Love Needs No Reason

by Evowizard25

First published

Discord is lonely and looking for something to spice up his life. Luckily for him, and unfortunately for Applejack, he's found the one thing that can help him out.

Discord is up to his old tricks again...But he's noticed something. Something that he can't explain: Love.

And once finding out about it, he comes to the logical conclusion that he needs it...And unfortunately for Ponyville's local farm-mare, he's set his sights on her.

With Cadance's help, will he succeed? Or will Applejack buck him all the way to Tartarus?
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The Talk

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Sometimes, I wish I was still a normal Pegasus and never became the goddess I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I love being me. There isn’t a day of my life that I’d trade away. It’s just…It’s hard being the goddess of love and a princess to boot. If it’s not filing taxes, it’s helping some couple sort out some stupid argument about going to the spa. It just makes me want to smack them upside the heads and yell at them to stop squandering their time together. Love isn’t something you can take for granted, I should know.

But I don’t. I’m a lady and we don’t have outbursts. Conceal, don’t feel. Just let it go. Those were among the first lessons taught to me during my princess training. And over the years, I’ve perfected it. I’ve mastered it. I MADE IT MY B****!...Oops. *giggles* I got carried away again. Silly me.

But enough about me, let’s get back on track here.

In all my years, I’ve accumulated several epic tales and events that I’ve proudly put under my wings. I’ve stopped wars, fought the greatest beasts in the land, and helped unite lovers across the globe. I’ve done just about everything one can do: Sky diving with my wings tied and without a parachute, taking a dip in shark infested waters, dueling Chrysalis in Dance Dance Revolution.

What can I say? I’m a thrill seeker.

But above all of them, there is one tale that stands out. One tale that gave me more headaches then I count. A tale that made me question my very own station as the goddess of love.

And it all started with an apple.
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It was like any other day in my Crystal Empire...Oh I just love saying that: my empire. Maybe I can crown myself Empress one of these days…nah, too much hassle.

Anyhoo, within the walls of the Crystal Palace, I lay snuggling up to my cutie of a husband: Shining Armor. He is just so adorable when he’s asleep. Even though I had woken up a few minutes before, I couldn’t help but stay by his side. He’s like a plushy doll I can’t let go.

I didn’t have any plans for that morning, so I was going to make the best of this snuggly moment.

I sighed in bliss. Nothing would have broken that moment.

Suddenly, a loud knock rang from the door, which pervaded throughout the room. I jumped in fright, tumbling out of bed. Luckily for me, I didn’t land on my wing. Wings are especially sensitive and let me tell you, breaking them is no laughing matter. If you thought breaking your arm was bad, a broken wing is ten times worse.

Maybe that’s just my Pegasus blood talking.

After I got myself back up again, I calmly walked to the door with the sole intention of wringing the neck of whoever knocked. NOPONY INTERRUPTS CUDDLING TIME!

Shining was still asleep in bed. He was a heavy sleeper when off duty and not even a volcano can wake him up. ‘But I have other ways.’ I thought to myself with a sly smile.

Opening the door, I saw somepony I’d never thought I’d see in my Empire.

“Discord,” I said. “What are you doing here?”

Yes, before me stood the very god of chaos and disharmony himself. But there was something different about him. Something that I would soon learn that would change my life forever.

He looked nervous and…sad. Discord was twitching and shifting from leg to leg, looking down at me. He reminded me of a lost puppy and I had to do everything in my power to not cuddle him till he smiled. Inside his claw laid a single, red apple. “Can I please come inside?” He said in a small voice, similar to a child’s.

My eyes widened. ‘Is something wrong with him?’ “Of course you may.” I stepped back to allow him entry. Honestly, he could have come in even if I had said no. There was nothing I could do against his magic.

Besides, I didn’t have anything against him. Yes, I grew up listening to tales about how much of a monster he was and how my aunts had to seal him away for the betterment of Equestria, but after dealing with him personally, he grew on me. He was a welcome change-up to my dreary life and I honestly enjoyed taking care of him with Twilight. Even though I wanted to hit him over the head the entire time, since it was supposed to be Twilight and I’s special time. We haven’t been able to hang out since she was a little filly.

But the god of chaos just walked over to a chair and sat down into a chair. Unsurprisingly, the chair turned into his very own throne. Casting a glance over to my husband, Discord started to grin.

I glared at him. “Discord, this is between me and you.”

“Really?” He raised an eyebrow. “How would you know? Maybe little soldier boy over here can help me solve this little conundrum of mine.”

“And what is this conundrum of yours?” I used my magic to pull another chair over to face him.

Discord was silent for a moment. All he did for the next few seconds was rub his chin and look between me and Shining. Before I could ask what in the hay he was thinking about, he did exactly what I know him best for:

Being a complete arse.

Teleporting in a bright, white flash, he appeared over Shining Armor with a pair of large cymbals. Banging them together next to his ear, he shouted “Wakey, wakey, artichokey!”

Reeling from the loud, sudden noises, I held my head. “Discord, stop that!”

Discord just peered down at Shining’s still form. “Wow. You really did a number on him.” He shrugged and the cymbals disappeared. He looked over at me and grinned. “What is it that you did that tired him out so?”

I couldn’t help but feel my face heat up as I blushed. “I…I…He’s a heavy sleeper.”

Waggling a finger in amusing accusation, he chuckled. “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

“Discord,” I cut him off. I know I shouldn’t get flustered about the subject, being the expert of love that I am, I can’t help myself. It’s supposed to be something private, kept between lovers. Breathing in and out, I did my usual calming technique. I didn’t want to explode on him, since he could probably throw my spells around. ‘I wonder if he can use magic without any hands.’ “Please, why are you here?”

Frowning, he teleported back into his chair. Plucking a hair from his head, he held it out from himself. The strand quickly turned into a mirror. To this day, I’m still amazed by the creative way he uses his magic. Honestly, I’m still a little jealous.

“You see, I was sitting inside my thinking tree. Trying to come up with a new way to prank clownfish,” A childish image of Discord in a tree formed in the mirror. It looked like a foal younger then the age of ten drew it. One without any real skill. “When I realized something.”

“What did you realize?”

“There is one thing I have never understood,” Discord squinted at the apple in his forepaw. The image showed Discord causing all sorts of mayham…At least I thought that’s what it showed. Again, it looked like a preschool drawing. “All my life I’ve been a loner, the outcast, that really cool guy who gives not a buck about anyone but himself.”

‘Cool isn’t a word that describes you.’

“And in all that time, I was alone.” Discord sighed. The image in the mirror showed a depressed Discord. “It took good lil Flutterbutter to help me understand that.” An image of Discord and Fluttershy frolicking through a meadow of flowers had me nearly rolling on the floor in stiches. “And now, I’ve come to understand something else is missing in my life.”

“And pray tell, what is missing from your life?”

Discord chuckled faintly. “If I didn’t know any better, I would say this is turning into a therapy session.” With a snap of his fingers, he was laying down on top of a feinting couch, while I had my hair up in a bun and a pair of glasses on my snout. A nice, formal dress fit around my body. I didn’t flinch or anything like that. After the incident in Ponyville, I grew wise to his ways.

“Faust knows you need one.” I smirked.

Discord’s laugh grew louder. “I knew there was a reason I liked you.”

Levitating a clipboard and pen, I couldn’t help but snicker. “Now, tell me all about your little problem?” I didn’t have to wait for the question that would throw my life through a loop.

“What is love?”

Peering over at him inquisitively, I couldn’t help but ask “Why do you ask?”

Discord twirled the apples across his fingers. “When I was thinking, I spied the Cakes. They were sitting about, having a sappy moment with their kids.” While Discord gagged, the mirror showed the Cakes smiling at each other in a park. “It was too sweet for my taste, but I couldn’t help but feel I was missing out on something grand. And then an apple hit me in the head.” The mirror, that was now hovering over him, showed Discord getting conked on the noggin. “This very apple. And I couldn’t but wonder why? I specifically wanted that tree to grow raisins, but no. Low and behold, it grew an apple without me knowing. Clever tree.”

“But what does this have to do with love?”

“Everything,” Discord waved his hands about, dramatically. “I puzzled and puzzled, until I blew out my puzzler. Darn things are so temperamental.” He grumbled, to which the mirror showed a broken machine similar to an engine. “Until I realized I knew nothing about love.” The god of chaos frowned and held the apple close to his face. “I know about as much about love as I do about apples. I find that odd. An immortal being who knows next to nothing about such things.”

“It’s not odd,” I pointed out. “You just never take the time to appreciate them. If you just learned to slow down…”

Discord snorted. “Sorry Candy, I can’t do that.” Next thing I know, he’s dressed in some sort of strange, white outfit similar to the wonderbolts with a matching helmet. “I live in the fast lane.”

I glared at him. “Don’t call me Candy.” You would not know it, but I really hated that nickname back then…Like, with a burning passion.

“Can’t do that, Candy,” Discord grinned at me, flashing away the strange clothes. “Now that I know it ticks you off, I’ll use it to the fullest. It's how I roll, my dear.”

“Well you can just roll on out of here,” I pointed to the door.

Discord gave me an unamused gaze. “You’re no fun.”

‘No fun?’ I thought with agitation. ‘Who was he to call me ‘no fun’? I’m the funnest princess around. Nothing can ever keep me down.’ Which is the truth and I had a half a mind to kick his sorry flank out for saying that. Probably would have spared me the massive migraines coming up.

“So,” Discord spoke up again. He pulled out a large, grandfather clock from behind the couch. “Are you going to tell me? I have an important meeting to crash.”

“Love isn’t something you can explain in a hurry,” I told him truthfully. “It’d take ages to explain the intricacies….”

“You’re sounding like Twilight,” Discord took on a worried expression. “Please don’t tell me she got her study habits from you.”

I smirked. “No, she was already a bookworm when I first met her.”

Discord wiped the sweat from his brow. “Phew, you had me…”

“But so am I.” Oh how I remember his fearful gaze. I keep it in a special place in my heart, using it for a quick laugh. “But let me simplify it for you.”

“You truly are a saint.”

Rolling my eyes, I continued. “Love cannot be explained, because it’s different for everypony: family, friends, lovers, the works. It’s a force of nature that is stronger than anything you can imagine. It bows to no one, yet comes to everyone. It changes, it shifts, it adapts to the times. No matter the heart, it can take root and sprout something truly magnificent.”

Discord stared at the apple. “So what are you saying?”

“Simply put, I’m saying this. Love has no reason, Love has no rhyme. Love will find you any old time.” I giggled. I just loved that proverb.

Discord raised an eyebrow, which quickly grew and hit the ceiling. “Love has no reason?” Cutting the excess eyebrow off with a pair of scissors, he stood up. “So what you are saying is that love is like chaos?”

I tilted my head in confusion. I had never thought of that before. “I would believe so in a way. Neither are constant and vary on many levels. They can corrupt the ill-prepared and sooth the greatest of beasts.”

Discord threw the apple into the air and let it land on the end of his snout. “Why didn’t you say so before? I would never miss out on something so…chaotic as love. I simply must experience it.”

I smiled brightly. I loved helping others find their soul-mate and it’d have been an honor to help Discord out with his…An honor I’d later want to bash over his head several times over.

“This apple is the key,” Discord exclaimed. He twirled the apple on a single finger. “The key to my dilemma.”

I stared at him in confusion. Had I known then what I knew now…I wouldn’t have done anything, but I would have done a better job keeping him in my sights. “Discord?”

"And it’s telling me just the mare to see,” his grin reminded me of the great schemer that he once was. "Thanks for the info dump, Candy." Vanishing in a flash, he left me alone.

Rolling my eyes, I believed that was the last I’d see of him. ‘Discord’s just being Discord.’ I thought he was going to try it for a bit and get bored. Oh how naive and foolish I was back then.

Lunch Interrupted

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Hard work and apples. These are the things ah hold in the highest of regards. Ya can’t have apples without breakin’ a sweat. The same goes for life. So, ah live how ah work and that’s done me fine enough…at least until that gal Twilight Sparkle showed up.

Whoo-wee, life’s been a roller coaster ride since that fateful day. Ah’ve laughed, Ah’ve cried, Ah’ve bucked shapeshiftin’, emotion eaters.

Never thought that’d happen.

Anyways, ah’ve lived an interestin’ year to say the least and ah couldn’t be happier. Yeah ah’ve faced more than my share of villains, monsters, and the dreaded CMC, but ah’m still alive and kicking. That’s got to mean somethin’.

Goin’ on and on about this just makes me realize how much my life has changed, but not applebucking. Applebucking never changes and it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Ya just kick ‘em hard and ya get the fruits of your labor. Easy peasy.

That’s what ah was doing this fine, sunny day and ah loved every moment of it.

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS APPLE CATCHER YAY!”

….Can ah take back the ‘lovin’ this moment’ comment?...No?...Taint fair.

Now it ain’t like ah dislike mah sister, far from it. Ah love her with all my heart, and ya’d be a darned fool not to see it. Ah just hate the way she’s goin’ about getting her cutie mark. Ah’ve had to replace more equipment, materials, and take more baths then ah’ve ever had to in the last year alone.

How they keep gettin’ covered in tree sap is beyond me. Cuttin’ pony’s manes doesn’t even involve the stuff.

Ah could try and stop my sis, but she needs ta learn on her own what a cutie mark is really about. That and it’s nice to see her play with her friends. For a long while, all she had was that Twist gal…Come to think about it, ah haven’t seen her in a while. Maybe they had a fallin’ out of sorts.

Anyways, back to the CMC. They were helpin’ me by carryin’ small buckets on their backs to catch apples. They were doin’ a pretty good job if ya ask me.

Givin’ another tree a stern buck, Apple Bloom dove in and caught ‘em in the nick of time. “Good job, lil sis.”

“Ah learned it from the best, big sis,” Apple Bloom answered, givin’ me an earnest smile.

Now it does my heart good to know that she still looks up ta me after that whole debacle in the fire swamp. Ah can’t help but feel mighty foolish about how ah acted back then, what with me smotherin’ her like that. It’s just…ah love her so much. Ah can’t imagine anythin’ bad happenin’ to her.‘Ah’m really lucky ta have a sister like her. Gosh, ah would’ve been furious with Mac if he…nah, ah’d still love that ol’ lug. Family make mistakes now and again and I ain’t goin’ to make the same mistake twice.’

Ah nuzzled her lil’ head. “Love ya, Apple Bloom.”

“Love ya too, Applejack.”

Family…The world isn’t anythin’ without ‘em.

“Can we stop all this mushy stuff?” Scootaloo asked. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Me and my sister rolled our eyes. ‘She really is a second Rainbow.’ “Now don’t get all huffy,” ah told her. “Ah’m sure you wouldn’t be so sick if Rainbow was nuzzlin’ ya.”

Scootaloo blushed in embarrassment and looked away. “Not true.”

Ah just chuckled. “Sure ya are.” Ah wiped the sweat from mah brow. “Ah think we’re done for the day. Why don’t ya three come and grab some grub. Granny’s bakin’ some sweet apple pies.”

“Sounds good to me,” Sweetie Belle said. The little filly was out of breath. She kind of reminded me of Winona on a hot day. Hopefully, Rarity won’t mind findin’ her all sweaty after a good hard days’ work. ‘Probably will.’
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It didn’t take us long to get back to the house. Thankfully, and ah do mean thankfully, the CMC had worn themselves out enough that they were as quiet as sheep asleep by the creek…

That’s one of Granny’s sayin’s. Ah’m rather fond of it.

After knockin’ on the door, my big brother opens it up wide. Ah can already tell by the annoyed look on his face what was up.

Big Mac was never one for talkin’. Especially after….Nope! Not thinkin’ about that.

And since he wasn’t a talker, ah had to learn to read his body language and guess what he was a thinkin’. Over the years, ah’ve gotten so good at it that ah think ah know him better than he does himself. Might be wrong though. He is a really deep fella. Wish more mares could see that, instead of just checkin’ out his backside.

One scoldin’ glare fixes their gaze right quick.

“Granny Smith?” Ah said.

“Eyup.”

“Old stories?”

“Eyup.”

“Tryin’ to talk your ear off?”

“Eyup.”

Ah sighed. “Well tell her that Apple Bloom’s friends are staying for dinner.”

“Eyup,” he said, before we walked to the kitchen.

Good ol’ Granny had just placed the fresh apple pie on top of the table. Boy howdy, if joy had a smell, this would’ve been it. It’s no secret that the apples made the best darn apple products in the world. Ah don’t mean to brag about it, but it’s true. Just seein’ the pie made my stomach growl.

“Granny,” Big Mac spoke up. “We’ve got guests.”

“Guests, you say?” Granny Smith looked up at ‘em, her old eyes fell on the CMC. Smilin’, she gestured to the table. “Well sit on down. Ain’t nothin’ better ta feed a hungry pony than a fresh, apple pie.”

You’ve got that right, Granny.

It didn’t take us long ta divide the pie between us and ah’m glad about that. Ah haven’t eaten since yesterday’s lunch. Seems ah need to teach myself not to overwork…again. ‘Well, no matter. Ah’m goin’ ta enjoy this.’ Ah couldn’t help but lick my lips like a wolf sizin’ up its prey, as ah stared at the piece of pie in front of me.

Course, life has a funny way of interruptin’ things. This ‘interruption’ took the form of our town’s own mailmare: Ditzy Doo.

The mare smashed right through our door like it was nothin’ and smacked right into the wall behind me. The impact sound made me cringe. Ah was surprised she just cracked the wall when she hit it, instead of bustin’ right through. She was pretty much the town's wrecking ball, causin' more damage then any other beast that showed its ugly hide in town. ‘It’s almost like she’s made of iron.’ 'Course, she was still a good mare and without a doubt, a great mother.

As she slid to the floor, ah immediately got up and went to her side. “Ya okay, Ditzy?”

Ditzy, with speed and agility that made me think she’s Pinkie’s cousin or somethin’, got back to her hooves and smiled at her. “Of course I am.” The mare was always bubbly. Ah think ah ah can count on my hooves the times ah’ve seen her frown. She picked up her hat, dusted it off, and put it back on her head to complete her mailpony get-up. “Sorry about the door.” She blushed in embarrassment.

Ah just snorted in amusement. “Happens.”

Ah swear, that gall could survive bein’ crushed by a dragon. No other pony has taken the beatin’ this girl goes through and shrug it off like it’s nothin’….Maybe I should ask her how she does it one day. Might come in hoofy during a scuffle.

“So, what brought ya…”

She cut me off, after she quickly dug into her mail-bag and handed me a light yellow letter. “You’ve got mail.”

“Thanks,” ah took it and gave her a nod of gratitude.

“You’re welcome.” Ditzy said, before trottin’ happily out the destroyed door.

Ah couldn’t help but shake my head and chuckled. ‘Never change, Ditzy. Never change.’

“Who’s the letter from, big sis?” Apple Bloom asked.

Giving the letter a once over, ah couldn’t find anything except an address to our house. Ah couldn’t help but shrug. “Don’t rightly know, but there’s only one way to find out.” Grippin’ the edge of the letter in my teeth, ah ripped it open.

Ah wish ah hadn’t, for the next thing ah know there’s a white flash that made me and my family cover their eyes. And then, ah heard a voice ah wished ah didn't have to hear no more.

“Hola, my dear Applejack, Discord’s back!” The spirit shouted.

Ah lowered my hoof from my and glared at him. He was wearin’ a sombrero and a poncho, while holdin’ a trumpet. A pony mariachi band was behind him, playing music ah’d hear down in Mexicolt. Discord started playin', dancin' around her and my family.

“Discord, what the hay are you doin’ here?” Ah couldn’t help but ask him, raisin’ my voice.

“Oh don’t be like that, my dear Applejack,” Discord stopped beside me. “Turn that frown, upside down.”

“Ah’ll turn yer head upside down if ya don’t skedaddle.” If there was one bein’ on this planet ah couldn’t deal with, it’s Discord. That selfish varmint was a nuisance whether he was good or bad. The farther he was away, the happier ah am. Ah still hadn’t forgiven him for making me sick.

“Ah, but how can I leave now? I’ve been out soul searching and I’ve realized something’s missing.”

“Your mind?”

Discord tilted his head back and gave out an uproarious laugh. “Oh my dear Applejack, you know how to make me smile.”

‘Ah’d rather know how to make ya shut up.’

“Anyways, while I was pondering I visited our good friend Cadance. She made me realize something.”

“What?” Ah couldn’t help but start to sweat. Discord realizing somethin’ isn’t a good thing.

He spread his arms out wide, with an overly happy expression on his face. “I’m in love!”

“Well that’s nice,” Granny Smith spoke up. “But that don’t give ya any right ta barge in here durin’ supper. Now scram, youngin’, or ah’ll smack ya upside the head with my cane.”

Discord pouted. “Why, how rude of you, Granny. I thought we were friends. If I recall, I gave you those excellent dance moves. I’ve never seen any better.”

Granny Smith scowled. “Don’t make me come over there.”

Discord nervously put his hands up in surrender. “Shutting up. I’m shutting up.”

“And stop that racket,” Granny put her hooves over her ears.

Sighin', Discord snapped his fingers and the band, and his costume, disappeared. Ah’d have been lyin’ if ah said ah hated the music. Might have been pleasant, if not fer the company. “I concede to you, oh mighty Granny Smith.” He bowed deeply. “Though I do question your taste in music.”

Rollin’ my eyes, ah spoke up again. “Discord, while ah am happy for ya findin’ love, why’d ya come over?”

“Because of you, my dear Applejack,” was his response. He poked me in the muzzle with one his fingers.

My mind went blank. “Why?”

“Because I wish to court you.”

Those words…Those words pretty much changed everythin’.

“WHAT!?” Us mares of the Apple family shouted.

“Nope.” My big brother just shook his head.
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*back in the Crystal Empire, with Princess Cadance*

If there is one place I love as much as the battlefield, it’s the spa. It’s a place to sit back and unwind after a hard day’s rule and get away from the stuck up nobles that visited me time after time. ‘I can’t believe that some of them are still trying to court me. I’m a married mare, for crying out loud.’

I was currently undergoing my daily massage as I lay on my stomach on a sterile platform. A crystal pony, a light yellow mare with a two tone mane of pink and greenish blue, worked my back. Her name was Honeycomb and let me tell you this. She has magic hooves and they were doing wonders on my back. I couldn’t but let out little ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as she took all my pain and cramps away. ‘She deserves a raise.’

“You seem to have a few more knots than usual, Your Majesty.” My masseur spoke up. She was a young mare, kind mare. I made a mental note to try and find her soul mate soon. She deserved to be her happiest.

I nodded. “Discord came by this morning. He came by asking about what is love and I’ve been nervous ever since.”

“I see. I hear he’s quite the troublemaker.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. “You don’t even know the half of it...I just can’t help but think he’s doing something now, plotting some ‘love’ related prank.” I ground my teeth harshly against one another.

“Your Majesty, calm down. You’re tensing up.”

Sighing, I did as she asked. “I’m sorry. It’s just that love is something you can’t take advantage of and Discord…He’s Discord.” The way I said it made it seem like that alone explained everything…Which it pretty much does. Love is serious business and Discord’s the least serious being I know.

“Well, don’t you worry. If he steps out of line, I’m sure you can knock some sense back into him.”

I smirked. “You’re right.” I actually liked that idea. He may have been the god of chaos, but I was trained in every single possible fighting and magic technique known to ponykind. I could knock some sense into him the old fashion way.

But just as I was starting to relax and let Discord drift out of my thoughts, I felt something. It was some kind of wavelength that just screamed at me. I quickly stood up, knocking my masseur back. “I’m sorry.” I quickly went over and helped her up.

“Don’t worry, Your Majesty. I’m fine.” She brushed herself off. “What was that all about?”

“I felt…I felt a disturbance. As if several ponies cried out in distress and then suddenly went silent.”

“Could it be Discord’s work?”

I nodded. “Oh most definitely and seeing as I felt it…He’s going to have to answer to me.” I narrowed my eyes. ‘Discord, if you break someone’s heart, I’ll break your spine.’ I turned around and started off. “I best be off.”

“But what about the rest of your appointment,” Honeycomb spoke up. “I didn’t even get a change to finish your message.”

Stopping in my tracks, I realized that she was right. There were still a few rough spots and kinks that were giving me trouble. ‘No,’ I told myself. ‘I’m going to set Discord straight now, before this gets out of hoof.’

“And your wings do look like they a good preen.”

Sighing, I went back over and laid down before her. She had a point there as well. It wasn’t exactly safe to fly with un-preened wings. It just leads to a whole slew of complications that could put your life in danger. “You have a point, Honeycomb.” I make it my business to know each and every one of my ponies names. I’m just thankful us Alicorns have such great memory.

As Honeycomb got to work, I used that time to think about all the ways I would break Discord. ‘Let’s see. A crowbar could work wonders. I mean, if that stallion I knew in Black Mesa could make it work, so can I.’

Apples aren't so easy to pick

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Ya know, out of all the times in my life ah’ve never been made so speechless as right now.

“WHAT!”

Okay, not totally speechless, but ah mean what ah say an’ ah say what ah mean.

Ah knew this day was a comin’. Ah ain’t stupid. Ah may not be as flamboyant as Rarity and show off my looks, but ah know ah catch the eye of a few stallions. Caught some of ‘em with my hoof too when they got too frisky.

It just…was so out there that Discord would be the fella to want to court me. Ah’ve seen a lot of things that were just so strange to me…Most of them involvin’ Discord.

Ah’m not as flabbergasted about this as before.

But still, courtin’ me? Ah thought ah was the last mare he’d pick. Too plain; to simple. But nope, lucky for me he’s nuttier then a squirrel so of course he asks me. Ah got ta put a stop to this crazy train ‘fore it goes off tracks. Which might be in the next few seconds.

“Do I have to repeat myself?” Discord rolled his eyes. He held up signs fer each of the next words. “I! Wish! To! Court! Applejack!”

“Ah got that,” Ah told him. Just bein’ this close to the walking disaster was givin’ me a headache. “But what in Equestria makes you think ah want that?”

Ah could tell by the growin’ smirk on his face that ah wasn’t going ta like his answer. Puttin’ his eagle finger under mah chin, he lifted me up to meet his gaze. His face was a close ta my own. “Oh Applejack, don’t lie to me. I know you better than that.”

Ah couldn’t but blush at the closeness…Ah didn’t like it one bit, but it was might embarrassin’ of him to be doin’ it in front of my family. Scowlin’ mighty fierce, ah snorted. “Ya don’t know me period, ‘cause ah ain’t no liar.”

Thankfully, he took his finger away from me as he chuckled. “I know you’re too shy to admit your infatuation with me.”

“Ah don’t have an infatuation with ya,” My glare would have pierced his hide if it could.

“Yeah,” Apple Bloom spoke up. She frowned and then looked at me. “What does ‘infatuation’ mean?”

Before ah could answer, Discord wrapped an arm around me and pulled me out of mah chair. “It means that lil’ Applejack has a soft spot for mean ol’ Discord.” He pinched my cheek and cooed. Ah really wished ah was on the ground. Ah’d have bucked him in his crown jewels. “If only she would stop being all tsuntsun.”

Continuin’ to glare, I spoke up “Big Mac?”

“Eyup,” my brother pushed the chair back an’ got up.

Discord let go and let me drop to the ground. ‘Real nice thing to do to the mare ya want to court.’ I thought to myself as ah tried to ignore the pain in my rump.

Discord backed up slightly with a nervous grin. The big sweat drop on his head was a tad distractin’. Ah honestly like that look on him. ‘Feels nice to see him back up against a corner fer once.’ “Now let’s not get hasty here. I meant no harm.”

“Nah, ya just wanted to mess with me,” Ah snorted. Ah wasn’t feelin’ like dealin’ with the varmint and his bag of tricks.

Frownin’, he crossed his arms. “I didn’t come here to bug you…much.”

“AH-HA!” Ah pointed my hoof at him in victory. “Ah knew it.”

“But I really did come here to court you.”

“Say what?” My sense of victory was gone in a flash.

Discord grumbled. “Do I have to keep repeating myself? Or…”Discord smiled at me.

‘Ah don’t like where this is goin’.’ Ah started ta sweat. “Or what?”

Discord raised one of his hands and prepared his infamous ‘snap’. “We can skip the courting altogether.”

Both me and him vanished an’ not to soon appeared in some small buildin’. Ah couldn’t help but look around to check where that blasted spirit took me to. ‘Kind of looks like a church…Dear Celestia no.’ My eyes widened in fear.

Ah was dressed in one of them fancy tuxedos, all neat an’ proper for a weddin’. A young preacher, with several gold teeth and wearin’ a rather sloppy tuxedo, smiled at me. The kind of smile that made ya just want to punch him. Not as much as ah wanted to punch Discord, but still quite a bit of hate.

The place reeked of alcohol an’, if ah was correct, the preacher hadn’t bathed in weeks. ‘An’ people call me filthy.’ Ah snorted.
But ya know what the worst thing was?

The worst thing was eyeing Discord and my eyes nearly popped out of my skull an’ my jaw went slack. There stood the god of chaos in all his glory…wearin’ a white weddin’ dress.

“Are you ready, Applejack-chan?” Discord tilted his head cutely and fluttered his now girlish eyelashes.

Ah could feel the heat rushin’ ta my cheeks. Out of all his antics, this was the last thing ah ever thought or wanted ta see. ‘Well, he kind of looks cute.’

“We are gathered here today to join these two lovebirds in holy matrimony,” The preacher read from a small yellow book in his hooves. His voice was nasally and extremely whiny. ‘Which just makes me want ta punch him that much more.’

Discord huffed in agitation and moved his tail over to the book. Turnin’ the pages, he said “I think you can skip ahead just a bit. I don’t think my beloved wants to be here that long.”

Ah shook my head to wake me up from the daze ah was in. Stompin’ mah hoof in anger, I shouted “DISCORD!”

The preacher fell backwards in surprise and Discord chuckled. “Yes, my dear Applejack?”

“Take me back.”

Frownin’, he looked at me curiously. “Why ever would you want that? We haven’t even…”

“Ah don’t want ta deal with your games right now, Discord.”

“Games? I assure you, this is no game…” He tapped his chin. “But it would make for an excellent one, now that I think about it. ‘Random weddings’. Good title. I think I might use it.”

Ah couldn’t believe he was just ramblin’ on ‘bout nothin’. He wasn’t takin’ this seriously and that was pissin’ me off. ‘If ah can get a little closer, ah’m sure ah can get in a good buck before he can react.’ “Discord, listen to me.”

Discord then turned himself into a flying ear. “I’m all ear, my dear Applejack.” His eyes an’ mouth could still be seen and they shown with mirth.

Ah had to put a hoof to my head, rubbing it to sooth the headache ah was getting’. ‘Calm breaths, Applejack. Calm breaths.’ Puttin’ my hoof back down, ah looked at him with determination. “Take me back.”

Frownin’, he turned back into his regular self. “Why? We haven’t even wed yet?...Or do you ponies do something else before the wedding? I apologize, this is a kind of new for me.”

“What in landsakes did ya get this idea to court me anyways?” Ah asked him.

Discord pulled an’ apple out from behind his back. “This, my dear Applejack.”

Ah raised an eyebrow. “An apple?”

Discord nodded. “An apple. That’s what made me realize my true feelings and led me down the road to matrimony.”

Now Ah’ve heard of apples changin’ ponies lives. Ah’ve seen the joy an’ happiness they bring. Hay, my ancestor, Isaac Neighton, discovered gravity thanks to an apple. But this….

“That’s still not a reason to marry me. Nor does it make me want to marry you.”

Discord gasped somethin’ fierce. Kind of reminded me of Rarity for a second. “Applejack, what more of a reason to marry me, then me?”

Flashin’ again, we were in a different place all together. We were by a rocky shore an’ my back was to a large rock. The waves crashed against the other rocks around, throwin’ up droplets of water my way. Ah also noticed ah was in a rather form fittin’ red dress which made me blush. Ah’m not the type for such dress-wear.

Mah tormentor, Discord, appeared in a white, somewhat unbuttoned shirt, brown pants, and his mane flew in a non-existant wind. He gave his best ‘seductive’ gaze. “My charisma and good looks are things the ladies adore. You should be honored.”

‘Honored? HONORED?!!’ Ah had it up to here with that no good spirit. “There isn’t going to be a weddin’. Now take me back home.”

Ah may have said that a bit too harshly, ‘cause he seemed a tad bit hurt by that. ‘It shouldn’t be surprisin’ to him. He just threw this all on me out of nowhere.’

“As you wish,” he said ‘fore we were back in my kitchen. “I still don’t…YEOW!” Discord pulled his tail close to his body, attemptin’ to keep it safe. Apparently, Granny Smith had tried to crush it with her cane.

Ah couldn’t help but chuckle as Granny started to talk to him. “Ya nasty, good fer nothin’, varmint. Bargin’ into our home an’ takin’ Applejack like that is disrespectful and just plain rude. Ya should be ashamed of yerself.”

“I am the god of chaos,” Discord said, sendin’ her a small glare. Ah hated to see him do that. Granny deserved none of that ire. “I can do what I want, when I want. And I want Applejack.”

“Ya can’t have her,” Granny’s glare was much fiercer than Discords’. Ah didn’t like bein’ talked about like this. Like somethin’ ya can just give or take. Ah’m Applejack, not a lamp. “Ah ain’t welcomin’ a…whatever ya are into my family, especially with those nasty manners of yers.”

“Nasty manners?” Discord growled an’ snapped his fingers. He was dressed in a frilly dress suit, with a cane, top hat, an’s monocle. “I am full manner and class. I was the one who defined it several eons ago, if I do recall.”

Granny snorted. “An’ yer a liar ta boot. Get out, or ah’ll turn my cane on yer sorry hide. Celestia knows ya need a good thrashin’.”
Discord loomed over her, but Granny didn’t flinch. She’s a hard mare an’ the likes of Discord don’t scare her none. He lowered his gaze to her level. “I’d like to see you try.”

Ah quickly got in between the two ‘fore somepony did somethin’ they’d regret. “Calm down ya two. This isn’t somethin’ to fight over.”

“Oh, I believe it is something to fight over.” Discord announced. He pointed his cane at me. “I swear to you, my dear Applejack. I will have you if it’s the last thing I do.” Ah was surprised ta see the determination in his gaze. An’ then he was gone in a flash.

“Good riddance,” Granny snorted.

Him bein’ gone didn’t make me feel any better. Actually, ah felt worried sick. ‘What’s this game he’s playin’ at now? Actin’ like this…An’ why did he look kind of hurt when ah refused him?’ Ah remembered his last look. If he had his heart set on somethin’, he wasn’t gonna give up that easily…Kind of reminded me of me…’Cept, without my good ol’ Apple manners.

Ah decided to push him out of my mind an’ get back ta my lunch. Discord was somethin’ ah could try and manage later. Fer now, I had a growlin’ stomach to quiet.

“Is Mister Discord gonna really court ya, big sis?” Apple Bloom spoke up.

Ah chuckled. “He can try, Apple Bloom…He can try.”

Cadance's Trip

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*In the castle of the Crystal Empire*

Have you ever felt like you were marching to your doom? That’s how I felt as I packed my bags for my trip. It’s not the first time I’ve done so. To be a princess you have to be willing to face danger. Celestia taught me that well.

A simple ‘fetch quest’ turned into a full on battle against hundreds of changelings and a mother bucking T-rex.

Chrysalis still hasn’t forgiven me for hurting her precious Toothy. It’s not my fault she sent her carnivorous pet tyrannosaur against me. She should have known better.

The peril I was going to find was the worst of the bunch and I knew that. I couldn’t help but pause for a few seconds between each item, reconsidering my choice. ‘I should just ignore this feeling. Discord isn’t being serious about this. He’s never serious about anything.’

But I knew better. I knew Discord was going to try his hand at love. And I emphasis ‘try’. So each and every time I paused, I would just put the item into the bag with nary a second thought. I wouldn’t back down now. Love wasn’t a thing to chicken out on and I’d be darned if I was going to do so now. Chaos god or no chaos god.

“Um, sweetie,” Shining Armor spoke up. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

I smiled. Ever since I told him about Discord and how I was going to stop him, he’d been trying to talk me out of it. I knew he was concerned, since Discord wasn’t one to play well with others. “I’ll be okay, dear.” I put the last item, my hair brush, inside the bag before closing it. Using my magic, I put it on my back and secured the strap. “I’ve faced worse.”

“Cadance, this is Discord we’re talking about. He isn’t some mindless beast or a power hungry dictator. He’s the god of chaos. A freaking god!”

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, but Discord’s reformed now. The worse he can do is dye my coat for a week or something. He won’t hurt me.” ‘I won’t return the favor if he’s doing what I think he’s doing.’ I started to make my way to the door. "I can take care of myself."

"I know you can. That's what bothers me." I heard him sigh. “I’m just worried something’s going to happen. I mean, you and Twilight go get yourselves thrown into dangerous situations time and time again. And what do I do during all that? Guard some walls, get cursed, or file taxes. I just...want to keep you safe and I fail at that spectacularly.”

‘Ouch.’ I frowned and froze up on the spot. I hated to hear him with such a sad tone and he had a point. I get danger thrown at me all the time and Shining, for the most part, isn’t there. He must hate himself for being unable to protect me and his own little sister from the world. I never stopped for a moment to think about him or take him along on an epic quest. ‘I..I’ve been a selfish princess.’

Quickly and without a second thought, I nuzzled underneath his chin, raising it higher. “Speak not of the woes of the past, for sooth, our future is as bright as the sun in the sky.”

Shining chuckled. “You still remember that?”

Pulling back a bit so I can look my soul-mate in the eyes, I nodded. “I remember the dork who tried to court a princess, as well as the words you spoke after my father’s…passing.” My ears fell back. My father had passed away when I was but a young filly. It had been a hard time for me and my family. Shining had been a light in the darkness, steering me away from the seas of despair.

Nuzzling me back like the lovable teddy bear that he is made me smile. “Let’s not dwell on that, Cadance. You don’t want to waste any more time on your quest. I’ll look after the kingdom while you’re gone. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to fend off a Tundra Dog invasion or something like that. I bet that’ll make you jealous.”

I giggled. “Extremely.” I couldn’t help but kiss him. It was short but oh was it so sweet. “Just stay in one piece, okay?”

Shining laughed. ‘Gosh, I love that sound.’ “I’ll do my best.”

“I know you will, you big lug you.” Giving him a sweet eskimo kiss, I headed back towards the door. “Oh and dear.”

“Yes, Cadance?”

“If you’re a good boy while I’m gone, I’ll be sure to properly…reward you.” My alluring emphasis on the word was enough to tip him off, but I decided to wiggle my plot for him to pound in the reference. ‘Don’t think about pounding and Shining now, Cadance. You have a job to do.’

I could clearly hear Shining going to attention and saluted me. I knew he was probably blushing too, which I find so cute. “I’ll make you proud, ma’am.”

“Good boy.” I decided to give him one last treat and swayed my hips as I left, adding a passing wink behind me. Needless to say, he fell over in a heated blush and weak knees. I giggled. ‘I still got it.’

As I travelled down the hallways, I pondered how and where I would have to go to find the spirit. ‘Let’s see. He mentioned that the apple would lead him to the mare he desired...Which means it’s most likely a member of the Apple clan.’

The Apples were among the oldest, strongest, and wealthiest of the fruit clans. They had leading members in several cities, such as Manehattan as well as founding several more small towns: Ponyville and Appleloosa just to name a couple examples.

‘Sorting through all the mares in that family will be tough, but somepony’s got to do it.’ I just had to find a way to find the mare Discord chose, but who could…

My smile nearly split my face. ‘I think a trip to Manehattan will do me some good.’
______________________________________________________________________
*in Manehattan*

Did I mention I hate Manehattan…No? Well, I’ll repeat myself.

I HATE MANEHATTAN!

Seriously, it’s like the whole city is filled to the brim with jerks and tight wads. From the very moment I arrived in the train station to standing outside this door in front of me, I had to deal with several complaints and criticisms. It’s like the citizens of this city can’t recognize royalty to save their lives. Either that or they just don’t care.

‘If I ever go insane, Manehattan will be the first to go.’

I gently knocked on the door, careful to not let any of my frustration show. It didn’t take long for an orange stallion, known as Mosely Orange. The moment he noticed who I was, his eyebrows raised in surprise and he quickly bowed. “Your Majesty, of what do I owe this honor?”

And just like that, some of my frustration melted away. While I prefer to be treated like everypony else, a little respect was always welcome. Especially after the horrendous attitude of most of the Manehattan populace. “Please, rise. I don’t wish for my friends to bow to me.”

And so he did. “My apologies, Your…Cadance. It’s a force of habit.”

I chuckled. “I know.”

Yes, I considered the Oranges to be my friends. When I was younger, before I even became an Alicorn, my family travelled all over the world. A few times, we stopped by Manehattan so my mother could meet up with a friend; Orange Sherbert. The Oranges treated me as if I was one of the family and I loved them for it. Not to mention how they loved to spoil me rotten. Mother was sure to stomp out any and all signs of battiness though and I thank her for that. Celestia forbid I become one of those vapid, elite airheads that I meet all the time in Canterlot. I internally shuddered at the thought.

“May I come in?” I asked.

“Of course,” and without another word, I entered their abode. The Oranges currently resided in an extravagant suite that seemed to scream ‘I’m rich’. At the very least, everything seemed to have been made within Equestria’s borders, instead of being imported from other countries, which a lot of nobles and upper class ponies loved to do. ‘Kind of undermining our own craftsponies, aren’t you fellas?’

“Cadance, darling,” I was soon greeted by the pleasant voice’s owner. An orange, earth pony mare who seemed to exude ‘rich country girl’ vibes strolled up to her. Without a second thought, she wrapped me up in a hug that nearly squeezed the life out of me. The city life surely did nothing to curb her Apple strength. Pulling back, she gave me a motherly smile. “You’re lucky you arrived now. We were just on our way to that new restaurant that opened up downtown. Lively place it is, full of good honest ponies and classical music.” She sighed happily. “But enough of that, whatever brought you here, darling? Is ruling the Crystal Empire putting too much strain on your shoulders?”

I shook my head. “Far from it…It’s just that I need the Apple family records. Something’s come up and well…”

“Well what?” Orange Sherbert asked.

I hesitated about telling Sherbert about Discord and his intentions. I already had some inkling about the mares or mare he would choose, but I wanted it to double check before anything serious could pop up. Tipping the Oranges off to what was happening would stress them out and she didn’t want to do that. “I just want to make sure everything’s alright. We don’t want our crops to spoil and whatnot.”

Orange Sherbert nodded in understanding. “No, we surely don’t.” She then waved a foreleg over to their private kitchen. “Would you care for some tea perhaps?”

“But I don’t want to keep you from your meal. A quick look at the records and I’ll be out of your mane.”

“Nonsense. You’re a princess and like family to me. It’d be extremely rude on my part if I didn’t show you some hospitality.”

“But…”

“No buts,” and like that, she was nudging me to the kitchen. “A little cup of tea won’t kill you.”

I sighed in defeat. I knew Sherbert and she wasn’t going to give up on something once she had her mind set. I briefly wondered if this was a trait shared in the Apple family. “Fine, but just one cup.”

“Splendid,” Sherbert chimed. “Dearie, Princess Cadance will be staying over for a while.”

Mosely Orange entered the kitchen. “Good to hear. It’s been ages since we’ve seen you. Was your trip here peaceful?”

I nodded. “Of course it was.” No one would ever dare to attack a train from the Crystal Empire. Just one look at those monsters and anyone would be sent running. I designed them to be as frightening as possible…And offensive. I still remember the time I drove it through Chrysalis’s throne room.

In my defense, she stole my favorite plate.

“Good,” Mosely said.

“I do so hope the riff-raff didn’t give you any trouble,” Sherbert sent me a concerned gaze. “I know the ponies of this city can certainly be a hoof-full at times.”

“It was…manageable.” I said. I didn’t need to go over any incidents. The Oranges could already tell I had gone through quite a bit in the short time I was in the city. “My own personal guard was able to fend off the worst of it.”

Mosely raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “Oh, I didn’t see any guards with you when you came in.”

“I decided to let him go explore and see some of the sights,” I told them. It was one of the reasons I brought Flash Sentry along. Other than being fun company, he wanted to go see ‘Hinny of the Hills’ as well as sight-seeing. I couldn’t help but find him adorable on the train ride here. He was like an excitable colt in the morn of ‘Hearth’s Warming Eve’. ‘Oh, why must he be so shippable? I need to find that pony a marefriend stat before I go mad with ideas.’

Before the conversation could get any further, low and behold I found myself looking at the being I was looking for…Dressed as a dodo bird.

I really don’t want to know.

The infernal god of chaos had his hand together in a pleading fashion as he sent me a puppy dog stare. “Help me Candy, you are my only hope.”

I glared at him. “My name’s not Candy.”

“Would you rather I call you Fred?”

“….Point taken,” I facehooved. My head was already pounding within seconds of dealing with him. ‘Pain, pain, go away. Come again…never.’

Discord glanced over at Orange Sherbert. “Who’s she?”

“I’m…” she started but Discord raised a finger to silence her.

“Wait…bored now, don’t care.” He flashed over beside me and took me up in one of his arms. “TO THE THINKING TREE! ALONZ-Y!”

And just like that, I was in the branches of the thinking tree. I didn’t question why he brought me here, but I did question why he decided to then put a red helmet on my head that had a giant feather sticking out. Pointing to it, I asked “Why?”

Discord took on a serious expression. “Candy, don’t. Don’t ask that. Chaos isn’t something you should ask ‘why’ if you want to keep you sanity.”

I took his words to heart and kept quiet.

“But to answer your question,” Discord started, leaning back on a nearby branch. “It’s to protect you from the tree. It seems to have started a revolution.” As he finished saying that, the tree bark parted to form the words ‘Viva la Tree’. Discord rolled his eyes and kicked the tree, causing the words to vanish. “It also keeps mixing up languages. You’re lucky it wrote the words in Equish. Gallopfreyan is so much harder to read.”

“If the tree is giving you problems, then why bring me here? And why a dodo?” Okay, I know the last one was just asking for my sanity to be ripped out, but I had to.

“Because it’s my tree, whether it wants to form a Republic or not,” he sent it a quick glare, before focusing on me again. “And the dodo suit is to confuse it. It won’t know it’s me, since dodo’s are extinct and all.”

‘If I could be made to ‘derp’ by stupidity, I’d be permanently derped by the sheer ‘what’ that was Discord.’ “But dodo’s aren’t extinct. We have some in Canterlot’s royal zoo. I could take you there if you like?” Honestly, a trip to the zoo would have been a nice breather for me. That and I loved dodos. When I was a filly, I asked my mom if we could have one, but she kept telling me no. They aren’t exactly known for having good temperaments, but I’ve never had trouble with them.

Discord frowned. “They aren’t?” I shook my head. He sighed. “Oh pooh. My brilliant plan has been foiled by conservation. You ponies can’t let me have any fun, can you?” Discord ‘poofed’ the disguise away. “Now, on to my problem?”

“Which problem?”

Discord huffed. “How I can win the heart of the fair maiden, Applejack.”

I just stared at Discord for the longest time, my brain taking the longest time to load properly. But it did and all I had to say was this.

“SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!”

The Thinking Tree Discussion

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Being the goddess of Love pretty much makes me the goddess of shipping.

No, not like ‘shipping and handling’. That’d be stupid and unnecessary. I mean, whoever heard of a mailpony princess....Yeah, that was hypocritical and mean of me to say. Come on, I babysitted countless little fillies and colts. Not the most princessy job out there.

Anyways, in all my years I’ve seen some odd couples: Sea-ponies and changelings, donkeys and griffons, Troodon and ponies. But this right here took the cake…And ate it voraciously.

“Applejack?!!” I shouted. “You want to court Applejack?!!”

Discord’s head was rattling about, shaken up by my scream. Placing his hands on his head to steady it, he gave me a quick glare. “Yes, that’s what I said. Are you ponies hard of hearing or something?”

“But but but,” I stammered. My mind couldn’t possibly come up with the right words to say at the moment. I knew I was going to have to get used to this feeling. I never did.

“But what?” Discord’s neck stretched until his face got right up into mine. I couldn’t help but reel back, trying to distance myself at least a little from touching him. I saw the slight smirk on his face.

It took me a moment to come up with a response. It’s kind of hard to talk when all…that is just thrust upon you, not to mention the god of chaos shoving his face in my own. “But you barely know her.”

Discord scoffed and reeled back his neck. “I know enough.”

“Like?” I raised an eyebrow.

“She’s an apple,” Discord raised the fateful apple. “And I am destined to be her very special…something or another.”

Oh, I could see his determination as plain as day. If there was one thing I learned about Discord, he’s persistent. That and he’s got enough pride and ego to coat the world thrice over. But I had one question. A very important question indeed.

“But do you know her?”

Discord looked at me with a tilted head and a confused expression. “What?”

“Do you know her?” I said with a little more force.

Discord chuckled. “Well, of course I know her. She’s Applejack.”

“And?”

Discord started touching the fingers on his right hand as he counted. “She lives on a farm, wears a Stetson, is friends with Fluttershy….”

“And?” I made a motion with my hooves for him to continue. ‘He has to have something else. Something substantial.’

“She lives with her family….” Discord started tapping his chin.

“Anything else?” I all but growled. I was getting sick of this. I know I shouldn’t lose my temper. He’s Discord, this was something he usually did. But come on! That’s basic!

“She’s orange.” He offered half-heartedly. He even went on to shrug as though anything more didn’t matter.

“And that’s it?” I gave him my best ‘unamused face’.

Snapping his fingers and giving out a laugh, he booped my nose. “That’s it. That adorable face she makes when she has to put up with me. You nailed it with a capital N!” The next thing I knew, I was holding a large Orange N and Discord was wearing a green game show suit and blowing on a pink party horn! The letter fit perfectly in my forehooves and thankfully, it didn’t weigh anything. It almost felt like holding solid air. ‘It might actually be just that.’ I mused.

But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is the hot blush spread across my face. ‘He called my ‘unamused face’ adorable.’ I simply didn’t know how to take that. Yes, he was comparing me to Applejack, but still. I wasn’t used to people calling me cute in a situation like that. Whenever I gave Shining that expression, he gets all panicky and tries to talk his way out. Needless to say, I find his antics so delightful. Except when he forgets about our anniversary for one of his game convention things. ‘A week on the couch was being too nice.’ Discord apparently didn’t take me being serious…seriously. I kind of liked that.

Shaking away the blush and my wayward thoughts, I shot him a harsh glare. “And that’s all?”

Discord nodded. “What else can I say? She’s one in a million billion Gazillion!” The god plucked an abacus up from behind him with his tail and started randomly moving the pieces. “I did the math.”

I face-hooved and sighed. “We all have to start somewhere, I suppose.” I took my hoof off my face. “So all we need to do is go to Applejack and…”

“Already did that.”

I frowned. “What?”

“I already went to her today.” Discord stated. He was filing his nails with a cheese grater. “She seems a little reluctant to go through with the idea. So I just asked her to marry me.”

“YOU DID WHAT?!!” The force of my voiced rivalled, if not surpassed, Luna’s Royal Canterlot voice.

Discord was blown off the tree, but appeared next to me in a flash. The god of chaos laughed. “You’ve definitely got a pair of lungs on you. Are you sure you aren’t Luna’s daughter?”

“YES!”

Discord rolled his eyes and put an arm around me, pulling me to his side. I would be lying if I said his fur wasn’t soft and inviting…Not like Shining’s, but a good runner up. “What’s got you all in a hiffy fit?”

Looking up at him, I grit my teeth, giving him the harshest of glares. “You asked her to marry you.”

“Yes, and?”

“You don’t just marry beings you barely know.”

“Well what about arranged marriages?”

“Those were put out of practice ages ago. Nopony does that barbaric practice anymore.” ‘Good riddance.’ I thought. Forcing ponies to marry each other wasn’t something I could condone in the slightest.

Discord tapped his chin. “Times have changed much since I’ve been gone.”

“Yes, and for the better.” I huffed in annoyance. Discord’s out of date mannerisms were bad, but at least they weren’t ‘Luna’ bad.

You don’t want to know what I have to put up with when dealing with her. If you thought Discord could be annoying, Luna is a whole other level. At least Discord’s doing it on purpose and you can have fun along the way.

“So, what’s wrong with what I did? Applejack should be honored that a god such I desires her.”

“Honored?” And just like that, my anger burst forth. Pushing the annoying spirit away, I flared my wings in a sign of aggression. It’s a staple thing all pegasi do. It goes back to ancient times. Pegasi perform the act to make themselves look larger and more intimidating then they already are, in hopes of scaring off rivals and predators. As the goddess of love, this made me purely terrifying to behold. “You think she should be honored?”

“Yes?” Discord seemed unsure of his answer and he should be. The god of chaos was starting to sweat.

“She shouldn’t be honored that you like her,” I harshly poked his chest. “She should feel flattered. Although, I don’t even think she should feel that. Not after that comment.”

“What comment?”

Growling, I tried to explain. “Just because you’re a god, doesn’t mean you can have what you want. It also doesn’t mean everyone should bend over backwards and love the ground you walk on.”

“That’s not as fun as it sounds.” Discord huffed in agitation, crossing his arms.

“Marriage is a serious matter, Discord. It is something sacred and beautiful. Both parties have to love and support one another.”
Discord just mouthed my words in a mocking fashion. “Yes, I know.”

“And does Applejack love you?”

