by BookeCypher

Chapter 1: A day in the rain

By BookCypher

The pitter-patter of the rain across the tree canopy beat out a steady rhythm as she trudged along the muddy road alone. It contrasted with the uneven drip from her now sodden hat, its once proud point sagging from the weight as it ever so often released a fat, cold drop onto the snout of the blue unicorn wearing it. Not often enough to be ignorable, but just often enough to be unbearable.

It was on a day like this that Trixie thought that the world must REALLY hate her.

The wagon behind her squeaked and groaned as she pulled it down the road, her hoofsteps pulling it along as much as her magic. Numerous vandals, wrecks and abandonments had meant several rebuilds, rendering the once grand wagon into a shadow of its former self. It had been demoted down to a single axle, its cabin now barely large enough for a bed after cramming in her show props. It was also, notably, lacking many of the embellishments that had made its previous incarnations so identifiable. That omission seemed to have helped – this one had already outlasted the last one by a week.

The rain picked up, and Trixie’s mood soured further. However, salvation presented itself in the form of a single large tree dominating one side of the road up ahead. She pulled the wagon along with renewed fervor, and quickly pulled the wagon under the protective cover the thick foliage overhead. Her ears twitched slightly at the sudden change in sound, so accustomed to the rain after hours on the muddy road. Trixie took a moment to look at the branches overhead, only a few lucky drops managing to slip through. She couldn’t tell what type of tree it was – such things had never been of interest to her – but she could tell it was a grand, old thing.

With a sigh, she looked out onto the road she had just come off of. She was well and truly off her usual touring path, deep into southeastern region of Equestria, where swamps and wetlands ruled. This drenched section of forest was, unfortunately, the driest stretch of road she’d seen in weeks. It was, however, far from her usual route.

The ponies of Equestria have long memories, but if you travel far enough, it seems you could outrun your past, at least for a little while. She’d managed to start preforming again, even if they were smaller shows then before, so at least she wouldn’t have to go back to rock farming. There was, however, always one pony who had heard the stories – about the Ursa Minor usually, or on rare occasions that accursed amulet. No matter what, the result was always the same; the jeers, the projectile produce, the wonton damage of her wagon, always followed by her turning tail and running.

As gently as her hoofs would allow, she lifted the pointed hat off of her head and held it before herself. From a distance, the purple fabric and blue stars contrasted well, making sure that the wearer caught everyone’s eye. At closer inspection, details emerged – the occasionally rough stitching around some of the stars, deviations in the fabric where tears had been repaired. It showed its self for what it was – a worn, but well-cared for, hat.

On more than one occasion a rare well-intentioned citizen suggested that she should get rid of her hat – to change her image. Then, at least, she might stand a better chance of getting her career back on track.

She would have none of that, however. The hat was not something she could idly toss away. It wasn’t hers to discard….

“Cool! Do something else!”

A young Trixie giggled as she indulged her purple friend. The other unicorn watched as Trixie wrapped her magic around a length of rope before, with some effort, managed to contort it into an outline of her freshly gained cutie mark.

“Ah! Its your cutie mark!” the purple unicorn began hopping up and down in glee. “Do mine! Do Mine!”

“I don’t know, Spellbound,” Trixie hesitated. “Yours is kinda hard….”

“No its not!” Spellbound dismissed her friend’s worry. “It’s just like yours; the magic bit is just a little different.”

“If it’s so easy,” Trixie replied. “Why don’t you do it?”

“Fine.” Spellbound grinned as her horn glowed. Slowly, she began to draw in the air, her horn leaving a glowing trail that lingered like ink on paper. The floating streaks of purple soon began to take on the shape of magic wand, complete with a five-pointed star on top, before Spellbound added the final touch. With a few quick whirls of her horn, she wrapped the wand in a ribbon of magic. She stepped back with a grin. “See? Easy.”

“Nopony likes a show-off.” Trixie huffed.

“Sure they do!” Spellbound corrected. “Why do you think ponies go and see magicians? It’s just a matter of presentation.”

“Can’t I just show them my tricks?”

“Of course not, silly! That would be boring!” Spellbound started walking around her friend. “My dad does this all the time – it got to give them a show! You know the old razzle-dazzle!”

