• Published 30th Jul 2018
  • 3,167 Views, 363 Comments

Family Tree - miss-cyan



Getting cryptic notes from dead relatives is never a good thing. This was no exception. What are you supposed to do when someone wants you to solve a mystery when there's something out in the woods? That turns out to be the least of my problems.

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The Distance

Pinkie was expected back at work, but she convinced me to pop in and visit the Cakes again. I was pretty worn out even thought the day had barely started, and after the burst of energy I’d needed to get through everything, I felt achy and just a tiny bit warm. I made a mental note to get a nap in when I got back to the Apple’s place. But I’d be fine for now.

“Oh, hello dears!” Mrs. Cake stopped her measurements and trotted over, pulling us both into a tight hug. Pinkie was getting hugged around the neck while I got hugged around the waist so it was a bit awkward, but I appreciated the gesture nonetheless.

“Hey!” Pinkie smiled, looking like she was ready to hug everyone.

“Hi again Mrs. Cake.” I smiled a little awkwardly. I was thinking about the last time I had visited, back when I was just Bluey. I knew that Pinkie had told the two about me, and I really didn’t know what kind of welcome to expect. I wanted to apologize for hiding things from them, but if their reactions now were any indicator, I think I was already forgiven.

“Hello there girls.” Mr. Cake smiled, putting a tray of something in the oven.

“Hi again to you too, Mr. Cake.” I waved, but Pinkie was already on her way over to hug him too.

“Lottie.” Mrs. Cake smiled up at me. “Or would you prefer Ms. Petrou? Charlotte? I’d hate to make you at all uncomfortable.”

“Lottie’s fine.” She remembered my full name from my speech. “I prefer it. Although…Rarity seems to like calling me Charlotte, but I think it’s just her being fancy.”

“I’m just so thrilled to see you again.” She sighed, a hoof to her chest. “When Pinkie told us all about you, I really had trouble picturing you. But you’re just lovely! Though I suppose you can’t go by Bluey anymore.” She laughed.

“I don’t mind it; Pinkie still calls me Bluey sometimes.” I shrugged, watching the pink pony give Mr. Cake one of her tight, squeezing hugs. “Though I’m not really attached to it, I made it up on the spot. But yeah, nothing that blue about me anymore.”

“You look a bit tired.” she smiled, stepping over to the counter. “You must be starving too. Tell you what, if you’re willing to wait, I’ll pack you a to-go order.”

“Oh. That’s nice of you.” I smiled, before remembering my…financial situation. “Uh…do you mind if I start a tab? Luna didn’t tell me how I’m supposed to cash my stipend and-”

“Oh, it’s on the house.” She said. But I must have made a face without meaning to and she caught on to what I was feeling. “Ah! Just this once though. With your appetite you might eat us out of house and home.” She laughed, smiling at me knowingly. “I don’t think we could afford another creature with Pinkie-level enthusiasm for our baking.”

“You and Pinkie can go visit with the twins before you have to go.” Mr. Cake announced, grabbing a potholder from a drawer in his mouth.

I went straight from hellos, hugs and treats to being around their kids without them watching. I thought. The warmth from the two of them was, as cheesy as it sounds, really nice and what I needed. Just like the rest of my new friends, their opinion of me hadn’t changed.

“C’mon Lottie!” Pinkie bounced over to me, bumping my legs playfully with her side. “Let’s go see the babies!”



Said babies were on a blanket in the next room, their toy chest with them and different things to do spread around. Pinkie wasted no time dashing over and scooping them up and squeezing them too. They squealed happily, hugging onto the sides of her head.

“Babies!” she cheered, holding them to face me. “Do you remember my friend?”

The foals looked up at me, their little faces scrunched in confusion. I reached out for the filly, hesitating before scratching my fingers in her little orange mane. I got the colt with my other hand, scratching behind his ear.

“Hi babies.” I smiled, and their little eyes widened. Pound Cake turned to his sister with some baby gibberish, and she just sucked on her hoof, mumbling around it. They wiggled in Pinkie’s grasp and she gently set them down.

“I look really different.” I said in regard to Pinkie’s slight pout. “And they’re only-”

“Ba bagah!” a little voice piped up from the blanket. Pumpkin Cake was holding up a blue block, the both of them looking up expectantly. Pinkie gasped, smiling from ear to ear.

“That’s right babies!” she ducked down, nuzzling them both for good measure. “It’s Bluey! So smart!”

