Coffee Swirl The Pegasus
Sweetberry was looking out the cafe windows, hooves tapping skittishly. "Cotton Candy, I mean, Coffee Swirl, I think something's wrong with the sky!"
"Eh?" I trotted over next to the earth pony mare. "Sweetberry, we've been over this. That's just called 'overcast.'"
"I know what it's called." She blushed under her dark pink fur. "I just have a... not-good feeling about it."
"Oh yeah, Fluttercruel came in earlier. She and her friends are dealing with it."
Then Sweetberry hugged me and pressed her face into my barrel, shuddering. Her long purple and turquoise mane draped over my side. "We aren't going to disappear again... are we?"
I took a moment to check that nopony else was looking. Like Fluttercruel, in case she jumped to conclusions. I politely hugged her back. "You aren't going to."
She looked up at me like a scared filly. "Promise?"
I hated making a promise I had no control over. "I trust her."
"Consider yourselves lucky you have a chance to heal," said another voice. "Not all are as lucky who depart on reincarnation's wheel."
Sweetberry smiled. "Hi, Kimono... I mean, Zecora!"
I was surprised to see one of Fluttershy's fan-mares enter my shop. Thankfully she never pressed the issue. "Hey, what brings you here?"
"Apple Bloom came to my home looking ready for war. If worse comes to Ponyville, I'll be a friend to my core."
"Is everything ready?" Moon Dancer asked, downing a thermos of coffee.
"Good work take good time! Pony not be so pushy!" Rover barked back, digging the tunnel according the plans the redhead unicorn's sister had given him.
"We don't have time to be nuanced in throwing dirt around!" Lemon Hearts shouted. She had new scars on her body that looked months old.
Minuette shook her head. "When you don't have much time, it's all the more important to spend it wisely."
Fluttershy's deepest, most private thoughts, do not read... wait come back! We were just kidding!
I don't know who that mare in Twilight's picture was, but Discord must have loved her very much.
So much of what Discord and Princess Luna said was so confusing, but I'm really happy that nopony is fighting yet. Maybe we won't have to fight at all?
Fluttercruel had taken the reins of my body rather than using her own... Given how small she is, I don't blame her.
Discord showed surprise. Then he shrank back a bit, his eyes never leaving us, never leaving Fluttercruel.
Everything was so quiet, like everypony (and dragon) was holding their breath. Discord didn't look happy, though not in an angry way. Only Nightmare Diamond Tiara seemed indifferent.
Discord snapped his fingers, and a fancy pants-less suit and tie appeared on him.
"Hello... Cruelty," said Discord, his voice strained. "It's... not bad to meet you."
"The name is FLUTTERcruel, and the feeling isn't mutual, bastard!"
Discord winced. "Can I please, first... let me speak with you in your true form, just once, Cruelty."
"No!" I felt Fluttercruel grind our hoof into the ground. "You don't deserve it."
"I know. You did a nice job of raising her, Fluttershy, all in all."
"Thank you," I said. "I'm truly sorry Discord, but I think I did a better job than you would have."
Discord glanced towards Diamond Tiara, then... sighed. "I know that too." My friends stared, like they weren't sure if this was real or a dream, but Princess Celestia looked hopeful. She didn't want there to be a fight either. "Cruelty, I want you to know, I'm proud of you."
After a moment's confusion, Fluttercruel snarled, "Why?! Because I turned mom evil where you couldn't?! Screw you! SCREW! YOU! As if I give a flying feather about whether you're proud of me or not!"
"That's not what he's proud of," said Diamond Tiara, like she was correcting a mistake in a math problem.
"Shut up," Discord said with a frown. "You should embrace my side of the family more, Fluttercruel. You could magically blast me in the face if you wanted, thousands of times, if you liked. I expected you to speak up as soon as you saw me." Another finger-snap conjured up a big dartboard with Discord's own leering face on it. "Vent all you like, dear. Go ahead, get it out of your system."
"I didn't say anything because I have had nothing to say to you," shouted Fluttercruel, flaring her wings open. "But if you insist..." She didn't bother summoning knives, she just kicked the dartboard over and trampled on it until wood broke and splintered. "You made me and then you left me! Don't start pretending we're family now."
Discord shied away like Fluttercruel had actually hit him. Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie all had their mouths hanging open.
"Actually, you know what? You did worse than abandon me! You replaced me!" I felt the tears Fluttercruel was trying not to shed. "Even when I didn't know I wasn't Fluttershy, I'd have been your little minion! I'd have helped you turn Equestria into Hell and loved every minute of it, so long as it was with you! I loved you once, you piece of filth!"
"She has a point," said Diamond. "You didn't even visit her once. Even when the world was ours and you had nothing better to do." If I were the swearing type, I'd swear, I heard the contempt in Diamond Tiara's voice.
"Wait!" Twilight asked, "'Ours?' When was this exactly?"
