The silence soaked into Golden Oaks Library like some insidious rot.
Outside, crickets chirped in the cozy Ponyville nighttime, under the full moon.
Inside, the light filtered reluctantly through a seething magenta field of magical force. Not even air could escape. Twilight Sparkle had been distracted, and hadn’t thought about air, food or water before leaving on her desperate and misguided quest. The pantry was still stocked, though water would give out first. Even that would last a long time, for neither living thing trapped in the library was eating or drinking.
However, they were both breathing shallowly, and had been for hours… and the air was just beginning to hint of a stuffiness that spoke of how thorough Twilight Sparkle’s magic force field was.
Sound did not penetrate through into the library. The crickets were muted, the wind in the trees stifled.
The library was, itself, a tree, but no breeze stirred its leaves. They rested in eerie stillness, motionless in the faint, glimmering, magenta radiance.
The only sound was a niggling, high-pitched tizzing sound on the threshold of hearing. It was the sound of air molecules being forbidden to exit the forcefield. Outside, a matching noise accompanied fresh air being denied entry.
Trixie Lulamoon’s eyelids flickered, and a new sound broke the silence. It was a deep, indrawn breath.
In the bed, Twilight’s blue unicorn mare stirred. Trixie feebly waggled a forehoof that stuck helplessly into the air. She lay on her back, stunned.
Trixie took another deep breath, wriggled her body, and rolled awkwardly over onto her belly.
She nuzzled the bedcovers drunkenly, her eyes sensuously half-lidded, her limbs languorous, and she murmured.
It seemed oddly dark. Trixie didn’t care. She felt more sated than she’d ever felt in her whole life, obscenely limp with sexual release, triumphant in her utter debauchery. She could feel, in her pert blue vag, the delicious throbbing that said Twilight had been screwing the daylights out of her, to her screaming delight. And not only that: Mistress had arced with her again, after so long without it. Trixie couldn’t mistake that feeling. She felt so wrung out she wasn’t sure she could stand. There was nothing so satisfying as working out with a beloved mare until you were both spent beyond all reason, glowing like a bed of embers after a mad bonfire of fierce lusty lovemaking.
It seemed very dark, thought Trixie dazedly. And very quiet.
She nuzzled the bedspread again. Oh, Mistress! Trixie looked vaguely around for Twilight, but didn’t see her, which was also odd. She tried to lift her head, but it was too heavy. She felt swaddled in wool, toasty warm and tingling with that very intense sort of sexual afterglow that sapped all the life out of you, left you stunned and comatose. Were she a cat, she would be purring fit to shake the house down. As she was a unicorn, purring was not available to her. Dimly, Trixie saw something that was: a glass of water, on the bedside table.
She meant to call out to Twilight and ask for it, but could only croon feebly with her face smushed against the bedcovers. So, Trixie Lulamoon tried to reach out with her magic and pick up the glass herself.
Her eyes rolled back in her head as a wave of weakness and dizziness combined with the post-coital lassitude, hitting her like a mallet to the skull, and Trixie passed out immediately as soon as she tried to lift the glass.
Silence returned to the Golden Oaks Library, and dwelled unopposed for another hour.
Trixie’s eyes flickered. They opened a crack, and revealed the sight of the glass of water, still insouciantly standing there… and for a moment, Trixie stared uncomprehendingly at it, trying to remember what it meant to her.
Oh! Water. She wanted some. She’d reached out with her horn, and then…
Trixie blinked, showing slightly more energy, though she still lay limp as a rag drooling cutely on the pillow, pleasured so intensely she couldn’t even lift her head.
She’d reached out with her horn. Clearly she’d fainted. Clearly, Mistress had outdone herself, had fucked her so gloriously that the simplest things were beyond her capabilities. Trixie looked around, managing to lift her head just a bit. Mistress didn’t seem to be there.
She lay, her little unicorn body quivering with the echoes of unthinkable ecstacies, and she thought.
It would be nice to have Mistress stroking her body, caressing and rubbing her all over, thought Trixie. Not really necessary, she couldn’t get much more relaxed, but it would be lovely, if Mistress wasn’t fretting or having some sort of alicorn fit.
