I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work. “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.
Someone stole my T-Shirt.
“How did you like that?” Discord asked excitedly, motioning to the interior of the stone castle he had conjured to crush the Spirit of Nature. “See, she said I would need something big to stop her, so I thought, ‘What’s the biggest thing I know?’ And then I remembered how from day one we were talking about how big the castle was! So I snapped up a castle, and it worked!” He stamped his hoof on the stone a few times for emphasis. “So, did I do good?”
‘No! No no no no! No! This can’t be happening! Stupid! Stupid stupid stupid robes! Stupid stupid!’
“Yeahyoudidreallygood!” Savoir Faire blurted out loudly, making the draconequus recoil.
‘We have to run, now. We have to run away and cover it up and maybe try it again after he forgets our face.’ Savoir stomped her hooves on the stone anxiously, causing a surge of pain to race up her hind leg and nearly drop her to the floor. The pony shut her eyes tight and hung her head low, biting down on her lip to stop her whimper from escaping.
“Are you feeling okay?”
“YesI’mfine!” she yelped again.
“Because you were bouncing up and down like that.” The pony was sending out a scorching wave of heat that might have taken off the spirit’s eyebrows if it was, well, real. And while it tingled him to the core, he could tell that it was hurting her, so he set to trying to use all the knowledge at his disposal to cool her down. “Do you have to use the bathroom?”
Darn. He was certain that was it. “What happened to your robes?”
“Theywererippedupandnowthey’regoneokay?” The tiniest rise in heat betrayed Savoir’s otherwise perfect poker-face.
Discord twisted his tail as he wracked his brain for a solution. “I could try to make you some new ones. Would you like that?” Savoir didn’t take her eyes off the ground. Hesitating only a moment the draconequus snapped his fingers and a floating cut of fabric appeared in the air over her. “Maybe something with stripes or spots. I’m thinking something in green--no, red! Agh! Purple! I mean shmellow! Blue?”
The silence in the air weighed heavy on the desperate creature who draped the blue canvas over the downcast mare’s shoulders before squatting down in front of her, arcing his neck down and resting his head on the ground underneath her. Discord looked up at the frozen pony with puppy-eyes.
“You always help me out and steer me right.” Savoir tensed. “Can’t I do anything to help you now, Savvy?”
The heat could have melted stone and turned the forest to ash.
“Stop calling me that!!” Savoir shouted to the night sky, bringing both her hooves down in an exacerbated stomp that nearly flattened Discord’s head. Discord was dumbstruck and found himself completely unable to find any words. “My name’s not ‘Savvy’!” she cried out again, rising to her hooves despite the pain and narrowing her bloodshot eyes at the draconequus.
“No! I said that isn’t my name! Don’t you ever understand anything I say?!”
A single spark triggered something deep inside of the spirit. “Don’t you shout at me!” Discord raged, bringing himself to his full height to tower over the stunned mare. The inferno inside the draconequus could have lasted forever -- he could not deny there was a temptation to fan the flames -- but he faltered. He would never know what Savoir had witnessed, but one look at her cowering frame filled him with enough guilt to make him certain he never wanted it to be seen again.
What followed was a long period of silence, with neither of the two feeling worthy to speak a word, much less look at the other. The pair split apart and moved to opposite sides of the chamber, keeping their backs to each other. Just as Discord was beginning to fear that this unwanted stand-off would never end, a sharp inhale from across the room caught his notice. Turning his head as far as he dared, he saw the pony who was not Savoir Faire miserably gimp in his direction, the fabric slipping off her back and onto the floor. The king sighed heavily and deflated, certain that he was about to be delivered a fully-deserved earful; not eager to receive his scolding, he stayed put until she finally reached him. Curiously, rather than scold him for his temper and his failure to follow the six Virtues of Sovereignty, the injured pony walked around in front of him and laid down on her side, extending her injured hind leg toward him.
“I’m sorry,” she spoke softly. She was still afraid to look him in the eye and opted to let a few teardrops splash behind her where he couldn’t see. With equal parts hesitance and fear of error, Discord extended his paw and gently curled his fist around the mangled hoof and pictured in his mind the tissue and fur mending. He released his grip quickly and experimented with opening and closing his numb paw, finding the feeling returning to it after nearly a minute.
The mare carefully rose to her hooves, stomping the healed leg on the cobbles with satisfaction. Her smile became sheepish as she finally looked over to the watchful creature.
