Keep Calm and Chaos On

by Azure129

Food, Clothing, Shelter...

A very quick note about reading this story. The chapters of this fic weren't written/posted in chronological order. If you read the A/N's, I think what happens in the story and when it all happens is very straightforward and easy to follow if you just read the fic chapters in the order they were posted (and I think it's a more fun reading experience than reading the chapters in the order in which they occur. :raritywink:).

However, if you'd like to read the story chronologically at any point, this is the order in which to read it :twilightsmile: :
"Food, Clothing, Shelter...", Midquels 1--10, "Flowers, Pillows, and Cake Makes it All Complete!", Sequel, Bonus Story!

Take care, and please enjoy the story :scootangel:

“I’ll leave the elements with you, Twilight,” Celestia whispered to her faithful student, a wary look in her eyes, “just in case.”

Twilight, of course, nodded to Celestia in full understanding.

As Celestia raised her head, she caught sight of Discord blinking and then glancing away a touch hesitantly, clearly having heard her words as well.

Then, as Discord might put it, Twilight went on to explain to everypony in almost excruciating detail every conceivable sappy moral dimension of the draconequus’s sudden reformation, paying excessive compliments to friendship’s magical capabilities and showing off just a little more than she needed to even if her wise teacher was watching her at the moment.

Eventually, however, Twilight had finished, and Discord admitted friendship’s magic for the first time, causing Fluttershy to remark on how her friend could be a real sweetheart once somepony got to know him—a comment which prompted looks of concern and doubt from everypony else, even the normally accepting and smiling princess Celestia herself.

Now, however, the girls had all said their farewells to Discord and Celestia and had dispersed, as had Discord after a snap of his fingers and a dramatic flash of light. So Princess Celestia found herself alone and free to head back to Canterlot Castle, having successfully completed her personal mission of encouraging the spread of the magic of friendship even among the least likely of takers.

Celestia smiled to herself as she trotted along through some of the side streets of Ponyville. ‘I might as well walk for just a little while—it’s such a nice day, and I’m not due back at the castle for at least half an hour. I thought confirming Discord’s reform would have taken much longer. And if I stay out of the main streets, I’ll have some privacy at least.’ She smiled to herself and continued along.

“I’ll leave the elements with you, Twilight…just in case.”

Celestia paused entirely and her eyes went wide at the sound of her voice saying these familiar words—but the words weren’t coming out of her mouth. She looked around in confusion.

Then suddenly with a flash a certain new ‘friend’ appeared before her, his mismatched arms crossed over his chest and a bushy eyebrow raised. He snapped his fingers, causing a little cloud to appear next to him in which replayed a scene from mere moments ago—Celestia leaning down and whispering to Twilight, “I’ll leave the elements with you, Twilight…just in case.”

Celestia blinked but then smiled, her usual poise returning. “Hello again, Discord. What are you doing here?” She raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, just wondering what the meaning of this is.” Discord gestured with his head to indicate the bubble behind him. “That’s all.” He pouted and frowned at her a little. “I didn’t want to call you out on it in front of our little element bearers and especially Fluttershy since she hates confrontation, but, really, Celestia—my new, dear friend Celestia—what in hay was that supposed to mean?” He jerked his thumb right at the bubble, which replayed the scene once more.

“I’ll leave the elements with you, Twilight…just in case.”

Celestia considered carefully for a moment and then answered simply, “You mean me leaving the Elements of Harmony with Twilight? Well, she and her friends are the element bearers, Discord. It seemed like a sound thing to do. Do you not agree?” She smiled.

“Ha!” Discord scoffed, grinning and flying up to rest on his stomach in the air before her. He snapped to make the bubble disappear. “It seems like a ‘sound thing to do’—seems more like an ‘awfully threatening thing to do’ regarding someone who is supposed to be your friend now, hmm?” He grinned at her smugly. “I mean, if you can’t take our friendship seriously, Celestia, how am I supposed to take it seriously?” He put his arms behind his head and turned over on his back to glide backwards through the air in circles. “Of course, not that I’d ever take anything 'seriously', but for the sake of argument, let’s just go with that word for now.” He flew right in front of her again and frowned once more. “The point is, I agreed to be good, and your response was to indirectly threaten me with the Elements of Harmony. And for this I demand an apology!” He held up a hand dramatically and looked down at her with such satisfaction, like he had just come up with the grandest chaotic puzzle of all and knew she couldn’t solve it.

Celestia, however, just smiled up at him as serenely as ever. “I see. Hmm…very well, I apologize for my expression of distrust. It was wrong of me to suggest a threat to you like that, Discord, and I’m sorry.” She gave a slight bow of her head.

Celestia looked up, and her suspicions of what might happen now were realized—Discord blinked, raised an eyebrow, and then all of his pomp deflated from him. “Wait, you mean…you agree, and…you apologize, and…I win?”

Celestia nodded. “Yes. Although, I don’t think I’d call it ‘winning.’” She put a hoof to her chin. “We’re friends, Discord—there’s no winning or losing, that’s for heroes and villains. You brought up a concern to me, told me your feelings, and made a reasonable request—why wouldn’t I agree to do what it takes to uphold our new friendship?” She smiled at him.

Discord blinked a few times now and put his feet back on the ground. “So it’s that simple then?” he asked cautiously.

Celestia nodded. “Yes, it is. Congratulations, Discord, you’re well on your way to having honest, open, reasonable relationships with everypony. I’m very proud.”

Discord blinked at the compliment and looked down, pouting a little in some frustration, his claw coming to his chin. But then he considered…and then his grin returned. He stepped aside and gestured forward with his paw. “Very well. I should probably let you get back to your walk then.”

Celestia, trying not to smile too much, nodded. “Yes, I would like that very much, Discord. I get so little free time, and I do have to be back in Canterlot soon. Please enjoy your afternoon.” And with that she started to trot forward again.

“Of course, though…” Celestia heard Discord go on, and she blinked as he slid up right beside her, matching her pace, “I might be inclined to join you for a little bit. And as a friend I’m sure you won’t turn me away, right?” He eyed her with delightful satisfaction.

Celestia sighed softly but managed to keep up her smile. She nodded to him. “Of course not, Discord. If you would like to join me, I would be very happy for the company.” She continued forward.

Discord beamed. “Excellent, excellent.” He clapped his claw and paw together. “So, regarding our little ‘issue’ just now, I suppose everything’s all settled then—you were wrong to suggest threatening me with the Elements, you apologized, and by now, of course, I’m sure you’ve magicked-away those pesky little enchanted jewels from the girls and back to Canterlot as a sign of your true faith in me.” He grinned widely.

“Oh, of course not, Discord,” Celestia merely replied brightly. “The Elements are still with the Twilight, and that is where they’ll stay for now.”

Discord blinked, his grin falling. “But you just said—”

“I said,” Celestia interrupted, but in the politest tone, “That I was wrong to make you feel threatened by the Elements. But I’m still keeping them with the girls. Oh it’s not really a matter of not trusting you, Discord, it’s just…evil can strike in Equestria at any time, and it’s much more efficient for the girls to have direct access to their Elements than to have to travel to Canterlot for them or for me to have to bring the Elements here, don’t you think?” Celestia shrugged, and her smile grew just a little.

Discord blinked, opened his mouth as though about to protest…but then just sighed very deeply and crossed his arms over his chest with a dull, defeated look. “Oh, I suppose.”

Celestia laughed softly. Then she looked forward, considered for a moment, weighed the potential consequences of the idea that suddenly occurred to her, but finally pursued the topic anyway. “You know, speaking of unnecessary comments regarding your reform…back with the girls when you promised to use your magic for good, you mumbled a little something yourself…. What was it? Oh yes—you said you would use your magic for good instead of evil, and then you added ‘most of the time.’ ” She raised an eyebrow. “And what was that supposed to mean exactly?” She mimicked his words about her own little qualifying statement as their walk continued.

Discord blinked. Then he grinned smugly again. “Well, it means, of course, oh observant Celestia, that I can’t literally spend twenty four hours a day making and spreading goodness—I do have to sleep sometimes and eat sometimes and take personal time sometimes. And of course I have to make time for dear Fluttershy.” He shrugged, clasping his hands behind his back.

“Mmm hmm…” Celestia’s grin grew slightly at this cagey response. She continued to eye him. “So you and Fluttershy really have hit it off then? That’s wonderful. Her friendship must be very special to you.”

