"Now, let's set a few ground rules." Discord announced with a cracking of his clawed knuckles. "Firstly, this is my courtroom. If you bore me, I will deduct points from your side."
"Oh! This must be a room in which games are played!" Queen Aze said cheerfully, while also practicing her 'happy' expression.
Discord looked to Aze quizzically. Then his eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Have I met you before?"
Then Queen Aze noticed that Discord looked familiar. Images of Queen Ra flashed in her mind, and she nearly squeaked in fright. "No! We have never met before this day, amalgamation of various creatures. What do you call yourself?" She quickly blurted, accompanied by her 'Innocent' expression.
"Hmmph." Discord snorted. "Continuing on, I will explain the rules of this court. Firstly, No cheating. No using magic to bring evidence from the outside of this courtroom, as I could care less what Celestia did in some fool's bank. What I gain from this brief respite from my stone prison is for me alone to know. However, for the sake of consistency, points shall be awarded based on who amuses me the most with their argument."
He then looked to the duo of foals representing Queen Aze. With a snap of his fingers, they transformed into fully grown versions of themselves. With a sneer, and the confusion of the 'foals', Discord explained. "As briefly humorous as the idea of Foal Lawyers is, they're too young to represent themselves in a court of law. Let alone a changeling queen. Don't get me started on their voices." He finished with a dismissive fanning of his griffon claw.
"The use of magic on a being unwilling is against-!" The colt, Case Closed, had protested before his mouth literally zipped shut with a snapping of fingers.
"That's enough out of you. This isn't your courtroom, and your rules don't apply here. This is my chance to stretch my wings," He then fluttered his mismatched wings, "And to let loose for a couple hours."
"Question!" Queen Aze interrupted with a raised hoof, like a foal in a classroom.
Discord's eyes narrowed again at Queen Aze. "I could swear I've met you before..."
"Are there more rules to this game?" Aze inquired hopefully.
"Yes. I was getting to that, disturbingly familiar Queen." Discord grumbled. He then cleared his throat and continued. "Second, this court will determine who is in the right. Obviously, not with the 'case' of the dear Princess here taking back her own property. I know what your case was going to be, foals, and though it was cute, I won't hear it."
Case Closed and Final Point both grumbled, one of them muffled still by the zipper.
Discord groaned. "New rule! No interrupting me!"
Queen Aze then bit her lip, and slowly lowered her hoof.
Sighing to calm himself, Discord continued. "They were going to bring up a 'receipt of purchase'. I saw their briefcase, and their plan was to prove that you, Tia, were not the legal owner of the Elements of Harmony."
Celestia's face expressed a mixture of outrage and promised doom towards the two Lawyers of Evil. Or, just Lawyers.
"Their plan was to explain that they had the Elements appraised by a jeweler, who gave them a price. Then they sold the Elements to the jeweler, and promptly bought them back at ten times the price, and sent them as a gift to Aze, who then placed them in the Rich Bank under her own name. It would've worked, legally, but I don't care about legality, because throwing the laws out of the window is so much more delightfully chaotic." Discord grinned, his larger eye making the lawyers uncomfortable.
"Instead of this legal battle, as we all know that even if Celestia lost, she could override the ruling as the nation's leader, we will instead have a battle of a different sort." Discord grinned, and with another snap of his fingers, the Jury vanished to be replaced with Queen Chrysalis, Nightmare Moon, Queen Aze, Princess Luna and Overlord Aether himself.
"There we are. An impartial Jury of your peers." he sneered.
Amidst crys of confusion and plans of evil, countered by vows of retaliation and protection, Discord snapped his fingers and bound all of them in stone up to their necks. "Now now, no fighting in the Court of Chaos." He scolded with a finger waggle.
"Why hast thou brought us here, Discord!?" Luna protested.
"Hush!" Discord snapped. "We are here to determine if your dearest sister here, is a force for good or evil."
"What?!" Aether gasped.
Discord then grinned delightfully. "Oh, I'm sure the court would love to hear your testimony; free of pesky Promises?"
Aether's black coat actually faded to a grey color from hearing that, somewhat matching the stone he had been encased in.
