A faint melody drifted through the still dark ivory walls as the night went on, the calm, happy tune floating about like a moth in the moonlight. Gentle hoof-beats sounded through the outdoor promenade, their rhythmic pattern following the tune floating through the air. While the melodic sounds echoed through the still night air, a pair of eyes stared up at the cosmos above. The brilliant eyes gazed out into the heavens, their owner admiring the beauty of the night sky; her night sky.
"It's been nigh a thousand years since I've seen a night this pristine." Luna said to herself.
A full year.
It had been a full year since the lunar princess's return to her homeland and still she couldn't help but feel like it was the first time she was seeing her beloved night sky again. The alicorn sighed as she put the dark thoughts of the past from her mind and gazed upward once more; the shining orb of the moon filling her view.
The great disk of the night was full once more, and Luna felt positively radiant in its gentle glow. She wondered if this was how her older sister felt during the day. Surely Celestia must get a similar feeling of pride and joy out of the great blue sky and the regal blaze of the sunlight. Luna pondered these thoughts in her head as she trotted along, the dim light of the stars and moon mirroring the few lights of the city below that still shown at this hour.
Continuing her nightly walk, Luna passed by the great wooden entrance to her sister's tower, the great oak door fitting perfectly with the ancient white marble that made up so much of the castle. Two guards politely bowed to her as she passed, Luna returning their gestures of respect with a smile and a nod. The princess of the moon felt glad as she looked back at the two guards. It seemed that her dark past as Nightmare Moon no longer lingered in their minds; it was almost enough to bring a tear to her eye.
"Ah, could this be a more beautiful night?" Luna thought.
"Ohh... could this be a more stressful night..." a faint murmur sounded.
Luna's ears perked up at the soft groan. Looking upwards, the midnight blue alicorn saw a dim light floating out of one of the taller towers above. With a soft flap, Luna soared upward, her curiosity taking her to the window of her sister's room. Landing on the balcony, the princess of the night peered into the open window, the curtains hiding her from Celestia's view.
Through the dark fabric, Luna could see her older sister sitting at an old mahogany desk, dozens upon dozens of scrolls floating through the air around her. Celestia's normally radiant coat seemed dull, and her eyes had an almost glazed-over, bloodshot appearance. Her mane and tail were a frizzy mess and she seemed to yawn every several minutes as the night wore on.
Luna sighed as she watched how hard her sister worked. A pang of guilt went through her heart, the younger alicorn knowing this was partially her fault for being away for so long. Without a co-regent, all of the land's political and social documentation had to be handled by Celestia alone, and even after Luna's return, the elder alicorn insisted that she continue with most of the burden of running the principality of Equestria.
As the mistress of the moon backed away from the window, she thought back to her younger days. All those years ago, she and Celestia lived a more carefree life. Night and day were still their obligations, but they seemed to have more time for each other; Luna recalling the two of them playing and enjoying the world in which they held sovereignty over.
Now though, things were different. It was true that alicorns did possess immortality, but the years still seemed to hold somewhat of an effect on them. Luna too needed to admit that she no longer felt the seemingly boundless energy she held as a filly. Even if they had retained the spunk of their younger days, the world was different now; the land having new laws, new systems of management, and new generations of inhabitants...
Never the less, Luna still held the thoughts of the past in her head as she descended back towards the promenade below. Her head held lower than before, Luna slowly made her way back towards her room; the city clock chiming in the distance as if to signal morning's approach. Glancing up at the sky once more, she took in her last view of the night and began to slowly edge the moon towards the horizon; her mystical horn glowing with a dull blue aura.
Reaching her room, Luna lied down on her soft satin-clad bed as the moon's last glow disappeared over the horizon. Knowing Celestia would start the sunrise soon, Luna tried her best to drift off to sleep. Her mind however was still filled to the brim with nostalgia of the past, and sleep would not show itself. Tossing and turning in her bed, the princess of the moon struggled to put the thoughts of times long ago from her mind as she watched the last stars of night slowly fade with the coming dawn.
Eventually, Luna and sleep found each other; the nagging voice of the past muted for the moment. As her mind fell into a deep slumber, Luna's thoughts hatched a wish in her mind; a plea that she might have a day to re-live the old times she and her sister had shared in their younger days. The princess muttered a small phrase as she finally fell asleep completely. Luna had known it since her filly-hood days as part of an ancient lullaby; a lullaby that, she didn't realize, was actually a part of an ancient spell...
