As the Wheel Turns
Snips and Snails were dripping sweat as they struggled to drag along the heavy wooden cart that dug into the ground. The cart plowed up the dirt and left a sizable trench in its wake. They looked at one another, tired and worn out from pulling the new tyrant of ponyville to the edge of the forcefield. They stopped for a moment to take a quick break. As soon as they had stopped, a glowing red whip snapped at their backsides from mid-air.
"Pull you fools!" the whip snapped it at them twice more. "Somepony set off the magic forcefield and Trixie intends to punish them!" shouted Trixie as she prepared to whip her subjects once more for good measure. She did not have to go through with the final whip, as the two simpletons had begun to move twice as fast as they previously were. Snips craned his head back towards the unrelenting whip wielder.
"But wouldn't it be faster if we had some wheels?" he asked nervously, his voice higher than usual.
Trixie's head snapped up and her back straightened as she felt a terrible chill run down each vertebrae and ending at the tip of her tail. Her eyes slightly glazed over as she became lost in thought. Her mind wandered back to when she was just a filly learning simple magic with her family in Las Pegasus. She remembered that dreadful night with the utmost clarity.
It had been two weeks since she had gotten her cutie mark, she could easily say it was the greatest day of her life. Her magic had begun to develop and she was soon learning to do simple tricks. Her magic was steadily becoming stronger and stronger, her family could not be more proud of her. Her parents were always sad that they could not provide their precious little daughter with everything she deserved. Instead of going to school when they were younger, they decided to travel the world together and start a traveling magic show. Trixie was now a part of their world and would soon be able to join them.
Powerful magic did not usually run in the family, but their little Trixie showed so much potential. It brought a tear to her mothers eye that she would not be given a proper education, but she vowed to teach her beautiful daughter everything she could.
They never did stay in one place too long. The small family would always make do with what they had, and raise as much money as they could with their small magic shows. They had always performed in largely populated areas where they could gain notice more easily. When Trixie had come along, her parents had always feared losing her among the large crowds and set up a family plan. Trixie would never forget her parents simple plan.
"Trixie, your father and I cannot watch you all the time. If ever we are to be separated, you are to find your way right back to the stage trolley and wait for us to return."
The words echoed in her mind as she remembered the loving look her mother had given her as she nodded so innocently. Such simple a thing it had seemed. Now that Trixie could perform, she would be helping out all she could. Her signature trick she had learned, was to manipulate inanimate objects as if she were a puppeteer.
The day before Trixie was to perform her first magic act with her parents, she was practicing nonstop. The entire day had been spent attempting to perfect the magic act, she was sure would win over everypony. That would make her parents rich and they would be able to settle down like they had always wanted.
"Mother come here!" shouted the enthusiastic filly, trying to hold the magic. Her mother walked in and stopped dead in her tracks. She was in complete awe. Trixie was standing in the center of the room, all around were vases and rocks, chairs and tables, floating and spinning around her. What her mother found the most awe inspiring of all, was that her daughter had four wooden wheels spinning around her, moving fast and nimbly avoiding the flying objects. Her mother slowly moved to the door of the stage trolley and peeked outside. She was taken aback upon noticing that they were no longer on wheels, but suspended in midair. Tears welled up and she glanced back at her daughter, smiling and laughing she looked at her mother for approval. "What do you think mother?"
Her mother paused for a moment, as if she were trying to find the absolute perfect words for the occasion. She had never seen such magic in all of her life, and especially not in her own family.
"I-I think it's perfect," she beamed, "my Great and Powerful Trixie."
The stage trolley wavered a bit as Trixie tried to sustain control. She welled up with pride at the words her mother just said. She knew that from that moment on, the Great and Powerful Trixie would do everything she in her power to make her parents the proudest they could be. One by one she returned all of the objects to their rightful positions. All but the wheels. She looked at the wheels for a moment and thought about just how many wheels were in this city. Trixie knew Las Pegasus was a colorful and vibrant place, in the night hours when the sun dipped over the horizon, the gleaming lights of the city flickered to life. Wheels with strategically placed lights spun in all different directions and speeds with more colors than any one pony could fathom. She smiled to herself as she trotted out the door, the wheels close in pursuit, and put them back on the axles.
Trixie took a step back and admired their little home. It was never much, but she could always call it her home. She was content with their life, but wanted more for her parents. They deserved the best they could have, and Trixie would make sure that would happen. She looked again at the wheels that held up the tiny stage trolley. They were not the wheels that came with the it when her parents bought it. The original set was made of stone that had chipped and was broken away. Her father, who was quite a handy stallion, carved a new set from an oak log. They were near perfect and had never once shown any signs of deteriorating. Trixie liked to look at them, she never understood why, but it calmed her.
