleague was fond of.


Trixie found herself trudging through the rain that had suddenly started upon her running away from Ponyville, the mud from the road sticking to her hooves as she continued her slow pace. Her head was hung so low it was a miracle she wasn’t eating the dirt. This was why she had wanted to stay the night in Ponyville, but now it appeared she would have to ride out the storm bare to the elements. Already, she was drenched, her normally wavy mane drifting off to one side and hanging down low with all the water that had soaked through.

Clearing a hill, she paused, looking back. Ponyville lay at the base of the hilly, winding road, several street lights and the odd lit house indicating civilisation against the near pitch black of night. Only a sliver of the moon peeking out behind the dense clouds provided her with light to continue plodding along. Turning her head back, she continued looking straight down at her hooves. Idly, they moved, tracing lines in the mud as she allowed her mind to wander. Her vision blurred, whether from rain splatters across her fur or hot, stinging tears dripping down her cheeks, she couldn’t tell. She had been something once, something great, before-

“I never expected to see you reduced to something like this, Trixie, if that’s your real name.”

Slowly, lethargically, Trixie turned her head around. “Oh.” She said, even her speech slurred. “I thought that might have been you when I saw you in the crowd earlier.”

Her old companion trotted up the last stretch of the hill, approaching Trixie. As she got closer, Trixie saw she was wearing large saddlebags around her back. Wiping her hooves of mud on a nearby tree, the new pony dug through her bags, before pulling out a familiar purple hat and star-spangled cape. “Here,” She said, “I thought you might want these back.”

For the first time in hours, Trixie felt alive again, as elation washed over the sadness that had clung to her, coating her mind as surely as the mud did her body. Focusing her magic, she picked the articles of clothing up with a telekinetic grip, donning them back where they belonged on her head and body. Tears freely flowing now, this time of bittersweet happiness, she dashed forward and wrapped her front hooves around her old friend. “T-thank you so much!” She choked on her words. “I-I thought that I had, had lost them. I didn’t think anything had survived after that Luna-cursed bear destroyed my wagon!”

“There, there,” The dichromatically-haired mare gently patted her blubbering friend, suppressing her mysophobia for a greater good. “I saved what I could before anyone else could look at it. Some pictures, a few books, all that I could find is here,” She motioned with her head to her bags. “I didn’t find any bits, but that’s alright, I brought some food. Keep the bags, I have spares at home.”

She continued to comfort the unicorn, Trixie’s coughing and sobbing slowly subsiding by the minute, their body heat mingling to stay warm even as the rain continued to pound around them. At last, Trixie spoke again, “I really don’t know what to say. It’s been so long…Agent Donut Donut Seven.”

“It’s Agent Sweetie Drops! Get it right!” The Ponyville mare snapped back, before calming down. “Although, I go by Jane Bon Bon nowadays.”

Trixie snickered, “Bon Bon? Is that your real name? Always an obsession with candy when it came to you, wasn’t it? I bet you even make candy nowadays.”

Bon Bon blushed, partly at how easily Trixie was riling her up once more, and partly because Trixie was right. She had opened a confectionary in Ponyville, after all.

“It is,” Bon Bon said, taking a deep, calming breath before deciding to needle Trixie back. “And I’ll have you know that I eat things other than candy! Like oat grains, for one!” Only occasionally, though. Lyra probably stole more from her than what Bon Bon actually ended up eating. “You never answered me though, I notice. Is Trixie your real name? Or is that just another lie like defeating an ursa major, Agent Wandering Blue?”

She had expected many things from Trixie when using her old codename. Indignation in the form of a cute squawk perhaps, for Trixie had never really liked the codename. A light shove for the subtext that Trixie wasn’t able to beat an ursa major, perhaps. It must have wounded her deeply in town to state nopony could do such a thing to maintain cover, when they both knew that was hardly the case.

What Bon Bon hadn’t expected was for Trixie to look utterly hurt.

“Wh-what?! Did I say something wrong?” Bon Bon pleaded in a panic, not wishing to drive Trixie off as soon as the two had reunited after several years. “Ooooh, don’t tell me that you’re still annoyed about that incident with the baby oil-“

We agreed never to talk about that again!” Trixie growled. She looked like she was about to continue, her face angry, before it froze. A few long seconds passed with Bon Bon fearing her friend’s face had stuck in a stage of rigor, before it softened. “Yes, Trixie is my true name. Trixie Lulamoon.”

“Trixie Lulamoon?” Bon Bon asked aloud. “Lu-la-moon.” Looking up at the sky, past the dense canopy, she spotted the moon vainly trying to break free of the thick clouds that bound it. “No wonder part of your cutie mark was the crescent moon.”

Trixie responded to the humour with a hearty laugh, one that lifted Bon Bon’s morale. “And no wonder yours was of candy.” She smirked, finally bringing her hooves down from her hugging position, looking at the saddle bags Bon Bon was carrying. “What did you put in there, enough gummy candy to spark a repeat of the dry ice disaster?”

“I-idiot!” Bon Bon brought a hoof up to give a solid poke to Trixie’s ribs. “You know I couldn’t have predicted that!”

“Ah yes, ‘I couldn’t have predicted that’, Trixie repeated like one of those annoying parrots from down south, and Bon Bon rolled her eyes as she could hear Trixie speaking the hoof air quotes. “’My plan is foolproof’, I recall your exact words were, and instead we ended up having to run disaster control to keep the Princess away from the kitchen long enough to bake her a new cake before she found out the old one was gone.”

Oh yes. Bon Bon did remember that incident. And many more besides. She could have brought up some of Wandering Blue’s own mishaps, but she was the better mare. Yep, definitely the better mare. It had nothing to do with the many more of her own embarrassments that Trixie would no doubt bring up in turn were she to respond with a return salvo.

So instead, she decided to change the subject. “So, a travelling stage performer?” She asked.

Trixie rolled her eyes, suddenly standing on her hind legs, waving her front hooves in the air. “Please! The Grrrreat and Powerful Trrrrixie is a magician,” She spoke in a hammy high-cultured accent, “Not one of those namby-pammy amateurs who wouldn’t know a third order Windigo summoning circle from a cryothaumaturgically-derived rune construct!” It was to the agency’s credit with training its secret agents that Bon Bon, even as an Earth pony, was capable of following everything Trixie had just said.

With the same sort of adaptation that had made her one of the most reliable agents around despite her at times eccentric attitude, Trixie whiplashed the conversation as she stood down on all fours again, “But yes, I do put on shows. After the agency shuttered, I decided I wanted to travel, and putting a smile on ponies’ faces is my idea of still serving Equestria.” Casting her gaze around, she looked up, the hard rain continuing to soak her fur. “Like so.” Slowly, a pink dome of energy built up around the two, forming a hemisphere that protected the two from the relentless rain and withering wind threatening to give the both sickness.

Bon Bon paused. Grateful as she was to escape the rain, something didn’t add up. “Oh really? Because I saw your show today, and that sure didn’t seem to be the case. Instead, you seemed rather stuck-up. What happened, Bluey?” She prodded the former agent.

