• Published 26th Jan 2012
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Head Full of Cotton Candy - TheManWithTwoNames

The many misadventures of Discord and Screwball.

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Chapter Five

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work. “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I got the ten thousand dollars, no thanks to you guys. Man, they better not have shrunk my rad T-shirt in the wash, otherwise I’ll never be able to trade it for ownership of My Little Pony!

Discord and Screwball were frozen in place as they locked their eyes on the menacing figure flying down at them from the inky night sky. There was no doubt in either of their minds that they were about to be visited by another one of the draconequus’ psychopathic family members and were already preparing for the worst. Their experiences with the last two spirits consisted of a town-wide orgy and a bloody struggle for their very lives; Discord couldn’t imagine this encounter would be any more enjoyable. His claws began to radiate with an imperceptible gray heat in anticipation and he took a step forward to position himself between the approaching foe and Screwball, only to nearly trip over the pony who had already taken a defensive stance in front of him.

“Criminy, Patsy, hold me still!” the innkeeper barked. The baby dragon struggled to stay on his feet and hold the pony at the same time.

“Masky, have I ever mentioned how stupid all your plans are?” Patsy grunted as he readjusted his grip on the con artist, his claws constantly slipping on the stripes of wet black paint that had served as Masky’s shoddy zebra disguise. The green pony was stretched out with his legs sticking straight out in front and behind him.

“Ah, applesauce. I got us five hundred smackers off’a that hotel scam, didn’t I?” he said as he immersed himself in his new role. “Just trust me on this one. That big ol’ flapping thing up there’ll give us a glance and think we’re one of its kind! See? I’m the wings and you’re the little body if you just stop squirming! Patsy, you’re going to blow this!

A gust of wind sent the two thieves to the ground as the new arrival slowly touched down to earth a short distance away from the party. While typical avian creatures flap their wings quickly to slow their landing, this new creature had just continued moving its long wings at the same rhythmic speed he had maintained while racing toward them. Its body had simply slowed in the air before landing on two silver legs.

The spirit was a few heads shorter than the draconequus, though still more than large enough to tower over Screwball. The pony did her best to hide her uneasiness; of all the things in the world it could have been, the spirit had taken the form of an owl. Screwball loathed owls. She had once tried to incorporate an owl into a routine of hers, asking questions and only receiving a questioning “hoo?” in response, leading to her feigned frustration. The princesses adored the owl so much they adopted him as a pet and made him an honorary duke. Screwball loathed owls.

And unlike the spirits of Love and Nature, who could have convincingly passed themselves off as a real alicorn or ordinary animals, this new arrival appared entirely unnatural. Its entire body looked as though it was made from the armor of the Royal Guards polished down until all color had been scrubbed from it, leaving it a shimmering silver that managed to reflect light even in the starless night. Its eyes looked like two glowing crystal balls that passed through a range of colors, from yellows to red to blue to green. Screwball was almost certain she could see the faint phantoms of gears and numerals drifting behind the glass. It twitched and moved in a sad imitation of a living creature, with each motion falling into a stiff and regimented pattern.

“Brother Entropy. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I am Time. I have come on behalf of all our brothers and sisters. Brother Death especially sends his regards.” The spirit’s voice was emotionless and peculiar, producing a clicking sound periodically between syllables that rendered his words disjointed.

“My name is Discord. And you are not welcome in my kingdom,” he replied stiffly, pushing around Screwball and stepping toward the spirit encroaching on his territory. He understood that he would have to be serious if he wanted to beat the spirit away before it had the opportunity to cause any harm to anyone.

“I am familiar with your pet name. I was merely in-tend-ing to...” He slowed to a stop, his mouth locked open as if frozen in time and the yellow light faded from his eyes.

“Alright, champ!” Masky cheered as he hopped out of Patsy’s arms and sauntered between Discord and Screwball. “You stopped that drip dead in his tracks. To show my gratitude, you both can spend a night at the inn at just half the usual fee.”

Before Screwball could deliver a well-deserved slap across the lowlife’s nose, there was a loud sound like the angry grinding of gears and the owl began to spasm. A hellish yellow light returned to his eyes. Masky yelped and dove back at the unsuspecting baby dragon to resume the disguise, leaving them both in a pile.

