• Published 28th Feb 2013
  • 3,540 Views, 57 Comments

Discord's House of Chaos - DannyJ



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

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Chapter 2: Long Life of Sunshine

The two stallions clung onto each other for dear life. The inexplicable storm was showing no signs of slowing down. The operating theatre they were in before was now long gone, and all that remained was a white void and the tornado.

"Where are we going?!" Shady shouted over the din.

"I don't know!"

The jumpsuits that Discord had seen fit to put them in then dissolved around them. The two looked down at their clothing as it became nothing but orange dust and floated away in the wind. They were hopeful for a moment that the ball and chain binding them together would follow, but that didn't seem to be the case.

Instead, it began to rise into the air, dragging them with it. Mask yelped as he was lifted off the floor.

The ball and chain had now become a helium filled balloon, and was taking them right up into the storm. Shady Dealings flapped his wings and righted himself, hovering in the air as the balloon dragged him upwards and trying to chew the chains off. Unfortunately, the chains were still as solid as metal, even though they had become a lot lighter now.

Mask wasn't so lucky, and dangled below the balloon by his hind legs. He gulped as he looked down at the ground, already far below them.

"Shady! I'm scared of heights!" he called.

"That's great, Mask! I'm not too fond of them myself!"

Shady was trying to fly down and pull the balloon back towards the ground, but it resisted him and continued the ascent. The wind didn't seem to be affecting its course either, only succeeding in knocking the two ponies around.

"I'm gonna fall!"

"You're not gonna fall! That demon wouldn't put us in this position just to kill us! Just stay still while I try to get us out of this!"

At that point, the balloon abruptly stopped with a jerk, now hanging in the air with complete stillness. The storm also brought something new. The clouds of particles that had formed when the operating theatre melted were back, and this time they different. No longer the whites and blues of that room, they were a mix of wooden brown, rich red and cream coloured too.

As the two of them watched, the particles came together and became a room again. Except not exactly a room. A corridor. A very long corridor, with cream coloured wallpaper, a thick red carpet, and hundreds of doors in both directions with golden numbers on them. Above them, several chandeliers hung from the ceiling.

Once it had finished forming, the two stallions just stared at it for a second. Mask was about to say something, but then the balloon popped, and he fell onto the carpet. It was only a tiny drop, but he wasn't expecting it. And he was still upside down, so he landed on his head.

"Ugh..." he groaned as he pulled himself up.

Shady, who had just been hovering the whole time, landed on the carpet with far less drama. Normally he'd have made fun of his partner in crime at this point, but that was the last thing on his mind at that moment.

"...Where are we?"

He walked a few steps and examined the nearest door, which had a big, shiny "637" screwed onto the outside, just above a peephole.

"Looks like some kind of... hotel, maybe?"

Mask finally stood up again, and was leaning against the wall. He was breathing like he'd just finished running a marathon.

"That... was terrifying..." he gasped.

"But why would we be in a hotel?" Shady continued, uninterested. "Sunshine was an apartment complex, not a hotel..."

At that point, there was an audible crackling. The stallions looked around them, trying to find its source, until they noticed a series of speakers placed at regular intervals along the corridor's ceiling.

"Au contraire, my little ponies," Discord's distorted voice answered. "Sunshine House has a surprisingly rich history, dating all the way back to its original role as a hospital during the Great Baking War. Afterwards, during the economic boom, it enjoyed a stint as a five star hotel. Good fortune doesn't last forever though, and the Sunshine House Apartments soon emerged. Versatility is the name of the game, and this place changed with the times just like everypony else!"

Shady frowned.

"Discord..." he growled. "Since when were you so interested in history, huh?! What are we even doing here?! What is this sick game of yours?!"

"But history can be such fun! Take this place for instance. In the present, yes, a ruined old place ready to be demolished that's only ever any use to the rats. Dial back the timeline a bit though, and think of all the interesting settings we can play around in! The ponies you could meet, the places you could see! Many would kill for such an opportunity. Don't be ungrateful."

"Discord—!"

"I'm sorry, that's all we have time for. You two run along and go meet your new neighbours. I'll be back to check on you later."

Shady stomped a forehoof as loudly as possible, which wasn't very much due to it being cushioned by the carpet.

"DISCORD!"

The speakers just crackled again though, and this time began playing some kind of weird music.

The pegasus was left staring at the ceiling. Their tormentor was ignoring them, and now they were left to their own devices in this strange fantasy. He didn't know what to expect from this place, but he doubted it would be anything pleasant.