She realized it was getting dark and there was a big day ahead of her, breaking her gaze from the wheels the filly trotted back inside. The young illusionist made her way to her room. Suddenly she heard the sobs of somebody nearby. Curious, Trixie stopped and peeked behind the wall that led to the kitchen to witness her parents embracing as her mother wept onto her father's shoulder. Trixie had an idea why she was crying. Quietly, the filly made her way back to her room, making sure to not make even the tiniest of sounds.
Finally the moment had arrived, the show was about to begin. Trixie could feel the excitement flow through her. She had never performed in front of a live audience, this was to be her very first time in the spotlight. That intense feeling that she was going to be on stage in front of an adoring crowd filled her with an elated glow that she had never felt before. She hid backstage as she watched her mother and father perform for the huge audience. She had never seen such a large crowds at one of their shows. The shaky filly was slightly nervous, but the Great and Powerful Trixie quickly composed herself, for every bit of focus she could muster would be needed.
The crowd applauded loudly as her mother did a backflip off of the high flying carpet. She landed with a bow as her father brought it down gently between them. They bowed once more together as the mass of ponies grew louder and hungrier for more. Slowly they looked at one another and smiled. Her father spoke with a grand voice that could easily be heard over the crowd.
"Fillies and gentlecolts, we have a special treat for you today! For the first time ever, making her debut performance, is our ever lovely daughter!"
"Now, without any further ado, please put your hooves together for the Great and Powerful Trixie!" finished her mother as they both hopped off the small suspended stage and into the front of the crowd.
Two loud explosions were her cue, she jumped from behind the curtains into a plume of white smoke and took her pose. Her parents stirred up the wind slightly to clear the smoke. When the smoke completely cleared, there she was wearing her new hat with her cape starry cape billowing in the wind. Her father had been working on this costume for her since the day she had gotten her cutie mark, today was the first time she had gotten to wear it and it felt great.
She reveled in the attention as the audience lauded her. For her opening, she riled up them up with a few small tricks; vanishing water, rabbit out of the hat, and of course changing roses into tulips. The crowd simply adored her. They like me now she thought, just wait until they see the finale.
She took a step forward and raised her voice so she could be heard. "Could everyone in the audience please hold one bit up in the air?" A puzzled look washed like a wave throughout the crowd. A few ponies in the front held up a bit, more followed, and more and more until the entire crowd was holding up a single bit, waiting in anticipation for what the adorable filly might do next.
Trixie bowed her head in concentration. She stood there, feeling the magic flow throughout her body. From her hooves to her tail, the magic found its way up to the tip of her horn. The air sparked with magic as she lifted her head and stared into the dead center of the mass of ponies. Slowly the coins in each hoof began to lift and stand on its edge. A few ponies shook their hooves to see if they could knock them back over, but the coins gave no sign of tipping. Trixie pushed harder, now each of the coins began to slowly roll around the hoof of each pony. Some coins began to pick up speed, some lazily rolled around at a near standstill pace, but each coin was rolling.
The ponies wanted to cheer, but they were too afraid that too much movement would knock the coins over and end the trick.One by one, the coins slowly rose a few inches above each hoof. They continued to roll as if they remained on a surface, despite levitating. The ponies stared in awe at the sight, hundreds of bits floating just above them, as if on tiny racetracks. Trixie looked down at the front row to see her mother and father standing there, beaming with pride at their daughter. She had made them so proud. This feeling of happiness spread to every part of her body and a single tear came to her eye. Slowly she blinked it away. With her eyes shut, visualization of the surrounding city was clear to her, her minds eye could see where everything was located. There they were, exactly what she was looking for...the wheels.
Trixie's eyes shot open, glowing white as magic sparked the air like tiny lightning strikes. She took a few steps back and planted her hooves. Her horn glowed with a radiance equal to that of the sun, but nopony noticed, because they were focused on what was happening in the city around them. Slowly the city had begun to come alive. The wheels on every building began to spin. Faster and faster they grew, lights flaring and sounds roaring. A dazzling sight to be beheld by anypony. Each wheel detached itself from its axle and spun suspended in the air, as weightlessly as the bits. Suddenly, the wheels began to dance. Up and down and all around the wheels flew, spinning overhead. They flew over the crowd and began to race around them in all directions. The crowd cheered louder than they had ever cheered before. This was simply magnificent. Never had anypony seen such magic, or anything quite as beautiful. Trixie grinned at her display, she was afraid that she would not be able to control the magic. The thought had only just occurred to her before things began to go wrong.
The wheels were spinning too fast, they were going places she wasn't telling them too. One of her knees buckled as she strained to regain composure, but it was no use, she had lost control. One fell from the sky with a loud thud and began to roll towards the crowd. Nopony moved as they thought it was part of the act, but they were in real danger. Magic sparked and sizzled as the air became engulfed with its energies. Trixie let out a barbaric howl as she unleashed all of her power on the wheel. As soon as the magic left her horn, it bounced over the crowd. She relaxed and sighed knowing that they were safe.
