• Published 23rd Apr 2021
  • 1,576 Views, 54 Comments

Who Needs Enemies -- Part I - Lets Do This

Twilight and her AP team face Discord. And he may have met his match. Yet the Lord of Chaos has an ace to play: he knows Twilight's new friends better than they realize. And how to get rid of them... by showing her it's for the best, really...

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Prologue: Tea for Three

Once upon a time, in a magical land
(soon to be known as Equestria)...

"More tea, Sunny? Oh, do forgive me... Princess Shining Star?"

In a clearing in the Royal Gardens, adjacent to the newly-built Palace of the Two Sisters, situated in the heart of the verdant and eternally pleasant Everfree Forest, an ornately embroidered tablecloth was spread with a light afternoon tea service.

On the one side of it, a young ivory-white alicorn with a bubblegum pink mane and tail put a hoof to her snout, suppressing a laugh. And on the other side, a creature looking very much like a territorial dispute in a zoological park innocently blinked mismatched yellow eyes at her.

"Discord..." the Princess scolded him, "don't you start getting all formal. It's bad enough the servants and staff doing it. Honestly! I begin to think these little tea-parties of ours are my one respite from creeping protocol."

"Well, it is only your just due," Discord replied, bowing genteelly. "Your Highness."

Then he turned to the third member of the party: a regal pink unicorn with a flowing, rose-red mane and tail. She was dressed simply but elegantly in strands of blue beads, plus knit anklets with large golden hearts on them.

"More for you, Princess Amore?" Discord gestured at the teapot, currently hovering in midair and gently flapping its wings.

Amore suppressed a laugh as well. "No, thank you, Discord." And then her expression turned sad. "You know, Star, I sometimes feel as if these little get-togethers of ours are my sole respite from creeping, impending doom." She shook her head. "As if the North wasn't bad enough already, what with ice storms, Yak raids, and the occasional hungry Yeti, but now there are rumors of a reappearance of those mischievous Changelings. Not to mention the fabled Umbrum, whom nopony has seen in decades. And to top it all off? I now have to deal with this cabal of sorcerors -- led by my very own mentor!"

Shining Star nodded sympathetically. "Queen Velha has informed us that they have captured Lonely Island in the southern oceans. Although captured is a little strong. It's little more than a barren rock that nopony wanted anyways. Still, it does sit on a conjunction of ley lines. And these sorcerors appear to be turning it into a power-base, from which they intend to threaten all of Equestria."

"With, I feel certain," Amore said, "the ultimate aim of attacking and taking my Empire."

"Don't worry, Amore," Shining Star soothed. "You're my mentor, and my very good friend. We may not yet have a formal alliance, but we are ponies. Equestria and the Empire will stand together. You'll have every resource we can offer. Right, Discord?" She added a significant look in his direction.

"Hmm? Oh, to be sure!" Discord replied quickly. "I'd be the last to want these wonderful little outings of ours to come to an end."

"Thank you, Discord." Amore smiled. "And thank you, Star. Though you have yet to be crowned officially, it is a comfort to me knowing your realm already has such a kind and supportive leader."

"Hear, hear!" Discord reached for a cucumber sandwich with his eagle claw, and somehow managed to pick up only the crusts, leaving the middle behind. "Yes, Sunny, one day soon, you'll be crowned Queen of all Equestria, to rule the three tribes for eternity, with justice and fairness. Along with that sister of yours... oh, what is her name? I keep forgetting for some reason..."

"Moon Gleam," Shining Star sternly reminded him. Though with a smile, since it was an old and familiar joke.

"Ah, yes. Her. Really, Starry! Why the two of you have to be crowned as a matched set, I still don't understand. Couldn't she just, well... wait her turn or something?"

"They are immortal, Discord," Amore said. "Or close enough. Not as if they can take turns, now is it?"

"Mmm, no... I suppose not."

Amore turned back to Shining Star. "Have you settled on a coronation name yet, my dear?"

"I had thought Solana... or perhaps Solara. Though Star Swirl the Stuffy-Headed insists on something grander, more evocative... like Celestia!" She rolled her eyes. It was a long-standing dispute, which didn't seem like it would be settled any time soon.

"Hmph. That might work," Discord allowed dismissively. "And dear sister Moony? The woefully predictable and insufferably straight-laced?"

Shining Star laughed. "She still insists on being crowned Luna, no matter what Star Swirl says. But she knows her own mind, I'll grant her that. She's not going to remain the younger sister forever. If she can only stop prancing about like a filly whenever the coronation is even mentioned..."

Discord looked uncommonly somber. "And when you're both crowned, and busy with regal duties, do you think there'll still be time for trivialities like... tea parties?"

Shining Star reached out a hoof to touch his lion paw. "I wouldn't miss this for the world, Discord. And don't you worry. If they give it to me to rule this land, I will make the time."

Discord smiled back, and give her hoof a pat with his claw.

"Here you are at last, Sister!" said a light-blue alicorn with a flowing blue mane, who had just trotted into the clearing from out of the hedge-maze.

Shining Star suppressed a smile at that. Moon Gleam always made a point of going through the maze, rather than around it, just to drive home the fact that she knew it so well. The blue alicorn eyed Discord suspiciously. In return, he stuck out his snake-like tongue at her. "We are late for our afternoon lesson," Moon Gleam declared, "and Star Swirl is most put out. He sent me to find thee, Sister."

