80w, 4dSB Fic.Group
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What IS Discord?
Many believe his title and take it at face value. ‘Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony’. A malicious prankster out to reap havoc far and wide with his Q-like power. But perhaps, upon closer examination, people are wrong about his nature. Many apply the emphasis of the ‘chaos’ in his title to what he is.
But I ask you, what is his NAME? Names have meaning, and first and foremost, his name is Discord. Discord does not mean chaos. It means disagreement, disharmony. This is not a creature OF chaos; he just likes to cause it because he’s being disagreeable. Remove the word chaos from his title and he is really ‘Discord: Spirit of Disharmony’. The chaos part was something he added for flair, perhaps even to confuse those who might attempt to see through him and discover his weakness.
True Chaos is primordial. It is entropy, and it is raw power. Discord’s chaos was little more than wacky-land silliness. For all of his power, for all of his cruel jokes, Discord was all but harmless.
Perhaps the question should be where did he get his power? Because it’s not magic. And where did Discord come from?
“Twilight!” Applejack panted as she caught up with her friend. “Get away from that thing! You know what happened last time he got loose!”
Twilight Sparkle stared up at the statue of Discord, his face frozen in a mask of terror from the moment the Elements of Harmony had unleashed their magic upon him.
‘You can only touch as much power as your mind can handle,’ the creature’s voice echoed in her thoughts once more. ‘I discovered that the hard way. I tried to touch it, to grasp it. But I was never meant to. I overestimated my mind and my will. And for that foolishness it nearly destroyed me, nearly left me a mindless vegetable. Whatever I had been was shattered. My form changed to reflect it as I became this Chimera. But I survived; I found sanctity in the utter madness of the truth. The madness that Equestria was one big, BORING joke. A big spinning ball of monotony and stagnation. So I set out to show everypony that joke. That’s what happens when you behold true power. I am not evil Twilight Sparkle. Evil beings destroy. While I have always laughed at my jokes at the expense of other ponies, never once have I physically brought permanent harm to them. As I had told Celestia that day, I don’t turn ponies into stone. She is powerful, wise, and kind. I will grant her that much. But she does not understand. None of you do. Of course, none of you ever bothered to ask…’
“Why?” Twilight mouthed the final word the Draco- No, the Chimera had spoken into her mind so many days ago.
‘Remember, Twilight Sparkle,’ the echo of the voice continued. ‘Even the most powerful magic is little more than a light show without the mind to control it. The mind shapes it, gives it form. Chocolate milk raining from cotton candy clouds, hedge mazes that retract on a whim, or even turning dirt roads into roads of soapy water… It’s all so simple, so childish. And yet, nopony appreciates how horrendously complex it is. If you’ve ever baked a loaf of bread in your life, you must surely understand just how complicated a process it is to change one thing into another. And you must also realize just how much power and focus it takes to move even a medium sized rock. The mind is the key Twilight Sparkle. You came so close to understanding that when you freed your friends from my influence. The mind is the key, the power… And your mind is strong.’
“My mind is the power,” Twilight muttered to herself.
Then she stepped forward, approaching the statue of their most dangerous foe.
“What are you doing?!” she heard Rainbow Dash shout.
She lowered her head. What had the chimera said had freed him the first time? Three fillies having a childish argument in his presence? Of course. Discord was freed, by simple discord.
Well, Twilight had something a little more potent than mere childish bickering. A LOT more potent. The unicorn touched her horn to the stone, closing her eyes.
Down she reached, deep into the depths of her consciousness. She mustered the emotion buried there, a feeling she kept behind her mind’s closed doors. Something she had started to feel when discord had done his worst, something she had felt ashamed of even against him. But if this is what it took, so be it. If this is what he wanted, he could have it.
“ALL OF MY HATE!” Twilight snarled, her eyes snapping open.
