This Cruel and Random World

by Bluegrass Brooke

Chapter Two — Get it Right

"Ponies," Discord spat. Oh they were fine for a good laugh or a quick chat, but he tired of them quick enough. Yesterday he had been his fabulous, chaotic self—free to move and do as he pleased. Now he was relegated to an entire month in pony purgatory. Grumbling to himself, he flipped over in an attempt to get comfortable. Every little piece of his body had been forced out of place, making centuries-old patterns of movement impossible. The hooves for instance . . . Finite movement with those glorified shovels proved a game of practice and chance. Mostly chance, he reflected as he tried yet again to scoop up the picture on his beside table.

Moaning, he lay flat on his back, staring at the window the narrow bed pressed up against. Its antique frame creaked in protest whenever he so much as shifted, resulting in his lying as still as possible. A quick glance outside the window revealed a brilliant view of the red-shingled rooftop and the moonlit sky beyond. Nice enough—if a little small. However, the cat themed knick knacks, checkered quilt, lacy pink curtains, and potpourri all screamed old lady. Discord could almost feel the sickening homeliness of it all. Though that might just as easily be attributed to the veritable army of lavender sachets Mrs. Plumsworth squirreled away.

Poor Mrs. Plumsworth! The dear would have a heart attack if she realized that she invited the master of chaos himself to stay in her spare bedroom. As far as she knew, she had done a favor for a polite young gentlecolt in need of lodging. Adorable.

Idly he thought of tossing the ceramic kittens to the floor for an added splash effect. But no. Celestia made him promise to be a good boy, what better way to get back at her than doing exactly what she said? Still, would it be a sin to at least lay out the fluffy bath towel sloppily in the corner?

"Argh! When did I become so pathetic!" Realizing he had shouted, he clasped a hoof to his mouth and flipped over. The movement elicited a creak of protest from the bed and his artificial form. Every bone in his body ached, and he longed to curl his tail around his head like normal, but ponies apparently lacked that flexibility. Accepting fate, he lay on his side, focusing on the stars twinkling in the sky.

Tomorrow he would have to deal with Twilight again—pretending to be amused by her rants on quantum physics and play the ever-eager student. What good came of learning unicorn magic? Surely he could have cleared away this so called "misunderstanding" without being subject to lessons from a being a fraction his age. Unicorn magic—like so many pony creations belongs to their kind. Celestia had lost touch with reality if she fancied a draconequus capable of harnessing a magic born of harmony. A magic as uninspired as ponies themselves . . .

She cannot be serious. Oh, gods, she cannot be serious. That hope shattered upon impact with the determined gleam in Twilight's eye. In emphasis, the yellow playground ball clasped within her magic began to bounce playfully. Reluctantly, he stepped forward. "So you want me to bounce this with my magic?"

"Yes." Twilight rocked on her hooves as if anticipating a good show. "I borrowed this from the school this morning. Can't believe I didn't think of it earlier!" Apparently the revelation of using playground equipment for practice was worthy of being carved into the annals of history. Not surprising considering her instructor . . . Taking his inaction as a sign of confusion, she added, "You bounce it like this." The soft rubber ball bounced more vigorously.

What am I, a dog? Discord rolled his eyes clean over, "I can comprehend a simple game, Twilight."

A bright flush stretched across face. "Oh, sorry. Here you go."

Irritably, he seized the now immobile ball in his own magic. Really, what's the point in all this? Out of the corner of his eye, he watched his so called tutor chat with Spike about some mundane tasks for the day. How does she stand being such a windbag? You could mute her and she'd still be talking.

Though Twilight was well and truly immersed in her dictation, the dragon's focus remained on the ball. Discord spared a nasty glance towards Spike, setting him cringing. Given the kid's suspicions yesterday, he would have to keep an eye out. Another check revealed Spike had fixated on the ball. What is his problem? Oh.

The once hoof sized ball had been magically magnified to the size of a baby elephant. Before he could react, the prop deflated like a balloon, landing on top of both Twilight and Spike. "Sorry, Twilight. I suppose my magic has a mind of its own."

"Oh it's all right, Entropy." The flattened ball shrunk and levitated into the trash bin. Spike clung to Twilight's leg, quivering.

