• Published 1st Jun 2013
  • 750 Views, 8 Comments

A Draconequus by Any Other Name - Educated Guess



Twilight has a few questions for Discord. Discord has more than a few answers.

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A Victor's Spoils

Twilight looked up at the placard above the door, and swallowed nervously.

HALCYON VICTOR

DEAN OF HISTORY

She didn’t know why she was so nervous - she had been to Mr. Victor’s office hundreds of times during her years at Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. Well, not this particular office. He hadn’t been Dean at the time - he hadn’t even had tenure - but he had always been more than willing to answer any questions Twilight had had. Which, she now realized in retrospect, may have been just a few more than was reasonable.

But today, she was not here as a student - Nor, she thought as she flexed the muscles in her wings, am I ever likely to be again. Today, she was here on one of her very first Royal Duties since her coronation. Thankfully, it was not going to be an unpleasant experience. She hoped.

Twilight took a deep breath, let it out, and knocked.

“Come in,” came a voice from the other side.

Twilight swung the door open gently, and entered. The room was nothing like Mr. Victor’s old office had been. It was bigger, for one - more of a study than an office. Most of the walls were covered in bookshelves, and the rest of the room’s wood paneling was plastered with diplomas, awards, and self-aggrandizing portraits of previous deans. A few leather sofas and side tables were arranged on the floor behind a monstrous, rectangular desk, behind which sat the stallion she had come to talk to.

“Hello, Mr. Victor!” she said, as brightly as she could manage.

Halcyon Victor finished scribbling a few more words on the sheet in front of him, then looked up.

“How can I help yoooOH!” His eyes went wide as he saw who had just entered his office, and he stammered uncharacteristically. “Y-Y-Your Majesty! I don’t - I didn’t know you were coming!”

“Oh. Right. I... guess I should have made an appointment.” Twilight laughed awkwardly. “I’m still getting used to this whole ‘Princess’ thing.”

“Oh, yes.” Halcyon cleared his throat, and managed to regain some of his composure. “Congratulations on your coronation, Your Highness. I was on hoof to record it, along with some of the other senior staff. It was an even more spectacular event than when Princess Cadance was crowned - and that’s saying something, considering that that was also the first coronation in almost a thousand years.”

“I... don’t remember Cadance’s coronation,” Twilight said with no small amount of embarrassment. “How long ago was it?”

“It was just after you were accepted to the School.” A slight smile came to Halcyon’s lips as he remembered an excited young lavender unicorn, bright and eager on her first day in his class. “You were very... engrossed in your studies at the time, as I recall.”

“Oh. Yeah,” Twilight giggled.

“So, as I was saying; is there anything I can help you with, Your Majesty?”

“Actually, the reason that I’m here is to ask how I can help you.”

The historian raised an eyebrow quizzically. “Pardon?”

“You submitted a formal complaint about a week ago. Regarding...”

Discord.” The name dripped from Halcyon’s muzzle like venom. Twilight could have sworn she heard a distant peal of thunder, even though there were no storms scheduled near Canterlot for several more days. “May I speak freely, Your Highness?”

“Er... yes?”

“I come from a very long line of Victors, and all of them have been recorders of history. My grandfather was the stenographer when Princess Celestia and King Ferdinand wrote and ratified the Treaty of the Schwarzhaus. His grandfather was sending letters home from the field at the Battle of Amber Hill. But in all the long and storied lives of my ancestors, none of them have ever been faced with a more difficult task than the one I was given last month.”

“...Is he really that bad?” she asked quietly.

“And worse.” Halcyon’s horn lit bright yellow, and a large binder stuffed to bursting with papers freed itself from a bookshelf and floated it’s way over to his desk. A few of the looser sheets drifted like leaves to the floor. “It’s one thing to keep track of every conversation in a debate with over sixty participants, or to research the surnames of the griffons dropping grenades on your tent. It’s another thing entirely to be tasked with recording every single detail of a life millennia long, and have the subject be completely and utterly recalcitrant in his account!”

“Recalcitrant? What do you mean?”

Halcyon flipped the binder open, and laid a few of the sheaves of paper out in front of Twilight. “In our first session - where, as I understand it, it is traditional to start at the beginning - he began retelling the events of his escape and reimprisonment just last year. Then, the next day, he told the story of a woodcutter he had once met in a forest over a dozen centuries ago! The day after that, he spent the entire three hours ignoring every single question I asked, and attempting to convince me of the tonal and linguistic superiority of the words ‘veranda’ and ‘caribou’! And the worst part is that half the time, I don’t even know if he’s telling the truth!”

“You think he lies?” Twilight asked worriedly.

“I know he lies!” Another stack of notes landed in front of her. “Session 37. He began describing the court-martial of Mortar Stonewall - one of the most important military trials in Equestrian history, although it occurred while he was imprisoned, so who knows how he even knew about it in the first place - but then, at the point where the judge was supposed to deliver the guilty verdict, his version of the proceedings somehow devolved into a... a barbaric orgy!”