“What did you mean,” Discord said slowly, not wanting to upset her any further, “when you said Savvy isn’t your name?” The pony’s ears went limp; it would have been easy to say that it was just a joke and it did not mean a thing, but she could not stand to lie to him for another second.
“I mean that my name... isn’t ‘Savoir Faire’. I didn’t tell you the truth when I told you my name.”
“Is my name not Discord, too?”
“No... No, you can be Discord if you want to be.” Every fiber of her being fought to stop the words from escaping, but she pushed onward. “My real name is Screwball.”
“Like your cutie mark?” The purple pony followed the talon’s path to the insignia on her flank.
“Yes. Precisely like my cutie mark.”
“But I don’t understand,” Discord puzzled, twirling his white beard around a claw. “I thought you said they relate to special talents. So what does that have to do with giving good advice to ponies?”
“I’m not an advisor.” The words did not come easily, but Screwball felt relieved to say them. As the moon climbed higher in the night sky, the forest became cooler. The pony shivered a bit and sidled next to Discord and sat against him.
“If it’s about the robes, I could make you some new ones,” the draconequus said as he telepathically pulled the discarded robe back toward them.
“I mean... I lied about being a royal advisor, too... I was the court jester.” The pony paused and waited for the outraged cry of betrayal at her deceit, but it never came. Instead, Discord simply shifted in his seat and cocked his head to the side.
“Why a jester?”
She supposed there wasn’t any harm in telling. “It was just what I was good at: making people laugh by acting silly and performing tricks. I lived in Canterlot all my life, and I couldn’t find any work in town where I could put my talents to use and I didn’t want to join the circus, so, like most ponies in town with nowhere to go, I applied to directly serve the king in the palace. I was given a single chance to impress the royal family, so I gave them my best routine of jokes, juggling, and falling on my face whenever it felt appropriate. They kept me around, and I was left to tend to myself. I had a small room tucked away in some corner of the palace away from even the other servants, only called for duty whenever the king became too upset to think clearly or for certain events like balls or... birthday parties,” she added with a wince, remembering her first glimpse of Discord as he tore apart the banquet hall while she joined the guests fleeing in terror.
“Was it fun?”
“Not... really.” She could have left it at that, but she felt that she owed Discord more. And deep down, the pony was grateful to finally have someone who cared enough to listen to her. “I was the only fool in the castle, so I never had much in common with the other servants. I never expected to impress anypony by being a jester, but I thought I could at least be afforded some courtesy. The maids were always ‘too busy’ to talk with me, since they always had something new to clean or some gossip to share with the others. The cooks would always make me bake my own pies for my routines, and they obviously weren’t happy whenever they saw I had come to their kitchen to use the tiniest sliver of their precious supplies. The guards actually spoke to me the most, in that most of them would insult me or laugh after they tripped me when I walked past them. The gardeners and animal keepers always had a fun time tossing an acorn in my mane and then letting a squirrel after me. I often wondered if I was actually invisible to the princesses and the queen outside of the throne room, considering how they were always celebrated for their grace and yet never seemed to notice my greetings.”
“But then why did you say you were an advisor?” It felt like something was squeezing her heart, but Screwball couldn’t stop herself from talking. So she continued, pushing down her sobs and holding back her tears as well as she was able.
“I think it was because... I think I wanted, just once in my life... to be appreciated. I thought if I stayed behind when everypony else ran away, others might recognize me for my... I don’t really know what I imagined they’d think. So I hid all night in the real advisor’s chambers, and the next morning there were only a few ponies skulking around, so I took that as a sign that there was a reason that everypony stayed gone. And then I thought, ‘There’s change in the air, so why not join the change?’” Her voice was bitter with self-deprecating enthusiasm. “So I grabbed a new set of clothes and set out to meet the new world with a new name and a new life. And it gave me a pie in the face... And you. And for the first time... For the first time I don’t... I don’t feel so lonely all the time.”
‘You stupid blabbermouth!’
Discord twisted his head to look her in the eye, confusion plain on his face. “Why were you lonely?”
‘Don’t tell him a thing! He doesn’t need to know!’
‘It’s our business! None of his!’
