“My head,” Statice groaned as he placed a hoof on his skull. He yelped in pain when he felt a stabbing sensation inside his head. That was a bad sign. His Healing Spell erased most of the damage of his fall. However, his spell had its limits, which were always indicated when he got a headache either due to running out of magic to use or damage to the cranial area responsible for using magic. Head injuries were one of the hardest injuries to treat with his spell due to how close they were to the horn and how physical trauma reduced the quality of the spell. To make matters worse, he used the majority of his magic healing a broken, dislocated leg. He extended his right foreleg and winced in pain, cradling his shoulder with his left hoof.
“No victory comes without sacrifice,” Statice muttered to himself as he tenderly massaged his foreleg, trying to alleviate some of the pain. He was in some sort of infirmary. There were many beds and he was dressed with a white robe.
“Please, don’t let me wake up days after the match,” Statice begged to the ceiling as he rubbed his temples. If he was indeed asleep for days, then that was a sign that there was something wrong with his brain.
“You were only asleep for a few hours.”
“Is that you, Discord?” Statice turned his head to the source of the voice.
“That’s Doctor Discord to you, patient!” Discord sternly addressed him as he was dressed like a doctor.
“Do any of the doctors or nurses around here know that you’re impersonating medical staff?” Statice deadpanned at the draconequus. “There is a high chance of you getting punished for pulling such stunts.”
I should know by experience...
“I can easily cure you from all your injuries if that’s what I wanted,” Discord snorted as he got rid of his doctor clothes. “But I needed my own excuse to talk to you.”
“What is that you want to talk about?” Statice asked as he looked at him.
“Why did you cancel your spell?” Discord asked, his voice becoming deeper and less silly and his eyes narrowing dangerously.
“What are you talking about, Discord?” Statice asked, surprised that he had seen his last strategy in the game.
“I saw you absorbing your magic platform into your horn when it disappeared,” he growled at him. “It didn’t fade away because you ran out of magic. It faded away because you made it disappear. What were you thinking?”
Dang, for such a goofy guy, he’s very perceptive. I guess all that talk about him being the Spirit of Disharmony is isn’t just about his ability to wreak chaos with his magic alone. I might as well tell him the truth. He deserves it.
“I was thinking that Fluttershy was going to get distracted for my safety if I made my platform vanish to make myself fall, which would ensure my chances of hitting the ball to her zone without worrying about her returning the ball.”
Discord stared at Statice for a long time. He got closer to the unicorn, making him flinch. Their snouts were touching. He was expecting him to switch moods from angry to happy. It didn’t happen. Discord was looking at him the same way an adult looked at a child when it was time for a lecture.
“You risked your safety just to win a game?” Discord asked, not even masking his disgust. “You hate losing so much that you were willing to jeopardize yourself?”
“I was exhausted!” Statice defended himself, raising his voice but not pushing Discord away either. “If the match continued, Fluttershy would have won. I had to come up with a strategy to win.”
“You call THAT a strategy?” Discord poked Statice’s head with his lion paw. His thick finger made Statice wince with each poke he gave him. “What you did was nothing more than a gamble! There was a high chance that the ball was not going to reach Fluttershy’s zone. There was a high chance of you not hitting the ball and end up losing anyway! What you did was stupid beyond belief!”
Statice narrowed his eyes at Discord, not liking such lecture. “I don’t need to be taught a lesson in safe choices by the most foolish being in Equestria. Tell me, before the girls returned the Elements to the Tree of Harmony, how many times did you risk getting sealed in stone because you didn’t control yourself?”
Discord paused. He remembered how close he was to being sealed in stone when he first started his reformation with Fluttershy and when Celestia and Luna had disappeared as a result of his Plunderseeds. After his second defeat, he had not been so scared of the Elements of Harmony in his whole life as he was back when Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash threatened to use their Elements on him.
“I’ve only seen two in your memories so far, but I am sure that there must have been many more times in between,” Statice clarified as he found the strength to shove Discord back with his snout.
“That’s different,” Discord snarled at him. “I’m the Spirit of Disharmony! I can eventually escape any prison put to me by the Elements of Harmony. Sure, my escape takes more or less a millennium to work, but at least I am back safe and sound. You’re just an average pony. Whatever happens to you lasts forever!”
“I can heal,” Statice stubbornly retorted.
Discord just stared at him. He stared real hard before he turned around. Without saying another word, he went to leave the infirmary.
“Where are you going?” Statice asked him.