Shining Star sighed. "I'm sorry, Discord. I'm afraid it's time for me to go learn even more about how to be a Princess and rule for eternity, with justice and fairness."

"Oh, I suppose," he agreed sadly. "But next Tuesday's still on, right?"

"Absolutely, old friend!"

Discord blinked, startled.

"You know," he said, "I hadn't really thought about it like that. I suppose we are friends, of a sort. Hmph! When did that happen? When did I stop thinking only about me?" He stared at Shining Star, and at Amore as well. "You know, until I started visiting your tiny little pocket reality, and met you odd little ponies, I'd never really known anyone I might count as a friend..."

"Perhaps," said Moon Gleam, "if thou wert not so self-centered, and irritatingly insensitive, thou might have noticed it sooner?"

Discord scowled. "Shouldn't you be off counting the stars or something? I think you missed one last night, Moony. Though I won't say which. Wouldn't want you feeling like you'd slipped up, or anything..."

Moon Gleam refused to rise to the bait. Instead, she looked at her elder sister pleadingly. "Star?"

"Yes, Moon-Moon, I know," Shining Star replied gently. And moved to gather up the tea things with her magic.

"Ah-ah-ah!" Discord put up a paw to stop her. "Allow me. It's the least I can do... for a friend."

With a snap of his claw he instantly repacked the basket and folded the blanket. With another, he spirited both away -- to the kitchens most likely, though with Discord, one could never quite be certain.

"Sadly, I must return home as well," Amore said. "But I look forward to our next get-together, though the stars themselves know when I'll be able to make the time!" She chuckled softly. "You know, Star, I envy you? Living here in the warm, pleasant South, with your dear sister for company. And Discord as well -- a being of utter chaos! Truly, you are a force of Harmony to be reckoned with, my dear!"

Then she sighed.

"And I also envy the excellent relationship you have with your own court sorceror. Ah, forgive me, wizard! I know Star Swirl gets tetchy about that. Yes, I miss the conversations I used to have with Sacanas... the arguments and debates. And the comforting words of advice, few though they became towards the end. Yet I do realize why we grew apart." She looked sternly forbidding for a moment. "There are some opinions one simply does not forgive..."

"It is regrettable," Shining Star replied gently. "But sometimes it is what is. Some relationships just don't last. We outgrow them."

"So sad," Discord agreed. "Not like us, eh?" Then he bowed politely to Amore. "May I offer you a lift home, Princess?"

He snapped his claw, summoning a tall oval portal in the air, through which the jewel-like, glittering house-fronts of the Empire were visible.

"Many thanks, Discord," Amore bowed her head graciously. "It would be a long sleigh-ride otherwise!"

"Ah, perhaps," Shining Star suggested, "one day soon we might open formal diplomatic relations? And have something better than an old ice-trader's road connecting our realms? Then you'd be able to visit us more often. I know both our nations would benefit. And personally, both I and my sister would value your company and advice."

Amore hesitated. And then she smiled. "I would like that too, my dears. I do sometimes think my Empire has been isolated far too long." She bowed her head to Shining Star and Moon Gleam. "I promise to see you both at the coronation, if not sooner!"

The Two Sisters bowed their heads in return. "Until then, Amore," said Shining Star. "Be well!"

Princess Amore stepped through the portal, and with a snap from Discord, it vanished.

"Until next time, ladies!" he called grandly. "Parting is such sweet sorrow! Farewell, my dear Princess Shining Star! Oh... and you too, Moony," he added, with a frown in her direction. "Ta ta!" Blowing a kiss with paw and claw, he turned a back-flip, and then slithered away through another portal, leading to his own peculiar dimension. It snapped closed behind him with a small clap of thunder.

Shining Star giggled softly, as she turned to walk with Moon Gleam back toward their classroom in the Palace. "He can be so charming," she said. "Whenever he chooses to be."

"Sister..." Moon Gleam warned. "Ponies will talk. And even with Amore as chaperone, it is somewhat unseemly, these clandestine social outings with a godlike being of pure, unadulterated chaos..."

"Who, for all his age and limitless power," Shining Star reproved, "is a gentle soul at heart. He's like a young colt: eager to show off, wanting only company and attention... and a firm hoof now and again, to keep him from veering off the path."

Her expression turned serious and resigned. "And he is a comforting dose of inanity, in a life that seems ever more strictured and ruthlessly predictable."

"If one can manage to put up with him."

"I feel that we should, sister," Shining Star said. "Moreover, I feel we should make him part of our Court, officially."

Moon Gleam looked pained. "Must we? He will be insufferable."

"Indeed we must, Sister Mine." Shining Star nodded. "For when we two are crowned, and stand together in authority over this great land, it will be a comfort to know that along with your very good self, we shall always have our old friend Discord, keeping us from becoming a little too set in our ways."

Moon Gleam rolled her eyes. "Rough with the smooth, I suppose." Then she relented. "So long as it gives thee comfort, dear sister!"

Shining Star nodded.

"It does, Moon-Moon. It does indeed. And I hope, like our friendship with Amore and her Empire, that never changes..."

A thousand-plus years later...