The sound was like a tree branch breaking in a storm. Twilight jumped back to see the sudden long fracture that had erupted where her horn had touched the statue. It traveled with frightening speed; spider-webbing out across Discord’s petrified form. For just a moment, apprehension made every muscle in her body tense. After all, this creature had nearly-
No, what’s done is done. It was too late for second thoughts.
The fractures widened, covering the entire statue before the stone began to crumble. She could hear her friends gasping in horror. But strangely, she no longer felt the same horror. Discord had ‘done his worst’ to them once. Yet, now she understood. His worst was not THE worst his power could do. His reign of terror little more than super powered practical jokes.
Had she been that blind? Too preoccupied with just stopping him to even realize how he’d messed with her friends, and then too upset to realize what it was. The cruel logic she had attuned herself to from years of study saw right through Discord’s game this time. No friendship, no magic, no emotions to cloud her vision from what the others couldn’t see. Just the facts filtered from a stream of data flooded with opinions.
Discord was a spoiled rotten child who just spent over a thousand years in cosmic timeout.
“TWILIGHT SPARKLE! WHAT HAVE YOU-” the sound of Princess Celestia cut off as she heard her mentor land somewhere behind her. The sound replaced by a gasp of shock. The stone was crumbling away now, revealing the colored fur, the scales, and every other assortment of animal hide that covered the creature.
With a sudden gasp as if emerging from a deep pool, Discord took a deep breath and relaxed, the terror his features had been frozen in being replaced by a simple, blank look.
Nobody spoke, too thunderstruck save for Twilight.
Discord blinked, reaching up to rub his eyes, then stretched, causing several joints to pop loudly as he did so.
“You know,” he began in a simple, conversational tone. “You could have just gone with irritation, or perhaps smoldering anger and petty jealousy. But Hate…”
Discord glanced around, noting his audience for a moment.
“Hate is like hot sauce,” he declared. “It adds flavor, but you’re not supposed to down the bottle.”
“Discord!” Celestia finally found her voice. One that hinted at the impotent rage she was controlling. “What have you done to my precious student?”
“Done?” Discord glanced at Celestia, a frown crossing his features. “Celestia, you above all ponies should know I was powerless to DO anything trapped in that statue.”
“Don’t lie to me Discord,” the princess advanced in an almost predatory fashion. “My student would never-“
Celestia the snail couldn’t really finish the statement. All the ponies recoiled in horror.
“I am many things,” Discord glowered at the mollusk of the sun. “Menace, monster, fool, trickster… I even make liars out of ponies.”
Then the chimera approached the diminished form of Celestia, long contained flickers of anger smote in the pits of his eyes.
“But I am NOT a liar,” he continued in a threatening growl.
“Could have fooled me,” Applejack glared.
The chimera’s head glanced up at her remark.
“Ah,” he smirked, though this one wasn’t his usual smirk of fun, but one hiding far more anger. “You would be one to speak about honesty, wouldn’t you?”
Applejack opened her mouth to reply….
Except she no longer had a mouth.
“I’m afraid the ADULTS are speaking at the moment however,” Discord continued in a tone that was genuine venom. “That should prevent you from interrupting us again. If anypony else wants to interrupt. I can assure that what I did before was mere card tricks to what I am fully capable of when angered. So I suggest you leave me to-“
Discord was cut off as he found himself smacked right to the ground by an irresistible force of power.
“You will turn them back.” The tone from Twilight Sparkle was firm, but devoid of anger one would have expected. It held the strength of a command, but lacked any of the pretenses a command would have had. It was a statement of fact.
“Oh?” Discord turned, his expression drifting toward a grin as he turned to face the mare. “And why would I do such a thing? Hmmm?”
“Because I said so.”
Discord blinked… Then he choked, a laugh barely escaping his throat. He tried to contain his mirth. The very idea that a pony was ordering him around and expecting him to listen with a reas-
“This isn’t a joke,” Twilight’s tone was that same factual monotone as before. “Neither was what you did to them. And nopony is laughing.”
Discord stopped, once again blinking. Was this really the same-?
