Disclaimer: My Little Pony is the property of Hasbro. This is a non-profit work made by an independent contractor outside of the official company's notice intended for non-profit entertainment and speculative purposes only.
By Darkryt Orbinautz
Eviler Than Thou
Of Bells and Ciders
Black woods for as far as the eye could see. Except that they weren't really black, just looking that way between the shadows of the trees against the light of the city in the distance. The high, high bell tower a pony could see for miles.
The woods, creepy and owl-filled as they were, did nothing to cow the pony.
Inside a stagecoach, an dark blue unicorn, clad in a star-colored cape and wizard's hat, looked out from her coach's window at the gleaming bell tower in the distance.
Trottingham's most distinctive feature.
The coach, automated by the unicorn's magic, rolled across the forest floor.
An wolven howl echoed around, followed by a owl's hoot.
Inside the coach, Trixie scowled. She'd be blasted if she was going to let some creepy noises keep her from Trottingham.
Trottingham...Trixe had never been there. The likes of her were more suited to flashy, gaudy Las Pegasus or unsuspecting, backwater Ponyville which she had recently escaped from. But certainly not in imperial, high-class, Trottingham whose air of culture and mystique rivaled Canterlot's. Even then, when ponies who had been to both cities were asked, they would always say that there was something Trottingham had that Canterlot didn't. Something strange, something abnormal...something anicent.
Off in the distance, the Trottingham's bell tower began ringing. The sudden noise of the massive clapper against the bell's lip, the booming, percussive sound of the ancient bronze, caused Trixie to fall over in surprise. Her concentration disrupted, the spell she cast on the stagecoach to make it move wavered in strength.
Grunting as she worked herself back to a riding position, Trixie swore swearing words about the bell for startling her.
"NAH AH HA HA HA!"
Trixie froze in fear. That wasn't a forest creature. In fact, it almost sounded like a pony, but...distorted.
Concerned, she slightly opened the front door of her stagecoach and peeked her head out. "H-hello? Is somepony there?" she asked meekly. With the quiet rising and undisturbed since the bell's ringing, the terrible notion of a somepony being in danger wormed it's way into her mind. She took in a deep breath and huffed. This was a perfect opportunity for her! Clearing her throat and steeling her courage, she boldly announced her intent to help. "Hark! Is that a poor pony who requires assistance from the Great and Powerrrful Trrrixie?"
More silence. In all likenesses, she was too late.
Frowning slightly from her inability to prevent a pony from suffering horribly, she used her magic to make her stagecoach start moving again.
"NAH AH HA HA HA!"
Trixie, now more irritated at that annoying laughter then afraid of it, stopped her coach and stuck her head out to yell at whomever was doing it. "The Great and Powerful Trixie demands that you stop that laughing!"
More silence...then, there was noise. Kinda like a rubber band being pulled back to be snapped. Following that was a sight that made Trixie's breath accelerate and her irises to shrink in alarm.
Hurling itself straight at her and her stagecoach was a small, emerald green fireball, no doubt cast by some teenage unicorn for some dumb activity that their parents would frown upon. However, while the fireball itself was small, and (Trixie assumed) it's origins were stupid in nature, it would've set her coach on fire. She charged up her horn in an effort to cast a spell to intercept it, but no spell that would actually help came to mind.
The fireball hit the dead-center of her coach door, and the flame wasted no effort in spreading about her wooden door.
Trixie quickly fell back inside her coach and backed against the backside of her coach. The flames kept spreading about her door, eventually swallowing the entire front half of the coach in it's jade glow.
Panic making her unable to cast magic, Trixie began trying to buck an exit into the back half of her coach. She bucked and bucked, but the wood didn't give out. Like a smirthing slimming snake, the bright fire began slithering closer.
"No, no!" Trixie exclaimed, the pacing of her bucking increasing from fear. "Please break! Please!"
Finally, as in response to Trixie's pleas, the wood gave out, a hole put in it by Trixie's back hoof. "Yes!"
Motivated at the notion she could live another day, Trixie continued bucking until the hole was large for her to fit through. She quickly turned around and jumped through without taking a second look back until after she was safely out of the burning vehicle.
Trixie stared at her burning stagecoach, her blue coat illuminated by the green glare of light the magic fire gave off.
She stared, entrance by the flicking fire for a good minute.
