• Published 20th Oct 2019
  • 3,534 Views, 278 Comments

Anarchy: Pony of Chaos - Ninjadeadbeard

Fluttershy and Discord decide to have a child. May the Gods have mercy on their souls.

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3 - School Days

After that day, Summer truly began to shift into Autumn. The storms came, and the storms went with nary a problem, save for the one rogue cloud that managed to get loose and cut a run out towards the Everfree. They say on lonely nights you can still see Dash’s Folly running free across the ancient, magical forest. But for the rest of Ponyville, and Equestria beyond, the nights grew colder and the trees more vibrant with every passing day as the world went from verdant summer greens to the reds and golds of fall.

And while Fall came to Equestria, havoc and pandemonium came to Fluttershy’s life. Her old cottage was still visited by animals this time of year, for her reputation amongst them was that of a caregiver, and one to whom they could all go for love, affection, and a little extra something to get them through the coming winter months. But with Grogar taking up residence in one of the guest rooms, that had become less of a given and more of a mortal peril for any animal foolish enough to approach.

“Begone!” Grogar roared at the family of jackalopes who dared to nibble on his glower garden*. “You dare to befoul the Glowering Garden of Grogar? Then you jackanapes shall witness my fury… UNLEASHED!”

With a single, deep breath, Grogar exhaled flames of coruscating blackness, which caused his glowering flowers to grow and attempt to devour the poor jackalopes, which all managed to flee the vicinity in time. The snapping fangs and twisting brambles growled as they grew.

As Grogar guffawed over his gruesome gag, Ann dropped down from a low branch of the cottage-tree, suspending herself upside down by her tail.

“Gwampa,” she warned, “that wasn’t vewy nice.”

“Nice,” Grogar snarled, “is weakness. It is a word constructed by foolish ponies to confuse the strong! You see, my child…”

Her grampa liked his speeches, Ann learned. Here was his Prepared Lecture of Evil #34. Ann sometimes wondered if Twilight and Grogar wouldn’t make close friends, or at least study-buddies, if given half a chance or a really interesting problem to solve… file that one away for later...

In any case, Grampa Grogar would be at it for a while, waxing philosophic about how ponies were pathetic and how Anarchy should grind them into dust or turn their dreams into nightmares blah, blah, blah. And while he talked, he’d garden. He loved to devise new and horrific plants for his garden, and tended to them daily.

Which was when Ann got a great idea. A great and Terrible idea. Grogar didn’t even notice when the glower he went to sniff changed suddenly from a bloody red to a rather distinct shade of blue…

“My, my!” Celestia glowed as Ann tucked right into the pancakes piled high on her plate, “I’m happy to see you enjoy my pancakes. It took me eons to get the recipe right.”

“Indeed!” Luna cried, after pulling her own head up from a mountain of whipped cream, “This is precisely why I enjoy mornings these days!” With a deep breath, she planted her muzzle back into her breakfast, drawing a giggle from Ann.

A squeaky harrumph came from the third creature at the table awaiting Celestia’s cooking, a tiny blue unicorn colt of dark blue coat, with a fringe of white mane and a horn of grey. His red harness full of tiny bells jingled slightly as he pouted.

“This Zecora had bettew know the cuw for this confounded affwiction,” he snarled in the most adorable voice either of the Princesses could remember.

Celestia, despite this, waved a spatula at him like an unimpressed teacher with a pointer, “Now Grogar, you’re not going to get any of my chocolate chip pancakes if you act like that. Besides, it’s your own fault for planting Poison Joke in the first place.”

At the threat of losing out on Celestia’s pancakes, Grogar tried to act… good. He still shot a glare towards his grandfoal, however. And Ann just smiled back, never breaking eye contact even as she… or perhaps specifically as she took a huge mouthful of pancake, strawberry, and whipped cream. Zecora would know what to do, once she was back from her trip…

In a week or so. The Princesses had, naturally, hesitated to mention how Apple Bloom would also know the cure, being Zecora’s old apprentice and Ponyville’s premiere potionmaker. They hesitated for a whole week…

Whenever little Anarchy wasn’t making life difficult for her Grampa, she would spend her days either following her Mom to the animal sanctuary, or learning the ways of Chaos from her Dad-onequus. Discord relished the chance to pass on his eons of experience to somecreature who’d truly appreciate the lessons. Unfortunately, they’d run into some trouble right away.

“So,” said Discord, standing in the middle of an empty field somewhere beyond Ponyville, “You can’t see them?”

“No?” Ann turned her head around once more, to try and catch a glimpse of these so-called ‘readers’ her Dad kept talking about. Once she’d spun her head about three times, then removed it to check under her own chin, she looked up at him, “Awe you making this up?”

Though Discord shook his head, his voice lost none of its conviction, “Never fear, my little random-number-generator. One day, I promise you’ll be able to see the meta just like I can.”

“Can Cheese see it too?” Ann asked, thinking back to how Cheese tried to describe his Cheesy Sense to her.

“Wouldn’t know,” Discord conceded, “But his mother…? Maybe. Then again, I’ve been told foals can see things adult ponies can’t. Like certain types of faeries, or Sandy Claws.”

“Sandy Claws?”

The two were suddenly on an ice flow, surrounded on all sides by endless frozen misery. And a single Penguin, wearing a warm cap and sitting besides a round stove. Within moments, the stove had melted through the ice and vanished forever, leaving a rather put-out penguin.

“Sandy Claws!” Discord shouted, now sporting a black and white pinstripe suit with a rather spooky, bat-themed bow-tie attached. “He’s a giant lobster who lives in up north and makes toys for all the good little fillies and colts who don’t eat shellfish!”

“W-w-w-why is-s-s-s he c-c-c-cawed S-s-s-s-andy?” Ann shook and shivered, her featherless wings proving entirely inadequate for the task of keeping her warm.

Her Dad helpfully snapped her three layers of insulated winter gear, complete with boots, scarves, and goggles, before continuing, “He was originally from Maribu…”

The lesson would be interrupted at that point by the bulk of a hundred-foot-long crustacean rising swiftly up from the depths, claws the size of galleons shattering ice left and right. It’s crackling maw roared in inchoate fury.


“Oh… he might also hate me for trapping him here…”

“Welcome to the sanctuary, Pablo,” Fluttershy ushered her latest animal friend, a penguin, towards a specially-prepared section of the sanctuary. “We’ll make sure you feel right at home here.”