“That doesn’t…”

Before I could stop myself, I pounced on him. Unluckily for the both of us, we fell of the branch. Lucky for me, it wasn’t a long fall and I landed on top of him. Discord groaned, no doubt in both pain and discomfort. I didn’t care. I just put my face in his, staring into his eyes and his very soul. “YES! It does matter. Applejack matter, or are you just using her for some sick game?”

Discord growled and glared back up at me, which was a little surprising. Not many creatures can do so without any fear. The only other was Chrysalis. “I’m not fooling around with this, Cadance. If I just wanted to joke with her, I wouldn’t get you involved. I wouldn’t drag you into my thinking tree, which you so rudely knocked me out of, and ask for your help.”

“Then take this seriously, Discord,” I gave him a pleading look. “Don’t treat this like a game. This is Applejack’s heart we’re talking about. Do you really want to break it?”

“I’m not a murderer, Candy,” Discord rolled his eyes. “No matter what those little kiddy stories would lead you to believe. Nor am I without a heart. Breaking one is the last thing I want to do…anymore.”

“Then do this right.” I got off him, allowing him to stand and brush himself off. “Love Applejack and let her love you.”

Discord sighed and hung his head. “Oh, and pray tell me how? I believe I, as the ponies these day say, suck at love.”

Smiling, I nuzzled his side. “With a little help and determination, that’s how.”

Discord chuckled. “I’m not used to having help. I’ll probably make this extremely irksome for you.”

I giggled. “Oh, no doubt.” And I meant that, but I couldn’t help but aid the god of chaos with this little adventure. Especially now, seeing him so down and put off. It wasn’t something I liked seeing and by my Aunts, I was going to make him happy.

“So Candy, what are we going to do now?”

Grinning like a madmare, I addressed him. “The same thing I always do, Discord. Make love work.”
_________________________________________________________________________________
*Sweet Apple Acres*

It was like any other afternoon on the farm. Ah was buckin’ trees like there was no tomorrow for the upcomin’ celebration in town:
Hearts and Hooves Day.

Never really cared much fer the darn holiday. Ah always felt like it was made to rub us single ponies the wrong way. Like we were unnatural, bein’ without a special somepony. ‘Ah’ll get one, when ah get one, ya blasted varmints.’ Ah thought.

Anyways, ah was workin’ with ma little sister collectin’ apples, when ah felt my spine go frigid cold. Shakin’, ah also felt a slight headache comin’ up, and my behind was twitchin’ up a storm. To tell ya’ll the truth…ah was a bit scared of what was goin’ on with my body.

Apple Bloom noticed this and shot me a concerned gaze. “Are ya alright, big sis?”

“Ah’m fine, Apple Bloom,” Ah didn’t want her to fret none. She don’t need her little self worryin’ about her big sis. “Ah just cramped up a bit.”

“Kind of looked like one of Pinkie’s senses ta me,” Apple Bloom said.

Ya know, ah always wondered what Pinkie goes through when she has one of her little ‘senses’. It always seemed so weird and strange, but mighty useful. Bein’ able ta tell future events would work wonders fer the work on the farm. It was always just a little thought ah played with, nothin’ serious. If this was it, ah felt sorry for the pink mare.

Realizin’ what she just said, ah remembered that Pinkie was kind of sort of an Apple. ‘Maybe it was somethin’ like that. But what could this mean?’

Shakin’ my head, ah spoke. “It aint. It’s just a cramp, nothin’ serious.”

Apple Bloom smiled. “Okay.”

But ah knew it was mighty serious and that ah shouldn’t just brush it off. Call it a hunch, but ah knew it was some sort of doozy. Thinkin’ that, ah shivered in fear. ‘If it really is a doozy, ah just hope my luck holds out.’ Ah still remember the last doozy. Ah’m still surprised that Hyrdas can walk that fast. Ah kind of pegged them as the ambush predators, ah think that’s what they’re called.

Gettin’ back on track, ah wiped the sweat from my brow. “Ah think we’re done fer now. How does some good ol’ fashioned lemonade sound?”

“Sounds mighty awesome, Applejack,” Apple Bloom licked her lips.

Ah chuckled. “Good ta hear.” ‘Whatever comes, me and my family will face it head on if we have to.’

And so begins the lessons

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If you were to tell me to not take romance seriously, I’d slap you upside the head. Love is serious business. It’s like war: Anything goes and that’s why you must prepare for the worst. Since I was helping Discord, the master of wrongness, I was going to utilize my full arsenal to make this work.

This venture into the field of love was going to be like frolicking in Tartarus…Which I have done before. ‘Daemon blood is so hard to get out of your fur. At least Chrysalis was of some help in that regard.’

The two of us were currently in a quiet, peaceful meadow outside of town. I chose the location because sometimes….I can be a little rough. That and I knew Discord. If he was going to mess things up, I’d rather they’d just happen to me and not the innocent townsponies.

I was currently wearing the silver uniform of an acting commander of the Crystal Empire. The silk clothes fit my body perfectly if I do so say myself. Several medals and awards littered my chest, nearly filling it. Of course, those weren’t all my medals, I had several more back in my empire. I knew I shouldn’t have even brought this many, but I just felt like showing off to Discord. ‘Maybe I just want to one-up him on something or another.’ A pointing baton was within my magical grasp. A standing chalk board stood behind me.

The god of chaos was sitting behind a student’s booth, dressed in short blue jeans, a white tee shirt with dark blue stripes, and a small, brown whirly copter hat. He was juggling a small, purple ball of flame between his fingers to keep himself occupied while I got ready.

Clearing my throat as to get the spirit of mischief’s attention, I used my magic to whack the pointing baton at the chalk board behind me. The only word on it said ‘love’ in an overly done, royal style. Discord quickly snuffed out the fireball and started writing down on a piece of paper on his desk with a fancy peacock feather.

“If love is sure to result in victory, then you must love.” I shouted at him like a drill sergeant would do to a new private. “Cupid said that and I’d say he knows a little more about love then you do pal, because he invented it,” I couldn’t help but smirk with the next thing I was about to say. “But then I perfected it so that no living being could beat me at my own game.”

“So love is a game?” Discord brightened up.

I whacked the desk with the baton, causing the spirit to jolt back in surprise. “Do not speak out of line when I am talking, maggot.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Discord squeaked out.

“This isn’t a motherbucking game,” I snorted in anger. “This is love. The sooner you realize that, the longer you’ll survive.”

Discord gave me an ‘unamused’ stare. “I think you’re taking this military thing a little too far, Candy.”

I pouted. “Let me do my thing.” I stomped the ground in frustration. ‘Gah, he ruined the mood.’

Discord chuckled, obviously finding my frustration cute. “Of course, you’re the master here.”

Smiling brightly, I nodded. “That I am, my dear pupil. Are you ready for your first lesson?” I switched to a more motherly teacher tone, seeing as my gruff drill sergeant routine wasn’t going to work on him.

“Yes, Mrs. Candy,” Discord chirped like a young student wishing to please their teacher.

“Good. Now, do you know what you did wrong last time you met Applejack?”

Discord’s ears pinned back and he glanced away from her. “I….forced myself on to her.” He slumped a little in his chair.

“Correct. That is a big no-no in the game of love. You must let it come naturally, not with force. Do you understand?” When Discord nodded but didn’t look at me, I frowned. “Don’t beat yourself up just yet. You still have a chance to make it up to her?”

Perking up, he righted himself back into his seat.

“There’s an event coming up a week’s time from now: Hearts and Hooves’ Day.”

Discord rolled his eyes. “Oh joy. I bet that’s your favorite holiday.”

“It is.” I chirped happily. Oh how I love that day. It’s the day of romance and finding your soul mate, settling down and raising a family. It’s also kind of celebrating me in a way. It’s like a loving version of the Summer Sun Celebration.

“Of course it is, but what does that have to do with me?”

I pointed to him. “You’re going to escort her around the festival as her date.”

Discord raised an eyebrow. I’m glad it didn’t do anything funny like last time, ‘cause I wasn’t in the mood for his antics. This was a meeting about love, not antics of chaos…Okay, they’re pretty much the same thing, but you get the gist. “And what makes you think that she’ll let me take her to the fair? I may not be an expert, but she’s isn’t a ‘lovey dovey’” Discord made hyphens with his fingers. “kind of mare.”

“By following some simple steps,” I used my magic to change the black board. Instead of ‘love’, it read ‘Step one: Assist her’. “You see, Applejack is a pony who’s lived her entire life working on a farm. Ergo, she would want someone who could help out with the chores, live the lifestyle, etc, etc.”

“Manuel labor?” Discord pinched the bridge of his snout. “You are trying to make this experience a living imprisonment.”

“Well, that’s the only way you’re going to be able to hang out with her.”

“And pray tell, how are you able to come to that conclusion?”

“Twilight is very thorough in her letters.” She is. She really is, almost to a scary, stalkerish level. I worry about that mare sometimes.

“I can imagine,” and just like that, a little though bubble appeared over Discord’s head.

Inside dwelled Twilight Sparkle, my dear sister in law. She was currently in her library, writing down several notes. “Today, Rainbow Dash’s girth seemed to have increased by two point one centimeters. Given her lifestyle and previous reports, she seems to be taking five second longer naps than normal. Given the lengths of her previous naps, I'd have to say that this has been going on over the course of the past four days.”

Discord looked at me and gave me a ‘what the hay’ kind of look.

I just sighed. Given Discord’s nature, I wasn’t sure whether that was the real Twilight or not…But just listening to her, I knew the truth. “She’s always like that.”

Twilight perked up and looked at her through the bubble. Oh she looked surprised to see her, but she didn’t do anything rash. Given how everything that had happened to her in the last two years, it was understandable. “Cadance? Why are you talking out of a giant, floating…” her eyes narrowed. “Is Discord with you?”

Discord appeared by my side and waved over at her. “Hello, egghead.”

“Does that answer your question?” I said.

Twilight sighed. “Yes…Unfortunately, yes. Why is he there with you? Is he trying to ruin your day?”

“No, I’m helping him with a little project.”

Twilight’s ears perked up. “Project? As in a scientific, data collecting, kind of project?”

Noticing the glint in her eyes, I started to sweat. “No, not that kind.”

“Awww,” Twilight whined. “That’s too bad….But I’d be glad to help regardless. I’m sure I can find a book about whatever you are doing.”

‘I bet you could.’ I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread coming on. Don’t get me wrong, I love Twilight like a little sister. She’s the best friend I’ve ever had and she’s always have a place in my heart…That said, she was terrible in the field of love. Seriously, she is just terrible. She couldn’t find love even if it smacked into her.

That was my bad. My little brother, Prince Blueblood, wanted to train with me and I didn’t see Twilight there…But they looked so cute all tangled up together…’Focus, Cadance. One ship at a time.’

So I stood there, trying to come up with a good excuse. Luckily, Discord picked the best option at the time.

“Bye egghead,” and with a snap, the bubble burst. The two of us stood in silence for a few moments. “Your sister needs a different hobby.”

“Eyup.”
________________________________________________________________________
*Fluttershy’s cottage*

Ah couldn’t help but sigh as ah held the lil’ tea cup in mah hooves. Ah’m normally not the type of mare to seek help, ah prefer doin’ stuff myself, but times have changed. ‘And so have my friends.’ Ah couldn’t help but think of one particular ‘friend’ when ah thought that, bringin’ a scowl on my features.

‘Who does he think he is, tryin’ to court me?’ Ah beat down the risin’ anger. Ah didn’t want ta spook Fluttershy none.
Speakin’ of Fluttershy, she came trottin’ into the room. “Are you comfortable?”

Sittin’ back on her couch, ah nodded. Fluttershy didn’t have the most luxurious house, but dog garn, she had comfy furniture. Puts my own to shame.

Smilin’, she took a seat not far a ways from me. Between us stood a small table with a tea set in place. “That’s good to hear.”

“Where do ya find this stuff?” Ah asked, pattin’ the couch. “It’s some mighty comfy stuff.”

“Oh, my family sent them,” Fluttershy smiled. “They’re always looking out for me. If it wasn’t for them, I would never have been able to afford this house.”

Ah couldn’t help but smile. “Sounds like you’ve got quite the family.”

Fluttershy nodded. “I do, but this isn’t about them, is it Applejack?”

“Can’t a mare just want ta hang out with her friend?” My eyes shifted about, tryin’ not to look at her. Ah knew ah came here for her help, but ah kind of wanted to put it off fer a while. Goin' to ponies for advice just felt strange ta me. Most of the time, ponies came to me fer advice.

“Yes, but you came here for something else. I’m sorry for saying this, but you’re acting off today.”

Ah sighed. “Yer quite perceptive, aren’t ya sugarcube.”

“I have to be. My animal friends can’t exactly talk like us ponies, so I have to read their body language. Over the years, I’ve perfected the art. But I don’t need that to see that you’re nervous about something.”

“Am ah that easy to read?”

Fluttershy’s ears fell back against her head. “Yes…I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, Fluttershy. Ah ain’t the best at hidin’ stuff. Could be because ah’m an Apple, could be because of my Element. Don’t rightly know.”

“So, if it’s alright with you, could you please tell me what’s wrong?”

“Discord.” Ah just blurted out. ‘No point in trottin’ around the issue any longer.’

Fluttershy sighed, picked up the tea pot on the small counter between them, and poured herself a cup. Lil’ whiffs of vapor rose from the hot tea. “What did he do this time?”

“He…” Ah bit mah lip, unsure of how to word it. “He…wants to court me?”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened and she set down the tea pot. “He wants to court you?”

Ah nodded. “He even wanted to marry me.” Ah grew a little queasy at the thought.

“That’s…that’s strange even for Discord. Did he say why?”

“He got hit in the head by an apple.”

Fluttershy sighed deeply and rubbed her forehead. “Oh, Discord…”

“Ah don’t know what to do.” Ah couldn’t help but shake in anxiety. “Ah’ve had stallions wantin’ me, but Discord…Ah don’t know how to take it.”

“I’m sure you’ll be able to work something out.”

“No, ya didn’t see the look in his eyes.” My shakin’ got worse and tea started to pour out of the cup. My mind couldn’t help but picture Discord like he was, standin’ over my family. “He’s determined about this. He won’t let this go, ah tells ya.”

“Knowing Discord, he’ll get bored. He’ll leave you…”

“NO!” Ah snapped, causing Fluttershy ta flinch. Ah hated doin’ that to her, but ah had to stop that train of thought. “Ya don’t understand. He wants me to love him. Do ya know what that means, Fluttershy? He wants me to open up an’ give him my heart.”

“That doesn’t sound so…”

“It is bad. Ah don’t want to, but he’ll make me.” Ah couldn’t help but notice how sore my eyes were and the water runnin’ down my face. “He’ll make me love him. He’ll take away everythin’ ah have an’ laugh about it.”

“Discord isn’t a heartbreaker, Applejack.” Fluttershy said with some force. “He’s not going to make you love him.

“’Course he is," ah scoffed. "He wants to see how far this thin’ will go an’ then….and then…” Ah couldn’t bring myself to finish it.

“Applejack…” Fluttershy quickly went to my side and pulled me into a hug.

“Ah’m scared,” Ah told her. My tears stained her yellow coat. Normally, ah’d never tell anypony that, but this was Fluttershy. She’d understand. “Ah’m scared of fallin’ in love with him. Ah’ve never done it before.”

“I know you’re scared. I’d be scared to if someone came onto me like that,” Fluttershy pulled back an’ wiped away mah tears. “But Discord is our friend. He wouldn’t hurt us. Not like that. Not ever.”

Ah snorted. “Ah’m not too sure ‘bout that. He’s a tricky one.”

Fluttershy giggled. “He sure is, but he has a good heart buried somewhere under those tricks. He isn’t going to use you.”

Ah knew Fluttershy knew what she was talkin’ ‘bout, but ah couldn’t wave off the dread ah was feelin’. Ah still didn’t trust Discord. He was a no good varmint who liked to mess with ponies day in and day out. Ah was sure as a pig is pink that he was up ta somethin’. Ah just hoped that my heart could survive this lil’ trick of his.

Fluttershy sighed once more. “How about this? The next time me and Discord get together, I’ll talk to him about this.”

Ah couldn’t help but smile. Discord was woven around Fluttershy’s hoof tightly. She’d get him off her back in a jiffy if things went south. “Thanks, Fluttershy.”

“What are friends for.”

Can I has job?

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I had never imagined I’d see the day Discord would be frozen in fear. It wasn’t an impossible image, Twilight had written about how horrified the spirit had been when they imprisoned him a second time. ‘The poor dear.’ Both Twilight and I had been gleeful at the time, but now…I regret feeling so.

The two of us were currently standing outside the Apple’s front door. I didn’t think Discord would freeze up like he was. ‘Thankfully, he didn’t literally freeze up.’

“Are you going to knock anytime soon?” I asked him, breaking the silence.

“Err…,” I could swear that he was sweating just now. “Maybe.”

I sighed. It was understandable that he’d be nervous. ‘Courting your one true love is simply nerve racking.’ “Just knock on the door, Discord.”

Discord glanced at me. “But Candy, I don’t wanna.”

I raised an eyebrow, wondering what the hay he was whining about now. “Why?”

Discord raised a sign that said 'I told you not to ask me that'. As I rolled my eyes, he held up another sign 'but I'll tell you anyway.' “Manual labor,” Discord narrowed his eyes. “In all my years, I’ve never lifted my claws to work anything more than a prank. To think I have to-“ Discord shuddered. “-work on a farm to win Applejack’s heart is a repulsive idea.”

I really shouldn’t have been surprised he wouldn’t take to this idea well. “Listen, this is but one step on the path to love,” I told him. “Besides, if this thing works out between the two of you, you’re going to be spending the next several years working on this farm.”

Discord snorted. “Oh please, I have much better things to do with my time.”

I pointed a hoof at him accusingly. “See, that’s the attitude that throws a mare off. Spending time with her is important if you want a relationship to work. A life on the farm isn’t going to kill you.”

And just like that, in Discord’s place was a large gravestone with the words ‘Here lies Discord, Killed by farm life’.
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. ‘Drama prince.’ “Okay, knock it off.”

In a flash, Discord stood before me. “Kill my joy, why don’t you.” The god of chaos was pouting ever so adorably and crossing his arms. I don’t know why I found him so cute when he was grumpy. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to seeing him like that. Never the less, his puppy pout wasn’t going to make me back off him in the slightest.

“Now, knock.”

Discord raised an eyebrow. “Why don’t you knock? I’m sure Applejack will listen to you more so than me.”

I sighed. “No, just…no.”

“Why ever not?”

“Because if I do so, it’ll just pressure Applejack into giving you a chance,” I held a hoof to my heart. “She has to choose for herself, so I can’t help you directly…At least not yet.”

“Ugh,” Discord threw his hands up in despair. “Why is love so complicated? Couldn’t you just shoot us with a love beam or something?”

You know, in all the time I’ve been the princess of love, I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked that. I lost count after the first hundred. Yet, I can’t help but feel insulted, no, degraded whenever someone asked me to do…that. I know I should have stayed calm, but my anger boiled over. Smoke escaped my nostrils as I snorted in rage. My eyes pierced his very soul, causing Discord to shrink back in fear. “Never ask me that…again.”

Discord righted himself and put on a more controlled expression. I was actually surprised he could jump back so suddenly from my death glare. Even Chrysalis needed a moment to collect herself and she had quite a bit experience dealing with it, I assure you. ‘No-one calls me tubby, not even a queen.’

“It seems I touched a nerve,” Discord said. “I’m not sure if I’m happy about that.”

“You shouldn’t,” My glare was as harsh as before, but it was still present. “You can’t force love, Discord. It’s sick and wrong.”

“But aren’t love spells easy to obtain and use?”

“Yes,” my eyes looked away. I was silent for a moment, reflecting how sad that statement was true. I really hated the idea that there were books, specifically history books, that had the recipe for such things as Love Poison. It was easy to make and anypony could get their hooves on it. Well, at least they used to. When I became princess of love, I spent many an hour tracking down and destroying any such spells and potions. I had even tried to pass a law making them illegal. Until the incident in Ponyville, that law hadn’t been put into practice and my efforts were in vain.

This was one of the few times in my life that I was thankful for the CMC’s antics.

Since then, my aunt has been cracking down hard on publishers and such to rid our fair nation of the heretical stuff. I’m not one to toot my horn, but my empire is some leaps ahead of her in that regard.

“But that’s being dealt with.”

Discord rolled his eyes. “Like me?”

“No, you’re special,” I giggled, flying up to his level and patted his head like I would a pet. “You’re a special little snowflake.”

Upon hearing this, Discord chuckled and turned into a large snowflake, twice the size of my head. His face was etched on the frozen surface. The snowflake quickly grew an icy arm and grabbed a hand held mirror out of thin air. “I am, aren’t I?” The spirit checked out his new form in the mirror.

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, you are,” I said, before touching back down on the ground. “Now stop with the lame jokes and knock.” I saw him drop the mirror, which let out a loud ‘pop’ as it hit the ground and vanished, and hold his ice arm out to knock on the door. “In your regular form.”

With a flash of light, Discord was his normal self again. “I don’t see why? I bet dear sweet Applejack can’t wait to defrost me.” He waggled his eyes in an uncouth manner. I honestly never pegged Discord to be so…flirty. Maybe being trapped in stone for more than a thousand years can do that to you.

“No,” I lightly punched his side. “No defrosting.”

Discord silently grumbled. “Fine.”

I nodded, happy he was going to play by my rules…for once. Of course, I had the distinct inkling that this wouldn’t always be the case. I didn’t need to be Twilight Sparkle to figure that out. “Good, now go win your mare.”

“I will,” Discord struck a confident pose, eyeing the door like an enemy combatant.

I smiled and then winked out.
_____________________________________________________________________________
*Applejack*

“Comin',” Ah hollered when ah heard somepony knockin' at our door. My trusty hat lay on a hook near the entrance. Ah couldn’t help but wonder who it was. Ah wasn’t expecting any of my friends over and ah’m sure as wheatcakes that the rest of my family were inside. ‘It could be Ditzy with another one of her usual late packages.’ What ah found behind the door was none other than the last fella ah wanted to see.

“Howdy ya’ll,” the varmint currently known as Discord drawled out. He was wearin' a red and white, flashy cowpony suit. It looked exactly like the ones I usually see at a rodeo. “Ah thought ah’d come by an see what’s ya up ta.”

Ah glared at him, takin' a second to steel my heart against him. “Discord, stop that. Us country ponies don’t sound like that.” Ah was right too. His accent was so thick and fake ah just wanted to buck it right out of him. This wasn’t the first time ah heard ponies use it, comedians and whatnot, but ah thought Discord was better than this. ‘This just shows me that ah gave him way too much credit.’

“Ah beg ta differ, lil’ missy,” Discord ruffled my mane with one of his stinkin’ paws. I resisted the urge to break said paw, only ‘cause I knew that it would be pointless. He was chaos incarnate after all.

“Discord, did you just come over her to mess with me or what?”

“Why of course, mah dear Applejack,” Discord cupped his hands together and took a loving pose. “There’s nothin’ ah want more in life than ta be with mah darlin’.”

“Discord, I said stop that.” My hooves were just itchin' to buck him into next year.

Discord pouted. “Fine,” with a snap of his talons, he was out of that silly get up. Ah still don’t know why rodeo riders wear it in the first place. Whenever ah look at it, ah can’t help but wonder if ah should laugh or shake my head in shame. “Have it your way.”

“Thank you kindly,” I nodded. “Now, why are you on my property?”

Discord suddenly took on an expression I wasn’t expecting to see on the big lug: nervousness. “Well…” he fiddled with his claws. “I just wanted to say I was sorry.”

My eyes couldn’t get any wider than they were at this moment. Discord was apologizing? ‘Something’s not right here.’ “You’re sorry?”

“Yes,” Discord’s eyes shifted away from mine, like he was afraid to look me in the eyes. “I was wrong to try and force you to accept me like that. I should have given more thought on my approach.”

Now bein' the Element of Honesty and an Apple to boot, ah could tell right away he was being truthful. Unlike the whole plunder seed incident, which ah could tell right away that this here critter was up to no good. Still, ah eyed him with a note of suspicion. “Ah accept your apology.” As ah spoke, ah held back the urge to smile. If he was willin' to say he was sorry, there was hope for him yet. That and ah can’t help but think he was kind of cute when he was nervous…Kind of.

Discord gave me a relieved smile and hugged me tighter than Pinkie Pie. ‘How is that possible?’ “Oh, I’m so happy you forgave this poor soul.” Thankfully, he pulled back, letting me grab some much needed air. “I’m so glad you forgave this wretched soul. I don’t know what I’d do if you hated me.”

‘Probably the same thin' as always,’ Ah thought as I rolled my eyes. “Could you let me down now?” Discord set me down gently. “Thank ya kindly. Now, is that all?”

Discord booped my nose. “You’re already trying to get rid of me? How very mean of you.”

Pulling back from his finger, ah snorted. “’Course ah am. Just ‘cause you apologized doesn’t mean ah want you around.”

Discord’s ears drooped, before perking up. “Well, what if I helped around the farm?”

Panic, extreme panic. That was what ah felt. ‘Discord? Workin' here?’ Ah remembered the last time he visited my farm and ah was sure as hay not ready to go ice skatin'. Not to mention him tryin' to win my heart. “Uh, about that….” Ah rubbed the back of my head, unsure of how to explain it to him.

Leaning down on one knee, Discord bowed his head. “My dearest Applejack, I only wish to show you how much you mean to me.”

“But we barely know each other,” Ah pointed out. Hopefully, he’ll see my point soon. Ah don’t know what ah would do if he stuck around. ‘Go insane, most likely.’

Discord shrugged. “Details.”

Ah face-hooved. Ah tried to think of something, anything to make him go away, but my mind drew a blank.

Ah gave out a deep sigh. “Fine,” ah relented. Ah knew that the blasted varmint would keep hounding me until he got his way. At least he was doing somethin' constructive for once. “Ya can come work on my farm, but that’s it.”

Discord jumped up into the air and shouted “Yes!” Fireworks appeared around him. The chaos spirit started performin' some sort of victory dance. Ah couldn’t really tell what type it was. “Discord is in, baby!”

Ah instantly regretted my decision.

About Trees

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Walkin’ through my family’s orchard always puts a smile on my face, no matter what. The world could be endin’ and I’d still be smilin’, spendin’ my last moments with my family and apples. This was a land that was built by my family’s blood and sweat.

Mostly sweat.

Not today however. Ah couldn’t seem to work up a smile as ah trotted through the fields. The ease ah usually feel when under their branches was replaced by anxiety. Ah knew why that was.

Fear.

Ah feared for my family’s farm. More so than any other time and the reason was walkin’ beside me: Discord, the mismatched trouble maker. The last two times he had stepped on my farm it’d been with malicious intent. Now, he wanted to help.

Ah honestly didn’t know which was worse.

“Now, Discord,” ah started to say. “Ah don’t want any of your funny business while we work.”

“Why, Applejack,” Discord put a paw to his chest. A halo formed above his head. “I would never dream of disrupting your oh so important farm…stuff. I just want to spend time with you.”

Ah snorted. ‘Yeah, spend time with me. Ah bet you’re schemin’ to get under my tail and laugh it up afterwards.’ Of course, ah didn’t say that out loud. That’d be rude. “Well, you’ll need to pull your weight, if’n ya really want to get to know me.”

A small Discord poked his way out of my mane. “Of course I do, my dear Applejack. Why else would I bother visiting?”

“Ya know why?”

Discord pouted, slitherin’ like the snake he was onto my hat. “I’m hurt. I’m really hurt. I thought you were going to give me a chance.”

“Ah am,” ah said. ‘Course, ah was hopin’ this was just some faze and he was gonna leave me be soon. Ah’m not the type of pony to go out and party all the time, or prank ponies. Stuff ah knew the god of chaos loved to do, both night and day. Honestly, ah thought Discord would go for Pinkie Pie, or Rainbow Dash. They both seemed to click in ways….That is if Dash warmed up to him. ‘That girl has it out for his hide.’ “But ah’m gonna keep my eyes on ya.”

Discord flashed beside me. “Fair enough.”

Ah stopped and turned to him. “Since ya are new to the farmin’ life, it’s time we started with the basics.”

Discord summoned up a pen in one hand and a clipboard and paper in the other. “Proceed.”

Rollin’ my eyes, ah turned to one of my beloved trees. A smile found its way onto my face as ah stood in front of one tree. “Hello, Sasha.”

Yeah, ah name my trees. It’s kind of an earth pony thing, gettin’ attached to plants and such. Unicorns name their magic, pegasi name the stuff in the sky, while us earth ponies name the earth. Ah like to think we got the best of the three.

A part of me was waiting for Discord to make fun of me namin’ trees, but he kept quiet. Ah just heard the scribblin’ of pen on paper. ‘Maybe he’s gonna take this seriously.’ Ah let myself think. It was a fool’s hope, but ah can be a fool sometimes.

“Now most ponies think farmin’ is easy, but it aint. There’s a lot that goes into managin’ a place like this. Most would give up, but we aren’t most.”

“Of course not,” Discord spoke up. “Most ponies don’t have your juicy thighs.”

Ah blushed mighty fierce at hearin’ that. ‘My thighs aren’t juicy.’ Ah couldn’t help but take a look back at them. Yeah, they were taut and muscular but that’s it. Nothin’ special in my mind. Still, ah was flustered by him sayin’ that. “Ah…Ah…” Hearin’ Discord chuckle, made my face feel even hotter. Ah’m not sure how red ah was, but ah was sure redder than an apple. “Shut up.” Ah said to his face.

“I’m just making an observation, my dear Applejack,” Discord gave me a mirthful smile. His eyes shone with trouble. “I thought mares liked to be complimented.”

“Not while their workin’,” ah snorted. ‘If that’s how he’s gonna try and nail me, than he’s got another thin’ comin’ to him.’

Discord shrugged. “My mistake.”

‘You’re mistake, my flank.’ Ah really wanted to buck him. Ah really did, but that wasn’t proper. He wanted to learn farmin’ and that’s what ah was gonna do…Even if it killed me. ‘Probably will.’

Ah turned back to ‘Sasha’. “As ah was sayin’, not everyone can farm. It takes determination and sweat to keep a place like this alive. Not to mention keepin’ up with all the plants and animals. Ya need to be willin’ to get dirty.”

“Way ahead of you.”

Glancin’ back, ah saw Discord bathin’ in a portable shower. Of course, instead of water, it was mud that was pourin’ over him. The spirit was hummin’ a little country tune as he scrubbed a brush over himself.

“Discord,” ah glared at him.

Flashin’ away his stuff, he smirked. “What? Afraid to see me naked?”

“We’re always naked.”

Discord was silent for a moment. “Hot,” was all he said.

Rollin’ my eyes, ah tried my best to ignore the varmint and get back to teachin’. ‘If this is how Cheerilee feels, ah owe her several pints of cider. Celestia knows she deserves it.’

“We’ll start with the trees,” ah said. It was a simple choice. Applebuckin’ would surely give him some hassle and he’d be on his way.

“Here’s a thin’ most other races don’t understand about earth ponies. We aren’t just good at tendin’ the land ‘cause our fellow ponies are too lazy to do it. Nah, we do it because we’re at one with the land around us,” ah started to explain. “There’s a reason they call us earth ponies.”

“I thought it was because…” Discord started but quickly shut himself up. Ah’m glad that he did. Ah knew where that thought was headin’ and ah’d have kicked him off my farm for it. Yeah, harsh, but it ticks me off when ponies get it wrong. ‘Course, ah would normally just brush it off, but it’d be a good excuse to kick this lousy, good for nothin’, heart breaker off my farm.

“That’s not to say other ponies can’t do it,” ah continued. “My friends help me all the time. Hay, ah’ve worked beside griffins and the sorts over in Dodge Junction. They were a good lot. Hard workin’ too, but they were lackin’ somethin’ important: A connection to the land.”

Ah placed a hoof on the bark of the tree, keepin’ myself at ease. Closin’ my eyes, ah concentrated. Ah let go of my past, my present, my future, everythin’. Ah felt the tree pulse and breathe. Ah could feel the earth beneath me move and shift on its own accord. Ah was one with the land, like a proper earth pony ought to be.

“The land is alive. It’s our friend and neighbor. Ya got to respect it and it’ll respect ya. A pony ought to treat it like kin, not just a place to live.” Ah gave ‘Sasha’ a kind smile. She’d been up for several years and ah remembered playin’ in her shade when ah was a youngin’. “Trees are pretty much family to us Apples.”

“How very earthy of you, my dear Applejack,” Discord said beside me, breakin’ me out of my concentration. Lookin’ up at him, he was wearin’ a light green cloak, with vines wrapped all over it. “I always wondered why you earth ponies made such awe inspiring druids.”

“Why didn’t ya ask before?”

Discord groaned, lookin’ mighty peeved. “Because they were all sticks in the mud,” he then started speakin’ in a low-pitched voice. “Don’t turn the plants into cotton candy. Stop moving so I can slay you with my vines. Don’t turn my cloak into a rabid, vampiric, chocolate bunny.” He scoffed. “They were no fun at all. Pranking them was the only way I could amuse myself with the lot.” He chuckled darkly, playin’ his fingers against one another. It kind of reminded me of the first time ah met him. “Oh the ways I messed with them.”

Fear started to creep into my heart. “Discord,” ah said in a warnin’ tone. Ah didn’t like where his mind was wanderin’ off to.

Discord blinked, seemin’ to come out of some trance. “Sorry, just remembering the good old days.”

“Yeah, the same good old days that made me into a liar.”

Discord cringed. “Okay, okay, I won’t bring those days up again.”

“Good,” ah said. A question came to my mind. “Discord, what do ya think about when you look at a tree?”

“Paper salad.”

Grittin’ my teeth, ah tried not to look over and chew him out for that answer. “Besides that.”
Discord was silent for a few seconds. Ah cherished that moment of silence, knowin’ that ah might not get another one. “A place to think and get away from the world.”

Ah was honestly surprised by that answer. “Really?”

“Why do you think I have a thinking tree?”

Ah shrugged. Ah honestly didn’t know he had a thinking tree, but it didn’t surprise me none. Discord could have anythin’ and ah wouldn’t bat an…Okay, ah probably would bat quite a few eyes at what Discord had. Maybe even throw up and go insane.

Discord waved away his cloak, which turned into bubbles. “I like trees, okay,” Discord started twiddlin’ his fingers. He looked mighty anxious to me. “They make me feel safe.”

Ah couldn’t really think of anythin’ to say to that other than, “How?”

Discord sighed, plucked a blade of grass with his tail, and threw it into the air. The little blade grew into a hangin’, green mirror above his head. “As you can guess, my mom is a goddess of chaos and disorder.” A clear image of a beautiful, but strange alicorn mare appeared in the mirror. She was purple, with a long flowin’ white mane. Her cutie mark was two lines spiralin’ around one another. What really got me was the unsettlin’ red and yellow eyes. They looked just like her sons…Well, except they were both the same size and…Well, ya know how they say that the eyes are the gateways to your soul? Well, hers spoke of evils yet done.

“Err…” ah tried to say somethin’ nice about her, just to be polite. “She looks pretty.”

“Oh, she is,” Discord nodded. “She’s where I get my good looks from.” The spirit struck a showy pose and small stars sparkled off him.

Ah rolled my eyes. “Just get on with it. Ah want to get my chores done today, ya know.”

Discord huffed. “No patience at all. Anyways, she was a very protective sorts,” the image showed the mare coddlin’ a very young and annoyed Discord. Now, if ah was another mare, ah might have broken down in squeals of joy upon seein’ Discord so cute. Ah didn’t though. That’d have just given him some satisfaction.

‘He’s still so cute though.’

Discord continued. “Yeah, she let me do some chaos here and there, but I was stuck in our realm. She kept insisting it was too dangerous out in the real world.” An image showed Discord’s mother showin’ him a sign that had the earth, an equal sign, and the word danger, in that order.

‘Well, at least he had a lovin’ mother.’

“But I was a rascally kid,” Discord smirked. “If my mom could torment the lives of mortals, so could I.”

“Yeah,” ah spoke up. “Ya know ah’m a mortal, don’t ya?”

Discord rolled his eyes and head, while chucklin’ “ Of course I do, but I’m talking about past me, not present me.”

‘Right.’

“Anyways, I decided to sneak out into the mortal plane while my mom was busy pranking some of the other gods,” Discord shivered in fear, clutchin’ himself. “Needless to say, it didn’t work out so well.”

The image showed a young Discord up a tree. The yougin’ was cryin’ his eyes out. ‘Poor little guy.’ Ah honestly didn’t think I’d feel sorry for Discord, but I did. At least, past him. Below the tree, were some of them dino-whatsits ah’ve heard about. ‘Looks like them raptors ah saw in a movie once.’

“And that was just the wildlife,” Discord said in a panicky tone. The image shifted to young Discord again, playin’ teleportin’ catch in the tree. “I decided to stay in the trees for a while. My magic wasn’t as strong as it is now, so I didn’t want to chance it. Some of the beasts were better adept then me, a mere child of several thousand years.”

“Several thousand?” ‘How the hay do ya stay that young for that long?’

Discord nodded. “Immortals age slowly. Demi-gods and mortals are much quicker. Now, back to the story at hand. I stayed in the trees, waiting for dear old mom to come pick me up.” Discord face-clawed. “Little did I know, she couldn’t track me down. She was too busy with her own projects and the other gods wanted to play with her for once. So, they did everything in their power to keep me from her, just to get back at her for some stupid pranks.” Discord fumed.

Personally, ah think he was right to be angry. ‘Keepin’ a mom from her child, taint right.’

“So, I spent the next few hundred years,” Discord sighed. “Alone…with the trees....Gosh, this is depressing.”

“Yeah, this is depressin’,” ah said. Ah really didn’t want to hear more about his past…It was makin’ me feel sorry for him. ‘He’s doin’ it on purpose, tryin’ to make me like him. It won’t work…Even if he needs a hug….Oh gosh darn it!’ “Let’s get back to buckin’.”

Discord grabbed the mirror and held it to himself. “But I haven’t even gotten to the part where you ponies hunted me,” an angry crowd of ponies with pitchforks and torches showed on the mirror’s surface. “Mom was furious with you lot. When she got me back, she decided to punish you lot.” An image of the icy windigos popped up. Discord dismissed the mirror into a white, vapory smoke as he tapped his chin. “In hindsight, making the Windigos actually helped you become better mortals.”

‘So, it was Discord’s mom that made the Windigos?...Makes sense…Why does that scare me that I made sense of that?’ “Well, that certainly was a tale.”

“Eyup,” Discord frowned. “Don’t know why I told you it. I haven’t even told Fluttershy a smidgen of my past.” He smirked. “Maybe it’s because I adore you.”

Ah started to sweat. “Yeah…adore…Can we get back to work?” Ah had to get him focused for once. Work came first and romance came never.

“Fine,” Discord grumbled.

“Now, say hi to Sasha,” ah pointed to the tree. “She’s gonna be helpin’ ya out.”

Discord conjured a top hat on his head, to which he took it off as he bowed. “Good evening, lady Sasha. It is an honor to do business with you.”

“Now that introductions are out of the way, buck her.”

“What?” Discord shot straight up into the air. He came down and hovered above me. “But I’ve just met her.”

“Doesn’t matter,” ah shot him a disapprovin’ glance. “Buck her.”

Discord crossed his arms. “I will not buck a tree I just met.”

“Discord,” ah said, tryin’ not to raise my voice in anger. “Buck this tree.”

“She has a name, you know.”

‘That’s it.’ “Discord,” ah was nearly shoutin’. “Buck the livin’ daylights out of this tree, or I’ll buck you.”

Discord gave me a lecherous grin. “Promise?”

Grittin’ my teeth, ah walked up to ‘Sasha’. “Fine, ah’ll buck her.” Turnin’ around, ah didn’t waste any time to prepare or anythin’ like ah was hopin’ too when ah wanted to teach him. Now, ah just needed somethin’ to take my stress away and buckin’ trees is a great stress reliever. Buckin’ with all my might, all ah hit was air. Fallin’ to the ground, ah looked back to see ‘Sasha’ gone. “What?”

Lookin’ to Discord, ah saw Sasha hoisted in the air, with Discord’s tail wrapped around it. The varmints tail had grown longer than before, so it could hold my beloved tree above his head. “I couldn’t just sit back while you harmed poor Sasha. She’s your friend.” He narrowed his eyes. “I thought you were better than this. What would dear Fluttershy say if she found out you were hurting her family?”

‘Hurtin’ her…’ No, ah stopped carin’. “Put her down.”

Discord ‘humphed’. “I don’t think so,” He flashed himself a red bandana and war make-up. “FREEDOM FOR TREES!”

‘That’s it.’ Now, ah was gonna teach this no good varmint a lesson in pain. “Discord, stand still will ya. It’d make me real happy if ya did so.”

Discord raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

“’Cause ah’m gonna break ya, that’s why?” Ah hollered, rushin’ to head-butt him. Discord flashed out of the way and appeared a few feet away from me.

“Applejack,” Discord was sweatin’ in fear. “Let’s not get hasty. This isn’t something to get upset about.”

“Put Sasha down,” ah pointed to where she used to stay. If there was one thin’ I hated, its creatures messin’ with my trees.

Discord narrowed his eyes. “Never.”

Pawin’ the ground, ah snorted in anger. “Suit yourself.”
_______________________________________________________________________________
In another part of the farm, with Princess Cadance

“DISCORD, WHY?” I shouted. Quickly covering my mouth, I hoped to my aunts that Applejack hadn’t heard me. She’d probably kick me off her farm if she found me spying on her. I’d have to resort to some more clever and irritating ways to keep track of the pair. Thankfully, Applejack was too preoccupied with hurting Discord at the moment.

‘Discord, you idiot.’ I thought, glaring at the spirit.

I was currently sitting on a large hill, overlooking the place where Discord and Applejack were. A large spyglass was held in my hooves, so I could get a better look at them from afar. Yeah, I could have used a scrying spell, but I don’t know. This felt more fun.
Still, this didn’t deter any of the agitation I felt at the idiotic spirit. ‘It was going so well.’

Discord was bringing his A game. He was complimenting her, listening, and even sharing his backstory. That was a brilliant move on his part and I couldn’t help but clap my hooves in a job well done. What I couldn’t stand was him uprooting her tree and running off with it.

‘Discord, you aren’t supposed to mess with her on your first outing. You’re supposed to wait till you started dating, then you can mess with her as much as you want. AMATURE!’

I tried rubbing the painful headache I was feeling away, but it didn’t seem to want to leave. I started questioning, right then and there, if helping Discord had been the best option. ‘Love is love. Everyone deserves at least a chance at it.’

My thoughts were interrupted by someone coughing. Turning my head, I got a good look at Applejack’s big brother, Big Macintosh. ‘Wow, what a looker. I bet he’s a hit with the mares.’ Yeah, he was good looking…not as cute as Shining, but close enough.

“Umm,” I started, feeling a bit nervous at being caught. “Hello?”

“Hello,” Macintosh said back. I got the impression that he was a pony of few words.

There was silence for a few seconds. “Nice weather we’re having.”

“Eyup.”

The silence came back with a vengeance.

I sighed. “Look, I’m just trying to make sure Discord doesn’t do anything incredibly stupid and hurt your sister. He’s new at this, so he needs my help.”

“Hmm,” Macintosh played with the straw in his mouth, clearly thinking over my words. I could see his frustration with the spirit.

“If he gets out of line, I’ll reel him back in. You have my word as a princess.”

Macintosh studied me for a few seconds, before nodding and going on his way.

‘Get a load of that rump….,’ I shook my head to clear my thoughts. ‘No, bad Cadance, bad. Just for that, I’m going to have to snuggle Shining extra hard tonight.’ I returned to my observations of the unlikely pair.

‘This is going to be harder than I thought.’

Farm work and chaos don't mix well

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“The secret to buckin’ is controllin’ your breathin’,” ah started.

Chasin’ Discord took some time. The slippery daemon was harder to catch than a weasel in fall. Luckily for me, ah finally nabbed the son of a crossbow. Don’t rightly know if ah was just lucky or he let me win. The way he was laughin’ makes me think the second. ‘Course, he put Sasha back where she belonged and we could finally get back to work.

So, here ah was standin’ before ‘Sasha’, with a few buckets around her to catch the apples.

“Of course,” Discord nodded, scribblin’ down notes on a small notepad with some fancy smancy feather pen. He wore a pair of broken glasses, ya would more likely see on one of ‘em nerd ponies. At least, that’s what ah’ve heard. Aint right for me to group ‘em up like that.

Ah don’t see why he was writtin’ this all down. Ah doubted the spirit could forget somethin’ so easy to remember. That and he didn’t seem like the ‘bookish’ kind of pony…er thing to keep reconds and such. Still, he’d learn one way or another.

“Ya got to face away from the tree, like so,” ah turned away from ‘Sasha’, givin’ myself a good distance to buck her good. “Give yourself some space. Too close and ya won’t be able to use enough force, but too far, you’ll miss ‘em entirely.”

“Uh-huh,” Discord’s scribblin’ went on, takin’ up a bit of speed.

“Loosen up your muscles,” ah rolled my shoulders and legs around, tryin’ to get rid of the kinks and such. “Ya can’t properly buck if you’re all tense. You’ll pull a muscle or worse.”

“Yes, uh-huh,” his tone was becomin’ more urgent as well as his writin’. Ah paid it no mind.

“Ya got to get a grip on the earth below ya,” my hooves dug into the ground. “Keep your gate wide, but still near enough that you’re not unbalanced.”

“Oh my chaos,” Discord exclaimed. Ah could see smoke comin’ from the notepad as his pen flew across it faster than a jackrabbit in a hailstorm.

‘What the hay is up with him?’ Ah though, but knew better than to voice my question. Ah had already gotten over my previous headache. Ah didn’t need a new one.

“Then ya rear your legs back, like so,” ah demonstrated flawlessly, if ah do say so myself. No pony out rears an Apple. Ah could feel my muscles strain and store energy for the oncoming buck. “Make sure to wind yourself up and keep your breathin’ level.”

“Sweet apples, this is heavy,” Discord said, his writin’ faster than ever before.

Fightin’ back my annoyance, ah kept my breathin’ in check. Ah didn’t want Discord’s wackiness to end me up with a sprained leg or somethin’. “Then, ya release.” The pent up kick was sent straight into the bark of the tree. Ah was thankful Discord didn’t teleport this one away, else ah’d have ended up worse than the last time. The sweet sound of apples fallin’ into baskets rang in my ear. Ah sighed in contentment. ‘Aint nothin’ better than this.’

“YES,” Discord exclaimed, enthralled by his writtin’. Steam was comin’ from the pad as his hand went as fast as Dash in a race. “YES!”

“DANGNABIT, DISCORD!” Ah yelled in frustration. “What the hay are you doin’?”

Discord immediately stopped what he was doing. He smiled innocently at me, while his glasses just flew away. He turned the notepad around. “I drawed a pony.” The picture was me…exactly like that Mona mare or somethin’ like that art piece Rarity took me to see once.

“Errr…” Ah really didn’t know how to react to that. “That’s interestin’.”

“No it isn’t,” Discord said, nonchalantly throwin’ the notepad behind him…Which exploded.
________________________________________________________________________________
*Cadance*

I was covered in soot, surrounded by the burning embers of what used to be my bush disguise.

Coughing up smoke, I began to wonder why I had decided to observe the duo up close. Discord wasn’t a being you wanted to get within throwing distance of. Yet, I dared to move a little closer. For what? To get a closer piece of the action?...Well, truth be told, looking through a spyglass for hours isn’t the most comfortable thing. Again, I could use a scrying spell, but I preferred a more hooves on approach when on a love case.

I was now questioning that decision. That and I was wondering how I was going to get back at Discord for this. Oh, there had been no harm done. I doubted Discord would mean any lasting harm to anyone and us alicorns are made of tougher stuff then the normal pony.

Throw a rock at a pony: receive bruise.

Throw a rock at an alicorn: slightly annoy them.

Throw a boulder at a pony: dead.

Throw a boulder at an Alicorn? ‘I get miffed. We weren’t supposed to be using any objects in that duel, Chrysalis.’ I snorted. That was the last time I decided to have a fair, no magic, hoof to hoof fight with Chrysalis in the ‘Valley of Boulders’. She was always a bit of a cheat.

Back to more pressing issues, I glared at Discord’s back. ‘If you blow me up one more time, I swear, your hands will be pinned to my wall. Accident or no accident.’
_____________________________________________________________________________
*Applejack*

“Now,” Discord clapped his hands together. “Shall we get to bucking?”

Ah stood there, not movin’ a muscle except to twitch my eye. “Did ya just explode somethin’ on my farm?”

Discord nodded. “Yes, indeedy~”

Grittin’ my teeth, ah glared at him. “Ya do know ya could have hurt my trees, right?”

Realization dawned on Discord’s face. “Errr….maybe.” He nervously looked around.

Ah face-hooved and sighed. Puttin’ my hoof down to face him, ah said “Discord, listen up and listen good.”

Discord leaned down, cupped a paw behind his ear as said ear grew three times in size. “I’m listening.”

“Don’t mess with my trees, ya got that. We need these trees to live, or were ya not listenin’ to me before?”

“Perish the thought,” Discord scoffed. “You had my full attention.”

Ah raised an eyebrow.

“Okay,” Discord relented. “Most of my attention, but I’ll say this. I’m the god of chaos, having most of my attention means a lot.”

“Ah’ll take your word for it.”

Discord straightened himself and walked over to the tree. Well, not walk, more like strut. The big lug was tryin’ to show off and look macho. Didn’t work, but ah got to give him some points for effort. ‘Maybe if the string-bean had some actual muscles, ah’d be sweatin’.’

Discord eyed ‘Sasha’ as he came to a stop in front of her. “I’m sorry it had to come to this, Sasha. Know this isn’t personal.” Instead of doin’ like ah told him to, he leaned back on his tail like one of them kangaroos, liftin’ his legs up into the air. Springing his tail forward, his hooves/feet came into contact with the tree. Instead of fallin’ down, like any reasonable apples would, the apples shot up into the sky, like they were fired from canons.

My mouth fell open as ah watched the beauts disappear. “My…my apples.”

Discord rubbed his chin, payin’ my distress no mind. “I think I may have put too much ‘umph’ into that strike. Maybe some ‘urgh’ will do.”

“NO!” Ah hollered quickly. “No more buckin’.” If it was the last thin’ ah did, ah’d make sure this varmint never bucked another tree in his life. Celestia knows what he’d do to the rest of ‘em.

Discord sighed. “Very well then, my dear Applejack. What shall we do now?”

“How about, feedin’ the livestock?” Couldn’t hurt none to have him help out with the pigs and such. Surely, he’d be so grossed out that he’d pack up and leave.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Ah was wrong. Ah was so wrong.

Ah should’ve known Discord would mess this up. He’s a messed up critter, that’s what he is. Ah should’ve kept my mouth shut and tried applebuckin’ again.

But here ah was inside my family’s, now enlarged, kitchen. Hay, ya could’ve fit a third of the house in here, it was so big. And it was so shiny and neat, like somethin’ outta those fancy cookin’ shows ah watched.

‘What can I say? A pony so serious about cookin’ apple products is certainly somethin’ to see.’

But that wasn’t what was happenin’ here. No, Discord and me were now wearin’ chef outfits. The pigs, the ones we were supposed to be feedin’ grub, were strapped to baby chairs with a large conveyer belt force feeding them donuts. ‘Course, the pigs didn’t seem to mind. They actually seemed happy. ‘Course they are. Pigs are happiest when they’re fed.’

Lookin’ back at Discord, ready to tell him off, ah stopped. The varmint was sharpenin’ two big knives against one another. He was peerin’ down at some book, mumblin’ incoherently to himself. ‘Incoherently? Stars above, ah know some fancy words, don’t I?’

The hungry look on his face got me to worryin’…More so than ah already was. “Discord, what the hay is goin’ on here?”

“I’m feeding the pigs, my dear Applejack,” Discord didn’t even turn to look at me when he said that.

“Why are ya sharpenin’ knives and feedin’ ‘em donuts?”

“’Cause donuts are fattening and I’m hungry.”
Whatever ah was about to say just died in my throat. Rubbin’ my ears, ah tried to make heads and tails of what he just said. “What?”

“I’m hungry, so I’m making us some bacon.” Discord licked his lips with his long, snake-like tongue.

“We don’t eat the pigs, you idiot.”

Discord raised an eyebrow. “Then why have pigs at all?”

Ah…honestly never knew why. Ah mean, breedin’ pigs is just a family tradition. No reason to stop it really. So, ah just shrugged. “Contests.”

Discord groaned in frustration, before turnin’ everythin’ back to normal in a flash. “I’ll skip lunch then.”

Ah sighed. “Look, if ya work hard...Ah’ll bake ya a pie.”

The next thing ah knew, Discord had picked me up in a tight embrace. “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve had pie.”

Ah scoffed. “Ah saw ya eatin’ one a couple of days ago…upside down.”

“But it wasn’t a good, home-made apple pie,” Discord teleported us to the ground. Instead of huggin’ me, he was holdin’ my fore-hooves in his paws. “A pie made by these hooves is something I’d treasure always.”

Ah couldn’t help but blush at that. ‘Dangnabbit Discord, stop makin’ me like ya. Ah know what game you’re playin’.’ Fightin’ back my blush, ah coughed to get him back on track. “Yeah…Let’s move on.”

“Yes, let’s,” Discord purred. Before lettin’ go, he gave my hoof a quick kiss. It was really hard to hide my blush and Discord’s growin’ grin told me he saw it. “Now, what’s next?”

“Fixin’ the fences.”
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Ah don’t…Ah just don’t even.

