• Member Since 12th Jul, 2014
  • offline last seen 18 hours ago

Thornwing


Just a little, old baby kitty...

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This story is a sequel to The Evolution of Harmony


When Discord wakes up from his month long nap after the battle with Lord Tirek, he finds he’s lost his mojo. How can he get it back? Maybe the ponies can help – or maybe the Tree of Harmony has the answer.


Sequel to The Evolution of Harmony
Not required to have read, but it helps with the setup and a few minor plot elements.

Chapters (25)
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Comments ( 73 )

Thanks for taking the time to travel along this story road with me!

I'm writing this one a few chapters ahead of publication and would really appreciated some feedback on what has been published so far. It would really help me to understand what people think of the story so far as I get into the meat of the plot.

Thanks again for reading!

Hmm. This caught my eye because I'd had a similar idea, actually. After reading, it only bears passing resemblance, but I'm still curious about how you resolve it.

Good presentation so far, some formatting issues but I hear that happens if you indent and then import from Google Docs or something. Nice to see Discord being a dink still. He's reformed but still learning the whole friendship thing. :)

Was mildly disappointed at the MacGuffins if only because I saw that trope over-used early on in the fanfiction scene, but that doesn't mean you can't do something good with it so I'll reserve judgement there. Rarity seemed a bit overdone in the whine department but not egregiously so.

I believe I shall fav this to keep following it and see where you go.

4719489

Thanks for the comments - I really appreciate the honest feedback.

Some of the setup here comes from the previous story. It's a little bit of foreshadow as well. I'm trying to stay true to the characters, while still being realistic to their reaction and growth as they deal with the current situation.

As far as originality goes - I don't have a lot of fanfic reading under my belt so I'm not sure how prolific the ideas and plot I present are in the fandom. I just hope I can present an engaging story, build on already established characters, and help flesh out the world of MLP a little more in the process.

Thanks for reading!

4719566
Ah, okay. My fault for not reading the previous fic first! Though, from a "coming in cold" perspective, things look pretty good. It's nice to see a "don't need to read the previous" fic that actually doesn't have random OCs or non-canon relationships only ever explained by the previous fic. :)

Honestly, if you write a good story it shouldn't matter how original the idea is, which is why I want to see where you go with it. :) Some of Disney's best movies were just re-tellings of old/ancient fairy tales, after all.

I really like this take on the elements of disharmony. Every time I've seen them before they've always been "The Elements of Disharmony get together to fight the Elements of Harmony!" Except... disharmony can't work together! That's the whole point to disharmony! So the notion that Discord was essentially their keeper, being the spirit of chaos and disharmony, and now that he's lost them they've gone to six totally unrelated and disparate beings who are not working together, solves the major problem I always had with the concept, so this works much better than any take I've seen on it before.

4721994

Good to hear I've got a fresh take on things to work with in the rest of my tale. The next few chapters will be coming soon - I'm still trying to decide on the order I want to present things in since the story from chapter four on out splits up into a few sub-quests.

One of the hardest things for me in writing stories involving the entire mane 6 is keeping the dialog interesting between all of them at the same time. My plot device for this second story is really helping me concentrate on the dialog between smaller groups of characters. Hopefully it makes for some more compelling scenes as well.

Again, thanks for reading - I hope you like what's coming next!

:derpytongue2:

Huh. A diffuse element? That's kind of a neat idea, actually.

4729438

:)

I'm trying out the idea of the Elements of Disharmony not being tangible objects - more of an essence. All kind of part of the chaotic nature at play here.

4729551
Well, when you think about it, the Elements of Harmony aren't really physical either since they're held within the ponies that represent them. The jewels are just foci for those powers. So it seems obvious in retrospect, but I think makes for a far more interesting plot. They can't just chase down and take some bauble away from a willing/unwilling baddie... they have to deal with the essence itself. :) I like it.

did you know that cannedcream made a video on the elements of disharmony five days ago? its either a coincidence, or he read your story. regardless, its a good video, and has a shocking resemblance to your story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-iUHRwKp8s

4760727 Thanks for the head's up - I posted a comment on the video. Maybe some others would be interested in reading a story on the topic as well.

:pinkiehappy:

It's a two-fer Tuesday!

Enjoy another chapter of Balance of Harmony - on the house!

:twilightsheepish:

It seemed that only a few weeks ago, one of the more ‘gifted’ of them had tried to show off to his classmates. His little stunt had managed to blow the roof clean off the building.

he pulled a twilight :twilightblush:

...Did they just leave Gilda and Pinkie Pie in the same room? *grins* This promises to be fun! :rainbowlaugh:

4771952 I may just have to write my next story based on the 10 minutes that Pinkie and Gilda were left to entertain Fluttershy.

:fluttercry:

It's Tuesday again - instead of two chapters, I'm giving a double length one instead. (I really just couldn't find a way to break it down more.)

I hope you all enjoy as I get these last few chapters out.

:twilightsmile:

All right, just finished reading up to chapter twenty-two! I saw a spelling error or two, perhaps a place I'd have used or removed a comma, but nothing too outlandish. A pre-reader or editor working along with you as you complete your next story would reduce those to zip.

First off, this is a definite improvement to your first story, both in execution and in scale. You're branching out into new territory here by splitting up your protagonists along different story paths, and the multiple arcs are all flowing together very nicely. The pacing feels good, and no arc seems to last too long or get too convoluted.

I've seen the mirror elements of Harmony concept done before, usually as a villain team against their protagonist counterparts, but I like how you've set them up as less of direct opponents and more of lessons to be learned/passed on by the mane six. The Flim Flam brothers are greedy, but they're not out to get anyone, and their greed is what needs to be overcome rather than the brothers themselves. It brings to mind how the Rainbow Power keys were earned, so it feels true to the source material.

One area I thought could use improvement was the Malice arc. You've got a good target for it with Gilda, but I feel like the conclusion didn't quite fit. Rainbow is captured, tied up and under guard, and then within a sentence she's turned the tables somehow and is having a sensible conversation. It was something of an awkward scene. Gilda under the influence of Malice was still more reasonable than she was in the show. I honestly think that griffon would need the sense knocked into her. I've got a few ideas, but nothing really concrete.

I like how you brought some vulnerability into Celestia's character with the introduction of the diary, but I felt it could use a little more touching up. We are told that changes how Twilight sees Celestia, but I'd like to be shown that. Adding a few excerpts from the diary, Celestia's own words of her emotional state and her self-loathing or doubts or whatever it may be, would help with that.

This would also be a great opportunity to introduce the Crystal Queen through diary entries, because her showing up at the end was a source of confusion. Twilight suddenly announced, "Oh, by the way, there's a Crystal Queen we all knew about" and it left me as a reader wondering if I'd missed it earlier on. It would be fantastic if we could come to the same conclusion as Twilight, about the Queen being their ticket out, at the same time via clues left in previous chapters.

One last note about their time in the shadow realm. I felt it was a little too strong of a parallel to when the mane six were corrupted by Discord in the show. There might have been a way to split off on a different path there, like how you handled Pinkie. In the show, corrupted Pinkie was a grump who hated laughter. Here, you went with sadness and depression. It fits her well and still acts as an opposite of her element. Perhaps the others could use that same treatment to give it more originality.

Although, with the way it is currently set up, I feel that Applejack's reformation could use some love. Others were dragged out of their corrupted states, but Applejack just seemed to get... tired of lying or bored maybe and just gave it up with a shrug. It didn't feel like it had the gravity that the others did. Perhaps if she were lying about, say, not knowing any of the mane six. Refusing to admit they are friends. The others would have to prove to her that she was their friend through recollections of how she's come through for them in the past, and bam! Corruption gone.

That's my take on content. You're on a good path here and the end is in sight. Keep it up!

-Hack

4812129

Good points all - saving a few things for book three that still tie in with this story and the first.

I'm still trying to find a good balance between telling too much and leaving things up to the reader to explore. I know a lot source content from the show because I went back and watched a lot of previous episodes to feed into this story. The surprises in the end, maybe I could have spelled things out a little more, but it almost feels good to have the surprise. Maybe people might want to go watch some of the key point episodes - like Griffon the Brush Off and The Crystal Empire pt 1&2. I'm still taking note of things going forward.

Amazing comments - thank you so much for the effort you put into all of this.

Book three will be starting up "soon". I'm making the trilogy and hopefully parts of things from the previous two make a little more sense once I bring it all full circle.

:trollestia:

Drumroll please!

Here's the final chapter and wrap up for this second book - work to start on book three next week.

Thanks for reading!

Thornwing

First of all, congratulations on finishing the story! This was no small undertaking and I applaud you for not just sticking with it but releasing chapters on such a dedicated schedule. Well done!

Overall it was a good story, well put together. Each chapter was easy to read and kept the story moving and the events and characters were logical. At no point did I want to throw my hooves up and go "What?! Whatever." Sadly, that happens sometimes to an otherwise good story.