“Out of here,” Discord replied. “I’m not a doctor anyway so why bother staying here. I hope you get better!”
He disappeared with a finger snap, leaving the triumphant winner of the game feeling as if he had been beaten.
“That was a little harsh, don’t you think?”
“Give me a break, Celly.”
Celestia and Discord were back in the throne room. Discord had taken the liberty of showing his memories to the Princess of the Sun detailing his recent talk with Statice. The alabaster alicorn frowned in sympathy after watching the scene. Never had she seen such a tense confrontation between friends.
“He always manages to find a way to tick me off,” Discord snorted as he stomped his goat hoof, making cracks on the floor.
Now Celestia was worried. Ever since Discord was fully redeemed, she had the honor of sharing a friendship with him. If his talks with her were good indicators, she was his best friend after Fluttershy. In the few occasions in which he had a friendship problem, it was him who was in the wrong and his anger was akin to that of a colt refusing to admit that he made a mistake. This time was different, Discord had a good reason to be angry at his friend, not because of a prank, but because he did something dangerous that worried him.
“I can see your point,” Celestia nodded her head. In a way, it was easy to see why Discord was so angry with Statice. Even she shared some of that anger when he told her about what Statice had done to win the game. Granted, he didn’t break any rules, but purposely endangering himself to distract Fluttershy from the game was quite a dirty move on his part.
“Finally,” Discord exasperatedly rolled his eyes and threw his arms into the air to point them at Celestia. “Somepony gets what I’m saying!”
“It is going to be problematic to supervise this pony,” Celestia frowned. “He’s the first…reformation patient…since you came. He’s just as stubborn as you are, yet, I can see that he has something that you don’t.”
Discord blew a raspberry at Celestia’s remark. “Oh please, what could he have that I don’t have?”
“Maturity,” Celestia replied.
“Very funny, Princess,” Discord sarcastically clapped his hands. “You got me hard with that one. It’s not like anypony hasn’t come up with that joke now.”
“I am being serious,” Celestia frowned as she stared at Discord. “You’re immaturity leads to you being easily swayed by change. It is the reason why you managed to develop an interest in remaining friends with Fluttershy despite your original intent on conquering Equestria when you were released.”
“You’re going to play psychologist with me now?” Discord magically put on a force jacket as he leaned on a couch. Normally, he’d give a melodramatic speech for the sake of messing around with Celestia. Unfortunately, he was too angry to continue the joke this time around.
“No,” Celestia shook her head. “I am painfully familiar with the last psychologist I sent to make a psychological profile of you back when I was trying to aid in your reformation.”
“It took your royal guards doing surveillance on me to convince you and Luna that I was not up to my own tricks,” Discord smiled wistfully as he remembered the sisters threatening to sic the Elements of Harmony on him.
“But Statice already has a mature mindset,” Celestia continued, ignoring Discord’s ramblings. “He already made an identity for himself, one that he refuses to change. I don’t think that he wants to change, Discord.”
“You speak of him as if he were a major threat,” Discord snorted. “He’s not a threat, Celly. I was a threat before I learned about friendship. Luna was a threat back when she was Nightmare Moon. Tirek was a threat when he stole all of our magic. Even if he were to turn evil, I bet you can take him out on your own. You and Luna did an excellent job with King Sombra without using the Elements of Harmony.”
“I’d rather leave that as a last resort for the worst case scenario,” Celestia sighed, not liking the idea of combat. “I don’t like to resort to violence when it can be avoided through diplomacy.”
“You better hope your diplomacy skills are as good as you think they are,” Discord used the foot of his lizard leg to scratch himself behind the ears the same way a dog does.
“I hope I do,” Celestia prayed as she watched the sky. “From the looks of him, he strives to live a peaceful existence in Equestria. I can respect that. Still, there’s something uneasy on him…”
“Is that why you wanted him to learn friendship with the girls?” Discord asked her with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes,” Celestia nodded her head with a sigh. “I didn’t expect him to react like that. I’m well aware that he had bad experiences since he set hoof on Equestria. That’s why I’m trying to help him. The problem is that I cannot help him if his first solution to problems is violence and insults.”
“Well, he had a rough life,” Discord frowned in sympathy when he remembered the unicorn’s autobiographical memory movie. “How about you try to bond with him? Maybe that will get you on his good side.”
“That’s quite alright,” Celestia smiled at the draconequus, hoping that perhaps some positive reinforcement in the right direction may help Statice in the long term.