“No way…” I said under my breath. Were babies really that smart here or were these two tiny geniuses or something?

Pinkie sat, playing some kind of pretend game with Pound Cake, while Pumpkin was happy enough just to sit in my lap, idly sucking on her hoof. I found myself occupied with a kind of…mental inventory of their toy chest. It was like back at the toy store, my mind flitted from toy to toy, breaking them down to their parts and patterns. It was almost mesmerizing…nice busy work for my brain while the world spun around me.

A lot of he toys looked like they’d seen better days, probably the result of rough and tumble play and two little pony siblings fighting over them. I saw a little stuffed pony tucked into the corner of the chest. Reaching in absentmindedly, I ran my fingers over the seams. Pumpkin looked up at the toy in my hands, reaching up with the hoof that wasn’t in her mouth. It was so tiny. I suddenly became hyperaware of the little baby girl in my lap, barely weighing anything.

“Here you go.” I let her take the toy from me. “You’re such a little thing, you know?”

She looked up at me, babbling and absently putting the toy pony’s ear in her mouth.

“You’re so…small and helpless.” I didn’t know what I was going on about, but the words just seemed to spill over. “I think us being the same is setting something off in me. I hardly know you…but I think if anything tried to hurt you, I’d fight to protect you.”

I remembered my time in my dreams with Silver and Sugar. Even though Sugar turned out to be someone close to me, I still remembered how protective I was of the fillies, how their safety was all that mattered to me at the time. I’d always liked kids, but being here where danger seemed more possible was turning it into something else. Was this a normal maternal thing, or some pony instinct? Was there even a separation?

“Pinkie?” I called out to her. She looked up from her game with Pound Cake, smiling.

“You think…if you had foals someday…” I wondered how to word my thoughts. “You’d do anything to protect them? Like, even get violent? Is that a pony thing or a mom thing?”

“Hmm…” she looked to be thinking hard. She scooped up Pound Cake, nuzzling him while he laughed. “I think all pony moms would feel like that. If I were a momma, I’d buck anything that tried to hurt my baby right into next week!” She laughed, touching her forehead to Pound’s. “I don’t know any other humans though. Would your mom do anything like that for you?”

“Oh definitely!” I laughed. “My mom gets crazy protective of me and my brother over the smallest things. If something ever tried to actually hurt us? I’d almost feel sorry for whatever monster tried to take her on.”

Mom…

Not a week ago I was wondering how things would be if things had gone the more traditional route, what my life would’ve been like if I had gone to school and moved far away from my hometown. Now I was getting misty-eyed at just the thought of my own mother.

I wondered if she knew I was gone. Had she called me and gotten no answer? Had she come to check on me finding no one home? Nothing packed up or missing, food starting to go bad in the fridge, car still in the garage?

She’d think the worst had happened, for sure. Dad too. These weren’t new thoughts for me in the slightest but I’d tried to avoid thinking about it too hard. But when would they stop looking for me? Worrying about me? I still hoped to get home but…how long would I be here?

I could make it, no matter how long it took.

“I miss them.” I said out loud. Pinkie smiled sadly at me, scooting over to sit at my side. We each had a twin in our laps who looked oddly sympathetic to the sad adults in the room.

“What are they like?” she asked. I held Pumpkin a bit closer, leaning against Pinkie.

I told her about my parents and Mason, my different relationships with each of them and how much I missed them. I kept things light with the babies in the room, but she could still tell how I was doing. It occurred to me when I was done that, I didn’t know anything about Pinkie’s family.

“What about you?” I asked her, letting Pumpkin down to play. “You close with your family?”

“I love my family!” she smiled, pulling a wallet from her mane and out spilling a long fold of photos. “They live outside of Ponyville, just a quick train ride. They have a rock farm!”

She pointed to a stern-looking light brown stallion next to a mare with a severe-looking bun and reading glasses on a chain standing in front of a farm house. Neither were smiling for the photo.

“My Mom and Dad!” she pointed to another photo of a grey mare rolling her eyes and sporting a sharp, angled haircut. “That’s my older sister Limestone-” Without missing a beat she pointed to another photo of a mare shying away from the camera, her mane hiding most of her face. “And Marble, my baby sister by a few minutes.”

“Fraternal twins?” I asked, noting the lack of resemblance. Same as the Maple sisters.