“My earliest memory is riding on a train headed for Canterlot.” Screwball breathed slowly to keep herself afloat as her storming mind threatened to swallow her. She was terrified of thinking about her youth -- she had spent her entire adult life trying to move away from it. “I was just a filly, I couldn’t have been more than five. My parents weren’t with me... Not... Not that I would ever know them if I saw them... I never knew why I was put on the train or why I was sent to Canterlot... Looking back, it’s hard to be sure if I was abandoned or if I might have snuck away, since I was stowed away with all the luggage. I had no idea where I was and I didn’t know anypony there.”
She breathed for a minute before continuing, speaking much softer. “I always tried to make friends with the other foals my age, but they all avoided me like a plague. I guess they just saw me as a stranger. I was close, once. An apple cart nearly ran me over in the street. It was the happiest day of my life. A few of the apples flew off and almost pelted me so I threw my hooves up to catch them and then my hooves threw the apples up all on their own. Before I knew it, I was juggling them and all the others were watching me... I think they were in awe... It felt nice. One of them even laughed. Then an apple rolled under one of my hooves and I fell down and they all bonked me on the head. And then we all laughed. They helped me up and asked me my name, so I told them--no, I told them my real name--but then their parents hurried over and pulled them all away. I wasn’t sure what they were saying to the kids, but it didn’t sound encouraging. But I didn’t care. Because I wiped myself off and I saw that I had a cutie mark. So I ran home to tell... Nana.
“Stars above... I miss you, Nana. I... There wasn’t any real orphanage in Canterlot for me to go to. But I found Nana--well, she found me when I snuck into her house one day to steal some food. I thought I would never walk again after the whipping she gave me, but she took me in, sweet old thing she was... She did her best to set me straight, teach me right from wrong, how to read... She even tried to find some couples who might have wanted to adopt a filly for me. I lived with her for a year before I got my cutie mark. We never had much money, so once I found my talent, I tried to help raise money for her with some street performances. It wasn’t much--I never expected to make enough to fix the leaky roof that always dripped even when it wasn’t raining or or repaint the house or fix the lock on the front door--but we had more to eat. And then... one day... I went back home. And Nana was lying on the floor... she was old, but I never... I didn’t even want to think... I tried--tried to help her up, but she couldn’t move... She... And I... B-but she said to me--she told me to think about the good in the world... and she made me promise... promise not to forget about her.”
Screwball took another breath. She had done it: she was almost through and she was still holding herself together. The years since then had helped, and though the storm inside her was still raging, only the tiniest drops of water were leaking out.
“I was only six years old. But Nana had left me the cottage. I wasn’t actually old enough to legally live on my own, but nopony ever bothered with us before, so I don’t think they ever knew. So, I lived on my own--”
‘Alone with ourself.’
“--and I just tried to get by in life with whatever bits I scraped up from my street acts. I just kept to myself mostly until I was sixteen and old enough to work in the palace. And five years later... Here I am.”
She finished speaking and sat silently. The eerie quiet of the forest had been filled with the hushed scratches and rustling of the animals who had cautiously emerged from their hidden shelters once they were certain the terrifying calamity that had shook the land was over. A light wind howled sadly through the stone castle and was gone. A few curious birds boldly landed on the tops of the half-formed walls and looked down at the two inhabitants with wondering eyes. When the peace threatened to never break, Screwball raised her head for the first time since she began talking and looked to see Discord’s reaction.
‘What will it be? Anger? Contempt? I’d wager my money on disappointment. But there’s always the chance that he’ll just laugh at us.’
She prepared herself for the worst and turned to the draconequus she had lied for his entire life. And for all the time the two spent together, she should have known better than to think that Discord would have made anything simple. His face was still, his white eyebrows furrowed in contemplation and his jaw locked to one side. Try as she might, the pony could not see through his cryptic expression; she gazed deeper into his gold and ruby eyes, noticing with some strange humor their difference in size, desperately searching for her answer. Did he know what he was doing to her? Why couldn’t he just get it over with?
“So... you’re telling me you didn’t have an advisor for all your life?” Screwball blinked, stunned by the random question.
"You know, like you," Discord said simply. "You're always looking out for me and trying to teach me things."
“Discord, not everypony has an advisor.” Leave it to him to drag her into the most emotionally fragile moment of her life and turn it into another lecture on basic pony society. “Kings and other rulers are the only ones that ever need them.”
“Not true! Mite and Reverie had three of them!”
Screwball’s mouth hung open as the draconequus’ words swam around her turbulent mind. There wasn’t a single trace of humor or irony in his voice, or even the slightest smirk on his crooked face. A beacon of light broke through and the pony’s mind became calm as she reached a stunning understanding.
