• Published 15th Dec 2014
  • 9,844 Views, 575 Comments

This Cruel and Random World - Bluegrass Brooke



It was a simple bet. Spend one month as a pony, and prove to Celestia that he had been right all along. Discord never thought he would actually enjoy it. As the days pass, he finds himself desperate to keep up the façade a little longer.

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Complications

Sore did not even begin to describe how Discord felt. The pain was no longer isolated to his joints, but seemed to radiate from every inch of his false form. He sprawled out on the quilt with a groan. The day had been one long blur after the events of the early morning. Running the dances until Cheerilee stopped his fun, chatting to and about other ponies, and practically being force fed fair food. In fact, it had been so hectic that he scarcely had time to so much as string two words together to Twilight before she was whisked off to do something else.

He looked out the window at the moonlit view of Ponyville. It turned out to be a pleasant enough town despite his earlier assumptions. And . . . He chuckled, thinking of Twilight's embarrassed smile this morning. Perhaps it was not quite as boring a place as he first imagined. Lowering his head to the pillow, Discord tried to picture how tomorrow would play out. No doubt Twilight had a lesson plan for him, and it would inevitably backfire. That always kept their lessons entertaining.

His eyes darted to the hooves, his hooves he supposed even if they were scarcely better than an illusion. Or were they? He had cast the spell hundreds of times before, mostly for a quick joke, though sometimes for self-preservation. Was it an illusion or a transformation? Pathetic as it may be, he really could not tell. It felt real, at least the pain did, and that certainly was not normal for him. Could it be that, as long as the spell functioned properly, he was as much of a pony as any of Twilight's friends?

Quit fooling yourself, Discord. You're a draconequus, remember? You blew fire the other day, which counts for something. But, a smaller, more tempting voice spoke up. Yes, but who knows, maybe ponies can do the same thing with their own magic. Discord closed his eyes, trying to silence his stray thoughts, and marveling at how easy it was.

Under any normal circumstances, he would stay awake for over a week before he could slow down his mind enough to drift off. It was his nature, he simply needed mental stimulation, and could not get that while sleeping. Tonight however, he welcomed the break.

Just as he started to fade out, a loud rapping on the window jerked him uncomfortably back to reality. He looked up to see none other than their dear moon princess staring back at him. Couldn't you use a door? Sighing, he undid the latch, sitting up as she drifted gracefully onto the bed. A sneer stretched across the corners of his mouth, "You know, stallions don't generally let strange mares wander into their rooms at night."

Luna ignored his quip, frowning as she stared around at the tidy room. "I am surprised that you did not make your usual 'modifications' to your chambers."

He shrugged, watching her eyes grow wider as she noted the neatly folded towel in the corner. "I can be organized when I wish." The longer he stared at her, the more he wondered. Luna had always been cautious around him, Discord imagined it was because of that incident with his father, but never had the heart to ask her. "So, have you come to admire my new chambers? How unlike you."

Luna cleared her throat, turning back to him. "Certainly not. I have come to seek your counsel."

"What?" He barked a laugh, staring her coldly in the eyes. "The day you seek my counsel is a dark day indeed. No pun intended of course," he purred, leaning back against the windowsill. "Tell me the real reason, Luna."

"It is about your letter." The words tumbled out of her mouth in a rush, as though she feared she might lose her confidence if she wavered. Knowing Luna, she would have. The mare began to paw at the floorboards, avoiding his questioning stare like the plague. "Its contents concern me greatly, though Tia does not seem to be bothered. Pray tell, what did you mean by the 'consequences of your decision' and of losing Twilight?" Luna's hoof struck the floor, echoing off of the knickknack lined walls. "Surely you do not think she would allow herself to be corrupted as I did."

"Not intentionally, Twilight is too kind for that." She's not like you. He frowned, growing increasingly irritated at Luna's avoidance of his gaze. "Look me in the eye when you speak to me." Luna bit her lip, and began to quiver in that disconcertingly familiar way of hers. Discord sighed, softening his voice, "Luna, I would not hurt you. You know that."

The alicorn nodded slowly, stroking her neck with a hoof. "I know, I know, Discord. It is just . . . difficult for me. You . . ." Her head jerked up, allowing her eyes to lock onto his. "Forgive me my foolishness, Discord. I do wish to hear your thoughts on Twilight. Do you think her dangerous?"

Discord could not help but smile, remembering the gentle sensation of her muzzle to his. "Certainly not, Luna. But her propensity for magic makes her vulnerable to—" He gasped as a surge of pain worse than anything he had felt in centuries flooded his senses. He let out a few choice draconequus curses, glad for once that Luna did not understand him. It probably sounded more like a series of growls and hisses anyway.

