• Published 20th Sep 2018
  • 2,270 Views, 81 Comments

ReVerse - Petrichord



If Princess Twilight Sparkle had the chance to do everything all over again, would she be willing to leave everything behind?

  • ...
6
 81
 2,270

Reduce

Dear Princess Celestia,

As you may know, the Summer Sun Celebration is less than a week away. I know that you’re probably worried about making sure that everything’s organized—and Starlight Glimmer has told me all about how you and Princess Luna work so hard to make sure all of Equestria is happy—so I thought that as the Princess of Friendship, I should also try to help out as much as I can. The students at the school of friendship have promised that they’d help me, too, and even though most of my friends are busy with their own

No.

Dear Princess Celestia,

I’m writing you this letter to let you know that I’m going to help you as much as I can with the summer sun celebration. I thought that I could handle most of the book keeping for you, and I’ve asked my friends to help pitch in however they can to make sure things run great. Even Starlight Glimmer and Trixie said that they’d be happy to help out

No.

Dear Princess Celestia,

I just wanted to let you know that you don’t have to worry about the Summer Sun Celebration. I can handle just as much as you and Princess Luna can, and I’d be happy to work out everything from the invitations to the organization. I’m even ready to help tackle any Princess Problems that might

No.

Dear Princess Celestia

Dear Pri

Twilight Sparkle sighed, wiped her quill clean and set it next to her inkpot. Part of her wanted to crumple up her letter and throw it away, but even crumpling it up felt...not exhausting. Not stupid. There had to be another word for it...

Rote? As if it was the thing she was supposed to do, the obvious thing that came next. She’d crumple it up, then she’d worry about what to do or say, then she’d wind up helping out with some critical problem without thinking about it and accidentally prevent the friendship school from exploding or Flurry Heart from burying all of Equestria in a massive blizzard, and thwarting that global crisis would help validate her in the eyes of close to a dozen other legends and beings of godly power.

And that would be a good thing.

Twilight picked up the quill, then set it down again. Then she picked it up again.

Then she set it down again and slumped over her writing desk.

Her ears flicked as the barely describable hum/whoosh/warble/”fwahhh” noise of magic filled the air behind her. Given that she had double-checked to make sure the door was locked, told her friends to keep anypony from bothering her while she helped set up preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration, did a brief walkthrough of the school beforehoof to check that nothing was broken and/or on fire and made sure that Starlight Glimmer was keeping herself occupied with her friends and not occupied with potentially dangerous magical experiments, Twilight was fairly certain that it was impossible for anypony to actually be behind her, much less using magic.

“Hey, Discord.” Twilight muttered.

“I’ve let the impossible become predictable. Truly, I should be ashamed of myself. But I’m not.” There was a faint crumpling noise behind Twilight, and a ball of something paper-like and pinkish flew over her head and clattered onto her desk. Marginally more interested in the contents of the paper than getting back to work, Twilight grabbed the paper and uncrumpled it.

“Why am I not surprised?” Twilight sighed as she read the single word plastered on the page:

SHAME.

“I’m not going to waste my talents on an unappreciative audience, you know.” Discord sniffed. “There are ponies of discerning taste who happen to appreciate the sort of humor I provide.”

Twilight put Discord’s paper down. “Fluttershy.”

“But of course.”

Twilight grabbed a clean sheet of paper, waiting for the words everypony would want to hear to magically sprout up onto the page.

“You’re ignoring me, aren’t you.” Discord sniffed.

“Not really.”

“It isn’t a thing that has 'really's and 'not really's. Do keep in mind that I’m perfectly capable of wreaking a lot more mischief than that which I had already planned. But if you happen to enjoy cleaning up messes, then—”

“Oh. Okay, that’s my problem. Got it.” Twilight blinked and turned around. “So if I get you mad enough at me that you decide to wreck the party, then I’ll have to apologize to you for hurting your feelings and you’ll have to apologize to me for almost causing a catastrophe. That’s what’s going to happen, isn’t it?”

Twilight stared directly at Discord, waiting for him to take offense to her prediction in some fashion. Or, barring that, waiting for him to deny it. In any case, now was about the time where he was going to get angry, and she braced herself as…

...he gave her a quizzical look?

Huh?

