PART 39 - In Flight Movies
The Spectacular Trixie turned to Pip with an ingratiating smile. "How would you like to be in pictures, handsome?"
The young stallion blinked, and cast an uncertain glance at Twilight, Soarin, and Apple Bloom before responding in a tentative tone of voice. "er... P-pictures? Like in the newspapers? I've already been, ma'am."
The azure unicorn gave a toss of her head and a breezy laugh. "No. I mean moving pictures, kid! Film! Cinema! The Movies!"
At this, Twilight stepped forward with a hint of curiosity overlaying her irritated expression. "Featherweight said something about documentaries. Are you proposing some kind of educational presentation on Harmony Aeronautic's flight harness?"
Trixie rolled her eyes. "You'd think with that huge brain of yours you'd be able to think bigger, Sparkle."
A smug grin spread across her face as Twilight's eyes narrowed in turn. "We've had the spellcraft to create moving pictures with sound for like, what, a little over a decade, and all anypony could think to do with it is make drab little educational films about where rain comes from or how chicken eggs hatch."
She clenched a fore hoof toward the heavens as she leaned forward eagerly. "The Spectacular Trixie, on the other hoof, sees the potential for something truly amazing! She wants to spin tales! She wants to tell stories! She wants to parade a pageant of dreams across the silver screen that the pony public will eat up like chocolate covered sugar cubes!"
The showmare stepped up to Pip, and raised a hoof up under his chin, turning the nonplussed stallion's face from side to side as she looked it over with a discerning eye. "And stories need a leading stallion, like this fine specimen here. One look at that smile of his would have mares swooning in their seats all across Equestria."
Trixie let loose of the spotted earth pony's profile took a step back to look him over. "That smile, that face, those smoking hot flanks. As soon as the Spectacular Trixie laid her eyes on the whole picture in yesterday's rushes, she said to herself 'Spectacular Trixie, you have GOT to sign this colt! He's a heartbreaker waiting to happen!'"
Twilight stomped a hoof, casting a scowl at her old rival. "All right, that's enough. You're wasting your time and ours, Lulamoon. Pip's under contract with Harmony Aeronautics. He's not available for hire."
She cast a nervous glance at Apple Bloom, who was looking at the blue show mare with a level gaze set in a deadpan expression. "And you have NO idea just what kind of ursa major you're unleashing with this particular line of inquiry."
Trixie's ears laid back as she shot a cold glare at the lavender scholar. "And there it is... The inevitable bringing up of the bear. Someday, Sparkle, the Spectacular Trixie would like to run into you and not hear about that particular peccadillo again. She's gotten quite bored with pointing out that it wasn't her fault in the first place."
Twilight reared back indignantly. "Peccadillo? Why you dissembling little..."
She fell silent as Pip pointedly cleared his throat, stepped forward, and gave Trixie a courteous bow with an apologetic nod to his employer. "I'm honored that you might ask, ma'am, but Doctor Sparkle is quite correct in saying I'm not available. And even if I were, I'm most assuredly not interested in breaking hearts."
He cast a fond glance in Apple Bloom's direction as his smile glinted in the golden west coast sunlight. "One pony's heart in particular..."
The red headed mare gave him a smile in return as she met his gaze, then turned back toward Trixie with a businesslike nod. "Actually, I think we oughta hear her out 'fore we slam th' barn door shut on a deal that might just be worth cuttin' fer Harmony Aeronautics."
Twilight and Pip rounded on her with eyes wide with surprise, as a thoughtful look settled on Soarin's face. The lavender unicorn blinked at her in disbelief. "Wh-what do you mean, Apple Bloom?"
The handymare gave her a shrug. "Well, it was somethin' ya said a minute ago, 'bout doin' an educational film about th' Harmony Harness. Zecora always says tellin' stories is a great way t' teach, and I reckon if'n more ponies know about th' harness, the more of 'em may want to get one for themselves. Puttin' it simple, seems like we could get some good advertisin' out o' Trixie's movies. I reckon we could get folks mighty excited 'bout our product."