Trixie nuzzled her cheek against the bedspread again, dreamily. Dear Celestia! She was absolutely a puddle, from the tip of her strangely numb horn down her totally relaxed spine, not omitting her sprawled legs or the pert unicorn rump that Mistress had been pounding so gleefully, to the end of her totally limp tail. Amazing. Mistress had fried her like a hay-cake, thought Trixie dazedly. She wasn’t sure she’d ever felt so gloriously spent. Peculiar twinges inside her reminded Trixie that she’d had Twilight’s alicorn horn actually in there, twisting and shoving away inside her spasming vagina.
She focussed her eyes on the glass of water again. She really deserved it after the night she’d apparently had.
Trixie Lulamoon caught herself just on the verge of trying to lift it, and stopped.
That was what had taken her out! She felt just a hint of the hammer-blow that had wiped her consciousness away, and she desisted, her eyes widening in amazement, staring at the glass and carefully not trying to touch it with her magic.
Then, she reached out ever so delicately… not to lift the glass, but just to grasp it with her horn.
The sensation was dizzying, alarming, overwhelming. Trixie’s eyes glazed over, and she fought for awareness. Something was the matter with her, and it was a big deal, and she had next to no power all of a sudden. Trixie Lulamoon, helpless and unable even to lift a glass of water.
Her heart pounded as she eyed the glass. The adrenaline gave her strength to rouse her torpid, pleasure-sated body, lift herself. In trepidation, she raised a hoof tremblingly to her forehead.
Well, that explained it, thought Trixie Earthponymoon, feeling nothing there but a little divot.
Then she’d staggered to her hooves, her mind a battleground between obscene satiation and alarm. She reeled, and in a fit of pique kicked the glass off the bedside table, and it shattered against the wall as she fell over and struggled to rise again.
Twilight! Oh, Twilight! Trixie moaned, understanding, remembering. She’d done it with Twilight, and beloved Mistress had thought she’d do that exhaust-Trixie-sexually thing again. She’d thought she would drain Trixie dry, and then go off like an alicorn explosion without endangering her lover. She’d been so sure she was in control, had it all figured out. And Trixie had strained every atom of her being to come up with just one more little squirt of magic and make that connection, though she had nothing left.
Trixie went pale, and not just from her post-coital weakness.
And Trixie had done just that, hadn’t she? She’d managed it.
The memories came flooding back, incomprehensible and out of scale. The last thing she remembered was being in the heart of a star, a star made out of horngasm. She knew what it felt like to take a good intense horngasm: any fortunate unicorn mare with a special somepony knew that, knew the feeling of their lover’s magic coursing through them and tingling under their skin, flowing in bountifully through their eager horn. But what she remembered didn’t even seem like the same experience. It was a chaos of crackling energies bursting her from inside, too intense and compressed to contain inside one mare, and rather than the spine-shiveringly satisfying coursing of magic into her horn she remembered a fiery overload, her body screaming wildly, her psyche transfixed by energy totally beyond…
Trixie Lulamoon, her heart pounding, considered the possibility that she was dead.
It made a lot of sense. The world was silent, too quiet. The light was strange. It was the color of Twilight’s magic. Well, that would follow, wouldn’t it? She’d been killed by Twilight’s horngasm. What a way to go! But how tragic, all the same… and Trixie was bitterly sorry, and hung her head, tears coming to her eyes. Bad unicorn, bad Trixie! Selfish, pleasureseeking, wanton little horn-slut, she thought.
Her ear twitched. The world wasn’t as silent as all that. She heard a snort from somewhere.
No, not a snort, a snore. Spike’s snoring would wake an Ursa Minor.
Trixie stood, and began to reason. No hasty conclusions, no ignoring data. Unless she was locked in some purgatory with a snoring baby dragon as punishment for her fatal sexual excesses, this was not an afterlife. Anyhow, she loved Spike, so being trapped forever with him wasn’t that bad and didn’t count as purgatory. Being trapped forever with just his snoring, on the other hoof… no, that was ridiculous.
If she was alive, it was because Twilight’s horngasm had somehow not killed her. She’d felt it blowing her apart. It had apparently taken all of her horn, yet she breathed and shivered and had made quite a large wet spot of blissed-out drool on the bedspread while she was out. Trixie wrinkled her nose in distaste, and then reasoned on, dauntless.
Unless she missed her guess, taking a horngasm without horn to catalyze it killed you. The magic poured into your head and boiled your brain and burned you right up. Such things were virtually impossible between unicorns, though there were tales of mad debauched mares who’d taken on so very many stallions they’d died when their horns burned away, or of precociously sexual fillies whose horns weren’t resilient enough to take the issue of multiple stallions. And then, there were alicorns, and it was obvious how dangerous that could be.
