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[Bridlebank Beach] The Lost Library - The Search is On!

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Trixie was touching her hoof. Trixie was touching her hoof! What to do, what to do? It wasn't exactly unwelcome, a little friendly contact, but was it too friendly? Lyra was beginning to be nervous. Was Trixie mesing with her? Should she pull away? No! That would be rude, wouldn't it? But if it feels weird... oh, it was too late now! Trixie was looking at her, saying something. Lyra could feel her face turning red. "Ah, yes, thank you!" she said, vaguely aware of being complemented again. Trixie was flirting... right? Lyra had no idea what do. She hoped she wasn't sweating.

Then yet another curious glimpse behind the veil that was The Great and Powerful Trixie. That sudden stop- that expression of grief. What was she about to say? What had happened to this poor mare? Perhaps this wasn't flirting after all. Maybe she just really needed a friend.

"so ... what brought you to ... ah ... Ponyville?"

Uh oh.

Lyra wasn't sure what to say. Her relocation to Ponyville had been a rather selfish and impulsive move, fueled by the desire to learn magic from a certain Purple unicorn... one that, with all the craziness that went on in Ponyville, she had barely had time to speak two words to. Lyra didn't know how Trixie might react to the mention of Twilight so she tried to make something up.

"I, uh, well I had friends in Ponyville and decided to move down to see them more often!" There, that would do, right? It was almost honest, right? "Yeah, so, not much to tell, aheheh!" she finished, moving her hoof up to scratch her head, having barely registered Trixie's hoof rubbing.

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Trixie watched and listened. Was she pushing things too much – doing this right? Why was she pushing so much, was she really just that lonely? All of these questions swirled in her head, but in the end answer she came up with was as simple as, “why not?” She must have been doing something right, because Lyra had the most adorable pinkish tinge. Surely this was a good sign, yes?

Trixie inched a little closer and ran her forehoof along Lyra’s, giving her most winning smile. It couldn’t hurt to be the one making the advances - the mint unicorn was probably just shy, but seemed receptive. “Come, now, there must be more to the story than ‘just because you had a few friends there. I have seen that, uh ... quaint little village of yours. It doesn’t offer much for a sophisticated unicorns of talent like yourself. Perhaps you simply wished to turn head? I doubt that tiny whistle-stop has seen many ponies with your fine sophistication and mellifluous melodies. “ Trixie might have considered that she was laying it on too thick if she had any concept that there was such a thing as too much flattery. “Maybe somepony special? Ah, but you said you had no one. Maybe they just don’t appreciate you like they should.”

There was a brief moment of hesitation, but only for a moment. She was the Great and Powerful Trixie, after all, as beautiful and elegant as she was brave and powerful. Trixie gave a coy smile as she leaned in close, “maybe you just need somepony that would truly appreciate you and your talents.” Trixie leaned in and gave Lyra a soft nuzzle and kiss on the cheek, figuring it was better to start slow. Not everypony was as good with romance as Trixie was!

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It was a touching moment, a beautiful moment, a confusing moment. One that deserved to exist in limbo, away from the world and all interruptions.

Doctor Whooves suddenly gave a cry. "OH, hey! Trixie! Not that I need ... um ... this is totally under control, but if you wanted to - ACK!" A wet, spurting noise sounded from under the cart, followed by the sound of the earth pony spitting out something nasty. "UGH *ptu* Awwwuff! *ptu ptu* that tastes FOUL! OK, this is slipping, if you could just- Whoah! whoah! don't go anywhere! Hoooold it! Where are you going!? OYE! Trixie, the thermal coupler is slipping!"

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Lyra jumped at Trixie's touch. This was getting to be too much! The endless flattery, Trixie's proximity, that touch. Lyra couldn't handle it. It wasn't bad. It felt right somehow. But it was too much, too soon. She didn't know how to deal with it and that was making her sweat.

Trixie... was getting closer. Her muzzle drew closer. Lyra could feel her breath on her face for a split second... before she moved away. Not a jerking movement of shock, but a simple leaning away. She gently pushed her hoof to Trixie's lips.

"I-I'm sorry Trixie. I'm very flattered- very, very flattered- but I just- I don't think- I'm not ready for something like this. I mean- Not that I don't like you- I mean- Maybe not that way- or- well, I don't know. It's just-"

"OH, hey! Trixie! Not that I need ... um ... this is totally under control, but if you wanted to - ACK!"

The interruption nearly made Lyra jump out of her skin. For a while there, she had forgetten that anypony else was around. The world came flooding back. She was suddenly aware of how warm her face felt.

She turned away, partially from embarassment, but mostly from the worry that she may have hurt Trixie's feelings.

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Mal meditated in silence, ignoring the petty flirtations of the other unicorns. After focusing for a long time, she felt something. Energy. Confidence, perhaps. Power. She opened her eyes and focused it in the air in front of her. As effortlessly as a levitation spell, a wisp of her green flame appeared in front of her. She grinned and intensified it, focusing more flame into a smaller point, throwing more and more energy into it with ease.