She looked the show mare over with an appraising eye. "What if we said she don't get t' make her movies 'bout Pip unless she makes 'em 'bout the flight harness too. Seems like a way fer him t' work for us and her, if'n he wanted."
A canny look settled on her face. "And o' course in that case you'd have t' send along somepony t' maintain th' harness. Keep our colt here flyin' straight n' all."
Trixie pursed her lips thoughtfully. "Hmmm. Yeah, we could work up a serial story of some kind, sort of an adventure thing like Daring Do, but with fewer plot convenient wing breaks. Sounds like a good angle."
She brightened up, hiking her tail as a look of inspiration blossomed on her face. "In fact, it's a GREAT angle! Yeah! That's dynamite! It's gold, pure gold! A once in a lifetime opportunity!"
The azure unicorn cocked an eyebrow at Apple Bloom, sizing the young mare up in turn. "The Spectacular Trixie likes the way you think, filly."
Soarin stepped forward and caught her eye with a bob of his head. "You mentioned showing these films all across Equestria. What kind of venues we talkin' about here?"
A grin spread across the flashy unicorn's face as she settled into a well worn passage of her sales pitch. "Well you might ask, sport. There's little theaters in every town, village, and hamlet in Equestria, and a lot of 'em don't see a lot of action aside from the annual Hearth's Warming pageant and B.P.O.P. meetings. That's 'cos as much as ponies enjoy their live theater or vaudeville, that sort of thing can be pretty pricey to put on, not to mention all the other hassle of staging a show."
She reared up with a dramatic flourish, her smug smile widening as she spoke. "But with the Spectacular Trixie's movies, theater owners can put on a lavish production rivaling Rodeo City Music Hall or the Canterlot Opera House, and all in vibrant, living color."
Twilight gave her a skeptical look, her senses piqued for any hint of deception. "Color films?"
The show mare nodded with immense self satisfaction. "Not just color movies. Trixiecolor! An alchemical process created by yours truly that develops film with all the colors of the rainbow and beyond! I can make movies look more real than reality!"
She examined the sheen on a fore hoof as she gave off an air of detached pride. "And they can stage these glorious shows all year round for a fraction of the bits and no more hassle than collecting tickets and sweeping up the popcorn afterward."
Trixie gave Twilight a wink. "You're not the only pony with a world shaking invention on your hooves, Sparkle."
She drew herself up with toss of her powder blue mane. "Which is why we ought to work together. Two geniuses, pooling their talents and showing the world the ol' razzle dazzle like they'll never forget."
The azure unicorn favored her longtime rival with a smile. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That's what the Spectacular Trixie always says."
Twilight rolled her eyes. "That is not what you always say, Lulamoon." She dropped into a nasal imitation of the show mare's voice. "What you always say is 'Anything you can do, I can do better.'"
The showmare gave a huff of frustration, shattering her affected air of coolness. "Well let's unpack that baggage, Sparkle. Trixie gave up calling herself 'The Great And Powerful' after repeatedly coming in second to the so called Element of Magic and her little clique of calamities. Even when Trixie won this or that battle she always wound up eventually losing the war."
Trixie started counting on her hooves for emphasis. "She can't call herself the 'Awesome Trixie' after almost breaking her neck in Cloudsdale challenging that rainbooming braggart Rainbow Dash, and she gave up on being the 'Fabulous Trixie' after that debacle at the Manehattan Fashion Fest."
A pained look washed momentarily across her face, before vanishing behind a confident grin. "After tangling with the quiet one in that... magic rabbit incident, Trixie did a bit of soul searching, and realized the trick wasn't to do anything better than anypony, but to figure out what Trixie does best that nopony else can, and be the best in the world at that."
She reared up, her horn sparking to life as a small phantasmagoria of colorful fireworks appeared behind her as a backdrop. "And what Trixie does best is spectacle! She was put on this earth to dazzle and amaze, to brighten the pony folks' drab little existences with her peerless illusions!"