“It’s not funny,” Twilight repeated. “So you will turn them back.”
The chimera stood in place, regarding Twilight with an ever growing look of perplexion. Then after a moment, he leaned down, stopping only when he was inches from her face, gazing into her eyes. Twilight kept her expression firm, her only seeming reaction to take a much deeper breath than before.
They kept this pose for a good thirty seconds before Discord allowed himself to slowly raise back, now looking confused.
“Something has changed in you Twilight Sparkle,” he announced as glanced around. “Is it possible you understand?”
Then he frowned, continuing to narrate his thoughts.
“No. You wouldn’t have come to me if you did…”
Then he leaned down, this time his face losing the mask of whatever emotion he was trying to play at, revealing a genuine expression of curiosity.
“Why are you here?” he asked.
“I’m here for my answer,” Twilight replied evenly.
“Your answer?” the chimera asked. “But you never asked me a question. What answer do you want?”
“Why is the sky blue,” Twilight began. “Why do you seek pleasure in hurting others. Why is happiness so important? Why do you have powers that allow you to change the world itself on a whim, but yet you can’t fight off the Elements?”
Then she took a breath, closing her eyes.
“Why are WE here?”
Silence, for several seconds. The ‘Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony’ slowly coiled himself back, as the young mare kept him locked in her gaze.
“Why?” he mouthed after a moment, his features changing from confusion to delight. “Why? Such an amazing question. Simple, yet complex. One with so much meaning and force that it is power unto itself.”
Then Discord dropped to all fours, seeming to stalk forward as he started circling twilight.
“Your friends will be returned to normal,” he commented idly. “But you will be the one to do it.”
Twilight lost her composure for a moment, her guard thrown off.
“What?” she asked.
“No!” Discord snapped like a beast. “Not what… Why.”
Twilight took a deep breath and glared at the Chimera.
“Okay,” she breathed. “WHY?”
“WHY? Are you asking me?” he seemed to mock the very statement. “You’re already much closer than you think.”
“Why, do you say I’m close?” Twilight asked. Discord started to look almost giddy with excitement.
“You can feel it,” he replied. “It’s there on the edge of your mind, staring back at you while you stare right through it.”
“Why do you speak in riddles?” Twilight asked with a hint of annoyance. “Why must you resort to tricks?”
“I speak in riddles because the answers you seek cannot be learned by being told,” Discord replied honestly. “You must discover them yourself if they are to have meaning. Try again Twilight Sparkle. Why is a powerful question, but like a spell, you must find the right use for it.
Twilight paused to think for several seconds. Through the entire exchange her friends had watched in morbid fascination, expecting Discord to unleash his usual trickery at any moment.
“Why-” she continued again. Discord practically giggled in anticipation. “-is my mind so important?”
“For that answer,” Discord commented almost immediately. “Simply remember that which you have already learned.”
The mind is the key. Twilight frowned. Her mind was her key, no… Her mind was her power.
“Why…” she took a breath.
“Why is my mind power?”
“THAT…” Discord grinned. “Is an excellent question.”
Then the chimera stopped circling her, raising himself to his full height.
“Notice,” he pointed out. “How you just asked that question. What did you just call your mind.”
Twilight gazed up at him, his features suddenly clouded with confusion.
“WHY,” Discord glanced at the audience for a second, his raised tone causing the other ponies to step back. “-Is your mind POWER? Notice that in that statement, you did away with the sense of belonging. You simply equated your mind to power. And when you have two equal things in mathematics, what is it you can do with them?”
Twilight stood transfixed as she mulled over it. Then as it slowly started to slide into place, her expression melted from confusion, to utter shock.
“Reach within’ Twilight Sparkle,” Discord crossed his arms, looking like an instructor evaluating his student. “What you seek does not reside out here in the material world. Reach deep. You may have to use your magic the first time.”
