Another one of my FIM stories. To be honest though, I upload these to FIMFiction and The Fanfiction Forum first, so if you're interested in more of my works you're better off subscribing to my user page on FIMfiction (~Emperor).
The unicorn stood at the top of the hill, looking down at the town sitting in the valley below. The many bright lights indicated the path of destruction that had been wreaked on it only a mere hour before, the casualties including her own travelling caravan.
"Hmph," She said to nopony, turning her head up at the village. Ponyville had been a bust, and now she was without a warm bed for the night. Looking up at the nearby travelling marker, she thought aloud, "Fillydelphia is out of the question now with all my props destroyed. Manehatten is having its annual fashion show right now, I simply would never get a time slot for at least a week. How about…" She trailed off, as she reassessed herself.
She had lied about not being able to defeat an Ursa Major, or even an Ursa Minor. The mare had intended for the townsfolk to lose all hope after that statement, only to come out with a sudden burst of energy and receive the goodwill the citizens of Ponyville would pour out upon the Ursa's banishment, more than making up for the magical power she would have expended. Then that purple unicorn had showed her up. She had never felt so humiliated!
Humming to herself, she thought it over. Even if her spur-of-the-moment plan hadn't worked, she was still possessed of a great amount of energy. Perhaps…yes, it had been some time, hadn't it?
Trixie reared up on her legs, before galloping off eastwards at the fork in the road. "It's time for Trixie to return home," She mused to herself.
The outskirts of Whinnychester were nearly indistinguishable from any other rural town. As a visitor trotted down the main dirt road entering the demographic core, he would notice the fields of wheat kept by the agricultural workforce, consisting mostly of Earth ponies. Continuing along, she would see the massive mills where most of the wheat was ground into flour, Whinnychester's staple commodity, followed by the small river where much of the flour was sent downstream to a larger port. Finally crossing a bridge, he would come to the small group of shops and inn that clustered around the village hall and community plaza. She could then walk out the other end of town and continue on her way.
What singled Whinnychester out from any other tiny burg for Trixie was that it was her hometown.
The nights were getting longer. After having a fitful sleep the night before, Trixie had paced herself most of the short day, traveling through and around another dozen such hamlets that she might have called home if the dice had been rolled another way with her chance of birth. It was only as the sun was being pushed below the mountaintops on the horizon that Trixie at last spotted her birthplace. At first, she could only identify her destination by the massive vanes that outfitted the few grain mills that dotted Whinnychester, but as she approached the town, the remaining sunlight caught the golden fields of wheat just right, presenting a dazzling burst of colour.
Trixie had to stop for several minutes to appreciate the sight, as the stalks of grain danced in the soft breeze. The smell of pastries being baked off in the distance wafted in along with that of wet grass and dry wheat, a toxic concoction of scents capable of infecting her with homesickness. The temperature, still moderate, lulled her eyes closed, and she enjoyed herself as she listened to the gentle whistling of the wind passing through the wheat, each note a tribute to the hundred generations of ponies that had lived here, tilling, planting and watering the land.
With a sigh, she hummed along tunelessly as she opened her eyes. Wisps of pink-tinged magic drifted off the end of her horn as she trotted along, following an ancient superstition about a unicorn needing to attract fireflies when returning home in the autumn. Trixie had fond fillyhood memories of her mother telling her stories about such old mares tales and, while she held little patience for most of them, the to-and-fro pacing of the sparkles of pink light against the dusk was pretty enough on its own merits. The technique to cast them was habit by now, the only real conscious action she needed to take being to make sure it was the right pool of energy she drew on.
"It's good to be home," Trixie spoke out aloud as she had many times on her trek from Ponyville, the silence of the great plains of Equestria often overwhelming on her despite the openness of the large fields. Analytical eyes picked out the strains of wheat as she continued, such as the Amber Durum, often used for pasta, or the Winter White, ground into flour for bakeries. The farming life was all incredibly dull to her, but growing up in Whinnychester, she knew her stuff. It was the many days of working on her friends' farms, both by hoof and by magic, that gave her the physical and magical endurance to both travel long distances and do long performances without pause.