"Boss?"

He turned back to face Mask.

"Sorry. Yeah?"

"What are we gonna do?"

He paused to consider the question.

"...I don't know," he said honestly. "Wander around a bit, I suppose. See if we run into anything."

"I don't like this place, Shady. It's giving me the creeps."

"Yeah. Me too, buddy. Me too..."

***

That music hadn't gotten any less irritating over time. At least, not to Shady. His eye was twitching, and with every step he took, he seemed ready to explode into frothing rage. His partner, in contrast, very much liked it. Mask was happily bobbing his head along to the repetitive tune, taking some kind of comfort in the simplicity and mundaneness of it.

"Dear Celestia, will it ever end?!" he moaned. "How long have we been wandering these corridors?! It feels like it's been hours!"

"...It's been ten minutes, boss."

Sunshine House, if this was still Sunshine House, was deceptively complex. Though the long straight corridor seemed to imply that the building was very neatly formatted and straightforward, they had instead reached the end of that particular corridor and then found it giving way to dozens of other, shorter corridors. They twisted and turned in a way that could only have been Discord's doing, as there was no way any sane architect would have designed a building that way.

Together, they had been wandering that floor of the building for ten minutes, if Mask was to be believed. To Shady, it felt like far longer. That ten minutes seemed to blur together into a haze of samey looking corridors and a continuous stream of repetitive background music.

There was never any variation. Aside from the twisting of the corridors themselves, nothing ever changed. All the doors looked the same aside from their numbers, which continued to count ever higher until it was into four digits. All the speakers above them looked the same and were placed at the same regular intervals. Every so often, they'd pass a radiator, each one identical to the last, and they were always cold.

"I want it to stop, Mask! It's drilling into my brain!"

"What is?"

"The MUSIC! That Celestia-damned music! I can't take much more of it!"

Mask was looking at him like he was crazy.

"Really? It bothers you that much?"

"YES!"

The pegasus curled up in a ball and laid down on the carpet, shivering.

"It's always the same, Mask... It never ends... Never ending... stupid elevator music... going on, and on, and on..."

The worst part of it wasn't even the music itself. It was how every so often, it would cut out for just a split second, before continuing on just as before. It was that tiny, brief moment of hope that it would finally end between all the suffering that made the pain all the worse.

Truly, this was a horror no mortal was meant to experience.

"Oh, quit being such a baby!" said Mask. "It's just a little jingle. Don't tell me that THIS was all Discord needed to do to break you?"

Shady Dealings glared up at his partner and rose to his full height again. His expression was one of righteous fury and indignation.

"No. You're right. I'm not going to stand for this!"

Mask watched in fascination as the boss flapped his wings and rose into the air, before shooting down the corridor back the way they came like a bolt of lightning. He dashed straight for the nearest speaker, twisted around mid-air, and bucked it with his hind legs as hard as he could. The music stopped abruptly as the speaker shattered into chunks of plastic and fell onto the carpet below, leaving only wires dangling out of a hole in the wall.

"THERE!" he shouted in triumph. "I did it! My torment is over! Take that, Discord!"

A nearby door, numbered 1025, suddenly flew open. A draconequus poked his head out, and frowned at the pony hovering by where the speaker used to be.

"You know, causing property damage is not an endearing trait," he said.

"Look who's talking!"

Discord feigned hurt.

"Me? I'll have you know that I never destroyed anything during either of my great chaotic reigns! I just twisted things into new and interesting shapes, and then made them dance around. There's a huge difference."

He stepped out of the room and walked over to where the speaker had fallen. He picked up the largest two chunks of its remains, and looked at them sadly.

"This, though? This is monstrous. I don't know how you can live with yourself."

Shady's jaw was hanging open.

"BUT YOU—"

"Up up up! Zip it! You've committed an act of vandalism, and damaged hotel property. Therefore, you answer to the hotel staff now."

"What staff?!" Shady demanded. "There's nopony here!"

Discord rolled his eyes, this time clearly irritated rather than amused.

"You know, I was a lot more respected before this whole reforming business. Ponies didn't tend to run their mouths off to a spirit of chaos when they thought he would replace their legs with pogo sticks if they showed defiance around him. That's my curse, I guess. I'm too nice for my own good."

Discord tossed the broken remains of the speaker over his shoulder, and they phased through the wall and disappeared.

"No matter. I'll leave the janitor to deal with you."

He then did a little twirl with his claw, and a new costume appeared on him with a pop. A top hat sat over his horns, and a monocle now covered his right eye. Additionally, he was now wearing a suit and carrying a cane.

