First of all, I'd like to apologize for my, recently, often absence and to anyone who, along with this, has been reading "Daddy Discord" which is now on hiatus - time and real life is a bi-- I mean, meanie.
Second, I'd like to thank my beloved best friend, Clouded Guardian, for helping me get through my writers block with her amazing idea - this chapter exists thanks to her. Thank you, Cloud. ^^
And last, but not least, once again, thanks to his editing Highness, The Skittles. I love you, man. xD
Enjoy the chapter, and thank you all for reading. It means a world to me.
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Twilight Sparkle was sitting contently in the middle of Ponyville park, on her favorite bench, reading a book. It was a fairly peaceful and pleasantly nice day. The perfect day for relaxation, and a perfect setting for somepony to ruin the serenity of such a relaxing day. That was the main reason Twilight had decided to take her reading elsewhere. That and, she had been partying way too much for the last three days.
Ever since she finished her working spree, Twilight had been spending time mostly on parties, hanging out with her friends and watching movies with Spike and Discord - she missed her books, but above all, she missed her friends and spending time with them. For a few days, she decided, she would have to take a vacation.
But Twilight Sparkle wasn't nearly as party-prone as her pink, curly friend, soon realizing she missed her books, as well as reading something that didn't have a thing to do with researches. So there she was, sitting in a park in the late afternoon on the particularly sunny although slightly chilly day, her scarf keeping her warm and a book of various stories keeping her company, with nothing but a daisy sandwich for her dinner.
Nothing was going to ruin her vacation. Not until she would get home, at least, where a letter of great importance waited for her. A letter that would start an unfortunate chain of events but also seal the deal on Discord's education on Harmony.
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"Hiya, Twilight! How was your day?" Spike asked cheerfully once the mare came home, her smile wide and relaxed. Discord was nearby, floating upside down and observing a small spider that was descending from one of the bookshelfs. He had bunches of fun trying to make it dance.
"It was fairly nice, Spike. I finally got to read that independently published book, the Seeds of Kindness. Gotta say, for a collection of stories done by ponies who mostly aren't into professional writing, it is incredibly good."
Spike was relieved to see his friend finally in a good mood. The past week had been hectic for him as well, always having to help the mare with everything she did, even when it completely exhausted him.
"We got some mail, I left it on the library desk." Spike exclaimed from the basement, carrying some boxes down. Interested, Twilight went through the pile of letters. A few bills, a commercial for the store she knew nearby, an incorrectly placed letter that was seemingly for Daisy (Derpy Hooves must've had her hooves in this) and to her surprise, a letter from Canterlot Science Research Facility.
Twilight would send only those reports and researches of greater importance to Celestia, or when Celestia herself gave her some sort of task - but usually, she had always been sending most of her less important works to the Research Facility. Having no idea why would they send her a letter, an exciting thought crossed her mind - maybe, due to the ton of work she did during the last week, they decided to send her a thank you letter, or even some sort of appreciation gesture, such as a certificate. Optimistic to no end and excited like a little filly on Hearth's Warming Eve, Twilight grinned. This day couldn't get any better!
Discord seemed to have noticed her excited attitude as he finally left the small spider alone and descended to the floor, observing as Twilight started to open the envelope.
"Good news?" He asked. Twilight shrugged, the silly smile still on her face.
"I can't see what else could it be~" She sing alonged. "I figured since I've done so much during the last week, they probably want to show some gratitude for my hard work." She beamed. Discord clapped unenthusiastically.
Finally, Twilight got the letter out and started reading, Discord joining her in doing so over her shoulder.
"'Dear Miss Sparkle' - that's me" Twilight started giddily, "'thank you for your massive contribution during the course of the last week. It is greatly appreciated.'" Twilight allowed herself to let out a proud giggle before she continued. Discord rolled her eyes.
"'However, we regret to inform you that approximately one half of your reports... are in one way or another... flawed'?" Twilight's voice disappeared. She let out another giggle, though this time en extremely nervous one.
"Wow, I seem to be so excited, I can't even read properly. Would you mind continue reading for me?" She pushed the letter into Discord's hands. He blinked a bit confused then coughed and started reading.
"'We're not sure if you mixed up your papers, but wrong paragraphs seem to be written in the wrong reports. For example, your research titles "the mating habits of parasprites" has several paragraphs on various other agendas, such as the body anatomy of griffins, development of dragons, alchemy traits of poison joke, etc.'" At this point Discord had started snickering - unlike Twilight, who started sweating heavily.
"G-go on." She said weakly.
"Thus, we can not accept those reports; not until you repair them - we're fairly sure your magical skills are strong enough for you to change and exchange the contents of a parchment with another one - do not fret, with you skill, you won't need more than a day or two of work. Once fixed, we'll gladly accept your reports.
