• Published 11th Aug 2015
  • 8,741 Views, 540 Comments

Home is Where Your Curse is - SFaccountant

Ranma Saotome has been brought to the fanciful land of Equestria, and finds himself surrounded by its majesty and wonder. He is not happy about this. Equestria isn't very happy about it, either.

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Home is Where Your Curse is

a My Little Pony/Ranma 0.5 crossover fanfiction

by SFaccountant


We start our tale in a crude, backward little place. A region of turmoil and chaos in a nation of technological wonders and disciplined, orderly society.

Nerima, Japan. A little ugly splotch of a suburb in an otherwise lovely nation. Riven with curses, monsters, lunatics, and curses that turned lunatics into monsters. It was a place of wondrous magic and eccentric warriors, and its residents fiercely despised both. Indeed, Nerima was no paradise, and the only thing it was known for besides regular incursions of destructive magic and magic-fueled antagonists was martial artists; those individuals who looked to the havoc that surrounded their daily lives and decided, with the stubborn sort of contempt that has led to the downfall of countless lesser species, that they were going to hammer out a place for themselves with their bare fists.

Yes, Nerima had fighters. Far more than were necessary, or even strictly a good idea. But our story pertains to one of these backwards warriors in particular: one who could claim - and often did - to be the greatest martial artist of them all. A rather unlucky fellow by the name of Ranma Saotome who - as the tale begins - was stooped over on top of a roof overlooking a darkened, broken-down church.

There was also some gloomy-looking kid with him. Something Gosunkugi. Nobody really paid much attention to him.

Bit of a problem, honestly.

"Really? This is the place?" Ranma asked as he crouched at the edge of an awning. His hands were stuffed in his pockets even as he teetered back and forth on his perch, showing even less respect for gravity than he did the ruined chapel. "Doesn't look like much."

Standing below him on the sidewalk - where most people would have been waiting whether or not they were scoping out some kind of sketchy, hidden den of evil - was another teenage boy shuddering in the late evening chill. At a glance, he seemed to be just about the polar opposite of the other teenager: where Ranma was lithely muscular, full of obvious vitality, and naturally drew attention, the other boy was thin, scrawny, and seemed like the type to physically turn invisible if he were to sit in a dark corner somewhere.

Ranma scratched the back of his head as he fought off a yawn. "So you said this is where this 'Doomsday Cult' is hiding out? They chose a heck of a spot. I'd think a bunch of religious nuts would be a little paranoid trying to end the world from God's backyard." His abundant, jet-black hair was braided into a pigtail at the base of his skull, and he gave it an idle tug before flicking it over one shoulder.

The other boy squirmed uncomfortably, obviously far more nervous. "I d-don't know any of the particulars... but I'm sure this is where they were hiding out..."

Ranma looked down at the boy twiddling his fingers, and then turned his head over to the horizon, where the sun was just vanishing over the horizon. "Well, it's almost dusk, and I can't think of a better time to bust up a bunch of spooky cultists. Head on in there, Gosunkugi."

Hikaru Gosunkugi visibly winced. "Uh... d-don't you want to go in first?"

Ranma hopped down from the awning, landing lightly on one leg from the fifteen-foot drop. "Well, you said that you actually used to belong to this cult, right?"

The other teenager winced again. "I went through a... phase, yes."

"Sure. Whatever. Point is, if you go in there, they're probably not going to come at you with knives or black magic or whatever these nutcases use. I can sneak in through one of the windows. Just stall them for a minute while I get a good look in there."

Ranma started heading across the street toward the over-grown courtyard, and Hikaru chewed his lip anxiously as he followed. "That's, uhm... unusually cautious for you," the gangly schoolboy mumbled.

"Yeah, well, you said these kooks are trying to destroy the world," Ranma shrugged, "not that I really believe you, but the way I see it there's no point in taking chances. If they've really got some doomsday magic whatsit stashed in their basement, I can break it while everyone's occupied." Ranma started walking around the church, leaving his companion behind.

Hikaru swallowed nervously and crept up to the front door, wringing his hands the entire time.