The frustration ah felt, as ah mumbled angrily into my hoof, was mighty big. All ah wanted was to fix the fences. Really, ah thought Discord would just snap his fingers and ah’d scold him for being a no good, lazy varmint. Enope, that’s not what happened. No what happened was this…

“I think set number two is doing a marvelous job,” Discord said. The both of us were loungin’ on some foldable, white chairs. Ah didn’t really have choice, since he just poofed me onto the darn thing.

The things he was talkin’ about were the fence posts….As ridiculous as it sounds, they were actually fencin’. The posts had grown arms and legs and duelin’ away like their lives depended on it. Numbers hovered over different duos, tellin’ me who was who.

Not that ah really cared.

“Discord,” ah said, takin’ my hoof from my face. “Really?” Ah shot my hooves forward at the fencin’ posts. “Just really?”

Discord gave me a serious stare. “My dear Applejack, did you honestly think I would miss an opportunity like this?”

“We’re supposed to be fixin’ them.”

“They are fixed,” Discord rolled his eyes. “I assure you, little fence posts will never again plague this farm.”

Ah had to grit my teeth to stop myself from chewin’ him out. “Just..Let’s move on to somethin’ else. Ah’m sure a good barn raisin’ will do ya some good.”
__________________________________________________________________________________

“Raise this barn~

Raise this barn~

One, two, three, four~

Discord twirled around the destroyed barn, his magic in full flux. Boards, nails, and all sorts of materials flew into the air.

“I am Discord~

I’ll raise this barn~

One, two, three, four~”

Ah couldn’t believe it. Discord was singin’…And he was good at it. Of course, seein’ all that stuff sucked into a tornado around the barn’s foundations was a tad worryin’. Ah half expected somethin’ to fly out and strike me. Ah doubted it, since this was Discord, but it was a naggin’ thought.

“Spin, spin, spin, goes the stuff~

Till I have had enough~”

The tornado ceased to be, revealin’ a perfectly good barn.

“Finish it off with a bright red bow~”

And just like that, a giant bow appeared on the buildin’. Kind of like Apple Bloom’s if ah had to say.

“Now it’s time to end this show~”

Discord bowed before me. Ah decided to humor him, with a lil’ laugh and clap of my hooves. “Ya actually did somethin’ right for once. Ah’m kind of shocked, but proud.”

“Wait there’s more,” Discord giddily replied.

My smiled instantly left my face, replaced by dread. ‘Why me?’ “Discord, that isn’t…” But he’d already teleported over to the barn.

“Raise this barn~

Raise this barn~

One, two, three, four~”

With each count, somethin’ seemed to stir underneath the barn. Ah could only watch on in horror at what was transpirin’ before my very eyes.

“This lil’ draconequus will raise this barn~

One, two, three, four~”

Again, more rumblin’ under the barn.

The next moment, ah found myself in a lab, wearin’ a scientist get-up, with a bunch of Discords wearin’ the same. A large screen showed the barn outside.

“Watch, my dear Applejack~

As the barn is launched to black~”

Discord looked at his pointin’ finger.

“Come on Georgie, just push the button~

And start some space fun~”

Discord then pressed a big, red, threatenin’ button. Immediately, the barn shook violently. It rose from the ground, with large metal tubes underneath it that spewed fire. Luckily, the fire didn’t seem to burn anythin’, just propel the barn up into the air, till ah couldn’t see it.

The Discords broke out into cheer, congratulating each other like they actually did somethin’ good. Ah just did my best not to buck each and every one of ‘em. ‘Nasty varmints.’

Discord, the real Discord, took my hoof and shook. “I’d like to thank you for helping with the first ever lunar barn launch. This is a momentous occasion to be celebrated…privately of course.” His lewd smile just made me blush through my anger.

“D-discord,” ah tried to refrain from stutterin’. “What the hay goes on through your head?”

“A lot of things,” Discord snapped his fingers and away went the clothes, lab, and all the other Discords. It was just me and him in the field again. “I’m a creature of many thoughts, my dear Applejack.”

“Like ruining a perfectly good barn?”

Discord rolled his eyes. “If it bothers you that much, then here,” he snapped his fingers and the barn was back in its proper place. “All spiff and span. You’ve really got to learn to take a joke.”

“Ah can take a joke just fine, ya varmint,” ah snorted in anger. “But ah don’t like ya messin’ with my property.”

Discord sighed. “If we’re going to be a couple, you’re going to have to get used to my quirks.”

“And what if ah don’t want to be with ya?” Ah asked, glarin’ at him. “What if ah told ya to never come near me again? Ah could be right happy about that, ya know.”

A hurt expression was what ah saw in return. Discord looked away, unable to look at me. “What’s next?” His tone was broken and hurt.

‘Ah shucks, now ah feel bad.’ My anger didn’t seem to want to hang around anymore, so all ah had was guilt. Ah knew Discord was the god of chaos. Antics was his livelihood, the same with Pinkie Pie. Ah never yelled at her, or called her varmint…Ah thought it, but never said it out loud. Ah didn’t want to hurt her feelin’s. “Ah’m sorry. That was wrong of me to say.”

Discord looked surprised. “You’re apologizing? My dear Applejack, it was I was kept yanking your tail, so to speak. I should be apologizing.”

“Ya don’t have to apologize. You’re you. You can’t help but be a pain in the rump.”

“Thanks,” Discord grumbled, obviously not exactly happy about bein’ called that. “But again, I’m the one in the wrong.”

“No, ah’m in the wrong.”

Discord glared at me. “No, I’m in the wrong.”

Ah stomped my hoof in anger. “No, ah am.”

Discord got into my face. “I’m the wrongest being alive and you know that.”

“Ya are just doin’ your job. Ah’m the one bein’ a stubborn, no nonsense, stick in the mud here. So that makes me the wrongest bein’ alive.”

We kept glarin’ at each other for a moment. Why couldn’t he see that ah was wrong? Ah don’t know why he was defendin’ me and takin’ the blame. ‘Maybe he does like me.’ Ah shook that thought away, feelin’ even more frustrated because of it.

“Let’s just go milk the cows,” ah said, breakin’ the silence. There was no way Discord would find a way to make that weird, savin’ the both of us from havin’ this argument again.

Discord gasped. “Applejack, I didn’t know you were into that sort of thing.”

“What?” ‘What’s he on about now?’

“I mean, I know you are into me,” Discord sent me a charmin’ smile, to which ah just rolled my eyes. “But cows? Ugh. I’m not exactly thrilled by female bovine myself.”

“The hay are ya goin’ on about now?”

He picked me up with one of his arms, keepin’ me close. “I mean, I’d rather milk something a little more tantalizing.” He grinned, which just made me nervous. “Like you.” He booped my nose.

What ah did next was his own fault.
___________________________________________________________________________
*Cadance*

‘Stupid, stupid, stupid.’ That’s what I kept thinking about with how Discord just acted. He and Applejack were having a moment, a real moment. They were arguing, yes, but they were trying to save the other’s face. They actually cared about one another and it made me squeal in excitement.

But no, Discord had to ruin it by making a lewd comment. Yes, some mares liked that. They liked the comments and looks because it made them feel special, or they found it humorous. Applejack wasn’t one of those mares.

‘Obviously.’

So here I was, making my way down to the farm. I originally intended to keep myself hidden, but circumstances had forced my hoof. Still, Applejack didn’t need to know that I was helping Discord. Not until the plan actually worked out.

When I caught up to the pair, the scene before me almost made me fall over in laughter. Discord’s limbs were tied together beneath him. He was looking up at Applejack, who was laying on top of him. She was certainly as grump as Discord was shocked.

“Good evening,” I said, bowing my head. Applejack was one of the owners of this farm and it was only fair I show them respect on their property.

Applejack quickly locked her eyes on me, looking mighty confused. “Princess Cadance? What are ya doin’ here?”

“I heard about your famous apple family pies and decided to come over for a visit,” I told her. “A vacation for more was overdue, so I jumped on the first train over here.”

Applejack smiled. “Well, good to see ya takin’ some time off. I’m sure Twi will love havin’ ya around.”

I nodded. Spending time with Twilight would certainly be a bonus to this mission. “So, pray tell, why are you lounging on Discord?”

Applejack blushed and looked away. “No reason.”

I chuckled. “Of course.”

Applejack jumped off and headed to her home. “Ah’ll go and get a pie started. It’ll be done in no time at all.”

“I can’t wait,” I called back. When she far enough away, I sighed and walked over to Discord. “You had to say that, didn’t you?”

Discord chuckled. “Eyup!”

“If I had to ask, how did she manage to tie you up?”

Discord frowned. “That mare is a master of the lasso.”

Talk over pies

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*Cadance*

If I could marry food, I’d marry this pie. No seriously, this was that good and I’ve had great dessert dishes before. ‘Say what you will about her, Chrysalis knows how to cook.’ It was like a piece of heaven was taken from high above and given to me in the shape of a pie. It was love at first bite. Joy of the highest caliber. It was better than se…Okay, not that good, but close. I had to use every ounce of self-restraint to keep myself from pigging out. As well, I chewed slowly and deliberately. I wanted to savor the flavor for as long as possible. Who knew when I could have another Apple Family pie?

I played with the idea of inviting the Apple Family to the Crystal Empire. They’d make a killing there, but I decided against it. They were content farmers and I wasn’t going to uproot them for my sake. That and it would be too costly to move all these apple trees. ‘By my aunt’s mane, it’s almost like a sea of trees.’

I had to give it to the apples for maintaining this much on their own. I still wondered how they were able to buck all these trees, but they were earth ponies. They had the endurance to do so. ‘Still, maybe I should send down a few farmers to help. It would do my ponies good for them to see more of Equestria. Maybe settle down in Ponyville and find a start a family.’ She couldn’t help but picture a few of the bachelors and bachelorette farmers in her empire. It was a small number, but they could do.

‘That aside, having them over as a sort of ‘vacation’ would do wonders. Their treats would be the talk of the town during celebrations.’

“Do ya like the pie, princess?” I heard little Apple Bloom ask.

Taking a second to swallow, I daintily wiped away the remains from my lips with a hoofkerchief. “It was delightful if I do say so myself.”

“Thanks,” Apple Bloom beamed. “Ah helped make it.”

Giggling, I spoke “I can tell.”

Oh, why is she so cute? I just wanted to scoop her up and cuddle with her till the sun went down. I always had a soft spot for children. It made me such an adapt babysitter. Celestia was hesitant on letting me do so, since I would be ‘vulnerable’ out on the streets by myself. Well, with my training, and a select few guards, I convinced her otherwise. Still, I miss those days. I was the best babysitter Equestria had ever seen. Sometimes, I wonder why I didn’t get a cutie mark in raising kids. ‘Which reminds me….I want one.’

Shining was still nervous about the whole ‘parenting’ issue. I’ve been trying and trying to no avail to get him to see reason. ‘I wanna be a momma. Give me a baby, you doofus!’ I didn’t hate him for it, but it was frustrating to say the least.

“Do ya want some more?” Apple Bloom asked.

“No, I’m content for now,” I flinched when a piece of pie splattered across my snout. Frowning, I looked over at the culprit. “Unlike some creatures I know.”

Discord was currently eating his second pie in a rather messy manner. Bits of pie splattered everywhere as he desperately tried to devour the pies before him. I used a quick spell to clean myself and another to keep more from splattering all over me. While I am not afraid to get dirty, I don’t necessarily go looking for a chance. Pulling it back, he used his excessively long tongue to wipe his face clean. “This pie…I love it…ANOTHER!” He threw the pie pan behind him, causing an explosion.

I was about to admonish him about exploding other pony’s property, when Applejack called out to us.

“Discord, what did ah say about explodin’ our property?”

Discord groaned. “To not to.”

“Good,” Applejack kept herself inside. “Glad ya remember it now, but it seems ah have to keep remindin’ ya.”

“But Applejack…” Discord started to whine.

“No buts, ya mangy varmint,” Applejack called. “No explosions, period. Ya got that?”

“Yes,” Discord grumbled out.

“What was that?”

“YES!” He roared, looking a might bit ticked off. He huffed and turned to see me grinning. “What?”

“Oh nothing,” I took another small piece of pie up in my magic. “I’m just observing is all.”

Discord glared at me, to which I giggled and ate the pie piece.

‘They’re acting like one of those old, troublesome couples I’ve met before,’ I noted. The way they argued, how Applejack handled him, and Discord actually listened. ‘Maybe this won’t be as hard as I thought.’

“Ah thought the explosion was cool, mister Discord,” Apple Bloom spoke up.

Discord smirked. “Well, at least somepony appreciates my chaos.” He ruffled her mane causing her to giggle.

I just loved the sound, silently hoping that my own daughter/son would have such a cute giggle.

“I see you’ve been doing well since our last little get together,” Discord said.

“Sure have,” Apple Bloom nodded. “Ah’ve been meanin’ to ask if ya’d like to join us later. We didn’t get to properly initiate ya into the CMC.”

I raised an eyebrow in confusion. ‘Initiate him into the CMC?’ It seemed like Discord had dealt with Apple Bloom before. Judging by how amicable they were to each other, I could see my next task was going to be a walk in the park…More or less.

Discord scoffed. “Proper, smoper. I am the god of chaos, if you’re going to do it,” he booped her nose. “Do it improperly.”

Apple Bloom giggled. “Whatever ya say, mister Discord.”

“Now go on in and get me a pie, pronto…and tell your sister I think she’s cute.”

Apple Bloom saluted, to which he returned it. “Aye, aye, captain.” She raced back inside.

I mulled over the scene I had just witnessed and came to one conclusion: he’s good with kids. ‘Oh, you just scored some points in my book, mister.’ I smirked.

Discord stroked his chin in thought and hummed. “Captain?”

I snorted. “Discord, if anypony is the captain,” I used my magic to summon a captain’s hat over my tiara. “It’s me.”

“Oh?”

“Well, I am the goddess of shipping after all.” True fact, in both meanings of the word. I was quite the sailor back before I became the princess of the Crystal Empire. I kind of missed those days. ‘A good ol’ ship battle would do me good. I wonder if Chrysalis still hates me for sinking her battleship.’

Discord laughed and applauded. “Good one, Candy. I believe you just won.” He plucked an golden Emmy Award in my image from his ear and gave it to me.

I took the trophy in my magic. “Now,” I set it aside. “About what I just saw…”

Discord waved his paw to dismiss me. “Oh, we’ve met before. She and her little friends were having trouble finding their marks, so I pitched in for a few laughs.”

“And it seems you’re on good terms with her. Am I right?”

Discord nodded. “Of course I am. Little Apple Bloom and her friends are such a chaotic delight. Why, if anything, I believe they’ll be getting marks in chaos in no time.”

I paused before taking another bite. My eyes were nearly bulging out of their sockets. If what Discord said was true, than I believe Equestria’s reckoning will be soon. ‘I may be exaggerating, but if what Twilight’s letters say is true…Auntie help us all.’ I decided to keep an extra eye out for the CMC. They and Discord were a force to be reckoned with.

Beating back the disturbing thought, I reluctantly put down my pie. “Well, that just makes your next task all that easier.”

Discord raised an eyebrow…which decided to fly off. I didn’t question it, nor did I question why when Discord grabbed it, he threw it into his mouth, swallowed, and there popped a new one on his brow. “What is it?”

“You spent today showing Applejack you’re willing to work,” I said. “Now you have to show her that you’re willing to get along with her family.”

Discord huffed and crossed his arms. “Easier said than done,” he poofed on an old mare’s clothing, like Granny Smiths, with the white hair and cane, adding a pair of glasses just for himself. “Little miss wrinkles isn’t the most welcoming.”

“Well, you’re going to have to do it if you want Applejack’s love,” I pointed out. “Her family is the most important thing in her life. If you can’t be on ‘friendly’-” I made a hyphen gesture with my wings. “-terms with them, than this relationship won’t work.”

Discord rubbed his temple. “Why does love have so many steps and rules?”

“It makes life more interesting,” I shrugged and continuing to eat the heavenly dessert.
__________________________________________________________________________________
*Applejack*

Now Ah’m not a mare to condone spyin’. Ah hate the no good, vermin with a passion. It aint right to peep on ponies when they’re tryin’ to live their lives in peace…

Right now, ah couldn’t help but feel like a hypocrite.

Yes, ah was spyin’ on Discord. Ah did my best to hide behind the curtain, making sure to keep out of his, or Princess Cadance’s, eyesight. It felt wrong to do this, but ah wasn’t gonna let Discord out of my sight. Not while he was still on my property.

Sure, Princess Cadance was keepin’ an eye on him, but ah had to be sure. ‘He’s probably thinkin’ of some sort of plan to mess with me. Ah just know it.’

Seein’ Discord actually interact and laugh with Cadance was a bit unusual. They weren’t exactly ‘buddy buddy’ when ah was with them, but Cadance was a nice mare. Surely, she’d get through his thick skull. ‘Maybe she’ll take him away.’ Ah could only hope.

“Big sis, what are ya doin’?”

Ah couldn’t help but jump back and yelp in fright at hearin’ my lil’ sister’s voice. Doin’ the act was one thin’, gettin’ caught was another. “Uh…nothin’. Nothin’ at all.”

Apple Bloom narrowed her eyes at me. If there is two things about us Apples ya should know is that we’re terrible liars and good at readin’ ponies. It didn’t take my lil’ sis, bless her heart, long to find out the truth.

“Ya were spyin’ on ‘em,” she said. “Weren’t ya?”

Ah rubbed the back of my head, nervously. “Well, ya see…”

“Didn’t ya tell me that spy’s were no good backstabbers with no sense of privacy whatsoever?” Apple Bloom interrupted me.

Which was true, both the statement and that ah told her. Let’s just say, ah’ve had the misfortune to bump into a couple of the varmints. Canterlot is a big place, filled with all sorts of ponies. Ah just didn’t reckon they were workin’ for Celestia…Didn’t seem to sit right with me.

“Yes, ya caught me. I was spyin’ on ‘em.”

“Why?”

Ah sighed. “’Cause ah’m worried about that Discord fella.”

“Why are ya worried about him?” My sister asked. “He seems like a good guy. Hay, he’s pretty much one of my best friends.”

‘Ugh, don’t remind me about that incident, lil’ sis. If ah could’ve, ah’d have strangled him right then and there.’ Rememberin’ that time Discord sealed off a part of the orchard to ‘play’ with my sister and friends sent shivers down my spine. Ah’d nearly had a heart attack, ah was so worried. Luckily for us, nothin’ bad happened. Still, ah didn’t exactly like the idea of him spendin’ time with my sister. He wasn’t exactly the best influence.

“Ah know,” ah said. “But he still gives me the creeps.”

“Well, he doesn’t give me any creeps,” Apple Bloom said. “He just makes me laugh. Ah don’t really see anythin’ wrong with that.”

Ah sighed. “Ya don’t understand, sugarcube.”

“Is it because he likes ya?”

Ah furrowed my brows and looked away. “No.”

Ah knew my sister was smirkin’. Ah just knew it. “Admit it, ya like him to.”

Ah blushed and looked at her. “Don’t be sayin’ crazy things like that.” Me, likin’ Discord? Ah don’t think so…Then why was ah blushin’?

My sister’s smirk grew wider. “Well, he told me to tell ya he think yer cute.”

“He said what now?”

“He said yer cute.”

‘Callin’ me cute, is he? Well…Thanks.’ Ah couldn’t really find anythin’ really bad about that, as it was tame compared to his other compliments, but ah had to remain on guard. He wasn’t goin’ to win me over so easily. With my sister’s aid or not.

“That was mighty nice of him to say,” ah said.

“That and he wants more pie.”

‘Good Celestia, how much can he eat?’ Ah sighed. “Ah’ll go get the oven ready.”

Discord's going on a trip

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“So ya got everythin’ ready for your trip to Canterlot, Big Mac?” Ah asked the ever loveable lug that was my brother.

A large cart, filled to the brim with our best apples, was strung up behind him. Normally, ah aint one to be picky about which apples go where. All the apples here at Sweet Apple Acres are the best ya will ever get. ‘Course, ah don’t want to talk smack about the rest of the family. Ah’m sure they’ve got great apples too.

Yeah, ah’m probably a little too smug about the quality of our apples, but ah can afford to be. There aint anypony who would turn down an apple from our farm. Ya’d have to have no taste whatsoever to do that.

Anyways, now was the time to be picky. We’d recently received an order from the princesses themselves and boy howdy did that get us excited. Now, ah would have more than happy to do it myself, but ah had chores on the farm to do. Well, more like clean up Discord’s messes.

That and ah wanted Big Mac to get his thick headed self off the farm for a while. My big brother aint the most sociable of stallions. Hay, he could give Fluttershy a run for her money in the shy department, especially when it came to mares. If there was one thing in life ah wanted more than to live on the farm, it was to see my family happy…and be an aunt someday.

‘Ah just hope he’ll catch some mare’s eye this time around. Celestia knows he needs one.’

“Eyup,” was his reply.

Ah knew he’d say that. Big Mac aint the type of pony to be forgettin’ things. Still, it didn’t hurt to double check.

“Did ya shine the apples?”

“Eyup.”

“Fix the wheels?”

“Eyup.”

“Freshen your breath?”

“Eyup.”

Ah narrowed my eyes at him and leaned forward. Naturally, the big lug opened his mouth reluctantly and let me take a whiff. Now, ah don’t like to smell my own brother’s breath, but this was a special occasion. Smellin’ nothin’ wrong, ah pulled back.

“Okay, you’re good…But maybe ah should…”

“Applejack,” my brother cut me off with a small glare.

Lookin’ a might bit sheepish, ah chuckled. “Sorry about that, big brother. Ah’m just a little nervous. We’ve never had an order from Princess Luna before, so ah just want it to be perfect. Ya know what ah’m sayin’?”

My brother nodded, but he gave me an inquisitive glance. Ah couldn’t help but fold my ears back. Bein’ brother and sister, we could read each other like books. It made talkin’ with him so much simpler, since he was a pony of few words.

“Okay, ah might be worryin’ a little too much, but can ya blame me? These last couple of days have been…chaotic.”

Really, that was the only word ah could think to describe it. Ah really hated it, but it was true….Ah really don’t think hate accurately describes it, but this wasn’t the time for me to write all the ways ah didn’t like that critter…Ah didn’t like his cute smile with his buck tooth. His irritatingly funny humor. He actually takin’ the time to court me.

Ah hated all of that and more. Ah couldn’t help but grind my teeth against one another as ah thought about him.

“Eyup,” Big Mac nodded.

Ah couldn’t help but smile again. Even though ah’d like for him to be a lil’ more talkative, he was the best pony to talk to. Ah went up to him and gave him a lovin’ nuzzle under his chin. “Stay safe.”

“Always have,” he nuzzled me back.

“Oh how sweet,” Discord said, some ways off.

Ah couldn’t help but groan. ‘Why him? Why now?’ Turnin’ to look at the varmint, ah saw him walkin’ my way with Princess Cadance beside him.

“Such a compassionate sibling duo,” Discord remarked, dabbing his wet eyes with a hoofkerchief. “Such is the stuff of legends. If only me and my own sister could be such compatriots.”

“You have a sister?” Princess Cadance asked.

‘He has a sister?’ Yeah, ah knew he had a mother, but a sister? There were two of these varmints runnin’ around? ‘How in the hay has Equestria survived this long?’

Discord nodded, turnin’ the hooferchief into a sailor’s hat with but a simple wave. He placed it on his head. “Oh yes, but we aren’t on speaking terms at the moment, but that’s not important.” He turned his gaze on me and ah swore ah saw the mischief in his eyes. “What do we have here? Red Apple Horse leaving the nest?”

Ah gave him a deathly glare. Us ponies have a number of things we don’t call one another. Horse was one of them. “His name is Macintosh Apple, thank ya very much.”

“I like my name better,” Discord chuckled, rollin’ his eyes at me.

“And he’s goin’ to Canterlot to deliver some apples,” ah said. Ah don’t know why ah told him that. Ah musn’t have been thinkin’ clearly. “He’s helpin’ out the farm, unlike some critters ah know.”

Discord shot me a small glare. “I already de-chaosed your farm. What more do you want?”

“Maybe ah want a lil’ peace and quiet.”

Discord just rolled his eyes at me…No really. He rolled his eyes right round his face. “I think you’re just avoiding what you really want.” The no good varmint tried to flash another one of his ‘charmin’’ smiles.

Ah just snorted. “Whatever ya want to believe. Now skedaddle. Mac here needs to get goin’.”
____________________________________________________________________________
*Princess Cadance*

This was the perfect opportunity for Discord. I was squealing so hard with joy right now. With Mac on his way to Canterlot, that’d leave Discord more than enough time to bond with him. He’d come home, give Applejack his thoughts, and the farm mare would be one step closer to getting together with the chaos god.

Looking up at him, I found Discord just mulling about. He was just standing there, giving Applejack a frustrating gaze. I really wanted to smack him upside the head. He couldn’t see the golden opportunity in front of him? After I just explained it to him not long ago that he needed to win her family over? ‘No wonder he’s still single.’

Nudging his side, he looked down at me with a questioning gaze. I pointed a hoof to Big Mac, hoping he’d pick up on it. Thankfully, Applejack and Big Mac weren’t looking our way when I did it. Discord, the big oaf, stared at Big Mac for a few seconds, before an off light-bulb appeared over his head. He reached up on tapped it, turning it on. Instantly, he brightened up.

“I have a wondrous idea,” Discord strode closer to the farm duo, dispelling both his hat and the lightbulb in a white poof. I decided to stick back and watch, hoping I wouldn’t be blown up this time. “How about I help Macinpaddle…”

“Macintosh,” Applejack glared at him.

“Macintosh with this order?” Discord smiled at her, hopingly.

“That sounds like a terrible idea,” Applejack huffed.

“Why ever so?” Discord folded his arms in front of his chest. “I could help him bring twice, no, several times the amount of apples he has here.”

“That aint how us Apples work,” Applejack stomped the ground in agitation. “We don’t use magic here for anythin’.”

“Who said anything about magic?” Discord smirked. He flexed his right arm, making it grow three times in muscle size. “I can pull them by sheer muscle alone.”

I tried my best not to snicker. The whole ‘macho muscle’ thing was a hit and miss tactic. It might woo young, inexperienced mare, maybe some of the older, single ones, but quite a few mares could see through the flimsy facade. Like Applejack, for example.

“Ya aren’t gonna let up,” Applejack said. “Are ya?”

“Enope,” Discord mimicked her brother well, even adding a straw in his mouth to complete the image.

Applejack sighed. “Fine, but promise ya won’t start somethin’, okay?”

Discord traced an ‘x’ over his heart, which was highlighted by a bright light that followed. “I promise not to start anything in Canterlot for the rest of today. A god never breaks a promise, I assure you.”

Applejack stared at him for a few seconds, before shaking her head. “Ah’m sure that’s the best ah’m gonna get from ya. Ya can go with Big Mac.”

I could read her body language. She was practically screaming ‘get out of my fur’. Sad really, but understandable. She’d yet to really warm up to him. ‘No matter. Discord and Applejack will be together forever in no time flat. I’m not the Princess of Love for nothing.’

Discord hopped around Applejack, making a different noise each time he did so. He whooped and hollered with glee, while Applejack was doing her best ‘please kill me now’ look. I’ve seen my fair share of them in my lifetime and I’m sure to see several more. It comes with the job of being a babysitter. Of course, instead of a cute little child, I was looking out for a child in a god’s body.

“YES,” Discord cried out in glee. “Road trip!” With a spark of his magic, he conjured up a cart just like Big Mac’s and attached it to himself. The spirit was on all fours while pulling the thing. He wore a tropical T-shirt and a pair of shades. Strutting forth and striking an epic pose, he yelled “MY RED COMPATRIOT IN APPLES, LET US RIDE TO CANTERLOT!”

“Eyup,” Big Mac walked alongside him.

I saw Applejack rub the bridge of her snout.

“Why me?” she muttered to herself. “Why of all ponies, me?”

“Love works in mysterious ways,” I told her. I knew she didn’t want an answer, but I was inclined to add my two bits. “I’m sure you’ll come to appreciate it in time.”

“Appreciate it?” Applejack glared at me. Her voice, while raised, had a certain hitch to it I’ve heard in many a mare before.

‘I believe Shining calls them Tsunderes.’

“Ah’d appreciate givin’ that varmint a tanned hide. He aint gonna steal this mare’s heart, no sirree bob.” Applejack’s body trembled in anger and frustration.

‘She’s still being difficult,’ I thought to myself. If Applejack hated Discord, truly hated him, I don’t think I could’ve helped the pair. If anything, it would make Applejack miserable and that was the last thing I wanted while matchmaking. Not this time however. I could feel Applejack’s affection for the god of chaos. It wasn’t strong, just a small taste, but it was there.

Ever since I became to goddess of love, I’ve had the knack for detecting it. Love, lust, friendship, I could read all those signs and Applejack had a little love brewing inside her. I wanted to jump up and down in glee. She didn’t hate him, not entirely. If I worked my talent right, they’d be lovingly staring into each other’s eyes by Hearts and Hooves Day.

“Very well then,” I said, heading off. “I’ll be off to Ponyville’s library.”

Now, I could have stayed and tried to talk about her feelings and whatnot, but that would have been stupid of me. She wasn’t ready. It was too soon to put my hoof out in the open and try to meddle in things. This stage was Discord’s doing and his doing alone. I could only guide his attempts and even then that’d be a challenge in it of itself. I just had to sit back for a moment and hope for the best.

‘May Faust have mercy on us all.’

“Just take care now,” Applejack called out to me. “Ya and Twilight don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to get togethers.”

I frowned. She was right, absolutely right. While I do love adventure and life threatening circumstances, who doesn’t, but I’d really just like to enjoy one event free day with my favorite sister in law. ‘My only sister in law, but that doesn’t matter.’ But no matter, this time was going to be different.

“I’ll do my best,” I called back to her. I meant that….I just hoped fate was kind to me this day.

Roadtrip and the Dragon

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Now ah’m a pony of few words. Aint no secret about that. Honestly, ya could figure that out with but a simple glance my way. That don’t mean ah’m shy. Ah just…aint that good with talkin’ with other ponies. Applejack usually handles that, so ah’m free to do my business helpin’ out on the farm. That’s my lot in life and ah’m quite happy about it. Ah’m not at all concerned about findin’ love, or startin’ a family. Ah’ve got plenty of family members already, thank ya very much.

Still, just because ah’m content with my life on the farm, doesn’t mean ah want the same for my siblin’s. While ah didn’t aspire to be a father, an uncle sounded mighty fine to me. ‘Course, with the years comin’ and goin’, ah started to doubt if my little sister, Applejack, would ever find a special somepony. She was too head strong for the datin’ business. ‘Kind of like pa.’

Call me a hypocrite, but ah did go lookin’ for stallions that’d go great with her. Yeah, ah’d complain when she did it with me, silently of course, but this was different. Somepony had to continue the Apple Family line and truth be told, ah’d think Applejack would make a mighty fine mom. ‘Ah’d make for a mighty fine uncle, if ah do say so myself.’

So, whenever Applejack forced me to come to town, ah’d keep my eye out for the right stallion. Needless to say, none of them fit the bill. There were either taken, just not right for her, or Thunderlane. Ah couldn’t help but chew on my straw a little harder at the thought of the Pegasus. ‘Lazy, no good flirt, messin’ with my sister and all.’

Ah was thankful he wasn’t the one courtin’ Applejack. Thunderlane wasn’t a bad pony per-say. He did his job…kind of. When he wasn’t nappin’ or trying to pick up mares. At least ah had to give him one thing. He wasn’t a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of stallion. Usually, he’d end up with the mare kickin’ him out of her home. ‘For good reason.’

The very few stallions ah did find were too scared to approach Applejack. Mostly ‘cause they were scared she’d buck them into next week. They were right, but it didn’t stop the headache ah was feelin’.

Now, there was somepony finally willin’ to give Applejack a try. It’s just that that ‘pony’ wasn’t really a pony. It was Discord, the same critter that me a mole dog. The memory was pretty fuzzy, but I remember it all the same. It was just my luck that the one critter to tick me off so much, decided to chase after my sister.

Said critter was tottin’ his apples beside me, hummin’ a little tune ah usually hear from miss Fluttershy. It was short and sweet. For some reason, little notes shot out of his horn as he hummed. Ah didn’t know how he did the things he did and ah didn’t want to know.

Ah didn’t hate him, but ah didn’t trust him either. He wasn’t the trustworthy type. There had to be some plot brewin’ inside that skull of his. ‘Or maybe, he really does care for AJ,’ Ah thought to myself.

That was a possibility, but ah doubted it. For one, Discord barely interacted with Applejack before this whole courtin’ nonsense of his. This didn’t sit right with me. Not one bit. Ah was hopin’ this lil’ trip of ours would shed some light on some things.

Suddenly one of Discord’s hands thrust into his face, holdin’ a bit. “Bit for your thoughts?”

Ah couldn’t help but glance over at Discord beside me. Oddly enough, all of his limbs were on his body and he didn’t seem to have noticed what was goin’ on. Lookin’ the other way, ah was surprised to see Discord trailin’ the cart behind him, with the bit in hand.
Ah knew ah shouldn’t have been surprised by the varmint, but ah was. Maybe ah’m just not used to havin’ him around. ‘Not sure if ah want him to stick around.’ Lookin’ back at where Discord was before, ah found the spot empty. ‘Maybe he used one of them fancy illusion spells.’

When ah didn’t speak up, Discord sighed and pulled the bit back to himself. “It’s real, if you’re wondering. See.” He bit into it, bendin’ the coin. Lookin’ surprised, he held it up to his eye, which turned into one of them telescopes to get a better look. Why he did it….Just ‘cause, ah guess. Pullin’ back his eyes, he threw the coin up into the air, which then turned into a golden butterfly. Ignorin’ that, he turned his gaze to me. “No seriously, you’ve been quiet for most of our roadtrip. It’s been dreadfully boring.”

“Eyup,” ah nodded.

Discord huffed. “So that’s how it’s going to be? The old silent treatment? How childish.” He stuck his nose up in the air snootily. “Fine, I won’t speak to you again.”

‘Thank Celestia,’ ah paid her an upward glance. Discord wouldn’t stop talkin’. It’s like he’s afraid to shut his yapper. Ah was gonna enjoy the rest of the trip in si…

“I’m bored,” Discord whined, layin’ his upper half over me while he walked on with his hindlegs. “Entertain me.”

Ah sighed. “Discord, get off of me.”

Discord gasped and quickly got off. “You spoke a complete sentence? You actually said more than one word.” Suddenly, ah could hear some sort of music playin’ and a golden glow surrounded him. Discord looked up to the sky above. “Praise the maker, it’s a miracle.”

Ah snorted in agitation. It wasn’t the first time someone made fun of me bein’ the quiet guy, but it didn’t help him score any points in my book.

“Please, oh giant of apples, speak and loose your words of wisdom,” Discord said, reverently.

“Discord, ya aren’t right in the head.”

Discord just gave me a wide, unnervin’ grin…with a nail stickin’ out of his head. He took a hammer from…somewhere and held it above him. The hammer was red and had my cutie mark, which didn’t sit right with me, especially when he used it to strike the nail.

Ah cringed when he did that. Ah know he’s alright, but still. That just aint right.

“I am the god of chaos,” Discord threw the hammer to the side, which grew into a tree…that grew hammers. “I wouldn’t be good at my job if I was ‘all here’.”

“That’s what ah wanted to talk about.”

“My sanity?” Discord raised an eyebrow. “My dear golly giant, I sincerely doubt you’d survive the talk. The last pony who tried to understand me threw himself into a hydra’s mouth…after tarring and feathering himself.” He shuddered. “And you don’t want to know what happened to the guy before him.”

Puttin’ those…disturbin’ thoughts aside, ah gave him a disapprovin’ stare. “Ya know what ah’m talkin’ about.”

Discord frowned. “You ponies always want to get to the point. Why not beat around the bush for a little bit?” He flashed himself a bush made up of random words and a cane, which he started to beat around as they walked on. “That’s always good for a few laughs.”

“Discord, this isn’t the time for games,” ah grit my teeth, hopin’ to keep my temper in check. ‘Seems like he’s afraid of the issue. Well, no featherin’ coward is gonna play with my sister, no sirree bob.’

Discord sighed and willed the items away. “Suit yourself.”

Ya know, ah don’t rightly know how ah knew the critter did somethin’ to me, but ah had the urge to look down. Ah was wearin’ one of them fancy penguin suits miss Rarity makes for stallions. A nametag with the words ‘Mister NoFun’ sat squarely on my chest. Ah looked back to the jokester to find him stiflin’ a laugh.

“Very funny,” ah said without a trace of humor. “But ah’m bein’ serious. Applejack aint no laughin’ manner.”

“Of course she isn’t,” Discord put a paw to his chest. “I would never dream of hurting your beloved sister.”

“Again.”

Discord grit his teeth in frustration. “Yes…again.” He looked off to the side, no doubt glarin’ at the scenery.

Ah couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. ‘It’s almost like he regrets doin’ that to her.’ Maybe ah was readin’ too much into it, but it did give me some hope that he was bein’ at least somewhat sincere with his intentions. Did that mean ah was gonna go easy on him? ‘Hay no.’

“Look, ah don’t wanna go makin’ us enemies. Ah just want what’s best for Applejack.”

Discord laughed. “I don’t think you’re the one to decide what’s best for her. Dear Applejack doesn’t seem like the pony who let’s others think for her.”

“Eyup,” ah nodded. Applejack was stubborn like that.

“But to put your mind at ease,” Discord sighed. “I do care for her.”

“For how long?”

“Excuse me?”

Ah gave him a steely glare. “For how long will ya care? Ya aren’t the most stable of critters. How do ah know ya won’t get bored and leave her?”

Discord frowned. “I am not the ‘love her and leave her’ type. Dear little Fluttershy can vouch for me.”

“And how do ah know you won’t turn tail and run away with her?” It was no secret that Discord had a soft spot for Fluttershy. Some ponies even thought they were a couple. ‘Course, ah didn’t believe it myself. Ah know a couple when ah see one and they seemed like just good friends…But then again, ah’m not the most sociable of ponies.

Discord rolled his eyes. “Please, if I did that, then what’d I do with this?” He held up a paw that for some reason had a watch around his wrist. Little see through characters of both Discord and Fluttershy danced around each other on the contraption.

“Best friends forever. Best friends forever. Ding.” They sung, before Discord flashed away the watch.

“Friendship is serious business, big apple pony,” Discord said. “I am not one to turn against a force that can literally turn me to stone….That and she makes the best tea. You need to come by and give it a try. I’m sure she’ll love having you over.”

“Ah reckon ah might,” ah chewed on my straw in thought. Discord seemed to be serious about not runnin’ away. Us apples are good at sniffin’ out liars. That and he had a point about stoppin’ by Fluttershy’s house. She seemed like a nice pony and it didn’t hurt to get to know his little sister’s friends better.

“Splendid,” Discord beamed. “Fluttershy deserves all the friends she can get. Maybe then she’ll learn to be a bit more...outgoing.”

“Eyup,” ah nodded. “But ah still wonderin’, Discord. Are ya just doin’ this because an apple hit your head?”

Discord rubbed his chin. “Not really. Your sister is a fun pony to hang around. I find it hilariously easy to get under her skin and she is so cute when she’s grumpy.” Discord chuckled to himself. “Maybe I don’t ‘love her’, but that’s only because I really don’t know what love is.” He frowned. “I want her to show me.”

“So,” ah gave him an inquisitive stare. “Ya want her to show you how to love? Well, that’s gonna be mighty difficult, seein’ how she’s never been in love before.”

Discord’s ears perked up at that. “Really? A mare like her? Why, I’d think there would be lines of stallions just waiting outside their door.”

Ah chuckled. “Maybe from time to time, but they don’t last long.”

Discord gave me a knowin’ grin. “A little brotherly persuasion?”

Ah rolled my shoulders, gettin’ some kinks out of them. “Eyup.”

Discord threw his head back and belted out a hearty laugh and gave me a slap on the back with his tail. “Good show. I bet they still wet their beds in night after your talks.”

“Eyup.” Ah didn’t intend to sounds so smug about it, but ah take my lil’ sisters happiness above everythin’ else.

“By the way,” Discord gave me an appraisin’ look. “I’d like to thank you.”

“For what?”

“Giving me a chance,” Discord’s grin felt much more natural than his usual one. “When I first started this whole venture, I was sure as chaos is random you were going to,” he summoned himself a white, cowpony get up with a straw in his mouth like mine. “Tan this varmints hide.”

Ah rolled my eyes at the fake accent. “‘Course ah am. If Applejack didn’t want ya around, she’d have done somethin’.” Ah felt a lil’ guilty, bein’ so distrustful of him earlier. Ah made a note to give him the benefit of the doubt. He wasn’t all that bad.

“Oh, you don’t consider all the threats and whatnot she’s thrown my way her doing something?”

Ah shook my head. “My sister would’ve hauled your flank off the farm in an instant if she didn’t like you at all. Chaos powers or not. That’s why ah haven’t done it myself.”

“But I annoy the living daylights out of her?” Discord looked confused. “Surely you don’t like me messing with your beloved family.”

“Ah don’t, but ah know you won’t do anythin’ bad to her.”

“You put that much faith in me?” Discord looked at me like ah’d grown a second head….Which ah’m glad that ah didn’t.

“Fluttershy did, so can I.”
________________________________________________________________________________
*Cadance, outside Ponyville’s library*

I did my best to keep my excitement on the downlow. Which is much harder than you think it is. I mean, its been years since I’ve actually just sat down and had a nice cup of tea or something simple with my beloved sister in law. My princess training did nothing to stop my hooves from tapping in anticipation or a goofy smile to cross my muzzle.

‘Keep it together. There’s no reason to get excited. This is just going to be a nice, relaxing visit. No monsters or end of the world scenarios.’

I raised my hoof daintily, like a true princess, and knocked on the door. To my utmost pleasure, it was little Spike who had come to greet me.

“Cadance?” He asked, looking rather surprised to see me. Understandable really. Princess usually don’t just show up on your door unannounced. “What are you doing here?”

I think it’s safe to assume that I adore the littlest dragon. He’s just so adorable, I couldn’t help but squish his cheeks and coo out my words. “I just wanted to pay my favorite dragon a visit.” Releasing my hold, I softly nuzzled his head. “Have you been a good dragon since I’ve been gone?”

“Yes mom,” Spike grumbled, blushing from the attention I was giving him.

I couldn’t help but do so. I mean, I was the one who raised him during his earlier years. Technically, I’m his mother in certain respects. I just adored that prospect to death and had eagerly jumped at the chance years ago to nurture Spike.

“Good,” I lifted my muzzle and walked inside, my wing safely around the young dragon. I gave my surrounding a good and thorough gaze. There wasn’t a single spot of dirt or anything untidy in the rather large, for a small town library, room. I’ve only been inside Twilight’s house once before, so this was a treat.

“Awesome, isn’t it.” Spike grinned and scuffed his flaws against his chest. “I like to keep this place in tip top condition.”

“I sincerely doubt anypony could do better,” I said truthfully. Spike was a master of trades, many of which I taught him myself. It was a shame that Celestia couldn’t really spend some time with him, but that was the cost of being the ruler of Equestria. I just hoped that I had time for my own little ones when I finally had them. “By the way, where’s Twilight?”

“Oh, she’s out of town,” Spike said, making me frown. “Something about a treaty with the Reindeer.”

That got me worried. Reindeer are a warriorious race with several...practices that were simply medieval. While Equestria and the Reindeer had never gone to war against one another, there was certainly a ton of hostility piled up against each other. Most of it unwarranted, but some justified. ‘I just hope they don’t try anything with Twilight there.’

I was also miffed. The one time I could hang out with Twilight, without anything bothering us, she had to go play peacemaker with a bunch of barbarians. I snorted in agitation. ‘The universe hates me.’

“So,” I started. “Twilight left you here...alone?”

Spike nodded. “Yeah, she does it all the time.”

A deep frown etched itself across my face. ‘Twilight! I taught you better than this! He’s a child, for auntie’s sake.’ I was going to have a talk with her about this.

“Don’t worry,” Spike obviously saw my disapproval. “I’m a big dragon. I can take care of myself.”

I giggled and ruffled his spines with a hoof. “Of course you’re a big dragon. Look at how much you’ve grown since I last saw you.” Spike grumbled and tried to swat away my hooves. I just giggled. “Aww, you use to love it when I ruffled your scales.”

“I’m not a baby anymore, mom,” Spike grumbled. He never called me mom out in public, not anymore. It was his way of acting tough and mature, which I found adorable. By ourselves, however, he’d slip up.

‘I miss when he’d call me mommy, but that couldn’t last forever.’

“I know,” I told him. “But us moms like to baby our kids, no matter the age. So, get used to it, buster.”

Spike snorted in agitation and folded his arms. “I don’t wanna.”

I giggled. Spike was without a doubt, the cutest thing ever. Maybe that’s just me being biased, but what the hay, I’ll be biased. “Say, since Twilight’s gone, how about we hang out?”

Spike raised an eyebrow. “Really? Hang out?”

I nodded. “Yeah, we haven’t been able to chat in ages. I want to know what my little dragon is doing these days.”

I could see the sparkle in Spike’s, no, my son’s eyes.

“I have some new comics we can read together," he said.

"I'd like that. I'd like that a lot."

It’s the little things that make the heart warm.

The Past Catches Up to Us

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Now, let it be clear that ah’ve never been to Canterlot before. Hay, ah rarely leave Ponyville apart from some neighborin’ towns. Usually, Applejack is the one deliverin’ our apples to them city folk. Which was fine with me. The city aint no place for somepony like me.

Ah always thought Canterlot would be some overly fancy place, full of fru-fru upstarts. Pretty much a city full of Rarity’s without any of the niceties.

Seein’ it with my own eyes…Was somethin’ else entirely. Canterlot wasn’t fancy.

It was magnificent!

The whole place was like steppin’ through perfection. Tall white towers pierced the sky. The city on the mountain was exactly like Applejack said, but words couldn’t exactly grasp its awe inspiring might. The paved roads felt like perfection under my hooves. Ah don’t know what else but to describe it like that.

Course ah couldn’t enjoy any of it. Not ‘cause of the ponies here. No, what should have been busy streets were nearly empty. Ponies closed their windows and the few ‘brave’ ones gave them a wide birth. It was quiet, too quiet….

“They see me coming~ They hiding~ ‘Cause they know I’m the god of chaos~”

Ah groaned.

The owner of the voice and said reason the place was nearly empty was usin’ his tail to walk. The rest of Discord’s body hung in the air. A royal red and white cape was hung from his shoulders and a golden crown upon his brow. He was strummin’ non-existin’ strings on a golden scepter and somehow producing sounds. He was wavin’ to anypony he could see, causin’ the poor ponies to flee in terror.

“Aww,” Discord lamented. “My adoring subjects. Can’t you just feel the love, big red?”

“Feels more like fear to me,” Ah replied honestly. No point in sugar coatin’ it.

Discord chuckled. “What you call fear, I call adoration. I am the god of chaos. I thrive on fear.”

“Like the fear ya are causin’ Applejack?”

Frownin’ he went back onto his paws and hooves, flashin’ away his kingly items. “You misunderstood me. When I say ‘fear’ I mean ‘caution’. I don’t like it when ponies are complacent or ‘feel stable’. I like spicing up their lives,” he teleported to my other side. “Surprising them, catching them off their guard,” his right paw turned into a sword and he swung it about in a defensive motion. “It’s short, sweet, and no one gets hurt. Just some harmless fun.” His arm went back to normal with a simple flick of his wrist.

Ah snorted. ‘Harmless is stretchin’ the truth mighty thin.’ Now ah knew nopony had been seriously harmed by the serpent. Scared out of their mind, yes, but us Ponyvillians still remember the first time he broke out.

Never in my life did ah want to find out how a prairie dog lives.

So yeah, harmless isn’t the best word to describe his brand of ‘fun’.

“Applejack needs a little ‘spice’,” Discord flicked his fingers, causin’ red sparks to fly about. “-in her life. Don’t you agree?”

“She has enough spice to deal with, thank ya kindly,” ah snorted. ‘Like savin’ the world.’

Discord nodded. “True, true. Saving the world time and time again, the constant heroic celebrations, hanging out with her friends, that must be exhausting work. I would be surprised with how she still manages to find time to buck her beloved trees, but this is Applejack we’re talking about. I think she’s too stubborn to listen to something as boring as ‘fatigue’.”

Ah chuckled. “Eyup.”

It didn’t take us long to reach the castle gates. Two Canterlot Guards, decked out in thick golden armor, stood at attention. Their spears held firmly in their hooves.

Ah couldn’t help but feel a little pride upon seein’ ‘em. It did my heart good to see ponies willin’ to fight for our country. Celestia only knows what sort of disasters would have happened without the Guard there to stop it.

Before we could enter, one of the spoke:

“Halt! Who goes there?”

Ah had to raise an eyebrow in curiosity. Now ah know it might be customary to ask that question, but with the present company included?...’Oh boy.’

“Who goes there?” Discord glared at them. “Who goes there?” He teleported out of his harness and in front of the guard. “Sonny colt, do you know who I am?” His voice was much more menacin’. It kind of sounded like his first rampage a year ago.

The Guardpony, to his credit, was doin’ well under the pressure. Most ponies would be cowerin’ before the god, whimperin’ and pleadin’ for their lives. He just took a step back, sweatin’ like a dog. “Uhhh….”

‘Poor guy.’

“Do you not remember my exploits?” Discord growled, towerin’ over him. “Do you not recall my tails?”

“Errr….” The guard tried to say somethin’, but he was too scared out of his wits to do so. He kept glancin’ over to his pal, who remained silent. Though he was shakin’ somethin’ mighty fierce.

Ah had half a mind to help ‘em, but honestly, there aint anythin’ ya could pay me to get in Discord’s way…Other than stickin’ up for my family of course.

“Perhaps you have forgotten,” Discord leaned in, nearly shoving his face into the pony’s own. “Perhaps your memories are a little hazy.” He lowered a clawed hand near the guard’s face. “Maybe you need a little reminder.”

Ah just couldn’t help but stare at the critter. ‘Holy horseshoes, what the hay is he doin’?’ The critter was supposed to be done with this sort of thing. Ah couldn’t help but feel a tad bit scared myself.

“I’m sorry,” the guardspony cried out, fallin’ to the ground. He covered his face with his forelegs and…started crying? “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Please leave me alone. Please, please, please. Leave me alone!”

“Steadfast!” The other guardspony rushed to his side, tryin’ to comfort him.

Ah put a hoof to the bridge of my snout. Ah should’ve known somethin’ like this would happen. That Discord would go too far with a joke, or somethin’ like that. Ah don’t blame the guardspony for breakin’ down like that….just surprised is all.

Discord was just standin’ there, awkwardly glancin’ between the cryin’ pony and me. “Uh….Oops.”

“Oops,” ah gave him a mighty stern glare. “That’s what ya have to say to this? Oops?”

“Well that’s the only think I can think of right now,” to his credit, Discord did look ashamed of what he did. “I thought the Guard were over it by now.”

“Over it?” Ah had a bad feelin’ about what that meant.

Discord scratched the back of his head. “Well…I may have played a little game of ‘mind screw’ with the guard during my break-out.”

“Really?” Ah knew he was capable of doin’ it, but to see it with my own eyes? ‘And this varmint thinks he can just woo my sister?’

“Look,” Discord raised up a claw to silence me. “I wasn’t a nice guy back then. In fact, I was a bit of a jerk.”

Ah raised an eyebrow.

“Okay, I was the biggest jerk in the universe,” Discord grumbled and threw up his arms. “What more do you want?”

“Help him,” ah pointed to the guard still cryin’ his eyes out.

“Ummm….” Discord fiddled with his claws. “How?”

Ah rolled my eyes. “Ya want to make up for your past mistakes? Ya want to settle down with my sister?”

Discord nodded enthusiastically.

“Then help him,” ah nearly growled out. Which is sayin’ a lot, since ah like to keep myself as calm as possible.

Discord turned to look at the stallion again. He was rockin’ back and forth, whimperin’ into the other guard’s coat. It was just down right pitiful. Ah couldn’t possibly imagine what Discord did to him, nor did ah want too.

Discord kneeled down, doin’ his best to get to the stallion’s eye level. “Hey,” he said in a soft, calm voice. “Could you, perhaps, stop crying for a moment? I have something to say.”

Steadfast fearfully took his forelegs off his face. “You’re not going to curse me or something, are you?”

Discord shook his head. “No, that’s not my thing anymore. I’m reformed now and….” He sighed. “Look, I’m just going to say this once and I want you to take it to heart…..I’m sorry.”

“What?” Steadfast, for his part, didn’t look as surprised as ah thought he was gonna be. Discord aint the type to apologize often.

Discord’s form drooped. “It was wrong of me to mess with you like that and for what it’s worth, I regret my wrongs. I really do. I’m trying my best to be a better creature and looking at you now…” he stared at his own claws, with a hint of discomfort and disgust. “I still have a long ways to go.”

Steadfast didn’t say anythin’. He just quietly observed the god of chaos, no longer cryin’.

“If you could just find it in your heart to forgive me….”

Whatever Discord was about to say was cut off when Steadfast suddenly lurched forward and wrapped his forelegs around him. At first, ah thought he was tryin’ to kill Discord. Wouldn’t blame him, even though it’d be futile. ‘He’d just trick Death.’ But that wasn’t it.

He was huggin’ Discord.

Discord didn’t move a muscle, too dumbfounded by what happened.

Steadfast pulled back, with a smile on his face. “Apology accepted.”