"Discord?" Luna's voice held a touch of panic as she rested a hoof on his sides. "What's wrong?"

"Don't know . . . lots of pain," he managed to spit out in between his exclamations. For a while he lay there, allowing himself to regain some composure. Then he turned back to her, shocked to see her expression. Gods she's terrified. He smiled as encouragingly as he could given the circumstances. "I'm all right, the spell is merely resisting me." I'm not going to die on you yet.

Luna raised an eyebrow, stroking his side with a hoof. "Strange. You have used this spell before, when we were children."

Discord frowned, thinking back on the distant memory. "Yes, but for an evening, not an entire month."

"It was a fun evening though." Her eyes sparkled with that childlike wonder of hers, "You and Tia took me with you to sneak sweets. Do you not remember?"

Discord chuckled, glad to see she was all right. "Yes, it was quite the adventure." He stroked his goatee, smirking knowingly at her. "You tripped and I had to carry you the whole way back. And then we got quite the lecture from Father—" He paused, seeing her expression darken in an instant. You idiot!

"It is all right to speak of him, Discord." Luna's hard expression told him the opposite was closer to the truth.

"What happen—"

Luna interrupted him, voice terse. "I will not speak ill of the dead." She looked him into the eyes again, "We must return to the matter at hand. What does Twilight's magic make her vulnerable to?"

Discord scowled at her. A part of him wanted to press the matter about his father further, but it would wait. They had all the time in the world for that. Twilight's dilemma was a different story entirely. "To corruption, Luna. She can draw more from the river than either you or Celestia, but she cannot yet control what she draws out."

"River? What do you speak of, Discord?"

For an instant, he thought of telling the truth, but decided against it. The river was Twilight's discovery, and they hardly understood it yet themselves. "Never mind. It is but a metaphor. The point is that Twilight's magic is tied closer to her emotions than yours or Celestia's." Seeing her questioning expression, he continued, "She was not ready mentally or physically for the strain you have placed on her with her ascension. Leaving her alone is foolish. She nearly lost control the other day. If I had not been there she . . . " Would have been lost.

Luna cursed under her breath, staring hard out of the window. "What is to be done?"

"Watch her, closely. Guide her if necessary." The thought of having Twilight, his Twilight guarded by their uptight overlords was too much to bear. "I will take that role for the time being. However, after this month is over, we should allow her to decide who would best fit that role."

"Tia most likely," Luna muttered in a bitter tone. "She will not be happy about this, Discord."

He shrugged, "She must reap what she sows, Luna. You are the proof of that." Luna twitched, but said nothing as she made to leave once more. Just as she was about to fly off, he held out a hoof. "I have a question for you."

She looked as though she wanted to protest, but bit her lip, nodding slowly. "Very well."

Discord took a breath, quite unsure how to phrase the question, it was far easier in his head. "You see the dreams of every pony, do you not?"

"I do." Luna's voice was cautious, "What of it?"

"When I am in this form, do you," he gulped, staring hard at his hooves, "do you see my dreams as well?"

"I do not." Luna's words struck him like the Elements. Before he could ask her more, she took off into the sky, leaving him to his thoughts.


"Entropy, you can stop now." Twilight watched Entropy perform yet another perfect levitation spell on a stack of library books. For the life of her, she could not understand what possessed him to remain so singularly focused, it was hardly like him. "Entropy! You did it, you can stop."

He looked back at her, pupils remaining red for an instant before turning back to their original color. "Forgive me, Twilight. I was . . . preoccupied." The formal language sounded more than a little strange coming from him. His attention turned to the stack of spell books in front of them. "Why does it come so easy?"

"Oh, I don't know, Entropy." She shuffled closer, allowing her side to press to his. His slow deep breaths and steady heartbeat reassured her that he was no longer nervous with her touch. She looked down at the books, noting that not a single one was damaged. "Don't worry about it, you're doing great."

"Yes, but why?" He sighed lowering his head onto his hooves. "It should not be so easy," he mumbled.

"Entropy, you should be happy." Her hoof stroked his back reassuringly. "It's a good thing."

"Maybe," Entropy looked sadly into her eyes, "as old as I am, I should have been able to do levitation for years before now. Why did it take seeing the river to change that?"

