by Zealous Shift

Rude Awakening

I awoke groggily from my surprisingly dreamless sleep, momentarily forgetting where I was and why I felt like I fell asleep in knight’s armour. I had little time to actually think about what was going on when my heart leapt out of my chest as I stared into two, beady, red eyes. As any reasonable person would have done in such a situation, I screamed like a little girl and swung the staff, that I thankful still had in my grasp after a night’s worth of sleep, to try and scare the thing away.

The eyes’ owner, which looked like a game of Spore gone horribly wrong, floated back in surprise at my outburst. Despite the fact it had both a bat and eagle wing, it didn’t flap either of them to remain floating. Perhaps it was the memories of the previous night flooding into my mind or just the failed comprehension of what was in front of me, but my previous headache had kicked in with a lethal vengeance. The creature gave an unsettlingly toothy grin before clasping an eagle claw and lion paw together in excitement.

“Oh good, you’re finally awake!” it, or rather he, exclaimed, “I was wondering if I was going to have to just sit here for another four hours!”

“You were watching me for four hours?!” I screamed in response, the mental image of whatever it was in front of me hovering just above my face for so long nearly giving me a heart attack. The only response the creature, which had a distinct serpentine quality to it, had was a brief moment of silence. He raised the index… claw… from his eagle hand into the air while he opened his mouth to make a response. Silence greeted both him and I as he soon realized just how twisted his previous statement actually was.

“Perhaps I should introduce myself,” he began awkwardly, placing his lion claw upon his chest, “I am Discord, friendly neighbourhood draconequus and reformed spirit of chaos and disharmony.” With a snap from his claw, a business card appeared from a bright flash of light and suspended itself in front of my face. The card was a blank white, with the word CHAOS brightly written in what looked like rainbow ink. My brain was still trying to catch up with ‘Discord’s’ apparent ability to summon business cards when it disappeared in another flash of light.

“It’s rude to not give your name to a stranger you know…” Discord hissed into my ear. In the brief few seconds that his introduction had taken, his snake-like body had curled around the throne that I had sat down on. Despite the fact that most of his torso and tail were still in front of me, his head and neck had slithered around the right side of the throne and ended up at my left ear.

“H-Henry,” I quickly replied. Satisfied with the answer, and making me wet myself, Discord’s head detached itself from his neck, floating back to his body in time for the rest of him to snap back in place and reconnect. Needless to say, both my heart and brain were ready to hemorrhage from the presence of Satan’s jester before me.

“It’s nice to meet you Henry, I’m sure we’ll be the best of friends,” Discord said as he vigorously shook my hand. His smile, which had a large fang on one side, was terrifying. Perhaps it was his blatant disregard for physics, or perhaps it was the fact that his claw had fallen off at the wrist and was still shaking my hand, but just the action of looking at him made me feel queasy.

“You look a bit pale there, Henry,” Discord continued in a slight tone of worry. The ‘draconequus’, if I remembered his species’ name correctly, grabbed his claw and reattached it with a click. Discord placed his paw on my forehead then quickly retracted it. As if he was a cartoon character, his paw shone red with small trails of steam dissipating off of it.

“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” he voiced, “Besides,” Discord continued as he peeled the flesh off of his paw to reveal a watch around his bones and arteries, “we don’t have much time.” With a snap yet another bright light appeared, the difference afterwards being quite a bit more drastic. His body was sitting down in an office chair, one large enough to fit his elongated body comfortably, and he wore a black suit with a fedora wedged in between his two horns. A pocket watch could be seen dangling from his suit pocket and a blue dress shirt’s collar poked out from beneath. Even, to my insanity, he was smoking a freshly lit cigar. Despite he had to time to light said cigar, or even looked like he had a lighter, it was still burning.

“We need to talk,” he said with a twinge of an Italian accent. For one reason or another, he was trying to pull a Godfather impression on me. Why, I had no idea, but I shouldn’t question the logic of a supposed being of chaos and disharmony. My brain, to save me a brief vestige of sanity, was running on minimum power so I wouldn’t think myself into an aneurism.

“About what?” I replied in the calmest voice I could muster to speak with. Discord, as both a being and personality, didn’t make sense. I wanted to question him, Lord knows how I wanted to question him, but simply put I couldn’t think of anything else to ask except about what. He was the impossible being, even in rainbow magic land, nothing should evolve in such a way to look like a crossover between Frankenstein and Pet Semetary. Magic, which was apparently real, also broke practically every scientific law and principle I had been taught and I had only known him for about a minute. If Discord was creating objects instead of teleporting them, a possibility I didn’t want to think about, he would’ve broken all those laws twice.

“Your arrival here,” Discord responded simply. Thankfully he had lost the Italian accent, but his insane smile had turned into a neutral frown. He didn’t look upset as much he looked to be in deep thought.