"Janitor?" Mask repeated, speaking up for the first time since Discord appeared.

"Hmm? Oh yes, the janitor. Charming fellow. Large, hairy, has a very expressive face. You'll know when you see him."

Discord strolled over to the doorway he had entered from and began to leave. Just before he closed the door behind him completely though, he poked his head out yet again.

"Be careful. He bites."

Left alone in the corridor again, now quiet for the first time since they arrived, Mask and Shady looked at each other uneasily.

"I don't like the sound of that," said the earth pony.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

They both turned their heads to look to the end of the corridor, in the direction that they were heading towards before the diversion to destroy the speaker. That short distance ahead, the corridor turned again, this time to the right. And it was from behind that corner ahead of them that the noise was coming from.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

"And I like the sound of that even less!"

THUD! THUD! THUD!

The steps of whatever was coming for them grew ever louder. Shady fluttered down onto the ground again, and walked over to Mask's side to place a hoof on his shoulder. He didn't say another word though. They maintained their silence as the source of the noise came into view.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

A gargantuan blue minotaur emerged from behind the corner, and stomped towards them. His pace didn't change, but his expression did. In a subtle way. He was now very clearly angry at them, whereas before he just looked angry at having to be there in the first place. Still the two ponies stood their ground, though terrified of the beast before them.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

He drew ever closer.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

He was practically right on top of them.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

He stopped.

"WHAT have you two done to my speaker?"

***

Their punishment was not as harsh as they were expecting. Upon failing to come up with a good excuse and trying to pin the blame on each other, the nameless minotaur janitor had simply picked up both stallions, slung them over his shoulder, and marched back the way he came from.

"Well, this isn't so bad," Shady admitted. "I think I was expecting far worse."

"Yeah..." Mask agreed. "Hey, minotaur janitor guy? Where are we even going?"

"My office," he grunted in response.

They turned another corner in the twisting corridor, and both ponies looked behind them to see the path ahead. This next hallway was short, and halfway down it, an elevator waited for them with open doors.

The janitor tossed them into the elevator as they approached it and then walked in afterwards himself. He examined the buttons on the panel next to the door, and selected the one for the basement level. The doors closed, and the elevator began to descend.

There was an eerie silence for a moment, before Shady broke it.

"Wait a second. You play music through ceiling mounted speakers in the hallways outside ponies' rooms, but not in the elevator?"

His comment earned the pegasus an unamused glare from the janitor, who otherwise did not respond at all. He simply crossed his arms and waited for them to stop.

Ding!

The elevator stopped and the doors opened. Minotaur janitor guy grabbed them both by their tails and then dragged them out of the elevator again, which closed behind them. Emerging into a dingy room lit only by a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling, they suddenly found themselves thrown onto a pair of wooden stools sat before an old office desk.

All around them, the room was filled with cleaning supplies and repair materials. A mop rested against the wall in a corner. A vacuum cleaner gathered dust in another. Several crates filled with wires, packs of light bulbs, pieces of copper and tubing and old rubber were stacked next to the desk, and behind it were filing cabinets that looked like they hadn't been used in eons. On the other side of the room, a red metal door was locked shut.

The minotaur walked around the desk and sat down at it. He opened a drawer and pulled out a dusty log book and pen, which he dumped in front of him and then opened up to the middle pages. One was full of scruffy writing, and the other was blank.

He stuck the pen between his teeth and held it there while he then searched himself and the top drawers for something else. This turned out to be a pair of reading glasses, which he then donned as he removed the pen from his mouth and used it to scribble a quick note in the book.

All the while, Mask and Shady remained as still as possible, awaiting whatever judgement he would pass.

"Alright," he said finally, pushing the log book aside, "now you two have some explaining to do to the manager."

The stallions exchanged a look of mutual confusion. The janitor didn't exposit further though, and instead reached to the side and pulled over a white device that Mask had until that point mistaken for a lamp, and which he now realised was actually an old style telephone.

After dialling a three button number, the minotaur held it up next to his face and began speaking.

"Yeah, boss? Found a couple of vandals on the fifth floor. Damaged one of the speakers."

The phone suddenly became very loud, and the janitor held it away from himself and winced as it began spewing something incomprehensible and loud. He eventually put it back to his ear again and continued listening.

"I know. Uh-huh." He paused, until the other end went quiet again. "I brought them down here."

If the boss was still talking, he had gone quiet again now, because Mask and Shady could no longer hear him.

