Mind Games

Switching places

Currently, at Town Hall.

“Well? Any sign of anyone?” Mayor Mare asked Sweetie Belle.

“Not yet Mayor.” Sweetie Belle answered, looking out the window.

Derpy meanwhile was sweeping off the top of the bookshelves, when one of her eyes noticed two ponies outside the window.

“I think someone’s there Mayor.” Derpy called down.

“Rarity and Apple Bloom are back!” Sweetie Belle said excitedly, before going to open the door.

Rarity and Apple Bloom walked in the doorway, before Sweetie Belle jumped to give her sister a hug.

“Welcome back.” Mayor Mare greeted the two. “How did things go?”

Rarity finished hugging Sweetie Belle, before answering.

“Well, Apple Bloom’s name has been cleared, and until this whole situation has been resolved, I have offered her shelter here.” Rarity replied.

“That’s good to hear.” Mayor Mare replied. “Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything looking around while you were gone.”

“We couldn’t find those ponies or Chrysalis anywhere.” Sweetie Belle told her sister.

“I see. We’ll have to let the Princesses know as soon as possible.” Rarity replied. “For now though, I suppose we’ll have to start looking outside Ponyville.”

“So how should we go about it then?” Mayor Mare asked. “Should we all split up or stick together from here on?”

“While we would be able to cover more ground splitting up, I think that we should stay together for now.” Rarity answered. “At least until we’ve searched the closest areas.”

“Okay.” Everyone but Apple Bloom replied.

“I do think it would be best though, if Apple Bloom stays here while we’re gone.” Rarity added. “Sweetie Belle, can I count on you to stay here with Apple Bloom again while we head out?”

“Sure thing Rarity!” Sweetie Belle told her sister. “It’ll be just like a slumber party!”

“Very well, but don’t be up too late.” Rarity told her sister. “As soon as we finish checking our nearest town boarders, we will re-group here for the night and then all head out further in the morning.”

“Right!” Everyone but Apple Bloom replied.

“If I may, I suggest we go search the Castle of the Two Sisters first.” Mayor Mare told Rarity. “With any luck, we may find Trixie there.”

“Good thinking Mayor.” Rarity replied. “Let’s get going.”

Rarity, Mayor Mare, and Derpy then set out from Town Hall, while Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom wished them luck.

Atop Rainbow Falls.

“How’s it look out there brother?” Flim asked Flam.

“Things have been looking pretty quiet since that Unicorn and little filly left Flim.” Flam told Flim, looking through their telescope at Canterlot.

“Be sure to keep an eye out brother. I’m going to go check on Captain Blackmail.” Flim told his brother, annoyed.

“Be sure to.” Flam told his brother, equally annoyed.

Flim walked inside their tent to find Spitfire loading a saddlebag with several different items, while the phoenix from earlier watched on.

“One more of these, and a couple of these, and that should be it.” Spitfire spoke to herself.

“I’m assuming you’re quite ready to head out then?” Flim asked Spitfire.

“Almost done.” Spitfire responded. “You guys have a lot of useful things here, and I figured I’d grab some things to remember you guys.”

“Like all our bits.” Flim thought to himself.

“By the way, is that potion finished yet?” Spitfire asked.

Still annoyed, Flim turned his attention away from the Pegasus to check on the love poison they had to re-brew. He could see that there were only a few drops left to go, before the vial was full.

“Almost done.” He told Spitfire.

“Good, I’m about ready myself.” Spitfire replied.

Spitfire then walked over to the vial, just as the last drop fell in. She watched as Flim picked the vial up with his magic, placed a cork in the top, and then moved it towards her.

“Pleasure doing business with you boys.” Spitfire told the Unicorn as she grabbed the vial and placed it in her saddlebag. “And with that, I’m off to find those ponies.”

Convinced this wouldn’t be the last they’d see her, Flim spoke one last time before Spitfire left.

“So when should we expect to see you again?” He asked.

“As long as everything goes according to the new plan, I’m done here.” Spitfire told Flim, causing the pony to let out a sigh of relief. “But if not, you can bet you’ll hear from me again.” Spitfire added on, before taking off out the tent and into the afternoon sky.

Flim let out a groan, before heading back outside to his brother.

“I take it she’s gone?” Flam asked Flim.

“Hopefully for good dear brother.” Flim replied.

“Hopefully indeed brother.” Flam replied.

Flam changed his viewpoint in the telescope once more, until an unbelievable sight caught his attention.