Trixie’s eyes widened, perhaps startled at being called by that nickname for what was probably the first time in years (this was certainly the first time Bon Bon had encountered one of her former coworkers since moving to Ponyville) before they started shifting left and right. Slowly, grudgingly, she grunted out, “I guess I was feeling rather…bitter, today. I was going to put on a great show and entertain fillies and colts, mares and stallions alike as always. Then I realised I was performing in the town where Princess Celestia’s latest student was rumoured to be living.”

Bon Bon blinked. “Uh, yes, Twilight Sparkle does live there, she’s the librarian. She’s, uh, that purple unicorn who got rid of the Ursa.” At that point, Bon Bon paused, thinking she may have said too much, given how Trixie had just been humiliated in town, but decided to ask the question that was burning at her, ”What does that have to do with being bitter though?” Wait, was Trixie jealous? In all the time she had known Wandering Blue, Bon Bon had never known the secret agent to be one to be jealous. Envious, maybe, but never actually jealous.

This time it was Trixie’s turn to blink, multiple times. “That was Princess Celestia’s student? That know-it-all?” Her face scrunched up, before working back to a more annoyed look, “Never mind that! It has everything to do with me being bitter, Sweetie Drops! After all, I…I…” She trailed off confused, her face scrunching up in what Bon Bon had always thought a cute manner, before it took on what Bon Bon knew to be her look of sudden comprehension. “Wait. Could it be you don’t know?”

“Know?” There was something in Trixie’s behaviour. Something had happened to her which had caused this behaviour change from the Bluey Bon Bon knew and loved. “Know what?”

Former agent Wandering Blue sighed, “You remember how the Bugbear escaped, and I wasn’t able to come to help because I was still suffering magical exhaustion?”

A dark grimace passed between the two, both remembering the accursed Bugbear that had triggered the dissolution of the agency, and what had happened a week before it had escaped. “I sure do. They weren’t even certain you would survive after you defeated that.” Bon Bon hadn’t even been a part of the team that had brought it back in to Tartarus, only learning of it through pictures and personal accounts from others, and even still she had trouble saying its actual name.

There were so many teeth, undoubtedly used to eat roots, and then the acid it could spit out, or its purple fire that left behind toxic sour gas, and the ease with which it had reshaped the land when it thrashed around after being seriously wounded. Prince Blueblood, a professional cartographer by trade, had apparently thrown a happy fit upon realising how much work in redrawing the maps there was to be done, but all Agent Sweetie Drops had done was to cower over the prospect of actually fighting such a thing. “The Bugbear I fought was nothing compared to it. That creature could probably have eaten an Ursa Major, a real one that is,” She couldn’t resist a verbal poke at Trixie over her earlier statements in Ponyville.

Suddenly, the rain washing across her fur had broken her mental defenses, as a cold tremor worked its way down her spine. Bluey would have defeated an Ursa Major with ease, so how could she have been struggling with a Minor? She had defeated something that had wounded the Tree of Harmony, for Celestia’s sake!

Trixie just rolled her eyes. “At least you can still say its name.”

Wait, what? Bon Bon’s back straightened out, startled. What an odd statement that was.

“I almost died half a dozen times fighting that, and after evacuating my team as they fell one by one and becoming the last pony standing, I thought I would die, no chance of survival short of a Celestia ex machina,” Using the jokey agent parlance for Princess Celestia appearing to save a mission that had gone wrong. “After wearing it down and giving it a major wound, I used one of the level five spells.”

“You WHAT!” Bon Bon gasped, and before she knew it she had struck Trixie in the jaw, hard enough to send the unicorn reeling backwards. Bringing the offending hoof up to her mouth, astonished at what she had done, she started apologising as quickly as she could. “Oh no, Bluey, I’m so sorry, I shou-“ She was stopped by a blue hoof in her mouth, and nearly gagged at the offending taste of mud.

A shake of her head accompanied a choking, and Bon Bon realised with alacrity that Trixie was crying again. “No, I deserved that, Sweetie.” She took a deep breath. “It’s called a binding spell. There’s a more fancy name for it, but the creator was egotistical in addition to being a jerkass and made it sixty words long, and while it’s very accurate in its effects when you decipher the roots of each term, I certainly wasn't going to bother remembering the whole thing.” Sitting down on her haunch, tears running free, the blue-furred mare continued, “It was classified that high in the forbidden spell archives for a reason. As long as you have the time and the skill to properly prepare it, the weakest foal can bind the magic of an opponent several dozen times stronger. Even had I died right after casting it, it would have been powerless for over a week after, more than enough time to return it to Tartarus.” She chuckled morbidly. “At least we managed to stop it before it had the chance to suck a single pony body clean.”

“I’m sensing a major but in here.” With good reason. Level five blurred the line between merely destructive spells and those that required major sacrifices, up to and including pony lives, sometimes those of the caster’s. Trixie would die before she used another pony’s life to fuel a spell, and she herself was still here. Bon Bon had a sinking feeling that the ‘but’ involved sacrificing something just shy of Trixie’s own life.

It seemed that Trixie had no tears left to get, as she sniffled, her violet eyes tinged with red. “Yes. So long as the pony who uses the spell is still alive and desires it to be so, the spell will continually draw on the caster’s magic to maintain the binding.”

And finally Bon Bon understood. “And that beast is immortal,” She said, horrified at the implication. With the amount of magic it had held, the spell must have been sucking Trixie’s magical energy dry to keep the beast docile. No wonder Trixie hadn’t even been able to fend off an Ursa minor. She would be fuelling that spell for the rest of her natural lifetime.

But even as answers were forthcoming, she had more questions, deep inside aware that Blue had most likely thought of everything, but still trying to find a better option. “But wait, you can cancel the spell, right? Surely Celestia must have designed more protections in Tartarus for it after it escaped?”

Trixie shook her head. “I won’t.”

“B-but…surely you can pass the burden of the spell on to somebody else? Princess Luna just returned, perhaps one of the Princesses can take over now that there are three of them?” It was selfish of her to even think such a solution, let alone vocalise it, but Sweetie Drops and Bluey had always been close, up to the day Celestia decided to force them and all the other agents apart by dissolving an organisation protecting Equestria. Perhaps she was a little bitter herself.

Again, Trixie shook her head. “I won’t. What if Princess Celestia or even Cadance had done so? Perhaps Nightmare Moon might rule over us today. I won’t accept my crippling them in case of a future disaster.”

“T-then…what if you die?!” Bon Bon nodded her head, certain that she had thought of something at last, still knowing that she wouldn’t really have been the first to think of it, let alone plan for it. “Then the spell will deactivate, and it’ll be able to escape!”

Trixie started to respond, then stopped herself. Her melancholic expression slowly morphed into a grin. It was a small one, one that had little very passion behind it, but Bon Bon knew Bluey was happy. “Thank you, SD. I really appreciate it.” Standing up on her back hooves again, she swept Bon Bon into another big hug. “When I die, the spell will transfer to Celestia, and only then. From there, she can carry it around, or perhaps find another pony powerful enough to bear the burden. Or who knows, perhaps she can dissolve the spell, trusting in Tartarus to keep it contained this time.” She laughed, a mirthful barking sound that belonged more to a dog than a pony. “I certainly won’t be around to save her cake-addled plot then if it escapes. Maybe that damnable creature will drown out her sun again with its wings as it carries the bodies of the dead.”

Bon Bon paused again. Something didn’t sound right. “Bluey…did Celestia do something to you?”