Trixie’s face scrunched up in confusion. “What’s a razzle-dazzle?”

Spellbound shrugged. “Don’t know, but my dad always says that. I guess it’s like….playing character? Remember the school play?”

Trixie sighed. “Unfortunately.”

“Well, it’s kind of like that, but without the part where you accidentally take out the entire stage and stuff. Actually, that gives me an idea! I’ll see you tomorrow, okay!”

“What are you planning?” Trixie asked her friend warily.

Spellbound just giggled. “It’s a surprise.” Trixie watched as her friend trotted home towards the mountain. The entire village was built in its shadow, but Spellbound’s house was the only one to be cozied up right next to the towering mass of stone. Realizing she wasn’t going to get any more of an answer, Trixie began the walk back to town. Sometimes the road seemed to go on forever – between the unchanging mountainside on one side, its steep façade only marred by the occasional remains of a rockslide, and the forest on the other side – It was easy to lose track of distances. If it wasn’t for Spellbound’s house, Trixie was sure she could walk all the way around the mountain and not notice until she arrived back at town.

Trixie showed up at her friend’s house the next day, only to find something she didn’t expect. What appeared to be a small stage had sprung up in the middle of the once clear field. From the looks of it, it was built mostly from apple crates and what might have been the curtains from Spellbound’s living room.

“What do you think?” Trixie turned to see her friend trotting over to her side, a massive smile plastered across her face. “I built it yesterday after you left.”

“That fast!?” Trixie asked incredulously.

“Weellllll…….” Spellbound drew out the word. “I might have also worked on it this morning. And the night in between. Actually, mostly the night in between. Also, don’t tell my mom about the curtains.”

“okay….” Trixie answered slowly as she studied the impromptu stage. “Why did you build a stage?”

“So you had somewhere to do a magic show.” Spellbound answered like it was obvious.

“Why would I want to do a magic show!?” Trixie almost yelled in shock. “I couldn’t even do the school play right….”

“That’s because it wasn’t a magic show!” Spellbound answered.

“I don’t know….” Trixie kicked at the ground nervously. She could still remember the fiasco at the school play. She didn’t think getting into that situation again was smart. She really didn’t think she wanted to be preforming her magic in front of other ponies. “I don’t think I’m really comfortable….”

“That’s why it won’t be you up there!”

Trixie stared at her friend for a moment before answering. “Huh?”

“Remember what I said about how it was like acting?” Spellbound didn’t bother waiting for a reply before she continued. “Well, I asked my dad about it and he said most stage ponies have some sort of fake identity they take on when on stage. That way, they can act however they want!”
“So, it wouldn’t be me on that stage,” Trixie tried to follow. “But me playing somepony else?”

“Exactly!” Spellbound replied, not caring that her friend looked even more confused. “I even have a name for you!”

“…What?” Trixie asked hesitantly.

“The Great and Powerful Trixie!” Spellbound exclaimed. “Cool, huh?”

“Isn’t the stage me supposed to be more….” Trixie tried to find the right word. “Different from me?”

“Well, you don’t want it to be too different,” Spellbound replied. “Then nopony would realize it was you.”

“But….I thought….” Trixie sighed. “Why do you want me to put on a magic show?”

“Because I think you’d be really good at it if you tried!” Spellbound replied happily before her smile started to slip. “Besides, I could never do it…”

“Really?” Trixie asked, confused. Her dad was a stage magician. Her mom was some sort of painter, if she remembered correctly. This sort of thing should be natural for her. “Why not?”

“My magic’s wrong.” As if to demonstrate, she drew a rose in the air with her horn. “Dad says that it really isn’t suitable for that sort of thing. I guess I’m more like my mom.”

“But…. I don’t know what to do…” Trixie replied.

“That’s what I’m for!” Spellbound answered, once again back to her cheery self. “Between the two of us, we can make the best magic show ever!”

“…together?” Trixie asked.

Spellbound nodded. “Together. Now, let’s get to work.”

A couple of hours later, her face was in her hoofs. “Too meek!” she exclaimed for the umpteenth time.

“Sorry….” Trixie replied. “I told you I wasn’t good at this.”

“You’ve got to be more bold!” Spellbound explained. “Like….hey, you remember that play that rolled through town last nightmare night?”

