• Published 22nd Jan 2012
  • 7,863 Views, 515 Comments

Discord Did It - DarkMasterofCupcakes



A year after his defeat, Discord gets revenge on the girls, in an odd way.

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Chapter 16

(Regular POV)

(Golden Oaks Library)

"Why can't I come with you?" Velvet Star asked her mother, her lips turned downwards as she tilted her head to help show her confusion.

Today was the day that her Uncle Shining Armor and Aunt Cadance would be arriving in Ponyville to visit for the weekend, something Velvet had been looking forward to for weeks. And now, on the day she would finally get to actually meet the ponies that her mother always spoke so highly of, she was told she couldn't go with her mother to the train station to meet them.

"Mr. Allaboard banned you from the train station, remember?" Twilight said, trying to explain the situation to her daughter.

A look of understanding came over the filly's face, only to be replaced almost immediately with an angry expression.

"That's not fair!" she shouted. "I mean, besides having tails for a few extra minutes, the coal went back to normal right away and Mr. Allaboard's mane has pretty much grown back. We just saw him at the market last week."

Lowering her voice, the blue unicorn added, "He's just a major harda-"

"Velvet!" Twilight cried, giving her daughter the sort of disappointed glare that only a parent was capable of giving.

Velvet's cheeks turned red from embarrassment, though whether she was embarrassed because she nearly cursed or because she had been caught was unclear.

"Well, it still isn't fair" she said, her cheeks having regained their usual color.

Her mother's expression softened at this.

Even though Twilight could understand why the conductor wouldn't want Velvet at the train station for a while, considering the results of one of the filly's rare magic surges that happened to happen at the station, she also understood her daughter's anger at the ban. After all, what pony wouldn't be upset at being denied access to a place they really wanted to go?

Still, she had promised Mr. Allaboard that Velvet would not come to the train station for another three months, and she couldn't think of a good enough excuse to break that promise. So, how could she make Velvet feel better about not being able to come to the station today? Her eyes lit up as an idea came to her.

"Your birthday's coming up in a couple months, isn't it?" she asked, even though she obviously knew the answer.

Velvet stared at her mother in silence for several seconds. Maybe she was wondering if the lavender unicorn had actually forgotten when her birthday was, or perhaps she expected the question to be continued in some way.

After waiting for a moment, and figuring that there wasn't anything more to the question, the filly nodded.

"Well, if you behave for Spike while I'm gone, and you don't do anything too…strange while Uncle Shining and Aunt Cadance are here," began Twilight, "I can promise you something big for a present. But, you need to give me an extra month to set it up, alright?"

"You're getting me an elephant?!" Velvet squealed.

The unicorn mare blinked once in confusion. She really wasn't expecting her daughter to make that particular assumption about her present.

"Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of taking a trip; just you, me, and Spike." She paused for a moment before also asking, "What made you think you were getting an elephant, anyway?"

Velvet shrugged. She then agreed to the proposition, after giving the idea a moment of thought.

Having found a way to make up for the fact that she couldn't take the filly to the station with her, Twilight called up to the second level, telling Spike that she was leaving and asking him to watch Velvet until she got back.

The dragon called back, saying he'd be down in a minute; he wanted to finish up something real fast.

"Okay" replied Twilight as she headed towards the door, "Just don't be too long".

She paused on her way to the door, both to put on her scarf and to remind Velvet to be good for Spike.

Velvet promised she would.

The two unicorns bid each other farewell, embracing briefly before the filly walked away, heading towards one of the many bookshelves.

As she walked over, she bumped into Owlysius's perch, causing the slumbering owl to awaken.

Seeing Velvet passing his perch, Owlysius let out a panicked hoot and quickly flew to the upper level of the library. Considering the last time Velvet had been near Owlysius had resulted in his being turned into a chicken (and not even a rooster…) for an hour before Twilight could reverse the effect, the reaction was somewhat warranted.

Twilight couldn't help but smile when she heard Velvet sigh at Owlysius's departure; she did like the owl.

Remembering the time, Twilight stepped outside (after hearing Spike start to make his way downstairs), closing the door behind her.

And as she got her first glimpse of outside that morning, she swore her heart stopped for a second.

She had known that there was going to be a storm last night; Rainbow Dash had personally told not only Twilight, but all of the Element Bearers about the upcoming blizzard two days earlier.

What she wasn't expecting was the chocolate malt balls that lay on top of the banks of snow, surrounded by patterns that seemed to be literally painted out of brightly-colored, fruit-scented syrup.

She couldn't even try to pretend that was normal.

"There is no way any of them could have done this…there is just no way. I mean, they've all done some usual things, but that was just little stuff. Nothing like this," Twilight muttered to herself as she walked, glancing at the candy and syrup that lay upon the snow.

