• Published 14th Jun 2018
  • 1,144 Views, 102 Comments

Discord vs. Harmony: The Greeting-Card Industry Strikes Back - SoloBrony



Unauthorized sequel to Fire Gazer's Reticence, also sequel to Discord vs. The Greeting-Card Industry. Discord gets up to more romantic meddling, now with Twilight's scholastically-motivated approval!

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Organized Chaos

Discord swam through the air of his home in the realm of chaos, smiling contentedly to himself.

"And now that they're official marefriends, it's over. I've won! The greeting-card industry is history!"

"Discord."

"Can't create love, psh. I'm Discord. I can create whatever I want!"

Just to demonstrate his point to no one in particular, Discord snapped his fingers and created a philosopher's stone, which promptly began rattling off facts about epistemology.

"Yick. Not what I had in mind."

Discord quickly stuffed the stone in a box and snapped them both out of existence.

"Discord!"

"Still, my point stands! Love, created without even bending the minds of the subjects! And between enemies! Why, I think even Cadance would be impressed with what I've—"

"DISCORD!"

"WHAT?"

Discord, having heard the voice even as a whisper but ignored it intentionally, whipped around irritably, only for his expression to give way to shock.

There, right in front of him, stood Greeting Card. Except he was translucent and bright blue.

"Greeting Card? Did you come here all the way as a ghost to admit defeat? How thoughtful!"

"NO, you imbecile! You haven't won the bet!"

Discord looked vaguely stricken, and then rolled his eyes. With a snap of his fingers, he was on a tropical island, relaxing on a beach couch with a pair of sunglasses and a margarita. He idly scanned a newspaper in his mismatched hands.

"Stupid ghost thing, saying I haven't won the bet. That's ridiculous."

"You still haven't beaten me, Discord!"

Discord paused, and slowly lowered the newspaper to see the ghost of Greeting Card. Discord groaned in disgust.

"You followed me to my vacation pocket dimension?"

"I'll follow you as far as I have to to make sure you hear me! Listen, Discord. Every year, thousands of ponies get my greeting cards! Family members and friends remind each other that they love them, ponies learn about secret admirers, send condolences, and all kinds of other things! You think formulating one romance means you're better at manipulating ponies than I am? Discord, I managed to make a business out of love. One that stands to this very day! It's going to take more than one fluke romance between unlikely-yet-compatible partners to prove you have what it takes!"

Discord stared irritably at the ghost, yawning during his rant.

"Alright, I listened. Now go do whatever you ghosts do."

Greeting Card irritably shook his hoof at Discord while he slowly faded from view.

"THIS ISN'T OVER, DISCORD!"

Discord sighed.

"Stupid ghost... ruining my celebration..."

Discord tried to settle in to his vacation spot, but soon found the idea of not having won the bet nagging at his mind. With a harumph, Discord snapped a finger and re-appeared in his home, and began pacing back and forth, talking to himself and gesticulating furiously as he did so.

"Haven't won the bet... ridiculous... I bet that I could manipulate ponies better than he could, and I'd prove it by creating love... you can't honestly tell me that ponies fall in love because of greeting cards... that's absurd!... though he did make a business out of it... hrngh..."

Discord's thoughts were interrupted by a knock at his door. He very nearly yanked the door off of its hinges in fury, before realizing how odd that was.

A pony? Knocking? Here?

Curiosity temporarily overtaking his rage, Discord opened the door with a raised eyebrow, revealing a particularly uncomfortable-looking Twilight Sparkle, who did her best to smile widely and wave.

"Heyyy, Discord."

Discord squinted at Twilight. Probably here to give me some sort of dull lecture. Ugh. "Twilight. I find I am in a particularly bad mood right now, so—"

"Discord, I wanted to say I was sorry."

At that, Discord recoiled slightly, but swiftly smiled and leaned in uncomfortably close to the princess.

"Oh, it seems I am in the mood for this after all. Go on."

Twilight didn't even react to Discord's behavior, which mildly disappointed the draconequus, but his curiosity was now truly well-stoked.