"Geez, I really hope he's wrong about this," Ranma grumbled under his breath as he walked briskly through the unkempt lawn that surrounded the church property, "I don't mind putting down monsters or evil princes or whatever, but actual end-of-the-world stuff is kind of out of my pay grade."

Ranma was being facetious, of course; nobody paid him anything. They just showed up on his doorstep and begged for his help to fix all their problems. Regardless of what their problem was, who was responsible, or even whether he was a mortal enemy of whoever was bothering him. Hikaru Gosunkugi had never qualified as a "mortal" foe by any stretch, or even the sort of foe to be taken seriously, but the scrawny occult otaku was certainly no friend of his. He didn't really give a second thought to accepting the mission, though. What was he supposed to say? "Nope, sorry, can't save the world tonight, I've got homework"?

"That looks good," the pigtailed boy mused, spotting a wide-open, broken window with no light coming from the other side.

With his hands in his pockets and a vaguely disinterested expression on his face, Ranma certainly didn't look like he was putting a great deal of effort into sneaking. Yet he moved through the tall, dry grass soundlessly, and each stalk he brushed by was shifted out of the way as if by a cool breeze. He made it to the window without incident, and paused to listen for any noise within the building.

Ranma heard a heavy door creaking closed; probably the front entrance. That meant Hikaru was in. He took a moment to admire the fact that one of his plans had actually survived the very first step rather than falling apart instantly and forcing him to think up a new one on the fly. He really figured he would have to abandon his own part of the mission and go rescue his gloomy classmate.

The martial artist wasted no more time and jumped into the church, entering a darkened hallway caked in dust. He couldn't see much with nothing but the moonlight to illuminate the hall, but he could tell easily enough that there was nobody waiting for him or standing guard. To the right was the main chapel, where Gosunkugi was presumably distracting the would-be world-enders, and on the other side of that entrance was a door leading further into the building.

Ranma moved toward the latter entrance, his footsteps utterly silent despite the cracked and poorly maintained flooring. The Musabetsu Kakutou Saotome Ryuu was a school of martial arts that paid deep homage to the art of the thief, and though that wasn't exactly something that Ranma was proud of, it offered far more than mere combat skills as a result. Floorboards that would have creaked under the paws of a creeping feline were undisturbed by his passing, and even the dust barely stirred in his wake.

The door deeper into the chapel was, unfortunately, a more formidable obstacle. Ranma briefly checked that it wasn't locked before gently turning the knob, but there was no helping the awful state of the door's hinges. A tortured squeal came from the sliding of rusted metal, and though it was hardly very loud, it definitely broke his quiet streak.

Checking behind him quickly, Ranma slipped through the entrance and into the next room.

Ranma's hand slipped along the wall, eventually finding its way to a light switch. Feeling grateful that this band of lunatics had the decency to live in a set of ruins hooked into a modern electric grid, he squinted his eyes and switched the lights on.

"... Okay, yeah. I think Gos was on the mark, here," Ranma mumbled. The interior of this room, whatever it was originally built for, now resembled every Catholic preacher's imaginary vision of a Satan-worshiper's living room. Astronomy charts covered one wall, drawn over in marker with geometric shapes and obscure calculations. On the opposite side was an assortment of bizarre and impractical-looking blades, along with books sporting dubious symbols and arcane writing that looked like it belonged in a video game. To complete the setting was an altar sitting in the middle of the room with upturned nails glued to the edges for a distinctively spiky and generically evil look. Altogether the furnishings definitely gave the impression of a band of dangerous and unhinged religious fanatics, even if some of it had a rather "do-it-yourself" feel.

"Oh-kay. So. End of the world stuff. Whatta we got." Ranma mumbled to himself as he started looking about the room, searching for anything exceptionally sketchy or dangerous-looking. Although there were plenty of objects that looked suspicious or potentially harmful, Gosunkugi had emphasized that this cult intended to destroy the entire WORLD. Something like that was bound to stand out; he really couldn't see anybody bringing about the doom of the planet with a wavy-bladed dagger and bleached skull.

