• Published 22nd Apr 2015
  • 16,767 Views, 273 Comments

Inexcusable - cleverpun

Princess Nightmare Moon had tried to keep it secret. She had feigned ignorance, but the charade could not last. She nocked the arrow. Tirek was a large target; he would fall easily. Then the true challenge would come: explaining herself to Celestia.

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5. Implications

Celestia scanned the shelf again. Her office walls were crammed and packed with so many different treasures and mementos, yet she could clearly recall a story for every single one. A tax bill sat on her desk, but she had given up on it a while ago. For hours she had just been scanning her collection, sticking on every one that involved Luna.

Should she even call her “Luna” any more? She seemed to have so much of Nightmare Moon in her, and yet Celestia hadn’t noticed a thing. She swung her chair around. Nightmare Moon’s helmet sat on one of the lower shelves, in a corner, behind her chair. Luna had insisted that most of the pieces be destroyed, but Celestia had kept the helmet. “A reminder”, she had called it. Now it seemed like so much more than that. An insulting taunt, rather than a simple memory.

“Shouldn’t you be working? These taxes aren’t going to reform themselves, you know.”

Celestia swung her chair back. She preferred to keep Discord in direct line of sight, however tempting ignoring him was. “What do you want?”

Discord leaned forward. His office chair matched Celestia’s, but it squeaked loudly as he shifted his weight. “Quite a lot of rumors going around the place. I thought you might need a sympathetic ear.” He planted an elbow on Celestia’s desk and smiled. “You know old Discord is always here if you want to chat.”

“And why would I want to talk to you?” Celestia asked. She leaned forward onto her desk as well. Discord needed strong body language to keep in check, and she wasn’t feeling lenient today. “Especially after you abandoned us.”

“Why Celestia, you make it sound so personal.” Discord leaned back, his chair squeaking again. “I didn’t want Tirek eating any of my magic, is all. I was thinking of the safety of Equestria.”

“A likely story. I take it you aren’t here to apologize, then.”

“Apologize? For thinking of Equestria? How unfair, princess!” Discord swooned, his chair vanishing as he floated backward.

“Some would see it as cowardice, as betrayal.” Celestia tented her hooves. “I hear Fluttershy still isn’t speaking to you.”

That cut off his theatrics. His body snapped back into place, his swoon faltered and evaporated as he crossed his arms. “Hmph, you might have heard correctly,” he muttered.

Celestia relaxed. A show of dominance always made Discord more agreeable. She didn’t like using Fluttershy as a bargaining chip, but few things affected Discord. Once he had been deflated, he could often be helpful, even friendly. “Why did you come here, then?”

“To counsel you, of course! Or is it console? Probably not as a consul.”

“And what could you possibly counsel me about?”

“Well, Princess Twilight and Princess Cadance mentioned you might need some emotional support.” Discord smiled. It showed much more teeth than his previous one. “And I figured it might have something to do with Princess Nightmare Moon.”

Celestia’s brow furrowed. “You knew? Did she tell you?” she blurted out.

“Oh, I suspected. Something that old and violent has quite a unique sort of entropy about it, you know.” Discord stroked his beard, leaned on the arm of his recliner. “I was just guessing at the name though. Your reaction was a very nice confirmation.”

Celestia took a deep breath. Discord knew many ways to needle a pony. She couldn’t react so strongly to him, that was exactly what he wanted. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Oh come now, Celestia. I know you like to play dumb for everypony, but you know better.” A calendar popped into Discord’s hand. “I felt it as soon as I met her. Her aura is quite old.” He licked one of his claws, slowly dragged his finger across the page and flipped it over. “You must have felt it too. And I wasn’t even around for that whole Nightmare Moon thing. You knew more than I did.” Discord threw the calendar over his shoulder, and it puffed into flames. “The real question is, why are you sitting in here moping about it? It must have been quite a little discussion.”

Celestia sighed. She explained the situation, as best one could.

Discord moved surprisingly little, said nothing during the entire story. Celestia could not remember or picture a time he had been so silently attentive. She finished her explanation, and took a deep breath.

For a moment Discord did nothing. Then he laughed. He chortled. He chuckled and guffawed. “Oh my! That is quite a twister, isn’t it! Deliciously chaotic!” He slumped back, his recliner unfolding and his tail flicking around. “I wish I could’ve been there when she told you. That hint of chaos about her, I should’ve known it would lead to something delectable.”

“It doesn’t surprise you? Doesn’t bother you? Knowing she isn’t what you thought?”

Discord didn’t move for a moment. He brought a paw up to rub his chin. “You know, sometimes I forget how attached you ponies get to things.” He leaned forward, crossed his arms on Celestia’s desk. “Why would it bother or surprise me? Things seem quite mercurial, after you’ve been around long enough. One day a city is here, the next it’s over there. I figured you would feel the same way.”

“Things change, but not everything does. Luna…she was always there, always the same.”

“Ah, so that’s it. You aren’t afraid of change, you’re afraid of her changing. It’s really quite saccharine, I must admit. Brings a tear to the eye. Not my eye, but someone’s eye, probably.”

“Don’t condescend to me, Discord.” Celestia leaned forward, pushed aside some of the papers on her desk. “You can pretend otherwise, but you’d feel the same way in my position. How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow and Fluttershy was somepony else? If she had been corrupted or changed or altered?”

“One day, I’ll wake up and she will be.” Discord leaned forward again. “And really, there were plenty of days that you woke up and little Luna wasn’t there either.” His face nearly touched Celestia’s. “And really, you and I will move on. There will be other ponies, other changes. Even the two of us aren’t the same as we used to be.”

Discord’s smile widened. “That’s what really bothers you, doesn’t it? The fact that you got used to change and she didn’t. She went to so much effort to keep things the same, did so many excessive things. But you and I, we can just sit back and accept change.” He leaned forward again, and his nose did touch Celestia’s. “And that scares you, doesn’t it? That you and I are more alike than you and her? That she is willing to kill to prevent transition instead of accepting it? Am I getting warmer yet?

“Or, maybe it’s because she needs you more than you need her.”

“That’s enough.” Celestia sat back in her chair, swiveled it around to look at the wall. “Thank you for your insight, Discord.” She waved a hoof. “You are dismissed.”

Discord took a bow. “Any time, your highness. You know I’m always willing to console my friends.” He vanished in a puff of smoke, and Celestia went back to staring at her collection.