What is his problem? It had been an accident. Then it came to him. Instinct. Dragons possessed a great deal more than their more harmonic relatives. Even after his kind had left this world, that primal fear of draconequus—disguised or no—remained. Best to replace that natural fear for an artificial one. "Afraid of an old stallion like me, Spike?"

"No!" He unclasped his claws from Twilight's leg, puffing out his chest. "I don't scare easily."

Discord raised an eyebrow, adjusting his spectacles. Uh-huh . . . You keep telling yourself that. He turned back to his would-be instructor, "So, what's next, Twilight?"

"Let's see." Twilight trotted over to her podium producing the inevitable checklist. "That didn't work. Hmmm, that's one more thing you've had trouble with."

One more? Try seven. Maybe if your ideas weren't on par with a kindergartener's, things would be different. He put on his most charming expression, pushing the list out of Twilight's magical grip. "Maybe, we're going about this the wrong way."

She slapped a hoof to her forehead, "You're right! Argh, and the answer was staring me in the face the whole time too." Completely ignoring his dubious expression, she retrieved a piece of parchment and quill from a corner shelf. "All right, then. I should have started with your history."

"History?" His heart lurched uncomfortably. What is my history? Why had he not crafted a cover story sooner? Blast.

"Yes, let's start from the beginning." She rested on a nearby cushion with the air of a psychiatrist working out a diagnosis. "Were you able to control your magic as a colt?"

"Well," Think, Discord, think. It's got to be convincing. She will sense a falsehood. The altered truth? Yes, that will suffice. He cleared his throat, lying down across from her. "Yes and no. There were times when I would be just fine controlling it, then I would find myself trying to control too much and it dispersed everywhere."

"I see." Twilight's quill scribbled furiously. "So, what did you do about it?"

"Well, Father tutored me night and day—using techniques unique to our family . . ." A long since buried memory resurged. He closed his eyes, shaking it away like some venomous snake. He chose his next words carefully, "He wished for me to learn balance in all aspects of life."

"Balance, hmmm. Did you go to Canterlot?"

"Yes." Truth be told, Canterlot had not even existed at that time, but he refused to mention that little detail. "Father held a position there." A position of greater import than any that existed in this current "utopia." What to say next? A thousand cruel words slithered like thousands of vipers at the tip of his tongue. No. He could not succumb to emotion, not anymore. Twilight—though an alicorn—had no more part in that bitter history than a house pet had in a fight amongst wolves. Biting back the words, he continued in a whisper, "Father passed and no one took up his role as tutor. All the 'control' I've learned came from experience."

"Oh," Concern swept across her face. Her voice was small and timid, "no one took up your training?"

"Who would want to?" Interfacing with a draconequus on that level would have been absurd especially after . . . that. Discord fought back yet another urge to snap in a thousand directions. Backstory. Always with the backstory. What did it matter anyway? The past resided in the past, and no amount of chaos or harmony would ever alter that reality.

Twilight leaned in closer until Discord could see the individual hairs of her coat. To his surprise, it smelled like a field of lavender. He had been expecting books and stale hay flakes. Unconsciously, he leaned away from her. "Eventually I found my place as a scholar and came back. I've never really used my magic since then."

"Why did you decide to come to me?"

"Well, that was easy." He jerked a nod to the books lying scattered about. "Celestia found me in the university library and asked if I'd be interested in a one of a kind opportunity." Discord stared hard into Twilight's eyes, "Of course I said yes. What kind of idiot would I be to pass up the chance to study under the princess of harmony herself?"

Twilight giggled, playing with her mane. "Oh, I'm nothing special. Really I'm not."

"But you are." In a way, the words rang true. Celestia—isolated from her subjects for centuries—had forsaken her solitude to make Twilight her apprentice. Such practices were long since outdated even in Morpheus' reign. Celestia had found hidden promise within this child. Whether that promise was worth the sacrifice remained to be seen. Realizing he had kept her waiting, he added. "You have a great gift that is not isolated to the study of magic. Of all the royal mages over the centuries, only you proved capable of wielding the Elements. Surely that must count for something."

"I wouldn't understand them if it weren't for my friends." Twilight's countenance became pensive for a long moment. After a while, she gave an unconvincing laugh. "We can discuss how 'special' I am later, Entropy." She got to her hooves once more. "For now, let's try a more active approach."