Stirring slightly, Luna's eyes fluttered open as she felt a light nudge on her side. With a yawn, the still tired princess of the moon rubbed her eyes as she sat up in her soft bed.
"Hello?" she asked, her voice somewhat skewed by her sleepiness.
"Hi Lu-Lu!" a young voice called back. "What are you still doing in here, sleepy head?"
"Huh?" Luna replied, looking over at the source of the voice. "Who said..."
The midnight alicorn's eyes went wide as she perceived the being next to her. Sitting on the edge of her bed was a young filly, her coat a brilliant white. Small wings, barely big enough for flying, grew from her back and a majestic horn sprouted from her forehead. Her mane and tail glowed with the pattern of a rainbow, the colors slightly neon and glistening with the sunlight.
"Well, come on, Lu-Lu! Get up, there's so much to do!" the filly smiled widely.
Luna's jaw dropped.
The energetic young alicorn in front of her could be no other than her sister, Celestia... but how? How did the fully-grown monarch of Equestria suddenly transfigure herself into the form she'd had more than a thousand years ago? The princess of the moon was well aware of Celestia's powerful magic, but why in the world would she invoke a transformation like this?
"My wish..." Luna breathed as her eyes went wide. "Oh dear... what have I done?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," the filly Celestia responded, "but I feel great! Better than I have in a thousand years!"
Celestia hopped off the bed and fluttered around the room, her small wings flapping busily to keep her aloft. The filly alicorn gave off a cheerful giggle as she pulled a somewhat clumsy loop. After some childish acrobatics, Celestia landed in the room's center and gave a quick bow to her sister. It wasn't long before the filly was back at Luna's side, still eager for her sister to climb out of bed.
"This can not be good..." Luna thought. "I know I wanted Celestia to be more relaxed like when we were younger, but... not to this extreme..."
"I can hear you..." the filly thought with a playful grin, her mind's words echoing through Luna's ears.
"Oh... almost forgot about that..." Luna sighed, recalling the telepathy spell they'd toyed with in their youth.
"Aww, Lu-Lu, thanks for the concern though." Celestia beamed. "I don't know how I got like this, but I certainly feel terrific! Oh! I just got an idea..."
"Whoa, easy." Luna interjected, remembering how rambunctious she and her sister were as fillies. "Celestia, I'm glad you're enjoying this, but I fear that I've made a terrible mistake. I need to figure out just how you became a filly and change you back before there's any royal duties to attend to."
"But that's no fun!" Celestia pouted. "We haven't really played together in ages... Besides, I really have been bored with all the stuff I normally do, so I think taking a break might be worth it for a change. Come on, Lu-Lu, what's say we stop for a while, huh?"
Luna sighed. It was true that she did, more than anything, want to relive the days of their past as well, and Celestia was very much overworked these days. With a kind grin, Luna looked back at her sister; the night princess's gaze as soft as the moon's glow.
"I suppose some time off is warranted." Luna grinned. "Besides, it really has been forever since we've played together, isn't it?"
"Oh, yay!" Celestia laughed, hugging her sister.
Luna returned the loving embrace, a small tear forming in her eye. For both of them, this was a bit of an odd situation, but a dream come true none the less. Even if just for a day, they'd get to relive the merriment they'd so often shared in the times long ago.
"Oh, just one thing." Luna said. "We can't let anyone see you like this. If word got out that you had suddenly become a filly again, well... I don't know how everyone would react."
"Huh? Why?" Celestia tilted her head. "Lu-Lu, relax, I may be a bit younger, but I'm still the princess of the sun after all."
"Yes, but" Luna said, closing her eyes "in your current state, I don't know how your mystic abilities have been altered. For all you know, your magic could be weaker, and if that's the case..."
The normally quiet princess of the moon went on a ways, her voice retaining its calm demeanor but remaining serious the whole way through. Luna didn't like the idea of lecturing anyone, especially her sister, but the usually soft-spoken princess thought that it needed to be done. However, Luna had forgotten one very important thing; Celestia was a filly again now, and fillies get bored with long lectures rather easily...