Pablo, the penguin, took one look at the rainbow-headed pegasus kicking heaps of cold and snow out of an early-release winter cloud over the penned-off crater that was meant to house him, and immediately banked towards the other end of the open-air property.

Fluttershy sighed, wondering what had gotten into the poor thing to make it hate being cold. She waved Rainbow Dash off, who swooped down to meet her.

“That penguin knows how hard it is to get snowclouds this early in the year?” Dash asked, irritation plain as day in her voice as she landed.

“I’m so sorry Dashie,” Fluttershy lowered her head, “I still appreciate the work you must have done to get this here. If there’s anything I can do, just name it.”

But Rainbow just shook her head, “Nah, it’s fine. I’m always happy to help you out, Shy.” She gave her foalhood friend a genuine grin, only to have it falter as her eyes wandered to the other creature with them.

Ann sat a few yards away, struggling in vain to rip off her soaking winter gear. She twisted and pulled at the pant legs with her teeth, trying to dislodge them from the heavy boots they were tucked down into, but to no avail. And when she tried to pull the bright-pink padded coat off, all she managed to achieve was to throw herself off balance and land on the grass hard enough to… bah like a sheep...

Rainbow Dash chuckled, but quickly clamed up when she caught sight of Fluttershy’s frown. The normally shy yellow pegasus locked eyes with her Wonderbolt friend, and then nodded towards the struggling little filly.

“Fine,” Dash sighed, “I’ll help.”

As Dash approached the poor thing, she noticed Ann was now trying to kick her coat off, her back legs pushing and pushing, but getting nowhere.

“Um…” Rainbow Dash glanced back to Fluttershy, the quickly back to Ann. No need to think about what those eyes were saying. “Need some help, squirt?”

“No,” Ann said through gritted teeth buried into the scarf still wrapped around her neck. “I can do thif on my own…”

“Can’t you, like, use magic or whatever?”

Ann glared as the scarf refused to budge. In fact, it had tightened. Her yellow and crimson eyes snapped up to Dash, then back towards her batwings, encased in heavy wool mittens.

Rainbow raised an eyebrow. “What about your tail?”

Rolling crimson eyes eventually darted back further, leading Dash to note the sodden mush that was Ann’s long, pink tail. With great effort, she managed what appeared to be a half-hearted attempt to move it about.

All that managed was a soppy splash.

“Alright Squirt,” Dash stepped forward, “Gimme that!”

The multicolored pegasus bit down on the end of Ann’s right wing-mitten, and gave a mighty pull. She heaved so hard she was afraid that the little Ponequus… or whatever Discord had called her, would go sailing through the air. Thankfully, either Dash pulled in just the right way, or the little filly’s clothes were so heavy with water that she simply held in place.

Wing finally free, Ann wasted no time in snapping away her drenched clothing. She did however, hesitate to snap again, watching her wingtips with the same sort of worry one might show a hose that might actually be a sleeping snake.

Fluttershy frowned, “Is something wrong?”

Ann looked back at her mother, “Weww,” she scowled through her accursed wandering lisp, “Dwying off is weawy hawd. Last time I twied, I lost some fuw.”

“You lost some fur?” Fluttershy’s voice filled with distress, “Was that why the bathroom was on fire yesterday?”

Ann looked down, ashamed. “… yes.”

“Hang on, I got this,” said Rainbow Dash, who immediately picked herself up into the air, and with a furious wingbeat began to whip around the little filly at lightning speeds. The little whirlwind almost felt hot on Ann’s coat.

But then that same hot wind hit Ann’s wings, and like a sudden updraft, that wind hauled the little pony straight up into the air, where she spun around and around and around, completely out of control, and not in the way she normally liked.

And for all the powers of Chaos at her wingtips… at heart, Anarchy was still a foal.


She tumbled through the air, only panic filling her mind, only a cry on her lips. But just at the height of her arc, Ann felt a body crash into her own, forelegs wrapping around her in a vice-like grip.

She was floating, gasping, held in her mother’s forelegs. Fluttershy’s breathing was just as sharp, and just as ragged.

“Ohmigosh!” Rainbow Dash ran up to the pair as Fluttershy brought them back down to the grass and solid ground, “Shy! Ann! I’m so, so sorry! I…!”

“Dash!” Fluttershy snapped, “You need to be more careful! Anarchy isn’t that strong of a flyer yet…!”

Finally brought to a standstill, Ann felt a crackle of… something run along her coat. And instantly, all that dry air and static came back with a vengeance. Ann’s mane and coat poofed in every direction, instantly transforming her from a little filly, into a fluffy pink and yellow cloud.

All three stood silently. Ann took in her fur, her mane… and started giggling. And then she started laughing. And before long, Rainbow Dash had joined. And then Fluttershy. They laughed, and they laughed, and they laughed some more. All three fell to the grass, laughing so hard that Dash was worried she’d bust something!

Angel, the diminutive, angry caretaker of the Sanctuary whenever Fluttershy was too busy with Element business, briefly glanced over at the ridiculous display. He shook his head, ashamed on their behalf, and continued herding the pack of wolves he’d been giving the welcome-tour towards the vegetarian buffet Fluttershy put in…

Once Ann, lying in her mother’s embrace, finally managed to get her breathing back under control, she said to Rainbow, “Auntie Dash, that was amazing! What kind of magic was that!?”

Auntie Dash, similarly catching her breath, looked up and grinned, “No magic, kid. That was all me! Just a trick I picked up back in summer flight camp.”

Ann tilted her head, questioningly, “What? But… how did you fwy wiffout magic?”

“Uh, wings?” Dash flapped one wing as an example, “C’mon, don’t tell me you’ve never flown with your wings?”

Fluttershy pulled Ann close with her own feathery wings, “Dash, she’s much too young to fly like that. And if her wings work like Batponies’ do, then she can’t fly the same way as pegasi...”

Somehow, hearing her mom say that… doubting her, felt wrong. Bad. Not good. Anarchy decided she had to fix that.

“I can twy,” she pulled herself free from Fluttershy’s grasp, though not without a bit of a struggle. Her mom said nothing, but looked on like she was afraid Ann would get sucked up into a whirlwind again.

The filly put herself about halfway between her mom and her aunt, and then held out her blue batwings. She kept a careful check on her Chaos magic, making sure it didn’t flare up or try anything she’d normally be down for. This was to impress Dash, after all.