‘Does he really think that we’re his...? No, don’t you even think about entertaining that thought! Get back here!’
Screwball wouldn’t hear a word of it. In an instant, she was airborne and headed directly for the silly creature’s neck. She wrapped herself around him and buried her wet face in his fur.
“Ooch! Owie,” he whimpered. The pony pulled her head back to see that she had wrapped her hoof around his damaged wings. Screwball leaned down and gave each wing a gentle kiss before looking back up at Discord’s confused face.
“Do they feel any better?”
Discord sniffed. “A little.”
Sleeping on the stone floor really was not all that bad, Discord thought. He preferred the soft cushion he had conjured, but if he had rolled off of it to be on the ground, then there must have been a reason. Rubbing his bleary eyes with his paw, the king of Equestria examined his new castle. He wasn’t entirely sure if it was completely built when he summoned it, but dropping it probably didn’t do the fortress’ structural integrity any favors; here and there he’d spot missing chunks of stone that were a bit too large and gaping to pass for windows, and he had to watch his step or he might drop down to the lower floor.
A sudden discomfort in his lower stomach interrupted his review and brought his entire focus to one critical, dire need. Popping back and forth on his feet as softly as he could, Discord shuffled to the foot of the second bed he had conjured, where his advisor was lying in a heavy slumber.
“Psst... Hey,” he whispered as urgently and softly as he could. “Hey... Hey, Savvy?”
The purple mare groaned some unintelligible string of slurred syllables and readjusted herself. Fretting for a moment, he moved to the side of the bed she had rolled onto and gently poked her in the ribs.
“Hey, Screwball? Scroob?”
“I have to go.”
With a tired moan, Screwball lifted her head ever so slightly and cracked open an eye to witness the draconequus’ interpretation of “the potty dance.”
Screwball’s hooves barely left the ground as she trudged through a relatively clear path between the trees, leading her charge deeper into the woods. She would have been more than happy to stop at the edge of the trees surrounding the castle, but Discord had refused to stop until they were farther away.
“Okay, this is good enough,” she announced as she came to a sudden halt. Easily understanding that he was not being given any room to argue, the draconequus sped a few steps away from the pony and took cover behind a tree. As he went about his business, a faint sensation drew his attention to a laurel green light throbbing faintly a distance away. The forest was still filled with the green haze just as before whenever he checked, though the splashes of gray that accompanied it had become much less frequent in their appearances. And though he typically never felt anything from the verdant lights, this one peculiar hue seemed to beckon out to him.
It was only the gentlest snore that stopped Discord from investigating. He poked his long neck out from behind his tree and saw Screwball lying flat on her stomach with her hooves spread out in front and behind her, sleeping like a log. He gingerly scooped her up in his arms after deciding that it was not the best time to practice the pony’s trick of balancing something on his tail (or rather, deciding he would rather avoid getting the earful if he messed up) and set her back gently on her bed back in the castle.
The draconequus bit his lip as he looked around at the dilapidated walls and found that each open hole to the dark forest suddenly much more threatening. Focusing with all his might, he snapped his claw, wincing at the sharp snap but relaxing when the noise didn’t seem to disturb the pony. He checked his handiwork and beamed with pride as brick after brick appeared from thin air and silently moved to patch in the missing spaces. Nodding contently, Discord exited the castle and made his way back towards the light.
It took him another few minutes to find it again--his wings still hurt too much to move, let alone fly with them, and after the chill he felt when he healed Screwball’s leg he was reluctant to try the spell again so soon. Discord never thought much about how easily magic came to him; from what he gathered with Reverie, a unicorn typically had to learn and practice a spell before they could use it, while all he had to do was want something to happen and--voilà. He wasn’t entirely sure where he learned that word, either. Maybe from that pink fellow from Ponyville who looked just like him? He supposed that it must have to do with being a Spirit, though he still was not certain what he was supposed to be the spirit of.
A blazing light brought his mind back to the present and he stared in wonder at the gaseous ball floating before him. It was a small sphere, about the size of an apple, glowing a faded green. It was surrounded by a flickering gray flame that twisted and bent in some imaginary wind. At times, streaks of gray would blaze across the surface of the ball, tracing some strange symbols that he could almost understand. It pulsated with a power unlike anything he had come across; it felt as if the familiar gray was trying to overcome and enslave the green orb, forcing it to surrender all it was. It was power. Pure power. Power enough to change the world.