"And so," Luna finally finished, "it's imperative that..."
"Hey Lu-Lu!" Celestia called, opening the nearby window. "LAST ONE TO PONYVILLE IS A ROTTEN APPLE!"
Before Luna could call back to her, Celestia darted out the window as fast as her small wings could carry her. A small rush of wind followed the alicorn filly as she flew out into the sunlight, her young form heading out into the sky and towards the south as her sister watched from the tower.
Luna went wide-eyed. She couldn't believe what had just happened; Celestia, one of the most cautious ponies in all of Equestria, just darted out into broad daylight after being turned into a filly. Nostalgia or not, this was too risky, and Luna was beginning to curse herself for ever making that wish.
"This is not good..." she breathed. "I need to go after her... but..."
Luna paused as she thought of what might happen if both the divine sisters were out and about like this. It would be bad enough if anyone saw Celestia as a filly, but if they saw Luna out and about as well they might think it a national emergency. Luna took a deep breath as she reached the inevitable conclusion; she'd have to disguise herself.
It was true that Luna was calm, quiet, and kind, but the mistress of the moon had a mischievous side she'd kept ever since she was very young. She would use her abilities in illusion, a gift granted by the mysterious powers of the night, to change her appearance into all manner of things for various sorts of fun. The form in her mind was one of her favorites that she'd used many times long ago, however after a joke gone wrong in Ponyville in months recently gone by, she thought she'd have to abandon it entirely.
"And here I thought I'd never use this shape again." Luna thought as she concentrated on herself.
The alicorn's form began to glow as her magic coursed throughout her own body. Her coat morphed into a light shade of blue as her wings became invisible completely. Her mane and tail took on a hue only slightly lighter than her new coat, and her cutie mark swirled into a new shape, a star-tipped wand covering a crescent shaped aura of magic.
"Everyone would suspect something if princess Luna suddenly appeared in town." Luna said, finally changing the color of her eyes slightly.
As alicorn switched to unicorn, a dull purple hat and cape floated their way out of a nearby closet, the garments sliding neatly onto their wearer. As the glow finally diminished, the princess of the moon approached her large vanity mirror, checking her disguise over for any imperfections.
"Yes, everyone would be panicked if Luna arrived..." She smiled, quickly adopting her alter-ego's stuck-up attitude. "However..."
Concentrating, Luna built up a large stream of energy in her horn. She concentrated and focused, an image of a small town coming into her mind. As the image finally solidified in her mind's eye, Luna released her power, the energy turning to aura as the spell began. With a flash of smoke, the pony vanished; the royal chamber empty as Luna's teleportation spell ran its course. The princess reappeared several minutes later in a flash of light and sound just outside of Ponyville's outermost road, her disguise still intact. The "unicorn" peered out from behind her cape as she stared down the path leading to the town.
"No one would suspect anything of a visit from..." she paused for effect, letting her cape flutter back behind her. "THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE!"
As the disguised princess finished her audience-less introduction, a bright red object came sailing through the air, the hard fruit striking the "Great and Powerful Trixie" on the side of the head. The cloaked alicorn lost her balance as her hat flipped into the nearby grass. Falling into the dirt road with a resounding thud, 'Trixie' looked around with a groan as she tried to find the cause of the ballistic fruit.
"What in 'tarnation?" a thick country voice sounded. "Is somepony out there?"
As she stood up, the illusionist spotted a familiar orange-coated earth pony, her flank adorned with three apples. A brown hat sat atop her head, and her blond mane and tail were tied back with simple thread cords.
"Applejack!" the disguised princess called, almost forgetting her alter-ego's stuck up demeanor. "Oh, I mean, just what do YOU want? And just what did you intend by striking The Great and Powerful Trixie in the head with this fruit?"
"Oh, great, just what we need 'round these here parts..." Applejack sarcastically spoke, her expression a cross of displeasure and boredom. "'Ah was gonna' apologize to y'all, but 'Ah think 'Ah'll just let it as is. Just what in the hay are you doin' 'round here again?"
"Humph, as if you really must know the business of The Great and Powerful Trixie." the illusionist snorted. "But if you must know, I, The Great and Powerful Trixie, am here on behalf of an... acquaintance to look for a certain strange filly."