After that had passed, her panic had faded enough that she could focus enough to summon a raincloud with the magic in her horn to splash water down on her stagecoach to snuff the flames out. Tendrils of smoke started drifting off into the sky. Trixie let out a relieved sign. She had saved her coach, even if it was now burnt and wet.
This done, Trixie took in a deep breath in preparation to start scolding the dumb teens.
"Hey! You dumb colts! You could've killed me! Get out here and-"
Another emerald fire came arching out from the canopy of the trees and landed some distance in front of her, dispersing into nothingness as it just barely missed her and hit the ground.
"Hey!" Trixie snapped, more than offended. "Are you even paying attention to what Trixie is saying?"
Three more fireballs flew up and out of the canopies from multiple directions and landed around her. She deftly moved to the left, then to the right to dodge the spells.
Trixie's eyes widened. Dumb teens or not, whoever was throwing these fireballs at her knew fully well what they were doing.
"Duh-at...Please! If you want something from Trixie, just ask!" Trixie asked meekly, covering her head with her front legs in fear.
Behind her, in spite of there having been no second fireball to hit her coach, it burst right up into the green inferno that Trixie had put out.
Trixie backed away in alarm, seeing her coach alight having cowed any last remaining shard of courage in her right out. She turned around and began galloping off into the forest way she had came.
"Aghh-ick-aaaaaaah!" Celestia blast it all to Tartarus! Her hooves were getting stubbed over and over again by pebbles and rocks and tree trunks and roots. Her stagecoach had been wide enough to roll over them all on her way to Trottingham, but now, running back on hoof without her vehicle, the forest floor debris was poking at her.
"Eeeeugh..." Trixie's left eye winced in pain.
There was a sound like a firecracker going being lit and going off, and another emerald fireball came blazing through the woods and passed by her harmlessly, but that didn't mean she was safe. As a matter of fact, the fireball smashed against a tree, but unlike the other ones that dissipated when they had missed her, this one set the tree on fire. With a supernatural speed that could make a Wonderbolt seethe in envy, the fire spread up the tree and onto the branches. Then it leaped from the branches of the tree to the branches of the two adjacent to it.
Trixie stopped, examined the burning trees and swerved to her right. She galloped towards a pair of trees, meaning to escape through that route, but just as she was about to slip between them, the green fire leaped from the trees' it was on to them.
Terrified and backing away, Trixie turned around again and tried, again, to swerve off into another opening between another, but the same thing happened- just as she was to get through them, the fire consumed them. Then again, and again, and again until but two trees in the circle were aflame.
Seeing little to no other choice, Trixie scrunched her eyes shut and dash frenziedly towards the unlit trees, hoping against all hope in the world they wouldn't also catch fire and envelope her.
Much to her surprised relief and relaxation, when Trixie eyes next opened up, she was unscathed. She chanced a glance behind her to see that the circle of trees she just escaped was still well aflame, except for the two she had just went through. She paused, confused as to why those two particular trees would be left untouched by the otherwise all-consuming flame.
She stepped backwards, and with a splash, the answered presented itself to her. She turned her neck around to see her back hoof had just been splashed with muddy, mucky, water that it had stepped in. She looked behind her to see spots of puddles leading away -or perhaps to- a swamp puddle within the forest. She looked at the trees she passed through to see that they were much closer to the swamp waters then others in the circle.
She breathed out in relief. It seemed that flame, as unnatural and evil as it was, was still shared the common fire's fear of water.
"Ha!" Trixie boasted, her ego restored by the fact that she had just defied impossible odds. "Foolish unicorn! Did you really think you could beat the undefeatable, Grrreat and Powerrrful Trrrixe? Don't be a foal! Hahahahaha!"
Her victorious laughter was cut short by another fireball arching out and crashing right into the untouched trees.
Trixie blinked and blanched and started backing away, slowly submerging her back legs into the swamp. Trixie swiveled her head around in surprise when she realized what she was stepping into. "Oh, gross! The Great and Powerful Trixie is above taking a dip in a bog!"
The jade forest fire suddenly burned brighter then before, to the point that Trixie could easily hear it's unearthly sounding crackle.
Trixie pursed her lips in contemplation, her regained-ego falling and giving way back to her fear. Without a second thought, she inhaled a deep breath and dove into the swamp.