The fireworks faded as she dropped back to all fours and met Twilight's eye with a wry expression on her face. "It's funny, really, but it was something your apple farmer friend said to Trixie while we were behind her barn scrubbing all that mud and carrot juice off of me. She said Trixie was 'nothin' but show'."
Her eyes lit up with fondly remembered insight as she spoke. "And so the Spectacular Trixie thought to herself as she took that long, lonely train ride back to Fillydelphia: What's wrong with being all show? Why not embrace it? Why not dedicate the Spectacular Trixie's considerable skills to putting on the best show ever!"
Apple Bloom gave her a dubious look. "I remember that particular fracas. I don't reckon AJ intended it as a compliment. We were cleanin' lettuce outta th' rain gutters fer days."
The azure unicorn favored her with a smile. "Trixie thought you looked familiar. She can definitely see the family resemblance."
She winked approvingly at the young mare. "You've filled out nicely since the last time Trixie saw you. Trixie can see why smiley here's got a thing for you." The youthful couple responded with a shy blush, digging their hooves in the grass almost in unison.
She let out a sigh. "The Spectacular Trixie has no illusions about what your big sister thought of me, or your sister in law, for that matter." She gave a slight wince. "Trixie's used to getting cussed out, but she'll never forget hearing it in a voice like a summer breeze whispering through a meadow full of posies."
The show mare regained her brash expression. "But regardless, it was a moment of clarity. Why challenge other ponies for what was obviously the Spectacular Trixie's destined place in the sun? She might not be the most powerful unicorn, or the most daring, or the most fashionable, but by the great spotlights in the sky she's the best a putting on a show."
A tiny firework leapt from her horn and went off with a pop to punctuate her words, and she looked at Twilight with a hopeful smile. "And now Trixie sees that the way forward is to co-operate. Join forces for something bigger and better. So how about it, Sparkle? You wanna hitch our wagons to each other's stars?"
She turned to Pip. "And what about you, gorgeous? You wanna be that star?"
Pip shared a look with Apple Bloom, receiving a nod from the red haired apple of his eye, and gave Trixie a winning smile. "Throw in a few swashbuckling pirate stories, and I'll consider it."
He nodded toward Twilight. "But first, I'm afraid I must defer to my employers regarding my obligations to them and their purposes."
Soarin chimed in with a bob of his head toward the empty frame of the Luna Moth. "Yeah, and speaking of those, we need to get underway. We've still got a race to run, kid."
Pip flashed him a grin. "Too right, old bean. Lets get cracking, eh what?"
With that, he gave Trixie a polite bow and trotted away with Apple Bloom and Soarin in tow, intent on helping him strap into the flight harness. Trixie cast a glance back at Featherweight, and flicked her horn toward the racers and their chief engineer. The scrawny stallion snapped off a salute and hurried over to join them. He brought out his camera apparatus and set to filming them, taking to the air to hover in a wide circle around their busy pre-flight routine. This left Twilight and Trixie standing face to face, alone.
The lavender unicorn expression had settled into a pensive stare, with only a bit of crossness creasing her brow as she looked at the azure show mare. "I'll need to talk all this over with my partner Rarity before I can give you a final decision, Trixie."
Her harried expression deepened as she glared at her longtime rival. "And I'm gonna be late picking her up from the Los Pegasus City Jail because of you."
Trixie threw back her head with a harsh bark of laughter. "HAH! What'd ol' Greenielocks do to land in the Lo Peg slammer?"
Twilight's ears laid back, both in irritation at the azure unicorn's derision and regret for letting that particular detail slip to exactly the wrong mare.
Trixie held up a hoof to forestall her spluttering response. "Tell you what, Sparkle, you can tell me on the way. I've got a cab waiting for me out by the farmhouse. As a gesture of goodwill, I'll be happy to drop a few bits on picking up your hoodlum friend from the clink."
The lavender unicorn ground her hooves in the alfalfa stubble, a small wisp of black smoke rising above her head as her violet eyes bored into the azure impresario's smug expression. A brief vision of a tangle maned, grubby faced feral Rarity standing on a city guard's desk having a shrieking conniption while ponies in white coats armed with nets came running crossed through Twilight's mind.