What?

“See for yourself!” Halcyon smacked the papers vengefully. “Your Highness, I’m honored to have been chosen for this task, but I cannot work with somepo - with something that refuses to work with me.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry.”

“...No. No, don’t be sorry. I... know better than most how much of a pain he can be.” Twilight cleared her throat, and held her head up high. “As Princess, I hereby officially relieve you of your duty as Discord’s biographer.”

Halcyon bowed respectfully, and breathed a barely-controlled sigh of relief. “Thank you, Your Highness. I’ll send what I have so far to the Archives, to be... well, burned, most likely. It’s practically worthless.”

At the word ‘burned’, Twilight’s hair stood on end as if she had been struck by lightning. Her mouth moved almost automatically. “Would you mind if I took it, instead?”

He paused halfway through, and looked up at her curiously.

“It’s just... I don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste,” she said, scraping her hoof against the floor awkwardly. “I’m sure I could find some use for it. My friend Pinkie Pie might get a laugh out of it, at least.”

He blinked a few times, contemplating, then nodded. The loose sheets floated themselves back into the binder with a golden glow, and the covers snapped smartly shut.

“It’s against protocol,” he said half-heartedly, pushing the binder across the desk. “But I suppose that you don’t have to follow protocols, now, do you?”

“...No,” said Twilight thoughtfully. “No, I suppose not.” She shook her head, then tucked the binder under her wing and smiled. “I’ll try not to make a habit out of it. Thank you for your time, Mr. Victor.”

“Good day, Your Highness.”


“...and then I said to him, I said, ‘Barry! Barry!’ I said, ‘Barry! Wot’re you planning on doing with that there egg, Barry?’”

Twilight sighed, and set aside yet another sheet of nonsense. Mr. Victor was right. These notes were worthless - all 376 pages of them. But perhaps...

Her gaze wandered out the window, towards the tower closest to her own. It stood out like a sore hoof among the rest of the Royal Castle’s gleaming spires, mostly due to the fact that its top floor and coned roof were disconnected from the rest of its body, hovering several feet above and rotating gently.

Perhaps she might have better luck? Besides Fluttershy, Discord respected her more than any other pony in Equestria. Which... wasn’t much, admittedly. But it might give her some sort of advantage.

Twilight stood, and stretched out her wings. She was still acclimating to using them, and she didn’t want to risk any accidents from not being properly warmed up, even on so short a flight. Once she had run through the seven basic stretches laid out by The Sportspony’s Guide for Intermediate Fliers, she figured she was ready enough, and hopped daintily out the window.

Discord had been ‘thoughtful’ enough to leave a section of spiral staircase dangling beneath his floating fortress of solitude, to act as a landing platform. Twilight had told him more times than she could count - well, actually, sixty-five times - that it wasn’t safe, but he had skillfully ignored her and left it the way it was. As she touched down gently on the gravity-defying stones, she made a mental note to remind him about it again.

The door was answered before she had even knocked, and salsa music blasted out at her from nowhere. Discord beamed out at her, gleefully rattling a maraca that suspiciously resembled his missing single fang.

“Well, if it isn’t my favorite princess, Twilight!” he grinned. “What can I do for you on this spectacular day?”

“I’m your favorite?” she asked doubtfully, stepping in under his serpentine neck. “I’d have thought you enjoyed torturing Celestia more.”

The room had been thoroughly redecorated in the few weeks Discord had lived there. Gone was the clean, rectangular furniture that normally adorned guest rooms in the Castle, replaced with spherical dressers, sideways candelabras, and an overfilled waterbed in which several miniature sharks circled lazily.

“Hm... good point. Second favorite, then. No, wait - Luna is always a good laugh, too. Third? Oh, but Cadance has seniority.” Discord tapped the maraca against his chin thoughtfully. “Well, you’re definitely in my top five.”

“Uh-huh,” Twilight said dryly. “Listen, Discord. I’d like to ask you about something.”

“Of course!” His body flicked through the air lazily, wrapping around the twisted chandelier. “Fire away!”

“Where are you from?”

A nonexistent record scratched, and the jaunty music stopped short. There was silence for a moment as the two of them stared at each other, until Discord burst out into raucous laughter.

“Oh, my. That historian was really that frustrated? He had to send a princess to deal with the problem?”

“Actually, all he wanted was to be relieved of the duty. I chose to take it on myself.”

“Ah. I see,” he said with mock solemnity. “And since it’s you, you expect me to go along with it?”

“Yes!” Twilight said forcefully. “Yes, I do. Starting tomorrow, you’re going to tell me everything about you, starting from the very beginning.”

“Hmph,” he muttered. “As if I have anything better to do... Very well, then. Tomorrow it is. I’ll expect you bright and early.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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