If I were to offer some criticism, it would be in how quickly conflicts were resolved. There just felt like there could have been more to the resolution of each element... the solutions were novel, but just seemed to happen too quickly. There felt like opportunity to explore the characters more in the resolution, where instead the afflicted were convinced of their errors rather quickly (with as little as a few lines of dialogue) once it got down to it. Now, I know from personal experience that seeing a spot that could use more storytelling, and actually coming up with story to TELL in that spot, are totally different things, so take this with a grain of salt. :) I just felt that, given the magically-compulsive nature of the Chaos Elements involved, it would have taken a little more effort on the part of the heroes.

On the flip side of that, everything was resolved in the spirit of the show and largely in-character, with dialogue and compassion winning the day instead of fighting, so well done there, as well. The only time Power was involved was to save someone from an equally bad Power, also keeping in tune with the show. Again, nicely done.

Overall, I'm gonna give you a Like. :) There's room for improvement, but you did good and I certainly found myself enjoying following this story.

4814694 Thanks for sticking with me through it all. I know it can be hard to follow a story not knowing if it will actually get finished.

I'm going to start getting into #3 here soon, and I promise to finish that one as well. After that - maybe I'll do a few short one shot stories that delve into the details or put some better back story on all of this. If I come up with another epic plot to follow, I'll consider doing a long one again -after the third of course - but it does take a lot of doing.

First book took under a week start to finish because the entire thing was a brain dump of an idea I had in my head for a month. The second was more a calculated journey that I outlined and filled in as I went - it took about a month to do. We'll have to see where the next one goes, but I have a pretty good idea of where I want to see it end.

:duck:

Hm... I like the story but didn't the elements get switched up? I thought it was originally the element of Greed in Manehatten and Envy in Griffon's Nest but instead they picked up the two elements that we were originally told they did not know the location of, namely Malice and Lies.

Edit: Nevermind. I see that was addressed later.

4963268

That was on purpose - Discord and all...

Alright. Finally time to start on the sequel to "Evolution of Harmony."
Since I've already reviewed one of your stories before, I hardly think I need to explain the Review categories again, so I'll just get right to it.

(Warning: The following reviews may contain sarcastic, serious, joking, thoughtful, or downright unnecessary commentary and/or flutter-censored swearing. Viewer discretion is advised.)

So we open this story up with...

‘That doesn't seem right. Perhaps I overslept.’

...Discord. *Cue Kefka's theme*

It seems that Discord is having some kind of trouble with his powers.

He snapped his claws and the sky turned purple. He snapped again and some fish flew by. He snapped a third time and the sky went back to blue, but the fish turned purple and started dancing. The magic felt the same; the chaos, however, still didn’t feel right.

Okay, so his powers are fine. So what's wrong?

‘Maybe this is something else,’ he thought. ‘Maybe I need to have a talk with the Tree of Harmony.’

Wonder how this is going to go down...

Alright, so come to Ponyville, where they're having a scheduled rainstorm, much to Pinkie Pie's chagrin. The Mane Six are in the Friendship castle waiting out the storm, each doing their thing; Rarity getting patterns for redecorating, Fluttershy coddling her animals, Rainbow Dash out directing the weather team, Pinkie...being Pinkie, Twilight still adjusting to the new castle, and...okay, I'm assuming AJ is out at Sweet Apple Acres tending the orchard.

A while later, Rainbow comes in and tells them it'll be over soon, when Pinkie Pie...

“Rainbow,” Pinkie inquired, “why is it raining mud?”

......Okay, when Discord said he'd come visit the Tree of Harmony, did he really have to do this again?

Pinkie came in close and gave it a good strong whiff.
“Hmmm… It doesn’t smell like mud,” Pinkie reported. “It smells like chocolate!”

*Sigh, points to link* Chocolate Rain
So the girls think Discord's gone back to being bad (except for Twilight and the obvious Fluttershy), AJ comes in, saying the farm's taking a beating, and Twilight tries to be the reasonable one when...

‘{Twilight}’
A voice rang through Twilight’s head as she sat and pondered their next course of action. She perked up and turned her head from side to side.
“Quiet everypony,” came her sudden command. “I thought I heard something.”
‘{Twilight, we need you. Come as quick as you can.}’

So Twilight hears Queen Una----I mean, the voice of the Tree of Harmony, and they all head for the cave.

Honestly, I'd be with Twilight on this one; we can't just blame Discord right off the bat. The guy's honest enough about his chaos, so just ask him.

But first, TO THE TREE OF HARMONY!!!

So they head to the Everfree Forest (Pinkie trying to enjoy the last bits of the chocolate rain), running into Zecora for a few minutes before continuing to the Tree of Harmony.
And there they find Discord *Kefka's theme*

“Twilight, so good to see you. It’s been ages since we had one of our legendary chats. Oh, how I’ve missed you. Pull up a chair and let’s do some catching up.” Discord snapped his lion clawed paw and Twilight suddenly found herself in a comfy high back plush sitting chair being thrust toward the tree.
The rest of the group soon joined her; Rarity on a fainting couch, Applejack in a wooden rocking chair, Fluttershy on a padded footstool, Rainbow Dash in a baby highchair, and Pinkie Pie on a folding lawn chair. Soon they were all gathered together around the base of the tree. Rainbow Dash struggled to free herself from the confinement of the infant seat she was strapped into.

*stifles a laugh* (Humor: +1)

So we get some shenanigans (because it's Discord; can't have a Discord story without him doing something chaotic!) where Discord expresses his innocence just like in "Princess Twilight Sparkle" and....

“It means, the magic that was used to create the Spell of Harmony could only have done so by creating a balance of equal power. When Una became the Tree of Harmony, I was born.”

Oooh! Origin exposition for Discord! (Story: +1)
So when Una and Brightwing cast the Spell of Harmony, Discord was created as a balance. We now know when he came into being. Question is, was he young then? Or has he been the signature character of John De Lancie we all know and love/hate for the last 2000 years?

Okay, so Discord wasn't the one who started the chaos storm. Well, then who/what did? And why is Discord feeling so off?

“Discord, we really need some answers here,” coaxed an anxious Twilight. “Could you please try and get to the point?”
“Oh all right then, theatrics aside, so beit. It all comes down to this, so listen closely. You can’t have day without night. You can’t have hot without cold. One would simply not exist without the other. So, it follows -- you can’t have harmony without chaos.”
“I understand that part,” Twilight replied, “but what does that have to do with the chaos storm back home. You aren’t saying that your chaos magic caused it are you?”
“No, Twilight. What I’m saying is this -- that ever since Tirek stole my magic, I have lost control over the Elements of Disharmony.”

"Elements of Disharmony?" Oooooh, I see! That's why it's called "the Balance of Harmony!" Everything's in balance....Okay, just had to get that one out there.

Okay, you definitely wrote Discord VERY well! and he's a difficult character to write; more so than Pinkie Pie! (Writing: +5)

So we continue with Twilight in her bedroom.
:rainbowhuh:What, we don't get to see the rest of the scene at the Tree of Harmony?

She reflected on the discussion she and her friends had been through with Discord. There was, of course, the big revelation about the existence of the Elements of Disharmony. Five counter elements to the Elements of Harmony – sadness, malice, envy, lies, and greed.

:ajbemused:......Did this really have to be a flashback scene? It could have been just a continuation off of the conversation; it would give us a much better description of the Elements of Disharmony, as well as better insights of how Discord gave them their directions. (Writing: -1)

As for the names of the Elements of Disharmony themselves (Rating time! scale of 1 to 10):
Greed: Perfect 10
Lies: 4.0
Envy: 7.5
Malice: 9.0
Sadness: 6.5
Overall: 7.4 (C)

Suggestions for the Elements of Disharmony (if renamed):
(Key: Harmony - Disharmony)
:ajsmug:Honesty - Dishonesty:ajbemused:
:pinkiehappy:Laughter - Hatred:pinkiecrazy: (Going off of how Pinkie Pie acted in "Return of Harmony" when Discord turned her.)
:raritywink:Generosity - Greed:raritystarry:
:fluttershysad:Kindness - Cruelty:flutterrage:
:rainbowwild:Loyalty - Deception:rainbowdetermined2:
:twilightsmile:Magic - .......Yeah, I got nothing.:derpytongue2:

Anyway, so the next morning the ponies all demanding answers from Twilight, who is still asleep...
AJ goes in to wake her up, and when she goes to address the public, she gets bombarded!

"Are we all going to die!?"

:twilightoops:Well, that's...a little dark.

“Quiet!” yelled a still frazzled and now seriously frustrated Twilight. “There is absolutely no reason to fear. We know what happened here and we have a plan to stop it.”
The crowd became still as the princess spoke. One lone voice in the back ventured a final question.
“Then what’s the plan?”
Twilight hesitated, still unsure herself if they even really had a plan. She replied, “We’re still working out the particulars, but in the meantime, I need you all to go back to your homes and let us handle this.”