“My head is killing me,” Statice stumbled across the hall. He had managed to sneak out of the infirmary. He was avoiding putting too much strain on his foreleg. He was going to bear with the pain until he had enough magic to use the Healing Spell again.
As much as he used the Healing Spell to treat injuries, there was so much it could do. Serious injuries like broken bones required larger doses of magic to fix. He was lucky to have initiated the spell as he hit the ground or he’d be walking with a cast on his foreleg…or perhaps he’d be walking with just three legs. His peaceful walk was interrupted when he was met by a huge pair of angry cyan eyes staring at him.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Fluttershy asked him as she gave him the Stare. Her sudden appearance caught Statice by surprise. Despite this, he still held his ground.
“I’m going for a walk,” Statice replied, frankly uninterested. “I need to talk with the princesses about my accommodations here.”
“You have a head injury,” Fluttershy spoke with a stern tone. “You need to be back at the infirmary right now.”
“I won the match, Fluttershy,” Statice reminded her. “That means that I am under the supervision of the princesses, not yours.”
“Maybe not,” Fluttershy crossed her forelegs. “That doesn’t mean that I’m gonna stand here and let you walk around when you’re hurt.”
“Element of Kindness until the end,” Statice dismissively walked around her. “This is why you lost, Fluttershy. You care too much for your enemies.”
“You’re not an enemy,” Fluttershy turned around. She wasn’t giving him the Stare anymore even though her eyes remained angry. “You’re mean and scary, but you’re not evil. And I’ve seen true evil before. I’m not gonna deny kindness to anypony who needs it, especially over a dumb game.”
As much as Statice wanted to yell at her for insulting his game, he opted to let her vent at him. He did scare her to death with the stunt he pulled. She deserved to have an outlet to her rage after nearly giving her a heart attack.
“Can you get me a wheelchair?” he asked in a resigned tone. “I still want to walk around the castle.”
“Good,” Fluttershy’s eyes softened despite her frown still being present. “Wait here while I go get a wheelchair.”
She flew out to the infirmary with a speed that rivaled that of Rainbow Dash and came back with the promised wheelchair. She had a light smile on her face as Statice stared at her in shock.
“Are you by chance related to Rainbow Dash?” Statice asked as he got over his shock. “That was some crazy speed there.”
“Thanks,” Fluttershy blushed as she gently helped Statice to sit on the wheelchair before she put her hooves in the handles. “Where would you like to go?”
“Take me to the dinner hall,” Statice asked nicely.
“Princess Celestia and Princess Luna won’t be there for the time being,” she gently chided him. “Would you like to go somewhere else?”
“No,” Statice shook his head. “Take me anywhere around the castle until I can see the princesses.”
“Okay,” Fluttershy nodded her head as she guided him around the castle.
“Where are your friends, Fluttershy?” Statice asked the yellow mare.
“They had to leave for the time being,” Fluttershy explained. “I asked them to let me stay here to make sure you’re okay.”
“You don’t have to take care of me,” Statice reassured her, not wanting Fluttershy to feel guilty for his injuries. “It’s not your fault that I fell in that match.”
“It doesn’t matter to me if it’s my fault or not,” Fluttershy shook her head. “I don’t like seeing anypony hurt. I would have stayed here with you even if you had not gotten yourself hurt playing against me.”
“Thanks,” Statice spoke with sincere gratitude.
Such a nice pony...
Fluttershy took the time to show him some of her favorite sites in the castle. She showed him the gardens, the halls on which the Grand Galloping Gala was hosted, and a garden of statues on which Discord used to live before his reformation began. After enough sightseeing, it was time for dinner.
Just like before, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were attending him. Unlike before, the only guest apart from himself was Fluttershy.
“Congratulations on your victory,” Luna addressed Statice stoically.
“Thanks,” Statice raised his drinking cup with his hooves and drank slowly. He noticed that the Princess of the Night was looking at him like a predator. Had he done something to upset her after the game?
“As promised, you will be allowed to live in the castle for the time being,” Celestia spoke to him as she gave him a professional look. “Your stay here will be for an indefinite time, until we determine if it is safe for you to walk freely around Equestria.”
“I’m going to be a prisoner, right?” Statice asked carefully.
“You’re not in a dungeon, are you?” Luna asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Even a beautiful castle like this one can be a prison when you are not allowed to leave it,” Statice replied. “How long will it take me to…complete my stay here?”
“It is a very legal process,” Celestia carefully weaved her words. “We have to determine your personal data, your education levels, among other stuff.”