Then the doctor started shouting, and Mal's glanced up to see what he was complaining about now. She didn't get a chance to figure out what the fuss was about, as her concentration slipped and the speck of flame she'd been focusing on exploded. There was a boom, a rush of air that blew her back towards the others, and a loud shattering noise. When she struggled to her feet, she saw the shattered remains of the tree that had been nearest her flame. It had flash-frozen and shattered, shards of frozen bark were scattered in a cone radiating away from where the flame blast had impacted it.

Mal's mouth dropped for a moment. "That... that was perfect," she said softly. She turned back to the others. "I can do it," she said confidently. "I can DO it! That river is gonna regret the day it changed it's course!" She frowned. "Uh, well, I mean, it would if a river could regret things."

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Trixie was stunned and at a loss for words, a rare event indeed. Did ... Did Lyra just reject her? The way the lovely mint green unicorn shrunk back from Trixie’s affections was a definite sign. Some of the uncertainties that had lurked in the back of her mind since the events in Ponyville started rising up. She was beautiful, right? Charming, alluring, inviting? Or was Lyra not interested in mares? But no, Lyra said she was flattered, and assured Trixie that she liked the magnificent showpony. That had to be it! Lyra was just shy and unsure, that’s all - it wasn’t that Trixie wasn’t alluring enough; it was that she was too alluring! “Well, you should be ready, a lovely mare like you, I’ll tell you what-“

Her reassurances were cut off by a combination of the Doctor’s panicked cry for help, immediately followed by the sharp detonation from Malediction’s direction. Trixie got up on all fours, about ready to explode, herself, as she glared back at the temporarily forgotten ponies. She gritted her teeth and counted slowly to ten in her mind. if I don’t help him, we’ll never get out of here… she reminded herself.

She glared over at Malediction as she trotted over to the cart. “Next time, warn us before you go and blow things up with your coarse, destructive magic! Can you hold off blowing up nature until we are done? We are doing delicate work here!!” She stuck her head under the Doctor’s cart to see just what *kind* of delicate work they were doing - that coupler, that annoying coupler that always gave him trouble was about to fall off, and some foul-smelling blue liquid was pouring out of the connector and all over Doctor Whooves’ face. “Oh, I see”, Trixie drawled coldly, then sighed as she lit up her horn. The coupler lifted up just before it smacked her mechanically incompetent companion in the face, even if she would have liked to see it … “Where would you be without me?” Trixie moved the coupler back into place with her magic, holding it there for him to properly screw into position. She looked back in Lyra’s direction briefly, wondering if there was a better way to approach her. How could she reassure Lyra that it was all right to be romantically swept off her feet by the Great and Powerful Trixie?

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Doctor Whooves pretty much ignored the explosion - explosions were somewhat standard ocurrances around him - but instead, focused on the now-glowing part that shoved itself into place in the interchange. He swiftly worked to fasten it in place, spitting out the foul blue liquid that kept dripping free, till finally the leak was sealed and all was ready. "Ah, good!" he cried, "just what I needed! And from the sound of things, all is ready?"

He wriggled out from under the cart and got to his hooves, giving himself a shake to send the blue liquid flying. "Right, then! Sounds like we're all ready! Trixie, remember that Lyra isn't used to as much power as you throw around all the time, much less tapping a ley line. You'll need to reassure and encourage her. You're just taking down a mountainside, it's no big deal. I'll take care of Mal, so don't worry about her. Oh, and if they feel the ley line being diverted, those clockwork might outstep their normal operating range, but if they show up, don't get distracted - just focus on the task at hand."

With that, he turned away from Trixie and trotted over to Malediction. He looked over the tree with a critical eye, then turned that bright and eager gaze back to the unicorn. "Well, well. Not bad. Knew you had it in you. You ready to protect that foal with all you've got?"

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Lyra's mind was elsewhere, in a world full of big blue lips and passionate kisses, but Doctor Whooves' voice helped to snap her out of her reverie. She shook her head to try and bring herself back into the real world. "So we're going then? We're going to... do the thing with the... uh... magic... uh." Lyra tried to remember what her part in all this was. Something about lay lines and magic. Something about her sound magic in particular. "Okay, remind me exactly what I'm going to be doing." she asked with a nervous grin on her face.

(ooc: sorry for the short post, mind is kinda blank on this one)

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Mal stomped her hoof. "I'll prote-er... hurt anyone who messes with him. Me, I mean. Guh, whatever. I know I can do it, and I'm as charged as I can be." She looked away, somewhat embarrassed to be in the position of playing hero.

She glared at Lyra. "We're gonna redirect the river so the lay-lines don't align with the ruins, thus cutting the automatons off from their power source, was that not clear from when the Doctor said it? You drop rocks into the river. I freeze the water so it can't carry 'em away, and BAM, the the river shifts and everypony can go home." She paused. "Or go looking for more ruins, I'm hoping to find something useful one of these days." She gave the Doctor a sideways glance. She really wanted to go exploring with him, but she was too self-conscious to ask. She was sure he would find something, unlike she, who's explorations more often than not ended up not even finding a ruin at all, let alone anything useful from said ruin.

