Twilight didn’t lift her head. Instead, she continued to read her book, one of many that she’d picked out from the Canterlot Castle library. Still researching to see if there was ever any other pony that ascended into alicornhood the way she did, she read through the book for answers. She was still a bit fazed about the whole alicorn thing, even after a learning experience from an alternate dimension.
“Hellooo? Twilight?” a voice asked.
She still didn’t hear it, too focused on her research.
“I know you’re in there," the voice continued. "The guards told me you’ve been in here for the past fourteen hours. Not that surprising, considering you’re in one of the castle’s libraries. But that’s beside the point. I need to talk to you about something. Something very, very important.”
This time, she heard it, but remained silent, uninterested in whatever whoever wanted to talk to her about. She could get this way when reading a book, even when the topic of the discussion was important.
“Ugh, fine. Be that way.” The sound of resonating magic could be heard from the other side of the library doors. “And here I wanted to come in without any funny business, through the door, like a proper draconequus. But, apparently, I’m not allowed to. Not by you, anyway." Suddenly, the doors began to fizz. They started to break up into tiny bits, then swirled around each other. Finally, they swooped into the now revealed Discord’s claw, where they were reshaped into a ball. Discord took said ball and threw it at Twilight’s head, breaking her concentration.
“Ow!” she yelled. Looking up, she became annoyed. "Discord? What are you doing here?"
“Oh, I don’t know. It’s not like I was trying to get your attention about something of utmost importance.” Discord replied, the tone in his voice a mixture of sarcasm and annoyance, similar to Twilight’s.
“Well, you have it now!” she snapped, still annoyed.
“I see. Now that I do, here comes the hard part.” Discord said, his face now void of emotion. He didn’t exactly figure out the best way to tell Twilight about the events that occurred just earlier that afternoon. Now that the time had come to do so, his mind went blank.
Twilight sighed, still rubbing her head. “So what’s so important that you had to come in and do this?” she asked, now attentive to Discord.
“Yes, the important thing…” He tapped his claw on his chin, thinking.
“Yes? What is it?” Twilight asked, her curiosity aroused.
“Well… something happened. Yeah, something happened,” he said, a bit distant.
“Yes… and? What was it?” Twilight asked again, now a bit annoyed.
Figuring there wasn't any way to avoid telling her, he sighed, “Okay fine, I’ll tell you, but you need to hear me out to the very end, alright?”
Twilight arched an eyebrow. “Alright. Now, what’s got you like this? You usually don’t act this weird,” she said.
Discord sighed again. “Well, it started out well. Do you remember earlier today when I invited you to swim with me and Fluttershy? You said you were busy studying. Anyway, after we swam, her bunny got hungry. So," he said, "me being the generous, kind draconequus that I am, I decided to go fetch him some fresh produce,” he said, a conceited smile on his face.
Twilight rolled her eyes. “And?” She waved her head slightly. “What else?”
“Well…” His smile disappeared. “Here’s where it gets interesting. You see, all day I’ve been getting bugged by this… feeling.” He paused.
“What kind of feeling?”
“I don’t know, actually. I don’t think I’ve ever felt something like that before. I know that it felt strong. But that’s not what bugged me. What bugged me was the fact that I knew the type of strong feeling. It was energy. The thing is, it felt unstable, like it wasn’t supposed to be here,” he said, his mismatched eyes growing wide.
“Here.” He pointed at the ground. “In Equestria. I’ve been here for a long, looooooong time, and I can’t recall anything that comes close to that energy’s presence,” he explained.
“So, what happened with the energy?”
“W-well, that’s the thing.” He scratched the back of his head. “The feeling would fade away every now and then, but would return a while later. It kept disturbing me. I tried my best to ignore it. Eventually, though, my curiosity got the best of me. So, I came up with a brilliant idea to find out where the energy was coming from. I thought I could try to use my magic to find it, so I began to pulse magic through my claw, scanning the area. I sensed a fairly large clump of that energy. I could feel traces of that energy beginning to seep into my magic.Pretty soon, my magic started coming back, and clumped in my palm. And that’s where things got… bad,” he finished.
