“Ma’am, you can’t smoke here.”
She heard the voice, but she willed it away, taking another drag of her Equestrian Spirit cigarette.
“Ma’am…” the voice began again, but was cut off as the blue unicorn let out an exasperated sigh.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie HEARD you.”
“Well, I…” the tan waitress stammered.
“Yes, you.” Trixie turned to face her tormenter, adjusting her thick frames with her hoof as the cigarette dangled from her muzzle. “You have deemed it your responsibility to police the entire outdoors, just because your employers have adopted it as part of their overpriced establishment.” She gestured to the other tables in front of the coffee shop, where other ponies huddled, doing their best to stay out of the conflict.
The waitress, clearly uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was taking, tried to deflect. “Ma’am, its not up to me. Its just the policy of the shop.”
“The policy of the shop in which the Great and Powerful Trixie has been a customer! If it would satisfy the owners, I would be more than happy to frequent another eatery.” Trixie raised her voice. “Perhaps one whose coffee beans are not made off the backs of unpaid laborers!” She smiled back smugly at the waitress, who looked back at the shop with a pained expression. Her tension eased as she saw her boss make a slashing motion with his hoof.
The waitress smiled and exhaled. “I’m very sorry, ma’am,” she said convincingly as she trotted away from the table. She felt vindicated for her assessment that this one just wasn’t worth the trouble.
Trixie took a last puff of her cigarette and ground the remaining ash into the wood of the table. She really showed that drone. But of course, what can you expect from an employee of THAT fascist corporation? She sighed as she picked up her soy half-caf macchiato frap with her magic. It was a sad fact of life that most ponies simply don’t get Equestria, and most of them never would. None of them had ever sat through a Griffin film festival, or read the works of Jonathan Prancen. Hay, the only ones who seemed to know anything about organic foods were a bunch of dumb hick farmers who wouldn’t know culture if it bit them on the flank.
Bucking sad fact.
But Ponyville was always a bucking drag. Last time the Great and Powerful Trixie was there, she had made an effort to introduce herself to the public through her talent: her magic. And for her efforts, she had been not just rebuffed, but actively chased away by a purple mare who felt it necessary to try to upstage her at every possible opportunity. Just what was that unicorn’s problem?
“She had better hope she doesn’t run into the Great and Powerful Trixie this time,” she said, to no one in particular. After the war of words with the barista, she felt primed for a fight. Any pony who crossed her path wouldn’t know what hit them. These ponies were jaded little foals, coddled by their daddies into believing they were Celestia’s gift to magic. Trixie knew different. Magic was an art, and again, most ponies just didn’t get it.
Trixie, on the other hoof, didn’t get why she was in Ponyville. Initially, she had told herself she was coming to collect her cart, but she knew that the chance of it still being accessible a year later was remote. Then she tried telling herself that she wanted to experience a side of the town that the tourists never saw. But Ponyville wasn’t a complex town with underground clubs and all-night tea shops. Everything closed at 9!
In fact, it was only 3 in the afternoon, and she was already bored. “The Great and the Powerful Trixie demands stimulation!” With her outburst, the empty plastic frappucino cup flew through the air, narrowly missing a dark yellow stallion before landing in the trash can in front of a furniture/writing utensil emporium. She looked past the glare from the brown-maned pony and at the sign of the store. “Quills, huh? Maybe these country bumpkins aren’t illiterate after all. Maybe they have a bookstore.”
A quick trot through the small town found her in front of Ponyville’s closest approximation to a bookstore: the town library. Trixie looked at the large converted tree. “Of course,” Trixie said with a sigh. “Celestia forbid that a civilized establishment be found within the borders.”
Her concerns were not eased upon walking inside. The whole of the room was rustic, which in Trixie’s opinion was just a word corporate Equestria used to sell things that were dusty. Dusty floors, dusty shelves, and tons of dusty books. She could feel her sinuses acting up already.
“Can I help you?” offered a young voice from across the room. But before Trixie could ask if there were a magic section, and if said magic section had anything that was worth her valuable time, she heard an accompanying gasp. She turned to look and saw a small purple dragon, the same one who had been in the tow of that stupid little unicorn.
“You!” they said simultaneously, pointing with claw and hoof. “What are you doing here?” A pause. “Me? What are you doing here?”
Spike broke loose of the chorus with a shake of his head. “I live here, Trixie. Don’t you have somewhere else to be?”
Trixie scowled. “Does that upstart unicorn friend of yours dwell here as well?”
“Her name is Twilight Sparkle,” Spike said, eyes narrowed. “And she’s ten times the magician you’ll ever be.”
“Nonsense. The Great and Powerful Trixie could never be truly bested by some...librarian.”
“I’m sorry, but did you want something? Because if not, the door is right behind you.”
“Trixie came in here looking for some quality reading material, but I can already tell you have nothing worthy of my eyes. However, as am I already here, I may as well speak to your little friend. I have some things that must be straightened out.” With a flourish, she turned her back on the dragon, her muzzle up in the air.
