“Hmhmhmhm,” Pinkie Pie hummed to herself as she scrubbed one of the work stations at Sugar Cube Corner, “Winter wrap up, winter wrap up~” Her chore came to a stop as soon as she heard the bell to the store jingle, making her set the cleaning rag down and dart out to the front counter, seeing the misshapen, multicolored form of Discord.
“Good afternoon, Pinkie Pie,” he smiled at her with a toothy grin.
“Oh! Heya', Dizzie! How's it going?” Pinkie beamed, but stopped for a moment and looked past him, “Wait, why did you use the door? Can't you just poof in?”
“I felt like being a little unpredictable today,” Discord then laughed and shrugged, “Though I suppose when am I ever not unpredictable?”
“Whenever you order your usual pistachio cupcake with blackberry frosting and cherry smoothie?” Pinkie giggled.
“I don't order that every time!” Discord protested, then glanced left and right, “Speaking of which-”
“Got it right here!” Pinkie slid the two items over to him, to which Discord moved over and set a few bits down before starting to sip down the smoothie. At that moment, the door rung again, “Oh, hello! Welcome to Sugar Cube Corner, how can I-” Pinkie's cheerful greeting of the pony that had just walked in was stopped when Pinkie noticed who it was. Discord also turned around, seeing another earth pony clad in a dark blue outfit standing in the doorway. Pinkie's eyes widened and sparkled brightly as she dived over the counter and ran over to the pony, bouncing around her and then hugging her tightly, “Maud Maud Maudie Maud!” She cheered.
“Hello, Pinkie Pie,” the other pony (apparently called Maud) replied in a very monotone way, her visage not shifting once despite the bubbly pink confectioner latched onto her, “I was nearby and I decided to come and say hello while I was here.”
“I'm so glad to see you!” Pinkie exclaimed, “Oh, but I'm actually working right now, though. Did you want me to meet you later and then we'll go for something fun?”
“Sounds good. I can keep myself busy until then,” Maud nodded and then turned to Discord, waving a greeting hoof, “Hello.”
“Uh...hi.” Discord awkwardly returned the gesture.
“See you later, Maud!” Pinkie gave Maud another hug before the blue-gray mare turned and exited the bakery, leaving the pink party pony bouncing in place happily and the draconequs appearing fairly confused.
“Pinkie Pie, dear, who in Equestria was that? She makes the possums living in Fluttershy's cottage seem lively,” Discord turned to her as he sipped his smoothie.
“Oh, that's Maud,” Pinkie answered, smiling at him, “She's my older sister.” Upon the mentioning of Maud's relation to Pinkie, Discord sputtered and spat some of his drink out.
“What?!” He shouted, whipping his head over at the door, trying to process the information he had just been informed of.
“Mhm!” Pinkie said with a happy, proud expression, “Maud Leanne Pie is her full name.” She added. Discord stood dumbfounded, staring at the door and slowly moving his view back to Pinkie, “Is something wrong?” Pinkie tilted her head in confusion.
“Oh my, no, nothing's wrong. It's just that, well, in terms of the relatives that you might have had, she was not at all what I had expected,” he took a bite from his cupcake, “In any way, shape, or form,” he added as he chewed.
“She's really nice, though,” Pinkie clapped her hooves in joy, “She's super smart and knows a lot about rocks and she's always really excited to come see me whenever she's in Ponyville.”
“Excited? Seriously?” Discord cocked an eyebrow and gazed toward the door again, drinking down the rest of his smoothie, “She didn't seem to be that enthusiastic.”
“Oh, she was. It's just not that easy to tell,” Pinkie shrugged.
“I see...so, she's always like that?” Discord glanced at Pinkie, a sly smirk crossing his lips.
“Yup, ever since we were little fillies she's always been pretty calm. It takes a lot for her to get excited enough to express it so everypony else can see,” Pinkie responded.
“So it takes a lot for her to get a reaction, eh?” Discord set the glass down on the counter, “Pinkie Pie, I’m taking a page out of your book on this one. Challenge accepted!” He declared as he pointed to the ceiling with his lion arm and snapped the talons of his other arm, vanishing in a puff of arcane smoke, leaving an empty smoothie glass, a cupcake, and a shocked Pinkie Pie in the bakery. A few seconds later, he returned and snatched up the half-eaten baked good, “I'll be getting this to go if that's alright,” he chuckled before teleporting away again.
