• Published 1st Oct 2014
  • 3,593 Views, 435 Comments

Story Shuffle - FanOfMostEverything

Thirty-one one-shots inspired by thirty-one random Magic cards.

  • ...

Guest Speaker

Cheerilee loved the beginning of the day. So many eager young minds, hungry for knowledge. She just wished it didn't feel like she was about to give them hayburgers and strychnine. "Good morning, class!"

"Good morning, Miss Cheerilee," they chorused.

"We have a very... exciting development today." Her smile felt more artificial with every passing moment. She'd been a living siege engine once; how could her face feel so sore now? "You see, Miss Fluttershy heard what we're focusing on, and she thought a... friend of hers would like to..." She couldn't do this. She'd apologize, get back to the old curriculum, and everything would—

"Hello, my little ponies!"

—be ruined. Forever. Though there weren't any screams, which was far better than Cheerilee had been expecting. The foals all seemed stunned more than anything. "Class," she said, "a draconequus who needs no introduction."

"Indeed! But just in case: Hi, I'm Discord. You may remember me from such world-shaking events as my glorious, albeit short-lived return." He looked about the room, fingers pursed, eyes eager. It was like a grotesque parody of a precocious student.

No, Cheerilee couldn't think like that. She'd taught old Marediterranean myths enough times to recognize a self-fulfilling prophecy. "Now, I don't want any of you to be nervous. Mister Discord—"

"Please, just Discord," he said with a wave of his paw. "'Mister Discord' is what they'd have called my father, if that had been his name and if there had been any kind of 'they' around to call him that."

"Discord has assured me that this will be entirely safe." Cheerilee caught his eye and tried to look as threatening as she dared. "Right?"

"Of course!" Discord circled through the air like a flying eel. "I'm not going to unleash untold chaos here! After all, there are children present!" He winked at her. "My work is already done."

Cheerilee really wished she could disagree with that sentiment. Especially with the Crusaders in the classroom. "In any case, I trust Miss Fluttershy told you about what we're studying right now?"

"Naturally." Discord vanished from the ceiling, only to reappear in front of her desk, clad in a pith helmet and a Haywaiian shirt so loud as to be almost deafening. "You're studying fantastic beasts, a subject truly dear to me." He produced a crooked pink umbrella and began pointing at illustrations that weren't there a moment ago. "Now, you've covered manticores, cragodiles, cockatrices, all sorts of local fauna—and in the case of timberwolves, flora. Entirely understandable, close as you are to the Everfree. I, however, am uniquely capable of teaching you about creatures that live further afield."

Discord's helmet sprouted curly red locks as his shirt grew into an improbably patterned dress. "Now, regrettably, I neglected to prepare permission slips, so a field trip to the deepest reaches of Pataponia is not an option. Of course, that just means that rather than take us to the lesson, I need to bring the lesson to us. Everypony outside, there's learning to be had!" And with a flash of light, he vanished from the classroom.

Cheerilee had never been very religious. Seeing the princesses on a somewhat regular basis for the past few years had lessened it further. But now, she could only pray. Pray and smile. "Well, let's go see what he has for us."

It wasn't at all what she'd expected, which may have been the point. It looked rather like a badger, if badgers were brown, had sickle-like front claws, and were about twenty feet long. Given how it was looking around and what Cheerilee could make of its expression, the creature looked as confused as she felt. Still, she made sure to put herself between it and her students... though many of them peeked out from either side of her.

Discord popped up from behind the beast, beaming with pride. "Fillies and colts, I present to you the megatherium!"

"The what?" Scootaloo never had been one for new vocabulary.

Discord shrugged. "Well, that's what the zoologists call it. Personally, I prefer 'super-sloth.' That's what it is, after all."

"What doeth it eat?" Twist was slowly edging away from the creature, and Cheerilee really couldn't blame her.

"Oh, leaves, mostly. Don't worry, little ones, I wouldn't bring out something that would think of you as lunch. I'm pretty sure that's reserved for advanced placement students." Discord winked at Cheerilee again. It did nothing to settle her fears. Still, the megatherium seemed content in looking back and forth, watching the conversation like a tennis match.