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Trixie smirked at the Doctor, “don’t worry about my part! We shall swiftly bring down that cliff face to diver the water in the proscribed manner to enact such a change to the ethereal landscape! Don’t worry about Lyra, she is in .. Good hooves with I, the Great and Powerful Trixie! Just don’t you two screw up; Trixie can’t hold everypony’s hooves you know!” Trixie smiled confidently as she swirled her cloak majestically across her shoulders, put on her wonderful hat - it was showtime!

Trixie gave a sultry look and swaying trot as she came over to Lyra, brushing slowly up along the side of the mint green unicorn before placing her hoof around her. “Don’t you worry your lovely round flank, the Great and Powerful Trixie will happily assist you and your mellifluous magic of melody so we can bring down all those nasty rocks! I am sure we can do it together!” Trixie brushed Lyra’s cheek with her own before walking forward towards the river, stepping onto a ridge opposite the cliff face that hovered over the river, full of the raw stone that they would use to fuel the avalanche.

Trixie stood confidently, allowing the wind to billow her cape dramatically as she looking back and gave Lyra a wink. “now watch in awe as I, the Great and Powerful Trixie, mistress of all things miraculous and magical, start things off with a flash!” Trixie’s horn glowed alight with a deep purple hue that became more and more intense before she stood up on her hind legs. For a few seconds she stood there, eyes closed, her horn glowing brightly, her cape blowing in the rushing of air excited by her magic, and then the light flowed from her and spread out, encompassing Lyra, her skill with illusions helping to enhance Lyra's magical sight and lay out the glowing, flowing rivers of energy that went by under their hooves. To Lyra's eyes, the magic flowing from Trixie, though invisible to the other two ponies, was a brilliant shower of multicolored sparks, drawing up from the stream below Trixie's hind hooves and exploding from her horn and forehooves.

Trixie smiled proudly - she wanted to do more, to put on a proper show, but she had to make sure she had the power to do her part - and while she was sure she could probably break the far cliff into pebbles, she decided to follow the Doctor's plan, and help Lyra in this task. To make sure Lyra got to be a hero, to have the privilege of the close, personal feel of sharing magic with the Great and Powerful Trixie. Surely this would demonstrate the magnanimous generosity and beautiful kindness of the Trixie, who is humble as well as powerful, and show to Lyra that she was worthy of such attention! She smiled coyly, “now, my lovely dear, let’s use that magnificent horn of yours and your lovely stentorian vibrations to get those naughty rocks down into the river, shall we?” She walked up and next to Lyra, facing to same direction. Whispering softly into Lyra’s ear, “I know you can do it, just concentrate and focus the power of your sounds on those rocks, embrace who you are!”

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Doctor Whooves smiled warmly to Malediction. "I know you'll protect him. Your cutie mark shows how your love burns so brightly to fuel your spirit. You'll always come through, so long as you keep let your heart fuel your power, but keep your cool." He suspected she didn't think of her cutie mark that way, from the bitter way she'd talked about herself before, but that's what he saw, looking at it.

"Now, you're already powered back up ... and you've rejuvinated yourself off of the power running through the ley lines beneath our hooves. I need you to open yourself up to those energies more directly..." He'd read about this process so many times, in so many different ways ... but of course, as an earth pony, he'd never experienced it. "from what I understand, it should feel like ..." Which one should he use? Well, couldn't go wrong with his favorite. "Like a banana. Except not curved. And without the peel. And ... you know what? Forget the banana. Let's go with ... it's like ... a cool warmth. It shivers through you and gives you the chills, but at the same time it warms you up, like a campfire in the wintertime. Warm yourself at that fire... feel the chill of the winter against your back... and ... oh yes, this might hurt a little bit, the first time ..."

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(My apologies for the horrendous delay.)

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Up to speed and ready to work her magic, Lyra looked up at the rocky cliff. She remembered now the weak points she had to affect and the amount of power she would need. The Doctor had explained it all to her. Now it was time for her and Trixie to put the theory into practice.

“Don’t you worry your lovely round flank, the Great and Powerful Trixie will happily assist you and your mellifluous magic of melody so we can bring down all those nasty rocks! I am sure we can do it together!”

"...Round?" replied Lyra, in a hurt tone. "Is that a crack about my weight?" Lyra felt a little annoyed, but Trixie probably didn't mean anything by it, considering how close she was getting.

As Trixie cast her spell, Lyra's eyes opened wide at the sight before her. It was like she was seeing for the first time. All the tiny magical waves that she had felt all her life, but never really noticed, were suddenly glowing before her, clear as day. Trixie's own magic was visible as an aura made of sparks, almost like a living firework. "Oh, wow..." was all she could say.