“Yep!” She pointed to another photo. This one showed a mare that looked to be Pinkie’s opposite in every way. Half-lidded, bored-looking eyes looked directly into the camera and the background was a solid gray. In her upturned hoof was a small rock.

“That’s my oldest sister Maud!” she smiled, hugging the chain of photos close. “She’s off getting her rockterate right now, but she’ll be home when winter comes! I miss her soooooo much!”

“She’s getting her doctorate?” I asked, wondering what pony college was like.

“No silly, her rock-terate! She’s doing her rock studies in the Equestrian Institute of Rockology. When she graduates, she’ll be Dr. Maud Pie.”

I shut my eyes, feeling equal parts accepting and frustrated at the sense in not calling it a doctorate and still getting the title of Doctor, but it was just one of those things I’d have to get used to.

“Yeah, okay…” I sighed. “You’re close with Maud?”

“She’s my bestest big sister friend!” she smiled fondly at the photo before folding it back into the wallet and stashing it in her mane again. “I can’t really explain it. But even though we’re really different and we don’t like all the same things, she always tries to understand me, and I try to understand her. I can just be me.”

Sounds familiar. I thought, smiling. Mason is scarily smart for a twelve-year old and even with the age difference I’ve always been his friend. We always hung out with each other more than other people our age and he gets me more than most people do, and I get him too.

“Bluey?” she looked up at me with impossibly sparkly puppy-dog eyes.

“What do you want?” I smirked, my sarcastic tone delighting her.

“I hope you get to go home soon, but…” she tapped her front hooves, looking up at me. “If you’re still here by winter…do you wanna spend Hearth’s Warming with my family and me?”

Spending the winter holidays with a girl’s family, not something I could say I’d ever done before.

“You want me to…meet your family?” I asked realizing how it sounded as it came out of my mouth. I pushed the notion out of my head, knowing she was just being nice to me like she’d always been. This was Pinkie Pie, for cryin’ out loud!

“Of course!” she giggled, and I froze a little at the sound before shaking it off. “Nopony should be by themselves, and I think they’ll really like you! Pleeeeaassseee??”

I averted my gaze at the way she batted her eyelashes, pouting up at me. Was she trying to give me a heart-attack!? I groaned, clenching my jaw and trying to avoid the eyes of the pony trying her best to pull one over on me.

“Uuugggghhhhh-Fine! Yes, okay, I’ll come!” I waved my hands in her direction, defeated. ‘Just knock it off with the face, and the eyes!! Jeez Louise!”

She laughed, hugging my side and celebrating her victory, the little pink manipulator…

I heard hushed voices from the other room, spotting the Cakes spying from the doorway. They were looking at the two of us with shimmering eyes, fussing over everything they’d seen before noticing they’d been found out and quickly retreating into the kitchen.

My face was on fire at that point. I just went face-first into her poofy pink mane, muffling my frustrated, embarrassed shouting.



“You can take this to the bank and gain access to your stipend.” Luna floated the paper that proved my citizenship to me, and in a flash, she produced something the size of a tube of lipstick, pressing it to the form and pulling away to reveal a blue-inked alicorn in a circle.

“A seal?”

“This will ensure that nopony can deny the authenticity of the form. This seal is one of two in all of Equestria, along with the one belonging my sister. They are magical and unable to be reproduced.”

“Thanks.” I hugged her again, glad to have someone who could get all this done on my side. She folded her wings around me one last time before looking at me.

“Be strong, wayward wanderer.” She smiled gently. “Should you find yourself in dire straits, do not hesitate to reach out to Celestia or myself. And remember…your friends will be here for you, do not be afraid to depend on them.”

I nodded, smiling back.

“No more keeping what’s bugging me to myself. I’ll do my best.” I gave her offered hoof a friendly shake and one last squeeze as she walked out of Town Hall with a couple of guards.

“I’m going to get back to my research.” Twilight told me, Spike hopping up on her back. I waved bye to him and he smiled, waving back. “Try to get some rest Lottie.”

“I think I’ll be getting a nice long nap before too long.” I smiled, saying my goodbyes to the two of them. Rainbow and Rarity said theirs too, and I thanked them for the nice things they’d said about me in front of the townsponies.

“Think nothing of it, Charlotte.” Rarity waved a hoof nonchalantly. “We didn’t say anything we didn’t believe to be the truth.”

“Yeah. I mean, you are kind of a big dork.” Rainbow shrugged, not noticing the flat look from Rarity. “But yeah, we’re good. I meant what I said too.”