Instead of answering, Discord stood up straight, and gave that laugh that had been in my nightmares. "To create true life from nothing is the realm of Alicorn Magic. You know what that means, Cruelty? You're a piece of my soul! You're why I've been off my game! You are Discord!"
I felt my daughter waver, our heart shudder, horror and dismay rising like a flood. Our wings folded to our sides, shaking. Our friends all looked at us, everything looked at us, eyes closing in, crushing, watching, judging... We couldn't breathe.
I swooped in, taking control. "Then that means you're NOT beyond redemption!"
"What?" Discord blinked.
"If your cruelty, all on its own can become an Element of Kindness, then I don't see why there couldn't be hope for the rest of you!"
"Here's a truth that you're terrified of, Discord. There's no such thing as 'beyond redemption,' even for you! And it scares you buckless!" I realized what I just said, blushed like I'd never blushed before, and covered my mouth hoping to shove the bad words back in there.
Discord tried to collect himself. "Well... I can't say she turned out as I expected."
"She wasn't expected at all," Diamond Tiara said.
Discord whipped around. "NO!" he pleaded. "Don't tell her that!"
Diamond didn't even acknowledge him. "You were an accident, Fluttercruel. He had no idea you even existed."
I felt my daughter draw in a breath.
"He didn't even know you existed until the wedding," Tiara continued.
"How... how can you say that you horrible filly!" I shouted, hugging myself, hugging Fluttercruel.
"If I had a heart I'd be laughing my head off," she finished in an empty monotone.
Discord slouched like a puppet with all but one string cut. "The best thing I ever made would be by accident. How chaotic, eh? I'm sorry Cruelty."
"OH, SHUT UP!" snapped Fluttercruel. "Do you think ANYTHING you say means ANYTHING to me one way or another?! I couldn't care less, you piece of garbage! I want you gotten rid of!"
Her thoughts were so loud, I could hear them plain as day, 'You still didn't visit me when you found out about me!'
That's when I stepped in again, pushing my daughter back gently but firmly. "Fluttercruel, that is enough," She growled, but even she knew better than to challenge my most motherly mom voice.
Discord floated back, still connected to Diamond Tiara like a genie to his bottle. He kept his head lowered, not looking us in the eyes.
I took a step forward. I know a lot of ponies think I'm too reckless when I show kindness to dangerous beasts, but I have to be true to my nature. "Discord, like it or not, you're the father of my foal. Nopony is born evil. Even if you're a horrible, cruel, lying, sadistic meanie who's given me nightmares... I still feel sorry that none of your friends were able to save you from yourself."
Discord rolled his eyes, still sulking. "What makes you think I ever had friends?"
"The way you try to prove friendship is a lie. You've either never had friends, or you lost them. It's horrible not to have friends, isn't it? It doesn't have to be that way. You can be saved."
Discord gave her a tired sort of look. "What rubbish. Clearly, I'm going to have to up my game! Princess, be a dear and give daddy and your potential new mommy some privacy."
"As you wish, father."
I braced myself. Everypony around me had their eyes on me or Discord and Tiara.
Diamond Tiara spread out her wings forward, horn glowing white, and that black wind of hers swirled around Discord and Pinkie Pie.
Pinkie Pie's Recount
Huh? Oh! It's my turn again! Wow, Fluttershy sure never got many interviews from you ponies, did she? And they never seemed to really last long. I mean, I guess that makes sense with how, well, shy she is. But still, you'd think you would write more stuff from her.
Right, right, we can talk later.
So I'm-Not-Diamond-Tiara did this black swirly thing around us, and I couldn't hear what the others were saying. Not that we'd been saying much anyway. I think we were all expecting to be doing the zapping and the ka-powing by now! With Sweetie Belle being linked to I'm-Not-Diamond-Tiara and Discord playing peek-a-boo, I think we were kinda stuck on how we were gonna get Discord back into his stone timeout corner.
Discord looked really really sad about a lot of stuff. He kept flip-flopping between being all mean and happy and then all sad and mopey. I wonder if there's a Nice-Discord sealed off behind a glass wall in his heart like me and Pinkamena were.
I saw the tip of Princess Celestia's horn glow a little, but I might have just imagined that part. The Flutters looked really confused. Everypony looked ready to barge in and help me, but Celestia held a wing out to stop them. I'm-Not-Diamond-Tiara frowned, she was outside the big wall of black wind too, but nopony fought each other.
This must be the least battling ever in a big final super-battle! Hey, do you think there's time for me to hit the little filly's room before we get to the good part, because I really did drink a lot of coffee, and it's super no fun when I have to go and wind up missing a really cool part of the show, only I can't go right now cause I'm in this black whirlwind with Discord having a really big scene and where was I? Oh, right!
I looked Discord right in the eyes and took a deep breath. "So, are you gonna zap me like you did Fluttershy and create Angry Pie, and give her candy and hugs and make evil plots together and take her to evil father and daughter day parties like you feel bad for not doing for Fluttercruel?"
Discord reared back and blinked. "What? No! Nothing like that! What gave you that idea?"
