Equestria War : An Oral History of the Zombie Pony War
Case File Six: Trixie
My next interview was several months in the making, my interviewee being a very hard pony to nail down. She makes a habit of being a wandering nomad, never remaining in one town for longer than a hoofful of days. As a result, if I were a more self-centred pony, I'd suggest she was deliberately evading me.
However, upon discovering my quest to hear her story, she contacted me with the intention of meeting for the talk. Our location as we finally meet is the outskirts of Trottingham, far from the larger cities of Equestria. The rural and upper-class houses are all devoid of life, with not even a tumbleweed breaking the deathly stillness of the town. Where it was once a quiet idyll for the rich and famous, it now stands as an abandoned ghost town, too far from more defended areas for ponies to feel safe in.
Yet my interviewee has no entourage, and seemingly no method of defending herself on the dangerous highways that link the towns and cities of Equestria together. With the Royal Guards now solely devoted to keeping citizens in cities safe, anywhere beyond their bounds is a no-ponies' land of bandits, highwaycolts, and of course, Zeds. With so much out there to harm a mare, it's some miracle that the nomad is even alive to accept this interview.
I set the tape spinning as we find somewhere relatively comfortable. Our chosen location ends up being a small al fresco cafe in the town square. All the tables and chairs are toppled, whether by the weather or by the panic during the outbreak, it is hard to tell. We right a few of them, and I take my position across the table from my subject. Meanwhile, the bodyguards the UED insisted I bring sit nearby, hawkishly watching the many alleys and buildings for movement. This town received an extermination pass like all others during the taking back of Equestria, but despite it theoretically being clean, caution is never an unnecessary thought in these lands.
My subject casually dusts away some of the grime left on the table by time and neglect, setting her hat down on the cleared space. The coned hat is purple, yet its plain design is broken up with a smattering of gold and silver stars. The mare idly toys with her mane to return it to a less unruly state in the hat's absence, hoof flicking at the silver locks flowing to her shoulders. She retreats from her self grooming, levelling her eyes at me.
"Is there a reason in particular you have been stalking the Great and Powerful Trixie across Equestria? Other than the usual reasons, of course."
Somewhat thrown by her choice of words, I experience a moment of blankness as far as replies go. A moment that Trixie seemed set to capitalise on.
"Then don't worry, the Great and Powerful Trixie is already aware. She has contacts very high in your command, she supposes you would like to hear about her feats of bravery at Hoofington?"
"Yes, that's what I'm here to hear about. What exactly happened that day?"
Trixie reclines back on her chair, drawing a rusty creak from the weakened structure. Fortunately for her, it seems to still be strong enough to take the strain. However, it leaves me very uncomfortable with my own as a result. I lean forward, nudging the dictaphone closer to her.
"Well, the Great and Powerful Trixie was in Hoofington, making a comeback tour."
"A comeback tour? Why would you need one of those?"
Trixie snorts, blowing plumes of dust across the table at me. I feel it was only half intentional, but I still don't like the gesture.
"Some ponies enjoy ruining another pony's esteemed reputation. The Great and Powerful Trixie had to rebuild her reputation after one such attack on her pride, where a town of madmares attempted to kill her by bringing an Ursa upon her!"
I idly leaf through my notes, coughing. I was talking to a showmare after all, so the...discrepancies between a town full of eyewitnesses and Trixie's own monologue was to be expected. Especially where her pride was concerned.
"So, were you performing when the outbreak took hold?"
Trixie's temper fades, and she relaxes her outstretched posture slightly. She raps a hoof on the tabletop as she hesitantly recollects her thoughts.
"Trixie was not on the stage, she was in her dressing room. The Royal Guards had come to take us away, but Trixie refused to leave until she had packed her belongings. My hat and cloak, especially. No...she waited, while the guards moved everypony to the town square for...for safety, they said."
Trixie chuckles darkly, eyes unwillingly to look anywhere but at the years of dirt scattered on the tabletop.
"It was this delay that saved Trixie's life. She was in her stagecoach while the main group stumbled by, it was only when she peered out that she saw them. Grotesque, malformed and torn apart, stumbling after the guards. The refugees were waiting on aircarts that never took off, the cloud bases couldn't handle all the requests. Trixie heard many of these requests made were...overlooked."
I stare across the table, letting her take the time to gather her breath. She seems unwilling to continue, but I prod her for more information.
"How did you escape?"
"Trixie barely did. They enveloped her stagecoach, but the fleeing distracted them...they never saw her as she cowered, teary-eyed, for her life. She had only been brought so low once, and she would not experience it for any longer."
Trixie collects her hat, setting it defiantly upon her head with her forehooves. Whereas it would have made any other pony look comical, it seemed to grant her stature and height.