"Though, the most likely alternative is…" Her eyes widened and her heart pounded for several seconds before she calmed herself, using a method she'd read about in a book about stress relief nearly a month ago.

"No…If that happened, I'm sure the Princesses would have told us by now. Plus, Discord would have done a lot worse than just mix candy and snow," she told herself as she managed to calm down somewhat.

She was actually doing quite well in that regard, looking totally casual and calm on the outside. Internally, however, was a bit of a different story.

'Well, if it isn't Discord then it has to be Velvet or one of the others, or maybe all of them, somehow. Either way, I have to tell Princess Celestia…Though, what if she already knows, and thinks that I'm trying to insult her by sending her a letter to tell her what she already knows? What kind of punishment would I get for insulting the princess? Would she lock me in a room where a million robots do nothing but scream at me? Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but I know it is not a good idea to insult the princesses, especially not in a way that insults their intelligence. Still, I probably should tell Princess Celestia, just to be safe. But, I have to make sure I don't sound too panicky. After all, I don't even know if this is really anything worth worrying about. For all I know, it could just be a prank…Unless it isn't, in which case there might really be a reason to worry. So, how urgent should I make the letter sound? I don't want to sound like I'm not taking the situation seriously, but I also don't want to sound like I'm getting panicked over nothing—' Her thoughts were cut short as she bumped into some-pony.

"I am so sorry" the purple unicorn said quickly.

She looked to see who she had bumped into, and was surprised to see it was Tsunami, one of the ponies who had come to Ponyville to monitor the hybrids.

Ever since they-meaning her and her friends-had returned home, along with the former guards and their families, the dark blue unicorn was never seen outside his family's residence.

"'S'okay" Tsunami said in response to the apology.

Despite his basically telling her that he didn't mind being bumped into, the mare couldn't completely suppress a shudder. Tsunami's voice, despite him obviously speaking as quietly as he could, was extremely deep and had a threatening edge about it. The seemingly permanent stern expression on his face certainly didn't help matters.

Neither unicorn spoke for a moment.

It was Tsunami who broke the silence, answering the question that he likely figured Twilight wanted to ask.

"I just needed to get out for a little while. Ever since what happened last night, with the sweets coming from the sky-."

He didn't seem to notice the purple pony stiffen at this statement; he just continued with his explanation.

"-she's been acting the same way as before, when we first came to Ponyville. She refuses to let Crystal step more than a foot outside our door, even though I tell her it's perfectly safe, and she has been demanding that I do…horrible things. Before I left, she told me to 'put my cutie mark to good use and...'"

He stopped speaking here, his expression clearly showing that there was more to the story, but he was unwilling to say anymore.

Twilight didn't want to make the stallion uncomfortable by insisting he tell her what his wife had demanded, but she knew her curiosity would get the better of her should she stay any longer, so she bid him farewell and continued on her way to the train station.

As she walked past him, she managed to catch a glance at his flank, seeing his cutie mark in the process: a dagger.

She couldn't stop the shiver that ran down her spine as she tried to imagine what the mark could stand for, and she didn't even want to think about how it might be "put to good use."

Twilight felt her heart begin to beat somewhat quicker than normal, a telltale sign that she was going to panic if she didn't find someway to keep her composure, both internally and externally.

She took slow, deep breaths; another method that her book had suggested.

And, it seemed to work; she was able to push down the feeling of dread that had bubbled near to the surface when she thought about what Tsunami had told her and about his cutie mark. She couldn't shake the feeling entirely, but she was fairly certain she could keep herself from thinking about it when she met up with Shining Armor and Cadance. No need to make them worry about her, after all.

As she continued her walk, she swore she heard the older Nutter girl (her name was Agnes, if Twilight remembered what Pinkie said correctly) say something along the lines of, "Ms. Ocean Breeze should realize that now is not the time for fear. That comes later."

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(Beneath Rainbow Dash's Cloud)

"I can give you a lift, you know" Scootaloo said, raising an eyebrow as she watched Firestorm trudge through the snow.

The colt was having a difficult time, since the snow bank he was trying to walk though was almost as deep as he was tall.

Meanwhile, the orange filly was riding her scooter, which had been modified for winter and now greatly resembled a sled.

For once in her life, she wasn't flapping her wings at top speed while on the scooter; in fact, her wings were currently moving just fast enough to propel her forward at the same speed as the foal she was basically babysitting.

Rainbow Dash had more or less passed out as soon as she had climbed into her bed after returning from work on the weather patrol, and nothing seemed to even come close to waking her. That didn't keep Firestorm from trying, of course, so Scootaloo had offered to take him to town for a couple hours; an offer which was quickly accepted.

And now here she was: surrounded by snow that looked like Ponet had decided to be creative with his art supplies, and barely moving.

"No way" Firestorm responded as he finally decided that trying to push the snow out of the way with his face wasn't the best option.