Discord rolled his eyes to the side. “Oh, well, you know…she’s all right.” He cleared his throat and looked down, and Celestia suddenly realized with interest that he was feeling awkward…and he would only feel awkward if his care for his friendship with Fluttershy really was sincere. Something in her smile warmed.

“Anyway…” Discord went on, trying to resume his usual confident tone, “Getting back to my point—as I said, now matter how much I want to help you, I can’t be expected to just be out snapping up goodness and joy all the time.”

Celestia nodded. “That’s a fair point, Discord.”

“So, during all of that downtime, since you’re the one who brought me back into this world to help you out, I think that makes you responsible for making sure all of my basic needs are met while I’m waiting to assist you with my phenomenal powers.” He grinned as smugly as he ever had at her.

Celestia blinked. “Discord…I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

Discord shrugged. “Allow me to explain then.” He pointed at her with his paw. “You see, you let me out—I didn’t ask to be let out, you let me out and for your own convenience. You took me from the continuation of a thousand year stone prison nap complete with occasional waking moments to mentally mock all of your Equestrian harmony around me, and have now permanently shoved me out into a cold, cruel, modern world that I have no place in and know nothing about. I’m your responsibility a lot more than I am the girls’ responsibility, Princess. Therefore, I think that means you should be in charge of making sure that the basic needs of my life are met as a ‘reformed’ ” he made air quotes, “being of chaos. Simple as pie.” He snapped and made a large pie appear in front of him, which he held and started eating with a fork, pie tin and all.

Celestia still looked rather confused though. “Discord…I’m sorry, I’m still not entirely sure what you’re getting at.”

Discord sighed deeply, magically dabbing his mouth with a napkin. “You have to make sure I’m provided for, Celestia. Food, clothing, shelter.” He smiled brightly.

Celestia raised an eyebrow. “But…you can make your own food appear, Discord.” She gestured with her hoof to the pie in front of him.

Discord glanced at the pie and then just snapped the remains away. “Sure, but why should I HAVE to, hmm? I think I should have some access to food prepared for me while I go through the trying task of learning how to harness my chaotic powers for good.” He put a hand to his forehead dramatically.

“Okay…” Celestia sighed but maintained her poise. “As for clothing, though, once again, not only can you snap up your own, but it’s not really a requirement around here, Discord. Most ponies only wear clothes for fashion or formal occasions,” she explained.

“Well, I’m not a pony, but thank you for so insensitively comparing me to the dominant species in Equestria.” Discord turned his nose up in a huff.

Celestia sighed, her look going a touch dry. “Discord, that’s not what I—”

“No, no!” He held out his paw, still acting insulted. “The damage is done. Let’s just move past it for the sake of our friendship.” He smiled to himself. “Fine, though, I actually don’t need to wear clothes, but sometimes I might like a coat to keep out the harsh weather or a big floppy hat to protect myself from all of the gaudy sunlight around this place.” He smirked, putting his hands on his hips. “But why should I be responsible for whipping up those things? I wouldn’t need them if I were stone. Therefore I think the task must again fall to you, Celestia.” He pointed at her.

Celestia took a deep breath and did her best to maintain her professional, calm tone still. “I’ll consider the problem, Discord, though I think you have to admit it’s not the most pressing issue right now considering the temperate weather and the partial cloudiness.”

“Well, while you’re considering the issues of food and clothing for me,” Discord went on, gesturing to himself with his paw, his cockiness only escalating, “You can consider my final problem, my biggest problem—shelter. Just where in the world am I supposed to live now, Celestia?”

Celestia actually stopped walking. And her eyes went wide.

Discord stopped too. Then his grin quickly became as wide as could be. ‘Got her.’ He turned to face her, arms crossed over his chest, eyes narrowed a little. “You see, my home before was that pedestal in the garden…but now I have no home.”

“But…” Celestia tilted her head to the side, looking up at him, “Surely you have some old haunt from the past to go to? Or some place in mind to make with your magic? Any free space in the land is open to you to use.”

Discord just shook his head though. “Celestia, it’s been a thousand years—if I had any old haunts, either they’d be rubble now or I would have forgotten about them. I didn’t have a staff maintaining my house for the last millennium like you did. And as for rebuilding, Celestia, I am surprised at you.” He frowned, holding out his arms for emphasis. “Do you know how traumatic the last few months have been for me? I was just minding my own business in stone, then you go disconnect yourself from the Elements all willy-nilly, and suddenly I’m free, I’m finally getting everything I’ve ever wanted, all of my chaos dreams come true, and then boom, your little element bearers come along, and I have to go through the trauma of getting turned back to stone again.” He scowled. “And since I was surprised, the pose wasn’t exactly flattering this time.”

Discord huffed a little, pacing before her now, getting a bit caught up in his own dramatics. “Then, fine, I’m back to stone, just enjoying being free of your nagging when all of a sudden you show up at the statue garden with a bunch of guards, toss me into a chariot, and fly me to Ponyville to make me a friendship report project for your little ponies.” He rolled his eyes. “And okay, maybe it worked out, maybe I made a friend, maybe I’ll admit there’s something to all of that ‘loving and caring for each other being the most magical thing of all’ malarkey you were always spouting. But now,” Discord paused and turned toward her, raising his paw high, “Now to keep my freedom I have to repress my evil tendencies, clean the very blackness from my heart, and manage to do good! Do you know how stressful that is going to be on me?! Do you have any idea the degree of recalibration I’m going to have to do to my magic?!” He threw his arms in the air. “You might as well ask Twilight Sparkle to abandon her studies of boring books and take up a study of wild parties and spontaneous vandalism!” He rolled his eyes and sighed, putting his arms on his hips again. “My point is, I am going to be going through a lot now, and more for your benefit than mine—I don’t have the time or energy to scout around for prime real estate and start building some kind of chaos chateau from scratch. There are more important things to do. And you’re the one who has left me in this predicament, so why shouldn’t you be the one to get me out of it?”

Celestia blinked, an actual touch of guilt coming to her features. She knew he was exaggerating the distress of his circumstances a little of course, and yet…he made a valid, true point. She had thrust him into the world now, and if whatever home he’d had before was gone… “But,” she put a hoof to her chin, trying to come up with some suitable solution for this pressing issue, “maybe Fluttershy or one of your other new friends would let you stay with them until you had time to find a new, permanent home for yourself?”

“Hmm,” Discord put a hand to his chin, “That’s an idea, yes….” He shrugged and smiled. “But unfortunately it won’t work. You see I’ve already put out poor, dear Fluttershy enough for the last few days. It would be rude of me as her friend to impose further, especially since her house is so small.” His grin picked up on one side. “And as for the other girls, we really haven’t broken the ice very well yet—I just don’t feel comfortable asking them to take me in.” He slid up close to Celestia. “Still, I do need a place…. But where oh where will I ever find a friend I’m familiar enough with who has room to spare and who will take me in?” His smirk grew to its fullest extent, his eyes narrowed, and he looked right down at Celestia.

Celestia blinked. It took her a minute to accept the reality of what he was suggesting. And then she took a step away before replying with a lot more surprise than she had wanted to betray, “You want to stay at the castle in Canterlot?”

Discord’s eyes lit up. “Ooo what a novel idea, hadn’t even crossed my mind!” He floated up, lying on his back, looking up in thought. “Well, we have known each other for quite some time even if it hasn’t been on the best of terms…and your castle certainly has the room available…and you have a kitchen staff so that would take care of my food dilemma…and I’m sure there are plenty of things that I could wear and use for warmth and protection around the castle. Hmm…yes, this does sound like a perfect plan for everyone involved.” He chuckled and grinned down at Celestia again.

Celestia’s eyes were still very wide. “You want to move into the Canterlot Castle…” she repeated once more, “…with me and my sister.”

“Temporarily—sure, why not?” Discord shrugged, landing beside her. “Unless, of course we aren’t really friends….” His eyes narrowed playfully again.

There was a momentary stand off at this point.

Discord wondered if he finally had the upper hand. If she uncaringly refused his request or claimed she didn’t feel safe having him around, it would be a perfect excuse to put into his back pocket should a situation ever arise where he felt like breaking this little deal of ‘do good and help me, and you won’t go back to being stone’ that Celestia had set up with him. He would have the ideal defense for resisting her commands, fighting her desires, and shirking her order because he would be able to claim all the while that her lack of faith in their friendship was the cause for any bad behavior on his part. He would be the one in charge of their relationship rather than having the balance of power split between them.

Meanwhile, Celestia was considering very carefully.