The Apples got my attention and I said my goodbyes again. Applejack was all smiles too, and Apple Bloom looked fit to burst. Big Mac was stoic, but a small smile was on his face too.

“Glad everything went as well as it could.” Applejack sighed, seeming relieved.

“Mm Hmm.” Their brother nodded, stretching a little.

“Everypony knows about you now!” Apple Bloom cheered, seeming more excited about it than I was at least. “Now you can go anywhere, do anything! I can take you to all he best spots in town! It’ll be a blast!”

“Glad you’re excited.” I snorted, smiling so she knew I was joking. At least, joking enough to try not to think about going back out into town.

“Tell you what.” Applejack patted my side with her hoof. “You do one last thing for us today, and you can take today and tomorrow off. Sleep in, go out, do whatever you feel like. Make sure you’re feeling well at least.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, and the three of them nodded. “All right, what do you need me to do?”

“Go with Fluttershy to her place and pick up Winona.” She told me. “Our dog. She’s been sick the last few days and she’d getting released today. You and her can have a nice, relaxin’ walk home.”

“No problem.” The thought of ponies with pets was still a little funny, but a dog was more to be expected for a pet than something like Gummy. “I’ll be back soon.”



Fluttershy’s backyard was swarming with animals, some of them looking kind of familiar from my last visit. At least, they were the same kinds of animals I saw last time. When they saw me some of the smaller ones scattered, the mice and squirrels and such. The larger ones and the carnivores just looked on, looking a bit confused.

“Everypony!” she called out to the animals gently. “Do you remember my guest Cornflower Blue? She’s changed a bit, but she’s still the same pony-…oh, um…Well, she’s changed…is all.”

They didn’t seem very convinced. Various chatters called out and Fluttershy shook her head.

“No, nothing like that. It’s just like when Ms. Hare’s coat turns white in the winter. Or…maybe more like how Mr. Monarch used to be our friend The Caterpillar. She’s still the same as before. I promise.”

They looked at each other, talking amongst themselves before I heard heavy steps in the grass behind me. I turned slowly to see Fluttershy’s bear friend Harry looming over me, head cocked to the side. If I hadn’t already met him, I might’ve jumped out of my skin.

“Harry!” Fluttershy greeted him with a smile. “Do you remember Miss Blue?”

He leaned toward me, practically shoving his nose in my hair, sniffing my head all over. Warm snuffles were hitting my skin and I stifled a laugh. He finished his inspection with a strong snort of air to my head, looking at me again.

His tongue started to poke out from his mouth. As he leaned in, I had flashbacks to my head being covered in bear saliva and I startled, pointing a finger to him forcefully.

“Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me!”

He froze, the big slobbery tongue moving slowly in reverse back into his big bear mouth. With a chuff, he settled for pushing his head to mine, very forcefully nuzzling me. His fur was kind of coarse on my skin but I just sighed, scratching his lowered head.

“Good to you again too, big guy.” I smiled. Fluttershy beamed at the two of us warmly, then turned towards the sound of barking.

“There you are Winona!” she smiled as a brown and white dog bounded through the grass towards her. “Hello girl! This is Lottie, a friend of mine and Applejack’s. She’s here to walk you home.”

The Collie barked happily, coming over to me and Harry. She sat politely, raising a paw for me to shake. When I smiled and took it, she pushed herself up and smothered me with puppy kisses. I turned my head, trying not to laugh and scratching her behind the ears. So much for not getting slobbered on.

“It’s nice to meet you Winona.” I smiled, wiping my face with the hem of my shirt. “What’s she here with you for?”

“She ate some wild onion plants the other day by mistake.” Fluttershy cooed, loving on the dog. “If she’d eaten more, she would’ve gotten much sicker. She rested here for a couple of days and I explained to her which plants were okay to eat. She had an upset stomach and got a whiff of some tasty-smelling grass, the poor dear…”

Winona looked much healthier than all that, so I guessed she was good to go home to her family.

“I just need to give her a final check-up inside and then she’ll be fine to leave.” She went for the back door of her house with Winona in tow, letting her inside. “You’re welcome to stay here with my friends while you wait.”

“Cool.” I scratched Harry under his chin, and his tongue lolled out from his mouth. I looked around at the other animals in the yard. I trailed out in the grass stopping to pet the ones that recognized me. The same rabbit I met the last time approached with a few of its friends, or family maybe, and they all wanted some pets too. None of them seemed spooked at the sight of me anymore, and I even chatted with some snakes that slithered up to me. Not that it was a very meaningful chat, all of their hisses were lost on me.