Trixie shook her head, trying to clear it. The afterglow was maddening, clinging to her like some soft loving jelly that tried to swaddle her in feelings of bliss and lassitude. That alone would have told her she’d had a fucking for the ages.
If taking a horngasm without a horn killed you, she had to have some horn left somewhere.
Trixie staggered over to a mirror, hung on the wall. She recoiled from the sight, then bravely leaned in and studied the damage. Her lovely blue horn was so burned away it’d left a crater. Her mane was a sight, as well, and there were circles under her eyes: plainly, a unicorn ravaged beyond all civilized limits.
She held her breath, and concentrated her energies gingerly… and in the charred pit in her forehead, a little glimmer of lilac-pink magic began to feebly glow. It was the most heartwarming yet heartbreaking thing Trixie had ever seen. She was alive, but magically as helpless as a foal!
“Twilight!” she wailed. The sound died away with unnatural speed, like it was being soaked up by the stale air. No, that was just the eerie silence. It wasn’t total silence, either. There was that snoring.
Trixie staggered downstairs, still feeling annoyingly sated, every hoofstep delivering a little quiver of pleasure to her much-loved mare body. She ignored it, as she did not wish to fall on her face, and had serious business to attend to.
Spike was in his basket. For a moment, Trixie asked herself again what the hell he was doing in a basket. She’d once offered him a bed, but Twilight had been offended at the implication his baby-dragon basket was somehow inadequate, and Spike had thought she was offering to let him share THEIR bed, and had vociferously declined. Trixie had abandoned the idea.
“Spike!” she called. “Trixie demands that you wake and help her with things! At least with drinking a glass of water!”
No response. She shook him with a gentleness her Trixieish words concealed, but he didn’t even miss a snore.
Trixie pouted, glared at him, and froze. There was something about him, a little glimmer. Magic!
Slowly, she turned to gaze out of the window, and saw the glowing sphere of force that enclosed Golden Oaks for the first time.
“Oh, horseapples,” breathed Trixie Lulamoon.
She glanced around, panicked. “Mistress! TWILIGHT!”
Trixie’s cries died away into that eerie silence. She had the distinct feeling nothing outside the sphere could hear her. Spike snored, undisturbed.
She panted, eyes wild, working out what to do. Had they been attacked?
“Spike, Spike, Trixie needs Spike,” she muttered. “This spell is little, that one is big. If it was an ordinary nap aid, he’d be sleeping just like this. Trixie knows Spike sleeps like a rock anyhow, and snores this loud all the time. If Trixie can just…”
Holding her breath, Trixie focussed her meager powers, and the pit in her forehead glimmered again, resolutely.
Spike stirred. “Wha…?”
Trixie’s voice shook with relief. “Spike? Trixie needs your help very badly.”
His eyes flew open. “You do? You got it, Trixie. Whatever it is you need, I can… yiiii!”
He’d looked at Trixie’s forehead, and his jaw dropped as he saw the injuries to her horn. He leapt out of his basket, flipping it over and spilling the blankets across the floor.
“Wow, Trixie, what happened? No, scratch that, what do you need? Whatever you need, I’ll get it. Do you need to go to the pony hospital? Sweet Celestia, look at your head, that’s crazy!”
Trixie couldn’t even be offended. She licked her lips.
“Actually, Trixie would like your help holding a glass of water. Trixie is very thirsty right now, and kind of dizzy…”
He led her to the kitchen, calling out “Twilight! Hey, Twilight! Trixie’s hurt!”
“She knows,” muttered Trixie.
“Where is she?”
“That’s the other problem.”
Spike looked around, and froze. He’d spotted the sphere of magic that surrounded the library. His attention had been so wrapped up in his pony friend that he hadn’t even seen the difference, at first.
“Trixie? It’s really quiet. What’s going on?”
“Water,” croaked Trixie Lulamoon, and Spike scrambled for a glass, fetching it with dexterous claws and holding it up for Trixie to gratefully drink.
“Thank you,” she said.
“No problem. Now what’s going on?”
“Magical attack,” said Trixie. ‘We’re trapped.”
“Wow!” said Spike. “And you tried to fight it off? But you were defeated? And I suppose now you’re gonna tell me that’s what happened to your…”
“No,” said Trixie, awkwardly. “Trixie has to be honest. She was not fighting. Tw…Twilight did this.”