“I’m going to be stuck here for a while, am I not?” Statice asked, his disappointed face made it clear that he didn’t want to stay in the castle for long.
“This is what you chose,” Luna reminded her, slightly raising her tone. “You shall bear with the terms you agreed.”
“Fine,” Statice sighed. “Is there anything else that I have to do while I live in your roof, princesses?”
“We have to make you an official citizen of Equestria,” Celestia clarified.
“Did you say official citizen of Equestria?” Statice asked.
“Of course,” Luna nodded her head. “You can’t just simply wander around Equestria uninvited and do what you want. You have to be an official citizen to enjoy the full privileges of Equestria.”
“Princess Luna is right, Statice,” Fluttershy chirped in. “Our zebra friend Zecora came from lands outside of Equestria and settled in the Everfree Forest. However, in order to get some special services she had to become an official citizen of Ponyville first.”
“This Zecora gal is a citizen of Ponyville?” Statice asked out in surprise, luckily avoiding any allusion that he met her before.
“Yes,” Fluttershy nodded her head. “She rarely uses those privileges since she gets her supplies at the Everfree Forest though.”
Well, zebras have quaint lifestyles.
“We will give you a citizenship test to see how much you know about Equestria in history and culture at some point in the future,” Celestia promised, trying to keep the terms as simple as possible.
“However, your education levels will be tested to see your place in the school systems,” Luna added helpfully. “Afterwards, you will be given the right to travel around Equestria, provided that you don’t cause any trouble.”
Statice hated the situation. He had traveled freely around Equestria since he retired. He didn’t want to have to do this whole bureaucratic garbage just to travel. Sadly, he had no choice. With the princesses aware of his existence, there was no way to do as he wanted to without getting into trouble with them.
Then again, I did most of the stuff I did because I didn't know Equestria had rulers and that it was essentially a peaceful and loving anarchy. I guess it's kinda fair after all the trouble I caused. Besides, at least it's not as bad as all the other times I've been under probation under other rulers. These ones are not jerks...and I more or less started it anyway.
“Fine,” Statice agreed.
“Good,” Celestia smiled before looking at Celestia. “Fluttershy, may Luna and I have Statice for a few minutes after you’re done eating? We want to talk with him in private about…sensitive information.”
“Sure,” Fluttershy timidly finished her meal before she left. She gave Statice a spare glance before closing the door.
With the timid mare gone, Celestia dropped her motherly smile and replaced it with a stone face. Luna remained with the same expression as before, albeit with frowning eyebrows to indicate her dark mood. Statice gulped, feeling that the conversation was going to be a harder one.
No matter how many times I predict this is gonna happen, I'm always scared out of my wits.
“Are you okay, Statice?” Celestia asked as her eyes narrowed at the sight of his wound. “That wound looks disconcerting.”
“It will heal,” Statice shrugged his shoulders. “Once my headaches are gone, I’ll be able to use my Healing Spell to get rid of it.”
“Is that why you purposely let yourself fall from a high height when you were playing against Fluttershy?” Luna asked coldly.
“Discord told you, didn’t he?” Statice asked, feeling annoyed that the draconequus snitched on him. There was no chance of lying to the princesses that were old and smart enough to figure out he was trying to deceive them. The fact that those two were the previous wielders of the Element of Honesty before Applejack made it clear that there was no way for him to fed them a convincing lie.
“We saw,” Celestia corrected him. “Your spell is eerily similar to the same one Lord Tirek used to drain ponies of their magic.”
“I’m no leech,” Statice indignantly said at the comparison to the magic stealing minotaur. “I recycle my magic to replenish my supplies. I don’t steal the magic of others to increase my own power.”
“I didn’t mean to offend you,” Celestia offered a placating hoof. “But you’re missing the point. Why did you risk your own life to win the match? Is the idea of friendship so revolting to you that you would rather get hurt?”
Statice took a deep breath. He was going to have to give his own opinion about friendship to two ancient alicorn princesses who worshiped it. He just hoped that his viewpoint was not offensive to them.
This is gonna suck...
“It won’t be a real friendship, okay. For starters, Twilight will only try to be friends with me because YOU asked her to do it. I don’t want her to treat me like homework or to start a friendship with me because she deludes herself into thinking that you’re pressuring her to be friends with me. I don’t see myself being friends with Rainbow Dash EVER, given how much we don’t get along. Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie don’t count because they are too nice to refuse a friendship even if it’s a forced one. And I’m not sure about Applejack and Rarity as they may have mixed feelings about me. No offense, but I’d rather make my own friends than having you force them upon me.”