Near the center of the town, Maud was standing in place and staring closely at the statue of a prancing earth pony inside a fountain. As she continued her observation, her attention drew downward as the water within the fountain began to bubble. All of the sudden, Discord started to slowly rise above the surface of the water, both arms crossed in front of him, hands touching his shoulders and with dark eyeliner covering his yellow eyes. Maud kept her focus on him as he ascended all the way up, floating above her and the statue as well.
“Welcome to this wonderful, whimsical whistle-stop, my woefully wayward friend. Here it is my duty to directly do you a dispensation of delight! My goal is going to be getting you grinning and giving up the gray guise you have grabbed,” Discord then unfolded his arms and held them up as he began slowly rotating around in the air, “So shed the sour semblance of sorrow and settle yourself for a sensation of satisfaction. My mind is made up to make you a mare of merriment, my marvelous modish friend Maud!” He then struck a pose and took a bow at the end of the performance and slowly leaned up to look at Maud. She was still simply staring at him, not wavering and almost resembling the statue she had been so focused upon. The pony and draconequs both kept eye contact with each other as the awkward silence began to mount.
“Huh, tough crowd it seems,” Discord thought. Soon, he became the one to break the quiet as he let his arms drape down to his sides and spoke.
"Well, that usually gets more of a reaction," he shrugged. How could this be? He had expected at least a modicum of surprise or wonder at least at the image of him rising from below the fountain, much less the monologue performance he had just pulled off. After all, spontaneous alliteration wasn’t exactly easy so she should’ve at least been impressed by that!
"Have you tried doing it during Nightmare Night?" Maud asked him.
"Why of course! My monologues are quite a big hit among some of the foals, especially around that time of year!" Discord proudly exclaimed, puffing up his chest and striking a triumphant pose before he then sighed and face-palmed, "Well…thank you very much for listening either way. However, it seems that in this particular case, I’ll need to try something different." He then proceeded to cross his arms again, starting to sink back into the water.
"Hey, are you friends with Pinkie Pie?" Maud asked him just before he became completely submerged.
Discord stopped sinking and appeared next to her, wiping the eyeliner off with a washcloth before flicking it away into a stream of flower petals, "Why yes I am, Miss Maud," he smirked brightly, "Pinkie told me about you after you left. My name is Discord and it is an absolute treat to meet the elder sister of one of my dear, dear friends."
"Oh, I know who you are."
Discord tilted his head, "You do?"
"Yes. You're sort of famous."
Discord grinned again, "Well, I do suppose my reputation has preceded me in this case," he chuckled.
"You do sound like you used to be kind of a jerk, but if Pinkie Pie is friends with you then you can't be all that bad," Maud added, causing Discord's smile to fade and simply peer toward her with a crestfallen expression.
"As bluntly honest as those rocks she apparently likes so much."
"Well, Pinkie is quite a good judge of character," Discord then turned his attention to the statue, "Why were you staring so intensely at this sculpture? It's just a statue of a pony."
"I was trying to figure out what kind of stone it was made of." Maud replied and then went back to viewing it. Discord cocked an eyebrow and floated over to her, also considering the statue within the fountain.
"What specific stone would it be?" He asked her. He had passed by it time and time again whenever he was going through Ponyville but had never really paid it any mind before. Now that he was taking part in this exercise of art appreciation, though, he began to notice the level of crafting put into it and was surprised that it was in such good condition since it had been around for quite a long time. Sculpture wasn’t exactly something he had a vested interest in but after millennia of being one himself, he was able to appreciate the art at the very least.
“Poetic irony, I suppose.”
"It could be marble. That's usually the most common one for statues like this, though it might also be lime or sandstone given the geological region that this town is near," Maud replied as she glanced at Discord and stared at him for a short time before turning back to the statue, "I think it's probably sandstone. That's what you were."
"I'm sorry?" Discord craned his head to look at her.
"I asked once when I visited Canterlot when I was a filly about what kind of stone you had been turned into and it sounded like it was sandstone," Maud replied to him.
"I see. That's very interesting," Discord nodded, not really sure how to further respond to that statement and instead chose not to, realizing there was probably no outward malice in her words. This mare was still a mystery to him and yet somehow he was impressed. Despite her demeanor, there was an underlying passion for the materials that formed this statue.
"I've seen statues made out of granite too. I think only unicorns can really work with that type of rock," Maud stated as she kept viewing the statue, "It's really hard."