"All right." He followed her out of the library, pausing at the door to speak with Spike. He gave a fatherly wink, "Don't worry, I'm not going to explode any more books today." Gods willing.

Spike only nodded, rubbing his claws together nervously.

Ridiculous. Why am I comforting the little errand boy? My how far I have fallen. With a swish of his tail, he left the library in pursuit of Twilight.

Their morning had not been going well. Bound and determined, Twilight set out to prove he could in fact control something with his magic. Unfortunately for the townsponies, it was their possessions Discord failed to control. In all honesty, he had given it his all. It was not as though he wanted everypony on the street staring at them like some circus act.

A cacophonous thud sent a shock of Discord's spine. The remnants of the stand he had been trying to stabilize lay on the ground like a broken piñata. "Why doesn't it work?"

"I don't know. As far as I can see, you're doing everything right."

An orange blur galloped over to them. "Oh my Celsestia! What did you do to my stand?"

"Sorry, Carrot Top. We were training." Twilight placed a hoof on the mare's quivering shoulders. "I'll fix it in a jiffy."

Discord watched with half-interest as pieces of the stand zoomed back into place once more. How could she make him look so bad in such a short timespan? Touchy feely unicorn magic did not agree with him. That could hardly be considered his fault now could it? If he used chaos magic, it would be repaired with the snap of his claw, or in this case hoof. It took a while to register that Twilight had been addressing him. "Yes?"

"Time to go." Twilight prodded him along with her horn, eyes focusing on Carrot Top's irritated snarl. "Maybe we should find a less popular spot to practice?"

"Right." They wandered down the street until they came to the city park. It was a pleasant little place, accented with flower beds planted in quaint little patterns and birds singing in the trees. The sight made him want to vomit. Judging from Twilight's expression of wonder, the opinion was not reciprocated. He attempted a middle of the road response. "This is nice."

"Yeah. It's my favorite place in town." Twilight walked beside him, humming a little. Her eyes kept glancing up at him whenever he turned away.


"Nothing, it's just. Well," A flustered expression took over, and she started to twirl her mane again. "I've never had a student before. Am I doing okay as an instructor?" She mumbled while avoiding eye contact.

Seriously? Discord so longed to slap the mare and was half tempted to turn her horn into liquorish. But, no, he needed to practice self-control. Later, Discord, later. He settled for a typical, caring response. "Well, there's a lot to be improved upon. You can't become an instructor in a single day. It takes time, discipline and practice." And a functioning brain.

"I see." To Discord's surprise, the mare looked rather put out. She looked up at him from the corner of her eyes, "Do you think I made a mess of things?"

"Yes." My dear, you couldn't have caused more chaos if you tried. Seeing her hurt expression, he amended his response. "But, is that such a bad thing? Remember what I said yesterday? A little variation from the plan is healthy."

"Yeah a healthy screw up." Twilight sighed dramatically, "Let's go back to the library and rethink this."

Discord nodded, following her back. The mare was unusually subdued and it was starting to bug him. Has she caught on to the plan? No, she'd pin me to the ground if she knew the truth. This has to be due to something else. But what? A part of him wanted to slap her back into that overly confident princess he had grown used to. In this depressed state, she was starting to more closely resemble Luna. Maybe she just needed a confidence boost. "Say, Twiilght?"


"How would you like to get started on our lessons? Why, you could watch me teach, and get some ideas."

"I'd love to!" Her eyes shone with renewed excitement. "I can't wait! What are we going to be going over?"

"Oh I thought we'd start light." He raised an eyebrow, "How about Likan's law?"

Twilight nodded emphatically, trotting along beside Discord. "This is going to be amazing! Thanks so much for doing that, Entropy."

"My pleasure." Discord could not help but cast sideways glances at Twilight. Quite the overreaction to a simple lecture. Pathetic. She really needs to leave that library more often.

"Woah. Wait, slow down!" Twilight was scrawling so fast on her piece of parchment that even Discord was impressed.