Discord blinked in confusion. “But…Just like that?” The stallion nodded. “After what I did to you? To your comrades? I didn’t hold back, remember.”

Steadfast chuckled. “If you’re going to be living with us ponies, there’s something you’re going to have to learn. We don’t like to hold grudges.”

Discord was silent for a moment. He just stared at the stallion in bewilderment…before he broke out into laughter. “Is there no end to the surprises you ponies bring?”

Steadfast shrugged. “I guess not.”

The other guard coughed. “Yes, well. This has been heartwarming and all, but no one is to see the Princesses today.”

Discord raised an eyebrow, which made a honking noise.

“Royal business,” the guard commented.

“Ah,” Discord teleported himself back into his harness. “But so are we. These fine apples are for the princesses. You wouldn’t deny them fresh fruit, now would you?”

“How do I know you aren’t making this up as a way to get inside?” The guard questioned.

Ah was about to pull out my paperwork, when Discord spoke up again.

“Because if I wanted to do that,” Discord pulled out his large fang and used it to scratch his head. “I would have already teleported myself inside.”

“He has a point, sir,” Steadfast butted in.

The guard glowered at Discord. While Steadfast may have forgiven him so easily, the older stallion wasn’t going to let Discord off so easily. “Fine.” He knocked on the gate with his spear. “OPEN UP! ROYAL VISITORS!”

Without a second of delay, the gates opened. Ah let out a sigh of relief. The past few moments were rather tenuous, but ah was glad they were did and done with. To be honest with myself, ah was glad that they happened. Not because ah wanted to see somepony cry, but because Discord was willin’ to ask for forgiveness and actually seemed to regret his past doin’s. ‘Maybe he is the one for Applejack.’ Ah thought as we strolled into the home of the alicorn diarchy.
_________________________________________________________________________

I had to retract my hidden blade. The scene surprised me wholeheartedly. He had apologized for his in-equine actions. Honestly, I wanted to end him then and there. Steadfast was a good stallion, one of my friends. He still screams at night, sometimes…Remembering what that blasted Discord did to him.

With both grace and years of experience, I expertly kept herself out of eyesight. My armor was enhanced with magic, so there wasn’t anything to fear when it came to Discord detecting me. Though, I had my doubts. He was the god of chaos.

‘He might just catch me for the fun of it.’

Still, I wasn’t one of Luna’s best nightguards for nothing. As a respectful chiropter , or bat pony as someponies referred to us, I wasn’t going to fail her mission. God of chaos or no.

Luna had entrusted me to keep an eye on him and take him out if he so much as sneezed wrong. Well, he was the picture of wrongness, but I had to keep myself calm. Even with my weapons and enchantments, he was still a god. I couldn't take him out myself.

That and Princess Celestia wouldn’t take kindly to it. She had made it known that no harm was to befall Discord. He was to have the same rights as us ponies.

I scoffed. ‘Since when did Discord care about rights.’

I had to report back to Luna. Discord was back in Canterlot and she wouldn’t like that one bit…Still, that red pony was attractive....

It wouldn’t hurt if I watched him a little longer. For observational reasons, of course. He was traveling with Discord after all. Hauling all those apples, with those big strong muscles…and that luscious male and that plot….

This was just for the report which I would give to Luna now….But I hadn’t got a look at his eyes! That’s crucial! I had to keep following them a little longer….For information!

The Hunt Begins

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While the city may have been beautiful, the castle looked…trashed if ah do say so myself. Now ah could see what everythin’ was supposed to be like no problem. The damage wasn’t that bad and the place still filled me with awe, but it just felt wrong lookin’ at it in this condition. Like seein’ a supermodel after she got beat up in the back alley.

‘It’s just plain wrong.’

Ponies were as busy as bees in a hive, repairin’ the damage, be it broken windows to shattered tiles. Ah had to give it to the ponies who worked here. They worked fast. Already ah could see the damage start to disappear. They were quick and efficient. It almost reminded me of my own family workin’ on the farm. Ya know, what with raisin’ barns and all.

It still puzzles me why our barns never stay up for long. Ah’m not one to go blamin’ curses, but it sure seems like somepony put a curse upon any barn on our soil.

Anyhow, back to the matter at hoof. Since everypony was too busy fixin’ up the castle, the two of us had to find the princesses ourselves. Ah was happy that they weren’t screamin’ or runnin’ away from Discord, most likely because they were so used to him. Ah wasn’t happy about the thought of tryin’ to find my way around this place. A prospect ah was lookin’ forward too.

‘This place is massive! Ya could fit a fully grown dragon in these hallways.’

It might be that the princesses did invite dragons over now and again. It wouldn’t surprise me, given their lifespans and Celestia is quite the sociable goddess. Applejack just went on and on about how generous she can be.

That and ah met her once. My foreleg is still sore from tryin’ to best her at an hoof-wrestlin’ match. Kind of stupid of me to agree to it in the first place, but hey, ah wanted to take my mind off nails at the time.

‘Ah still do.’

Nails and ah haven’t mixed well since that certain fair day.

‘Course, now that ah was on the topic of curses and destruction, ah couldn’t help but ponder somethin’. That kind of stuff seems right up Discord’s alley. Ah didn’t want to assume it, ‘cause ah wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Hay, ah’m gonna let him date my sister, might as well.

But ah couldn’t help but wonder. He still liked to prank ponies and, if ah remember correctly, he made Princess Cadance’s trip to Ponyville a livin’ Tartarus. At least, that’s what Applejack said when she wasn’t sneezin’ from that curse the nasty varmint put on her. Blue aint a color for an Apple.

Ah turned to ask him, despite my gut tellin’ me he had nothin’ to do with this.

“I had nothing to do with this, big red,” Discord answered, before ah even opened my mouth. “I’ve been spending the last several hours trying to woo the alluring and awe-inspiring mare you know as Applejack. This damage is too fresh, not nearly an hour old. By the looks of it, I say it was made by accident.”

“How’d ya guess that?”

Discord stood up on his hind legs. Within the blink of an eye, he was wearin’ a plaid shirt, poofy white hair, and a pair of broken spectacles. On his side was a blackboard that hovered in the air with the words ‘disasters 101’.

“I am the leading expert on disaster, my colleague in pulling apples,” Discord’s grin turned malicious. “I know the sight and smells of disasters. No one better.” He smelled the air around him and his grin grew wider. “I am drawn to such chaos like flies to dead flesh…” Frownin’, he started pullin on his beard in thought, causin’ all his stuff to poof away…only to wind up on a nearby guardspony. “I don’t know where that analogy came from. I’m not exactly fond of flies. Too pesky for my line of work.” He smacked his lips. “They don’t taste that good, either.”

Cringin’, ah tried not to think about eatin’ flies. ‘The last thing ah need is to throw up on the royal carpets.’ Ah’m not squeamish by any means, but that’s not a pleasant thought either.

“But we can be rest assured that we have nothing to fear,” Discord chuckled to himself, like he just heard a funny joke.

Raisin’ an eyebrow, ah was gonna ask him what he found so funny. Again, ah was interrupted when Princess Luna came stormin’ around the corner and golly, did she look mad. Beside her was a dark bat pony mare. She wore a lighter version of the Lunar Guard's armor and her cutie mark was a strange one: an eye with a blue crescent moon and stars around it.

Now ah’m not an expert on bat ponies, and ah might be wrong, but she was rather pretty in a sense. What really grabbed me were her deep magenta eyes. They seem to capture one and never let go. Ah wasn’t crushin’ on her or anything like that. That’d be stupid, since ah don’t even know her. Ah was just appreciating a little beauty is all.

Said bat pony was smirkin’. “See something you like, big boy~” Her voice held a certain exotic flare to it. It was plain Equestrian, no doubt about it, but it made the hairs on the back of my neck raise.

But to answer her question, ah just rolled my eyes. Ah’ve dealt with enough mares, mostly Sweetcream Scoops, that were tryin’ to get me into bed. Ah didn’t need another one. She just chuckled.

“Ah, speak of the devil and she will appear,” Discord unbuckled himself from the cart and walked up to her on his hind legs. He was certainly doin’ his best to keep himself taller than Luna. Maybe he just liked her lookin’ up at him, or vice-versa. “Lulu, darling. You look simply smashing. Did you do something with your mane? Looks positively green, like the night sky.”

Luna didn’t even look up when her mane turned green.

Discord tapped his chin. “No, that’s grass. Silly me.” He snapped his fingers, fixin’ her mane. “I apologize. I never do take the time to look up at the night sky. Much too boring for my tastes.”

Luna growled. “Discord, what are you doing here?”

“Why, delivering some apples from Ponyville,” Discord bowed. “Only the best of the princesses.”

While he was praisin’ us, his tone seemed to mock Luna. It was obvious that she picked up on it.

“Knave, do you think yourself clever?”

“Yes,” Discord nodded. “Yes I do…Unless when it’s not funny, then I can be dumb as a brick.” To emphasis, he opened his skull and let a brick fall out. Thankfully, there weren’t any brains or anythin’ like that.

‘Ah wonder if he had one to begin with.’

Luna snorted in anger and frustration. “I have not time for your games, daemon.”

Discord raised an eyebrow and closed his head. “Why must you call me that, Lulu? I’m hurt.” He put a hand to his heart and ah could hear somethin’ shatter. “Daemon? Me? As if I could ever stoop so low as to be one of those cannon fodder.”

“Daemon or not you shall pay for what you have done,” Luna said.

Discord put his hands on his hips. “And what did I do this time? Certainly, I didn’t help you pick out your choice of make-up. It makes you look tacky.”

“I’m not wearing any make-up,” Luna sneered.

“My point still stands,” Discord crossed his arms.

Luna was shakin’ in rage and ah had to wonder if Discord had a death wish. Ah wanted to tell Discord to shut up. He was obviously walkin’ to his own death right now, but ah couldn’t. Ah was not gonna get myself in-between these two.

“Say, where is your delightful sister,” Discord’s head swiveled around like an owl before it came back to rest in its usual spot. “I don’t see her anywhere.”

“She is resting,” Luna looked away for a second. “We both have had a hard day, but that doesn’t matter.”

‘She’s lyin’.’ My inner lie detector went off in a sense, but again, ah kept my mouth shut. Callin’ her out wouldn’t be good for my health. Ah knew Luna well enough that she was the type of pony that let her emotions get the better of her. Like right now, for example.

“Do you know what happened to me when I woke up this morning?” Luna asked.

“You came to a ‘shocking’ realization?” Discord offered.

“Do you think turning my bed into a jellyfish is just some laughing matter?” Luna nearly roared, almost reaching Canterlot Voice levels.

“Honestly yes,” Discord shrugged.

Ah could literally see a vein in Princess Luna’s forehead about to burst with her frustration. “I’ve had enough of this.”

“Me too,” Discord held out a brown bag he pulled out from behind himself. “Cough up the bits and we’ll be on our way.”

Ah face-hooved. There was literally no way anyone could salvage this situation. Princess Luna was too angry. Discord was bein’ a jerk and lovin’ it and that bat pony was chowin’ on a mango, givin’ me a glance over. She even winked at me.

‘Mare, now is not the time for flirting gestures,’ ah thought with aggravation. ‘Seriously, what is up with mares? Ah am not that handsome.’

“No,” Luna said. “You shall not be on your way, knave. You shall be here where I can finally put you out of my misery.”

“Isn’t me leaving doing the same thing?” Discord asked.

Luna didn’t say anything. She just lit her horn and two dark blades shimmered into existence. They were both long-sword, big enough to carve a pony easily. “If you value your life, I’d suggest you run.”

Discord just rolled his eyes and yawned. “Lucky for you, I don’t value my life,” he quickly ducked, avoidin’ a swing from one of her blades. He came back up, lookin’ scared out of his mind. “Scratch that, I do.” With not another word, he bolted.

Luna turned her glare to me. “Accomplice, why do you not run?”

“What?” Both me and the bat pony said at the same time.

“You were working with Discord, yes?” Luna said.

“Eyup,” ah said, without thinkin’. Ah honestly was payin’ too much attention to her swords.

“Then you must share his fate,” Luna sighed. “A pity, really. You were such a fine stallion.”

My eyes widened. ‘Is this happenin’? Is this really happenin’?’

When Luna poised her blades for another strike, ah did the only thing ah could think of right then and there.

Ah turned tail and ran. “EENNOOOOPE!”
__________________________________________________________________________________
*Night Watch*

I couldn’t help but sigh as I watched that hunky stallion run for his life. It was so cute seeing him so scared. Of course, I was a bit scared myself. When Princess Luna gets into one of her moods, you don’t want to cross her. And now that sexy farmer did so, even inadvertently.

Turning my head, I spied my princess who was just standing completely still.

“Are you really doing this?” I asked.

“They shall know to fear the dark,” Luna growled. She turned to me, causing me to back away due to her glare. “Trust me, my young guard. I shall not kill them. No, they shall wish they had fallen on my blades before I am done this day.”

“Isn’t that a bit…harsh?”

Luna just raised an eyebrow. “Harsh? Neigh, this is not harsh. If I were to be harsh, they would be nothing but mere smears on the walls. Smears that can be washed away in time.”

“But I don’t think the farmer….”

Luna cut me off. “If the farmer survives this, you may claim him as your mate. I myself have considered him to be a virile male. Perhaps we shall share him.”

I blushed. ‘Sharing a guy with the princess?’ I didn’t know whether I found that hot or terrifying. I’ll just call this feeling scaroused.

“But that is for later,” Luna turned her attention to a nearby maid. “Take these apples to the royal chef. Tell him to make enough for our guard.”

“What shall I tell him to make, Your Highness?” The maid gulped, trembling in Luna’s presence.

“I care not,” Luna snorted. “Just tell him to make something.”

The maid jumped in fright from the barking tone Luna used and ran to find somepony willing to pull the apples.

I groaned. Me and the rest of the Lunar Guard have been trying to make Luna more sociable and nice. While that was true most of the time these days, she sometimes relapsed. Like right now for example.

“Ready yourself, Night Watch,” Luna reared back on her hind legs. “The game is ahoof.” Grinning like a madmare, she took off.

I sighed once more. “Here we go again.” I took off after my mad princess.

Bonus Chapter: The Chase pt. 1

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Ah never felt such a strong combination of fear and anger before in my life. It was supposed to be just another simple delivery. Okay, us apples don’t often get called up by the princesses. More like never really, so it was a big deal, but still. Ah never had this much trouble with a purchase. Ah can thank Discord for this. By thank him, ah meant buck him to kingdom come. ‘Course, ah couldn’t do that now. Luna was hot on my trail, runnin’ faster than a trout in bear season. So ah just used my anger to push myself faster.

Maybe it wasn’t too late. Maybe ah could talk Luna out of killin’ me. Discord was questionable.

“I WILL ADORN MY THRONE WITH YOUR SKULLS!” Luna’s powerful voice rang out, nearly deafenin’ me.

Guess that plan was just thrown out the window.

“Hop on!” Discord’s voice yelled out over some weird mechanical noise. It sounded like an engine of some sorts. Ah looked over to see the varmint riding some kind of tech-bike, wearing one of those ‘pilot’ outfits ah see Cherry Berry wear all the time. There was a little seat attached to it.

“What the hay is that?” Ah asked, runnin’ fer my life still.

“It’s a bike,” Discord rolled his eyes. “Red, stop talking and get in. You don’t want Luna to catch you, do you?”

“MY SWORDS WILL TASTE YOUR FLESH!”

Without thinkin’, ah jumped into the little seat. Guess ah was scared of Luna more than ah hated Discord. Ah didn’t realize how out of breath ah was, ‘fore ah stopped runnin’. Ah did my best to keep my breath under control. That and keepin’ my hoof from punchin’ Discord’s jaw.

“Funny,” Discord commented. “She always struck me as an axe pony.”

“Do ya have a plan?” Ah gave him a pleadin’ look. Oh, please, please have a plan.

“The best one ever devised,” Discord grinned, ‘fore he pulled a blue lever. “RUNAWAY!” The mech-bike suddenly shot out blue flames from it’s rear end, coverin’ everythin’ it touched in black soot. It sped on forward as fast as Rainbow can fly.

“That’s not a plan!” Ah yelled. “She’s still comin’ after us.”

Discord laughed, turnin’ the bike this way and that. Somehow he was able to keep from hittin’ a single pony. It almost felt like we were rollin’ around them like liquid. “She’ll never catch us.”

Life’s kind of funny when ya think about it. When ya think yer ahead of yer problems, they have a habit of sneakin’ up on ya. In this case, a giant, blue forcefield appearin’ in the middle of an empty courtyard right in front of us. Only had a few seconds to think about this before-

OW! Smashin’ into a forefield is a lot worse than ah thought it’d be. Maybe it’s because the darn varmint was racin’ about so fast.

Didn’t get to think much more ’fore ah hit the ground. Luckily, that crazy mech-bike vanished. Unluckily, Luna smashed her forehooves into Discord’s back. The moment the varmint hit the ground, he vanished.

“Come back, you cur!” Luna shouted, her swords swinging angrily about in her magical grasp. “Face me and receive an honorable death.”

“When have I ever been one for honor, Lulu?” Discord voice chuckled, before his tail shot out of the ground and smashed into Luna’s chin. The force sent her into the air, but she quickly recovered with a flap of her wings. Discord popped into existence a little distance away. His grin grew wider as Luna’s scowl grew deeper. “Are we going to play pattycake or are you just going to fess up the bits? I’m a busy god, Lulu. I have places to be. Maidens to woo.”

“No maiden would wish to have such a beast as you,” Luna shot a blue bolt of magic at Discord, who spun around it easily. He fired a purple beam of magic out of one of his fingers. Didn’t know he could do that. Luna formed a shield around herself.

“Awesome, isn’t it?” Night Watch’s voice spoke up beside me.

Ah turned my head to the side so fast ah almost got whiplash. Honestly, ah forgot all about her. Felt bad about that, but seein’ her sultry look, ah couldn’t be blamed. Sure, she’s attractive fer a batpony. Ah just wasn’t lookin’ fer somebody right now, especially one so forward. “Eyup.” Ah gulped nervously.

The bat pony guard strolled up beside me and fluttered her eyes. “I see those years on the farm paid off.” She poked my shoulder and let out a pleasant ‘ohhh’. “Nice and firm.” She licked her lips.

Discord, teleport us. TELEPORT US!

Discord was a might bit too busy to help. The two gods were blastin’ away at each other, dodgin’ and weaving around random blasts of energy. Almost look like some sort of ballet Rarity took me that one time. Just a friendly outin’, of course. She ain’t my type.

“Seven minutes,” Discord grinned. He was standin’ up straight with his finger pointin’ out as he fired. Fer some reason, he was wearin’ a black overcoat and sunglasses. He kept teleportin’ to throw off Luna’s aim. “Seven minutes is all I’ll wait for you to pay up.”

“I’ll kill you in six,” Luna answered. Her form twirled into a tornado. The swords at the head and it shot at Discord with blindin’ speed. Discord had been a bit too close when she did it, so he only had time to bring up his arm. The attack struck...

His shield. Discord, somehow, had magicked up a blood red shield. It had was a circular shield and had eight, jagged arrows pointin’ out of it. Gave me the creeps. Discord held his ground as Luna’s attack kept spiralin’ into it.

“Neat trick,” Night Watch commented. She broke out into a wicked grin that unsettled me. A lot of what she did had that effect. “But it won’t help him.”

Ah raised an eyebrow at that, before ah saw a shadow flow around Discord. Luna’s form shot out of the shadow and bucked Discord hard in the back. Discord and his shield flew forwards. It was just thank to Discord’s lithe body did the spinning blades miss him. Of course, Luna teleported over and smashed her hooves into his head. The blow pushed him to the ground. Actually, into the ground like somepony plantin’ a see. Her swords appeared before her and she...she...drove them into his body!

Night Watch held me back. “It’s going to take more than that to kill him.”

Her point proved to be true. No sooner than the swords cut through his body, purple blood splatterin’ the ground, did Discord’s tail wrap around Luna’s neck and threw her into her own statue, collapsin’ on top of her. He picked himself out of the ground. A second pair of arms sprouted from his back and pulled out his swords. They held it out to his front ones and he gladly took them. Instantly, the second pair of arms vanished.

Discord threw one of the swords into the air and grabbed his shield. He turned the sword in his other hand around and the second sword’s hilt hit and joined up with the first, makin’ some sort of double edged short spear. He still look pretty bruised up, but he was smirkin’ as his body closed up the wounds. “Strike harder, Lulu! You almost had me there.”

Luna shot out of the ruined statue like a rocket. Her roar of anger, shook the very mountain and even caused Discord to flinch in fear. Several bolts of shadow magic shot out at him. Ah never thought Discord was the fightin’ type. He always seemed like he preferred to run away, but now? He was swirlin’ his twin blades around, cutting up the tendrils of magic. His shield bounced back blows.

“Your time is running out, Lulu.” Discord cackled.

He’s tickin’ her off on purpose still? What the hay is goin’ on in his mind? Princess Luna looks like she’s gonna tear him apart. Was she gettin’ darker, or is somethin’ playin’ tricks on me eyes?

“She often gets like this when Discord’s around,” Night Watch said. “Though, she can be a bit moody other times too. Doesn’t help that Discord is a complete plothole.” She scoffed and looked up at me. “At least I have a little company this time.” Somethin’ sparked in her eyes. The same kind of somethin’ ah see all the time sparklin’ in that dancer back in Ponyville: Sweetcream Scoops. That didn’t help my situation at all.

“Not sure if we’re in the same field,” ah gulped, startin’ to sweat.

Night Watch pouted. Which was kinda adorable. “Awww, you’re shy.” She grinned. “I happen to like shy guys.”

Nope, nope, nope. Ain’t dealin’ with this. Not my time to settle down. Ah was sweatin’ up a storm at this point.

Discord’s luck seemed to have been gettin’ better. When Luna shot at him like a rocket, he sidestepped her and rammed his shield into her side. As she fell to the ground, the marble ground came to life. It formed around her body, leavin’ just her head out. Discord chuckled, struttin’ towards her. He lightly tapped Luna with the tip of her own sword. “Now, are you going to pay up?”

Luna didn’t say anything. Instead, her form became nothin’ but shadows which quickly shot out of the ground. The shadow formed around Discord, revealin’ Luna holdin’ him firmly around the chest. She flapped backwards, summersaults in the air, and rammed DIscord’s head into the ground. She teleported a distance and fired a large, blue bolt of magic into Discord.

Ah winced all the way through that. Looked incredibly painful. Somehow, Discord still had enough strength to teleport over to me. He was battered and huffing in exhaustion. “She’s gotten tougher over the years, I’ll give her that.” Suddenly his grin returned. “Makes it all the more fun.” He grabbed my shoulder. “But I think it’s best we run.” Suddenly, we were gone.

Then ah was underwater...UNDERWATER! Ah held my hooves to my throat, desperate to keep the air inside me. Discord was just rollin’ his eyes and he snapped his fingers. “Big Baby.”

Then ah felt somethin’ on my neck. Touchin’ it, ah found ah had gills now. “Gills?”

“I couldn’t just let you drown,” Discord said it like it was obvious. “I’m not that cruel.”

“Ah never said ya were,” ah retorted. “So...where are we?”

“Well, we’re near the sunken city of Atlantis.” Discord reverently said. He waved his hands in the air and a school of flashin’ fish formed a glowin’ sign that said ‘Welcome to Atlantis. No plugs allowed’. He pouted. “We’ll see about that.” He grinned deviously, swingin’ a plug around his finger.

“So Luna won’t find us here?”

“She will,” Discord grumbled. He tossed the plug to the side, which promptly exploded into fireworks. Said fireworks worked themselves up into a frenzy, becomin’ little light-fish. “She’s persistent. It’s one of her few redeeming traits.”

“Sounds like y’all have a lot of bad blood between y’all,” ah said. There was quite a bit of venom in Discord’s voice whenever he spoke about her.

“It’s personal,” Discord snapped, fury blazin’ in his eyes. Fer the first time since ah really got to know the guy, ah was scared out of my wits. Then, as quickly as it came, his grin returned. “Now then, how about a tour.” A rush of water pushed me on to his back. His tail started up like a motor, pushin’ us through the water. “I know this place like the back of my paw.”

Just then, a bunch of little creatures came floatin’ around us. They had pony like heads, but curled tails and small fins on their sides. They smiled and giggled as they swam around us. Ah knew Fluttershy would definitely love these critters. Then they began to sing.

“Shoo be doo. Shoo, shoo-”

“NO!” Discord raised a hand to silence them. Their mouths popped off their bodies and then started dancing on their heads. “None of that. Shame on you.” He gave them a glare like a parent would to a misbehavin’ child. They all bowed their heads and their mouths returned. He patted one of them on the head. “Oh don’t be so glum. I do so love your singing. Just….” he growled. “I told you about that song.” Then, one of his eyes turned into a lightbulb. “However, I do have a friend coming over. Would you like to play for her?” The creatures all happily nodded. “I knew you would. Make me proud, girls.” They took off, racin’ off to somewhere.

“Why’d ya stop them?” Ah asked. Discord was bein’ a might bit rude with ‘em.

“Because of several reasons,” Discord snorted. “I don’t hate them. They are practically my kids in a way. What I hate is that song. Dreadful business it was. I mean, I invented the Horseseas to be as annoying as possible and then what happens the moment I get turned to stone? Luna thought it would be hilarious to put me several leagues under the sea and listen to them sing endlessly.” He growled. “Thankfully, Celestia has some decency. So instead, I’m used as a lawn ornament. Don’t even get me started on the pigeons.”

Ah tapped my chin. “Come to think of it, ah don’t recall seein’ any pigeons in Canterlot.”

Discord just broke out into a nasty grin.

______________________________________________________________

Well, today certainly is full of surprises. Nasty ones and sexy ones. Not sure if the sexy one makes up for dealing with Luna’s rage. She was likely to turn on me if she did. Well, not kill me, but she’d make my day a living Tartarus. Her glare told me that much. Still, that hunk of a stallion might just be worth it.

“We follow,” Luna growled, working her joints. Her bruises were already mending. I had to give it to immortals. They were nigh unstoppable at times. “I will not allow that cur to escape justice.”

“Umm, Your Majesty?” I held up a hoof to get her attention. While I was nervous, I was a trained guard. I had faced countless monsters roaming the land and I’ve dealt with Luna’s tantrums before. The problem is that I ‘know’ how bad she can get. “Maybe we should just pay up? I mean, they did deliver their apples and you’ve whacked Discord around for a bit.”

“Nay,” Luna shook her head. “That beast must pay!” Her horn lit up and immediately, we were transported underwater. I was given gills before I could drown, so that was a plus. Drowning wasn’t something I wanted to experience. If I had to go, it’d be on the battlefield, surrounded by the corpses of my slain foes.

Or being sexed to death. That sounded alright.

Luna’s form changed much more than I. Her mane was gone, replaced by fins. Her fur was now scales and her tail with more like a dolphins. “Come, Night Watch. They shant escape my wrath here.” To which, we started off.

We didn’t get far before we heard something swimming towards us. My blades were at the ready. My fangs were bared. I was itching for a fight. What approached was...Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. These look like creatures a four year old would make. They had pony head, tiny flippers and a coiled tail. Then they even had the gall to start singing.

“Shoo be doo. Shoo, shoo-”

“NO!” Luna’s roar shook the whole ocean. “None of that.” She jabbed her hoof at the creatures. “Shame on you. SHAME!” The creatures lowered their heads and swam off.

“Good work, Your Highness.” I grinned.

Luna smirked. “I do my best. Now, let us find those miscreants.”

Bonus Chapter: The Chase pt.2

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*Queen Electra*

Being queen of the sea ponies should be an easy job. All I have to worry about is the occasional shark attack and my oaf of a husband misplacing important documents. He is far too forgetful. Not his fault, but it is worrying. He’s old. Far older than he lets on. Of course, I just wished his wisdom was just as old. The amount of times I’ve had to save the kingdom from some circumstance he caused is a number I’d rather not count to. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

Today was going to be different. Today my beloved husband was resting. The kingdom was at peace. The sharks were keeping to themselves. Yes, today was a rarity indeed. I was going to make the most of it. That lead me to be here, the throne room. Sitting high up in my seat, I sipped from a special fruit cocktail. It was a blend you could only find here under the sea. It helped keep my nerves at bay and was quite rich in flavor. Truly I was blessed with life under the sea.

Just then, a flash of light filled the room. I blinked in confusion and I could hear my royal guards shouting bouts of anger and surprise. Whoever dared enter my throne room now would pay dearly. Of course, I was even more surprised by the beings that entered. “Discord?”

“Ah,” the spirit of all that was chaos grinned and bowed. “Queen Electra. It’s been a while.”

“A thousand years,” I narrowed my eyes. Unlike many of the immortals of the world, I didn’t hate Discord. He left the seas alone, for the most part. He was rather annoying though and when he did visit during his rule over Equestria, he brought quite a bit of mischief as well. Those times had given her headaches that would rile the entire sea.

“Has it been that long?” Discord inquired, looking at a yellow and pink watch on his wrist. “My, my, my. Time flies when you’ve been turned to stone.” His voice turned venomous for a second. For a moment, I feared for my life. My guards kept their fins held tightly on their weapons. Then Discord grinned and the heavy atmosphere returned. “That’s in the past and I’m not one to hold grudges. It’s not like you could talk some sense into the sisters.”

“You turned the world into your personal playground,” I scowled. “I don’t think anyone objected to your imprisonment.”

“Oh I deserved that and much more,” then he frowned. “However, I didn’t come here to talk about the good old days. As much fun as that would be, I was wondering if, well, could hide me for a few hours.”

“Why?” I lifted a questioning eyebrow. As Discord came up with an answer, I glanced at the stallion beside him. He was incredibly attractive for a surface dweller. If I wasn’t married…

My suggestive thoughts were interrupted when a loud shout shook the throne room. “DISCORD! COME OUT AND FACE ME, YOU OAFISH BARBARIAN!”

“That’s why,” Discord deadpanned. He appeared in a flash somewhere on my head. I lifted a fin and took off my crown...which now had his face on it. “I can be quite a sight to behold when I try.”

“Discord,” I flicked the crown and Discord floated out of it. “Why should I help you? My cousin will tear me to ribbons if she found out I was keeping you from harm. That and her anger is probably justified. You are insufferable.”

“It’s part of my charm,” Discord rubbed his chest in pride. “Think of this as a favor repaid. I did give you this wonderful kingdom.”

“By sinking it,” I pointed out.

Discord shrugged. “Details, details.”

I sighed. “Very well. This is a nice kingdom and I do so love it here. I will help you-”

Luna smashed through the wall of my throne room. Why does she always do that?!! It’s expensive to keep up with her. “Discord,” she growled. A batpony mare stood by her side. “You conspire with my cousin against me?!!”

“Luna,” I glared at the alicorn. “Must you always smash your way into the throne room?” I guiltily longed for the days she was on the moon. Nothing against her personally, but she had a habit of leaving destruction in her wake.

“I am one for grand entrances,” Luna smiled, seemingly pleased with herself. She probably was.

“Oh please,” Discord scoffed, before conjuring up some sort of large, metal tube into his hands. “I can do better.”

His manic grin and the way his finger twitched on the trigger told me well enough that weapon was dangerous. “Discord, not in my throne room.”

“She started it,” Discord shot back.

“ME?!!” Luna roared. I was glad I wasn’t a surface dweller, or I would have been thrown off my feet with how it shook everything.

“I don’t care who started it,” I shouted. “I want you to end it.”

“Well, well, well,” Discord tapped the metallic tube weapon and it turned into an armrest. The spirit of chaos incarnate leaned on it. “Look who’s matured.”

“Someone had to,” I commented. One would think immortals would be sane. Believe it or not, most aren’t. I’m quite sane if you would ask that question of me. I have never done anything so foolhardy and stupid. If you bring up any ‘supposed’ times I did, then I will have your head! I am one of the greatest immortals of the world for a reason.

“I’m sure,” Discord nodded. “Anyways, perhaps you could help me with Lulu here.”

“Don’t call me that,” Luna swam through the water like a rocket, nearly gutting Discord with her horn. He disappeared and reappeared above her.

“Getting slow in your old age?” Discord chuckled.

“SILENCE!” Luna shot three blast of dark magic at him and he swam out of the way of all three.

The blasts weren’t simple spells, however. They darted back and sped towards him. He conjured up a shield to ward them off. Luna used the opportunity to slash at his backside with a blade of magic. Discord was sent sprawling in the water.

He turned to glare at Luna. “Cheapshots, Nightmare? Is that how you’re going to best me?”

“Don’t call me that either,” Luna growled. “In fact, don’t speak at all.”

“I’m sorry,” Discord used a finger to poke straight through his ear and out the other side. He twisted it about. “I didn’t hear you right. What was that again?”

“Listen to me!” Luna’s form was growing dark. As was my worry. Of course, I could take her if I wanted to. I was the fastest being alive.

Discord pulled off his horn and stuck it into his ear. “Ah, now I can hear you. Sorry, your whining is so high pitched I need a little aid to hear it.”

Luna screamed and swam at him, firing arcs of magic as she went. Discord swam out of the way, almost like a snake. Though, he tip-toed across a few blasts. He teleported at the last second, catching Luna in a large net.

“I caught me a big one,” he was dressed as some sort of dockhand, chuckling to himself as he looked at Luna’s predicament.

Luna was silent for a few seconds, before she burst out of the net in a large flash of light. Discord, and I for that matter, were taken aback for a few seconds. This gave Luna just the time she needed to smash into Discord. The moment she hit him, his ‘body’ transformed into a rocket. She was sealed inside. Discord walked up next to her, wearing some sort of green uniform. He held up a torch...which was somehow on fire under water and lit the fuse. The rocket fired off, smashing through the ceiling.

“Arrivederci,” Discord waved off.

“Discord,” my left eye twitched in anger. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t smack you around for messing up my throne room.”

“I’ll give you two,” Discord turned towards me, his uniform gone. A big number ‘1’ appeared in his right eye. “Luna was the one who did most of the damage. I avoided doing that...for the most part.” A ‘2’ formed in his left. “We both know who’s the strongest immortal here.”

There was no malice in his voice, yet I felt such fear bubble within me. I wouldn’t show it, but I knew he could see it in my eyes. He could do whatever he liked and I would be powerless. I hated that. I was the queen of the sea! This was my domain. I opened my mouth to tell him so, but was cut off when the bat pony actually thrust two daggers into the back of Discord’s skull.

Discord just blinked in confusion, looking at the two daggers that had come out between his eyes. “Hmm, forgot about you.” In other blink of an eye, the daggers were gone and the batpony was in his hand. There wasn’t a hint of a scar to show for the strike. We immortals can be sturdy and resilient, but sometimes I can still be unnerved by it. “Ah, little miss bat. Why aren’t you playing with Big Red?”

“Because you just sent my princess flying in a rocket,” she huffed. “She is not going to be happy and I don’t want to deal with that all day.”

“That’s cute,” Discord booped her nose, causing her to scrunch up. “You’re cute. You know what else is cute?” He grinned, snapping his fingers. The red stallion and the batpony were tied together in the middle of a giant, pink heart. “Amore~”

“Discord,” the red stallion grumbled in agitation.

“Hop to it, Big Red.” Discord waggled his finger. “My dear Applejack needs some nieces and nephews to cuddle.”

“Really?” The batpony smirked and looked at the stallion.

“Nope,” the stallion’s struggles were cute.

‘Why couldn’t I have been tied to him?’

“Now then-” Discord was cut off when Luna...Smashed her way through my castle and into Discord.

“Luna!” I roared. “Stop smashing my castle.”

“I’m not listening,” Luna just kept pounding her fists into the chaos lord.

“Grrr,” I growled. This was the last straw. She wrecked one too many of my things. It wasn’t enough that she broke my toys when we were little, but now my castle? She always broke my things! “I am the queen of the seas! You will listen to me, you lunar harlot!”

Luna stopped smashing her hooves into the now bruised chaos god, before glaring at me. I was not moved by her murderous gaze. “What did you call me, sea witch?”

“Is that the best you can come up with?” I scoffed. “I’ve heard better from trout.”

“You dare scoff at me?!!” Luna growled.

“I dare because I am the queen of the seas,” I proclaimed, my voice booming as best as it could. “I am the fastest creature to have ever lived upon this world. You do not frighten me.”

“You should be,” Luna snarled. “I am the goddess of the night. The bane of the dragon clans. Do not think for one moment that you could ever best me.”

“I can,” I said firmly. “I will. I can outswim you. I can outfight you. I will not let this atrocity stand.”

“The castle?” Luna rolled her eyes. “I’ll pay for the damages.”

“No,” I shook my head, gritting my teeth. “It’s your attire. Your present form is a mockery.”

“You’re a mockery?”

“No, you’re the mockery.”

“Stop spewing lies, you salmon lipped coward.”

“Why don’t you shut up for a moment, you skanky lady of the night.”

“Traitorous worm.”

“Oafish pig.”

“Watery tart!”

“Bull-headed simpleton!”

“At least I’m not married to some ugly, lion thing who can’t keep a clear head.”

“At least I’m married. What do you have to show for yourself?”

_______________________________________________________________

Ah had to blink in confusion as ah watched the two immortals bickering like children. This was the sort of critters that governed over us? That controlled everythin’ down to the dirst beneath my hooves? Ah silently weeped for our future. Well, that and strugglin’ to get out of this rope and away from this mare. She was snugglin’ into my fur.

“You’re a lot like a teddy bear, you know that?” Night Watch commented.

“Nope,” that and my struggles just caused her to giggle.

“Awww~” Discord, now worse off than my old blow, cupped his hands together and leaned his head against them. “Young love.”

“Discord,” ah narrowed my eyes at him.

“When’s the wedding?” Discord eagerly looked between us, pullin’ a pen out of the air and turnin’ his left arm into a notepad.

“Soon,” Night Watch answered.

“Not happenin’,” ah deadpanned.

“Aww,” Night Watch pouted in disappointment. “You don’t like me?”

“Ah just met ya,” ah responded. “Ain’t gonna get hitched with a mare that ah just met.”

“That’s the reason?” She tilted her head to the side, which was kind of cute.

“Well, ya are kind of forward.” Ah answered truthfully. “Ain’t gonna work on an apple.”

“It works wonder for me,” Discord slicked his mane back. He looked into an Applejack stylized mirror and winked. “She can’t get enough of this.”

“Right,” ah rolled my eyes. “So, are we gonna-?”

Discord held up a sign that had his hand that was liftin’ a finger to shut me up. “I want to see how far this goes,” to which the two royal mares got up close and personal in their squabble. “Yes.” He fist pumped. The fluff part at the end of his tail form into a camera, and a little reporter hat and tag appeared, as he started taking pictures. “Yes, pull her tail. Bite her neck. Oh, I’m keeping these for later.”

“Hey!” Night Watch yelled. “Stop taking inappropriate pictures of my princess!”

“He’s what?!!” The two royals stopped their fight, which to a casual observer might have mistaken for rough...foreplay is the right word. Ain’t got another way to put it.

Discord paled. He snapped his finger and the next thing ah know is the two, actually three, of us were wearin’ shackles. He smiled nervously. “I give up?” Luna growled and shot a pillar of fire...which still somehow burned under water. We ducked in time, but he burned a bit of Night Watch’s mane.

“I don’t get paid enough for this,” she grumbled and took out a mango from her armor to nibble on. How she kept it safe in there ah have no idea. Been in Ponyville long enough to know not to question anythin’.

“Stop breaking physics in my domain!” The seapony queen roared.

“I’ll break it as much as I want, Electra.” Luna shouted back.

“Of course you will,” Electra scoffed. “Just like you broke my dolls.”

“I was only three centuries old,” Luna responded. “And that happened thousands of years ago. Let it go already.”

“Not until you apologize.”

“NEVER!”

Are all immortals so dang crazy?

“I hate you!”

“I hate you more.”

“I hate you the most!”

“Crumpets and smoothies later, despicable cur?”

“I’ll bring the little cakes, you easy cow.”

The two royals glared at each other and then laughed. Then they punched each other’s faces. Then they laughed again.

Yeah, all the royals are crazy. Thankfully, Luna teleported us away. Hopefully, whatever happened next wasn’t so crazy.

Story Time

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*Cadance*

I was having the time of my life. It was just me and Spike, alone at last. He was snuggled up close to me with my wing around him protectively, with a book in my forehooves. I don’t even remember the last time I did this. That’s saying much since I have a great memory.

The book was a simple fairy tale. There was a knight, a beast, and a princess. Simple, sweet, and one of Spike’s favorites growing up. I often caught him playing knight and rescuing a ‘princess’. Sometimes it would be with just toys, but Spike did have some pony friends in Canterlot. I wasn’t going to deprive him of that.

“So Sir Valiant, his aim firm and true, thrust forth his spear into the beast’s breast,” I said with gusto. I thrust out my hoof as though I’m lancing the beast myself. I have done that a few times actually. It’s rather neat to see the blade pierce the heart. The creature roaring in pain and anger. The blood pouring out of the wound…..

‘Cadance, focus on the story.’

“Mom?” My darling little Spike spoke up, interrupting the story and my thoughts.

“Yes?” I turned my face to look at him. He seemed to have a ponderous expression. I found it kind of odd that he would interrupt now. It was just about to get to the knight sweeping the fair maiden off her hooves and declaring his eternal love. That was his favorite part.

“Why are dragons always the badguys in stories?”

That line gave me pause. I knew it was coming up and given some of Twilight’s adventures, which Twilight herself was kind enough to share with me, Spike had first hoof experience with dragons. It didn’t turn out so well. I mean, it was hard in the first place without him seeing them firsthoof.

I sighed. “Because Spike, dragons are creatures of greed and selfishness.”

“Well, they can’t be all bad,” Spike said. “There had to have been some good dragons.”

“Of course there are,” I nodded. “But they aren’t anything like the dragons you know.”

“Huh?” Spike tilted his head in confusion. It was such a cute gesture.

“The dragons of the east are beings of wisdom and kindness. They are among the greatest teachers in the world, because they believe knowledge is something that should be shared. That it brings love and happiness. They do everything in their power to help others.”

“Whoa, they sound awesome.”

I giggled. “Oh yes, definitely. A couple of my friends are eastern dragons.”

“Really? How’d that happen?” Spike had turned around to face me. His was figuratively jumping out of his skin for more.

“Well, I was on a trip with my mother on the eastern edges of the world. She was exploring a newly discovered ruin built by an ancient civilization that nopony has ever heard of. My mother, or rather, your grandmother was rather giddy upon finding that out. I tagged along with your uncle Blueblood. He was just a young colt at the time. Always fretting with this and that. Anyways, mom while mom was busy exploring the ruins, I decided to explore the area around them. I was just a young mare, barely in my teens and not that long before I started watching Twlight. I didn’t have a great grasp on my magic back then, so I was taking a large risk. Nothing new, mind you. I’m a risk taker, but Blueblood was with me. My little brother wasn’t somepony I wanted in danger. Why is that?”

“Because family is important,” Spike answered.

I nuzzled him. “Very good. So, as I was exploring I came across a large cave. Blueblood was scared to go in, but I talked him into following me. He wanted to be a big pony for his big sister.”

Blueblood was so cute back then. He was always trying to be the hero. A courageous knight, fighting for the common pony. He is just the sweetest stallion you could ever meet. ‘Then why is he still single?’

That was a mystery I had yet to solve.

“We travelled deep, deep within the bowls of the cave, until we found it.”

“Found what?”

My smile grew. “A hoard of books.”

Spike fell on his side in laughter. “Seriously?”

I nodded. “Seriously. Don’t tell Twilight about it, though. No doubt she’d launch an exploration to find the eastern dragons. They prefer their privacy.”

“So what did you do then?”

I shrugged. “Nothing really. I just walked around for a few minutes, trying to see if there was anything else in the cave. There was.” My eyes narrowed. “My old nemesis.”

“Queen Chrysalis?” Spike raised an eyebrow. “Why do most of your stories have her in it? Do you guys stalk each other or something?”

I blushed and said nothing.

“You guys stalk each other, don’t you?”

“….When I’m bored.” I relented.

Spike sighed and pinched the bridge of his snout. “Mom, you need a hobby.”

“I already have a hobby.”

“One that doesn’t put you in harm’s way.”

I blinked in confusion. “A hobby that isn’t life threatening? Where’s the fun in that?”

Spike huffed and crossed his arms. “Just finish the story.”

I gave him a small glare. “Not with that attitude, mister. I think somedragon doesn’t want his afternoon treat.”

Spike immediately brightened up. “Finish the story, please mommy.” He said in the most adorable little voice.

I giggled and poked his belly. “That’s better. Now I found my nemesis in a rather peculiar setting. You see, I accidently knocked into a ‘bookfort’.”

“Like the ones Twilight makes?”

I put a hoof to stifle my giggles. “Wait, she still does that?”

“All the time,” Spike nodded.

That was just so adorable. I had to get a picture of that. Oh, I had some pictures of when she did it as a filly, but a full grown alicorn? Priceless! Spike was momma’s boy, so he’d do it for me.

Ending my giggles, I cleared my throat. “Well, when I knocked on it, out popped Chrysalis yelling: Who dares interrupt my fort time?”

Spike was laughing his tail off.

“I know,” I giggled along with him. “She was horrified to see me and quickly came out to confront my intrusion. She was so embarrassed, she turned red. I mean, all over. She begged me not to tell anyone.”

“But you’re telling me,” Spike pointed out. “Doesn’t that mean you broke her promise?”

I winked at him. “I had my wings crossed.”

“YOU LYING TRAITOR!” Out of nowhere, Chrysalis stuck herself from out from beneath the bed. “You know how embarrassing that is for me.”

“Chrysalis,” I growled. “How long have you been under there?”

“Long enough to know you’re a liar liar, pants for hire,” Chrysalis glared at me fiercely. She climbed onto the bed.

“Its pants on fire,” I corrected her with a raised, snooty pout.

“You would know,” Chrysalis poked me in the chest and got in my face. “Liar.” The word oozed with venom.

“Chrysalis,” I pushed her back. “Now isn’t the time to fight. We’re in the middle of story time.”

“Oh heavens,” Chrysalis brightened up. “I would never dream of interrupting story time. Much too important.” She turned to Spike and nuzzled him. “Hello, Spike.”

“Hi Chrysalis,” Spike smiled back at her.

Now this would totally be a shock to most people, but there were times that Chrysalis and I actually got along. Not to mention Chrysalis just adored Spike. I mean, who wouldn’t. He’s the cutest, bestest dragon ever.

“My, my my, look at how much you’ve grown,” Chrysalis held a hoof under Spike’s chin. “I remember when you were but a small hatchling playing pattycake with my nymphs.” She wiped away a few tears. “You grew up so fast.”

I rolled my eyes. Chrysalis was always a drama queen. Without another word, I levitated a hoofkerchief over to her and she used it to dabble the tears from her eyes.

“And he’s even a hero,” Chrysalis blew into the hoofkerchief.

‘I am not using that ever again.’

“You should have seen him at the games,” my chest puffed out in pride. “He didn’t even hesitate. He just did what he had to do to save the day. A genuine hero.”

“Nah,” Spike gave a nonchalant response, filing his nails and his chest scales. “It was nothing. Just saving lives and all that stuff.”

Spike gave a startled yelp as Chrysalis pulled him into a tight hug. “Oooh, I wish I was there. I’m certain he shall be the world’s greatest champion.”

“Chrsyalis,” I spoke up. “You’re smothering him.”

“Right,” Chrysalis let go of my son. “Sorry about that. Now, have you been a good boy since I’ve been gone?”

Spike nodded.

“Then you deserve a reward,” Chrysalis brought out a large blue crystal.

“That’ll ruin dinner for him,” I scowled.

Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “You worry too much. Spike can handle such a gem.”

“I say he can’t,” I said, snatching the gem away. “Now back to the story.” Chrysalis settled by Spike’s. I frowned and settled on his other. Chrysalis may have helped me raise Spike, but he was still MY son.

“After I promised not to tell, she attacked me,” I said.

“As per our usual meetings,” Chrysalis relented.

“Not with magic, however,” I continued.

“With books,” Chrysalis smiled, rather fond of the memory. “We fought the greatest battle of ‘book-fu’ of all time.”

“And it was glorious,” I couldn’t help but smile at the memory too. “Of course, it didn’t last that long for the owner of the books returned.”

“And he was angry,” Chrysalis scoffed. “I saw no reason why he had to scold us like that. I mean, did he know who he was talking too?”

“Those were his books,” I scoffed myself at Chrysalis’s attitude. “He had a right to be angry, but he calmed down and we had an actually interesting conversation.”

“And I got to cuddle Blueblood,” Chrysalis looked proud of herself.

I chuckled. Chrysalis always had a soft spot for kids, especially young ones. She couldn’t help it. It was in her very genes.

“He still resents you for it,” I spoke up.

“Oh, he’s just being a big baby,” Chrysalis rolled her eyes and we both laughed.

“We sometimes visit him and his brother from time to time,” I added.

“So that’s how you met an eastern dragon?” We both nodded to his question. “Kind of a letdown. I was kind of expecting an epic saga or something.”

“Sorry Spikey wikey,” Chrysalis ruffled his spines with a hoof. “That’s how it went, but if you want epic I can tell you about that time me and your mother…”

I put a hoof to her mouth. “Not that one.”

Chrysalis pushed my hoof away. “He’s old enough. He can handle it.”

“He’s old enough when I say he’s old enough,” I grit my teeth in frustration.

“If you keep coddling him, how is he supposed to grow?” Chrysalis barked.

“I am not coddling him,” I said. Both of our muzzles were touch as we glared daggers at each other. “I am trying to make him a better dragon.”

“A better dragon my flank,” Chrysalis growled. “Mare, he isn’t just your child.”

“Hey,” Spike pushed us apart. “Let’s not get carried away here. You’re both great parents, so let’s leave it at that.”

“Fine,” we both complied.

While I would have loved to continue the argument, Spike was right. Not about the both of us being great parents though. I was much better than Chrysalis at pretty much anything. No, Spike was right about us getting carried away like always. No more though. I was going to enjoy the rest of this day, changeling or no changeling.

“Could you scoot over, Cadance?” Chrysalis grunted. “Your fat flank is hogging the bed.”

“MY WHAT?!!!” I hollered.

Spike face-palmed. “Here we go again.”
_________________________________________________________________________
*Sweet Apple Acres

Applejack*

Buckin’ apples was the only thing keepin’ me from runnin’ to Canterlot myself. Ah know Big Mac had it covered, but ah also knew that Discord was gonna mess somethin’ up fierce. Just his nature is all. Can’t help what nature does.

‘Except for us ponies.’

Ah did have a point. Us ponies didn’t like nature doin’…nature stuff on its own. We liked order and control. Anythin’ wild and untamed was wrong in our eyes, cause it brought destruction in its wake. How else are we supposed to grow crops if we don’t time it right? Crops would die by the droves.

Ah shivered in fright at the thought of my trees dyin’. ‘Okay, Applejack. Think of somethin’ else. Somethin’ to get yer mind off of things.’

Easier said than done. So, ah kept buckin’ and buckin’, tryin’ to clear my head…..

Ah think ah’m goin’ crazy, ‘cause all ah can think about is that no good varmint. What, with his crooked grin, crazy powers, and pranks up the whazoo. Ah don’t even like those stuff.

Okay a little…Okay, he’s kind of funny….

OKAY, HE’S HILARIOUS!

Ah didn’t like to acknowledge that, but ah did. He was a funny fella, but ah’d never tell him. It’d just give him more fuel for his silly crusade.

‘Ah just hope his little crusade doesn’t get Mac in trouble.’

With a flash of light, my question was answered.

Sort of.

Princess Luna was the first one. She was different today. Not like she had on some wonky make-up, but that she seemed like a merpony. Her mane was gone, replaced by a dorsal fin as well as her tail which was now a dolphins.

She had the others in a chain held in her magic. Discord looked scoffed up. Like somepony had taken him and battered him to pieces and put him back together again. He still was grinnin’ that charmin’ smile of his though.

Mac was next and he looked the same…Not countin’ the gills of course.

And the last one was a bat pony mare. She also had gills and her mane seemed to be smokin’ with some embers here and there. She didn’t seem to care as she munched on a mango.

The lot of them had iron neck braces on nice and tight.

Ah was perplexed to say it in fancy terms.

“Errr….” Ah muttered, unable to speak.

Luna fumed. “LADY APPLEJACK,” her voice nearly swept me away. “YOUR BROTHER, FRIEND, AND APPARENTLY MY BODYGUARD…”

“Who was just trying to help,” the bat pony put in.

“HAVE MADE MY DAY UNBEARABLY AGGRAVATING!” Luna screamed in outrage. If ah didn’t know any better, ah’d say she was mighty close on goin’ full Nightmare Moon. "I CAME TO INFORM YOU OF THEIR PUNISHMENT!"

“Whoa there princess,” ah said."Let's not get hasty."

“HASTY? HASTY?!!!” Luna roared, her form shifting into a much darker style. Her mane and tail returned. “I”LL SHOW YOU HASTY! WHEN I BLOT OUT THE SUN WITH THEIR CORPSES, YOU SHALL KNOW THE MEANING OF HASTY!”

“Luna,” ah held out an apple. “Eat an apple.”

“WHY?” Luna roared.

“Because ya turn into a tyrant when yer hungry,” ah said.

Swipin’ the apple out of my hoof, Luna bit down. Instantly, she started to hum happily, savorin’ the taste. Her form lightened and she even smiled.

“Better?” Ah asked.