Scootaloo came to a stop the moment the younger pony did. She asked him why he didn't want a ride on her scooter-sled instead of having to walk through the snow.

"Too slow" he told her, crouching down and beginning to rapidly pump his wings as he spoke. "Something that slow can't be awesome, and I don't wanna do anything with something that isn't awesome."

Purple eyes narrowed at the statement about the scooter being too slow.

"Get on" she demanded, not giving him a chance to protest as she leaned down and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. The skin of flesh of his neck felt very warm, considering the fact that he had basically been half-buried in snow seconds before, and his wings felt even warmer as she brushed against the underside of her chin, but if the filly was bothered by the heat coming from the colt's body, she certainly didn't show it.

Instead she just placed him on the board of the scooter-sled, right in front of her.

"I'll show you 'slow'" Scootaloo said, before instructing the colt to hang on tight.

Firestorm began to speak, about to ask why he had to hold on, only to be silenced by Scootaloo placing a hoof on his mouth.

"Just hold on, okay?" she said, removing her hoof and putting in on one of the handlebars. With a sigh, the firey-maned colt agreed and braced himself as best he could, holding onto the front of the scooter-sled.

As soon as he did that, Scootaloo began to pump her wings at full-speed, sending them forward at an incredible speed.

Firestorm screamed the entire way, and at one point Scootaloo nearly stopped, worried that either she had freaked the poor kid out too much or that he had somehow gotten hurt, but decided it was safe to continue at her current speed when she realized the cyan foal was screaming out of excitement, not pain or fear.

In less than ten minutes, they were outside Sugar Cube Corner, which is where Scootaloo decided to stop.

"What'd you think of that?" she asked, stepping off the board of the scooter-sled and removing her helmet.

Firestorm, who was still standing on the board, seemed to have been stunned into silence for a second. Once he had apparently collected his thought, he hovered off the board and over to the orange filly.

"You okay, Firestorm?" Scootaloo asked in a concerned tone when she noticed Firestorm's expression; his gold eyes made him look like he was in a sort of trance, he had a kind of dopey smile on his face, and there was a slight blush on his cheeks.

She vaguely wondered if the foal was about to get sick, and backed away slightly.

"You. Are. Awesome." Firestorm stated before "climbing" onto Scootaloo's back.

"Thanks for the compliment, but get off me" she told him. She may have been willing to give him a ride into town, but she wasn't going to carry him into a building whose doorway was only a few feet away.

Firestorm grumbled, but climbed off of Scootaloo's back and hovered over to the doorway of the bakery, the older pony following suit.

Scootaloo opened the door and was greeted by Mr. Cake, who was standing behind the counter.

"Good morning, Scootaloo. Firestorm," he said with a smile, waving the two young ponies over with a hoof.

Scootaloo was quick to return the greeting and walk over, but Firestorm hesitated slightly before mumbling "Hey", and almost literally dragging himself over.

"Is he okay?" Carrot Cake asked, looking at the colt, who was looking somewhat irritated. Scootaloo shrugged; she had no idea why Firestorm was acting this way all of a sudden, especially when, only moments ago, he had seemed to be in a great mood.

"Can I have some muffins?" the filly asked. "Rainbow Dash worked really late last night, so she's sleeping in and neither of us had breakfast."

She didn't mention the fact that she didn't even try to make breakfast for herself and Firestorm; she may have been a little better at cooking than Sweetie Belle, but her skills in the field were still limited.

Thankfully, Mr. Cake's only question was concerning the flavors of muffin she wanted to order.

She ordered a banana-nut and blueberry for herself, then told Firestorm to pick out a couple flavors for himself.

"Chocolate chip" he responded after a moment of thought.

Mr. Cake quickly grabbed two chocolate chip, one blueberry, and one banana-nut muffin off the racks and placed them in a bag before handing the bag over to Scootaloo; he knew the orange filly well enough to know it wasn't likely that she'd be staying for very long. Scootaloo thanked him and began to head out the door, making sure Firestorm was following her, when she realized just how…quiet it was in Sugar Cube Corner.

"Where's Pinkie Pie?" she questioned.

"Oh, she found out that Cranky and Matilda got back from their trip and she wanted to welcome them home" the stallion responded, grinning slightly at the memory of his employee's reaction to remembering that the elderly donkeys had come back to Ponyville after all these months.

Scootaloo nodded, and then stepped out the door, holding it open with her hind leg so Firestorm could also step through.

The two ponies hopped back onto the scooter-sled and went to the town square to eat their muffins.

Once they were at a table, Scootaloo decided to try and find out why Firestorm was acting so bratty all of a sudden.

"I mean, usually me and Rainbow Dash can't get you to stop talking, and now you're giving me the silent treatment?" she asked him, taking a bite out of her banana-nut muffin while she waited for a response.