“I know you can do it, just concentrate and focus the power of your sounds on those rocks, embrace who you are!”

Lyra nodded her head and stepped forward. It was all so obvious now. She knew exactly what to do. Focusing her power through her horn, she carefully aimed for the weak points of the cliff, just above where the laylines passed. The power built up slowly at first, but with a slight mental tug, she tapped into the mystical energy of the layline and brought it up, flowing into her, up through her horn, and then finally outward.

The other ponies saw nothing at first, but just on the cusp of hearing was a faint whistling noise. Soon that noise grew louder and louder. A high pitched whistle building into powerful screech. Just when it seemed that ear drums would burst, there was a sudden wave of energy from Lyra's horn; colourless, but rippling the air like a heatwave. The blast sounded like the screech of a thousand harpies, or like a thousand hooves being swiped across a blackboard.

Lyra dragged that wave over the cliff face. The shrieking noise combined with the rumbling sound of the cliff vibrating. The rocks shook and shuddered and soon they were falling from on high, cracking into pieces and rolling down into the river. Even at this distance, Lyra and Trixie were lightly sprayed with water droplets, dampening without soaking, like morning mist.

The noise ceased as Lyra finished her spell. Her ears were ringing like crazy, but she could tell that her sonic spell had succeeded.

"Did I do okay?" she asked her companions, a little loudly due to the ringing in her ears.

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Mal grinned as Lyra and Trixie began to complete their part of the plan. Wasting no time, she began to summon up a series of small green flames, focusing as much power into them as she could, in as small a space as she could. To magical senses, her viridian flames hissed and glowed even brighter, becoming nearly blinding as she put more and more power in. She advanced towards the river, a malicious grin on her face.

Overflowing with confidence, she funneled even more into the wisps than she had earlier in testing. Her horn began to ache from the effort, and she grit her teeth in determination. The hissing deepened into a humming as the concentrated magical energy throbbed, though to non-magical senses it appeared little different than before. A thought occurred to her. That little foal was like she had been, years ago. The clockwork were the manticore. If there was one thing that was certain, it was that she would not let that happen again. The thought filled her with furious determination, and the flame responded in kind, doubling in intensity once, twice, three times. Finally, the rocks came crashing down.

With a cathartic scream, she flung the infernal motes over the river, spreading them out to cover the whole width of the waterway before they exploded. This time the sound was audible without enhanced magical perception, a series of thunderous booms that shook the earth. Not long behind them, a shockwave that knocked Mal clear off her hooves, sending her rolling all the way back towards the others. Behind that, a painfully chill breeze followed closely, freezing the water that had splashed onto them instantly, and turning the mist left in the air into icy flakes.

As Mal shakily stood up once more, she smiled. Not only had the river in the area around the rocks been frozen, much of the water further away had been physically blasted away. As such, the ice in the area around the rocks had conformed perfectly to the shock distribution of the blast, a series of smooth, round semi-spheres overlapping each other and the rock barricade, sealing off any chance of water continuing to run through the now-empty river bed.

"Suck it, river!" Mal shouted, the rush of victory filling in for her expended magical energy. She grinned manically at Lyra. "I'd say that was definitely okay, greenhorn. Hoof bump." She raised her hoof for a bump, but promptly became unbalanced and fell completely over back onto her side. She groaned, put a hoof her her aching horn, and managed to push herself up into a sitting position. "Guh, that's gonna smart in the morning."

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Trixie had the stage all set for Lyra's big performance, confident that, thanks to her wonderful words of encouragement and skillful magic, the minty green unicorn would have no problem completing her task ... yet she seemed However before Lyra started she was concerned with Trixie's praise about her shapely form. "Your worries are without basis, why would a great lover of beauty like myself ever speak ill of one whose flank is so lovely to watch when one walks? I merely expressed a sincere admiration of the masterful work of exquisite art that is your shapely body!" Trixie winked flirtily ... this *was* how ponies flirted, right? Simple, casual statements of appreciation? Or should she try for something showy?

Trixie could feel the ethereal energies drawn towards Lyra's horn as the mint green unicorn stood at the edge of the bank. She pressed her hooves to her ears at the building sound, horrid and deafening, the sound of nightmares; perfect for destruction. Trixie's eyes pressed shut, hearing the monsters screeching, resonating through her. Just when she thought she couldn't handle any more - it was gone. The crashing of massive boulders seemed like soft and quiet whispers after that cacophony, and the soft mist of chill water a cool and soothing touch. "I, the Great and Powerful Trixie, was absolutely without doubt that you could use your fantastic harmonies to bring those rocks down!" Trixie came up to Lyra and gave her a reassuring hug ... a slightly too-long reassuring hug that involved her rubbing her cheek along the other unicorn's.

