• Published 6th Oct 2012
  • 1,893 Views, 101 Comments

A Discordant Tale - piedol



A story of Ponies, Humans and Discord, and the tragedy lost to history.

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

"I did tell you so."

"Shut up."

“If you'd only listened-"

"Shut up!"

"Someone's sore about taking correction."

"Princess High-and-Mighty, I am very sore right now, but for entirely different, more physical reasons."

"Well who's fault is that? You just had to encourage her, didn't you?"

"I swear to G- Celes- Whoever I'm supposed to swear to in this case, if you don't stop being smug and get me back on my feet now I'll-"

"Technically, we'd be getting your feet back on you, wouldn't we?"

I said nothing. I just glared at Celestia, who insufferably smirked right back. I would have simply walked away from her, but that wasn't an option on account of the fact that my feet had been severed at the ankles. Yeah, ouch.

My initial reaction had been copious amounts of screaming and swearing, followed by muffled whimpers as Celestia used her magic to reduce bleeding to a trickle and nullify the pain receptors to a mere dull roar. Luna had been absolutely horrified at what her carelessness had caused, and rushed some distance off to the side, repeating quick “I'm sorry”s until she was out of earshot. I couldn't be mad at her--I had brought it upon myself. At the moment, Celestia was just holding my fee- ankles upright with telekinesis to reduce blood flow while simultaneously holding the fact that she'd been right over my head.

"I'll heal you, but you need to promise to take advice when it's offered in the future," she told me.

"Alright, okay! I'll be more humble and think before acting from now on," I appeased her, "Now if you'd be so kind..."

She rolled her eyes, then closed them just long enough to protect herself from a flash of brilliant white light from her horn. I didn't even get the benefit of a warning.

"Gah!" I shielded my scorched pupils far too late, only to be greeted by the pleasant after-image of an amused Celestia in the darkness.

She spoke while I was still trying to rub them back to normal. "I teleported them--the right way--from the leisure room above us and directly back onto your legs. I also healed the tissue to the point where you won't even have to worry about a scar. You should consider yourself lucky that the teleportation wounds were so clean this time around."

"I'm ecstatic," I replied, moving to massage my oddly numb ankles and discovering that she had thankfully brought them down with the shoes still firmly attached. She’d even been considerate enough to clean the blood.

"Now that you're in one piece again, I'd like you to go and console my sister and offer her some words of encouragement. She's really torn up about all this."

"Yeah, fine, I'll- Wait... Not funny."

"I beg to differ," said the totally mature eons-old Alicorn goddess, as she grinned helplessly at her own pun.

Grumbling under my breath, I got off the grass and looked around for Luna. I spotted her watching from a ways off, amidst various decorative hedges, and headed to meet her. Surprisingly, my feet didn't even ache anymore. Big Horsey had been extremely thorough in her healing, and I made sure to add it to my to-do list to learn exactly how to do whatever she had done, and do it better.

Luna sheepishly glanced away as I got near. Before I could say anything, she offered yet another apology, "I'm sorry for running off like that, but I simply cannot stand the sight of blood."

"I don't really blame you," I told her. "Would blood be a regular sight in such a peaceful land?"

She sighed, "Not in recent years, thankfully. Things have changed largely for the better in my absence."

That intrigued me. In recent years? There had been bloodshed in the past? Sure, I knew the world would be different than the one portrayed on television, but by how much? Equestrian history would definitely be a topic of interest to me in the coming weeks.

"Also, I shall take this incident as a hint that I should continue practicing my teleportation technique with non-living objects," she muttered.

"On the upside, at least you managed to get us to the intended location, right?" I consoled.

Her cheeks somehow managed to flush through her dark blue coat as she answered. "Not... Exactly. I was aiming for the ring of sheltered tables over there, where we're supposed to meet the pony Celestia called for." She gestured towards a quaint set of scattered stone tables and benches about twenty feet away from us in the direction opposite the palace walls, all in the shade of a large cypress tree.

"Well, that's not too far off," I said. "We arrived right next to the palace. I don't mind the short walk."

