• Published 1st Apr 2015
  • 4,470 Views, 104 Comments

Embracing Chaos - Smjames

Twilight Sparkle's is now the headmistress of her very own school and is ready to help mold the young minds of the next generation. But then Discord signs on as a teacher and she finds herself just as much a student as those she's leading.

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Chapter 1

Embracing Chaos Chapter 1

As she walked through the bustling halls of the ancient castle turned university, Princess — now Headmistress — Twilight Sparkle couldn’t help but smile at the sight of her dream coming to life around her. When Princess Celestia had come to Twilight with the idea of creating a new school of magic open to everypony, not just unicorns, Twilight had asked her who she wanted to lead such a project and how she could help. Then the older princess had explained that she meant for Twilight to be the leader and Twilight had spent the next fifteen minutes hopping around the room shouting, “Yes! Yes! YES!”

For the next three months the purple alicorn had been racing back and forth across Equestria searching for more than a dozen different things, each one absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of a school. Foremost amongst these problems was where the school should be located. Canterlot was out of the question almost immediately, space in the mountainside city being at an absolute premium and Celestia’s own magical school already taking up the niche. Manehatten sported a similar problem, as the city was already a hub of learning for many different schools of thought and having little room to build yet another. Twilight had searched up and down the country for another city that could play host to her school, but none of them had the right combination of central positioning, population, and open space to work.

Funnily enough (in hindsight at least) the solution appeared right near Twilight’s current home of Ponyville. While the town itself was far too small to support a university of the size the Princess of Friendship and Learning (oh how she had squeed when she got that title) had planned, it was situated very near a place that would be a perfect fit for Twilight’s requirements. The long abandoned Castle of the Two Sisters, the original capital of Equestria all those thousands of years ago.

The idea had come to her after her friend Fluttershy had mentioned visiting the empty palace several times to take care of the bats that called the place home. Memories of her visits to the ancient library housed within and the sheer size of the building had formed an instant fit with the plans she’d had swimming in her mind for the last few months. As soon as the idea had struck her she sent a missive to Celestia asking for permission to use the castle and begin the desperately needed remodeling of the withering building. The sun princess had happily approved the idea and told her former student, “It will be so wonderful to see my old home have a purpose again. Whatever you need for the remodel is yours Twilight. Good luck, or as Luna just told me over my shoulder, go nuts.”

Luna’s words had turned out to be darn near prophetic as the true extent of the ancient castle’s problems came to light. Even with the alicorn strength preservation charms that Celestia had cast upon the palace before leaving most of the structure was in a drastic state of disrepair. There was hardly a single room in the place that didn’t have part of the ceiling caved in or fallen walls littering the floor. Most of the main halls’ support columns were on the verge of keeling over under a slight breeze, and that wasn’t even approaching the sheer level of danger the underground floors held. The whole castle had to be rebuilt practically from the ground up, forcing Twilight to bring in construction crews from as far away as Las Pegasus to enact the repairs.

The process was not helped in the least by the many, many prank traps hidden everywhere within the castle, traps that were somehow still functioning after thousands of years of decay had nearly brought the castle down atop them. Frustrated, Twilight had asked the sister diarchs how to turn off the traps, or at the very least a map of their locations and triggers so the work teams wouldn’t get caught in them every time they so much as touched a cobblestone. To her annoyance and shock Luna and Celestia said that no such map existed, and that the traps had been designed to run at all times, regardless of the situation the castle was in. The point of the traps was to be able to catch the two sisters off guard at any time. Apparently that was supposed to be fun. When Twilight had questioned the sanity of the setup Luna had merely shrugged and said, “We were but foals at the time. Twas our source of entertainment.”

So the construction work went on, delayed several times a day by yet another false wall or stone slide plucking a pony from his place without a hint of warning. The inefficiency of it all drove Twilight up the metaphorical wall every time she got a progress report. The project head, Hard Hat, sometimes joked to Twilight about the place being a hazard posting and asking for extra compensation, somewhere along the lines of one bit per trap tripped. Recognizing the humor for the stress relief that it was Twilight had decided to agree, and by the end of the project she wouldn’t have been surprised if most of the workers had enough bits to go to the university scholarship free if they wanted to.

While the restoration crawled forward at a pace even Tank would roll his eyes at, Twilight had retrained her focus on finding a full-size faculty to fill up her new facility. Finding the maids, cooks, grounds-keepers and other such positions was foal’s play, as most ponies would leap at the chance to serve a princess, even if indirectly. Pinning down qualified professors was a bit tougher, as the very best instructors in most fields were either already working at a school or were completely uninterested in teaching at all. Twilight ended up having to get rather creative with where she found her teachers, hiring directly out of more active professions or even grabbing up new talent that she felt had potential but had yet to prove themselves. On the whole she was happy with her choices, though she did have some concerns about whether some would actually be good teachers in spite of their expertise in their assigned subject.

