An Abundance of Discords

by Petrichord

First published

Discord hates meetings. More so than most folks, we mean.

There are only a couple of things worse than wasting time in a room, listening to other ponies droning on about annoying and irrelevant subjects.

Wasting time in a room, listening to other iterations of yourself droning on about annoying and irrelevant subjects? Definitely one of them.

Discord, as it turns out, is his own worst company.

Starts with comedy, ends with drama. Random tag is because, uh, Discord.

JabberwockyChamber17 is the original poster of the art; Should she ask, I'll take it down.

Not within the stars...

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Discord never looked forward to meetings.

It wasn’t fair. If everypony else – or everyTHING else, come to think of it – wanted to have meetings, that was their business. Obviously, there was something fun about standing in a tiny room for hours on end, talking at each other in the most boring ways about the most boring topics known to Equestria. It was obvious, of course, to anypony or anything missing the large chunk of their brains that governed taste, humor, mirth and basic decency.

Which was everypony and everything but him, apparently.

The alternative wasn’t exactly exciting, though. That was the problem with conceits like “day” and “night”, and all these other stifling trappings of “order” the alicorn princesses insisted on bandying about: If they just did away with a predictable solar/lunar cycle, there wouldn’t be any designated time for ponies to sleep. There’d always be one or two milling about under a mottled, ever-changing sky, and so there’d always be somepony to vex, heckle or jibe at. If nothing else, it’d be somepony to talk to; dull and predictable as ponies were, their company was preferable to the absolutely detestable phenomenon of “sleeping”.

He’d been standing in Fluttershy’s room for, what – ten minutes? Fifteen? It didn’t matter. Nothing had changed, and nothing was going to change for the next six hours. The last millennium of waiting around in stone had taught him how absolutely miserable it was to do absolutely nothing. He couldn’t bear another ten minutes of it, let alone six hours.

The last ten minutes hadn’t been entirely unpleasant, though. It was dull, of course, but a pleasant sort of dull. The sound of drapes rustling as the nighttime air blew through them created a reasonably enjoyable susurrus, and the shadows cast by the moonlight were almost artistically angular.

More importantly, the room had Fluttershy in it.

There was…some word to describe the way she looked when she slept, some word for the expression on her face. There had to be some word, something that could take a combination of ideas and meld it into a singular expression that encapsulated…this, this purity and serenity and…and…

And it wasn’t coming to him. Probably wouldn’t come to him, given that all he was doing was standing around in her room like a complete buffoon. In fact, the longer he stood there, the less he’d probably be able to articulate what he felt about all of this.

And if there was something worse than heading into a deliberately dull situation, it was taking a perfectly enjoyable situation and turning it dull.

“Might as well get this over with," Discord sighed. Turning around, the draconequus fumbled with the doorknob to Fluttershy’s bedroom and tugged the door open.

Discord stared back at him, a contemptuous look on his face.

“We need to talk,” the second Discord said.

Discord snorted. “We’re talking right now, aren’t we? You’ve given me a sentence, I’ve followed with a sentence, this constitutes a conversation-”

“It wasn’t a conversation until you replied.”

“Well, it’s certainly a conversation now, isn’t it? Besides, since you and I are the same entity, your sentence clearly counted as a sentence for both of us. Now, this has been a lovely conversation, but-“

“But you’d like to go back to watching a sleeping pony.”

“You’re making that sound like a bad thing.”

Discord groaned in frustration. “’Is that a bad thing?’ Are you listening to yourself?”

“Yes. Yes, I am. As are you. And I think we can both agree that neither of us likes what the other has to say. So!” Discord clapped his appendages together. “Let’s act like gentlefolk about this, shall we? Doff our proverbial hats and leave? I trust that you’ll be able to find your way back towards whatever corner of my subconscious you crawled out of, so-”

Discord rubbed his eyes. “Look, I’m not looking forward to this meeting any more than you are. But everyone’s there, and this isn’t going to end until you stop prattling like a buffoon, get in front of everyone and explain yourself.”