She started slow, and then began to ramp up the speed. Each wingbeat slapped the air with a sound like fanning heavy bedsheets. Ann could feel the wind part and blast aside as she flapped her wings… and little else. She supposed more speed was needed.

So, she started flapping faster. And faster. Faster was going nowhere, fast, so she started flapping harder. And harder. And harder still. Her wings felt like they were turning into cement at the joints, and her whole body began to boil.

But then, face straining, sweat soaking her fur again and wings about to snap right off… she managed to take off. Anarchy, the Pony of Chaos, Duchess of Doohickies and Empress of the Encephalon… managed almost half a foot off the ground before her wings gave out entirely and she crashed right back down again.

Panting, she lifted her head towards her Aunt, “How… how did I do?”

Dash stood over the filly, smiling. “You know…? For being, like, a few weeks old… not bad at all. Probably a record.”

The Wonderbolt star couldn’t help but smile. Watching Ann struggle like that, practically tearing her own body apart, straining so mightily against something so trivial to most… it touched something in Dash. It was that same sort of persistence that drew her to protect Fluttershy when they were foals, and to make Scootaloo her pseudo-adopted-sister later on.

The kid had Moxy. Not a doubt in her mind about that.

“Listen… Ann,” she said, ruffling the kid’s mane with one hoof, “When you start flight camp, I’ll give you some private lessons, alright? So, you can show those Cloudsdale elites what you can really do!”

“Weawy!?” Ann’s face lit up… and then fell back into confusion.

“What’s wrong, kiddo?”

Ann just asked, like it was nothing, “What’s fwight camp?”

“Oh,” Dash paused. She kept forgetting just how young this kid was… “It’s like flying school for pegasi. Me and your mom met there when we were fillies, actually.” She smirked again, “I protected your mom from bullies.”

“Why didn’t Dad do that?” Ann tilted her head to a steeper angle than before.

Fluttershy, still sitting behind her daughter, said, “Well, Discord and I hadn’t met yet.”

Ann’s eyes shrank. The whole eye, not just her pupils. They dropped back into the sockets for a moment before returning to regular size. Ann shook her head back and forth to make the thought sit still.

Mom and Dad didn’t always know each other!?!?!

“Um, wow,” she managed, “That’s… wow. Okay, so then, what’s a schoo?”

Rainbow blinked. “What’s a school?”


“You don’t know… what school is?”

Ann stuck out her tongue as she puzzled. And she puzzled. But before she could puzzle for long, Fluttershy spoke up once again.

“It’s, um… school is a place where you, ah, sit quietly all day and let somepony else teach you things.”

Dash’s ear twitched. That… was one way of putting it.

Ann frowned, “Well that doesn’t sound vewy fun…”

Uh oh, Rainbow thought. Better salvage this before the kid gets the wrong idea, “Well, at least Cheese’ll be there. He’s starting this year, isn’t he?”

Did… did Fluttershy just glare at me?

“Cheese is going?” Ann asked, excitement causing her tail to wag like a dog’s. “Oh boy! If Cheese is going…”

“Yes dear,” Fluttershy said quickly, “Lil Cheese is going to school in a few weeks… along with everypony else.”

The little ponequus looked back at her mom, “E-everypony?”

“Everypony,” she replied, “There will be lots and lots of ponies and other creatures there.”

“Oh…” Ann’s tail drooped. Everycreature in one place? Everycreature where they could… stare at her…? With their eyes…?

“Well, yeah!” Rainbow nudged Ann with her muzzle to get the kid’s attention. “So you’ve got all those ponies and creatures to make friends with!”

Ann snapped her head up to look at Rainbow Dash. Her eyes weren’t just sparkling. The red iris actually took the shape of… of Twilight’s star-shaped Cutie Mark…?

“You… you can have more than one friend…?” the little pony’s voice was barely a whisper. Instantly, so quick that Dash could feel the sound barrier bend around her, Ann shot over to her mom.

She hopped up and down in front of Fluttershy, yipping as she begged, “Mom! Mom! Can I go to schoo? Pwease!? Oh pwease!!! Can I? Can I, can I, can I, can I, can I, can I, can I pweeease!?!?”

Fluttershy sat back on her haunches. As her little foal’s questions came, she looked like each and every one of them was a slap. She managed to clamp down on her voice, her tongue, her very thoughts before she said… something. She only prayed Dash hadn’t noticed…

She… she knew this had been coming. She knew that. Ann needed… she needed friends. Friends her own age.

She just wished Ann needed her mom…

“We’ll ask your father tonight, okay?” she managed. Ann leapt for joy, and remained airborne on the winds of Chaos, looping about and shouting for joy.

Only Rainbow Dash had seen Fluttershy’s tears, and began to regret butting in again.

Nothing in the Realms of Chaos could ever be truly quiet. Quiet implied a lack of motion or energy, and Chaos’ one defining trait that it could ever agree to on a consistent basis was that it was always poppin’. But tonight was different. The Lord of Chaos had asked politely.

No threat could have been more dire.

And so, in the Den of Chaos, sitting on the Comfy Sofa of Disharmony, two creatures and their little foal sat listening to the crackle of ice cubes in the ‘fire’place.

Under Fluttershy’s hooves, Anarchy lay fast asleep, dreaming of the first day of school she knew was coming soon. The dream, visible in a little cloud drifting above her head, invariably involved her and Lil Cheese riding dinosaurs, dancing atop a flowerbed, and eating an endless supply of jalapeno cupcakes provided by her Auntie Ponk.

Fluttershy brushed her little one’s mane, eliciting nothing more than an ear-flick and a yawn from the foal, her long tongue sticking out of her mouth at the cutest angle.

“I know it’s selfish,” she said, finally after letting the silence speak so long for her, “But… I guess I just wanted to have her a bit longer.”

“It’s not like she’s going anywhere,” Discord tried to sound as assured as he could. It wasn’t that he didn’t feel it, but he knew how Fluttershy was sensitive to those sorts of things, and wanted to give her every reason not to worry. “She’ll be freeloading off us and living in our basement for years to come. Say, unrelated, but did your brother ever get back to you on when he’d be visiting? It’s just that I have a nonrefundable vacation whenever that happens…”

“I guess,” she said, still unsure, “But most mothers have time to spend with their children before they start getting that ‘empty nest’ feeling. I’ve only known her a few weeks, and now I feel like she’s going away…”

Discord held up her chin with his tail, “Then don’t think of it as going away! She’s staying right here. She’s just… taking extended playdates with Cheese.”