“What do you mean?” Twilight asked.
“Well, after I started to pulse my magic around the area, it began to react violently. I tried to maintain control, but I couldn’t move my claw. Eventually, it became too much, and the magic exploded. I was blown back, and couldn’t get up. My head was spinning, but I could make out a whirring sound, like a vacuum cleaner.” He sighed. “I began losing consciousness. And, well, I guess somepony came to investigate, because before my mind went blank, I could make out a voice.” He sighed, looking up with sorrow. “To be specific, a mare’s voice. To be more specific, a certain… yellow mare’s voice.” Discord explained.
Twilight’s eyes grew wide. “Fluttershy…”
He nodded. “There’d be no problem with this, if it wasn’t for the fact that she was screaming, telling Angel to hold on.”
“What happened to her?” she asked urgently.
“Discord? What happened to her?!”
“…I don’t know.”
“But you just said you heard—”
“Yes, I did. But that’s all. I only heard her panic. When I came to, she and Angel, along with whatever that light was, were gone. I don’t know where they went.”
“Did you look for them?” Twilight asked, growing frantic.
“Well of course I did! I called out their names, but no one replied,” Discord said.
“That’s it?! That’s all you did to look for her?” Twilight asked, angry.
“Now now, calm down Twilight. I didn’t need to put more effort in trying to find her.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked, still furious.
Discord sighed. “Look, I didn’t need to try to find her because she’s not here.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“What I mean is, she’s gone.” He sighed. “Nowhere to be found.”
“And what makes you think that? You didn’t exactly go out of your way to find her!” she said, visibly seething.
“I know she’s gone because I’m the one responsible for her disappearance.”
“What?” Twilight growled.
“Hm, that didn’t really come out right, now did it? Allow me to explain. Ahem,” Discord cleared his throat. In an instant, he vanished, and, just as fast as he disappeared, reappeared, now wearing a lab coat and glasses, with a chart covered with different kinds of data.
Discord fixed his glasses. “Now, allow me to explain. Do you recall how in my flashback my magic violently reacted to the mysterious energy?” he asked.
“Now, do you recall how I said I was blown back by the reaction? At that time, I suffered head trauma, and was unable to open my eyes. However,” he said, turning the chart to a different page, “before the reaction, I noticed figures in the distance, approaching me. They were most likely curious as to what was happening, so they decided to investigate. Based on what you know about my flashback, can you guess what or who those figures belonged to?”
Twilight took a second to think. A spark of realization came to her head, and she sighed deeply. “Please don’t tell me…”
“Oh believe me, I don’t want to, but I’ll be able to do little to nothing about it without your help. So yes, the figures were that of,” he sighed, “Fluttershy and Angel. So, putting what I know together, I can almost say for certain that whatever happened because of the reaction is responsible for the disappearance of Fluttershy and Angel.”
“And what do you think happened because of the reaction?” Twilight asked, still angry.
“Weeeeeellll, that’s where things get complicated,” Discord said.
“You see, I have a theory as to what happened, but it may or may not make much sense to you. Are you familiar with the Multiverse Theory?” Discord asked.
“Yes. What about it?”
“Well, I believe that Fluttershy was transported to some other universe,” he said.
“…What?!” Twilight yelled. “How does that even… Why would you ever believe something like that happened?”
“Because of the reaction. Don’t you see? Pay attention to the reaction itself. Think about all that happened as a result of the reaction; the explosion, the weird whirring sound, the strange light.”
“What light?” Twilight asked.
“What? What about it?”
“You never said anything about a light before.”
“Really?” Discord scratched his chin. “How odd. I could’ve sworn I mentioned it before. Anyway, that’s not the point here. Look, Twilight, when you put the pieces together, it all makes sense!”
“How in Equestria would any of this make sense?” Twilight asked.
