• Published 28th Feb 2013
  • 3,541 Views, 57 Comments

Discord's House of Chaos - DannyJ

A recently freed Discord tries to reform a pair of thieves in a chaotic game.

  • ...

Chapter 1: Cops and Robbers

Discord. Once upon a time, it was a name that struck fear into the hearts of mortal ponies. Then for an age it was the name of a mythical creature, spoken of by parents trying to scare their children into behaving. "Be good little fillies, or Discord will get you," they'd say. Then he was forgotten, and another age was spent in ignorance to his existence, with even the fairytale version of him becoming obscure and unknown. Then, finally, he broke free again. And then he was imprisoned again. And then he got paroled. And now, "Discord" is a name that one can find in the yearly census.

And so Equestria learned to fear Discord once again.

In a small moonlit alley in the depths of the city, two stallions dragged along a pair of burlap sacks, which clattered and clanged with the sound of the metal inside.

"Are you sure we're good to hide out here, boss?" asked the tan earth pony as he dragged along the larger sack.

The grey pegasus in front of him grunted in frustration. He spat out the end of the second bag that and let it drop loudly to the floor. He winced as it did, and turned to face his underling.

"Mask, listen to me," he said seriously. "I messed up. I admit that. It's my fault, and I'm sorry. But listen... We can't let ourselves get caught now. Not after all the trouble we went through for this."

Mask nervously looked over his shoulder.

"But boss—"

"I know!" the pegasus seethed. "I know. But it's too late now. They're not going to forgive and forget after this, and the law will be after us in a matter of hours. All we can do is hole up here, and just wait it out. We can make a run for Fix's house in a few days when we've got a clear getaway. He'll be able to help us out. If nopony catches us with the stolen goods, they can't prove we did anything!"

"I... I still don't know..." Mask fretted. "Shady, are you sure this place is safe?"

"Positive. It's been abandoned since it was bought out by Mixer Construction."

He flapped his wings and hovered up a little way. In the dark of the alley, one could only barely see the fire escape above them, but Shady soon dropped back down with the bottom rung of the ladder held in his teeth. He let it go, and the sound of the ladder striking the floor also echoed through the alley.

"Hey!" Mask whispered. "Careful, boss! Somepony'll hear!"

Shady snorted. "Nopony lives around here anymore. Quit worrying."

He grabbed the bag he was carrying before and flew up a level, depositing it on the balcony. Then he fluttered down and carried up the second bag as his companion climbed the ladder. Once they were both on the balcony, Mask pulled the ladder back up again, while Shady turned to the glass window next to them and bucked it in, shattering it into tiny pieces with a loud and sudden crash.

"Oh, come on!" said Mask. "There's a door right there!"

"It'll be locked," Shady said with a roll of his eyes. "Easier to just break the window."

There was a beat, before Mask reached over to the wooden door, turned the handle, and easily pushed the door open. Shady blinked.

"Okay, be fair, that's a one in a million thing. There's no way you could have known it was open."

Mask shrugged and picked up his sack again.

"Whatever you say, boss."

The Sunshine House apartment complex was indeed abandoned. More than that, though, it was dusty and derelict. The place was meant to have been demolished years ago, but for whatever reason, it never happened. The Mixer Construction Company had purchased the land with intentions of building new office spaces here, but as sometimes happened in the construction business, the project had been abandoned, and the old building was simply left to stand.

Now it was aged and ugly. Walls were missing and broken. Rats and other animals lived in the dark corners of the building. Graffiti and litter could be found sporadically around the place. And what few rooms still had furniture (or any other kind of indication that there was once life here) were completely trashed. It was a hollow shell of the place it once was, but for the immediate future, it would have to serve.

"Eurgh. Are you serious, boss? We have to stay here?"

"I know it doesn't look like much, but—"

"Really, here? Look at this place! It's filthy! It's full of rats! It's cold!"

"Mask, please shut up."

Shady trotted out from the small room they had entered through, and out into the long, empty corridor. Standing there, he could see all the doors in their various states of disrepair. Some had been left hanging open. Others were closed. Locked, even. At least one had been torn off its hinges, and now lay in the middle of the floor at the far end.

"Hmm..." Shady frowned. "If I recall correctly, some vagrants used to live in the basement of this complex. It should be warmer down there."

"...We're going to sleep in the basement?"

"Yes. We're going to sleep in the basement. Have you got a problem with that?"

"Umm... No..."

"Because if you want to leave, you can go right outside and hail a taxi right now. Or a police patrol."

"Fine!" Mask threw up his hooves. "Point taken!"

"Good. Get the sack."

He grumbled, but obediently did so, and followed his boss and partner in crime down the dusty corridor as a chill wind blew through.

"See? This isn't so bad."