“Well, I don’t know.” Discord scratched his cheek. “Is that what’s going to happen?”

“Probably. Maybe. Unless one of us makes a point of proving that assumption wrong. But maybe it’ll happen again after all. Something’s going to happen.”

“You’re saying that like it’s a bad thing.”

“It...huh.” Twilight paused. Part of her wanted to say yes, she needed to get back to the note, she needed to help out and make sure that everything went according to plan. Part of her wanted to say no, this wasn’t going to work out, maybe she could let everyone else handle the mess or maybe she could try to clear all of it up in one fell swoop right before the deadline.

“...I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” Discord cocked an eyebrow.

“I don’t. I...wow.” Twilight rubbed her forehead. “I actually don’t know how I feel about any of this.”

“What, our playful bout of banter?”

“No, like—not just this conversation. This writing-a-letter thing. No, setting up for the Summer Sun Celebration. No, the celebration itself. I don’t know.

Twilight’s gaze fell floorward. She scaled her memory back further and further, trying to figure out what exactly might be bugging her. “Maybe I should sleep on this.”

“And you think that would help? When was the last time you slept?”

“Last night. Look, Discord, I’m—”

Twilight’s temper flared, and as she looked back up at Discord she could have sworn that there was a mischievous glint in his eyes.

Then she couldn’t see it anymore, and her irritation vanished as quickly as it came.

“I’m not in the mood.”

Discord puffed out his chest in mock pride. “That just makes nettling you more fun, doesn’t it?”

“No, not like in an irritated way or frustrated way. Just...I don’t know. I don’t think I can really get as angry as you want me to be.”

Discord blinked.

“Goodness, you’re not reading self-help books, are you?” The Draconequus gagged.

“Would that help?”

“Absolutely not. And not in a fun way, either. But I’ll be the cleric at the chapel of the candor of chaos and inform you that not only would you not find it enjoyable, and not only would I not find it enjoyable, but you likely won’t even find it enjoyable to try and enjoy them anyway solely to annoy me.”

Twilight paused, a rebuttal perched on her lips.

“I don’t know,” Twilight admitted. This time, she actually felt something: a twinge somewhere beneath her stomach. It actually hurt, but at least it was different.

“You don’t know...what.” Discord drawled, gesturing as if to coax a prompt out of her.

“I know there’s a way I should be feeling, but I don’t. And I’m not sure why I don’t. It’s not that I’m frustrated, or tired, or angry, and...I don’t think I’m even bored. It’s not quite like that.”

“Continue.” Discord snapped his fingers and sat down on a surprisingly tasteful recliner he had just conjured up. Surprisingly tasteful except for the gem-studded draconequus heads at the ends of the armrests, anyway.

“Being bored would make it sound like I want to do something else, but I’m not sure...I’m not sure I want to do anything, exactly. It’s not that it wouldn’t be fun, it’s just...I know how everything goes, or will go. I can’t predict what exactly’s going to happen in the future, but I can tell you the general pattern of just about anything. The idea of doing things just feels like going through the motions, even when things are exciting and new and in constant flux. All the new stuff is the same, and I’m just…”

Twilight faltered.

“...I don’t know.”

“You don’t.”

“Do you?”

“Are you sure you don’t?”

“I don’t know if I don’t know or not! Does any of this sound like it’s making any sense to you?”

“What fun is there in making sense?”

“This isn’t supposed to be fun!” Twilight snapped.

“And that’s why,” Discord concluded as he leaned forward, “this is making far too much sense to me.”

“It is?”

“An uncomfortably large amount of sense.”

Twilight froze. The room fell into tomb-like silence, without even the ticking of a small clock to color the atmosphere.

“...I’m not dying, am I?”

“Only if you want to. You have that sort of luxury, Twilight Sparkle.” Discord rolled his eyes as he leaned back in his chair. “And if you intend on wrapping me up in your theatrics, then I fully intend to cover you in clown makeup and drop you right into a live theatre performance in the middle of a gigantic city. Literally drop you, I might add.”

“That’s an oddly specific threat.” Twilight leaned forward in her chair.

Discord snapped his fingers again, and Twilight’s center of balance shifted. Twilight keeled
over backward, only to collide rather comfortably with a spacious and well-padded backrest. Shivering slightly, Twilight settled into her sofa and decided against looking at what might have adorned the front leg rests.