AddressYouInA less ceremonious manner,” he sputtered rapidly as if to make up for the time lost during his silence, “to show my good will. To that end I gave you a new name. So that we might have a colloquial relationship. As I said earlier, I am Time. Now you may give me a new name.”

“How about Creepy?”

“Most droll. I should have anticipated as much after watching my brother for these past days. The time for informality has now passed. I shall proceed to my business,” the owl ticked. “Brother Chaos, you will join us in our pantheon where you belong and cease all of this triviality.”

“Hey, chief!” a rough voice whistled. Discord, Screwball, and Time broke their stares to look at the approaching dragon just barely managing to hold a green and black-striped pony up. “This whole business looks like it’s just between the three of yous, so if it’s all the same to you, I’m just going to fly off. Sound good?”

Time merely observed the spectacle for a few moments before speaking. “And who precisely are you?”

“I’m an owl, see? Like you.” There was a long silence before the spirit excused the buffoons, who were more than happy to flee the scene with all the speed they could muster.

“You have a penchant for attracting the strangest company, Brother,” Time said simply, turning his attention to the purple jester a bit too long to achieve any sort of subtlety. “Let us not delay. Every wasted moment provides an opportunity for new disaster.”

“How long does it take for you maniacs to get the message?” Screwball yelled as she stomped her front hooves. “He doesn’t want to go anywhere with you!”

“Your desires have been taken into arbitration. We have concluded that they are inconsequential.”

“That’s it,” Discord snarled as he bared his claws at his sides, the air around them quivering dangerously. “You have five seconds to get out of my kingdom before I throw you out. One...”

“Brother Chaos, you are being childish.”


“I would do what he says,” Screwball said. She truly didn’t want the draconequus to get in a fight, and only hoped that this spirit could simply be intimidating into flying off. “He dropped a castle on the last one of you.”

"Three... Four..."

“I am very much aware of my sister’s death.”

The pony faltered as the weight of the revelation struck her. They had killed the Spirit of Nature, the being responsible for cultivating the planet and maintaining the weather. What was that going to mean for the world? What would happen to the farmers that supplied Equestria with food? How would plants grow? How long would it take before the world’s ecosystems completely fell apart?

All those thoughts immediately became trivial when a new wave of fear crashed over her: they had killed a Spirit. Spirits could be killed. And Discord was...

‘The Spirit of Chaos. I’m honestly not surprised. It explains why he’s such a pain in the flank.’

He could die. He could be killed! No. She shook her head, her curly mane bouncing side to side. No, she would never allow it. She would take him and keep him safe forever, and she would die before she let anyone try to hurt him.

“Discord, I can’t let you--” Screwball’s words were lost as she stared at the creature, mystified. He was as still as a statue, his claws pulled back in anticipation of some powerful spell.

“I presume you wish to be sensible in this matter now,” Time said in his robotic monotone before turning his gaze back to the frozen spirit. Discord’s body jerked as he reset himself.

“Ruof... Eerht... Owt... Eno.” The draconequus blinked a few times looked around himself in confusion. “Did I just go somewhere? Oh yeah,” he said as he glared at the owl intently watching him. “I was just getting ready to turn you into a schnauzer.”

“Brother Chaos, I am not here... to... fight...”

“Why a schnauzer?” Screwball asked.

“Why not? Let’s see what he thinks. Hey, Creepy! You like dogs?” Time’s head hung forward limply and his body sagged in a decrepit hunch. The creature showed no sign of life beyond the sound of gears rattling from his still form.

“Should we leave?” Screwball couldn’t stop herself from shouting when Time’s head violently lunged forward, his eyes glowing a fiery red, as he spread his wings behind him and let out a vile cacophony of retching and gagging. He finally disgorged a large pellet that appeared to be made of undigested wire and brass.

IAmHereTo convince you to end this madness,” Time said quickly, his body shaking with excitement as he hastened to get back on schedule.

“Ugh, talking? This is going to take forever, isn’t it?” Discord moaned. “Couldn’t you just at least try to tickle torture me with your feathers?