"Well, you did say 'new mommy' to I'm-Not-Diamond-Tiara, so it didn't seem that much a stretch," I said in my typical Pinkie Pie friendliness.
"Well, um, I COULD do that if you want. I think, maybe... frankly, I'm not sure how I did it the first time." Discord sounded all awkward, like he'd goofed and brought pie to a cake party or cake to a pie party, or a Pie party, hehe!
I waved my hoof, smiling. "Oh no, thank you though. Mom and Dad wouldn't want me having a foal with somepony out of wedlock, especially one unapproved by the Pairing Stone. Did you know it kept pointing at a plate of cheese sandwiches when my parents asked who I should marry? Go figure."
"Pinkie Pie... I apologize," said Discord, all straightforward and stuff.
"Say what?!" Did Discord just apologize for something? When does Discord apologize for anything? You're supposed to be the zany one here, mister!
Discord put a paw over his chest, and a claw over his forehead and leaned back like Rarity often does.
"It's true that I destroyed your connection to your Element of Laughter, but I did so with a heavy heart! You remind me so of a dear friend of mine! You have to beLIEve me."
"Then why did you say be-LIE-ve me?" I asked, even more confused. "Are you hinting that you're lying and you actually took sadistic glee in it?"
"That bit wasn't for you!"
"No, I'm the one who's sorry. As an apology, why don't you become my queen?"
"HUH?!?!" Is what I know all my friends would say. Me? I already knew I was Discord's favorite, and this is the last battle, the bad guy always makes offers like this. Did I hear Celestia's teeth grinding or something?
"And!" Discord twirled his claws like a used chariot salespony, not waiting for my answer. "I have the perfect engagement gift for you!"
There was the white glow of Diamond Tiara's magic, and the crazy swirl of Discord's magic that spun together in Discord's claw like how a spider spins their web. A nasty looking dagger made for holding in a pony's mouth appeared, the blade was all spiky and curvy. What are those 'impossible shapes' called again?
I think that thing scared some of the zany right out of me! "Uh, it's... pointy," I said, taking a step back, ready to bring out my party cannon at a moment's notice.
"Oh this isn't for you either. I mean, this isn't to be USED on you. Sorry, sorry, that came out wrong. This is for you, to use. I already know those who were already incarnated or fused with somepony weren't given an extra life by Apple Bloom's debug mode, but there is a way around it."
"Oh... really?" I smiled, my mouth twitching, my eyes darted about.
"It's very simple. This blade doesn't cut flesh, it cuts pony souls. Cut out Minty's Light of Existence from Twilight the First's Shadow of Existence, and I shall provide Minty's shadow of existence to give it back to. Take back what you gave her! Minty can live again!"
"You're lying!" I paused dramatically. "Oh right, Applejack can't hear us."
"It's not a lie. I can make it work. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye."
What I told Discord hurt more than the balloon garden.
"And you were doing so well." I sighed. "...Leave Minty alone, and go to Tartarus."
Discord pocketed the dagger. "I... I don't understand!" He looked the way most ponies do whenever Twilight tried to explain astrophysics. He glanced over my shoulder, was he looking at Celestia? "If you could erase another being to bring back the being you cared about most then why WOULDN'T you do it?!"
Discord didn't sound angry, if anything, he sounded desperate, but not in the 'join the dark side' sort of way. "Don't you CARE about her? I thought those times made you happy! A thousand years of friendship and more! All those happy times in a state of paradise! All those times together before. She got turned into a different pony before your eyes! Don't you want her back?! Don't you love her?!"
"Yes I love her! I'll always love her!" I shouted, happy for the sound proofing. "I'll never love Twilight like that! It's impossible! But I won't sacrifice a friend or somepony else to bring her back! What about Twilight's family? How would I feel if somepony wanted to take apart Minty for Clover, Dandy, and Jr.? If I was selfish enough to do that, she'd never be my friend, and if she was selfish enough to have wanted that, I'd have never been her friend!"
Discord actually knelt in mid-air, floating. "So that's why."
"You done projecting yet, father?" The tip of Nightmare Diamond Tiara's horn was glowing white.
Discord snapped at her. "Princess! This was supposed to be private!"
She didn't even flinch. "There is nothing I hated more than replacement mothers. You should know."
Nightmare Diamond Tiara rolled her eyes at me. "As for you, fine, let's hear the 'past is dead' speech."
"The past isn't dead, you silly. The past is just now a moment ago, like layers in a great big cake! Want some?"
Aw! Even cake didn't make Not-Diamond-Tiara crack a smile? "Oh, and by the way! Thanks, Discord!"
"You ponies certainly have an odd way of expressing all of this gratitude that you're supposedly bursting with. Thank me? Whatever for?"
"You might be the meanest meanie-pants that ever pantsed meanly, but you're also the reason Minty didn't get erased. That's why I got to say goodbye to her at all, so thanks for that!"