Spike studied her. She began to blush.
“Trixie is sorry…”
“No, stop,” said Spike, and she did, and stared at him in surprise.
“You were having sex,” he said. “You’re marefriends, and that’s something you do. It’s something ponies do with each other when they care about each other a whole bunch. That’s what happened to you. Even if it’s super embarrassing to admit. Right?”
Trixie stammered, “You shouldn’t have to think about such…”
“No, stop!” insisted Spike. “Maybe part of the problem is you ponies act like it’s something to hide from me? And then when I find out, it’s bad. Like, Rarity-doing-dirty-stuff bad. And I’m telling you, Trixie, that happens too, and I saw it.”
“Since when does Girl allow herself to be d…” began Trixie, and then her eyes widened. “Oh. Oh, Spike! Trixie is so sorry. How did you end up seeing her? Girl’s very discreet!”
“Rarity’s gonna be okay,” said Spike manfully, his lip quivering only a little. “She’s still my friend, but sex is something she does too. And I never wanted that, it’s gross, but if it means Rarity’s happiness then I accept it. And it does, Trixie. She was so happy she couldn’t even get up. Derpy was so happy she kinda passed out and started snoring. They really liked what they did. They liked it… loudly.”
“Trixie knows the feeling,” admitted Trixie.
Spike confronted her. “And that’s why I don’t want you apologizing! This is tough enough for me to get used to, but I don’t want me being a dragon to stop you guys being ponies. I love you all more than I can even say, but not like that! And when I see you at it, sometimes I can tell how much it means to you, and I’m not trying to tell you not to have pony sex. Okay? Especially when it’s making Twilight happy, ‘cos she’s having a rough time, I can tell.” He turned and called up the stairs, “Twiliiight!”
“Trixie told you that was the other problem,” said Trixie. “She’s not here, Spike.”
“Where is she?”
“Trixie doesn’t know…”
Spike blinked. “Really? She tucked me in. She seemed fine, other than the usual unicorn crazy. No offense. I’ve kinda learned not to ask, sometimes. I can’t blame her, really, she must have felt awful about what she did.”
Trixie squeaked in alarm. “She did something? What did she do?”
She stopped, eyes cast upward. Spike had reached out and touched her forehead, near the crater where her horn had been
“She did this, Trixie,” said Spike gravely. “She swore it was okay. I guess she was right, huh? Seems kind of mean if she’s using up your horn doing it. I get the idea you guys are embarrassed if your horns aren’t right. With all those fireworks from Twilight, I’m not really surprised it happened. Is it because she’s turned into an alicorn?”
Trixie nodded. “It’s very exciting. I can’t explain to anyone who isn’t a unicorn mare. Well, a unicorn, anyway.”
Spike made a face. “That’s okay, I really don’t want to know the details. It’s amazing that pony sex can make even magic yucky.”
Trixie snorted, repressing a smirk. “Opinions may vary.”
Spike smiled at her. “As long as you guys are happy and safe,” he said.
Trixie’s smirk dropped away suddenly, and she wouldn’t meet his eye. Spike’s smile evaporated.
“Wait a minute,” he said. “Okay, work with me here. She does a lot of fireworks, and it uses up your horn. Look, there’s like nothing left. How does that work? Is it safe? It’s a big light show, right?”
Trixie muttered, “Trixie could tell you that yes, it is a big light show…”
“Then why does it wear down your horn? I’ve noticed that before. Both with you, and with Twilight. It used to be mostly Twilight getting her horn used up, and she was real happy. The more blunt it was in the morning, the more she would wobble and smile. Then it was more you, and you were real happy but Twilight, not so much. And then it was neither of you, and nopony was happy. What does it do, Trixie? Why does it make you so happy and why does it wear off your horn doing it?”
Trixie gulped. “It’s very special for a unicorn mare. We take in our mate’s magic. It’s supposed to be a stallion, but, well, Trixie and Twilight…”
“Yeah yeah,” said Spike impatiently. “You’re both mares. So’s Rarity and Derpy. Also, Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Welcome to Ponyville, big deal. That’s not the point. Why is it wearing your horn off and what happens when you use all the horn up?”
Trixie blinked, eyes wide and vulnerable. “Uh… the horn catalyzes the magic coming in. It’s a lot of magic, very much energy. It consumes just a tiny part of the horn it passes through, and it feels very exciting. And the magic floods into your brain and fills your body and it’s the most wonderful thing a mare could ever have.”