Then the sun princess looked into Discord’s eyes and smiled. “Why not indeed. Discord? What a perfect solution to your problem. I’m only sorry I didn’t think of it myself.” She nodded her head. “You may stay at the castle for as long as you feel the need.” And with that Celestia just looked forward and started walking along again, her usual content smile upon her features as though nothing in the world was wrong.

Discord’s jaw actually fell—all confidence and arrogance evaporated from his look. “Wait, really?” He dashed up beside her.

“Of course.” Celestia nodded, glancing at him. “You’re right, I’m the one who decided to free you, so I should take some responsibility for your welfare now that your reform has occurred. You are welcome as our guest, friend Discord.”

Discord, for just a moment longer, looked at her with utter confusion. But then he blinked and grinned. “Really? Hmm…fantastic.” He chuckled, looking smug as ever again. “So who do I get to bunk with, you or Luna? I promise, I’m much less messy of a roommate than my reputation would suggest, and I don’t snore nearly as loudly as I used to—something about being stone really clears up the sinuses.”

“Bunk with—Discord!?” Celestia’s eyes went wide, and she almost tripped forward. The faintest blush came to her features. “I really don’t think…. Erm, you’ll have your own room of course—I insist.” She looked forward again.

Discord just chuckled more. “Oh, but don’t you think I’d learn more about friendship by sharing a room with someone? Come on, Celestia, we’re all mature adults, we can handle something like this without being so dramatic!” He waved her off and snapped his fingers, suddenly giving himself a frilly white collar and holding up a skull in his claw in a Shakespearian way before laughing again and snapping his new accessories away once more.

Celestia just sighed and nodded. “Yes, that’s true, Discord, you do learn the most about friendship by spending as much time as possible with your friends, but Luna and I are very busy. We need our privacy. And besides….” she took in and let out a breath, returning to her normal, poised tone (for the most part), “I-It just wouldn’t be appropriate.”

Discord sighed and rolled his eyes. “Oh come on, Celestia, I’m asking to put a cot near your fireplace, not to curl up at the end of your bed.” He raised an eyebrow at her in amusement. “Even a thousand years in the future you’re still this old fashioned about gentleman visitors? Seriously?”

Celestia gave him a look, blushing just slightly again. “You will have your own room, Discord. I insist.” She took in a deep breath and added much more calmly, “But if you would like to stop by my room anytime to talk or visit, I would like that very much. We can discuss more about your future.” Her normal smile returned.

Discord smiled back at her and opened his mouth like he was going to agree…but then he paused and shook his head. “Hmm, no, sorry, can’t agree to that just yet. I’d like to run my ‘bunk with someone’ idea by Luna first, just to see if she’ll go for it.” He grinned again and leaned in close to Celestia, speaking to her in a loud whisper. “You know, just between us, I was probably going to pick her over you anyway even if you had wanted to be in the running for my new roommate. You may be the more popular princess, but word on the street is your sister is the fun one, and I always felt like that was the case myself.” He pulled back, laughing to himself.

Celestia stopped walking and raised an eyebrow. “The fun one?”

Discord nodded, stopping as well. “Of course. You’re so stuffy all the time, Celestia, so predictable, so grim and boring. Luna’s a pony you’d like to party with though. I mean, think about it, when do ponies have more fun—during your holiday, the Summer Sun Celebration, where they all sit around and gawk at you raising the sun yet again, or during Luna’s holiday, Nightmare Night, where they all run around in costume and play games and scare the candy out of each other?” He shrugged. “I’m afraid when it comes to fun, Luna rules, Celestia drools.” He stuck out his tongue pompously.

Celestia just looked at him for a moment. “Celestia…drools.”

Then she got an idea—a wonderful, awful, ‘fun’ idea. Celestia smiled at Discord in a special way. “Well, you may have a point, Discord. Luna always was the more playful of the two of us. You know, come to think of it, for all I know she might actually like your proposal.”

Discord smiled to himself proudly. “Oh of course she would! What’s not to like? I mean, I was fantastic enough when I was evil, but now that I’m reformed I’m just that much more amazing, you know?” He brushed his paw against his chest and held it out in front of himself. “I’m sure we’d have a grand, old, chaotic time rooming together. After all, it must have been her idea to reform me too since you’re sharing your rule again. So she must be looking forward to establishing a friendship with me just as much as you are, right?” He glanced at Celestia smugly.

Celestia blinked but then nodded without hesitation. “Oh, of course, yes—Luna and I talked everything over last night about your reform and about how all three of us could become friends once you were ready to use your magic for good.” She smiled more. “And in fact, speaking of the night, it’ll be time for sunset in about an hour. Why don’t we teleport back to Canterlot Castle and you can just make yourself at home in Luna’s room?” She shrugged. “Don’t worry, she’s a deep sleeper, and she likes surprises. I’m sure she’ll be very happy to see now that we’re all friends. When she wakes up just let her know why you’re there. And on the off chance she does have any issue with ‘bunking with you’, she’ll just let you know, and we can all discuss the situation together later. What do you say?” She smiled brightly at him.

‘I say you have gotten far too trusting in your old age, Celestia dear, and now I’ve got an in at the castle, and I have direct access to at least one princess, and I’m at a safe distance from the Elements of Harmony. Oh you are going to make it too easy for me to set up some fall backs just in case this whole reform thing goes south…and even if it doesn’t go south, the chance to bug you in your own home is well worth all of my planning,’ Discord thought to himself smugly. Then he clapped his paw and claw together and replied aloud to Celestia, “I say it’s an excellent plan! Oh I’m so glad we’re getting along as such good chums now.” He leaned over and put an arm around her neck, pulling her close. “You’ll just love living with chaos in your pretty castle, Celestia—truly ours will be a friendship for the history books!” He smiled up at the sky, holding up his claw. Then he glanced down at her again and quickly added, “Incidentally, you’re insured, right?”

Celestia just sighed deeply, putting a hoof to her head and trying very, very hard not to laugh. “I’m sure the experience will be very enlightening, Discord,” she merely replied. Then she smiled warmly at him. “Now, let’s go to the castle, shall we? I have some affairs to take care of before sunset, and I’m sure you don’t want to be late for surprising Luna. I’ll also want some time to explain our new situation to the staff of course.”

“Ooo, yes, the staff!” Discord let her go and clenched his hands into fists in excitement. “Butlers, maids, footmen, chefs...finally I get to live in the lap of luxury like I’ve always deserved! I think I’ll commemorate my first day with a hooficure or maybe a nice massage or maybe I’ll just raid the royal fridge after dinner. The chao—er, the ‘friendly’ possibilities are endless!” He chuckled to himself and then looked to the princess, holding up his paw to snap. “Race you there, Celestia—last one to the castle is an overbearing alicorn. Oh wait, you already are!” He laughed raucously and then snapped his fingers, making himself disappear in a flash.

Celestia just smiled after him as the smoke of his disappearance cleared. And then her smile grew, her eyes narrowing playfully. “Hmm…Celestia drools, huh? I’ll show you who doesn’t know how to have fun, ‘friend’ Discord.” And with that and a small laugh she teleported herself back to Canterlot as well.

About an hour later, Celestia stood on the balcony of her tower preparing to lower the sun…and she was also listening very eagerly for any particular sounds that might come from the tower across from her as she awaited her sister’s awakening and exit to her own balcony to commence raising the moon.

Celestia sighed to herself, her smile faltering slightly. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done this. It was a little immature.” She looked down. “I really did let him get to me too much. And, all of this might cause problems more than anything else.” Her smile became sheepish. “Then again, I’m sure Luna probably won’t react too badly to finding him in her room…although,” she put a hoof to her chin, “just because she knows I was planning to have the girls start reforming Discord today doesn’t mean she knows that he is in fact reformed now.” Her smile couldn’t help growing. Celestia laughed at herself and shook her head. “Still, I don’t know what pushed me to…” She sighed, recalling Discord’s words. “Celestia drools. And he’s going to be living in my house now. And he’s interpreting being reformed in a very purposefully chaotic way. “ She held her head high. “No, this might be good for him—it’ll let him see that living with the pony sisters isn’t going to be a situation that he can take advantage of nearly as much as he thinks he can.”

Celestia looked to the sky. “There’s only a few minutes left.” Her eyes went back over to Luna’s tower. “She should be getting up any moment now…”

A peaceful silence reigned over the castle.


And then Celestia heard her sister’s loud gasp.

There was a moment more of silence during which Celestia raised an eyebrow and considered going over.

Then the fun began.