It was hard as a rock and had a strong spice to it, Discord discovered as he thoughtfully gnawed on the thing, but he was certain that he could crack it open. The draconequus chomped down and his eyes bulged wide. He lurched forward to vomit out the toxins, but it had already vanished down his throat. It was the epitome of all things vile, soggy, jejune (he still could not figure out where these words were coming from), and yukky and he gasped and wailed for the taste to fade. He died that night, poisoned by a deceitful floating jawbreaker.
After a few moments, Discord peeked an eye open and discovered with sheer incredulity that he was still very much alive. It seemed impossible, given what he had just endured. Gagging at the thought of it, he opened his mouth and tried to forcibly sweep off any traces of the nefarious venom from his tongue.
“Brussels sprouts,” he spat dirtily. Disgusting. He would see to it that the putrid weed was outlawed from Equestria and have Brussels wiped off the face of the kingdom, wherever it was. As he stewed, a nagging thought wriggling at the back of his mind finally took his attention. How did he know what Brussels sprouts were? Every hair raised in excitement as an entire world of knowledge flooded into the creature’s skull, swirling around tighter and smaller until it completely dissipated.
He sat for a moment in quiet contemplation, pondering the new wisdom filling his head. Images of animals, plants, storms, and the entirety of Equestria flashed before his mind faster than he could process, and yet he could still comprehend it all.
Well, most of it.
Maybe just some of it.
The parts that mattered, he settled gruffly with some unseen force of skepticism before examining the green fog swirling around his hands. It felt damp and squishy, but still had that comforting warmth. Like sticking his hands in a cloud of steam.
“Hm. Cloud.” Discord snapped his talon and a tiny, cottony ball of fluff appeared in the air before him. The white thing doubled in size over and over until it was about the size of a pony and the spirit looked on in satisfaction. Perhaps he could try being the Spirit of Nature, considering how unpleasant the other one was. A sweet aroma drew his attention back to the cloud and he judged his work for a second time. He scooped a dollop of the fluff onto a talon and licked it skeptically.
“Marshmallow?” He checked his mind to see what he knew about clouds and was mostly certain that they typically weren’t made from sweets. He thought it was a pity, though, they should be. A small roll of thunder purred from the cloud and a shower of sparkling orange liquid poured down from the cloud. He knew that regular clouds usually rained water, but he had no idea how marshmallow clouds should behave; though he figured that orange soda didn’t seem too far off.
“So I could already move the sun and the moon for some reason. Now I’ve got clouds, rain, what else goes along with that?” A image of bright colors flashed across his eyes. “Rainbows! Yes!” Discord waved his paw over the cloud, aiming to create a streak of color over the white cover, only for nothing to happen. He tried a few more times before stomping his hoof in frustration.
“Fine! What do I need to do to make a rainbow?” he pouted to the magical instruction manual in his head. “Uh huh, magic, I figured,” he scoffed as the ingredients came to his mind. “Spectra? Not sure what that is. What else, what else? Ponies? No, just pegasi? Why do I need... And a big machine... And... So I take the pegasi and I put them in... and...” Discord felt queasy. He swiped his arms through the marshmallow cloud in hopes that clearing the fluff away would wipe the image from his mind, the gobs of white sticking to his fur and feathers and wings.
He looked at his sticky body with unhappiness. The old lady would probably have a fit if he came back covered in clouds. He gave a whistle to the sky and almost immediately a small group of forest critters answered. A few birds, squirrels, raccoons, and bunnies came to the draconequus, regarding his strange form with as much indifference as they would give to any other wild beast. He decided that he liked animals.
“Alright, guys, help me clean up a little, would you?” he said, motioning toward the white globs clinging to him. The animals did not budge and and wondered if he needed to repeat himself.
Discord opened his mouth and screamed as the animals all dove at him at once, biting, scratching, gnawing, and screeching as he tried to throw them off. He dashed through the forest, flapping his arms and legs and howling in pain as each animal sunk their teeth straight through the fluff and into his skin. One of the squirrels was just clawing at his face with no clear purpose other than hurting him, and birds pecked at his neck and wings. He tumbled and tripped as more animals, enticed by the noise, joined in the assault and tore into the draconequus. A woodpecker perched on his antler and jabbed at his other horn, beavers jumped in unison and sunk their buck teeth into his thigh, and he wasn’t sure but it felt like a snake was trying to get friendly with his tail.