Next up had been working with her new staff and generating the course work that they would all use when teaching began. It had seemed straightforward at first but soon became complicated as everyone (not everypony, as not all of her teachers were ponies) realized that the classes would be open to anyone, including those who might not be capable of actively participating. Unicorn magic classes might end up being attended by Earth ponies or pegasi. Pegasus cloud management techniques could draw in curious griffons who couldn’t quite mimic everything their fellow flyers were capable of. The extremely subtle but extraordinarily varied magic of Earth ponies was so broad that it could be of interest to almost anyone, Equestrian or not. Beyond that were the many rare species of magic creatures that roamed all across Equestria. Dragons, timberwolves, breezies, even the recently returned crystal ponies and evilly elusive changlings all had their own unique brands of magic worthy of study. Beyond even those were the myriad branches of practical magic used in everyday life and the theoretical areas that were constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible, each of which deserved its own focus and time to shine.

It was very quickly apparent that each professor was going to be very busy trying to cram everything they wanted their students to learn into each year unless their duties were split up into more specialized roles. Meaning Twilight would have to go on another round of teacher hunting. Oh joy. Thankfully for the slightly irate princess there was another job that was much more up her alley. Time management and scheduling for the courses already agreed upon. Twilight ended up using the scheduling as on the job free time while traveling around finding yet more experts for the new courses.

By the time she was finally done securing nearly every open position the construction crews had completed the remodeling of the castle. The final report of the castle’s progress listed more than three hundred individual traps, pranks, and harmless secret rooms, a figure which seriously bent Twilight’s mind as she tried to grasp just how the original architects had managed to fit them all in there. Aside from those were the half dozen hidden paths in and out of the castle, fifteen hidden rooms carrying powerful magical objects or other dangerous items, a secondary tunnel that led down to the underground hall of the Tree of Harmony, and, perhaps most importantly, the Celestia damn control room to those confounded traps!

The relics were all immediately sent off to Canterlot for resealment by the two diarchs as none of the three alicorns wished to have a repeat of Rarity’s brief creative rampage through Ponyville. The secret paths were hidden again and set under careful watch in case of intrusion by the local beasts of Everfree Forest. The once terrifying place may have calmed down significantly after Discord’s Chaos Seeds were removed from the Tree of Harmony, but it was still a wilderness in many respects and it behooved everyone to treat it that way. As for the control room for the traps Twilight sat herself down in the room as soon as she was aware of it and studied the entire thing for a week to figure out how it all worked.

When she did she was surprised to discover that the whole setup ran on an extremely in depth rune scheme that rivaled those laced throughout Canterlot in complexity and power. Apparently the reason the traps were still functioning after all these years was because they were draining the magic of Celestia’s preservation spells into the runes as their own power faded, causing the slow breakdown of the castle and everything in it. Twilight took the opportunity to gleefully inform her mentor of the happening in person and was rewarded by the one and only time she had seen the alicorn of the sun facehoof in disbelief. The soon to be headmistress had of course shut down the runes immediately upon returning, though with the mental promise to maybe turn them on occasionally for special events, like April Foal’s day or Nightmare Night. It could be a new school tradition! Those were very important in a school’s sense of community.

The next few weeks were a haze of busy work as the final preparations were rushed to completion. Decorating classrooms, gathering supplies, planning clubs and setting up dorm rooms. When she was being honest with herself Twilight didn’t really remember much of those days, her mind having grown heavy with worries about the future and whether she was truly ready for such a huge responsibility. She quickly got over her concerns when she received a round of letters from her friends telling her that they would be visiting for the grand opening. Hay, even Rainbow was coming by, and it was the middle of the Wonderbolt season! Twilight smiled wistfully to herself as she remembered the surge of happiness she’d felt when she’d read the news. She may not have been able to spent time with them much over the last few months, but her friends really were the best anypony could ask for.

Now it was just a few days before the official opening of the school and everypony was dashing around madly trying to complete the last few items on their list. Funnily enough Twilight wasn’t feeling the least bit panicked herself. All she had to do today was meet up with the last of new teachers and see that he was all ready for the school year. To be honest Twilight hadn’t actually met Mr. Chaos Theory in person yet. He had come highly recommended in a letter and his credentials seemed near impeccable. Busy as she had been with her town hopping during the second round of teacher searching she hadn’t had time to go meet him and had sent him a letter instead asking if he would be interested in teaching here.