Spike immediately considered letting loose with some of the words he had picked up from Applejack’s farmhands, words that Twilight would not allow him to say. Instead, he gave a short stomp of frustration and trudged up the stairs to Twilight’s bedroom. Maybe she’d have better luck getting rid of the boastful intruder.
Satisfied with her successful defeat of the dragon, Trixie lazily scanned the shelves. Everything was complete dreck that she wouldn’t read. Not for a million...
Wait a second.
One of the shelves was different. Instead of a few dozen tomes crammed next to each other, this shelf had only a few books, spaced some distance apart. They sat on hand-carved displays that showed off the cover art to anyone who might pass by. But while the display was a nice touch, it was the books themselves that got Trixie’s attention.
David Trotster Wallace??
Some of her favorite authors ever, all on the same shelf? With her magic, she lifted up a slightly-worn copy of Equestrian Psycho. Inside were a rainbow of sticky notes, marking notable passages. Each page that was marked seemed so familiar to Trixie. They were exactly the passages she would have marked if she were reading it at home.
“Who is responsible for this?” she thought to herself. “Who in this podunk town has the bearing and culture to be able to appreciate such fine works?” She looked at a little worn piece of paper taped onto the front of the shelf.
Her jaw dropped.
She gave a little yelp as she heard the voice of the unicorn. In less than a minute, her opinion of Twilight Sparkle had been completely turned on its ear. She wasn’t a rival out to destroy her. If anything, Twilight was the one who GOT her. Suddenly, she realized that she was smiling.
“Twilight Sparkle! How good to see you!”
Twilight gave a little start when the other unicorn turned. The smile had caught her completely off guard, especially considering Spike’s report about the magician already having a parasprite up her plot. “Can I help you with anything?”
Though she had seen Twilight twice before, both times had been in passing, and the second time had been in the middle of a night during a battle with an Ursa Minor. She had looked so majestic then, and getting to see her in the light of day had an unexpected effect on Trixie. Twilight was a very attractive mare. No, not attractive. Beautiful. Perhaps the second most beautiful unicorn in Equestria. She felt her cheeks flush. “Maybe.”
“Ummm...okay?” Twilight looked at the windows and the doors, making sure the paths were clear in case she needed to make a quick escape. She swallowed as the blue unicorn began to approach her.
“I just wanted to tell you...” Trixie paused, “...how impressed I was by how you handled that Ursa.”
“Oh...oh! It was no problem, Trixie!”
“Maybe not, but that doesn’t change my gratitude.” She walked just past Twilight, grazing her mane with her own, before stopping next to her. “We’re two of a kind, you and I. I think we could learn a lot from each other.”
Despite finding herself oddly short of breath, Twilight was pleased to hear this. “You mean, sharing tips on magic?”
Trixie smirked and gave her a sideways glance. “Magic spells, potions...maybe other things?”
“If we pooled our knowledge, we’d be quite a pair. We could even be...partners.”
Twilight swallowed hard again. She didn’t know why, but something about the other unicorn’s soft tone made her nervous. “Well, that’s certainly an interesting proposition.”
Trixie’s heart fluttered at the last word.
“...but I really feel I should talk to my mentor first. I usually consult her with anything regarding my magic.”
A pang of disappointment hit Trixie, but she quickly pulled herself back up, and the smile returned to her face. “I understand, Twilight. What I am asking is a big step. Just don’t keep me waiting long.” She circled the librarian, allowing her tail to trace up Twilight’s flank, over the top of her rump, and then down the other side. “The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn’t like to be disappointed.”
Twilight struggled to find the words, but found the lump in her throat unconquerable. Just as she had almost succeeded in retrieving her speech, she looked up to see the retreating figure of Trixie, swishing her rump back and forth theatrically as she exited the library.
“I’ll be in touch, Twilight!” she called before the door closed shut behind her.
“....bye.” The word came out soft and pathetic, cracked into a million pieces. Why was it so hot all of a sudden?
“Ugh, is she gone yet?” Spike jogged down the stairs, looking this way and that for any sign of their recent visitor. Instead, he found a perplexed and petrified purple pony. “Um, Twilight?” He poked her with a claw, which gave the hoped for result.
“Ow!” Twilight jumped at the unexpected pain, and was about to give Spike a scolding for not taking better care of his nails when she remembered the moments before. “Thanks, Spike. I’m not really sure what happened there.”
“Did the Great and Powerful Trixie read you the riot act?”
“No, actually. She was...nice.”
“Yeah. It confused me, too.” She glanced over at the bookshelf that Trixie had been standing in front of. She let out an exasperated sigh, before turning around and walking up the stairs. “I need to lay down for a while, Spike. You think you can handle it for a while?”
“Ready, willing, and able, Twilight!” He gave a little salute with his offending claw.
Before she closed the door to her bedroom, she called down one last time. “And Spike?”
“Can you please stop putting my name on your recommendations?”
“But Twilight...” the dragon whined. “Nobody cares what Spike recommends!”
“And I’m very sorry about that, but I don’t need ponies thinking I’m into all the pretentious gunk you like.”
“It’s not gunk! Its intellectual! You just don’t get it, Twilight!”
“No,” she mused. “I guess I don’t.”