With a growl and a bob of her horn, she set out for the yellow checkered wagon waiting in the distance by the Apple family hacienda. "Ffffffine. Come on..."
Twilight and Trixie came trotting into the reception area of the Los Pegasus guard headquarters and approached the sergeant's desk, an anxious look on the lavender scholar's face while the azure showmare exuded cool detachment behind her sunglasses. The matronly earth pony mare behind the desk sat with slouched posture and an expression of weary, much tried patience.
Twlight stepped up to the imposing wood paneled edifice and tentatively cleared her throat. "Er... Hello. I'm Doctor Twilight Sparkle, and I'm here to pick up one Ms. Rarity Belle."
The guard sergeant let out a long, grinding sigh. She inclined her head and called under her desk with a raspy, world weary voice as she rapped a hoof on the scuffed masonite surface. "Your ride's here, fruitcake. Time to come outta there."
She rolled her chair back out of the way as a grime and tear streaked, tattered and tangled Rarity furtively poked her head up and peered about like an owl at noontime. She smiled the briefest smile of heartfelt relief as she saw Twilight, an expression that dissolved into panic as soon as she laid eyes on Trixie. She let out a strangled squawk and dove back under the desk.
The sergeant let out another weary sigh as the unicorn crouching under her post cried out in a voice strident with indignation. "What is SHE doing here?"
Twilight brought a hoof to her face and did a credible imitation of the desk sergeant. "Rarity..."
A muffled tirade issued forth from behind the paneling. "Bad enough that I get dragged out of bed and perp walked off the airship in front of the entire elite of Equestria. Bad enough I have to spend the night in a succession of positively filthy cells. Bad enough I have to endure a very brusque interrogation concluding with an illuminated tour of my alimentary canal for the city guard. Bad enough that I am tired, hungry, unwashed, ungroomed, and wedged under a desk next to the hooves of a mare who needs very badly to change her Dr. Foal's corrective horseshoes."
Her disheveled head popped up briefly. "No offense, darling."
The sergeant let out another sigh. "None taken."
Rarity's voice returned to its keening screech once she was back underneath. "No, all that is bad enough, but then YOU have to go ahead and bring the WORST possible pony in all of Equestria to witness me at my absolute nadir! What's next? A parade down Main Street? Or maybe get Photo Finish to do a shoot! Or just get anypony to shoot me! They'd be doing me a flippin' favor!"
Trixie rolled her eyes over the tops of her sunglasses. "And they call the Spectacular Trixie a drama queen."
Twilight gave her a scalding look, and then turned back toward her partner's redoubt, stomping a hoof on the tiled floor as her meagre store of patience dried up. "Rarity, come out of there!"
A silvery shriek issued forth in reply. "NO!"
Trixie edged closer to Twilight and murmured out of the side of her mouth. "The Spectacular Trixie can take care of your friend, if you'd do the honors of moving the desk out of the way."
She tsked and rolled her eyes again at the lavender unicorn's dubious glare. "Trixie knows what you're thinking, but she means literally take care of her, all right? Just trust Trixie, she's trying to prove her bona fides here."
With a wary look at her longtime rival, Twilight turned toward the massive desk and enveloped it in her sparkling purple magic, lifting it and the nonplussed earth pony mare occupying it twenty hooves into the air, leaving the huddled figure of Rarity crouched on her belly with her hooves over her face. She let out another shriek. "Nooo! Nopony must gaze upon the hideous creature that I've become!"
Trixie sparked her horn to life and fired a blast of magic at the grubby, tangle maned mess of a mare, enveloping her in a shimmering whirlwind. Coruscating waves of pale blue washed across Rarity's greyed out hide, leaving pristine white in their wake. The effect swept through the birds' nests of her mane and tail, winding her tresses into glossy smooth curls.
The alabaster unicorn let out a gasp as she scrambled to her feet, raising a trembling hoof to her cheek. "I... Oh thank Celestia, I'm beautiful again!"