“Like my tongue!” blurted Spike.
Trixie’s jaw dropped. “Your tongue is the most wonderful thing a mare could ever have?”
“No!” argued Spike, as Trixie stared aghast at him, her ears laid back in shock. “It catalyzes! Don’t you know anything about dragons? That’s how come we can breathe fire! The stuff we spit out is a nasty chemical that would hurt you, but when it catalyzes, it makes an odorless green flame and we can even control the intensity and temperature. Twilight did an essay for Princess Celestia once on how it worked. She even had me cough up some flame without catalyzing it, so she could study the chemical.”
“She did?” blinked Trixie.
Spike winced. “Yeah! It burned my mouth real bad, and it hurt to eat for a week. I was on a pearl and turquoise diet. It was a month before I could even have quartz again!”
He froze, staring at Trixie’s forehead and the little crater.
“Trixie,” said Spike, “do you have any horn left in there?”
She nodded. “Trixie woke you from the sleep spell that way. There is a tiny bit. See?” She concentrated, and the charred pit glimmered once more.
“What happens,” demanded Spike, “when all that ‘very much energy’ goes into your head but all the horn is gone?”
He was staring her right in the eye. Trixie gulped.
“We die. Trixie is sorry for… oof!”
She gulped, again, eyes glistening. Spike had grabbed her in a childish hug with the strength of a much older dragon, and wasn’t letting go. She’d thought his connection was mostly with Twilight, and was fine with that, and it shook her to feel the intensity of his sudden emotion.
Then he was shaking her, demanding more information. “Is this normal? Trixie, does it usually go that way? Your horn, is that normal, is that a unicorn thing, with other unicorns, to use up that much?”
Trixie didn’t have the sophistication and deceptiveness of Rarity, or the secretiveness of Twilight. She answered, “No, Spike, this isn’t normal. No unicorn could have done this. Trixie has never had anything like it. It’s Twilight, she’s so powerful, it’s amazing but it isn’t safe anymore and Trixie is very sorry she was so reckless…”
Spike screwed his eyes shut, reeling as he got up to speed with things—then he was hugging Trixie around the neck again and entreating her, “Don’t be reckless! I guess it must feel really good, but don’t, just don’t! I don’t want you to die!”
She stared at him, the baby dragon destined to grow up and become, perhaps, unthinkably huge and ancient… long after she was bones and dust.
“Twilight doesn’t either,” said Trixie, and felt very frail and mortal, the stuffy air tickling the root of her horn and the few pitiful shreds of it that remained, tucked into her little pony skull. At the same time, and in spite of her horrible vulnerability, she felt important as never before: important in a way she’d never managed as the egomaniacal Great And Powerful Trixie. Through trying to negate herself completely and dedicate herself to the task of devotion, through trying to be no more than the blades of grass dear Twilight ate or trampled on, Trixie had become central to the lives of Twilight and Spike and even others besides. Everything she’d sought in desperate urges to control had found her through her earnest dedication and forgetting of herself.
Spike hugged her, and Trixie lifted a foreleg and wrapped it around him in turn, tenderly.
“Listen, Spike. Trixie has things to tell you.”
He looked up at her, and she was smiling a very Trixie smile… and her eyes shone.
“Trixie promises to be more careful. And Trixie is going to go and build a better relationship with Twilight. Yes! We are going to talk. We’ll talk it out unicorn to unicorn,” said Trixie bravely, “and she will understand because Trixie will make her understand. There will be no more foolhardy acts, either from Trixie or from Twilight! Trixie forgets those who… LOVE her… at her peril. It will not be forgotten again!”
“You’re gonna talk it out?” said Spike, dubiously.
“Unicorn to unicorn?” added Spike. “Who’s the other unicorn? Twi has wings now, maybe you noticed.”
Trixie wilted. “Er. Trixie sometimes can’t help but think of her as she was when Trixie met her. That is Trixie’s Twilight: the cute unicorn who snuggles up to sleep little spoon, and then squeals so prettily taking Trixie’s magic.”