“Wait, everyone’s there?”

Discord’s smile was void of cheer and full of far too many teeth. “All of us. The important ones, anyway.”


“Oh, he’ll show up eventually. ‘When the time is right’, as usual.” Discord waggled his fingers in the air. “You know as well as I do what that means.”

Discord sighed. “Okay. Fine. I suppose we should actually get this over with.”

“Oh, come. Don’t look glum, chum”, Discord cackled. His paw shot backwards, grabbing the wall behind him and peeling a sheet of it aside like tinfoil. Instead of drywall and foundation boards, the space behind the wall opened up into a living room: disheveled and dusty, full of threadbare couches and battered shelves bearing picture-less photo frames, but larger than any Basilica in Equestria.

From inside the room, A third Discord peered out at both of the Discords in Fluttershy’s house and adjusted his monocle.

“Good evening, both of you. I trust that the two of you have been getting along well enough?”

“As well as they’re going to be, all things considered. Though the – oh, for Pete’s sake, this is getting ridiculous”. Discord reached out towards the text box and changed the second Discord’s font color to red.

What are you doing?” The second Discord glared at Discord, pried the wall open a little further and gestured violently with his claw. “Stop faffing about and get inside! And stop trying to pretend we’re different when it’s abundantly clear that we aren’t.” The second Discord reached to readjust his words, but with a flick of his wrist Discord batted his claw aside.

“Of course we’re the same. But how do you expect me to explain myself if we can’t even tell who’s explaining whom?” With a dry chuckle, Discord stepped through the wall and into the room. The second Discord followed, slamming the wall shut and glared daggers at Discord.

“Fancy meeting you here, Discord. I assume that I’m in rather a lot of trouble?” With a backpawed swipe, Discord caught the daggers the second Discord had glared at him, brought them up to his mouth and bit into one. “Mmm. Red velvet stiletto. Not dry enough for my tastes, but not bad. Care for a bite?”

“I’m not in the mood for desserts. I’ll have some tea a few hundred words from now, as my appetite demands, but – ah, apologies. Here.” The third Discord snapped his digits, and his text color flipped to blue. “Is this preferable? I’d rather like to do away with this bothersome monocle, and now that I don’t have to worry about telling the difference between ourselves-"

Oh, come on. Don’t tell me you’re actually entertaining this silly idea! The lot of you are incorrigible, absolutely incorrigible.

“And I suppose you’d do a better job of things?”


“Objectively false.”

Not objectively anymore, I’m afraid.


You heard us.” Smirking, the second Discord snatched the other dagger out of Discord’s paw and wolfed it down in a single bite.

“Oh, come on, Discord. Show some decorum. You’re not a wolf, so don’t have the indecency to-"

Eat however I like? Oh, I’m sorry! I suppose I should have adhered to the rules and regulations of this sort of thing. Why don’t you tell me all about them, hmm? After all, you seem to be an expert on that concept.”

“That’s a thinly veiled attempt to bait me, and I’m not going to fall for it. I’m also going to pre-empt any jokes involving fishing or veils right here, as you’re not going to be as clever as you’d like to think you are.”

Let me guess. Hanging out with the elements of barf-ony made you part of the fun police? This is embarrassing. The more I have to talk to you, the less I can stand you.

“Barf-ony. Seriously? That’s the best you could come up with? I’m embarrassed for all of us, Discord.”

Think of how the rest of us feel.

That does seem to be the topic of the evening, doesn’t it?” Discord cleared his throat. “Our feelings. If you two could settle down for a moment, I’ll take role call and we can proceed with the meeting.

Roll call? What are we, schoolfillies?

Discord snorted. “Finally, we agree on something. I’m going to side with Discord on this one: We haven’t needed it in the past, we don’t need it now and I’m pretty sure we’ll never need to use any concept as trite as ‘roll call.'”