He was in the middle of closely observing the altar when the door suddenly swung open, startling him with the loud creak of its wasted hinges. Jumping around at the noise, Ranma was completely unsurprised to see a procession of robed figures stepping into the room one by one, glaring out at him from beneath jet-black hoods.

He was slightly surprised, however, to see Hikaru Gosunkugi follow them inside, grinning like a madman.

"I can't believe it," the scrawny teenager giggled as the cultists lined up side-by-side in front of him, "I really can't believe you fell for this! It was so EASY, too! 'Oh, hey Ranma, could you help save the world tonight? There's a scary evil cult and they're going to destroy everything! Please go beat them up!' HA!"

Ranma didn't say anything right away, scratching at his neck beneath his pigtail as his brow furrowed. "So... there IS no evil cult?"

"Of course there's an evil cult!" Hikaru scoffed. "What does this look like to you?"

"Although we prefer to be called 'alternative spiritualists'," mentioned one of the robed figures, pointing a finger in the air.

Ranma tilted his head to the side, frowning. "Uh huh... and the destroying the world thing?"

"Oh, yeah, we're into that, too," volunteered another cultist amiably, giving the martial artist a thumbs-up.

"So, if all that's true..." Ranma crossed his arms over his chest. "What did I 'fall for', exactly?"

"The notion that I was some ex-member that had lost his nerve, of course!" Hikaru cackled. Then he started coughing as his maniacal glee overcame his pitiful lung capacity. Ranma released a mildly frustrated sigh, patiently waiting for his classmate to recover and explain the rest of his plot.

"S-Sorry about that," Hikaru said as he wheezed. The other cultists looked away, slightly embarrassed. "This is a bit of a rush, you know? Anyway, I'm not some castout of the Order of the Broken Sun, I'm it's leader!" The way he thrust his chest out and jabbed a thumb into his chest made it clear that Ranma should have been impressed.

"REALLY," Ranma drawled, looking over the hooded figures, "and all of these people are part of your cult, huh? And you meet with each other and study dark magic and sacrifice stuff and plot the end of the world?"

"That's right!" the cult leader said, grinning brightly, "Isn't it cool?!"

Ranma looked from one cultist to the next, and each one shifted uncomfortably and avoided making eye contact as he studied them. "... All guys, huh?"

"Oh, SCREW YOU," snapped one of the hooded teenagers, vaulting forward with a blackened short sword.

Ranma barely seemed to move as the cultist swung at him, but in an eyeblink the robed boy was sent flailing through the air over Ranma's shoulder before smashing into a wooden chair. Ranma kept facing forward, barely deigning to acknowledge the attempt on his life as the other cultists drew bladed weapons of various sizes.

"Okay, so do you wanna explain how you're going to end the world, or should I just start hitting people?" the martial artist asked as he smacked a fist into his palm. "I'm good either way, but I think traditionally you're supposed to explain everything first."

"With gusto!" Hikaru said, still sounding bizarrely happy. "At the stroke of midnight, the doom of this rotten world will finally be at hand! All thanks to THIS ancient, magical artifact!" Hikaru unzipped a fanny pack at his waist and rooted around inside it for a moment, and then withdrew a polished gem with a dramatic flourish that was completely ruined by the fact that he retrieved it from a fanny pack.

The gem had a radiant cut and a coloring that shifted with the slightest change in lighting, making it impossible to pin down a main hue. As soon as Ranma saw it he felt a nervous tingle along his spine, which was as good a sign as any that the object was definitely magical. And in his experience, magic meant trouble.

"Behold!" Hikaru said with a grin. "The MacGuffin Stone!"

"Oh, you CANNOT be serious," Ranma griped. The tingle along his back vanished, along with any remaining dramatic tension. "PLEASE tell me it isn't actually called that."

Hikaru looked somewhat offended by the rebuke. "Well, no, but the real name is in some obscure African language that I can't pronounce. Besides, I own it now, so I can call it what I want."

