Overall, the day had shaped up to be a usual one for the citizen of Ponyville. Early that morning, she woke up, took care of her usual morning chores, and then went about with her typical Friday morning. She trotted over to the market to buy groceries, stop in at Sugarcube Corner for a quick chat with Pinkie Pie, then went home for lunch. However, that was when her usual schedule ground to a complete and utter halt. Just as she dug into her daisy and daffodil sandwich, a knock sounded on her front door.
Irritated, the pony groaned. Couldn't she ever sit down to eat in peace? She reluctantly got out of her seat and walked over to the front door, opening rather suddenly, about to chew out whomever dared interrupt her meal. There, standing at the door stood the most introverted Pegasus she had ever known... none other than Fluttershy; Ponyville's resident animal expert. "Oh... um," she started, her voice barely more than a whisper. "I... I know it's close to lunch, but... um... would you mind if I... joined you? To talk?"
"Well, of course you can, Fluttershy," the unicorn replied with a sigh. How could she stay mad at the socially awkward filly? She opened the door and allowed her friend entry, fixing her a sandwich too, despite her protests to not bother. Once the initial unease passed, the two friends quickly got around to talking; they discussed animals, mostly. It was quite rare for Fluttershy to drop by unannounced, but after some pressing, the yellow pony revealed that she felt a little alone that morning, and simply wanted to talk to somepony she knew.
Suddenly, a knocking came at the door for the second time in an hour. "I'll get it", the mare spoke to her friend as she pulled away from the table. In true fashion, Fluttershy had ducked under it at the sudden and loud noises coming from the other room. Twilight Sparkle could easily guess just who would come around at this time of day. "Afternoon, Derpy," she smiled to her yellow-eyed friend. "What did I get today?"
"Chipmunk, diddly!" Depry happily chirped. Her left saddle bag looked full beyond its limits. In fact, the diligent mail mare titled slightly to that side due to the weight. She slipped herself out of her saddlebag and nudged open the flap, motioning to her purple friend that she simply couldn't lift the heavy package. Using her magic, Twilight lifted the large box-shaped parcel out of the bag and gently onto the table she kept by the door for her mail.
"Squiddle, coconut!" The grey Pegasus pony added as she produced a clipboard, obviously asking for her signature. Using her magic, the purple unicorn floated over a quill that Spike typically used to write letters to the princess and signed for her package. She had to confess, she was confused about the parcel's origin. Twilight never mail ordered anything, and she didn't really know anypony who would send her a package out of the blue like this.
Her duty complete, Derpy slipped the saddlebag back over her neck and onto her back. "Before I forget," Twilight started. "I found that spell I was telling you about last week. You know... the one to help other ponies understand you? Did you... want to go through with it?" The blond-maned pony simple shrugged before taking off to continue her route, leaving her friend alone at the door.
The unicorn sighed as she shut the door to the library, sometimes that Pegasus could be so indecisive. Ah well, she wouldn't press it on her if she felt uncomfortable about it. Still, it hurt Twilight to have such a brilliant friend be viewed as... mentally incompetent. She sighed to herself and turned tail back to the kitchen, hefty package and letter in tow, floating behind her.
"Sorry about that, Fluttershy," Twilight started as she shut the kitchen door. "It was just the mailmare dropping off a package for me." She sat at the modest wooden table again and started munching on her sandwich, her friend spying the brown-paper-wrapped box with great interest.
"Y...you can open it if you want, Twilight... I'm kind of curious," Fluttershy confessed after a couple of minutes.
She would have become flustered again... had she not finished her sandwich just moments previous. Pondering about it for a few quick seconds, she recognized that she was curious and nodded to her friend. She slipped out the envelope nestled between twine and package and opened it. He heart skipped a few beats as she recognized the writing on the letter and did a small jump for joy, startling her friend.
Twilight blushed and spoke sheepishly, "Sorry... it's just... it's a letter from my mom!" The unicorn was giddy with excitement... more so then she was for her first sleepover. It was a rare treat to get a letter from her mother, never mind a package. It wasn't because she didn't care, or didn't love Twilight... it's just that she was so busy just trying to support herself.