Celestia and Luna were staring at him with open jaws. Never had they heard such cynical views about friendship. Once again they wondered what kind of life Statice had that led to him having such beliefs. After a pause, Celestia spoke again to break the tension and hopefully correct some of Statice’s thoughts.
“Do you have any friends, Statice?” Celestia asked gently. “You mentioned somepony named Digitalis. Is there anypony else?”
“I have my... little brother,” Statice admitted with some reluctance. “I don’t have anypony else. Most of the friends I made I broke as soon as they failed me.”
“What exactly do you mean by breaking friendships?” Luna asked, feeling that there was more to the stallion than meets the eye.
“Some betrayed me for their own ends,” Statice sighed as he recounted how many of his friendships failed. “Then we have those that were scared away from me during the few times I used dark magic. Occasionally, some of them turned their back on me because we had different goals and beliefs. A few of them were incompetents whose foolishness got me in trouble more than enough so I had to get them out of my life. In conclusion, most of the friends I made had an ulterior motive or a common cause that had them come along with me until we achieved a goal.”
Celestia and Luna winced at his descriptions. It appeared that he was somehow capable of friendship, but he had ridiculously high standards. The question was if his uptightness was a result of his many failed friendships or the cause of it. They were going to dig deeper into it now.
“Is this why you are scared of being friends with the Twilight, Fluttershy, and the other girls, Statice?” Celestia asked in concern. “Are you afraid that they may hurt you the same way your former friends hurt you?”
“I can’t lie,” Statice rubbed the back of his head. “I tried to live alone without friends once. You don’t feel any pain when you don’t have bonds to be broken. The problem is that you end up feeling empty. Similarly, having friends makes you feel whole, but losing just one of them makes you feel like you’re crumbling apart. I can’t live with or without them.”
Celestia felt more sympathetic for the unicorn. Over the years, she had made and lost friendships to the passage of time. It was a burden that she had to carry as a perpetually young alicorn. Luna had it worse as the millennium trapped in the moon deprived her from having any more memories of her former friends and prevented her from forging any more friendships until she was released and purified a thousand years later.
“I suggest that you try to be friends with them,” Celestia offered. “Once they try, they can be the best friends you can have.”
“I’m satisfied with Discord,” Statice shook his head.
“Are you sure?” Celestia raised an eyebrow. “More than me and Luna, Discord is quite dissatisfied with your little stunt.”
“I had no strategy at the time,” Statice groaned as he gently tapped a hoof to his face and dragged it along.
“That was no strategy, Statice,” Celestia chided him. “That was a gamble, and an irresponsible one at that.”
“Isn’t that how most of your plans are in the end?” Statice narrowed his eyes at her. A rebel spark lit inside his throat and the words came out of his mouth before he stopped himself. Now that the words were out, he couldn't bring himself to stop until he was done.
Me and my stupid rebel mouth. All those years of getting away with mouthing off to authority figures and powerful entities are gonna come crashing down on me after this.
“Excuse me?” Celestia asked a little loudly.
“How many times did your plans involve Twilight figuring out something by herself?” Statice asked accusingly. “Oh wait, that’s all of your plans! Let a brilliant but socially inept mare figure out how to stop heavyweight villains by herself with the help of her friends, who know as much if not less than her on how to save Equestria.”
“Twilight Sparkle is the Element of Magic,” Celestia responded, stopping Luna from answering, knowing that her sister was going to react violently at such words. “I knew from the start that she was bound to figure out how to reactivate the Elements of Harmony when she sent that letter telling me about the return of Nightmare Moon.”
“Yeah, but your plan expected her to make friends,” Statice rolled his eyes at her.
“She did made friends,” Celestia corrected her.
“She didn’t made friends,” Statice retaliated. “Her friends made her.”
“What?” Celestia and Luna asked in unison, heavily confused by his reasoning, much more so by the wording he used to express it.
“She didn’t want to make friends,” Statice looked at them in annoyance. “The reason she became friends with them was because they followed her into the Everfree Forest when she decided to go retrieve the Elements on her own. I’m pretty sure that the she didn’t get rid of them was because she didn’t want to waste time or magic on them when she tried to beat Nightmare Moon.”
“How can you come up with such conclusion?” Celestia asked, horrified that he felt the start of the most significant friendship as pure chance.