The owl wordlessly spread his two wings to its sides, the spirit’s wingspan dwarfing even Discord. The vanes of the silver feathers hummed with a blue light and the spirit beat his wings just once, slashing them across the air with all the force of a guillotine. He held his two wings out in front of him, revealing two large, jagged tears floating on either side of him. It hurt Screwball’s head to look into them for more than a second at a time, but she could make out a throbbing tunnel of flashing colors inside of the holes.

“On second thought, let’s skip the tickle torture,” Discord said nervously, his confident exterior rapidly slipping away. Ignoring the clownish spirit’s protests, Time beat his wings back again and the pair were thrown off their hooves and dragged helplessly toward the separate portals.

“Discord!” the purple pony cried as tumbled through the air, catching a glance of the draconequus managing to fight against the vacuum by digging his claws into the dirt while she flew ever closer to the ravenous cut in space.

“Screwball!” Discord raised his claw to summon his magic and immediately lost his grip.


It was beautiful. A candy-coated (literally!) wonderland of lights and sound and color and excitement and laughter sprawled out as far as he could see! He saw an apple hanging in a tree inflate to the size of a pony’s head and fall to the ground to crack open and hatch into a fish that casually fluttered into the air. A frog mooed like a lion before taking a few hops forward and sinking beneath the purple checkerboard landscape with a splash. A white pegasus with a butter yellow mane squealed as she zagged and zigged through the air, her eyes glued to her shadow which almost seemed to be moving a half of a second before her. And the trees! The trees were dancing! On their heads! The trees had heads! And they were spinning around and bowling into ponies here and there and everywhere!

A house a short distance away swelled to bursting and a river of fudge spewed out from every nook and most of the crannies of the building. A few fillies popped their head out of the chocolate goo to shout in excitement before the muck suddenly reversed flow and drew them back into the cottage. A curious cloud above Discord caught his attention before it petered and creaked and fell forward out of the sky, shattering on top of his horns into shards of yellow glass. He eyed the shards critically and bit down on one of them, his smile widening when he discovered the cloud to be a creamy macaroni and cheese.

Discord pushed himself to his hooves by balancing on his tail and fluttered to a soft landing. He stretched his arms over his head and cannonballed into the patch of ground in front of him. The moment he touched the purple grass, his body passed through like a ghost, and he gleefully swam through the ocean of colorful plastic balls that were hidden just beneath the surface. He turned and curled and twisted in the current for what felt like hours, and after he was certain he was good and lost, he finally clawed his way out of the ground, pushing a house onto its side as though it were on a hinge to let himself up. He peeled a strip of paint off the house to wipe off all the dryness and threw the towel onto a growling cat feuding with a mewling dog pinned up in a tree.

Some nervous-looking yellow and orange stallion wearing a pair of saddlebags was talking to a flattered and smiling unicorn mare. Without warning, the stallion stopped dead in his sentence and looked over at the saddlebags with horror as marinara sauce and noodles began to bubble out of the packs.

“Are you alright, Raviol--” The unicorn’s words were cut off as the stallion was suddenly propelled into her, the force of spaghetti spiraling out of his pockets too much for him to stop. The two screamed as he tilted backwards and flew off into the sky, traveling faster and faster as he fought against the pull of gravity, meatballs raining down on the amazed children below.

He simply couldn’t stand to watch any longer. He was certain he was going to die. Discord fell to the ground and cried and choked on his laughter, rolling in the warm, gray haze.


“Am I dreaming? Is this an awake nightmare?” It might have been the thunk on her head she took as she fell through whatever trap that lunatic owl pushed her into, but she was certain that there was something very wrong with the world as she forced her eyes open and rose to her hooves. The sun and the moon clashed with one another in the sky. Pigs flew through clouds on feathery wings. Terrified ponies juggled their screaming newborn children. A manic-looking unicorn walked on shaky legs before she let out a sneeze and breathed a jet of flame twenty feet in front of her.

“You do not seem to be enjoying yourself,” clucked an unwelcome voice. The jester wheeled around to glare at the silver spirit perched on the branch of an upside-down tree. “I am genuine when I say that I share your sentiments. The solar bodies are not serving their purpose to dictate the time,” he continued as he stared icily at the warring satellites. “Matters are even more complicated. This body seems to have a mind of its own. It is quite persnickety about keeping a sleep schedule. It actually forced me to rest for a short period before I could speak with you. It is convenient that your body had done the same to you.”