:trixieshiftright:Really, Twilight? You really expect them to just take it just like that?

So we are treated to some Cutie Mark Crusader lines...

“What’s wrong girls?” said Rarity. “Why such long faces – it isn’t like this is the end of the world or anything.”
“Maybe it is,” Sweetie Belle replied chocking back more tears. “I don’t want to die without my cutie mark!”

Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhh..........Have you really met Sweetie Belle? She may be a kid, but she's not THAT much like Rarity! She doesn't overreact...Okay, she still does, but not to THIS extent!

So the Mane Six gather in the Throne Room to discuss how they're going to deal with this problem. Ultimately, they will have to split up to cover enough ground. This is actually a challenge that they have yet to face: handling things on your own when the situation demands it.

(Sorry I haven't been here in a few days; been volunteering for a local festival.)

So Twilight and Pinkie Pie see AJ and Rarity off on the train before returning to town. (R.D. and Fluttershy have already left by now...)

“Don’t worry, Twilight,” smiled Pinkie. “I’ve got just the thing to snap Ponyville out of this smile slump.

Gee, could it be a party?

-- a party!”

Oooooooh, lucky guess! :ajsmug:

So they head back into town to get decorations for the "Rainy Day Go Away" party - improvement on writing Pinkie's randomness. Good job. (Writing: +1) - and we see that the entire town is down in the dumps.

When they get to the castle, Pinkie splits off to get the decorations and Twilight...

“Twilight! So glad you finally made it home.” Discord stood in the foyer dressed in a maid’s outfit and holding a feather duster.

:ajbemused:..............Ai-yai-yai...

“Why of course, Twilight. I always do my best thinking in my thinking tree. The good news is that I’ve found the element of sadness – it’s right here in Ponyville!”

Tell us something we don't know.

So after a bit, Discord questions Twilight's decision to delegate her duties to her friends and split them up.

“My friends are strong and they will not fail. I have complete confidence that they can retrieve the Elements of Disharmony on their own.”
“But…”
“But what?”
“I sensed a ‘but’ coming there and had to ask – don’t you feel even the tiniest bit of trepidation for their wellbeing? I mean, little Fluttershy is so sweet and all – how could you ask her to track down the element of malice all by herself?”
“She isn’t by herself – she’s got Rainbow Dash right there with her.”

Not your most persuasive argument, Twilight. We've seen on more than one occasion that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy don't exactly work well together. Examples? R.D.'s cheering lessons in "Sonic Rainboom" and the jousting demonstration in "The Crystal Empire," to name two.

So Discord heads back to the Tree of Harmony to try and locate the remaining two elements (and possibly a sixth), and Twilight goes up to check up on Spike, who's throwing a temper tantrum. (First time I've seen him do this since "Secret of my Excess.")

She whispered, “Spike, are you still awake? Can we talk?”
“Yeah, I’m still awake,” grunted Spike. “Can’t get much sleep around here with all the distractions recently.”
“Spike, what’s the matter with you? Why are you trying to sleep in the middle of the day?”
“What’s the difference? It doesn’t matter anyway.”

:rainbowderp: Wow...Spike's in a bad mood...

“It sure doesn’t feel that way.” Spike hung his head as a tear formed in his eye. “I never get to be a part of the team. Whenever there’s a threat to Ponyville, or to Equestria, it’s always, ‘Spike, can you stay and watch the castle? Spike, can you make sure the books are dusted? Spike, can you watch our pets while we go on our cool adventure?’”

:rainbowderp::rainbowderp::rainbowderp:*rubs eyes, double checks* Did you just......address that!? Okay, props for you! THIS is something the show needs to explore! (Writing: +1)

So Twilight is able to soothe him, and...

As the tears rolled down his scales and onto the floor, they suddenly evaporated. Instead of simply drying up, they turned into a magical glowing essence. The magical vapor swung around the pair as their embrace continued. The gemstone on Twilight’s crown began to faintly glow as just a small part of it began to illuminate as the magic particles coalesced within.

Is that what I think it is...?

Twilight was almost cross-eyed at this point trying to glance up at the tiara and magic gemstone that sat proudly on top of her head. “I think we just found a little bit of the Element of Sadness.”

Wait...."a little bit of the Element of Sadness?" So Spike wasn't the sole bearer of it?

Okay, so if cheering the people up will reveal the Element of Sadness, then Pinkie has the right idea.

AAAAAAAND this chapter shows Pinkie Pie's party-loving side; something we were SORELY missing from the previous story! Improvements have been made! Good job!

So, the first leg of this chapter shows AJ and Rarity packing up and leaving for Manehatten. And this does a good job of showing just how the stress is affecting Rarity. Luckily, AJ is there to calm her nerves - at least a little.

On the train, we get some more development of relationships between these two ponies who were complete and total opposites early in the series (for references, see "Look Before you Sleep"). And in the morning, we get a rather charming scene with Rarity brushing AJ's mane for her.

So they arrive at Manehatten and begin searching for the missing Element of Disharmony. Their first top is at Coco Pommel's place...... Coco Pommel.....Why does that name sound familiar... *googles it* ........:facehoof: Woooooow.....from "Rarity Takes Manehatten"......how could I forget about her!?

Anyway, so they ask her if there's anything out of the ordinary, and...oddly enough, she does know something.

Coco took a moment to think about the question. “Well, now that you mention it, there is this one thing. About a month ago, a strange little shop opened up down on 13th street. I’ve never seen a stranger set of owners or a more popular product in all my life.”

About a month ago...Isn't that just after Discord lost his magic to Lord Tirek? (Yes, he was the most badass villain in the show - IMO - so I'll address him by his full title!)

So, what's the new shop called?

Coco replied, “Flim Flam’s Tonic Emporium.”

:rainbowderp: Flim Flam? As in, the Flim Flam Brothers?
.........................................................................
Well, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. I honestly think that both AJs and Rarity's opposite elements would work for them: they're greedy, lying SOB's, after all. Wait.....
what's the name again?

Coco replied, “Flim Flam’s Tonic Emporium.”

Oh, don't tell me they're still going about with that tonic...

Alright, so since we've seen Twilight and Pinkie Pie's side of the story, as well as Applejack and Rarity, that leaves Fluttershy and R.D!

So we see Fluttershy saying her goodbyes to her animal friends (There's another crucial part to Fluttershy's personality that you missed in the last story! Improvements! Writing: +1) before returning to Rainbow and the two of them head off.

“Speaking of friends,” whispered Fluttershy, “are you sure Gilda will be willing to help us? We didn’t exactly see eye to eye the last time she was here.”

“No worries, Fluttershy,” pronounced a confident Rainbow Dash. “Me and Gilda go way back. I’m sure the last time she was here was just a fluke. She’ll be happy to help an old pal.”

Wait...what? What!? Rainbow is actually looking for Gilda? As in, Gilda? As in, the griffon who thinks she's all that and a box of cookies and because of that is one of the most hated people in Equestria, who you yourself, R.D, dismissed from your circle of friends in the same episode she was introduced? THAT Gilda? And you're bringing along Fluttershy of all ponies to help you find her? Ask Pinkie Pie; the two aren't exactly on the best of terms!

Anyway...

So Rainbow and Fluttershy begin their long flight to Griffin's nest, with Fluttershy actually being able to keep up with RD for he most part...

Finally, Fluttershy's wings give out and they have to walk the rest of the way. :rainbowderp: Speaking of which!

“Wow, Fluttershy,” said Rainbow Dash encouragingly. “I had no idea you could fly that well. By the looks of that sore, I’m surprised you made it this far.”

My thoughts exactly, Rainbow! Fluttershy has proven on multiple occasions, and even in her own backstory (or what little we get in the show) that she's NOT a strong flier! And to see her have the determination to push herself WELL beyond her usual limits is nice development, not only for her character, but also her physical endurance. Good job! (Writing: +1)

So, after R.D. encourages Fluttershy to continue, and offering to take Fluttershy's saddlebag for her (Okay, that was actually pretty charming), they arrive at Griffin's Nest, which is...on the ground? Um...okay, I can go with this.

And we see that the city itself isn't very fond of ponies----

The few griffins still milling about had noticed the presence of the ponies. Fluttershy’s nerves were starting to get the better of her as each one they passed seemed to growl at her.

......And my previous comment is the understatement of the year...

As they came to a shop near the center of town, they heard a familiar voice call out to them.

“My little pony friends, come quickly – you must get inside.”

:rainbowderp: Wait...I recognize that french accent!

“Gustave?” replied Rainbow Dash.

“Oui, Oui. Come now, vee must urray.”

Gustave? As in, Gustave le Grand, the french griffin chef from "Mystery on the Friendship Express!?"....Wow... Never expected anypony to make a fanfic that involved this guy.