The scent of food got stronger as Trixie at last came to the bridge that divided the farms of Whinnychester from the small commercial hub that serviced the farmponies, the smell of cherry pie especially tickling her nose. Loudly smacking her lips as she imagined the taste of a slice of pie later, she finally found her foalhood home, a two-story bungalow with shop on bottom and residential space on top, and trotted right past it.
Trixie had few desires greater than to draw a heated bath to wash her dirt-matted coat and soothe her sore hooves, but she had one last place to visit. Trixie had made a stop at the last village she had been through, at a shop she remembered specialised in flowers. There, the blue-furred mare had acquired a bouquet of lavenders, keeping them in the saddlebag she had also picked up since.
Her excited trot slowed down to a more relaxed canter, her mood suddenly dulled as Whinnychester's cemetery came into view, set a ways back from the town hub. Her horn shone as Trixie made the small gates swing open. The fence on either side of the gate was short enough she could have easily cleared it, but for all her loudness at her magic shows, she did not lack for tact.
"Somepony's kept this place clean," Trixie observed, noting the short grass. She hoped it had been cut: while she had no aversion to somepony eating grass, having done it herself on countless occasions while on the road, there was just something about a cemetery and its purpose that made it seem ineffably wrong to eat the grass there.
Trixie counted the rows of gravestones going from the front gate to the back, noting that a new row had been started since she had last been here. Wrinkling her eyebrows, she decided not to see who had passed on since her last visit. Trixie would no doubt find out eventually, and the mare wanted this night to be one of reunion than one of departure.
At last, the young pony found the headstone she sought, its distinctive shape noticeable from afar. Most ponies had their Cutie Mark engraved in the stone (unless they had died young), but this gravestone had been itself carved out in the shape of the Cutie Mark born by the mare buried underneath: a seven-sided shape with six equal angles and one larger, obtuse angle, with a wand overlaid across the obtuse angle.
Any happiness Trixie had had at the sight, sound and scent of home melted away, reacting with the words on the stone in front of her to form a melancholic sadness that pervaded her being. Sniffing, she felt tears dripping down her muzzle as the words echoed in her head, long since burned into memory.
Here Lies September Midsummer Loving Wife and Mother
She Departed Early, Leaving in Winters Bosom
"I miss you, mama," Trixie sobbed, little crackles of energy popping off her horn as she struggled to keep her overpowering emotional energy in. "I wish you were here still." She didn't dare to use telekinesis on the flowers in her saddle right now, opting to use her teeth to pick them up and lay them down, having cast a stasis bell when she had picked them up earlier.
Even full of emotion, Trixie attempted to stay quiet in the cemetery, choking back her sobs, failing more often than not, her only moral victory being to reduce the volume. It was that which let her hear the soft clopping of hoofsteps behind her.
"So you've returned," Came a voice as familiar to her as the dancing of wind through the wheat stalks, the smell of cherry pie or the sight of fields of gold. "How have you been, Trixie?"
Trixie answered the stallion who had snuck up on her by turning around, and sweeping him up in her front legs, desperately clinging to him as if his existence would be snuffed were she to let go. "Oh, papa!" She continued crying, letting out the flood of tears that had been dammed up by the toughness she had built up on the road, "I miss mama so much!"
The two stayed there for several minutes, as the male unicorn embraced his daughter in return, even as her tears wetted his dark fur. He had been witness to many of these outbursts, and patted her back, knowing this was one of the quickest methods to calm her down. As Trixie began to calm down, her body heaving less violently with each passing moment, he spoke, "Your mother was a great mare, Trixie. Not a day goes by that I don't miss her myself, and wonder if I was responsible for her death."
It was something that had been played many times, and Trixie found herself reflexively falling into her usual role as she fiercely shook her head, hooves free once more, using one of them to strongly tap her father on the chest, "Don't you dare say that, papa! You know as well as I do her illness was entirely unrelated!" She let out an exasperated grunt, before continuing on in a calmer voice, "Besides, you said it yourself, it was more than two years since you last took from her. Your brothers' wives didn't all die of pneumonia either, did they?"
Wooden Chisel nodded, relenting the argument before it turned into a Diamond Dog and Pony show. Intellectually, he knew he wasn't to blame, but emotionally he was still weak, never allowing himself to rule out the possibility. But his daughter was here now, the last living product of their short union, and he was going to enjoy the short time he had to spend with her before she ran off on another tour.