Celestia couldn’t make out everything her sister bellowed in her Royal Canterlot Voice, but suffice it to say at least this much got through before the sun princess finally flew over to intervene lest Luna’s yelling shatter more than a few windows and lest Discord’s body on the receiving end of a magical blast take out a wall or something—


“Hold still.”

“Mmm…but it hurts!”

Celestia sighed and smiled a little. “Discord, please stop whining and just let me finish.”

Discord and Celestia sat together in Celestia’s study. Discord had his arms crossed over his chest, and he was pouting. There were several scuffs all over his body…and he had a large black eye slowly forming. Celestia, meanwhile, was patiently using her magic to apply some soothing potion on a rag to the wound.

“I know it stings,” Celestia went on, “But this will help keep your eye from getting worse. In fact, as long as you get a good night’s sleep, it should be all better by tomorrow morning.” She smiled.

“You know…” Discord scowled a little, looking right into her eyes, “After this whole little gag of yours, it would serve you right if I snapped my fingers and went back to being as evil as ever.”

Celestia paused in applying the potion. She looked back at him.

There was quiet for a moment.

“I’m sorry,” Celestia said softly, her tone all sincerity. “I’m sorry I played a trick on you like that, and that you got hurt. It was wrong.”

Discord’s harsh look remained for just a moment…but then she watched almost with fascination as it started to fade little by little.

And now he just sighed, all malice gone from his features as his simple pout returned. “I forgive you…I guess.” He rolled his eyes.

Celestia smiled. “Thank you, Discord.” She went back to applying the potion. Already his eye looked almost back to normal.

Discord remained looking sullen for a little longer. Then he sighed. “You know…I really hate to give you the satisfaction, but for what it’s worth, that was actually a very funny and well-played practical joke from you Celestia—tricking me into suffering Luna’s wrath. I’m even mildly impressed.” He grinned just a little. “What exactly was it that I did that put you over the edge?”

Celestia smiled just a little, looking down. “The Celestia drools comment. Telling me I wasn’t any fun got me close but…I’m afraid the ‘Celestia drools’ thing sealed your fate.”

Discord chuckled. “I should have known something was up when you practically started giving me instructions on how I should go about setting up camp in your sister’s bedroom. Well, just so you know, Luna might be the more fun sister, but you are definitely the more beautiful sister when you’re angry.” He gave her a dry look with a grin. “And by ‘more beautiful’ I mean ‘less lightning-producing’.”

Celestia blinked and raised an eyebrow at this comment, magically pulling back the potion-covered cloth for a moment.

Discord noticed and shrugged. “What—I’d rather look at your perturbed scowl than her ferocious glare, that’s all.” He raised an eyebrow. “Incidentally, where’s Luna now, and…is she all right? And I don’t just mean is she all right after this little stunt, I mean is she all right in a general sense? I don’t know if you know this, but your sister has some anger issues, Celestia dear.” He grinned a little more.

Celestia sighed, smiling again. “Oh, Luna just went to go get started on her nightly duties and maybe for a nice flight first to calm herself down. I suggested it after I told her I’d take care of you and explain everything to her later. And she’s perfectly well, Discord—I promise she didn’t mean to cause you any serious harm. Luna’s just not a morning person…er, an evening person.” She chuckled. “I mean, she’s always cranky when she wakes up…and she hates surprises…and she’s never been the biggest fan of you…and also she didn’t quite know you were reformed so much as she just knew I was intending to reform you…and she really doesn’t like anyone in her room.” Celestia smiled sheepishly, finishing up with the potion and putting it aside. Now she just used her magical aura to add a small healing spell to his eye.

“Wow,” Discord grinned, “You had a perfect storm of a prank, didn’t you? Okay, I really can’t blame you now for going through with it—no one could have resisted all of those ideal circumstances coming together.” He leaned back in his chair a little, glancing up in thought as Celestia finished her spell. “I’ll have to remember to keep on my toes then around you while I’m living here. Can’t afford to get surprised again—that would entirely destroy my reputation.”

Celestia blinked and looked at him with interest. “You’re still staying?”

Discord sighed and was about to look down at her and assure her that, while he knew she must be disappointed, she couldn’t get rid of him that easily.

However, when he looked down, he was surprised to find that Celestia had an almost relieved look on her face about the prospect of him sticking around.

Discord smiled. “Why of course I’m still staying, my dear princess.” He nodded to her. “I still need a place to live after all, and besides how poor of a master of chaos would I be to let one little bump in the road derail my plans—and a prank no less? Why, if anything, what you did makes me want to stay even more.” He grinned. “We really must be friends if you’re willing to engage me in such risky, potentially chaotic behavior as practical jokes.”

Celestia blinked. “Discord…” she looked at him very seriously, “This can’t turn into some sort of prank war. Luna and I have a castle to run. Harmless jokes are fine, but I admit, however well things turned out in the end, I went too far today, and I do not want you going that far. Please.”

Discord just grinned all the more back at her though. “Oh sure, Celestia, no problem.” He winked and chuckled to himself.

Celestia’s eyes went a little wide. Then she looked at him a touch sternly. “Discord.” She used her magic to pull his chair a bit closer, catching his attention. “Listen to me—the castle simply cannot handle that much chaos. I want you to stay here with me and Luna—I actually think it’ll be good for all three of us. But if you insist on potentially destroying our home and keeping us from doing our jobs with your chaotic jokes, I will have to ask you to leave, friends or no friends. Luna and I have to be able to work, without question. Do you understand?”

Discord just looked back at her with wide eyes. “Uh…” then he raised an eyebrow, “If I say yes, does this mean you’re offering to let me bunk with you as long as I behave myself?” His grin picked up on one side and his eyes brightened. Then… “Ow!”

Celestia had used her magic to toss the used potion rag at him. She sighed deeply and rolled her eyes. Yet she couldn’t help smiling just a little as well. “Very funny.” She looked to him. “Just save any big pranks for outdoors. And try to spend a lot of time with Fluttershy. I think it’ll help you.” Her own smile picked up a little on one side. “And I’ll have some of the staff set up a proper room for you as soon as possible. Now, come on…” she stood up and walked past him, magically opening the door of her study, “You were very understanding about my prank, and I did accidentally get you hurt by Luna’s temper—would you like to join me for a nighttime snack in the kitchen?” She tired not to laugh as she added, “You said you needed food as part of your demands, right?”

Discord stood up and followed after her. “Yes, I do, and especially after the harrowing ordeal I’ve been through at the merciless hooves of you and your sister today.” He chuckled. “And fine, fine, you win…I’ll go play in my own room. But I reserve the right to visit and play ‘harmless’ little tricks on you and Luna whenever there’s not a national crisis going on and the mood strikes me.”

Celestia laughed softly and nodded, leading them down the hall. “Agreed, Discord.” Then Celestia raised an eyebrow and couldn’t help asking a certain curious question. “So…how did Luna give you that black eye anyway?”

Discord sighed. “She…” his voice lowered to a mumble, “She…might have thrown a stuffed animal at my face.”

Celestia’s eyebrow raised more. She was trying so very hard not to laugh.

Discord could tell, and he rolled his eyes. “What?! She threw it with her magic! And she threw it hard! And I wasn’t ready! And it was big! And did I mention I wasn’t ready?” He held his head high, trying to maintain his dignity for a moment. But then finally, out of the corner of his eye, seeing Celestia struggling so hard not to laugh, he had to smile. And then he started laughing all on his own, Celestia quickly joining in with him.

Still laughing together, the two friends turned a corner, went down a flight of stairs and entered the (now empty) kitchen—an immaculate-looking room of white walls and silvery steel appliances and wooden tables. Celestia walked inside, Discord glancing around as he came in behind her. “The staff all leave not long after moonrise,” she explained. “Usually dinner is complete by then, and they’ve already set up a lunch for Luna if she wants it during the night. Then the staff returns for breakfast. So if you want anything prepared and brought to your room, it just can’t be during the middle of the night. But feel free to come down here and make yourself a late snack any evening you want to. I frequently do that myself. And if you’d ever like to join me, I’d be glad for the company.” Celestia opened an icebox and levitated out a chocolate cake. She also used her magic to bring forward two plates and some forks and a slicer from a drawer. “Cake, Discord?”

Discord smiled, snapping himself up a chair and sitting down at the nearest wooden table. “Don’t mind if I do, thank you.”

Celestia nodded and cut and served them both slices. Then she magically created a chair for herself beside Discord and took a seat as well.

For a while the two of them just sat eating together in the quiet of the empty kitchen.