“Discord showed me a Season One movie thing when I was in the dungeons,” Statice waved a dismissive hoof. “And I can see that from the looks of it that Twilight didn’t even like her friends at the beginning. Also, you do realize that she became friends with them is the fact that they saved Equestria together, right? I mean, how can you not be friends with somepony after accomplishing such a feat? And even then, she stayed in Ponyville mainly because you gave her permission in order to study that Magic of Friendship thing. Had you asked her to choose between continuing her education with you or remain with her friends, I’m sure she would have ditched them. ”
“That’s not true!” Celestia slammed her hooves in the table, making it shake.
“It is,” Statice stared at her. “The mare had to treat friendship like some sort of homework assignment to give it a try. That incident with the doll was proof enough if you don’t believe me.”
Celestia winced. The incident with Smartypants was not one of her fondest memories. She had taught Twilight to use her magic responsibly so having her use it to create problems for her subjects disturbed her a lot.
“Twilight has anxiety issues,” Celestia said defensively.
“No kidding,” Statice raised an eyebrow. “She literally thought that you were going to send her to Magic Kindergarten just because she didn’t give you a letter one week after her previous one in spite of her saving Equestria for the second time by then. Fortunately, that issue with the letters did help you correct your mistake with Discord.”
“What mistake are you talking about?” Celestia glared at Statice.
“You sent six mares to face the only villain whose power was so big that not even you and Luna could defeat together without even a warning,” Statice deadpanned. “You got them all corrupted because you let them go uninformed about how much of a threat he really was. Fortunately, a combination of you sending those letters to the already corrupted Twilight and Discord being an arrogant dolt solved your mistake.”
Celestia stammered as if she had been struck. She had realized the possibility of Discord corrupting Twilight and her friends. It was why she sent Twilight’s Friendship Reports to Spike in the first place. To have Statice point how she had indirectly caused Discord to corrupt the Elements of Harmony in the first place struck a nerve.
“That’s enough of your mouth!” Luna yelled at Statice. “You have no place to criticize my sister or her plans?”
“They were gambits,” Statice insisted as he glared at her. “And at least a gambit is better than doing nothing. Where were you when Discord first returned or when the Changelings invaded Canterlot?”
Now it was Luna who flinched at that question. Nopony had dared to question her in her lack of involvement with either issue.
“You were doing nothing,” Statice finished for her. “Now that I think about it, that’s exactly what you two did when the Crystal Empire returned. You left those poor Crystal ponies disappear from Equestria and when you have the time to make it up to them you sent Cadence and Twilight to save them with no knowledge about Sombra’s threat.”
“It was Cadence’s right to ascend to the Crystal Empire,” Celestia regained her composure. “She is the descendant of Princess Amore, the original ruler of the Crystal Empire before King Sombra usurped the throne.”
“And what can you say about Twilight?” Statice stared at her. “It wasn’t her place to be at the Crystal Empire. You sent her there for her to learn about self-sacrifice. I got some news for you, Princess, it was better to fail a test than let Sombra win. You don’t need to think of doing the right thing to come up with that conclusion. The only reason the Crystal Empire was saved was because Twilight decided to bring Spike along on a whim instead of letting him stay in Ponyville. When she fell in one of Sombra’s traps her worst fear was you disowning her as your student, which in my case I’d consider a good riddance.”
“She saw that fear,” Celestia gasped as she heard about it, never thinking that Sombra’s magic would affect her student that badly. “She never told me about that incident.”
“Yes,” Statice nodded his head. “But I think that her ascension was kind of a sick joke rather than an accomplishment. First of all, you claim that she created new magic when in reality she just finished a spell that was halfway done. If that were the case then I’d be an alicorn many times over for every spell I created. Heck, I’m pretty sure there’d be more alicorn princes and princesses around here than just four. Second of all, is the spell itself. You had Twilight switch the cutie marks and destinies of her friends. They may not be your students, but they have risked their lives as much as Twilight every time you asked for their help. Was that test for Twilight’s destiny your way to repay them? You had Twilight nearly ruin their lives and when she finishes correcting the mistake that YOU had her make you have her ascended into an alicorn. The way I see her, you were just playing favorites.”
“Twilight has a destiny to accomplish,” Celestia spoke with a harder tone. “She is destined to do much more for Equestria in the future.”