“But…” Fluttershy tried to pull apart her own anxieties and put them together into words she could say, “What if they don’t… like her?”

“They’ll love her,” Discord said, eyes half-lidded as he brushed his specialpony’s mane, “Besides… I know from experience that even the chance of having friends now will make things so much easier for her down the line. You know what I’ve told you about my… childhood…”

That was a conversation she didn’t want to think back to. Fluttershy knew what Discord meant. She knew what Grogar had been like as a father, despite his clear adoration for Ann and his… slightly more wholesome, grandfatherly behavior these days. And it nearly broke her heart to picture Ann in the same place that Discord once occupied.

She couldn’t bear to think her little girl might walk that same path, towards becoming a statue…

Fluttershy felt something. A fuzzy nose pressed into her side. She looked down and watched the sleeping Ann nuzzle in close to her mom.

“Momma…” Sure enough, inside the little dream cloud was now Ann, Cheese, and their folks, all sitting around a table… and playing snooker…

The yellow pegasus leaned down and gave Ann a little kiss just above her eye.

“Alright,” she said, done with letting silence say anything more, “Let’s call up the school…”

“You know… when you said you wanted to take us out, I assumed it’d be somewhere fancy and expensive,” Silver Spoon snarked in her most sarcastic voice as she and her party sat down at Ponyville’s very own Hayburger Princess joint. The gray and silver young mare looked up directly into the cold, dead eyes of a Princess Twilight decoration holding up a hayburger and declaring it “almost as delicious as friendship”.

Diamond Tiara, allegedly the most beautiful mare in all of Ponyville, tossed her purple and white mane over her shoulder, and returned a mocking smile, “Well, Silver Spoon. I wouldn’t want you to get used to fine dining. Got to keep you within your teaching budget, right?”

“Oh yes,” the other mare laughed, “I wouldn’t be able to afford my rags otherwise!”

“Silver,” the grey pegasus stallion beside Silver Spoon elbowed her slightly, “I’m a Wonderbolt Reservist now! I can buy you whatever rags you’d like.”

She gave Rumble an appraising look, “Can you now? How very romantic.”

“In any case, Pip says the food here reminds him of Trottingham,” Diamond Tiara indicated her husband with a nod of her head.

The towering pinto stallion tried to find a comfortable position in his seat, and failed. He vaguely wondered if he’d wished on a satyr’s paw once to end up the tallest non-alicorn pony around.

“The dish and jockey's whips 'ere is mother's pearly gate,” he offered, the memory of good pub food dancing in his memory.

Silver Spoon marveled. His accent had actually gotten worse since the honeymoon…

Diamond Tiara pressed onward, naturally, “And in any case, Daddy made Pip Vice President of our shipping department. So, congratulations all around!”

“Indeed,” Silver laughed and held up her soda, “A toast!”

A cheery voice sounded over their paper cups’ ‘clinking’, “Oh? What are we celebrating?”

Silver Spoon spun around in her seat to watch her boss and colleague, Headmare Cheerilee, slowly approach the table. That deep-purple mare had to be going on… old. Silver Spoon loved her like a second mother, but it was clear Cheerilee needed to retire soon, the way she walked.

It was glacial.

“Evening Miss Cheerilee!” Diamond Tiara cried out, waving one hoof like an excitable filly, “We’re just celebrating good fortune, and the start of the school year!”

“Well, that’s wonderful Diamond,” Cheerilee finally reached their table, and smiled that nearly-grandmotherly smile at all of them. It made her heart sing, just a little bit, to see her little schoolfoals all grown up.

“Oh, Silver Spoon!” she put her (lacking) acting skills to the test, “I just remembered I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Um,” Silver Spoon frowned, slightly, “Sure… give us a minute, guys?”

The two teacher-ponies walked out into the cool air of another beautiful Ponyville evening. The sun was just vanishing below the horizon, and the whole town seemed… somehow more alive than usual. The Night Market was probably the cause, Silver Spoon thought, idly, before she turned back to her old teacher.

“So,” she began, “How bad is it? Did the newer schoolhouse burn down? Or is an asteroid on the way so we should just call off school and let whatever happens next happen?”

Cheerilee managed to frown through a titter that last one caused, “You’re too young to be that cynical. Both of those have only ever happened once. Each.”

The two teachers laughed. They both knew, without it being said, that a good laugh was needed for bad news.

Cheerilee sighed, “It’s worse.”

“Well, don’t leave me in suspense,” Silver Spoon shivered in the cool wind, “I got a nice warm fiancé waiting for me back there.”

The elder mare seemed to hesitate, just for a moment. Then, with all the austerity she could muster, she said, “Discord…”

“Oh, buck.”

“Language, my little pony!”

“Sorry,” Silver Spoon bit her lip, “But when you said Discord…”

Cheerilee shook her mane, “Apparently he and Fluttershy had a foal…”

“Oh yeah, I heard. It’s hard not to notice when she keeps making City Hall turn into a lollipop,” Silver Spoon rubbed her temple with one hoof, “So are we talking emergency plans or do we need to train the colts and fillies in Chaos drills for when that blows up in our faces?”

Cheerilee remained… impressively stoic.

“They want Anarchy enrolled in our school.”

Silver Spoon rolled her eyes, “Of course they named her… enrolled?” her voice cracked, slightly.

“Enrolled,” Cheerilee confirmed. “As in, Fluttershy and Discord… the Element of Kindness and local sort-of-Princess, and her… I suppose husband, the Spirit of Chaos itself… have just handed me the completed paperwork to have their child enrolled.”

Silver Spoon’s mouth ran dry, “But… but she’s barely…”

“She can talk,” Cheerilee interrupted. “She can talk, and despite her being a month old… she’s biologically as old as Pinkie’s son, Cheese Slice. Who is Ann’s closest, and at this point oldest friend…”

“… and Cheese is in my classroom…”

Cheerilee smiled, finally. “Bingo.”

“I have tenure,” Silver Spoon finally said, lamely.

“Not for five more days,” said Cheerilee, “Five days, during which you’re going to come up with our game plan.”

“Our… what?”

“Game plan,” Cheerilee, for a moment, stood as proudly and as resolute as a hardened guardsmare. “Figure out our demands, and present them to me by tomorrow. We’ve got a conference to prepare for. A Parent-Teacher Conference!”