The azure show mare let her horn go still with an arch expression on her face. "More like thank the Spectacular Trixie, glamour puss."
Rarity approached her, meeting her eyes with a solemn gaze and an earnest smile, and reached out a hoof. "Indeed. You're quite right, my dear. Thank you."
Trixie took her hoof and shook it, casting a smug look at Twilight. "See? The Spectacular Trixie can use her powers for good if she wants."
The lavender mare set the huge desk down with a clunk, leaving the sergeant blinking in consternation as the fluttering papers settled around her with a rustle. Twilight gave a toss of her mane and jerked her head toward the doors. "Yeah yeah. Now come on, the meter on your cab's running."
She turned to her partner and bobbed her horn toward the azure show pony as her two fellow unicorn mares fell into step beside her. "Trixie has a business proposal for Harmony Aeronautics, Rarity."
The alabaster fashionista favored Trixie with a genteel smile as they trotted out into the bright Los Pegasus sunlight. "I'd be more than happy to hear her out, but first I'd like to request a little side trip, darlings."
As the sound of their hooves receded down the marble steps of the guard headquarters, the desk sergeant let out a final sigh, set out a "Back in 5 Minutes" sign, and tottered away to go lie down on the break room couch.
Trixie and Twilight sat impatiently in the cab wagon, the lavender scholar slouched petulantly by the window as the azure showmare tapped her hoof and repeatedly glanced at the ticking meter hanging from the cabbie's harness. Rarity stood at the back of the yellow checkered wagon, supervising as a cadre of burly porters in royal blue uniforms loaded a mountain of luggage into the cab's trunk.
Sterling set the last hatbox in among the tightly packed cargo and shoved the trunk lid closed with difficulty, then turned to face Rarity with a bow. "There you go, Milady. All set."
He cleared his throat and doffed his cap, holding it over his brass buttoned chest as he cast his eyes toward the ground. "The lads and lasses are sorry to see you go ma'am. We hope you can forgive us for your rough handling toward the end there."
Rarity favored him with a smile and batted her eyelashes at him. "It's not your fault, darling. You all were just obeying orders, and you have a duty to protect the ship and all of its passengers. Rest assured I don't bear any ill will."
Her sapphire eyes flashed and narrowed as she spotted Drawstring the purser approaching. "To you ponies among the crew at any rate. The officers, on the other hoof..."
The prissy unicorn stallion stepped up to Rarity, tugging sheepishly at his collar before he snapped to attention and gave her a bow. He cleared his throat and addressed her in a halting voice. "Er... Miss Rarity, on behalf of the Royal Blue Airship Line, I want to extend our humblest apologies for what was clearly a case of mistaken identity, and for any inconvenience that may have resulted. We sincerely hope you enjoyed your flight with us up to that point, and would be most gratified if you'd consider traveling with us again someday."
A bloom of red rage washed across Rarity's alabaster face and receded as she swallowed it, her expression settling to an icy mask of pristine composure with only the barest glint of flame in the depths of her eyes. She drew herself up and extended a dainty hoof toward the purser, which he eagerly accepted.
All heads snapped around in alarm as a fierce battle cry echoed up and down the busy street beneath the distant curve of the Ambrosia's prow, tethered to the platform high above. "Hiiiiiii YA! Hikeeba!"
Drawstring barely had time to yelp with alarm as he was flipped through the air in a judo throw and slammed onto the sidewalk with a resounding WHAP! All around the porters winced as the ship's purser let out a strangled wheeze and curled his hooves to his body like a swatted bug.
Rarity leaned over him with an immensely satisfied expression on her pale face. "Apology most cordially accepted, sir. I regret that I shall be forgoing your company's services and arranging my own air conveyance in the future, and I assure you that I will be urging all of my numerous friends and associates to do the same. I do hope you enjoyed your flight, though."
With that, she spun on her hoof, raised her snout in the air with a silvery "hmph!" and high stepped to the cab with her tail hiked proudly and her mane bouncing with every step.