Discord continued his impassioned lecture on quantum physics as though Twilight had said nothing. "Keep up with me, Twilight. This is where it gets interesting." The thought of Princess Twilight the ever powerful alicorn being so interested in a physics lecture was beyond comedic. At least his vast store of knowledge in the area had come in handy. With a flourish, he scrawled one last note on the board and slammed the chalk down. "And there you have it. The first installment of my introductory quantum physics course."

Twilight moaned, slamming her head onto the floor. Her voice came muffled, "I think I'm going to be sick."

"Too much?"

"Yes. But," She looked up at him, the cheesiest of grins plastered on her face. "It was fascinating. I never realized how much I'd missed with self-study."

Discord smirked, setting the thin-framed glasses back to neutral on his muzzle. "That's the power of instruction, Twilight."

"Sure is." Twilight stood, glancing at the clock. "Ooops. It's already two. Guess we missed lunch. Have you seen Spike?"

"No, I'm afraid I haven't." Discord watched Twilight begin to pace around the library. "Twilight, what's wrong?"

"Oh, where could he be? Maybe he thought we were ignoring him and he ran off." Twilight's pacing intensified, as she levitated all kinds of objects in search of the dragon. "Spike? Spike?"

The situation seemed to be fast spiraling the mare into panic. Panic was the least amusing emotion Discord could think of. Perhaps it was time for an intervention. Sighing, he strode up to her, pushing her into a sitting positing. He leaned in close, golden eyes staring intently at her. "Twilight, calm down. We'll find him, there's no need to panic," he soothed.

"But, I-he. . ." Twilight pressed against him, trying to stand. Her voice was shaking, "He's my responsibility and he's lost."

"I know, but we'll find him." He patted her on the back. "It's going to work out, Twilight."

She bit her lip, nodding slowly. "Kay."

"There. Now let's go look for him." Discord started towards the door. "Any clue as to where he might be?"

"Yeah. He'll sometimes go over to Rarity's to help. We can start there. I'll show you the way."

Apparently Ponyville was not quite the expansive metropolis its residents saw it as. In a matter of minutes, they had crossed town and arrived at Carousel Boutique. Twilight trotted up to the door, knocking loudly. "Rarity, it's Twilight. Is Spike there? We've been looking for him."

The door creaked open, and Rarity stood to greet them. She sighed in relief, "Finally, darling. Do come in." Then, she noticed Discord. Her eyebrows raised, and she hissed none too quietly in Twilight's ear. "And who is this stallion you are hiding so casually?"

"His name's Entropic State, but he goes by Entropy. He's my student for the month."

"I see." Rarity turned to Discord who had been examining the ridiculous building design. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Entropy. My name is Rarity. I'm one of Twilight's friends."

"A pleasure." He held out a hoof for her to shake, then glanced meaningfully at the shop's interior. "But, weren't we here for a reason?"

"Oh yes, come in, come in." Rarity trotted inside, levitating the door closed behind them. "Spike darling! Twilight's come to pick you up."

The little dragon slunk over to them, green scales adorned with ribbons and wearing a particularly sour expression. "Hey, Twilight."

"Spike! There you are." Twilight rushed to him, quickly giving the dragon a bone crushing hug. "I was so worried. Why didn't you say anything?"

"I didn't want to interrupt your lecture." Though Twilight seemed to believe the reason, Discord was not convinced. The dragon still shot suspicious glances at him out of the corner of his eyes.

Discord walked over to join Twilight, patting Spike's head in a fatherly fashion. "Oh, pish posh. You are more than welcome to interrupt little one." He pressed a hoof to his chest. "I fear I get rather focused when I'm discussing physics and quite lose track of the time."

"I'm the same way. Sorry, Spike. We'll try to be more considerate next time." Twilight released Spike from the hug. "Did you get some lunch?"

"Yeah, Rarity gave me some." Spike grinned at Rarity, "Thanks."

"Not a problem, Spikey Wikey. Thank you for your wonderful modeling." Rarity untied the bows with her magic, placing them neatly on the shelf. "Twilight, Entropy, do make sure we aren't forgetting our number one assistant in the future."

"Right." Twilight's embarrassed chuckle echoed around the shop. "Let's go, Spike."

Discord followed Twilight and Spike, listening to Twilight lecturing Spike on communication. It seemed all too boring for his taste. So what if the little twerp wandered off? And why in Equestria had he felt obligated to calm Twilight down? By the gods, Discord you're getting soft.