Then… “Huh…” Discord suddenly said almost absentmindedly, picking up some of his plate now on his fork to eat it along with the cake he had already consumed.

“Something on your mind, Discord?” Celestia raised an eyebrow.

“It’s just…interesting.” He glanced around. “This is how it is to be friends with you instead of mortal enemies—just sitting in a kitchen at night eating cake.”

Celestia smiled. “Do you like it?”

Discord grinned and shrugged. “It’s a little low on the chaos-side for me but…you know, it does have a merit all its own. I don’t know about you, Celestia, but frankly I’m not sure if I even have it in me anymore for the constant conflict and dramatic stand offs and ceaseless witty quips and puns between us like in the old days. I mean, none of us are as young as we used to be, right?” He nudged her a little. “So as an alternative, this right here really isn’t bad—we had some playful banter, a few tricks were pulled, and now at the end of the day we can just rope it in and have a snack before hitting the hay.” He finished another bite of cake. “Reminds me of staying at Fluttershy’s actually.”

Sighing (and letting the age comment go), Celestia smiled and nodded. “Yes, this is much more peaceful, isn’t it, Discord? I’m sure you’ll enjoy even more things about being reformed as you go along.” She finished another bite of her own cake.

Discord just shrugged. “Eh, we’ll see. So far I’m just enjoying the cake part. Mmm…” He put another chocolately bite into his mouth. “Honestly, Celestia, never getting to taste a good meal, and especially a good dessert, was one of the worst parts of that stuffy stone imprisonment of yours.” He smiled in total satisfaction as he swallowed. “Delicious. Not quite as good as something I’d whip up, but still, definitely royal quality.”

Celestia’s eyes went a little wide and her smile picked up on one side.

Discord noticed. “Something on your mind now, Princess?”

“You meant it.” She smiled more as she explained. “About deserving and wanting ‘food’ as part of your request now that you’re free. You weren’t just saying that to make me feel guilty or to get me to agree to let you live here. It’s something you’ve genuinely missed.”

Discord’s eyes went a little wide. Then he sighed and rolled his eyes, playing with his cake a little. “Oh Celestia, stop being so wishy-washy about everything. And yes, shockingly enough, I can mean things sincerely. And I can have my own wants and needs just like a real person.”

“That’s why you living here for now is an excellent idea,” Celestia encouraged, eating another bite of her cake and dabbing at her mouth with a napkin. “We can find out all those things and more about each other by staying together.”

Discord grinned at her, finishing more of his cake. “Can I find out one thing right now regarding this new ‘reformed’ arrangement we’ve agreed to? Just for the sake of my curiosity?”

Celestia nodded. “Of course, Discord, what is it?”

“What is this ‘good,’ exactly, that you want to use my powers for?”

Celestia blinked. Then she looked down to her cake. “Honestly…I don’t know all the details yet myself. I’m afraid you’ll have to be patient with me, Discord.” She glanced up at him.

“What?!” Discord’s jaw dropped! “What do you mean you don’t know yet?! You drag me out of that statue garden, risk letting chaos reign over Equestria again, put your favorite six little mares in danger, nearly subject poor timid Fluttershy to my wanton destruction, finally convince me not only to do good but to let me do you the honor of being your houseguest, and now you’re telling me that you did all of this without exactly knowing WHY?!” He threw his arms in the air.

“Discord, please,” Celestia soothed. “Don’t get yourself so worked up. It’ll counteract the healing spell and potion. Now, just listen…” She cleared her throat, looking at and speaking to him very sincerely. “No, I don’t know specifically what it is I’m going to need your help with, but I do have a good feeling I’m going to need it. But if I had waited until a threat was upon us, there wouldn’t have been enough time for you to be any help at all. I had faith in the girls and Fluttershy, but for all I knew it could have taken them days or even weeks longer to reform you. And even now I want you to have time to get used to your new relationship with everypony before I have to ask anything of you. And maybe I also just…wanted you to be free, Discord.” Celestia looked down. “There’s been enough of imprisoning people for a thousand years for one lifetime, at least for me. Maybe I felt it was wrong to just leave you trapped like that when for all I knew there was a chance you weren’t really evil, just misunderstood…as was a sister of mine so very long ago.” She had put down her fork by now, and she sighed softly.

Celestia heard nothing for a moment. Then she gasped just a little at the feeling of something (she quickly realized it was the end of Discord’s tail) brushing up along the side of her face and raising her chin to make her look up and meet Discord’s grinning gaze.

He chuckled once. “Aw, and here I just thought you were swayed by my charm and good looks.”

Celestia’s eyes widened a little at the odd comment, and she tried to open her mouth to speak but couldn’t think of anything to say. She settled on just sighing in a touch of frustration and glancing away, effectively slipping herself from the touch of his tail.

“All joking aside though,” Discord suddenly added, looking down and going back to the remainder of his cake with a small smile. “You really must love that blue pony terribly, don’t you? I mean, for that love to spill over into concern for me in any way…you must be nuts about that little sister of yours.”

Celestia blinked and looked down at her plate again and what cake remained there. She nodded, and her voice was soft as she spoke. “She’s the best person I know. What Fluttershy is to you, Luna is to me.”

Now Discord was the one who put down his fork for a moment. Celestia listened and heard him sigh deeply.


She glanced at him. “Yes?”

He was resting his head on his paw, almost trying to seem bored, yet there was something deeper in his eyes and tone. He barely turned his gaze to her. “I will not be destructive…but I reserve the right to take this reform thing as slowly as possible. Frankly, I still don’t entirely trust you.” His gaze was a little stern for a moment. But then it softened again. “But I do trust Fluttershy, and for her sake, I’ll make the effort to please you as well. Deal?” He turned and held out his paw to her.

Celestia looked down at the gesture and then smiled up at him. She reached out her hoof to take his paw and shake. “Deal—Ow!” She pulled back, shaking a little, her eyes wide and her hair suddenly looking a little static-y.

“Ha ha!” Discord laughed. “Joy buzzer!” He showed her the silver disc on the underside of his paw. “Celestia, you always were a sucker! And now we’re even for the prank you played on me with Luna, okay?” He snapped the joy buzzer away and then crossed his arms over his chest and gave her a grin.

Celestia just sat there with a hoof to her chest, still trying to catch her breath a little. She gave Discord a very dry, displeased look for a moment…but then, maybe it was something about the simple joke, maybe it was that indomitable grin of his, maybe it was the knowledge that she had technically started things, maybe it was the late hour and the cake or a combination of everything…but Celestia smiled now. And she even gave a small laugh. “Yes, we’re even.” She straightened her hair a little, standing up. “And take your reform as slowly as you want, Discord—I can be patient.” She began to magically gather their nearly empty plates for the sink. “Come on, it’s been a long day for both of us. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to go to bed.” She yawned, placing the plates in the sink and putting the remainder of the cake back in the icebox. “We can work out more details about your reform later. For now though,” she turned to him with a smile, “why don’t you just take a few days first to explore Equestria, get to know the girls, think about your own plans for your life? You’ve been gone for a while, and I want you to have as much time as possible to feel comfortable in our world now.”

Discord grinned, standing up and putting a hand to his chin. “Hmm, well, I did always love to travel and to socialize. Yes, I could see doing that, stretching these wings a little.” He grinned at her. “But don’t think you’re going to get rid of me for weeks at a time. I have every intention of returning to this Castle and to you and your sister ever single night to take full advantage of my new home here.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Celestia assured with a nod. Then she yawned again. “Now come on, we really should get some sleep. Breakfast tomorrow with Luna will probably be…awkward at first.” She rubbed the back of her neck, heading for the kitchen exit. “We’ll need all the rest we can get.”

“And speaking of rest,” Discord chimed in, heading out right behind her, “Where is this room I was promised?” He raised an eyebrow and smiled as they began to head down the hall together. “Did you magically send a summons to one of the maids or somepony to prepare it for me while we were having our little snack and chat?”

Celestia smiled but shook her head. “No. I wouldn’t feel right asking that of any of the maids to do that on such short notice, especially at this hour. I’ll give the order first thing in the morning after I explain our new situation to the staff, so your room should be ready by tomorrow night.”

Discord’s eyes went wide, and he immediately opened his mouth to protest with a smug grin. “But I thought we agreed—”

Celestia held up a hoof and explained. “As of tomorrow you will have your own room. For tonight you will stay with me in mine as my guest. I insist.” And then she lowered her hoof and just continued onward. (She could only imagine the look on his face, and tried not to giggle at the thought).