"At the risk of sounding like a broken record..." Discord turned his voice all full of static, pops, and hisses. "I did that completely for my own selfish and shallow reasons, thank you very much! ... much! ... much! ..." He finished the gag with a loud record-scratch.
I shrugged. "Yeah, I figured."
Discord turned away, mismatched arms folded and nose in the air. "You're welcome, by the way."
"See? That wasn't so hard. I'd thank you for Twilight and Minty too, but it's not polite to thank or apologize for others. That'd be like if you told somepony they should break up with their coltfriend while they were out of town!"
Discord pointed a claw at her. "Oh my! I understood that reference!" His face fell. "I just don't care. I could give Twilight a socks obsession and make her fall madly in love with you."
"Wouldn't be the same, thanks for the offer though! You really have to give Fluttershy credit. I mean, a LOTTA credit, I mean, Kindergarden skipping to College credit for still wanting to get you off the meanie train!"
"Yes, yes, I know!"
"No, no, you don't!" I shouted, stepping away when nopony was looking and popping up right in Discord's face. "Fluttershy is so nice that she hasn't brought up even once what you did to her swarm when she was Zipzee. She can pretend all she wants, but if she remembers anything, it's gonna be that! Tra La La, Tiddlywink, they were her family! She still loves them!"
Discord scratched his chin. "Oh, that thing with the poison joke and the turning half of her swarm into parasprites? To be honest, I'd forgotten all about that."
"Because you've done so many horrible awful things that you can't possibly remember all of them?" I offered brightly.
"What's that ungrammatical thing ponies say that annoys Twilight so much? 'My bad?' Yes, that seems appropriate." He trailed off. "Do you think she's forgiven me?"
I wanted to pinch Discord's cheeks, but suddenly I got an twitchy-itchy-twitch in my left hoof and decided that maybe that wasn't a good idea! "I said she wants to help you get off the meanie train, didn't I? Just apologize already!"
"Hmph! Even if I actually was sorry, doesn't she know that no good epic climax ever ended with the hero and the villain hugging?"
I think Twilight got tired of waiting, and Applejack was watching Rainbow Dash, expecting her to be the one to try a sneaky sneak attack. Twilight fired a great big violet blast, and it went "woosh, fizz, crackle!" and frosted all the grass and totally made a giant ice cube out of Discord. She even blew the black wind away!
Then Discord floated right through and out of the ice cube, still connected to Diamond Tiara. "Oh, did somepony remember that ice doesn't agree with me? Nice try, but I'm a spirit right now! Or maybe it's because that isn't my Princess' weakness. Or a trade-off for now not having extra lives. I think I'll leave you guessing which it is."
Twilight's mouth didn't work for a bit. "That's... that's.... THERE ISN'T ENOUGH PAPER IN EQUESTRIA FOR ME TO WRITE A CHECKLIST LONG ENOUGH TO CHECK-OFF HOW MANY WAYS THAT ISN'T FAIR!!"
Discord yawned theatrically. "Yes, it's disgustingly unfair. Now, are you actually going to do something about it, or just sit there and whine?" He pulled out a rubber duck and squeaked it a few times.
"Yes," said Princess Celestia in a no-nonsense tone. "I am going to do something about it." Whoa! I don't think any of us expected Celestia to magically switch places with me, or for some glass walls to fall down from the sky, surrounding Discord and Princess Celestia. Not-Diamond-Tiara gave them a kick, and they didn't turn to dust. They didn't even crack!
This wasn't part of any plan Twilight told me about. One look at Twilight's face told me that.
Princess Luna frowned. "Sister, you're really going to do it?"
"Do what?!" Twilight said, super worried! I was too! Was Princess Celestia gonna use some super powerful mega solar flare attack?
"Hold fast, ponies... my sister wishes to play her trump card."
I pressed my nose to the glass. "Hey, I can't hear what they're saying!"
"Pinkie Pie what happened in there?" asked Twilight.
"Oh, Discord just asked me to marry him. I forgot to give my answer."
"Now we shall have privacy," I said. Luna said this plan was reckless, but at least she didn't call it foolish. I would have found it foolish before. Now? Well, I had to at least try, or I'd never know if it would have worked.
"So what's your game Celly?" Discord asked. "Normally I'm the one who makes the games, and I don't like having my spotlight stolen."
I saw Discord's gaze flick to the mirrors, honestly puzzled... I held my breath. Then Discord mockingly checked for food between his teeth.
"Was I supposed to behold my greatest failure or something? You think Mother would leave you in possession of an artifact that could be used as a weapon against her children? I hope that wasn't your whole plan."
I kept my face calm and in control. "Once I knew you were free, Discord, and when and where you'd be, I knew I had to make preparations. Ones I should have made long ago, so long ago."
My horn glowed golden as I teleported in the cache I'd been saving up since the Talpa Curse.