Screwball tried her hardest to put on a brave face and stomped a hoof at the nonplussed owl. “Take me back.”

“I am sorry to disappoint. But I am not as readily subservient to mortal whims as my brother is.”

“Fix whatever you’ve done and take me back to where we were before. Or Discord will--” Before she could complete her threat, a deep and familiar laugh caught her ear. She turned with a broad smile to meet the draconequus, the indeterminate amount of time she must have been apart from him far too long for her liking. The smile melted away to dread when she saw the Spirit of Chaos clicking his heels and laughing at a squadron of uniformed pegasi with only one wing each fly miserably in circles around him. A terrible realization began to creep across her mind.

“He couldn’t have. He couldn’t have done all this,” the pony whispered, too afraid to raise her voice and hear the emotion in it.

“He... will...” Time slurred. “InOneHundred year’s time this is what will become of Equestria.” In an instant, the owl disappeared from the branch and suddenly appeared standing close at the mare’s side.

“No. It can’t be him... That can’t be him...”

“This is the hundredth year of the Discordian Era in Equestrian history. That is the Discord who reigns over the world. He is a tyrant who abuses his citizens for his own merriment. He twists laughter into sorrow, corrupts kindness. Poisons love, spreads despair, and wreaks havoc. All under the supposed authority of sovereignty.”

“I never told him to do this!” the pony shouted.

“Not. That he would have needed any reason to justify his indulgences,” Time continued without delay. “Nothing could have stopped him once he had been unleashed upon the world. Only delayed. But no mortal power could have ever prevented this.”

“What are you trying to say?” Screwball challenged.

“I am saying,” Time said with the slightest hint of tenseness, “that you have been harboring the greatest monster your kind has ever known.”

Not waiting to hear another word of the spirit’s lies, Screwball galloped toward the draconequus, the chimera still cackling as the pegasi looped around.

One stallion fought to keep his eyes open as his aching muscles and tired mind commanded him to sleep. It was fear alone that drove the pegasus, who needed only to look at various colorful pillows on the ground below to be reminded of the fate that awaited him should his performance disappoint their sadistic ruler. His eyes lingered on the cushions that had once flown together with him for a moment too long, and he collided with another flyer. The pony prayed with all his might that he had only crashed with another pegasus, and his heart sank when he lifted his head to see two yellow eyes narrowed at him. He let out a cry of pain as his single wing was seized by the chimera’s lion paw and carelessly swung about as the spirit ranted.

“Get your act together, Icarus! You don’t see Nimble over there colliding with anypony!” Discord motioned toward another pegasus who was too terrified to turn her head and witness the coming tragedy. “You know why? It’s because Nimble is a damn professional. But if you’re really so tired, then I think I can arrange for you to get some rest.”

The screaming pony was flung to the ground and exploded into a cloud of feathers and cotton at Screwball’s hooves. The mare shrieked in fear at the sight, and the sudden turmoil was just enough to catch the tormenting spirit’s attention.

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” he said with a wolfish grin as his tail flicked side to side in the air. “Somepony here to watch my Blunderbolts practice?” The pony kicked her legs in protest as she was lifted off the ground by the eagle claw that was suddenly clutching her neck. “So, what is it? Trying to get a sneak peek of the show? Or,” Discord gasped dramatically, “are you trying to steal our routine?”

“D...Discord,” Screwball managed to choke out, “it’s... me...!”

“Me? No, the name doesn’t ring any bells,” he said with a frown. “I don’t owe you money, do I? No, wait, I remember, we met at a local single’s mixer in Staliongrad. Wait, I’ve got it! You were the maid of honor at that awful wedding with Shining What’s-His-Name and Cadence Something! No? Well, I don’t like this game anyway and I must get back to rehearsal. No wobbling, Nimble! You’re better than that! It’s a long drop, so try to aim for Icarus. He looks particularly fluffy, he really must have been tired.”

Screwball screamed as she kicked her legs in the air, miraculously landing on the pillow. She wasted no time in dashing away from the nightmare she had just experienced. She ran as fast as as her hooves could carry her, not stopping until her body simply could take no more and collapsed under the shade of a giant lollipop. Her chest rose and fell as quickly as the heart pounding in her chest, and her body shuddered with the effort of holding back her frightened tears.