The blue mare was instantly defensive. “N-no! Why do you ask? T-Trixie has nothing against the Princess! Nothing at all, eheh,” She punctuated it with an obviously fake smile.

Bon Bon just rolled her eyes, “Please, Bluey, you’re not fooling anypony.”

Trixie just sighed, reluctantly parting her hooves away from Bon Bon’s body. As the rain began to finally, finally lighten up after incessantly pounding on the violet-coloured dome for over an hour, the magician started pacing in a circle on the dirt road in front of Bon Bon, creating a strong impression in the still earth.

The cream-coloured confectioner let her, knowing Bluey would need time to steel her resolve to reveal whatever truth she carried close to her. It had already been an emotionally charged reunion, meeting up with Wandering Blue again after so many years apart, in the process reopening old wounds she had thought healed from when Celestia had shattered the bonds held by a secret agency tasked with guarding Equestria from monsters that lurked in the deep and the dark, its former agents dispersing to all the corners of the globe to build new lives. The revelation of Bluey’s affliction was picking away at the open scabs, and Bon Bon needed some time herself to get ready for whatever bomb (not of the éclair variety, thankfully, she still had nightmares about cleaning out all the cream from her fur) that was about to be dropped on her.

“Donuts, do you think I would brag about defeating that monster in my show?”

It took her several seconds to process Bluey’s words, some of them spent partially rebooting from her mental introspection, several more to process what the unicorn mare had asked, and then a few more to refrain from a verbal riposte at a nickname that annoyed her, “No, I know you wouldn’t. You would never casually reveal secrets like that. Thus why you probably bragged about beating an Ursa Major instead, it would send ponies into a panic especially if they knew such a real monster had managed to escape Tartarus.”

“Yes,” Trixie slowly said, wording her next question carefully. “You were there to witness me being humiliated by Twilight Sparkle. Did you find it odd that I said nopony could defeat an Ursa Major?”

Now that Bon Bon had been asked about it, such a statement was odd. Trixie might have been sorely lacking in magical power by now, but in her prime she could probably have juggled multiple Ursa Majors with ease. All three of the Princesses undoubtedly could defeat one with ease, and at least a few of the other agents, Earth Pony and Pegasus and Unicorn alike, would be capable of at least standing up against one with their special talents. “I…guess? I just assumed you didn’t care to reveal there were ponies who, in fact, could. The only ponies outside of the Princesses who could have their true powers classified as state secrets.” She herself was one of them, renowned for her ability to prod the very earth into obeying her whims.

Trixie sighed, and Bon Bon had the sinking feeling she was about to find out the truth. The blue mare went through a number of actions that Bon Bon recognised as nervous tics of hers, sitting on her haunches and burying her head in between her front hooves, her teeth beginning to chatter, ears flickering like crazy. It took a while, but Trixie finally spoke again, “I didn’t want to say it, but I had to say it. No wait, that sounded better in my head. Um, Trixie was forced to say it? No, no, no. Grrr, get over it Trixie, just tell her.” Turning to look at Bon Bon, violet eyes meeting onyx, she at last come out with it, ”Princess Celestia put a geas on me.”

Bon Bon froze in her tracks. The Princess had done what?!

Bitterness had finally leaked into Trixie’s words. “Right after I defeated it, she came to me once I awoke from magical exhaustion. She praised me greatly for beating it, and we made our arrangements for the spell maintenance. Then, knowing I was weakened and incapable of performing the feats I had done before, she forced a spell on me with conditions.” Her teeth were grinding, nearly snapping together as she angrily hoofstomped a tree, leaving a large indent in the bark.

The secret agent turned candymaker suddenly felt tired. She didn’t want to know what those conditions were. But she didn’t have a choice in the matter anymore. To stop Bluey now would be to leave the mare bearing the knowledge of what had been done to her all by herself, and Bon Bon couldn’t do that. She had to bear some of Bluey’s trauma.

That’s what friends did.

“One! In general, I am not allowed to reveal anything about the agency to anypony outside of those in the agency or with clearance! Only her failure to modify the geas right after abolishing the agency even allows me to still talk to you about these things, since you at least were an agent.”

Bon Bon’s blood ran cold. Celestia never had done anything like that to her, one of her top field agents, and so far as she knew never to anypony else. Even when the agency had been dissolved, no such thing had been implemented to prevent possibly bitter ponies from blabbing to others. Celestia didn’t trust you because you were an agent. You were an agent because Celestia trusted you.

“Two! I am not allowed to talk of superpowered artifacts, long-forgotten spells, or ponies that have eclipsed their talents so far they approach the power of the alicorns themselves. Thus, when push came to shove, I had to deny that a pony could possibly defeat an ursa major in outright battle. Idiot foals aside, only me obviously boasting for a performance was what let ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie’ claim to beat an ursa!”

“Three! I am not allowed to talk at all about that monster no matter what. I cannot research it, I cannot tell stories about it, I cannot put shows on demonstrating the legends and old mares’ tales that have built up around it! I am not even allowed to mention its name out loud or in writing, ever, not even to you.”

Bon Bon jerked her head up. “Wait, you mean the-“ She was cut off before she could utter its name.

“Don’t! Please don’t!” Trixie pleaded. It turned out she hadn’t run out of tears, as they started dripping down her face again. “I don’t know what I may be forced by the geas to do if somepony even mentions its name aloud while I’m around!”

Bon Bon made an attempt to speak, but thought better of it. It seemed Wandering Blue had been holding in a lot.

“I had nothing to forgive the Princess for,” Trixie continued, pacing again. She began to sound like she had forgotten Bon Bon was even there, rambling into empty space instead, “After all, there I was, weakened to the point of a newborn filly, and too proud to quit! Had I been captured, all too possible with my magic gone, I would have been a goldmine of information with the right spells! I swore to guard Equestria, and that was just another sacrifice I would make.” With a sudden motion, she swivelled around, rearing up on her back legs again, slamming her front ones down into the drying dirt. “Then a week later the Bugbear escaped, and she decided to disband the agency. Complete deniability, she wanted,” Trixie snorted, “And to that end, just like everypony else, I wasn’t allowed to work in Canterlot as a researcher, professor, a bureaucrat or even a waitress. Too much chance of a noble finding out I was one of the Princess’ former spies.”

The unicorn was working herself up good by now. “Trixie despised it, of course! We served her for years, and then she throws us away like trash? I dedicated my life to her, and instead because ol’ Sunbutt didn’t care to learn from that monster escaping and upgrade the wards at Tartarus, the Bugbear escaped, and then that’s it.” By this time, she was repeating her rants from only a minute ago.

She suddenly stopped, before hanging her head low again. Tapping her front hooves together, Trixie said, “I guess…well, I guess I was jealous of that purple unicorn, whatever you said her name was. Sparkler or something?”

“Twilight Sparkle.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Trixie clapped her hooves again, this time with an uncaring attitude. “I suppose I wanted to see what was so special about her that Celestia trained her, even though she got rid of us despite trusting us enough to serve in the first place. What kind of roll did she get in the dice of life that she’s in a position where the worst Celestia might do to her is put her in a position of responsibility only a few hours away by train from Canterlot?” She shook her head. “I just don’t see it, though.”

“Oh, Bluey,” Bon Bon felt herself wanting to cry, and made her decision. “Come here.”