Thankfully Theory hadn’t taken offense at being invited in a letter and had agreed to come in a rather flowery return letter. If nothing else, Twilight remarked to herself as she turned down another hall, he had quite of way with words. Her cheeks reddened a bit as she recalled some of the stallion’s statements regarding her exploits in the past with her friends. If she didn’t know better she’d had said he was flirting with her, but of course that was ridiculous. Mr. Theory was a good deal older than her according to his resume, sitting somewhere in his middle 30’s versus Twilight only just into her 20’s. The thought of a dignified professor such as him being attracted to her was laughable. That’s what she’d kept telling herself at least.

Okay Twilight, don’t be nervous, she told herself as she approached Chaos Theory’s office. All you’re doing is greeting the new professor. It’s nothing you haven’t done fifteen times before. Or was it twenty? Twenty-five? She shook her head a bit. Getting off topic. Point is you can do this. You’re the Headmistress of the Equestrian Academy of Magic, not to mention the Princess of Friendship and Learning. There’s nothing to be concerned about. Be professional, be inviting. And most of all, do not think about that ‘poise like a graceful swan’ comment.

She reached out and knocked on the door, hearing a confirming ‘come in’ on the other side. There’s nothing to be excited about in that. Nothing at all. Heck, I bet he’s just some harmless dowdy old…

Twilight’s train of thought immediately became violently derailed as she caught sight of the professor turning to greet her. He was a unicorn, sporting a dark brown sweater vest with white collar and sleeves over his lighter earthen brown fur. His mane was primarily gray with occasional stripes of black running in between, lending him an air of aged wisdom and knowledge. His cuite mark was slightly odd; an equals sign with a diagonal slash cutting through it, but it was hard to pay attention to it over the surprisingly toned flank that sported it. A yellow aura appeared around his horn as Theory lowered the chalk he’d been using and pulled his square framed glasses up his muzzle to more properly cover his deeply red eyes.

Twilight could feel her heart skip a few beats while her brain was attempting to clear up the mess that had been caused by her derailed thought train, leaving the poor mare unable to do more than stare blankly at the professor. Only one clear thought could be formed in the temporary chaos of her mind, not that it was at all helping matters.

Oh Celestia save me, he’s hot!

The two academics stared at each other in silence for several moments before Chaos Theory took pity on his visitor and started the conversation. “Headmistress Twilight Sparkle I presume? A delight to meet you.” He held out a friendly hoof of welcome.

Twilight jumped a bit as she remembered her manners and tapped her own hoof against his, saying with a slight stutter as she did, “Er, Li… likewise Mr. Chaos Theory.”

Theory smiled indulgently and withdrew his hoof, bowing his head slightly and continuing, “So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence? Come to check upon your latest addition to the faculty most likely. Making sure I know my stuff as it were, correct?”

Twilight’s blush was being remarkably stubborn in refusing to disappear like she wanted it to. “Well, uh, yes, I suppose you could call it that.”

The stallion just laughed lightly at Twilight’s meek expression and said reassuringly, “Oh no worries my dear. I hold no grudge against you making sure your teaching choices are up to the task you’ve set for them. I would expect no less from somepony as dedicated and capable as yourself, your Highness.”

Whelp, looks like Mr. Blush is here to stay. “Th… thank you Mr. Theory,” Twilight said as she did her best to hide her proud smile at his compliment. “Really, though, it’s wonderful to have you here at the Academy, professor. ‘Physics of Magic’ is easily one of the most complicated subjects in magical academia. I’m so relieved to have found a quality instructor willing to teach it.” She hoped that didn’t sound too much like the gushing she suspected it was.

“Tish tosh, my dear,” Chaos said as he waved away her words good-naturedly. “It is I who should be thanking you. It’s an honor to be allowed to teach here.” Theory turned and pointed to the room around them, his voice taking on a respectful tone projecting a sense of awe. “Just look at where we stand. The Castle of the Two Sisters! Once a place where all of Equestria looked for guidance, history has cast a long, ugly shadow upon this place. Other ponies – saner ponies – would have stayed away. But not you. Oh no. You, my dear, turned this supposedly haunted mausoleum of the past into a school. A school of magic open to earth ponies, unicorns, and pegasi alike.” A sly smile appeared on his lips as he turned back to Twilight. “Everypony is saying you’re crazier than a bag of cats for trying something so ambitious.”