The mania finally ended when the tortured spirit collided with a tree with every animal simultaneously fleeing from their victim as he fell to the grass with a hard thud and a pathetic moan. He decided that he did not like animals and that he could make better ones if he wanted.
“...You were lying to me about the rainbows, weren’t you?” Discord grunted as he rose back to his feet and rubbed his aching head. “I’ll admit, that was funny.” He rubbed his sore spots and took some small consolation in that he had been cleaned of the gunk, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
“I’ll just let the pegasi handle the weather for themselves,” he decided. “We need a better breed of animal in Equestria. So where should I start?” His stomach growled noisily, but he ignored it as he went through a list of every animal he could think of. “Squirrels? No, I think I’m still mad at them. A fish? Eh, not exciting enough. An aardvark? I don’t even know what that is. Bear?”
His stomach shouted a second time and Discord grabbed his gut and shook it angrily. “Fine! I’ll have a potato or something.” He snapped his claw and a flash of light exploded a few feet away. The draconequus regarded the potato with dissatisfaction--it was a little more alive than he typically preferred. It was nearly the height of a pony, though it was perfectly smooth and oblong. And covered in brown fur, with two arms and legs that ended in paws, and a large mouth. The potato landed on its paws, sniffed the air suspiciously, and soundlessly moseyed off into the woods.
“I guess that was some sort of potato bear,” he commented as his appetite suddenly vanished. “Ursatato? Beartato? Whatever, I’ll let somepony else handle the names. This next one’s going to be perfect!”
What followed was a series of oddities grand enough for Discord to step down from command and begin his own circus: dolphins that swam through the air and submerged underground to breathe; another bear with a manatee tail; frogs and owls that sang and danced; ants the size of pumpkins that could only move side to side; legless cats that hovered a few inches off the ground; another pair of cockatrices; cute little things that appeared to be some type of colorful winged gumballs; lizards who could change the color of their scales to stand out among their environment; another bear, this time mostly normal save for the tortoise shell; ugly flightless birds that would try to dig underground rather than fly and only manage to fit their heads down; and strangest of all, some sort of flying alligator with a rabbit’s head and the upper torso of a live cat for a tongue.
“One last shot. Gonna try... elephant.” He snapped his claw and there was an enormous flash that forced him to shield his eyes. When he opened them again, he found with disappointment that he had created yet another bear. Granted, this one was about half the size of a Manehattan hotel and looked like a living constellation, but it was still a bear.
“Well, I think my work here is done,” he said to himself as he clapped his hands together. “You guys just... do whatever.” He snapped his paw and vanished in a flash and reappeared closer back to the castle, strumming his talons against a tree trunk. “I tried weather and animals. So, I guess that just leaves... plants,” he said, pausing to give a massive yawn. But he couldn’t sleep now when he was finally in the zone. He had a great feeling about this next bit, and then he could show them to Savvy--er, Screwball, and she’d be so impressed! The draconequus kicked his legs and giggled in glee at the thought and snapped.
After a few seconds without any developments, a small blue stem sprouted up from the ground with a white bud. The flower rapidly matured and the bud soon blossomed, spreading into four large blue leaf-like petals. From the center of the plant, the pistils released a small cloud of spores that sailed a few inches around and buried themselves in the dirt. The process repeated over and over again until Discord saw fit to end it. After just two minutes, he was standing tall over a field of gorgeous sapphire flowers.
“Wow, these are really boring,” he lamented as he plucked one of the plants and carelessly discarded it. He flopped down into the bed of flowers and regarded his new creations with disappointment. He wanted to create new animals, but none of them ever came out the way he wanted them to -- now that he tried making some flowers with absolutely no expectations, they came out perfectly normal. And he was still
He just wanted to know when things were supposed to go right. His problem was that he was never sure when things were okay or not; whenever he thought things were going well, Screwball always looked unhappy, but when she felt positive about something it never sat right with him. Discord was sure that if he showed the pony the flowers like he planned, she’d just go on about what pretty colors and how nice they were and not consider for one second how plain and uninteresting and boring they were. He liked her, he really did, and he would always take her advice and listen to her even when he would pretend he wasn’t, and they would laugh at the same things together, but he could never shake the thought that what she wanted for him wasn’t in line with what he wanted.