The baby otters found me and they ran around my legs, squeaking and chirping away. I reached down, picking one up and petting them gently along their back. The ones still in the grass were still running around me, full of energy.

Though…I could’ve sworn there were only four otters last time I was here.

“Did you guys make a new friend?” I asked, scratching the one I was holding behind it’s little ear.

They stopped running, squeaking to each other. Then, slowly, the odd otter out slowly turned its head to me. I saw a long fang poking out from its mouth, and asymmetrical red and yellow eyes stared up at me. I reeled back, narrowing my eyes at it.

“Something ain’t right with that otter…”

“How rude!” It gasped, offended. I yelped, ducking behind Harry. The otter I’d picked up hopped down and ran off with the others. “Isn’t this a fine welcome?”

Harry scooped me up in his big bear arms and growled warningly to the strange-looking otter. In a flash of bright light, it was gone, replaced by an even stranger-looking creature.

“Well well well!” It’s voice smooth and almost placating. And noticeably masculine. “What kind of creature has my dear friend found herself in the care of now?”

He flew over to me…no. He was hovering, his mismatched wings weren’t moving at all. The more I looked at him the less he made sense. He was made up of all different parts, long and lithe like an eastern-style dragon.

“What…are you?” I asked him, and he laughed heartily.

“I could ask you the same thing, my dear!” he smiled, and it was making me uneasy. He wasn’t predatory, I didn’t feel like I was in any danger, but something was just…off. Harry growled again but I patted him on the nose and he gently put me down, watching closely. I was grateful for the lookout.

“Folks call me Lottie.” I told him. He hadn’t done anything but Harry’s reaction told me he was at least someone to be wary of.

“A pleasure, I’m sure.” He waved it off, his body twisting while he floated up. The air behind him flashed with colorful sparks and the sound of party poppers, confetti exploding from all directions. “You can call me Discord, Lord of Chaos!”

Trumpets came out of nowhere, sounding out triumphantly with no one playing them, scaring off a lot of the animals nearby. They spun out of control and exploded into a shower of…

“…Paperclips?” I asked, so confused my head was starting to hurt.

“You never have one when you need one.” He muttered. He snapped a talon and they reappeared in a surprisingly neat pile in my open hand. I was still out of it, but I put them in my pants pocket.

“Okay, I just woke up from a bad fever dream so this is really wigging me out.” I dragged a hand down my face. “Are you real?”

“As real as anything is!” he said, sounding delighted.

“You’re…some kind of shapeshifter?” I wondered out loud.

“I’ve been known to shift my shape!” he grinned, snapping his talons and in another flash of light and he was gone.

In his place was a circus seal, colorful pedestal and frilly rainbow collar. The seal still looked a lot like Discord, red and yellowed eyes and a long fang poking from his mouth. He struck a pose, a large colorful ball appearing above him. He bounced it a few times before it soared high in the air. His eyes appeared on the ball, the seal had disappeared while I was watching the act. The ball spun out and shifted into a large cloud. It thundered, and when the raindrops hit the ground, a polka-dotted flower taller than me bloomed.

The flower hacked and coughed, the petals curling into themselves and spitting Discord back into existence, who finished off the most impossible thing I’d ever seen with a bow. There was suddenly thunderous applause coming from nowhere, and a bouquet was thrown from somewhere in my blind spot and landed in Discord’s waiting arms.

“But a shapeshifter?” he laughed smugly. “That would be a wild understatement of my abilities, I’m afraid.”

Like it was the most normal thing in the world. I started to feel lightheaded.

“This is too much…” I muttered, head in my hands.

“I understand…” He paused, only to grin maniacally. “You want to see more?”

“Please no!” I cut him off, eyeing his talons ready to snap and do something else. “It’s…okay I’ll admit that was impressive but… I know magic is crazy and unpredictable but how in the hell is any of this possible!?”

I was properly losing my mind. Some creature unlike anything I’d seen so far could shapeshift, teleport, materialize things out of thin air, and could possibly mess with my head? Had magic been this wild and crazy the whole time I’d been here or was this guy just…super insanely overpowered?

“I can see you’ve been thoroughly impressed!” he smiled slyly, tossing the bouquet over his shoulder. “That’s enough for a free show, next time you’ll have to buy a ticket.”