Discord stopped walking for a moment, but then Celestia heard him dash forward to catch up with her. She glanced over to see him smiling to himself with a very satisfied grin. “Well, now,” he started, “it seems I made a mistake earlier with that comment about royal social policy still being so uptight about gentleman visitors in this day and age. I like this modern ease about fraternization.” He shifted just a little closer to her as they walked together, his smile growing and his eyes playful.

Celestia let out a breath, blushed just slightly, and raised an eyebrow at him. “I hope your sense of humor is a little more ‘lighthearted’ with the girls, Discord.” She cleared her throat.

Discord laughed. “Oh, of course it is—they’re barely more than fillies.” He waved her off. “But all the kids are asleep now, Celestia, I think we can joke a little more intimately for the moment. Besides, you know you love my sense of humor—and you know you love the idea of having someone around who you don’t always have to be so perfect and poised for.” He nudged her a little.

Celestia rolled her eyes to the side, considered giving him a firm if fair reprimand, but then just smiled, unable to help herself. “I…think this reform is going to be a very good thing for everyone, Discord.” She glanced up at him. “And I think you and I and even Luna can get along just fine. I’m glad you’re here.” She looked forward again, leading them around a corner.

Discord nodded. “Yes, if were you, I’d be glad I was here too.” He clasped his hands in front of himself and rolled his eyes to the side innocently. “Incidentally, you know, I know I mentioned a cot before, but really if that would take up too much room, I’d be more than happy to take the ‘curled up at the end of your bed’ option when it comes to our sleeping arrangements…or any other option that comes to mind.” His smirk grew to its fullest extent. “I promise I’m very generous with the blankets…and I’m a cuddler! And it has been a thousand years thanks to you…” He laughed quite smugly.

Celestia, starting to understand exactly how he was going to go about bothering and teasing her in particular this time around in their lives now that he didn’t have evil to fall back on, just sighed, her look becoming a little dull and her tone a touch firm. “Don’t push it, Discord.”

Discord just chuckled in even more satisfaction to himself. “Oh, this friendship thing is more fun than I realized—I can’t wait to see how this plays out for us, Celestia, good buddy, I just can’t wait!” He swung and arm around her and pulled her close, still laughing as the two of them continued down the hall, Celestia only letting out a deep sigh and shaking her head as they finished making their way to her room.

“Celestia, I want more pillows!”

“You already have four, Discord. If you want any others though, feel free to snap them up yourself.”

“Fine. The fire’s not warm enough.”

“Use your magic to add an extra log to it. They’re right next to the fireplace.”

“Hmm…. Oh, I know, I want a glass of water!”

“There’s already a pitcher right behind you and a glass.”

“Darn…. Oh, read me a story! Something with me in it, and make me come off really good!”

“Discord!” Celestia opened her eyes and sat up in her bed, looking down at him with a smile but also a touch of firmness. He was resting in a makeshift bed on the floor by the fire, all tucked in with blankets and pillows, and smiling at her innocently. She let out a breath and spoke calmly. “I know you’re excited from your day. But it’s time for bed, and I have to wake up early tomorrow. Please go to sleep.”

“Hmm,” Discord huffed and rolled his eyes. “Oh what kind of excuse is that—you always have to wake up early. And besides, I really can’t take your replies seriously when you’re not wearing the shoes and the yoke and the gaudy crown.” He grinned at her a little.

Celestia, shifting her mane back on her (indeed bare) head, just sighed once more. “Discord, is this going to go on much longer?”

“Just trying to be sociable.” Discord shrugged, then raised an eyebrow. “Hey, another question—since your sister rules the night and you rule the day, does that mean at each dawn and dusk one of you is actually symbolically overthrowing the other? Like some kind of perpetual coup?” His grin brightened. “And if it is, can I play? You know, win rule over Equestria but fair and square this time? Or I could even just cover a day shift for you, if you’d like, good friend.”

“No. Definitely not. Absolutely not. And no thank you,” Celestia quickly answered his questions going down the line. “Now Goodnight, Discord.” she finished firmly. Then she laid herself down again and closed her eyes, letting out a sigh and smiling. Her horn lowered the light of the lamps along the walls.

“Fine, fine…goodnight, Celestia.” She heard Discord yawn in the dark. “If your sister comes for me in my dreams, I blame you.”

Celestia smiled a little more and let out a deep breath, ready to fall into sweet slumber.

“Celestia…?” she heard from across the room.

Celestia sighed, but still smiled and kept her tone kind (if a little sleepy sounding). Her eyes remained closed. “Yes, Discord?”

“I just thought I should let you know that all of these nice, cushy blankets and pillows are acceptable as a start to fulfilling that ‘clothing’ requirement I brought up. I like feeling warm and comfortable again…and having a friend nearby instead of being left cold and alone in a garden all the time. It was nice at Fluttershy’s, and it’s nice here too.”

Celestia’s eyes opened. Only the fire gave any light to the room now, but she could see Discord laying before the fireplace in his bed, facing away from her, the end of his tail occasionally twitching out from under the covers. He seemed and sounded casual enough, but his words touched her and made her frown. She raised her head. “I’m glad your experiences now are happier, Discord.” She smiled, concern still pulling at the corners of her mouth though. “When you have your own room, you can have as many blankets and pillows as you want, and you can sleep as late as you want, and you can have visitors as often as you want as well. I’ll let the staff know.”

A large yawn met her ears, and she watched Discord turn onto his stomach. He was still looking away from her. “Yes, well…it’s the least you could do,” he replied, some of the normal sarcasm returning to his tone.

Celestia smiled a little more. But then she swallowed and frowned. “Discord?” left her softly.

“Yes?” left him in return on the end of another yawn.

“I’m sorry your time as stone took so much away from you.” Celestia lowered her head to her pillow, looking down in a touch of shame.

Discord was quiet at first. Then he sighed, turning on his back to look up at the ceiling. “Celestia?”

“Yes?” Celestia replied softly. She could see the firelight glinting in his eyes.

He glanced a little toward her, an eyebrow raised. “Do you honestly trust having me here alone with you all night long? After everything that’s happened and only one day of reform?” There wasn’t any sarcasm in his tone—the question was genuine.

Celestia smiled softly. “Is there any reason I shouldn’t trust you?”

For a moment they just gazed at each other with interest across the room.

Then Discord sighed and smiled to himself, shaking his head. “Fine, Celestia, I’ve always liked a challenge—let’s give this a shot. Who knows? This reform thing might actually take, though I shudder to think of the friendship-loving sap it’ll turn me into.” He turned toward the fire, burying himself a little more deeply under the blankets with a yawn. “Now good night, Celestia. Sheesh, all of this nocturnal chit-chat—you’d think you’d be polite enough to just let one of your honored guests sleep already.”

Celestia’s gaze and smile softened, and she cuddled into her own blankets more as well. “Good night, Discord, and sweet dreams.” Her response was only answered by a single loud snore from Discord, which made Celestia smile a little more. Then she lightly yawned herself and, eyes closing, soon started to drift off, finding it surprisingly easy to do so despite having an only recently reformed arch-villain barely more than a few feet away from her.

Celestia felt like she had dozed for a while. But then she became aware of something pulling her out of that dozing…a strange sound. She heard something like scratching…and then a laugh? And then a little more scraping and scratching.

Celestia shifted in her bed. ‘That doesn’t sound like Philomena. And, either way, didn’t I leave her in my study so she could have privacy for her next molt? Hmm…’ The sounds came again. They seemed more distinct now: a bit of scraping, a bit of scratching and then laughter. ‘What in the world…?’

“Ah!” Celestia sat up with a gasp, her eyes wide. She had recalled her situation, recalled her companion for the evening, and realized now that she might be waking up to the most nefarious chaotic secret plot ever for all she knew!!! She looked out to the room, powering her horn to let the lights come up a bit and also so that she would be ready to defend herself from anything. “Dis—!”

Celestia stopped herself mid-word and was very grateful she had.

There before her was no chaos, no calamity, no danger…just her room as it normally was, Discord on the floor. And he was deep asleep.

She smiled as she realized what the sounds had been about now.

Discord was just smiling and chuckling lightly in his sleep, as Celestia now realized any being of chaos might do in response to his chaotic dreams (and if Luna was visiting him at all, he might even be laughing at getting the better of her somehow in his dreams too). And she also saw that in his chaotic tossing and turning in the night, Discord had pushed almost every blanket off of himself. So he was shivering just a little and kicking in his sleep as the shivering got worse, causing his hoof and dragon claw to scrape the floor and carpet below. Celestia also saw now that another problem was that the fire was going low again.

