• Published 21st Oct 2014
  • 7,015 Views, 694 Comments

Discord's Discount Disguises - MythrilMoth

Discord opens a costume shop in Ponyville for Nightmare Night. But is he on the up and up?

  • ...

Prologue: Setting Up Shop

Princess Luna giggled as she fed her pet possum, Tiberius, a morsel of cheese. Tiberius made a show of curling into a ball and rolling around on the table before seizing the cheese in his tiny paws, nibbling on it and twitching his nose. "Tibbles loves his little snack time, don't you, my widdle Tibbikins?" she cooed.

At the other end of the table, Princess Celestia watched her sister with an amused smile, her head propped on one hoof. "So, Luna...Nightmare Night is coming up soon. Are you looking forward to playing with the children of Ponyville again?"

"Oh, yes, very much," Luna said. "I've already taken my Nightmare Moon costume out of storage. I probably need to make a new set of false teeth, though."

Celestia chuckled softly. "Yes, I would think so."

"You know," the guest seated along one side of the table said, "I should probably try to learn more about these wonderful little pony holidays you all have. I mean, I get the general idea for most of them, but I've never actually taken part in any of the festivities."

The two alicorns looked over at the currently headless draconequus, who was calmly "sipping" tea despite lacking a head. Discord's head was on the table; it had grown crab legs and was scuttling back and forth in front of Tibbles, who eyed the strange creature uncertainly. "Mmm...yes," Luna said, utterly failing to react to Discord's bizarre display. "In the months after my return to Equestria, I found myself facing...social awkwardness."

"You're still facing social awkwardness," Celestia said with a smile.

Luna shot her an annoyed look. "I'm getting better, sister!" She drained her tea noisily. "Be that as it may, when I first returned, I found it extremely difficult to engage our subjects. I also didn't understand Nightmare Night." She bowed her head. "I thought it was...insulting."

"Mmm...yes, I can certainly see that," Discord said. With a bright flash, his head turned into a tiny moon which hovered over the table; his face became a shadow across its surface. "A festival celebrating your banishment probably wasn't your favorite thing about this brave new world..."

Luna glared at him, but refused to take the bait. "With the help of Twilight Sparkle and her friends...and all the wonderful children of Ponyville...I came to see Nightmare Night for what it truly is: a way to celebrate all things dark and scary in this world, and revel in them. A night when one's fear is conquered by laughter and good cheer." She paused, then added, with a huge, foalish smile, "And candy. Vast amounts of candy. Candy as far as the eye can see!"

Celestia chuckled. "More importantly," she said, "Nightmare Night helped Luna realize her unofficial true calling as a princess." She buttered a slice of bread as she spoke. "Vanquishing the terrors of the night and patrolling the dreams of the citizens of Equestria has always been Luna's role as princess, but since discovering the joy of Nightmare Night, she has connected on a deeper level with all the little fillies and colts across the land."

Luna nodded. "I do seem to relate to children, and I enjoy helping them face their fears." She looked down at the table. "Most likely because in their young fears and insecurities, I see something of myself. I too am uncertain of myself, and..." She trailed off, then looked up. Celestia was regarding her with calm compassion. Discord had stopped goofing off, put his head back on his body, and was watching her with rare calm and focus. She cleared her throat. "Well...let us just say I understand what troubles the minds of children, and feel driven to help them."

After a moment of awkward silence, Discord asked, "So, how exactly does this Nightmare Night thing work?"

"Oh, it is a glorious festival!" Luna declared happily, warming to one of her favorite subjects. "Ponies of all ages and all walks of life dress up in outlandish costumes! Every town in Equestria has street festivals, with games and vendors and prizes. The foals travel in small herds from door to door to collect candy from the adults, who wait with large bowls of candy, eager to hoof it out to all the smiling young faces. Spooky decorations appear all over town, tales of terror are told by and to ponies young and old, and a wholly fabricated legend of Nightmare Moon is woven to frighten and delight foals, who then offer a share of their collected candy to me, that I may devour it instead of them!" As she spoke, she hovered off the ground, and her voice grew louder, dipping into Royal Canterlot Voice territory by the end.

"Inside voice, Luna," Celestia said mildly.

"Oh. Sorry," Luna said, landing once more at the table. "I do get carried away."

"Costumes and candy and spooky stories?" Discord asked, tilting his head. "Well that does sound like fun." He stroked his beard with a talon. "What sort of costumes?"

"Oh, all sorts," Celestia said. "Ponies can dress up as anything and everything they want for Nightmare Night. That's part of the fun." She waved a hoof. "Famous ponies real and fictional, animals, monsters, heroes, villains, and things best left to the imagination...ponies dress up as whatever they want for Nightmare Night, and making or choosing a costume is one of the most fun parts of the whole thing."

"As is seeing what other ponies choose to go as," Luna said with a smile. "Why, the first year I witnessed Nightmare Night for myself, Twilight Sparkle was dressed as Starswirl the Bearded, and Pinkie Pie wore the most impressive chicken costume! Twas amusing, once I got into the spirit of things."

