Fluttershy opened the door for Bone Marrow to walk into her cottage. There were several kinds of birds with little sweaters on them to prevent them from flying with injured wings. Also in attendance were a few bruised squirrels, a swine with a missing leg, a raccoon with a blind eye and a snake that had lost its tongue.
The animals quickly swarmed to their caretaker and Fluttershy gave each of them a gentle embrace. "Anything you can do to help would be very appreciated, Bone Marrow." Her voice was soft and calming as ever, a far cry from the harshness that Bone was used to.
He nodded with a relaxed smile. Crowds of ponies set him on edge, but crowds of animals? He felt that he had enough magic to defend himself now if anything were to go wrong, but he was very reluctant to cause any trouble in the town with an alicorn so close by.
Fluttershy set down the animals and gave them some room. "It's just for a little bit, okay? Don't worry, Bone Marrow will help you." She glanced at the stallion-sized colt, hoping that he wouldn't make her into a liar.
His eyes glowed as brightly as his horn when he uttered the word in his mind: Heal.
The magic wrapped each of the critters in an icy blue flame that was cold to the touch. The snake rattled with annoyance at the drop in temperature and the birds fluffed up their feathers, but soon the animals came to an understanding. Their wounds were slowly mending. A chilly progression of magic like a slow-growing wave crept over their bodies. The snake yawned, its tongue growing in front of its own face as it flickered and dipped from its mouth.
The birds, now able to move their wings, struggled against the sweaters that had been so carefully crafted for them. The raccoon blinked with both eyes and chittered happily, holding its little hands close to its face to marvel at its newfound vision.
The swine stuck out its leg and oinked with cheer as it grew from a stump to a brand new appendage, just as the pig had remembered it. The squirrels hopped onto the back of the pig and played with its ears, happy to be able to move without feeling pain.
Fluttershy held her hooves to her mouth in awe of what she was witnessing. "I... I've never seen anything like this!"
When the spell ended, Bone Marrow was left feeling drained. His glowing eyes had dimmed and he felt tired. What was going on? He should've felt even more powerful from what he had just done! Yet, on the other hoof, he didn't hear the demands of the void. There was no voices in his head, no thumping of heartbeats to guide him to another source of meat.
He shook his head and took a seat on a nearby chair, resting his head in his hooves with a weary sigh. "That took a lot more out of me than I was expecting..."
"Do..." Fluttershy looked towards the entrance of her cottage, "Do you need more meat? I wouldn't want you to leave feeling tired after all the help you've just given to these poor animals."
Bone Marrow didn't want to push his luck, but he was hungry. Not the all consuming hunger of the void, but more of a rumbling in his stomach. Did he need to eat again after all?
Fluttershy smirked, "I'll take that sound as a yes. I'll be right back!"
The pegasus closed the door behind her as she went out to the cooler underneath her cottage. It gave Bone Marrow a chance to think and to breathe. What was going on? Was it the rainbow that Celestia had struck him with?
At that moment, the chair he was sitting on began speaking to him in a deep, witty tone. "Making your own moves on Fluttershy, I see."
Bone Marrow metaphorically jumped out of his own fur and leaped out of the chair, his horn glowing faintly with the little bit of energy he had left.
The chair, for its part, morphed out of its wooden confines into some massive chimera of pony, griffon, dragon, and other creatures Bone Marrow wasn't entirely familiar with.
"Oh, don't give me that look." The creature waved a hand dismissively at the necromancer in front of him. "You should know who I am without an introduction, but seeing as you're of a very rare breed, I'll make an exception." The horrid amalgamation of different animals placed a griffon's claw to his scaled and snake-like chest. "I am Discord, the spirit of chaos and disharmony, and a close friend of Fluttershy's."
Discord bowed only briefly to Bone Marrow before his body whipped forward like a snake and coiled around him. He raised an eye to Bone Marrow in a fashion similar to a dragon staring sideways at him. "What is your business with her, Necromancer?"
The colt's throat suddenly felt dry. "I... uh, I was looking for m-meat, and--"
Discord scoffed, "So timid and meek! And here I thought the necromancer that had slain thousands of ponies and griffon would've had a stronger backbone. Though you do remind me of a certain somepony..."
Bone Marrow's eye twitched from the jab at his pride. "I'm not here to hurt anypony, Discord. If you'd unwrap yourself from my body, I'd be glad to leave."
The spirit shook a finger at the necromancer in his grip. "Ah-ah, not just yet. I want to be absolutely certain of something before I let you go..." His eyes began to swirl, spinning in his head before becoming a whirlpool of color.
Bone Marrow growled. "Discord," His vision shifted to that of the draconequiss that had coiled around him as he watched his own eyes become unfocused. "I'm not going to play this game with you, no matter who you are!"
