A Surprise Encounter
”How is he?” A voice asked.
Alex stirred momentarily, returning to consciousness, listening to the conversation.
“He’ll be fine” a soothing voice said. “He was just exhausted from the fight with Luna.”
“Thank goodness!” The first voice, who he identified as Twilight, said, sounding extremely relieved.
“But… as for his missing mark, that is somewhat of a mystery to even me.” The second voice said, with a touch of confusion in her voice. “Only he can explain this to us.”
“And what about the wings and the horn?” Twilight said, with the confused tone returning to her voice.
“While those normally belong only to royalty, it isn’t impossible for somepony to be born with both” The second explained. “However,” She began after a pause, ”I’m going to head back to the party. Royal duty calls!” She said with a soft laugh.
“Well, I’ll stay here until he wakes up. I didn’t get a chance to thank him.” Twilight said.
Wait a minute. Alex had heard this before… On his first day here.
Suddenly, Alex was feeling very awake.
Sitting up in the bed, Alex looked around, confused.
There was no Twilight. There was no Celestia. He was in his room in the library, alone.
Or so he thought.
“Good. You’re awake.” A voice echoed through the empty library. “Did you enjoy your little flashback?”
“Who’s there?” Alex called, resisting the urge to hide underneath the sheets.
“Oh, where are my manners?” The voice said from the corner of the room.
Alex turned around, looking at where the voice had come from, and again, saw no one.
Turning back, Alex came face-to-face with the beast who he had been speaking with.
“My name is Discord.” The beast said to him leaning down to Alex’s face, lifting his lion-like paw into the small gap between them.
Alex immediately jumped out of the bed in an effort to put some distance between them. But something was wrong with the way he moved. His hooves weren’t doing what he expected them too. And as a result, he fell out of the bed, and landed flat on his face. He looked down at his front legs to see what was wrong with them.
“W—what?!” Alex shouted, looking to where he used to be his hoofs, that had now been replaced by hands. “I’m human again?!”
“Well, it is YOUR dream.” Discord said absent mindedly, as he wandered around the room.
“This… Is a dream?” Alex asked slowly, realizing that out of all the possibilities, this made the most sense.
“Of course it is.” Discord said, “After all, how could I possibly talk to you when I’m imprisoned in stone?”
After looking himself over, Alex looked back up to Discord. He wasn’t like anything he had seen in this world. He looked like a combination of half a dozen creatures. A pony, a deer, a griffon, a lion, a snake… Celestia had said that Discord was a beast, but he hadn’t expected this.
Alex growled. “What do you want?”
“I just wanted to have a little chat, Alex!” Discord said innocently. “Why all the hostility?”
“Princess Celestia told me all about you!” Alex said, angrily. “I know all about what you did to Equestria!”
“You make me out to be such a bad guy!” Discord said, “But, the truth is, we’re not so different, you and I.”
Alex narrowed his eyes. “We’re nothing alike.”
“Now THAT is where you’re wrong.” Discord said with a chuckle. “You’ve caused quite a bit of chaos here since you arrived, isn’t that right?”
Alex remained silent.
“Even your Element, ‘selflessness’ is chaotic by its nature.” Discord said with a chuckle. “Just. Like. Me.”
“What do you mean…?” Alex asked slowly, not understanding where Discord was coming from.
“There is no such thing as true selflessness,” Discord said, suddenly sounding very serious. “You can only be selfish.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Alex told him, “Of course selflessness exists!”
“Then tell me, what is selflessness?” Discord said condescendingly. “Since you know SO much more than I do about it.”
“It’s… It’s throwing yourself in harm’s way to protect the people… or ponies you care about,” Alex explained, “Doing something you don’t want to do, so others don’t have to.”
“Because…?” Discord said, waiting for Alex to say the words he was expecting.
“Because I want everyone… everypony to be safe, even if it means I get hurt!” Alex said, stumbling over his automatic use of ‘everyone.’
“There it is!” Discord shouted happily, “Because you WANT them to be safe. That’s the key word here!”
“What…?” Alex said, still completely lost.
“How can you be selfless if you WANT your friends to be safe? If what you WANT motivates your actions, doesn’t that make you selfish?” Discord asked.
“N—No! It’s not the same thing!” Alex answered, starting to understand Discords reasoning.
“Oh, yes it is,” Discord said with a smile. “You WANT to help your friends when they need it, you WANT your friends to be happy… It’s all about what YOU want, isn’t it, Alex?”
Again, Alex remained silent. He simply fiddled with his fingers, enjoying having them back.
“Do you see now?” Discord asked, “The element of selflessness is ACTUALLY the element of selfishness! It can make you greedy, or make you a hero! It can make you anything! It’s so deceptive… So chaotic… Or perhaps, Discordic?”
“What do you want?” Alex asked angrily. “Somehow I don’t think you’re only here to tell me how similar we are!”
“You’re right.” Discord said. “I am here for something else… I’m here to extend an olive branch.”
Discord crossed the room, closing the gap between him and Alex.
“Due to the illusiveness of your element, you have a little string of chaos in you, Alex.” Discord said, “That’s why you reacted to my cotton candy cloud the way you did.”
Alex stayed silent. This was an explanation he wanted to hear.
“The harmonious magic that you ponies use, and a small amount of the chaotic magic that I use, exist together within you. And as a result, they understand each other.” Discord explained, “It’s like a flu shot. That little bit of chaos in you has helped the rest of your magic understand what its weaknesses are. It knows how to destroy it. So--”
“So, it knows how to destroy you.” Alex finished.
Discord narrowed his eyes, “I will be returning to Equestria soon, and I plan on taking back my place as the ruler. I’d prefer that we not be enemies when I do.”