All around us, several massive cakes appeared, with unpredictable frosting and filling combinations, many unknown and untested by ponykind, some the size of a cupcake, some towering even over us. A small table appeared between us, with paper plates and plastic forks. There were exactly forty cakes, just as I'd promised.
Discord looked around, confused and bewildered.
"We agreed that we would go out for cake after you and Luna helped me bring the windigos to Equus, remember?"
"YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!" Discord said in a good imitation of the Royal Canterlot Voice.
I floated off my chamfron and barding.
"Discord, do you think I don't take responsibility for what I did three thousand years ago? That it doesn't haunt me every day of my life that my actions caused untold suffering to ponies, war between our races, and you turning into the monster you've become?" I sighed deeply. "I won't lie, I think you're the single most despicable monster I've ever seen in my life. Even Morning Star sickens me less than you do, and I'm not sorry in the slightest for turning you to stone for two thousand years. You and I both know you deserved it... but I'm the one who helped make you that way.
"It's not all my fault, you made your own choices and so did many others, but I've seen enough alternate worlds to know that if I'd made one or two choices differently, you and I would still be friends. There are worlds where the two of us rule together in peace... and it's partly my fault that this world is not one of them, so I'm going to say the words I should have said over three thousand years ago. I am sorry I abandoned you to face the wrath of my siblings, and I'm sorry for blaming you for the result when it was my own fault. I even brought those cakes you wanted us to have. Take them all if you want."
Discord watched me, frowning, wary. "...This is a trick, Celly, I know you too well to expect anything else."
"This is no trick. This is me clearing my conscience after thousands years of looking myself in these mirrors your Mother gave me, and reliving the moment I realized everything that happened with the Windigos was my fault and no one else's but mine." I gestured to the indestructible mirrors around us.
I braced myself. I didn't know how Discord would react. I don't think Discord did either.
"Uh, Celly, I'm in spirit form right now... I can't exactly eat anything." Discord extended his tongue and tried to wrap up all the cakes at once, but only left a layer of ectoplasm. "Typical Celly, saying she's sorry away from her ponies' prying eyes when it's over and done with so they don't lose their picture of perfection of her."
"I told Twilight about the Windigos," I said as simply as possible.
"You seem fond of that word today, Discord."
"You told... you really..."
"Ask her yourself if you want. I told the filly who idealized me more than any other my truest and deepest sin."
He sneered at me. "You couldn't bear the guilt anymore, hmm? Listening to her praise you when you knew you didn't deserve it!"
"Actually, she came to me. Once she had an inkling of the truth, she insisted on knowing the whole story. She refused to accept anything less than the whole truth."
"And how would she know if you told her the truth or not? Don't pretend you've never lied to your ponies. Ancient alien parasites, hah!"
I began to wonder if there was anything I could say that Discord would not twist against me. "I could have lied, but in the end I trusted her. I told Twilight that she was free to do with the knowledge as she pleased with no consequences."
"As if anypony would believe her, even if she did tell."
"Shall I tell all of Equestria that Shady was your willing minion, Discord? After all, who would believe such a tale?"
"No! Besides, I manipulated her feelings and gave her an Element of Chaos infected with dark magic!! I'd hardly call that willing... unlike when Lulu went Nightmare behind your back!"
"I'm at fault for that as much as her! The weight of the kingdom that needed to be rebuilt from scratch was new to us both, and I couldn't see how it was dividing Lulu and I! But I've chosen to make myself a better pony and a better goddess for my mistakes, Discord! Why can't you?"
Discord's eyes narrowed. "You think any sane pony would ever forgive me?"
"Aren't you the one who believes we're all a little crazy? And forgiveness is given, redemption is earned, and you can -start- earning it right now!"
I'd never seen Discord look so sad as I did then. "Oh, and then I suppose we'll all be the best of friends, just like the old days! As if!"
"I still think of you as a friend, Dissy."
He flinched as if I'd struck him. No, as if I'd skewered him with my horn.
I took a step forward. "Lulu wanted to have Fluttercruel take a sledgehammer to you while you were trapped in stone. She's your blood relative, Discord. That would have been the end of you in this mortal realm, once and for all. Perhaps it was foalish, irresponsible even... but I couldn't approve of that. It would have meant putting you down while apparently helpless, and that I'd given up on ever saving you."
Discord jabbed a claw, opened his mouth... and seemed at loss. "When your pitiful, former subjects are suffering another ten thousand years of my rule, I hope you have a lovely time explaining to them why.
"Then again, if I'd been in your place, I wouldn't have taken the easy win either. What a dreadful anti-climax that would have been. None shall deny me my grand finale! You're all dooooomed!"
I realized the real truth. "Discord," I asked gently, "why do you wish to die?"
"I DON'T WANT TO DIE!"
"... You're lying to yourself more than ever. You don't want somepony else not to die... You haven't felt that in three thousand years."
"Celestia's assessment is inaccurate," said Wind Whistler, sitting next to Celly. "It has been at most 2000 years. You gave your mother and sister immortality after all."