“What’s the deal, Gustave?” asked an annoyed Rainbow Dash.

“It very nice to see you again, Mr. Gustave,” said Fluttershy with a small curtsy.

“Euh merci, mon petit ponie,” said a somewhat relieved looking Gustave le Grand. “I am so appy to see you. I ave no idea how you both made it zis far into town without being captured. Zee guards must ave all gone to bed.”

Wait...:applejackconfused: Why would they have gotten captured?

“Guards? What do you mean, Gustave?” replied a still slightly annoyed but now more confused
Rainbow Dash. “Why would the guards want to capture two ponies?”

“Because, those are her orders,” he replied.

Rainbow Dash waved a hoof in front of his face. “Now hold on just a second, what’s the matter with ponies being in Griffin’s Nest and who’s ordering our capture?”

Gustave looked offended at the question, but said, “why, it’s your old friend Gilda of course.”

:rainbowderp:

Wow...Gilda really is a spiteful little b:yay:ch if she can hold a grudge that long. I mean, it's been almost two years since "Griffin the Brush-Off"; wouldn't she have calmed down a bit---------
:derpyderp2:What?

"Why, it's your old friend Gilda of course."

:rainbowderp:..........................How would Gilda have been able to give that kind of order? What, is she like the princess or something?
........................I totally just jinxed it, didn't I...

So we start this chapter with Coco Pommel, Applejack and Rarity heading for the Flim-Flam brothers' new scam. They arrive, and ----Hooooh-leeee Cuh-rap, that's a long line!

They meet with Applejack's Uncle Orange.

“Why if it isn’t my precocious little niece, Applejack.” Mosely Orange took a step forward as the line moved a few inches in front of him. “Whatever brings you to Manehattan?”

“Well, I guess I’ve come ta see what the big deal is here with the latest Flim Flam brothers scheme,” she replied.

“How dare you speak ill of those two wonderful pony proprietors. Their tonic is the greatest thing to ever grace our fair city,” he rebuffed.

How dare they speak ill of Flim and Flam? Has it ever crossed your mind that AJ might have some past experiences with the two of them? Man, you don't know anything at all about your niece ----....what?

"Their tonic is the greatest thing to ever grace our fair city," he rebuffed.

......Don't tell me they're still on that stupid tonic scam...

So after Coco Pommel leaves, AJ and Rarity head up ahead of the line to the schemers' shop (much to the waiting ponies' chagrin) and storm in.

“Sorry folks, but you’ll have to wait in line like all the rest of these thirsty ponies,” called Flim.

“Don’t worry though, there’s plenty for everypony. You just have to wait your turn,” cried Flam.

“Flim and Flam – still up to your old tricks I see,” countered Applejack. “What kind of snake oil are you trying to sell here in Manehattan.”

Both brothers stopped dead in their tracks like they had just seen a ghost. “Applejack!” They nearly fainted.

Flim and Flam quickly recovered from their initial shock. “The store is closed – everypony out!” they called out with one starting and one finishing the line.

A shocked group of ponies already inside the store were quickly ushered out the door. The signs in the window were flipped from Open to Closed. Last of all, the curtains were drawn so as to block all view from outside the venue.

:rainbowkiss: Oops! *singsong* Busted!

So they get the two of them to reveal what they are selling, and it seems the tonics from "Leap of Faith" got a magical upgrade.

*They make a batch* Hmm...all-natural ingredients, with a little magical touch...probably chaos magic.

Bells and whistles started going off in Applejack’s head. She turned to Rarity and asked, “Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”

If by that, you mean "that's the magic of the Element of Lies they're putting into that tonic," then yes.

So Rarity and Applejack manage to convince them to turn over a new leaf (with a rather creative twist here, having them make an organic health drink...interesting...) and remove the magic from all the tonic they have.

And it turns out...

The gemstone embedded in Applejack’s necklace began to glow as it absorbed the energy from its surroundings. Soon enough, the magical energy had filled the stone. Applejack stood back trying to get a better look at her necklace. Rarity came over and held up a hoof to get a closer look at it.

“I do believe you’ve done it, Applejack!” exclaimed Rarity upon closer inspection of the gem. “You’ve captured the essence of the element of lies!”

I still think it should be named differently. Seriously, you could just look up antonyms of the word "Honesty" and I guarantee you "Dishonesty" and "Deceit" are on that list; sounds more effort-filled than "lies."

Oh, whatever; we've got one Disharmony element down. In fact, that was almost too easy... Wonder how the others are doing...

Amending my list of Elements of Disharmony names:
:ajsmug:Honesty - Deception/Deceit, however you want to look at it:ajbemused:
:pinkiehappy:Laughter - Hatred:pinkiecrazy:
:raritywink:Generosity - Greed:raritystarry:
:fluttershysad:Kindness - Cruelty:flutterrage:
:rainbowwild:Loyalty - Betrayal:rainbowdetermined2:
:twilightsmile:Magic - ......Yeah, I still got nothing....Dark Magic? :derpytongue2:

Sunlight peeked through the corner of the upper room window.

Hey, since when was I in this?

Okay, bad joke aside, we start off with Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy waking up the next morning in Gustave's loft.

Rainbow, being hungry for answers (as am I) heads down and sees Gustave talking with two guards.

“But of course I aven’t seen any little ponies in my shop, officer.” The voice of Gustave was light and airy as he continued to answer to the guards that were questioning him. “Those –witnesses-, as you call zem, must ave been too drunk to see straight.”
“Alright, Gustave,” the first guard said pointedly, “but if you do see any ponies – you be sure and let us know right away.”
“And welcome back to town,” added the second. “I hear you won first prize at the National Dessert Competition this year – great job!”

Well, that second guard seems a lot nicer.

So Gustave finally gives the two of them (and the audience) the answers as to how Gilda was able to rally the town.

“Alright, Gustave. We really need to know what’s going on.” Rainbow Dash came over and sat on a small stool next to Fluttershy’s bed. “Could you please tell us what’s up with those guards I just saw downstairs?”
“I will tell you vut I can, mon ami. Aving just recently returned from the National Dessert Competition, I am still discovering things myself. All is not right in Griffin’s Nest – non!”
“You got that right – what’s with this anti-pony vibe?” inquired Rainbow Dash.
“It tis all Gilda – she is out of control. She ‘as all zee Griffins riled up with some nonsense about Griffin pride. Zee guards ave orders to arrest any pony on sight.”

So, basically, Gilda went from the bada:yay: cool girl to an overzealous racial pride speaker?

So Rainbow wants to talk it out with Gilda (wow....) but Gustave tells her they need to stay where they're safe.

Rainbow Dash almost fell off that chair almost as soon as she landed due to as a sudden pounding knock on the front door downstairs that shook the entire house.
“Gustave! We know you are harboring ponies. Come out with your talons in the air!”
The trio responded together at the recognition of the voice, “Gilda!”

Oh boy...here's Gilda McB:yay:ch now...

So the three of them get captured, and ...

“Stop it!” yelled Rainbow Dash. “You’re hurting her!”
Fluttershy gave a sharp yelp of pain, her tears now flowing freely, as she was unceremoniously dumped in line with the other two. All four hooves and both her injured wings were bound with a rough twine rope.

Hey! Get your filthy talons of Fluttershy! You wouldn't handle a flower like that, would you? WELL THAT"S WHAT FLUTTERSHY IS!!!!!!

So Gilda takes this opportunity to vent and explain that her anger at Rainbow turned into a hatred of all ponies as a result, and decided to put them into a race.

Gilda turned and faced her fellow Griffins once again. “Fellow Griffins -lords of flight- these Pegasi think they are better than us. They think that just because they have wings, they own the sky. Even Gustave here has been fooled into believing he is their –friend-. I say we have a race and have them try and prove who the better fliers really are.”
“Any time, any place, Gilda!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.
“I don’t think so, Dashie,” remarked Gilda with a sneer. “Let’s let this one decide Gustave’s fate.”
Gilda walked over to Fluttershy, and with a single swipe of her talon, sliced through the rope binding her legs and wings. Fluttershy cowered in fear beneath the raging Griffin.
“Rules are simple,” Gilda continued, “first flier to the lake and back gets to decide if you all go free, or if we lock you up in our cozy new dungeon.”

Gilda, that is low! Even for you! You know for a fact that Fluttershy doesn't stand a chance against you, even in her top condition! ....no offense, Fluttershy lovers....

Gilda gave Fluttershy’s wound a jab which sent the poor pony into another bout of pain induced sobbing.
“That tears it!!” screamed Rainbow Dash as she tore through the rope binding her legs and wings.

Ooooh, it's time for a BOSS BATTLE!!!!!!