"My darling Twilight," she began reading to her friend.
"It's been too long since my last letter, and I deeply apologize for that. I've been as busy as usual, plus a little more since I've been collecting some things for you. You see, when I was about your age, your grandmother gave me a task that I'm about to give you. It's not exactly easy, but it's nothing compared to what you have accomplished, dear.
I'm so proud of you, Twilight. Words cannot describe how proud I am to call you my daughter. Yes, I have heard the rumours, and even asked the Princess herself about it. She was kind enough to tell me the whole story about how you freed her little sister, and I must confess that I cried tears of joy for you.
So now I feel that you are old enough to handle this obligation. You see, the firstborn foals in our family line have done this since long before Her Highnesses' reign. It is keeping our family tree up-to-date, a task which I have not done as well as I should have. However, in the package, along with the book, I have given you the materials necessary to finish what I have started. Please, heed their clues and follow them through. I have faith in you, my beloved little filly.
With Lots of Affection,
Twilight was in a daze as she finished the letter. Her mother had left her unfinished business? She was now in charge of a book that was potentially older then her own teacher? Excitement gripped the young unicorn as the twine unravelled and the brown paper pulled away. She was licking her lips in anticipation, having never even known that such an old book existed.
The flaps of the box flew open, several papers and documents drifting lazily onto the table, followed by what she wanted to see the most. It was an old tome, no doubts about it. It wasn't particularly big, but it seemed to radiate whispers of ages long past, chilling her to the bone despite the summer's heat. Placing it in front of her, she carefully flipped through the yellowed pages, seeing what her ancestors had written about themselves and their lives. She'd read it more in depth later... for what she was really interested in was...
She simply couldn't bring herself to look, shutting the book before she even got close to the page she wanted. Her eyes were dangerously close to tears and her friend seemed to notice. "Twilight?" Fluttershy spoke with concern. "Are... are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," the unicorn lied, pasting a smile on her face. "Just a little nostalgic is all." The two friends continued to spend the day with each other, going out in the afternoon to watch Rainbow Dash try to break another silly record. Twilight enjoyed herself, but her mother's letter still ate at her subconsciously. Just what, exactly, had she failed to do?
Just what did they expect she was? A simple show pony!? It was ridiculous the way they could treat a magician of her power and fame. The Great and Powerful Trixie paced the dressing room, back and forth, trying to piece together a new show. The attendants had given her a Barley Shake when she specifically asked for an Oat Shake! The nerve of some ponies! Ah well, she couldn't complain that much, considering she had landed a steady string of performances in a well-known theatre in Canterlot.
Every night she'd wow ponies from all walks of life in the city. In fact, some of her best customers were the social elite; tycoons of industry and even members of Parliament. In Equestria, you see, Princess Celestia had grown weary of managing the day-to-day functions of the country some centuries ago. So, she created the Royal Equestrian Parliament; a body of publicly elected officials to run the more mundane functions of the country. The Princess was still the final authority and had final say in all actions and laws passed by the house.
The Great and Powerful Trixie looked in the mirror of her dressing room, trying to get herself ready for this particular performance. The Prime Minister himself had given word that he would be in attendance. If Trixie played her cards right, perhaps he would give her his official endorsement and allow her to perform for the Royal Court! Of course, after the performance, she had a rendezvous that she looked forward to. She glared at herself in the mirror, repeating a phrase she uttered before every performance she ever made. "You are The Great and Powerful Trixie... You are The Great and Powerful Trixie!"
The last couple of days had found very little sleep for the purple unicorn. It wasn't really out of the ordinary for her though, since she would typically go on such binges when she had found a particularly interesting spell, enchantment, or field of study. This time, however, it was genealogy that so wracked her brain. Twilight had taken her mother's request to heart, and dug through the records and ledgers provided... still not having a clue what she meant yet.
Spike, meanwhile, had been urging her that this could wait for a while since the person she was looking for was probably long dead and wouldn't be bothered if it took a little more time to find. "Come on, Twilight," he urged one afternoon. "You're not going to get anywhere by forcing yourself!" Normally, when she got like this, he wouldn't really mind, since it meant a few extra hours of sleep for him... but this time, she had been more bossy than usual, which was saying something.