“Ugh, do I have to spell it to you?” How can the most know-it-all pony in Equestria not even think about the circumstances here and what they might mean? Discord asked himself. “Just think about it!” he continued, annoyed. “Strange, unknown energy, chaotic magic introduced, violent reaction, vacuum-like sound and strange light introduced. What do you think all of this means?”
Twilight tried to shut her worries down for a moment, now processing what Discord had just told her. She tried to make sense of it, but couldn’t find a way how to. “I’m sorry Discord, but there just isn’t a logical explana—” She stopped.
“Um, there isn’t a logical what?” Discord asked.
“…” Twilight fell silent, thinking. Wait. Logic… What if that’s it?
“Um, Twilight? Helloooooo?”
What if something illogical happened? she thought, ignoring Discord. “It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve dealt with something like that,” she said, recalling the Pinkie Sense incident.
Discord arched an eyebrow, “Dealt with something like what?”
“Shhh…” Twilight said, looking away while waving a hoof his way to be quiet.
“Oh,” Discord said, almost disgusted. “She’s having one of those moments.”
Okay think, what happened in Discord’s story? He searched for some mysterious energy, things went awry, Fluttershy comes to investigate, and she… well, she’s supposedly gone. Now, put the pieces together. Something illogical happened, but how? Discord’s magic could play the role of the illogical factor, and the mysterious energy was introduced to his magic. Like he said, it reacted violently, resulting in an explosion, a bright light, and a vacuum-like sound. “Okay, what else?” she asked herself.
“You know, it wouldn’t hurt to say what you’re thinking out loud,” Discord said, mildly annoyed.
“Uh huh,” Twilight simply said, paying little to no attention to what he said.
He sighed, “Right. Welp, I’ll just sit back and see where this goes.” Snapping his fingers, he began munching on some popcorn that he materialized while lounging in an armchair. “Hopefully, it won’t take too long, lest I lose interest in all of this.” And I really shouldn’t, he thought.
At this point in the story, Fluttershy stepped in. Or at least, he thinks it was Fluttershy… Hopefully, it wasn’t. Then he hears her screaming for Angel to hold on. Silence. Discord gets up to see that whoever was there moments ago is gone. Not just that, though. Whatever was formed from the reaction has gone as well.
“Are you done yet?” Discord asked, lolling over the arm chair.
Think. Discord’s theory is that Fluttershy was somehow sent to another universe. How would the factors from his story prove this to be true? Maybe the energy could’ve done something that transported her. But how would it do that? What were the properties of it? “Discord, are you sure you don’t know anything about that mysterious energy? Anything at all?” Twilight asked, now staring intently at him.
“Oh finally! But I’m afraid not. I’ve already said that the energy was something I’ve never sensed before in my thousands of years of life. I mean it sincerely. The energy felt completely foreign to me,” he said.
Twilight sighed. “So it definitely isn’t around here, or, in the very least, hasn’t been detected in the recent millennia. Well, that means we have no real way of finding the properties of that energy, or what affects your magic would have on it.”
“Well, my magic does have a reputation for having random effects on whatever it’s used on, so we have to expect that anything could’ve happened when it reacted with the energy.” Discord said with a smirk.
Twilight sighed. “You do have a point there. Then I guess we have to start from there,” she said while levitating a few books to a nearby table.
“Start from where exactly?” Discord asked, slithering up to Twilight.
“Seeing as how we have some unknown factors in the problem, like your magic and the unknown energy, we’ll have to study your magic’s effects on the various types of energies to see if any of them produce something similar to the reaction that you experienced,” she explained.
“Huh. I’m not sure if that’s really a good idea…” Discord said, thinking.
“Well, I have had some experience with different kinds of energies, and some of the effects can be a bit… drastic,” he said, shuddering.
Twilight released a heavy sigh. “We have to start somewhere, Discord. The more time we spend trying to decide what to do to find Fluttershy, the greater the chance that something terrible happened to her becomes.”
“I know what we could do to find Fluttershy,” he said.
“What is it?”
“We have to invent an interdimensional transportation device!” he said, gleaming with excitement.