Trixie contemplated giving a kiss when the next bout of magic came, loud, thumping, visceral, and not very elegant. A thunderous wave of energy collided with Trixie. It wasn't quite enough to knock her away, but it was enough to put her on her rump, her hat suddenly flung away in the windy burst. "My lovely hat!! Why don't you watch how you conduct your-". Trixie stopped mid-sentence and gripped her cloak with her forehooves, shivering from the sudden bone chilling cold; it felt like being covered in sleet on a chilly, wet January morning but as the arctic wind of the darkest part of the year truly hit ... "Ssssoooo c-c-cold! Let's g-get inside, the www-www-wagon!"

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As Doctor Whooves often discovered would happen in his travels, he was left having made a brilliant plan, but relatively helpless to enact it, left standing quivering with anticipation and hectic worry as powers he could not perceive built around him. He knew that under normal circumstances, what he was asking of them was far, far too much. Very few ponies could do what he was asking them to do ... except that they were on the focal point of the ley net, here, a focal point that no unicorn had tapped for who *knew* how long? It wasn't overused like the one in Canterlot, it was brimming with untapped power... on his cart, the mana vane squeaked... started to turn towards Trixie ... towards Lyra... towards Mal ... back to Trixie... back to Lyra... twirling round in circles with a *squeeeeeeak* ... *squeeeeeeeeak* .... *squeeeek* *squeeeek* *squeek squeek squeek squeeksqueeksqueesqueesqueesquee!* It whirled like a little tiny maelstrom was assaulting it under the pressure of all the magical energies raising around it, the over-full ley nexus dumping power out into the fellow unicorns.

The trilling noise that rose from Lyra's horn thrilled through Doctor Whooves. It was something he had only read about - a spell several of his unicorn predesessors had been extremely fond of - till he had taught it to Lyra earlier today. Modestly titled the 'magic screwdriver' spell, it was supposed to create a pleasant whistling as it screwed in metal screws ... or undid a door lock ... or shattered glass ... but today, it blasted across the water at incredible octaves to strike the stone wall opposite, thrumming against it. Little higher, little higher, he silently extorted, leaning forward in anticipation. When the crackes started to form, he leapt up into the air, punching a hoof excitedly. "Yes!" he cried, the word lost in the avalanche nearly drowning out Lyra's whistling with its ferocity.

Before he even hit the ground again, a series of detonations blasted into the cacaphony, mixing with the sonic magic to sound distant and almost like implosions instead of explosions, as the shockwave caught him mid-air and knocked him backwards, to tumble along the ground. He came up with an eager expression to see the results. "Yes... yes... YES! Brilliant! Brilliant!" He ran up to the ridge looking down into the river below, his entire front half covered in frost, his mane and tail frozen in a 'blasted backwards' appearance. "Comon... comon..." he extorted the river, his words a bit louder than usual because of his temporary deafness.

Sure enough, the river started to rise, the water flowing in but having nowhere to go. Doctor Whooves licked his lips, watching the makeshift barrier ... would the stone and ice hold against the tons of water pressure, the unimaginable force of nature behind it? He trembled, imagining his subtle earth-pony magic flowing out through his hooves and through the earth itself to extort that stone dam. HOLD Who knows? At this place, that might even work!

Finally, he couldn't watch the dam anymore, and instead turned and hurried upstream, clambering up a rock formation to peer down at the recently empty streambed he had seen earlier. The water was getting closer and closer to the edge. Mere yards... mere feet .... mere inches! A tiny, dirty, muddy trickle broke through here, then further down ... those trickles turned into splashes, then into fountains of mud, wearing away the earth. The muddy fountains gushed down into the dry streambed below, filling it with a mucky mess...

"Comon!" he said, his eyes bright, a grin growing on his face. His forehooves gestured towards the barrier, as if through his force of will alone, he could force it to break apart. If there was one thing he was good at, it was timing. Two gouts of clearer water burst through the barrier, taking a hail of dirt with it. He saw another place groaning, and like a conductor he gestured to it, and it responded with a gout of water. "YES!" he cried, "YES!" Another gout! Another! "AND THE FINALE!" he cried, throwing both hooves high in the air.

With its own rumbling, powerful noise, the swelling and blocked river found its new path. The feeble dirty and stone barrier flooded away under the inexorable pressure of the river, blasting down the dry riverbed towards the ocean only a mile or so away, carrying with it the accumulated mud and dirt. For several minutes, it rushed and tumbled, the water frantic in its effort to escape its brief imprisonment, the sheer power of nature devastating as it once again carved this path into the landscape.

Back at the makeshift camp, the twirling manavane suddenly quivered, and snapped into a new direction so hard it made the cart rock, lifting off two of its wheels. The three unicorns would feel a silent, unseen pressure like a hurricane-force wind that blew not against them, but *through* them, draining out the rest of the built-up energies of this area as the ley line snapped into its new course along with the river. This place wouldn't be able to fuel such magical majesty again for another several decades ... or more ... of unuse.

And on the rocky outcropping, the Doctor capered and danced in glee. "HahahahahaHAAAA! Wooooo! Yeah! That's the ticket! Take that, nature! I'm a GENIUS!"