And what he wanted right then was a funny flower. He rose to his feet and snapped his talon and the flowers were glowed a muted azure for a moment. Discord goose-stepped through the plants, his arms folded behind his back, and began to speak to the flowers as though he was addressing a crowd of ponies.
“Now, hear me well, as I shall not repeat myself! Equestria is under a new command and a new law: mine. I am the absolute ruler of the land, and I have already begun an undertaking to bring this world into a new, greater era!” he pontificated, trying to put all the pomp and formality Screwball had taught him into his speech. “A new chapter in history that shall live forever in the minds of each and every last pony for all of time! My name will be sung in songs generations from now, carried on the winds and echoed across the canyons!” He paused for effect, another trick Screwball had taught him: if he ever lost his train of thought, he was instructed to say a bunch of verbose nonsense and wait a few seconds to think while the audience tried to find some profound significance in his words. If he thought fast, he would be able to continue before anyone realized he was just waxing poetic. He always liked that plan: he liked to talk, and he loved nonsense even more, so it was a no-lose situation as far as he was concerned.
“Every last subject will have a role to play, I can guarantee you that. Not a single soul shall go unnoticed or forgotten or left alone, ever again,” he continued, thoughts of Screwball’s unhappiness still fresh in his mind. “I am your ruler and I have sworn myself to giving every last subject my full attention as I pursue my eternal goal of purifying Equestria. And that is where you come in,” he said, at last turning his attention to the plants, which had all been struck speechless by the grandiosity of his words.
“Henceforth, heretofore, and howdy doody-ipso facto, you shall be the official flower of Equestria! You have all been given a precious gift, one that means more to me than anything else in this world: a sense of humor. I command you to across the world, bringing laughter to everypony. I cannot think of a crusade with greater honor and I give this to you. What say you?”
Discord waited in troubled silence for a few seconds before it occurred to him that his audience was a bed of flowers. “So... I’ll just leave you to it, then.” He trudged out of the flowers, uncertain if his message had gotten through, before he noticed how much closer to the ground he was. The king of Equestria peeled with laughter as he looked at his silly new body. His entire coat was the same amber gray of his face, with shaggy strands of hair extending down to his hooves -- plural! He tried balancing on his new hooves and flicked his strange new tail back and forth as the wild guffaws poured out from him.
When his giggles had subsided, he stomped his hoof and he felt a rush as he was painlessly returned to normal. And then he laughed some more. He had been turned into a pony! How much funnier can you get?
“You guys make me proud, all right?” he called over his shoulder to the at-attention flowers before bounding off deeper into the forest. He was positively ecstatic -- there he was, off on his own, doing what he wanted, making the world a happier place his own way, and he didn’t need Savvy or Screwball to tell him what to do and it still worked out better than he could have hoped! More! He was on a roll! He couldn’t stop now! He wanted to do more! He didn’t even feel the cold as he healed his wings and shot off into the sky, grabbing two fistfuls of the forest’s green haze as he ascended, the mist stretching and pulling like taffy and twisting around him as he spiraled higher and higher. As he broke through the treetops and looked down at the endless expanse of trees below him, a single word remained in his mind:
“Landscaping!” Discord yanked on the two chords of natural energy, the extensions arching and lashing like whips as they tore across the entirety of the Everfree Forest. The draconequus’ glee immediately came to a halt as the earth trembled and shook as if it were about to split in half. And sure enough, the entire woods was struck by a great cataclysm as the ground ferociously broke and morphed and crumbled. Enormous tracts of land shakily grew higher and forming plateaus all across the forest, while in other places the earth simply fell away to create sprawling, misty chasms and mucky swamps. Trees were uprooted and crashed to the ground or dropped down and splintered on the obscure ground below as animals scattered for shelter. Loud cries filled the air, accompanied by the crashing of boulders and howls of beasts. The madness only grew as large stone domes began to bulge out from the ground, bursting forth in spurts as if being hammered out by an angry god, finally forming caves and mountains. More trees and plants were swept away in a thundering river that snaked and spread as if with a mind of its own, with all trails eventually finding an exciting end at the edge of a cliff and transforming into waterfalls.
Discord watched in awe as the chaos unfurled below him, all brought about by his own two hands. He wanted to laugh, but from across the forest, passing the river, blowing through the mountains, cutting through the air, above the cacophonous symphony of the transforming forest, a single sound split through his head.