Smiling, the sun princess stood up from her bed and walked over to Discord. First she moved a few more logs onto the fire and used her magic to help bring up its flame a bit. Then she magically raised all of Discord’s blankets and straightened them, then covered him completely once more. She even took an extra blanket and laid it over him.

Instantly the kicking ceased and Discord let out a deep sigh. Then he just smiled so warmly and cuddled into his bed, his sleep becoming peaceful once again.

Celestia smiled warmly as well and leaned down a little. She whispered softly. “Goodnight, Discord. Sleep well.” Then she gave him the lightest nuzzle before raising her head again and departing back to her own bed. She lowered the lights and fell back asleep soon enough.

Discord slumber had indeed become uncomfortable at this point in the night, though that slumber had remained deep as ever. When the lights had come up a little and Celestia had made some kind of gasping sound before then walking across the room, he had only barely regained a flicker of consciousness. His sleep became deep again though until a vague awareness started to come over him about two things—he was cold and Celestia was near him.

And then, as the seconds passed, he slowly started to understand that, along with strengthening the fire now, Celestia was covering him and tucking him in.

As soon as the blanket had come over him, Discord had felt himself sigh and smile in the relief of the feeling, already drifting completely back into his deep sleep.

However, he did finally (and rather suddenly) regain full consciousness though when Celestia leaned close to him, whispered a good night, and then nuzzled him of all things before returning to her bed and lowering the lights once more.

Discord had waited a few minutes since then before opening his eyes in the dimness of the room. He looked at Celestia’s sleeping form for a moment, the rise and fall of her breathing, and he thought to himself quite a bit. Then he turned in his once again very warm and cozy bed to look up at the ceiling. He took a deep breath, his voice a mumble. “The odds are highly likely that I am going to royally screw this up.” Discord sighed and shook his head to himself, trying not to smile as he turned and nestled back into his pillow, closing his eyes. “But I can at least fake it for now. Not being stone anymore is a nice perk…and so are tea parties with kind Fluttershy.” His grin picked up a little on one side as he added, “And some close, personal quality time with the sun princess isn’t bad either. She may be the bane of my existence…but she’s also the only one around here who’s a challenge for me. And as I told her before, I have always liked a challenge.” His mumbling done and a satisfied smirk coming to his features, Discord drifted back off into his chaotic dreams and restful slumber.

The next morning, naturally, Celestia woke up at dawn to raise the sun…and Discord didn’t wake up until the sun was finally so far above the horizon that it was shining directly into Celestia’s easterly facing window and right onto his eyelids.

Discord cringed and turned in his bed. “Ugh, someone turn down the spotlight—chaos needs sleep, you know!” He blinked a few times and sat up. Then he yawned, flew out of his covers, and elongated his body for a great stretch. When he was done, he stood by his former bed and scratched his side, just taking in his surroundings for a moment.

He noticed Celestia’s bed was unmade but that Celestia was nowhere in sight.

Discord sighed deeply, a dry look coming to his features. “If she got herself kidnapped last night or something by some new evil villain in town, I do not even want to hear it.” He put a hand to his chin. “I’m really going to have to start working on securing alibis all the time now just to keep my good name clear.”

“So, I might be kidnapped, and your first concern is to make sure that no one will have any grounds to suspect you?” Celestia’s voice suddenly announced from behind him.

Discord turned to see her emerging from her bathroom, a puff of steam coming behind her and her mane in a towel, her shoes, yoke and crown still lacking. She was smiling at him in a touch of amusement as she came forward and let the door close behind her.

Discord blinked and rolled his eyes to the side with a sheepish grin. “Oh come on, I was going to go look for you of course right after I established some sort of alibi.” He chuckled, smirking at her. “And besides, if anyone’s going to kidnap you, you have to know that it’s going to be me.”

Celestia’s eyes narrowed a little but her smile remained and grew. “Very funny.” She went over to her bed. “Did you sleep well?” While she spoke, her magic proceeded to unwind the towel from her hair and to commence making her bed.

“In comparison with being stuck on a pedestal in the same upright position for a thousand years? Yes, quite well, thank you,” Discord replied with a grin. “I appreciate your hospitality, Princess. Hopefully, even if I’m going to have my own room as of today, we can do this again sometime soon.” He flew above his own bed and snapped his fingers, causing the blankets to start magically folding themselves up.

“We’ll see.” Celestia, finished with her own bed, turned to him. She tried not to let her smile grow too much at the sight of the orderly, considerate, quite friendly thing his magic was doing (and without even being asked) as she added, “And good, I’m glad you had a nice night. And as for your own room, please make yourself at home and decorate it completely to your liking.” She went over to her vanity and stood in front of its mirror, starting to magically put on her shoes, yoke and crown.

“You know I will.” Discord’s blankets were set in a nice pile by the fireplace now along with his pillows. He flew near the vanity mirror, checking his own (now black eye-free) reflection cheekily and smiling at Celestia’s reflection as her crown came to settle upon her head. “So, breakfast now? I’m famished. And I’d love to get things completely cleared up with Luna so that I don’t have to fear her wrath anymore.”

Celestia nodded, glancing over her shoulder at him. “Yes, breakfast should be ready by now. And Luna is probably already at the table. She likes to eat as early as possible so that she can get to bed for the day quickly.” She went by her bedroom door and opened it, gesturing outward. “Guests first.”

Discord’s look brightened at the compliment to his importance. “Why thank you, Celestia, what a friendly gesture.” He floated himself past her and landed in the hallway just outside her door as she came out too, closing the door behind them.

“Sister! And Discord!”

Celestia and Discord looked forward and blinked at the sight of Luna standing before them, wide-eyed, her mouth agape.

Celestia smiled at her sister. “Luna, what a pleasant surprise. I thought you would be at the breakfast table already. We have much to discuss.” She raised an eyebrow. “Luna, are you all right?” Her sister continued to have a look of shock on her features, which was starting to concern Celestia a little.

“I…ah…” Luna raised a hoof to point at the two figures before her. “Celestia…Discord! He…you…in your room….” The lightest blush came to her features. “Celestia, you actually allowed him to…and all night?!”

Celestia’s eyes went wide now and a blush came to her features as well. “Oh! Oh, no, sister…well, yes, but…I can explain easily. You see—”

“Oh, now, now, there’ll be time for explanations over breakfast,” a smirking Discord suddenly announced, cutting her off and stepping forward. “For now though,” he stretched and turned to Celestia, giving her a slight bow, “let me thank you for a lovely night spent in your gracious company. You certainly know how to make a guest feel welcome.” He chuckled. “I haven’t had such a cozy evening with a lady in, oh…at least a thousand years.”

Celestia’s jaw actually fell. The first thing she did was look to Luna. “Sister, he…he’s not serious. He’s just joking. “

“Oh don’t be so shy, Tia—I can call you Tia now, right?” Discord grinned, putting an arm over her and pulling her close (her eyes went wide as possible). “I mean, we practically had a date last night, so I would hope so.”

Celestia just shook her head, still looking to Luna. “Luna, that did not hap—”

Discord sighed, interrupting and counting on the fingers of his paw as spoke. “You took me back to your place. We shared an activity in the form of a very unfair prank you played on me.” Celestia blinked, suddenly realizing that this was his final revenge for that prank. “Then we shared food in the form of a midnight snack of cake. Then you ‘insisted’ on inviting me back to your room. Have I said anything that’s false?” He raised an eyebrow, grinning brightly at her.

Celestia had to shake her head. “No, but—”

Discord shrugged, cutting her off once more. “Sounds like a date to me. Anyway, my point is, we certainly enjoyed ourselves. And you are certainly a very generous hostess.” He winked at her.

Celestia just closed her eyes and sighed deeply, bringing a hoof to her forehead.

“Hmm,” Discord released her from his hold and stretched again. “Well, off to breakfast then. I’ll see you two girls there.” He raised his fingers to snap them, but then paused. “Oh, and Tia…?”

“Yes?” Celestia lowered her hoof and gave him a very flat look.

Discord just grinned all the more. “Now we’re truly even.” And then, laughing raucously, he snapped himself away to the dining room.