Firestorm remained silent, picking at one of his muffins with a sour expression on his face.

"Just tell me what's wrong" Scootaloo demanded, irritation evident in the tone of her voice.

"You think I'm awesome?" Firestorm asked in an unusually quiet tone.

Scootaloo blinked, and then asked him to repeat the question.

"Do you think I'm awesome?" he asked again, his cheeks tinged slightly pink as he looked at the older filly out of the corner of his eye.

For a moment, Scootaloo wasn't sure what to say. Was this really why he was acting this way? Did he really just want an ego boost? Well…it wouldn't do any harm to give him what he wanted.

She gave him a good-natured smirk and said, "You're one of the coolest colts I know, 'Storm."

He looked at her, a confused look on his face. A beat of silence passed between them.

"Yes, I think you're awesome" Scootaloo clarified, reaching over to ruffle the colt's already wild mane.

Almost instantly, his face was split by a large smile, and he began to devour his chocolate chip muffin.

'That was weird' the orange filly thought to herself, finishing off her banana-nut muffin and reaching into the bag for the blueberry.

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Pinkie Pie bounced through the town, a box of cupcakes on her back and Butterscotch sitting in her carrier.

The filly was amazed by the candy and syrup on the snow, and kept trying to eat some whenever it was within her reach. Her mother always stopped her, though, telling her that she shouldn't eat food off the ground, no matter how good it looked.

"I ate a piece of cake off the floor at Mom and Dad's rock farm once, back when I first got my cutie mark," she said, speaking to Butterscotch but still looking ahead. "It didn't taste very good. Trust me."

She made a face and pretended to gag, causing Butterscotch to giggle.

Pinkie smiled.

"But, it looks so pretty and so yummy…" the white-maned filly muttered, staring wide-eyed at the pictures painted on the snow in syrup. "Just like the pictures in the storybook that Velly-Belly's Mommy read to us yesterday."

At the mention of the storybook, Pinkie looked at the patterns in the snow again.

They did look a lot like the illustrations from the book Twilight had read to the foals the day before, a story about a land where candy would sometimes fall from the sky and these little creatures called sprites painted pictures in freshly fallen snow.

In fact, they were almost identical, with the only difference being that the pictures in the book had been much neater than the patterns on the snow in Ponyville.

"Maybe one of the weather ponies read the story, too, and wanted to make Ponyville look like one of the pictures" the pink pony suggested with a grin.

Maybe it wasn't the most likely explanation, but it was the most fun, and in situations like this, the best explanation was always the most fun.

Butterscotch nodded in agreement.

Of course a grown-up pony would want to make Ponyville look like the pictures in the storybook; the place in the book had been so pretty, who wouldn't want to live in a place that looked like that? They had all agreed on that-Butterscotch, Velvet, Meadow Lark, Libby, even Roxbury and Firestorm, who usually acted like anything that could be considered "pretty" was gross.

But, they also knew, without having to be told, that they were just little foals, and they couldn't make Ponyville as nice-looking as the place in the storybook. Well, at least there was a grown-up pegasus who also thought Ponyville should look really pretty, if only for a little while.

Suddenly, Pinkie Pie gasped, the type of gasp that showed she was very excited.

She began to gallop as fast as she could, while still being mindful of her daughter and the box still balanced on her back. She stopped once she was in front of her two elderly donkey friends, who she had seen walking up the road.

"Hi, Cranky. Hi, Matilda. Did you two have fun on your trip? Well, of course you had fun, 'cause if you weren't having fun, you wouldn't have stayed so long, right?" the pink pony asked, smiling that the two donkeys.

They both returned the smile, though Cranky's was smaller and more tired-looking than Matilda's.

Pinkie didn't mind; at least he was smiling a little, and she had something to make him smile even more.

After allowing them to say "Hello" back to her, she placed the box of cupcakes on the ground between them and flipped open the lid to reveal the treats inside.

"Mr. and Mrs. Cake made these for you. They would have come with me to give them to you, but Pound and Pumpkin have colds, so Mrs. Cake had to stay home to take care of them, and Mr. Cake had to run the bakery. They told me to tell you that they hope you enjoy, but I told them not to worry because I know you'll enjoy the cupcakes because the Cakes are the best bakers in Ponyville, Manehatthan, and Fillydelphia combined" Pinkie told them, her mouth moving so fast her words almost seemed to blend together at points.

"How often do you actually breathe, Pinkie?" Cranky asked with a raised eyebrow.

Seeing that the pony was about to try and answer the question, he quickly told her that it was a rhetorical question, then grabbed a cupcake out of the box and brought it to his mouth. Matilda did the same.

As soon as they took the first bite, the elderly couple made almost identical sounds of delight, the type of sound you'd expect to hear from somebody eating something delicious.