“Better,” Luna stated. She blushed in embarrassment and did away with the chains and enchantments on everypony. Ah was glad they were back to normal, though Discord still looked worse for the weather.

Luna’s ears splayed back. “I am sorry, fair Applejack. This morning has been…unfavorable.”

“Ah reckon so,” ah nodded.

“I have been especially mean spirited to you all,” Luna turned back to the others. She lowered her head in shame. “It is inexcusable.”

“Nah,” ah chuckled. “Ya were just ornery. Happens to everypony.”

“Be it as it may,” Luna walked over to Big Mac. “I want to apologize to you for putting you in harms’ way. I shouldn’t have judged you so quickly.”

“Eh,” Big Mac shrugged. “Wasn’t so bad. Kind of reminded me of that fair day.”

Luna chuckled. “Was a glorious day, was it not? We should do that again sometime.”

“Eyup,” Big Mac smiled.

“And Night Watch…” Luna started.

“Nearly getting killed by my princess is kind of the norm,” Night Watch nonchalantly stated. “So no big deal.”

“Do I get an apology?” Discord put in.

Luna ignored him. “Tis time we left for Canterlot, Night Watch. Equestria needs me now more then ever.” With a flash of light, they were gone.

“Hey,” Discord piped. “That no good louse never did pay up.” Suddenly, a huge bag of gold appeared over his head and came down harshly. Discord ‘oomphed’ as he hit the ground with the sack on his head. “I stand corrected.”

Ah sighed and pushed the gold off of him. “Ya couldn’t keep yer mouth shut, could you?”

Discord grinned. “My dearest Applejack, would you have me any other way.”

Ah huffed and smacked him on the head with my hat, causin’ him to squeal in pain. “Maybe ya best start thinkin’ about what ya say from now on.”

“I do think about what I’m about to say,” Discord said. “Except when I’m not. I like to mix it up a bit.”

Ah was surprised he wasn’t doin’ some crazy stuff with his magic, but he looked tuckered out. “Discord,” ah scowled. “This is serious. Look at ya. Ya look like you survived a storm in the Everfree Forest.”

“Been there,” Discord rolled his eyes. “Done that.”

Ah hit him with my hat again, fumin’ red. “Do ya think ah like seein’ ya this way? No, ah don’t, so shut up and listen to me for once.”

Discord looked at me in shock. “Oh my dearest Applejack, I never knew you cared so much for me…Perhaps you could write a country song about your feelings.” He put his white tail fur under my chin. “How do you feel about wearing a beard?”

“Ya aint right in the head,” ah said.

Discord quickly kissed me on the muzzle, causin’ me to blush. “I know.” He grinned deviously.

Ah used my hat to cover my heated blush. “Let’s just get ya back to the house and fix ya up.” ‘Nasty, no good, varmint.’

Granny wants to talk

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Ah never wanted to beat someone up so much before now. It was wrong of me. He was hurt, for Celestia’s sake. Luna had roughed him up pretty good and he deserved some respite, but did he have to be so loud? All he did was moan and groan, complainin’ minute after minute. Ah was tempted, really tempted, to just smother him with his pillow.

Instead, ah opted to use said pillow to cover my ears. Ah grit my teeth in agitation. “Discord, will ya stop whinin’ for a moment? Yer worse than Rarity on one of her bad days.”

Discord gasped. “I am not that bad.”

“Yes, ya are,” ah poked his head.

The varmint was layin’ in my bed, of all places. Ah don’t know why Granny was so determined to put him there, but she knew best after all. Discord took an unnatural likin’ to the idea. ‘Course, one good buck to his withers stopped the comments. Now, he lay snuggly under my sheets with several fresh bandages coverin’ his body.

‘Ah wish he had one coverin’ his mouth.’ Give me another moment and ah was sure gonna make that a reality.

“Applejack,” Granny Smith scolded as she walked into the room. She was balancin’ a bowl of soup on her back. Almost felt jealous, cause Granny made the best apple soup in all of Equestria. “Stop touchin’ him. He’s got to get better so ah can kick his sorry hide out of here.”

“Why are you so mean?” Discord moaned. “I mean, seriously can’t you….” Discord stopped himself and coughed, clearly seein’ my glare. “Err…Thank you for the soup.”

“Don’t think for a second that sweet talk will win me over,” Granny said as she put the bowl next to Discord. “I’ve turned away my share of sweet talkers back in my day.”

“You? Sweet talkers?” Discord just laughed, to which ah punched his side. The varmint let out a pained squeal that ah shouldn’t have enjoyed, but ah did.

Might make me a bad pony, but golly, did he deserve it.

“Applejack,” Granny started up again, holding up a soup filled spoon in one of her old hooves. “Stop hittin’ him.”

Ah snorted and stepped back. Discord just chuckled.

“I would listen to your…” Discord’s sentence was cut off when Granny shoved the spoon into his mouth. The varmint quickly swallowed and Granny pulled out.

“And you,” Granny tapped his muzzle. “Shut yer trap. If’n ya want to get out of here in one piece, ya got to learn the first rule when it comes to Apple mares.”

“Oh,” Discord quirked an eyebrow, makin’ a whirlwind like sound. “Please do tell. I am dying of anticipation.” Discord’s turned one of his fingers into a pencil and writing in the air. ‘Interesting Apple Facts’; he wrote.

Granny Smith glared at him. “Never get an Apple angry.”

Discord rolled his eyes, willin’ the words and pencil away. “Duly noted, but I doubt you could do worse than dear Nightmare Moon.”

“Her name’s Princess Luna,” ah hollored, stormin’ over and puttin’ my head over his. Ah was angry, no, ah was livid. “Maybe if ya used that tiny brain of yers she wouldn’t have tried to kill ya.”

“Please,” Discord rolled his eyes. “I had everything under control.”

A could feel somethin’ break in my head. Possibly my anger meter, or somethin’. “Control? CONTROL?!!! She beat you nine ways out of Tartarus, ya stupid varmint.” Ah swatted my hat against his head. “Ya don’t have control,” ah kept hittin’ him. “Ya had to mess with Princess Luna. Ya had to drag Big Mac along. Ya had to get beat up!”

Discord grabbed my hat before it met his face again. “As much as I love saying hello to your hat with my face, I just have to ask you something. Why do you care?”

What?” Ah honestly was taken aback by the question.

“Why do you care if I get beaten up?” Discord looked at me seriously. “If I recall, you don’t want me in the romantic sense, right? You don’t want me here at all.”

“That’s not true,” ah said, before ah yanked my hat away and over my blushin’ face. “Ah want ya here….” Puttin’ my hat back on my head, ah glared. A small blush clung to my face, no matter how much ah wanted it gone. “Ah like ya, okay. Maybe not in the romantic sense yet, but ya aren’t that bad. When yer not bein’ a complete idiot. Yer my friend and ah don’t like seein’ my friends hurt.”

Discord was silent. He just studied me with a keen eye. It was strange seein’ him…well, not say anythin’. Ah waited, but nothin’ came from his mouth.

Ah snorted in agitation and started trottin’ out of the room. “Stay in bed and get better, ya idiot. Ah need to go into town to sell some apples. If’n ah find out ya’ve sneaked out or somethin’, ah’ll hogtie ya to the bed myself.”

Discord grinned lecherously. “Is that a promise?”

Ah nearly roared in anger.
___________________________________________________________________________
*Granny Smith*

The blasted varmint was chucklin’ at my granddaughter! Now ah’ve done that many times in my long life, but that was ‘cause we were kin. Ya can laugh it up with family, but this critter had no right. When he turned to look at me, ah shoved another spoonful of soup into his maw.

“What did ah say? Don’t mess with an Apple mare? What did ya do? Mess with my granddaughter.” Ah pulled the spoon out.

“I can’t help it,” Discord pouted. “She is so fun to mess with. That adorable shade of red is just too much.” Discord poofed up a fan and started wavin’ himself. “And that posterior….”

Ah smacked him across the nose with my spoon, causin’ the varmint to yelp in pain and surprise. “Ah’m right here, ya know. The least ya could do is have the manners to keep those thought to yerself.”

“Manners are just a set of guidelines,” Discord huffed. “One can get by without partaking in them. I assure you, many do so at least once in their lives. I see why I can’t do even more, given my own extended lifetime. Perish the thought of me following ‘rules’.” He gagged on the last word.

“If ya want to live on a farm,” ah started. “Ya best be learnin’ manners and rules. Else nothin’ ever would get done and we’d lose the farm.”

“Your granddaughter is a national hero,” Discord pointed out. “No sane pony would dare try and oust her and her family. Not to mention she’s friends with,” Discord cupped his hands together and his eyes became big and sparklin’. “Princess Twilight.” He sighed and leaned further back into the bed.

“Ya don’t like that Twilight gal, do ya?” Ah already knew the answer. While ah may not know her all that well, Twilight seemed like a good enough filly. Applejack always spoke highly of her and if Applejack liked somepony, they were good in my books.

“Oh don’t get me wrong. Twilight is a wonderful mare. Not to mention a great prank victim,” he chuckled to himself. Ah knew he was just thinkin’ about some of his prior pranks. “But she’s too uptight for her own good. She follows the rules. She never breaks even the slightest one of them. That is not healthy for a ruler.”

“And ya would know what it means to rule?” Ah quirked an eyebrow. “If ah recall, ya weren’t the best head honcho.”

Discord sighed. “In order to rule, one must break the rules. You must abuse your power and master it. Playing nice and safe gets no one anywhere. Oh yes, you have peace, but you also have stagnation. That’s what Equestria is. A land of stagnation. It just reeks of order and calm. You control the weather, the animals, and the plants. Nothing happens unless you want it to happen. It’s utterly revolting.”

“To ya maybe,” ah started. “But to us ponies, it’s a way of life. Why I remember….”

Discord pulled out two cords and stuffed them into his nose. The cords disappeared and emerged planted safely in his ears.

Ah huffed in anger. “No wonder Applejack gets so ornery with ya. Yer more annoyin’ than those Flim Flam brothers.”

“I have no idea who they are," Discord pulled the cords out of his ears and turned 'em into an blimp. The little thing sailed out the window. "But I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Ah snorted. He reminded me of AJ when she was a youngin’. So hard to handle and hard headed…That don’t sound too different then how she is now, ah reckon.

Instead of blabberin’ some more, ah just shoved another spoonful into his maw. The varmint didn’t like that.

“Now see here…”

Shove.

“I can feed….”

Shove.

“This is….”

Shove.

“LET ME….”

Sho….

Before ah could put it into his mouth, Discord snapped his fingers. The bowl and contents vanished in a flicker of light. “Ahhh, much better.”

“Much better my flank,” ah glared at him. “Ya poofed away yer soup.”

“That you were trying to drown me in,” Discord grumbled. He tapped his stomach. “There is only so much soup I can eat. I’m not a
bottomless pit you know…Well, at least now. Wasn’t that an interesting week.”

Ah didn’t pay his nonsense any mind. Ah just poked him harshly. “Don’t matter if’n ah was drownin’ ya, which ah wasn’t ya nasty critter. Ah made that soup myself and ya could have been more hospitable about it.”

“Hospitable and Discord don’t mix,” Discord conjured a flute out from the air and stuck it into his right ear. Fiddlin’ his fingers across it, music and actual music notes started to fill the air. It was a nice, sweet beat. “Chaos can’t be hospitable because that’s what one would expect from a guest. I am no ordinary guest.”

Now many ponies would be awed by this feller’s tricks. He reminded me of a certain magician ah stumbled across years ago, handsome thing he was. Arrogant too. Discord wasn’t any better, so he didn’t tick me off too much. Ah just sighed, readyin’ myself to get to the real issue.

“Do ya really like her?”

Discord stopped playin’ and looked at me. “Pardon?”

“Do ya like Applejack?”

“I think I’ve made that abundantly clear,” Discord took the flute out of his ear and looked up in thought. “Or have I? Gah, love is so new to me.” He put the flute back in and started up again.

“Discord,” ah glared up at him mighty fierce like. Ah even used the same tone ah gave my grandchildren when they were misbehavin’. “She’s my kin. Ah don’t want ya chasin’ her if’n ya don’t really care.”

Discord stopped playin’. The flute disappeared and he turned a fierce glare onto me. Ah was rightfully scared, but ah held my ground. Ah wasn’t gonna let some chaotic whippersnapper push me or my family around.

“What is it with you Apple Mares? I care. That much is obvious. I’ve said it time and time again. I even came out and said I wished for her hand in marriage. MARRIAGE!! That’s a lifetime commitment and I’m not usually the one to do anything long term. For me to even consider it goes against everything that I am. But I’m not listening to my nature. No, I really care about Applejack.”

“Well, ya came right out of the blue about it. Seems ya might be just playin’ a prank.”

Discord started pullin’ on his mane in frustration. “THIS ISN”T A PRANK!” The room shook with his anger. “I’m not pranking you…this time. If I was, I wouldn’t be harping on this for so long. Don’t you get that? I don’t like to drag things out. I want Applejack to love me and I her. Isn’t that obvious? Can’t I just try and love a pony without someone thinking I’m pranking her?”

Ah was taken aback by what he said. He was rightfully ornery about this and ah kind of felt bad for askin’, but Applejack was kin after all. Ah had to and somethin’ told me he was tellin’ the truth. Call it Apple family wisdom.

“Well….” Ah started. “Ah just don’t want to see her hurt, is all.”

Discord softened up and let go of his mane. “And I won’t. Not now, not ever.”

Ah could tell he was serious and dog garnit, he was winnin’ me over. Ah didn’t want to like him. Not just cause of what he did, but ‘cause ah didn’t want to lose Applejack. Ah knew that girl would always stay with the farm. It was in her blood and she loved it so much, but if Discord got her…She wouldn’t be my little filly anymore. No more innocent granddaughter.

There was the upside of great-grandkids. If there was one thing any Apple loved more than apples, it was more kin in the family.

“Then ya can date her.”

“What?” Discord looked at me like ah had grown another head.

“Ah said ya can date her,” ah poked him harshly. “But if’n ah find out ya broke her heart…”

“Yes, yes,” Discord rolled his eyes. “Don’t break her heart. I know this speech already.” Discord made a ‘x’ over his head. “And you have my word. Gods don’t go giving that away, so make the most of it.”

Ah nodded, satisfied for the moment. “Well, it’s nice to know my Applejack is in good hooves.” Discord held up his paws. “Ya know what ah meant, ya varmint. Now ah’m goin’ ta make ya some more soup so ya can get better. Ah don’t want your sorry hide moochin’ off our hospitality for too long.”

“My hide is many things, but sorry is not one of them. I think these bandages and bruises give me a sort of ‘roguish’ charm, don’t you think?”

Ah rolled my eyes. “Gods these days. What with their stuffed heads and nonsensical ideas. Back in my day, ya had to be wiser than an owl to be a god.”

Discord huffed. “Wiser than an owl? Please, those creatures are not wise. Crows are wise. They are nature’s opportunists. They think, they plan, they stick together. Why they get such bad reps is beyond me.”

“A varmint defendin’ other varmints,” ah snorted. “Doesn’t surprise me.” Ah trotted out of the room, determined to make more soup for the wounded critter.

‘Ah don’t know who to worry about here. Applejack, or Discord.’

To the Marketplace!

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The marketplace was one of the busiest places in all of Ponyville. Ah would say ‘the’ busiest, but then ah’d be lyin’. Do ah have to repeat why I hate doin’ that? ‘Course not. Sugarcube Corner is the busiest place in Ponyville and it was that way for a reason. Us ponies love ourselves some sugary treats.

“Might stop by later for a cupcake…maybe some salt licks while ah’m at it.’

My stall wasn’t big or fancy, or really anythin’ to speak of. It was just a little wooden stall, but it held a special place in my heart. Little Apple Bloom had made it herself after all. Sometimes, ah wonder if that filly will get a cutie mark in construction. Would be a big help on the farm to have somepony like that.

‘Maybe then the barns will actually stay up for once.’

That was a dream, nothin’ more.

Anyways, ah was just finishin’ up getting’ the stall ready. Discord wasn’t a prevalent thought or anywhere near me right now, so ah could take my time and be at ease. Well, mostly at ease. The darn critter was still eating away at me even at work. Ah didn’t let it show. No sirree bob. Discord was not gonna ruin today.

Ah inhaled a big breath of that sweet Ponyville air and let it out. Goin’ to work here at the stall was always nice. Ponyvillians were some of the most friendly ponies you could meet. With a loud clank, ah put up the little ‘open’ side on the top of the stall. “Apples for sale. Get yer apples. Nice and fresh.”

“Carrots,” another voice hollered. “Get your carrots. They’re healthier than apples.”

The world around me seemed to freeze in place when that infernal voice filled my ears. Ah knew the owner oh so well. A fire lit inside me. More like a raging inferno of indignation. Turnin’ my head with a fierce glare on my face that would stun a ragin’ bull, ah looked at the mare.

“Carrot Top.”

The orange carrot pony stopped callin’ out her wares and shot me a glare of her own. She wasn’t an impressive earth pony, not with her more petite build. Hay, I’d almost mistake her for a unicorn if’n ah didn’t glance at her head. Might of called her that a few times.

No offense to any unicorns.

Anyways, the two of us stared off in the market. Anypony who was anypony kept themselves out from between us. They knew that wasn’t the smartest move. It was just the two of us. Mono eh mono, or somethin’ like that.

“Applejack.” Carrot Top glared back at me.

“Carrot Top.” Ah pounded my hooves on the top of my stall.

“Applejack.” Carrot Top did the same.

With a quick jump up, ah stood up on my stall. “Carrot Top!”

Carrot Top copied me again. “Applejack!”

Ah hopped to the ground. “Carrot Top!”

“Applejack!” She hopped.

Ah took a step forward, dentin’ the ground beneath in fury. “CARROT TOP!”

“APPLEJACK!”

“CARROT TOP!”

“APPLEJACK!”

Our muzzles bumped up against one another as we lightly growled.

“CARROT TOP!”

“APPLEJACK!”

“CARROT TOP!”

“APPLEJACK!”

“So, how’re ya doin’?”

“Pretty well actually. My carrots are coming out fabulously. How about you?”

“That’s good to hear and ah’m doin’ just fine,” ah smiled. The two of us were silent for a moment before breakin’ up into laughter.

Ah know that it’s strange, what with us actin’ all mean spirited a moment before, but Carrot Top and me are as close as peas in a pod. Hay, she’s practically family. The two of us grew up together and did everythin’ back in the good ol’ days…Before Nightmare Moon and all that stuff.

‘Course, that didn’t mean me and Carrot weren’t competitors. We fought each and every day to outsell each other. Not because of any animosity or that nonsense. We just think it’s fun.

“Good to see you again, Applejack,” Carrot Top smiled. “Honestly, it feels like forever since we last talked.”

“Been mighty busy,” ah sighed. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Being honest with myself, ah’m surprised ah could be here myself. Almost wasn’t.”

“Well I’m glad you were able to,” Carrot Top put a hoof on her shoulder. “I really am. It’s been so boring without you. It kind of reminds me of when you went to Manehattan.”

We both frowned. The reason ah left…wasn’t a pleasant one.

“I should learn to shut my mouth sometimes,” Carrot Top looked away. “I’m so sorry for bringing that.”

Ah sighed. “Nah, it was plain dumb of me to pack up without sayin’ goodbye. We were the best of friends back then.”

“We still are,” Carrot Top offered a friendly nuzzle. “And you had your reasons. Don’t beat yourself up over the past.”

“Oh ah don’t,” ah sighed. “But that don’t make me feel guilty about leavin’ everypony here…and my aunt and uncle.”

Ah may not talk about them a lot, but ah love them dearly. Aunt and Uncle Orange had always looked out for me and did everythin’ in their power to help out the farm. Hay, they were the ones who taught Big Macintosh how to manage those fancy mathematics and Aunty taught me how to talk ponies into stuff.

‘Ah really need to visit them sometime soon…Can’t believe ah forgot to last time ah was in Manehattan, but Rarity was the main reason ah went…Sort of forgot.’

“But we all still love you, mistakes and all,” Carrot Top said. “Now come on. Our wares aren’t just going to sale themselves.”

“Only if yer ready to lose,” ah smirked.

“We’ll see,” Carrot Top smirked as well.

The contest was on.
_______________________________________________________________________
*Princess Cadance*

Urge to ship rising.

‘Cadance, calm down.’

Urge to ship rising!

‘They’re just friends.’

URGE TO SHIP RISING!

‘But Discord….’

THREESOME, MOTHERBUCKER! DO YOU UNDESTAND THAT?!!!

……

Okay, I think I’ve gone off the deep end here. I apologize, my shipping senses go crazy now and again…Okay, more like all the time. I try to suppress it, but things can set me off. Like the incredibly adorable interaction between Applejack and that carrot mare.
Where I am I? Currently I’m watching from a nearby bush with a pair of binoculars. Yes, they were pretty much unneeded from this distance, but I thought I might as well look the part. I had even donned an adventurer’s outfit, just like my mother’s own. I don’t know why she doesn’t change it now and again. I’m sure her readers wouldn’t mind.

I had thought about staying to watch over Discord, since he hadn’t…had the best day so far, but Applejack was the main priority at the moment. I’d deal with the big idiot later. Now, I had to observe Applejack during her day. This was the best way to get to know things about her…Besides actually getting to know her.

Which was what I was going to do next. Spying just helps me get a clear idea about where we would hang out.

“Are we just going to stay here in this bush all day? It’s ill befitting a goddess such as myself.”

I groaned, not even looking over at Chrysalis. The changeling had decided to tag along for a while. I don’t know why. She usually left after our battles. Though, that doesn’t mean we don’t hang out occasionally. “Yes, we are. Just quit your whining. You’ll give us away.”

“I’d quite my whining if I didn’t have such a splitting headache,” Chrysalis hissed.

“That’s because you still have an axe embedded in the back of your head,” I pointed out.

Chrysalis blinked in confusion, as if that had been forgotten. “Oh yeah.”

“Spike?” I asked.

“On it,” my son piped up. We were all three wearing the same uniform and I thought he looked so adorable in it. Anyways, he jumped onto Chrysalis’s back and with a mighty heave, pulled the axe out of her skull. He fell back to the ground with a yelp.

Chrysalis sighed with relief, her wound quickly healing. “That feels so much better.” She used her magic to pull Spike into a hug. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” Spike happily chirped.

Did I mention that since we’re gods, mortal weapons can’t kill us? It’s true. The only reason that mortal axe even pierced Chrysalis was because of my own power. Yeah, we sound violent and hateful to each other, but that’s not true. Stabbing each other was just our way of saying ‘I love you’…Just in a really special way that no one else should do if they’re actually mortal…Or have god killing weapons.

Yeah, we’re kind of messed up.

Back to spying on Applejack, I didn’t find anything unusual. She was just selling her wares. Pretty boring actually.

“Is something happening now?” Chrysalis said, peering through her own binoculars.

I slowly turned to her with a frustrated look. “What?”

“I said,” Chrysalis huffed. “Is something happening now.”

“My auntie curse it,” I growled. I had a lot on my bucking plate here. My love mission wasn’t going the way I wanted. Discord had picked a fight with Luna and apparently Luna had nonchalantly sent me a message dealing with Celestia’s disappearance. I’m not a happy camper, even if I just got done with an epic showdown with Chrysalis. “Chrysie, I am so sick of answering that question. Why can’t you just ask me about the weather or something?”

“Hey,” Chrysalis cut me off. “You’re the pony here. I barely know anything about your current culture. Don’t start growling at me just because I’m curious about equine….”

I cut her off. “Okay, okay, look,” I gestured to the two salesponies. “They’re just standing there talking, okay? That’s all their doing. That’s all salesponies ever do, is just talk and sell things. That’s what they did the last century. That’s what they’re doing now. So when you ask me five minutes from now ‘Is something happening now?’ my answer’s going to be ‘They’re still just talking and selling things’.”

We were both silent for a moment. Nothing but our target’s voices could be heard. The chirping of small birds. The leaves and whatnot fluttering about….

“What are they talking about?” Chrysalis asked.

I put down my goggles and glared at her. “I bucking hate you.”
______________________________________________________________________
*Fluttershy’s cottage
Fluttershy’s POV*

“Now Angel Bunny,” I softly explained to my beloved pet/friend. A pair of empty saddlebags laid upon my back. “Remember to make sure everyone gets fed properly when I’m gone.”

Angel just lazily nodded his head and gave me a salute. I couldn’t help but chuckle at how cute he was. He may not act it all the time, but Angel is just the sweetest little guy a mare could ask for. Reliable too.

“Good,” I nuzzled him softly on the head before trotting away. “Take care now. I’ll be back from the market in an hour. See you then.”

I knew I might have to stay longer away from home. Ponyville can be quite hectic at times and my friends might need me. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have gone at this time of day. No doubt it would be busy in town. Now, however, I was confident I could do it.

My trip was definitely going to take longer when a white flash appeared in front of me. There, standing before me, was my dear friend Discord.

“Oh Fluttershy,” he seemed genuinely scared. “Thank chaos you’re here. I needed to get away from that crazy mare.”
I frowned. “Now Discord, Applejack…”

“Not Applejack,” Discord cut me off. “Granny Smith. She thought I was really hurt and…She tried to drown me in soup. She had a funnel and everything. It was horrifying.”

“That doesn’t sound so bad,” I pointed out. “She was just trying to help.”

Discord scoffed. “I need help just as much as a tree needs ice.” He stroked his beard. “Ice trees…just maybe…”

I coughed, gaining his attention. I didn’t want him to try anything with that idea. I loved Discord dearly like he was practically family, but he was a hooffull. “That’s nice and I’m sorry for interrupting you, but could you be so kind as to accompany me to the market place? I don’t want to be a burden, but I think we have a lot to talk about.”

Yes we did. This was my chance to see if I could sort things out, or at least figure out Discord’s intentions. I knew it wasn’t anything ‘bad’, but he was a kid at heart. He could break something without noticing and Applejack….I feared for her heart.

“Sounds like a lovely idea,” Discord chirped happily, conjuring up a huge, upside red umbrella big enough for the both of them. He lifted me up by his tail, causing me to squeak in fear.

“Now Flutter butter,” Discord gently put me into the umbrella. “There’s no reason to squeak. You’re in no danger…Or are you part mouse? I know you ponies are open to the whole interspecies thing, but what was your ancestor thinking about being with a mouse?”

“I’m not part mouse,” I huffed. “I just get scared easily. You know that.”

Discord nodded. “True, true.” He patted the umbrella. “Well, let’s make haste. To the marketplace, my noble umbrella.”

Four red legs quickly formed underneath the umbrella. Rearing back like a majestic stallion, it barked like a dog and galloped into town.

‘Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea.’

Little chats with family and friends

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The town square isn’t exactly a place that I hold fond memories of. Being the shy pony I am, it was quite nerve wracking to deal with all of these ponies at once. While it was nowhere near as bad as big cities, such as Canterlot and Manehattan, it was still pretty bad. Not to mention that for some reason, Ponyville had quite a few rather mean ponies. I don’t know why, and I hate to judge, but it’s true. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t want to seem like I’m painting Ponyville as a bad place…I was just a pushover. It’s actually quite lovely.

I usually go alone. Even though I know I might get pushed around, I do it. I don’t want to be a bother to my friends. Now however, I had someone going with me. Someone I happily called a friend…maybe a best friend, but I don’t want to exclude my other friends. Discord was always kind to me…since we’ve become friends of course. He’s just a sweetheart when you get to know him.

Unfortunately….He’s quite, how do I put this gently, overly outgoing.

“Let play a little game~” Discord sang as he strolled through the market place by my side. We had dismounted before going into town. I didn’t want to scare anyone. That would be rude. My list was floating the air before Discord.

“Of Discord picks a thing~”

Discord turned to me and smiled.

“It’s a simple game~

A clever game~

To us we gotta bring~”

“Discord,” I said with a warning tone. I knew something was up. “No funny business.”

Discord pouted. “But I was getting to the best part, my friendly little butter flutter. I mean, why walk to our destination…” Discord twirled his fingers and several stands zoomed into the open market. Ponies yelped in shock, but quickly calmed themselves. Strange stuff happened in Ponyville all the time and nopony was hurt. “When we can bring the goods to us.”

“Or we could just walk over to them.”

Discord stared at me incredulously. “Just walk over? Like normal creatures? Fluttershy, you need to learn to mix it up a bit.” He snapped his fingers and all the stands popped back to where they used to be. “But we’ll do it your way.”

I gave him a gentle smile. “Thank you.”

Most ponies still found it odd that Discord actually listened to me. ‘They just need to know how to be a bit more understanding.’ I told myself. If they could just stop and get to know him, then they’d see him like I do….but I had to keep myself focused. Applejack was my priority.

“So…” I started, looking over a few vendors. “How is Applejack?”

“Ripe as ever,” Discord smirked. “Why, I’ve never seen such a fine mare in all my life.”

“Hmmm,” I quirked an eyebrow. “Really? I don’t think I’ve heard you talk about her like this before? Why the change?”

Discord plucked an apple from…nothing. “This, my dear.”

“An apple?” I asked, unsure of how to feel about this. “You fell for Applejack because of an apple?”

“Well, it wasn’t exactly just because of an apple. You see,” Discord frowned and sad violin music seemed to be playing…somewhere. “While I do enjoy our friendship, I’ve been wanting…a little more out of life. I’ve seen so many happy couples in all my years and never, never, have I been in love before. Me, the god of chaos, missing out on the most chaotic emotion? Inconcievable! So, I decided to rectify that.” He chuckled. “At first, it was just to have Applejack just because. Now however…I think I’ve come to care about her more than I ever have another pony.”

“Don’t you think you’re rushing into this?” I said. While Discord’s words rang true in my ears, I didn’t want either of my friends to be hurt. “I mean, not to sound rude or anything, but this is quite sudden.”

“I’m me, Fluttershy.” Discord grabbed a bunch of dirt, enveloped it in a bright light, which transformed into a little red parasoul. He gave it to me. “I’m filled to the brim with sudden ideas.”

“Thank you,” I smiled brightly. Truth be told, the sun was uncomfortably hot today. Celestia usually was able to control it better than this, not that I want to sound like I’m complaining. ‘I’m sure she’s busy with something important…I just hope it’s nothing scary, like a giant dragon.’

“You’re welcome,” Discord smiled. “But to give you a proper answer, I don’t think so. I’ve been talking with Princess Cadance and she told me that love can happen whenever and wherever it does. There is no such thing as too sudden. Besides that, I’m mostly just trying to get Applejack to at least like me now. Maybe I’ll get her by Hearts and Hooves Day, maybe I won’t. I’m still going to try.”

I nuzzled him gently. “That’s what I wanted to hear. Just remember to ease up on your efforts…Applejack’s kind of scared about this whole thing.”

Discord frowned and looked uneasy. “Upset? I know I’ve been up to no good, but I haven’t done anything to upset her…Have I?”

I nodded. “Maybe not intentionally, but she’s never been in love before. You have to take that into consideration.” I felt bad for giving up something private about my friend, but I need to get it through Discord’s head. I don’t want to be mean, but this was serious.

“Oh I shall,” Discord moved his tongue around in his mouth as if he tasted something strange. “It still feels weird to talk and act with such civility. It feels almost like yesterday when I would have given you a cherry that would have soaked you instantly in cranberry sauce, laughed about it, and then grow bored and moved on…all in the span of one moment….My attention span is OH LOOK A FLUGELHORN!”


I sighed as Discord swam through the air like a snake to a nearby stand. Needless to say, the salesmare was rather frightened by his sudden appearance. ‘This is going to take a while.’
______________________________________________________________________
*Applejack*

“Y’all have a nice day,” ah said with a bright smile. Ah waved off the whooves family. They were a good sort, if not a bit strange. ‘Ah still don’t know how Derpy and that Time Turner fella got together. They are so different.’

Today had been surprisingly good. There weren’t any rowdy or upset customers and ah had sold a heap of apples. Why, ah had to spare a second thought if ah could take that bag of bits home. It was nearly the size of my head. Normally, ah wouldn’t get this time of haul, but Ponyville had been getting’ its fair share of tourists. Expected and not unwanted in my eyes. More ponies meant more profit, even if it meant dealin’ with high and mighty city ponies now and again. The best part of this whole thing was, Discord hadn't shown his handsome face here to mess it up....'What did ah just say?'

“Mom!” A familiar voice whined. “I thought we were going to the spa.”

“Later, Diamond.”

My mouth fell open as ah heard that playful mare’s voice. ‘It couldn’t be.’ Ah had to turn my head to see her with my own eyes.

“Hello Applejack,” Screwball smiled at me. She was a normal lookin’ purple earth pony mare, with a clean and uptight manestyle held in a bun. Ah could smell a little perfume on her, but it wasn’t overdone like some ponies ah know. “Long time no see.”

Ah smiled. “Screwball Rich, if my eyes don’t deceive me. Ah haven’t heard from ya in months. How’ve ya been doin’?”

Now it was no secret that the Apples and Richs got along nicely, for the most part. Filthy Rich was like an uncle to me, teachin’ me and Mac about business. Screwball was always supportive of us and helped out now and again. Oddly enough, her special talent was pitching. Her ‘screwball’ could beat any batter she threw it at. Their kids…Well…

“Yo mom,” Vinyl trotted up to the group. One of those newfound CDs were in her magical grasp. “I just found this killer Skillet CD.”

Screwball sighed. “Not now, sweetie. Mommy’s talking.” She turned back to me. “Well enough. Manehattan seems open to the idea of letting us expand in their territory and Canterlot shows some promise. I wouldn’t hold my breath however. Some of the nobles are quite against the idea of having a ‘common business’ infect their city.” She scoffed.

Ah glared in annoyance. “Common? The Richs got rich by workin’ their hooves to the bone. Ya deserve a place in Canterlot.”

“I know right,” Diamond Tiara spoke up.

Now I don’t hate Diamond. Neither does Applebloom. Honestly, they get along well enough….well most of the time…okay some of the time. It’s just that, ever since this whole ‘cutie mark’ thing that gotten in their heads, they’ve been buttin’ heads. Ah told Filthy about it, but he’s rather protective of his little angel.

Vinyl and Long Play on the other hoof…Ah just didn’t get them. Ah’m not the type of pony to enjoy metal and this…what is it called? Dubstep?

“How’s the farm?” Screwball asked.

“Same old,” ah chuckled. “Same old. Nothin’ new.”

“Oh?” Screwball raised a questionin’ eyebrow. “Really? I’ve heard a lot things on my travels. An element of harmony such as yourself must have quite some tales to tell.”

“A few,” ah nodded. “But ah aint no braggart…unlike some critters ah know.” Ah muttered the last part without thinkin’.

“Is something the matter?” Screwball had a concerned hint to her voice.

“Nothin’,” ah said a bit too quickly and a tad too sharp.

Screwball was always an insightful mare, but ya don’t need a fancy degree is psycho..whatever to see there was somethin’ wrong. “Vinyl, why don’t you go take Diamond and get some ice-cream.”

“Yeah…” Vinyl rubbed the back of her head. “You see, I’m not exactly doing well in the cash department right now and…”

Screwball sighed and hoofed through her saddlebags. Grabbing a small bag of bits, she threw it at her second oldest child, who caught it in her magic.

“Thanks mom,” Vinyl smiled. Turnin’ around, she sped off. “Last one there is an ear splitting cord!”

“Hey,” Diamond yelled, runnin’ after her older sister.

Me and Screwball chuckled. Those two were an odd pair, but they got along nicely. Honestly though, ya wouldn’t even think they were sisters unless they told ya.

“So,” Screwball rounded on me. Ah sighed as she continued. “What’s the problem?”

“Discord,” ah relented. “But ah’ve got this covered. Don’t you worry none.”

“What is he doing?”

“He….” Ah nervously gulped. “He wants to court me.”

Screwball’s eyes widened. “What?”

Ah nodded. “Eyup, he does. Ah’m tryin’ my best not to think about it, but ah honestly don’t know how to feel about this. Ah mean, he’s done so much to hurt me and now he wants me to love him? That’s not even the worst part. The worst part, ah’m actually startin’ to like the fella. Like him!” Ah threw my hooves up in exasperation. “That don’t help me out of this. It makes it worse.”

Screwball sighed. “Well, and this is just me talking, I think you should give him a chance. He isn’t all bad. Just a little airheaded and a tad bit forgetful from time to time. He’ll make up for his past mistakes, I can assure you.”

Ah blinked in confusion. “It sounds like ya know him.”

“Of course I do,” Screwball’s eyes, much to my horror, rolled back into her head like one of them sharks in those nature documentaries Fluttershy made us watch. The eye continued to roll until, instead of her normal iris, it was a swirly purple. “I’m his daughter.”
______________________________________________________________________________
*Cadance*

I almost lost my grip on my binoculars. My mind is officially blown. Discord had a daughter? She’s just now appearing in Ponyville? Oh this is better than any soap opera, I can tell you that. If only I had brought some popcorn…..

At the sound of something crunching, I lowered my binoculars from my face. I turned over to see Spike and Chrysalis gouging on popcorn as they watched the scene.

“Best stalking ever,” Chrysalis muttered between bites. I don’t know why she needed binoculars. Changelings had excellent vision.

‘Probably just wanted to imitate me.’

“We’re not stalking,” I hissed at them. “We’re observing my quarry.”

Chrysalis rolled her eyes and gulped down a large bunch of popcorn. “You’re just upset you forgot to bring some popcorn. Well, tough luck princess. I’m not sharing.”

“I don’t need any popcorn,” I scowled, ignoring the slight rumbles in my belly. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to eat breakfast that day. I was too excited with everything going on that I had forgot the most important meal of the day. Well, besides little private ‘snacks’, but that’s between me and Shining. “I’m fine.”

My stomach turned traitor and growled loudly.

Chrysalis laughed. “It seems your fat belly disagrees.”

“Chrysalis,” I said through gritted teeth. “Do you want another axe to the head?”

A little flicker of fear passed through Chrysalis’s eyes, before she smirked. “Awww, a little more sensitive today, are we? What’s the matter? Shining not putting out like he used to?”

I flared my wings in anger. “Shut the buck up and get back to stalking.”

“I thought we weren’t stalking,” Chrysalis said coyly.

“Uhh,” Spike spoke up, looking rather nervous. He was nestled snuggly between us. He poked Chrysalis’s head to get her attention. “I think you might want to tone it down with the teasing.”

“Why?” Chrysalis chuckled. “Is our little pink princess upset over a little joke? Grow tougher….”

While she was talking with my son, I had quicky gotten to my hooves and leered down at her. When she turned to look at me, I pressed my face to her. She had a front row seat to my anger. “Get. Back. To. Stalking.”

Chrysalis gulped, shaking a little. She quickly nodded and turned back to her binoculars. Now many would think I enjoyed making her quiver in fear. I mean, she nearly ruined my wedding and makes my life difficult. Yet, that’s what friends are for. We may fight, bicker, make each other piss ourselves in fear, but we do really care about one another. If someone tried to hurt Chrysalis, you bet your cutie mark that I’m going to give them a free flank-kicking all the way to Tartarus.

“Mom,” Spike spoke up. “I think you may have overdone it.”

I sighed. “You’re right….I’m sorry for scaring you, Chrysalis.”

“I wasn’t scared,” Chrysalis quickly said. “I’m just cautious. You are a worthy opponent….” She sighed as well. “And I’m sorry for calling you fat. That was below me.”

“Friends?” I offered her a comforting wing.

“Friends.”

The two of us used our wings to hug one another, rubbing our cheeks together. I must say that Chrysalis was quite a pleasant cuddle buddy. Her body is quite unique and feels good against my own……… ‘BRAIN! DON”T YOU DARE SHIP ME!’

‘MAXIMUM SHIPPING!’

Yeah, even I’m not safe from my own shipping desires. Thankfully, I can keep it all under control. Well, unless Shining was into this kind of thing…No, we’re just friends, me and Chrysalis….

‘Must get back to shipping Applejack and Discord. Must get back to shipping Applejack and Discord.’

Suddenly, there was a loud beeping noise that filled the air. ‘Thank you universe.’ The awkward moment was gone.

Chrysalis sighed. “It’s for me.” She pulled out a little crystal mirror from a puff of green magic.

“Who is it?” I asked.

“My kids,” Chrysalis spoke up. “They’ve been gone for quite some time and I’ve only recently been able to contact them. You can thank Starswirl the Bearded for that.” She huffed in anger. “Cranky old stallion. He was always on my case.”

Instantly, the mirror’s image shook like water and then…

“Why are there colored monkeys in the mirror?” I asked. There were three of them; a purple one, an orange one, and a blue one.

The blue one gasped. “That’s racist.”

“No it isn’t,” I said.

“Yes it is,” the blue one pouted. Which was really cute.

“She’s totally racist,” the purple one said in an agitated tone.

“Cadance,” Chrysalis growled. “Stop being racist.”

“I’m not racist,” I threw up a hoof in agitation. “I just…just forget I said anything.”

“Done,” the blue one smiled and then looked confused. “What were we talking about?”

The other two monkeys face-palmed. “Sonata,” the orange one spoke up. “Just shut up and let me do the talking.”

Sonata frowned.

“Adagio,” Chrysalis chided. “Don’t tell your sister to shut up.”

“But she’s being an idiot,” Adagio threw her hands up. “Right, Aria?”

Aria nodded. “Can’t help that.”

Chrysalis groaned. “First off, apologize to your sister. Second off, this is Cadance. Cadance, these are my kids….who are now monkeys for some reason….blasted inter dimensional travel.”

“Humans mom,” Adagio corrected. “We’re humans.”

“Same thing really,” Aria rolled her eyes.

The other two quickly offered a small apology to Sonata.

“Now,” Chrysalis spoke up. “What seems to be the problem?”

Before the other two could talk, Sonata burst out into tears. “We’ve ran out of tacos!” She buried her face in her hands.

“Sonata,” Adagio growled. “We can just go and sing for more tacos. This isn’t an emergency.”

“But if I don’t get tacos,” Sonata pointed. “I’ll explode.”

“Sonata,” Chrysalis sighed. “You are not going to explode.”

“But what if I am?!!” Sonata wailed. “I don’t want to explode!”

“Where did she get this idea?” Chrysalis asked. The others shrugged. The changeling queen sighed. “Is there anything else…Anything not taco related.”

Adagio smiled…a very wicked smile. ‘I can see the family resemblance.’ “You remember how there wasn’t any magic here?” Chrysalis nodded. “We found some.”

I felt a little nervous about that info.

“Yeah,” Aria scoffed. “Now we can leave this awful place.”

“It’s not awful,” Sonata spoke up. “It’s just different.”

“No,” Aria messed up her sister’s hair. “You’re different.”

“Hey,” Sonata cried out. “Mom, she messed up my hair.”

“Cry baby,” Aria rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.

“Aria, stop that.” Chrysalis rubbed her forehead. “Adagio, this isn’t the best time. Perhaps a little later tonight would do.”

Adagio nodded. “Gotcha. See you later, mom.”

“Bye now,” Chrysalis blew some kissed their way. “Mommy loves you.”

“We love you too,” the three said with a smile…even Aria was smiling, which seemed odd for her.

But what do I know about monkeys and smiling.

Instantly, the feed cut off. “Okay Chrysalis,” I crossed my forelegs. “What was that all about?”

“My daughters were sirens,” Chrysalis explained. “They got into a little trouble…You see, they tried to follow mommy’s examples and take over….It didn’t work out.” She looked away sadly. “How about we put this on hold and get back to Applejack. I’m sure something juicy is going on.”

I sighed. “Fine…but we are so talking about this later.”

It's not spying if you care about your target

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Of all the things ah’ve heard in all my life, this was the most confusin’ thing out of all of ‘em. Ah mean, Discord had a daughter? He actually got with someone before me? Ah don’t know why ah couldn’t help but grit my teeth at that thought.

‘Not jealous. Ah’m not, but it would have been nice to know. Lousy varmint.’

“Now I know what you’re thinking,” Screwball spoke up, cutting off my train of thought. “This is probably the most confusing thing you’ve ever heard.”

“Darn right it is.”

Screwball sighed. “It’s a long story. You might want to sit down.”

“Nah, ah think ah’ll stand. There aint nothin' ya can do to knock this mare down,” ah stomped my hooves down a little more forcefully than ah intended, shakin’ the earth a bit. It’s a bad habit, ah know. Us Earth ponies are mighty strong. Doesn’t hurt that ah spend most of my time workin’ out either.

Screwball had to keep herself from fallin’ over. “Applejack.” Her tone was that of a stern mother.

Ah sighed. “Sorry. Don’t know my own strength at times.”

“Don’t fret a bit about it,” Screwball dismissed it with a wave of her hoof. “Common feats of one’s own are often overdone to an extent due to familiarity.”

Did ah mention that Screwball was mighty smart? Well, she is. She was the mare who taught me and Mac a few things here and there. Ah may have gone to school for a bit, but after….the accident, she home-schooled us. That and a little help from Aunt and Uncle Orange didn’t hurt neither.

“Right. Now, what’s this about ya bein’ his daughter? Don’t take this the wrong way, but….”

“He doesn’t seem the type to settle down? Start a family? Actually lay a female?” Screwball cut me off.

“Yeah, all that.” From what ah could tell, Discord screamed virgin. ‘Ah mean, really? Who would want that guy anywhere near their bed? What, with his charming smile, the way he could coil his body around me ever so softly. How he could stroke my mane gently and make me laugh…..DARN IT, DISCORD! Ah was tryin’ to make a point to myself.’

“Well suffice it to say, I’m not his daughter.”

Ah let out a content sigh and ah didn’t know why.

‘Oh ya do know.’

‘Shut up.’

“Well, not biologically,” Screwball said. “More in spirit. I mean, he used a part of his very soul to make me. Add in a bunch of magic and rock candy and BOOM! You’ve got little ol’ Screwball.” She giggled.

“Why? Why go to all the fuss to make ya? No offense, Screwball.”

“None taken,” Screwball smiled wistfully. “He wanted a child, a little filly of his own. You see, he got jealous of all the ponies who had kids of their own. Discord never liked adults, but kids were a different story. He always felt that kids could understand his chaos. They could laugh and play all they wanted. Their imaginations were so crazy and off the wall that he couldn’t help himself but indulge them. Eventually, he made me to find out what it would be like to have one all his own.”

“Was….”

“Was he a good father? Oh most definitely,” Screwball frowned. “But he was also a tyrant at times. Not to me. He’d never hurt me, but….the things he did to some ponies….I’m just glad he’s a good guy now. I’ve been meaning to talk to him for some time. The perfect moment just hasn’t come up.”

“Does he….”

“Know that I’m still alive? Probably. He did make me immortal.”

Ah frowned. “Do ya have to keep cuttin’ me off?”

Screwball smirked. “I’m sorry, Applejack, but you’re so easy to read. I just have to look at your face to know what you’re going to ask. Perhaps you should have listened a bit more carefully during our lessons about deceit. Honesty can only get you so far in business, but then again, it is a good thing I failed in that regard. Eternal night and an insane father don’t go hoof to hoof.”

“No they don’t,” ah nodded. Ah honestly didn’t know who would win in a fight between Nightmare Moon and Discord. ‘Course, my bits would be on Discord, but that may be just showin’ a little favoritism.

“Now let’s get back on track, shall we?” Screwball said. “This conversation has been rather illuminating for all of us, but I want to know about you. What is going on between you and my father?”

“He’s courtin’ me,” ah plainly said. It was a bit weird tellin’ a mare older than me that her father was takin’ an interest in a mare like myself. It’s weirder still than ah’m considerin’ it. Ah mean, that’d make me related to Diamond Tiara. Ah’d be that spoiled brat’s grandmother. ‘Makes me feel old.’

Screwball’s jaw dropped…literally. It was like one of those Sunday paper cartoons. ‘Yep. No doubt about it. She’s Discord’s….Or one of Pinkie’s kin. Hard to tell.’
Pullin’ it back up, Screwball sputtered, “He’s what?”

“Courtin’ me. He’s not very good at it.”

“I would think so….” Screwball was silent for a moment, makin’ me nervous. Ah didn’t want her to hate me or anythin’. “So….do you like him back?”

“……Maybe.” Ah frowned and looked away. “Don’t rightfully know at times. He can be so….”

“Irritating? Aggressively outgoing? Idiotic beyond measure?”

“Yeah….Okay, stop it.”

Screwball laughed and ah couldn’t help but chuckle with her. “I’ll try.”

“Anyways, yeah ah like him. ‘Course, ah don’t like him romantically like he wants me to….Ah’m not ready.”

“Well, just don’t lead him on. Be honest. Discord may love a lie to twist another around the bend, but a truth from the heart will curb some of his mannerisms. If you’d like, I could step in.”

“Much obliged,” ah tilted my hat in thanks. “Though, ah can take care of myself.”

“Of course you can. I wouldn’t expect anything less from an Apple. I remember your Granny Smith bucking a Manticore so hard he flew across the entirety of Sweet Apple Acres and into the heart of the Everfree Forest.”

Ah frowned. “…Oh right. Yer that old.”

Screwball gasped. “Applejack, I am offended.”

Ah rolled my eyes and she laughed. “Is that all ya needed to know?”

“That’s more than I needed to know,” Screwball answered. “This is between you and Discord to decide, but I’ll keep an eye on you just in case he tries anything funny. Besides, I always wanted a mother.”

The color from my face faded in an instant and ah probably looked like ah had seen a cockatrice. Screwball’s laughter must have been heard sheer cross Ponyville.

“I’ll just leave you be,” Screwball stopped laughin’, but still had a playful smirk on her face. “My father will probably be here any minute and I’d like to wait a little bit longer before we meet. I need to prepare the family for it and…” She sighed. “It’s going to get complicated.”

‘Yer tellin’ me.’

“So ta ta,” Screwball said as she left me paralyzed.
___________________________________________________________
*Diamond Tiara*

“Ugh,” I groaned as I watched my big sister sign even more autographs. Her fans had her completely surrounded. “Seriously? She, like, lives here. Who the hay doesn’t have her autograph in Ponyville?”

Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to know your big sister is famous. It’s only right that the rich family would have such outstanding members in our bloodline. Dad wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of Long Play and Vinyl becoming DJs, but I thought it sounded awesome. He wouldn’t let me try it through. My big sister sometimes teaches me when he’s not around. It’s fun, but yeah, not something I want to make a career out of. Maybe it would be a good hobby or something like that.

Still, with all that fame came so many problems. Like the fact that I was pretty much invisible to all these ponies, including my big sister. ‘Do they know who I am? I’m Diamond Tiara. I’ll be running this town when I’m a grown-up.’ I wanted to drag Vinyl away from all her fans so we could actually play together. We never get to do that nowadays.
But I kept my mouth shut like a good girl. It was her time to shine, not mine. So, I was content at the moment to just have my blue sherbet ice-cream. I like to mix up my flavor choice now and again. It was good for the most part, so no complaints. Though, I would have preferred stopping by Sugar Cube Corner. All their treats are sublime and Pinkie’s actually kind of fun. I wouldn’t admit it so freely to anyone, but it’s true.

Pinkie would play with me if I asked. She did on occasion, but I made sure no one was around when I did. I can’t let someone see me play little pony games. Not even with Pinkie Pie, the most infantile adult I knew. She would play with me, but I wanted my big sister. She was the bestest at everything.

I sighed and continued to lick my treat. However, I soon noticed something stirring in the bushes nearby. They were just ordinary bushes. Ones that laid upon a hill that you could see quite a bit of the marketplace from. I say that from experience.

So, like any bored filly would do, I went to investigate. What do I find when I pull back the bushes? Spike, Princess Cadance, and the freaking changeling queen herself. Suffice it to say, I was stunned beyond words.

“What are you doing?”

Okay, I was exaggerating. I always have something to say. A lot of ponies think I’m rude when I’m just speaking my mind. I can’t help it if they don’t like my opinion. ‘They should be begging for it.’

The three of them looked away from their binoculars and towards me.

“Ummmm,” Princess Cadance didn’t seem to know what to say.

“IGNORE US!” Queen Chrysalis thought she knew what to say.

“Spying,” Spike told the truth. The two older ponies glared at him. “What? It’s kind of obvious.”

“Yeah,” I smiled. Spike was always truthful and kind of sweet. We didn’t talk that much, just when I went to the library every now and again to check out some books. “It’s really obvious.”

“I’d like to think you’re lying,” Chyrsalis stuck her nose up into the air, like I like to do. “I’m much too regal to be wasting my efforts to personally spy on anyone.”

“Which is why you brought the popcorn,” Cadance added. She giggled at Chrysalis’s glare.

“I had the munchies,” Chrysalis shot at her.

“Munchies?” I said. “What are you? Three?” Chyrsalis snorted and went back to spying.

“So,” I started up, walking close until I was among them. This was a perfect opportunity to get up in the world. I mean, who can say they personally know two rulers of rather important countries? Not many ponies. “Who’re spying on?”

“Screw….” Chrysalis shoved her hoof into Spike’s mouth to cut him off.

I humphed and quickly took his binoculars. Unfortunately, he had them around his neck, so it kind of chocked him….And brought him to my side. ‘His scales feel nice….for a dragon.’

When I saw who they were spying on….

“WHAT THE BUCK?!!!” I turned to glare at them. “YOU’RE SPYING ON MY MOTHER!”

Both Chrysalis and Cadance took me up in their arms and put a hoof over my mouth.

“Not so loud,” Cadance begged.

“You’re going to arouse suspicion,” Chrysalis added. She then chuckled. “Arouse suspicion.”

“Oh grow up,” Cadance rolled her eyes.

“Can’t I have a moment to laugh at an asinine joke?” Chrysalis shot back at her. “I mean, it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s how I deal with my little brother’s….chaotic nature. Most of his jokes are terrible.”