By the time Silver Spoon returned to her table, she needed something stronger than soda. She needed a lot of something stronger than soda…

Princess Twilight was peeved beyond all reason two days later when, in a flash of white light accompanied by the ominous honking of clown-horns, half of her government’s lawyers and legal experts vanished without a trace. Oh, everypony else celebrated, but Twilight liked bureauponies!

But, as silly as the reasoning had been behind the abductions, she ended up simply agreeing to arbitrate in order to get her ponies back in a timely fashion.

Two days later, the Treaty of Anarchy had been signed by delegates from the Equestrian government, the School of Ponyville, and Discord and Fluttershy themselves. Dragon Lord Ember and King Thorax had been teleported in to serve as witnesses.

When the ridiculousness of all this had been pointed out by the Princess, Silver Spoon began reading out a list of incidents at the school that had been related to Discord, Chaos, or some combination of the two. After the fifth time-travel-related catastrophe, and the thirty-second incident in total, the Princess agreed that a legal framework for admitting Ann to school wasn’t without precedent.

Still, she considered it a bit much that a four-hundred-page document really boiled down to one demand…

And so, on a golden morning in the town of Ponyville, a lone Draconequus and his daughter walked along the road towards the local schoolhouse. A set of filly-sized schoolbags drifted along behind them, lifted up by a series of tiny butterfly wings. Discord had promised Fluttershy they were magic, and that no actual butterflies had been harmed in their enchantment.

Anarchy, naturally, was not quite walking on her way to her first day of school. Her hooves touched the ground only intermittently, her batwings flapping furiously to gain her enough lift to stay up… and failing.

Though only intermittently, so that was progress!

Discord glanced at his daughter, and raised an eyebrow, “I still don’t understand why you just don’t fly with your magic.”

“It’s the…” she gained two feet of altitude before dropping back down again, “… the pwinciple of the thing… gotta… pwoove myseff to Dash…”

She looked like she was hopping in slow motion. “Besides… you said I can’t… use magic at… schoo.”

“Right,” her dad sighed, shaking his head, “We should talk about that real quick.”

Ann came down once more, and then turned expectantly to her dad… who was now wearing some sort of uniform… well, she wouldn’t know what a Manehattan police officer is.

“Alright lassie, the terms of your parole,” he began, taking on a thick Shirish accent, “No Chaos Magic on school grounds, unless it’s for Gags, or to protect your life or the lives of your classmates.”

With a snap of his horn... remarkably flexible, those things... Discord had created a small black bracelet embedded with a red and green gemstone. He quickly fastened it to Ann’s foreleg.

“I’ll know if’n ye cast any sort of Chaos while on school grounds or wit ye friends,” he sighed. “Not tha’ I personally care... but I promised ye Ma...”

Ann frowned, staring at the bracelet, “Oh, okay. You made it sound awot wowse than… wait. Gags?”

“Gags,” Discord nodded, losing the accent just as swiftly as he’d put it on, “One of the Five Schools of Chaos Magic.”

He pulled up a claw and began to count on his talons, “Gags are anything that’s largely harmless, nondisruptive, and basically funny. Goofs are for whenever a Gag effects somepony else. Shimmying is anything that moves stuff around, in any dimension… so no time travel or teleporting, but I got you a loophole for flying. A lost cause, apparently, since you’re determined to use your actual wings, but whatever. And finally, Zapping. Self-explanatory, that one.”

“Um,” Ann kept frowning, “Wasn’t that only four?”

She leapt in shock as her Dad appeared behind her and said, ruefully, “Oh my darling little mystery prize! Haven’t I been a good teacher? This is CHAOS we’re talking about! If it followed its own rules, that’d just be silly…”

The little ponequus pondered what she’d just heard. And she had questions.

“What did Twiwight say about that?”

Discord folded his arms, but didn’t lose his smarmy grin, “While the Princess was a pro at math, she’s always been an abysmall student of Chaos. I just told her the fifth school was Nunya. As in…”

“Nunya business?”

“… did Aunt Pinkie use that joke too?”

“Yeah,” Ann smiled, remembering the (according to Dad) perfidious pink party planner pony princess of puns, parties, and potentially perilous parfaits baking berry biscuits in her bustling bakery. When Ann and Cheese asked about Pinkie’s secret ingredient, they’d gotten the same answer.

“Well,” said Discord, recovering, “point is, we got the school to agree to let you slide on the little chaos. Changing colors, funny noises, talking to the fourth wall…”

“But I can’t…”

“Give it time.”

Ann scrunched up her nose at that. “Is… is that it?”

Her dad nodded, “Pretty much, kiddo. I managed to get you a sweetheart deal. As long as you can keep that bracelet from flashing red, nopony should complain.”

“But,” something felt funny about this, “but then why did it take that whole stack of papers just to say that?”

Here, Discord smirked, “Because, my little Anarchy, Chaos unrestrained can only do so much. Just saying all that could take a single piece of paper… but Bureaucrats make the best Chaos, and all in the name of Order!

“They’ll be so busy going over that contract, they’ll let something else slide! Things slow down, or get lost, and before you know it… CHAOS!!!”

“So,” Ann sat back down on her haunches, “You’re wetting me go to schoo… just for Chaos?”

The Dad-onequus’ smile fell. He could feel his little one’s eyes staring back up at him. “No,” he finally said.

“No. While I would love to see you tear that place apart at the seams… I remember what it was like growing up without friends.”

He knelt down next to Ann, and picked her up in his arms. She giggled as he lifted her up onto his shoulders and began to walk again.

“It’s true,” he said, picking up the pace so Ann could hold out her wings and feel the wind beneath them, “Chaos works best when it hides inside of the rules themselves, but believe me when I say this was always for you. You believe me, right?”

Anarchy answered with a little kiss on her dad’s head.

“You’re weird,” they both said at once.

Ann sat, happily hugging her dad’s neck from there, until they were just about at the school.


Discord flicked his ears back, to indicate he’d heard her.

“Can… can you get wid of my lithp?”

He stopped in his tracks. From Anarchy’s place, she couldn’t see his face, but his ears were waggling like mad. She almost gasped when her dad’s eyes popped out of his head, jumped up to her, and gave the little ponequus a piercing stare.

“And why, praytell… would I do that?”

Ann hid behind her mane. “… because I asked?”

“Hm,” Discord grunted, “I think it gives you character.”

“It’s an owd joke,” Ann countered, though quietly, and getting quieter. “The Waugh has wun its couwse.”