"Hmm..." Discord muttered. "I actually think that color works better for you. Red and Black is just so over-used anyway."
With a snap of his fingers, Aether was raised in the air to be examined by the God of Chaos.
"No no no, Far too edgey." he muttered, as Aether winced at the name.
"Oh, I know! Your name is 'Aether', correct?"
"Well, as a fellow being of evil, one must remain considerate of our reputation as a whole. I know of one pony who would agree..." He then looked over his shoulder to find Rarity hiding behind a court room pew.
"Rarity, darling." Discord coo'd with Rarity's voice at her. "Would you be a dear and help me fix this travesty before we get started? He's making the rest of us real villains look bad." he snapped with venom.
Rarity, deciding to put on a brave face and flipping her mane with a hoof, nodded. "If only to get this debacle over with."
Then, as a discussion between Chaos God and Fashionista, they proceeded to tweak, prod, poke, alter and otherwise re-create Aether.
"Oh heavens, no!"
Snap. Wings were gone.
"Well, it would be hard for him to work with Alchemy otherwise."
"I was thinking something ghostly."
"No, I already know a certain mare that's nothing but shades of grey. How about this?"
The two then spent the next ten minutes redesigning an unwilling being, and when they were finished, they had arrived at the following:
Unicorn Stallion, about Luna's height. Build was overall athletic and trim. White coat, blueish-purple styled mane with Amethyst stripe on the right side as an homage to his mother Aze. Exposed hooves of a slightly light shade of grey, and his Cutie-mark had been replaced to become a wisp of magical energy around a bottle, instead of a bloody ghost. Eyes of a bright Sapphire and Amethyst blended together, giving him an hypnotic gaze.
Rarity, her heart a flutter, could only blink. "He's..."
"Good enough." Discord grumbled, having gotten bored with the entire ordeal part way through and just letting Rarity create her 'dream stallion'.
Aether twitched in the air. "C-could I b-be let down now?" He whimpered.
Discord waved a claw and Aether flew back to his seat, a jibbering mess after having his soul and body altered to such an extent. With another snap of his fingers, Discord then adjusted Rarity, whose eyes went wide after realizing what she had been made to do.
"Ah ah, no complaining. You got what you wanted, didn't you?" Discord tutted.
Rarity's eyes flung daggers of hatred at Discord, whom was immune to her death glare. In a huff, she returned to her seat behind Celestia and vowed revenge under her breath for being used.
"Now then! We're all properly styled and looking deliciously acceptable now, so let us begin with the trial!" Discord pointed to the Jury bench. "First Witness!" With a snap of his fingers, Princess Luna and Nightmare Moon both flashed into the Witness booth at once.
The two glared at each other in disgust. Luna, for the Mare she had once become; Nightmare Moon, for the future she had lost.
"Now now, ladies. No cat-fighting."
"Why have you brought us, Discord?" Nightmare Moon asked, looking neutrally to the Chaos god.
"Well, We would all just love to hear your opinion of the actions that 'Tia took when you went all crazy!" He answered with spinning eyes.
"I will not speak of it." Luna affirmed with crossed hooves and tight lips.
Discord then snapped his fingers, removing Luna's mouth from her face and placing it between his thumb and pointer finger. "Well then, I'll just make you speak of it!" He said with Luna's voice, using her mouth as a hand puppet.
Luna slammed her hooves on the wooden booth in outrage, but she could not voice it.
Nightmare Moon was greatly amused by this, and chuckled deliciously.
Queen Aze then attempted to copy Nightmare Moon's voice, and echoed the chuckle. "Oh! I like this voice. Would you mind me keeping it?" Aze asked.
Nightmare Moon looked to the Changeling Queen with complete confusion. "What in Tartarus are you?!"
Discord clapped a few times in front of Nightmare's face. "Not. Important!" He growled. Luna's mouth said 'ouch!' a few times in protest.
"Question!" Queen Aze interrupted again.
Discord grumbled and looked to the Changeling. "Didn't I just say no interrupting me?"
"I was interrupting Luna, whom was saying 'ouch'." Aze clarified.
"Discord glowered at Aze. "Fine, speak."
"Why am I an 'impartial peer'?"