"How smart is it?" asked Silver Spoon.

"Bright enough to have a sense of what we're saying. Not because it doesn't understand speech, but because it's unfamiliar with the language." Discord turned to the creature. "¿Es verdad?"

It nodded. It spoke Sponish. Of course it did. At this point, Cheerilee wouldn't be surprised if it stood up and started singing.

"In any case," Discord continued, "I've explained the situation, and you're all welcome to some hooves-on experience with this delightful fellow. Just remember, he's going to try to be gentle, but he is rather immense. Be careful. And that's me saying that."

The class herded around the megatherium, and Cheerilee forced herself to stay in place. Her hooves itched with the need to make sure her students were safe, but she had to admit, this might actually work.

"You really need to relax."

She jumped. She might have cleared the schoolhouse; it certainly felt like it. Discord was only a few inches from her face. "Don't do that!" she hissed.

"I have to get in a little chaos now and again." Discord's tone was entirely factual. Instructive, even. "Still, I should be good for a while. Now, I assure you, I picked one of the gentlest creatures I know."


"Well, gentlest and most interesting. And native to this universe. I could've conjured a bunch of flobberworms, but I don't think anypony would've appreciated them, nor would they have learned much." Discord smiled. "Still, I do have standards, and one of them is not hurting children. They're glorious little bundles of havoc-wreaking potential. Why would I want to change that?"

Cheerilee scowled. "They're—"

"What? Innocent?" Discord rolled his eyes and put them back in the opposite sockets. "Innocence is a myth born of nostalgia. You've seen Diamond Tiara. There is no cruelty like that of a child."

Cheerilee made sure to keep her voice even. She hadn't stopped keeping an eye on her students, who were having a great time with the megatherium. She had no wish to disrupt that. Certainly not with something she didn't want them repeating later. "Aren't you supposed to be reformed?"

Discord blinked at her for a moment, then groaned and smashed a pomegranate between his eyes. "You are entirely right, and I'm going about this all wrong. I was attempting to bond through a common interest, but I fell back into the old adversarial routine. You have my apologies, Cheerilee, and I don't give those out frequently."

There was a brief pause before Cheerilee nodded. "Accepted. We all have something more to learn."

"Too true."

"Hey, what's this do?"

Both teacher and draconequus turned to the class with surprisingly similar expressions. Cheerilee bolted forward. "Scootaloo, no!"

After a 5.8 on the Sparkle-Adjusted Ponyville Disaster Scale, Cheerilee was understandably frazzled. "I'm not ungrateful for his help, Fluttershy, but I'm not letting him help teach anything again."

Fluttershy gave a little frown. "I don't think that's entirely fair." She turned to the major culprits in the afternoon's shenanigans. "Now, what have we learned today?"

"Always respect others' personal space," said Scootaloo.

"Never underestimate the chaotic potential of a Cutie Mark Crusader," said Discord.

"Grrowrrowwr," said the megatherium.

Fluttershy beamed. "Very good. Especially you, Joaquim." She looked back to Cheerilee with the smile still there. "You see? It may not have been the lesson you expected to teach, but today was still very educational."

"It's a beautiful sentiment, Fluttershy." Cheerilee scowled. "However, it is, in all frankness, not at all helpful. Discord is banned from my school."

Discord gasped. "You mean..." He raised his eagle talon against his forehead. "You mean I'm expelled?"

"You were never enrolled. Please put back the giant sloth."

Author's Note:

Yeah, I have no idea what that's supposed to be. Of course, it's from Mercadia, where trolls are declared such by nabobic fiat and satyrs have apparently been exposed to gamma radiation. Actual members of genus Megatherium were just really big sloths, so sloths it is.

The SAPDS goes from 1 (only the florists react) to 10 ("'Ponyville?' You mean that glowing crater?")

Also, I am having tremendous fun with Discord. Can you tell?

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