“…Are you still believing that Fluttershy was sent to another universe?” Twilight asked, her voice void of emotion.
“Why of course I am. Unlike you, who needs to conduct experiments with tons and tons of results and tests to finally be convinced that something exists, I actually go out and prove what I think is real. Sometime ago, maybe four, five weeks ago, I decided to see if other universes did exist. And, while I didn’t find any physical proof, I did discover that there is more out there than just this world, than just this universe! There’s more, so much more! Each one has their own significant characteristics, all so different from ours. If we can perfect a stable transporter from this universe to even one of those other ones, we’ll have opened a new gateway for science! And, if we do find a way to travel through universes, we could find some information pertaining to the mysterious energy,” Discord explained.
Twilight’s mouth hung open for a few moments. She shook her head, and asked, “Since when did you become so interested with interdimensional transportation?”
“Since I was assigned to study it.”
“Wait, what?” she asked, baffled.
“Oh that’s right, you don’t know.” Discord scratched his chin. He blinked, suddenly realizing just what he said. “Come to think of it, you’re not really supposed to know at all—”
“No, she’s not.”
Discord turned around to see a white, regal-looking Alicorn…
“Princess Celestia!” Twilight called, suddenly feeling happier.
“Hello, Twilight.” Celestia smiled. “It’s nice to see you. And Discord, what a surprise!” she said, staring at him. “I wouldn’t expect you to be in a place like this on a day when you’re not working.”
“Yes, well, something… came up,” Discord said, scratching the back of his head.
“Oh? Would you care to explain why this something requires you to talk about your ‘work’?” Celestia asked.
“Oh but of course! You see, like you said, today is a day that I’m not working. After trying out some things, I was still bored. So, I had an idea to spend some quality time with my dear friend Fluttershy. But alas,” he said, putting his claw to his forehead, “it would seem that her health didn’t agree with me, as Fluttershy was too ill to go out at all. Thinking of a way to help her recover, I turned to the library for help. Twilight wasn’t there, and her little dragon ran away when I came in to ask him for help. And, long story short, I found Twilight here and explained my situation, which is when your prized princess here began to wonder what it is you have me do when I’m working, and I tried oh so hard to come up with something believable, but even after using my best fib, she still wasn’t convinced! After that I tried to divert her attention to something else, which only seemed to pique her curiosity even more, and I was given no choice but to tell her,” he finished.
Twilight was astonished. “What?! That’s not what happ—”
Discord appeared behind her and began to whisper in her ear, “Now now, we wouldn’t want ’Tia learning about something as drastic as the disappearance of an Element Bearer, now would we?”
Twilight shook him off. Garing at him, she said, “Look, I don’t know where to start, so maybe it’d be a good idea to ask Celestia for help. She did spend more time free than you, remember?”
“Start for what, Twilight?” Celestia asked.
“Nothing! It’s nothing at all!” Discord said in a panic.
“That’s a lie!” Twilight shouted.
“Discord, it’s obvious something fishy is going on here. Why don’t you tell me?” Celestia asked. “I might be able to help.”
Looking at both of them, he sighed, “Oh, no one told me having a friend would get me into this much trouble. Fine, I’ll tell you, but like with her, you have to promise me that you’ll hear me out to the very end, okay?”
Celestia tapped her chin for a while before saying, “Fair enough.”
“Good. Hopefully you’ll do better than her,” he said, pointing at Twilight.
“Hey!” Twilight shouted. Celestia gave her a look, which settled her down.
Sighing again, he said, “Okay, so I was going to spend time with Fluttershy, swimming with her at a lake. But when I took a break to go get her bunny some food, I sensed something strange. A type of energy that I, for the life of me, couldn’t tell what it was. Since it was something I had never sensed before, I wondered if it might’ve been from another dimension. So, I tried using my magic to trace it. But it reacted violently with my magic, and it formed something. I think I might’ve finally accomplished what we’ve been working on, but I don’t know if it was worth it, because Fluttershy stumbled upon the scene, and the next thing I know, she’s screaming to hold on, and then nothing. Everything was silent, save for a low buzzing in the area.”