She leaped onto Gilda and quickly wrapped the Griffin’s talons and wings in the rope that was now available. Rainbow grabbed the end of that rope and shot up into the air carrying Gilda along for the ride.
The rest of the guards didn’t quite know what to make of the situation. With their leader abducted they were at a loss for what they should do next. Were they supposed to follow and try to rescue her, or should they stay put and guard the other prisoners.
In the meantime, Rainbow Dash propelled herself and her old friend payload toward the nearby lake. In moments, they arrived. She hung her suspended captive over the water.
“Gilda we need to talk!” Rainbow Dash called down to the bound Griffin.

Wait, what!? That's it? No tail-kicking showing Gilda's pride as a griffin? No epic Sonic Rainboom-ing her tail into submission? No boss battle at all!? .......
*Sighs, picks up a sign*

:derpyderp2:Wasted Potential:derpyderp1:

So Gilda and Rainbow Dash talk this out peacefully, and we get some..good character development from Gilda. (Writing: +1)
In the end, the two of them make up, have a friendly race back to the city, and we see...Fluttershy walking with...the...guards......in a civilized manner...
man, I knew Fluttershy had a likable personality, but for guards who are supposed to hate ponies, period, this seems awfully nice of them...

So Gilda pulls back her orders of imprisoning ponies, and we get a magic release scene cranked up to eleven, showing the Element of Malice being extracted from all over the f:yay:king city and absorbed by Fluttershy's necklace. Two down, three (or four) to go.

In all honesty, this chapter seems a bit rushed (writing: -1). I think it could have been improved on the pacing if there was an actual fight between Rainbow and Gilda. I mean, if Gilda is strong enough to grab onto propeller blades and stop their motion (See "Griffon the Brush-Off), then she's got to be stronger than those ropes that Rainbow used to hog-tie her mid-air. Plus, I would like to have seen the race back to town. Oh well; reviewers can't be choosers.

Alright, so now we have Pinkie Pie making sure she's got everything for the party. After a few shenanigans (and a bit of flashback exposition detailing Pinkie Pie giving invitations to everypony), they have everything ready.

“Yeah, there’s no way those ponies could help but smile when they see all this,” said Spike.

:pinkiegasp: Murphy's Law! Incoming!!!!!

So the party starts on time. And it doesn't seem to be going well; we've got a few small grins here and there, but for the most part, they still look like they had just attended a funeral.

“I’ve got it,” she giggled. “I know just what this party needs – a conga!”

*groans* I never liked conga lines...It just seemed weird...
Well, as long as it doesn't come with a song...

“♫Everypony conga! Everypony conga!
I don’t mean to be pushy. Ya gotta grab my toushie.
Just hold on to my booty, or by the mark of cutie.
You pull this ponies heiney, to form a conga liney
Everypony conga! Everypony conga!♫”

:ajbemused: Me and my big mouth....... (I don't like most of the songs in MLP; the ones I really can't stand, though, are the Pinkie Pie 30-second shorts, like "Evil Enchantress", "Hop, Skip, and Jump", and "The Grand Galloping Gala is the Best Place for Me." I like how you implemented one into the story; keeps consistency with the show. I just cringe :fluttershyouch: whenever Pinkie Pie pics up a microphone...)

So they get everyone involved in the conga line, and things start looking up. But, for some reason, the CMC are not exactly into it. So Pinkie pulls them aside and talks to them about it.

Once they had conga’d clear of the main pack, she asked, “so why the long faces you three? Aren’t you having such a fantastic and awesomely spectacular time at this fantastic and awesomely spectacular party?”
“I guess,” replied Apple Bloom.
“Maybe,” echoed Sweetie Belle.
“It would be much better if we could just get our cutie marks in conga dancing,” added Scootaloo with a frown.

Why would you want a Cutie Mark in conga dancing? Anyone can do it.

Y'know what? I think the Cutie Mark Crusaders are going about getting their cutie marks the wrong way. They're trying a bunch of new things that they either don't really like or just aren't good at, and expect to get their cutie mark from it. What I think they need to do is to choose a career/skill they're already good at and keep at it. Like, Apple Bloom is already good at helping around the farm, so she could continue the family tradition and get her cutie mark in apple bucking or something similar, like making the apple pies; Scootaloo wants to be a strong flyer like Rainbow Dash, and she's already fast on her scooter, so she could build it from there until her wings develop more (I think her cutie mark will be a scooter); as for Sweetie Belle, she's a great singer, so it's obvious what her cutie mark would be for.

“I guess you’re right, Pinkie,” replied Scootaloo. “I enjoy riding my scooter -way- more than this.”
“And I’d rather pick apples all day long than have to go through this here dancin’ line again,” said Apple Bloom with a hint of a smile peeking out the corners of her mouth.
“Well, why didn’t you say so?” Pinkie stopped shaking her rump and spun around to look at the girls. “If you aren’t having fun with this, there’s plenty of other stuff you can do. You just need to find something that you like to do and then have fun doing it.”
“You mean like singing?” Sweetie Belle’s mood brightened considerably.
“Exactly!” exclaimed Pinkie.
“Or bakin’ pies?” asked Apple Bloom.

Wait, what? You addressed all that while I was speculating? Man, my brain gets riled up too easily...

“Of course!” Pinkie clapped her hooves as she licked her lips with just the thought of biting into a warm, fresh apple pie. She continued, “you girls are the only ones that can make yourselves happy. You just need to start by finding the things that you like doing and go from there.”

Hey! A Slice of Life lesson! And it's a good one to give to kids and some young adults who haven't quite figured themselves out yet. (Moral: +10)

The three little ponies turned to one another and gave each other a high hoof clap as they shouted in unison, “Cutie Mark Crusaders – having fun!”
Their hoof clap exploded into a thousand colored particles of light bursting out in every direction. The entire room looked like the ultimate glitter party cannon had just gone off. As the particles hung in the air, Pinkie and the fillies gazed around in wonder at the surreal sight. Before they could enjoy the view too much, the energy surged back toward them. It formed into a ball like a million swirling fireflies around Pinkie.

Huh...... So the CMC were the main victims of the Element of Sadness......

So Pinkie goes around the castle, gathering the bits of the element's magic from everypony inside, bouncing around like a demented Rabbid the whole way, before returning to Twilight and absorbing the bit that Twilight got from Spike.

“Wasn’t that just the most super awesomeiest thing you ever saw in your whole life, Twilight!” yelled Pinkie as she dove to hug her Alicorn friend.
The two ponies collided in a heap of laughing and tangled manes. Twilight hugged Pinkie and said, “I’m not sure how you managed to pull it off, Pinkie. Not even the element of sadness could stop you from throwing the best conga party ever.”

I'll admit, if this was put to animation, the visuals here would be just pure eye candy (Imagery: +5...wait, Imagery isn't part of this...scratch that!)

So now that's three elements down...

If you looked closely, however, there was a single spot within the gemstone at the very center that remained dim and barren.

So, they didn't get all of the Element of Sadness...... *singsong* Somepony didn't come to the party!

So the party ends, Twilight and Pinkie say goodbye to the guests, when Derpy Hooves shows up. (Yay! Derpy!:derpytongue2:)

“Derpy Hooves – I’m so glad you were able to make it to our party.” Pinkie Pie clapped her hooves after tossing a noise maker in her mouth and blowing out a loud {honk} in greeting.
“It actually looks like I missed the party - didn’t I,” sighed Derpy.
“Not at all,” coaxed Twilight. “You’re welcome to come in and have a bite to eat or maybe play some games.”
“That’s ok. I’d probably just make a bigger mess for you to have to clean up. I-I think I’ll just go home and take a nap. Sorry to bother you.”
“That doesn’t sound like a very happy thing to do?” replied Pinkie. “What’s got you feelin’ blue?”

"I am speaking in rhy-y-yme!!!" ---The Grinch, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

Derpy sighed again as she gathered up what little courage she could before launching into her story:
“Well, I got your party invitation and I was so looking forward to coming. I never get invited to parties like this, and well, it felt good to get my own invitation and everything. You see, I don’t really have any friends – nopony wants to hang out with plain old Derpy. I always mess things up.
It’s just that I started delivering the mail and completely lost track of the time. Being the Ponyville mailpony is a big job and I always try and focus super hard so I make sure and do it right. When I realized what time it was, I flew right on over here, but it looks like I’m late again – as always.”

Something tells me that Derpy has the last bit of the Element of Sadness.

So they bring Derpy inside and ask her to deliver the pieces of cake they have left (Jeez! 243 pieces left!? How much did you make!?) to everypony in town.

"What pony could say ‘no’ to having a friend that delivers them cake?”

Wouldn't that be considered bribing for friendship? Oh well.

So their persuading brings Derpy's spirit up, and the last tear she sheds just happens to be the last shred of the Element of Sadness. Okay NOW I can say they got three down!
*insert fanfare here*

So they pack up a number of cake slices and Derpy heads out on her way while Pinkie and Twilight clean up.

Theeeen we get our chaotic personality character with an entrance.