It was relief that Trixie did just that, and Bon Bon found herself hugging the azure mare again. There seemed to be a lot of that going on again. Belatedly, the Earth Pony patted Trixie on her back side, a gesture that had once been normal, but which the passage of time made awkward.

They remained that way for several minutes until Bon Bon felt it was safe enough to speak again, the howling wind and drizzinlg rain having finally died down, leaving nothing but quiet. “Would you like to come stay the night at my place, Bluey?”

Looking like she wanted to say yes more than anything else, Trixie shook her head, hanging it low, pawing the ground with one of her back hooves. “No. After those two idiots brought that Ursa into town, I really shouldn’t. No doubt by daybreak I’ll be persona non grata. Besides,” Finally, she lifted her head back up, a teasing smirk plastered all over her muzzle, “I’ll no doubt eat all your oat grains and you’ll be left with nothing but candy, and I can’t in good conscience let you pig out on sweets again.”

Bon Bon sighed, but this time it was in good humour. Her old friend might still be holding in a lot of anger and grief, but at least she had managed to release some of it. “You don’t have to worry about that. My roommate steals enough of my grains that I wonder if she even ever goes grocery shopping.”

The confectioner knew she had said the wrong thing when Trixie sidled up next to her within the blink of an eye, muzzle to muzzle, noses uncomfortably close, “Oh, a mare for a roommate, eh? Is she by any chance your cousin?”

Blood pooled into Bon Bon’s cheeks far too easily as she understood the reference right away. “Me and my roommate are not lesbian lovers!” She protested.

Trixie hoofwaved off the angry mare, only to add fuel to the fire, intent on capsizing the ship, “I never said you were, silly Donuts! But seriously, where do you live? Above your shop?”

Already used to the multiple twists and abrupt turns of the conversation, Bon Bon just nodded in reply.

The magician sighed. “It…it was nice meeting you again, Sweetie Drops…Bon Bon, I guess. I wish I could stay, but I think it best I not be in Ponyville come the morning, especially if you have a roommate who knows nothing about our past.” She looked skywards, her violet eyes focused on the moon that had finally broken free of its restraints, casting its heavenly light on the earth below. “Jane Bon Bon, The Confectionary, Ponyville? I’ll write to you.”

“It’s 'The Candy Emporium',” Bon Bon wryly corrected, bracing herself for the ribbing she knew would come.

“Right, right,” Trixie rolled her eyes again with a good-humoured tone of voice. “After the candied corn disaster, I had hoped your naming skills would have improved.”


“B-b-but, that’s not important now, nope!” With haste, Trixie’s horn glowed pink, the dome that had protected the two mares from the wild weather disappearing, having not been necessary for several minutes now, allowing the unicorn in question ample room to back away from her growling opposite. “I’ll come visit you soon, incognito!”

Feeling a little bit sad that their reunion was to be over so soon, even as intense as it was, Bon Bon decided to get in one last jab. “Don’t forget your bags,” She deadpanned.

“Oh, right. Eheh. Trixie merely allowed you to carry her bags until she was finished talking with you!”

“And drop the third-pony ego, it doesn’t suit you!” She continued snapping again as the saddlebags finally came off her back in a telekinetic grip, Trixie tucking them on her own body underneath her cape. Coming from her, she knew Trixie would take such advice to heart, but decided she was on a roll, “And don’t forget to eat your fruits and vegetables! Grains may be healthy but they don’t supply all your nutrients! Remember to brush your teeth after too!”

She was rewarded with a twitch of the nose, followed up by an eye roll. “Yes, mom.” To cap off the moment, she looked over in the bags that she was now wearing, pulling out a muffin. “Really, Donuts? Blueberries?”

The two looked at one another for a long second, before simultaneously bursting out laughing.

“But seriously, Bluey, please do come back. I missed you so,” Bon Bon said, affectionately bringing a hoof up to Trixie’s jaw. “Where are you going from here, now that your wagon’s gone? Will you still be putting on shows?”

The showmare shrugged. “Trixie – that is, I, I do not yet know. I think I will return to my father’s home in Whinnychester. With his help, maybe I will continue to train my magic again. I was brought so low from my past power that every ounce of strength I’ve gained since only reminds me of how much is still locked away, protecting Equestria. Beyond that…” She trailed off. “Beyond that, I intend to continue travelling. It’s nice to visit places without the reason being to protect Equestria from a threat of the week.” Sighing, she brought her own hoof up, dragging Bon Bon’s down, until they were both at chest level.

The two bumped hooves. Trixie, for the first time in ages, smiled a deep, bright smile, as if all her fears had vanished, her shoulders no longer needing to bear the weight of Equestria, or holding the heavens. Bon Bon thought the morning sun couldn’t compare to the radiant Lulamoon.

“Goodbye, Sweetie Drops,” Trixie said. Turning around, the former secret agent, trusted confidante, guardian of Equestria…now a show magician, walked off.

Bon Bon stood there, watching her once-colleague trot along the road. When Trixie was far enough up the next hill, at an angle that it was as if she stood in front of the moon itself, Bon Bon whispered to herself, only the light wind picking up her words, “Goodbye…Wandering Blue.”

Burning the image of the Lulamoon in the moon into her memory, she turned around, and began returning to Ponyville.


Well-Known Member
Trixie vs. The World

“May we bring you anything to eat or drink, Your Highness?”

Celestia surveyed her little pony bowing to her. His fashion sense was impeccable, his elegantly coiffered blue mane and tail going well with his immaculate white tie and cuffs, the colour blending in with his coffee cream brown coat. Savoir Fare, she thought his name was.

“Yes,” Celestia decided. Her meeting with the diplomat-prince of Saddle Arabia and his wife had gone rather well, with outstanding evening entertainment organised by her student, capped off by a fireworks performance that seemed vaguely familiar to her. Unfortunately, the actual negotiations that took place during the day demanded high culture, and high culture demanded tiny portions at meals.

In short, she was famished.

Exercising what was to her restraint, she gave the hotelier her order, “I will have two of whatever your chef’s dessert special is, as well as the strongest caffeinated drink you have on hand, please.” Casting her senses inside her room, she modified her request, “Make that three portions, please. I may have to entertain some company before I turn in for the night.”

Savoir Fare bowed even more deeply than before, nose nearly touching the ground, “As you wish, your majesty,” He stated, before finally standing up and moving to leave.

With a sigh, Celestia made to open the door to her suite, only to pause. Living for thousands of years, she had many pieces of art, from statues to paintings, the written word to the orchestra, from conventional art to abstract to modern to postmodern. Despite all that, she still found joy in even the simplest pieces of art where the art and soul of the pony or other creature was obvious in its creation.

The door she stood before, separating the hallway of the top floor of the Ponyville Grande Hotel from her own five-star room (well, five-star by Ponyville’s standards, anyways), was made from the rare Zap Apple tree. Such wood was very rare, needing to be carefully processed. Much like the namesake Zap Apples it bore, it could take many times the amount of time and effort to create boards from Zap Apple wood. Which made it all the more impressive that somebody had managed to actually carve into the wood.