Twilight Sparkle shut her eyes, reaching deep within’. A touch of magic to push... Her mind, her will… There was something tangible about it. Like levitating a parchment and quill. A kind of feeling of-
Twilight gasped and fell over, the feeling of an anvil having struck her head. Her mind reeled for a moment as she tried to make her eyes focus on the two blurred images of Discord looking on her with a satisfied smirk. Behind him, her friends had been apprehensive as they all fidgeted in place.
“What-…” she gasped. “What was…”
“Did you feel it?” he smirked. “You touched it, I can tell.”
“So much…” the unicorn closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“Amazing isn’t it?” Discord seemed to be melting away into his usual habits. The sly smirk and the floating were telltale signs. “If you want to know, my secrets, you’ll have to grasp it. Only then can you get that answer.”
Twilight sat up, trying to steady herself as she glanced at the greatest terror Equestria had ever known. But she had seen greater. In just that instant she had felt a force so terrible that she was certain now that Discord had always been playing very, VERY nice.
“I…” she blinked, looking down. “It’s just… I can’t…”
“Fear?” he asked. “Come now Twilight Sparkle, after pushing past the fear of punishment for releasing me again, and the fear of my powers themselves, you balk a little touch of the unknown? That is the reason we have the question WHY. You have stuck the key in the lock girl. All you have to do is to turn it.”
“I can’t,” Twilight’s face started to lose its color. And not the kind Discord usually caused. Her breath coming more and more unevenly.
“Hmmm…” the Chimera frowned, leaning down. “Fear of falling can be a problem for those who like to fly.”
Twilight’s panic-stricken expression crossed with confusion as her eyes drew up to his rapidly widening grin.
“They spend their lives standing by the edge of a cliff,” he continued, examining his talon arm innocently. “Longing for the sky.”
Then Discord turned, his features growing sinister.
“Sometimes, all they need is a little push…”
He reached out, and Twilight’s eyes widened as the ‘Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony’ extended one of his claws.
“TWILIGHT!” her friends all shouted in panic.
‘Tap…’ Discord touched Twilight right on the top of her head, and her mind exploded. Forcefully she was plunged deep into the abyss she’d barely felt the edge of. It was like nothing she’d ever known. Fire and ice, light and dark, strong and weak. It felt so much like magic, but had a nature all its own. It was everywhere, yet nowhere. The contradictions warred with each other, vying for domination. Already she understood how it could be maddening. Even now, what felt like an eternity of instants, she could feel that thread of her mind she knew as Twilight Sparkle reeling and losing itself in the swirling tumult of unbridled chaos.
The name felt so worthless, yet so right. The power of chaos, twisted and warped into a point too small to see, yet so vast and powerful that it overwhelmed any poor sod who was fool enough to touch it. The hurricane of conceptual images swirled around Twilight Sparkle as she latched on to the word. The only meaning against an unstoppable tide of meaninglessness. It pressed on her from all sides, crushing, squeezing, suffocating...
The blast blew Discord right across the courtyard, depositing him behind the rest of Twilight’s friends. They all stared in shock at the otherwise near invulnerable master of mischief as he rubbed his head.
“What just-” Rarity couldn’t finish her question.
“WHAT IS THAT?!” Rainbow Dash pointed at the massive purple aura around Twilight. It was bright, yet seemed to cast no illumination; edges seeming to absorb light instead of emit it. Twilight’s eyes themselves were glowing much the same way they had done when she had wielded the element of Magic.
“That,” Discord’s voice began as he crawled to his feet. “Is power.”
Then he slinked forward, snaking uncomfortably close to the pegasus as he waved at Twilight with his hand.
Back within’ the realms of what had been Twilight’s mind, the unicorn thrashed at the darkness around her. Chaos, chaos everywhere. It burned, it froze, it hurt. There was too much chaos. Too much. If only it would move away from her, give her mind a moment.