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around Ponyville. It irritated him to think that, despite centuries of knowledge, he could not do something as simple as levitate a book with unicorn magic. Frustrating and embarrassing to say the least. His latest attempt resulted in Ponyville's fountain spewing boiling water in all directions. Ponies were screaming and running in all directions. An irate Mayor Mare galloped towards them. "Twilight Sparkle! What in Equestria are you doing?"

Twilight cringed, lowering her head, "Sorry, Mayor. We were working on controlling Entropy's magic."

Discord turned away from the conversation, savoring the panic around him. Between the mess he made this morning, the fountain, and the various other tasks that had gone wrong, Ponyville was becoming far more entertaining. The sight of the ponies running helter skelter around the fountain and dodging the pile of rubble made him burst into laughter. He rolled on his sides, laughing until Twilight leaned over him, glowering down at him. Ooops.

"That is not funny, Entropy. I was trying to tell the mayor how sorry you were. Well, apparently you're not sorry at all!" Twilight kicked him with a hoof. "Come on, we're going to fix this mess."


"That's what you get for being insincere, Entropy." Twilight trotted over to the fountain, remedying the situation with a quick spell. "The rest we do without magic."

Urgh! Killjoy. Discord attempted to stand, but fell back in the attempt. Stupid hooves. He tried again, but could not quite figure out how to steady his hooves on the damp grass. Wincing, he hit the ground with a thud. How do they do it?

Twilight cantered over to him, eyes filled with concern. "Are you hurt?" Her soft hooves stroked his sides, making him jump a little. "You are hurt."

He rolled his eyes, "I'm fine." I didn't expect you to touch me that's all. Reluctantly, he allowed her to bring him to a standing position. Confound these ponies. "Sorry, the grass was wet."

"No problem." Twilight pointed to the rubble Discord had caused with his attempts at spell casting. "Let's get to work."

"Right." Discord took no pleasure in work. Some ponies and indeed some monsters might say that work was the cure for just about everything. He had to respectfully disagree. Work, particularly hard work was boring, and the end result was always less chaotic than it started out as.

Twilight looked to be in hog heaven, happily showing him how to put everything back into order. He gritted his teeth, pretending to be just as excited as she was. It took a lot longer than he originally thought to set things right. Apparently exploding flower boxes not only resulted in a large quantity of dirt, but also shards of wooden shrapnel in just about every nook and cranny. Then there was his attempt at straightening the lampposts which resulted in every one leaning ever so slightly to the left.

Finally, after hours of manual labor, they managed to complete the last repair. A loud toll from the clock tower informed them that it was seven o'clock. "Well, that's enough destruction for one day, huh, Entropy?" Twilight panted weakly.

Enough? There's never enough destruction. Sighing, he nodded acknowledgement. An overwhelming, unfamiliar surge of exhaustion was slowly creeping in. It was the first time in centuries that he had felt well and truly tired. All due to this horrid disguise of his. How do they stomach being so weak?

"Entropy?" Twilight's hoof waved in front of his face, causing him to step back in surprise. "You were spacing out again."

"Oh, forgive me, Twilight. Just . . . sorry about the mess today."

She gave him a friendly slap on the shoulder, "Don't worry about it, everypony has bad days."

He gave a halfhearted chuckle, still focusing on the grass. You don't know the half of it. Sighing, he started back towards his temporary home. "I'll see you tomorrow, princess."

"Yeah, see you."

I hate this place. Never had Discord wanted to blow up a town quite so badly. He settled for exploding the nearest bush. Ha, take that! There was nothing special about unicorn magic. It was as though the stuff had been invented by law abiding ponies like Twilight Sparkle, who failed to possess even the slightest glimmer of individuality. He would never be capable of controlling it, so why try? Ponies and their magic sucked all the fun out of everything. His chaos magic was exciting, unpredictable, and perfectly suited to his needs.

As he walked, he felt his limbs become stiff and sore. Why does it hurt so much? I'm not that old. Well, okay, maybe I am. But it's never bothered me before. Stupid ponies and their fragile little bodies. No, there was absolutely nothing good about being a pony. As soon as he could, he would return to his true form and write this up as a bad memory. Give it time, Discord. A little time and you'll have won.