“Well,” Cadance said. “Just keep them to yourself…..” She giggled. “How do you even arouse suspicion? Does it have a little weakpoint under its….”

“Cadance,” Chrysalis warned. “Children.”

“Oh,” Cadance said. “You started it.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.”

“You both did,” Spike had been able to get himself out of the binocular’s chokehold. “And I’m sorry Diamond. These two can be blockheads every now and again.”
Said blockheads glared at the dragon, before releasing me.

“Anyways,” Cadance started. “We’re not spying on your mother. We’re spying on Applejack.”

“Oh,” I nodded. “That makes way more sense….Can I join?”

“I don’t think….” Chrysalis started.

“I’ll tell everyone that you were spying on my mother and miss Applejack,” I smirked. “My daddy will make sure you never step a hoof into this town again, royalty or not.”

“….I like her,” Chrysalis smirked.
__________________________________________________________
*Fluttershy*

Discord is a great musician. He absolutely loves that form of art in every way possible. He loved playing the piano, violin, you name it. He often would have a little private concert for me and my critters. He didn’t start out doing it, but when I got sick one time, really sick, he wanted to make me feel better. Oh, he couldn’t cure me, but he made me smile. That was important.

I once asked him why he loved it so. He told me that music was chaos. It was just a bunch of random notes brought together to make something wondrous. Oh he said that some may argue. That ponies thought it was organized and content, but he said otherwise and he made a compelling argument. I had to agree.

Why am I talking about music? Well, Discord was currently playing the flugelhorn right now as we walked through Ponvyille Streets. Well, he was actually marching while wearing kind of an anthropomorphic version of the Crystal Empire’s armor. He actually looked quite good in it.

The two of us were headed over to Applejack’s stand. My saddlebags were full and there wasn’t anything else I needed. So, I decided to drop by and see how she was doing. Perhaps even see for myself the two in action. Maybe I could get a sense of what was really going on between them.

As we neared the stand, something was odd about Applejack. She seemed to be pale and…she wasn’t moving. “Oh dear.”

“Oh dear is right,” Discord had stopped playing. “Something is wrong with my dear Applejack. This calls for immediate action.” He turned the flugelhorn into a little ‘snap on’ earing and put it on my ear. It looked cute. Then, with a snap of his fingers, he turned his armor into a nurse outfit. “Stand back. This might just get dicey.”

“Be careful,” I said.

Discord then sauntered over to Applejack and looked her over. “I think I know what’s happening. The thousand yard stare. So dreadful. There is only one cure.” He quickly picked her up in his arms and laid her across the stand. He stroked her mane and smirked. “Mouth to mouth resuscitation.” As he leaned down slowly, Applejack awoke with a start.

“AHHHHHH!” She slammed her hoof into his face.

Discord squealed in pain and took a couple steps backwards. “Well, you could have just said no.”

“What? Who? Where?” Applejack seemed confused about everything for a moment, before she sighed. “Oh yeah…”

“Discord!” I gasped and flew over to him. I picked out a medically treated cotton swab. “Here, let me treat your booboos.”

“Yes mommy,” Discord snorted and lifted his hands away from his face. It wasn’t a bad bruise, but it was noticeable. It wouldn’t last long, given his immortal nature. He’d quickly heal in no time. Still, I wanted to help so I cleaned away the dirt and little streaks of blood. Applejack was an earth pony, so I’m glad Discord is immortal. That would have most likely been rather…severe if not.

“Discord?” Applejack’s tone held a little worry. “Are ya alright? Ah didn’t mean to hit ya like that.”

“My fault really,” Discord said, wincing as I touched a sore spot. “Mares tend to act a little crazy when in my presence. I attribute it to my dashing good looks.”

“Well, ya don’t look so dashin’ now.” Applejack laughed, but it was a little strained. “…Still, sorry.”

Discord waved a dismissive claw, making the nurse outfit disappear. “Don’t, Applejack. I’m sure karma still has some ways to go to make everything even. Next thing you’ll know, I’ll be thrown into some wacky universe with super powered heroes or something.” He gagged. “Or worse, cuddly heart bears. Now that is a nightmare if I ever thought of one.”

Applejack was silent for a moment. I wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She had hit somepony. She usually was a lot more in control of herself and even if it was Discord, she felt a little guilty. “How about an apple on the house. That always brings a smile to my face.”

“I think I’ll pass,” Discord said. “I already had a few before coming here. I even decided to invite a few of those bats of yours to a little brunch.”

“……Beg yer pardon?”

“Oh you know,” Discord started and I felt some warning bells go off in my head. “Those little vampire bats on your property. I thought it odd that you would keep those things so close to your livelihood, but then I knew it must be for a reason. I was going to visit them, but I can be so lazy sometimes. So, I decided to invite them to a little get together closer to the house. They seemed rather chaotic, so I couldn’t help it.”

I looked over to see Applejack glaring at him. “Ya varmint! Those bats were supposed to stay in their sanctuary.”

“I’ll put them back,” Discord rolled his eyes. He snapped his fingers. “There. Done.”

“Ah put up a sign,” Applejack growled. “A Celestia blasted sign. Can’t ya read?”

“All the time I’m afraid,” Discord sighed. “It gets rather tiresome, reading. Oh sure, you find some funny little journals or interesting little facts, but who wants to read about math? I don’t.”

“Discord, let’s get back on track.” Applejack poked him harshly. “Ya took those destructive critters and put them near my family. Do ya think that would be a good thing in my book?”

“Err….” Discord seemed uneasy. “I just thought it would be a little fun. No one was hurt and they didn’t have the time to do your crops any significant damage. There’s no reason to be upset.”

“Upset?” Applejack ground her teeth rather loudly. “Ah’m not upset. Why would ya think ah’m upset?”

“You look like you’re about to buck me,” Discord pointed out and then booped her nose. “And not in the good way, I might add. Though, I have to say, you are so radiant when you’re angry. Like a little goddess.”

I blushed. It was kind of odd to hear Discord compliment somepony like that. Looking at Applejack, her blush was far more severe than mine.

“Ya…ya..YA IDIOT!” Applejack turned to buck him, but he teleported to her front. She glared at him. “Ah aint no goddess and shut up with the compliments. Yer just tryin’ to make me forget about yer little get together with the vampire fruit bats. Well, ah aint the type to forget.”

“But you are the type to forgive,” Discord then turned into a chibi version of himself. “Please forgive me, Applejack-chan~” His voice was childlike and oh so cute. I wanted to pick him up and hug him.

Applejack sighed. “Fine, but yer not off the hook. Ah’m gonna make ya sweat come tomorrow….” She scowled when the chibi Discord smirked. “STOP THINKIN’ SO DIRTY!”

Discord turned to his full size and pulled her into a hug. “I can’t help it. I’m a dirty, dirty boy.” He chuckled. Then, Discord’s magic snapped the two apart. Discord was covered in soot, while Applejack was in a maid’s outfit, complete with a feather duster. “But I think you can help…clean up my act.”

Applejack glared at him. “Ah’ll clean ya, Discord. Ah’ll clean ya so good ya’ll walk funny.”

“Ooh,” Discord squealed in delight. “I knew you liked to rough and tumble.”

Applejack screamed in fury and chased after him, wielding the duster like a sword.

I chuckled. The two seemed so odd together, but it was so cute. ‘I think they’ll do each other nicely…’ I blushed. ‘I need to pick my word choice out better.’

The Power of Music

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*Cadance*
It has been said that I am a natural born leader. My father was king of the Crystal Empire and before said bloody coup, he was the Field Marshal of its entire army. I learned everything I needed to know from him. ‘Well, except for dark magic. Yeah, I can pass on that.’ So it was easy for me to fall into the guise of a commanding officer or just take charge whenever I needed to. ‘Like in bed.’

I held my head high as I walked in front of a line of my ‘troops’. Said troops were a line of neatly green suited, changeling stallions and an equally spiffed up Discord. They were all standing at attention, waiting for my orders. Well, the changelings were. Discord was standing still, but….his eyes were playing ping-pong. I sighed, but decided to ignore it for now.

The changelings I knew were dependable. Chrysalis often allows me to have some during my more…difficult cases. She had tons to spare, so it was no problem for her. Besides, what are frenemies if they can’t loan their soldiers out to each other? Hay, we even take turns pitting our forces against one another. The Crystal ponies kind of complain, but come on. Who doesn’t love a good war?

Of course, it would make more sense to bring some Solar Guard or even my own soldiers to help with such a task, but…I found most of them lacking, especially the crystal ponies. They were far too outdated and formal and in no way a major help in my romance endeavors. I had been working on that however, but it was a really, REALLY, slow process.

Anyways, the changelings would follow me to Tartarus if I had ordered them to. I admired it, but I also knew it was hard-wired into their very species. They needed someone to order them around. Of course, it didn’t stop them from being individuals.

“Alright,” I spoke up. The night sky was illuminated by Luna’s moon. “This is it. The night of our lives. I’m not going to lie. This is going to be brutal. You’ll be in the firing zone and you might end up with some broken limbs and a sore throat. It’ll be all worth it if we do this together. Do you understand?” One of the changelings raised their hooves. “Yes, Sergeant Twinkletoes?”

“It’s Larry.”

“Well now it’s Twinkletoes,” I glared at him, forcing the changeling to reel back in fear. “Problem Twinkletoes?”

“Actually yes,” another changeling with a deep voice spoke up. “I do have a problem. My name is Twinkletoes. If he’s Twinkletoes, does that mean I have to change my name too?”

“No,” I rubbed my forehead to ease the pain. “You’re still Twinkletoes.”

“So we’re both Twinkletoes?” The two changeling spoke up as one.

“No,” I sighed. “You’re still Larry.”

“Oh...Wait, which one is still Larry?”

I grit my teeth and smoke bellowed out of my nostrils as I snorted in anger. “Look, no one is getting there name changed. I was making a point!” It’s very hard to get a point across in this world. Many phrases or items were actually ponies names or nicknames as some preferred. It made for many situations like this one and my head did not need another massive headache.

“Well Candy,” Discord spoke up. His eyes were back to normal. “I’ve got to say, you suck at this.”

“I don’t suck.”

“I feel so bad for Shining right now,” Discord put a hand to his head daintily. “A wife that will not suck. Oh how droll your nights are.”

I blushed. “You…Just, shut up and listen to me. This is your next lesson and you better listen up good. If you mess this up, you’ll set yourself back big time.”

“What is this ‘oh’ so important lesson?” Discord leaned against a tree. His tail conjured an iced tea in a small glass cup and brought it up to his lips to drink.

“Song.”

Discord looked at me in confusion. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it enjoyable to confuse him. He’s the god of literal confusion. To make him go ‘what’ is just hilarious. ‘I so have to bring a camera with me one of these days. His face is priceless.’

“A song?” Discord asked. “Candy, forgive me if I’m mistaken, but don’t songs happen all the time in Equestria? How is something so mundane going to win the heart of dear Applejack?”

“This is no simple song, my apprentice of love,” I smirked. I never had a student before Discord. Oh yes, some of the ponies I hooked up needed some help, but not this much. He needed my guidance, especially for this issue. Songs were the lifeblood of ponies. We breath, live, and thrive off of them. They make us who we are. “This is a serenade.”

“A serenade?” Discord’s eyes literally sparkled with little stars. “Oh how wondrous. I’ve been thinking up this little number,” he flashed a mariachi band outfit and guitar. “Oh~”

Just by the first note, I knew this song was terrible. I lit my horn and the guitar was gone in a flash. I breathed a sigh of relief. “No mariachi band. Too silly.”

Discord pouted. “But I like being silly.”

“No, you like being stupid.” I pointed out.

Discord shrugged. “Tomato, potato.”

I sighed. “Discord, please be serious, at least for tonight. This song,” I put a hoof to my heart. “Has to come from here. Everything that you feel about her, everything she means to you, pour it into your music. A mare appreciates a good ballad.”

“And this will work?”

“It did for me,” I smiled as I drifted off into the land of memories. ‘Shining was so cute up there on the stage…And so hunky~ I do wonder if he still has that outfit. I would enjoy a…private performance.’ “And it will for you. This will be different, however, since it will be more personal. Singing underneath her windowsill, so late at night, shows your commitment and longing for her. This is our only shot, since it’s one of those ‘one time things’. Yes, once you get into the relationship, you can do it more often, but it isn’t the same.”

“Alright,” Discord nodded, but then pointed at the changelings. “But what’s with my sister’s goons?”

“They’re here for……………..” My brain practically shut down as I processed what he said. ‘Sister’s goons?!!!’

“Candy?” Discord snapped his fingers in front of my face and ears with four hands. “Candy?”

I shook my head. “What…What happened?”

“You zoned out for five moments,” Discord huffed. “I got so bored I had to play with those changelings.”

I turned my head to look over at the changelings. They were all dressed in clown costumes, held rubber axes, quoting Shakespeare, and a seal was currently bouncing a couple of them around like balls. “Discord….”

He sighed and snapped his fingers, returning everything to normal. The changelings sighed in relief, a feeling I could sympathize with. “Now, what about this serenade?”

“No, let’s backtrack a second here. Did you just say ‘sister’s goons’?”

Discord nodded. “Yeah, big sis is still Queen of the changelings, right? I never did get around to visiting her. I do so hope she got rid of that stick up her bum.”

“Your big sister,” I tried to explain, more to myself really. “Is Queen Chrysalis?”

Discord nodded.

“………..What is wrong with your family tree?”

Discord grinned. “Oh you don’t even know half of it.”
________________________________________________________________________
*Applejack*

There’s nothin’ better than a good night’s sleep after a hard day’s work. Trust me on this. My body was cravin’ some sweet, sweet slumber. Wasn’t suprisin’ neither. Ah didn’t have to do a lot of buckin’ or the like, but…that varmint Discord had gotten me all worked up. Ah got him eventually with my rope, but still, he riled me up somethin’ fierce. Not to mention Screwball bein’ his daughter. Ah still didn’t know why ah didn’t like the thought of him havin’ other kids with someone else. ‘None of my business. He aint mine.’

Ah shouldn’t have stayed up so late, but ah wanted to do a little late night apple buckin’ to clear my head. It was stupid of me, since ah really needed to get to sleep, but buckin’ helped calm my nerves. Now ah didn’t have to worry about nothin’ but sleep. Jumpin’ onto the bed, ah sighed in contentment. Ah nestled in good and tight, closin’ my eyes.

That is until somethin’ knocked against my window.

‘Ignore it. It’ll go away.’

More tappin’.

‘Don’t answer it.’

A rock smashed through the window.

“Consarnit!” Ah sprung up from my bed, glarin’ at the rock. “What the hay is this about?” Ah walked over to the window….And saw a bunch of neatly dressed changelings standin’ behind Discord. Somethin’ was wrong here. Ah aint one to hate on another race, but changelin’s usually were up to no good. It didn’t help that they were with Discord, who was dressed up in a nice tuxedo. His hair was done up and he was smilin’ up at me. Ah couldn’t help but blush a little and look away, but then ah remembered the rock and scowled. “YA THREW THE ROCK, DIDN”T YA?!!!”

“No,” Discord shook his head and gestured to the changeling to his right. “He did.”

To which the changeling received a nice, large rock to the head, knockin’ him out.

“Or was it the one on my left,” Discord scratched his chin, while the other changelings woke up their fallen with a few bursts of their magic. Discord wasn’t payin’ them no mind and shrugged. “Oh well.”

“Discord,” ah grit my teeth, wishin’ ah hit him instead with the rock. “What do ya want?”

“To sing!”

“Do ya want me to get my boots? Because ah will iff’n ya go through with that plan.”

Discord laughed. “Oh Applejack, you wouldn’t….” He teleported a foot to his right, to avoid a large boot, that knocked out another changeling. “Okay, you would.”

“Boss,” one of the changeling spoke up. “Can we do something that won’t get us hit in the head?”

Discord just stared at him for a moment. “You clearly don’t know who you’re dealing with, but maybe just this once….” Discord was cut off by a boot to the head. He yelped in pain and rubbed the bruise. “Applejack, just hear me out.”

“Nope,” ah threw another boot, smacin’ another changeling. Discord was a skittish critter. Ah was lucky to hit him the first time. Ah just had to be more precise from now on.

“Just one song,” Discord cupped his hands together. His tone and face were pleadin’ somethin’ fierce. “Please, that’s all I ask.”

Ah hesitated with the next boot. “Okay, just one. That’s it, y’all hear me?” They all nodded.

Discord beamed and then nodded to the changelings. Said changelings started chantin’, “Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga.” Over and over.

“I can't stop this feeling~

Deep inside of me~

Girl, you just don't realize~

What you do to me~”

‘Not a bad start,’ ah mused. It had a nice melody and the varmint hadn’t pulled any strange tricks. ‘Yet.’

“When I see you~

In the Sunshine~

I’ll let you know~

That your bod’s so fine~

‘My bod aint fine,’ my scowl grew deeper, but so did the heat in my cheeks.

“I’m hooked on this feeling~” Discord belted the last part out, turnin’ a finger into a microphone. The fella pulled it out of his hand, re-growing a finger in its place. Several instruments appeared in the hooves of the changelin’s and started up with him.

“I’m not shy with saying~

That I surely love thee~

Coat as fine as sunshine~

I just want another stroke~”

Ah had to admit that it was nice when he stroked me…Ah’d never tell him though.

“Oh I so want you as mine~

Or I’ll go for broke~

Got a thing for you girl~

I didn’t know what it was~

But now that I do~

I’ll just keep this buzz~” He mimed the beating of his heart with his hands. Shamed to say this, but ah found my hoof tappin’ along with the beat.

“All the good stuff~

We do all the time~

I want that girl~

Want you to be mine~” Discord teleported him and the changeling into nothin’….

Only to appear a second later, in my room.

“I’m hooked on this feeling~

I’m not shy with saying~

That I surely love thee~”

The changelin’s kept up playin’ while Discord kneeled down to my level. Okay, close enough. He was quite a tall varmint, ah’ll give him that. At least he craned his head down to look at me.

“So,” Discord started. “Swooning yet.”

Ah snorted and turned my head away. “No, I’m just mighty miffed at ya right now, teleportin’ into my room. Don’t ya know it’s impolite to do so without the mare’s permission? Actually, don’t ya know how annoyin’ it is to be wokin’ up so late?”

“You weren’t even asleep,” Discord rolled his eyes. He interrupted me before I could accuse him of spyin’. “I talked with Granny for a bit. You were doing some late night bucking to clear your head. So, I thought I’d try and cheer you up. A friend of mine suggested music could do the trick.”

“Cheer me up?”

Discord nodded. “I want you to be happy, my dear Applejack. A happy mare is a fun mare.”

Ah was actually touched by that. He wanted me happy? And he was so sincere about it. Ah knew he did care, but to go out of his way to actually sing me a ballad?...’Gosh darn it, pony biology. Why you’ve got to make us like music so much?’

“Well,” ah was so red in the face that ah swear ah could pass for a tomato. “Thank you….” Then, ah did somethin’ ah didn’t expect. Ah leaned over and kissed his cheek. Discord froze in shock. “But don’t be expectin’ more of that any time soon, ya hear? One kiss is all this is good fer.”

Discord just nodded. He looked so laughably stunned, but ah was too hot and bothered to make somethin’ of it. Honestly…ah don’t know what ah’d do if the changelin’s weren’t here. ‘Nope, not that far. Consarnit music.’

“Now get out of my room or ah’ll get the boots,” ah growled, glarin’ so hard as to pierce their hides. The changelin’s cried out in terror and rushed for the open window, twirlin’ me around in their panic. Thankfully, Discord caught me before ah bumped into somethin’. Ah harshly poked my hoof into his snout. “That goes double fer ya, varmint.”

Again, Discord nodded without a word. It was unsettlin’, seein’ him to quiet. ‘Did ah do that?’ He steadied me onto my hooves and disappeared in a flash. Ah went over and looked out the window, but none of them could be seen.

Ah sighed. “This is going to be harder than ah thought.” ‘Felt nice, bein’ held so gently….no, no, no. Don’t go thinkin’ he’s gentle. He’s up to somethin’. Ah just know it.’
___________________________________________________________________________________
*Cadance*

Victory always tastes so sweet. Oh and I was victorious tonight. Discord actually pulled my plan off without his usual antics. Oh I was so proud of him. I didn’t see what happened in the room however, so I don’t know if he messed it up. I didn’t hear any shouting, or cursing, nor was Discord or my/Chrysalis’s soldiers chucked out the window. So, I’ll just chalk it up to a good night’s work.

However, when Discord came walking over to me in a zombified daze, I frowned. “Discord,” I trotted over to him. “Are you alright?”

No answer.

“You can tell me.”

Again, no answer.

“Please just say something. You’re scaring me,” I nuzzled him. He was my friend, in a strange sort of way. I hated seeing him like this.

“YAHOO!” Discord cried out so suddenly, I jumped back. He shot into the air like a rocket, even leaving a thick trail of smoke behind him. Once in the air, heart shaped, fireworks burst all around him and he kept on dancing. “She kissed me. She kissed me. HAHA! She actually kissed me.”

I smirked. “I see it worked after all.”

I yelped as Discord appeared by my side and pulled me into a tight hug. “Oh, I have to thank you, Candy. You’re the best love goddess ever!”

“Hold your enthusiasm,” I chuckled. “We’re not done yet. We still have a long ways, before Hearts and Hooves Day. Though, if she did kiss you….cheek or lips?”

“Cheek,” Discord started nailing a picture frame into his cheek, over the supposed kissing spot.

“Ah,” I nodded. “Good. I knew Applejack wasn’t ready for lip contact yet, so this is very good. It’s a big step and we might be further along than I thought….And get rid of that frame. It’s kind of creepy, doing that.”

Discord rolled his eyes and tapped the picture frame. Said frame than turned into a bird/frog/thing and ribbit/chirped as it flew away. “As you wish.”

“Discord, stop messing with mother nature.”

“I’ll stop messing with her when she apologizes,” he crossed his arms and snorted. “Just because I pulled some innocent pranks, doesn’t mean she can sick her anti-chaos Timber Wolves on me. Come on, I was a kid. How was I supposed to know that Atlantis couldn’t handle a little water? They shouldn’t have had that plug in the first place….It was just begging to be pulled.”

“They had a plug?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I put it there, because I thought it would make the place look better,” Discord beamed in satisfaction.

“So,” I gave him my best ‘really?’ face. “You put a plug…in a city…that is above the water…to make it look better?”

“Yes,” Discord nodded.

“And then you pulled it?”

“Not automatically,” Discord rubbed his claws against his chest, like it was something to be proud of. “I mean, that would be stupid and reckless.”

I face-hooved. “Just….Let’s just plan for tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow~” Bright light shined behind Discord as he started singing again.

“No,” I harshly poked his chest. “No more singing! Just…just no more anything until I can wrap my head around all this nonsense.”

“That’s going to take a while.”

Jolly good day for a race

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*Cadance*

I was rather pleased with myself today. No, I was downright proud of myself. I, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, had convinced the god of chaos himself to use a serenade AND IT WORKED!

WHOO-HOO! Go me, uh-huh, go me. It’s my birthday. I’m awesome.

‘Calm down, me. We don’t want to stun Ponvyille into a stupor with our awe inspiring dance moves.’

‘Right,’ I inwardly giggled in embarrassment. It was no secret that I was an excellent dancer. I could make ponies drop their jaws at my moves. Okay, maybe that’s because my dancing is a little provocative, but I can’t help it. The world can’t handle the dance of love. Not even Chrysalis stands a chance and she’s been to hundreds of worlds. Okay, maybe she spent most of the time conquering it for her daddy, but still. I beat her. Even when we played ‘Death Dance’, I beat her. Though I sometimes get sliced up a bit during that game. Yeah, probably not our greatest idea.

Terrifyingly bad ideas aside, today was a momentous occasion. I was finally going to get my own hooves dirty and actually get myself into the game. I had been on the sidelines for too long. My shipping senses were going haywire from idle chit chat and such things, but I had to curtail those feelings. Applejack and Discord needed to strike a connection. They had, oh how swimmingly they had. Now it was my turn to help keep that connection alive and fan the flames of love. I just had to make sure of one thing.

“You can’t hang out with Applejack today.”

“What?” Discord looked aghast. It was early morning and the two of us were standing in the middle of the Apple’s property, some ways from the house. “Why should I ever stop hanging out with my dearest Applejack?” He conjured a big, Applejack plushie and cuddled it to his chest. “She’s my waifu.”

“Haven’t you heard the saying?” I asked him, to which the plushie answered with a shake of its head. I sighed. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The past few days, you’ve done nothing but tag along with her. While that’s good, she needs some space. Some time to think. She’ll be thinking of you, one way or another. She’ll miss having you around and she’ll realize that she actually likes you.”

“And where will you be during all of this?” Discord stroked his beard in thought. He let the plushie go, which neighed and sped off towards town. I quickly pondered just vaporizing it, but one plushie couldn’t do anything bad.

An army of plushies with chainsaws was another thing entirely. ‘Sometimes, I wonder how bucked up Equestria is when we produce villains who actually come up with stuff like that.’ A good question, which I thought long and hard during that fight.

I still didn’t have an answer, but I’d guess Equestria would be high on the ‘bucked up’ scale.

“I will be with Applejack,” I smiled, giddy with anticipation. “We’ll have a girls’ day out, just the two of us. During which time, I’ll be asking questions and trying to needle out some hints or ideas for the next few days. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to get her to confess her feelings to me. Shouldn’t be too hard, since I am kind of a psychologist. Comes with the job of being the goddess of love.”

“That sounds incredibly manipulative,” Discord’s smile grew from ear to ear, literally. “I like it.”

“I’m glad you do,” It’s nice to know others appreciate my hard work and ideas. I have no idea why some ponies think I’m crazy or too brash. I work differently with each couple. If some ponies wouldn’t be so hard headed, I wouldn’t get so many headaches.

“If I was to ever give up my godhood,” Discord started. “And I’m not saying I would. I love chaos far too much to consider that, but if I did, you’d be the first one to get it. I mean, you’re the most chaotic being I know and you think just like me.”

“No,” I shook my head. “I don’t. I’m far cleverer than you, Mr. I Don’t Know How To Love.” I giggled when he rolled his eyes. “Now, let’s get to it.”

“But what will I be doing today?”

I shrugged. “Maybe you could go and have fun. I wouldn’t suggest staying in Ponyville right now, since Applejack and I will be strolling on through it.”

“I think I’ll do just that,” Discord’s grin went up over his ears and he chuckled. “I have the perfect pony in mind.” He disappeared.

I had half a mind to go and stop him, but I had more important things to do. I’m sure whoever Discord decided to torment today was none of my concern. So, I marched on off to the Apple Family House.
_____________________________________________________________________________
*Rainbow Dash*

It’s not easy being awesome. Oh, some ponies think it is, but it’s not. It takes hard work and dedication to maintain this unbelievably high level of pure awesomeness. It’s a tough job, but somepony’s got to do it. I’m thinking for the little ponies here. They need an idol and who better an idol then me? I used to say that would be the Wonderbolts, but given my last experience with them…Yeah, I’m not sure of that anymore.

Anyways, I’m just chillaxing up on a cloud right now. I already finished the morning clear up, mostly by myself really. It’s spring-ish, so there aren’t a lot of clouds. I could do it faster with others, but I need the practice…okay, I still need others to do. We simply get the job done faster that way and I’ve been trying to cut down on the bravado recently.

Didn’t think I’d ever use the word ‘bravado’. Sounds so egghead.

Speaking of eggheads, I wonder how Twilight’s doing. I mean, she’s going to see the Reindeer. I’ve never met one myself, but my dad did once. He used to be a bit of an adventurer in his youth. That’s how he met my mom. My dad’s awesome adventures aside, he said that the Reindeer were tough creatures. They’d have to be in order to survive so far north. Hay, if even half of what my dad said was true, they’ve got to be awesome. Wish Twilight brought me with her, but that’s the ropes. Besides, Ponyville needed someone to look after it. There’s no telling what so of monsters could come stomping through town. I could take ‘em easy. Just a measly ten seconds is all I need, if that.

Today, however, it seemed there weren’t going to be any monsters, villains, or stallions trying to hit on her. Nope, it was smooth sailing from here on out.

“RAINBOW DASH!”

‘….FEATHERING HORSEAPPLES!’

I knew that voice, but why, oh Celestia WHY did he have to ruin my self-appointed do-nothing day? It’s because he’s a gigantic jerk with way too much time on his hands. Ugh, I hated him so much. I can’t believe we actually released this guy. I’d give anything to just put him back in stone, for a day at least. Anything to get away from his annoying voice…and that forsaken, high pitched honking noise.

“What is it Discord?” I opened my eyes.

Discord was currently riding around me on a tricycle, honking a small horn. “Are you up yet, Dashie? Are you up yet, Dashie?”

“I just opened my eyes and asked you a question,” I snarled. “I think that just answered your own question.”

Discord flashed on over to her, now wearing some Sherclop Holmes get up, complete with a magnifying glass. I quickly got to my hooves and reeled back at how close he was, especially since he was using said magnifying glass to peer rather creepily over me. “That’s hardly an answer. For all I know, you could be sleep walking.”

“Sleep walking?” I pushed him away. My scowl grew that much deeper. “What the hay gives you that idea?”

“Well Dashie, you have all the signs of a walker,” Discord passed the magnifying glass over me, which really creeped me out. “Tangled feathers, slow movements, why you even have baggy eyes,” he smirked as he looked me in the face. “Tell-tell signs of a sleepwalker. I should know, I’m the one that invented it.”

“You invented sleep walking?”

Discord nodded. “Why should ponies just be active when they’re awake? It’s so much fun to mess with them when they’re sleeping, add in some magic and wa-la~ Sleepwalking.”

“That explains so much, yet so little.”

“Sums up my conversations quite nicely,” Discord chuckled and willed away his clothes. “Of course, I know a sure fire way to tell if you really are awake or not.”

I know I shouldn’t ask how. I really, really know I shouldn’t, but my mouth didn’t seem to catch that memo. “How?” ‘Maybe if I humor him, he’ll….’

I yelped in pain as something sharp hit my butt. Flapping hard, I hovered over the cloud to see Discord’s tail underneath me. It was holding a tack. Said spirit was now flying next to me and shaking my hoof. “Congratulations. You’re awake. Well done, Dashie. Well done.”

I scowled and pulled my hoof away from his grasp. “What the hay are you doing here?”

“I’m bored,” Discord drooped.

“You’re bored?” I couldn’t hate him more even if I tried. “Why don’t you go hang out with Fluttershy or Pinkie Pie?”

“Pinkie’s in Canterlot and Fluttershy caring for some of the new baby animals,” Discord huffed. “She says the poor dears don’t need a fright. Poor dears, my chaos. She was housing manticore cubs. Those things can kill you lickety-split no problem.”

Right, Fluttershy still cares for Manny. It’s almost like yesterday when we had to face him….I still think Nightmare Moon was kind of lame. I mean, she turned herself into a thorn? Really? I mean, I didn’t know that until Luna told me. A mad manticore with a thorn in his paw is lame enough, but using a piece of herself? ‘I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Sombra was a better villain than her.’

“So why me?” Dang it, I did it again!

“Well,” Discord grinned and vanished and appeared right next to me wearing a Twilight wig, horn, and wings. He held out a giant book with one arm and pulled me close with the other. “I wanted to annoy, I mean aid Twilight but she’s off meeting with the reindeer.” A picture of Discord dodging fire laced pikes filled the pages. “Yeah, me and the reindeer don’t see eye to eye.”

“Gee, I wonder why?”

“As do I,” Discord huffed. “You’d think they’d have a sense of humor. I mean, I best their ruler, Santa Hooves, once and introduce a little chaos and….”

“Wait, you beat Santa Hooves?”

Discord nodded. “He was a toughie, I’ll give him that. Why, I think he’d even give Mother Nature a run for her money.”

“…What the hay is wrong with you?” Discord, the Discord, beat one of the most treasured beings of charity and good will in the world. ‘He is so on the naughty list forever.’

Discord paused and gave me his best ‘You seriously have to ask that?’ face. I grinned sleepily and kept quiet. “He was a good sport and took it like a champ,” Discord whipped up a golden medal, saying ‘Biggest Jerk’. “He even gave me this afterwards. I wear it proudly to this day. Kind of feel guilty about it though, but really, I couldn’t let that goodie four shoes get in my way of world domination. So, I banished him to a world populated by monkeys…He somehow came back soon after my downfall.”

“That still doesn’t explain why you chose me to hang out with,” I said. “Also,” I punched his side and he cringed. “That’s for messing with the big SH.”

Discord rubbed his side. “I deserved that, but to answer your question.” He vanished again, reappearing this time with a Celestia get-up underneath me. I let out a little yelp as I found myself laying on his head, between his horns. “I wanted to tease big-ole, Celly Welly, but I can’t find her anywhere.” He vanished and reappeared again with a Luna cosplay. He started juggling me. “Then I thought to bother Lulu, but I told myself that she’s a no-fun stick up her bum princess. Good for a laugh at her expense, but not for a day of jolly cooperation.” He vanished and once more appeared with an Applejack get up. With a twirl of his rope, I was hogtied. I scowled at him, but he didn’t notice. “I wanted to hang out with my dear Applejack, but Candy said that was a no-no.”

He then vanished once more, taking me to the cloud this all began. “So it was down to you and Rarara, but she’s in Canterlot too. Besides, she’s my drama-pal and drama-pals don’t mess with each other…much.” He chuckled darkly.

“….Drama-pal?” Stop it mouth! I don’t want to know these things! He’s going to say or do something incredibly annoying. ‘I so want to punch him in the face.’

“Fluttershy wanted me to get to know you ponies better and I thought it was a wonderful idea. Really, why not? Fluttershy has the right idea and who knows what could transpire if I just hung out with her all day and you lot ignored me out of spite. I mean, anything could happen. She could turn into a draconequus. My powers could infect the wildlife and they rise up against their pony rulers. I could grow resentful of your distrust and turn on you all when the next card carrying villain arrives.”

“WHAT?!!”

“But that’s not going to happen, because me and Rarara are drama-pals~” Discord said in a sing song voice. “We found we both loved drama shows so much that we often go and see them together. I say, she is the most delightful fashionista I’ve ever met…Okay, she’s pretty much the only one I’ve hung out with ever, but still.” He frowned. “Although, Scarlot so belonged with Bumblebee.”

“HICCUP WAS HER SOULMATE!” Somehow, I could actually hear Rarity scream all the way from Canterlot. That mare has some seriously good lungs.

“THAT ROMANCE WAS CLICHÉ AND YOU KNOW IT!” Discord hollered back.

“CLICHÉ MY WELL MANICURED HOOVES! HICCUP NEEDED SCARLOT AND SHE NEEDED HIM!”

“GET WITH THE PROGRAM! HICCUP ENDING UP WITH SCARLOT WAS STUPID! SHE NEVER SAW ANYTHING IN HIM UNTIL HE ACTUALLY TAMED THAT BEAST! SHE JUST WANTED HIS FAME!”

“NEIGH! SHE SAW HIS DETERMINATION! HIS WILL TO BETTER THE TOMORROW! SHE REALIZED THAT SHE WAS WRONG AND LOVED HIM TRULY!”

“SHE WAS AN AXE WIELDING TRAMP!”

“OH WE’LL SEE IN THE SEQUEL, DARLING. THEN YOU’LL SEE I’M RIGHT, LIKE I WAS WITH HOBBLE AND SPARKLE!”

Discord sniffed. The god of chaos was actually breaking up into tears. “YOU WIN THAT ONE….THEY WERE SO ADORABLE TOGETHER!”

“I KNOW!”

‘Please, whatever god can hear me, please just end me now.’ I groaned, clutching my ears from the yelling contest. “Are you done now?”

“Yes,” Discord wiped his tears away on his arm. “Now….What shall we do?”

“How about play ‘Leave me alone’,” I offered.

“Sounds dull and uncreative,” Discord pouted like a child would. Then, his face split into a rather terrifying grin. “How about a race?”

Terrifying grins aside, my ears perked at the last word. “Race? Me and you?” He nodded and I laughed. “That’s a good one. Seriously, I’m the best flyer in Equestria. I could fly circles around you with my eyes closed.”

Discord shook his head and booped my nose with a finger. “No, no, no, not that type of race. I’m talking about a race where we’re both on equal terms.”

I raised an eyebrow, but kept silent for a moment. That did sound interesting and I kind of wanted to hear it out. “Go on.”

“I’ve been to many worlds and in all those travels, I found a few that would suit our needs perfectly,” Discord clapped his hands and the next thing I know, I was behind some kind of wheel, inside a metal carriage of sorts, and wore some strange suit and helmet that looked like a morphed version of a Wonderbolt outfit.

“What the….”

“Dashie~” Discord chimed from the ‘metal carriage’ beside me. The both of us were on the ground now, somewhere outside Ponyville. “First one to the other side of Ponyville wins.” He sent me a confident smirk.

I returned it. “You’re on.” I took hold of the wheel. ‘Maybe Discord isn’t such a bad guy.’

Wacky Racers~

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Ya know, there are a bunch of things that most ponies don’t even take a moment to blink at. It happens and they don’t find it weird or nothin’. Well, it happened to me. It’s been happenin’ to me all mornin’.

Ah yawned.

Ah’m used to getting’ up early in the mornin’, only a few hours of sleep in between that and shuteye. Yeah, ah’ve yawned before. Ah’m not some changelin’ in disguise or anythin’ like that. It’s just….Ah’ve never been so tired. Okay, besides that one Apple Buckin’ Season. No, this was different. Ah wasn’t tired because ah was workin’ too hard. Ah was tired because ah was thinkin’ too hard.

That blasted spirit kept me up all night thinkin’ about him. ‘Now look at me. Ah’m scruffier than a beaver in a tornado. Why couldn’t he have done it some other time? On second thought, why couldn’t he have not done it at all?!!’

Music means a lot to us ponies. It makes us happy, sad, whatever else it needs to. It’s our lifeblood, like apples is for my family. Discord singin’ to me….It just made me want to give him a chance. Ah hated him for it. Stoopin’ to that level and gettin’ me to kiss him….Even if he felt nice. Ugh!

So here ah was, fumin’ at Discord, tired, and standin’ right outside my home. Ah yawned once more, rubbin’ my eyes. “Another day….” Ah sighed.

“And what a beautiful day it is,” ah heard Cadance’s voice chime.

Ah turned to find the Princess trottin’ up beside me. She wasn’t wearin’ any of her regalia, but she was still all gussied up like Rarity with her mane and all. Aint for me to judge. She’s my best friend and ah know Cadance is a nice pony. “Princess Cadance, what are ya doin’ here?”

“Please, it’s just Cadance,” she waved her hoof to dismiss the thought. “A friend of Twilight’s is a friend of mine. Besides, I never really liked the formality. Never have really. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t always royalty.”

“Wait, what?” Ah blinked in confusion. ‘What the hay is she talkin’ about?’

“I know what you’re thinking,” Cadance chuckled. “What the hay am I talking about?”

‘Ah’m not that easy to read.’

“It’s simple really,” Cadance puffed out her chest. “I was once a pegasus. A little Pegasus flying around her mom as we traveled the globe. I miss that freedom sometimes.” She frowned. “A princess has to make some sacrifices however. So I can’t go adventuring like I used to.”

…She’s lyin’ about the whole adventurin’ thing. Ah could see her ears twitch awkwardly at that. Ah wasn’t gonna bring that up though. That was her business. Twilight goes off all the time. “So what brings ya here?”

“I wanted to repay you for you pies the other day.”

Ah snorted. “That all? Shoot, ya don’t have to. That was just good ol’ Apple hospitality.”

Cadance shook her head. “No, I insist. It would be ill begotten of me to mooch off my auntie’s subjects. I am going to pay you back and there is nothing you can do about it.”

Ah sighed. There wasn’t any way ah could needle my way through this. “Fine, but ah aint doin’ much today. There isn’t that much left on the farm to do. Still, yer a princess. Farmwork isn’t your forte.”

“Splendid,” Cadance smiled. “If that’s true, then why don’t we head on into town. I’m sure there are some things there we both can appreciate.”

Ah chewed my lip as ah thought it over. Hanging out with a princess wasn’t somethin’ ah felt comfortable with, but she was pretty much Twilight’s sister. It’d be rude to say no. Besides, she’s a nice pony all around. It’d might do me some good to get to know her. “Alright,” ah nodded. “Ah don’t see the harm in a little stroll.”

“Very well then,” Cadance said. “Let us be off.”
_________________________________________________________________________

Racing is in my blood. My father was a racer, so was my grandmother. It kept going back generation after generation. So, yeah, I’m bred to be the ultimate racer. So it was strange that I wanted to be a Wonderbolt. I mean, I’m an only kid. I was supposed to carry out the tradition. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome tradition. There’s no feeling in the world like leaving ponies in the dust. I love it to pieces, but I wanted to be different. I wanted something else. I wanted to be a Wonderbolt because they were awesome. I was awesome. We fit….And I didn’t want to be just another racer in the family. If I was going to be remembered, I was going to be remembered as the first Wonderbolt in my family. Of course……The past year I’ve been rethinking it more and more. I took the tests, passed boot camp, hay, I even befriended some of the leading members. Yet, this race….Maybe it’d get me rethinking a lot of things.

What am I doing, being all sappy. I’m Rainbow Dash, fastest thing alive. I had a race to win.

“Got to say, Discord.” I piped up out the window. I had to yell because whatever this thing was, it was loud. It still felt awkward having to push some ‘lever’ on the ground with a hoof as I steered a wheel to turn this thing. It was amazing though, so I pushed through it. “These things are awesome.”

“That’s monkey ingenuity for you, Dashie.” Discord laughed, sending me a mischievous grin. “Lucky for me, I’m part monkey.”

“No you’re not.”

“How do you know?” Discord tilted his head. “Are you psychic?” He gasped, which caused his moving carriage to jump up into the air as it moved. “You are, aren’t you?”

“I’m not psychic,” I glared at him. Honestly, does he just make this stuff up, or is he that stupid?

“Then you won’t see this coming,” Discord pushed the middle of his wheel and his car shot a blotch of black gook out in front of me.

Instantly, I started to lose control. I panicked, which happens more than I’d like to admit. I tried to get it under control, but it kept spinning on me. My hoof hit the middle of the wheel and….I was instantly in front of Discord. ‘This thing can teleport?...Sweet.’ Glancing at a random lever that appeared, I smirked. It had flames painted all over it. It had to do something cool. Pulling it, a massive gush of flames came out the backside, flaring over Discord’s carriage. The next thing I know, I’m going three times as fast. I could literally feel my skin tighten as everything became a blur.

“This….is….AWESOME!”

And then it stopped…..Unfortunately, that meant I slammed right into the windshield….Ugh, this was almost as painful as slamming into the ground doing a loop de loop. Pulling myself off it, I peered outside…to find myself stuck in a load of mud. “Great….” I moaned. I was stuck in Froggy Bottom Bogg. Just great….

Discord’s laughter didn’t help much. I looked up to see his carriage, which now had four, giant mechanical legs which ran through the sludge. “Awww, Dashies’ stuck. Tragic~”

I grit my teeth. “No one mocks Rainbow Dash.” Yeah, I tend to speak in third person when I get angry. Happens. Luckily for me, a random button appeared. Shrugging, I just pushed it. I didn’t have anything to lose. The next thing I knew I was piloting a hydra.

You heard me. A hydra! I have become the most epic being that has ever lived. Seriously, if you looked up the word epic, you’d find me in this thing. Oh I so had to thank Discord for this. Well, after I beat his scrawny flank in this race. The new Hydra-carriage quickly ran through the swamp. The Hydra I was in had two heads, which suited me fine. ‘Cause when I got to Discord, I pushed some lever and the head the second head shot out and bit one of the scrawny, metal legs of his machine. With a might jerk, I sent him flying behind me, a twinkle in the sky. Please with myself, I kept going….Until I bumped into the chest of a larger hydra.

‘Oh yeah….forgot about him.’ I gulped. I looked up in fear…Only to have the fear of being eaten replaced with something else.

‘I’m piloting a girl hydra, aren’t I?’ The way the guy hydra was looking at me, yeah I was. I really hated that random button. Why couldn’t these things be labeled, or in some order instead of appearing and disappearing? Wait, this was Discord. It wasn’t supposed to make sense. This race was going to be zany the whole way through.

So here I was, in a female Hydra, with a large male lusting after me….This is just one of those days.

I couldn’t help but feel awkward as the Hydra cooed and rubbed his heads against ‘mine’. I’m not exactly used to guys taking an interesting in me in the first place. Eh, they just weren’t on my level. Now to get it from an animal? Yeah, kind of creepy and a bit of a slap to the face. In one of the Hydra’s mouths, it had…a giant rose…and it was gesturing lewdly with all of its eyebrows. This is just getting disgusting. What’s next, is it….

GOING TO KISS ME, HOLY BUCK!

I pushed on the wheel with everything I had. Swiftly, the hydra carriage I was driving smashed into the other Hydra with enough force to knock it off its feet. Without thinking, I just ran over it. He’d live. I, however, would be forgetting that ever happened. Maybe I could hit up Berry Punch soon. She always had the best booze. ‘I’m going to need a barrel’s worth.’

I quickly covered my ears when a loud boom smashed through the air. Sometimes I hate how sensitive pony ears can be. Like how I have to wear protective head gear and stuff to cover my ears during some stunts, or shooting ranges. Come on, those things look so goofy. Looking to my side, I saw Discord’s carriage flying?!! ‘The hay?’

It didn’t have any wheels underneath anymore. Instead it had just two sleets of rectangles for wings and some funnel at the end with blue fire coming out of it. Discord, the big jerk, smirked and gave me a two fingered salute. His carriage carried his sorry flank past me. I grit my teeth. “Two can play it that game.” Pushing another random button that appeared, my carriage turned into an exact copy of his. “Let’s see you outfly this.” I grinned as I blasted off after him. It didn’t take me long to catch up, but he was still ahead of me.

Thankfully, a new button appeared. It was a pink one with Pinkie’s cutie mark on it. I raised a questioning eyebrow, but just did it anyways. The random buttons hadn’t failed me yet. As I pushed it, two awesomely styled, party cannons shot out of the front of the carriage. ‘This is just like those geeky comics Spike reads….Not that I read them, I only glance at them.’ Yeah….glance. I’m not a nerd!

Next thing I know, I have a screen hovering above me that cuts to….

“Pinkie?”

“Hi Rainbow Dash,” Pinkie waved at me from the monitor. “Whatcha doing?”

“Racing,” I snorted. “What else?”

“Awesome,” Pinkie hoof-pumped. “I bet you like those new party cannons, right?”

“They look cool….Wait, how do you know about them?”

“I designed them silly,” Pinkie’s smile grew brighter. She put up a proud front. “You can’t have a silly race without cannons on your car. Anyways, let’s get it started shall we? See the screen here?” Pinkie’s section of the screen zoomed to the corner where some locking type system popped up.

“Hey, it’s like those arcade games,” I smiled. I’m going to be truthful with myself. I am a killer at those things. My high scores are the stuff of legends. There’s no way anyone can beat them. Not even that propeller hatted colt.

“Yepper roonie!” Pinkie giggled. “The cannons have two ways of firing. For rapid fire shot, squeeze the bars on your controller wheel.”

Looking at my wheel, I noticed to bar inside the loops. Stretchting my hooves a bit, I squeezed them. Instantly, the guns opened fire, shooting pellets of confetti at Discord’s carriage. Discord was quick, I had to give him that. He dodged the shots quite well….for an old stallion. I was going to bring him down one way or another.

“Press B to lock on.”

“B?” What do you know? There are letters on the wheel. Pushing it, the screen locked on to Discord’s carriage.

“Good,” Pinkie said. “Now….”

“Pinkie, what are you doing?” Suddenly, a gray stallion walked into the screen. A foreign stallion, given how he sounded like those Germane villains in those movies. That kind of sounded a bit racist now that I think about it. Nothing against Germane. They’re cool.

“We’re playing a game,” Pinkie squealed, kissing his cheek.

“Wait, who is that guy?” Rainbow balked. Pinkie just kissed somepony. She never kissed somepony…Except her parents….and her other parents…and her friends….Okay, she ‘kissed’ ponies, but that was just friendship kisses on the cheek. That was a special somepony kiss. “And why the hay are you kissing him?”

“He’s my coltfriend~” Pinkie pulled him in close.

“Your coltfriend?” I nearly lost control of my wheel at that. I mean, come one. He was a stuffy noble guy. I remember him from the Grand Galloping Gala. There was no way I was hearing this right. “For how long?”

“Since yesterday,” Pinkie looked at him in bliss and he chuckled.

“And how long have you known him?”

“Yesterday,” Pinkie shrugged. “But kind of a few months if you count the time we rubbed butts together.”

Okay, I’m not the blushing type. I seriously am not, but that? My face was red as a tomato, just like the guys. “Pinkie! You don’t just do that kind of stuff to ponies you just met.”

“We just rubbed butts,” Pinkie snorted. “I mean, come on. I rubbed that one mare’s butt with my face and nopony batted an eye.”

………….”Pinkie, do you ever stop and think before you act?” I deadpanned.

“Sometimes,” Pinkie shrugged. “I like to mix it up a bit.”

“Pinkie,” the stallion said. “We’re going to be late for the play.”

“Right after I help Rainbow defeat this boss,” Pinkie pouted and turned back to me. “Sorry about Frederic. He’s kind of a serious pony.”

“Somepony has to be,” Frederic rolled his eyes.

Pinkie nuzzled him. “Yeppie, but now to Dashie. To use the missiles, just push the B button again.”

“This is going to be wicked,” I grinned deviously. With a savage press of my hooves, a yellow rocket snaked its way over to Discord.

And then everything was ducks.

Come on, give it a try

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Princess Cadance

Over the years and with so many couples I’ve brought together, I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping my cool. Oh yes, I wanted to squeal and gush over this pair. I wanted to spill everything to Applejack and make her see that Discord was the one and only being for her. However, I knew that wouldn’t work though. That would be incredibly stupid and only would succeed in sabotaging Discord’s efforts. I had to keep my cool and ease her into it.

For that, I needed to know more about Applejack. Oh, I knew quite a bit from Twilight’s letters. They were formal, but lacked the certain ‘spark’ you can only get when in close quarters. It’s why I prefer to meet up with my ‘clients’ before I do anything. So, in all the time Discord was running about acting like a child, I was gathering Intel. I don’t mean to brag, but intelligence gathering is a strong point of mine. How else am I supposed to pair up two beings? I would use it to spy on Chrysalis to figure out her schemes, but she’s a ‘go with the flow’ kind of mare so that’s useless. I just spy on her for other reasons.

Personal reasons………

Okay, I spaced out there for a moment. Back to the present. My Intel told me she was an athletic, hard worker. Since I wanted to keep her mind off work and away from anything too distracting, I decided to get her to take a run with me around Ponyville. Simple enough. I may have been born a pegasus, but I’ve got earth pony strength now that I’m an alicorn. Makes adventuring so much easier that way. Now I can run for days on end. I once did when Chrysalis and I had to outrun her blood thirsty Uncle. ‘Just because we broke his skull throne, doesn’t mean he had to try and kill us. That was rude. Not to mention his three headed dog. It’s not like he doesn’t have enough followers and skulls all over the place to make a new one. Come on, mister blood god, use your head.’

I shook my head clear. I didn’t need to be thinking about past exploits. The bloody fields of carnage and death were fun, but I needed to be in the ‘zone’ right now. That zone included wearing tight clothes and sweatbands. Oh yes, the clothes weren’t ‘too’ tight and allowed us to breath, but they so clearly showed off our curves. I personally got this red and black set for myself after seeing my little snuggle wuggle drool at the very sight of me in it. ‘Oh it’s been days since we snuggled. I need a snuggle marathon after this.’

Yes, it made us look sexy as we exercised. I was hoping Discord, while keeping to the shadows, would see it. I would give anything to capture his face at that moment.

Thinking of sexy, I hoped Shining is doing alright. He’s a competent ruler and can hold his own, not to mention he’s a real down to earth pony. The Crystal ponies loved him, so there wasn’t anything bad that could happen. Still, this is Equestria. Bad stuff happens everywhere and at any time. Maybe Chrysalis decided to stop by and help. She’s such a good friend like that. ‘And if she took over, then I’ll get an epic battle in my home city. It’s a win/win.’

“So Cadance,” Applejack’s voice broke me out of my clothing thoughts. “How’ve ya been?”

“Good for the most part,” I admitted. “It’s a little boring, but I have Shining and so many adoring subjects. They are such a lovely bunch. I’m sure you’d love a stay there.” I hoped she did. Her pies were to die for. My subjects needed those pies!

“Maybe,” Applejack nodded. “Ah sure did like it up there, but ah never did get the chance to really enjoy it….” She frowned. “Say, ah never did ask why ya wanted us to show the game inspector around instead of a tour guide or somethin’. Ya know, somepony who actually knew the Empire.”

I shrugged. “Hey, you’re national heroes. I thought the inspector would be impressed by that alone. That and I really thought Twilight went over the Empire with you guys. I sent her so many books about the place, it isn’t funny.” Which is true. I wanted Twilight and her friends to be as prepared as possible before their arrival. As well, I thought it would have been an excellent time for some catch up between me and Twilight.

“Nah,” Applejack shook her head. “She was more focused on our routine. She really wanted to impress that inspector with it.”