Twilight faced away and glared at the floor, all too aware of the numerous critics she had garnered as news of her grand project had spread. Celestia had urged her to ignore the naysayers and push on with her idea, but their constant stream of complaints had been a stinging annoyance in Twilight’s side during the whole project. Hearing them mentioned by one of her own staff was rather galling. On the plus side at least my face doesn’t look like a volcano anymore.

“But who cares what those fools say, hmm? They clearly don’t understand what you are trying to do.”

Twilight looked back at the professor in surprise, unsure if she had heard him correctly.

“Those critics call you crazy as if that were an indictment, an insult to your character. But I say you’re crazy like a fox. You have defied traditional convention to create stunning innovation. Embraced chaos to bring about positive growth.” The stallion’s smile grew slimmer and more sincere with each word spoken. “Consider me a fan.”

Aaaaand Mr. Blush is back again. “I, well, thank you professor. But I can’t take all the credit! It was Princess Celestia who suggested founding a new school of magic to me, not to mention providing me with all the funding I needed to get everything done.” She turned away as she began to speak faster and faster, falling into her usual trap of pacing back and forth when she got excited. “I mean I’ve always supported opening the magical arts to non-unicorns, magic is inherent in all ponies after all. Even griffons and zebras have their own magic that they can use, so why shouldn’t they have a chance to learn alongside everypony else?”

Unnoticed by Twilight a faint pink gas began to flow into the room, circling around Professor Chaos Theory as his smile grew positively wicked.

“So with a few major repairs here, a few dozen weather control charms there, it became perfectly easy to… embrace… chaos.” Twilight’s eyes widened in sudden realization as the gas behind her began to flow faster and faster, creating an artificial windstorm in the classroom. Twilight’s voice hardened into steel as she glanced over her shoulder and said, “I bet you think this is funny, Discord.”

The cloud quickly fully engulfed the professor in its pink embrace before a sound like a thunderclap struck from within. A deep, melodious voice spoke from within the fading mist, speaking in a mocking tone, “Actually dear Headmistress…” A clawed eagle arm swept the mist away, leaving Twilight a plain view of the trickster chimera within. “I thought it was hilarious.”

Twilight glared up at the frightening visage without fear, her wings stretched horizontally to her sides in pent up anger. Then, just as suddenly as the monster appeared the image was broken as the creature flopped to the floor bonelessly and rattled back and forth with gut-wrenching guffaws. “You, ha ha, you should have seen the look on your face. Oh it was priceless. Ha ha ha HA!”

Resisting the urge to let her eye twitch in annoyance Twilight all but roared at Discord, saying, “This isn’t funny! Do you know how much time and effort I put into finding all of the teachers I need for all the courses! School is supposed to start NEXT WEEK and now I’m missing a professor for one of the most important classes!”

Discord paused in his laughter for a moment to stare up at the incensed princess glaring down at him. “Oh but my dearest Twilight, who said anything about you missing a teacher? After all…” he snapped his fingers and with a loud poof Chaos Theory once again stood before her, smiling gamely at her. “I’m still right here.”

Save for a slightly lifted eyebrow showing her skepticism Twilight’s glare did not change a wit. “Do you really think I would trust you with a teaching position at my school? Especially after abusing my trust like this right before the school year starts?”

“Oh come now your Highness,” Discord-as-Chaos-Theory said mockingly. “Do you truly imagine that I would betray the oh-so-sacred trust of one of my dearest friends by ruining her first day as headmistress just for the sake of a few laughs?”

Twilight’s response would have made the bluntest of brick walls wish to be painted green with envy. “Yes.”

Theory’s face drooped a bit as Twilight’s words registered in his mind. “Ah. I see. Well perhaps that is my fault,” he said with defeated grace as he flowed back into his normal form. “I have been a bit overzealous lately haven’t I?”

“That’s one way of putting it,” Twilight muttered angrily. After the defeat of Tirek several years ago Equestria had been at relative peace ever since, though Twilight and her friends were occasionally forced into their own adventures every so often. Aside from those romps though Ponyville had been surprisingly quiet. Too quiet for a chaos entity like Discord, prompting the draconequis to create his own fun, much to the detriment of the town’s denizens. For the most part his pranks were fairly harmless, more embarrassing than dangerous, but over time the ponies began to get fed up with being constantly bothered by the big pest. Fluttershy had mentioned in her letters that she had tried to get Discord to lay off on his jokes for a while and failed. Weirdly enough she said that he hadn’t seemed malicious in his joking but rather just seemed melancholy and quiet, as if his pranking was an attempt to ignore whatever it was that was on his mind. Whatever it was, Twilight was in no mood to have that disruptive influence at her school.