Celestia remained quiet for some time, musing over what Discord had told her. Finally, she spoke, “Hm, it would seem we have quite the enigma on our hooves. What to do about it…” she said, thinking.
Twilight just about lost it. “Why are you so calm about this?! Don’t you see that Discord’s done something terrible? He’s sent one of my best friends to who-knows-where, and possibly put her in serious danger! We need to make him bring her back! We need to punish him for doing this! We need—”
Celestia raised a hoof, causing Twilight to cut herself off. “Twilight, I completely understand why you’re so distraught about the events that have transpired today, and I intend to find a fitting punishment for what Discord has done, but you must understand that we cannot afford to turn on each other right now. I see now that keeping our studies and work a secret from you may have been a mistake in the long run, so I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on here during Discord’s ‘work days.’”
Discord flashed away, instantly reappearing with a couch. “You might want to take a seat,” he said to Twilight. “This could take a while.”
Celestia began, “You see, scientists from all around have been studying the universe for the longest time, spanning countless theories and discoveries, many of which you’ve learned. However, recently, they’ve been studying the possibility of a way to travel to other places, places whose existences can’t exactly be explained. This would be linked with the multiverse theory. One such group of scientists were experimenting to see if interdimensional transportation, or I.T. for short, is possible. To help further expand our scientific knowledge, I agreed to help fund this team and offer them the help of Canterlot’s best scientists. So, they began to work harder, now having the appropriate tools and minds to help. They’d have countless experiments to see if they could eventually find a way to travel outside of this universe, but even with their efforts and resources, they haven’t had much progress.
“While I did originally have other plans to put Discord’s magic to good use, I decided to see if he’d be willing to help with the team’s dilemma, since he’s capable of doing things that aren’t usually possible. Though quite reluctant at first, he agreed to help them. Pretty soon, Discord became engrossed in trying to find a way to make I.T. possible. We learned that his magic was useful in the science department, so you can only imagine the progress he brought to the project. Discord knows a lot about I.T., so it’s very likely he’s being honest when he says he’s sent Fluttershy to, well, we don’t know yet. I suppose his curiosity got the best of him, but this still leaves us with a major enigma,” she said, shooting a look at Discord, who looked away. She sighed, “Well, we shouldn’t waste any more time dawdling about our mistakes. If we’re going to have even the smallest chance of finding Fluttershy, we’re going to need to find a way to recreate what happened today. Twilight, though you must be furious with Discord for doing what he did, I’m asking you, for the sake of your friend’s safety, to set these feelings aside and help him to remake the portal he created,” she said, solemnly.
“…” Twilight looked away. “I’ll help, but I want to talk to Discord. Alone, if you wouldn’t mind,” she said coldly.
“Of course. When you’re done talking,you should make your way to the department. And Twilight?” Celestia asked.
She looked at her. “…Yes, princess?”
“Thank you for understanding.” She lowered her head, and whispered, “And I’ll see to it that Discord gets a fitting punishment. Even if it was an accident, he shouldn’t have tried to do what he did without our help.” With that, Celestia walked out of the library.
Twilight looked out a window, thinking.
Discord floated awkwardly, waiting for Twilight to talk to him. After what felt like a few minutes, Discord slowly made his way to her, or at least, as close as he dared to go. He cleared his throat. “Look, I know I messed up, but I’m going to need your help to find Fluttershy. I want to fix my own mistake, and make sure she’s safe. So will you please help—”
“Of course I’m going to help you find her,” Twilight finally said, never taking her gaze off the window. Anger and restraint stained her voice. “Not just because Celestia asked me to. She’s my friend, too, and I want to make sure she’s safe.”
Once again, the room fell quiet. Discord fiddled with his claw and paw nervously, while Twilight kept staring out the window.
He cleared his throat. “So, what should we—”
“I just can’t believe you, Discord,” Twilight said, finally staring at him. “I started to get used to the idea of you being good. I started to believe that you wouldn’t put any of us in danger. And just look what happened.” She glared at him.