Twilight could not help but giggle at him. He really doesn't get it, does he? "Entropy, you're not like them. You," how to say this, "you think on a different wavelength, it's only natural you'd approach magic the same way." That seemed to be just the wrong choice of words, because he pulled away from her, glowering challengingly. She waved her hooves defensively, "It's not a bad thing, but maybe, maybe you're meant for a little more than . . . ordinary."

Entropy's booming laugh reverberated around the room. "Isn't that what I told you?" He rolled on the floorboards, clutching his sides, "Twilight, you . . . you never cease to amaze me."

"What?" Twilight was suddenly feeling highly self-conscious. She elbowed him hard in the ribs, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, nothing." He waved the thought away with a hoof. After clearing his throat, he continued, "So, you are suggesting that I was trying to approach the river from the wrong angle?"

"Well, not necessarily the wrong angle . . ." Instinctively, she reached out to touch his horn. The tip felt cold, as hers did after she used magic. I wonder. "Maybe we're going about this the wrong way." She released his horn, lighting her own. After a moment of concentration, she drew the same magic as they had that night, directly from the stream. Just as fast as it came, she let it flow away. Before Entropy could protest, she placed his hoof on her horn.

"Twilight? What are you doing?" Entropy's face was redder than she had ever seen it before.

"What temperature is it?"

"I don't think that's—"

"What temperature is it?" She repeated with a bit more urgency.

"It's warm, really warm." Entropy looked at her with concern, pulling his hoof away from her horn. Without warning, he planted a kiss on her muzzle, then brushed against her cheek in that gentle way of his. "You know, if you wanted me to touch you, all you had to do was ask," he breathed.

Twilight felt her heart lurch, "Entropy, I'm serious about the horn. I think it means that—"

"Don't care." Entropy chuckled, knocking her back against the floor with a playful smirk. Once again, he pressed his muzzle to hers. He nuzzled her cheek and neck as gently as before, allowing her to savor that familiar earthy smell of his.

It felt wonderful, but it was a bit forward, even for him. "Entropy. Entropy!" She felt her face heat up as she pushed him off of her. "Spike, remember."

"Oh, right." He chuckled nervously, rubbing a hoof through his greying mane. "Got a touch carried away." His attention turned to the floorboards, seemingly lost in thought.

There he goes again. "What's wrong? You've been acting weird all morning." He mumbled something incoherent. It was more than a little annoying, so she nudged him hard in the ribs. "Look at me when you're talking."

Entropy's eyes widened as he wheeled around to face her. "What did you say?" Apparently realizing that he had better get to talking, he continued in a rush, "I'm just worried."

"Worried? You?" She snorted a laugh, "Hardly." Though they had only known each other for a few short days, Twilight got the impression that Entropy was not the type of stallion to worry about much.

He puffed his chest out, staring defiantly back at her, "It's the truth!" His hooves gesticulated to encompass the library. "I've been here for eleven days now."

Eleven wonderful, undeniably taxing days with more than a few mishaps. It was to be expected, after all, her life had not been "normal" since she left Canterlot. Entropy knew full well what he was getting into, right? "Entropy, I don't understand. Why's that a problem?"

Entropy sighed, looking back into Twilight's eyes. "My time here's almost halfway over. What happens," his voice grew soft, "what happens when I leave?"

"Oh . . ." Twilight felt her stomach drop out from under her. It was such a logical question, one that she herself would have asked. Explanations reeled around in her mind like a broken record. What would happen? Just as she was about to admit defeat, Applejack's words gave her the confidence she needed. "Then we'll just take what comes. It's as simple as that."

"You can't be serious. That's your solution?"

"It is." She clapped him on the shoulder, grinning toothily back at him. "What's the worst that could happen, Entropy? I'm a princess of Equestria, it's not like we'll never see each other."

"Yes, well . . ." Entropy pursed his lips as though giving the idea serious consideration. "All right then, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Happy?"

"Not quite," Before he could protest, she pushed him playfully to the floorboards. "Promise me you'll forget about the consequences, and just relax. We may not have much time left, but," her muzzle pressed gently to his, "we'll make the most of what we do have."

Entropy's soft nicker made her heart pound faster in her chest. "All right, dear, but, it'll bite you in the rump later."

Twilight nickered back, nuzzling his cheek. "I think I can handle it," she breathed. It would not have mattered if she had a few hours left with Entropy. Each and every second they spent together was worth whatever consequences would come.


If there was one duty Princess Mi Amore Cadenza loathed, it was paperwork. She was a mare of action, and there was precious little action in signing paper after paper. It almost always required sequestering herself in her chambers for hours at a time. Blessedly, the mountain of official documents were interrupted by the occasional fan letter. Today brought an especially rare, but extremely welcome occurrence, a letter from Twilight.