Trixie's head shot up just in time to see a giant wheel coming straight for her. She let out as much magic as she could muster, but it wasn't enough. The wheel slammed into her head and horn, knocking her down. The magic made sure that the wheel bounced off to a new direction away from everypony, but now she had lost complete control and all the magic she had unleashed was running rampant. The wheels began to fall from the sky and threaten to crush the crowd members, they ran around in a panic trying to avoid the danger. The wheels began to pick up speed and roll around the crowd causing mass panic. Trixie felt helpless, she didn't know what to do. Curling into a ball, the mare wished for everything to be better. Her head and horn began to hurt so bad. The cart's wheels began to roll away from everypony, from the danger, from her parents. Things grew back as she slowly faded out of consciousness.
"Trixie!" She heard her parents call in unison. They called again, their voices sounded fainter than before, fading away. Again she heard them, but they were little more than a whisper as silence and blackness engulfed her mind.
When Trixie's eyes opened, she immediately wished they didn't. She felt more pain in her horn than she had ever felt in her entire life. Slowly she rose, trying to remember what had happened. The wheels! What had she done? She had lost control of her magic and everything went wrong. The scared filly looked around, this wasn't Las Pegasus. Instead, a luscious green forest surrounded her. This place sparked her memory, that was for sure, but she couldn't quite place her hoof on it. Then it hit her, they had traveled through here on their way into the city! But how had she gotten here?
"Mother, father, how did we get here?"
No response. Trixie went inside the simple stage trolley and looked around, but they were nowhere to be found. The last recalled memory was the sound of her parents voices calling out to her. She looked back to the cart...the wheels. When she had lost control, did her magic have the wheels take her to safety? Those wheels had always been worthy of her admiration, apparently for good reason. She needed to find where her parents were. Yet, how could she even show her face in the city again?
The filly turned to her father's flying carpet and walked aboard. Trixie made an attempt to lift the carpet with her magic. Nothing. Taken aback, the unicorn tried again, this time putting much more concentration into it. Her horn was on fire! The wheel must have done more damage then she thought. If she was not able to lift a measly carpet, there was no chance that she was moving a trolley anywhere. The forest was not that far from the city anyways.
Las Pegasus was a lot bigger than she remembered. As the timid pony walked through the city, she noticed that the tracks from her cart had been replaced with hoofprints. The panicked ponies must have covered them. Her head lowered as she noticed the work stallions tirelessly trying to get the last of their decorations back onto their proper buildings. She gave that area a wide berth and continued to run around the city frantically looking for her parents. How in the world would she find them? She came across a small shop that looked a bit homier than the rest and decided to walk in.
"Excuse me mister, can I have today's newspaper?" Trixie asked as she threw a few bits on the counter. The old gray stallion handed her the paper. Trixie could not help but gasp as she read the date. This could not be! It had been two days since her performance. How had she been out that long? If her parents had not found her by now, they would never find her, and she would never find them. She was lost... tears began to stream down her face.
"What's wrong little one?" asked the old shopkeeper. She told him what had happened through her bouts of sobbing. He came around the counter and wiped her tear stained face. "Well dear, me and my wife have an extra room in our little house upstairs. You're welcome to stay until you can find your parents." She looked up at him.
"But what about my cart?"
"If you could perform all that magic, why didn't you just take it with you?" he asked.
Trixie told him about the wheel that slammed into her and how she could not even lift her small carpet into the air.
"Well then, if you can take me to it, I will help you pull it back here, and we will begin searching for your parents."
They began walking back through the city. When the old pony began to cross the square where the damage was caused, Trixie stopped. He looked back at her and saw the look on her face. He walked back and together they went the long way around. As they approached the cart, Trixie heard a noise inside. That's it! If we are ever separated, meet us at the cart!
She ran as fast as her tiny legs would take her and threw open the front door. A small pack of parasprites buzzed out and flew off into the forest. She walked down and sat on the ground. She glanced at one of the wheels that had taken her to safety, the wheel that her father had carved.
"Is this it dear?"
She nodded and looked up. "I think I might be staying with you for a while."
"That's quite alright with me dear, and in the meantime, we will train that magic of yours back up."
Trixie stood up and slowly walked with the old pony back towards the city with her head hung.
Trixie noticed that she had paused for too long. When she was sure the two ponies pulling the wheel-less cart were not looking, she wiped away a single tear.
"The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn't trust wheels..." she replied distantly. She then realized that she had a new empire to run, and with a new empowered voice she yelled, "now pull faster!" and cracked her whip once more.