"She strode out onto the stage, the horde turning to her, acknowledging her! The Great and Powerful Trixie ignited her fireworks, a display of blazing, awe-inspiring magic that dulled the very stars in the sky! All the shambling abominations herded themselves towards her, away from all other ponies who were less worthy of their attention!"
"You drew the Zeds onto yourself, to let the evacuees escape? How did you get out alive?"
Trixie flicks her head, her mane whipping around as her hat levelled itself onto a more lofty position. She smiles triumphantly to me, standing as she spreads her forelegs wide in theatrical grandeur.
"The horde surrounded the Great and Powerful Trixie, but they could not claim her. She leapt! Hooves landed atop her wagon with unparalleled agility and grace, as they shuffled and crawled towards her. Once more, she sprang in a leap that would make the deerfolk gasp in wide-mouthed awe! She was now perched atop a nearby house, where she could see all the hordes congregating around her."
Trixie pauses for a moment, regaining breath from her extravagant and very loud display. Her limbs flew around wildly as she described the tale to us, though my bodyguards motion to her to lower her tone. If any Zeds are nearby, they would hear her for sure. She seems to shrink down ever-so-slightly, though her eyes still burn with fire.
"Trixie lit her horn, drawing all eyes towards her! More powerful than Celestia's sun, drowning Luna's moon with its piercing glare, she pounced from building to building, drawing them all away from Hoofington. The town emptied below her, the crowd reaching unworthily towards the Great and Powerful Trixie, who scoffed at them as she ran."
Something about Trixie's demeanour draws me in, the whole tale becoming a battle of one pony against a horde. I snap out of my stupor as I realise that I was listening to exactly that. Even if it wasn't fact, it would still be an amazing tale. Thankfully, I had notes of eyewitness accounts to back up the claim, many citing that they were saved by Springhoof Jack, before being taken away for post-traumatic stress therapy.
"And then what happened? How did you lose them?"
Trixie pauses, eyes wavering uncertainly as she stares over my shoulder and into her past. She rights herself, swallowing her trepidation with a resigned expression.
"Trixie could not keep up the chase forever, and she soon found her limit. On the edge of town, as she fled, she stumbled over a trench. Dug by the Royal Guards in a vain attempt to prevent the horde from getting into the town. She had sprained her hoof, barely managing to scrabble her way out of the muddy pit as they caught up to her. They fell in behind her, before climbing over the lip of the trench. She crawled...crawled in agony for her life as they came for her. She..."
Trixie drops onto the chair, eyes pinching shut as she holds a hoof to her mouth.
"I was so scared. They...they were right behind me, reaching out, ready to feed on me as I crawled through the mud like a worm before a sparrow. So undignified, so...so very scared. Our chase reached the eaves of the Everfree forest, I turned to face them, setting my back against a tree as I lit my horn...Trixie, lit her horn. She may have been injured in the hoof, but her horn still held its potent sting. Lance after lance of searing magic cut them down, she spent every ounce of her strength keeping them away from her. Her mind faltered as they closed, no longer able to summon more more than a slightly irritating spark."
Trixie leans forward, stroking the dictaphone softly as she mutters to herself. Neither the dictaphone nor my own ears could discern the words, and as a result, they have been lost to history.
"This story will be told to so many colts and fillies, who believed that Trixie was fierce, and brave. That she strode into the Everfree with fire in her heart, tamed an Ursa, and strode through the horde on its back. The truth is that the Ursa found Trixie, it was roused by the commotion, as she pitifully cried and begged for her life...as she resigned to accept her own end. The Ursa roared, beating away the horde around her, recognising Trixie as a fallen enemy it could now squash in its paw like a bug."
I lay another of my scraps on the table. It is a photograph, an image of a statue erected in Hoofington. A defiant figure stands atop a roaring beast, a horde of insignificant creatures falling under its paws.
"'Details, Trixie,' they told me. 'Ponies need heroes, now, and five hundred mares and colts owe their lives and limbs to you!' Trixie never knew heroism could be so undignified, being asked to open a monument to a night she'd rather forget, though she never can. One where all self-esteem is cast aside in the face of inevitable death, to the point where old enemies take pity on a broken foe. Trixie does not know why the Ursa saw fit to save her, maybe she wasn't worth the effort of the creature clenching its paw as she lay inside."
She picks up the the dictaphone, caressing it as she directs her words to its eager microphone.
"You'll make the true story known. You'll let the hundreds of ponies who fled the city as Trixie stole away the horde know. No war has flawless heroes; they all crack before the end. Some forge through on bravery, others on luck. Either way, the hero is always sacrificed. Even if their body survives, their mind...their mind is often lost."