Discord blinked a few times. "Aren't you a changeling, like Chrysalis?"
"Yes, but I've also a peace treaty with Celestia."
"And nothing would cause you to break the treaty?"
"For a period of three months... which has passed, now that I remember. Princess Celestia?" She called. "Are we still at peace?"
Discord quickly snapped his fingers and zipped Celestia's mouth shut. "Now nopony will know, so you must act as the neutral party. You've not been wronged by Princess Celestia, as Nightmare Moon and Chrysalis have, nor are you friends with her like Luna or Aether."
"What?!" Twilight blurted out.
"No interruptions!" Discord snapped."Now... we've all heard Celestia's side of the 'Nightmare Moon' incident, but I want to know about it from the perspective of the both of you two." Discord pointed with spread fingers to both Nightmare Moon and Princess Luna. "Seeing as how Luna isn't in a talking mood, we will begin with you, Nightmare Moon." Discord snapped his fingers, and reappeared in his Judge seat.
The lawyers feeling largely useless at this point, decided to get up and simply leave to deal with their lifespan having been greatly accelerated.
"One request before we begin." Nightmare asked.
"I wish to raise the moon."
Discord grinned as Luna's eyes went wide. "Go for it. It will set the mood!"
Then to the dismay of everybeing, Luna's moon began its ascent to blot out the sun in a complete eclipse.
Nightmare Moon purred. "There. I haven't seen that particular beauty in a thousand years."
"Yes, wonderful. Your side of the story?" Discord awaited impatiently, the entire thing taking too long.
"From the beginning, or...?"
Nightmare Moon cleared her throat, by coughing in Luna's face.
"It was a dark and stormy night," Nightmare began; both Pinkie and Discord covering their faces with hoof/claw, "and dearest Luna had just asked her sister, Celestia, to change the schedule of night and day. Twelve hours of light, Twelve hours of darkness. It seemed a fair trade, Equal time in the sky, equal chance for ponies to learn to enjoy my-- our, night." Moon looked sideways at Luna, whom was still fuming from having her mouth stolen. "Luna was a complete mess. Crying, yelling, throwing furniture around with her magic. Truly, a little filly having a temper tantrum." Luna's ire turned to Nightmare Moon, who smirked at having gotten her attention. "Anyway, she was contemplating some very tragic and final solutions to her problems. Spawned of her own misery at being neglected after her decades of hard work, I appeared to her in the mirror. My powers were only just forming, and Luna fed me with her growing sorrow. I attempted to help, honestly, but she was completely convinced of her uselessness in the face of her sister. She was beginning to question whether or not ponies needed the moon!" Nightmare was angered by this, and Luna's temper had faded, her old memories being brought to surface. "I alone convinced her of a better solution to her troubles, even if it was completely manipulative and self serving in the long run, in every way. I'm spawned of negativity, what would anypony expect?" Nightmare had pressed a hoof to her armored chest plate with a proud smile.
"Yes, yes. You've very evil. Continue?" Discord said impatiently.
The wind taken from her sail, Nightmare flashed a scowl and continued. "Luna's plan was originally to banish herself by leaving Equestria. If she was no longer needed, and nopony cared for her or her efforts, then she was only hurting herself by staying. I artfully neglected to remind her of Celestia's love for her dear 'Woona', and planted a different idea in her head. If ponies aren't going to love you, why not make them regret that, and have them fear you instead?" Nightmare and Luna shared a look. One of smug satisfaction, the other of sorrow. "She latched onto the bait completely, and that allowed me to assume direct control of the Princess of the Night. One solar eclipse and a magic fueled battle later, I had gotten the both of us banished to the moon."
Discord raised a claw, a finger pointed upwards. "Now, hold on. Did Celestia try to talk to you, or reason with you to stop?"
Nightmare nodded. "Yes, she did. It was almost infuriating how she would only fight back to give herself breathing room, in order to talk even more. She refused to injure Luna, even though I had possessed her. Ultimately, it wasn't up to 'Woona' to choose. Her getting banished was simply unfortunate circumstance at that point."
Discord hummed in thought, stroking his beard with a claw. Satisfied, he finally snapped his fingers and returned Luna's mouth.