“If you plan on taking Equestria back, we will be enemies.” Alex said. “And there is nothing you can do to make me your friend.”
“Have it your way, pony.” Discord growled. “But I am much more powerful than a pink cloud. Do not think it will be easy to stop me.”
“And don’t think the same about me.” Alex said. “I’ll keep Equestria safe.”
“My, my… Arrogant, aren’t we?” Discord said laughing lightly, returning to his previous mood. “Well, I’ve said all I want, and I’m starting to bore of this dream of yours. So, I’ll allow you to wake up.”
“Thank you SO much.” Alex said sarcastically, again.
“You’re very welcome.” Discord said with a wink.
Alex suddenly feet woozy… He watched pieces of the library started to disappear from around him. Bit by bit, until almost nothing remained. But, before the last parts faded away, Alex heard one more thing from Discord.
“But be ready though, because you never know when I might drop in again.”
“So… he just, fell asleep?” Twilight asked.
“That’s the best answer I can give you,” Luna said, having just finished her examination of Alex. “There’s no evidence to suggest that the magic spell he cast is what caused him to lose consciousness… The only feasible answer I can come up with is that something MADE him fall asleep.”
Everypony was gathered around Alex, who was still unconscious on the table. Even Spike had come downstairs to check on the commotion.
“Is there any way to wake him?” Dash asked.
“Well, if he doesn’t wake up on his own, I can cast a spell that will force him to wake up. However, that will be a last resort.” Celestia said.
Spike leaned close to Alex’s face and poked his cheek, causing zero change.
“So, we’re just going to sit here?” Dash asked, watching Spike poke Alex.
“ Eeyup.” Applejack answered, also staring at Spike.
“I can’t believe he took my cloud away…” Pinkie said from the corner of the room, still saddened by the loss of her cotton candy cloud, as Fluttershy sat next to her, patting her back comfortingly.
“Pinkie, darling!” Rarity said from the table, “I already told you I’d buy you some more cotton candy! Please, come join us!”
Pinkie however, remained silent.
Deciding that he knew the best way to wake Alex, Spike leaned in closer to his face, until he was only an inch away. “ALEX!”
“Spike!” Twilight scolded, levitating Spike away from Alex, and putting him on the floor behind her. “You’re not helping!”
“So… What happened to Trixie after she teleported me back here?” Twilight asked trying to make a bit of small talk to pass the time.
“She left…” Fluttershy spoke up from the corner. “I saw her quietly pack up and leave after everypony went back to bed… I was surprised she didn’t stay around for everypony to thank her…”
Twilight was surprised, Trixie definitely seemed like the type to soak up all of the attention she could possibly get. “Maybe she was still ashamed by her loss.”
“If I were her, I would’ve run away with my tail between my legs!” Dash said angrily, thinking back to her own embarrassment from the night before.
By this time, Spike had made his way back to the sleeping Alex without being seen. Leaning in again he tried to think of a way to wake him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have to think for long.
“DISCORD!” Alex shouted sitting up.
Spike yelped in surprise, causing him to breathe a large amount of fire right into Alex’s face.
Everypony stood in silence. They had been surprised by Alex as well, but watching him get doused in fire was almost enough to make them all start laughing.
Alex simply sat still. He blinked a few times before remembering that he was a pony again, and that he could easily repair the damage Spike had done.
Shaking his head quickly, Alex shook all of the burn off in a black cloud, returning his face to the solid white it used to be.
“I think I just met Discord!” Alex said.
And, just like that, the humor was gone.
“What happened?” Celestia asked.
“Well, in my dream… it all started with me waking up in my room…”
“And then he told me he might visit me again.” Alex finished. “I woke up after that.”
Princess Celestia and Princess Luna both looked at each other, and nodded.
“We apologize for this, but we must leave right away.” Luna said.
“From Alex’s description, it seems that Discord is more powerful than I first anticipated,” Celestia explained, “And if that’s the case, preparations must be made in Canterlot immediately.”
Everypony looked back and forth between each other nervously.
“Twilight, I’m going to have to ask you to accompany us as well.” Celestia added.
Twilight was surprised at this, what possible use could she have in Canterlot? However, she nodded without saying a word, trusting Celestia to know what she was doing.
“Everypony else, please try not to dwell on this information.” Celestia said, “Try your best to return to your usual routines while we work this out.”
“How can we return to our normal lives, when we know this is happening?” Dash asked.
“I realize that this isn’t an easy thing to do, considering the magnitude of what could happen…” Celestia said, “But we know he’s coming, and we’ll do our best to stop this before it even begins.”
“What about Twilight?” Alex asked, “How long will she be gone for? Hay, what is she even going for?”
“She’ll be gone no more than a few days,” Celestia said, “And… I have an extremely important task that I need to prepare her for.”
Twilight stepped forward, in an effort to stop Alex from asking Celestia more questions.
“You can take care of Spike for me, right?” Twilight asked.
“Of course!” Alex said, starting to accept what was happening. “You go do your thing I guess… I’ll keep things together on this end.”
Everypony watched as Luna and Celestia bowed their heads and started casting a spell. Twilight turned away from Alex to face them.
“Thanks,” Twilight said over her shoulder, as she walked forward the Princesses, who were both now looking up, and waiting for Twilight to finish her goodbyes. “Goodbye you guys! Be good Spike!”
“Bye Twilight!” Everypony said in unison, with a smile.
“Farewell, My Little Ponies.” Celestia said to the group, seeing that Twilight was finished. “Please, try not to worry about this too much!”
Then, instantly, a bright light enveloped Luna, Celestia, and Twilight.
And when the light faded, they were gone.