Sincerely, the, the mmmembers of---of---of-pfffahahahaha!" Discord finally lost it, heavily amused by Twilight's mistakes - the reports she worked days and nights on were not accepted. It was probably the most most cruel things he had chance of witnessing in the last one thousand years (that he wasn't a part of) and he simply couldn't help himself.
Twilight at first gave no reaction. Discord's laughter rang in her ears, sounding distant, muted, almost disappearing out of her hearing range - yet, with every second of it, she felt her cheeks burning stronger, her heart pounding, her breathing becoming shallower.
And then, she cried. Soundlessly, without a wince or even a sniff, she shed numerous big tears.
The tears rolled over the edges of her big purple eyes and graced the floor with their presence, damping the wood under the library table continuously. Discord was still laughing; he himself was shedding tears, but the ones of laughter and amusement, not even for a moment noticing the sadness of the mare next to him.
Twilight got up and ran upstairs. Discord didn't pay it any attention, the sane part of his mind only taking a second to conclude she probably went to get a quill and parchment to reply, or whatever.
"What's so funny?" Spike appeared from the basement, wiping his hands.
"Read this!" Was all Discord said, continuing to laugh. Spike's eyes slowly moved from left to right as he read, his pupils becoming smaller and smaller with every word he read.
"Wow, this is harsh. Is Twilight alright?
"Why wouldn't she be?" Discord questioned, wiping the remaining tears from his cheeks. Spike looked back at the letter worriedly.
"She isn't the kind of pony to take something like this easily. I better check on her."
"Now now, allow me. You seem to be busy, anyway."
"Oh - OK, sure. Right." Spike once again returned to whatever business he had to attend to in the basement.
Discord flew to the second floor. Twilight was not in her room; after some exploration, he found her on her small balcony, her telescope beside her, looking at the first stars of the evening.
"Twilight Sparkle, my dear - where did you disappear so suddenly?"
Twilight offered him no answer. He rolled his eyes, annoyed; he flew over to her to meet her face to face.
"Come on now, what is wro--...?" Only then did he noticed she had been crying, the smudges on her cheeks and slight redness of her eyes giving her away. Concerned expressions crossed his face and he found himself feeling surprisingly embarrassed about his previous reaction.
"T-Twilight?" He managed, sincerely shocked to see her like that. She shook her head.
"Go away, Discord."
"I can't while you're in such distress." He sweet talked.
"You definitely don't look so. Or sounds so. Or act, for that matter."
Twilight let out a slightly frustrated sound that was supposed to be pretty easy to understand - "leave me alone".
Discord, however, had other plans. Almost fatherly like, he scooted next to Twilight and embraced her with his fuzzy lion arm in a warm hug.
"Come, come now, tell uncle Discord what's wrong." He said, half humorously and half seriously. Twilight smiled for a short moment, Discord's way of cheering her up amusing her a little bit. She took in a shaky breath and sniffed.
"I... I am just so disappointed with myself, Discord." Twilight started, her voice once again becoming thin. To prevent her tears and as an offering of comfort, the Spirit summoned, a big, red polka dotted tissue and offered it to her. She blew her nose into it loudly. "I can't believe I made such a stupid mistake."
"I'm sure even the greatest of students and researchers have made mistakes like that. Typo here, typo there, a misplaced paragraph or two - 'tis a normal consequence of a stressed student's life." Discord replied wisely, almost like that solved the problem.
"Uh... right, you're right, somewhat." Twilight confirmed hesitantly, surprised he'd even know something like that. "But that's not what I was referring to."She sighed sadly. "I overworked myself so much for stupid reasons and I lost sight of what's important - and that's the quality of my work, not quantity... I can't believe I allowed myself to act like a such-- such a-- childish, irresponsible, unthinking, irrational, immature silly filly!"
"Wow; a little harsh on yourself there, aren't you?" Discord wondered. Twilight looked at him with sad eyes.
"I am just being realistic; those words don't even suffice to describe how horrible I feel!" Twilight sniffed again more loudly, tears once again threatening to leave her eyes. Taking control of the tissue, Discord gently wiped her eyes.
"I... I am so tired." She suddenly said, her eyes closing. Discord patted her shoulder friendly.
"I am not surprised - you did such a splendid job partying these last few days; anyone would get tired."
Twilight finally offered a shaky laugh.
"That's the spirit! Now, let's get you to bed then - you have plenty more resting to do during your vacation!"
By now, she was smiling more genuinely, which Discord called a success.
"Right... thanks, Discord. I, uh... It was nice of you to keep me company." With a nod and a silent good night, Twilight descended down into her bedroom. Discord happily transported down in front of a fireplace and curled up on a fuzzy warm blanket, feeling glad he had resolved the issue.
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He had not resolved the issue. Obviously so.