"Discord... I shouldn't have yelled at you. Or blasted you. You actually did something amazing for Starlight and Chrysalis, and I'm sorry I overreacted. I thought you were just pranking my student, and I was really worried about her."

Discord paused at Twilight's words, genuinely touched by her sincerity. Not that he let that show; instead, he gave her a patronizing pat on the head.

"Oh, poor Twilight. Don't worry, I forgive you. I mean, it's not like you just assumed the worst about a friend—"

"Discord. I still haven't forgotten about you betraying us."

Discord yanked his paw away in a flinch. "Err... right. I suppose your suspicion was... somewhat justified."

"Still. I want to know something. Did you really only organize their relationship to win a bet?"

At that, Discord stood up and leaned against a wall, stroking his beard. "Well... I suppose there were other considerations."

Twilight watched him, her face a careful neutral. "Such as?"

Discord waved a paw dismissively. "Honestly, Twilight, since when do you care—"

"Since now. Tell me, Discord. Please."

Discord considered a snappy comeback, complete with snapping (and magic), but suddenly thought better of it. Twilight seemed... serious. And interested. With an eyeroll and a sigh, he spoke with all of the enthusiasm of someone walking to their execution.

"Starlight helped me rescue Fluttershy, so I thought I might do something nice for her someday. She seemed so very bored with that counseling job, I thought maybe something like this would shake up her dull routine."

Twilight cocked her head appraisingly. "You wanted to give her someone to talk to, just like you have."

Discord just grunted in response. Twilight's eyes narrowed a little, and she grinned as she spoke. "You realized how lonely she might be, given her past, too."

"Ugh. Honestly, if you already knew the answer why did you even bother to ask?"

Discord turned away from Twilight and folded his arms with a huff. Twilight's voice carried up to him softly.

"Discord, it means a lot to me to hear you say you care about her."

Discord just made a retching noise, and then felt Twilight's hoof on his waist. He glanced over to see her looking up at him seriously.

"I respect what you did. In fact, I respect you, for doing it for the reasons you did. Nopony is going to think you're uncool for it, Discord. Just the opposite."

Discord slowly raised an eyebrow. "Somehow, Twilight, I feel that you aren't the one I'd consult about what's cool."

Twilight smirked and her horn lit up. Rainbow Dash's voice suddenly emitted from it, playing back a recording.

"Are you kidding me? That was awesome! Discord just swoops in, bam, vengeance averted, just like that? And with one spell! I mean, anyone can wreck stuff, but that's like, crazy finesse. Epic prank."

Discord just stared at Twilight, blinking a few times in confusion. Twilight continued her smirk.

"I figured you'd say that, Discord. So I consulted an expert."

"Is that... really how ponies see it? That this is cool?"

Twilight let her hoof down and gave a small shrug. "I think most ponies would, yeah. Especially if they knew your reasons. You had your friends' backs in more ways than one, but you did it in an undeniably Discord way. Dash is right; that took a lot of finesse. I'm the Princess of Friendship and I still don't know how you saw the compatibility between those two."

At that, Discord just laughed a bit. "Twilight, Twilight, love isn't the same as friendship. Romance is inherently... chaotic." Discord gave a little flourish of his claw for emphasis, creating random firework effects that exploded with the sound of cat meows.

Twilight just frowned in confusion. "How do you figure?"

Discord sighed and snapped his claw. Suddenly, they were in a classroom, with Discord in a teacher's outfit and in front of a blackboard. Twilight immediately propped her head up on her hooves, watching Discord intently. It caught him a bit off-guard; he thought she would be surprised, but she actually seemed to like the sudden change.

Ugh. Bookworms.

Discord pointed at the blackboard with his ruler. "You see, Twilight, a pony can go through their whole lives with a simple routine."

The chalk immediately leapt to life on its own, and sketched out a pony going to work, and going to various activities, such as walks in the park and parties. Then it drew a second pony with a completely different routine, doing things such as teaching, going to conferences, and reading in the library.

