• Published 20th Dec 2011
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A Heart of Stone - BorgiaBrony

One summer morning, young Prnicess Celestia meets a draconequus named Discord...

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Chapter 9: DisQord's Wonderful Tapestry

Overconfidence (n.): a misplaced or overestimation of one’s abilities.

This was the definition Discord came up with for the word he would hear most over his next term of imprisonment. After being moved back to the garden and propped up once more on the familiar pillar, in addition to the usual snarks about his appearance (which, in a way, were now even more hurtful, as the ponies knew for a fact that he was more than a statue), the ponies now talked about his so called “overconfidence.” They talked down to him like he was a naughty child who
needed a scolding. As if they even came close to him!

There was a fairly common method to the madness: “You know, if he wasn’t so darn full of himself,” one would say to another, “he would have taken over Equestria!”

The other would shudder. “Let’s not even dwell on it!” And they would walk off, laughing at him as they went.

He was powerful. So much so, in fact, that some claimed he bordered on godhood. He could think things and make them happen. Just like that. That much was common knowledge. The Elements of Harmony were broken right in front of him. He saw them fail. “If that isn’t reason enough to be confident,” he thought “nothing is.”

He had other things to worry about that were more important than the completely wrong opinions of a few misinformed ponies. What he was going to do upon his next liberation was chief amongst them. Now, with non-alicorns wielding the Elements, it would only be a matter of time until one of them…passed on, and once again break the spell. To pass the time, he often made bets against himself thinking who would go first. “Ms. Sparkle in an unfortunate book shelf avalanche? No, No! Pinkie Pie in an unexpected cupcake making accident! A better one still! A tree falling on Fluttershy! Oh the irony!”

Of course, he had never been a stupid draconequus. He was calculating. He knew the ball wasn’t in his court. As soon as he broke free again, Celestia would sic the new bearers of the Elements on him like a pack of rabid dogs. It didn’t help that another attempt at revenge would be dreadfully predictable. No, he’d need to go about maintaining his freedom a different way next time. And after a few years of deliberation he finally came up with it: bury the hatchet with Celestia. Despite the fact that this plan was, after all, created in his best interests, Discord really and truly began to miss the days of his life when he was carefree, happy, and friends with Celestia. Nopony hunted him. Nopony hated him. Nopony turned him to stone. Yes, the best course of action was an appeal to his old friend; he was sure of it.

Soon the familiar feeling returned to his foot and slowly snuck its way up his body with the everyday chaos that filled the world. Once again, the big day came when one final bit of disorder fully broke the curse. The stone broke, his eyes burned, his skin grew cold, and he fell to his knees once again to cough up the remaining granite. When he looked up from the dirt, Celestia was standing there, glaring down at him.

“I’ve already alerted the Elements,” she said coldly. “They’ll be here in a few minutes.”

Discord raised an eyebrow. “Always so hasty, Tia! You haven’t even let me say my peace yet!”

She turned away from him, spreading her wings as if she was ready to fly away. “There’s nothing for us to talk about. You’re evil and you’ll pay for what you’ve done.”

“Can’t let her get away now,” Discord thought. With that, he snapped his fingers together and replaced her wings with his arms and vice versa. “Ah-ah-ah. I’m serious. I’m offering you a once in a life time deal here!”

Celestia tried to avert her eyes away from him, but the arms on her back started to writhe, grabbed her face, and directed it back toward him. She groaned, “I’m listening.”

Discord clapped her wings together in joy. “Marvelous, Tia. I knew you’d come around. I am offering you, Princess Celestia of Equestria, another chance at eternal friendship with me, the one and only Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony. Whaddya say?”

“Are you serious?” she asked him with a hint of outrage.

“I’ve never been more serious in my life. We have an agreement, yes?” he asked her closing his eyes and extending her wing to seal the deal.

“You really ARE that arrogant, aren’t you?” she asked him condescendingly.

His eyes blasted open with the sounds of shattering glass and the alabaster wing pulled back with the speed of a pulled up window shade. “Come again?”