"You don't understand; I intended to arrive directly in the middle of the all the furniture. Had I not tried to be overly fancy, and attempted to send us to where we did show up, we could very well have been phased directly into the walls of the palace itself."

Oh...

"Oh..."

Suddenly, getting my feet chopped off didn't seem like such a terrible mishap. Maybe I could leave learning teleportation for another, far, far more distant time.

"Well, you learn by making mistakes. We're all still alive and breathing, and that's all that matters!" I exclaimed with forced cheer. "Let's go meet this assistant so I can be on my merry way."

"Yes, let's. Anything to get my mind off this most recent failure."

I waved Celestia over from where she had been standing and observing my interaction with Luna, and together we made our way to the tables to meet Celestia's assistant. I only spotted the pony when we were mere feet from the shady area, due to his coloration. He was a lightly built, blue-maned unicorn with a gray coat and stereotypical herald reading glasses, dressed from head to toe in yet another nearly ridiculous fancy outfit.

I was surprised to find him already seated. How long had he been there waiting? How long had he been watching?

"I trust your feet are fully recovered by now?" he asked with a smirk.

Well that answered one question...

I didn't respond, instead giving him a hard look of annoyance whilst silently adding him to my list of ponies that I would not lend a pencil to if they ever needed one, which I had only just then decided to make.

"Good morning, Silas," said Celestia.

"Only because you make it so, my liege," he replied with utmost sincerity.

Kiss-ass.

"You're early. I requested that you meet me here a full ten minutes from now."

"You know my work ethic, Princess; Nothing is too important to drop where you're concerned. Pleasantries aside though, who--or what--is this?" he looked me up and down, face displaying no signs of intrigue, fear or disgust.

"This is Joseph, the only human in Equestria," she explained casually. "Discord is up to his old tricks again, except this time he's playing around in the multiverse. Somehow he managed to pick him off his home world and transport him here, for whatever reason I cannot say, though I am certain that he has something planned. Joseph claims innocent victimization, and you know full well that I am a firm believer in 'innocent until proven guilty' philosophy."

"Indeed, my Princess," he supplied curtly.

She continued, "I do not want to hurt any creature--pony or not--if I don't have to. Even so, I can't have him stay in Canterlot until any and all suspicion has been cleared of his involvement with Discord. So for his sake, I want you to arrange for his indefinite stay with our friend Cashmere, so that he can still live in relative peace until a method is found to send him home."

"As you wish, most benevolent ruler. I will return momentarily," he stated with a nod, after which he walked past us towards the palace.

I was quite frankly surprised at how open Celestia had been to him. On top of that, he hadn't flinched upon hearing Discord's name, or asked a single question, or even reacted emotionally. He was more like a trained dog than a pony, and yet for some reason I got the impression that he was behaving that way of his own accord.

Perhaps it was because the moment he entered the door and left our field of view, both Princesses let out annoyed groans.

"Honestly, why do you keep him in the position he has?" Luna said with a roll of her eyes. "Respect is always appreciated, but he treats you like a dictator! Tell him to ease up on the compliments at the end of every sentence."

Celestia smiled sweetly at her sister, "You say that, yet I somehow get the feeling that you're just a tad jealous of his affection."

Luna stamped a forehoof to the ground. "Tis a lie! I mean- That's not true! If I had an assistant, he would treat me with twice as much respect as Silas does you!"

Her response only made Celestia chuckle, "I thought your issue was with him treating me like that to begin with. Wouldn't you having a pony do the same for you be contradictory of that?"

Luna opened her mouth to retort, but no words came out. She bit her lip and blushed furiously as she realized the trap she'd led herself into.

I laughed at her reaction, having watched the events unfold with great interest. Every word spoken let me understand more and more about the personalities of each pony and the relationship they shared. It was a shame I wouldn't get a chance to get to know them better, but the situation was what it was. I'd have plenty of time for learning about the individuals that had only the day before been mere fantasy to me once I had settled in to whatever place Cashmere had available for me.