“Yeah,” Trixie replied. “Why?”

“Remember Nightmare moon?” Spellbound asked. “Act like her.”

“She I refer to myself in the third pony?”

“Spellbound thinks so.” She grinned. “Come on? What the worst that could happen?”

“The stage collapses?”

“Alright, other than that.” Spellbound shrugged. “Just give it a try.”

“Alight….” Trixie cleared her throat. “I…I mean, The great and powerful Trixie shall now perform her next astonishing act! Behold as I…as the great and powerful…”

“Louder!” Spellbound shouted.

For some reason, getting interrupted like that irked Trixie, so she listened to Spellbound. “Behold as the Great and Powerful Trixie bend the very clouds to her bidding!” she shouted as her horn’s magic conjure two small storm clouds that soon began to spark with small bolts of electricity. “Behold the greatest unicorn toe ever grace a stage! Bwahahaha!” she added on her best evil laugh at the end because, hey, that actress did it. She added a little more magic to the clouds, turning them into small, fluffy strobe lights before they both burst with a crack of thunder.

“uh….oops?” Trixie apologized.

“That was great!” Spellbound hopped up onto the stage to hug her friend. “Just like that! We need to work on the tricks a little, but that presentation was perfect!


“Yep!” Spellbound nodded. “Alight, time to work out your tricks. Some more lines might be better too….”

They worked on that stage every day, coming up with more tricks for Trixie’s show, working on her character, just trying to get everything perfect. There were plenty of mistakes – there often were when you were playing with lightning – but Trixie, at least, didn’t care. She was with her friend, and they were having fun. That was all that mattered. The show wasn’t important, as long as her friend was there.

Finally, after practice run after practice run, tweak after tweak, Spellbound decided they were ready. They’re parents were more than happy to come watch a little magic show. Trixie however, was nervous.

“What if they laugh at me when I mess up!?” Trixie paced nervously around behind the stage until Spellbound stopped her.

“I laugh at you when you mess up all the time.” Spellbound replied. “How is this any different?”

“They’re our parents!”

“So they won’t laugh.” Spellbound replied. “Now, I’ve got another surprise for you! Close your eyes!”

Trixie was about to protest, but instead she just sighed and closed her eyes. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, she felt a soft weight settle atop her head before something draped itself over her shoulders “alright!” Spellbound’s voice exclaimed, “You can look now!”
Trixie opened her eyes to her own reflection. But, at the same time, it wasn’t. A purple pointed hat sat atop her head, its entire form covered in blue and gold stars. “Do you like it?” Spellbound asked. “I had my mom help me make it! I made sure you could fit your horn underneath and everything!”

“Why?” Trixie managed.

“Because every good magician has a signature, and I can assure you this hat is one-of-a-kind!” Spellbound explained. “Besides, it’s your first show and that’s something you should have a reminder of!”

“Thanks, Spellbound.” Trixie smiled.

“Anytime, Trixie.” Spellbound grinned. “Now, you might be nervous, but the Great and Powerful Trixie fears no stage! Knock their socks off!”

Trixie grinned. “Right!” With a new hat on her head and her friend behind her, The Great and Powerful Trixie strode out onto stage. “Good evening, ladies and gentlecolts, Prepare to be amazed by the Great and Powerful Trixie! For tonight…..”

That night, after the show, Trixie was almost giddy. It had been so much fun! Managing to pull of trick after trick successfully, the applause from the crowd – even if it was just their parents – it had been exhilarating!

“What I tell ya?” Spellbound smirked. “You, my blue friend, are a natural.” She plucked the hat off of Trixie’s head and dropped it onto her own. “I am a genius.”

“Hey, I did the tricks!” Trixie defended. “And give me my hat back!”

“One taste of the limelight and she has forgotten me!” Spellbound feigned a swoon. “Oh woe is me! Am I so easily discarded?” Her tragic façade was broken as she failed to hold back a chuckle. “Don’t worry Trixie, I just want to add a few more things to it – I’ll give it back tomorrow, alright?”


Spellbound chuckled. “Promise.”