“Did you bring me here?” I nearly yelled in retort. My blood pressure spiked again, the difference from the last several instances being out of anger instead of fear and possible insanity. I stood up, my full height with the addition of the throne I was standing upon giving me a good foot over him. I wasn’t stupid enough to point my staff at him, or make any other sufficiently threatening gestures, but I could feel my upper torso trembling.

“Yes. No. Partially,” Discord replied in a calm manner. “If by here, you mean the Everfree Forest, then yes I was the one who brought you here. You were originally heading right towards Canterlot, and trust me you did not want to end up there. If by here you meant Equus however, I have no idea what summoned you. Just be thankful you aren’t the toilet of a pigeon in the Royal Gardens right about now.”

“What do you mean by ‘toilet of a pigeon’?” I asked, my mind calm enough to convince me to sit back down. Based on his brief explanation, it sounded like Discord had done me an immense favour. With his personality however, I was dreading a scenario where he came to collect on the favour he gave me.

“Stone, I mean,” Discord corrected, “Statue, eternal prison, modern art project, take your pick.” The nonchalant way he replied gave me pause. The idea of being turned into a statue was ridiculous and horrifying at the same time. Did I get stuck in a rip off of Narnia? What kind of psycho would turn me to stone?

“But I haven’t done anything!” I exclaimed loudly, finally getting a reaction from Discord. He seemed to have a knowing look on his face, but it disappeared by the time I had registered he made it. The eagle claw and lion paw linked together as Discord rested his head on top of them.

“I know you haven’t, but Celestia doesn’t know that you’re you instead of you being not you.” Discord’s reasoning through me for a loop, but before I could question his response he was already continuing with the conversation.

“Long story short, Henry my boy, is that you look a lot like a demon that attacked Equestria about four centuries back. According to little Lulu, you caused quite the chaos at Ponyville last night. While chaos is always a welcomed sight, for me anyways, it’s heading in an unfortunate direction. Celestia’s mobilized the whole country to come looking for you.”

“WHAT?!!?” I sputtered, nearly choking on my own spit, “The WHOLE COUNTRY?!?!” I was dead then. If Celestia, a name that I suddenly remembered from the brief class on the royal family Stephen had given me, was after my head, I was done. Even with the stealth advantage of the forest and it’s apparent deterrent, I couldn’t hide for more than a week from her.

“Can’t I just tell her that I’m not him?!” I partially asked, partially screamed at the draconequus. My hopes for salvation were taken down like a dove in an atomic explosion, quickly and ruthlessly. Discord shook his head somberly before looking back up into my panicked eyes.

“From what I can tell, the demon that the royal family believes you are was a very deceitful liar. She scanned every single guard to make sure they weren’t him before even getting close to them. The last time she did that, was… well… when I got out, so there isn’t much a chance of you convincing her. Especially when you’d literally be stoned before you even got to see her. I’d try to convince her that you’re not him, but if ol’ Tia even caught wind that you and I had this conversation, we’d both be lawn ornaments.”

My heart had plummeted to far down into my chest I was surprised it didn’t just rip itself out of my body. I ran my armoured hand through the brief amount of hair that the crown allowed to fall out as I laid back in my seat. It was an execution in the making. Either being turned to stone would kill me, or keep me in suspended animation for all eternity, both of which were horrible ways to end. I’d probably be frozen on my knees, begging for my life before being eternally silenced.

“Don’t worry though, I have a plan,” Discord announced, breaking me out of my depression, “Seeing as how I’m reformed, and I never want to see anyone ever turned to stone again, I’m going to help you out of this mess. It’ll take a while for me to find out just how and where to sound you back, but all you have to do is not get caught for a month or so. I’ll try to stall things as much as I can back at the palace, but don’t go around trying to cause chaos while I’m gone. Not until I can send you back at a moment’s notice, anyways. Good luck and I’ll be seeing you.”

Discord then stood up, his grand office chair disappearing as he did, and tipped his fedora before vanishing in a blast of bright light. A ring of smoke from his cigar slowly dissipated in the air, leaving me to my thoughts in the empty castle. It was a lot to take in, not even including the random appearance of the draconequus.

Celestia, who was an alleged immortal ruler, and her sister had convinced themselves that I was a demon coming to wreak havoc on the world. A whole nation was coming to get me and the forest would only hold them back for so long. If they were as persistent and as angry as Discord made them out to be, I’d give them three days before setting the Everfree on fire just to flush me out. I’d have to wait out for nearly a month if Discord’s estimates were even remotely accurate to get home.

At that point I wasn’t worried so much about how long it’d take to get home as I was if I’d ever get home. How was I supposed to stand up to a whole nation? Granted it was a nation of peace loving ponies, but a nation none the less. Even if I could hold out in the castle for a while, they’d just Zerg rush me with numbers.

“By the way,” Discord called as he reappeared in in the centre of the room, “a hundred royal guards are on their way to secure the castle and they’ll be here in about twenty six seconds.”


Just like that the draconequus, my only hope, had teleported away again. He didn’t even bother to teleport me out of the castle to get away from the… hundred… guards… headed straight for me…