Next morning, Twilight Sparkle, for whatever unfortunate reason, decided to try and fix an old gramophone. The poor thing ended up being in even worse condition than before.
After that, she suddenly decided to fix a dress she had accidentally ripped herself, instead of taking it to Rarity's - which she usually did when she needed anything, from sewing on a button to a whole new outfit. She ended up re-sizing half of the dress to doll size, much to Spike's entertainment.
Discord was outside during the noon - he had an appointment with Fluttershy at the time, as she so nicely asked him to help with some singing lessons to several tone deaf birds. He managed to fix the problem remarkably well and was awarded with cookies.
When he came back to the library, he confusedly eyed several firefighter stallions speaking to Twilight and Spike outside the library, one of them coming out of it with a hose; they didn't seem too concerned. Twilight bent her head down and studied the grass with somewhat solemnly as one of the stallions spoke to her. Spike, surprisingly, looked like he was trying his best not to laugh; like he couldn't even decide whether he should laugh or be compassionate.
"What happened?" Discord asked him once he approached them. Still having that mixed up expression on his face, Spike replied quietly:
"Well, did you notice how Twilight has been trying to do things around here lately?"
"I have indeed." Discord snorted, the sight of ruined dress still lurking in his mind, entertaining him.
"Uh... she kind of tried to, eh, prepare the lunch."
"That doesn't sound bad."
"As in, cook it."
"Oh, that is bad."
Discord headed inside - the damage wasn't serious, but the stove was definitely ruined once and for all. The sight of it made Discord recall the good old chaotic days for a moment or two, when he was the one ruining things, before Twilight finally bid the firefighters farewell, promising not to ever cook again. As she closed the door behind her, she sighed heavily.
"Well, what did we learn today?" Spike asked her patronizingly. Twilight went along with it, replying quitely:
"Never cook without the presence of somepony responsible who can watch you."
"... oil heats up much faster than I thought."
"Good. Now go upstairs and think about what you had done."
Twilight oddly obeyed the small dragon. Discord gave him a weird look, and Spike explained:
"I am the one who will be cleaning it all; as well as replacing the stove. If anything, she had to listen to me this time." He mumbled as he got the cleaning supplies and went to the kitchen, talking to himself and bidding farewell to his faithful metallic cooking assistant.
Discord floated up and peeked through the railing. Twilight was on the bed reading a book. As he studied the book she was reading, he concluded she was probably just hiding behind it.
"That must be some extra interesting reading material you got there, if you can read it upside down." Discord noticed. Twilight lowered the book. Her face was a mix of anger and sadness. "Do tell, what in the world is wrong? You've taken on some quite interesting tasks today. None of which turned out well, if I might add." Discord tried to cheer her up with his usual silliness, but this time, it didn't work.
"Oh, shush!" Twilight snapped. Discord acted hurt.
"Why, you're hurting my feelings, Twilight Sparkle! At least that's something you're good at."
Those words were the last straw for the stresses mare as she started to cry again - this time a little more desperate than before. Discord rolled his eyes, hating the fact he was the one to make her cry.
"Alright, that's enough. You're going to tell me what's wrong this instant, young Missy!" Discord commanded.
Twilight at first just stared at him. The Spirit expected anything; for her to cry into her pillow, to tell him to get lost, to simply lose it and start pouring insults as a way of getting the stress out of her system; he wouldn't mind. But he never expected her to suddenly wail like a small filly and, much to his great discomfort, throw her hooves around him, crying into his fur. Torn between telling her to get off of him, pushing her away, and holding her for comfort, Discord just stood there, baffled and confused. Among the muffled cries, he heard her speak.
"I'm useless, Discord!" Twilight exclaimed, gripping him into by now rather painful hug. " I can't do anything right! I totally failed everypony at Canterlot Science Research Facility, I made a complete fool of myself - I am no student! I am just a mess! I can't believe Princess Celestia was so kind to enroll me into her School for Gifted Unicorns! I can't do anything right!" She repeated again, crying further.
"I tried to do other things, only to make myself feel better - how selfish is that? I ruined my own stove, I only ensured Spike has even more work than he should, him being only a baby; I just keep being a bothersome, useless pony for everypony around me!"
To say Discord was surprised to hear such things from the usually collected, cool mare was an understatement.
"Now hold on for one Chaotic minute!" Discord said, pretty fiery too, as he gently pushed away her shoulder so he could get a good look of her sad face. "Where did this all came from?!"
"What do you mean, where did it come from?! Have you not seen that letter I got?!"
"Oh who cares about the letter; anypony can make a mistake! You were extremely tired and worn out!"
"Exactly! How could I allow that! I should know better than anypony how to do things properly!" Twilight complained. Discord sighed.
"You, my dear, are so completely stubborn; not to mention blind."
"W-What do you mean?" Twilight sniffed.