“Oh Twilight, how fortuitous that I finally found you,” he blurted out as soon as he materialized – unmindful of the current state of affairs he had just deposited himself into.
Twilight blew a piece of her mane out of her eyes and responded, “How hard was I to find? I’ve been here all day.”
Discord brushed off her response and replied, “How boring would that be if I found you in the first place that I looked...”

Uh, didn't you get an invitation to the party, Discord?

“…and what is it with this absurd amount of glittery goo all over the place – Twilight, you certainly must find better help to keep this castle of yours clean.”
He snapped his claw and the entire room was made instantly spotless. All the glitter was gone. All the streamers were removed. The cake in the middle of the foyer was replaced by a life-sized statue of Discord honoring himself.

Why didn't I think of that? Wait...:pinkiegasp: The cake!!!

Pinkie looked up from her cake boxing and glared at Discord. “Hey… what’s the big idea taking the cake?”
“Oh fine,” Discord mumbled. He snapped his claw again and the cake was back in all its previous glory. A pile of glitter also appeared just above Pinkie’s head before its momentary suspension was released and gravity took over. The poor pink pony was positively pummeled by pounds of plummeting particles.

*click link to see my reaction*

So Discord mopes about not having his chaotic mojo, and even complains about his house being clean.

"It's the first time I've seen the floor. I didn't even know I had a floor!"

I didn't even know you had a house!

So they tell him they've located one element, and he remembers why he came there in the first place:

Discord perked up a bit as he remembered why he had gone in search of Twilight in the first place. “That’s right – I do have some information about the other elements.”
Twilight came around to join Pinkie Pie as they prepared themselves for Discord’s update.

So, where are the elements of Greed and Envy? Let's hear it, Discord.

The now amused guest responded, “Why… Canterlot, of course!”

...................
Pro: They now don't have to search aimlessly around all of Equestria
Con: Canterlot is the biggest city in all of Equestria
Pro: Twilight is familiar with Canterlot
Con: Greed = anyone in the city!!!!!!
Pro/Con: I smell a Princess Luna boss battle coming up (Luna has Envy; I can tell)

So we open this up with Pinkie and Twilight taking the train to Canterlot with Discord.....uh, that doesn't make any sense. Couldn't Discord have brought them there?

They were fortunate to have caught the evening train to Canterlot. It had left Ponyville only a few short minutes after Discord’s revelation was pronounced. If they had missed it, they would have had to wait until morning for the next one.

Hello!? Discord! He can bend reality! He can teleport all three of you to Canterlot with a snap of his talons! Hellooooooo?

After a rather uneventful trip (Seriously, nopony thought to help Spike open the door?), they arrived at Canterlot

“We’re here, sleepy head.” Twilight poked Discord as she rose from her seat and reached up to gather her belongings.
“Another five minutes, mommy…” Discord mumbled to himself as he came around.

*chuckles*

Pinkie had settled on a more sensible assortment of personal items for this trip – not going with the double load of rock candy this time around

Thank goodness for that.

So they head up to the castle to see the Princesses, but because of the time, Celestia is probably asleep. Might as well schedule a meeting for tomorrow morning.

“Consider it done, your highness.” The guard gave a deep bow and continued, “I will also see to it that sleeping accommodations be made for your entire -- uh -- group.”

Okay, you only need two rooms; Discord should already have sleeping quarters in the castle; he lives here, doesn't he?

So we change scenes to Applejack asleep on the train with Rarity knitting by the light of the glowing Element of Honesty necklace.

Flim and Flam had graciously offered to let them stay at their place, but were disappointed when their old antagonists turned friends had declined. Although it was a tempting offer to meet and visit with the mares that had decided to marry the kooky twins, Applejack impressed upon them all that their mission was a pressing one.

Wait... Flim and Flam actually got somepony to marry them? Wonder what antics they used for that?

So we get a recount of what happened at the store; basically, the two of them helped out Flim and Flam run the store with their polished product. I'm (dare I say this) actually kinda glad to see these two reformed and running a now-honest business.

Then...we change scenes again? Well, that last scene was relatively pointless...(Writing: -1)

So we switch to Rainbow Dash flying to Canterlot with Gilda and Fluttershy in tow. Rainbow is carrying the saddlebags while Gilda is carrying a very exhausted Fluttershy.

After a while, they take a stop to rest for the night, and we get a rather touching scene of Gilda expressing her regret for her past actions and Fluttershy, being the ever-so-kind pony she is, forgives her without a second thought.

Okay, since I can't really make any jokes here, I'm just going to give my opinion on what character emote faces this site needs:
Luna, Gilda, Discord, Sombra, Chrysalis, Shining Armor, Cadence, a different Spike emote, Sunset Shimmer, and some more Derpy emotes.

Okay, moving on.

So we open this up the next morning and Twilight and Discord get an audience with Celestia.

They explain why they're in Canterlot: to find two of the Elements of Disharmony.

Celestia’s brow furrowed. She was taken aback by the unexpected comment from the young princess. A hundred thoughts from long ago swept into her head as she responded, “That is not something I expected to hear you say, princess.” She turned her attention back to Discord and continued, “I would guess that this has something to do with you then?”
Discord replied, “Only if you consider -Discord- and -disharmony- to go hand in hoof.”

:duck: Discord, sometimes you can be really dim; you of all people know that.

“That is exactly what I am implying and I think you know where I am going with that.” Celestia gave Discord a long hard stare.

Uh......Never seen Celestia give a look like that since "A Canterlot Wedding."

We’ve got the whole problem on lock down. I’ve even tracked two of the elements here to Canterlot!”
“That’s good, right?” Twilight tried to edge into the conversation one more time. “I mean, we know they are here in the city somewhere. Now all we need to do is find them and fix whatever problem they are causing, right?”
“Yes, Twilight.” Celestia addressed Twilight directly now. “However, it may not be as simple as you think. There are a lot of ponies in Canterlot. Finding whomever is at the heart of the problem may be more difficult than it seems.”

Aha! See? I told you Canterlot's size would be a problem!

Then Celestia notices that not all of the group is there and asks where the rest of them are.

Twilight hesitated with her answer, “I’m actually not sure where they are. I sent Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy to Griffin’s Nest to find the element of envy and Applejack and Rarity went to Manehattan in search of the element of greed. It wasn’t until recently that we discovered they were both in Canterlot.”

Uh, don't you mean this:

Twilight hesitated with her answer, “I’m actually not sure where they are. I sent Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy to Griffin’s Nest to find the element of malice and Applejack and Rarity went to Manehattan in search of the element of lies. It wasn’t until recently that we discovered they were both in Canterlot.”

I'd recommend going back and changing that. (Writing: -1)

“That is unfortunate,” replied Celestia. “I will send my fastest Pegasi messenger ponies to see if they can’t locate your friends and bring them here to the castle. In the meantime, I suggest we get to work on finding your missing elements. One word of caution to your friend here --- Pinkie Pie, make sure you hang on to the element that you have. We wouldn’t want it slipping into the wrong ponies hooves.”

Celestia gave Discord another furtive glare as she finished speaking to the group and stepped down from the throne. She began to organize the guards in their respective tasks as Twilight and company trotted out of the room. They quickly left the castle and headed into the heart of town in search of the elusive elements.

Uuuuuhhh.....I was under the impression that Celestia trusted Discord... I know the situation isn't exactly pointing in his favor, but she's definitely a pony to give him the benefit of the doubt! She wouldn't be this antagonistic towards him. (Writing: -1)

So we flash to Rarity and Applejack arriving in Canterlot before heading into town to wait for their layover train to Ponyville. Twilight, Pinkie, Spike, and Discord show up shortly thereafter.

Discord finally caught up to the others. The glow from Applejack’s necklace caught his eye. “I see you’ve got something there, Applejack. Whatever could it be?”
The ponies were able to break up their pile of hugs and glitter and came back to their upright positions.
Applejack replied, “Well, it’s not what you sent us to Manehatten for in the first place, but I think it’ll do right nicely.” She stuck out the gem for the other ponies to inspect.
Twilight beamed, “The element of lies! You did it, Applejack!”

Wait...so it wasn't the Element of Lies they originally sensed in Manehatten? *rereads back a few chapters* .........:twilightblush: Well, *nervous laughter*.....awkward.........(Writing: previous penalty discarded)

So, that means the Elements can move around and/or switch places with another? Well, that just made the search a LOT more difficult.

After some Element of Greed shenanigans with two ponies arguing over an item of some kind, the six of them huddle together to discuss their plan on catching the two Elements in Canterlot.

“That has to be the work of one of the elements. We need to figure out where they are before this really gets out of hoof.”
“Well, why don’t we split up and cover more ground then?” suggested Applejack.
“Yes, Applejack and I can take the boutique shops, and you and Spike can search the upper village – Pinkie Pie and Discord can search -- wherever.” added Rarity.