Compared to the rest of the complex, it really wasn't. The basement was still full of litter, but it had all been brushed into the corner. Rats still scurried about, but they retreated into their holes in the wall when the two stallions entered. And it was definitely warmer down here, even if the ancient boiler in the corner wasn't actually functional. There was even a relatively clean bed in one corner, likely taken from one of the apartments above. "Relatively" being the important word; it was still covered in dust, and the mattress was crusty, but it at least wasn't coated with grime or full of animal droppings like some other parts of the building.

Mask sighed. "I guess not..."

"Hey, come on. Smile! Show a little optimism! Things may not look so good right now, but you'll see! This will all be worth it in the end..."

Shady dumped his burlap sack onto the floor, and the contents spilled out. Plates and goblets of silver and gold, loose bits of jewellery, a fancy-looking candlestick, some formal cutlery, and even some folded silk bed sheets all now covered the floor. Mask followed suit and dropped his load as well.

"You'll see," Shady repeated. "Just bear with me for now. You won't regret this in a few days."

"I hope not, boss."

It had already been late when the two stallions arrived, so it was well into the early morning when they finally drifted off to sleep. There was only a single bed, but it was big enough for them to not have to worry about kicking each other in the night.

The real problem was the cold. Despite the basement being warmer than the draughty building above them, Mask still lamented not bringing along his unicorn friend who knew that heating spell, and entertained fantasies of her getting the old boiler they slept next to up and running again. He had also considered using the silk bed sheets they had stolen as an additional layer, but Shady had refused on the grounds that he didn't want to get the merchandise as filthy as this place was.

As he shivered in the bed, tossing and turning and trying to pull more covers over himself, Mask awoke to the sound of a distant, echoing laughter. He immediately sat up, looking around for whatever he had heard, but there was nothing in the darkness.

Weird... he thought. I could have sworn I heard...

He shrugged it off.

"Probably just my imagination," he muttered.

But just as he lay back down, he heard it again, clearer this time. He shot back upright.

Okay, I know I heard something that time.

Quietly as he could, Mask climbed out of the bed, around the boss, and tiptoed across the floor of the basement. He perked his ears, listening for the sound again, trying to find the source, but it never came a third time. Instead, there was a creaking somewhere above him. He looked over to the corner of the room, at the doorway to the stairs that led up to the ground level. There was another creaking sound, and the door opened by itself, letting silver moonlight spill through.

Wait a moment. That can't be moonlight.

Those stairs just led up to the interior of the apartment complex, not to the outside. What was that light? Where was it coming from? He edged his way across the floor, and poked his head around the corner of the door frame to look up the stairs, but the light was too bright for him to see its source.

Mask glanced back at the bed, where the boss still slept, and considered waking him to show him this strange phenomenon. But some part of him, some curious part, insisted that he didn't need Shady, that he could discover the truth for himself, if only he pushed on alone. So with a nervous gulp, Mask climbed the stairs, and disappeared into the light.

...Well, this is unexpected.

When Mask reached the top of the stairs, he felt as if he'd stepped through a portal to another world. Sunshine House was gone, and he had instead exited into what looked like an operating theatre. The silvery light from wasn't moonlight, as he'd initially thought, but was instead coming from the theatre's lights above them. In the middle of the room, an elderly brown earth mare lay on an operating table, eyes closed and breathing slowly. She was hooked up to some machine which was making a steady beeping noise, and her face was half-covered by her wispy white mane.

Mask slowly stepped closer to the mare, and ran a hoof along her cheek.


Suddenly, a low voice spoke directly into his ear.

"You're not allowed in here."

Mask twisted around to face whoever was behind him, and the colour drained from his face as he beheld the draconequus looming above him. Discord, the Spirit of Chaos himself, smiled at him. His long, snake-like body would have made him as tall as the room's ceiling, even if he were standing on the ground. Instead, though, he floated in the air, bending down so that his face was closer to Mask's, his piercing yellow eyes and sharp teeth just inches away.

And he was dressed up like a doctor.

"I apologise, but only staff are allowed in here," said Discord, drawing back. "There's an operation in progress, you see."

"Wh-What are you doing here?" Mask whispered, backing away as he began breathing heavily. "What are you going to do to me?"

"'Do to you?'" Discord repeated, frowning. "I'm not going to do anything. I took an oath. You know? 'Do no harm.' Pffff. We'll simply have to call security."

He snapped a talon, and a trio of police ponies in blue uniforms appeared.

"Hey, that's our guy!" shouted one of them, a cobalt blue mare, as she pointed at him.

They all drew truncheons and rushed at him.

"Oh please no!"

Mask cowered on the floor, attempting to indicate surrender. The three ponies were about to beat him when they were suddenly frozen. And not metaphorically frozen either, but literally encased in ice, and with one of their batons just seconds from impacting with Mask's face. He whimpered at the sight of it, staring up at them as he lay on his back.

Discord's face appeared above him, leaning over the circle of ponies that surrounded him and blocking out the light. He now wore the uniform of a police sergeant.

"My, my," he tutted. "Somepony's broken more than just some hospital regulations, hasn't he?"