Twilight brought a hoof to her face and slouched in her seat as Trixie let out a chuckle. "You know what, Sparkle? The Spectacular Trixie thinks she's beginning to appreciate your friend's sense of style after all."
Pip and Soarin climbed rapidly over the sprawling coastal city, rising to the level of the cloud terraces that crowned Los Pegasus' soaring marble skyscrapers. Colorful herds of pegasi gathered on the white billows to watch and cheer on the racers as the various teams of ponies and non-ponies alike passed between the Cavalry Plaza towers and started on their journey south.
A loud roar of approval echoed in the distance as a trio of winged figures passed over the crowd's heads dragging two trails of lightning lit black smoke and a coruscating rainbow behind them.
Pip grinned at his wing pony. "I say, looks like our chums from the Wonderbolts made it through all that sandstorm business all right."
Soarin nodded back. "Yeah, but if I know Dash she probably dragged them through some kind of crazy shortcut that would have made them wish they'd just gone through the storm."
The young earth pony chuckled, then perked up his ears as another team hove into view, the red suited, tawny winged Golden and Granola Bay. The hometown crowd cheered even louder as they soared past.
The Harmony Aeronautics team traded a determined nod and flared their wings as they approached the unofficial starting line for the next leg of the race. Both stallions' faces fell, their ears laying back as the unmistakable sound of booing and jeers rose over the sound of muted applause.
Pip looked at the winged spectators shaking their clenched hooves at them with a frown on his youthful face and a furrow in his brow. "Oh dear... Seems they don't like us very much, old sock."
Soarin's mouth set in a grim line as he stared straight ahead. "I was afraid of this happening in Ponyville, but I guess I really should have expected it here in Equestria's cloud belt. There's more pegasi who don't mix as freely with landstanders out here."
He cast a wan glance at his companion. "I'm really sorry about this, kid. Try not to let 'em get to ya."
Pip raised his head with a stern look on his coltish face. "Hardly your fault, old chum. Sticks and stones and all that, eh what?'
A faint smile tweaked at the corners of the veteran flyer's lips as he gave a nod. "Well, if it's any comfort, any of those cloudhoppers who're booing us wouldn't know a stick or a stone if it smacked 'em in the rump. I'd keep an eye out for... HEY!"
He was cut off with a rushing surge of headwind as the burly forms of Air Hammer and Ice Tongs rocketed past, buffeting them with the force of their wingwash. Pip let out a clipped cry of alarm, flailing and tumbling as he was blown into a tailspin.
Air Hammer bellowed over his shoulder with a scowl. "Clear the flight path, amateur hour!"
Ice Tongs brayed with laughter as he called back as well. "Next time, keep yer hooves in da dirt, ground pounder!"
Soarin veered to assist his youthful partner with an ozone tinged curse under his breath, rolling away as he saw Pip recover his bearings and level out. He leveled out himself and called out to him, his ears laid back at the sound of laughter and more jeers coming from the onlooking crowds below. "You okay, kid?"
Pip shook his head to clear it and gave his wing pony a sparkling grin. "I say, I think we'll have to give those two bounders a piece of our mind. What say we wait for them at the finish line in Canterlot, eh?"
Soarin let out a laugh and settled into formation next to him. "Yeah, I think I can make that appointment. Those two palookas hardly have any pieces of mind between 'em as it is. Now lets show 'em all what an earth pony and his washed up, has been wingcolt can do."
They edged closer and bumped hooves, then pumped their wings to pick up speed and clear Los Pegasus airspace.
The heat rose in worm like ripples in the stark open sky of the San Palomino desert as a bizarre contraption was brought to the lip of a sandstone cave set in a high cliff face, carried on the backs of a ragged pair of scrawny, black clad unicorn ponies.
A single wide wing of dark canvas with a scalloped trailing edge bridged between the harnesses they wore, each with a cylindrical nacelle loaded with a half dozen shark grinning phlogiston rockets centered over their backs. Between the rocket banks, a haphazard cluster of bundles and packs was securely tethered, containing the lightest load of supplies they dared to take. The scattered remains of a furious night's work and a litter of discarded equipment lay across the cave floor.