Then, Cranky seemed to notice something.

"The Cakes decide to adopt?"

Pinkie made a little confused noise.

"They did? Well, why didn't they tell me? Even if they wanted to keep it a secret, I could've kept the secret. I invented the Pinkie Promise, you know" the poofy-maned pony said.

She pouted slightly at the thought that her employers apparently didn't trust her enough with information that they were going to adopt a new foal.

She then wondered aloud how Cranky knew about it, to which he replied he didn't; he'd just assumed.

"That foal with you," Cranky said, pointing at Butterscotch, who was still hanging by her mother's side and was now reaching for the box of cupcakes on the ground. "I never saw her before, and I know you watch the Cake kids."

The rest seemed to go unsaid.

Now understanding what her friend meant, Pinkie smiled and shook her head.

"No, no, no, Cranky, you silly goose…donkey. I'm not Butterscotch's foal-sitter. I'm her Mommy" the pink pony explained gleefully.

The male donkey's expression went almost totally flat, with the exception of his lower jaw dropping. He…wasn't expecting that answer.

His companion's reaction was much warmer.

"Congratulations, Pinkie" Matilda said, coming closer to smile at the foal and shake her hoof. "I think she has your eyes…and she definitely has your smile" she told her friend as Butterscotch grinned at her (a closed-mouth grin, one that didn't show teeth).

Pinkie thanked Matilda for the compliment. Having recovered from the initial shock, Cranky spoke in a somewhat shaky voice.

"So…before we left, when you told us you were pregnant…that wasn't you trying to be funny? You were actually being serious?" he asked, speaking to the mare, but staring at the filly.

Pinkie responded with "Uh-huh", then gently lifted her daughter out of her carrier and placed her on the ground.

"Say hello" she instructed, nudging the filly towards the two donkeys. For a moment, Butterscotch silently stared at the creatures who were little more than strangers to her, even if they were good friends of her mother's.

Finally, she opened her mouth, and she spoke to them for the first time, though she didn't greet them like her mother had wanted.

"If you move your ears really fast up and down, could you fly?"

Cranky and Matilda seemed dumbfounded, either by the question itself, or by the fact that such a young-looking creature had spoken so well.

"You know, that's actually a good question" Pinkie Pie admitted. She looked at her older friends and asked, "Could you?"

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(Carousel Boutique)

Even at its end, winter was always her busiest season. Ponies wanted fashionable cloaks and hoods to keep them warm. And, thanks to the combined efforts of ponies like Hoity Toity and Fancy Pants, she was now almost as well-known in Canterlot as she was in her hometown.

This increased sales to levels she used to only dream of. Unfortunately, the increased sales also led to an increased workload.

Combine a heavier-than-usual workload with a filly who insisted on being in the room, but couldn't comprehend the idea of actually staying still, and the most frequent result was a headache.

And sadly, Rarity had yet to develop the ability to ignore a minor headache when she had work to do.

She had tried to ignore the noises coming from behind her as she carefully sewed some wool onto the hood of one of the cloaks she had been asked to make, but that was easier said than done.

Every little bump sent a shiver down her spine, and she'd quickly turn around to see what had fallen, only to see that everything was exactly the way it'd been the last time she looked.

Eventually, she built up the ability to ignore the reflex, to an extent. She always turned around, but now she was able to keep herself from literally whipping around over every little sound.

However, when she felt Opal's claws dig into the flesh around her flank, if only for a second, she turned her head so fast she was surprised she didn't hurt her neck with the motion.

Blue eyes widened as Rarity watched her usually fairly calm cat rush around the room, claws out and tail flicking.

The feline appeared to be chasing something, but as far as the unicorn could see, there wasn't anything in the room that Opal would want to chase…meaning there weren't any mice, live or of the toy variety.

"Opal, what has gotten into you?" Rarity wondered aloud as her usually lazy cat jumped onto a shelf before almost immediately leaping back to the ground.

Rarity sighed as she realized she already knew the answer.

"Libby" she called, turning to where her daughter was playing with a wooden spool; sure enough, her eyes were glowing slightly.

The foal turned her attention towards her mother, waiting for her to continue.

"Please leave Opal alone. I really need to finish these orders, and her running around can be very distracting" the mare tried to reason with the young hybrid. Libby seemed to consider what she was told.

After a moment, she sighed and her eyes stopped glowing.

The moment that happened, Opal came to a halt, looking around the room in confusion as though trying to find out where the mouse she'd been chasing had gone off to.

She narrowed her eyes and hissed as she saw Libby; she'd been tricked by the little brat again, she just knew it.

As the cat left the room in a huff, Libby turned to her mother again.

"Well, if I can't mess around with Opal, what else am I supposed to do for fun around here? I'm bored."

As if to punctuate her point, the turquoise-maned filly yawned.

