Neltharion had with great effort remade his broken elementium armor. The task had taken him hours because of his enormous and clumsy size and lack of experience in the area of metallurgy.
To a degree, he had accepted his memories and his past mistakes. He knew as a being tens of thousands of years old that he could not change the past, only accept it and the guilt it gave him. Until he came back to his family, he would keep his past and guilt as deeply buried as he could.
Neltharion shook his head trying to throw away his tiredness, he had acquired quite the fatigue from his relentless filtering of his memories. He would need to find a place to rest. Preferably a cave. Normally, fully grown dragons can be awake for days and even months at a time if they had rested for long enough beforehand, and if they conserved their magic and energy in doses, but he had used most of his strength before arriving at this new world, and even more creating new armor to keep his body from falling apart.
Groaning, Neltharion moved his front legs to test them. He was satisfied with his work. The new plating didn't fall off and he didn't feel the pain from his wounds anymore. He got up, spreading his mighty wings and feeling his joints crack as he hadn't used them for hours.
With a mighty thrust of his wings he shot into the air, feeling it on his face he allowed a smile, impressed with what his old tainted body still could do after so long. He stopped a few miles in the air, and looked around him to get a look on the world he was in. He was still in the desert but he could spot a forest in the distance and a small village.
So there is intelligent life here, Good Neltharion thought while wondering how to approach the unsuspecting mortals. He could just fly in demanding to speak with their leader. Naah, to cliche he thought, also thinking he would probably be scaring the villagers out of their skin, if he went in like that.
Hmmm...he could fly from one end of this world to another, stopping at the most advanced city and then repeat his first option. That is almost the same as my first option.. He groaned in annoyance of his own simple thoughts. Then an idea shot through him I could disguise myself as one of the inhabitants and then befriend them and then get them to give me information. Neltharion grinned triumphant at his plan. It would work of that he was sure. There was only one flaw in his plan. He had no idea what the inhabitants looked like. His face fell in annoyance at the obvious error in the plan, but he decided to go with it anyway.
Neltharion flew as close to the ground as his wings would allow him, to avoid as much attention as possible. He felt ridiculous. A dragon his size trying to be stealthy? The idea was more than laughable but he had no other choice.
When he was a few miles from the forest he landed on the sand now turned ground. The earth trembled beneath him and his body. Beings for miles around had probably heard him land so much for stealthy... he thought. He needed a disguise and he needed it fast if he was going to approach these mortal sentient beings. Looking into the forest using foresight magic and his strong eyes, Neltharion saw a snake...A cobra resting on a tree branch. It was a little primitive, but it would have to do for now.
Neltharion closed his eyes and focused his magic feeling it reshape him. Smoke and fire consumed his body leaving a over 30 feet cobra with black and fiery scales and metal pieces all over it's body in it's place. He inspected his new form. For some reason his metal jaw had been replaced by a flesh and bone one. He didn't mind this, as it felt good to taste something else than metal in his mouth. His tail had remained the same. It was still the same spiky metal covered spear tip it was before. Neltharion smiled at his accomplishment and slithered towards the forest.
"Wait, wait, wait..." Discord said after hearing the explanation to summoning him the second time. The first time he hadn't really listened only heard Celestia say a few words like "end of the world".. "you're our only hope" blahblahblah and some other cheesy nonsense. Discord had been slightly embarrassed at the moment he was summoned as he was in the middle of singing. The nerve of these ponies... This was the second time he had been summoned without a heads up. "You want me to do what now?" he asked, slight confusion still in his voice.
The ponies and recently awakened Spike groaned in annoyance at the Draconequus.
Discord chuckled at their annoyance. He would never get tired at annoying these ponies. Floating over to them, Discord landed in front of them with his classic grin plastered on his face. Fluttershy unsurprisingly smiled at him while the rest of them unsurprisingly looked at him in annoyance. To Discords surprise Celestia had a little smile on her face as well. Well that's new Discord thought.
"I'm just teasing, Twilight sparkle," Discord said lifting her up and giving her a noogie before dropping her on the floor much to her, and everybody elses annoyance. "But why should I do it, is the question I ask you?" Discord said with a smug grin on his face.
The mares were slightly taken aback by this question, expecting Discord to do it without question.
"U-um what if we say please?" Fluttershy carefully offered, smiling sheepishly as she wasn't expecting it to work.
Discord laughed at Fluttershy's display "Oh my dear Fluttershy, you are absolutely adorable," he lifted her up and pinched her cheeks. He held her like somebody would hold a teddy bear.
Discord turned to the rest of the mares, a frown now occupying his face. "From what you've told me, there's a massive magic using dragon flying around with destructive power great enough to destroy Equestria in a heartbeat," How he said it so casually the mares would never know. "and you want me TO FIND IT?!" Discord yelled angrily at the mares that visibly shrunk at the tone of his voice. "YOU want MOI to risk my immortal handsome being just for the sake of Equestria and friendship?" Discord was starting to get angry. Although he was happy to have found friendship, he was not going to risk his life for it. He felt like he was being toyed with by the princesses, asking him to risk his life just for Equestria. Discord set down Fluttershy gently on the ground. "Pffft...fat chance" Discord snorted, starting to walk away from them.
"Thou treatorous wretch!" Luna yelled after him. "Thou would still walk away after thine betrayal to us for Tirek!?"
Discord flinched at the name of the demon centaur. That hit a nerve. Discord was suddenly right in Luna's face causing her to jump at his sudden movement. "I regret that i betrayed you to join Tirek everyday, Moonah," He said in a sad tone. "But that doesn't mean I will risk my life for you." Discord turned to the rest of the ponies "as far as i’m concerned I only betrayed Fluttershy that day".
The ponies and dragon were silent so Discord continued.