Celestia just sighed deeply again, her head hanging a little low. When she looked up she saw Luna still looking at her in wide-eyed, mouth agape confusion. Celestia headed forward past her toward the dining room. “Luna, of course you know he was joking. There simply wasn’t a room ready for him last night, and he insisted on spending the evening with someone. So I made him a bed on the floor by my fire.” She paused, glancing behind her to her sister sheepishly. “I’m sorry for sending him to you first, by the way. He was bothering me, and I knew you would get angry and teach him a lesson, especially since you didn’t know yet about his reform being successful. I suppose I let things get carried away. That’s why he was in your room yesterday…and that’s also why he just said all of those things, I think—to get back at me a little.”

Some of Luna’s look of confusion subsided. “I see…” She stepped forward, raising a hoof to her chin. “But, pray tell, why does the reformed Discord require a room here?”

Celestia rolled her eyes to the side. “It’s sort of a long story. We can discuss it over breakfast. Discord actually explains the logic behind it better than I could…probably because his reasoning is a bit illogical, but still he did make a valid point and as his friend I wanted to be supportive.” She smiled. “He’s promised to use his magic only for good, and I really think he means it. It just might take him a while to get used to being reformed though, so he’ll be staying with us until he gets settled into his new life.” A touch of hesitance came to her features. “As long as you approve as well, sister. It is your home too. But I do hope you will. I think this might be the best place for him—we can learn a lot from each other and also keep an eye on him, and…he won’t admit it, of course, but I think he actually sincerely likes the idea of staying with us. It’s important to him.”

Luna was quiet at first as she thought over her sister’s request, but then nodded. “If he will not disrupt our conducting of the day and night, I am willing to let him stay with us.” She hesitated, then raised an eyebrow. “As long as he proved a good living companion. Did he, sister? And…” her eyes narrowed in interest, and she moved closer to her sister, “did you actually have fun letting Discord take all of these apparent liberties with you last night?”

Celestia blinked, then sighed and smiled a little, shaking her head. “Luna…”

“What?” Luna held up a hoof and smiled in a playful way. “After all, you admitted that you ‘insisted’ he stay with you after your ‘date’—I’m just curious about this adventurous evening you shared.”

At least grateful to see that her sister was joking now, Celestia smiled a little more. “It was not the worst sleepover I have ever had. And absolutely not the worst one I could have imagined with a former foe. Except for a few obnoxious jokes and the occasional prank, yes, he was very well-behaved last night actually.” Her smile picked up a little on one side. “The evening was fun, in it’s own way. I’m very surprised at how well he’s taking the idea of being reformed. I think he’ll be a fine guest for us to have around here for now.” She began to head forward toward the dining room.

Luna sighed, shaking her head and following alongside her sister. “And, might I ask, what did you do last night exactly to give him the idea that such liberal jests as the ones he was making regarding the both of you were appropriate?” She raised an eyebrow, still smiling very much.

Celestia sighed and rolled her eyes. “I think extreme ‘flattery’ is just his new favorite way of bothering me without being evil, Luna.” She eyed her sister, smiling more. “You just wait until he finds a special way of bothering you.”

Luna shrugged. “I do not think it will be as bad for me. He certainly must be wary of me now considering the strong effect our magic and our Royal Canterlot Voice had on him yesterday evening.” She grinned proudly, then pointed at her sister with her hoof. “You however are too easy of a target, sister—you are too soft and accepting. I would not be surprised if his efforts in this area only escalate with you.”

Celestia laughed softly. “Yes well, he at least seems willing to tone down the more extreme comments in front of the girls. And he did say he would be travelling a bit during the days while he was here, so I shouldn’t have too much exposure to his antics. And since he’ll be sleeping at night, neither will you. We’ll get through this Luna.” A concerned if determined look came to her features. “Just think of him as our new temporary obnoxious older brother.” She shrugged.

Luna just smiled more. “I still can’t believe you let him spend the night in your chamber.”

Celestia smiled quite a bit too. “I still can’t believe you gave him a black eye and sent him running from yours.”

The two sisters suddenly burst into warm laughter, unable to help themselves. They had just come around a corner and were now in the hallway leading to the dining room.

Suddenly, one of the chef ponies burst out from the dining room doors at the end of the hall, panic in his eyes. He caught sight of the princesses and raced toward them. “Princess Celestia!” he cried out, coming before them both and stopping to catch his breath. “Is…Is it true…that Discord…will be making his home here now?”

Celestia, eyes wide, nodded to the question. “I was going to announce it to the staff later today but yes, he is.” She raised an eyebrow.

The chef, still trying to catch his breath and seeming more panicked now, managed to get some more words out. “And is it true that…we will have to provide for him…and fulfill all of his requests?”

Celestia tilted her head to the side now. “Yes, you will have to cater to him as though he were any other guest, if that’s what you mean—he does live here now.”

The chef seemed even more panic-stricken as yet another terrified question was answered in the affirmative. And then finally, almost entirely crestfallen, he looked desperately to his princess and asked, “And are all of those things true because you have freed Discord to marry him and now he is our new Prince of Equestria?”

Celestia’s eyes went perfectly wide, and her jaw fell open.

Luna remained standing in shock for several seconds, after which she then burst into almost Royal Canterlot Voice-level laughter, practically dropping to the floor in her mirth.

Celestia instantly ran forward toward the dining room at full gallop, her tone a mixture of embarrassment, anger and reprimand. “DISCORD!”

“And that’s one ahead for me in the pranks!” was heard yelled from the dining room followed by tons of Discord’s wild laughter in response to her cry. “Oh, I never realized how much fun innocent, non-lethal gags could be, Tia! Priceless!”

“Oh dear!” The chef, meanwhile, brought a hoof to his forehead. “What will we do? He’s already levitated the dining room table into the air and made the food trays starts dashing around it, and every liquid in the kitchen has suddenly become chocolate milk, and the ceiling’s covered with a portrait of him in frosting—he says that’s how meals will be from now on!” His eyes went wide, one of them almost twitching a little. “I’m an earth pony—I can’t serve food in the air! And I can’t get frosting off of a ceiling! And I can’t disenchant food! What’ll I do?!”

Luna, her laughter finally under some degree of control, got herself upright again and cleared her throat. “Nay, good chef, do not fear,” she assured him. “Discord and my sister are certainly not married. He is just playing a prank on you and all the other staff.”

The chef turned to Luna, still in despair but clearly grasping at this new hope that had been put before him. “But Princess Celestia said—”

Luna held up her hoof and smiled. “Discord has been reformed thanks to our Elements of Harmony. He poses no threat. And my sister meant that he will be staying with us for the time being as a guest. But I assure thee, no matter what he says, he possesses no royal authority. And if he does prove bothersome to you or other workers, please just let me or my sister know, and we shall deal with the situation. You have no new Prince—please relax, good chef.”

The chef looked at Luna with wide, confused eyes for a moment…and then he just lunged forward and hugged one of her legs. “Oh thank you, thank you, Princess Luna! Thank you for delivering such words of salvation!”

Luna just raised an eyebrow, at first in surprise but then in amusement as the chef stood up from the floor now and dusted himself off.

He cleared his throat. “I will return to my post now.” He looked to her warily. “Both you and Princess Celestia will be staying around for the whole breakfast, right?”

Luna nodded. “We shall do our best to have at least one of us supervising him during interactions with the staff at all times.”

The chef’s eyes practically lit up and such a relieved smile came to his face. “Thank you, Princess.” He bowed low and then dashed off to the dining room.

Luna just watched him go with an eyebrow raised. Suddenly several loud sounds came from the direction of the dining room, and she heard her sister and Discord once more.

“Celestia, sheesh, take a joke!” Discord laughed. “You know, not to slip into ‘Luna-speak’ but me thinks the lady doth protest too much.”

(Luna rolled her eyes at this jest).

“That is it,” Celestia announced levelly. “I’m sending a letter to Fluttershy.”

“What?!” Discord cried out, all smugness dropping from his tone. “Wait, no, no, don’t do that! Look, see,” there was a pause and a snapping sound, “it’s all better and back to as boring as it ever was.”

“Good. Thank you. And while you’re at it, I think you owe me an apology for all of this distress and for bothering our staff.”

“An apology?!”

“If you’re questioning my right to one, I can always send that message to Fluttershy, and she can judge for us.”

“Oh…Oh fine, I’m sorry.”

“Good. I forgive you, Discord. Now let’s just have a nice breakfast together.”

“Fine. But I make no promises about lunch!”

As their conversation finished for the moment, Luna chuckled more. “Oh, I may grow to like this new living arrangement very much.” She raised her hoof to call out as she approached the dining room door. “Sister, you should reform villains more often! It brings much amusement!” And then she trotted into the dining room herself to watch the rest of the morning’s fun before bed.