“Okay, too much information and kind of out of date, just saying…”
“Trixie is sorry,” said Trixie hastily. “Anyway she can’t be little spoon anymore, because of those wings. She’s even got taller since she changed. She can’t be little spoon ever again.” Trixie set her jaw. “Doesn’t matter. Trixie is going to straighten her out! For her, and for Trixie, and for us which includes you, Spike. Oh, and all our pony friends. Yes! Even for Princess Celestia, snobby and uptight as she is! Trixie is going to live for all those who touch her life, and not act foalishly any more!”
Spike stared at her. “You’re going to straighten out Twilight, really? The last time I saw her, she was really messed up.” He winced. “And stupid me, stupid, stupid! I was moping so hard over Rarity that I didn’t care. I just let her put me to bed, even though I could tell something was very wrong. It seemed so important to lie there feeling bad about Rarity and the stuff she does. What was I thinking?”
Trixie narrowed her eyes, capturing his gaze in an imperious stare. “Are you going to join Trixie, Spike? Let’s everypony straighten ourselves out. No more sad ponies and dragons and alicorns. Trixie will conquer all opposition! Are you with me?”
A crazy grin began to creep over Spike’s face. “You know, maybe you can even do it. That’s the Trixiest thing I’ve heard you say for ages. It’s just like when you fought the Ursa Major, and back then I didn’t even appreciate it, or you.”
“Ursa Minor,” corrected Trixie.
Spike grinned admiringly at her. “You thought it was an Ursa Major when you took it on. Am I with you? Totally! Let’s go!”
Unicorn and baby dragon leapt to their respective feet… and froze, staring at the huge magic sphere enclosing the Golden Oaks Library.
“Um,” said Trixie. “This is major too.”
“Stand back!” said Spike. “I’m gonna torch it.” He shook his head, working his jaw, and took a deep breath, and let fly with a fierce jet of flame that speared straight out the window and splashed against the sphere of force.
Trixie screamed. Spike gawked, then ran frantically for a bowl of water, which he flung at the flaming branches just outside the window, while Trixie trotted in place crying, “Don’t torch anything else, Spike!”
“Sorry,” Spike panted. “Should’ve worked.”
“Trixie can still smell the burning leaves!”
Spike wrinkled his nose. “That’s not all. We just added a bunch of smoke in here, but the air was already going bad. Who did this? Are they trying to kill us?”
“Trixie doesn’t know! It was like this when Trixie woke up!”
“We’ve gotta get out of here,” moaned Spike. “Not just to go straighten out Twilight, but we gotta get out of here before the air runs out!”
Trixie stamped a hoof. “We shall! The Great And Powerful Trixie will conquer all obstacles and be reunited with her marefriend!”
“That’s terrific,” said Spike, “but how?”
Trixie’s eyes flashed. She raised her head high, nostrils flaring. The glimmer at the base of her horn lit again.
“Whoa, whoa, WHOA!” yelled Spike. “Don’t! What if you hurt yourself? You said if you burn all of your horn up, you die!”
Trixie stopped, and turned to him. “It’s different, Spike. Trixie is not taking magic into herself. Nopony is having sex with Trixie right now, as much fun as that would be. It would be a lot more fun than what Trixie is about to do. One side!”
“Are you sure?”
“Trixie might need another glass of water. The remains of Trixie’s horn are not at risk. The only question is whether enough is left…”
She shook her mane, and this time she lowered her head, pointing it out the window at the glowing sphere encapsulating the library. The air stank of smoke and bore an unhealthy tang, the light was dim and ominous, filtering unwillingly into their home.
Trixie gritted her teeth, and the pit in her forehead lit up, twice as bright as it had before.
Spike fell silent, anxiously watching.
“Gnnnn!” groaned Trixie. Sweat dripped down her face. Her tail lashed. Spike could see all the muscles in her legs and neck standing out, as the glow from her forehead shone brighter and brighter.
“Gheeee!” squealed Trixie, screwing her eyes shut, her body shaking.
“Hey. Hey! Hold it!” cried Spike.
Trixie sagged. “What?”
She felt a rag dabbing her nose. It came away red.
“You gave yourself a nosebleed, that’s what,” explained Spike, concerned. “Maybe you should rest up?”
Trixie shook her head, spattering the floor. “Nggh! No. Trixie thought of something.”
“What’d you think of that got you so worked up?”
She turned, eyes reddened from the sweat dripping in them. “What if this force field is here because something is attacking Twilight… and it doesn’t want her allies to help? This force field prevents Trixie from coming to Twilight’s aid. What… if that is the point?”
Spike’s jaw dropped. “You’re kidding.”