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"I'd say that was definitely okay, greenhorn. Hoof bump."

"Hoof bu- oh." replied Lyra, watching as Mal fell over onto her side. She moved to help the other unicorn up, only to see that she was already pushing herself up. She already knew Mal wasn't one to accept help, so she simply stood there sheepishly. Just then, her head began to swim as the after effects of casting such a powerful spell caught up with her.

"Guh, that's gonna smart in the morning."

Lyra dropped down on the cool grass near the newly diverted river. "I'm feeling kinda woozy myself. Without the leyline's power I feel so... tired..." She was just about ready to close her eyes and lay down for a quick rest when Trixie swept her up into a big hug. A big, long, and very close hug.

"I, the Great and Powerful Trixie, was absolutely without doubt that you could use your fantastic harmonies to bring those rocks down!"

"Ahaha... thanks, Trixie." replied Lyra, once again at a loss for how to deal with the showmare's amorous advances, yet also comforted by her. She was about to hug back when Trixie's hat flew off.

"My lovely hat!! Why don't you watch how you conduct your-"

"It's okay! I've got it! Ngh!" Lyra tried to grab Trixie's hat with her telekinesis, but drained of her energy, she sould only hold it for a moment before it was swept from her magical grasp. With the wind came the cold, and so when Trixie suggested they get inside the wagon, Lyra nodded her head in agreement. "Alright, let's go. We'll get some rest too. I think we've earnt it. I'll help you get your hat back later." She looked up to the Doctor, who was still yelling in triumph. "Doctor, you coming?" she called out.

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Trixie was shivering from the cold bits of ice that slowly melted into cold droplets of water in her coat, holding her cape close about her in a vain attempt to get warm. Oh, how she wished she knew some heat spell or something similar. She could start something on fire, but that would require leaving the wagon and back into the chilly wind; no thanks! At least the river cooperated with their elaborate plan; its path channeling down the once dry river bed next to them. Her eyes opened wide at the rush of energy flowing through her, as if the wind, but without any physical force to it. Her mane lifted around her as some small amounts of it grounded out through her aura. Trixie had taught herself enough about magic to know that this could only be the ley line following the river, just as Whooves said it would. So he knows a little bit about magic after all. As much as didn't want to admit her new-found respect for his magic knowledge, it gave her some additional hope that this he wasn't *completely* insane.

As proud as she was of the work she'd done, herself, it seemed nothing compared to the Doctor's own self-congratulatory excitement about what they had done. What was he so excited about anyway? All he'd done was "supervise" while the unicorns did all the work! Sure maybe it was his idea and all, but where would that plan have been without the wondrous magic of the Cold and Frozen Trixie!

This "diversion" already had taken far more time then she would have liked, even if it was all for a good cause. At least now she had a story, the story how she, with some loyal followers, defeated monstrous mechanical beasts from the sea! What a boost this would give to her traveling show, as soon as she rebuilt her wagon, and unlike those other tales, it would all be true! Perhaps she could find some pieces of those clockwork ponies to display as part of her wagon ...

Well. Once they were done with the long-lost Royal Library. "So, Doc! Now that you're done playing, the Great and Powerful Trixie believes it is time for you to make those readings you keep talking about! We do have somewhere to be!" She had no clue what readings he wanted to take, but she didn't want to sound like she had no clue in front of the others. Especially Lyra, who no doubt looked up to her - she didn't want Malediction along for the ride, but she wouldn't mind showing Lyra a true adventure ...

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Doctor Whooves was rather oblivious to Trixie's demands, at first, just grinning broadly out over the new expanse of the river, flooding past him into the path it had followed for hundreds of years. He was puffed up with pride at the events of the day, and just stared down into it for several minutes. Finally, he turned around and strutted back to the wagon, letting out a contented sound. [colour=#8b4513]"Right, then, enough lollygagging, you lot! Time to be off!"[/colour] He suddenly was a bundle of energy again as he cleaned up his tools and packed them away, then got himself under the harness and started pulling the wagon towards the shore. [colour=#8b4513]"Gotta get this all fixed up and take some readings! No time to lose!"[/colour]

( Lost Library Interlude - No Bit Parts )

The trip back to the shore was uneventful, with Doctor Whooves casually chatting with Trixie for half the way. His hooves were light, as if his cart weighed nearly nothing, and upon reaching the shore, he wasted no time in breaking out his tools and getting the cart back in proper working order.

----- ----- -----

The massive, broken, black stone walls stood jagged on the black-sanded shoreline, and the great black stone wharves reached far out over the sea. Scattered husks of clockwork ponies dotted the vista here and there, lying inert, their ancient spells lacking the power to keep them active. White seagulls circled overhead, letting out a raucous sound over the distant countryside. Doctor Whooves had brought his cart out onto the end of a long wharf and had set up some large telescope-like device studded with crystals, which spun freely on its pole as he made adjustments to it in accordance to whatever he heard when striking his tuning fork.