“Then let her accomplish her destiny rather than dictate it for her,” Statice cut her off before she continued. “Take Tirek as an example. You gave her the combined power of four alicorn princesses and then you told her to run away when she actually had the power to defeat him. You even went as far as to tell her not to tell her friends, which would have prevented their capture had Twilight told them about it. Instead of that, Tirek stole their magic and then Discord’s and that gave him the power to fight equally with Twilight, losing the only edge that she had against her. I don’t even want to imagine what kind of wasteland this place would have become if it had not been for the Tree of Harmony giving the girls some last minute superpower locked in a chest.”
Celestia was silent. To be honest, she didn’t expect Twilight to be so powerful when she came up with the plan of transferring all of the alicorn magic of Equestria into her. She sincerely thought that Twilight’s power was going to be below Tirek or Discord at the time, hence why she told her to hide. Had she known the extent of Twilight’s power back then, she would have told her to capture Tirek.
“You are a gamble pony just like me,” Statice continued, no longer bothering to restrain his opinions anymore. “Would you like to know what makes me different from you? At least I play my part. I don’t sit in the background and let anypony do my job when the time comes. You’re no different from my master.”
“How is your master then?” Celestia asked him.
“He’s as tough as a cinderblock and not easily impressed,” Statice spoke with a hint of fear and reverence. “No matter what I do, nothing was good enough for him. If I asked him for help, he didn’t give it to me and if he needed help, he never asked it for me. He was a jerk, but at least he’s honest about it.”
Celestia was stunned. That didn’t sound like a mentor at all. There was no positive reinforcement or even a bond between them. Having Statice compare her to such negligent monster was harsh. To add insult to injury, he thought that she was the worst of the two.
“Are you saying that I am worse than him?” she voiced her horror, not even bothering to hide how insulted she felt.
“Yes,” Statice answered simply. “You act too much like a mother to your students, only seeing their positive side. You don’t see their flaws in their personalities or bother to correct them.”
“Treating your students with affection is what a mentor is supposed to do,” Celestia stood up, not willing to let the word be perverted by her rude guest.
“Doing such things makes them very depending on you,” Statice snorted. “Look at Twilight, she technically graduated and she still acts like a combination of a teacher’s pet with mommy issues. My master was harsh when he let me know that he was not giving me his approval, but at least that ensured that I’d do my jobs without worrying about it.”
“He really said that to you?” Celestia asked, feeling pity for the stallion to hear such harsh words from his mentor.
“Yes,” Statice replied, although there was hurt in his voice. “Whenever my master followed me in a mission, it was his way of telling me that he didn’t trust me and that he was just going to make sure that I didn’t mess up.”
“That’s not alright,” Celestia shook her head. “How can you even be okay with it?”
“You get used to it,” Statice shrugged his shoulders with what Celestia assumed to be defeat and resignation. “Can we please change the subject? My master was kind of a jerk. I don’t want to remember him.”
“Sure,” Celestia sat down on her chair and resumed to eat. They had a very awkward dinner for the next few minutes.
Fluttershy waited outside of the dinner hall. She gasped when she heard the sound of a hoof knocking on the door. Flying to the door, she opened them to see Statice waiting for her.
“Can you take me to my room at the infirmary?” he asked politely. His tone of voice was more pacifistic than before, much less aggressive than it was throughout the day.
Maybe he had a nice dinner with the princesses.
“Sure,” Fluttershy smiled as she led him there. They parked close to Statice’s bed, where Fluttershy let the unicorn climb into it.
“Thank you for your services,” Statice curtly nodded at her.
“You’re welcome,’ Fluttershy nodded back.
“How long do you intend to stay in Canterlot?” Statice asked.
“I have to go to Ponyville tomorrow morning?” Fluttershy replied. “I’m not sure at what time you are going to wake up so I want to say goodbye in case you’re asleep by the time I leave.”
“Goodbye,” Statice waved at her with sincere gratefulness.
“Goodbye,” Fluttershy bowed her head before leaving.
That’s a nice mare.
His mind drifted to his conversations with Discord and the princesses. In just a day he had endangered himself three times with a kamikaze strategy in the Arcanum Ball match, mouthing off to Discord, and mouthing off to the princess. Anger built up inside of him as he lifted his hoof and brought it down, stopping it short before it hit his injured head.
What in Tartarus am I doing? I'm not supposed to be doing this stupid stuff anymore. I shouldn't try getting into the bad side of those that are stronger than me. And even in the old times, there were times on which defeat was better than victory as long as I remained in one piece. What the heck am I doing with my life?