“Flim!” He called out to his brother.

“What is it Flam?” Flim asked.

“You’re not going to believe what I’m seeing in Canterlot.” Flam told his brother, moving away from the telescope.

“What do we have?” Flim asked, looking through the telescope.

“It looks like…” Flam began to speak, before his brother cut him off.

“I think it is dear brother!” Flim responded.

“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Flam asked.

“I do believe I am Flim.” Flim replied. “Things are starting to get interesting around here.”

In the Royal Palace.

Celestia stood in the royal chambers, looking out through one of the windows at the vast landscape in front of her.

“Hmm. So far nothing from Ponyville, and with Cloudsdale and the Everfree forest in disarray, it’s just two more places that no one’s been found.” Celestia thought to herself. “All that’s left is Appleloosa and Rainbow Falls. Hmm. Where could they have gone?”

Celestia continued to ponder for a little longer, until a commotion from outside the chambers caught her attention. She moved over closer to the doors, before they burst open, revealing Discord in a nurse outfit pushing Luna on a gurney.

“Luna!” Celestia called out to her sister.

“This isn’t good.” Discord said aloud. “I need 52cc’s of Friendship and a jar of molasses!”

“Molasses?” Celestia asked, confused even more by the situation.

“Oh ha ha ha!” Discord laughed to himself. “I’m sorry, I meant a jar of magic.”

Discord then ripped off his nurse outfit and began to float upwards.

“Also, it’s probably best if you take over. I lost my medical license after the Enterprise.” Discord told Celestia.

“What happened Discord!?” Celestia asked.

“It appeared dear Luna here went off in search of those out-of-state ponies again.” Discord answered, walking his fingers in the air.

“I should’ve know she would try to seek them out again!” Celestia thought to herself.

“She did find them however, and was about to zap them into next week too.” Discord continued, admiring his claws.

“Where were they!?” Celestia asked further.

“They were at that lovely little donut shop at the corner of Krispy and Dunkin.” Discord answered, before making a box of donuts appear. “Did you know they were having a free donut day?” Discord asked, before tossing a donut in his mouth. “They ran out of the apple jelly filled ones.”

“Enough about that!” Celestia told the draconequus. “What happened?”

“Fine…” Discord replied grudgingly, before dumping the box of donuts into a floating trash can. “She was talking with one of them, and was about to blast them after going all ‘dark side’, when she just…” Discord paused, swinging a glowing red stick on a string.

“Just what?” Celestia asked.

“Flop!” Discord answered. “Fell over like a domino.” He then turned into a domino and started a chain reaction of other ones he conjured up as well.

“Enough with the games Discord! What happened to her!?” Celestia asked further.

Discord returned to normal, clearly annoyed.

“Her magic started to disappear, she turned back to normal, and then just fell over. Happy?” Discord told Celestia.

“But that doesn’t make sense…” Celestia thought to herself.

“I’ll tell you what else doesn’t make sense.” Discord added on. “After she collapsed, those ponies started talking about a ‘Nightmare Moon’ character. Does any of that ring a bell?”

“Nightmare Moon?” Celestia thought to herself once more.

“Hello!” Discord spoke to Celestia, catching her off guard.

“Huh? What?” Celestia responded.

“I said they were planning on heading to Rainbow Falls next. What do you plan to do about that?” Discord asked.

Celestia gathered her thoughts before speaking.

“We’ll take care of them in due time.” Celestia replied. “For now, please take Luna to the medical room, and inform the staff to watch over her for now.”

“Very well.” Discord responded, turning into a receptionist with a desk and typewriter. “Paging Doctor Who.” Discord said aloud, before disappearing.

Celestia stood with just her thoughts once again in the royal chambers. She walked over to the window once more, gazing out as she adjusted the sun in the sky.

“Things are really starting to get out of hoof.” Celestia said to herself.

The doors to the chambers then open and closed once more, but Celestia didn’t turn to look to see who was there.

“Nopony ever said it was going to be easy.” Celestia heard Trixie Lulamoon say.

Meanwhile, at the outskirts of the Castle of the Two Sisters.

Rarity and Mayor Mare finished crossing the bridge, while Derpy landed next to them.

“Hmm. So far no signs of anypony.” Mayor Mare spoke up.

“We should keep our eyes peeled. Who knows if somepony might be lurking nearby?” Rarity added.

“That sounds kinda hard…” Derpy replied.