Discord shivered, his body feeling like ice from the Necromancer's intrusion. "Oh-ho! There's the spine I remember seeing!" He gleefully clapped his mis-matched hands together, "Here I was worried that you'd lost all your inner spark when Celestia blasted you with those cursed Elements of Harmony." He practically spat the name out from holding so much disdain.
"Release me." Bone coldly demanded.
The spirit of chaos scoffed, "Please, you don't scare me, Bone Marrow." He flicked the colt's snoot and Bone saw his body flinch through Discord's eyes. "For now, try not to give into that hunger of yours. I saw what it did last time."
Discord then smacked the top of Bone's head, causing his vision to return to his own body. "Ta-ta for now, young necromancer. I'll be keeping an eye," He plucked his left eye from its socket and held it in front of Bone's face, "On you."
The draconequiss then vanished from sight in a flash of white light just as Fluttershy returned from the cooler.
"Bone Marrow? I brought your-- Oh... my." She set down two baskets of fresh meat upon seeing Bone's disturbed face. "Are you okay?"
"I... just met some thing that called itself Discord?" He shook his head, "I think that's probably the strangest thing that has ever happened to me."
Fluttershy sighed with weariness. "I'll have to talk with him later about that, whenever he decides to pop in again." She rested a comforting hoof on Bone's back and pointed to the baskets. "I brought you more meat for all the help you've given me."
Bone Marrow consumed the meat without even looking at it, his mind still spinning from his encounter with Discord.
The necromancer colt figured it was time to head to Twilight's castle, though he dreaded the thought of living under the roof of another alicorn's supposed generosity. When he had first met with Celestia, she had promised a meeting of neutrality and peace. It was only when he arrived that he learned that his rule of Never Trusting Strangers also applied to the supposed protectors of Equestria. She had subjected him to a test of the Element's design, and the failure for passing it would have been death by volcanic immolation. Thankfully, the Elements of Harmony found a few traits to spare the necromancer.
Now, however, he was wondering what kind of test Twilight would come up with in order for him to be in her castle. On top of that, his thoughts were consumed by what Discord had told him. Had he been watching the Battle of Canterlot? From where? Bone was certain he would've noticed a creature like that on the battlefield.
What was he looking for? It couldn't have been what the spirit claimed; 'his fighting spirit'. Bone had told and been told enough lies to spot one so blatant. Was he looking for the void? Maybe Discord was trying to figure out how powerful he was after being struck by the Elements?
Discord knew he was a necromancer, and he also knew Bone's name without even asking. He'd mentioned Bone's hunger as well. It was more common knowledge a thousand years ago that Necromancers were consumed with an endless need to consume flesh, blood and bone, but now?
Bone shook his head. This was worrisome, but the spirit had also claimed to be a friend of Fluttershy's. The pegasus herself had confirmed as much when she said that she was going to have a talk with him, but Bone couldn't imagine how a pony like Fluttershy would have any sway with a spirit of chaos.
When Bone Marrow finally arrived at the poorly designed crystalline castle of friendship, he was greeted by a small dragon leaving through the front door while carrying a multitude of boxes stacked three times higher than his own body. Bone briefly marveled at how the dragon was able to see, let alone the fact that it walked around so casually through the town.
"Excuse me," Bone called out to the small dragon, "Do I need to knock on the front door, or does Twilight have a butler?"
The dragon stopped and faced to look at the stallion-sized colt in front of him. "Eh? Oh! You must be the pony that Twilight was talking about. You should be able to walk right in. I'd shake your hoof, but my claws are full right now. I should be back in a couple minutes. Talk then?"
Bone Marrow nodded, "Till then, Spike."
The dragon seemed surprised. "You knew my name?"
"You're the only dragon in Ponyville that I've seen so far, and the only dragon is named Spike." Bone smirked, "I won't hold you up anymore though. Good luck with those boxes."
"Oh, right!" Spike adjusted his grip on the leaning tower of mystery, "See ya!"
Bone then watched as the dragon shuffled off around the corner of a building, his two legs carrying him faster than he would've expected. "This place is strange," Bone sighed. "Alicorns, dragons, spirits of chaos... what's next?"
The door to Twilight's castle opened to reveal another pony that Bone hadn't met. A unicorn mare with a light purple coat and a mane with deeper purple and stripes of teal. She took one look at Bone Marrow and froze in place.
"You're here for Twilight too?" Bone innocently inquired.
In the span it took to blink, the mare was gone in a cloud of smoke. He looked around for her, but she was nowhere to be found. "Eh... okay?" Bone shook his head with only a slight amount of disappointment, "That's not the worst reaction I've ever seen to someone seeing me."