“I don’t know if being in stone all that time has affected your memory at all but after all you’ve done to me and my family do you really expect for me to just forgive you?”

Discord looked at her with a puzzled look on his face. He shrugged with the white wings and said, “Pretty much?” Celestia groaned with frustration and began to walk away. As he gave chase he called to her, “Why can’t we just go back to the way things were?” She stopped dead in her tracks. “You know, back in the good old days. When we were young-“

“Stop right there, Discord!” she shouted with royal authority. Discord shrunk back from her and switched their appendages back. “You are never to mention that time to me again. There is NO way I can just forget all that you’ve done. You brought misery to thousands of ponies.”

“That’s an odd way to pronounce ‘fun and joy,’” said Discord.

“You killed my parents.”

Discord coughed, “Self defense.”

“And worst of all, you nearly corrupted me for all time with your ghosts. If it hadn’t been for Luna…”

“She came anyway and you weren’t corrupted forever. And deep down you knew what those things said weren’t true. After all that, no real harm done to anypony. Now, about that friendship…” he said as he extended his paw to accept a hoofshake.

Celestia sighed and turned away. Under her breath she said ‘Sometimes I wish I just never met you that day in the garden.”

Discord thought about this for a minute, processing what he should do next. Then an idea hit him. “Oh that’ll teach her!” he thought. “After this she’ll see the value in my friendship.” He leaned over to her and whispered into her ear, “That can be arranged.”

Before she could spin around to ask him what he meant, he had already grasped a sizeable portion of the air, bunched it up like it was a curtain, and pulled at it. The world around them was torn away like it had been wallpaper, and they now stood in a pure white, blank plane, barren of anything but the two of them.

“What is the meaning of this Discord?” she demanded.

He smirked to himself. “You’ll find out in a few moments, Tia.” With these words the whiteness around them began to slowly fill with colors. Blues, greens, yellows, and reds snaked their way into position to form a larger picture. Celestia was dumbfounded and could only stare on in wide-eyed wonder, as opposed to Discord, who was cleaning dirt from his claws. While they were waiting for the world to reform, Discord couldn’t help but to ask which of the old Elements had died first. When he finally broke her out of her wonder induced trance, she told him Applejack had passed away the previous year, “due to natural causes.” Discord rested his face in his palm. “I just lost a bet to myself. I’ve hit a new low.”

When the world around them finished forming, they were still in the royal garden. “Why would you waste all that time and energy on a simple parlor trick?” she asked bewildered.

Discord moved very close to her, put his arm around her, and pointed to the sky. “It’s a bird! It’s a Pegasus! It’s…” a small, slow moving blot flew into view past the mountain.

“It’s you,” she said. “You brought me back to the day I found you in the garden!” Discord nodded.

“You want me gone so badly, I thought I’d give you the chance. I’d better get a move on it, though.” He pulled up the fur on his paw to reveal a fleshy layer of pink skin with a watch on his wrist. “In about four minutes, Mini-Me up there is going to fall and make the crashing that brings you out here to find him.”

Celestia flew off like a rocket toward the tired draconequus while Discord laid his back up against a tree to relax. He saw as Celestia caught his past self from falling and brought him on her back to a nearby forest.

“There,” She said as she flew back to him. “It’s done. We’ve never met.”

He applauded sarcastically. “Well done, Celestia, well done!”

“Enough of this!” she said triumphantly. “Bring me back to the present. I want to see the improvements I just made.”

Discord grinned. “As you wish, your highness.” He snapped his fingers and once again, the world’s colors melted around them. They found themselves once again on the white plain.

“I can’t wait to see how much better the world is now,” Celestia said to herself as the world’s image was being slowly rebuilt.
Discord just kept smiling to himself. She had no clue of the ramifications of what she just did.

This time, when the colors snaked into their positions, they were not the familiar shades of green and blue, but shades of gray and black. Celestia looked around with a look of concern on her face as the place that had been the Canterlot garden morphed into a sickly, barren wasteland of sulfur and fire.