"You offered me friendship and acceptance and freedom in return for me helping you, and giving up the very reason of my existence, causing chaos. Only one of you held up your part of that deal."
All of the mares suddenly found their hoofs very interesting as they realised just how unfair the deal had been to Discord. They couldn't look up into the eyes of the now angry draconequus. This only seemed to infuriate him more.
"Did you expect me to hold up my part of the deal, when you couldn't even keep your part?!" Discord yelled at them. He felt a smile creep up on his face as he saw them shrink physically. "Only one of you actually gave me any respect, acceptance and friendship. The rest of you couldn't even stand looking at me!"
Discord felt his magic go haywire as his emotions made it do sometimes, but he didn't care, even after he saw the clouds outside the window turn into cotton candy. "I owe most of you nothing. I owe only Fluttershy and Twilight for the kindness they have shown me, and I'll gladly protect them if it comes to it." He turned away from the mares and dragon starting to walk away again.
"You can find someone else to do your dirty work," he yelled back at the mares who just stood there, three in shock, three in doubt of their previous actions and two who looked at the draconequus in sadness.
He was about to snap his claws to teleport away when he felt a hoof on his back. Discord turned around to swat the hoof away expecting it to be Fluttershy, but stopped when he saw who it was. It was Celestia. She was staring pleadingly into his eyes, her beautiful magenta eyes piercing his entire being. Discord gulped and tried to look away but her eyes kept him in place urrgh.. why does she have to be so darn beautiful... Discord thought slightly annoyed.
"Discord Please, You're the only one who can find him," Celestia said still holding his eyes into her own.
Discord rolled his eyes as much as could while not breaking his sight from her eyes. Him? Discord thought. This was the first time she had given any information about their foe. He finally broke her gaze and swatted her hoof away. Discord sighed deeply, and crossed his arms. "Fine..." Discord muttered.
The mares and dragon gave a relieved sigh. Celestia smiled at him and her eyes were giving him a silent thank you. "But I'll need information, at least a description," Discord said, keeping his frown.
"Yes of course, Discord," Celestia smiled at him, glad that he had accepted the quest.
"And I will want something in return," Discord said smugly, his words catching her off guard. "I don't know what, yet. All I know is that when i ask for it you will provide, Do we have a deal Celestia?" a sly grin now occupying his face.
Celestia hesitated. She had no idea of what Discord would ask of her but she was sure of one thing it wasn't going to be good "I-I..." Celestia began, she didn't want to, but she felt like she had to. She hadn't been lying when she said Discord was the one best suited for the job. Celestia cleared her throat. "Very well Discord, I will grant you whatever you wish when you find this dragon."
Discord threw his arms triumphant in the air "YES!" finally he had the chance to actually do wha- his thought process was interrupted by Celestia's angelic voice.
"But nothing involving chaos across Equestria," she said with a smile that turned into a giggle when Discord's face fell and so did his arm.
"Fine oh-Celestia princess of party pooping" he said while turning away, his eagle claw waving at her dismissively. "Now about that that information so i can get started," he said with as much boredom in his voice as he could muster.
"I'll show you the vision I had, but be warned. It's stuff that might aswell have been a terrible nightmare,"
"Aah no need to worry, sunbutt. The last 1000 years have been a worse nightmare than you can imagine, I think I can handle a little vision about 'big, scary dragon.'"
Celestia nodded and walked over to Discord, who had sat down. She laid her horn on his forehead and white light began to shine in Discord's eyes.
The mares and dragon around the room just stared at Discord, as he was experiencing the vision. No one said anything for around 5 minutes.
"So... Anyone read any good books lately?" Said Spike breaking the silence. The attention was shifted to Spike who just smiled sheepishly. Twilight shot him a hard glare and prepared to scold and lecture him about timing for small talk.
"Hey look!" Rainbow shouted while pointing at Discord. They all looked back at Discord who had a tear falling from his eye. The mares were slightly baffled by this as they had never seen Discord cry. They realised just how horrible the vision must be, if it could bring the earlier lord of misery and disharmony to tears.
The other mares were about to comment when Discord shook his head violently and blinked several times. The mares and spike hadn't noticed until now, but his face was completely drained of color.
Discord cleared his throat "well that was fun," he said with a hoarse voice, tone full of sarcasm. He stood up. "Yeaaa... Celestia, you probably shouldn't show the rest of them that. Might give them trauma or nightmares, and as much as I love trauma filled ponies, I don't wish this one on anypony," Discord said surprisingly serious.
Celestia nodded in agreement. The rest of the mares turned to Celestia.
"Sister, if were going to find it we need as well to know what it looks like," Luna said, slightly offended by the words of Discord, and even more offended by her sister agreeing with him.
Celestia opened her mouth to reply but was interrupted.
"Ohh trust me Luna," Discord began with a toothy grin "You'll know it when you see it. Id like to see you try missing a black dragon with a wingspan over 1200 feet."
Twillight and Luna's jaws dropped at the words. Nothing in Equestria had ever had a wingspan that big.
"Besides it doesn't look like a normal Equestrian dragon it's less..." Discord waved his eagle claw glancing at Spike, searching for the word. "Goofy looking".
"HEY!" Spike protested.
"Okay, okay. It looks more realistic then..." he said crossing his arms. He began walking towards the door. "You should probably head home. I'll report if I find anything," he said snapping his claw and disappearing.
The former elements and Spike bid the princesses farewell and walked out. The royal sisters walked out on the balcony. It was mid afternoon and the sun was high in the sky.
Luna looked worriedly at her sister "Celestia, do you think Discord will find it?"
Celestia looked at her sister with a gentle smile. She sighed "We can only hope he will, Luna." Celestia looked towards everfree forest, at the spot she had been standing in her dream “We can only hope.”