"A strange filly?" the farmer questioned. "Strange as in how? And just what's the little sugar-cube doing out here on her lonesome anyway? Don't tell me you had somethin' to do with it, or so help me..."
"Aheh..." the disguised alicorn's face bent into a slightly worried grin. "Um, good heavens no; The Great and Powerful Trixie would NEVER be responsible for a missing filly. Now then, if you'll excuse me..."
With a blast of smoke, the magician was gone, Applejack barely managing to get out a "hold it!" before the blue unicorn disappeared.
"That Trixie's a few apples shy of a bushel." Applejack groaned as she returned to her work.
"Whee! Wahoo!" Celestia laughed, her small loops and corkscrews taking her through the sky. "Ooh, now that was a fun trip! I wonder where Luna is..."
The pure white filly gazed down at the surrounding landscape as the small collection of buildings that was Ponyville came into view. The faint creak of a wooden windmill echoed through the air as ponies of all sorts went on about their business in the town square. Merchants managed their shops, pedestrians strolled about, pegasus weather teams soared through the air, and several farmers slowly hauled carts full of produce.
Celestia knew the town well enough by now; her best student, Twilight Sparkle, was none other than the town's librarian. Today however was not what one could call a normal day; her mind, now that of a filly, barely able to contain the excitement of a whole town of opportunities just below her. Perhaps she could swoop down and perform a few tricks for the townspeople, or take a stroll past every store in town, or even...
"Whew, alright, Celly; take it easy." The princess of the sun thought, astounded at the reckless thoughts her own mind was filling itself with. "Remember what Luna said; if anyone sees you like this, there could be trouble. You must be focused, careful, and..."
"Y'all sure this is gonna' work, Scoot?" a small voice sounded.
Celestia's (short) attention was suddenly diverted away as she spied three other fillies below. The trio sat in a basket; the wicker container perched atop a bed of leaves. Sticking out from the foliage's side was a trembling, bent-over sapling, its form tied to the ground by a rope on the far end. A makeshift blanket parachute was tied to the edges of the basket by several ropes, and the trio within donned what appeared to be flight goggles as a dull orange filly responded to her friend's inquiry.
"I'm as sure as Rainbow Dash is cool." Scootaloo confidently grinned. "If this stunt doesn't get each of us our marks, I don't know what will."
"Ready for take-off back here!" a light gray filly called, grabbing a restraining rope's end with her teeth. "Come on, let's do this thing!"
"A-alright, if you and Sweetie Belle say so." Applebloom eventually said. "This just seems a tad bit... excessive, if y'all ask me."
"Hmm... yeah, you're right." Scootaloo grinned, pushing her goggles onto her forehead. "The goggles should be on our heads! They look WAY cooler there."
"What? That's not what..." Applebloom's words were cut short as Sweetie Belle released the rope.
The strained tree free of its restraints, it rocketed back upright, the wood groaning as it sprung upward. With mixed screams of excitement and fear from its occupants, the basket was flung up into the air, the wicker projectile barely missing Celestia as she dived out of the way. The basket soared through the clouds, the fillies inside hanging on tightly as the wind curled over them.
"THIS IS AWESOME!" Scootaloo shouted over the breeze.
"I can see my sister's store from here!" Sweetie Belle called, looking into the town below.
"DUCK!" Applebloom called as she crouched to the wicker floor.
"WHAT? FROM WHAT?" Scootaloo yelled back.
Confused, the dull orange filly turned forward once more just in time to meet a feathery object a mere few inches from her muzzle. With a quack and a thud, the mass of bird and filly toppled backwards onto the floor of the basket, gray and green feathers floating out of the projectile as the mallard plastered itself onto Scootaloo's face.
Flailing about, Scootaloo collided with Sweetie Belle as the feathered intruder came free of the pegasus's face. The parachute rope came free of the unicorn's mouth and wrapped around the trio, the wind to blame. The large blanket pulled the trio free of the basket and into the air, the wicker form plummeting into the town below, striking a light-green pony on the head.
Back up above, Celestia watched as the now bound-up group of fillies were slowly lowered to the ground by the large blanket, the three landing with a splash in a nearby pond. The divine filly couldn't help but giggle slightly as she saw the whole incident unfold. Truly she was glad the three were unharmed, but her new filly mind couldn't help but laugh as the drenched group dragged themselves up out of the pond muck.