Rarity had no idea how to respond to that. There really wasn't anything she could suggest that Libby could do for entertainment. It wasn't so much that she couldn't think of anything fun, but more that fact that her daughter had very little interest in "girly" things, and Rarity's idea of fun when she was the same age had always involved something like playing dress-up.

Finally, she just gave up trying to think of games, and suggested that Libby take a nap.

"You didn't sleep very well last night," she said, remembering how she had walked past the filly's bedroom the night before and saw her tossing and turning. "You must be tired."

"If I couldn't sleep last night, now am I supposed to sleep now?"

Rarity considered the question, then walked out of the room, telling Libby to follow, which she did.

The pair walked into a room where Sweetie Belle was singing softly to herself, rehearsal for a show she had signed up for earlier that month.

Rarity tapped the wood of the doorway with her hoof to get her sister's attention. She smiled somewhat sheepishly as Sweetie Belle stopped singing and turned to look at her sister and her niece.

"I am so sorry to interrupt, Sweetie, but Libby really does need to take a nap, and thought maybe you could…" Rarity's voice trailed off here; nothing more needed to be said.

"You want me to sing you a lullaby?" Sweetie Belle asked Libby, crouching down to look the younger pony in the eye.

Libby shrugged, but stepped closer, silently agreeing to try the lullaby as a means to help her sleep.

Rarity thanked her sister, told her daughter to behave, and headed back to her sewing room.

Once they were alone, Sweetie Belle lowered herself to the ground, motioning for Libby to lie next to her.

The foal pressed herself against her aunt's side, squirming slightly until she was able to get comfortable. As soon as she was situated, she looked at Sweetie Belle.

"Comfy?" Sweetie asked.

Libby mumbled a confirmation that she was, indeed, comfortable. She even closed her eyes as though trying to show how comfortable she was.

The green-eyed unicorn took a deep breath and made sure her nerves were calm; she always sang better when she wasn't worried about anything, even if what worried her had nothing to do with her singing.

Her horn began to glow with a pale green light as the sound of music filled the room.

She opened her mouth and began to sing, a lullaby that she had discovered while flipping through one of the music books at the library shortly after she first earned her cutie mark.

The song told a story of how the stars came to be, claiming that for every new creature, whether they be pony or dragon or griffon or anything else that moved and breathed, born, there would be a light spirit that would make it so they were never alone and they never lost hope; according to the story of the song, those light spirits were the stars.

Partway through the song, she glanced down and noticed Libby had already fallen asleep, snuggled up against her.

"Sleep tight" she muttered softly, stopping her magic.

As soon as the music stopped, however, turquoise eyes opened sleepily.

"Finish the song, Aunt Sweetie. It's pretty…" Libby mumbled before closing her eyes again and snuggling closer to Sweetie Belle's body.

"Well…sometimes it's better to practice with an audience" Sweetie said with a smile as she once again performed her musical spell, picking up where she'd left off.

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(Sweet Apple Acres)

Roxbury was starting to get desperate. He tried to think of anything that might convince his mother or his uncle to stay inside, but nothing worked.

They had to get some firewood, they said, and the best way to do that was to remove the weakest branches, the ones that would be bending from the weight of the snow.

When he accepted the fact that neither of them would stay inside, he tried something else.

"Then I'll go and help you" the green colt said, smiling hopefully at the mare and the stallion.

The siblings shared a glance, and in those three seconds, seemed to have an entire silent conversation.

"Sorry," Applejack said, crouching down so she could make eye contact with her son. "You're a might too young to be helping out with something like this."

Roxbury scowled, paused briefly in his scowling to wipes his blond mane out of his red-and-yellow eyes, and then resumed scowling.

His expression almost immediately changed to one of joy when the sound of the front door closing was heard, followed closely by Apple Bloom announcing that she had returned.

The former Crusader had been making extra money by doing artwork (paintings and carvings) and occasionally carpentry work around town. The art she usually did at home, but the carpentry was almost always "on-site", and when she got one of those jobs, she'd often be gone for several hours of the day, sometimes over multiple days depending on the scale of what had to be done.

"Auntie Bloom" Roxbury cried happily, practically tackling his aunt in a hug when she entered the room that he, Applejack, and Big Macintosh had been talking in. "You'll watch me while Ma and Uncle Mac work, won'cha?"

After a few moments, Apple Bloom agreed to watch him, though she added the condition that they'd have to stay in her room for a while; she had a painting she really wanted to finish.

Roxbury was quick to agree to the condition.

Now happy with the arrangement, he told his mother and uncle to have fun getting firewood, before galloping up the stairs to Apple Bloom's bedroom.

"You're gonna wanna get up there before he gets into your stuff" Applejack told her younger sister.

Apple Bloom nodded and headed upstairs as well, pausing briefly to speak to Applejack.