“Name one other reason we would be trapped inside our home by a huge powerful magic cage.”
“Okay,” he said. “If you can do it… go.”
Trixie shook her head again, and looked imploringly at him.
“This is going to hurt, a lot. Can you… hold Trixie?”
Without hesitation, Spike ran over, and took his place beside her, hugging her around the neck tightly. “I’m here. Go nuts, Trixie. Give that thing hell!”
Trixie gritted her teeth, a tear squeezing out from her pinched-shut eyelids, and with a strangled squeal she cut loose, her horn-divot flaring to life again, four times as bright as before. Her body shook, horrible noises coming from her throat, and her nosebleed started up again. It didn’t matter. Trixie Lulamoon was going to break through the forcefield or die trying, and Spike held her as she shuddered and cried out, driving herself onward agonizingly to vent every bit of magical energy she could against her enemy.
Her struggles weakened. Spike realized she was crying… and also, her nose was a horrible mess. Hastily, he mopped it with the rag, glancing in horror at the floor in front of Trixie. Twilight was gonna kill them for soaking the place in blood.
“It’s okay, we’ll try again in a minute…”
“Sphphh! Augh! It’s too much! Trixie can’t break it!” wailed Trixie, frantic.
“Well, you can meld with Twilight, can’t you?” retorted Spike. “I remember you used to talk about it a lot. Why don’t you do that?”
“Trixie can’t…” began Trixie, and then stopped. The trouble was always connecting to the source of magemeld at a distance. But, Twilight had always made it easy, because she was so full of power and easy for her unicorn lover to tap into. And then she’d become an alicorn, and her power had escalated so much that Trixie’d never dared to meld with her again. But by the same token… what if she could find Twilight out there, and tap her magic as she used to do with the close-range unicorn? She’d become so impossibly, dangerously powerful. What if?
“You can try it,” urged Spike.
“Trixie can,” breathed Trixie. “Perhaps. We won’t be able to get any power out of her at such a great distance, wherever she is. But maybe the feel of her magic will give Trixie strength?”
Spike nodded, setting his jaw. “Do it,” he said, and hugged her tight again—bracing himself to try and keep her upright, for Trixie had been fighting so hard to exert her magic that she risked falling over.
The force field vanished.
Trixie’s eyes widened in shock.
“Way to go, Trixie!” cheered Spike, loyally. “You showed that force field who’s boss! Now we can… what?”
Trixie’s eyes remained wide, but it was horror that filled them.
“Trixie got just the tiniest taste of Twilight’s magic,” she breathed. “Just the littlest amount. And touched it to this force field, and the force field just stopped. It was just a touch. Like a key?”
Spike frowned, alarmed at Trixie’s attitude. “They… set it up so she could get in, because it’s her house?”
Trixie turned her head slowly to face Spike.
“Mistress made this cage. For us.”
Spike blanched. “Oh, crud. Twilight’s flipped out again?”
Trixie was trembling. “Spike?”
“Get my hat. And then, get on my back. Trixie is going to run, and not stop until she finds her Mistress…”
Spike was already running upstairs, to dig through the closet for Trixie’s wizard hat. Swept up in Trixie’s dramatic mood, he didn’t hesitate. Even if it was only a psychological advantage, they’d need it if they had to tackle a freaked-out Twilight.
“And then,” breathed Trixie, “we’re going to get my Twilight back… somehow.”
Ten seconds later, unicorn and baby dragon had left only a cloud of dust behind them as Trixie galloped for all she was worth, heading out by Sweet Apple Acres to begin her desperate search.
The night breeze dissipated the dust cloud, and then there was only the stale air, and fresh air coming in to stir it.
And, uncleaned, the grisly aftermath of Trixie’s epic nosebleed.
The bush stirred. A bird rose perplexedly into view, blinking at the long purple horn that inexplicably poked through its nest.
Twilight Sparkle gradually appeared, eyes wild and too bright, face in a hideous grin.
“Heee, hee, hee…”
She’d searched all the way out to Appleloosa, curved up north and swung by Baltimare, then Fillydelphia to see if Discord was returning to the nightclub he wrecked, then Manehattan. She’d alternated between outrageous high-speed flight and sneaking through bushes and undergrowth… at least, outside the cities, and in the cities she’d used her magic to stick to buildings and had crawled about peeking in windows, unseen because ponies couldn’t walk up walls. It was brilliant, genius.