She sunk into the muddy water, breath held all the way that she sunk, and came upon an orange fish. She wasn't in the mood to question how it lived in such filthy water at the moment. She did wave to it amiably, though.
Once the disgust at having had to plunge herself full-body into a swamp had gone away, Trixie realized how much of a better position she was in now. All she had to do was wait for the fire to subside and the unicorn that was, at this point, deliberately targeting her, to either get tired or bored and leave. Then she could get out and, hopefully, snail her way to Trottingham through the burnt leftovers of the forest.
The fish's eyes widened, then it turned around and swam off.
Trixie frowned. Is Trixie so unattractive that she can even repel a fish?
However, it turned out it wasn't Trixie that had repelled the fish: A green fireball dunked itself into the water in right in front of her. Trixie's jaw dropped at the defilement of physics and she started trying to backpedal away from it.
It increased in size, spreading out around her and entrapping her in a burning circle. She splashed herself up out of the water only to see that the fire was also above the water.
Trixie's eyes closed shut and started watering. After all the times she had so narrowly escaped from the flame's grasp tonight, she was still doomed for it to be the cause of her death.
She reflected on those times, how she just managed to defy the odds in her coach, in the woods, in the circle of trees...
Trixie spat at the water and fire in defiance and, deciding she'd go out on her own terms, dove back under the water. She opened her mouth to let the water into her breathing passage ways. (which tasted really gross, but...)
With her mouth just hanging open, the water went into her mouth quickly enough. Soon, her breathing slowed...then came to a halt...her conscious was going, going...
A rhythmic ha-chink-chink sounded out, rousing Trixie from her slumber.
"Hmmm?" She questioned, pushing herself up on on her shoulders. "Is Trixie...in the Elysian Fields?"
"No." A suave, male voice told her. "She's just outside Trottingham."
That caused Trixie's eyes to widen, allowing her to see where she was. The first thing she noticed was that her hat and cloak were on a clothesline, drying. The line was hanging from two pointed light bulbs on top of a cymbal-shaped lip of a huge clear container.
The second thing she noticed was that she was moving. On a vehicle. She struggled to get to her hooves, weakly groaning from her exhaustion.
"Don't exhaust yourself, dear." Another voice said, similar to the first one, but deeper.
Having now heard two voices, Trixie whipped her head back and forth to find their origin. She saw, in front, two lanky, dull yellow stallions wearing red-and-white stripe barbershop quartet vests and hats. One's face was young and attractive, while the others strong and chiseled looking with a red beard-and-mustache combo. Their cutie marks were complimenting, the beardless ones' being a apple that been slice with the bearded one's being a that slice of an apple. They were standing in front a boat-styled wheel, no doubt the steering mechanism for the huge, steampunk cart platform they were all on.
"Um...who are you?" Trixie asked automatically.
The two looked at each other knowingly, then they raised their hats off their heads, pointed at the other, and broke into song.
"We're the world famous Flim-Flam Brothers!"
"Traveling salesman non-parei!"
Trixe raised her eyebrow. "Uh...huh. Um...could you tell Trixie how she got here on your vehicle?"
The two put their hats back on. "We found you floating in a swamp in the forest. You were almost drowned, but we got to you just in the nic of time!"
Trixie's eyes widened in surprise. "Really? You saved Trixie?" They nodded. "Thank you! But...how did you get past the fire?"
The two exchanged serious glances. "Uh, we're sorry, Miss Trixie, but there wasn't any fire."
Trixie turned aghast. "No fire? But...it was on the water! It was green! Are you sure you didn't see it?"
Flim and Flam looked at each other again.
"On the water?"
Flam took his hat off in salute. "You, ma'am, are a very lucky mare to have escaped from him."
"Him?" Trixie asked. "Who's him?"
Now it was the Flim Flam Brothers turn for their eyes to widen. Then they fell over on their backs laughing.
"HAHAHAHAHA! Did you...did you really?"
"Y-you tried to go to Trottingham without knowing about him?"
"Who's him!?" Trixie repeated, slightly angry that hadn't actually answered her question.
The two stood up and righted themselves, then put their hats over their chests very seriously.
"Why..." Flam began. Flim finished.
"The Headless Horse, of course!"
Author's Notes For 'Of Bells And Ciders'
Another entry in the Countdown to Componydum! And the first one that wasn't retroactive! Yaaaay!