Ranma groaned and hung his head, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"I told you," grumbled another cultist, "if we're not even going to pretend to take this seriously we should have just gone with 'Chaos Emerald'."

"We can't just rip off Sonic the Hedgehog! I'm sure that's trademarked!"

"We're ending the WORLD tonight, Gosunkugi-senpai! I'm pretty sure business laws don't have jurisdiction in Hell!"

"Okay, so here's what I don't get," Ranma mumbled, interrupting the argument.

Hikaru turned back toward his classmate, and then he did a double-take as he realized that his hand was now empty. Ranma was holding the MacGuffin Stone over his head, squinting and staring closely at the jewel. "So, you had this plan to destroy the world, and you had the tools to do it - or so you say - and nobody knew anything about it so no one could stop you." He dropped his gaze to the cultists, all of whom were now backing away from him. "And then you go and tell ME all about your plans, bring me straight to your LARPing den, and show me the key to your evil plot."

"Hey! We don't LARP!" complained one of the cultists. "That's a hurtful and malicious stereotype, and you should be ashamed!"

"Seriously," grumbled another, "LARPers are half the reason I want to end the human race in the first place."

"Whatever. Point is, you brought me, the person obviously most qualified to stop you, right here to the time and place I need to be to stop you. If you hadn't said anything to me I would have just gone to bed and perished along with everyone else, depending on what this rock actually does. I'm going to be generous and assume you're not THAT stupid, so what's the deal, Gos? Obviously you actually WANT me here for some reason." Ranma gripped the MacGuffin Stone tight in his hand as he let his arm drop to his side. The gem was starting to glow now, and a soft keening noise reverberated about the room.

Hikaru's expression turned more somber as he clasped his hands behind his back. "Ah. Right. I actually thought you might have missed that. There IS actually something else I need to end the world besides the MacGuffin Stone and knowledge of sketchy, obscure arcane rituals. The stone, you see, doesn't have much magic on its own. It needs... a power source."

"Cool. I'll make sure to keep it away from any open outlets," Ranma mumbled as he placed the stone in his pocket, "leaving now."

Or, rather, he TRIED to place it in his pocket. For some reason, when he tried to let go of the MacGuffin Stone, his fingers wouldn't leave the surface of the gem. "What the hell? What's going on?"

Hikaru chuckled darkly as Ranma pulled the stone back out of his pocket and then started flailing his hand about. The chuckling turned to full-blown evil laughter as the pigtailed boy tried to pry his fingers off the stone with his free hand. Then the evil laughter turned to gasping coughs as Ranma's free hand touched the MacGuffin Stone and got stuck to it as well.

After leaning on one of his cultist followers for a few seconds and catching his breath, Hikaru Gosunkugi once again addressed Ranma. "That's right, Saotome! THIS is the reason why I brought you here! YOU'RE the power source!"

Ranma was now banging his hands against a bookshelf to try to remove the magic stone in his grasp, but it didn't seem to do much besides bruise his fingers. "That's stupid! Since when do I have the power to destroy the planet?"

"You underestimate yourself, Saotome! For once..." Hikaru coughed a few times, and then straightened up. "Between your formidable willpower, substantial aura, and the completely RIDICULOUS amount of magic that's been dumped on you over your lifetime, you're the PERFECT sacrifice to the MacGuffin stone, and the final catalyst that shall bring around the last gasp of this cruel, rotten world!"

Ranma finally stopped trying to let go of the rock magically adhering to his hands, noting that it was glowing brighter than ever within his palm.

Then he turned back to Hikaru. "This is surprisingly well thought-out, for you."

Hikaru flushed and scratched the back of his head. "Aw, thanks. I put a lot of planning into this, you know?"

"Yeah, I can tell." Ranma pursed his lips. "So, how did you expect to keep me from kicking your ass while the MacGuffin Stone absorbed me or whatever?"

Hikaru's expression fell. "Uh... well, actually, I kind of thought it would work faster than this. Or that you'd be weakened or in extreme pain or something. We didn't really get to test it first."

"So there's nothing to stop me from hurting you right now," Ranma said darkly as the stone pulsed between his fingers.