Princess Celestia idly wondered if the younger members of the Apple family even knew about this door, which commemorated their great-grandmother with an exaggerated scene showing the young Lil’ Smith lassoing a giant Timberwolf with the most interesting features. The bolts of lightning it shot from its maw and the trees that were its limbs were obviously a blend of the wild creatures of the Everfree that the Apple clan had battled and to an extent tamed to plant their orchards, and the mysterious Zap Apple trees themselves.

It was making her hungry.

Having appreciated the fine carving, Celestia at last used magic to open the door, quickly closing it behind her. Being the finest room in the finest hotel in a small town the size of Ponyville, which was within a stone’s throw of Canterlot and thus saw very few dignitaries, meant the room was relatively austere to other places she had been. Still, the extra size of the top floor suite was always appreciated, as well as the soft, inviting bed and couches, and the large window that offered an enticing sunset view of the centre of Ponyville.

No longer in public, Celestia allowed the continuous magic that sustained her flowing mane and tail to dissipate, her hair finally obeying the whims of gravity, an even fickler mistress. Levitating a brush off the vanity, she ran it through her hair, working out the tresses that would develop even with her shimmering mane. As she groomed herself, she made her way to the table centrepiece, where she had spread out the paperwork she was to work on in the morning.

A pause. There was a deck of cards on the deck. Using her hoof, she turned over the top card. The picture on the card was of a unicorn of an undistinguishable gender, covered in a bulky cloak. He or she carried a lantern in his or her hoof, never using the horn to light the way. Above the card was the number 9 written in Old Griffin format, ‘IX’.

Who was this again? Ah, right. “You use an interesting calling card. I never did learn why you preferred the Hermit instead of the Magician…Wandering Blue.”

It was always a treat to see her former secret agent pull something new out of her hat, something that had seen her dubbed a Thaumawunderkind amongst her colleagues. Celestia wasn’t disappointed as the table’s shadow, being on the wrong side of the table from the lighting source, detached from where the legs met the floor. Slowly, the shadow compressed in on itself in two dimensional horizontal space, before it grew vertically, taking the form of a mare coloured azure and cyan.

Former secret agent Wandering Blue sniffed in disdain, “The Magician is far too obvious. It’s too easy an allusion to make, power, skill, divinity. It’s also the first card in the Tarot order, suggesting one thinks herself above all others.” With a graceful flourish, she brought her hoof up to her chest. “The Hermit, on the other hand, is a loner by definition, capable of friendship but preferring solitude. He always carries a light with him because the path before him is dark and unknowable. Instead of commanding power like the Magician, he continues to seek wisdom. The Hermit never looks back.”

“An interesting interpretation,” Celestia admitted, glad that at least one of her agents seemed to be getting on well in life. “As enlightening as that was, however, I feel you did not come to me to discuss your calling card. What is it that you are here for, Wandering Blue? I had thought those fireworks familiar, but I am sure you did not come to me to brag about them.” Only one thing came to mind, that being this agent’s last act before she have dissolved the organisation. “Do you believe you can no longer bear the burden of sealing the beast?”

The hermetic unicorn paused, then bowed. “Forgive me, Princess Celestia, for I have sinned.”

Celestia found herself taken aback. This…wasn’t like the typically bombastic Wandering Blue at all. Then again, she probably had left a bad impression on the poor mare with her actions the last time she had seen her. “What did you do, my little pony?” That question, asked in the gentle manner she was capable of mustering after a thousand years of being a royal, was nearly without fail in calming down her subjects.

Wandering Blue was no exception. “After the agency was shuttered, I wandered the land for years. I was bitter, Princess, but I accepted it. I decided to put joy into the hearts of equinity by becoming a travelling stage performer, putting on shows wherever I went, getting to see the land without having to save the nation at the same time for one. It all went fine, until I arrived in Ponyville.”

Wandering Blue sighed out loud. The despair in her sigh was so obvious that Celestia’s heart went out to the poor girl. “I was bitter, I said that already, but it was true. When I heard your student was living there, I admit I overreacted. I wanted to show up somebody who you hadn’t gotten rid of.”

An isolated incident that had been reported to her almost two years ago had been lurking in her mind as soon as she had seen Wandering Blue and remembered her crescent moon and wand Cutie Mark, the Solar Deity’s mind being predisposed to recalling every instance of a sun or moon mark in her realm. It only took a few seconds to link that report with the mare before her. “You’re Trixie Lulamoon,” She realised aloud.

The unicorn was visibly taken back, slightly flinching. “Did Twilight Sparkle tell you about me?” She asked apprehensively.

Celestia shook her head, “No, she did not. However, the mayor of Ponyville, Mayor Mare, sends me a weekly report.” Her eyes twinkled with a hint of nostalgia. “I admit I don’t read the weekly news from every town and village of Equestria, but I make an exception for my student’s place of residence.” Her face hardened. “'A blue mare calling herself Trixie Lulamoon brought into town an Ursa Minor, wrecking several buildings before it was sent back into the Everfree by Twilight Sparkle’,” She paraphrased from memory. A frown lit her face, and it would have been glaring harder than any morning sun were she not familiar with all her secret agents. “I know you would never have done such a thing, Wandering Blue, so what exactly did happen?”

Wandering Blue hung her head low. “Please, Princess, call me Trixie. It was my real name, is my real name, and I prefer to go by it now. Unless you want to call me Bluey.”

“Bluey,” Celestia repeated back in as deadpan a voice as she could. Her frown turned into a mirthful smile, “Very well, Bluey.”

Trixie groaned, “On second thought…never mind. Uh, oh, right, the Ursa minor. I did not bring it into town, but I still blame myself for it. In my show in Ponyville, I bragged about defeating an Ursa major, complete with a whole light show.” Rearing up on her back hooves, she pantomimed a mock performance with her front legs. “The Great and Powerful Trixie is truly the greatest equine to have ever lived!” Landing back down on all fours, she shook her head, “But I didn’t take into account that Ponyville was next to the Everfree Forest, where real Ursas actually lived, and that two foals in the audience would be so careless to lure one into town for me to show off by defeating.”

The Princess raised her eyebrows. Mayor Mare certainly had made no mention of that. As the elected official had always been fairly good in reporting an unbiased account of the happenstances in town (often lining up detail for detail with Twilight Sparkle’s own letters), she decided the Mayor simply had been uninformed. It would be worth looking into later, but for now, a haunting realisation had sunk in for her. “And with your powers restrained so by the Binding Spell, you would probably have been helpless against an Ursa Minor.”

“I did try,” Trixie interjected. “But yes, you’re right. I lacked the power, and so I felt humiliated when your own student handled it with ease.”

Celestia nodded. “What happened next, then?”

Trixie paused, before elucidating, “I tried to put on some more shows, but word of what happened in Ponyville spread. After my cart was vandalised and I was heckled far too many times to count, I decided to stop for a while, maybe fade out of the public memory before making a return. I found out about your Elements of Harmony after they defeated Discord,” Here she frowned, “And what a mad time that was! I was held up in travelling to Boltimare by the soapy roads. Anyways, I found out about the Elements of Harmony, and investigated. I apologise, Princess, but you can take the mare out of the secret agency, but you can’t take the secret agency out of the mare.”

“I would expect nothing less from one of my finest agents,” Celestia smiled. “Go on.”