Discord shuffled slightly. “…Listen, Twilight. I know I screwed up, but—”
“If something bad happened to Fluttershy, I promise you that I will never forgive you, and I’ll find a way to make you pay, no matter what.” She took a deep breath and sighed. “But for now,” she continued, “I can’t let my anger towards you get in my way of focusing on the task at hand.”
“…I understand that. Completely. I want you to know that if something did happen to her, I wouldn’t resist whatever punishment I’d receive. I’d deserve it. It’s my fault Fluttershy’s missing!” he said, throwing his arms up into the air. He sighed, “Look, it’s… hard for me. I do careless things without even the slightest thought of what could happen because of them. I hardly used to care for whatever I did! But now, I have to be wary of what I do. Sure, I can still do my silly little antics, but now, I have to think of the consequences that could happen. But this time, I didn’t. And you’re right. Just look what happened! Because I wanted to test something out, I ended up sending my one and only friend to, well, anywhere! I should’ve known not to mess with something I had no clue about. But because of my actions, Fluttershy could be in grave danger. If something terrible did happen to her… Well, I don’t know what I’d do. Even if it wouldn’t help you, you should punish me. The fact that I sent an innocent pony to wherever means that I haven’t been able to maintain my new behavior as a reformed villain. If this ends up becoming the case, that I hurt Fluttershy, I don’t deserve to continue to roam free…” Discord said solemnly, staring at the ground. “And I know it must be different, for you to see me act so serious. I’m usually Discord, the chaotic, carefree spirit of disharmony. But I can’t act like everything’s just one big joke. She showed me that! She showed me that some things are meant to be taken seriously, even if they seem foolish! But I… I just don’t know.”
Twilight stared at him. “Discord…” she muttered.
He sighed heavily. “Let’s go see what we can do about the portal. We shouldn’t stay here and talk about how foolish I was—”
“You are different.”
Discord looked up. “What?”
“Discord, when Celestia came to ask how your reformation went, I didn’t completely believe that you changed,” said Twilight. “To be honest, I kept my guard up, expecting your whole new attitude to be a lie. I would keep a watchful eye on you, making sure I, and the girls, could defeat you again if you attacked.
“Now, though, one of my friend’s lives could be in danger because of you. And instead of me seeing you happy or confident that you’ve won, you’re showing regret and sorrow. You’re not trying to wreak havoc anywhere. Instead, you’re telling me about your mistake, and asking for help to fix it. And why would you come here to tell me if you could be out there doing just that, wreaking havoc?” she asked.
The room fell quiet for a moment, until Twilight continued, sighing in content. “I can see now the friendship between you and Fluttershy has changed you. Now, even though I’m furious at what you did, I’m gonna have to join forces with you if we’ll ever have a chance of finding Fluttershy.” She stared at him, a small, yet weak, smile on her face.
“…Twilight,” Discord said meekly, a sense of achievement forming in his mind. “…Th-thank you, Twilight.” Discord sighed, his feelings of worry and sorrow diminishing slightly.
“So, you’ve been learning about the universe?” Twilight asked, making her way out of the library. Discord followed suit. Heading to the science wing of the castle, Twilight asked, “So, why don’t you explain just how I.T. works?”
He smiled weakly, “Sure. Oh, and Twilight?”
“Hm?” she looked up.
“The reason I came here to talk to you about this is because I believed you could help us in making I.T. happen. I felt like once we filled you in on what we already know about this, you’d be able to offer your own theories and help us in succeeding. It didn’t exactly turn out how I planned it to go, but I got you to help, so I’m okay with it, even if I get punished, because I know you’ll be able to help me find Fluttershy faster,” he said, sighing.
Twilight thought for a moment, and said, “You know, I’m sure I can convince the princess to go easy on you. But it’ll still be a fitting punishment,” she said jokingly.
Even though Discord knew she was serious, he smiled. “I’m sure it’ll be. So, I.T. isn’t that hard to understand. You see, it works like this…”