I sighed. “Of course.” Well, they impressed her alright. Impressed her with how awful a guide can really be. I seriously still can’t believe they just grabbed some random pony because she had the same bag. Didn’t they get a description of her, or, I don’t know, a photo! ‘Calm down, Cadance. That was the past. You won in the end.’ “So I take it that you and Discord are familiar with each other?”

Applejack frowned. “Unfortunately.”

“Oh I wouldn’t say that,” I smiled. “When I sat with him, he went on about how fun you were to be around.”

“Yeah,” Applejack snorted, rolling her eyes. “Fun isn’t a word ah’d use in this case.”

“Why?” I asked. I was going to needle this mare for all its worth. “I thought he was fun to hang around.”

“He is not fun,” Applejack shot at me. “He’s more annoyin’ than a hornets nest and far more destructive. Ah oughta kick his flank all the way to Tartarus for how he’s been treatin’ me.”

“If that was true,” I pointed out. “Why haven’t you yet?”

Applejack was silent and I noticed a twinge of red on her cheeks. “Never got around to it.” She held her head high, flicking her tail in annoyance. “He ain’t worth the effort.”

Oh she had it bad. She had it really bad. I giggled inwardly at the display. It was still budding, so it wasn’t love. However, with my expertise I’d be hearing wedding bells and little hooves/paws scampering about in no time. She just needed a push.

“I think he could be,” I held up a hoof to stall her rebuttal. “Hear me out. I’m just an observer, an outside party. Yet, when I see Discord talking to you, or about you, he seems so happy.”

“Yeah, ‘cause he likes messin’ with me.” Applejack snorted and looked away.

“That’s his way of showing you he cares,” I retorted. “He doesn’t act like we do, or follow normal codes of conduct. He never will, no matter how much we try to change him. He is the god of chaos for a reason and he does care for you deeply.”

“Deeply?” Applejack turned to look at me skeptically. “Ah barely know him.”

“Do you really?” I raised an eyebrow.

“Okay,” Applejack conceded. “Ah know him a little. He ain’t that bad of a varmint as ah thought, but he’s still pretty much a nuisance. The sooner he’s off my farm, the better.”

“Oh? You wouldn’t miss him or his antics at all?”

Applejack didn’t answer for a moment. “Maybe a little, but that don’t mean ah like him as much as he ‘thinks’ he likes me.”

“I can assure you. He really does care. I’m the god of love for a reason, Applejack. I can sense these things and no form of magic or gadget can hide that from my gaze.”

“So what?” Applejack scoffed. “He’s madly in love with me? Give me a break. This is just some game for him.”

“This isn’t a game to him!” I said with force, causing Applejack to flinch at the harshness of it. My wings had flared in my anger. I calmed myself down, unfurling my wings. I get a bit aggressive when someone tries to call out love itself. “I’m sorry for that.”

“No problem.”

“Discord is not playing a game. He may not ‘love’ you, but he wants to. He may be exaggerating certain feelings, but he wants to care for you. He wants you to care for him.”

“Then why don’t he go after Fluttershy?” Applejack scowled. “She likes him fine enough.”

“Because he doesn’t love her in that way,” I shot back. My wings were twitching in irritation so much that I thought I was going to rub my fur off. “He cares for her deeply, more so than most beings will ever care for another, but that love is not one you share with a mate. He loves her as a friend, as family. He can’t move past that and I don’t think Fluttershy wants to either. That love they share is wonderful, but he wants to share another with you. Please, give him a chance.”

Applejack didn’t say anything to me. Well, not at first anyways. She seemed lost in her own thoughts. I could tell she was mulling it over, obviously conflicted about this whole thing. I hated seeing ponies like this. Romance, while beautiful, can be rather tough and sometimes it can hurt. The whole experience can be a bit too much for some, or it’s far too rushed and they’re overwhelmed. Well, that wouldn’t happen here.

I put a comforting wing around her. “I know this is all so sudden and you’re nervous. I’d be nervous too if some stallion just sprung this on me with little to no provocation.” Little lies couldn’t hurt.

“Ah’m not nervous,” Applejack said before sighing. “Okay, ah am a little. Ah like him, okay. He’s not that bad now that ah’ve actually spent some time with him. It’s just…. Ah don’t know if he’s gonna stick to this. He’s Discord. He hops around from one thin’ to another. He could love me today, but he could also love Carrot Top or Berry Punch tomorrow. Ah ain’t the most ‘interestin’’ pony, well, not to someone like him. Ah’m just a farmer.”

“Well ‘just a farmer’, I personally think you’re very interesting.” I quipped. “You don’t have to be Pinkie Pie levels of spontaneous to interest him. You just have to be you.”

Applejack furrowed her brow. “What’s that supposed to mean? Compared to Pinkie, ah’m borin’ fer the likes of him. Hay, ah don’t even like the same stuff as him. We don’t have anythin’ in common.”

“And that’s why he wants you,” I stated with conviction. “He likes the differences. You two play off each other so well. Haven’t you heard the phrase ‘opposites attract’?”

“Yes,” Applejack grumbled.

“Then please, give Discord a chance. I personally promise to stay and look over him for a while. I’ll make sure he doesn’t overstep his boundaries. If he isn’t the one for you, then I’ll deal with him myself.” That was the truth, but I knew otherwise. I hoped she’d take that. Then I wouldn’t have to sneak around so much and risk this whole thing.

Applejack sighed and nodded. “Okay, ah’ll take yer word fer it. Ah’ll give him a real chance…but don’t expect anythin’ from it.” She grouched, blushing.

‘Tsun, tsun, my little dere dere.’ I thought with inward laughter. “We’ll see.”

And then a plastic duck landed on my muzzle.

“What the…” Applejack said, before one landed on her head. All of a sudden, there was a storm of them falling to the ground. “Dang nabbit, Discord!” She yelled as she sighted a couple strange, flying carriages. She took off after them.

I sighed. “Oh how love can make even I sigh in agitation at times.” I took off after her.
___________________________________________________________
*Rainbow Dash*

“DO A BARREL ROLL!” Pinkie shouted from the monitor.

You know, when I was a little filly, I wished upon a star that I’d have an interesting life. It really wasn’t until two years ago that it really took effect. Now, I wish I had worded it a bit differently. I gripped the wheel and span my carriage to the side, avoiding a majority of the duck rain. Some of them still hit me, but they were small and made of plastic. Honestly, this whole thing seemed really-

“Quack.”

I turned my head to see a plastic duck with a monocle and top hat. “How did you get in here?”

“That’s your bonus duck, silly.” Pinkie explained with an upbeat smile like she usually did. “As you progress through this race, you can find them and gain neat stuff like extra lives, deleted scenes, or cool new gadgets.”

I stared at her for a minute, trying to process how she knew all of this. I know it’s Pinkie Pie, I shouldn’t question it, but sometimes….. “Wait a minute, did Discord design this track like a video game.”

“Well duh,” Pinkie said. “Those are the best kind.”

I smirked. “Yeah, ‘cause I’m awesome at video games. Oh, he’s losing big time. I don’t have the all time high score in ‘Lunar Escapades’ for nothing.” Yeah, I like to fly and all that, but when I’m not exercising or reading, I like to hit up the arcade and play a few games. Well a few is selling it short. I’ve won them all. I’m a gamer as much as a fan of Daring Do…Okay, scratch that. Almost as much. I mean, really. What can be cooler than Daring Do? She’s epic! She got me into writing after all.

I even write stories about her occasionally. ‘I so ship her with Ahuizotl.’ Of course, those ship fics would probably never see the light of day. I’d make sure of that. “Alright, duck. Let’s see what you’ve got.” She tapped the duck and it popped like a bubble. Just then, a grappling hook appeared on her flying carriage. She grinned and pressed a button. The grappling hook shot forward and hooked onto Discord’s carriage. A bolt of electricity went through the cable and into the other flyer. Pulling back, it sent him into a spin that ended with a loud crash while propelling her forward. “GET ON MY LEVEL, NOOB!” I laughed. I was so going to win this.

That’s when I heard something behind me. Something big. Something loud. I turned my head and SWEET CELESTIA! A GIANT ROBOT LIZARD!

Yes, apparently Discord used ‘hax’ and made his carriage into a large robot lizard. It was something I’d see in a monster movie, it was so terrifying. Its roar cut right through me and rocked my very core. The spikes on its back lit up and I knew this wasn’t going to end well for me.

Then it fired a beam of energy out of its mouth and my world turned white.

Super Battle Robots! (Off-screen)

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Ya know what? Over the years, ah’ve discovered that anger gives ya a strength boost. Yeah, it makes ya dumb, but there ain’t no better way to get yer muscles pumpin’. Like now fer example. If’n any critter can make me angrier than a rampaging bronco, it’d be Discord. Why, ah didn’t even know the depth of my anger till he showed up. Now he was messin’ with the weather and draggin’ somepony into a race with his confangled flyin’ contraptions. Ah wasn’t gonna let this one go. No sirree bob, he was gonna get it.

“Applejack,” Cadance ran beside me. “Wait.”

It still surprises me how athletic she is. Must’ve been specialized trainin’ or somethin’. Ah mean, she was bein’ groomed to take over an empire ran by a daemonic unicorn overlord. Ya’d have to be pretty strong to do that. “Why?”

“You’re rushing into something without thinking.”

“No, ah’m gonna see what Discord’s up to. If he’s bein’ stupid, which he always is, ah’ll just knock a little sense into him.”

“How much is a little?”

“How far is Tartarus?” Ah snidely commented.

Cadance just laughed in response. “I doubt it will be that bad. I thought the duck rain was amusing.”

It kind of was. They didn’t hurt nothin’, bein’ small and rubber. Still, ah had to show Discord that it ain’t right to be doin’ stuff like that.

‘Why?’

‘Cause...Just cause. Ah don’t want any of that chaos magic on my farm.

‘It wasn’t on yer farm. Yer just tryin’ to find somethin’ to be mad at him fer.’

Ah wasn’t tryin’. Somepony could get hurt.

‘By Rubber ducks?’

Ah growled in anger. Ah couldn’t think of anythin’ to counter that.

“Applejack?” Cadance asked, drawin’ my attention to her. She was givin’ me a concerned gaze, just like the one’s ah give Apple Bloom now an’ again. “You need to calm down. Anger doesn’t suit you.”

“I’d have to disagree with you,” Discord piped up….

Ah did a double take. Discord was joggin’ backwards besides us, standin’ on his hindlegs. He was wearin’ a simple joggin’ outfit and headband. “Discord?”

“I personally think you’re beautiful when you’re angry,” Discord smirked, trailin’ a tail under my chin. He laughed when ah swatted the blasted thin’ away. “And there it is. So adorable.”

“Discord!” Ah shouted, somewhat hopin’ to shatter his eardrums. The three of us stopped the jog right then and there. “What the hay are ya doin’?”

“Oh just racing,” Discord shrugged. “Nothing new there, but it honestly is interesting now that I think about it. I mean, a fair race? Unheard of in my books.” He picked up a pebble, grabbin’ the book underneath. Flippin’ through the pages, he nodded. “Yep, unheard of.”

“What are ya talkin’ about?”

“Why my race with Dashie of course,” Discord threw the book behind him, which blew up unsurprisingly. What was surprisin’ was how the explosion seemed to stop midway, get out a hat and suitcase, and hold up a sign that said ‘I’m too old for this’ while walkin’ away.

‘If it wasn’t fer Discord here, ah’d have to check if my apples went bad on me.’

Gettin’ back to the matter at hoof, ah glared at him. Well, even harder than ah was before. “Discord.”

“You’re going to wear my name out with how much you say it,” Discord had the gall to boop my nose. “And what will happen when that comes to pass? What name can I go with? Loki? He’d sue and Chaos is too simple. I’d have to name myself ‘No One’!” He fell back on a fainting couch, wearin’ a fancy red dress. “Oh woe is me who has no name! Woe is me!”

“Can we get back on track here,” ah rolled my eyes. Seriously, his antics were hilariously cute...ah mean mind-numbingly stupid. What was he, five? “Ya know. The race.”

“Right,” Discord popped everythin’ away, standin’ up. “Which I’m currently winning.”

“But yer right here.”

“I can multitask. I’m honestly the best one you could ever find. I mean, who else can have an epic race/robot battle, chat with their waifu, and paint a picture of them all at once?”

“Robot battle?” Cadance asked.

“Paintin’?” Ah turned to see another Discord, wearin’ a fancy Prench outfit and a twirly mustache.

The Prench Discord twirled the paintin’ around to show….me lyin’ sexily to my side WEARIN’ DARK ORANGE LINGERIE!!

“Mwah,” Prench Discord kissed his brush. “Magnifique.”

Ah was blushin’ redder than a tomato and hotter than the sun. Not just ‘cause ah was embarrassed. Sure, it was embarrassin’ fer Cadance to see it, but that didn’t matter. Ah was angrier than a rattlesnake. “DISCORD!”

“Wait, my name wasn’t worn out after all?” Discords grinned. He fistpumped. “Yes, I’m Discord again!”

“AH’M GONNA BUCK YA TO TARTARUS!” Ah yelled in my fury. It’d honestly give Luna’s Royal Canterlot Voice a run fer its money.

“That’s a long ways from her, my dear Applejack.” Discord pointed out. “Why don’t we just do all that bucking in one place and save us the travel bills. Perhaps your room? Or maybe Twilights. I’m sure she has some books on-”

“GRAAAAAH!” Ah leaped at him. The varmint had nerve. Mighty big ones and ah wanted to snap ‘em all.

He teleported beside me and held me in place. “Now, now. We’ll save it for later. I don’t think Cadance is much of the voyeur type.”

“Actually,” Cadance relented, causin’ my anger to vanish and just the embarrassment behind. She shook her head. “Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Did you say you were having a robot fight?”

“A giant mech fight actually,” Discord beamed with pride.

“A giant mech fight?” Cadance’s eyes widened and it was then that the sounds of metal smashin’ into metal could be heard. “You’re having a giant mech fight near Ponyville?”

“Candy,” Discord started. “You knew I was going to do something like this. I mean-”

“WITHOUT ME?!!!” Cadance shouted. She summoned a mirror. “Chrysalis!”

“What?” Chrysalis’s voice, the very Chrysalis that was a sworn enemy of Equestria, sounded out of the mirror...an’ she was wearin’ a black T-Shirt that said ‘Number 1 Dork’ in white letters. It looked like she was in the Crystal Empire.

‘The hay she doin’ there?’

“Giant mech. Must. Have. Need. Now.”

“Broken sentences? Oh dear,” Chrysalis sighed. “Well sorry to burst your bubble, but ours are still being repaired after our last fight.”

“BUCK!” Cadance stamped a hoof in anger, dentin’ the ground.

Honestly, ah’m not gonna question what’s goin’ on. The last few days have been so mind bogglingly strange that if ah actually stopped to think about it all, ah’d lose my head. With Discord around, it’d be literally.

“That’s what you get for wanting to fight with rocket powered fists in a bomb factory,” Chrysalis pointed out.

“Oh like you were objecting to it,” Cadance shot back. “Besides, how can you beat rocket powered fists? They’re like the answer to everything.”

“You’ve got a point,” Chrysalis grinned as she nodded. “That was fun. It hurt like Tartarus, but those explosions though. Might I ask why you-”

“Hi, big sis!” Discord lightly floated onto Cadance’s back, wavin’ at her.

“Oh,” Chrysalis’ face honestly matched my own………..

Wait, she’s Discord’s big sister?!!!!!!!.........................Whoa, blacked out there fer a moment. Darn it, ah told myself not to think about stuff like this.

“Discord,” Chrysalis asked. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m wooing my waifu,” Discord piped up.

“Who?” Discord answered her question with pickin’ me up. “Why?”

“Because an apple fell on my head,” Discord happily replied.

Chrysalis stared at Discord fer a moment, blinkin’ a few times. “Well, thank you for reminding me who got the brains of the duo.”

“You’re welcome,” Discord nodded.

Ah growled at Chrysalis.Discord was her kin. She had no right to insult him like that, espeically in front of me...Not that ah cared about him. This was just about manner is all. Eyup, just manners. “Now wait just a moment-”

“NO MORE WAITING!” Cadance shouted, poppin’ out some sort of sword with her magic. It was some kind of long bladed weapon with a heart hoof guard. “TO BATTLE! WAAAAAAAGH!” With amazing speed and the beatin’ of her wings, she took off towards the sounds of the battle.

Instantly, Discord popped out of existence. That just left me holdin’ a mirror with Chrysalis in it.

“So….” Ah started after a few seconds of awkward silence with one of my enemies. Until a few years ago, ah never knew ah’d have one at all, let alone an awkward moment like this. “How are ya?”

“I’m not stuck in a castle, so I’m good.” Chrysalis gave me an impressive ‘unamused’ face.

Ah chuckled nervously. “Well, ya were kinda askin’ fer it.”

“I kind of was,” Chrysalis smiled. “Besides, I got more time to hang out with these little cuties.” She held up a love cat and nuzzled it close to herself. “Who’s mommy’s little cat? Who’s mommy’s little cat? You are. Oh I could never hurt a little thing like you. So adorable.”

It was strange seein’ her so cuddly after all that we’ve been through. She always seemed the evil type, nothin’ much else. Well, she never did hurt anypony and apparently those love cats were bein’ looked after well enough.

“So, how goes it with my brother?” Chrysalis asked. “Am I going to be an aunt soon?”

“NO!”

“Awww,” Chrysalis pouted. “Hogwash. Oh well, I always have Screwball. I do so wonder about that girl sometimes. We haven’t talked in ages.”

‘So Chrysalis is Diamond Tiara’s great aunt….That explains so much yet leaves so many questions that ah really don’t want answered.’ “She’s fine, if’n yer were wonderin’. Even settled down and had a family.”

“Good on her. Being a mother is certainly the best thing that can happen to a mare. I should know. I have millions.”

“Millions?” No, don’t think about it. Don’t go there mind…Gah, why mind? Why?

Chrysalis laughed. “You're not the first. I can self fertilize my eggs and honestly, there are times where I’m just laying around pushing my little ones out all day. Tiring, but it helps keep the population up during hard years.”

“So there was never a mr. Changeling?”

“There was one, but he’s not a changeling. More of a Commander.”

“Commander?”

“Commander Hurricane,” Chrysalis nodded happily, sighing with a dreamy sigh. “Now that was a male. Oh, I still remember how his strong arms held me on those cold nights. We even made the cutest little triplets together. Oh I do so hope you can meet. Their singing voices are to die for.”

Hurricane? Chrysalis? WILL THE MADNESS EVER END?!!!

“To answer your unspoken question,” Chrysalis said, before she was interrupted by the sounds of screaming metal. A giant, robotic, reptilian head smashed into the ground not far from them. It had a few deep gouges in it and one of its eyes ripped out. “The madness will never end. You’re stuck with it, I’m afraid.”

____________________________________________________________________

All I ever desire is war. War to no end. The glorious battles that wage eternally between fighters of every race, living or dead. I desire battle like no other for that is who I am. The blood must flow and it is not always my warriors that appease me so.

No, today I watched one of my two favored warriors in action. Sadly, not both of them since Farsight was on vacation. Why he would go on vacation when there is wars to be had is beyond me. Mortals are strange like that. Either way, I at least had something and a glorious something it was. The carnage I saw as I sat upon my skull throne was beauty incarnate. Never had I seen a being so fierce, so willing to reap carnage, and yet so lovely all at once. Had she not been married, I would have swooped down and proposed to her this very instance. The screaming of rent metal was music to my ears.

A tear fell down my cheek as I watched on. I would never tell anyone that happened, since I have an appearance to keep. That and the one thought that ran through my mind.

‘So hot.’

________________________________________________________________________

Honestly, I could have done better. It wasn’t my finest work, but it did the job. There are only so many ways you can slice through giant reptilian and ape like robots. Still, I had some fun and that’s all that matters. My mane was disheveled though and my fur matted. That would need a fine tuning when I go to the spa. Oh well, sacrifices must be made in order to cut loose. I huffed. “I really need to fight robots more often. I’m getting rusty.” I turned to see Discord and Rainbow Dash.

The two of them were wrapped around each other, shaking and giving me a fearful glance. “I overdid it, didn’t I?” I sheepishly smiled when they nodded. “Sorry, I tend to go a little overboard in fights.”

“A little?” Rainbow Dash spoke up. “You nearly chopped me into pieces. I’m just thankful Discord teleported me out in time.”

“You are definitely enthused about your endeavors,” Discord gulped.

“Of course,” I wasn’t one of Khornes’ favored warriors for nothing. Why else would he allow me into his place. Okay, I’m also besties with his niece, but honestly I’m Chrysalis’s only friend. I have to go with her when dealing with her grumpy uncle. “Still, I do apologize for interrupting your race.”

“Nah,” Rainbow smirked, pulling away from Discord. I huffed mentally. I liked seeing them all cozied up.

‘Applejack, Cadance. We’re shipping him with Applejack, not Rainbow.’

Can I ship Rainbow with Khorne?

‘Maybe later.’ I made note to file that ship away.

“Anyways,” Rainbow flew around Discord and landed. “I so won this race.”

“What?” Discord stood up and glared at her. “I won this race.”

“No, I won it cause my machine crossed it first.”

“You didn’t cross it, you were thrown by Candy.” Discord pointed out. “Besides, I was in front of you before Princess Heartbutt got here.”

“Thrown, ran, same thing.” Rainbow smirked.

I sighed as they continued to bicker. My plan for the day was foiled by Discord. I had to seriously rethink my plans right now and that could certainly throw a wrench in things. Oh well. I’ve performed miracles under worse circumstances and it gave me enough time in town to set up a few of the singles here. A win/win regardless.

It's dangerous to go alone. Take this.

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Rip and tear. Rip and tear. These muffins would be shown no mercy for I had none to spare! Rip and tear.

“Uh, Candy?” I heard Discord speak up.

His voice, normally kind of cute, now just made me all that angrier!. He ruined my carefully orchestrated plan. Why did I ever think this would work? No, I had to foolishly trust him not to do anything. Oh how naive I was. I was half tempted to run up to the God of Time, beat him to a pulp, and make him send me to the past so I could slap myself silly. Oh-ho, I’d teach me a thing or two about stupid decision making.

“Err, Candy?”

Maybe I could turn him into a muffin. Then I could tear him apart just as easily as I can these oh so delicious muffins. That would be glorious. No more Discord. No more hijinks or cute and awkward meetings. I’d be free of this chaotic neauscance. Free to snuggle my beloved all day and ship...errr rule my kingdom as I saw fit. It was the perfect plan. Now I just needed to figure out how to keep him a pastry long enough for it to work.

“Candy, are you alright? You seem to be slaughtering your food.”

I stopped to gaze at him with a baleful glare. The two of us were sitting at a small dinner table in a rather cozy home. It was safe and secure, but at the moment I was far too angry to enjoy it. I swallowed my food and did my best to look serene. “What ever do you mean, Discord?”

Discord blinked a few times and did nothing. Obviously, he was trying to find the right words as to not anger me any further. He sighed. “Look, I know I may have gone a tad bit overboard.”

“A tad bit?” I furrowed my eyebrows. “A tad bit? You nearly destroyed everything we’ve been working on in one afternoon.”

“Now you’re just being over dramatic,” Discord rolled his eyes. He used the furry tip of his tail to tap me in the forehead. “We all mess up from time to time. The key is making up for the mess.” He frowned. “I know enough about that, I assure you.”

I sighed. I really felt like a jerk right now. Glaring at Discord. What was I thinking? I knew he would mess up down the line. I knew that and I was still taking my frustration out on him. At least I didn’t try to cut him up or anything like that. “I’m sorry. It isn’t right of me to take my frustration out on you.”

“Perish the thought,” Discord said. “If you had wanted to ‘take it out on me’, you’d have given me the same treatment you gave those robots……...I’m very much relieved of that, mind you. I rather enjoy having my hide in one piece.” He tapped his chin. “Most of the time. Sometimes I like to hide parts of it as a sort of game for myself and wipe my memory to add some challenge. Mom rather enjoyed, or she hated it. I could never tell.” He shrugged.

“RIght,” I didn’t want to think about such a game. Chrysalis and I do love to think outside the box in our competitions, but that is just pushing it.

“And how is my favorite niece and her best buddy doing?” My aunt called as she trotted in with a tray of muffins perched on her back.

“Much better, Aunt Ditzy.” I smiled. “These muffins were a big help.”

“Of course they are,” Ditzy Doo smiled as she placed the tray on the table. I always loved my aunt. She was a stark contrast to my more outgoing mother, but it’s always nice to calm down and enjoy the little things. “Muffins are great at cheering ponies up.”

Discord plopped one of them into his mouth and swallowed. “I would never think such a simple treat could taste so good. You have certainly outdone yourself. My head’s off to your skills.” He took a hold of his fang and literally took off his head in a sweeping bow.

Ditzy blushed. “Oh stop. I’m not that good.”

“Perhaps, perhaps not.” Discord shrugged. “I’ve honestly never been one for muffins till now. I usually prefer something sweeter like pies. Apple pies to be specific.” He drummed his fingers together and licked his lips. “Oh what I’d do to that little pie of hers…”

“Whoa!” I shot my hoof up into the air. “This is way too early for that kind of thinking. The sexual teasing was humorous, but take it down a notch. You just made your intentions known and you’re kind of creeping her out.”

“I’m a miss matched sin against nature,” Discord deadpanned. “Born of the gods of chaos and warping reality is my favored past time. My very existence was made to ‘creep you out’.”

“Yes, but that’s something one can find endearing from a certain point of view.” I reasoned. Still, I knew he was going to keep it up no matter what I said. “Just...tone it down alright? For her sake.”

Discord sighed. “Very well then, but I have some quality material still held behind my wing.” His purple batwing grew large enough to enfold in front of him. A book entitled ‘A grade flirts’ clung to it. The wing then pulled back.

“Well keep that for future dates,” I said. “Sexually flirting with your significant other is certainly fun, but you’ve got to ease them into it.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Discord hopped up from his chair and flapped in the air. “I hate to eat and run, but I think My Dearest Applejack is in need of a little chaos~ Arrivederci!” He snapped his fingers and then was gone.

“Good luck,” I whispered.

“He seems like a nice guy,” Ditzy smiled. “I kind of wished he stayed though. I just made Blueberry Pie.”

“BLUEBERRY PIE?!!!” My smile should’ve honestly split my face. Aunt Ditzy made the best darn blueberry pie you could ever eat. Oh she’d give Applejack’s apple pies a run for their money. At least I had something to keep my mind off of Discord for a bit.

_______________________________________________________________

Ah grit my teeth around the harness as ah got it secured. Ah had to be extra sure this time. Ah didn’t want it fallin’ off into a fire guiser. Ah don’t question what causes it, but it does make me wonder what the hay is up with the Everfree Forest sometimes. For that matter, why the hay would ponies want to live in a forest anyways. Eh, them townsfolk over there are mighty strange….That’s a nice way to put it.

Ah honestly was glad they sent up another order. It gave me an opportunity to get away from the farm. Not that ah hate the farm, it’s just…..



Ah sighed. Ah knew ah was bein’ too harsh on him. Ah knew that well enough. He wasn’t ‘that’ bad, but still. It just didn’t settle well with me and how suddenly he came up with these feelin’s. Ah needed some time to think. Alone.

Of course, it also didn’t help none that the varmint got my friend in danger. Rainbow can be stupid sometimes, but that was even more so than her usual stunts. Ah wanted to wring the both of their necks. Thankfully, seemed Princess Cadance got to them first. Still didn’t stop me from chewin’ them out. Cadance was mighty miffed at Discord in particular. Critter had it comin’.

It was at that moment, with a oh so familiar flash of light, said critter appeared. “Guten Tag, My Dearest Applejack. Oh it has been too long.”

“It’s been barely three hours,” ah growled at him. Ah didn’t need this. Not now.

“And what a lonely three hours they were,” Discord grabbed a hoofkerchief out of the air and dabbed at his eyes. “All those precious moments wasted, when-” he knelt down to grab my hoof and look into my eyes. “-I could have spent them with the fairest mare in the land.”

Ah blushed and took my hoof away. “Well, ‘the fairest mare in the land’ gotta go do her thing. Ah appreciate the sentiment, Discord. Ah got a delivery that just can’t wait.” Nore will ah let it.

“I can take care of it,” Discord held up his hand, fingers ready to snap at a moment’s notice. “Just tell me where and it’s as good as done.”

“No,” ah glared at him, makin’ him flinch. Felt weird havin’ that much of an effect on him. “Ah’m doin’ this my way. The Apple way. Which means ah’m gonna be trottin’ over there myself. Ya hear me?”

“I hear you loud and clear,” Discord huffed. “At least let me tag alon.”

“No, ain’t gonna let that happen either. Ya’d just get in the way.”

Discord gasped and put a hand to his chest. “Moi? Get in your way? Perish the thought. I’d be a boon to your business.” He switched into a business suit.

“Yeah, well not everypony is comfortable with ya around. Not yet anyways and ah don’t want them to be scared off.” Which is kinda true. A lot of ponies still spoke ill of him, even if he is ‘reformed’.

“No one’s ever been comfortable with me around,” Discord crossed his arms. “That isn’t going to change, so I don’t see why it matters now.”

“Maybe they’d change their tune if ya weren’t so darn crazy,” ah snorted.

Discord grinned. “But ‘darn crazy’ is fun. You should try it sometime.”

“Ah’ll pass,” ah rolled my eyes. “Now are ya gonna let me go, or do ah have to get my rope?” Ah grinned as ah started to see him sweat. Oh ah really needed to keep my rope near me more often.

“Let’s not get hasty here,” Discord gulped, puttin’ his hands in front of himself all defensive like. He stopped that and grinned. “Unless you’re into that sort of thing, then go right ahead.”

Ah gave a little whinny of surprise and blushed. My glare pierced him to the core. “Gettin’ my rope then.” Ah turned to go get my trusty lasso.

“Wait!” Discord popped closer to my front. Ah raised an eyebrow as he sighed. He opened his hand and used the other to….open a door in his paw. Reachin’ inside, which took up a good portion of his arm, he pulled out a box. “Here, take this.” He kneeled down and for a moment ah thought he was gonna….he was gonna.

No he couldn’t….could he?

Discord opened the box to reveal a necklace with a eight barbed star jewel that was all the colors of the rainbow. “It’s a good luck charm.”

“Good luck?” Ah felt a tad bit disappointed. Don’t know why though.

Discord chuckled. “Even the wildest chaos can bring good fortune. May I?”

Ah stared at the necklace for a minute or two. It was strange, gettin’ a gift like this from him. Felt touchin’ to. Gosh darn it! Why’d he have to mess with my emotions even more. Ah nodded. Discord grinned and slowly took the necklace out and put it around my neck.

“There,” he said. “The luckiest Apple in all the world. Not to mention the cutest.” He booped my nose with his talon.

Compared to his other stuff, that was tame really. So ah didn’t blush this time. Ah’m gettin’ better at controllin’ it around him. “Well….thanks, ah guess.”

“You’re very welcome, My Dearest Applejack.” Discord hopped back up to his feet. “Now that you have my gift, I think you’re good enough to go when you please.”

“That ah do,” ah nodded and headed off.

“And Applejack?”

“Yeah?” Ah stopped and against my better judgement, looked back.

Discord was giving me a honest to Celestia earnest gaze. “Perhaps you’d like someone to go to the Hearts and Hooves Day celebration with.”

Ah blinked a few times as ah processed it. “Perhaps. Haven’t found the right one yet.”

Discord shot me a challengin’ grin. “Oh we’ll see about that.”

“Yeah, we’ll see.” Ah snorted and headed off on my own way. Without Discord. Ah was gonna enjoy this. Not annoyin’ly cute mug around would do me wonders…..

Cute?

Gosh darn it AJ! He ain’t even a pony. Get yer mind on the order.

Ah sighed. This was gonna be harder than ah thought.

Chimera Are Bad News

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Travellin’ through the Everfree Forest was as easy as pickin’ apples on a sunny day these days. Ah mean, ah haven’t seen hide nor hair of any beasts since we returned the Elements. Maybe the tree was keepin’ them away, or the animals wisened up. Either way, ah wasn’t complainin’. The forest was actually kind of nice lookin’ when it wasn’t tryin’ to kill me. Long as ah stayed away from that nasty Poison Joke, ah was home free.

The Fire Swamp was another story altogether. There was never a dull moment there. Whether ah wanted one or not, the swamp wouldn’t give it. It had everythin’ to hate: pillars of fire that randomly shoot out of the ground, quicksand, rodents of unusual size. Ya name it. The worst of the bunch was that loud mouthed chimera that made this its territory a whiles back. She made this place even trickier to navigate. The rodents weren’t smart. Ya could fend ‘em off no problem. This chimera was somethin’ else. She was tricky, mean, and out fer blood. Truth be told, ah think she had it out fer me.

Maybe that’s cause ah’ve beaten her so many times it isn’t funny. Well, to her. Ah think it’s still rich when it’s all over. Some of those times ah’m sure she wishes she could forget. Burned her a few times, not my fault usually. She has a habit of forgettin’ the fire pits when she really gets into a fight.

So far, ah haven’t seen her. Strange. She usually jumped at the chance to nab me. This didn’t make me feel any better. In fact, ah felt even more tense. She was plannin’ somethin’ nasty. Ah just knew it. Call it a gut instinct or whatever, ah just knew. Times like this ah wish ah didn’t have to go this way. Ah’d rather deal with that cragodile.

Still, ah had plenty of time to think. Ah glanced at the necklace hangin’ about my neck. Ah should have taken it off. It probably held some sort of chaos magic that’d mess things up fer me and the delivery. Worse, it might hex my thoughts. Make me do stupid things…..Like feel a bit loved by the gesture. Which was crazy talk. Discord didn’t deserve an inklin’ of love. Maybe friendship. Yeah, that. He deserved that, but all this ‘romance’ stuff? No sirree. Ah wasn’t gonna fall fer it. Even if he was nice and considerate and willin’ to spend time with me. He wasn’t even doin’ anythin’ ‘too’ off. Just havin’ fun. Maybe ah was bein’ too hard on him……….

Faster than a hay bale in a rodeo, somethin’ jumped out from a fire pit and smashed into me. It knocked me off my cart, which thankfully didn’t topple over. Groaning from the impact and the large paws that held me down, ah looked up with a scowl. “Yer an ugly sight fer sore eyes, Sweetkill”

Sweetkill the chimera grinned down at me. “So are you, Jack.” The tiger head spoke. “Seems like you’ve gotten sloppy.”

“Nope, ya cheated.”

“Cheated?” The goat barked in laughter. “We’ve lived in this swamp for a while now. Some of these geysers are dead. So we thought we’d hide and give you a little ‘surprise’.”

“What is it with ya baddies and tellin’ me yer plan before doin’ the killin’?” Ah asked, doin’ my best to shift underneath the large paws. “It just gives me time to do……”

“........Do what?” All three heads asked, leanin’ a bit closer.

Ah inwardly smirked. Sweetkill might be smarter than the average monster, but she’s prone to get sloppy when she thinks she’s won. Her paws had slackened. Usin’ my earthern strength, ah pushed and rolled out of the paws and bucked the chimera’s chest. “That.”

Sweetkill roared in anger as she stumbled backwards. “You cheated!”

“Fair’s fair.” Ah smirked. Ah glanced over to the cart. All my supplies were in it. What ah wouldn’t give to have Pinkie’s abilities sometimes. Ah made a dash towards the cart, but Sweetkill struck. Seems she’s faster than ah…….

Pain! The snake head sank its teeth into my thigh. Ah screamed as she threw me over her main body and hard onto the ground. Pullin’ me closer, Sweetkill smashed me right good with a powerful buck. It felt like my body was being slammed by jack hammers. The snake head had let go, so ah was sent smashin’ through some of the thin trees.

Ah just laid there on the ground, gaspin’ fer breath. Sweetkill had always been a heavy hitter, but that was somethin’ else. It…...the pain was gettin’ worse. Ah’d never been bittin’ by the snake head before. She was always waitin’ fer her sisters to attack. Might’ve been poisonous. Ah needed to move. She was gonna kill me, but when ah tried to stand, ah started coughin’ up blood.

Seemed she broke a rib or two.

“Awww,” Sweetkill, the Tiger head, tutted. “Is the little pony all broken? Poor pony.”

“We can fix that,” the snake head spoke and boy did ah want to smash her the most.

“Just lay still and it will be all over,” the goat spoke last as they all licked their lips.

“Nope,” ah tried to stand again, but she put a paw on my chest.

“We insist,” the chimera chuckled. To which ah did my best to smash the paw with my hoof. Thankfully, hooves beat paws ‘cause she cried out in pain.

Usin’ a bit of strength, ah stood and made a run fer the cart once more. The pain in my hip and chest was unbearable.

“You can’t run from us, Applejack.”

Snortin’, ah stopped before the cart. “No, but ah can fight.” Ah grinned as ah took out a few things……..before my lower half gave out on me. Ah fell to the ground, bangin’ my chin on the way down.

Sweetkill chuckled. “My poison seems to have quite an effect on you,” the snake chuckled.

No. Ah wasn’t gonna die like this….Ah couldn’t. Ah needed to get back to my family. Apple Bloom needed her big sister. My friends needed me. Equestria needed me.

Discord needed me...Or ah needed him.

Suddenly, the necklace glowed brightly as if it was a small star.

“What is that?” Sweetkill shielded her eyes the best she could from the light.

Once it was gone, the two of us looked to see Discord standin’ there….cuddlin’ a life size plushy of me. “Oh Applejack, aren’t you just a silly pony. Don’t you worry, ah’m sillier…..” He blinked in confusion and looked around. “...Ahem, it seems you’ve caught me during my act. Yes, for the play……...’Silly Pony’. It’s a hit.” He grinned nervously which made me chuckle.

Discord grinned for real this time. “Applejack, is that……….” His eyes fell on me and they stopped dead. Ah couldn’t read his expression. It was just so vacant.

“Ahem,” Sweetkill said. “You’re interrupting our lunch.”

“Lunch?” Discord’s brow furrowed. He poofed away the plushie and his body swiveled around to look at Sweetkill. “Well, where is this ‘lunch’?”

“You’re standing over her,” Sweetkill growled.

“Am I?” Discord tapped his chin. “Do you often refer to carts as ‘she’? Or is it the pies? My dear little chimera, I think you have a problem.” One of his horns disappeared and reappeared beside Sweetkill’s ear. A paw of lips was on the tip. “Those don’t have genders.” The horn appeared at its place. “I’m sorry if that shatters your reality, but I’m sorry. That’s how it is. Trust me on this. It’s better that way. Have you seen a female pie? They are unruly!”

“We’re talking about the pony, you idiot.” The goat head said.

“What pony?” He turned his head backwards like a barn owl to look at me. “Oh, that pony.” He pushed his head back around with a finger. “Ponies aren’t for eating, you silly chimera. They’re for pranking, talking, singing, and sometimes shipping. Well, a lot of shipping, but this isn’t a harem tale. Besides, she’s a hard mare to handle on her own.”

“Hey,” ah weakly said.

“Who do you think you are, taking our kill?” The tiger demanded.

“I am known by many names,” Discord had magicked himself up a Starswirl cosplay. “Trickster, Evil doer, God, Joe on occasion, but you can call me Discord. Discord the god of chaos, at your service.” He took off his hat and bowed. He didn’t get out of the bow and he kept his gaze to the ground. “Perhaps I can know your name as well. Tis only fair.”

“Sweetkill,” the chimera said. “So, Discord, stand aside. We’re hungry.”

Discord was silent for a moment. He stood straight up with his eyes eyes and fastened his hat back on. “I’m sorry, I think you didn’t hear me. I do believe you're deaf, so I’ll fix that.”

Two megaphones appeared taped over Sweetkill’s ears, pointed inwards.

“PONIES ARE NOT FOR EATING!” Two Discords shouted into one piece and reappeared as one in front of her. His tail wrapped itself around the chimera’s midsection and he pulled her up to look at him. “I am Discord, god of chaos and son of two of the most powerful beings any universe has ever known. I have been taught millions of ways to kill, maim, and distort every single being that has or ever will live on this or any world. I know them by heart and I will turn that knowledge against any who dare hurt my loved ones. Do I make that clear, you mewling kitten?” He glared into her eyes hard enough that Fluttershy would have been impressed.

The chimera nodded fervently.

“No I didn’t,” Discord growled. He threw her to the ground and snapped his fingers. Instantly, all her fur was gone and a large cloud appeared above her. Snow fell down faster than any pegasus could muster. Sweetkill shivered as it hit her bare skin. “Have fun living with that!”

Discord twirled his finger and a tornado shook her about. The cloud hung itself over said tornado and both her and it were flung deep inside the Forest. He sighed and put a hand to his chest. “Whoa, this got far too serious for my taste. Kind of off putting next to the rest of this week.”

Ah chuckled weakly. “Guess so.” Ah started cougin’ as pain racked my body. Specks of blood hit the ground.

Discord was at my side in an instant. “Shh, don’t move. If you move, you’ll make it worse.” He put a comforting hand on my shoulder. It worked, cause ah felt myself loosen. The pain was still there though. He growled. “Worse than I thought. Accursed chimeras and their poison. They have no right to be so chaotic.” He grabbed his hair and pulled. “Why didn’t I listen to Celestia and learn healing spells?” His tail smashed his head and held out a sign in front of him. “Shut up and do something? Why didn’t you say something before?”

‘I can’t speak?’

“You spoke well enough during the last world summit,” Discord glared at his tail, before scoopin’ me up in his arms. Ah felt safe there. Secure. Nothin’ was gonna happen to me now. “Don’t you quit on me, Applejack. Not yet. I don’t know where the hospital is, but I assure you, we’ll do it calmly and with-”

He snapped his tail and we appeared in the middle of Ponyville.

“APPLEJACK’S DYING! WHERE’S THE BLOODY HOSPITAL!” His shoutin’ shook the whole town.

The townsfolk started shoutin’ back, askin’ all sorts of questions.

“Just tell me!” Discord shouted. He was glancin’ around in panic.



“What happened?” Rainbow Dash was flying beside them. “Did you do something?” She glared up at Discord.

“I’d retort, but Applejack’s dying you know.” Discord shot back.

“Then take her to the hospital,” Rainbow shouted. “She’s dying in your arms. You can teleport.”

“I’ve never been to the hospital,” Discord growled. “I don’t need to and I don’t prank sick ponies.”

“Give her to me then,” Rainbow said, holding out her forelegs. “I know where the hospital is and I’ll get her there faster than you can count to ten.”

Discord glanced at me as though he was nervous about lettin’ me go. He sighed and put me into Dash’s arms. “Get her there. Now!”

“On it,” Rainbow nodded and flew off. Ah blacked out somewhere along the way.

I Have Depression And now it's Gone

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I should probably have left for home a long time ago. My dear Shiny’s probably worried sick, neck deep in noble trouble. Not to mention all that paperwork. He might be a good leader, but he’s terrible at finance and the like. HOnestly, with how his old college buddies turned out, one would think he’d have picked up a little math. I mean, don’t those board games involve numbers or something? I have no idea. I never got around to playing those things. Not exactly my cup of tea.

Wait, I’m getting off track. Am I doing that on purpose? I’m usually so focused. Maybe? Ugh, why did this have to happen? It was going so well. I mean, there were a few hiccups. Very big ones, but they could be fixed. Discord and problems went hoof to hoof. There were bound to be problems everywhere we looked, but this?

I….I don’t know what to do. Nopony has ever been this hurt during one of my missions. Oh yeah, there was the occasionally buck to the face or silly nonsense like that. Some ponies are just more physical than others. I’ve had ponies break down in tears, but almost getting eaten by a chimera? On my watch? I felt low. I know I shouldn’t. I didn’t know about this until after it happened. It’s not my fault.

But why do I feel like it is?

I should be doing something. Hunting down that chimera, visiting Applejack, helping out Shining Armor. All of that and more. What was I doing? Lounging about Fluttershy’s cottage, because Discord was moping. Hay, I was moping. I was eating dark chocolate ice cream. Dark Chocolate ice cream! It was that serious. It was just…..so wrong to see him that depressed. It shouldn’t be possible. He was ‘the Discord’. The god of chaos and bringer of fun. He was all that and…….he was my friend.

I knew that much at least. I’ve only been around him for a little while, but I couldn’t imagine a life without Discord ‘mucking’ things up. Now I see why Celestia enjoys Discord so much. She might not say it to others, but she’s always been sweet on Discord, like I’ve been to Twilight. We both practically raised those two in our own ways.

Though I can’t see how she managed to babysit little Discord. Chrysalis was probably a lot easier for her to deal with. She was a lot easier for me to deal with and all of us were adults.

None of that was important right now. Now, Discord needed some help. I just hoped Fluttershy could fix it. She was able to turn him to the side of good. She’d be able to get him back into his happy go lucky normal self. I wanted to believe she could.

I don’t think my stomach can take a fourth tub of ice cream.

Fluttershy chose that moment to walk downstairs. She looked haggard. Of course she would be. One of her friends nearly died and the other is closing himself up in depression.

I walked over to her, putting the delightful ice cream down. I’d get to it later. “How’s he doing?” I used my magic to clean myself up. It was always nifty to have spells like that on hoof.

Fluttershy sighed. “He could be doing better, but he could be worse. He’s been watering a lamp for the last three hours.”

I furrowed my brow. “He’s…..watering a lamp?”

“He said he’s hoping it’ll grow into an idea,” Fluttershy frowned deeply. “I never thought I’d ever see him this sad. It’s heartbreaking.”

“It’s been that way for all of us,” I commented. I may not have known Applejack all that well, but she seemed like a good pony. Nay, a great pony. “She’s going to recover. The doctor’s say she’ll be up on her hooves soon enough.”

“But she hasn’t woken up yet,” Fluttershy said in response. Her eyes were tearing up. “She’s been asleep for days and….and…”

I quickly pulled her into a hug. “Shhh, shhh. It’s going to be alright. Everything’s going to be better.”

“I know,” Fluttershy muttered into my fur as a few tears fell down her cheeks. “It just hurts seeing everypony like this. Applejack’s always been so strong and to see her like that…..?”

I sighed and pulled back. “Thing happen, Fluttershy. We can’t control everything that goes on in life, no matter how much we want to. Someone’s going to get hurt, but we can always recover. Applejack is not dying. I trust these doctors to do their duty as I trust Applejack to be too stubborn to die. I bet she’d give Grim a good buck before she went out.”

Fluttershy weakly laughed. “That sounds like Applejack. She wouldn’t leave us without a fight.”

I nodded and glanced at the stairs. “Can I talk to him?”

Fluttershy was silent for a moment. Perhaps Discord was worse off than I thought. Finally, she nodded. “I don’t know how much you’ll get out of him.”

“I’ll do my best,” I said, before trotting upstairs. I didn’t know what I’d see when I walked into that room. Probably something out of a nightmare given his mood. There could even be blood thirsty daemons ready to tear me to ribbons!

‘Now, now Cadance. Don’t get your hopes up. You can go to Tartarus and slay as many daemons as you want later. This is about Discord.’

I sighed. I was right. This wasn’t the time for violence, though I made a mental note to one day hunt down that chimera. Oh, I was going to tear that beast a new one.

When I finally got to the door, all I could hear inside was the gentle fall of water. Pushing it open, I was greeted by…...a room.

Just a room like any other. I was so taken aback by how mundane it all was that I didn’t move a muscle for several minutes. It was just so normal. No chaos, no abnormalities. Just normalcy. This actually scared me more than any nonsense Discord could come up with. Speaking of the spirit of chaos, I turned to gaze at him. He was lying on his back on the bed, staring at the ceiling. His tail was holding a pail. The water trickled out of the pail and fell on a simple, yellow lamp all like one would water a rose.

“Hello Cadance,” Discord muttered. There was no mirth in his voice and he called me Cadance. No nickname. Just Cadance.

This was so wrong. “Discord, I just wanted to check up on you and see if you’re alright.”

“I’m not alright,” Discord huffed. “I’m Discord. I’m never right, I’m sideways and turned on my head. What is right to you is wrong to me. Yet….perhaps you’re right in this case.”

“Right about what?”

“You think I’m upset,” he answered. “You think I can’t stand Applejack being in this condition. You’re right, I suppose.” He scrunched up his face in thought. “I grow too attached to ponies too quickly. It’s a weakness of mine. Never had anyone to be close to other than my family and Celestia once upon a time. Though, in her case it’s only as much as one to a babysitter. That’s not exactly friendship. Besides, she had to be there for me. Fluttershy wasn’t. She wanted to be my friend and I was willing to give up my villainy in such a short time. Now, in only a week, I can’t stand to think of a life without my dearest Applejack. My father would laugh at me.”

“Then he is a fool,” I said with conviction.

“You’ve met him on occasion,” Discord replied. “You know that to be a lie. He’s smarter than me.”

“But you’re wiser than him,” I pointed out. “Your father cares only for change and what can be, what will be, and what must not. He cares for intelligence and nothing of the heart. You do. That’s why you gave up your villainy. That’s why Fluttershy’s your friend and that’s why Applejack is to be your lover.”

“But I sprang all this on her,” Discord growled. He turned to glare at me. “All just because I was lonely and an apple fell on my head. If I had just kept to myself, Applejack wouldn’t have been hurt. It’s my fault.”

“No it isn’t,” I marched right over to the bed and looked him in the eye. “You acted on your feelings. You never meant a smidge of harm to her and it was you who saved her.”

“But she’s fought that beast before and won,” Discord remarked. “I talked with Apple Bloom. She said so herself during one of our crusades. Applejack would have won against that beast had it not been for my love attempts. See what happens when I try my hand at a game I can’t master?”

“You can master it,” I snorted. “You just need more time. Applejack is going to be okay and she cares for you. I feel it in her heart. It may not be love, but I see the seed of it has taken root in her heart. She wants you to care for her.”

“But I’m a danger,” Discord rebucked. “I tortured her. I turned her world upside down for a laugh! I’m no better than my father. Nay, I’m worse because I don’t accept it. I fought it and everything’s crumbling around me.”

“You are better than him,” I glared at him. “You are not a danger to anyone. You are Discord. You are the friend of Fluttershy and I. You are Rarity’s drama buddy. Celestia adores your antics. Applejack cares for you as only a significant other can. Don’t throw this away because of something out of your control and don’t compare yourself to him.”

Yes, I’ve dealt with Discord’s father, the chaos god of change and magic, a few times. He’s a pleasant fellow some of the time and the worst of foe the next. Sometimes I don’t know whether he can help himself, but the devastation that he causes? Khorne may be a barbarous god, but at least he’s honest about it. His brother has no sense of kindness.

Discord sighed. “I want her to be happy, Candy. I want her to smile. I want her to laugh. Oh her laugh. What music it is. Why could I not see it before?” He put a claw to his face. “Oh right, I’m sporadic. Nothing about me makes sense.”

“But your heart does,” I put a hoof over his chest. “It’s something to listen to. Maybe this is destiny, or maybe it’s blind luck that brought you to seeing Applejack in a new way. Either way, don’t beat yourself over this. I know you can make this work.”

Discord stared at me for a moment, searching my face for a hint of something. “You really think this can work? Me and her? Applejack, the bearer of the Element of Honesty and an Earth pony, paired with Discord, the god of chaos and the only one of his kind?”

I shrugged. “I’ve shipped stranger ships.”

Discord blinked a few times, before chuckling. “I bet.” It was right then that the lamp grew into a bush/lamp hybrid and lit up. Discord practically jumped out of bed as he started bouncing on his feet. “She’s awake! She’s awake! She’s awake!”

I beamed. “Then go greet her, you silly god.”

“I will, you lovable goddess.” He snapped his fingers and then he was gone.

Perhaps today wouldn’t be so bad after all.

_________________________________________________________________________

Ah didn’t feel anythin’. Not a thing. That’s not good. That’s never good in a situation like this. Ah should be feelin’ somethin’, but nothin’ came. Ah heard the faint sound of somethin’ beepin’, but that was it. Maybe ah was just wakin’ up? To what though………….

Please no, please Celestia don’t say that ah…….

This pillow is rather comfy. Wait, ah felt the pillow. The blankets! Oh, ah’d never thought ah’d enjoy feelin’ a pillow and blankets before. Somethin’ was on my arm too. Ah slowly opened my eyes. They felt like they hadn’t been opened in a while. Ah glanced to see a needle and syringe hooked up to some bag. Ah was in the hospital.

Ah wasn’t dead! YAHOO! Take that Death. Can’t keep an Apple down fer long. This’ll sure be a tale fer Apple Bloom to love. Ah beat Death!

Though ah do feel like trash, all things consider. Body must still be wakin’ up. Groanin’, ah pushed myself up to sit on the bed. Ah was alone. Nopony else here. Just little ol’ me. Peace and quiet. Felt good. Felt really good.

“Why, it’s the Apple who could.” A familiar voice chuckled. “Back from a little vacation, aren’t we? I hope Grim didn’t charge you that much. He can be quite stingy with his prices. I once had to pay three gold coins, the rotten spirit.”

“D-Discord,” my voice was a little rough from disuse.

Suddenly, Discord’s body dropped like a pendulum. He was lookin’ at me upside down, what with him standin’ on the ceilin’. He grinned. “I wouldn’t be known as anything else. Of course, ‘varmint’ is something I’ve rather grown fond of hearing.”

Ah didn’t say anythin’. Ah just hugged his head close to me. Never did ah think ah’d be so glad as to see Discord.

“As much as I enjoy being smushed up against your chest,” Discord remarked. “I’d like my head back.”

“Huh?” Ah felt somethin’ tap my shoulder and ah looked to see Discord’s body standin’ beside the bed, headless. Ah was honestly gettin’ used to this so ah didn’t scream or nothin’. “Gotcha.” With that, ah handed him his own head.