Celestia turned to me, her smile changing from one of amusement to one of benevolence. "Joseph, I want you to know that even though I cannot grant you all the rights of a true citizen of Equestria, I will still be willing to help if you truly need it. The truth of the matter is that my sister and I are responsible for what happened to you, and so we will bear the weight of that responsibility until all wrongs have been righted. If you ever have need of us, send a message through Cashmere. We may not be your explicit rulers, but we will treat you as no less than any living, feeling creature deserves to be cherished."

Luna had regained her composure while Celestia said what she had to, and gave a firm nod and gentle smile once she had finished.

I didn't know what to say, really. I was an outsider--a threat--and yet in spite of this knowledge, they treated me like I was one of them? I had been a fool to give Discord's words any merit. Celestia was every bit the kind and fair ruler she had appeared in my world. Knowing that she was the one in control here gave me a sense of security that I hadn't even known I was lacking. I felt... I don't know what. But it felt good.

And the Grinch's heart grew ten times in size that day.

Oh screw you...

I smiled. "Thank you. That really means something to me."

And with that we lounged in the relative coolness of the area for the next few minutes, neither making small talk or bringing up new issues. We simply relaxed and took in the serenity of the scenery; The birds twittering and singing in the branches above. The rustling of the leaves as the occasional light breeze blew through them. The scent of the grass and light moss that had been allowed to grow along the base of the concrete furniture. It all came together so beautifully that I didn't even notice the time passing. Before I knew it, I heard the sound of rapid hoof-steps across the lawn coming from the direction of the castle.

I looked over and saw a quickly approaching Silas, trailed by two almost identical white coated pegasi in full Sun-themed regalia. All three of us rose from our various sitting and lying positions to greet them. All three of the company bowed deeply to Celestia once they arrived, and only a pair gave a similar greeting to Luna, who tried to look indifferent about the lack of reverence on her part.

"My Princess," said Silas, once he finally decided to stop kissing the grass, "I have forwarded your most gracious requests to Cashmere's abode. She will doubtless be preparing herself for the guest's reception as we speak. I also procured two winged guards to serve as escorts for the human, who I humbly suggest be allowed to travel to Ponyville by way of magic chariot, so as to avoid causing a stir among the citizens that travel aboard the Canterlot Express."

"A wise precaution, my most loyal assistant," commented Celestia.

The fan-boy unicorn practically glowed with the praise, barely managing to keep his teeth from showing in his grin. It was at that moment that I began to question whether he'd ever met with Twilight. Both of them shared similar levels of adoration for the Princess of the Sun, and I just knew that they would compete for her attention if they were given the chance.

We'll just have to make that happen at some point, now won't we?

"The chariot is prepped and at the ready," informed Silas. "Simply give the word and he shall be on his way."

Celestia nodded and turned to me. "Joseph, you are free to go. Good luck in your efforts to learn about our race, and I hope you continue to be this sure of your satisfaction with the cards life deals you. Remember, try not to cause any trouble, and do not attempt to enter Canterlot after today unless I explicitly request it."

"Yes, mom," I droned.

Luna snickered, the soldiers and snob gasped, and I choked. One moment I was being a smartass, and the next my mouth felt like it was being stuffed full of meat.

I reached up to find what the intrusion was, and felt that my tongue has swollen like a balloon, puffing up to almost entirely occupy my oral cavity.

"Wbud duh bug?! Wbud dud youb do duh bee?" I sputtered at the openly smiling Alicorn.

Ooh. A tissue swelling spell? Clever. I'll be holding on to this one.

Now's not the time to be admiring her handiwork! Reverse it!

Can't. I'd need runes for time reversal, or healing, or nullifying- I don't know. It's one thing to mimic the runes for a spell that’s been directly used on you. It's another entirely to understand what they all mean and come up with a counter. You're on your own here.

Behind me, I could hear the three ponies guffawing at my speech. Luna was actually doing her best to resist making me feel worse by laughing by smothering herself with a hoof, but she failed right after her coat went from reddish-purple to near crimson. It was a wonder and a shame that none of them asphyxiated, considering what a riot they were having.