"Uh..." Hikaru noticed that all of his cultists were quickly backing away, leaving a clear path between him and the martial artist standing in front of his altar. "Well, technically... yes, but... you SHOULDN'T... because... uh..."

Hikaru Gosunkugi's world flipped upside-down, and then his vision exploded into stars as he impacted a wall and dropped to the floor.

"All right, freaks," Ranma growled as he lowered his leg, "I don't know how long I've got before the magic rock does... whatever it's doing, so I'll take you all on at-"

A choking sob came from Hikaru's direction, and Ranma's eyebrow twitched as he glanced over at the cult leader. "... Dude, are you seriously CRYING right now!?"

An agonized moan came from the scrawny teenager as he curled up into the fetal position. "Th-That really h-hurt!" Hikaru whined, tears running down his cheeks. "Oh, God... I think you b-broke something! Wh-What if I need to go to the h-hospital?" Some of the other cultists grimaced and looked away.

"You are TRYING to bring about the APOCALYPSE, you little jerk! You're not allowed to cry when someone hits you for it!" Ranma insisted, slamming a foot into the floor.

"Th-This is the despicable c-cycle of violence th-th-that we'll b-bring to an end," Hikaru sniffled as he slowly crawled to his feet, "you th-think you can p-p-pick on m-me?"

"YES!" Ranma shouted. "You're trying to KILL PEOPLE! ALL THE PEOPLE! I am TOTALLY allowed to hit you for that!"

"Stop y-yelling!" Hikaru complained, cringing away and covering his head.

"Oh, for pity's sake!" Ranma snapped, glaring down at the gem in his hands. "Hurry up and finish your thing, already! This is just embarrassing!"

The MacGuffin Stone seemed to respond physically to the martial artist's demand, and the intense light of the gem expanded over his arms and seeped into his body. An ethereal wind rushed through the room, blowing about the cultists' robes and forcing them to grab onto nearby furniture to keep from being toppled.

Then the light receded, and the wind stilled. The MacGuffin stone bounced onto the floor.

Ranma Saotome was gone.

"Oh, HELL yes," a cultist grinned as he pumped a fist into the air, "I almost wish we could put off The End for a night or two. We just beat Ranma Saotome! You KNOW that would get us chicks!"

"We c-can't," Hikaru hiccupped as he wiped his face with his sleeve, "you know the astral alignment w-will only work t-tonight! We have to b-begin the r-ritual!"

"Okay, sure... uh... do you want, like, some aspirin or something?" mumbled another boy.

Hikaru Gosunkugi shook his head firmly. "I w-will endure! The p-pain drives me onward! Onward, to our glorious future! A future... of RUIN!!"

"Holy crap, this is actually happening," Hikaru Gosunkugi mumbled to himself.

It was the very next morning, and the head cultist of the Order of the Broken Sun was in his ceremonial robes, standing atop a Tokyo skyscraper, and gazing down upon the devastation he had wrought. Despite it being 3 AM, the sky was quite well lit from above.

And from below, for that matter.

Fire rained from the sky like spears of unholy destruction, and the air shimmered from the oven-like heat that had swallowed the city. The sun rolled across the sky with unnatural speed, its profile much larger than should have been possible.

The streets below were complete chaos. Infernos blazed seemingly at random and scorched bodies littered the sidewalk. Cars exploded left and right as their fuel tanks were cooked underneath them, and fire hydrants spat jets of scalding steam into the air. It was complete and utter devastation, senseless and merciless, and no person or creature could have hoped to escape the tide of mayhem.

"Wow...... I'm... I'm not completely sure why I thought this was a good idea," Hikaru admitted as he wiped the sweat from his brow.

Another cultist behind him shrugged. "Well, for me it's a general sense of misanthropy. You know, humanity is a race of monsters, we're destroying the planet, the true source of evil, yadda yadda."

Hikaru cringed as he watched an ambulance race down the street and swerve through a column of smoke. It struck a deserted car and fell onto its side, skidding to a stop in the street. A fireball descended upon the ambulance from above, and the vehicle was instantly swallowed beneath the ever-building firestorm.