"An' don't thank me, Applejack" she said with a smile. "I'm happy to help."

With that, she continued upstairs.

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"Granny Smith would'a kept an eye on you, you know" Apple Bloom told Roxbury, who was sitting on her bed, playing with a small ball of clay she'd given him.

"Yeah, I know" he said, flattening the clay between his hooves.

The filly asked the colt why he didn't just let his great-grandmother watch him, rather than apparently wait until she got home. After all, the elderly mare had already taken a couple naps that day, so she would have had enough energy to at least keep Roxbury out of trouble, even if she wouldn't really be up to playing.

Roxbury squirmed; that was a difficult question to answer.

Eager to change the subject, he looked up from his flattened disc of clay and at the canvas that Apple Bloom was painting on. Sketched out in pencil was a scene of a field of flowers with the sun either rising or setting in the background.

"How can you draw so good?" he asked, still looking at the canvas. He was actually more impressed by his aunt's sketches than the finished product; the sketches just looked better to him, for reasons he couldn't explain.

Due to having a paintbrush in her mouth, Apple Bloom was unable to answer.

She tapped her hoof on the wooden floor, a sort of signal that told Roxbury to wait for her response. She wiped the brush, which had been dipped in green paint, over the bottom half of the canvas, being careful to avoid the petals of the flowers.

After she finished painting the grass in the painting, she cleaned the remaining paint off the bristles on the brush and placed it into its holder on the easel.

"It's my special talent, Roxbury," Apple Bloom said, turning around to face the colt sitting on her bedspread.

"I had to practice a lot, too. I wasn't just born being able to draw as well as I can now" she added.

With the questioned answered, she returned to her painting. She painted the flowers a bright shade of red, and then turned her attention to the sun.

For several seconds, she looked at the half circle in the background of the half-finished painting.

Then, without even placing the brush into any paint, she looked at Roxbury, who was currently rolling the clay into the shape of a worm, sighing whenever the clay broke where it was rolled too thin.

"Wanna help?" Apple Bloom asked.

Roxbury titled his head to the side, and then asked his aunt if she was being serious.

When she told him she was, he dropped the clay on the bed and bounded over to her side.

Lifting the foal onto her back, the red-maned filly motioned at the sketching of the rising (or setting) sun.

"You're gonna paint that for me. Orange." She added the last bit when Roxbury gave her a questioning look after staring at the globs of paint on the palette.

"Alright" he said with a smile, taking the brush as it was handed to him.

He used the brush to mix the red and yellow paint together to get the desired color (he also got yellow paint in the green and red paint in the blue, but it really wasn't that much) and began coloring in the semi-circle of the sun.

After about three minutes, he finished...no doubt to the relief of the paintbrush, whose bristles were pressed down a way that made the brush look like a strange pre-fluff dandelion.

"How'd I do?" Roxbury asked, smiling hopefully as Apple Bloom examined his painting job.

The coloring of the sun was uneven, with some places being very dark orange while others were so pale they looked almost white. The green grass was splattered with orange, as was the uncolored sky.

"Pretty good for a first try" Apple Bloom said, turning her head to look at Roxbury, who had hopped to the floor.

"Really?"

"Yeah…just try and be a little neater next time, alright?"

She struggled to keep her voice from shaking and making it clear how she really felt about the result of her allowing her ten-month-old nephew (whose vision was often obscured by his mane to begin with) paint part of her picture. She wasn't angry at him. How could she be, when she had told him to do the painting on his own?

Though, based on the fact that Roxbury was staring at her with a slightly nervous look in his eyes, he clearly thought she was furious. Apple Bloom was quick to try and remedy his fears.

"Don't worry; I'm not mad. Really, I'm not," she told him, putting on a smile as she knew that would help sell him on the idea that she wasn't angry at him.

The green colt still looked a little nervous, but the small smile on his face was enough to show that he didn't think his aunt was furious, at the very least.

"Actually…" Apple Bloom began, an idea coming to her, "I have something you can use to practice coloring in".

She walked over to her bedside drawer, opened it, and pulled out a small notebook with a pale yellow cover. Written on the cover, in block letters, were the words "Work in Progress".

Roxbury gasped as he realized what Apple Bloom was about to give him.

"I can have one of your sketchbooks? To keep?" he asked, his voice full of awe.

Apple Bloom chuckled slightly.

"Well, it's not much of a sketchbook. Most of the pages are empty…But I figure it's a good place to start practicing for you" she said as she handed the notebook to Roxbury.

He thanked her, and then climbed onto the bed with the sketchbook in his mouth.

Once he was seated on the bed, he scanned through the eight pages filled with pencil sketching, trying to find the best one to start coloring. He looked up when he felt something hit the spot next to him. There was a small box of crayons next to him.

He looked up at Apple Bloom confusedly.