Twilight sighed in defeat, "I suppose you're right Spike. I guess I could use a break."
"Now, don't you try to worm your way out of... oh." The baby dragon started, surprised when he realized she agreed with him. "Well... okay then!" Spike muttered to himself something about finally getting some sleep as the purple mare left the library to go interact with her friends. Although he didn't like to show it, he worried about her sometimes.
On his way up to his bedroom, he couldn't help but take some of the papers Twilight had been poring over. He didn't get why this was all so important, dragons didn't keep track of their lineage, so the concept eluded him. If it was this puzzling and important to her, then she needed some help, he reasoned. Sitting on his little cushion of a bed, he took a look at them. At first, there was nothing to be found, but as he handled the papers, he felt extra ones in the ledger that one couldn't make out if they used magic.
Inside, he found two nearly identical papers in a small, easy-to-miss sleeve in the back of the book. He felt his jaw drop in sudden realization. "Holy Guacamole!" He said to himself.
Flash and dazzle: wisps of light and puffs of smoke. Her performance had it all; grace, elegance, magic, and even a good story to add to the mix about how she heroically saved the town of Ponyville from a cranky Ursa Minor. They cheered, asking, no, begging for more of her amazing illusions and tricks. Most nights, she would be happy to indulge them. Alas, she couldn't this night, as she expected some company. It was obvious they were a secret admirer of sorts, which would explain why they signed anonymously in their letter.
It was only natural that The Great and Powerful Trixie had many adoring fans, but nopony ever had the courage to write to her before. Sure, they were vague about their intentions, but as she trotted back to her dressing room, she could imagine a tall and handsome stallion, asking to court her. Sadly, she had to keep her wild fantasies to herself, since it would be quite the story if The Great and Powerful Trixie should ever blush like that over a stallion.
Back in her dressing room, she paced. She simply could not wait to meet such a dedicated fan. Trixie couldn't help but dig into her desk and pull out the letter once more.
"Great and Powerful Trixie," the letter started, Trixie reading it aloud to nopony but herself.
"I simply cannot keep this a secret any longer. I should've known from the moment I saw you that you were the one. It took me a while, but I know it fully at last. If you wish, I'd like to meet you in Canterlot, in your dressing room, after your performance on the night of the 15th. I have something of great importance to discuss with you, and I hope that we can become very close.
Please write back soon,
Hanging up her new cloak and hat, Trixie began to groom herself... for her date.
"Oh, Spike, you would not believe the day I had," Twilight spoke as she entered the library later that evening. Celestia's sun had just set below the horizon, Luna's night taking hold in its starlit glory. However, the purple mare didn't hear a sound from the baby dragon. Concerned, she trotted upstairs to find him sleeping peacefully in his bed. She let out a quite sigh and covered him in his blanket, deciding not to disturb him.
The unicorn walked down the stairs and back to her waiting work. So far, she had traced family records from the beginning of the tree to almost the top. Yet, for the life of her, she could not find any holes. Sure, some branches got cut-off and others disappeared with time, but with the documents her mother provided, she simply could not understand what she meant. She could be so vague sometimes.
Hours ticked by as Twilight gave the books and pages of her family tree a second look. She must have missed something, not like it was hard to do with the jumble of mostly yellowed sheets she had to work with. At around midnight, she found that she simply couldn't concentrate any more. She sluggishly pulled herself away from the desk and into the Kitchen to fix herself a cup of coffee. The warm vanilla scent tickled the insides of her nose, rousing her as they cooked and poured into the pot.
With a steaming cup clenched in her teeth, the purple mare walked back to her work, taking a small sip to help her get going again. What drove her to work so hard on this? Twilight reasoned that she wanted to impress her mother yet again; to make sure that she not only didn't fail, but to do it faster then she could. But then, there was the whole challenge aspect to the idea of tracking down a long-lost, distant relative.