"Well, now," Discord sat down, "if you really must know, I have to say I never met, or saw a more hardworking and smarter mare than you are - and yet, here you are, grieving over one small mistake you did!"
"It wasn't a small--"
"Everypony makes mistakes, both big and small. Fine, there, you screwed up." Discord admitted, deciding to put things out into the open. "But have you ever wondered what ponies you sent these reports to thought upon seeing them?" Twilight blinked and lowered her head.
"They thought I was stupid, duh." She mumbled; Discord however, let out a disbelieving laughter.
"Do you really think that all of a sudden they would find you stupid? No, much like I am wondering, they probably asked themselves, what in the world happened to you that you managed to perform such an odd and unusual mistake - you who check every single thing at least three times!"
Twilight gulped, knowing that she couldn't tell him it was to get her mind off things - or in particular, that one thing, that still-not-entirely-defined-crush.
"I... I don't know." She said, not wanting to lie to him, but not wanting to make stuff up either. Discord seemed to have decided to leave her be with her so-called ignorance, though he did have a suspicious gleam in his eyes.
"Now listen," the Spirit began once more, "if I hear one more word about you being useless or stupid or anything silly like that, I'll honestly have to turn your home into a big piece of jello. You wake up each working morning at the exactly same time without dilly dallying, to work. You do all your chores, tasks and whatever Celestia puts you through in time and when I say in time, I mean in that exact minute, not a moment earlier or later."
He seemingly couldn't stop himself at the moment, which took Twilight by surprise as he moved on: reminding her of how she banished an Ursa Minor (though having no idea how he knew that), reminding her of her impeccably organized library and her almost photographic memory. The deducing skills she used on while riding the Ponyville Express to uncover the mystery of the devoured desserts, the very fact she was the Element of Magic and Friendship.
Discord's voice faded a bit as Twilight had realized something. These things he told of her, as much as she didn't like boasting about them... these things were true and she was proud of them once. Before finding herself in depression over something she brought on herself. Why was she depressed again? She had so much to be proud of, so much to be thankful for! A wonderful home, a terrific "little brother" who is also her number one assistant, sticking with her through everything; beautiful friends who helped her figure that one thing that was missing in her life; for Equestria's sake, she was a student of Princess Celestia herself, her greatest role model.
Her dreams had in fact come true; never by pure luck. She worked hard for them.
Once again, her eyes concentrated on Discord, who was just finishing his little speech.
"... and last but not least, you and I managed to bake a pie! Which is yet another successful mission accomplished that you can put in your resumé!"
He was being honest.
Twilight's face broke into such a happy smile so suddenly, Discord was actually surprised by it.
"Thank you." She simply said; her face, aside from the remaining tears she shed before, was an epitome of happiness at that moment.
"Huh? Why, what did I say?" Discord cocked an eyebrow, his confusion making Twilight giggle.
"You were being sincere with me."
"I was-- I was not, I was just being... well, rational?" He tried to search for the right word, still confused. Twilight shook her head, and Discord was getting annoyed.
"What did I do?!"
"Sometimes, a little honesty is enough to improve somepony's whole day."
"Honesty?" Discord observed as Twilight happily trotted downstairs, calling for Spike to prepare them a picnic basket, which he gladly accepted.
Soon after they were all in the park, including Pinkie Pie who tagged along - not before she invited everypony else she could as well, though, so Fluttershy and Applejack soon joined in.
"And then the firefighters came, so luckily, everything was under control. But I'll need to get a new stove." Twilight finished, a bit sheepishly. Pinkie Pie roared with laughter, but Fluttershy looked concerned.
"Are you sure you're all fine?"
"Oh definitely. I learned a valuable lesson today. Oh, Spike, that's right," Twilight turned towards the small dragon in the middle of a gem sandwich, "I'm really sorry for everything I've done today; I am such a troublemaker sometimes. Forgive me?"
Spike was stunned with her words for a moment, but then just grinned. "It's all right, Twilight; you don't have to worry about it, really."
"So, how are ya two gettin' along?" Applejack asked, glancing at Twilight and Discord, who was busy playing with bugs in the grass - or, to be honest, he was more scaring them by burning the small pieces of grass around them. Fluttershy winced.
When he realized they were all looking at him, Discord left his little game and spoke:
"We're getting along remarkably, thank you for asking. Here are your invitations to our wedding as well."
Applejack spit out her juice in surprise when Discord gave her the fake cards decorated with two white Pegasi drawings and a golden trim. Pinkie Pie, who immediately knew it was but a joke, joined him in his laughter. Fluttershy giggled as she looked at the invitation.
"For a fake, it certainly is well done." She commented softly. Twilight merely rolled her eyes, feeling slightly embarrassed that he compared their ever growing friendship with a wedding.
Still, she'd take what she can get.