“That did not seem like a prudent course of action.” The statement was followed by a few ticks and a soft flap of wings as the silver owl descended onto the candy. “I hope you are taking this situation seriously.”

She gave no response and continued panting as she tried to grapple with the significance of her encounter. Ten thousand thoughts all flooded her brain, relentlessly bombarding her with sudden realizations, each more terrifying than the last. He had thrown away everything she had ever tried to teach him. All those mornings and nights they spent talking, he had forgotten every word. Or did he simply never care? Or were her suspicions right all along and he would only behave himself when she was around? The pony had no doubt that she was dead after one hundred years. So how long did it take for him to devolve into... that?

No. No, he didn’t devolve. She knew that. She wished she could say that he had become some twisted shadow of his younger, innocent self, but she knew better. She had looked into his eyes countless times, those wonderful gold and ruby orbs always working their magic to bring her cheer and make her smile. And when he clutched her by the neck and dangled her in the air, she looked into his eyes.

And they were the same. This monster was pure cruelty in word and deed, something she could never say about her Discord. But when she looked into the eyes of that stranger, she saw the same spirit and soul that had laughed with her and comforted her when she was at her weakest. The same draconequus she was willing to risk her own life to protect. It was him. She saw it in his eyes, he had not changed at all. It was Discord.

‘Nice of him to remember us.’

Screwball felt like a Windigo raced through her and turned her insides to ice. This final pain overwhelmed every other thought and pushed them to the cramped recesses of her mind so that it could freely dominate her. He didn’t remember her. He couldn’t even recognize her. The creature she cared for like a child looked at her with those haunting eyes and had no idea who she was. He had forgotten about her.

"It was a case of nature, quite literally, versus nurture,” Time spoke up, his heartless voice piercing through her numbed mind. “However. It is an eternal battle as he is an eternal child. And you,” he said as he twisted his head to look directly down at the devastated pony, “are not. Once you are gone, so will be any memory of you or your words. You continue on this pointless quest. Even after... see...ing... WhatHeIs capable of. And what he is more than eager to do.”

Images appeared before Screwball’s eyes. She saw a sick filly lying under a thin pile of rags in a small, dirty room looking up at a contemplative Discord seconds before he snapped his fingers and transformed her into a plant. The scene changed and Discord had seized the life energy of a forest in his hands and soared into the air, laughing riotously as he snapped the strands like a whip and plunged the forest into utter catastrophe. A young pony could only scream inside her own mind as her body acted beyond her control, pulled along by marionette strings toward the grinning draconequus. A medley of images of birds flailing inside bubbles, trees spewing juice, flowers turning into sweets, roads turning into soap, and various other pranks suddenly took on a much more ominous meaning. A final image of Discord appearing above a crowd of panicked Canterlot ponies holding a dead alicorn with a jet black coat in his paw for all of Equestria to see. She could see her own face from within the mob.

The pony shook her head violently, dispelling the visions and letting her head hang limply down at the unnatural ground.

“You’ve lost any sense of purpose you carried on this venture. You sought validation. Then you wished to protect Equestria and uphold the balance of nature. Soon after, you chose you would fool the world to see Brother Chaos as something other than a monster. And you have failed to even convince yourself of this illusion. So I must wonder. Why. Do you insist on continuing this apocalyptic mission?”

When he received no answer beyond troubled sobs, Time inflated his chest and took flight to retrieve the missing younger Spirit of Chaos. Leaving the sad mare alone, the Spirit of Time was unable to hear her tiny whisper.

“Because he’s mine.”


“Okay, a little more this way. Now a little back. Perfect!” Discord put his hands on his hips and looked with satisfaction at the precariously stacked tower of trees, fruit, clouds, houses, some sleeping animals, some awake animals, and anything else he had found nearby. A helpful group of pegasi were more than compliant and quick to get to work on whatever he asked them to do. They had finished placing the last seesaw at the top of the ramshackle tower and flew a few feet back in anticipation. Discord snapped his claw and a heavy shimmering yellow and black ball appeared in the air. He slipped his talons into the holes, and brought his feet together at an angle. He stared long and hard at the tower for a few seconds before dancing forward on the tips of his hoof and reptilian toes. He swung his arm forward and sent the ball thundering toward the tower, and with a cry of “Yabba dabba doo!” the ball hit its mark and sent the tower exploding into a shower of debris and junk. Discord whooped and hollered as the tower fell to pieces around him, only coming to a stop when the last of the tower had stopped falling.