Hunting a wicked and provocative renegade alicorn was actually kind of fun.
She’d swung back and hunted through Canterlot, but her quarry wasn’t there either, so she’d headed back in the direction of Ponyville to make it a big figure eight. She’d cut through Ponyville to keep an eye on things, swoop out by Ghastly Gorge and hit Las Pegasus, then the Whitetail Woods. Twilight’s eye twitched. She could have searched there first, of course. It was where she’d interrupted Princess Celestia and the loathesome Discord, the first time.
Her eye twitched worse, as her tortured brain tried to repress the memory of Celestia winking at her. She made a dreadful little noise, and the bird on her head panicked and flew for its life. She didn’t notice the signs of strain in herself, for she was distracted by her daunting logical problem as she tried to outthink Discord.
She could’ve searched Whitetail Woods first, thought Twilight stubbornly, but logically the guilty party would be anywhere but there. Knowing as he probably did that she would search there first, he would be in Fillydelphia instead, or hiding in a closet in Canterlot, or some such thing. She’d have to retrace her steps. Unless he expected that! Twilight made another crazed little noise, vibrating, sparks of magic crackling off her where she crouched.
She slunk from behind the bushes, and felt like her hooves were heavy enough to crush civilizations. She felt a thousand feet tall, and made of lightning. She felt like Vengeance itself, out to punish evil Discord and make everything right.
Come to think of it, while she was in town she thought she’d check on the…
Twilight froze. There it was in the distance… but something had broken her protective spell.
And then, there she was, standing before it. She had a dim sense of running through bushes screaming, but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was the horrible sight, seemingly so innocent: the Golden Oaks Library sitting there quietly in the night air, its protection stripped and somehow totally gone.
Nothing could have got through that protective screen! It was the very best magical shield! Nothing but…
Her blood ran cold. “Another alicorn,” Twilight croaked, her voice unrecognizable from horror and fear.
Slowly, Twilight stepped forward, her wings shaking spastically. Slowly, she peered in the doorway, hoping against hope to see Spike faithfully sleeping in his basket, hoping to creep upstairs and find Trixie sprawled on the bed as she had been.
Slowly, she saw.
The pools of blood really were unnecessary, thought Twilight, in shock. So dramatic. After all, there was mocking her and destroying everything she cared about, and then there was being simply excessive. It was just tacky.
Twilight’s eye twitched, but she couldn’t even blink.
Unthinkingly, her tortured mind flashed into action, and her horn lit. Intellectual reflexes kicked in. Twilight Sparkle could not prevent herself from investigating, from casting that one spell, even though part of her brain screamed and screamed and begged her not to and felt itself being ripped asunder instant by instant as the information came in…
Of course it was Trixie Lulamoon’s blood, thought Twilight dispassionately. That was what happened when, when…
She glanced at Spike’s basket. It was flipped over, the blanket splayed across the floor.
Twilight Sparkle stood there, unable to see any more, paralysed.
“You k… you ki… k…” she croaked.
She couldn’t finish the word, but inside her brain the world poured blackness and doom.
BOTH of them?
Twilight’s head drooped, in utter despair.
Twilight’s head rose, her teeth bared in agony.
Her eyes opened, and blinding light spilled out even as magic crackled all across her body.
Then, the searing radiance narrowed to cold slits, and the purple figure turned and walked deliberately out of the Golden Oaks Library, and on into the night. It had hurried before, but now it did not hurry, for there was nothing left to hurry about, and there would be nothing more after its final challenge. It walked away from the library as if Golden Oaks had been smashed to splinters and destroyed forever, and it did not look back.
Twilight was going to find Discord. It didn’t matter how long it took.
There was a thing unicorn mages could do in their last extremity, a unicorn’s death-bolt. They could gather all their magic and life-force into a single attack. It might not take out an alicorn, but no unicorn could withstand such a thing. Discord was not a unicorn, of course, but an alicorn—one that had survived multiple strikes by the Elements of Harmony, being turned to stone, and would probably survive a unicorn death-bolt. It was possible he had survived Trixie’s, if she’d attempted one. Twilight knew, somehow, that she had gone down fighting. It would have been so very Trixie. She never gave up, ever. It hadn’t helped her.
Twilight Sparkle was not just a unicorn. Twilight Sparkle was an alicorn, with alicorn magic, and she didn’t give up either.
Discord was going to die.