"Well that was a bust." Applebloom spat, the filly getting as much of the filthy water as she could out of her mouth.
"Yeah, and none of us got our marks..." Sweetie Belle sighed, her attention turned to the trio's still blank flanks.
"If it wasn't for that duck... If I see that thing again, why I'll..." Scootaloo growled, shaking a lily pad off of her head.
"Wow, those three look like fun." Celestia smiled, already concocting a plan. "Hmm... Luna never said anything about keeping my identity secret AND having a good time..."
Hiding inside of the cloud, Celestia focused what magic she could into herself, putting on the same sort of disguise spell that Luna had used so many times before. The princess's horn turned invisible as her coat changed to an apple-red hue. Her mane and tail, formerly a glorious rainbow of color, took on a silvery hue. She laughed slightly as her disguised was complete, Celestia making her way out of the clouds and to a nearby spot on the ground; the group of still-soggy fillies headed her way.
"And worst of all, I'd bet everyone in all of Equestria saw that." Scootaloo went on, her somewhat angered tone showing bits of embarrassment. "We'll be the laughing stock of the town if this gets out..."
"It's not like it was our fault that a duck got in the way." Sweetie Belle tried to comfort her friend. "Besides, we can't quit, or we'll never get our marks!"
"She's right, 'ya know." Applebloom chimed in. "Cheer up, Scootaloo, there's always the next go-round."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Scootaloo's voice slowly took up its normal, upbeat tone. "But still, I'd die of embarrassment if anyone important saw that."
"Just cool 'yer wings, Scoot." Applebloom laughed. "It's not like princess Celestia saw us or anything."
"Hey! Hi there!" a voice called from over a nearby hill.
The trio of fillies looked over as a red shape fluttered over the grassy hilltop. Walking closer, the three made out the form of another filly, her coat a bright red. Two wings buzzed in perfect unison on her back, keeping her aloft as her long, flowing mane and tail moved back and forth in the breeze. Approaching the three, her rapid wing movements stopped as the new pony touched down in the grass, her landing not even kicking up the tiniest bit of dust.
"Hey!" Celestia laughed. "That was you three before in that basket, right?"
"See what I mean..." Scootaloo quietly sighed.
"Uh, yeah, that was us." Applebloom interjected. "I take it y'all saw that then, huh?"
"Ahaha! Yeah, it was great!" The disguised princess continued. "You three were all 'woosh' and then 'BAM' right into that duck! Oh wow, it was great!"
Scootaloo just shook her head and moaned slightly.
"So," Sweetie Belle said, still glancing at Scootaloo, "I don't think I've seen you around here before. Who are you?"
"Huh? Oh, well most just call me by my title of, oh, wait..." Celestia stopped, remembering her disguise.
"By what?" Scootaloo asked, her head tilted to the side slightly.
A minor drop of sweat built up on Celestia's brow as she tried to think up a name for her pegasus alter-ego. Various ideas flashed through her head as the three fillies in front of her began to drift questioning looks her way. As an idea clicked in the regal pony's head, a smile drifted over her face.
"Well, like I was saying," Celestia spoke, putting on a confident attitude, "most just call me by my title of ace! Yep, I was the fastest flier in my class in Fillydelphia!"
"Wow, you were the fastest in your class?!" Scootaloo smiled as she devoted her attention to the new filly; her mind already envying her.
"But, my real name is Comet Corona, if you want to know." Celestia fibbed. "I'm out here on vacation; you know, just taking in the sights."
"Hmm..." Applebloom mumbled as she scrutinized the new pony.
Celestia's confident look twisted slightly into worry as the farm pony eyed over every last expression that she made. Applebloom's muzzle only inches from her, Celestia felt beads of sweat roll down her neck as the country pony's squinting eyes seemed to stare into her very soul.
"Well, pleased to meet 'ya, miss Corona!" Applebloom eventually said, smiling widely and shaking 'Comet's' hoof vigorously.
The intense vibration of the hoof-shake seemed to keep oscillating through Celestia's disguised body as Applebloom let go of her, the incognito princess still shaking as the up-and-down motion echoed through her. The young farm pony chuckled slightly as she gave the shaking filly a pat on the back, the gentle tap stopping the vibration instantaneously.