“Eh, wasn’t as fun the second time,” he sighed. “Come on, everypony. Let’s go find something new to do.” The pegasi all shrieked at something and scattered off in every which way, with some flying straight down through the ground and others moving in reverse. The draconequus turned with a frown to see a familiar silver silhouette hovering down from the sky to land just next to him.

“Good afternoon, Brother.”

“Well, I think it might be night--no now it’s morning... Noon... Eclipse... I don’t even know what you’d call that,” Discord rambled as he watched the sun and the moon duke it out in the ever-changing sky. The mention visibly irked the Spirit of Time, who hurriedly changed the subject.

“I apologize for any animosity between us earlier.”

“You know, I should be turning you into a terrier right now. But I’ve just been in such a good mood, I might not even drop a barn on you,” the draconequus said with a genuine laugh. “Well, maybe just a silo.”

“That is appreciated. I trust that you enjoy this world?”

“Are you kidding? This place is the best!” As if to emphasize his point, a tap-dancing skyscraper donned with a top hat and twirling a cane came tapping across the chaotic landscape. “I only wish Equestria could be this much fun.” Discord’s ear twitched at the sound of a soft gasp and he looked back to Time. The owl made a few slow strides to the side to reveal a disoriented purple earth pony sitting on the ground, her front legs just barely holding her torso up. The Spirit of Chaos wasted no time in flying to Screwball’s side and taking her in a warm embrace.

“Have you seen this place, Scroob? Isn’t it just wild?” His exuberance abated when he noticed Screwball’s purple eyes were red and puffy with tears. He pulled her into himself protectively and snarled at the owl. “Did you do this to her?”

“It was not I. And it brings me no joy to say her sorrow is an outcome of your own machinations.”


“This is your fault,” he clarified. “Everything.”

“You’re lying,” he growled, baring his pointed teeth.

“I cannot imagine what I have done to make you both doubt my every word. I have spoken nothing but the truth. This is the world you shall create should you continue to walk among mortals. This is Equestria after only a century of your anarchical dynasty. Ponies live in constant unrest and unhappiness in the face of never-ending strife.”

Chaos incarnate examined his world with a second eye. The grins on the faces of ponies continuously playing leap frog suddenly appeared strained and pleading. The shrill cries of the filly who’s hoofsteps would sporadically unleash a burst of smoke and fire sounded more frightened than surprised. An emaciated rabbit hanging upside-down by a monkey tail from a tree branch lost its grip and dropped to the blue checkered grass and remained motionless. A pony with baggy eyes glared spitefully at the feuding sun and the moon as he limped lifelessly after a galloping bed. Discord loved all of this, but he was the only one. He couldn’t see a single other pony enjoying themselves. He didn’t even think of trying to find Screwball. Suddenly, all the gray warmth that surrounded the spirit did not feel as exhilarating.

“She met your future self as well. You were monstrous in how you treated her.” If he was capable of expression, a hungry grin would have spread across the spirit’s face. He was close now. It was just a matter of, well, time. The correct application of the proper pressure would be all it took to force sense into the two and save the world. “Brother. If you wish to avoid this calamity, you know what must be done. You understand that you must come with me. For all their sakes.”

Time leaned forward ever so slightly with anticipation as Discord surveyed the world around him. Watching the chaos he was destined to spread, the terror on the faces of ponies, the silent fear of the one living being who ever showed him any compassion, and finally the awaiting eyes of the wold himself. This was it. This was his victory. It was inevitable now. He foresaw this.

“I won’t do it.”

“What.” Time stood still for its Spirit.

“I just won’t do it. Any of it,” Discord said resolutely. “I’ll stay with Screwy, and now I know to avoid doing all of this.”