To be honest, he didn't know what to do anymore. He didn't feel like writing a letter to Meadow tonight. He was going to leave that for the next night. Tonight, he was just confused to do anything. All that mattered was sleep.
“You had a good dinner, Celestia?”
“It was…eventful,” Celestia reluctantly remarked.
Celestia, Luna, and Discord were in Celestia’s bedchambers, talking about Statice from whatever information they gathered.
“He leaves a bitter aftertaste in your mouth, doesn’t he?” Discord chuckled as he remembered his first discussion with Statice.
“I’ve never had a pony speak to me like that,” Celestia shook her head.
“You have to take into account wasn’t raised to worship you as strictly as the other ponies in Equestria,” Discord reminded her. "Also, I pretty much showed him a video with all your failures. It's my bad that he's that sassy."
“I can see that,” Luna added angrily. “Can you believe how insolent he acted with me and my sister?”
“He always acts insolent with me, Luna,” Discord snorted. “If he has the guts to backtalk to me, what makes you think he won’t do it with you two?”
“Focus,” Celestia chided her friend and her sister. “From what we gathered, Statice’s lack of social skills and cynical view are a result of broken friendships. His respect towards authority figures can be attributed to his teacher.”
“Yeah,” Discord winced as he remembered Statice’s memories. “That minotaur was a jerk. I’m surprised Statice is not like Pinkie Pie’s rock-obsessed sister I met at the Gala.”
“You’re worried about him, sister?” Luna asked as she noticed the troubled look on Celestia’s face.
“Yes,” Celestia acknowledge her sister’s concern. “Statice is not an official citizen of Equestria, but I can’t help seeing him as one of my little ponies. To me, my subjects are like my own family. It’s that perspective that inspires me to become a better ruler for their sake. Having one of my little ponies be hurt, not believing in me…it troubles me to no end.”
“He lived a pretty messed up life,” Discord materialized a box of paper towels. “Would you like a paper towel to wipe your tears?”
“I’m fine,” Celestia rejected the offer with a grateful smile.
“Suit yourself, Princess,” Discord blew his nose in the paper towel, much to Luna’s disgust. Fortunately, Discord had a fire breath due to being part dragon so he disposed of the dirty towel with his flames.
“We have to find out more about Statice somehow,” Celestia looked at her company. “Do you have any ideas?”
“Maybe we can interrogate Piercing Gaze?” Luna suggested.
“It won’t work,” Discord waved his lion paw dismissively. “He looks like one of those revenge-obsessed villains that love to play the victim. I think that you should give him his trial and then kick him out of Equestria.”
“We’ll do that in due time,” Celestia announced. “In the meantime, our main priority is how to deal with Statice. When will Shining Armor and Cadence return from their trip to Ponyville?”
“They will return tomorrow morning,” Luna calculated, already familiar with the train schedules. “I’d say that they’ll meet Fluttershy in the morning when she is about to leave.”
“Good,” Celestia smiled approvingly. “Maybe Cadence can make him open up to us. He seems to have taken a shine to her.”
“And he and Shining will probably give each other a shiner as soon as they meet again,” Discord added, finding the idea of a fight breaking out between the two of them.
“No fighting will be done in our castle,” Celestia firmly affirmed, giving Discord a disapproving glance. “I’ll make sure to tell Shining Armor that Statice is injured and under no circumstances is allowed to harm him.”
“Fine,” Discord crossed his forelegs and pouted. “But I think that you should be careful with Statice. He knows how to recover magic in record time. He’ll probably have more than enough to use his Healing Spell again.”
“I’ll keep him under supervision,” Celestia reassured him. “All I need to do is to give him a room that is fortified by my alicorn magic to prevent him from escaping.”
“But he already escaped from a dungeon like that made by Luna,’ Discord reminded Celestia, making sure to give the dark blue alicorn a mocking look.
“He won’t escape from this one,” Luna darkly promised, throwing an annoyed glance at the draconequus. “And I suggest you hold your tongue before I make you the test subject for my new dungeon.”
“Anything you do I can do better,” Discord mocked her as he made a chalkboard with his and Luna’s names on it. Under Discord’s name, there were many chalk marks that showed his victories while Luna’s name had no marks at all.
“This isn’t a competition,” Celestia scolded them.
Luna looked annoyed while Discord looked uninterested. Regardless, both of them complied with Celestia’s decision. Celestia looked at the moon. It was Luna’s turn to rule Equestria. While her sister prepared herself for work, Celestia's mind was focused on one thing only.
Let me help you, Statice.