[colour=#8b4513]"Miss Heartstrings, I'll be needing you,"[/colour] he was saying to Lyra, sounding distant, as his attention was obviously mostly on his experiment,[colour=#8b4513] "to find that family we sent off down the shoreline and let them know their home is safe again. And I'm sorry I couldn't stop for dinner, but I'll be back for their seaweed salad sometime soon! If you have a chance, let them make you a bowl, it's really fantastic."[/colour] He sighed softly. [colour=#8b4513]"Such a disappointment. Oh, and should probably have them bury the Clockwork Ponies, or else they'll be up to their cutie marks in scholars and scribes trying to study them."[/colour]

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(By the way, great job on the interlude thread, it was very fun!)

Lyra looked out over the shore at the clockwork ponies, as though daring them to move. But none did, thank Celestia. It was strange to think that their lives had been in grave danger not too long ago, and that it was their combined efforts that had saved them. They hadn't needed the Royal Guards or the Wonderbolts or the Elements of Harmony to save them; They'd saved themselves. It was a wonderful thought. Together they were stronger than these machines. They were like... like...

...A team! Yeah! A team of heroes, even! They should give themselves a name. A name like... "Lyra's Angels"! No, wait, perhaps naming it after herself was a little arrogant. The Doctor seemed to be the mastermind here. "The Doctor and the Unicorns"? No, that's more like a band name. The Tardis Travellers? The Magic Masters? The Fantastic Four? The-

[colour=#8b4513]"Miss Heartstrings,"[/colour]

[colour=#00cc99]"Huh, what, yes?"[/colour] Lyra's train of thought switched back to the main track as The Doctor spoke to her. [colour=#00cc99]"Find that family? Good idea, they'll be missing home already, I'm sure."[/colour]

Lyra turned to go the way she last remembered the ponies moving, before stopping briefly to look in Trixie's direction. The showmare had seemed quite fond of the young colt. Lyra decided that once she found the family, she'd have to take Trixie to visit the young pony. She could ask Trixie to come with her, of course, but she felt that she didn't really want more alone time with the boisterous unicorn right now. Lyra liked Trixie, but she was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable around her. Beside, she was certain Trixie would be more interested in this special library right now.

She set off.

[colour=#00cc99]"Hmm... ooh! The Avengers! ... Nah, that's silly."[/colour]

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Trixie was certainly glad to be back at the shore, finally, finally in hopes of perhaps actually finding the library now. Not that she didn't enjoy all the danger and excitement to some degree, especially when she got to play the part of the beautiful heroine, rescuing ponies from the monstrous menace of the Clockwork, but she felt her life was put in danger enough for one day, thank you very much!

Trixie lifted a small, fancy golden colored gear from the sands, a piece of one of the defeated clockwork, a souvenir for herself in case anypony doubted her brave, brave story. Shaking the gear loose of any remaining sand with her horn, she looked up and saw Whooves finally taking those readings he talked at length about. Trixie hmphed, "[colour=#6699CC]about time he got around to it!"[/colour] She started walking up towards where the eccentric brown earth pony was, noticing the lovely mint unicorn was already by him - oh, Celestia, she was cute. Still, Trixie felt shocked and a bit incredulous about being left out on being asked to help gather the townfolk. Not that she would relish such a mundane request, but she was the Great and Powerful Trixie! Certainly she was needed ... Right?

Trixie walked up to the pair, passing by so close to Lyra as to practically brush her as she smiled; that smile though turned to a frown when she got to Whooves, [colour=#6699CC]"and what am I supposed to do, just stand here and look ... well, stunning?"[/colour]

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Doctor Whooves stared after Lyra's retreating form, a surprised expression on his face. [colour=#8b4513]"Odd,"[/colour] he said thoughtfully, [colour=#8b4513]"I really expected more of a ... good-bye, before she left to do that." [/colour]He smiled brightly. [colour=#8b4513]"Ah well! I never liked good-byes anyway!"[/colour]

He smiled brightly as the manavane pointed out over the ocean, coming to a steady rest. He struck the tuning fork one more time, then put his ear up next to the manavane. [colour=#8b4513] "Ah, there we go! Perfect!" [/colour] He smiled to Trixie. [colour=#8b4513]"You do a great job of looking stunning, of course, but nah, just hop in, time for us to head off!"[/colour] He kicked the boiler in the back of the cart, and it started up with that grating, wheezing noise. [colour=#0000cd] *vworp vworp VWORP VWORP VWORP*[/colour] The blue glow shone from the boiler, and blue smoke started spurting out the back again. [colour=#8b4513]"Ahhhh,"[/colour] he said cheerfully, smiling down to his cart. [colour=#8b4513]"Smooth as silk! You *like* those mean old clockwork pony parts, don't you, sexy?"[/colour]

He hit the shifter and spun the ship's wheel, and the cart spun around so it was pointed out towards the ocean. [colour=#8b4513]"It's somewhere around that-a-way!"[/colour] he proclaimed cheerfully.