:raritystarry:My goodness, Rarity came up with a good plan! Those pairings are well-thought out as well; Rarity and AJ are getting along better, Twilight and Spike are closer than ever, and Pinkie is just as random as Discord. Good job, Rari---

Twilight replied, “Actually, Rarity, I want Pinkie Pie and Applejack to go back up to the castle and help coordinate the guards. They already have their elements and we can’t afford to lose them in all this mess. You and I can search the lower town.”
“And what would like me to do, Twilight?” asked Spike in almost an afterthought sort of way.
“Oh, sorry,” stammered Twilight. “Umm… how about you and Discord take the upper town?”

:ajbemused:Aaaaand you blew it....

She wasn’t too sure about pairing her trusted assistant up with the one person she didn’t fully trust. In the end though, she figured it wasn’t going to hurt anything and may actually help Spike to be out in the middle of the action as it were. The ponies broke their informal huddle and dispersed to their assigned tasks.

Twilight's learning; getting Spike more involved in the main plot? Progress...
As a side note, though, I don't think Twilight doesn't trust Discord fully. (Double negative...)

So they all head off in their assigned directions/destinations. AJ and Pinkie run into one of the guards, and we learn that Rainbow, Fluttershy, and Gilda have arrived.

“Well, what are we waitin’ for,” said Applejack as she rose up in preparation to gallop away. “Let’s go find our friends.”
She raced off into the castle with Pinkie hot on her flank.

I wonder how they're going to react to Gilda... Oh, glorious conflict setup.:twilightsmile:

So we flash to the Flying Team (you see what I did there?) waking up the morning after we last saw them. Rainbow is eager to get a move on, Fluttershy is still sore from the flight to Griffin's Nest, and Gilda...

“Gilda?” called out Rainbow Dash before turning back towards Fluttershy and muttering, “Now where could that Griffin have gone?”
“It’s ok, Rainbow,” replied Fluttershy. “I think the favor was just too much for her to handle. She probably didn’t want to hurt our feelings and just went home.”
“Well, that’s certainly not what a good friend would do – just leave without saying anything?” retorted Rainbow Dash.

Okay, either Gilda did ditch them, or something ironic is about to happen.

“What do you mean?” came a voice from the tree behind them. Gilda sat perched on one of the higher branches. “Who said I was leavin’?”
“Well…. Uhh…” stammered Rainbow Dash – a little bashful about leaping to conclusions. “I thought you may have just given up and, uhh, maybe didn’t want to tell it to our faces.”
“I thought you knew me better than that, Dash.” Gilda hopped down from the tree leaping a few branches at a time. “I just woke up and took off for a little wing stretching exercise. Carrying Flutter here is quite the workout.”

Okay, so she was just working out the stiffness....wait, hey! Fluttershy's got the least muscle on her out of the entire group! You think carrying her is a workout? Try carrying Applejack; She's ALL muscle!

So they gather up Fluttershy and take off the rest of the way to Canterlot. They meet up with the Pegasus Guards Celestia sent out to find them, and they are escorted in the rest of the way before meeting up with the Princess.

“That has to be a record for the shortest reconnaissance mission ever,” chuckled Celestia.

See, people? Celestia has a sense of humor!

So Celestia notices Fluttershy's injuries and takes them to her bedchamber (wow...) and have a doctor in there to look at Fluttershy's wings.
Applejack and Pinkie show up as well a few minutes later.

“Well, I’ll be – if it isn’t miss Rainbow Dash and Gilda as well.” Applejack brushed off a guard as she hopped through the door and into Celestia’s bedroom.

:applejackconfused:Well, she's taking Gilda's presence surprisingly well. And I'm surprised Pinkie isn't going all :pinkiecrazy: on her yet.

So, yeah, Fluttershy's going to be staying out of the air for a while.

Celestia spoke, “I see the both of you have acquired something very important. Would you two please come with me so we can talk privately for a moment?” She motioned to Applejack and Rainbow Dash. “And would you two stay here with Miss Fluttershy and keep her company?” She signaled to Pinkie Pie and Gilda.
They all nodded their heads and Rainbow Dash and Applejack followed Celestia into a small study located off the bedroom where the rest of the group remained.

Wait......did they just leave Gilda and Pinkie Pie in the same room together? (yes, they did.) Oh, this can only end SO well....

So Celestia gives Rainbow and Applejack a warning about the Elements of Disharmony, saying that in the wrong hooves they could cause some serious damage. Like we need reminding; look at what it did to Gilda.

“Well, you can count on us, Princess. We won’t let you down.”
“I’m sure you won’t, my little ponies.” Celestia gave them both a smile. “But you should remain vigilant and let me know if anything seems – well – off.”
“We certainly will, your highness.” Applejack tipped her hat to the princess. “I’ll keep this little beauty under constant guard.” She reached up and tapped the gem held in her necklace. It gave off a little pulse of light but the essence still remained contained within the gem itself.

My Genre-Savvy Sense is tingling:raritystarry:! There's going to be a villain who somehow managed to get his hooves on all five of the Elements of Disharmony and discovers the sixth, then we get an awesome Harmony vs Chaos final battle!:pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

(Alright, last chapter for tonight...)
We start this chapter off with Twilight and Rarity checking the shops. Twilight is trying to stay focused on the task at hand (that's why she's best pony). But Rarity...

“Oh look, Twilight!” Rarity stopped and pointed at a nearby shop window display.
Twilight spun around and quickly tried to ascertain the cause for her announcement. “What is it – where… who…?”
“Isn’t it just the prettiest thing you ever saw?” Rarity planted herself against the shop window trying to get a much closer look of the ensemble on display. She backed off a little as she posed a question to herself aloud, “I wonder how much it costs?”

:raritywink:"Clothing's my gimmick, darling. I need to remind the audience of that periodically."

They here some commotion coming from a nearby shop and take off to find...

“Thank Celestia you’re here,” came the greeting from the one and only Hoity Toity.

Oh great...Hoity Toity... the first of Rarity's fashion circle ponies, as well as my least favorite. Mainly because of his voice; it sounds like he's talking with his nose plugged.

So Hoity Toity (just the name is aggravating for me...) shows them what the problem is: a cat fight about to break out over a dress.

“How -dare- you try and take this away from me!” shouted Upper Crust.
“How -dare- you think you’re more deserving of it!” cried Fleur Dis Lee.

Oh! Oh! Element of Greed! Element of Greed!

So Rarity is able to calm the two mares' fury and agrees to make two dresses for them, while the two of them instantly fall into humility at the sight of Princess Twilight and explain what went over them. On top of that, a small fragment of the Element of Greed comes from them and into Twilight's gem.

That mentioning of the charity event these two wanted to go to raises some suspicion in Twilight and she leaves Rarity to her work (since she's in the zone) and comes to the site of the auction in time to see Discord and Spike being forced out by Fancy Pants. (Who names their kid "Fancy Pants?")

"I tell you again, this is no place for dragons," Fancy Pants tried to brush the small dragon and the somewhat dragon-esque Discord out the front door of the hall and nearly down the steps out front as well.

:twilightangry2: Racist!!!!!!! (you see a caption that says "Sunlight likes dragons")

Twilight arrived just as the pair nearly tumbled down the steps to meet her. She called up to them both, “What’s going on?”
“Oh, nothing,” replied Discord. “Just a little dragon discrimination is all. It seems that the reputation for hoarding doesn’t sit well within the circles of ponies gathering for a charity event.”
Spike brushed himself off and said, “Yeah, and I think they also want you to have a lot of money too. I’m not sure why though. Most of that junk I saw in there shouldn't be worth more than a few bits anyway.”
“Hmmmm,” thought Twilight as she pondered the curious situation. “Maybe this bears looking into. We should probably go check with the princess and see about getting ourselves properly invited.”

Yeah, the event may end up having more parts of the Element of Greed there.

Well, that's all for tonight. See you tomorrow.

Oh boy...by that title, I'm guessing things are going to go wrong at some point....... (Grand Galloping Gala reference)

So we see Twilight making her way to the Castle to see Princess Celestia, and she finds Rainbow and Fluttershy.

“Fluttershy?” Twilight hopped over Rainbow and made a one wing flap leap over towards the bed and her injured friend. “What happened? How are you hurt?”
“Don’t worry your head about it, Twilight,” stated Applejack. “She may look all nice and fragile, but this here is one tough pony.”

No truer words have been spoken about Fluttershy.

So they have a lead as to the location of the Element of Greed: the charity auction for Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns.

Celestia thought for a moment and then replied, “Then you should all get ready. I can have you join me in the royal box so we can watch the entire event together.”
“I think that’s my cue to exit.” Gilda shuffled over from the corner. “Frou-frous events really aren't this Griffin’s style.”

Okay, so Gilda won't be joining them. I actually expected that, her being a badgirl character. At least she's not constantly spouting the word "lame" (Seriously, the number of times she said that in the show made me want to throw the remote at the TV screen.)

Then Rarity comes in with a set of dresses (and tuxedo) for everypony.