"You're not real!" Discord snapped, firing red lasers from his eyes to the sound effect from Star Trot, vaporizing one of the cakes. "If you'd been in there for all this time you'd have said something in these few thousands of years!"
Discord paused as if listening to somepony.
"Yes, I'm sure of my conclusion, Windy! Agh! Now you've got me doing the redundant answer bit!" He pointed at nothing. "You know what, Windy?! I never liked you! All your reason and logic! Nya nya! How'd ya like that?!"
"I thought that you and Dissy were separate beings," I said.
"Come on! I faked being Dissy with mom all the time!"
"That was to keep her on task. You never contradicted Galaxia when she said you'd devoured Dissy, even though she was trying to kill you."
"Oh come off it! I was a selfish heartless prick as I humiliated her before sending her back to Your Mom!"
"... 'Was' Discord?'
Dissy cringed. "Let's not get wrapped up in semantics, Celestia."
"Stop this Dissy! There are plenty more shows and performances waiting for you!"
"... Not for this me."
"Now YOU come off it! Since when does Chaos do anything because it has to?"
Dissy's eyes darted about, and he wasn't smiling.
There was a rumbling like that of a mountain, and one of Entropy's mirrors was pulled out of the ground, surrounded by a white aura that I could see but somehow not sense.
"Can we stop with all the yammering and get on with it already?" asked Diamond Tiara's Nightmare in an empty monotone. She stomped her hoof, breaking the ground beneath her.
Discord sighed heavily. "Yes, dear."
"So she's the one with the deciding vote," I said, sadly understanding.
"There must be a villain here to focus all the hate on, it might as well be me," Discord gestured at himself.
"No. Me." Her dead voice for a moment took on a demonic tone. Then she blasted all the beautiful cakes! No! The mirrors reflected one spell bolt around us, obliterating the forty cakes! Frosting and filling splattered everywhere! The table and plasticware were no more.
"Uh, thanks for the thought?" Discord said as the poor destroyed cakes flew through him.
"A parent is supposed to discipline his children, Discord."
Discord seemed genuinely shocked and offended. "And deny her what was denied me?" He asked in disgust. "Never!"
"Just answer me one question Discord, why did you choose this road?"
"I'm Chaos! And you ALL wanted to decide what Chaos' limits should be, FOR ME! Remember Celly, I came to Morning Star, I worked to get him to take me on as an apprentice. I was never his victim."
"Never an unwilling victim."
I slowly slipped my barding and chamfron back on.
Great and Really Great Discord at your disservice! Allow me to provide this little flashback before we continue.
'You know, if we weren't locked into one time slot, I'd suggest we wait a little longer, Princess.'
'We could wait for either Twilight to get her wings or little Kifuko to grow up, then we could have our big showdown with four to five Alicorns plus the Bearers!'
"Why does that matter?"
'I can beat three Alicorns, but four would actually be a big challenge! It'd be a great way to go out with a bang! And five? I might actually have to try! Maybe I should snap my fingers and age Kifuko up to an adult...'
"Going to bring another filly into this mess as a toy, father?"
The Glorious Words of Master Kenbroath Gilspotten Heathspike VII
Back to me, huh? Cool! Seriously, back when AJ and Pinkie Pie were asking all those questions, they didn't even bother to chat with yours truly! They could have waited until I was done playing, I mean, hanging out with Silver Spoon and the others.
When those glass walls came down, Princess Luna told us, "Interfere not, let sister have her try."
Diamond Tiara... maybe she was annoyed, I had better luck reading rocks. But she didn't even try to attack us, her eyes on Princess Celestia and Discord too.
After kicking the glass, Diamond Tiara looked at the Flutters. She spoke like a robot, "Cruelty, when I could feel, I hated family being replaced... but I think I'd feel sorry right now that we never got the chance to be sisters."
Fluttercruel frowned. "I'm not!"
I have no idea what they were saying, it was like the sound was just canceled out like the Crusaders Capes canceled out magic. I would never have expected Princess Celestia to summon a buncha cakes.
"Hey, Twilight, you okay?" I asked, seeing her eyes widen. "What's going on?"
"She's fulfilling a promise."
Huh? Why'd the Princess take off her barding?!
Of course Rarity and the other Crusaders all moved closer to Diamond Tiara, forming a semicircle around her.
Applejack shouted, "Apple Bloom! Don't get so close!"
"Don't worry, big sister, if she was gonna make a move, she'd have by now."
"Darling," Rarity said, "Discord's distracted. Let us help you, your real parents want you back. I'm sure Twilight or the Princesses can exorcise Discord."
"Why can't you understand? That Diamond Tiara no longer exists. I'm your enemy."
That creepy black wind swirled around her, not letting them get closer. That didn't stop Silver Spoon from trying. Nobody tried to stop her.
"No, you're not!"
"Uh, we do have a plan for getting Discord out of Diamond Tiara, right?" Rainbow Dash asked Twilight, who looked at Princess Luna, who looked away without a word. Twilight's ears wilted.