"But take two ponies, and mash them together, and suddenly there have to be compromises. Everything the ponies do, they have to weigh against their partner's agenda, and so on. It makes things much more complicated – potentially even interesting. The dull routines that make up most ponies' lives are shaken up a great deal when they pick interesting mates."

Twilight, who had been in the midst of taking notes with her magic, raised a hoof. Discord chuckled.

She's even playing along! This is new.

"You, the purple one in the front." Discord gestured to Twilight with his ruler.

Twilight smirked and put on her best schoolfilly voice. "Professor Discord, how do you use that inherently chaotic aspect of romance to predict two ponies will be compatible?"

Discord couldn't suppress a small laugh at Twilight's performance. It actually sent a shiver down his spine to have somepony play along with an impromptu bit of chaos. It even reminded him a bit of hanging out with Fluttershy.

Respect makes a lot of difference, it seems.

"Well you see, these differing routines stem from different things each pony cares about. When you want to mash two things together, you need to be able to picture how things will fall out for each of them. You also have to consider what they understand."

"Like Starlight being able to relate to Chrysalis," Twilight mused.

Discord extended his ruler-wielding hand to Twilight's desk and smacked it loudly, making the alicorn jump. "Don't speak out of turn, young lady!"

At that, Twilight snickered, as did Discord. He snapped again, and they were back in his living room, seated leisurely on floating furniture. Discord propped his legs up over the edge of the couch casually.

"You see, Twilight, working out a romance isn't something you do with variables and charts and science. You see the potential connection, or you don't. You have to take both ponies into account fully; if you try to work it out piece-by-piece, you'll never get anywhere."

At that, Twilight was silent for a good while, pondering. Discord started to feel slightly nervous.

Is that really true? It seems true, but Twilight knows more than I do about science.

Discord rolled his eyes at himself for wanting to maintain the respect of a pony, but he kept watching her regardless. Twilight finally nodded.

"You're right. Every variable you work out changes everything else, so you have to go back and start over. It either all clicks together or it doesn't."

Discord practically flipped internally. Outwardly he just smirked knowingly. "Now you're getting it."

"There's just one thing I don't understand. You said romance is inherently chaotic, but love is a form of harmony."

At that, Discord smiled insidiously. "So?"

"So... how can it be both? Aren't they opposites?"

"So I am often told, but the truth is a little more complicated than that. Ponies are complex, messy, chaotic creatures by nature, Twilight; in truth, you should all be far more interesting than you usually are. I blame that on survival, mostly."

"Survival?"

"Sure. If ponies didn't need to survive, think of all the mischief they'd get up to."

Twilight blinked at that, and then smirked. "Didn't seem to stop the Cutie Mark Crusaders."

"Or you and your friends, for that matter."

Twilight smiled sheepishly at that. "I guess not."

"So yes, survival is the primary reason ponies are so boring. Well, that and the greeting card industry."

Discord practically spat the name out venomously. Twilight looked confused at that, but shrugged and let it go. "So what you're getting at is, ponies are chaotic, and so romance is chaotic?"

"Inherently so, yes. It is composed of chaotic elements, after all."

"But it's harmony... between chaotic elements."

"What other kind of harmony is there?"

Discord watched Twilight carefully, and her countenance brightened immediately. "Oh, I get it! 'Harmony' isn't really much of an accomplishment unless there's some kind of conflict you resolve or avoid with it!"

Discord closed his eyes and leaned back into his couch with a winning smile. "No wonder Celestia liked teaching you. You do pick things up quickly."

"Well, that just settles what I came here for!"

Discord popped an eye open to stare at Twilight. "What do you mean?"

"Discord, I want to learn more about understanding chaos and harmony. If you're planning to help ponies some more like you did Starlight and Chrysalis, I want to watch."

"Well, I wasn't planning to, but..."

It would give me a chance to put Greeting-Card back in his place. In his grave. Quiet. And not ruining my victory celebration.

"... I suppose I could do a thing or two, just for you, Twilight."

Twilight clopped her hooves together excitedly.

Sucker.

Author's Note:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si1fvQaLSyA

Oh Discord. Oh Twilight. Oh me. Why do we all do this to myself.