“What the hell was all that?” I muttered, slumping against Harry, who saw how exhausted I was and patted my head gently with a paw.

“Oh, just in time.” He looked off towards the cottage.

“What?” I could only blink. “What’re you-”

“Discord!” Fluttershy and Winona were coming outside, and she seemed happy to see him. Point towards him being a friend rather than a foe. “I didn’t know you were coming today!”

“Hello, my dear!” he smiled brightly at her, ignoring Winona barking excitedly up at him. “I was just introducing myself to your new patient here. Something about a fever, I hear?”

“Oh no, Lottie’s not a patient. And she’s not an animal, she’s a creature called a human.”

“Are you entirely sure?” he asked slyly. “Hmm…she gives off the same kind of magic a pony does, but…not. Muddled by something else. How peculiar…”

“I’m uh…part pony on my Dad’s side.” I spoke up. He lit up, circling me like a snake coiling around its prey.

“Oh! A hybrid, are we? How positively strange!” he threw his head back, practically cackling. I couldn’t stop from feeling self-conscious, looking to the ground. Fluttershy fluffed up and flew to his face, frowning at the creature.

“Discord, please.” She folded her forehooves and looking at him, slightly disappointed. “She’s having a hard time…She’s very sensitive…” She whispered the last part. I felt embarrassed but I didn’t deny it.

“Fluttershy, I’m surprised at you!” he gave her the same look back. “You know better than anypony that I absolutely adore the strange and unusual. It was a compliment! What fun is there in being like everypony else?”

She blinked at his words, looking to me. I shrugged, trying to tell her I was just as confused. He looked to me again, taking my hand in his big lion’s paw.

“I must say, I’m quite fond of hybrids.” He smiled, shaking my hand vigorously. “Something especially marvelous about different things woven together in a single creature.”

It was a specific and weird compliment, but a compliment nonetheless. Though I got the feeling it all came back to him complimenting what he liked about himself. I shook his paw back, nodding.

“Thanks.” I looked over his form, taking in all his different parts. “Are you…like me?”

“That’s the beauty of it, dear Lottie.” He puffed up his chest, striking a dramatic pose. “You and I aren’t quite like anypony else.”

Not quite an answer, but I could understand what he was saying.

“I guess not.” I shrugged.

“Discord is a draconequus.” Fluttershy added helpfully. “His magic is as unique as he is.”

Discord puffed up his chest at her words, looking quite proud of himself.

“Your magic seems pretty powerful…” I half asked, thinking of what I’d seen today. “Any chance you could help Twilight out with finding out how to reopen the portal back home?”

Fluttershy and I explained the situation to Discord who had a very bored look on his face the whole time. Not an encouraging sign. But this was a chance that I couldn’t pass up.

“Well that’s all fine and dandy…” he was filing the claws on his lion paw, admiring his work. “But honestly this all sounds a little…below my skill set.” He hissed the last word, sounding bored senseless.

“Discord…” Fluttershy sounded disappointed.

“Honestly, this sounds like something even Princess Twilight Sparkle can figure out all on her lonesome.” He said Twilight’s title with more than a little contempt.

“You’re…not even gonna try?” I said just above a whisper. He looked at me, smiling.

“You seem interesting enough, I’ll admit.” He shrugged. “But vines and portals…nothing any of you can’t handle, I’m sure.”

Fluttershy seemed disappointed again by his answer. But every word out of his mouth was making me…

Angry.

“…Of course.” I laughed to myself. Both of them looked at me. “Of course! Ha!”

My hands were shaking, and I couldn’t stop the angry tears from spilling over. They were watching me but I couldn’t bring myself to be embarrassed.

“Of course…quite possibly the most powerful magic guy in this whole stupid universe can’t even be bothered to try and help me! Why would I expect anything different? Things were going so well. I’m not a secret anymore, I can go out in public, I have friends I can count on…but there had to be this big stupid wrench thrown right in the works of this whole stupid thing!”

“Lottie…” Fluttershy tied to comfort me, but I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was watching me, a tub of popcorn to snack on appeared as he watched my little meltdown.

“It’s not like I’ve got people who’re worrying about me, who probably think I’m dead.” I laughed, wiping at my eyes. “Not like my whole life has been upended because my grandmother is a pony of all things and nobody bothered to tell me we were even related!”

