“Like dominoes, Tia. Cute, amusing dominoes.”
Though the voice taunting her from behind danced in Celestia’s head like a bad migraine, the pony princess stood tall and firm, gazing out the shattered remains of a palace window. The gaping hole in the once beautifully painted glass now opened up a view to the streets of Canterlot below. Screams of horror and confusion traveled through the air in shrill tones as the once stuck-up noble ponies of the city ran for their lives, pursued by animated objects of various sizes.
“It wasn’t hard,” the spirit of chaos reflected as he floated lazily in the air, completely unperturbed by the anarchy outside. “Your ponies have some very glaring weaknesses, Tia. I was rather saddened; I was done with all but your scholarly student before they even got to the center of the maze-”
“You will not win, Discord. You cannot stop them with your tricks.” Celestia spoke abruptly, digging a golden-decorated hoof into the tiled floor. Her gaze demonstrated both sorrow and hate. Her kingdom, her subjects, her everything; it was burning to the ground right in front of her eyes. Not with flames of smoldering wood and straw, but of god-like magic, turning the peace and harmony on its head.
The mother of Equestria was completely alienated from her own people, unable to help them.
She no longer commanded his kryptonite. To her, Discord was untouchable.
“Oh come now, Tia, there’s no need to huff and puff…that is, unless you plan on blowing my house down.” Discord mused, his serpentine body coiling around the princess’s. His large oafish face leveled with the majestic pony, and their eyes connected firmly. While Celestia shot daggers of pure loathing, Discord gazed back with maleficent glee.
“Your precious ponies have no chance, my dear.” The wizard of mayhem stated merrily, using a single claw to twirl the end of Celestia’s mane teasingly. “Even your most faithful student has given in; I saw it with my own eyes.”
“You underestimate the power of connection and friendship, Discord. You always did. And it will lead to your downfall, yet again.” Celestia seethed, all at once vanishing in a burst of golden magic. A moment later she reappeared across the room, by the wide open hallway doors. While Discord flipped his wound-up body around to ogle after her, the princess glared at him with a knowing frown.
“Rest assured, I have already taken measures against your tricks. Twilight Sparkle will never let her friends down, and you will do well to remember that. There will always be harmony in the souls of ponies, and it can never be extinguished by the likes of you.”
Celestia's mind drifted back up to her private chambers. She could still feel the enchantment she had placed on her student's letters, pulsating in her regal horn. One by one, they were in the process of re-delivering back to their original sender. Celestia could only hope that Twilight Sparkle would stumble upon them in her home, as soon as possible.
She also hoped that Spike wouldn't be too upset with her when this was all over.
“Honestly, I come all the way up here to keep you company and all you can do is give me speeches.” Discord pronounced with a heavy sigh, making a silent gagging motion. He drifted through the air silently and descended next to a second shattered window. Resting his claw onto the broken glass, completely immune to harm, he peered out into his creation. At this point, most residents of the city had either gone into hiding, or were captured by his army of pursuing fabric and manikins. Meanwhile, the city itself underwent a downpour of cola. The dark brown clouds had swept over Cloudsdale, and were now directly overhead of the mountain-side city.
"Quite beautiful, really. It's too bad you and Lulu never understood the work I do." The spirit began, his large dragon tail sweeping into a stiff position. "But then again, all true artists have critics for their greatest works, I suppose."
Celestia's piercing glare bore itself right into the back of Discord's head.
"Art?" The princess said with distaste. "Do you hear those screams, Discord? Those are not screams of appreciation or amusement. Those are screams of terror."
"Wonderful, isn't it?" The Draconequus responded enthusiastically, wheeling around and clapping his mismatched hands together. "Truly music to my chaotic ears, Celestia. Once more, it's too bad you and Lulu cannot appreciate things the way I do. I'm sure you'd be far less of a stick in the mud, that way. We could even hang out, maybe go to the movies. If there are no good seats left, we simply make the popcorn rabid, and watch as it chases ponies from their seats!"
Discord broke out into a fit of laughter as he pictured Twilight Sparkle running from an extra large bag of pony pop brand popcorn. He fell from his place in the air and landed on the magnificent red carpet with a resounding thud, flailing around. Celestia looked on with anything but amusement.
"I'm so very glad you find your work funny, Discord. For no one else in this universe shares your opinion." She uttered, giving him a solemn look.
For the first time in his entire visit, Discord glanced up at the princess with a serious expression. Like a cobra, he slithered up into a standing position, where he easily towered over her. His long neck bending, he reached eye-level with the pony, and cupped her chin in his eagle-clawed hand. His misshapen eyes, glowing red, were half closed.
“If I didn't know any better Celestia, I'd say you've become even more of a killjoy than the last time I saw you, all those years ago.” He muttered, voice soft and eerie. For a long moment, the distant yells and screeches from citizens, and the sound of cola pounding down on the castle walls were the only things audible.
"...Very well, Tia." Discord admitted suddenly, letting go of the pony's chin and strolling away from her. "I can see my presence is upsetting to you. Understandable. My dashing looks do have that effect on ponies."
Dragon foot over deer hoof, the spirit of disharmony walked a ways to the center of the hallway, and turned back to cross his arms and give Celestia a courteous bow.
"I now leave you then, princess. I thank you for my kingdom back, and now, if you excuse me, I have a throne I must attend to."
The very last thing Celestia heard was his joyous laughter, which echoed around the vast hallway like thunder while he vanished in a flash of white light.
Celestia stood rooted to the spot, staring at the point where he disappeared. The sudden absence of the spirit's boasting and laughter was a relief to her ears, but at the same time, the now prevalent pounding rain and shrieks from outside were not. Furrowing her eyes and turning from the chamber, Celestia marched from the hallway and quickly slammed the large oak doors with her magic, blocking out the sound. She made her way up the winding staircase towards her private chamber, at the very heart of the castle; the peak of Canterlot tower.
Her door swung open with a creak and the princess trotted inside, her eyes instantly gracing the corner of her study. There, on a large wooden table that overlooked the city was a mound of scrolls entrapped in an enchantment. One by one they vanished in puffs of magic, and now, they had dwindled their numbers down from over seventy to less than five.
Knowing everything she could do to help was now completed, the Ruler of Equestria allowed herself a brief moment of rest. Laying down against the large golden pillow where she normally read letters and replied to them, the white pony looked out her window and eyed the far off pink clouds above Ponyville with apprehension. Pieces of land floated in the air where they bobbed up and down gently, and the sky itself was a gigantic collection of cotton candy. No matter what had happened here in Canterlot, what had befallen Ponyville was far, far worse.
"I know you and your friends have it in you, Twilight Sparkle." Celestia whispered. "You need only remember the very lessons you so willingly once shared with me."