The lights behind Time’s incandescent eyes flicked on and off for a few seconds and the spirit’s head twitched. The world began to fall to pieces around them. Scraps of the purple sky dislodged and dangled as if they were hanging from a hinge before dropping to the ground and crashing with a resounding gong. The ground sprung up into the air and dissolved into bits of sparkling bronze, ponies broke apart into clockwork pieces with a sprang, the clouds littered cogs and screws. The entire world crumbled in an enormous cataclysm of clangs, twings, and whistles, as if a clock was stuffed with some of Discord’s exploding rocks and let to burst.

This was not something that should have ever happened. He had anticipated and predicted every possible reaction and outcome, and manipulated events until complete submission and compliance was the only available conclusion. He was the Spirit of Time. He should never be surprised or agitated by new turns of events. And yet. And yet. And yet. And yet and yet and yet and yet and yet and yet. They turned their heads at their indisputable destinies.

No. No, he just needed to convince them for just a little longer, that was all.

"If you choose to remain in this world, that will be your future,” Time announced as the last piece of the future landscape vanished. The three were standing outside of the dilapidated inn, the full moon still hanging high in the night sky. Discord gently set Screwball back on the ground and the two turned to face the persistent spirit. “You will do nothing but hurt the world and all who live within. This is not something you can avoid, Brother."

There. He just had to explain it to them. That was all. That should have done it. They would submit now. He had foreseen it. This would be the end of it now.

“Would you shut up already? Do you even listen to yourself when you talk?” This pony was beginning to be a nuisance. The mare took an aggressive stance and glared at the spirit, her hateful eyes burning for the opportunity to repay the spirit for her heartache. “Of course he can avoid it if he wants to. He’s the Spirit of Chaos! His entire being is based on defying expectations! There’s nothing he can’t be!”

“He cannot be a kind--”

“Discord is the kindest, most sweetest creature that I’ve ever known! When I met him, the first thing he wanted to do was to meet and help as many ponies as he could.”


“He saved a dying filly’s life and lifted her family out of complete poverty. He put on a show for all of Ponyville just to make them laugh. He even willingly helps petty crooks because he wants to help out everypony, no matter who they are!” Screwball’s face softened slightly. “And in my entire life, I’ve never met a soul who cared as much about me as Discord does. I don’t know what I did to deserve somepony as great as him, but I’ll never let him go.”

“Screwy...” The air grew lighter for a second as a slight smile crossed the pair’s faces in spite of their situation. Any comfort the two felt was quickly stolen away by the sound of a low growl echoing from deep in Time’s throat. The spirit had begun to spread his silver wings around him, causing even the larger draconequus to feel slightly intimidated. His eyes were glowing with a dark intensity, the spheres now radiating with a menacing black light. The spectral symbols and cogs that drifted inside were clear to see against the infinite darkness.

"End. This foolishness. Now come with. Me.” The Spirit of Time’s speech had almost completely disintegrated, his sentences sounding like nothing but fragmented composites heartlessly strung together.

“Oh sure, just let me pack my things,” Discord chuckled, trying to cover for his earlier fright. With a snap of his fingers, a dozen suitcases suddenly rained down upon the metallic spirit. Time’s only reaction was to growl lower and quake for a few moments before snapping his head directly in Screwball’s direction.

"You, po. Ny order him to. Come with. Me," he ordered, his command barely audible over the vociferous clicks and tocks that rattled from his mouth which only served to further agitate the mare.

“I already said no! I don't care if you creeps come after us every day until the end of time, I'll never let you take him!"

Perhaps it was a result of the living shell he occupied, or the body’s unreasonable demand for resting for hours going ignored, or the irregularities in the pattern of the sun and the moon, or perhaps it was due to the nature of the creature he was contending with. But whatever the reason, this encounter had given way to a first in history’s winding track: Time’s patience had reached its end.

Pony and draconequus began to cautiously retreat as steam spewed from the silver bird’s neck. His neck twisted and spun back and forth as if a demon had seized him, his wings twitched flapped independent of each other, and his body lurched this way and that. The owl gave a final bloodcurdling screech before his head shot off from his shoulders on a piston, his face locked in a terrifying grimace with his beak lying disjointed. After several seconds, the spasms ended and the glow from Time’s eyes faded completely, and the bird fell and crashed to the ground face-first. Discord sniggered a bit when a sudden “cuckoo” escaped the bird’s mouth.