“Thank you, Princess. I found that while most of the Elements’ families lived relatively close to Ponyville, the Element of Laughter’s parents and sisters lived further north in rural country. I made the decision to while away the time by taking a job on their rock farm, while secretly applying magical defenses to the perimeters to protect them from harm if anybody was of a mind to go after an Element’s family. Argh!” Trixie huffed loudly, stomping the floor with a back hoof, “That was the most tedious job I’ve ever done, I simply cannot understand how almost a whole family can be that obsessed with rocks.”

“Rock farming,” The alicorn deadpanned. She knew Trixie was serious, having read Pinkie Pie’s dossier, but still found the whole idea of farming rocks insane.

“Yes,” The self-declared hermit stated. “The actual underlying magical theory in rock farming makes sense, but Princess, if someone overthrows you and you have to go into hiding, I would recommend it not be as a rock farmer.”

Celestia giggled, “I’ll be sure to take your advice, Trixie.”

“Yes! Really, the only reason I didn’t go insane from that was from practice in my foalhood with spending long hours at paying attention to the minutest details at something I had little interest in. Did you know that my father was the one who made that door to this suite?” She suddenly asked, her eyes bright for the first time in the conversation so far.

The taller mare was taken aback, “Really?” She asked. If that was true, then that was quite a large coincidence.

Trixie nodded in a vigorous manner. “My father is Wooden Chisel. His Cutie Mark is a carving knife and chisel over top of one another.”

“Yes, I know who your father is,” Celestia replied, “I make it a priority to read reports on those who were recruited, and that little filly in the School for Gifted Unicorns with a talent for innovating uses of magic was no exception. I was just surprised that something of his all the way out here, and that you recognised it.”

Trixie blushed slightly at the compliment that had been paid to her, but didn’t let it affect her speech. “My father has a few trademark signs that he will slip into most of his carvings as a signature, like how a painter usually signs his or her work. I may not have been interested in what he did, but I still know the difference between all the different kinds of knives and carving techniques, and could recognise his work at a distance. That, and I may have been at home when he was working on that exact door,” She admitted, tapping her front hooves together in an attempt to look like a cute filly fessing up to sneaking food out of the cookie jar.

“But anyways!” She quickly took control of her own conversation, before she revealed any embarrassing details, “I had zero interest in carving, but I was still his assistant for hours on end before I started studying at your school. Rock farming wasn’t exactly easy, but it wasn’t any worse than playing fetch for wood carving.”

Trixie paused, looking like she was about to continue, before her head shot up, eyes wide. In the time span of less than a second, her fur began to desaturate in colour, turning to a pale blue, then white, and finally a partially see-through ectoplasm. The ectoplasm that was Trixie Lulamoon then shrank in on itself, finally creating a shadow of the table from the wrong side of the lighting again.

Celestia blinked just as a knock came on the door. That had been...interesting.

“Your Highness! Your meal is here,” Came the shout of Savoir Fare, muffled by the thick Zap Apple wooden door.

“Coming!” Celestia shouted back, trotting over to the door with a restrained glee, her mane quickly taking on its ethereal flowing form once more, as if buffeted by the solar winds. Grabbing the door with her magic, she opened the door knob, slowly opening to give Savoir Fare time to move lest her poor little pony be standing right behind it, dishes in hand (that had happened once before. She still bemoaned the loss of her precious cake. Never forget).

A large tray on top of a chrome-plated cart held three large plates with covers over top, as well as a cup with a liquid so hot water vapour could still be seen rising from it. Celestia inhaled deeply, the delectable smells nearly setting her off. Attempting to move the hotelier off before she was witnessed salivating in public, she levitated the entire tray off the cart, moving it inside her room and onto the table. “Thank you, Mr. Fare,” She greeted him. “That will be all.”

The Earth Pony bowed, “If you need anything else, Your Highness, the staff of this hotel is at your beck and call.”

As he left, Celestia closed the door again, locking it back up. Turning back to the table, she called out to the table’s false shadow, “You know, that shadow is on the wrong side.”

“I know,” The formless voice responded. “When I was doing reconnaissance work, any agents who knew of this spell would know to look for a shadow in the wrong direction when making an intel drop.” It was freaky, how weird it was to hear a voice coming from a mere shadow of all things.

“I find this disturbing,” Celestia stated. “Please change back.”

As Trixie took physical shape again, Celestia lifted the lids off of her dessert plates. It seemed the chef had outdone himself, creating a double-layered angel cake with a creamy chocolate mousse on the inside, hot liquid fudge drizzled on top. Smacking her lips, she nearly missed Trixie continuing to talk, “Unfortunately, I cannot get it to work with clothing or items unless the item is specially manufactured to tolerate being dissolved into magical streams. It took me over an hour just to get a simple deck of cards to work!”

“Oh?” Celestia questioned aloud, as she blew at her porcelain cup, the smell of divinity wafting from it as much as the visible vapours. It appeared to be an espresso with cream, sprinkled with a brown powder she assumed to be cinnamon. “Neighstein’s Mass Energy Equivalence says it should be doable with any object.”

“It does,” Trixie agreed. “However, by the time I worked out how to do it, I had too little magic available to do it with anything more complicated than a pebble.”

“Ah,” The alicorn responded. So many things came back around to that. The escape of that monster had hardly been her finest hour, being pinned down by flooding in Fillydelphia and too busy to help until Wandering Blue had nearly sacrificed her life to recapture it. In the process, although not precisely crippled, the former secret agent’s available magic was severely curtailed, most of it going to sustain the seal that acted as a secondary prison past the Tartarus cell that housed the beast. Like the distant cosmic bodies that became redder and weaker the further they moved away in orbit from her Sun and the earth, Wandering Blue felt as if she was a hundred hoofsteps away, her normally strong, pulsing magic feeling weak, a harmonic melody turned a shrieking cacophony of sounds.

She felt guilt for what she had done right after, and had she the choice of redoing it, she would not have applied the geas. Well, it was better late than never. “Did you want the geas removed, Trixie?”

To her surprise, Trixie feverently shook her head, “No, your majesty. For the longest time, I raged at it. Why was it forced on me when no other agent that I know of had it applied, even after the dissolution of the agency? We were agents because you trusted us, not the other way around.” The passion in her voice was incredible, speaking of a number of years of heartache. “I penned entire essays in my head over why you did it, many reasons that were I in your horseshoes I suppose I may have done myself.”

Taking a sip of her drink, allowing the sweet and slight bitter taste work its way across her tongue, Celestia thought, and at last asked, “What are your sins, young Lulamoon?”

Trixie bared her teeth, viciously smiling, “I thought you would never ask, Princess.”

Standing up on her rear legs once more, imitating the stance of the bipedal species that walked the Earth’s soil, Trixie made a single motion with one of her free hooves, a visual screen appearing next to her. A scene started with a dark, back alley street that Celestia, with a start, realised must have been in Canterlot based on the architecture. Following the view of what appeared to be Trixie’s first-person memories, the vision entered a small shop.

Dusty and downtrodden as the shop was, it was still a shop, one that had more displays than floor space, each shelf stocked to bursting with odd trinkets. Surveying the many items that past-Trixie had briefly glimpsed, Celestia vowed to look more into this shop when she returned to Canterlot.