He opened his mouth to speak, bit his tongue as he refrained, then threw caution to the wind as he spoke again, "Trixie? Can you...cast your spell again?"
Trixie looked up at him, violet eyes meeting blue, "Spell? Huh? Oh, that spell! Hold on, papa," She said, freeing herself from his grasp and turning around to the headstone. Clenching her teeth together, she pulled at the reserves of unicorn magic she held after burning through most of it for stamina.
Wooden Chisel watched as his daughter focused, sweat dripping down her muzzle as raw magic manifested from her horn, before trickling off the tip onto the top of the stone. Trixie's magic was so concentrated it radiated a bright pink even away from her body for several seconds before it coalesced. The mare was like a smithpony in his smelter, the magic blob slowly elongating into a cylinder, then taking shape as four long, slender legs emerged from the bottom, followed by a head, mane and tail, finer features being chiseled out to a detail that even he could admire.
A regular illusion would have taken his daughter mere seconds. The phantasmal spectre that lingered before them took much longer, but the payoff was worth it. The ghostly form of his dead wife emanated the love his daughter held for her, even after several years in the ground.
If he fooled himself long enough, he could think that it was the love September had held for him before she passed.
A sudden noise jolted his attention back to Trixie, whom had plopped herself down on the grass, panting at the strain on her unicorn magic. Trotting over, Wooden Chisel sat down by her on all fours, pressing his body up against hers, smiling as she curled up into his form. "Thank you, Trixie," He said warmly, feeling as if he could carve a dozen pieces of furniture at once when he returned home. As his daughter stayed silent, he decided to break the quiet, not entirely sure if he was talking to her or to himself, "You know, September was special. Most ponies I meet are truly kind, gentle beasts, but she was a star among equinity. She accepted me for both who and what I was, after all."
The stallion was glad to see his daughter's neutral expression slowly turn into a smile, restrained as it appeared.
"Papa, I'm curious. Did you and mama ever try to have another foal?"
He grimaced. He didn't mind answering that, but it brought up some less pleasant memories. He took a deep breath, and began, "September and I considered it, Trixie. Unfortunately, it takes a nightmarish amount of energy. She only foaled you three years after we wed, so two years before we could start. Even then, when you were first born, September was on a blissful high for days, and it was the first time in many years that I accidentally wrecked a project." Fortunately, the customer had been understanding of the delays given the circumstances of his becoming a father. "However, when we tried for a sibling for you, Doctor Morning Star advised us that she was liable to miscarry if she attempted to have a second foal, due to bruising incurred when she was in labour with you."
"And then she died young of pneumonia," Trixie whispered.
Wooden Chisel halted his train of thoughts, and hastened to correct any notions his daughter might get about blaming herself, "Yes, and she would have done it all over again to have you, Trixie. Many of my brothers have multiple offspring, so as you said, nothing you or I did would have caused it. Her body was always weak in the first place, and no amount of magic passed down by the Queens nor Equestrian medicine would have helped, short of one of your Princesses or more energy than you and I could gather together in a lifetime. Her desire for peace and quiet was why two unicorns moved to Whinnychester away from the city, and her love of the small treasures in life is why I became a carver and sculptor."
Trixie responded by burying her head between her hooves, rolling her cheeks against the soft ground and dewy grass. Quickly becoming bored with the activity, she looked up at the phantasm of her mother, the soft oranges and yellows of her coat and mane a contrast to her own blue and her father's jet-black. September Midsummer had died when Trixie had only exited fillyhood, and she was glad her mother's appearance was still so vivid in her mind.
Trixie knew she would cry the day she forgot what her mother sounded and looked like, and she wasn't certain if she would ever stop.
She was broken out of her thoughts as her father spoke up one more time, "Trixie…do you hate me?"
The mare was shocked into vehement denial, "No, never!" She hissed, feeling hurt by the mere implication. "Why would you ever even think such a thing?"
Her father appeared to realise how crass his question was, and tilted his head away slightly, cheeks showing red even through his dark fur. "It's just, you go away for so long, and rarely return, staying for only a few days. That…and the time we had to remove you from the Canterlot School."