Just as she was about to call it a night, two white sheets of paper captured her interest. They looked so crisp and clean compared to the others, as though they weren't very old. One of the two papers turned out to be her birth certificate. Like most, it stated her name, date of birth, attending doctor, where she was born, if she was a filly or a colt, and the name of her parents. Twilight couldn't help be feel a pang of sorrow as she read out her father's name. Granted, he died when she was very little, but she still could remember him if she tried really hard, the images and sounds blurred with time.
In her mind's eye, she could still make him out. He was a blue, purple maned unicorn colt with a medium build. She could remember him pushing her on some swings when she was a foal, smiling and laughing in a soft, yet firm voice when she squealed in delight. In front of them sat her mother on a bench, a purple and silvery-blue maned filly, smiling at her husband and daughter as they played in the park. Twilight could feel tears welling in her eyes when she remembered how long ago it had been; far longer than she ever dare mention.
She sighed, nearly forgetting about the second piece of paper behind it. She figured it had to be her father's death certificate, since she didn't recall seeing it in the rest of the pile. However, she felt compelled to check it, just in case. She was glad that she looked at it. Shock swept over her entire being as she drank the words on the page like a pony that hadn't had any water in a week. The unicorn's eyes went wide as they dwelt on a particular name on the sheet.
"It couldn't possibly mean..." Twilight finally voiced, barely able to speak at all. Tears began to well in her eyes again as she pushed her memory to her very limit, able to make out something she hadn't really noticed before. No faces were visible, but there were colours, and those colours spoke volumes to the purple unicorn. She knew what she had to do.
The Great and Powerful Trixie, as much as she hated to admit it to herself, grew anxious as the minutes ticked by. Time seemed to slow down just to annoy the blue unicorn and all her radiant glory. She needed her, to hug and hold... to voice her fears and anxiety to. Trixie bit her lip and moved over to her trunk, opening it in a dazzling light blue glow. She risked a lot heading back into Ponyville after the Ursa Incident, but she simply couldn't leave this behind.
The cart, her fireworks, her makeup, even her trademarked hat and cape could all stand to be lost to her. There would be other hats and capes, other spell books... but what she risked so much to extract from the splintered ruins of her cart was priceless. Levitating out of the trunk was a purple, plush unicorn doll. Trixie had her as long as she could remember, and although her precious Bella looked disturbingly similar to the unicorn that nearly ruined her career, she simply couldn't part with it.
"Oh, Bella," Trixie started, snuggling her foalhood toy close. "Trixie finally has a fan that wants to get close to her. She hopes that he's rich, but he probably isn't. What does Trixie do?" She placed an ear close to the toy's imaginary mouth, and nodded at the imaginary advice that she whispered. "Alright, Trixie will try." She replied.
Suddenly, a knock sounded on her dressing room door, causing the pale blue unicorn to jump. She quickly tucked the toy back into the trunk, trying her best to regain her composure. Giving a last brush of her mane, and a reciting her chant, she replied to the knocking. "The Great and Powerful Trixie grants you entry!"
She kept her back to the door, head held high in the air. Trixie would allow them to gaze upon her godly body, to drink in her power and marvel at her beauty, before she would turn to face them proper and make their life complete. An awkward shuffling of hooves met her ears, the admirer clearly nervous about being in her awesome presence! The Great and Powerful Trixie smiled to herself as the hoof steps died. She had let them bask in her glory long enough.
"Y-you!" Trixie shouted, her voice ringing of anger, shock and, although she'd never admit it, fear. Standing before her, instead of the handsome and rich stallion she imagined, was that irritating purple unicorn again. Had she come to expose her to her loyal audience here? Have her outcast again to wallow like a... like a common pony!?
Twilight Sparkle saw the distress in the unicorn's eyes. It was evident that she hadn't forgotten the Usra Minor Incident, or how she had essentially run her out of town. It only made her task harder, but it had to be done... even if she would never accept it. "Trixie... I'm sorry about the deception. I can tell you're upset, so I'll just make this as brief as possible. Please, hear me out."
"No!" Trixie shouted. "The Great and Powerful Trixie knows why you are here, and she will never let you ruin her career again! Whatever it is you have to say, The Great and Powerful Trixie does not want to hear it. You can just turn around and march right out that door, Twilight Sparkle!"