Doctor Insanity turned to his brother, lowering his dark goggles into place with a deadpan expression on his face. "It's several hundred miles to Canterlot. We've got two days worth of food and water, a dozen rocket engines, and when it gets dark, we'll be wearing sunglasses."
Professor Destiny gave a solemn nod, staring out over the dunes through his own smoked goggles. "Hit it."
With that, they sparked their horns, each igniting a single rocket in the clusters on their backs. The sinister black missiles flared to life with sickly green flame, launching them into the scorching thermals with a whoop of exultation and stark terror.
A short distance away, a squad of sullen faced pegasi soared over the desert in a search formation, broiling in their bronze armor despite the high altitude. Their mistress of the day's sun was bearing down with its full force from above and rebounding off of the yellow dunes below, leaving them feeling like they were baking in a vast oven.
They ignored the glint of armor on their brothers in the guard crisscrossing the sweltering sky in the distance, searching for any sign of the fugitives they'd been tasked by their eternal sovereigns to find and capture.
Short of the happy news that their commander Sir Concord and the cohort of wounded had returned from Ponyville miraculously cured of their bizarre afflictions, save for a vaguely purplish tinge to Concord's pale coat, there had been little to lighten their mood. In their minds, the stifling heat was emblematic of the Princess' disappointment in their failure, and it rankled them greatly.
The young private at the starboard tip of this particular squad did a double take as he saw a crescent of black smoke rising from among the sandstone mountains to the south. He called to his sergeant with a swelling note of elation in his voice. "Sarge! Contact! Three o' clock high!"
A savage grin spread across his squad leader's face, and he signaled for pursuit formation as he unslung a bronze horn from his shoulder and raised it to his lips, loosing a blast that echoed across the vastness of the San Palomino.
With that, they wheeled and drew a bead on the receding contrails, pumping their wings to catch their long sought quarry. As they hurtled above the dunes, more and more squads veered from their search pattern, matched speed, and fell into formation, the pursuit growing steadily to a vast column of vengeful, heavily armed and armored pegasi that rang with battle cries and the blare of horns.
After a hectic round of sorting and packing, Rarity's luggage had been reduced to absolute essentials and loaded onto the Friend Ship with the help of Apple Bloom's Aunt Gala and cousin Candy. The rest, the alabaster mare grudgingly allowed, would be shipped to the Carousel Boutique in Ponyville.
Finally, after the young handymare had trotted off to say her goodbyes to the Los Pegasus branch of her extensive family tree, a trio of unicorn mares stood in the looming shadow of the purple balloon and parted with a shake of their hooves.
The azure showmare allowed a bit of genuine warmth into her smile as she bobbed her horn to the owners of Harmony Aeronautics. "Well, the Spectacular Trixie wishes you the best of luck on your trip. She'll be in touch once you put in to Canterlot with a proposal."
Rarity gave her a magnanimous smile of her own. "We'll be looking forward to it, darling. I think our dear, practical Apple Bloom is quite right, this could be a fabulous opportunity for both our companies."
Twilight nodded, as a smile spread on her face as well. "Well Lulamoon, in spite of all our differences over the years, I have to hoof it to you. You're the better pony for being the first to set aside our mutual antagonism and seeing your way to a truce."
The flamboyant unicorn drew herself up proudly, the sun glinting golden off of her sunglasses. "Was there ever any doubt, Sparkle?"
She gave a nod toward the balloon. "Now get going. The Spectacular Trixie wants to know how this story's gonna pan out. If it's got a happy ending, maybe she'll want to option it for a movie."
Rarity and Twilight shared a glance and a chuckle, as the lavender mare grinned at her former rival. "We'll do our best to stick to the script. Best of luck, Spectacular Trixie."
The showmare gave a laugh as she wheeled to trot to her cab, calling merrily over her shoulder as she went. "Same to you, Doctor Sparkle. See you after the credits have rolled."
The characters depicted in this fiction are copyright and trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. This is a work of fan fiction, and the author makes no claim on Hasbro's copyright or trademarks.