"Hey 'Shy! You can just Stare Discord out of her right?" Rainbow asked.
"Um, even the Stare has limits."
Rainbow made a face. "Oh come on! You don't know unless you try!"
"Hey Trixie," I said still on her back holding her cape. "Think you can just trick Discord out of her?"
"Trixie is thinking but she doesn't have anything solid yet!"
"Nice word, Dashie," Pinkie said, shaking a little.
"It's a weather thing!"
Applejack hugged Pinkie Pie.
Discord shouted something and eye-lasered one of the cakes. Silver Spoon was still pushing against Diamond Tiara's black wind, she'd wear a hole in the ground before she gave up.
Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle began to muscle, counter-wind, and magic Silver Spoon close to Diamond Tiara, but the moment she was gonna touch her, Tiara just teleported a few feet away, making Silver Spoon fall and taste raw grass. Poor girl. The other Cutie Mark Crusaders helped her up.
"Life cheats." Then she used her magic to pull one of the mirrors out of the ground.
"Can we get on with it?" She said.
I still couldn't hear whatever was said inside.
"No. Me." Diamond Tiara's voice went all Nightmare Night for a split second. And she blew up all the cake. Princess Celestia did NOT look happy! She and Discord said something and she put her armor back on.
I have no idea whose magic did it, but the mirrors then got blown away to who-knows-where!
"NOW LET'S FINALLY GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!" Discord's voice was like an explosion. Yeow! My poor ears! "How about we start out with a duet of Sea Belles?!" Discord snapped his ghost fingers.
I looked at my beautiful Rarity! And poor Sweetie Belle! And! AND-! Whoa... nothing? Really?!
"Huh?" Discord looked at his fingers and snapped them a few more times, only becoming more puzzled. "Oh right! Can't have fish without an ocean!" He snapped his fingers yet again and... still nothing.
I covered my mouth with both claws, trying hard not to burst into giggles.
Discord shook a fist at the universe. "Now this isn't funny anymore! Air, become styrofoam!" Snap. Nothin'. "Bones to glass!" Nope. "Half become chocolate and the other half ant colonies!" Nada. Ziltch. "Turn to clay!" Zip. "Transport them to the depths of the ocean! Surrounded by Spider-sharks, trained in sky-fu and armed with ocean proof flamethrowers!" Zero. Nil. Null.
"AGGGH!!!!" Discord's eyes crossed. "Ponies into fruit-flavored pudding cups!" Etcetera. Discord's eyes spun in opposite directions as he flapped his tongue against his upper lip. "BLBLBLBLBLLBL!" His eyes changed to fire as he grew several times his normal size. "How are you doing this to me?!"
Okay, he was kinda scary, but I couldn't hold back grinning anymore.
"Why should we tell ya?" Applejack snorted.
Discord was seething. What I wouldn't give for a camera right now! "Oh I see... it's that stupid armor and Mother's capes, is it? Well then! The dragon into a garden hose!" I froze, but I didn't feel so much as a scale out of place. Whew!
Discord zapped a rock, and it turned into a chocolate cupcake. Pinkie Pie ate it. "Ooh, yum! Tastes like haybacon!"
"Wait, Pinkie!" I shouted. "What if he turns it back into a rock... oh, right. Never mind!"
Diamond Tiara's horn glowed. Discord pulled out a pair of binoculars with green lenses and a little radar dish on top, and looked all around... left, right, up, and finally down.
They echoed. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
= 'Rain' - Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood =
"Well, girls," Twinkle Shine was watching a crystal ball, with her horn shining incredibly bright. "I'd say the rune is a complete success!" She popped another of Bon Bon's mana restoring candies into her mouth.
"We tell you Diamond Dogs do good job!" Rover said proudly.
"I wish we could help more," Minuette said. The Gifted unicorns were standing in a pattern with their horns raised. Beyond the circle of five were more gifted unicorns, and another ring beyond that! Every horn shining like a Hearth's Warming parade. It was hard to find a Gifted unicorn from Twilight's school year who wasn't present!
"This IS helping more!" Moon Dancer declared, stamping her hoof. It felt good to shake off those strange nightmares and be herself... no dumpy black sweater, awful mane-cut, or thick glasses instead of her contacts here! In her hooves she held the Elder Horn.
"Oh yeah! Oh yeah!" Lyra did a little dance, her horn glowing as brightly as the others.
"Keep them coming!" Lemon Hearts said to her lemon creature familiars as they continued to make sure the girls were fed, watered, and rested and making supply runs.
"You made a rune?!! UNDERGROUND?!" Discord's eyes bulged through the binoculars with a carriage horn sound. "Well! We'll see about that! Discord turned his head into a drill and buzzed down... only for an echoing, "YEOW!" To be heard and his spirit came back up, the drill now busted.
Twilight smiled proudly. She deserved it. She already came up with an anti-chaos magic barrier a whole year ago, and now she got to put it to work for everypony to see! Not that I had any doubt it was gonna work! No really! How was my fake freak out? Bet Trixie thinks it was cool!