Discord’s eyes grew eyebrows, which frowned, “Did you ask the readership if they thought the joke was old?”

One unhidden eye narrowed at her father’s, “No… can’t see em…”

“Well, not with your hair like that,” Discord chuckled, one horn bending down to lift a long strand of pink out of the way.

“Da-ad…” she whined, though without much vigor to it. “It’s hawd to tawk wike thith. Even Cheese just nods awong sometimeth.”

The yellow and crimson eyes narrowed again, but without her dad’s mouth under them, Ann could only guess what he was feeling.

“And… you think it’ll be harder to make friends?” he asked after a long silence.

Ann just nodded. She could feel his whole-body sigh beneath her, like a big old balloon finally deflating.

“Fine,” he said quietly, “You can have your ‘L’s back. But I’m keeping the ‘R’s. It makes you sound cute.”

A plethora of parents and their children were crowded around the schoolhouses that morning. First day of school was a big moment for everycreature there, and every parent wanted to make sure the year started off on the right hoof. Or claw. Or fin, in the case of the hippogriffs. The two schoolhouses sat on the same plot of land, one for the little foals, and one for the older fillies and colts. This led to a wide, wide variety of, not just creatures, but ages to gather this morning.

Despite the numbers, the various creatures this morning were more or less scattered into their own groups and cliques, parents hanging near their children as the younger ones tried, often awkwardly, to make friends for the first time.

Yet, despite this dispersal, every single adult took a sudden notice as a Draconequus came over the hill and made his way to the school… something almost pony-shaped holding onto his shoulder.

“Oh… is that… her?”

“Horsefeathers, that thing?”

“Is it safe to bring that thing here?”

ANN!” a singularly enthusiastic little colt leapt over the heads of the assembled parents and raced his way over towards his best friend.

“Cheese!” the ponequus jumped from her father’s shoulder and glided about five feet before landing back on the dirt road and galloping the rest of the way.

“You’re coming to school with me!?” the pink and yellow colt bounced up and down, little squeaks from Boneless punctuating each hop, “That’s awesome!”

“Yeah!” the filly practically danced in place, “Mom and Dad awe letting me go to school! Isn’t that gweat!?”

“Yeah! Wait…” Cheese’s ears flicked a few times each, “You sound weird.”

“I sound weird?” Ann asked, her mind going back over what she’d just said. “Oh, Dad eased up on my lithp…” she scowled as the wandering ‘th’ returned, “But I can say my ‘L’s now!”

Cheese’s muzzle scrunched this way and that, like he was trying to chew something that wouldn’t come apart in his mouth. “Well, that’s alright, I guess.” He completely failed to notice the smug look Discord gave Ann.

“Hey,” he glanced down at her bracelet, “ You’re wearing jewelry now? That’s real pretty!“

Ann looked down herself, “Nah, I have to weaw it. It keeps twack of when I use my magic.” She used her wings to partly cover her mouth as she conspiratorially whispered to Cheese, “I’m not supposed to use it at school.”

Cheese whispered back, “Why not?”

“Adults are weird,” she said, normally again. “But I can still do this!”

And with that, Ann stuck her tongue out, which proceeded to reach up, stick to her eye, and yank the whole thing from her head. Pulling the whole thing back into her mouth, she proceeded to chew and swallow.

A new eye popped into place as she licked her lips.

“That’s what I love about you Ann,” Cheese laughed, “You’re all heart!”

The two took off, to mingle with their fellow students, as Discord stood smiling by the side of the road. None of the other adults made eye-contact with the Lord of Chaos.

Ann and Cheese hardly noticed they were receiving the same treatment, at least from the adults who didn’t pass out, and were instead content to walk together towards the school… when a dark shadow flew overhead.

The whole crowd watched, mouths agape as a golden chariot drawn by white pegasi swung around the schoolhouses, before coming down smoothly onto the dirt road… whereupon the illusion was sullied somewhat by the clearly bumpy patch the chariot hit before it could slow down.

Ann and Cheese were nearest to the chariot, and so could hear the entire exchange that followed.

“Be careful you insensitive clodsdales!! You could have thrown us!”

“W-we’re so sorry, Your Highness!” one of the pegasi flinched.

The other matched her partner’s tone, but couldn’t help rolling her eyes beneath her helmet, “Won’t happen again, Prince Blueblood!”

“See that it doesn’t! Or else what am I even paying you for!?” the imperious speaker stepped off the chariot as he spoke, quickly brushing the incident aside as he reluctantly set hoof onto the dirt road. His brilliant blue eyes, set into an alabaster coat and beneath a golden mane looked about the assembled… peasants, disdainfully. One could not tell easily, of course, as the beautifully well-kept goatee of gold hid his true feelings.

By the way the two guards shifted, they were clearly also wondering why they put up with such low pay… that was, until a little voice came up to them from the bottom of the chariot.

“Thank you, Mister Stalwart, Miss Unyielding, for the ride!”

The guards inclined their heads, and gave soft smiles to their other passenger.

“A pleasure, Your Highness.”

“Have a good day, Princess.”

Out of the chariot then hopped a tiny filly. Her coat was a shade warmer than her father’s and her mane was gold like his, but with a bright pink swirl all throughout it and her tail. Her eyes, however, were every bit as bright and piercing blue as his, if not a bit more full of that sparkle that youth brings. She cantered right over to her father, only to come up short as she saw both the assembled ponies and creatures, as well as the school itself.

“Is…” she hesitated, quite unsure as she lifted one hoof back towards her chest, “Is this… the school, Papa?” she asked, adding emphasis to the second ‘pa’ with her accent.

“Indeed, my sweet,” Blueblood nodded, more to himself than anypony else, “The very one that Princess Twilight recommended.”

She glanced at the little red buildings, and was surprised to find that she’d taken in the entire school with that one glance.

“But… but there isn’t a single tower anywhere. There’s only one story. How is this a school, Papa?”

Blueblood turned towards his daughter and swiftly snapped into a military stance. “Pearl Rose,” he said sharply. He was glad to see her snap to, as well.

“The Princess made it clear your attendance at this school would open many opportunities,” he continued, “And so I expect you to behave yourself, and show these earth ponies the pride and dignity of our family. Is that understood?”

Pearl Rose, smiling wide as her family’s honor was invoked, nodded once. “I understand, Papa!”

Then, with a twinkle hidden just behind his mustache and heavy golden bangs, Prince Blueblood leaned down so that his muzzle was inches from Pearl’s.