The other cultist scratched the back of his head. "You had a thing too, right? I think I remember you complaining that Saotome stole your girl or something."

Hikaru pursed his lips. "Yeah. Akane Tendo. He was engaged to her."

"Akane, huh? She's pretty cute. I could see someone entering a state of omnicidal fury and swearing to destroy everything over that." A few other cultists nodded somberly, their expressions utterly serious. "And, hey! You won, right? In the end, you overcame that stupid jock and showed them all!"

The wiry boy crossed his arms over his chest and pursed his lips. "It's just... you know, seeing thousands of innocent people die around me without even knowing why they were doomed just kind of... puts things in perspective, I guess? I'm not sure this was a reasonable response to my romantic problems."

"Yes, well, it's kind of late to be having second thoughts," remarked another robed boy, slapping Hikaru on the shoulder. "Besides! It's not like you'll have to live with the guilt for long! There's already a fire climbing up this building. We've got, like, fifteen minutes left alive, tops."

Hikaru Gosunkugi grimaced as the other cultists walked off toward their ultimate demise, leaving him alone on the edge of the roof. With a miserable sigh, he withdrew the MacGuffin Stone from his pants pocket, staring into the smooth-cut facing of the mighty magical artifact.

"Well, Saotome, this is it. I guess I win. I proved I was the better man," Hikaru proclaimed solemnly. "... At least, insofar as we can measure who's a better man based on you dying several hours before me."

He paused again to wipe his brow. A loud groan came from the structure below, and Hikaru felt a quiver run up his spine as the surface of the roof trembled beneath his feet.

"I may have my regrets, but at least I got to drag you down with me," the cult leader scowled at the gem in his hand, "I mean, look at you now! Nothing but a glorified magic battery. You're the only reason I managed to complete the ritual in the first place!" His brow furrowed further. "In fact, when you think about it, this is really all YOUR fault! YOU let this happen! The sun is swinging out of its orbit and roasting the entire planet with solar flares, and where are you, huh? Locked in a magic rock. The magic rock that CAUSED all this. What a jerk!"

With a melodramatically enraged grunt, Hikaru Gosunkugi hurled the MacGuffin Stone off the roof and let it plummet to the burning streets below. Then he took a minute to breathe heavily from the exertion as the combination of mild physical effort, emotional rationalization, and oppressive heat sapped his strength.

"Well, that was a load off my conscience," the gloomy high schooler mumbled as he stood up straight and turned around, "time to go die, I guess."

"And so it was that the age of mankind ended in a furious solar storm, scouring the entire surface of their world with fire. Cities and forests alike were burned away and reduced to scorched husks. The world's star was broken, swinging about the solar system in wild loops that left the planet exposed to long periods of destructive heat followed by desperate cold. The moon was likewise unsettled, causing crazy tidal effects that drowned millions, but that hardly got much attention; the odd flood hardly seemed very dramatic when entire cities are consumed by flame from the sky. Not all the humans died right away, of course, but their skills and technology were not able to overcome this apocalypse; it had been too sudden, and the results too severe."

"But this was not the last gasp of the planet Earth. While humans and more mundane animals were destroyed by the cataclysm, other creatures lingered in the planet's dark spaces where fire and ice could not reach. Creatures of magic, awakened by the terror and devastation above, convened to determine the fate of their world now that its previous masters had finally brought about their own extinction."

"This was no easy thing. The beings left after the cataclysm were powerful, but they were few. They knew and cared little for nature or civilization. For millennia had the world been left to humanity, and its magic had eroded under the dominance of mankind's 'science'. Apparently not eroded enough, ironically, since magic had destroyed them, but still, many of those veritable demi-Gods grumbled that the Earth was not worth rebuilding. Let it burn, they said, prepared to return to their ancient slumber."