"You seem to have a bit of an interest in sculpting," Discord stated.
"It's more the rocks, actually. The only art I really like is performing poetry."
"Oh, this should be good."
"Poetry, eh? Do you have any you'd wish to share?" Discord asked her, interested in seeing what this rock-crazy pony's version of poetry would be. Maud replied by taking out a small rock from within her bag and held it up on one hoof.
"This is a haiku about Boulder. He’s my pet rock," she uttered, clearing her throat, "Boulder my pet rock, gray and smooth like pencil lead, you are a rock friend." Maud recited before taking a bow and placing Boulder back into her bag. Discord stood in stunned silence as he stared at her.
"That was...riveting," he finally managed to eke out a word to describe what he had just heard.
"Decently structured, though."
"Thanks," Maud said to him, "Hey, Discord?"
"Did you want to go do something while we're waiting for Pinkie Pie to get done with work? I had an idea," she asked him. Discord was surprised. Here he was thinking that his attempts at befriending here were failing and yet somehow she was interested in continuing to spend time with him.
"Well, of course," he nodded happily, "What did you have in mind?"
"I've heard in the Everfree Forest there are these creatures called Cragodiles. They're crocodiles, but made of rocks.”
"I know that they are indeed within the forest, but I'm sure you're aware of its danger as well?" Discord asked her, showing concern.
"That's why I was asking you to come with me. I think you'd keep me safe." Discord found himself even more befuddled but decided that if his help was needed, he'd do his best. This was the older sister of one of his friends after all and he considered himself enough of a gentleman to offer protection to her.
"Maud Pie, my dear," he smiled happily, turning on his charm as he reached a hand out to her, "It would be my absolute pleasure to escort you to see the Cragodiles."
Maud stared at his hand and then drew her hoof up to shake it, "Ready to go?"
"I'm always ready to travel anywhere," Discord laughed as he snapped his fingers and they disappeared into thin air.
Upon entering the forest, Discord had managed to find a spot nearby a large pond to where they could see the rocky beasts clearly without putting Maud in any real danger. The two of them sat in silence as they watched the Cragodiles interacting with each other and going about their usual day.
"I've identified at least seven types of rocks that they're made of so far," Maud leaned over to him and whispered.
"Seven? You've got good eyes," Discord nodded in acknowledgement, "So, your interest in rocks I take was sparked from growing up on a rock farm?"
"Yeah, I just enjoy how rocks can do so much and how important they are," Maud replied as she took notes in a notebook she had brought with her. Discord watched her jot them down with a pencil she held in her mouth before she set it down and continued her observations. He gazed a little closer and it was then it dawned on him. The way Maud's eyes were focused on the Cragodiles and how she carried herself when it came to her hobbies was very similar to the way his other friends acted, particularly Fluttershy in her love of animals and watching them play. He also seemed to notice a bit of Rainbow Dash and Rarity's passion for flying and fashion respectively as well as Twilight Sparkle's curiosity and desire for knowledge and education. The obvious parallel with Applejack came from her no-nonsense attitude and while the two sisters were nothing alike personality-wise, Pinkie Pie's presence was certainly felt in how she wasn't afraid of him and was apparently willing to give him a chance
"She's not boring it seems. I mean, these types of interests aren't my cup of tea, but it would seem I may have jumped the gun when it came to my initial thoughts of her," Discord thought happily as he went back to watching the Cragodiles, "Not to mention all of that stuff about statues and what not was actually quite interesting."
"They're really fascinating," Maud spoke through her teeth as she wrote more notes before putting the pencil and paper away, "We should get back so we have enough time to meet Pinkie Pie." She stood up, turning to see him. It was then he also noticed something else. Though not the bright display of happiness and jubilation he had been expecting, Discord was able to see a small smile crossing her lips.
"Well, well. It seems that I've succeeded. Just not in the way I thought I was going to," he chuckled as he nodded to her and held his paw out.
"We should, indeed."
"Mhm," Maud replied as she touched her hoof to his paw, "Hey, Discord?"
"Thanks for taking me out here. I enjoy doing things with friends," she said, "You and Boulder made this trip worth it." At that statement, Discord beamed brightly and chuckled.
"I feel the same way, Maud. Friends do make things more enjoyable," Discord raised his other hand up, "Now, let's go meet your sister and we'll go from there." He snapped his fingers as they both teleported from the forest, on their way to meet up with Pinkie Pie.