Trixie flinched. The first accusation was true in everything except for the conclusion he drew from it. "No, papa, I could never hate you. It's just, Whinnychester never changes. The ponies do, but every time I come home, I feel like I'm still only a few years old. The buildings may get a new coat of paint or new thatching, but it's as if Whinnychester were in a stasis spell." She shook her head, "I enjoy doing my magical shows, but nopony would come anymore if I stayed here and performed them every night. Even more than that, I enjoy travelling. Not a day goes by that my hooves don't itch to wander. I dare say I've been to more towns, villages and burgs than any royal cartographer or census-taker has."
Having once more explained her wanderlust and the endless quest to slake her thirst for adventure to her father, Trixie paused. The second worst day of her life had been when she had to drop out of Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. It wasn't because of poor grades, or an attitude problem, or lack of money, or homesickness. Neigh, Trixie had been a stellar academic, a slight braggart but nothing she was ever disciplined for, her parents could more than afford the token payment for the school and dorms, and she had enough holiday breaks throughout the school year that her father would always pick her up and take her home for.
Neigh, it was because her magical aura had changed from green to pink.
That was simply not supposed to happen, and Trixie had lucked out in discovering the change when she was alone, as opposed to in front of a classroom. She had skipped for the first time in her life to consult the only uncle she knew of to live in Canterlot. After a panicked flurry of messages between him and a few others, she was forced to leave the School, stating a family emergency that would supposedly eventually prevent her from ever returning. Trixie had stuck to that ever since, not just staying away from the School for Gifted Unicorns, but from Canterlot altogether.
There simply could not be anypony that could equate 'Bellatrix Midsummer', a filly with a green magical aura, with Trixie Lulamoon, a wandering performer with a pink magical aura. Nopony could be allowed to investigate her and deduce her condition in the event it led back to her father.
Fortunately, Trixie's coat had lightened from a dark blue to a sky blue as she aged owing to many seasons spent working in the farms around Whinnychester in the hot sun, followed by many more wandering the backroads of Equestria. Only her emotional weakness in keeping the nickname her mother had given her left her truly exposed, and even then she swung to the other extreme, speaking in third-pony so often to disassociate herself with anypony named Beatrix that Trixie sometimes even thought in the third-pony.
But there was so much sentiment in between those thoughts, Trixie was unsure she could express it all to her father. She tried, anyways, "I wish I could have stayed on at the School until I graduated, but I don't blame you, papa. It simply is who I am. If you weren't who you were, then I would never have been born myself." She punctuated her point by hugging him again, this time attempting to comfort him instead of being comforted herself.
It took several seconds, but she finally heard a muffled "Thank you" from her father.
At last, Trixie did what she always did when she returned home. She pressed her head against her father's, eliciting only a small murmur from him, before their horns crossed.
Trixie adored putting on magic shows. Perhaps she felt anger at having to drop out from the School, and being able to show off the magic that she had learned outside of the academy soothed the massive blow to her ego that day had been. However, she also enjoyed seeing the happy faces on the audiences that inevitably gathered, neighsayers and hecklers aside, and being able to experience that concentrated joy often left her exultant. Until a day ago, when her mouth and two idiot colts had gotten her into trouble, the only negative had been having to depart a village after a few shows and leave the new friends she had made over free dinners and other activities.
As she transferred the magic that she had built up over those many months to her father, all those memories came coming back, overpowering the tragedy in Ponyville.
Once the transfer was complete, Trixie stepped back, feeling revitalised. Even her father looked for the better, his black fur glistening under the moonlight and the radiance of the nearby phantasm. Sneaking a glance off to the side at the conjuration of her mother, Trixie decided she was nostalgic enough to ask for it. "Papa…do you think you can change again, for one last time with mama?" This, she said as she moved up to her mother's form, snuggling up against it.
Wooden Chisel's eyes widened in surprise, and his mouth opened, only to choke on his first word, "I…I…". Looking over the spectre of his dead wife, he knew he was defeated. Both Trixie and himself were talented sensors, and he knew there was no pony within visible distance to accidentally stumble across them. With the fear of discovery vanquished, he relented.