“GET AWAY FROM ME!” she howled at the hurricane of force. However voice meant nothing. If anything, the chaos itself seemed to scream back, as if mocking her.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” she shouted again. Yet, it was unrelenting. Twilight felt fear well up in her mind. Fear she would be stuck with it forever, or until it snuffed her and absorbed her into the stream. She could feel mental tears coming on as the force closed in, ever tighter. Why… WHY did it have to be like this? Why was it so hard?
Twilight examined the simple, powerful question.
Why did it have to be so hard?
Why DID it have to be so hard?!
Twilight clamped onto the word with all her will. WHY? Was the chaos so hard to control? WHY was it too much? And WHY wasn’t she in control. She was only in her own mind.
They were one in the same.
“I said…” Twilight summoned her will.
“STOP!” she snarled into the courtyard with a force that shattered the windows as high up as the castle tower. In an instant, the power surrounding her body flared brightly, nearly blinding the onlookers. Then it subsided, drawing in around her until it had nearly vanished. Save for her eyes, which glowed brilliant golden white in their sockets.
“Ow…” Rainbow Dash forced herself to her feet, her ears still ringing from the percussion. “What happened?”
Discord, who seemed unhindered by such mere things glanced up at the figure of Twilight. He could sense her now, a deep abyss beyond anything any of the other ponies could understand.
“I…” Twilight’s voice resonated as loud as if she were inside their minds. “I think I get it.”
“Behold,” Discord presented the unicorn to her friends. “True power.”
“Uh… Girls?” Twilight looked around. “I’m going to… Oh, I’ll just do it. It’s easy enough.”
There was flash, and Celestia stumbled in place, her normal form restored. A moment later Applejack gasped a sigh of relief from the mouth she’d always spoken with.
“Tarnation!” she breathed. “I don’t ever… I mean. What just happened?”
“What did you do to Twilight?!” the Princess demanded, stamping her hoof at Discord.
“You still ask the same tired questions Celestia,” the chimera tsked. “The WRONG questions. Always ‘WHAT’, never ‘why’.”
“It doesn’t matter why,” Celestia glared. “My student-“
“Your STUDENT has come into contact with the very power I myself possess,” Discord interrupted the princess. Then he glanced at Twilight’s form.
“And she seems to be in control,” he provided. “Bravo miss Twilight. Bravo. I spent days in the madness before I learned what I could hold.”
Then he looked back at Celestia, a sinister smile on his features.
“Looks like you’re out of the job.”
Celestia’s brow furrowed in confusion.
“What?” she asked.
“I don’t need you,” Discord slapped his face. “I just need a recording that says ‘what’ all the time…”
Then he paused.
Discord snapped his fingers, a record player appearing in his hand.
“What? What? What? What? Wha-”
“On second thought,” he muttered as he dusted his claws off, you do have one redeeming quality…”
Then he spun to Celestia once more.
“But you’re obsolete,” he continued. “Out dated, out of warrantee, out of service, expired, rendered a redundancy. You are no longer needed.”
Celestia’s eyes grew as he continued to grin as if laying on the greatest punchline of any joke.
“And now that the student has surpassed her teacher, I think you would look better in something I can mock at any time… Like a Snow globe. Oh, you’ll like snow globes.”
“No,” Celestia started to mouth.
“Nothing personal,” Discord hissed. Then he stopped. “Actually, it is… You locked me in a rock for a thousand years after all.”
Discord snapped his fingers.
There was flash, and Discord grinned at his handiwork, staring right into the golden eyes of Twilight Sparkle.
“Wait, that’s not-,” he stood up to his full height and turned. Celestia was right where he left her, several dozen feet away.
“I could have sworn I just,” he snapped his fingers again. Another flash of light and he was once again staring into those golden orbs.
“No,” Twilight’s voice resonated firmly. “You will not pick on the weak anymore.”
“Pick on the weak?” Discord laughed. “I recall that Celestia was never a weak princes-“
Then he stopped.
“Your SANE,” he stood in shock.