The trio started to look around the ruins of the castle, until Rarity spied something.

“What have we here?” Rarity said aloud.

“What is it Rarity?” Mayor Mare asked.

“I think it’s safe to say that Trixie has definitely been here.” Rarity replied, pointing to Trixie’s wagon out in a clearing of the ruins.

“I still don’t understand why she would choose to live out here?” Mayor Mare spoke. “You’d think she’d want to be somewhere closer to ponies so she could do her showboating.”

“Only one way to find out.” Rarity replied, moving towards the wagon.

Upon reaching the wagon, the ponies found the door and windows to be locked shut, with no other way inside.

“How are we supposed to get in?” Mayor Mare asked.

“Never fear.” Rarity replied. “I just so happen to have a bobby pin. It’s both stylish and practical.” Rarity added on, before using it on the door lock with her magic. “Just a little bit, and…there!”

Rarity released her magic, allowing the lock and pin to fall to the ground. She then used her magic to open the door.

“What’s inside?” Mayor Mare asked, peeking her head around, accompanied by Derpy on the other side.

Inside the cart, the trio found nothing inside. No secrets, no fireworks, not even another hat and cape.

“Well this is disappointing.” Rarity spoke.

“So what do we do now?” Derpy asked.

“I suppose we’ll have to try our luck inside the castle.” Rarity replied, looking back towards the ruins.

The three ponies then left the cart and proceeded to make their way inside the castle.

They wandered around the castle, relying on Rarity’s horn for light.

They found old statues, tapestries, even a giant organ, but nothing of any use.

“It feels like we aren’t getting anywhere.” Rarity groaned.

“Maybe we should stop and figure out where we are.” Mayor Mare spoke up. “I feel like we’re getting lost.”

“Okay.” Derpy replied, before sitting down on the ground.

Upon sitting, Derpy felt herself sink a bit, before an opening in the wall appeared next to them.

“Good job Derpy! You found a secret.” Rarity told Derpy.

“My…good?” Derpy replied.

“Come on, let’s see where it leads.” Mayor Mare told the other two.

The trio made their way through the entrance, which eventually led to a descending staircase.

They followed to stairs all the way to the bottom, until the corridor opened up to reveal a small room.

“Well now this is surprising.” Mayor Mare said aloud.

“Ooooh! Lots of maps!” Derpy spoke up.

The room was full of different maps from all around Equestria, with a table in the middle that had many pages of parchment strewn about.

“These maps look surprisingly new for being in a castle as old as this.” Rarity said, looking around.

“Look! Here’s Town Hall!” Derpy said excitedly, pointing to a map of Ponyville.

“Appaloosa, the Everfree forest, Cloudsdale, and Rainbow Falls are all circled.” Mayor Mare pointed out.

“As well as the Golden Oaks Library and Sweet Apple Acres in Ponyville.” Derpy added on.

“Canterlot and even this castle are circled too.” Rarity noted.

Rarity looked closer at the map and noticed something different from the rest of the markings.

“What’s at this X south of Macintosh Hills?” Rarity asked.

“I don’t know. I’ve never been there before.” Mayor Mare replied.

“Let’s keep looking around then.” Rarity told the others. “We may be able to find out more about it.”

“Do you suppose Trixie brought all of this down here?” Mayor Mare asked.

“I’m not sure.” Rarity replied. “I never took her for a geographer, let alone a magician.”

Rarity looked through the pieces of parchment on the table, till the contents of one page caught her eye.

“There appear to be some entries from a diary here.” Rarity spoke.

“Oh! You shouldn’t read somepony else’s diary.” Derpy told Rarity.

“Please Derpy. A little gossip never hurt anypony.” Rarity replied, before reading the page again.

Rarity read a little further down the page before speaking again.

“These ARE entries from Trixie.” Rarity spoke up. “They’re an account of her capturing Chrysalis and even finding Soarin and a love poison in the Royal Palace!”

“How far back to the entries go?” Mayor Mare asked.

“Let’s see…” Rarity replied, moving the pages around with her magic. “Looks like…18 months.”

“That’s fairly long.” Mayor Mare replied. “What’s the most recent entry?”

“Let’s see…” Rarity answered, looking through the pages again. “The most recent is dated…yesterday.”

“Well that’s convenient. What does it say?” Mayor Mare asked.

“It says…” Rarity began to read aloud.

Tonight’s events went exactly as Trixie had planned.