"Sorry 'bout that. We Apple's tend to give a right powerful hoof-shake." The farmer apologized.
"Yeah, she and her family tend to do that." the orange pegasus quickly interrupted. "Anyway, I'm Scootaloo!"
"And I'm Sweetie Belle." The light gray unicorn spoke up.
"And we're the Cutie Mark Crusaders!" The three called at once, their voices carrying the name of their group throughout the open clearing.
"Sounds fun!" 'Comet' spoke after the three had finished. "By the name, I'm guessing you three want to find your cutie marks A.S.A.P. right?"
"Sure do!" Scootaloo chimed in. "And nothing's gonna get in our way!"
"Darn right!" Applebloom added.
"You two said it!" Sweetie Belle agreed.
"Hey, if you want, I might have an idea or two on how to get that last trick of yours working." the disguised princess said.
The three fillies listened eagerly, the trio wanting so badly to make their attempt work this time. Their complete attention given to 'Comet', Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and Applebloom listened as the new filly began her plan...
"Ugh... It's been hours..." Luna thought, the tired alicorn slowly making her way through the Ponyville streets. "And still no sign of her. Oh, why did I have to make that wish?"
"Hey, you!" a voice called down from the clouds.
'Trixie' turned around as a multicolor streak tore through the air, stopping instantaneously as a glare from two eyes met her. The disguised alicorn sighed; apparently her reputation as Trixie still, unfortunately, remained.
"You've got some nerve showing up back here after last time." Rainbow Dash sneered. "Unless it's to apologize to Twilight for making fun of her before, I don't see one good reason for you being here."
"Uh... I... um... well..." 'Trixie' stammered.
Before the rainbow-maned pegasus's interrogation could continue, the magician vanished in a puff of smoke, 'Trixie's' blue coat reappearing several yards away. Coughing on the fumes, Dash spotted the illusionist running away, her wings taking her into the air shortly there after.
"Hey! Get back here you!" the flier called.
Racing through the town, 'Trixie' galloped as fast as she could away from the pursuing weather pony. Several townsfolk dodge out of the way as the two made their way through the street, Rainbow Dash not one to let anypony get away. The disguised princess continued along, her eyes darting left and right for anything that could throw off her pursuer.
With a quick jump and a flip, 'Trixie' sent off a bolt of magical energy, the ball exploding mid-air. The fireworks stunned the chasing pegasus for a moment, her distorted vision causing Dash to careen out of control and crash into a nearby mailbox.
A flurry of letters flew through the air as Dash pulled herself free of the metal container, annoyed that she'd managed to lose track of the rogue magician. Sitting down amidst the scattered post, Rainbow Dash sighed as she looked back over to where Trixie had last been.
"Hey," a voice said, "you're not a letter, or a muffin. What are you doing in the mailbox?"
"Huh? Oh, sorry, Ditzy." Rainbow apologized to the mail carrier pegasus. "I was following that stuck-up show pony, Trixie."
"Oh... her." The cross-eyed mail-mare stated. "Hmmmmmmm..... Nope, can't think of a thing."
Dash sighed as the mail carrier scooped up the fallen letters and flew off, a gentle tune flowing out of Ditzy Doo's mouth.
"That... was... close...." Luna panted, the alicorn out of breath. "I swear, this disguise can be a burden with no wings at times..."
Luna's exhaustion was momentarily interrupted as a soft, upbeat song drifted its way through the nearby trees. Edging her way into the nearby woods, 'Trixie' peered out through the underbrush. A yellow-coated pegasus happily floated about, her cotton-candy pink mane and tail swaying slightly as she looked around. The happy tune continued as animals of various sizes joined in the chorus, each one conducted by their pegasus friend.
Luna relaxed slightly, the calm music putting her slightly at ease. The princess had to admit, no one could stay upset whenever Fluttershy conducted her music. As the song progressed, several small birds swooped and hovered around the bushes, some coming close to where Luna was hiding. They perched upon the foliage's branches, their gentle movements knocking a few spores loose from a nearby fern.