"Now, Woona; Your side of events? Is what Nightmare Moon saying to be believed?"
Luna was looking to the floor. "We were going to do far more than banish ourselves... Sister." Luna sadly looked to Celestia, whom was doing her best to keep her composure in light of everything. The two had never discussed what happened that day, and decided it was best left forgotten. "It is true, what Nightmare Moon has said thus far. We had done so much in the service of our subjects, and received not even a glance of recognition for our efforts. We had taken the issue to sister, and she refused our request of a longer night. In our state of woe, we had forgotten all our sister had done for us in the past and only remembered the worst of events. Nightmare Moon, for all of her manipulations, did end up saving us from ourself when nopony else took notice." Luna admitted to the smug satisfaction of Nightmare Moon.
"Now, both of you having said your piece, I have a question." Discord rested his claws on the rail of the Witness stand. "How would you describe Celestia's character a thousand years ago?"
"Callous, narcissistic and self centered; at least until the problem was thrown into her face." Nightmare said without hesitation.
"Oh? Why is that?" Discord asked, interested.
"She ignored any plea or sign of misery from her sister, refused the smallest of concessions to ease her pain, and could see nothing wrong with the situation. She acted foolishly, and she paid dearly for that."
Nodding, Discord turned to Luna. "Your thoughts?"
"It is not our sister's fault that she was unable to predict what would happen. We are not all knowing, we are simply ponies given immense responsibility. We have had a great deal of time to think about this, and we do not fault sister's actions at the time. However, were she to ignore the misery of another again, we would have words." Luna growled.
"Well! This is decidedly split. On one claw, she's a monster. On the other, she's just like anypony else in the situation, despite some lack of foresight." With a snap, Nightmare and Luna returned to the Jury bench.
"However, this is a thousand years ago. What of her actions recently?" He purred, snapping his fingers and placing Queens Chrysalis and Aze into the Witness Booth.
"Teleportation feels strange." Aze commented, and Chrysalis scoffed.
"Now, you two. One of you attacked the ponies, and the other made peace with them. Care to explain your reasonings?"
Aze and Chrysalis looked to each other, Aze's eyes going dim for a moment. When they returned, Chrysalis spoke.
"My children." She started simply. "Our hive's location in the badlands has left us with barely a trickle of love to survive from, and I was forced to find a new location for our hive before everyling starved to death. In my travels, I happened upon what you ponies call 'The Crystal Empire', and the Alicorn of Love, which for me, is essentially the 'God of Food.'" she smirked a moment before continuing. "Anyway, I was ecstatic at finding food for my children, but they would need more than that 'Empire' could provide. I honestly don't know why you ponies call it an empire when it barely forms a city." she grumbled. "I assumed the form of the Food god, Cadance, and traveled with her soon-to-be husband to Canterlot. I could see from my window a great deal of outlaying villages and towns, and knew that this would be the perfect place to re-locate my hive. All I had to do was take over the city, which should have been far easier, and my hive would be saved!"
"Thankfully for everybeing involved, you're a terrible actress." Aze sniped.
Chrysalis growled at the inexpressive Queen to her left, and Discord pushed them apart. "Now now, Queens; It's story time. You can fight after you leave the court room."
"Fine." Chrysalis grumbled. "Continuing with my story, everything was working perfectly. Then, Twilight and her friends showed up, having received an invitation to the wedding, which was supposed to plant myself in a permanent spot of infiltration in either Canterlot or the Crystal Empire. I didn't mind either situation, as I could always plant my changelings in whatever position I wanted, as I was masquerading as an Alicorn. However, thanks to Celestia and everypony else's insistence that nothing was remiss, I was able to keep my disguise until the day of the wedding. The little brat had somehow found the real Cadance under the castle, and brought her to the wedding in time to interrupt. Celestia attempted to intervene and stop me with her magic, but I had been so engorged by the love of both the husband and the ponies gathered for the ceremony that I was able to overpower her."
"And you obviously didn't kill her when you had the chance." Discord pointed out.