In a flash of green fire, Wooden Chisel, the large unicorn stallion was gone, devoured by the ethereal flame. In his place was Wooden Chisel, the blue-eyed Changeling whom had forsaken his clan, becoming one of a rare breed of Changelings to enter in union with a pony. Moving up against Trixie, he cast a leg around both her and September. One was real and one was fake, but the fur from both felt near identical, one slightly caked in dirt and sweat, the other as soft as he remembered it being. Even if his wife was unable to return the leg hug, he could suspend reality long enough to bask in the warm glow she gave off.
It was pleasant. He was happy he had a daughter. He was happy Trixie was that daughter.
Wooden Chisel couldn't tell how long he had stayed there, but knowing he couldn't fall asleep in this form, green fire cleansed him from the accursed body that would turn most ponies away but for the two next to him, and he was a normal equine once more. Looking down at his daughter, the remaining light of his life, he told her, "Let's go home, Trixie." He refrained from joking about her needing a bath.
Drowsily, she responded, "Mmkay. Thanks, papa." The suggestion was enough to invigorate her from the nap she was drifting off into, the idea of getting back to the house a big one. There was no place quite like home.
At last, the two got up from their family hug to depart the cemetery. It had been a guilty pleasure to once more be a complete family. However, neither of them would deny its catharsis, something to salve the pain that would occasionally flare up.
A few villagers would come in over the next days, notice the spectre in memorial that would slowly fade out and the lavender bouquet lying on September Midsummer's grave, and know that the prodigal daughter had returned. Trixie would catch up on the going-ons around the village, finding out who was dead, who had married, and who had foaled, and regal her father with her own tales of travelling. In this case, she would confess what had happened to her in Ponyville, the disaster having left her in the doldrums. Wooden Chisel would sympathise, and together, they would build her a new cart, better than before. Trixie would have a tearful embrace with her father before finally leaving again, the wanderlust dragging her across the continent. That was how it had always went.
This time, however, father and daughter failed to notice a phenomenon as they graced the town with their presence, leaving the cemetery gates at their back. As the cool night wind blew in, magic that had leaked into the world from the aether realm by the short reappearance of Nightmare Moon made a single solitary change to the false spectral form of September Midsummer.
I consider myself successful with this story if I've changed anybody's headcanons on Trixie's origins. Where did you clue in that Trixie might be a Changeling, or that her father was definitely a Changeling, or did it take until he transformed into one that you finally realised it?
I don't believe I've seen a Changeling!Trixie story before (I think there are a couple where she gets turned into one), though I have seen at least one where she serves Chrysalis by getting ponies worked up with positive emotions. This isn't quite Changeling!Trixie either, but close enough. It does actually work pretty nicely, though, if you subscribe to the idea that Changelings can subsist on any positive emotion, not just love: Trixie apparently does her shows for free, so even if she doesn't get a single tip, she could still get energy from the emotions inspired in ponies by her act.
If I ever do a sequel to this, I would definitely elaborate more on what Changeling-Pony offspring like Trixie are capable of. They aren't capable of shapeshifting at all, and are biologically one hundred percent pony. They have weaker emotion-sensing and absorbing abilities than a regular Changeling, and cannot retain as much energy either, but have a 'pony magic' reserve and a 'Changeling magic' reserve to off-set. They still need to eat regular food, but could survive for quite some time on emotions.
These abilities get weaker with each generation of offspring, so a pony with a Changeling great-grandfather would be nearly indistinguishable from a regular pony (and there would only be a handful of Changelings that have foals with ponies at any given time, possibly in the tens or twenties at the most. The text in this story implies that the Changeling needs to use a lot of emotion energy up to produce another life, which acts as a population deterrent on hybrids). Since Trixie doesn't need to use her Changeling magic, she just saves it up and gives it all to her father whenever she returns home.
I don't think too much of Trixie having hax illusions abilities or something since nothing in the show hints at it, just something that kind of formed by the fandom (and then echoed in the name of 'Trixie and the Illusions' band in Rainbow Rocks), but being a daughter of a Changeling which can shapeshift means it actually makes sense for her to be decent at illusions now.
It should be noted that I do re-use elements from other stories I've written – they are NOT connected stories, merely things that I recycle. For example, Trixie's father here has the same name and career as her father in 'Dice of Life' does, but he's not a Changeling in that story, nor is she a Changeling-Pony magical hybrid.