Cadence smiled as she levitated the letter closer. Her eyes grew wide as she noted that the lilac envelope contained a note in Twilight's own writing. Why didn't she have Spike write it? After a quick glance out at the slowly awakening city, she started to read through Twilight's customary well wishes. She nearly dropped the letter when she read the next bit.

'You're not going to believe this, but Celestia's trusted me with a student! He came fourteen days ago, and nothing's been the same since. Entropy's the perfect student, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent. He's a teacher at Canterlot University too! He's even been teaching me theoretical physics and chaos theory. His lectures are brilliant!'

It was all she could do to hold in her snort of laughter. If there was one aspect to any stallion that Twilight would fixate on, it would be his intelligence. Though, admittedly, there were not a lot of stallions anywhere that could compete with Twilight's knowledge, so it was understandable she was excited. Rolling her eyes, she continued,

'He can't control his magic yet, and at first we were really puzzled by that. But, then we discovered the truth behind it all! I won't say any more, as our theory's a bit shaky. Let's just say, it could change the very foundation of Equestrian magic theory.'

Cadence giggled softly. I highly doubt that, Twilight. Her sister-in-law was one of the sweetest ponies she had ever met, but she did tend to overblow the importance of her discoveries. She had been doing it ever since she was a filly, and there looked to be no stopping her now.

The letter continued with a very detailed summary of life in Ponyville with her new student. Judging from Twilight's constant praise of the stallion, she was more than a little infatuated. At first, she imagined it as puppy love, until she read the next paragraph.

'You're going to think I'm crazy, but here it goes. Entropy and I have decided to start dating. It's like we're made for each other, Cadence. How did you know when you were in love with Shining Armor? I think I might love Entropy, but I can't tell.'

Her heart skipped a beat. Oh, Twilight, what am I going to do with you? She finished the letter, smiling at the almost filly like excitement of her sister-in-law. Young love was too precious. Just as she was about to re-read it, the door swung open and her husband stepped inside. "You're back early."

Shining Armor nodded, removing his helmet and wiping the sweat from his brow. "I had to get away for a bit. The guards keep complaining about the new training regimen."

Cadence giggled, "It is a touch more difficult than they're used to."

"I can't help it! Princess Luna specifically insisted that I up their training." He sighed, striding over to her desk. "Paperwork?"

"No, a letter from your sister." She held up the letter for him to see. The urge to tell him about the latest development was too much to resist. "She's found herself a stallion."

"What? No way!" Shining Armor made to grab the letter, but she stowed it carefully in the envelope once more. "Come on, Cadence, let me read it."

"It's private. But," she shot him a playful smile, "if you be a good boy, I'll give you the scoop."

He chuckled, sitting down beside her, sweat streaked sides pressing to hers. "All right, I'm listening."

"Celestia's given Twilight a student for the month. He's a professor from Canterlot University, and, from what she says, he's a lot older than she is." Cadence noted his concerned look, patting his forelock. "Don't be such a worry wart! Twilight wouldn't fall for just any stallion. Besides, she's assured me that they're keeping everything appropriate."

"That doesn't change the fact that she didn't ask me first!" He flexed his muscles in a determined fashion, "Who does that stallion think he is, messing with my Twily?"

Cadence snorted, rolling her eyes. For somepony head over heels in love, her husband could be incredibly thick skulled when it came to romance. "Shining dear, it's not something either of them could help. Love just happens. Having your permission won't change a thing."

"But . . ." He made to protest, but she stopped him with a well-timed kiss. His expression of frustration melted to one of contentment. Slowly, they broke the kiss. All trace of irritation had left him now. "All right, you win. But, I still want to meet him."

"Of course. I do too." Cadence frowned at the stack of paperwork in front of her. "But, it will have to wait until we finish our business." She stuck out her tongue in disgust, levitating the topmost paper. "Approvals for new schools don't sign themselves you know."

Shining Armor laughed, getting to his hooves. "Good luck with that." His helmet returned to cover his head once more. "I'd better get back to the guards. Let Twily know I'm thinking of her."

"Sure." Cadence watched him leave, then removed Twilight's letter from the envelope. Her little sister was finally growing up. There was so much to write about, she hardly knew where to begin, but she would do her best. After all, first loves do not come around every day. This was going to be fun.

Author's Note:

Finally posted it! This one is more of a "transition" chapter, getting ready for the last third of the story. It's going to get interesting from here on out, that's for sure. Next official chapter will more than likely be longer than this one. Look forward to it.