Diamond Tiara rolled her eyes. "If it means that much to you, father." She became a shadow and seeped into cracks in the ground, only to cry out in pain, slithering back up and becoming solid again. Her forehooves were burned and blackened, making both Silver Spoon and Discord cringe. "How? No barrier can affect me."
"The light of hopes and dreams can," said Apple Bloom. Thank Twinkle Shine and whatever freaky dream vision thing Apple Bloom explained to her. Twinkle Shine said something about the magic 'burning up' in her brain, and she wouldn't remember the magic for long or something, it's 'not from this world'.
Discord began randomly using his magic, I think he figured out fast the air was super-charged with anti-chaos magic, while anything that was alive and sapient and anything directly touching it he couldn't affect at all. Maybe. He wasn't exactly writing a science paper like Twilight would, true to Discord, he was just throwing anything at the wall including the wall and seeing what stuck.
"That's... this is... CHRYSALIS' RUNE?!?!?" Discord wailed.
"Actually it's an anti-Nightmare rune that Chryssy prepared just in case Luna got so angry she turned back into Nightmare Moon, I think," Sweetie said. "Given Diamond Tiara is all about 'not being there', we were worried it might not work on her. But-"
"Ye made thy magic far too accessible, when ye used it on nearly everypony and everything in Equestria!" Princess Luna boomed. "T'was plenty of sample data to modify its design!"
"You've lost your 'instant win card'!" Scootaloo shouted!
"CURSE HER AND HER STUPID ANTI-NIGHTMARE FLYTRAP!"
"When Chrysalis proved the idea as physically possible, the rest was easy!" Yeah, easy, easy for you to say, Twilight. Remember who you ordered to send dragon mail every possible way and to every possible pony you knew to get this done? We're just lucky we'd already been studying this, and the Princesses were prepping for a time when we might have to use it anyway. Good thing Rarity has the diamond dogs on speed flame. Now it was being powered by all of Twilight's school mates!
"T'was EASY to set up! If there is one constant across the universes: tis thy love for the sound of thy own voice, Discord!"
"For a chaos god, your randomness sucks!" Scootaloo shouted. I think Discord was too busy contorting with rage to hear her since he didn't try to eat her.
Discord's eyes crossed in rage. "DAMN THAT WITCH! I've never had such an ANNOYING nag who was already deader than dead!"
"Isn't it nice Chryssy actually gave something good for the world?" Sweetie said with a smile that barely resisted turning into a smirk.
"Yes Sweetie... it is," Rarity sighed giving her a hug.
"Take that... you big bully." Silver Spoon smiled.
"BOH-YA!" I couldn't stop myself from cheering.
"Gotcha," Trixie said.
"You think me a child Celestia?!" Discord snapped.
"Your precious bootleg of queen bug-butt's rune only extends as far as the statue garden! What is there to protect Canterlot?"
Now it was Celestia's turn to stamp her hoof, and dang, did she look scary right then. Her armor was glowing, the grass around her hooves started smoking. "I NEVER INTENDED this battle to spill over into Canterlot proper! It was always intended to be limited to the statue garden! And that is what is going to be!"
"This is a cheat! You cheating cheaters!" Discord stomped.
'Why does that sound familiar?' I rolled my eyes.
"Complains the draconequus who has always twisted the rules and outcome to be whatever is best, for him!" Luna shouted.
"Your mutant narwhals shouldn't be able to do this!" Discord hissed.
"Maybe, if the planet's leylines hadn't shifted to be under the garden," Princess Celestia said.
"What? Since when did- YOU!" For some reason, Discord's eyes zeroed in on Apple Bloom who just smiled. Applejack looked back at Apple Bloom, she looked proud, I have no clue about what.
"Please give up now," Fluttershy said.
"We'll have cake!" Pinkie Pie added.
Fluttercruel didn't say anything. None of us wanted to risk reminding Discord that the rune might affect Fluttercruel too.
Rainbow only had this to say. "You know what? I'm sick and tired of all powerful jerks like you playing with our lives! I don't care if Twilight has to bury your statue in the center of Equus! This is the end of your games, Discord!" Then Rainbow Dash did a mid-air strut and give Discord a great big raspberry.
"WELL!" Discord snorted. "So much the better! My previous battles have always been over way too quickly anyway!" Discord crackled his knuckles. "Just because I can't change you all into tiny plastic miniatures doesn't mean you can't still be my playthings!"
"You actually think we're gonna turn chicken for you?" Rainbow Dash boasted. Now that Discord couldn't zap us, Rainbow Dash wasn't afraid to use figures of speech.
Not-Diamond-Tiara said. "There'll always be fears inside you ponies."
Rainbow Dash didn't miss a beat. "Good! Ponies who aren't afraid of anything tend to be really stupid."
Diamond narrowed her eyes. "Then we'll see if you really are smarter than you look."