“I prefer to make threats that I intend to see through if necessary, one way or another. I also abhor generalities. You’re free to consider these the quirks of an entity made of pure chaos, of course, but I prefer to acknowledge them as the creative comforts that have been my companions since long before your kind had ever engaged in agriculture. But I’ve gone and answered some of your questions, and in the interest of a fair and balanced friendship I’ll reiterate one of mine: What is it that you don’t know?”

Twilight furrowed her brow, crossed her hind legs, rubbed her right eye. She leaned back in her chair, then sat forward in it again, back hunched.

“I don’t know the sort of things I want that would help me feel as if I had wanted the right things.”

Discord nodded. “There are things that you want.”

“But I wouldn’t really want them! Like, I’d love for the Summer Sun Celebration to be a big success, but it’s already been a big success a bunch of times and I’ll just have to worry about that next year. I’d love it if the students at my friendship academy went on to do wonderful things, but that means less wonderful things I’d be able to do and more time spent running a school. But I never really didn’t want the school, and I wouldn’t want to get rid of it at all. I’ve got the admiration of my mentors, the solid relationships of my friends, admirers, wealth, fame, immortality, the knowledge that everything I’ve done has been a good thing. Discord, this is as good as it gets.

Discord smirked. “See, that doesn’t sound like much of a problem at all—”

“Because it isn’t. I’m not worried about losing it all, since I know that I could get it all back if I’ve worked as hard as I have. I’m not...I don’t want to say I’m bored with it. It’s not boredom. That isn’t the right word for it. It’s not boring. It’s just...something that I’ve done again and again, and what I’ll keep doing forever, regardless of how it looks.”

Silence.

“It’s...I want to say rote, but that’s not the right word for it, either. Discord, help me. Please.

“Why would I help you?” Discord shrugged. “It sounds like you have everything you could have ever wanted.”

“I do. And I’ll have it forever. But there isn’t something right about that, and I don’t know what it is, and I know you know what it is. You want me to figure it out on my own, but I don’t know how to do it.”

“Ahh, but that’s something I can’t help you with.” Discord sighed, shaking his head. "You’ve already done it.”

Silence.

“Wait, what? Do you mean, like, I already said it?”

“I clearly remember hearing it, as if it was thirty seconds ago.”

“I’m going to guess that 'rote' wasn’t the right answer.”

“There we go. You’re starting to guess things correctly for a change!” Discord clapped his hands. “And here I was, worried that you hadn’t learned any of the important things in your life.”

“So is the answer that I need to learn more? Wait—wait, you don’t want me to just guess.” Twilight backpedaled as Discord frowned at her. “Let me...okay, let me go in reverse for a bit. I said an important thing, the thing wasn’t the word rote, I don’t have to worry about losing anything because I’ve done it all and could get back all the same stuff, and everything I’ll do is basically the same as doing stuff that…”

Twilight grew aware that Discord was sitting forward in his seat, looking intently at her, not saying a word.

“I’ve...I’ve done it, Discord. I did everything I wanted.”

“You’ve played board games before, haven’t you, Twilight Sparkle?”

“Yeah?” Twilight frowned. “I used to play chess all the time, and go, and Agricola…”

“And what happens once you’ve gotten everything you wanted? When you complete your goal, when you got the best position you could possibly have?”

“Isn’t that when you win?”

“And do you keep playing after that?”

“Of course you don’t. The game’s already…”

Twilight blinked. Something very, very cold washed up her spine.

“...I won, Discord.”

“So will you keep playing?”

“There isn’t any point. There isn’t anything to get from it. There isn’t anything new to learn. There are things you can do, but there isn’t really anything to do.

Twilight met Discord’s gaze. For the first time in her life, she didn’t see any trace of humor or mirth, or even the faintest hint of a desire to mock her.

And that scared her worse than anything else she had seen in her entire life.

“Discord?” Twilight said, blinking a bit harder than was necessary.

“Yes?”

“If the game is done, what else is there left to do?”

Discord sighed in relief, raised his arm and snapped his fingers once more. “And that, Twilight Sparkle, is the most important question you will ever ask in your entire life.”