“Have a good day, my dear,” he gave her a kiss right on her muzzle, eliciting a giggle from Pearl, “and… try to make friends.”

“I…” she hesitated again, “I’ll try, papa…”

“Good,” he turned back to the chariot, “friends will look good in your weekly report to the Princess.”

Her Papa nearly leapt back into the chariot and took off, back to home. Back to Canterlot. Back to a real city, not this… this dumpy little nowhere town. Well, not nowhere. Just unimportant outside of Buckball season…

Pearl Rose glanced down at the ground.

“Good heavens,” she gasped, “Who’s job is it to sweep the cobblestones here? It just looks like dirt!”

“It is dirt,” a squeaky voice startled the noble heiress. She spun in place, her little horn flashing with a bright green magical aura. It was a bluff, of course, as Pearl hardly knew any magic that could defend against…

Against a small, adorable little colt with a frizzy pink mane.

“Come again?” she asked, not sure what she heard.

“It’s diwt,” the other… thing added, “Like, wegulaw old diwt.”

Pearl Rose took a step back. The second… pony? Yes, pony, had bright golden eyes with brighter red irises that seemed to stare straight through her. It was unnerving. It was repulsive! It was…

“You’re weird-looking,” she said... and instantly regretted.

Stupid Pearl, she thought, letting your words run ahead of your brain again! Couldn’t make friends in Canterlot, so you…

“Thank you.”

It’s going to be just like when she accidentally burned down Frilly Pants’… what?

“I… I beg your pardon?”

Ann just smiled. “Thank you. I like being weird. It’s like… the only ‘R’ wowd I can say cowwectly.”

Pearl Rose… stared. She stared, and she stared, and she stared until one of her eyes began to twitch. Did she say… she liked weird?

Then, she blinked. “I’m…” she stopped again. What would the Princess say? She sat and listened to enough of her speeches to Pearl’s papa whenever they had a meetings over tea to where she could recite them in her sleep… and often did. What would she say now?

Well… second chances don’t come around twice. “I’m sorry,” Pearl finally said.

Ann frowned, confused, “For what?”

Pearl’s face fell, “I called you weird, and… and I didn’t mean it in a nice way. I was just… scared.”

Cheese was shocked, “Scared by Ann!? Why!?”

“Never mind!” Pearl snorted, “It was unbecoming of a Lady of the House of Blueblood! And I’m sorry.” She bowed her head, and awaited the usual response she got when meeting new colts and fillies; disappointment and disdain. Her papa said it was a curse of their house to be envied by others.

Pearl mostly thought it was a curse that nopony liked her very much.

“That’s okay,” said Ann like she was waving off a lost potato chip, “Wanna be fwiends?”

“Fw- I mean, Friends?” Pearl looked up into Ann’s bizarre eyes.

“Yeah, fwiends,” Ann’s smile never faltered, never dipped or drooped. It almost looked genuine to Pearl Rose.

“Um… sure,” then, remembering her breeding, she struck a noble pose and announced in an even stronger Canterlot accent, “I am Princess Pearl Rose of the House Blueblood, daughter of Vladimir and Twinkleshine. I am glad to make your acquaintances.”

Cheese giggled, “That’s a funny way of saying ‘hello’.” Then, with his laugh under control, he said, “My name’s Cheese Slice… uh, House of Pie… but also Sandwiches. Mom’s busy preparing a “First Day of School Party” back home, but my dad’s over there!”

Pearl followed Cheese’s outstretched hoof towards the edge of the crowd, where a large alligator held some sort of frizzy-maned clown up above the other ponies. He was singing a song about accordions and mayonnaise while juggling cream pies, and had a number of foals and a few older children dancing along around him.

He almost looked like…

“Wait,” Pearl whispered, “Your Papa is Cheese Sandwich? The Cheese Sandwich!?”

“I guess so?” Cheese scratched one ear absentmindedly, “He’s pretty The, whatever that means...”

Pearl’s eyes narrowed, “But that means… your Mama must be…”

Cheese nodded, “I call her Mom, but everypony else calls her Pinkie for some reason.”

Pearl’s jaw dropped. She’d never actually been in the situation before where her own Papa and family name wasn’t the biggest one in the room… uh… on the street! The real Pinkie Pie!?

“And… your Papa and Mama are…?” she turned towards the strange not-pony… no, the kind pony who’d so readily held out a hoof of friendship towards her.

“Well, my Dad’s over there,” she indicated with a batwing. Discord (because there was simply no mistaking him) was dancing atop a giant version of his own head, while juggling several fillies and colts, all of whom were laughing hysterically while their parents fainted around them.

“But my name’s Ann. It’s showt for Anawchy. Nice to meet ya!”

Discord… Ann… Discord… pink mane…

“Is…” Pearl’s mouth was dry, “Is your mom… Fluttershy?”

Ann just nodded. Just nodded. That’s… that’s all she had to say... or not say? About being the daughter of the Fluttershy!?

“But that means,” Pearl Rose blinked once, and her eyes were suddenly filled with stars, “That means that your moms… played Buckball…”

Both Ann and Cheese exchanged confused looks.

Cheese came back first, “What?”

“Buckball?” Ann asked, having never heard the term before.

And now Pearl was beginning to hop in place, chattering away, “Your parents are the first Buckball team from Ponyville!!! This is amazing!”

She nearly bowled over Ann as she ran up to the ponequus, “Your Mom still holds the record for tail-whip-rebounds in a single match! She’s still one of the top scorers of all time!!”

The wind whipped up Cheese’s mane as Pearl rushed over to him. She kept talking as she lifted up one of his hooves in her magic aura, “And Pinkie Pie’s bucking rating was consistently at 1.0 Pies! She literally set the scale! Oh, did she ever teach you how to do the 900-degree turn-buck-flip? NOPONY has ever managed to do that since her…!”

Cheese’s hooves grasped the sides of Pearl’s face, and brought their eyes to within inches of touching. Then, with the slowest, calmest voice Ann had ever heard out of her excitable friend, he said, “Breathe.”

Pearl blinked. Then, she breathed. And once Cheese had let go of her face, she smiled with a deep blush and no small amount of chagrin.

“Um… sorry. I got excited.”

Ann gave Cheese an appraising look, “Wow, Cheese! Did you learn that from your mom?”