"Well, how were you supposed to color without 'em?" she asked. "I like that one" she added, pointing at a small picture of a bird.

"Yeah…" Roxbury muttered, pulling a dark violet crayon out of the box.

He began to color in the bird, as Apple Bloom turned her attention back to the painting of the flower field.

"Actually…" she said, smiling slightly as she looked at the painting. "I think this is one of my best lookin' paintings ever."

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(Golden Oaks Library)

At the sound of the door being opened, Velvet instantly changed positions from leaning against Spike as he told her about the time he, her mother, and Owlysius fought off a huge dragon that tried to kill Spike for eating some of his gems, to preparing to charge at whoever appeared once the door was opened.

"You know, Cadance really is an alicorn, Velvet" Spike told the filly, who looked at him like he'd just grown a second head.

"No she's not, Spike" Velvet said with a scoff. "You or Mom or some-pony else just put wings on her picture before showing me cause you wanted to be mean and scare me. I mean, if Mom's brother is so nice, why would he marry a mean and nasty alicorn?"

The baby dragon sighed; no matter how many times they'd had this conversation, he was never able to convince Velvet of the truth of her aunt's species.

Well…she'd be finding out the truth in three…two…one.

The door to the library opened, and Velvet instantly ran towards it, only to screech to a panicked halt when she saw the first pony to step inside: an alicorn, one that looked just like the pictures of her Aunt Cadance.

"Oh, Twilight…She is adorable" Cadance practically squealed, looking at the dark-maned filly with a wide smile on her face.

It was at this moment that Velvet got over her terror enough to see that her mother, and a stallion who she assumed was her Uncle Shining Armor, had also entered the library.

She then did the only logical thing she could think of; she wisped away.

"That's a weird way of teleporting" Shining Armor said as Velvet reappeared with a wisp of smoke, standing between Twilight's forelegs.

"Mom! Uncle Shining!" the blue filly cried, her voice shaking in terror. She jabbed a hoof at Cadance. "That monster's making herself look like Aunt Cadance!"

The husband and wife shared a look of confusion at their niece's outburst.

"Oh no…" Twilight said softly to herself, realizing she was going to have to tell her brother and her sister-in-law a fairly long and implausible-sounding story as soon as Velvet had gone to bed.

She crouched down to try and calm the little filly, who was actually starting to cry from how scared she was, but Shining Armor asked if he could try.

With a nod, Twilight straightened herself up, just as her brother crouched down, his face close to Velvet's.

"No need to be scared, Kiddo," he told her, a reassuring smile on his face. "That's not a monster at all; it's just Cadance."

At this, the tears stopped flowing from Velvet's eyes. She looked at Shining Armor, then at Cadance, then back again. She blinked rapidly a few times, as though trying to make sure she could see correctly. Once she stopped blinking, she said a single word, in a flat tone of voice.

"What?"

Author's Note:

Disclaimer: With the exception of my original characters (the foals of the Mane Six, Tsunami, the pony named Agnes Nutter-though her namesake belongs to Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett-as well as Ocean Breeze and Crystal Lake, who were mentioned but did not actually appear in this chapter) and the plot of this story, I own nothing. Bonnie Zacherle (I finally learned that I was spelling her name wrong every other time) owns the My Little Pony franchise in general, while Friendship is Magic belongs to Lauren Faust, Hasbro, Studio B, and a ton of other people whose names I either don't know or am too lazy to write down.

Well, we are coming up close to the end of this story, everybody. I'd say there's about five or so chapters left before "Discord Did It" is finished. I always planned to end the story when the foals turned one, and once this little mini-arc with Cadance and Shining Armor visiting is finished, I'll be skipping to the birthday. If enough people want it, I might include a Discord POV epilogue, but I'm not going to promise anything.

Now, because I feel like I owe this to everyone, I wanted to get some apologies out of the way. First and foremost, I'm sorry this update took so long and I hope the length makes up for the fact that it took forever to get the update up. I'm also sorry if this isn't a great chapter, especially considering how long a lot of you have been waiting. I've been dealing with a lot of stuff recently-mostly school and typical life, but also a virus that made it so I had to wipe my system and delete the original version of this chapter, and I got pretty sick recently-so my emotional state has not been at it's peak and that effects my writing. However, I did my best, and I hope you all think that's good enough, considering the circumstances.

I am also sorry for the lack of Fluttershy and Meadow Lark; I couldn't think of anything for them to do, really.

Also, even if I don't show it, the ponies in Ponyville did all react to the fact that it apparently rained candy and colored syrup. I mean, how could they not? And before anyone asks, no the foals are not able to mess with weather like Discord could…at least not yet and not on a conscious level.

Oh, and here's another contest to win a cupcake: based on Agnes's line, try and guess what my favorite superhero movie is.