“I…I keep losing people.” I managed to choke out the words, curling into myself. First Claire and then Grandpa, now possibly my entire family. My whole world… “And Twilight’s trying hard to get me home, I know she is…but some messed up part of me can’t help but think that it’ll never happen! That I’ll be here in this world for the rest of my life!”

“But you know what? Fuck it!” I shouted, pointing a finger at him. “Even if it takes Twilight years, decades to get me home, and everyone I know and love has given up on me being alive, I’d still wait for her help before I ever waited for a pompous jackass like you to bother lifting a finger to help me!!”

I was panting, coming down from my big ol’ mood swing. Winona had her ears down and she went to me, licking at the hand at my side. Fluttershy was covering her mouth with her hooves, looking between Discord and me.

And Discord…

He was just staring, a blank look on his face. Every second that ticked by made me rethink my little outburst and realize just how bad my lack of medication was starting to hit me.

“Ugh…Look.” I took a deep breath, wiping my eyes again. I pet Winona to show her I was okay. “That wasn’t fair of me…I’m sorry, it’s been a long day and I-”

He started laughing.

Discord was howling, clutching his gut and his floating form was slowly turning in the air as he laughed his ass off. I was too stupefied to get angry again. Poor Fluttershy was just as confused.

“Oh that was spectacular!!” He cackled, wiping away a tear. “Fluttershy my dear, you should bring around unusual creatures like her more often!”

He popped over to me, and I resisted the urge to smack him away, like a wasp flying to close out of nowhere. He leaned in close so only I could hear.

“Ponies are my favorite creatures to play with. But even being so colorful, everything is always so black and white with them. Even when they get angry it’s always with this air of superiority.” He rolled his eyes on the last world, pulling me in closer. “But you! Are all humans so…volatile? You’re quite the interesting creature!”

Fluttershy cleared her throat, giving him a flat look.

“Ah, yes of course.” His ears went down, leaning away from me. “And…what I meant by all of that is…I would be happy to give your little problem some…insight.”

I froze, my heart practically stopping.

“You…you will?” I could barely get the words out. Fluttershy latched herself around his neck, thanking him over and over. He beamed at her attention before turning back to me.

“Mind you, any portals that I manage to open I have no control over where they lead.” He proceeded to rake a talon in the air, ripping open this reality and peeking into another. My head was hurting again when I could see something that looked like…a world where a boy and a team of multicolored robot monkeys were fighting a weird skeleton man. The green monkey spotted us and waved and I could only dumbly wave back. The portal closed and I just groaned, holding my head in my hands.

“What cute little monkeys!” Fluttershy cooed. “I hope they’ll be alright.”

“I hate magic.” I mumbled into my hands, trying not to think about it.

“That didn’t happen to look like home, did it?” he asked me, most likely knowing the answer.

‘No. No it did not.” I sighed, looking up at him. “I don’t really get why you changed your mind but…thank you. I really owe you one, even for just trying.”

He didn’t seem interested in my words, but I caught him off guard with a squeeze to his lion’s paw in my hand. “Really, I appreciate this. I’m sorry I called you a…”

“Pompous jackass!” He said it so happily, like it was a badge of honor, shaking my hand again. “Think nothing of it. Well, if there’s nothing else I’m off to do some sleuthing!” From nowhere he donned a deerstalker cap and a comically oversized magnifying glass. He looked at the two of us through it, his eye magnified horribly. The rest of him disappeared behind the glass and it spun around, popping out of existence with the sound of his laughter.

Fluttershy and I stood in the grass for a moment before I turned to her.

“So…he’s really your friend?”

“Oh yes!” she smiled, petting Winona gently. “Though…that wasn’t always the case.”

I just blinked at her slowly, the effects of the long, crazy day evident on my face.

“But um…maybe that’s a story for another time…”



The forest was nothing special, at least not to the naked eye. But one of the many, many perks of being the Lord of Chaos was being able to see things that others could not. He could sense even the most minute change against the magical status quo. He was used to picking up on these small changes and distorting them for his own amusement.

He peered around the wild expanse, not really sure what he was even looking for. He wondered why he was even bothering to bother with all of this. Yes, the new creature in town was interesting, and being able to put some effort into messing with her would certainly be worth his time, but in all honesty, he was barely interested in the rest of his quest.

“I mean really…transporting little foals to a completely habitable world! With the same spoken language even! Oh, please, anything but that! Foals are so quick to adapt to their surroundings…Now, transporting grown ponies! That has some potential for some wonderful chaos. Imagine a full-dragon trying to get used to being a squishy little mammal like that one!”