Discord sighed melodramatically before saying, “I suppose I have been something of an annoyance for everypony recently.” The draconequis perked up in an instant and said proudly, “But that changes today.”

Twilight blinked at Discord in confusion. “What.”

Discord continued on with his pronouncement and ignored the bamboozled Twilight. “I’ve been pranking and joking away constantly for these last few months, and as fun as that has been to lighten up the boring mood that’s been bothering me for so long it’s also done something completely and utterly unacceptable. It’s made me predictable!”

Twilight tilted her head at the draconequis, trying to understand the twisted logic that led him to that conclusion.

“I’ve decided it’s time to change my image. Everypony knows me as little more than a trickster.” A snap of his fingers dressed Discord up in a garish clown’s outfit while three juggling balls were tossed up and down by his horns poking out of his ruffled polka dot hat. “Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but it’s just gotten boring lately doing the same pranks over and over.” His horns dropped allow with his voice, allowing the three balls to fall down on Twilight’s head in sequence. Thankfully the balls were light enough that Twilight barely even felt them, but it was still a bit insulting.

“So, I figure, why not do something different for a change?” Another snap later and Theory was once again standing in front of her, the three balls hovering in a circle in his telekinetic grasp. “Why not be responsible for once?” He gathered the balls to together and lifted them over to Twilight, a hopeful grin on his face. “Why not be someone you could trust?”

Twilight’s glare faded and her eyebrows flew up in surprise at Discord’s words. Discord, the nigh-omnipotent spirit of chaos and disharmony, wanting to be a teacher? What’s next, Princess Celestia outlawing cake and declaring it a spawn of evil? And yet, despite her initial instinct to dismiss Discord and declare that he was joking once again, something within her said that he was telling the truth. Maybe… maybe I should give him a chance. She sighed, losing her anger alongside her breath. “You’re really serious about this? You’ll behave yourself and be a proper teacher?”

Discord stilled for a moment before dropping to the floor and giving a proper bow. “I give you my word Princess.”

Twilight may have been a trusting friend and have a soft spot for those who tried to make up for their mistakes, but she was nobody’s fool. She wanted to be absolutely sure Discord wouldn’t try something, so she went for the weapon of ultimate trust of any friendship. “Pinkie Promise it.”

“Pardon?” Discord asked, taking off one of his ears and rubbing it clear of dust.

Twilight stood up and adopted the regal posture that Cadance had been teaching her before slowly stating, “I want you to Pinkie Promise that you will not act in an undue fashion while teaching or cause trouble while you work here. You do that, then I will let you teach.”

“Oh very well,” Discord said dismissively. “Cross my heart, hope to die. Stick a cupcake in my eye.” He then withdrew a cupcake from behind his back and stuck it in his eye socket, forcing the eyeball to come flying out of his still removed earhole. “Happy?”

“I’m satisfied,” Twilight said. “Happy would be overstating things. Let’s make one thing clear Discord. The only reason I’m accepting this is because I really, really don’t want to have to go through the effort of finding a replacement teacher just a few days before the school year starts. That said, if you show any hint of disgracing this institution or doing something that harms or otherwise upsets one of my students I will not hesitate gather the other Elements and turn you back to stone again with the Rainbow magic. Do I make myself clear?”

Discord blanched slightly under Twilight’s death glare, twiddling his fingers nervously at the thought of being returned to stone. “Ah, yes. I understand perfectly your Highness.”

Twilight allowed her glare to fall away and smiled brightly at her new, and perfectly harmless, professor. “Perfect. I’ll want your class schedule on my desk by tomorrow evening at the latest. It doesn’t have to be rigid but you should at least outline what areas you will cover and when you will cover them, okay? Great.” She trotted over to the door, pretending to be perfectly nonchalant about leaving the chaos being alone. Just before she left she turned around and said, “Oh, and I’d prefer it if nopony knew that it was you teaching them so you’re going to have to stay as Chaos Theory while teaching. And that means no crazy chaos magic while class is in session.”

Discord’s jaw dropped all the way to the floor as he very suddenly realized just how crippled he would really be. He pulled on his still attached ear to bring his jaw up off the ground to stutter, “But… but…”

Twilight didn’t give him a chance to continue as she smiled brightly and said with a cheerful air of finality, “Have a nice day, Mr. Chaos Theory. I hope you enjoy working here at my school.” And with that she exited the room, swishing her tail in triumph as Discord couldn’t do anything but stand there bewildered. Looks like this year is going to be more interesting than I thought. Twilight grimaced to herself out in the hall. Now here’s hoping my sanity can survive.

Author's Note:

Proper Author's Notes pending. Will be updated upon request. Enjoy!

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