"Fleur was so pleased with the gown I was able to put together for her that she invited us all to attend the event tonight. Hoity Toity made such a huge sale by selling a single dress to two different ponies that he said I could have my pick of anything else in his shop to wear tonight as well – although we have to have them all back to him by tomorrow morning - or else.”

Convenient!

So they all head out to the auction and join Celestia in the Royal Box. After she gives her little introduction speech, the first item is...

“Now see here,” bellowed Fancy Pants, “that is my personal copy of ‘Mane Kamph’ and I demand it be returned immediately.”

Okay. So it's Fancy Pants who has the bulk of the Element of Greed in him. Now we just have to......
:applejackunsure:What?

“that is my personal copy of ‘Mane Kamph

You seriously wrote that?

So Fancy Pants is shot down and forced to bid on his book. And the bidding isn't even opened when he immediately places a million bits on it. Well, I don't think anypony else will be placing more than that on such a ragged old book written by a complete monster....

“A million and one!” shouted Jet Set also raising his foreleg.

:applejackconfused: I stand thoroughtly corrected. But still, why is he bidding THAT much on just a book? Does he even know what it is?

"No, but if you want it, I want it!" ----Anti-Rarity, The Return of Harmony

So Fancy and Jet Set get into an argument about the dress their wives were arguing over earlier while still bidding for the book. And it eventually escalates to violence.

“That’s it! Nopony fights over my fashion and gets away with it!” Rarity bolted from the royal box and rocketed down the stairs. In a flash she was up on stage herself holding the auction item book in her magic levitation spell.
She held the book over her head and called out to the two fighting ponies. “One more ungrateful word out of either of your mouths and I will turn this book to a pile of ash.”

Can't believe I'm saying this, but, go Rarity!

So the two of them come to their senses about just what they were doing and apologize to each other and their wives, their hoofshake resulting in the Element of Greed being expelled from them, and even the book disintegrates into the remaining parts of the Element.

The rest of the auction goes well, and now they have four Elements of Disharmony down and only one to go. The question is, who has it?

Thinking back a bit...

Luna showed up just as they were about to leave. She and Celestia quickly performed their rising and setting ritual before Celestia donned her royal robes and golden horseshoes in final preparation for their departure. They all begged Luna to come with them, but she declined saying instead that she didn’t want to be in their way. They reluctantly accepted the decline of their invitation and Celestia lead the group of ponies out of the castle and across the way to the Canterlot Auction Hall.

I think this is a subtle hint...Luna wouldn't be getting in their way by joining them; in fact, her presence would help them out because there would be more eyes looking for the suspicious ones....:trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright: I'm guessing Envy is Luna...

So the group enjoys the rest of the night, we see Rarity getting some orders from her boutique (hope she can finish them), and they all head to bed for a good night's sleep.

Except for Celestia, who is haunted by the memories of past battles, particularly her fight with Nightmare moon. *Background music: BEGIN*

So in her nightmare, Celestia is once again avoiding Nightmare Moon's constant onslaught of attacks. This time, she ducks for cover and heads for the castle to use the Elements of Harmony like last time. However...

The statue holding the elements rose from the ground. To her shock and dismay, however, it no longer held the relics of the Elements of Harmony. Instead, Celestia beheld the chaotic forces of the Elements of Disharmony. The maniacal laughter of Nightmare Moon echoed through the chamber as the lightning crashed breaking what remained of a few still whole windows. Celestia knew now that this was not a dream after all.

"Not a dream?" So, what's happening, then? Is she having a vision?

So Celestia wakes up to a rather frightening sight: Nightmare Moon standing at the end of her bed.

See? I told you Luna would have it!

Now, pleeeeeaaaaasssseee tell me this is going to be a boss battle!

Nightmare Moon raised up to line up her magic shot with the princess who was still trying to recover from the shock of her bad dreams. The dark mare’s dark horn glowed with an empty, negative energy as it sucked what little light there was from its surroundings. Celestia had no time to react and could only throw up her hoof to hopefully shield herself from the blast that was moments from being delivered. A million more thoughts of happy times with all her subjects and especially those moments she cherished growing up with her little sister flashed through her head. The last words out of her mouth: “I love you, Luna!”
“AAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!”
{Crash!}
Celestia gasped as she recoiled from the expected blast that never came. She opened her eyes expecting to see only the void of her own banishment. To her surprise, by the glow of the soft moonlight that peaked through the still flapping curtains to her balcony door, she saw a rainbow haired pony had embedded herself into the now flattened mass of Nightmare Moon.

:ajbemused:.........................*censored middle finger*

So, after Rainbow Dash OHKOs Nightmare Moon (how that is possible is beyond me...) Celestia goes in and tries to turn her good again. And after a yin-yang effect that would look awesome if animated, Luna is once again purified and the Element of Envy is absorbed into Rainbow Dash's necklace.

Luna finished her hug with her sister and gingerly got to her hooves before proceeding to give Rainbow Dash an unexpected, but grateful hug of her own.
“I deserved that.”
“Anytime princess,” Rainbow Dash gave Luna a huge smile and a big hug in return.

......Not exactly what I would have said, but.........(I was tempted to use the "Very poor choice of words" joke again, but decided against it.)

So now they have all five Elements of Disharmony.

.....As for how that scene flowed, I like how it went, but I just wish there was an actual battle with Nightmare Moon rather than a hoof-to-the-face KO before turning her good again. It did seem a bit forced because of how quick this moment actually went. (Writing: -1)

But, we still have eight more chapters of screen time, so things have got to go downhill from here.

So Discord comes and, after some snarky comments about "frou-frous event," they inform him that they have the elements.

Discord hopped down the line, touching each gem as he went. “First, we have lies. Then, sadness, envy, greed – and doesn’t Fluttershy here look simply adorable with her element of malice?”

.............Discord, would you rather have this sweet, innocent Fluttershy, or the cruel b:yay:ch you turned her into when you met?

Discord paused a moment as he got to the last pony in line – Twilight.
“Now wait a moment. Where’s your element, Twilight?” He pinged his talon against the empty vessel atop Twilight’s tiara.

Aha! I knew there was going to be a sixth element! So what's it called?

Discord chuckled. “But of course there is, Twilight. It’s the most important of all the Elements of Disharmony. You of all ponies should know what it is.”
Twilight heaved out a deep sigh. “Let me guess – magic?”
Discord laughed out loud at her response. “Of course not you silly filly – whatever gave you that idea? The Elements of Disharmony cannot be bound together by a simple -magic- glue. They require a special kind of magic – a Dark Magic.”

Hmm...the Element of Dark Magic.....Rating: A+ (perfect 10) That's EXACTLY what I thought it would be, and I can think of no better name for it.

“So in order to bind the Elements of Disharmony to be able to return them to you, we have to track down the element of dark magic?” Twilight sounded tired again by the end of her sentence.
“That’s right,” grinned Discord. “And I may even know where you should start looking for it.”
Celestia rose up and interrupted him, “Discord, I don’t like where this is headed.”
“Princess Celestia, I think you should tell the story – you always do a better job at it than I ever could. Please, regale us with your golden tongue.” Discord bowed to Celestia and stepped aside.

And, once again, Celestia knows something that the Mane Six don't...

Celestia got very serious. Her mane flared as she shook out her tail. “This is not easy for me to speak of as the nightmare was very recently brought back to mind. I do know something of the -former- bearer of the element of dark magic – it is time you did as well.”
“Story time! Horray!” Pinkie Pie flopped herself down on a giant pillow and pulled a box of popcorn out of nowhere.

It's Pinkie Pie; don't question it.

So Princess Celestia explains about the last encounter with the Elements of Disharmony; to summarize:
After sealing Discord, the Elements of Disharmony broke free; they were able to contain the base 5, but the Element of Dark Magic escaped and found a host in King Sombra (there's the source of his power. Nice job giving something of an origin thing for Sombra. Story: +1) and that's how he was able to take over the Crystal Empire.
Celestia and Luna go in and battle him, using the Elements of Harmony to extract the Element of Dark Magic, but not before Sombra used its power to seal away himself and the Empire.
They had major difficulty in resealing the Elements, but thanks to Luna's determination, they forced them back into Discord's statue.

The only problem was that she must have absorbed some of the dark magic and a portion of the base elements themselves in the process. It wasn’t long after, that she became the creature you all know as – Nightmare Moon.”

Oh, wow! More origin exposition for the villains! (Story: +1)

So, needless to say, the Element of Dark Magic, even on its own, is extremely dangerous.

“It’s that a coincidence.” Discord hopped up from his pillow next to Pinkie Pie and dove back into the conversation. “I can sense that the element of dark magic is once again waiting for us in the Crystal Empire."

So Twilight is about to take her friends and head out immediately, but Celestia stops her and asks her to study her journals on the last Element before they head out.

Twilight, you'll be about the only pony having fun tonight.

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