"Why would I? That would be one less pony I could use to feed my children with, and a complete waste of a good disguise. Imagine the love I could gather posing as Celestia, leading a resistance movement against myself that would ultimately fail piece by piece, giving me both the straggling ponies that hid from my sight, as well as the love and adoration for their fearless leader." She laughed to herself for a moment, before a nudge from Queen Aze brought her to reality. With a happy sigh, her expression soon turned to anger. "But that wasn't to be. The precious Alicorn of Love and her husband were able to re-unite while I was distracted, and channeled a shield spell soaked with love to cast my children and I from Canterlot. If not for the 'love' part of that spell, myself and my entire hive would have died on impact, either from the fall or from being squashed into buildings. Not everyling was outside when that spell went off." she grumbled.
Celestia winced at the idea of scraping changelings off of the walls and ceilings from being compressed into giblets.
"Now, for the opposite side of the coin. Queen..." He appraised Queen Aze again. "Seriously, what is your name? I know I've seen you before."
"She's Queen A-" Chrysalis began, before Aze's holed hoof was shoved forcefully into her mouth.
"Queen Noling!" Aze quickly blurted.
"Really? The changeling equivalent of Nopony. Sure." He waved a claw dismissively. "It isn't important anyway; I'll find out later. State your case."
Queen Aze removed her hoof from Chrysalis' mouth, and wiped it on the floor to get the slobber off. "Well, seeing as how Chryssi's plan failed, (Thankfully, I will add,) It fell to me to save my hive from the Diarch's wrath. I had begun to receive reports through the hivemind that my changelings were being routed out and discovered, as well as imprisoned. Apparently, all changelings look alike to ponies, as they couldn't see we clearly aren't Chrysalis' brood. I've even had to state this on several occasions despite the clear differences between us."
Discord's eyes were shifting between the two rapidly. He finally bothered to notice that the other Queen was magenta, with wings resembling that more of a butterfly or a moth...
"AHA! That's where I know you from!" He declared suddenly. "You're that proto-queen I didn't bother with when I made Queen Moth'Ra!"
Aze's face was completely blank, as it usually was when she wasn't using expressions as a tool. Internally however, she was in full panic mode.
"Don't worry, I'm not going to turn you into an insect. There's just nothing I'm aware of as perfect to make you. Moth'ra, Pfft." Discord continued to chuckle to himself, before resuming his composure.
"Alright, I'm fine now. Continue?"
Aze looked between Discord and Celestia, and then continued. "My original plan was to disguise myself, make my way to the Diarch, and beg for the lives of my hive."
"Your hive, not your children?" Discord asked, a claw flat with palm upturned, pointing to Chrysalis.
"No. They are of Queen Ra's brood. I've only just begun to lay my own in the past few months."
"So they're not even yours, and yet you still care for them?"
"Would you care for any ponies that had wandered into your hive?"
"If they remained in the hive for the rest of their lives, as to not give away its location, and they were friendly, then yes. My hive survives off of friendship, generosity and kindness, and I would starve myself if I didn't at least offer that option."
"What if they didn't want to be friends?"
"They would be incapacitated, locked into a chrysalis, and have their memories wiped entirely." Aze stated matter-of-factly.
This caused a great many surprised looks and rebooting brains.
"Why?" Chrysalis asked. "Isn't your entire goal to be just like ponies?"
Aze ignored the barb. "It isn't our goal, it is our method of sustaining ourselves. The fact that we share a commonality with our food is merely coincidence. This would be like saying that because your changelings need love, that you are more like ponies than we are."
"How dare you compare us to our food?!" Chrysalis roared.
"You are what you eat!" Pinkie shouted from across the courtroom. "and that makes you both Friendly Lovebugs!"
Chrysalis glared at Pinkie, and Aze was internally expressing her mortification at the Pink One's attendance.
"Now, let's get back on task." Discord butted in, moving between the Queens and Pinkie Pie. "What happened with your plan?"
"Well, It all started when I had received a report from one of my advisors, Gaius..."
Queen Aze then recounted her view of the events leading to this point in time, in exhausting detail.
"... bringing us to the present."
Discord blinked a few times, before regaining his mental faculties again. "That was rediculous."