Discord screwed it back on, makin’ sure to bolt his head in place with hammer and nails. Makin’ them all disappear, he smiled. “Well now, that’s over and done with. How are you feling, my dearest Applejack?”

“Sore,” ah grinned. “But alive.”

“And that’s something to celebrate,” Discord snapped his fingers and the room was decorated in somethin’ ah’d see in one of Pinkie’s parties. Discord himself was dressed as a mariachi player with a bunch of changelin’s in the same get up behind him. “Shall we?”

Ah snorted. “Maybe later.”

He sighed. “Spoilsport.” He snapped his fingers and all was back to normal. “So then, how shall we go about celebrating your little one upmanship of Death, hmm? I would think that would be a big deal. Of course, it probably isn’t. You’re a tough mare, my dearest Applejack. A tough mare who knows what she wants.”

“Eyup,” ah nodded. “Tough as they come. Hay, ah bet ah’ll be buckin’ twice as many apples once ah get out of here. What doesn’t kill an Apple, makes us stronger.”

“Oh I hope so,” Discord grinned, leanin’ in closer. Close enough that ah felt his breath on me. Ah blushed. “I can’t wait to try and ‘wrestle’ with you later on. We’ll see who’s on top.”

Ah didn’t say anytin’ fer a few seconds. Then ah smirked. Ah wasn’t gonna hide no more. He saved me. He cared fer me and by Celestia, ah was gonna beat him at his own game. Ah nuzzled underneath his chin, causin’ him to freeze up. Not literally, mind ya. “Oh we’ll see who’s up top. Us Apples are known to be expert wrestlers.”

He floofed up. He actually flooffed up and turned red. That was just adorable.

“Discord?”

“....yes.” He squeaked out.

Ah giggled. “Ah think ah know who ah’d like to go to the dance with.”

Discord teleported a few feet away. “Before you say anything, are you doing this because I saved you?”

Ah rolled my eyes. “This ain’t just cause ya saved my hide. Ya’ve been courtin’ me all week and...ah kind of liked it.” Ah blushed redder than the ripest apple. “So do ya want to go with me to the Hearts and Hooves Day Dance or what?”

Discord sat down on the bed and did something that flustered me up mighty fierce. He kissed my nose. “Maybe.”

“Maybe?!!!” Ah glared at him. Ah wanted the varmint to burn under my hate! “Ah worked up the courage to ask after everythin’ ya put me through fer nothin’? Ah oughta buck ya to the moon fer that!”

Discord fell on the floor, rollin’ in laughter. He was laughin’ so hard, his…...sides just flew off? His sides just flew off!!! Darn it, Discord. Stop bein’ crazy fer a minute! “Don’t laugh at me!”

Discord was leanin’ on me the next second. “But you’re so adorable when you’re angry.” He pinched my cheek. “And of course I’ll go with you, you little applebutt. This is going to be a dream come true for you.”

“Or ya,” ah gave him a lidded stare, battin’ my eyes at him like Rarity. Ah don’t know why ah was so flirty…….oh darn, it’s probably that hospital stuff makin’ me loco. Still, him floofin’ up and blushin’ like that was so cute that ah wish ah could just keep him like that.

“Yes,” Discord coughed into his hand. “Well, the doctor said that you should be able to get out of bed sometime today. Unless you don’t want to.” He laid down next to me. “I can think up a few things to pass the time.”

Ah just punched him off the bed. “I-idiot!” Discord grumbled and ah inwardly chuckled. Ah liked where this was headin’.......Not the bed part. Oh no, he ain’t gonna get me to do that with him any time soon. Varmint doesn’t deserve it…….yet.

Dresses, Darlings~ Dresses!

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You know, I love dressing up as much as the next mare. Okay, not ‘as’ much really. I do enjoy going to the spa and getting my mane done on occasion. Not so much as the next noble, but enough to look ‘dazzling’ as some would call me. I know my way around the perfume department and I can be a ‘star’ with make up. Yes, I know well enough how to be a ‘girly’ mare when I’m not fighting someone, usually Chrysalis.

Which reminds me of that time me and her had decided to take that little vacation in the Griffin Kingdom. As it turned out, we had walked into a griffin witch’s store. Chrysalis just couldn’t shut her mouth and went on about the griffin’s stitching. It was horrendous, but I wasn’t going to say anything. Needless to say, the witch wasn’t happy. I spent the better part of that afternoon fighting hordes of clothes. You’d think they’d go down easy, wouldn’t you. Nope, clothes are quite hardy. Perhaps it was the griffin fabric or the magic of the witch that kept them together long enough to give the two of us a challenge.

‘Ugh, I’m trailing off again.’ I hated doing that while on a ‘job’. Silly me. This wasn’t a job anymore. This was a bright success. I never thought I’d see the two get along so well so soon. I was practically shining with joy. Seriously, I was. I am half crystal pony. I glow when I’m happy. Shining likes to use me as a night light. The poor dear is kind of still scared of the dark. My snuggle wuggle needs me. Oh, I hope Chrysalis is taking care of him.

‘She better save the snuggles.’

The feeling of a large sweater smacking into my face reminded me of what I was doing and why I wasn’t one to really get into clothes. There was always one issue that always came up before a first date. What do I wear? Ah, the ever ponderous decision. Should it be modest or eye catching? Temperate or arctic? Oh I could go on and on. While I don’t personally believe it to be a rather ‘big’ point in the dating scheme, dresswear was still important. You had to catch the object of your affection’s attention.

The problem was how ponies and other races often got too fussy about what they were going to wear. Sometimes I can talk them down. Other times are, well, like now. Tearing the sweater off my face, I looked over at my current client/friend.

Discord growled and pulled out a mirror from his closet. Well, I think it’s his closet. The warp never seemed to make much sense. I’m just glad Discord’s house was ‘sane’ enough to deal with. Of course, everything looked upside down, but appliances were on the ‘floor’. The Fluttershy chandelier ticked like a clock as it loomed overhead.

He snapped his fingers and wore what appeared to be yellow and green jumpsuit with a golden helmet with two curved horns atop it. “Tacky.” He snapped his fingers again.

Now he wore a suit and cape I’ve seen vampires wear often. Well, the good ones anyways. He even had white skin to add to the effect. “Overdone.”

Next he wore dark purple armor with large spikes coming out of the shoulder pads. A long cape blew in some non-existent wind. His helmet had two small curved horns on the side and the symbol of chaos was strewn all across it. “Out of date!”

Discord snapped his fingers in frustration and the clothes were gone. He stomped around in anger, causing the house to shake. “What is the point of wearing clothes anyways, Candy?!! The ponies walk around in the nude all the time. Hay, I do it too. Nothing is left to the imagination.”

“It’s tradition in the sense that our society loves to ‘show off’, in a manner of speaking. While we may be a nudist species, we are still inclined to wear clothing on occasion because of that. Well and our ancestors had to wear something during the Harsh Winter. It’s mostly done for fun nowadays really. There’s no ‘logical’ reason to wear them.”

Discord paused. “You’re right,” he grinned. “Doing things with no real reason? Perhaps there is hope for you ponies after all.”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh woe is a society endorsed by one such as you.” I put a hoof to my forehead as I mocked a weary expression.

“Woe indeed,” Discord chuckled and then frowned. “Seriously though, why do ‘I’ of all being have to dress up? Maybe I should go all natural. That would certainly liven things up.”

“Discord,” I gave him a small glare. “This isn’t the time to joke around. Applejack agreed to go out with you. This is a momentous point in your relationship. You have to do this right.”

Discord sighed and pinched the bridge of his snout. “I know, I know. This is all just so new to me.” His tail tapped the floor as he lost himself in thought. His tail stopped and I could hear a little ‘ding’ sound. A little strip of paper rolled out of his ear and he took it. Grinning as he read it to himself, he looked at me. “I just had a marvelous idea. How about I invite Applejack to my place and-”

I smacked him with the sweater. “No. Just no. You’re nowhere near that level right now.”

“What, level two?” Discord quipped.

“No, you’re still on level one.” I smirked.

“That was all just Tutorial?” Discord groaned as I nodded.

I laughed a little. Can’t really blame me for enjoying this. Soon enough, I’d be back in my old life in the Crystal Empire. I probably won’t be able to hang out with Discord any time soon. That was honestly a sad thought. “Don’t be so glum. If you play your cards right, you may get a little kiss~”

Discord grinned. “Oh-ho-ho. I’ll have you know I am the master when it comes to playing cards.” A deck of cards flew from hand to hand. “I practically invented the game.”

“Ah, but this is a new game entirely.” I pointed out. “You’re out of your element here, Discord.” I trotted over to the closet. There was nothing inside. Hay, it was barely big enough to hold that large body mirror he brought out. I closed the door and then reopened it. I grinned as a single suit lay on a ‘Discord’ shaped model. I have no idea how the house read my mind, but I’ll take what I can get. “And I think I’ve found something to help you with that.”

Discord hummed in thought as he stroked his beard. Little notes flew out of his nose in tandem with his strange hums. His tail snapped in a fashion similar to two fingers and the suit appeared on him in a flash.

It was a purple suit with diamond shaped white lines across it. As well, a top hat fit snuggly on his head and a cane in his hand. It was black with a purple gem at the top that held a blood red ‘chaos symbol’. Discord tapped the cane on the ground and the mirror up and walked over to him. He nodded as he took a look at himself. “You have taste, or I just happen to bring the best out of anything.”

“The former,” I whisked my mane back in triumph.

“But we need an educated second opinion,” Discord said, twirling his cane around a finger. “We need somepony who has insanely large amounts of experience with clothes. Somepony that can ‘spice’ up a party. Somepony who is the center of the show and adores it.” He snapped his fingers and teleported the two of us to……..

Fluttershy’s cottage?

“FLUTTERSHY!” Discord pulled out a microphone out of his hat and yelled. “HELP!”

Fluttershy flew downstairs. “What’s wrong?”

“I need a second opinion,” Discord spoke. He tapped the microphone and it became swiss cheese. He started munching on it. “Does this suit make me look fat?”

Fluttershy blinked a few times and glanced over at me. I shrugged. I honestly had no idea why he would go to Fluttershy about this. I don’t think she has any real experience with making clothes.

“Heavens no,” Fluttershy shook her head. “It looks perfect on you actually, though the sleeves are being pulled back too far and the stitching around the collar needs some work.” She flew up and eyed the top hat. “And a tophat is too much, Discord. I think a panama would fit you much better.”

My jaw dropped. This shy mare was a fashion expert? Were all Discord’s friends oddballs? Well, I was his friend so that was a given. I mean, what else would you use to describe a bloodthirsty love goddess who rules over a city state filled with shiny rock ponies, an adorkable husband horse, and frenemies with the Goddess of Change herself, Chrysalis.

Discord, having just finished off the last of the cheese, turned his hat upside down and smashed it down on his noggin. It flipped inside out and become one of those ‘panama’ hats I see down south all the time. He then took out an eyeball and pointed it at himself. “You’re right,” and then he shoved it back into its socket. “I do look much better with this and now.” He snapped his fingers and the suit fixed itself. “What ever would I do without you, Fluttershy?”

“You’d manage just fine,” Fluttershy patted him on the head softly like a mother would. “Now go out there and get your mare.”
__________________________________________________________________________

Ah hated dressin’ up. Ah hated it more than most anythin’ else. All the stress, worry, and simple nuances that really ah could do without. Nope, ah had to suffer because goin’ to a dance ‘naked’ isn’t proper. ‘As if these ponies haven’t been shown a really, Apple dance. We don’t worry about that nonsense then.’

Another reason was how ah had to stand still fer so long. Rarity had to take all these measurements and adjustments to the dress. Ah felt like ah was on the verge of snappin’. “How much longer,” ah said behind clenched teeth.

“Darling,” Rarity was putting some stitches into the red dress. “You can’t rush perfection. It takes time to come to fruition. If I rush it like you ever so crave, it will turn out so gaudy. We can’t have that. Oh no! My good friend is going to blow her date away with her stunning new gown.”

Ah rolled my eyes. “It’s just a dance, Rarity. There ain’t no reason to go overboard.”

Rarity gasped. “Just a dance? Just a dance?!!! This is no ordinary dance. This is the Hearts and Hooves Day Dance. The place where true love shines and your soul mate sings to you as you dance the night away.” She sighed. “I’m just glad I was able to come back in time for it.”

Of course, the only reason she came back early was because of my ‘accident’. Ah sighed. “Yeah well, still not a big deal.”

“Hmm?” Rarity lifted an eyebrow as she finished a stitch. “There we go. Now, what is not so big a deal for you? Is it Discord? Darling, I can understand your reservations. I never would have imagined you two to be, well, a thing in any sense of the word.”

Ah snorted and grumbled. “Me neither, but it happened.”

“Do you regret saying yes?”

“No,” ah said quicker than ah thought ah would. Ah blushed in embarrassment.

Rarity smirked. “Then you have nothing to fear. I myself had often wonder what it would be like to find someone so ‘exotic’ as him. Well, not him exactly. He is not my type and I don’t think we could make something work. Anyways, since you’ve given me an answer already, all I can tell you is to follow your heart.”

“Got that from one of yer novels?” Ah quirked an eyebrow.

“It’s a common enough phrase,” Rarity swatted a hoof before herself. “I just want you to be happy. We are the best of friends, are we not? Is that not what I’m supposed to do?”

Ah nodded. “That’s true.” Me and Rarity were amongst the closest of our little band. Ah loved the others well enough like family and didn’t play no favors, but me and Rarity went back the farthest. Both of us were born and raised in Ponyville, went to the same school, did a lot of things together. Well, not everything. It wasn’t until Twilight got here that we stopped being so ‘feisty’ with each other.

“Even if I don’t find your choice in males ‘satisfying’ to my tastes,” Rarity continued. “I will stick by your decision and bring the wrath of Celestia down the throat of whoever hurts you. That I promise.”

Ah chuckled. “Thanks fer the support.”

“No,” Rarity shook her head. “Thank you. It’s not often I get a model with your physique. Oh, I can already imagine my next line of dresses: Country Gal. Okay, the title may need a little work, but idea is sound.” She nodded as she looked the dress over. “And you’re finite fini.” She magicked over a mirror and showed me………

“Wow.” Ah never thought ah’d look so good in a frou-frou dress, but there ah was. The dress looked like a plainer version of that get-up Rarity wore the gala before. It had a black under shirt and frilly pink cuffs, but they weren't that distractin'. There was a gold and orange outline at the back edge of it and a dark red bow on the 'butt' of the dress. It had a few gems near the collar, light blue ones. The last bit was a little head band of blue jewels on my head. Yeah, it looked smoother and easier to breath in, but it took my breath away. ‘Hopefully, Discord’s too.’ Ah thought to myself, before shakin’ away that thought. That varmint should be breathless anyways if he knows what’s good fer him.

My mane was done a bit like Rarity’s, with a little curl at the end, but it felt like my own enough that ah could tolerate it. One of my eyes were covered by my mane, so it gave me a tad bit of that ‘mysterious’ vibe ah’d see on some of Rarity’s magazines she has lyin’ around. Borin’ things, if you ask me. Rather read important stuff, like the latest farmin’ techniques and apples.

Rarity was beamin’. “I knew you’d love it~” She had a little pep in her voice. “I might touch you up a little with make-up, but as of now, you’ll be the talk of the dance. Discord won’t be able to keep his eyes off of you.”

Ah blushed slightly. “Yeah, maybe even get him to shut up fer a while.” The two of us giggled.

“One can dream,” Rarity patted me on the shoulder. “Do have a good time, Applejack. I wish you luck.”

“Ah’m gonna need it,” ah frowned. Ah still couldn’t believe this was happenin’, but ah felt giddier than a jackrabbit in a carrot storm. ‘Course, ah also felt a tad bit sick too. ‘Discord’s my date...Discord’s my date?!!’ No, ah wouldn’t turn back now. Ah had to do this. Ah liked the varmint. No use in gettin’ cold hooves now.

“Applejack?” Ah looked to see her givin’ me a concerned gaze. “You’re worried about this date, aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” ah sighed. “Am ah rushin’ into this? Ah didn’t even like him a week ago.”

“Neither did Pinkie and Frederic,” Rarity smirked. “And they’re already, what is the saying, two peas in a nutshell?”

“Pod,” ah chuckled.

Rarity snorted in amusement. “Yes, that. So don’t you worry about this. He may be a trickster god of chaos, but he’s still a male. So go out there and show him what a true lady is like.”

“Yer right,” ah grinned. “Ah shouldn’t be frettin’ over this. Ah’m gonna do it. Ah’m gonna make him mine even if it kills him.”

Rarity blanched. “Maybe we shan’t go that far, dearie.”

Ah shrugged. “Farm work ain’t fer sissies and noodles. Have ya seen the varmint? He’s thinner than a little yearling tree. Can’t see how he doesn’t blow away in the wind. Ah’ll have to toughen him up if’n he wants to keep up with me.”

“Ah yes,” Rarity smirked. “You do that. I’m sure he would appreciate working ‘close’ to you from here on out. Maybe he’ll show you a few ‘tricks’ too. I mean, there are a lot of ways to toughen up a male.”

Ah blushed. “Sounds like yer talkin’ from experience.”

Rarity glared at me. “Of course not. I’m still a fair maiden. I give that honor to and only to my soul mate.” She pushed me. “Now come on. We have some makeup to try. I just received a shipment from Prance this morning and I’ve been dying to test them.”

Did ah mention ah hate makeup too?

A True Gentleman Arrives When They Intend to

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This was it. This was really it! All my hard work. All the headaches and explosions were actually paying off. Oh I wanted to jump around like a little filly on Hearths Warming Eve morn. No, I needed to stay focused for just a little bit longer. Come the dance, I could go wild. Why, I’ll even bring Shiny and Chrissy. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind being teleported all the way here into a dance just as I’m sure my ponies wouldn’t go stir crazy with their royals just vanishing. I’ll be back by tomorrow morning, so it shouldn’t be a problem. They’ve managed without me for this long, they can manage another night fair enough. It’s not like there’s anything important going on. Just smiling and waving……

Being a Princess is boring sometimes.

Being a Goddess of Love never yields a boring moment however. Like right now. This ship had almost sailed. The problem? I said ‘almost’. Something still could go wrong tonight. Everything hinged on them having a good time, but I was confident nothing bad would happen. That’s why I was so giddy. I actually found a love connection for Discord of all creatures. I am the master of shipping~ My joy was so abundant I was literally shining. I was half Crystal Pony after all. It was a neat trick of biology. Of course, my own enthusiasm wasn’t so infectious.

Discord was standing at the door. His feet encased in ice as he just stared at the door in apprehension. Quite a few ponies get cold feet before their first date. This was the third time it was taken literally that I’ve seen.

The other pony with us….well, she was showing her happiness in a different sort of way.

“WAAA!” Fluttershy wailed, crying into Discord’s fur. The yellow mare was clinging to his midsection. “I’m so proud of you.”

I rolled my eyes. Mother figures were often overly emotional when it came to these matters. I had hoped Fluttershy wasn’t the wailing type. I guess I was wrong. She wasn’t by far the worst. That would be Chrysalis at weddings. That girl can get really emotional when she wants to be. So much so that I had to add ‘almost drowned in tears’ to my list of near death experiences.

Yeah, it’s a long list at this point.

“Fluttershy,” I chuckled and patted her back comfortingly. “He’s a big god. He needs a little breathing room.”

Fluttershy sniffled. “Okay.” She flew up and gave Discord a reassuring peck on the cheek. “Just be careful and take care of her, okay?” Discord weakly nodded, which had a creaking sound added to it. She smiled. “Thank you.”

Daaawwww~ They were so cute~ Oh I can’t wait to have kids of my own. If only Shining wasn’t a bit hesitant about the subject. Oh well, I can still mother little Spike and all those baby changelings. Well, as best I can with Chrysalis turned into a dragonoid form. She often does that with her babies about. Not that I’d hurt them and we have played with them regularly together. It’s just…..Chrysalis gets into her moods and it’s never pretty.

Fluttershy landed beside me and we both trotted over to the bushes. We were going to get a front row seat to one of the most adorably, awkward pickups ever.

“The future is in your claws, Discord.” I whispered to myself as we hid. “Make the most of it, you silly god.”

Discord didn’t move for a few seconds, before he glared at the door. The ice at his feet melted away. “What am I doing? I’m the god of chaos. I fought Luna AND Celestia to a standstill. I brought the world to its knees! I have chaos. I have a handsome mug.” He hefted a large hammer to the sky and a bolt of lightning hit it. “I HAVE THE POWER!” He then….lightly tapped the door a couple of times. “Hmm, she’s not home.” He turned around, looking nervous. “Guess I best be going.”

I WAS GOING TO MURDER HIM IF HE DID!

Luckily for Discord, Big Macintosh opened the door.

_________________________________________________________

Ah stared at Discord’s back, holdin’ the door open. Ah was lucky ah was already headin’ outside to get the carriage, or else ah might not have caught him tryin’ to skedaddle on my little sister. While ah knew he wasn’t all that bad, ah’m still Applejack’s big brother. Ah’d be darned if ah let anythin’ happen to her ‘cause a god got cold hooves.

“Goin’ somewhere?”

Discord turned around and smiled. “Big Red, so glad to see you. How have you been? I hope that feisty little bat hasn’t been keeping you. Oooh, maybe you’ve had a few nightmares lately.” He waggled his eyebrows.

Ah rolled my eyes. This wasn’t the time for this kind of talk. Not for a long time, if’n ah had anythin’ to say about it. He can date my sister, but he can’t lay her. Not until he commits. Call me old fashion, but that’s the way it’s gonna be. He can warp me all he likes, but ah can still kick his head straight to town and back.

“So it’s been lackluster for you then,” Discord shrugged. “Sad. I would assume a stallion like you would have mares crawling all over you.” He taped the side of his head and one of his eyes sprang forward and glanced me over.

It was unnervin’ to say the least.

“Nope,” Discord chuckled, pullin’ his eye back. “No mares. Take it from a master, Apple Big. You need to loosen up. Maybe go pay those delightful spa twins a visit. I’m sure they get lonely-”

“Yer tryin’ to sidetrack me,” ah pointed out.

Discord frowned. “Sidetrack you? No, we’re travelling buddies. We escaped Nightmare Moon-”

“Luna.”

“-Nightmare Moon’s clutches with our combined ingenuity. Travelling buddies never sidetrack each other.” He took off his ear, which turned into a book. He opened it up. “Says so right here. Page forty-five in the ‘Travelling Buddies Manuel’. Not the best title in my opinion.”

“Treat her right, Discord.”

The critter blinked in confusion. “Huh?” He popped the book back in place and his ear was back on in a ‘poof’ of magic.

“Ah want ya to promise me,” ah looked him dead in the eye. Ah wasn’t gonna back down. “Ah want ya to promise me that ya will treat her right. Applejack means the world to me. To this family. She deserves the best for everythin’ she’s done. She’s too hard headed to admit that. Yer zany enough to do it anyways, so please. Give her the best night she’s ever had.”

Discord slowly grinned. “Of course. I’m the best at what I do.” He twirled his cane. “I’m the master of fun and a party expert extraordinaire. Applejack is going to enjoy herself tonight.” His face turned serious, somethin’ ah’d never expect to see on that face. “And I promise you. I will make her happy till the end of days. A god never breaks their promise.” He traced an X over his heart, with faint white lines appearin’ fer a couple seconds.

He put his cane down on the ground and leaned forward over it. He stared me right in the eyes. “I’m tired, Macintosh. Tired of messing with everyone’s lives. Tired of being the bad guy. I’m so, so tired, but this feelings. I’m not sure if it’s love. I want it to be. I’ve never felt love before so I don’t know. Whatever it is, it only appears when I think of your sister. When Applejack is with me...I feel alive like I’ve never felt before. It’s a random feeling. It makes no sense. She isn’t the one I would ‘pick’ for a lover, but she is the one I want to spend my life with. That isn’t a lie.”

Ah searched fer a lie in his eyes. Ah searched and searched. Ah found nothin’. He was tellin’ the truth. A part of me was proud of him. He was a mighty good fella deep down and honestly, he was someone Applejack needed. She needed someone to get to contrast, to loosen up. Discord fit that well enough.

Another part of me hated it. Ah was losin’ my little sister. Ah know that’s stupid, but she’s my sister. Ah had a tinge of selfishness to myself when it came to them. Ah wanted them to stay with me always, but that was stupid and ah know it. They had their own lives to live and ah wasn’t gonna be some bull-headed idiot and stop ‘em from bein’ happy.

Ah smiled and opened my mouth.

“Ya….ya mean that?” Ah heard Applejack speak up from behind me.

__________________________________________________________________

Ah stood there in front of a mirror, lookin’ over myself. Ah still couldn’t believe how pretty ah looked. Ah wasn’t one to really enjoy dressin’ up, but this? Ah actually liked it. Never thought of myself as ‘beautiful’, but this image was settin’ myself straight in that regard. Ah had everythin’ prepared for this dance.

Ah wasn’t ready.

‘Yer dressed and proper.’

Somethin’ was gonna go wrong.

‘Yer friends will be there to help ya. Besides, it’s Ponyville. Stuff always happens here.’

Ah wasn’t pretty enough fer this dance.

‘That’s hooey and ya know it.’

Discord would find somepony better than-

‘Quit yer whinin’ and go smooch the varmint, ya pansy. Yer just stallin’.’

Ah snorted as ah admitted defeat. Ah was stallin’. Ah still didn’t know how to feel about this. Ah was goin’ on a date with Discord. He wanted me and...We could kiss. Would it feel like magic? Would ah do any good? Ah could suck at it fer all ah know. Never kissed someone before. Discord could be the first.

That varmint better appreciate it. It was makin’ me glare as hard as ah was red right then and there.

Ah was gonna do this. Ah’m Applejack, Element bearer and one of the toughest ponies ya can meet. This was somethin’ ah had to face head on. Like a real Apple mare should. Ah ain’t no coward. Ah’m gonna enjoy tonight and by Celestia, ah’d do my part to do it. Even if ah had to hogtie Discord up fer the night to do so.

He’d just make a joke out of it.

When ah went downstairs, ah could hear my big brother talkin’ to Discord. Hopefully, Big Mac wasn’t gonna break my date. Same goes for Discord with my brother. Thankfully, they didn’t fight. No, they just talked.

Ah heard everythin’.

It was sweet of Big Mac to worry ‘bout me. He’s always looked out fer us, bein’ the big, strong hardworker that he is. He never did anythin’ in parts. It was all or nothin’ and he never settled fer nothin’. He was so good that ah still can’t believe he was so hard headed that he couldn’t see all those mares after him. Pick one, ya dummy.

‘Course, ah’m kind of a hypocrite in that regard. Rather, ah used to be.

Then Discord spoke and my jaw dropped. The things he said….The way he said it….My heart was beatin’ faster than it was before. Ah was nervous. Ah wanted to hug him. Ah wanted to knock the truth out of him. Had to be a lie somewhere. Had to….

What was ah doin’? Lookin’ fer a lie? Ah wanted him to like me, didn’t ah? ‘Course ah do. At least, ah think ah do. Ah wanted to be held. To be loved. If it had to be done by some varmint, than by Celestia it would be that varmint. Still, ah had to ask.

“Ya…..ya mean that?”

Discord and Mac looked up at me. Ah was standin’ inside the room and they could see me entirely. Discord’s bottom jaw fell off and hit the floor and ah blushed as ah smirked.

Rarity did a good job with my dress.

Usin’ his tail to put his jaw back in place, Discord raised a talon to speak and then…..He floofed up. He did it again.

Ah chuckled. “Well aren’t ya spiffier than ah brand new plow before spring.” Meant that too. Givin’ him a once over, ah noticed he cleaned up real nice. His suit fit him well enough and he actually looked handsome. Fer a varmint that is.

Gettin’ himself back in order, he grinned. “And aren’t you the fabled diamond in the rough. How lucky am I to have snatched you, my dearest Applejack.”

Ah blushed again. Ugh, it was gettin’ annoying blushin’ so much. Why’d he have to keep makin’ me feel so nice? “Just answer the question, Discord.”

“The answer is yes,” Discord stood up straight and nodded. “I meant every word of it. I’m not one for lies, my dear. Not a big fan of them. Half truths are more my game, or a spin on the truth. This is neither of those things. What I said is what I meant. You are the most beautiful mare I could imagine myself with. Of course, you are the only mare I have ever envisioned myself with. Well, in a romantic sense.” He tapped his chin with a claw. “Fun, tea, a good prank, all things I’ve pondered to do with or at many mares before. Love? Only you. Now stop being a silly pony and be an even sillier pony. We’ve got a party to crash.”

Ah smiled. “We were invited. Can’t crash a party we were invited to.”

“Not with that attitude,” Discord huffed, grinnin’. “Though, I did hear of that one party you and your friends attended not that long ago. Nice work.” He gave me a thumbs up with streamers shootin’ out of it and some sort of victory music playin’.

Ah glared at him. “Discord….”

He laughed. “Oh don’t spoil my fun, my dearest Applejack. Tonight is about enjoying ourselves and I assure you that you’ll have many fond memories of this night. I know I will.”

Ah trotted over to him, givin’ Big Mac a nuzzled as ah passed. “See ya, Big Mac.”

“See ya, sis.” Big Mac called out to me before shuttin’ the door.

This was it. No turnin’ back. Ah was datin’ Discord and that was the end of it. Discord clapped his hands and a carriage strolled up to us. It was bein’ pulled by two large, white mice. He grinned and opened the door. “After you.”

“Thank ya kindly,” ah smiled as ah walked inside. Least he had some manners.

“I think I should be the one doing the thanking,” he chuckled as he took his place next to me. The moment he closed the door, the mice started walkin’. “You gave me a chance, my dearest Applejack.”

“Just Applejack.”

“Oh don’t ruin my fun,” he chuckled and ah joined along.

Guess ah was gonna have a better time than ah thought.

_________________________________________________

I grinned from my spot in the bushes. I was so excited, literal sparks sputtered from my horn. That would honestly be rather embarrassing if I did it in public. Well, that and I was glowing up a storm. Someone could mistake me for a small star at this point. My plan was getting better and better. I just had to get my cuddle buddies here and it would be perfect.

“WAAAA!” Fluttershy wailed. “They grow up so fast. It feels like only yesterday he was learning the magic of friendship.” She pulled me close to her as she wailed into my fur. Honestly, I was surprised in how strong she was. I could tell she could easily break me in half. This mare was full of surprises……….

‘She’s a tricky one, this Fluttershy. I’ll have my work cut out for me finding her a match.’ A bit hasty on my part, but eh. She was the motherly type and they were fun and cute to match up. Still, I had someone else to focus on right now. Fluttershy could wait.

Celebrating a Ship Sailed

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Ah’ve never been so nervous in my life. Here ah was, ridin’ in a carriage pulled by giant mice and sittin’ by the god of chaos himself. Why? ‘Cause ah wanted to give this ‘datin’’ thing a chance, that’s why. Ah shouldn’t feel this way. Ah chose this, not the other way around. ‘Gosh dangit, buck up Applejack. Yer the Element of Honesty and an Apple. This is easy.’

Guess believin’ that is a bit harder than ah thought.

“Nervous?” Discord asked. Ah looked over to see him tossin’ a ball between his three tails. As if one wasn’t enough.

Ah scowled and crossed my forelegs. “Taint nervous.” He ain’t gonna fluster me up in this date. My cheeks were a little warmer than ah’d like. Maybe they’d cool off if he wasn’t lookin’ at me like ah was the prettiest thing he’d ever seen. Ah’m not pretty, ya stupid varmint!

“Well then, we aren’t on the same page apparently.” Discord grinned and leaned closer. His breath tickled against my fur and my eyes widened. Ah kept thinkin’ ‘What’s he doin’?’ over and over again. “My dearest Applejack. You have nerves of steel. Me? I’ve never been so nervous.”

My hoof forcefully pushed him away. It was almost a punch, if ah had to describe it. “Nervous? Ya? Yer Discord, lord of chaos. Ya do crazy stuff all the time. Why would you be nervous?”

“Because I’m going on my first ever date with the prettiest mare I’ve ever laid eyes on,” Discord’s tails slammed together as he grinned. The tail slithered in the air around him till the fluff at the end was in front of me. It opened up to reveal a bouquet of orange flowers. “I’m just very good at hiding my nervous ticks.”

Ah blushed, tentatively takin’ the flowers into my forelegs. “Thanks ya kindly.” Didn’t know what else to say. Not used to all this courtin’ business and ah...kinda liked it. Not a lot, mind ya. He’s still a stupid varmint.

“You’re very welcome, Applejack.” Discord bowed his head. His horns slid off his head and shattered on the ground. The moment they did, a shower of sparks flew around the carriage. The sparks didn’t hurt or anythin’ like that. They were quite pretty, actually. Discord held up a finger and the sparks formed into a ball at the tip. It wasn’t a large one. The ball could easily fit inside my hoof three times over. “Of course, that wasn’t the only gift I had for you tonight.” His horns flashed back on to his head.

“What’s that?” Ah had to admit, the way the ball shined was rather beautiful. It gave off an earthy aura as it shifted. It turned green and a band formed around it.

“Just a simple gift,” Discord’s grin turned soft. He gently put it on my hoof. “As was the first.” He tapped the air and his chaos necklace appeared around my neck. “While the necklace can tell me where you are and summon me, I wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t....” He sighed, causin’ me to put a comfortin’ hoof on him. He smiled. “This gem is special. Mother Nature isn’t a fan of me, but she gave me a gift when I was new to this world. That gift I give to you. If you are ever in danger and I’m not there, use it.”

Ah nodded. “Ah’ll be sure to,” ah smirked and lightly nuzzled him. “But it ain’t gonna come to that. Not anytime soon.”

“With our luck?” Discord raised an eyebrow. “With Ponyville’s luck? Do you really want to tempt fate?”

Ah rolled my eyes. He had a point. Somethin’ was gonna happen. Probably on a Tuesday, because reasons. Everyday was liable to have somethin’ happen. Ponyville was a monster magnet and me and the girls were always bein’ called somewhere to stop some monster. “Okay, okay. Ah see what ya mean. Ah’ll keep a hold of this little gift.”

Ah blushed as ah look at the green bracelet. He wasn’t givin’ it to me just ‘cause ah’m a mare. It wasn’t to impress me. No. He wanted me safe. He wanted to protect me anyway he could. Ah could respect that. “Discord?”

“Hmm?” Discord peered at me.

Ah opened my mouth as the carriage stopped. This was it. The dance. Where ah showed the world that ah was with this varmint. Was ah goin’ to go through with this? Ah could back out. Ah could go home. Ah could forget all about this. Lookin’ into Discord’s eyes, ah thought about it…

And stomped those thoughts out faster than a cattle stampedes over a flower bed. Those eyes weren’t the ones that tormented me for fun. Ah wasn’t just another pony. Not in those eyes. Ah was me and that made me more important than pretty much everythin’ else. Well, maybe not Fluttershy. She was still his best friend. So, it was settled in my mind. Ah was gonna go with this crazy varmint. Steelin’ myself, ah gave him a harm look.

Ah pulled his beard down hard, gettin’ into his face. “Don’t make me look stupid, ya hear?”

“Perish the thought, my dear Applejack.” Discord chuckled, only wincin’ a little at the tug. “How could I make something so elegant look stupid?”

“Ya have yer ways,” ah snorted, before pausin’. Somethin’ came to mind. Ah looked down at the bracelet and necklace. He’d given me them to protect me. To keep me from harm. So, ah gently took them off, releasin’ his beard.

“What are you doing?” Discord asked me.

“Don’t need ‘em,” ah answered. Ah delicately put them on the seat beside us. Ah could get them later. Then, ah smiled up at him. “Got ya here with me tonight. That’s protection enough right now.”

Discord blinked a few times before chucklin’. “I’ll do my best.” He then stood up, opened the door fer me, and bowed.

“Thanks,” ah smiled and trotted out. All of Ponyville was done up in celebration of Hearts and Hooves Day. There were pink hearts, streamers, and other such lovey dovey stuff ah really didn’t care to think about. Ironic since ah’m goin’ on my first date tonight.

“APPLEJACK!” That was all the warnin’ ah had, ‘fore Pinkie glomped me. She’s surprisin’ly strong fer a baker. “Oh, I’m so glad you made it. I mean, no party is perfect without all of my friends there too. Though, Twilight’s still missing. That’s okay. I’m sure she’s doing some important princessy stuff. Ooh, I saved a few slices of the cake and the DJ is ‘rockin’’ it on the dance floor. Come on.” She started pullin’ me along.

Ah gave Discord a pleadin’ look. Surely he’d get me out of Pinkie’s grasp. The dastardly varmint just chuckled. Ah’ll make him pay fer that. No more apples fer a month! Didn’t take Pinkie long to drag me to the tables. Didn’t take that mare long to do anythin’ that she put her mind to really.

Pinkie held up a pink frosted, red cake. “It’s a strawberry cake. I know you prefer apple cake and who doesn’t? Well, some people. My sister Maud isn’t exactly a cake kind of gal, but she’ll have a nice pie every now and again. Still, that’s a dessert everyone can appreciate.” She frowned. “I should have baked some pies. Oh now I’ve ruined the party-”

“Hold it, Pinkie.” Ah put a hoof over her mouth ‘fore she went any further. Pinkie’s a nice gal, but she’ll go on and on. Still not as bad as Twilight though. At least Pinkie makes it a bit fun...though, I can’t really follow both of them at times. “Ah’m happy ya made the cake.”

“You are?” Pinkie looked at me expectantly. When ah nodded, she jumped up into the air and then hugged me. “YAY! I really wanted to make this party perfect. Which is a bit hard to do, since I just got here today and Sparkler had the whole thing already planned. She’s a great pony, but she’s kind of sloppy. Don’t tell Ditzy I said that.” She gulped and started to sweat, givin’ me a pleadin’ stare.

“My lips are sealed,” ah meant that. Ditzy Doo was a nice mare, but she wasn’t the over-protective type when it came to her kids. Makes me wonder if ah’d be the same with my kids...Not that ah’d want to do ‘that’ with Discord. Stupid varmint...Even though ah do want to be a mom. ‘Wake up, AJ. It’s too early for that talk.’

Pinkie sighed in relief and wiped the sweat from her brow. “Phew, crisis averted. Now on to the dance floor. Freddy’s going to be playing for the couples soon and I wanted you to have some cake and get jiggy with it. Oh and hi Discord. Sorry for not noticing you. I kind of got distracted by a lot of things. For example, Applejack. You look so pretty in that dress. Rarity made that for you, didn’t she.”

Ah nodded, blushin’ slightly at the compliment. “She did.”

“And no worries, Pinkie.” Discord finally spoke up. “I was a bit busy myself.”

“With what?” Ah raised an eyebrow, givin’ him a calm look that could say ‘Do ah have to buck ya?’.

“Entertainment,” Discord grinned, lookin’ over at the buffet table. For some reason, the fruit had arms and legs. Not to mention the boxin’ gloves and they were goin’ at it. “Everyone loves fruit punch.”

Pinkie bashed her drumsticks on a pair of nearby cymbals. Where she got those, ah don’t know. She’s Pinkie Pie. Though, ah’d wager she had it in her hair. Again, ain’t gonna question how. Just...Pinkie Pie.

“Could ya stop it with the lame puns?” Ah snorted.

Discord frowned. “Yes, yes. I know it’s ‘lame’-” his eyebrows had formed a couple of fingers to add hyphens to the word. “-but I honestly had to get a lame joke in here somewhere. At least it made sense.”

“I liked it,” Pinkie held up her hoof.

“You,” Discord pointed his finger at her. “I like you.”

“I like you to,” Pinkie pointed her hoof back at him and giggled. “I just like Freddy more.”

“Who is Freddy?” Ah asked. “Ya got a colfriend?” When did this happen? Pinkie never kept secrets from us. She was terrible at it.

Pinkie nodded. “A couple of days ago, but I’m not going to bore you tonight. I’ll tell you tomorrow. Tonight, we dance.” She dramatically pointed to the center of the town.

“We’ll be there shortly,” Discord answered. He narrowed his eyes as one of the fruit, a daring banana with a handle bar mustache, thrust out a fork at him in a silent challenge. Discord took off a finger, which turned into a sword. A new finger quickly grew back in its place. “I am not one to miss a challenge. Stand back, my dear Applejack. Bananas are nasty fruit.”

Ah sighed as he started fencin’ with the fruit. “Just can’t have a normal date, can ah?”

“What?!!” Pinkie shrieked. “You’re dating Discord? That’s...That’s...That’s like the best thing ever.” She hugged me close to her. “I’m so happy for you two.”

“Thanks,” ah sighed in relief. Fer a moment, ah thought she’d hate me. Don’t know why. Ugh, ah gotta stop thinkin’ so pessimistically. Gotta keep that Apple upbeat attitude. Nothin’ was gonna ruin this night.

A splash of orange hit my face. “Colonel Orange? WHY?!!” Discord shouted from his fruit battle, which somehow had turned into a semi-trench battle with the tables.

“COLONEL ORANGE!!” Pinkie shook her hoof, burying her face into my dress. “He was so young!”

“The things ah put up with,” ah deadpanned.

_______________________________________________________________

*Frederic Horseshoepin*

“...I just wanted to say thank you again,” the purple unicorn mare, Sparkler, kept at it as I looked over the piano. She could give Pinkie Pie a run for her money with how much she was blabbering on. “I had almost everything planned out and everything set, except for the music. Can’t believe I forgot about that, but thankfully you’re here. Thank you. Thank you. I knew I could find someone talented like you when I wanted. That goes to show how I’m the best pony at organizing events and not-” Her eyes narrowed and her teeth clenched. “-Twilight Sparkle.”

I raised an eyebrow at how much hatred she put into the name. “I take it you two don’t see eye to eye.”

“No,” Sparkler shook her head. “Of course not. We’re just peachy.” She grinned, before turning away. “As peachy as two wolves over a carcass.” Her growling voice did unnerve me quite a bit. She turned back to me and her smile was much wider than before. “But we’re okay. It’s not like she took my position of organizer away from me and now no one wants me to plan any events. Nope. I’m totally fine with all the free time on my hooves. My little jewelry shop needs me after all.”

I gulped in fear. This mare seemed quite unstable. I’d have to watch what I said to her. Ah fiddled with my tie as I tried to keep my composure. “Well, I’m glad life is working out for you.” So far, I’ve been here for only a day and I can already tell that this whole town is crazy. Warum ausgerechnet ich?I asked myself this quite often since I’ve arrived.

“Freddy!” A bubbly voice wrapped her hooves around my neck and nuzzled me. “I’m here~”

‘That’s why.’ I grinned and nuzzled her back. “Hallo, meine schöne Dame.”

Pinkie giggled. Oh, her giggle set me on fire. I’ve only known her for a little while, but I could feel this broken heart mend into diamond. “You’re speaking fancy again, Freddy.”

“Ah, but how can I not?” I nuzzled her moreso. “You bring out the real me. You set this soul on fire.” I kissed her cheek.

“Oh go on,” Pinkie fluttered her eyelashes, which made me blush. Then her bubbly smile returned. “Really, go on. I like those fancy words.”

Sparkler, of course, coughed to get our attention. I reluctantly tore myself off the lovely mare by my side. “Yes, well, thank you both for helping me on such short notice.”

“How could I not?” Pinkie smiled, nearly hopping up and down on the piano bench. “It’s been so long since I’ve been to an event planned by you.”

“Yes,” Sparkler’s teeth clenched through her smile. “Too long.”

“So I had to help,” Pinkie put in. “It needed the right flare. Oh and I almost forgot. We need to add a little something to the music. Discord’s on his way and-” Sparkler fainted the moment she said that. Pinkie cringed. “Okay, I should have eased her into that.”

My jaw dropped. “D-Discord’s going to be here?” Luckily, Discord didn’t seem to do much in Canterlot. I’d wager he didn’t want to take on the two sister’s too soon.

“Don’t you worry,” Pinkie nuzzled me, calming my nerves. “Pinkie Pie is on the job. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”

“Shouldn’t it be the stallion who wishes to protect his mare?” I pointed out, smiling.

“I like to mix it up a bit,” she giggled.

__________________________________________________________________________

“I accept your surrender,” Discord, wearin’ a fruit stained, general’s outfit and feathery hat, grinned down at the bandaged, mustached, banana. “You should have known better then to challenge me to a fruit battle.”

“Wow,” Carrot Top, who had joined in the fight some time ago, was grinnin’. “Intense. Is your coltfriend always like that?”

“He’s the god of chaos,” ah deadpanned.

Carrot Top nodded. “You should have told me you were dating him, Applejack. We tell each other everything, remember?”

“It just sorta happened,” ah shrugged. That was the truth of the matter. Ah never kept a secret from Carrot Top. Same with her to me. “That’s just how it is with Discord. Ah never expect what happens next.”

“If only Written was a little more spontaneous,” Carrot Top pouted and Discord’s magic cleaned up all the juice from our dresses. We didn’t pay that no mind. “He’s always a bit uptight.”

“Ya sure about that?” Ah smirked. “Ah recall hearin’ ‘bout some noise complaints from yer neighbors.”

Carrot Top blushed. “Well, I have my ways of getting him to cut loose.” She awkwardly coughed into her foreleg. “Well, I think I’ll catch up with you later.” She trotted off and ah waved after her. It’s always stoppin’ and chattin’ with her. Sometimes, ah think ah spend a little too much time with Twilight and the gang. Love ‘em to the end, but ah gotta say, it’s nice to hang out with other ponies.

Discord strutted up to me. A swirl of purple magic flew around him as he walked and by the time he was back at my side, his suit was back in place. “Well now, on to the main course!”

“No more food battles,” ah sternly remarked.

Discord pouted. “Have you no faith in me, my dear Applejack?”

“Yes.”

Discord rolled his eyes and smiled. “Well have a little bit of faith for me tonight.”

“Ah’ll try,” ah commented. Ah bumped my hip against his, givin’ him a friendly grin. “‘Course that don’t mean ah’ll give yer dancin’ skills a lick of it.”

Discord gasped. “You doubt my dance moves?”

“Yep,” ah chuckled. “Yer a langy varmint. Not the best combination.”

Discord shot me a challengin’ look. “Then I’ll have to prove you wrong.” He snapped his fingers and we were on the dance floor.

“Ah can walk, ya know.” Ah snorted. Didn’t like it when other people did stuff fer me without my say so. Got the feelin’ ah was gonna have to get used to it even more than ah already had to.

“Why walk?” Discord put his right paw on my back, pullin’ me up into a two legged posture. Ah’m just glad ah’ve danced like this a couple times in the past, or this would be really awkward. Ain’t exactly a natural position fer us ponies. Ah blushed at how close the dang varmint pulled me to him. “When we can dance? Pinkie Pie?”

“On it,” Pinkie just winked at us. What the hay is she doin’? Can’t she see this varmint’s tryin’ to feel me up? She just nodded towards some stallion on the piano. Then she looked at the audience. “Okay ponies, before we start, I just have one question.” She paused. “ARE YOU READY FOR FREDDY?!!”

“It’s Frederic,” the stallion corrected. Pinkie pouted and he sighed. “Fine. I’m Freddy tonight.” Then he started playin’. Gotta say. Fer a high tootin’ Germane, he’s got style. It was slow and beautiful.

Perfect couple music.

“D-discord,” ah gulped, nervously lookin’ up at him.

“Hmm?” He seemed to think my nervousness was cute or somethin’. It wasn’t and ah had a half a mind to buck him right then and there.

“Ah’m not exactly...good at slow dancin’,” ah said it. Ain’t no use in denyin’ it. Two left hooves is what ah got when it comes to these fancy dances. Some good country dancin’ is my cup of cider.

“Then I’ll lead,” then we started dancin’.

It took me by surprise how graceful he was. He seemed like he’d been doin’ this stuff his whole life. We flowed around the dancefloor. Ah felt like ah was floatin’ on air with butterflies flyin’ inside. He really did lead on, but he never flaunted it. We danced as one and, well, that made me feel all the better. That and he wasn’t tryin’ to feel me up with his paws as he helped me. Woulda kicked him between the legs if’n he tried.

Ah didn’t know how to feel about this. At least, not when we began. This was a dastardly varmint. He made me feel out of breath and my life stressed. He ruined everythin’ he could just to get a laugh. Yet he helped me with the orchard, with that beast. He was Fluttershy’s best friend. He called me beautiful. No one’s ever done that. A part of me tried to tell myself it was all a trick. This was a sick joke and he was goin’ to break my heart in a moment.

That moment never came. When ah looked up into those red and yellow eyes, ah saw compassion. Somethin’ ah only ever saw when he looked at Fluttershy, but this was a different sort. This was the sort Rarity went on and on about. The sort ah see in the Cakes when they look at each other. This was the sort of look that could win over a lover’s heart.

It did. Ah was bein’ foolish. Ah’m scared of love. Ah admit that. Ah’m scared of the hurt. Ah’ve lost loved ones before. Ah’ve seen some friend have such nasty breakups. That wasn’t gonna happen here. Not if he had somethin’ to say about or ah.

Discord frowned. “Are you alright, my dear Applejack? I haven’t awed you too much with my sharp moves, have I?”

Ah snorted and rolled my eyes. “They aren’t that great.” Ah sighed as ah leaned into his chest. “Just thinkin’.”

“A dangerous pastime,” Discord lamented. “Thinking can get you into such nasty situations, but it can also lead to a few ‘beautiful’ endings.” He brushed his talon hand against my cheek, makin’ me blush.

“About all of this, really.” Ah said. “Goin’ to take a while to get used to it.”

“You’re not the only one,” Discord grinned. “Farm life isn’t my forte either, but I think I’ve finally gotten a hang of apple bucking.” He lifted his paw away from me and pulled down a chart...from somewhere. It’s Discord. Just go with it. The chart had some fancy equations and Discord’s leg drawin’s. “I just had to carry the two.”

Ah laughed and punched him in the gut. Not that hard, but it took him by surprise. “We’ll see, Discord. We’ll see.”

______________________________________________________________________

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” I kept shouting at the top of my lungs as I hopped around the dance. Everypony was giving me strange looks, but I didn’t care. I was the Goddess of Love, Princess of the Crystal Empire, wife of the sexiest stallion ever, frenemy of Chysalis, and I just completed my greatest mission ever! I was going to celebrate this and nopony was going to stop me.

At some points, I had lost faith. Discord was a tricky client. Applejack was a stubborn mare. They both gave me plenty of headaches, but now? They were dancing like two soul mates should. Oh, how I adore the sight. I remember dancing with Shining Armor for the first night, all those years ago.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” A new, bubbly voice sang out as she pronked alongside me. I turned to see Pinkie Pie. “What are we shouting ‘yes’ for? Did you win the lottery? Did you find a golden ticket? Oooh, I know. Your older brother, who we have never heard before and is so important to you but you haven’t really found the time to really talk with him, is getting married?”

I stopped pronking and just looked at her. “No.” There was really nothing more to be said to those questions.

“Good,” Pinkie chuckled. “‘Cause the last time a family member was introduced, I nearly died.” She tapped her chin. “Of course, that was my big sister, Maud. She’d never let anything bad happen to me.”

Okay, I’m lost. This conversation was going to keep on derailing at this rate. “Umm, Pinkie Pie?”

“Yes?”

“Don’t you want to play with your date?” I pointed out, nodding towards the stallion on the piano. I wasn’t surprised by the odd pair. Honestly, contrasting spouses played off each other quite well. At least, most of the time. This was one of those times. The love I could feel between them was weak. Not for a lack of trying, but for how young it was. It was barely a week old. I’d have to keep an eye on it when I next came to Ponyville. The last thing I wanted to see was young love die.

“I’m waiting for my cue,” Pinkie responded. Just then, the piano started to play a different song. It had an otherworldly vibe. It wasn’t horrible. It was just beauty. That’s all I could call it. “That’s my cue.” She rushed up to the stage and she started to sing.

In you and I there's a new land,

Angels in flight

My sanctuary, my sanctuary, yeah

In you and I there's a new land,

Angels in flight

My sanctuary, my sanctuary, yeah

Where fears and lies melt away

Music will tie

What's left of me

What's left of me now.”

It was a serenade the heart always yearned for. It was even more beautiful than anything I’ve heard before. Not that Shining doesn’t have a good singing voice. He does. It’s just that his performances are more adorkable. I made a mental note to get Pinkie and Frederic to play for our next anniversary. I took note how the music seemed to bring the couples together, especially Discord. I did find it cute how he seemed to freeze up when the music started. Almost as if he had heard it somewhere before. I’d have to ask him about that later. For now, he had his Apple to take care of. I sighed in bliss. My job was complete. Their love was blooming quite nicely.

“I commend the artists,” Luna’s voice spoke up. “This music is indeed worthy of royalty.”

I quickly turned my head to look at Luna. “What are you doing here?”

Her eyes steeled themselves. “I bring grave news.”

“Awww,” I pouted. “Why now? Couldn’t you wait till morning before sending me on an epic quest? I wanted to celebrate my victory with married snuggles. They are the best snuggles.”

Luna rolled her eyes. “That can wait, my niece of the heart. There is danger ahoof that wishes destruction for your Empire moreso than most.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Umm, not sure how to tell you this aunty. I have a lot of enemies who’d love to destroy my home.”

“Sombra has returned,” Luna stated.

My irises shrunk as my jaw fell open. “What?”

“He’s foalnapped lady Octavia Melody and Twilight Sparkle.”

“What?!”

“And your brother, Blueblood, has foolishly gone after them.”

“What?!!” Why wasn’t life ever easy?