He spied around the woods, not even bothering to be unseen. Looking for something out of place, or even too in place. Something that would give him some clue of what had happened here, even if it was only to hold over Twilight’s head.

The little voice he’d rather not listen to told him that his usual way of dealing with things, stringing her along so that she’d figure things out on her own wasn’t the best approach in a situation with missing foals.

Ponies, like so many other creatures, had the fiercest protective instincts when it came to their foals. He considered it very fortunate that no foals had gone missing in the last few years. No foals that any of Fluttershy’s friends could have known. No foal that she could have known. He imagined another young pony going missing, how it would make her cry. How she would be absolutely no fun sobbing and blubbering to him about how unfair it all was.

The thought ate at him in the most peculiar way. He shook it off.

In his most private thoughts, he had to admit that he had a soft spot for young creatures.

Considering that all creatures were young compared to him, he found it odd that the age of a creature would matter to him in the slightest. But the younger the creature the more accepting they were of the world and how it was, not how they perceived it to be. No outrage or moral high ground at the slightest thing that differed from them.

In an even deeper part of his private mind, he secretly hoped they were safe.

Not that he would ever admit it.

“Now, let’s see…” He let his magic wander in the woods around him, as he sat suspended in the air, his eyes and ears sharp.

He noted the lack of living things in the forest, just as Fluttershy and the human had described. Much like himself, animals could sense when to stay away. They sensed a predator here, and not one of them had stuck around.

But what kind of predator?

He felt something.

He followed this new feeling. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was magic, no doubt about it, but what was the source? What was doing all these things and why?

“Ugh…Look at me, trying to make sense of things…” he shivered, feeling revolted by his own words.

Before he could complain to himself some more, he felt the most peculiar sensation creeping up on him, and fast.

He whirled around, met only with more forest. His ears were perked, noting the dead silence. The slight chill in the air. Just as the human had described.

“How odd.” He said to himself. He focused his magic and closed his eyes, trying to put himself where he needed to be. Where this magic was coming from.

He opened his eyes.

He was in a void, met only with an endless dark expanse. The forest was now warped, stretching endlessly into nothingness. Orbs of light floated in the space around him, listless and calm.

He knew this place.

“Well now!” he laughed to himself. “The light show is new! I wonder who’s been decorating? I’m sure somepony would like to take credit? Hmm?”

As he spoke, he felt the same unfamiliar sensation creeping up on him.

It didn’t stop to introduce itself.

It soaked itself directly into his mind, and he was overcome with foreign thoughts not his own.

Something was very unhappy that he was there.

Burning hot hatred.

Agony.

Despair.

Intense emotions flooding his mind like nothing he’d ever felt.

He felt something trying to take him.

He focused his magic from deep down in his core and snapped his talons.

He ripped himself away from that place, appearing in Twilight’s library. She squawked indignantly, falling backwards from her writing desk that he had appeared on top of. Her papers went flying, spooking Spike and he fell off the bookcase ladder.

“Discord!!” she shouted, growling and muttering under her breath. “What in Equestria possessed you to drop in and-”

“Twilight Sparkle…” He rubbed his temples, suddenly feeling very agitated. He was not up for the usual runaround he gave these ponies. Twilight noted his unusual tone and suddenly felt uneasy. “We need to talk.”

Author's Note:

lots of fluff this chapter, followed by plot development. just the way i like it.

i needed Lottie to go to Fluttershy's, and i realized i'd forgotten to mention anything about the Apple Family dog until this point. not like the show doesn't forget the pets exist sometimes tho, so i'd say no harm no foul *shrugs*

lots of cartoon references in this chapter, let me know if you spotted them c:

lottie's bad temper made her a frenemy! recall that she doesn't like getting jerked around or made fun of, this wan't an ooc outburst y'all. Discord is gonna love messing with her.

our pal Discord is finally in the mix. and i'd like to note for those of you who thought he might be behind this, i started writing this story up waaaaaaay before his plan with the plundervines. so coincidences aside, he's here to help in his own way.

and what's this? Discord has figured some things out? that outta be fun to hear. next time!

Twilight's finally gonna get a lead! huzzah! granted her research is going somewhere, but clues are always appreciated.

i hope y'all liked the update, as always comments are appreciated!

(also, i'm doing writing commissions now?? :o PM me for my (cheap) rates if anyone's interested. i did a blog post on it.)

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