With another click the frozen ponies disappeared, and suddenly Mask was hanging upside down in the air, suspended by invisible strings that he could feel around his hooves. He struggled to move while Discord walked up in front of him. He had put on a set of reading glasses, and was now examining a checklist.

"Robber Mask," Discord read out. "Unfortunate name. Quite the career criminal, I see. You've burgled three houses and two major business outlets in this city in the past month alone. You and your friend. What's his name? Ah yes, 'Shady Dealing.' Also unfortunate. I don't understand what it is with pony names. What else could you two have been but thieves with names like that?"

Mask whimpered again.

"Oh, hush now. I'm not here to hurt you, dear boy. I'm a new draconequus now! Sworn to use my magnificently chaotic powers only for good. And what better good is there than helping my fellow lost souls find the light, just like me?"

He raised his mismatched hands and clapped them together. Those strings tying Mask's hooves suddenly became visible, just in time for a giant pair of scissors to spring into being and cut them. He fell to the floor in a heap and immediately scrambled to get away from Discord.

"There's no escape, you know."

The door that led into the operating theatre vanished in a flash of light, and Mask skidded to a halt.

"Hold on. I feel like I'm forgetting something..." Discord stroked his beard for a moment. "Oh! Of course! Silly me."

Another snap and another flash of light then deposited Shady Dealing in the middle of the room as well. He sat on his haunches as he stared into space, unblinking and seemingly disoriented.

"Hellooooooooo?" said Discord, waving a paw in front of him.

That snapped him out of it, and Shady immediately noticed the chimera in front of him and leapt back in terror. He didn't make a noise, unlike Mask, but his eyes were wide as dinner plates, and he backed away from Discord until he hit a wall.

"Hmm. Same reaction. Curious."

There was another flash. The two ponies now found themselves sitting next to each other, while Discord floated just in front of them. They both tried to flee again, but this time they were stopped by their cuffs, as well as the large ball and chain attached to both of them. Looking at each other first, and then down at themselves, they realised that they were both dressed in orange jumpsuits now.

"Now, let me explain," said Discord in the tone of a patient schoolteacher. "The both of you have broken a lot of rules tonight, and on several other nights. This city already has enough crime, and Princess Celestia would rather there be less of it. Don't get me wrong, I like the chaotic mess that this city is right now, and in old times I'd be the last person to take orders from old dreary. But as we've established, I'm reformed now. And now, I'm going to reform you two as well."

Mask and Shady looked at each other.

"You mean you're... going to put us into rehab?" asked Shady.

"What? No!" Discord slapped his face. "I said that I was reformed, not that I became boring! Rehab centres are no fun at all. They're where fun goes to die. You'd think a building full of utterly mad ponies would be a great place for a creature like me, but I just find them depressing."

He vanished and appeared behind the two of them, putting an arm around both their necks and pulling them together in a big hug.

"No! We're going to do this Discord style! You two and myself are going to play a little game. The setting? This apartment complex. The rules? There are none! I'm just going to set you two loose on this place, and by the morning you're both going to walk out of here as new ponies. I guarantee it."

"You're not gonna... use mind control on us... are you?" asked Mask.

"Yeah, I heard about you and your freaky powers!" Shady agreed. "What was it you did to all those ponies last time? That thing that made them turn grey?"

Discord stroked his beard and made a show of pondering.

"Well, yes. It's true. I could just use a little chaos magic and fix you up right away, at the cost of some light desaturation. And you're already grey, so it hardly matters. But, I don't think that would be very sporting of me."

There was another flash, and suddenly he was back in front of them.

"We're doing this the old fashioned way. I'm going to help you change your ways, and I'm going to do it without magically affecting your minds at all. That is the one rule. It's a rule for me. And if I can't do it, then you two win the game; I'll let you leave with all your stolen goods, and I'll even concede a victory prize of erasing all knowledge of your crimes. You'd effectively have a clean slate to start again."

Shady and Mask shared another concerned look.

"...And if we lose?" asked Shady.

"Well, if you lose, then I don't do anything. You'd be good ponies, and turn yourselves in out of remorse for your most heinous crimes."

"We'd turn ourselves in?" Mask said incredulously. "Like we'd ever do that!"

Discord rolled his eyes knowingly.

"You say that now. Let's just wait and see. So, little ponies. Are you ready to play?"

Shady winced. "Do we have a choice?"

"Now that you mention it... No."

Discord raised his claw and snapped. Wind drifted through the operating theatre, seemingly coming from nowhere. Then a tornado began to form. The room itself dissolved, and the dust and pigment was scattered away in the wind, leaving only a white emptiness and a raging hurricane that the three stood in the centre of.

"Good luck, you two!" Discord called.

And then he disappeared into the void, leaving them alone in the storm.

Author's Note:

This story is a part of the Borderworld.

Just figured I'd try my hand at something shorter. Normally my multi-chapter stories have ten thousand words per chapter, or something stupid like that. This will be a chance to try something easier.

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