The orange dust drifted through the air; powder-like spores lodging themselves in 'Trixie's' nose. The disguised princess felt herself begin to sneeze. Quickly, Luna put a hoof over her mouth, trying to contain the automatic response. For a moment, it seemed as though the sneeze had been beaten, the impulse silenced as the spores finally stopped. Nearby however was a different story. A humming bird, green as the grass below, let out a small quiet sneeze as the soft orange dust floated into its beak.
"Gesundheit." 'Trixie' said, her hoof slamming over her mouth as she realized what she'd just did.
As if a gunshot had gone off, Fluttershy's mane and tail stood on end, the pegasus darting up into a nearby tree with a startled shriek. Shaking in fear, the flying pony's shivers sent vibrations through the tree; loose leaves shaking themselves free as her panic continued.
"Oh... brilliant..." Luna thought, her expression a mix of blankness and aggravation.
Shaking the leaves out of her way, Fluttershy, still in a panicked state, gazed out onto the ground below as a blue figure made its way out of the bushes, a familiar lavender, star-studded cape and hat accompanying it. The figure looked up at her, the magician's face seeming still somewhat cross. Fluttershy inched partially out of the tree branches as 'Trixie' looked up at her.
"You can come down now." the blue unicorn said flatly.
"Oh, Trixie... It's you." Fluttershy said softly as she climbed down out of the tree. "I... didn't think I'd see you around here again, not that I mind."
"Yes, well..." Luna went on, remembering Trixie's prideful attitude. "Not that you'd probably know, but I'm looking for a certain filly who happens to be loose in town. I don't suppose you've seen her, have you?"
"Oh my... The poor thing." Fluttershy's genuine, loving concern was nearly palpable. "Um, I'm afraid I don't know. I've been tending to the animals all today, and I haven't been to town since two days ago. Perhaps Pinkie can help you find her though."
"And where, pray tell, is this 'Pinkie' you speak of?"
"Right here!" Pinkie Pie called, the party pony suddenly jumping out from behind the magician.
The disguised princess jumped slightly at Pinkie's sudden appearance; the mass of pink seeming to have materialized from nowhere. With a deep breath, the magician regained her stuck-up composure, looking at Pinkie's ear-to-ear smile with a questioning glare.
"Pinkie," the kind pegasus spoke, "Trixie was wondering if you have happened to see a missing filly in town. The whole thing has me concerned too; just the thought of a young filly all on her own in the middle of town..."
"Hmmm.... Nope, can't say that I have. Then again, Ponyville is a big place, well not big like Manehattan or Fillydelphia or Canterlot big; more like big in a not-that-big-but-still-sorta big way and..." Pinkie stopped mid-sentence as her eyes suddenly rolled round in their sockets. "Whoa! Woooooo, that's a new one!"
As the pink earth pony's eyes returned to their normal positions, Fluttershy looked at Pinkie with a worried expression, the yellow pegasus's hoof over her mouth.
"Oh dear; Pinkie sense?" Fluttershy mumbled.
"Wow, you bet!" the party pony beamed. "I've never ever EVER had one like that before!"
"Just what... oh never mind, I probably don't want to know." 'Trixie' scoffed, turning to leave, the concealed regal pony feeling worried inside.
As the blue-coated pony trotted away, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie watched her make her way down the winding path that led into town. It didn't take long for the newly formed silence to break as the two friends watched their acquaintance travel toward the collection of buildings.
"That Trixie..." Fluttershy mumbled. "I do hope she finds who she's looking for though. It'd be a terrible shame if a young filly was lost in the middle of town..."
"BYE LUNA!" Pinkie called out. "I HOPE YOU FIND CELESTIA SOON!"
As the shout reached 'Trixie's' ears, the princess-in-disguise panicked, and hastened her pace to a swift gallop. It wasn't possible; even with the minor slip ups, there was no way she'd blown her cover so easily. Taking a quick glance back, Luna spied Pinkie waving to her as the cozy woodland home grew further and further away. Back on Fluttershy's lawn, the yellow-coated pegasus gave her friend a somewhat puzzled look; Pinkie's farewell giving her a hint of confusion.
"Pinkie, that was Trixie that just left, not princess Luna." Fluttershy whispered.
"Oh come on Fluttershy, all the readers know by now that Trixie is just Luna in disguise, duh." Pinkie smiled.
"Readers?" Fluttershy tilted her head at the word. "Pinkie, I think I'm starting to see why Rainbow Dash calls you random..."