The purple mare sighed at the unicorn's stubborn attitude. Then again, she remarked to herself, it was a trait they shared. "Look, I'm not here to ruin your career, Trixie. I just want to tell you something important." Twilight nudged around in her saddle bags for the papers she collected here in Canterlot. Along with the ones her mother sent, they should have made for an air-tight case. "I've been looking into my family history for the last week or so, and I discovered something."
"The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn't care to hear about your stupid family history!" Trixie replied, her snout held high into the air.
"Trixie..." Twilight started, deciding to be blunt. "We're sisters."
Silence hung in the air for a long time, as if breaking it would send the world over the precipice of disaster. Neither of the unicorns moved or made a sound for minutes, looking each other in their purple eyes. At last, the silence was broken by a sigh from Twilight. "I know it's hard to believe, but I have proof." Using her magic, the purple mare passed the papers over to the blue mare.
As she read, her eyes narrowed. It simply couldn't be true! There was no way she could be this... this commoner's... sister! She was The Great and Powerful Trixie, not the younger sister to Twilight Sparkle! Anger erupted in her eyes as she sent the papers flying back into the unicorn's face.
"How dare you shove these lies under The Great and Powerful Trixie's nose!?" She shouted in indignation, face flushing in anger and embarrassment. "There is no way in all Equestria that she is related to a sorry excuse for a unicorn like you! Yes, you may have vanquished a cranky Ursa Minor, but Trixie is still the superior magician! You disgust her with your blatant forgeries! Now get out of her sight, before she calls the guards!"
Twilight sighed and left the dressing room, defeated. There was simply too much anger and hurt welled up inside her for her to accept the truth. "Maybe one day, Trixie," Twilight spoke before the door closed. "You will be able to call me 'sister.' When that day comes... you'll know where to find me."
Trixie slammed the door behind the arrogant purple unicorn, overwhelmed with emotion. Anger, hurt, jealousy, and fear swirled around inside her like a torrent just wanting to get out. She stomped angrily over to her trunk and withdrew her precious foalhood toy, slamming it roughly against the walls of her dressing room, crying out in anger and frustration. Trixie threw herself onto her bed after the initial surge of anger and brought her toy... her only friend in the entire world, close to her. Hot tears streamed down her face as she sobbed. She never meant to hurt her, and now her precious Bella had lost a limb and her horn. The blue unicorn cuddled her close, vowing under pain of death to find her missing stuffed limbs come sunrise. For now, she just wanted to sleep: to forget the pain and confusion.
"Hey, Twilight!" Spike chirped happily to the unicorn. "How was Canterlot?"
She could hear a voice calling out for her, but the purple mare found herself lost in a fog of indifference. The purple unicorn hadn't said a word since she tried to show Trixie the truth... a truth she spit back in her face and rejected outright. Twilight made it a point not to cry: not until she was safe in her room and away from the prying eyes of the baby dragon.
"Twilight?" He called as she trotted past, not seeing the tears welling in her eyes.
Twilight slammed and locked her door tight; digging deep into her trunk, pulling out a blue unicorn doll her mom had given her before she sent her to the Royal Academy. Only now did she realize how much it looked like Trixie... like her little sister. She buried her head into her pillow and sobbed, recalling the letter her mother sent after she told her of her discovery. The family had lived happily together for a couple of years... but a year after Trixie was born, their father died.
Her mom, unable to support herself, not to mention two filly foals, had to make a tough decision. She tried to send them both off to the Royal Academy, but they only accepted Twilight. Reluctantly, their mother had to separate them, despite her wish to keep them together. Trixie was put up for adoption and found a loving home. However, before they were separated for the final time, her mother gave them both dolls... each made to look like the other's sister so that, in some small way, they would always be together.
Hours later, Spike climbed the stairs into the bedroom, unlocking it with a trick he learned from Snips and Snails. He opened the door cautiously, expecting to be yelled at for interrupting. Instead, he saw the unicorn curled up on the bed, clutching her little doll in a death grip, tears still visible on her face. It hurt him to see her like this, but in time, he figured, she would get better. In the meantime, he crept over to her bed and pulled the blanket over her sleeping form.
"Good night, Twilight."