Chrysalis looked to Queen Aze. "You impersonated me, in a Chicken suit?!"
"I am told that you look adorable."
Chrysalis could only growl in irritation before being stopped by Discord.
"Alright ladies, It's time for your verdict!" Discord declared. "Chrysalis, You were first to speak, so you go first!" He rested his head on his claws, which were floating free of the arms behind his back, and stared attentively at Chrysalis. "What is your opinion of Celestia in the present?"
Queen Chrysalis and Celestia shared a look for a full minute before she spoke. "She did everything that she could've, given the situation. She listened to, though ignored, the brat's warnings. That was a mistake, though that was not 'evil' of her to do. She attempted to defend her subjects immediately on finding me a threat; something I would do without a second thought. Despite being defeated, she did not pursue myself or my hive after we had been banished by the Love-shield bomb. If I were in her position, I would've hunted her down and made certain of her inability to harm myself or my subjects again. Thankfully for myself, she is not that kind of pony."
"So, a little aloof, but otherwise competent?"
"Yes. Though you really should find somepony to have foals with. You're a void of intimacy. Only platonic or motherly love. Bleh."
"What's wrong with platonic love?" Fluttershy spoke up, before shrinking behind the pew in front of her when everybeing looked at her.
"You try eating oatmeal cookies every day for years at a time. Tell me you don't vomit at the sight of that food again afterwards."
"I don't!" Pinkie replied, shoving an entire tray of Oatmeal cookies into her craw.
"Enough interruptions!" Discord snapped. "Queen Aze; your verdict?"
Aze recovered from seeing the Pink One again, having forgotten her presence during the story. "Oh, yes." She then 'cleared her throat' for show. "The Diarch's actions towards me have been merciful. At any point she could have erase myself and my hive from existance, and she gave me a chance to prove that I was sincere in my peace efforts. I've done many things at her expense in an attempt to gauge her resilience to shenanigans, as Queen Ra has described the activity, and found her worthy of becoming a lifelong immortal friend."
"We do not age, as long as we are fueled by friendship."
Discord, Nightmare Moon and Chrysalis all made gagging noises and motions at this.
"Alright, fine, moving past that case of diabetes." Discord snapped his fingers, bringing Overlord Aether to the stand.
He was sweating nervously, looking to Celestia with panic.
"Now, one last thing. Celestia, Pinkie Pie, I have need of you." Discord announced before having the two appear in front of the Witness stand, with Discord floating overhead. "Celestia, I ask that you rescind your mutual Pinkie Promises to another, that this court may find the facts free of strong hoofing or otherwise powerful magics."
"Wait, what?!" Twilight blurted out. "It's just a Pinkie Promise!"
Queen Aze, Discord, Pinkie Pie, Celestia, Nightmare Moon, Queen Chrysalis, Aether and even the unseen specter of King Sombra all tutted.
"Forgive her, Pink One. She knows not." Aze intoned.
Pinkie nodded sagely.
"Now then. Tia. Aether. Your promises?"
The Sun Princess raised a hoof that was matched by Aether's and joined. "I, Overlord Aether/Princess Celestia, declare in view of the Pink One, Guardian of Harmony and Chaos, Weaver of Fate and Parties, God of the Four Walls of Creation, She Who Knows, Caretaker of the Slumberer, and the Asker of the First Question, declare my Pinkie Promises made in her name to be revoked." They chanted as one.
Everybeing not in the know had their jaws to the floor.
"Isn't this going to cause problems?" Discord whispered to Pinkie Pie.
"Nah, it's okay. I'll just throw a party afterwards and spike the punch again. They won't remember a thing!" Pinkie quietly chirped.
"Again?" Discord asked, but was ignored. Snorting, he resumed the Trial.
"Thank you for your cooperation, Celestia." He said sincerely.
To the five ponies that weren't Pinkie Pie, they were surprised to see Celestia give a respectful nod to Discord, before he calmly sent Celestia back to her spot. Pinkie Pie later re-appeared in her own place soon after.
"Now then. I would like to bring up the letters you received from Princess Celestia, shortly after your party in the Zebrecan desert."
Aether sighed heavily. "Yes. Would you like the copies?"