"I think it would be best you take a small break from speaking," said an extremely smug Celestia. "Even your tongue seems to have swollen from overuse!"

I glared at her as the laughter of those around us only doubled in intensity.

"Ablight, ablight! Abll dop. Bdow bebursd id!" I pleaded.

She happily shook her head. "If I reverse it, then you wouldn't have learned anything, now would you? The spell will fade on its own once you go the day without speaking."

"Well there goes any chance of interesting conversation during the trip," said one of the pegasi, at which a new wave of laughter came over them. Almost infuriatingly, Celestia was the only one able to maintain her composure through it all, though she was more than a little amused by the looks of her smile.

'Kind and benevolent' my ass.

I gave up protesting, and sat sullenly till they'd exhausted their oxygen supplies twice over.

I'll get her for this, mark my words.

I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I couldn't hear you over the sound of the butthurt.

...

Once every idiot had had his or her fun, Silas motioned for the guards to lead the way for me. As I followed, I gave Luna--and only Luna--one final wave farewell, as she was the least irritating pony there. I had no idea when next I'd see either Princess again, but it didn't seem like it would be for quite some time.

Rather than lead me through the palace again, we took a path around it, and within five minutes we'd arrived at what seemed to be a landing strip along the side of the structure, lined with various colors and styles of chariots, and even an air balloon off to one side. It led directly off a cliff which, when I looked over it, was overhanging the set of waterfalls that constantly streamed out of Canterlot and into the valley hundreds of feet below.

Moving briskly, they headed straight for a relatively short yet tall model and proceeded to saddle themselves to it. The chassis was wooden, and painted in two plain shades of white and black; White on the outside, and black within. There were no seats or cushions to make the travel comfortable, just a pair of reigns with which to cling dearly to the pegasi while in flight. Needless to say, while I was looking forward to life in Ponyville, I was less than enthusiastic about my method for getting there.

"Alright, we're secured," one of them informed me, "so hop on and let's get this over with... Whatever you are."

I fought down the urge to refresh their memory of the name Celestia had used just minutes before, and grudgingly complied. No sooner had I taken hold of the twin strips of thin leather than they began to gallop down the stone path, straight towards the lip of the massive free fall before us.

I clutched the reigns tightly. The chariot did not rumble, swerve or stutter as it practically glided across the many evenly spaced rivets in the ground, but that did nothing to ease my fears as the distance between me and a relative leap of faith closed by the second, and my grip remained white-knuckled as I debated jumping off and risking the train.

I did become distracted, however, when the pegasi began to ready their wings for flight. I watched in fascination as the limbs of muscle and feather unfurled steadily and surely, the movements alone portraying the experience of the fliers. My eyes remained glued to their measured shifts and twists as they prepared to make the transition from land to sky. I was so entranced, in fact, that I almost failed to notice when we reached the edge.

Their wings fully extended to five feet on a side, they each gave a single powerful flap, and with dual graceful bounds we were carried up, and then up some more. Never once did we dip as we performed an act that, until I’d experienced it first-hand, had seemed to defy logic. Before I knew it, we were completely airborne, the castle grounds and the entirety of Canterlot City rapidly receding behind us.

This is... Impossible. They must weigh about ninety pounds each! The vehicle alone would be around forty, assuming it's entirely wood. And then there's us added to that! Even together, how can these creatures provide lift for over three hundred pounds of in-aerodynamic wight and move it at this pace with a combined wingspan of barely twenty feet? It doesn't make any-

Dude, dude. Shh. It's magic.

So I stopped questioning it and enjoyed the ride.

End of Chapter 5

Yeah, yeah. I know. It's shorter than any chapter yet. I'm sowwy. :c
The Canterlot portion of the story is closed for now. The coming chapters will focus on the intricacies of Equestria and developing personalities for both Jo and the main ponies that will be involved, and then we'll get right into the heat of things.

ADVENTURE, MAGIC AND SPRINKLES AWAIT US!!!!
ONWARDS, MY BRONY BRETHREN.