He pulled the door open and stepped inside to an extravagant castle of crystal. Beautifully decorated, filled with tapestries and paintings of Twilight and her friends, as well as soft carpeting to tone down the clip-clop of his hooves on the hard floor. The castle seemed more expansive than Celestia's and he was glad to see a lack of marble and gold trim. He was worried that he would have flashbacks of that double-crosser's castle while he was here, but this place seemed more welcoming, somehow.
"Hello?" Bone called out into the castle. "I'm here, Twilight."
There was no reply. Perhaps the castle was larger than he had expected? The necromancer began wandering the halls with the slight irritation that a nearly empty stomach could bring. He very much doubted that a pony like Twilight would have any meat on hoof, given that she directed him towards Fluttershy, but a colt could dream.
He heard the approaching clacks of hooves from behind one of the doors. Soon, Twilight and the vanishing mare from before opened the doors and was confronted by Bone Marrow.
"There you are!" Twilight announced with relief. "I was worried that you got lost."
Bone gestured to the immense castle around them. "This place is hard to miss."
"Oh, right." Her ears folded for only a moment before she introduced the mare to her left. "This is Starlight Glimmer, one of my friends that lives with me in the castle. I mentioned her to you before, remember?"
The large colt nodded, "She's also very fast from what I just saw. Vanished in the blink of an eye when she saw me."
"Sorry!" Starlight loudly replied, "It's just... I've been doing a lot of reading while Twilight was away and I wasn't expecting you to be so... tall?"
Reading? Bone was intrigued. "You mean that there are stories of me?"
Starlight nodded, "They were all covered in dust and left at the, um, restricted section of Princess Celestia's library, but..."
Twilight applied hoof to face. "What did I tell you about breaking and entering?"
"Hey, I'm just trying to keep informed about the pony that the cutie map was freaking out about!"
Bone Marrow waited for the two to finish arguing.
"Maybe you could warn me next time?" Twilight sighed and lowered her hoof. "I appreciate you going out of your way for this, but I'm sure that Princess Celestia would've let you into the archives if you had asked her, rather than snuck your way in."
"I'm not on the best of terms with her, remember?" Starlight remembered that there was a necromancer in front of her and put on her biggest smile, however forced it appeared. "Hello, Bone Marrow!" Her smile faded and she presented a hoof to shake, "Nice meeting you."
Bone could tell that the gesture wasn't done out of sincerity, but out of fear. He shook her hoof anyway, huffing out a thin cloud of icy fog from annoyance. "A pleasure."
"Do you want me to show you around the castle?" Twilight offered to lead the way with a hoof that pointed down one of the halls. "I have a room picked out for you and everything."
The necromancer's glowing eyes glanced at Starlight, who shrank only the tiniest amount under his gaze. "Sure, Twilight. That'd be great."
As Bone and Twilight walked away from Starlight, the mare let out a sigh of relief. From everything she had read about Bone Marrow, she was astounded that the 'colt' hadn't done something violent yet. Maybe he was biding his time? She shut her eyes closed and shook her head. Was that what ponies thought of her? She had been stealing cutie marks from ponies little over a year ago. Maybe she shouldn't be so judgmental?
One thing was certain. She needed somepony to talk to, and only one came to her mind. Trixie Lulamoon.
Twilight opened a door and showed Bone Marrow his room. "I know it's a little sparse right now, but I'm sure you can find things to fill it up with. You've got a bed, a dresser, a mirror and a few brushes, cleaning supplies, a view of the lake through those windows, and a book in case you can't get any sleep."
Bone Marrow was reminded of the room that Celestia had given him in her castle. Well, less of a room, more of a very polished prison cell. Sure there had been double doors and the room was lined with gold, but there had been guards outside that watched his every move.
"Are there going to be guards?" Bone asked of Twilight rather abruptly.
Twilight's brow furrowed in confusion. "Guards? It's just myself, Spike and Starlight in here most of the time. Everypony else comes to visit every now and then, but that's about as full as this place gets unless it's a holiday."
No guards? Interesting. "Any curfews or forbidden areas I should know of?"
She shook her head with an amused smile. "No, Bone Marrow. Nothing like that to worry about. Make yourself at home, okay? I have to go check on Starlight to make sure she's alright. I think I was a little harsh on her."
Twilight gave Bone Marrow a pat on the back as she left.
Bone Marrow, now confronted with luxury and free time, had no idea what to do. Wander aimlessly through the castle? Explore Ponyville? He shook his head. He couldn't go back to Fluttershy's so soon after having only just left, but he remained hungry as ever. Maybe he could find a kitchen?