“VERY sane,” Twilight’s voice echoed. “And I’m VERY upset that you would willingly risk my sanity after all that talk about not hurting anypony.”
“What’s a little sanity?” Discord waved it away. “I turned out okay.”
“You pushed me into a nightmare of mental power,” Twilight’s glowing golden eyes narrowed ever so slightly. “I was not ready and you know it.”
“You would have tried eventually with the same results,” Discord snapped back. “There is no preparing for-“
“The PAIN?” Twilight asked. “I would have liked a little warning. Is that what broke your mind? The pain? Agony? Your mind trying to grasp at anything it could understand in a maelstrom of thoughts and concepts? You said it made you what you are now. A deranged mental wreck wrapped up in a super-powered package with the maturity of a child.”
“Well,” Discord stood up straight. “I NEVER…”
Then he turned and started to walk away.
“I’m leaving,” he announced.
A flash of light and Discord was gazing right into Twilight’s eyes once more.
“You will stand still and face me when I’m talking to you,” Twilight’s resonant voice commanded FACT, and nothing more.
“Stop DOING that,” Discord shouted as he jumped away. Or would have, had he not been locked in place by the raw domination she was having over his form.
“I will NOT,” Twilight glared. “You will answer me.”
“I should think not!” Discord snapped indignantly. “I showed you how to touch the power, how to grasp it. At best you shouldn’t be able to form coherent sentences for a week. Let alone override MY power.”
“You showed me how to touch the power,” Twilight nodded. “I followed what you did until you shoved me in.”
“Then you should be a gibbering wreck like I was,” he snapped.
“Maybe,” Twilight smirked. The glowing of her eyes made it eerie even for Discord. “But I think I found the mistake you made. And did something you didn’t.”
“And that was?” he asked, irritated.
“I asked WHY,” Twilight seemed to relish the irony. “Why couldn’t I handle it? Why COULDN’T I handle it, just because I found it for the first time? I didn’t just ask why discord, I actually searched for the answer, it was the only way not to lose myself. Like you lost yourself.”
The chimera frowned.
“And what did you discover?” he asked.
“My answer,” Twilight’s voice seemed proud. “I understand your riddle. I found my power. Found how, WHY it was connected to that chaos you touched. I solved the riddle.”
“Then what is your answer, Twilight Sparkle,” Discord asked. Twilight’s eyes flared, and there was a thump that seemed to darken the sky.
“My mind is my power,” she resonated in a haunting tone, probably deliberate. “POWER is my mind. When uncorrupted by other elements, my mind becomes PURE power.”
Discord tried to take a step back.
“And I see right through you,” Twilight continued. “Your power is your mind, tied to the primordial chaos of existence. You kept asking why until you hit it, and then it hit back, and you faltered. I KNOW you now Discord. I know what you really are. I know your limits now. And I’ve seen what you’ve seen.”
“Nopony knows where you came from,” she continued. “Why you’re here. But I figured it out. You’re not a spirit. You’re not disharmony or chaos. Those are concepts you appointed yourself. Titles born of a fractured mind. A mind warped while attempting to protect itself from the chaos it hadn’t been prepared to touch. A mind of a PONY who had once been, and then, only a great mind, from a great pony, one who’s existence predates Equestria itself.”
Even Celestia was watching in mute fascination at this point, her eyes locked on Discord as the creature literally stood there, face screwed up like a child who’d been caught with his hoof in the cookie jar by his mother. She could feel the force Twilight was exerting, holding Discord on the spot with so much raw mental power that she was certain she could feel it giving her a migraine.
“A pony who vanished from history for no reason,” Twilight continued oblivious to her friends. “I read the books, and I know who you are now…”
Discord suddenly stumbled back, released from the hold of Twilight’s gaze as she let the glow die.
“Starswirl, the Bearded,” her features were sad, pitying even. “Look what you’ve done to yourself…”
Yes, I know there's a Lord of Nightmares Ref. in there... The concept of this fragment came from that.