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Trix of the Trade Chapter 1 Trixie was tired. Not just tired, but exhausted, hungry, and lost. Upon leaving Ponyville, she'd fled in the Everfree Forest without so much as her hat and cloak. She hadn't a bit on her—no that it mattered, seeing as she hadn't been able to find a town in weeks. That was another thing. Everfree was always dark, the thick trees blocking out the sun whether it was day or night. So when she was tired, Trixie slept. If she was hungry, she could only hope to find some wild berries. And if she was thirsty—which happened a lot—she would hope to come across a stream. Trixie was no navigator, and she had no map. So day after day, she wandered the Everfree Forest, lost and cold and alone. Trixie came upon a stream one day. It was a welcome sight for her dry and parched lips. She attempted to primp herself using her wavy reflection, running her hoof through her mane a few times. Not that it helped her tangled hair, full of leaves and dirt. She laid down beside the stream, deciding this would be a good place to rest before she moved on. Trixie sighed, a tear escaping her. What if she died here? All alone, with nopony in the world who gave a care about her fate. She rested her head on her front legs, a terrible pillow, but the only one she had. She awoke sometime later as she felt something prodding her. Trixie was instantly awake, jolting up and jumping away from whatever it was. In the same moment, her horn glowed blindingly bright, lighting up the surround area so that she could see her attacker, and hopefully scare whatever it was away in the process. The initial flash blinded Trixie herself for a moment. As soon as she could see, however, she realized that before her stood another pony. A Unicorn, to be exact, her dark blue pelt covered by a darker cloak, and her face shrouded by a hood. Only her horn and nose stood out, her own horn glowing lightly. Trixie let the light from her horn fade out, panting heavily. She'd exerted her energy with the spell. Though it wasn't complicated, she was weak. Her body shook, but Trixie could not show weakness. The other Unicorn increased the light from her horn and approached Trixie slowly. “I'm sorry if I startled you. Are you alright?” The closer she got, the more it became apparent that this pony was in bad shape. “Do you need help?” she asked, already knowing the answer. “Hmph.” Trixie said, turning away. “The great and powerful Trixie does not need help.” she scoffed at the notion. Her mind and body pleaded with her to accept the offer, but her pride overruled her better judgment. “Are you certain?” The Unicorn persisted, taking another step closer to Trixie. She unlatched her cloak, floating it over and placing it on Trixie's back. Trixie shivered with pleasure, the warmth from the clothing seeping into her bones for a brief moment. It had been a long time since Trixie had truly been warm. She turned around. “Thank you, but—“ Trixie stopped, staring at the mare before her. Now that she had removed her cloak, her identity was made plain. P-P-P-P-Princess L-L-Luna!” Trixie fell to the ground, her face against the cold dirt. “Trixie apologizes for not recognizing your majesty sooner.” She inched forward on her belly, kissing the shod hooves of Princess Luna. “St-Stop that!” Luna backed away. “PLEASE accept Trixie's apology, your highness!” Trixie was genuinely afraid. After all, Celestia had banished her own sister to the moon for a thousand years. Luna was probably capable of the same thing, or worse. Trixie trembled where she lay, both from the cold of the dirt and stones beneath her, and from fear. Luna looked irritated for a moment, and Trixie flinched, closing her eyes and turning her head down. “Come now, get up.” Luna said. Trixie did as she was bade, pushing herself up from the ground and doing her best to wipe the dirt from her coat. After all, this was a princess. She still had to look presentable. Trixie fought to steady her breath, not wanting to let anypony, especially a princess, know how exhausted she really was. “Now, you are certain you do not require assistance?” Luna pressed again. Trixie was in too poor of shape to hide it no matter what she did. “Of course. Trixie is always sure of everything.” Trixie tried to sound bold, but she had to take a breath at least three times during her short sentence. “Then how about a friend?” Luna prodded, trying one last approach. This pony obviously needed help, but she wasn't going to admit that. Luna knew that it was her duty, not just as a princess, but from one pony to another, to help somepony in need. “Your majesty wishes to befriend the great and powerful Trixie?” Trixie pretended to act surprised, but really, why wouldn't everypony want to be her friend? But she bowed, kneeling on her front knees in front of the dark blue Alicorn. “Trixie is honored by your request, and humbly accepts.” Luna nodded her head once in acknowledgment. “Then it's settled. You're coming back to Canterlot Castle with me. Friend.” “Oh, very well.” Trixie said, trying to act nonchalant. In reality, she was ecstatic. She'd likely be the guest of honor at some feast... and that meant FOOD. Oh glorious food. Trixie would have salivated if she wasn't completely dehydrated. So they set off. Luna's cloak remained on Trixie's back, and she was silently grateful. She's felt rather naked the past weeks (or perhaps months), without her own hat and cape. Plus, she hadn't had so much as a blanket to sleep with to keep warm. And now, finally, she was going to get out of her. So maybe she wouldn't get any of her things back from Ponyville... she hated the thought. Then again, she was going to Canterlot, for a delicious meal with one—or perhaps both—of the princesses. Oh, if that smug little Twilight Sparkle could see her now... dining with the princesses, while she was living in little ol' Ponyville. Well, fortune certainly favored the worthy, Trixie smirked to herself. Chapter 2 As they moved along, Trixie began by walking beside the dark Alicorn. She didn't attempt to make much conversation, for which Trixie was grateful. What little energy she had left was focused on walking, and couldn't be wasted on idle chatter, even with a princess. But try as she might, she began to fall farther and farther behind. Her hooves dragged upon the ground, her muscles aching as they had for days. Eventually, Luna noticed that her companion was lagging. She turned, her horn placing Trixie into the full light. Trixie's head and ears drooped, and her tongue lolled. Under the eyes of the princess, however, she straightened up, holding her head high. But Luna could still here her labored breathing, see her chest heaving. “Are you alright?” she asked yet again. How long could this mare go on like this? She'd obviously been pushing herself forward in this condition for far too long, and Luna could see that her strength was dwindling. “I'm fine.” Trixie said curtly, turning her head and gaze away so that Luna could not see her weary eyes. “You don't look fine at all.” Luna placed her hoof under Trixie's chin, bringing her face forward. Trixie grimaced, ashamed to be in such a state in front of royalty. Luna studied her thin face, looking over her features—the numerous tiny cuts, the cheek bones that were just starting to show through, the grimy hair that looped over one ear... finally she focused on the eyes: tired, worn, broken, and full of sadness. Trixie fought the urge to pull away. Of everypony who could see her like this, why did it have to be her? “Come on. You can ride on my back.” Trixie blinked a few times before she realized Luna was talking to her. “W-What? No, oh no, I couldn't—“ Her weakened body longed to rest, but... that wouldn't be proper! “Trixie is fine” she exclaimed, trying to convince herself. As she walked forward, head high and chest out, she tripped over a tree root. “Oooohh.” she groaned. She was too exhausted to get up. She quit. She was going to just lay down and die right here. Her head pounded, every muscle ached, and she was just... so very tired. Luna came to stand in front of her. “No discussion. You shall ride on my back. That's an order from a princess.” Trixie feebly opened her eyes, no longer giving any protest. She felt weightless for a moment, as if she were floating through the air. Then, she felt Luna's soft warm coat under her. She may have snuggled into her mane a bit, feeling comforted in a way she hadn't felt in a very long time. The quiet rise and fall of Princess Luna's hooves and her paced breathing were the last sounds Trixie heard, before drifting off to sleep.