“Where have you taken me, Discord?” she asked him with a perturbed tone. “This is not Canterlot.”

“Au contraire, ma princesse,” remarked Discord slyly. “This IS Canterlot. Well, what’s left of it.”

Still taking in the horror of the black wasteland that had been her home; she looked around for a few minutes. The only things that were still standing for miles were a section of her ruined castle, and a gargantuan palace at the foot of the mountain. Discord noticed the shock on her face when she looked out on the rest of Equestria and saw that it was largely the same: blackness covered the land, with an occasional fire burning dimly on the few dead trees that were still in the ground.

“How did this happen?” she asked. He could tell that she was starting to choke up, so he got right to it. He clutched her wing and blinked away.

As soon as they reappeared, Discord quickly pulled her behind an opulent pillar: they were in the aforementioned gargantuan palace. The hall they were in was a corruption of Canterlot Tower. A closer glance at the floors revealed that they were made completely from the ruins of the old Canterlot castle. Flanked by two lines of pillars on both sides of the room, a blood red carpet spanned the length of the hall from front to back. The stained glass windows depicted the horrible story of this land’s ruler: a familiar, massive, crimson dragon. When they poked their heads out from behind the pillar, they saw the hall’s demented ruler: Cronus, sitting on a most peculiar throne. He was sitting on the moon.

“HOW COULD THI-,” Discord quickly put his finger on her lip and quieted her.

“We’re not the ghosts of Hearth’s Warming’s Eve Past, Tia. He can hear us.” He looked back out at his father again to check and see if they were in danger. He had barely heard her shout. He couldn’t deny that it was unpleasant seeing him again, but if that was what it took to teach Celestia this lesson, then so be it.

Much more quietly this time, she asked, “How could this have happened?”

Discord reached around her shoulder and pointed out the stained glass windows. “I guess its story time, Celestia. You see, in the life you lived, I killed Cronus and stopped his plans for total domination to get back to you.” As he said this, he noticed that her face lit up with surprise with this new revelation. He pointed to a partly shattered window of Cronus commanding the young Discord around. “Well, what happened after you intervened a few moments ago, my father caught up to me and brought me back to the colony. After using my talents for a few years, he tired of and disposed of me like a broken toy.”

Next, he directed his attention to a window portraying Cronus leading many dragons in an attack on Canterlot. “Later still, he developed the notion that he should rule Equestria. So he gang-pressed a few other dragons to help him take over your parent’s kingdom.”

“My parents…” Celestia muttered out. “What happened to them?”

Discord bit his lip. He debated on whether or not to show her. “No, I have to,” he thought to himself. He told her to take a look at the rings Cronus was wearing on his fingers. He peered out from behind the pillar with her. He could only hear her muffled gasp when she saw that the “rings” were, in fact, her parents’ crowns and breastplates. She was close to tearing up now.

“Discord?” she asked quietly. “Where is Luna? Where is my sister?”

He sighed. “I really hate to do this to you, but…” He directed her attention to another, newer looking window. On it was an emblazoned image of Nightmare Moon, standing atop the moon, while glaring ferociously at Cronus. “Without any strong positive influences, Luna transformed indefinitely into Nightmare Moon. She tried to lead a small resistance against Cronus for a time, but it was all for naught. In a final ditch effort to kill him, she used every last bit of her power to become one with the moon, so she could crash it into him.” They both glanced once again at Cronus’ peculiar throne. “It didn’t work.”

Celestia shook her head, just barely holding back her emotions now. “No, no, no, no. ‘No strong positive influences?’ I know I’ll regret asking, but, Discord, where am I in all of this?”

He started to snap his fingers, but stopped midway through. “Are you sure? It’s not pretty…”

She hesitated. “Yes. I’m sure. I’m a big filly. I can handle it.”

“Whatever you say, Princess,” he said as he once again grabbed her wing and blinked out of the evil hall.