She renewed that vow when the vision stopped, honing in on a pendant she never thought she would see again. A diamond that practically glowed the colour of arterial blood, housed in a triangular container adored by a stylised red-and-black pony with both a horn and wings, it had been an item near the top of the list of magical artifacts still at large when she had dissolved the organisation.

“The Alicorn Amulet!” She gasped, a rush of memories coming to her. Its original making, an unholy fusion of a white rock that fell from outer space, bathed in the blood of Discord the only time he had ever bled, at the end of the world. Its creator, the first pony it had ever corrupted, her form disintegrating as the magical power boost it offered tore her from the inside. Its second owner, a simple farmer who had caused the creation of the Everfree Forest, requiring the Castle of the Pony Sisters to be abandoned. A long line of owners, until it was eventually lost to history.

“Yes,” Trixie agreed. “When I first saw it on a brief vacation, I knew what it was. This was only a few weeks ago, when you had just visited Saddle Arabia. With none of my old contacts available, and you gone, I took the initiative, pawning everything I owned except for the clothes on my back to obtain the money to purchase it.”

Celestia wished she didn’t have to listen any further. She knew there would be a tale of tragedy in here somewhere. However, she owed it to her little pony, more than just about any other pony, to hear it in full. “What happened next?”

Trixie sighed, bringing her hoof up to her face, batting away tears that were beginning to gather. No matter how good she was at hardening her emotions, what had happened next had left a scar on her. “The Amulet is insidious. I did not even touch it, and already I was obsessed with it. I returned to the store at night, with a full bag of money. However, had the owner not still been up, I would have stolen it.”

“Within minutes of purchasing it, its influence affected me, even buried in my cloak, which I once had specifically enchanted to counter such effects. By the end of the hour, I was doomed to seeking revenge on the only pony I felt to have truly humiliated me.”

“My student, Twilight Sparkle,” Celestia whispered loud enough for both of them to hear. Fortunately, she knew this tale would not end in complete heartbreak, having seen the lavender unicorn alive and in good spirits right before coming to the hotel room.

“Yes,” Trixie nodded, elaborating, “Princess, I don’t know what you allowed the agency to know and what secrets of the Amulet you keep to yourself, but let me tell you: the Amulet is trouble. It gives its wearer a significant magical boost, and then convinces you that your actions are just. What is worse, in my case it was restoring the power that I once wielded, meaning I could cast even the most magic-intensive spells I knew. I was lucky that I did not maim or kill anypony.”

“But you disliked Twilight Sparkle,” Celestia took over, deducing the order of events from there. “The Alicorn Amulet magnified that, and you did something which I’m sure to hear from Mayor Mare soon.” Honestly, only the sheer time-consuming task of keeping the Saddle Arabian delegation entertained had kept the Mayor from barging in on her yet if Trixie had done even the slightest thing to upset the peace of Ponyville.

“I challenged Twilight Sparkle to a duel, and when I won, I banished her from Ponyville, sealing the town up in a dome only permeable enough to allow air and light in and out,” Trixie admitted, not willing to sugarcoat her misdeeds. “I abused my magic, and took over Ponyville thereafter, renaming it to Trixieopolis. I was selfish and extremely frivolous during those dark few days, and I am ashamed that I don’t think I can ever make it up to the two colts I especially took it out on. I used an age spell on them multiple times, and made them pull me around without the use of wheels all the time. I still don’t regret stealing the Element of Laughter’s mouth to get her to stop talking, though.”

Even though the circumstances were ideal, it was still a very rare feat to see the Princess’ eyes widen in surprise, even her muzzle slightly open as she went “Buh…buh?” for a few seconds. It was the experience of a thousand years that saw her reassert her calm. Oddly, she chose to address the very last thing Trixie had mentioned, “I suppose I can sympathise with you over Pinkie Pie. But now that the Amulet is off of you, there will be no such thing as that anymore, understand,” She said sternly, former secret agent who understood the consequences of abusing magic or not. She blinked a few times, bringing the topic back to said Amulet, “Where is the Amulet now, anyways? Did you manage to overcome it and take it off?”

“In a sense,” Trixie said. “Twilight Sparkle truly is a great unicorn, not only with magic, but also knowing how to use even weak magic spells. She tricked me, a master trickster, at my own game!” She sighed, pawing at the floor with one of her hooves, “Fortunately, the power trip the Amulet gave me also made me unable to see through what any stage magician worth her salt should have been able to, claiming to be able to also use both age spells and gender-switching spells, when in reality all she did was to dress up the relatives of her supposed spell subjects and change them out. She claimed to have an amulet superior to the Alicorn Amulet, and in my desire for even more power I stole it and replaced the Alicorn Amulet with the ‘Amulet Beyond the Everfree Forest’.”

Mentally, Celestia accelerated the timeline for certain events in her head. Perhaps it would soon be time to attempt a reformation plan, and regardless of the results from that, take a certain book out of storage. “And what happened to the Amulet?” She asked, beginning to grit her teeth a little bit. It almost seemed as if Trixie was deliberately drawing the suspense out on the topic. To be honest, the unicorn probably had her dead to rights on doing something like that, considering the amount of sacrifices she had made for Equestria.

“Oh, that,” Trixie waved a hoof in the air. Yep, she had been dragging it out. “There is a zebra shaman living in the Everfree Forest. She took it away in a box.” The mare blinked, “I honestly never really got a chance to look at the box. It would be worthwhile attending to it. I don’t know if it would affect a zebra at all, but I understand some of the town’s fillies regularly visit her, and the Amulet may still be able to corrupt them even through a box with several seals on it.”

Celestia paused, faint memories from a few of Mayor Mare’s reports coming to her. “Yes, I think I know who you are talking about. The Amulet will have to be retrieved for better safekeeping than a zebra’s hut in the Everfree, no matter how good her alchemy skills may be at hiding it. I don’t suppose you could obtain it?”

Surprisingly, Trixie shook her head fervently, her eyes showing an anxiety just short of raw panic. “No, no! Ah, sorry Princess, but I don’t trust myself with that artifact after having been corrupted by it once. Besides,” She let out a nervous chuckle, helping to defuse the tension that had shown up in her body, “The zebra would probably catch me, and then torment me with her rhyming.”  Standing up on her hind legs, she made an attempt at a couplet, “’Come back for corruption evermore? This isn’t the amulet you’re looking for.’”

“Agent…that was horrible,” Celestia deadpanned.

“And that’s why I never attempted to sing in iambic pentameter in my shows,” Trixie agreed. “But that was what I had to report to you, Princess, unless you had need of my services again?”

Celestia stopped, and pondered. “I forgive you for your sins, Trixie, but you had no real need to ask for it. The Alicorn Amulet is one of the few items of power even I cannot seem to destroy. I threw it in the sun, once,” She said nonchalantly as she at last sipped her drink, the caffeine-heavy fluid having cooled down over the course of their conversation.

It was fortunate Trixie did not similarly have a drink of her own, or else she might have done a spit take right then and there. “And that didn’t destroy it?” She asked, eyes wide.