Screwball gasped as she discovered the reason behind the spirit’s inorganic mannerisms. His body was a hollow shell filled with all manner of gizmos and machinery. Gears and springs were tangled together in an ugly mess, sprockets and weights jangling out of place and getting caught in the grinding teeth. “A sad imitation of a living creature” didn’t even begin to describe it.

A cold rush surrounded her. Screwball thrashed with all her energy to break free of the eerie power that suddenly gripped her, but to no avail. The energy coalesced into a faint blue sphere around her and she was lifted up into the air over the crumpled body of Time.

“These emotions are obstructive,” a cold voice hissed as the mechanical spirit began to slowly pull itself back together. “You have pushed me to my limit. I will not say it again. Come with me. For every second you delay, she will age. And wither. And die.”

“Disc--AAGH!” The pony screamed in agony as lightning arced from the inside walls of the sphere and licked her body. Shaking off his immediate shock, Discord ignored the owl’s objections and torpedoed straight towards the prison. His first attempts to reach in and grab her and teleport her away only earned him a cruel laugh from the carrion spirit.

“You are only wasting your time. And hers. Give up now. She will be able to live out her limited years much less painfully.”

“H-hold on, Scroob!” Discord shouted. He twisted his tail on instinct, grinding the flesh so tightly that some of the ruby scales were scraped off. He bit down hard on his tail before tearing at his own face in agony. He just needed an idea. He just needed to think of something and he would save the day like he always did!

...Except he always only ever made things worse. That was all he was good at. Making things worse for everyone else, getting them into trouble, making them hate him. He didn’t want to be that. He didn’t want to be the Spirit of Chaos. He didn’t even want to be the King of Equestria anymore if he couldn’t do it with Screwball! Screwball shouted out again and her dark purple mane began to show aging streaks of white. Tears stinging his vision, the draconequus pounded his fists on the prison over and over, feeling all the hatred, anger, remorse, pain, and fear in the air around them drawing to him with each strike.

“I just want things to stay the same!”

What happened next was a blur. A light exploded out from the bubble that threw Discord onto the ground, tumbling and cutting his skin on the rough earth. Coughing, the spirit lifted himself onto his staggering feet and squinted through the dust that the burst of archaic energy had disturbed. As the cloud settled, he could see a single form on the ground, one that he could recognize in a heartbeat. Pushing the dust away with the flapping of his wings, Discord raced to Screwball’s side. The pony had no obvious physical harm. No cuts, no bruises, no breaks. All that had changed were the white hairs that highlighted her curly mane.

But she still was not moving.

“Screwball?” Discord asked tentatively, hovering over her motionless form and wringing his hands together. “Scroob? Come on now, Scroob.” He tried to lift her onto her hooves, but the pony remained limp and fell onto her stomach without so much as a grunt. The spirit took a step back and fought the urge to grip his tail as fear swelled in his chest. He lowered his long neck down and nuzzled and nudged the purple pony’s face, some of his tears dripping onto her cheeks. “Screwy... We were gonna see the kingdom...” He fell to his knees and desperately shook her lifeless body. “You gotta wake up now. Please... You have to wake up...”

“Brother,” a fearful voice rasped, “do you realize what you have done?”

His sorrow immediately turned to fury and the Spirit of Chaos turned on his trembling kin with a bestial roar, calling upon fire and lightning to strike down the monster. Time’s pleading words fell on deaf ears, and he could barely speak a word as he was buffeted by the storm.

“It is an abomination, Brother!”

“Go away, go away!! Get away from her!!!” Discord roared again and nature heard his call. Dark pink clouds gathered in the sky and cast down a bolt of lightning to strike down Time with the full fury of Chaos. The owl’s metal body fell to the ground, gave one final tick, and eroded away to dust in an instant, leaving only a soft blue light to drift away and vanish on the wind.

Discord’s tears were swiftly made invisible as drops of sugar water began to rain down from the clouds. The draconequus whimpered once before starting his slow lumber. Reaching his destination, he dropped to his hands and knees and wrapped himself around the dead pony, his cries muffled by the earth and the rain.