This time when they reappeared, they were outside the ruins of Canterlot castle. Without a word, they slowly walked into the crumbling remains of home of Equestria’s once great rulers. As they went further and further into the ruins, they began to hear the sounds of a young filly talking to herself. He stopped Celestia where she was, and laid his hands on both his head and hers. When he removed them, he told her, “Now we can be as loud as we please.”

They both approached the source of the sound; they found that it was none other than the young Celestia. She was reading the last of a massive stack of books she had piled up in the area of the wrecked library behind her.

“Welcome back to the Canterlot library, Celestia. Clearly,” he motioned towards the pile of books, “you’ve spent a lot of time here.” After this joke fell flat he decided to get on with her story. “After Luna was born you had no one to explain to you what was going on. No one to tell you that you should love her no matter what. You grew to resent both Luna and your parents for loving her too much. When Cronus came calling, you abandoned your family and your subjects to their own devices. They never showed you the affection, the friendship, you craved so you just left them to die. You retreated to the far reaches of the map for a few years, until things settled down. Then you snuck back to the castle hoping to spend the rest of your days doing the only thing that ever mattered to you: studying.”

She wasn’t making any attempts to hide it now. She began to cry her eyes out, screaming out her denials of the young mare in front of her. “NO! NO! NO! NO! That is NOT me! I would never do something so cowardly and terrible!” She threw herself to the ground and buried her face in her hooves.

Discord hated that this was what it took to teach her. But it was necessary for her to grow as a ruler (and more importantly, to show her that he can be a positive force, and that letting him stay free would be a good thing.) He bent down to pat her on the head to console her.

“You are completely right. That isn’t you. That is the Celestia you could have been, the one who did not ever meet me. And she had quite a different life than the one you remember. That Princess never truly appreciated friendship, never knew the importance of her sister before it was too late, and eventually let my father and his cronies win. Her life never came into focus. She drifted through much of her life, with no social interaction, going from one book to the next, blindly believing that throwing a, per say stone covering over the unpleasant things would make it all go away. She learned to do things by herself & she never ever had a single friend.”

As he said this, the world once more melted around them, until it was the day that they met again. “The only question is, Tia,” he lifted her head up so that she could see the young draconequus flying by, “would you do it all again?”

She looked back and forth at him and the Discord in the air. Then she took a long look up in the sky and let the young Discord fall into the garden. “YES!” Discord shouted in his head. “My freedom is a sure thing now!”

Celestia quickly got up and regained her composure while the world melted around them for a final time. The familiar colors of Canterlot Tower seeped into the whiteness around them. Once the scene had been rebuilt, Discord asked her, “Well, what did we learn today?”

She looked at him with hate in her eyes. “We learned that you are a madman who enjoys to see me suffer!”

“Actually,” Discord said, getting a little annoyed that she couldn’t see the point to all of this, “I gave you something most ponies will never get: a second chance. An opportunity to see what life could have been if you did that one little thing differently. You even asked for it yourself. And all you can do is insult me? I showed you that everything happens for a reason, and that the way things happen to begin with is usually for the best. And if I’m not mistaken, I also told you what I did to protect you all from my father, did I not?”

With this Celestia blushed, and looked at the ground as if to hide her shame. She waited a long time before making her next move, which surprised him thoroughly: she reached out and hugged him tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered into his ear.
“Thank you so much.” In his joyfulness, he thought he could hear the scrambling of hooves outside.

When she let him go, she looked him in the eyes and started to announce something. “Discord, for all that you’ve done today, and over one thousand years ago to protect Equestria, I hereby-,” Discord was waiting on her words with extreme eagerness as the doors behind him crashed open.

“Don’t worry, Princess! We’ll save you!” shouted a voice from behind Discord.

Celestia screamed at them, telling them to stop, but before Discord could turn around, he felt the all too familiar pain pierce at his back: the Elements. She had tricked him. That was the only explanation. She bought her time until her little hit squad could come and re-imprison him. “So much for teaching you any lessons…” he told her and the stone once again glazed over his eyes.