"Others, however, saw an opportunity. Some had rather LIKED the world's previous occupants and their wonderful penchant for havoc. One of these creatures decided that the sun should be tamed once more and the planet once again filled with life, so that it could grow and learn and struggle and fight and perhaps bring itself to ruin again! The others asked 'Why?', and the creature replied 'Why not?' They told the creature that it was insane, that it was cruel, that it sought to restore mortal life and revisit the cycle of life and death as a mere amusement. And they were totally right, but, c'mon, do you know how BORING everything would be otherwise?"

"So the creature gathered what few allies it had among the others and set out upon the ruined world, flooding it with magic and life anew. Eventually, even though it found the devastating and unpredictable seasons rather interesting, it even found ways to control the very sun and moon, and passed on this knowledge so that the planet could thrive once more. It took thousands and thousands of years, countless lives, and at least one more accidental apocalypse - REALLY fun story, I'll tell you about it later - but eventually the Earth became rich and populous once more."

"The creature was absolutely delighted to see the fruits of its effort. Although there were no more humans, and quite a few other animals hadn't turned out QUITE the way they used to be before Ranma Saotome caused the apocalypse, the creature was largely satisfied with the changes. Then, having completed its goal of cobbling together a new natural order from the scraps of the old world, the creature decided to rule over it with an iron fist. For funsies. Which was totally fair, after it put in so much work rebuilding everything. But it turns out that the new, INCREDIBLY ungrateful civilizations didn't really care for that. But that, too, is another story."

"Who was this creature? Well, it went by several names over the eons, most of them derogatory and some of which became hated curses or names for derivative Goth metal bands. As of the last few millennia, however, the creature has generally been known as-"

"Discord!" Fluttershy called out as the door shut behind her. "Are you still here?"

Fluttershy walked deeper into her cottage and peeked around a wall into the den. Discord was in the middle of the room, sitting on his long, curled-up tail while a wide assortment of woodland animals sat all around him. The draconequus twisted his head around, regarding the meek pegasus with a small smile.

"Welcome back, my friend! Did you have fun on the farm?" Discord asked.

"Oh, yes. Applejack was very grateful for the help. Thank you again for agreeing to take care of the animals all day," Fluttershy chirped as she trotted into the room, "what were you doing?"

"Just a little lecture on ancient Equestrian history," Discord replied, adjusting a pair of thick, square-rimmed glasses that hadn't been there a second ago, "I invited our esteemed Princess, Miss Sparkle, as well, but she didn't wish to attend." He snorted. "Sometimes I get the impression that she doesn't take me seriously."

Fluttershy giggled and gently patted Angel Bunny on the head. "I'm sure she was just busy, Discord." The surly white rabbit shot her annoyed glare, but she seemed to ignore it before moving toward the stairs. "I'm going to go clean up. You can stay for dinner if you'd like."

"Why, don't mind if I do!" the Spirit of Chaos replied as the pegasus ascended up to her bedroom.

Then Angel thumped his foot on the floor before gesturing wildly with his tiny paws, attracting Discord's attention once more.

"Hm? What happened to the MacGuffin Stone?" Discord asked, scratching the beard hanging at the end of his chin. "Well, it was destroyed, of course. The magical guardians of the planet knew that such an artifact could not be allowed to remain, especially as it still contained destructive force enough to unleash another celestial cataclysm or - even worse - possibly release the human it absorbed back into the world. It was the only intelligent thing to do, naturally."

Discord paused for several seconds as Angel tilted his head to the side. Then the draconequus burst out laughing, clutching his belly. "HAH! Just kidding! It was left sitting in the ruins of the human city, waiting for any old schmuck to pick it up off the ground and unleash its incredible power for their own petty purposes. COUGH!-alicornamulet-COUGH!"

His laughter settled, and the Spirit of Chaos smirked lazily as he stood up and stretched his mismatched arms. The animals around him started to scamper off, recognizing that story time was apparently over. "Well, that's it for today, kids. Uncle Discord has to clean up a little before supper. Pleasant dreams!"

Author's Note:

So, to kick off this wacky, light-hearted adventure comedy and give it the proper tone, I had the entire population of the Earth horribly murdered with fire.
It can only get better from here, folks.