"Well, that's why I called you... Yes, sir. Certainly."

He put the phone down.

"I'm sorry, guys, but you're going to die."

At that exact moment, the elevator that they had came here in opened up again, and an angry looking unicorn walked in levitating a phone almost identical to the janitor's next to him. It had a long cord trailing behind it back into the elevator, which rose up and through a grate in the elevator's roof to somewhere above.

The two thieves had not enough time to contemplate how little sense that made before the pony they presumed to be the manager started screaming at them.

"BREAKING SPEAKERS, HMMMMMMMMMM?!" he shouted. "AND WHAT PRECISELY MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH THAT KIND OF BEHAVIOUR IN MY HOTEL?!"

He spoke to both of them, but it was Mask who he was looking at while he said it. The earth pony cringed from the volume of his voice.

"It wasn't me! Shady did it!"

Shady glared at him for a moment, but was then surprised as the manager slapped Mask in the face.

"Ow!" he protested. "What was that for?!"

"For snitching on your friend! DO YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF LOYALTY?!"

Mask looked back and forth between the manager and the other two in the room. Shady looked just as confused as he was, and the janitor just shrugged.

"Umm... So would you have rather I not told you who...?"

The manager slapped him again and Mask fell off his chair.

"EARTH PONIES!" he shouted, shaking his hoof at Mask. "WHY ARE ALL EARTH PONIES SO WORTHLESS?!"

He looked to the janitor.

"That's a serious question, Axe Grind! WHY are earth ponies worthless?!"

"Because you say they are, boss."

"Damn right!"

He then turned to Shady.

"You're not an earth pony, so why are you engaging in earthish vandalism like the other one?"

Shady blinked.

"Why are you so racist?" he responded. "I didn't think guys like you even existed anymore."

"Son, what the hell are you even talking about?"

Shady looked over to Mask again, who'd retaken his seat and still looked as incredulous as before. Shady sighed and decided to just be completely honest this one time.

"Look, listen to me. Me and my friend here aren't from around here. Or even this time period. We come from the future, after this building is run down and supposed to be being demolished. We were sent here by a being called Discord, who is playing some kind of game with us, and he took us back to the period where this place was a hotel, which is now. And we didn't see anypony here, so I thought it was an illusion and it didn't matter what I broke, and the music from the speaker was annoying me, so I broke it. And I'm sorry."

The manager narrowed his eyes and leaned in close to Shady's face to more closely scrutinise him.

"Hmm... You managed to keep a straight face while telling me that... I don't believe you, but I believe you more than I would if the dirt pony had told me the same thing. And you said it with conviction too, even if it does sound completely crazy. Therefore, I'm going to guess that you're not lying, but simply insane."

The manager turned to Axe Grind again.

"Get the mud eater to fix the speaker, and take this one to see Dr. Lobe."

"Who's Dr. Lobe?" asked Shady.

"Lives on the third floor," the manager answered. "She used to work here back when this was Sunshine General Hospital. She'll find out what's wrong with you."

"But I'm not—"

"Yes, thank you, good bye."

And then he turned and marched out of the room, heading back into the elevator and disappearing once more. Left alone with the janitor again, the two ponies immediately looked over to him.

"What the hay was up with that guy?" asked Mask.

Axe Grind sat back in his chair.

"I've been working for him for years and I still don't know. He's not even like that all the time. Some days he's frothing at the mouth about how much he hates earth ponies, griffins and for some reason sea lions, hits his employees, throws things, and shouts at everyone. Other days he's pleasant and gentle even to those he said he hated before. And every once in a while he's been known to suddenly be incredibly depressed and start writing poetry."

He opened a drawer in his desk.

"In fact I have some of it here. It's actually really good poetry. I can read some if you want?"

"Uh... No thanks," said Mask. "I'd rather we just get to work doing the things to make him not mad at us anymore."

"Of course." Axe Grind closed the drawer again and sighed. "So, let's—"

There was a dinging sound.

"The elevator's back. Come on, you two."

Mask and Shady did as instructed and entered the elevator with the minotaur, this time willingly. As they did, a thought occurred to Mask, and he leaned over to his partner.

"Hey, Shady?" he whispered.

"Yeah?"

"This is the same basement we slept in before, isn't it?"

Shady nodded.

"So... why wasn't the elevator there in the future?"

All around them, the two ponies heard Discord chuckling.

Author's Note:

This was a long time coming due to other projects pestering me with their incompleteness. Please forgive me for the delay.

For the record, this was the song I pictured as the one coming out of the speakers.

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