Cheese shook his head, “Nah… sometimes my Mom needs to calm down…”

The three giggled together as he said that. Pearl Rose because the thought of one of the Element Bearers being so silly must have been a joke, Ann and Cheese because they knew better.

Finally, Pearl Rose looked Ann in the eyes, despite wanting to crawl under something while doing so. “So… did you really mean it when you said you wanted to be… friends?”

“Of couwse,” she said without hesitation. “Why?”

“Oh, it’s just…” Twilight was always saying how friends could be honest with each other, “I’ve never had friends before. None my own age, anyway. Servants don’t count, they tell me…”

Cheese placed a hoof on her shoulder, “Well, forget about what you didn’t have. You got at least two friends now!”

Pearl Rose smiled. She smiled, genuinely, for the first time in some while…

The ringing of a bell brought everypony’s attention back to the main schoolhouse door. Standing on its front step, a silver and white-colored pony shook a bell in her mouth, while the far more well-known Miss Cheerilee stood beside her, watching all her little ponies gather for the beginning of another wonderful school year.

When Silver Spoon stopped shaking her bell, Cheerilee stepped forward to say, “Welcome, welcome! Please, everyp- I mean, everycreature gather up! Students up front!”

As Ann and her friends started for the front of the school, the ponequus immediately found her progress halted. It was halted because there was an entire pony in her way. The two crashed to the ground together in a heap, each grunting out a little ‘ow’ as they landed.

“Eugh!” the other pony, a brilliantly green earth pony with a sparkling blue mane grumbled, “Watch where you’re going!”

Pearl Rose and Cheese each grabbed some part of Ann and tried to untangle her from the other filly, just as the other filly’s friends, an orange Changeling, and a tall-for-a-colt brown coat and maned unicorn helped her up.

“Sowwy about that, I wasn’t looking. Um, wanna be fwiends?” Ann held out a hoof to the other filly…

Who slapped it aside, “How about, no? You sure you can see with those ugly peepers?”

“… peepers?”

“Hey!” Cheese snarled, “she’s not ugly!”

The unicorn colt snapped back, “If Flawless Gem says you’re ugly, guess what? You're ugly!”

“Thank you, Beauregard,” Flawless patted her friend’s shoulder, “But I got this.”

Pearl Rose scowled, in as polite and ladylike a manner as she could manage in the face of such… such impoliteness. “I do believe we got off on the wrong hoof here. My name is Pearl Rose, Princess-of-the-House-Blueblood,” she added her titles quickly, “and these are my friends, Anarchy and Cheese Slice,” she indicated each with a nod and a wave of her foreleg.

“Finally,” Flawless sighed, “another city-pony! I’m Flawless Gem,” she tilted her nose up, “My parents are the largest gem-providers in Equestria. Perhaps you heard of Imperial Gems? We’re from the Empire, naturally, not this…" her nose turned up, "... hole.”

She indicated her own companions with one hoof, “This is my friend Mandible…”

The Changeling smirked, and gave a sarcastic salute with one hoof.

“… and you’ve already met Beauregard.”

The unicorn snorted, and then hefted his schoolbags in a blue aura. The fact he could hold them up wasn’t nothing, by young unicorn standards.

Pearl still thought he was a tool.

“But darling,” Flawless continued, “You really must come over and be friends with us. Riffraff like these… I hesitate to say ponies, have a habit of… sullying good names.”

Ann scowled, one wing lifting up to snap... when she heard a high-pitched beeping sound from her hoof. The bracelet's red gem flashed angrily at her.

"Beauregard?" Flawless smirked, "Didn't your uncle have to wear one of those after they caught him lifting oranges in Manehattan?"

Beauregard blushed, and tried to look away. "Uh... yeah... We don't talk to him much anymore..."

Flawless hardly waited for the response, "See? Sullied."

Pearl huffed, nobly, and said, “If it means sullying my name with these sorts of ponies," she nodded to Ann and Cheese, "I’ll take it. Gladly!”

Three more scowls joined the match, and now three fillies, two colts, and a nymph stared down one another, hackles raised and breath held. Not one of them moved, not one inch. The first one to move, to flinch, to blink…

The ringing of Silver Spoon’s bell caught their attention. Nocreature was staring, yet, but it was clear these six were straggling.

Flawless turned her back on the three ponies before her, saying as she left, “We’ll see you on the playground, freaks. C’mon boys.”

Watching those three head off first, Cheese was uncharacteristically peeved. “How can somepony so pretty be so… rotten inside?”

Pearl sniffed, “It’s an acquired skill, my Papa says... though he also says it comes in handy sometimes. Come on girls, we’d better not be late for… Ann?”

Pearl and Cheese turned to watch their ponequus friend. She was still staring after Flawless and her friends... and her eyes burned bright even in the harsh glare of the morning sun. Her wing was frozen in place, just an inch or so away from a good old Chaos Snap...


The bracelet was flashing brighter, redder.

Let's see how she likes being a...


That was odd... that sounded like...

"What?" She followed the sound of the voice, and found Cheese staring back at her. His eyes were glistening pools of green, worry practically blaring out from him.

"Ann... are you alright?"

Ann blinked, and then blinked again. With a glance up and down, she took in the blinking bracelet and her tensed batwing. She shivered in place, like she'd just leapt from a hot bath into the snow, and reset her wing.

The green gem blinked once, lowly. Then silence.

"I'm okay," she shook her head again, "I just... never heard that word before and..."

“Come along darling,” Pearl nudged Ann’s withers, a sympathetic frown on her face, “We really don’t want to be late.”

As the students filed into their classes, and as the many, many parents began to march towards home or to work… the Lord of Chaos found himself alone in front of the school. Alone… and furious.

He’d seen it all, of course. He’d heard everything said and seen it all done. And, up to a certain point, he accepted what he told Fluttershy about Ann making friends. There would be friends, and there would be… not-friends. That’s how kids worked, after all.

But that word...


Author's Note:

*A Glowering Garden is very similar to a flower garden. One is full of flowers. The other is full of flowers grown by the bewitching magicks of Grogar, Father of Monsters and Grandfather of Anarchy.

I cannot describe to you how hard it is to keep track of a wandering lisp. It’s not quite as bad as a trackless lisp, however, since those are just as hard to find where they’ve been as where they’re going. But neither of them can hold a candle to an invisible lisp. I bet none of you realized that I have one! :pinkiecrazy:

Odd how stories seem to grow as you tell them. Oh well.

Next Time: Buckball