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Trixie, too, watched Lyra run off in the direction the townsponies were no doubt still fleeing at top speed down the shore, although she was likely watching a little more intensely then her companion was. Whooves mentioning Lyra was leaving though managed to turn her head though, [colour=#6699cc]"she's leaving? I uhh ... mean, well, I guess she is leaving! Just as well, we don't want anypony getting in the way when we reach the library!"[/colour] Trixie trotted proudly in the direction of the manavane, her eyes closed and head held high. Of course she looked stunning! Anypony would think so! Surely Lyra thought so, right? [colour=#6699cc]Why did she leave without saying goodbye?[/colour] Trixie's gait suddenly became a bit slower and her trot slowed as she came to the shoreline. She pondered that in silence; no need to let Whooves know what she was thinking.

Trixie's introspection was broken by the sudden, rapidly becoming familiar noise of the Doctor's strange self-moving wagon that ran as if by magic, but controlled by an earth pony! She swore she was going to figure out how that thing worked, but wondered for a moment if he really knew how it actually functioned.

Trixie trotted toward the cart when Whooves finally answered her inquiry about the location of the next clue, or perhaps the library itself. [colour=#6699cc]"Out there? What do you mean, out there? There is nothing out there but ocean!" [/colour] Trixie looked toward the ocean, squinting her eyes in hopes of spotting an island or an outcropping, but nothing but endless blue all the way to the horizon. She turned back, gesturing with her forehoof toward the sea, [colour=#6699cc]"Ocean! You can see the ocean, right? Are you sure that thing isn't broken again?! We don't even have a boat!"[/colour]

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Lyra trotted merily on her way, humming a little tune and generally not paying attention to where she was going. Thus she only got a few dozen paces away from the group when she tripped over something sticking out of the sand.

[colour=#00cc99]"Ooof! What the- oh! My camera! I'd almost forgotten!"[/colour] Lyra levitated the boxy contraption from the sand and looked it over.[colour=#00cc99] "Hmm. A bit banged up, but I think it should still work. Let's see..."[/colour]

She turned around and aimed the device back to where the Doctor's cart was. Or... where it should have been. Only now did Lyra's ears pick up the strange sound of the cart's propulsion system. They were moving. [colour=#00cc99]"What? Hey! Wait just a minute!"[/colour]

Lyra rushed back as quickly as she could, huffing and puffing all the while. She just... had to check with them. That was all. They were just moving the cart to a better location. They wouldn't leave without her. Of course not. That would be rude.

She caught up with the cart after a short dash. Luckily the Doctor had only just started moving. She jumped up the side of the cart and scrambled onto it in a most undignified manner.

[colour=#00cc99]"Hey! What do you think you're doing!?"[/colour] she yelled at The Doctor.[colour=#00cc99] "Were you trying to ditch me? I thought you were going to wait for me!" [/colour]She then slapped him across the face for good measure.

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Doctor Whooves grinned eagerly, at Trixie's objections. Oh, he loved this part. He paused a few moments more, as he reached over to the proper lever, to savor the anticipation of her reaction when she saw *this* trick ... [colour=#800000]"Well-"[/colour] he started to say.

The world spun, and stars danced in front of his eyes. He blinked rapidly and gave his head a shake, clearing them out of his vision, only to find them replaced by Lyra's angry face. [colour=#800000]"What?"[/colour] He asked, perplexed. [colour=#800000]"What?"[/colour]

He backed up a step, rubbing at his jaw, pushing it first one way, then the other. [colour=#800000]"Oof... good hoof on ya there. Lyra, you just suddenly up and started leaving! I thought you were sensibly avoiding good-byes! Dreadful things, good-byes. Hate them. That family's got hours of a head start on you, and running away as fast as they can! Even if you knew where they were ... and I'd suggest starting to look at the first hospital you find ... it'd take you days to catch up with them!"[/colour]

He looked completely perplexed, and his voice dropped its indignant tone to a little hurt mutter, [colour=#800000]"Why would I wait days and days to say good-bye when I hate saying good-bye?"[/colour]

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Trixie was delighted to see one of the more amusing sights she had ever seen as she watched the Doctor get slapped! Trixie couldn't help but giggle and snort outloud; it wasn't that she disliked the Doctor, but she simply *loved* seeing him at a loss for words. And the slapping was just plain hilarious.

What was perhaps just as pleasing was that Lyra wanted to stay! Lyra was both helpful and mostly harmless, and having some eye candy along might make the journey more pleasant. [colour=#6699cc]"It seems to the Great and Powerful Trixie that our adorable companion during our heroic defeat of the clockwork monsters wishes to adventure with us further! Why would you believe she wished to leave us?"[/colour] The answer wasn't nearly as important as the joy of putting him on the spot and seeing how he attempted to talk his way out of this without sounding like a complete and babbling idiot.

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