"So...literally anything? There are no rules, no limits?" Discord grinned. "Why that sounds...delightfully chaotic." He filled his teacup with tomato soup. "So when exactly is Nightmare Night?"

"In a little less than three weeks."

Discord's eyes widened. "That soon? Then I have little time to waste! There are preparations to make! Forgive me, Your Highnesses...I must be off. I have so little to do and so much time!" He paused. "Strike that. Reverse it."

With that, he disappeared in a flash of light. Tibbles poked his snout into the teacup and lapped up the tomato soup.

Celestia pursed her lips. "I hope he's not up to something I should be worried about."

Luna chuckled. "Relax, sister. Nightmare Night is a holiday that's practically made for Discord!" She frowned. "Even though it's my holiday..." She looked at Tibbles, who was snuffling at the crumbs on Discord's plate.

Celestia laughed. "Now, Luna. What have I taught you about sharing?" She finished her bread and tea. "Well, if he does anything...too extreme, we'll find out soon enough. I'm off to bed. Good night, Luna."

"Good night, sister. Come, Tibbles. The night awaits!"

* * * * *

"You want to do what now?"

Fluttershy had just finished brushing her mane before bed when Discord showed up in her cottage, full of excitement.

"You heard me," Discord said. "Nightmare Night is approaching, and I want to open a costume shop here in Ponyville."

"Why a costume shop?" Fluttershy asked, glancing curiously at Discord through the reflection in her mirror.

"Oh, Fluttershy," Discord said with a chuckle, "surely you don't need me to spell it out for you? The concept of Nightmare Night costumes appeals to my chaotic nature. Think about it! Ponies dressing up as anything and everything under the sun!" He snapped his talons; Fluttershy's eyes widened as she rapidly began changing into a series of random and bizarre things: a vampony, a giant bee, Saddle Rager, a Breezie, a butterfly, a crystal pony, and a strange two-legged creature in a green skirt, white shirt, and boots. When she returned to her normal pegasus self, head spinning, she turned and looked at Discord directly. He grinned at her. "You never know what your friends are going to come out of their houses dressed up as! Nightmare Night is a forest of incongruity! A living sea of pony oddities, past and present and real and imagined mingling for the common purpose of fun, frolic, and free candy! Now, I ask you: for a being of chaos such as myself, what could possibly be more fun than that?"

"Well. Umm. Okay. I...guess I can see how Nightmare Night would appeal to you, but...why do you want to open a costume shop again?" Fluttershy toyed with her mane. "I mean, that's really the part I don't understand. Sorry."

"Ah. Well, to put it simply...with my imagination and my powers, I can come up with dozens...no, hundreds of unique, creative, and highly detailed costumes for ponies. Ponies who know what they want to be can find exactly the costume they want! Ponies who don't have a clue can browse my selection until something strikes their fancy! And then, on Nightmare Night, I can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that I've done my own small part to spread joy and fun and cheer." He paused. "And since I don't actually need money, I suppose the profits can go to...oh, some worthy cause or another."

Fluttershy thought about this for a moment. "Well...I guess it sounds like a good idea. Why don't we visit Twilight Sparkle tomorrow morning? You'll need her permission to open a business in Ponyville, and she'll be able to tell you what's available...um, you know, location-wise."

"Excellent!" Discord said. "Then until tomorrow, my dear."

* * * * *

The following morning, Fluttershy and Discord stood before the throne of Princess Twilight Sparkle. As had become customary for holding court, Twilight wore her crown, gold slippers, and an ornamental peytral with a gem cut in the shape of her cutie mark.

Twilight regarded Discord with a raised eyebrow. "A costume shop?"

"That's right," Discord said.

"You want to open a shop. In Ponyville. A legitimate business."

"Only until Nightmare Night," Discord said. "With all proceeds to go to charity."

"Uh-huh," Twilight said. She looked at Fluttershy. "What's this really about?" she asked.

Discord balked. "You still don't trust me, Your Highness?"

Twilight sighed. "It's not that. It's just that, well...you never do anything straightforward. There's always some hidden purpose."

"What hidden purpose could there possibly be in wanting to open a costume shop for the Nightmare Night season?" Discord asked.

"Umm...I think he just really likes the idea of Nightmare Night costumes," Fluttershy said. "I don't really see anything...strange or dangerous about this. It actually sounds to me like he just wants to be part of something everypony...well, almost everypony...enjoys."

"That's it precisely," Discord said. "I just want to help everypony have the perfect costume so they can have a memorable and exciting Nightmare Night." He gave Twilight a solemn gaze. "You can trust me when I say no harm will come to anypony."

Twilight held his gaze for a long moment. At length, she exhaled slowly. "Spike, will you bring me the property and title map for Ponyville? We need to find Discord a place to set up shop, and we need to find it fast."

Discord beamed. "Thank you, Your Highness."

Twilight held up a gold-slippered hoof. "Screw even one pony over and you will be sorry."

Discord bowed. "I won't disappoint you, Princess Twilight."