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The steady ticking of a large clock kept the room from being completely silent. The incorruptible tempo seemed to taunt the room’s inhabitants with a forewarning of an inevitable musical number. A few potential verses ran through Discord’s mind and he concluded that perhaps he had spent a little too much time with ponies.
The clock was drowned out by the steady hammering of gears in his head operating at a much more inconsistent rhythm. He head was a mess of images and memories of places in tome that he would never have again. He sighed and leaned back into a large chair and tried not to soak in the gravity of what was about to happen.
He gazed around the room that he had seen countless times before and yet it felt as new as the recent event was. Everything clearly looked the same but the reality was that everything had already changed without him realizing it. He smiled as he observed the subtle irony. The Master of Chaos, the Draconequus who once brought Equestria to its knees, the very embodiment of random and antithesis of reason; was genuinely caught off guard and surprised by something he should have prepared for years ago.
He sighed again. Even that Pegasus Rainbow Dash saw it coming. Her laughing still stung four days later.
His gaze wandered aimlessly through the room and soon fell from their sockets. They rolled around without rhyme or reason until they scaled a lit fireplace to rest on the mantle. His head slowly turned to face it and a smile came over him. Both his eyes neatly lined up in front of a framed photo on the far left edge of the narrow shelf. Discord stood up and made his way over to them. He grasped the optical orbs with his claw and polished them on his chest before setting them back into their proper places. With equally careful motions he picked up the frame that his eyes had focused on.
He saw his daughter Screwball back when she was still just a filly. She was hovering a few feet in the air above a pile of autumn touched leaves. She was holding her propeller hat to her head with her front hooves and grinning like a fiend. If you carefully looked to the shadowed section of the pile you could see a small bit of her mother’s tail. He remembered fondly watching her as she abruptly rocketed into the pile shouting out ‘Found you’ like a battle cry fit for a Minotaur riding a Dragon wielding a battle axe made of steroid pumped biceps. Plus if you pick an obvious spot while playing hide and seek; expect to get jumped on.
At least that was how he chose to interpret it. Screwball was never that loud with Fluttershy. Despite taking after his chaotic nature she was always so considerate towards Fluttershy’s low tolerance for being startled.
He set the picture down and his eyes fell on a photo next to it. Their daughter was older in this frame and posing next to three other very well recognized fillies that seemed to destroy something in means that compared to his own strange methods. He still was suspicious as to how they fixed up the old clubhouse at their age. Discord picked up the second photo and found himself smiling again. Screwball fought so hard with him about starting school and that afternoon she couldn’t wait to go back and see her new friends.
He laughed to himself as he let his mind reach what really happened that day. Screwball didn’t want to go at first; but he himself may as well have wanted it less. It took a sudden spark of Fluttershy’s perseverance to get him to agree to have her go. It was hard watching his little girl grow up. Sure it was within his power to turn her clock back a few years but it wouldn’t be fair to Screwball.
Plus Fluttershy would have his head. Quite possibly in the literal sense.
He silently admitted that having his left eye fuse with her shadow may have been overstepping his role as a protective parent; but hat very little in the department of regrets. The day started with the teacher making a small fuss over having a new student in the class. Her head was still a tad rattled from a young filly suddenly popping into existence courtesy of his imagination and despite being the adult in the room she had a harder time accepting it. Screwball was new and therefore she was by’ child law’ the most interesting thing in the room.
This was especially true to the infamous Cutie Mark Crusaders; despite the obvious detail that she already had her cutie mark. Discord still suspected that her reasoning for befriending them was at first just to have a reason to follow them on their misadventures that led to colorful rumors of being his secret apprentices. He grinned to himself as his mind juggled that notion. It was after all those three fillies that put the first crack in his stone prison.
He laughed a bit when his memories flexed towards one time when Screwball told off that Diamond Tiara. The phrase “How’s your cutie mark special? It’s not a real talent to be a royal pain in the flank” echoed in his head. Like Fluttershy she didn’t care much for others harassing her friends; and like himself he wasn’t above hitting somepony’s core when provoked.
He turned his gaze from the collection of old photos and glanced at the clock again. He had heard from several ponies that the fact that she had grown up had meant that he did a good job as a parent and that it was something to be proud of. The results of long years of hard work throughout every hurdle life had tossed him were a confident young mare with the entire world just waiting for her to either join it or tear it apart. Sure the end result was satisfying he still wanted to turn the clock back and do it again.
To just grab reality and force it to reset back to the first day…such a simple thing to do and yet morally impossible.
He recalled inventing an imaginary filly to call his daughter and curb his secret loneliness. He remembered visions of the purple and white swirled mane peeking out from a pink cloud following in the wake of his chaos. He recalled her laughter as he turned the world in on itself. Up was down and black was spinach and everything in between made just as much sense. Everything was random and had a certain appeal that one could only find in the most innocent of things.
He smiled again. That logic was probably why he chose a daughter instead of a companion. He wanted some pony innocent to share his world with. He let the warm memories of days past plant themselves into his mind. Things were easy back then.
His thoughts drifted from the beginning and found themselves focused on somewhere in the middle and yet another starting point. Every day he was out of stone he fondly remembered the energetic filly that was always with him. He swore that while trapped he could hear her voice asking him to wake up. He was also convinced that for a brief moment where he saw her on her cloud wandering through Ponyville after he had claimed it as his own once the Elements of Harmony were scattered and their users couldn’t remember who they were.
The images in his mind wandered to a more recent day. The second time he was released he was introduced to some notions that he would have mocked endlessly a thousand years ago. During this new life the weight of his isolation was a lot heavier. Having Fluttershy was a welcome change but it made him want his simple family even more. A few incidents where he thought he caught a glimpse of the child that made him complete drove him to the only logical conclusion he could find. Discord took hold of his power and cast magic that many believed beyond even his limits; he created life.
Not a flower or a tree sapling or the daunting task of hatching a dragon’s egg; he forged a flesh and bone filly that matched what he saw in his mind. He recalled falling back from exhaustion after channeling his energy. He remembered staring up at the ceiling with partial numbness in his entire body. He recalled his daughter’s face suddenly popping into his cone of vision. He remembered her laughing.
“Silly daddy fell over” Echoed in his mind with as much force as the memory of holding her for the first time.
He also remembered the look on Fluttershy’s face when she realized that the Draconequus she just recently started dating suddenly had a daughter.
Discord paused and came back from memory lane to the real world and spoke out loud.
“I expect my daughter back at a reasonable hour or something quite unpleasant and odd might happen to you; just before her mother kills you.”
Sure he had to accept the fact that Screwball was growing up and now had a coltfriend but it didn’t mean he had to like the idea.