“She even refers to herself when she writes.” Rarity interrupted, annoyed, before continuing.

I was able to capture Chrysalis without any trouble, and managed to find the love poison before anypony else.

With any luck, even with all that happened today, Soarin should be staying in the dungeon, giving Trixie more than enough time to continue things on her end.

Twilight Sparkle and her little pet dragon showing up today was a major inconvenience for Trixie, but I suppose their involvement shouldn’t be too much of a problem for now.

Trixie’s cover was almost blown tonight, but Trixie is confident that everything should still continue smoothly.

Trixie just has to make sure that Chrysalis doesn’t leave her little kingdom, until all the preparations are set.

Trixie’s plan has been far too long in the making and she does not intend to fail.

“And that’s it.” Rarity finished.

“Hmm. This is very interesting indeed.” Mayor Mare added. What about the entry before that one?”

Rarity searched for the previous message, finding it fairly quickly.

“Here we are.” Rarity told Mayor Mare, before beginning to read again.

All the cues are set for the show now.

With Twilight Snarkle and her little dragon showing up in Ponyville today, this makes everypony from my last visit back in town.

Trixie will have to keep an eye on them and make sure that they do not interfere with Trixie’s plans too soon.

Trixie feels that tonight shall be the night when things can finally proceed.

“That’s all.” Rarity finished. “We weren’t able to get a lot out of that one.

“What about going back further? About a week ago?” Mayor Mare asked.

“Alright.” Rarity agreed. “Let’s see here.” Rarity looked through until she found an entry and began to read.

Things are progressing quite smoothly. My influence has already spread as far as Las Pegasus, and is continuing to spread further. **Note: Come up with a way to steal love away from the sales those two brothers make.** I still can’t decide whether or not I should be “Queen” or “Empress” as my title. Perhaps I should schedule another “Friendship Council” sooner so I can feast again. If only taking over Equestria was as easy as this the first time. Curse that Twilight Sparkle for interfering with my plans! I’ll get even with her someday, and perhaps banish her myself. For now, time to go admire my new kingdom again.

“That’s all there is.” Rarity finished.

“That didn’t sound like Trixie at all.” Mayor Mare pointed out.

“Based on the context, and the writing, it sounds more like Chrysalis writing this.” Rarity added.

“You think Trixie stole some of her memoirs?” Mayor Mare asked.

“Possibly, but knowing Chrysalis, she most likely wrote this from Canterlot instead of coming all the way here.” Rarity answered.

“What about an entry around the time she was referring to her defeat? Maybe a few months ago?” Mayor Mare asked.

Perfect, clever, brilliant little Twilight! She wasn’t fooled at all…It’s all HER fault that I’m not sitting on my new throne! I’ll get her and her friends too! I’m going to drain her and everypony else of their love. And I know just how and when to do it.

“This must have been right after she was defeated.” Rarity spoke.

“That would be my guess as well.” Mayor Mare added. “What about the kingdom?

“Hmm?” Rarity asked.

“In the first entry we read of Trixie’s, she talked about leaving Chrysalis in a kingdom of hers.” Mayor Mare told Rarity. “Do any of the other entries talk more about it?

“I suppose I could read through them all, but it will take some time.” Rarity answered.

“We should report all of this to the Princess immediately.” Mayor Mare spoke.

“Agreed, but we should bring some of this with us.” Rarity replied.

“Is there anything we can put the notes in?” Mayor Mare asked.

“There doesn’t appear to be.” Rarity answered. “I suppose we’ll just have to settle with taking what we can. Derpy, can you grab the map off the wall please?”

“Sure thing!” Derpy replied, walking over and pulling the map off the wall.

A clicking sound could be heard upon removing the map.

“That’s funny.” Derpy spoke. “There’s a string on the back of this map.

Suddenly the room began to shake violently, as the ponies wondered what was going on.

“It must have been booby-trapped!” Mayor Mare exclaimed. “We need to get out of here NOW!”

“Right!” Rarity agreed. “Come along Derpy!”

“I’m coming!” Derpy replied, dropping the map and running after her friends.

The ponies raced up the steps, the walls still shaking.

“Hurry!” Mayor Mare called back. “This place could collapse at any second!”

“Oh dear! Oh dear! OH DEAR!” Rarity exclaimed.

“AHHH!!!” Derpy screamed.

The roof buckled above the ponies, and their world immediately went dark.

A few moments later, the dust from the trap settled, and the castle returned to the eerie quiet from before.

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