The Alicorn of the Sun shook her head, “No. The Amulet reappeared within Equestria within a month. All I have been able to do is seal it away for a short period of time.” The Princess sighed, and it was a deep sigh, one that Trixie could tell was weariness begat by an untold age. Most ponies only saw the kind, formal Princess that performed at Summer Sun celebrations, conducted many of the formal events throughout the year, and occasionally held open court. Trixie knew of the Princess who fought hard behind the scenes, always fighting the next fire that threatened to flare up and consume Equestria. Sometimes, she wasn’t able to extinguish it. “Every time, it finds its way into the world at large again. The first few times, a pony stole it. After I put on enough seals and traps that even I would take weeks to disassemble them all, it just started disappearing on its own. Only the fact that it has taken longer and longer each time to escape, going from a few days, then a few weeks, a few months, and two years the last time it got out has kept me encouraged.”

“That’s…wow,” Was all the normally talkative Trixie could say, suddenly very glad that she had held onto her morals long enough that she hadn’t done any permanent harm.

“Yes,” Celestia nodded, “I suppose it was wrong of me to even think to ask you to retrieve the Amulet again. I can’t ask Twilight Sparkle either, as she has never handled dangerous magical items like you did working for the agency. Luna and I will need to take a day off very shortly to retrieve it, then seal it again. I am hopeful we can put it away for a decade this time.” Her expression was hard as diamond. The very look of it would have sent most ponies cowering.

“But enough of that, Bluey,” She said, adoring the nickname that Wandering Blue had picked up and intent on using it over her real name. “I have no intent to reform the agency. I’m sorry to say, but I won’t be able to suppress news from getting out of the events that have occurred in Ponyville, either.”

“I wouldn’t ask it of you, Princess.”

“Very well. In that case, you will be unlikely to perform as a travelling entertainer, either. I love all my little ponies very much, and I am glad most of them will never be exposed to the horrors of the Amulet. But it is that very same reason that I know many of them will be unable to understand you were corrupted by dark magic not of your own control, and they will despise you for your actions.”

A few tears trickled down Trixie’s face. “I know.”

“In which case, what do you plan to do now?”

Trixie paused. She actually had put some thought into this. “The Crystal Empire has returned,” She slowly said. “It seems to me that even if you will not bring the agents back together again, monsters still wander the land. The Windigos will be awoken from their hibernation now that the Empire is back.”

“Yes,” Celestia admitted, impressed that Trixie had done her research so thoroughly. “The Empire itself is protected by the Crystal Heart, but the small settlements outside of the dome are not.” For those ponies who could rough it, the baby blue sapphire mines were a lucrative opportunity, especially now that there was a big city nearby. Diamond dust flowers, which only bloomed at high altitudes and latitudes the night before, during and after the full moon, were a rare magical ingredient. Snow lettuce, a delicacy with a flavour that could enhance even the lowliest dish, could not be grown in artificial environments, requiring the ambient magical energy of the land of eternal snow to flower.

“I will defeat the Windigos,” Trixie proclaimed, and Celestia knew it was to be so. “My magical strength continues to build day by day, and while it will be many years yet, I will eventually be back at my former power before I had to give most of it up on a permanent basis. I will attempt to find a few of the other former agents, and see who will accompany me. One of them even lives in this very town, but she knew to stay out of my way when I had the Amulet.” She sighed, looking wistful, “I thought I had found a pony, not a former agent, but one with an incredible strength of will. She was the single strongest Earth pony I have ever seen, capable of throwing a large boulder over a kilometer away. Even Agent Stonehenge would not be able to match her in raw strength. Alas, she is getting her Rocktorate in Rock Science soon.”

“I…see,” Celestia said. She would have asked more, but if Trixie did not think of this unknown mare as a threat, then she doubted she would be a future villainess, no matter how strong the mare was. “I will not support you from Canterlot, but Princess Cadance may from the Crystal Empire. I shall send a message to her and Prince Shining Armor, and they may choose to deputise you, if you so wish.”

Trixie nodded, satisfied. “Thank you, your Highness.” Having finally come to say all she needed to get off her chest, she asked, “By your leave, if I may?” She had a sinking feeling when she saw a mischievous look on the Princess’ face.

“Not so fast, Bluey. There’s still a matter of the utmost importance that I need your advice on.” Trixie gulped as the Princess left a long, dramatic pause before she finally asked the most important question of the age, “What Tarot Card do you think I would be?”

Trixie just about facehoofed, but held herself back. Bringing a hoof up to rub her muzzle, she thought about it. “The Empress or The Sun would be the obvious choices,” She stated, “But I think you would be The World.”

“Oh?” It was obvious the Princess wanted to hear Trixie’s reasoning.

“The World can be said to be the end, not in a physical sense but a metaphysical sense, and also the beginning. Which makes your choice of pets interesting. Um, you were the only Princess to rule the land for a thousand years. Even as disasters happened year after year, you were the one constant, the single pony keeping the entire system from being overturned. As an Alicorn, you represent the unity of all Ponykind, wielding the magic of the three main tribes. As a living goddess, you straddle the line between mortal beings, and those who live completely in the heavens, raising the Sun, and while Princess Luna was gone, the Moon as well. You are The World.”

Celestia blinked. That…had actually been the most profound thing said to her in several decades. Damn, Wandering Blue was good. “That’s…thank you, Wandering Blue,” She said, letting her feelings go to mirror Trixie with tears dribbling down her own cheeks. “You may go. Just be sure the next time we meet isn’t for you to confess taking over the Crystal Empire,” She teased.

“Thank you, Princess,” Trixie said, embarrassed at the reaction her analysis had brought upon the princess as well as Celestia’s little tease, and wishing to escape quickly. Using telekinesis, she opened up the single large window to the room, before her body itself turned into a light blue mist. As the mist moved out the window, it teleported, now free of the anti-teleportation seals of the room itself. The Tarot card deck had gone with her, save for a single card: The World.

“Goodbye, Trixie Lulamoon,” Celestia spoke to herself, taking another sip of her drink as she put the remaining Tarot Card away in her private folder. Ah, the glories of cappuccino. “May you find peace with yourself.”

She suddenly smiled. Her and Wandering Blue had been so busy talking that she had forgotten her manners, and neglected to offer the former agent a piece of cake! Oh well, more for her!


Bon Bon paused from her baking, as the familiar feeling of a teleporting pony lit her magical senses up. Turning around, she verified who it was before speaking, “How did it go, Bluey?”

“I am in the clear!” Trixie declared, sweeping Bon Bon up into a one-armed hug. “How would you like to go to the Crystal Empire with me?”

Bon Bon shook her head. “Sorry, Bluey,” She apologised. “Unfortunately, the Bugbear is still out there. I don’t feel comfortable in leaving Ponyville until it’s captured, even if I have to be the one to capture it, and if that happens, I doubt it’ll be anywhere near that far north. And besides,” She nervously touched her hooves together, “There’s my roommate as well…”

“Say no more!” Trixie laughed, sweeping Bon Bon completely off her hooves, “Best friends, right?” She punctuated this with a waggle of her eyebrows.

“Bluey!” Bon Bon rammed a hoof hard into her former coworker, hard, knocking the blue-furred unicorn to the floor, and Bon Bon with her. However, it did nothing for the blush that had crept up her cheeks. Oh, why couldn’t she have been born with red fur?!

Trixie chuckled, “It’s alright, Sweetie Drops. I understand. For now, let’s…” Their impromptu reunion only a few days earlier hadn’t been exactly the greatest, possessed as Trixie was by the Amulet, and Bon Bon completely unable to do anything about it, but now it was time to do it properly!