The next morning sky was blackened by a sudden storm that had rolled down from the mountain. Rain fell like sheets as lighting cracked. The adults talked about something going wrong in Cloudsdale, but Trixie didn’t care. She didn’t care the storm wasn’t Pegasus controlled. All she cared about was how she was going to be stuck inside all day, and that she wasn’t going to get her hat back! She hadn’t had it long, but she’d earned that hat! Stupid Spellbound and her stupid modification….Trixie huffed as she stared out the window as the renegade storm continued. As soon as it ended, she was getting her hat back!

The storm didn’t end until past noon the next day. Once the weather had cleared, ponies took stock of the damage. For the most part, their little village had escaped mostly unharmed. A few windows were broken, and some roofs were damaged, but nopony had been hurt. The storm had kept even the bravest pegasi indoors though, so nopony had gotten checked the roads yet. Trixie didn’t wait. As soon as her mother had said it was alright, she had bolted out the door and down the road, heading straight for the mountain and Spellbound’s house.

Tree’s all along the road had been torn up, and she saw a few more rockslides at the base of the mountain then she remembered there being. Some of them were larger then she remembered as well. Still, the road was clear enough for a single young pony to pick her way though, and pick her way through she did. She was going to get her hat back from Spellbound, and then the two of them could plan the next show. Maybe next time they could perform in town, in front of a real audience! That would be something. They might even get a real stage. A venue like that would demand new tricks, she suspected. Hopefully, Spellbound had come up with some good ideas. It was something they could work on while the adults cleaned up after the storm. Then they could….

Trixie stopped as she looked at what was before her. She had, somehow arrived back at town. The road she took to get to Spellbound’s house wrapped all the way around the mountain, so it started and ended at town. She’d gotten lost on it a few times, but never like this! She must have not been paying attention and walked right past the house.

With a sigh, Trixie turned around and started walking back toward Spellbound’s house. Hopefully she hadn’t left the house to come looking for her. They always met up in the field outside her house, and finding that had gotten easier since they added the stage. Come to think of it, she didn’t remember seeing the stage as she had walked either. Maybe it had gotten blown away in the storm or something. It wasn’t like it had been properly built or anything, it had just….

Trixie stopped as she again found herself back at town, this time from the other side. This made no sense! She couldn’t have passed the place twice! Maybe the road had gotten moved around by the storm….or something. Now thoroughly annoyed, Trixie turned around and headed back, this time keeping her eyes on the mountain side.

Three more times she walked around the mountain and three more times she managed to walk right past the house. It wasn’t until her forth passing that she noticed something strange. One of the larger rockslide piles seemed….different. It kind of reminded her of when Spellbound had tried to hide in a bushel of apples – like there was something underneath.

Carefully she approached the pile, trying to make sense of it. There was something mixed in with the stone….wood? Something else too….cloth? It was almost like…

The color drained from her face as she realized just what she was staring at. Franticly, she started digging through the rubble, not even sure of what she was looking for. She kept digging, and digging, and digging, paying no mind to the nicks and cuts she kept getting. She kept digging until something finally came out of the rubble.

A purple pointed hat, covered in blue and gold stars.

Trixie flipped the hat over – what she was looking for, she didn’t know – but all she found out of place was two simple lines, sewn onto the inside in gold thread:

Property of the Great and Powerful Trixie
You never forget your first show! – SB

Trixie doesn’t know how long she sat there, sat in the middle of what had once been her friend’s home. She doesn’t remember when the adults showed up; she doesn’t remember what they asked her. She doesn’t remember them starting to dig, or taking her home. All she remembers is wondering about the show. Wondering about the plans they had for it. She didn’t know show business – that had been Spellbound’s job.

“Between the two of us, we can make the best magic show ever!”

Trixie held the hat closer. It was up to her now.

A bird song brought Trixie back to the present. In front of her, she still held the hat, one hand running over the now worn lines that had been embroidered inside. Spellbound had been right – she was a natural on the stage, and the applause of an audience thrilled her. She had fallen from heights, she realized – but it had started long before that day in Ponyville.

The sun had come back out, and in the post-rain glow the road ahead seemed to shine with the light of a thousand diamonds. With her a determined smirk, she donned her hat again and, after hitching herself to her wagon, started down the road again.

The next town was about to witness the greatest magic show they’ve ever seen.

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