• Published 15th Oct 2019
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Three Second Chances - TCC56



Discord has had a wonderful life thanks to the magic of friendship - and now he has the chance to pay it forward. All he needs is to borrow a statue.

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The Redeemed Lord

"Our next petitioner: Discord, Lord of Chaos."

Princess Twilight Sparkle choked on her tea. "What?"

Captain Gallus helplessly shrugged as he held the door for the draconequus. Discord had gone above and beyond the call today - he even had a bow tie and tuxedo bib on. He was also acting particularly odd for himself, given that he had obeyed the schedule, submitted a petition through regular channels, was walking up to the throne and just bowed respectfully.

"Um." Twilight had no idea how to handle this part.

"If it should please Her Majesty--"

And Twilight burst into laughter, much to Discord's chagrin. "Sorry, sorry. I mean, pft!" The regal demeanor was swept away as she rolled her eyes. "This is just so not like you! Come on, I'll adjourn for lunch so we can talk privately." Her horn lit up, a teleport spell kicking in.

Which Discord snuffed out with a snap of his claw. "No no, I don't think so, Princess Booky*. No taking me off-screen for private time out of the leering public eye. We're doing this by the book today, and that's final."

Twilight tilted her head curiously. "You. The Lord of Chaos. Want to use proper procedures to speak to me in an extremely formalized fashion as dictated by a complex legal framework?" She (and everypony else in the room) blinked in confusion. "Are you a changeling?"

Most of the room was shocked that the Princess would dare say such a thing. One of the changeling representatives, in fact, looked ready to start a fight. Discord... laughed. "Ho ho! It's good to see that whatever stick Celestia had up her throne left with her." He applauded, along with another half-dozen sets of hands that manifested. "Well volleyed, Twilight!"

And the Princess smiled for her old friend. "I did have good teachers. But really, Discord. How are you? I know I haven't been to see you in a while, but I thought you might need some space after the funeral and--"

He held up a paw to stop her. "I'm doing better. I promise. But that's part of why I'm here today - I have an official request to make."

Twilight stiffened her back, raising up to her most regal and official-looking. "Then make it, my dear friend."

Discord cleared his throat with the honk of a foghorn. "Ahem. Yes. If it should please Her Majesty, I come before you today as the assistant--" He ground to an abrupt halt. Applejack's lessons for how to cry on the inside were all that stopped Twilight from breaking into tears as the draconequus' façade of mirth fell away. But he was strong, and reset it as he corrected himself. "As the head caretaker of the Sweet Feather Sanctuary. I am requesting a gift from Your Majesty to the Sanctuary in the form of one of the pieces of art from the castle gardens."

Something tweaked in the back of Twilight's thoughts. "I presume you have a specific piece in mind?"

"I do." There was the tone she'd been waiting for in Discord's voice - the sly one that was soaked in snake oil and appeared every time he was up to something. "I want The Terrible Trio."

The room was Discord's in an instant. Absolute chaos enveloped the normally orderly throne room, and Twilight strongly suspected this reaction was exactly why Discord had tolerated all the rules and decorum up to this point. After all, he was grinning that familiar devil's grin. She couldn't help but smile back and mouth 'well played'.

"ENOUGH."

The Royal Canterlot Voice bludgeoned the room into silence. Twilight gave it a ten-count to make sure that they all had listened before continuing. "I presume that you have a reason beyond simply enjoying the statue." She understood. This wasn't an official request, this was theater and now they both knew it. She had to play her part and he would take care of all the heavy lifting.

"Why friendship, of course!" Discord's tittering laughter set everyone aside from the Princess on edge. The Lord of Chaos had spent too long in the Sanctuary - the Canterlotian nobles had gotten soft. None of them were old enough to remember Discord in his old ways. They'd never been terrorized by a draconequus before. At least, they didn't seem to appreciate the rainbow that erupted from the ground behind him as he spoke. "But seriously, because friendship. I'm sure you understand that, Sparklebutt."

Twilight ignored the childish barb and tilted her head forward delicately. "Indulge me, if you would? How exactly does giving the Lord of Chaos the petrified bodies of three of Equestria's greatest villains translate to friendship?"

Helpfully, Discord pulled down a calendar from nowhere and pointed to it with his retractable pointer. "You see, many years ago I was a naughty boy and Her High Unfunness Celestia trapped me in stone for centuries. Me!" He snorted. "No appreciation for a good laugh, that one. It's why her sister got that Element. If she had just let me--" Discord stopped, cut off by a gentle clearing of Twilight's throat. "Well, anyway. As I was saying, I was trapped in stone for centuries." While his words didn't pause, Discord froze to stone as he mentioned it. "But then I was released from my prison and given a second chance." The stone shattered, leaving him once more unblemished.

"After you broke free on your own and terrorized all of Equestria with your chaos magic," Twilight pointed out.

The accusation was immediately waved off, but not denied. "Yes yes, there was a bit of a disagreement before that but it's hardly important. The important part is that you forgave me, dear Twilight. You and your little band of friends looked at me and decided I was worth another shot." He paused before taking a more serious tone. "Fluttershy decided I was worth another shot."

It took just that one moment of somber mood to bring the entire gaggle of noble upstarts into solemn silence. Twilight let it hang, pressing down on the nobility and to remind them of the loss that was still fresh in both her and Discord's hearts. Then she nodded again, signaling him to continue.

"Throughout your time," Discord noted, "You regularly took your worst enemies and made them your most faithful allies. And maybe once I would have laughed at you for it, but today? I can only thank you. Because the friendship I was shown and the chance I was given meant that I gained the most valuable thing I could have dreamed of - and still could never have conjured up with even my magic." A tiny lightning bolt sizzled between his claws. "I ask you for the statue, Your Majesty, because every creature deserves that second chance. I don't want it for me. But for them."

"And," Twilight gently noted, "For Fluttershy."

Discord's smarmy smile melted to one far more wistful - one Twilight had grown used to seeing in the past decades. "Yes. For Fluttershy."

Twilight's sad smile was very much the same. "In her name - and that of our friendship - I hereby grant your request for this gift. I know you will take care of the statue and, in the proper time, give to those imprisoned within it the same second chance you had. I have complete faith that there are none better qualified to both give that fair chance and to protect Equestria at the same time." With slow steps, she descended from the throne and put her hooves around the draconequus. "She would be proud of you, my friend."

Discord wrapped around Twilight, hugging her back. "She always was."


"Teacher, why's that statue here?"

Miss Polymath had been Ponyville's schoolteacher for almost thirty years - and knew from experience that question came up every time a class visited the Sanctuary. "That's the statue of the Three Villains," she lectured her students. "According to legend, many generations ago there was a grave threat to Equestria. But it was defeated by the Princess and her companions in a great battle. This statue was carved afterwards as a reminder of the true dangers to our way of life."

She pointed a hoof to the snarling figure at the bottom. "That one represents the hate that can hide in our hearts."

Next, to the emaciated centaur. "That one, the avarice and greed that can consume us."

Lastly, to the cowering pegasus. "And that one is the fear that can drive us to terrible acts without meaning to."

The foals around her were quiet until the original colt spoke up again. "No, I mean why is it here in the animal sanctuary?"

"Oh. That's because the Caretaker is very, very weird."

Author's Note:

This started as a fixfic after watching S9E24-25 - but it developed out a bit more as I wrote. I think it stands on its own now, at least reasonably enough. (It also ended up being considerably longer than originally plotted.)

* - I've been re-reading The Enchanted Library. I couldn't help myself.