"That would be the most helpful, though may I ask why you keep them on hoof?" Discord asked.
"Insurance." he replied cryptically.
"Ah, right. The 'Banishment' promise."
Aether then produced several back and forth letters from himself and Princess Celestia, detailing everything from troop movements to architecture for the Evil Citadel, to include Orphan 'adoption' papers. Said papers were plans to steal foals from unfitting parents and to deliver them to better homes within the Citadel of Evil, if against their will. Ultimately, it was decided that this would be better for them than living with the abuse and or neglect of unfitting parents. In addition to this, there were papers detailing scheduled prison breaks where the Forces of Evil would scoop up and eventually rehabilitate the prisoners into their own ranks and become productive members of society within the Citadel. Various evil deeds (at first glance) appeared to have a noble motive behind it, including stealing from the rich and elevating the poor to a level where they were able to survive, or to abduct the homeless and offer them a position in the Citadel. Various missing pony's papers were also brought forth, detailing patients with terminal illnesses having dissapeared in the night from their beds. Said patients were treated by Aether himself with his alchemical knowledge, and if they could not be saved, their bodies would be spared further suffering and a well funded funeral service.
Then came the paper that started everything.
"Would you mind explaining this, for the court?" Discord asked, holding up the first letter Princess Celestia had sent, asking him to be the 'evil' in Equestria.
Princess Celestia then spoke up for herself. "That is enough, Discord."
"Oh? You finally spoke!" Discord cheered. "Ready to put me in my place with a blast of magical elements again? Oh wait! You can't even use those, and neither can your student and her friends."
"No. I am going to explain my actions." Celestia stated firmly. "I have seen what happens to ponies when there is no threat to unite them. When there is nothing but themselves to point the blame of their daily struggles towards. They turn on each other, divide into tribes and cause their own misery with imagined slights and stubbornness. They need something looming over the horizon, or they will cause doom themselves just by their nature."
"So, ponies are Chaotic then?"
"They are fragile." She replied, looking to Luna with guilty expression. "They need to be assured that everything will be alright. That there is something they can rally behind and unite to defeat. Something that tells them there is a purpose to their life. When left alone for too long, they turn on themselves. They seek something to complain about, if only to share a commonality with their fellow ponies and to grow close to another because of it."
Celestia paused a moment before continuing.
"I had asked Aether to become the evil in Equestria to unite it. There had been several occasions where the Elements of Harmony had to be used, and ponies had begun to expect that any problem would be solved by my student and her friends. If I allowed this pattern to continue, my little ponies would panic if anything happened to the Elements of Harmony or those that wielded them. I had to give them something they could all fight; without the powers of the Elements."
"With the Elements of Harmony solving everything, ponies had begun to fear for their own safety and roles in life again. Sure, they could just keep their heads down and do whatever they were good at, but that could only last so long before they started worrying about the next threat that the Elements would have to face, and how they were helpless against it." Aether explained. "So, at Princess Celestia's request, myself and my daughters became the 'evil' Equestria needed to function properly. We were never going to actually kill anypony or do truly evil things, but the appearance of being evil was all that was needed. After the Battle of Ponyville, the story of the three thousand ghostly Royal Guard routing the forces of Evil gave hope to those ponies that were worrying; that there was another force that would protect them no matter what happened."
"How would you describe Celestia's actions?" Discord asked of Aether.
"I agree with them. I'm the one being 'evil' for her sake, at any rate. If this is what it takes for Equestria to live in peace, then I'll gladly play the role of villain."
"Ah, but what about all those that serve you? They don't know this is a game that you and Celestia are playing. I'm fairly certain there's at least one pony that most of us know of that has taken your words to heart, Aether. What if she were to go too far? She's the one that got all of us in this situation to begin with. What if Celestia's plan backfires, and you end up creating the evil you both sought to fake?"
"You mean Garotte Wire?" Aether asked.
Discord rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Yes, her. You really know how to kill the suspense, don't you?"
"What can she do? Hug all of us to death?"
Pinkie Pie raised a hoof, accompanied by nervous smile. "Actually..."
Meanwhile, Garotte had been making good on her Pinkie Promise...