The third Discord stared impassively at the two of them, then calmly walked over to a couch and sat down. With a snap of his fingers, a teacup ma_erialized into his claw, and he calmly plucked a “t” out of the narrative and dropped it into his cup.

The other two Discords stared at Discord. Discord blinked back at them and nibbled dispassionately at his t.


“Oh, FINE. Do as you will. Let it be know that I’m alr__dy sick of this, _hough.” Th__trically throwing his arms into the air, Discord slumped onto a separate couch. With exacting precision, Discord’s digits plucked a “t” and an “ea” from the story, and his arms tumbled down from the air and landed squarely back on the sides of his chest.

A square landing from the square part of our personality? Why am I not surprised?” The second Discord sneered and sat down on a third couch.

“Oh, do stop carrying on and have some tea.”

I hate tea. It’s far too prim and proper for us.

“Really? I would have thought the bitterness would suit you well.”

Oh, shut up.

Ah! That’s what this “t” was missing: the nice aftertaste of “ea”. Well played, Discord.” Nodding in gratitude and setting his teacup on the floor, the third Discord rummaged back a couple of paragraphs, snatched an ea from a sentence, plucked the t from his teacup and began to primly sip down all three of his letters.

Two Discords drank their tea in silence. The tea-less Discord glared at both of them and drubbed his digits irritably against the armrest of his couch.


At last, the blue-lettered Discord finished his tea. Casually, he tossed the cup into his mouth and swallowed it whole. “Shall we proceed?” he asked Discord and Discord, settling a little further down onto his couch.

“Aren’t there supposed to be more of us?” Discord dumped the rest of his tea down his throat and tossed his teacup over his left shoulder, where it shattered against the ground and reformed itself into a miniature pillar of salt.

Yes. There are.

“Where are they?”

We were hoping you could answer that question for us, actually.

“So it’s my job to keep track of all of us?”

Yeah. It is.

“Oh, get off your high horse, Discord.”

Funny, isn’t that? You’re the one who wants to get off on-

“Stop. Don’t finish that. You’re revolting.”

Speak for yourself.

“Juvenile. Juvenile and petty. How is wanting her companionship a problem, anyway?”

How isn’t it a problem?

“Is that what this is all about? Did you lot establish this entire quarrelsome quorum because I happen to be friends with Fluttershy?” Discord glared at the other two Discords, silently begging them to challenge him.

Neither did. One Discord gave him a murderous stare, and the other fixed him with an apathetically clinical look, but neither said a word.

Abruptly, Discord realized that his mouth felt very dry.

“Roll call. Do it.” Discord had intended to mutter it darkly, but the words came out in an anxious mumble.

Inevitable Betrayal?


Rational Anarchy. I appear to be here, so…check.” Discord drew two checkmarks into the air. They floated in front of him, faintly glowing in a darker shade of teal. “Unmitigated Catastrophe?

I’m here.

Discord drew a third checkmark into the air, waited for half of a second and nodded. Apparently satisfied, he wiped the checkmarks out of the air. “I’ll allow the defendant to make an opening statement. Discord, in your own words-

“Wait, that’s it?”

Weren’t you paying attention? Or have you simply forgotten how to count to three?

“There’s more of us than three. What about the Ice-cream Draconequus, or the Loonie on the Moon, or the Unironic Harlequin-”

We were hoping you could tell us.”

“Well, I obviously don’t know. If you could stop acting disingenuously confused and tell me what’s wrong, then-”

You hid them.

Discord paused. “Excuse me?”

You heard me, Discord. You’ve locked them away. We have no idea where, when, why or how you’ve managed to hide them, but they certainly seem to be elsewhere, don’t they?

“Wh-I-you.” Discord sputtered. “You think this is my fault?”

You appear to be the only Discord-in-chief among us, Discord. You’re the one in charge of maintaining and nurturing us, and the only one of us who can decide when we can and can’t act.

Don’t you mean he’s currently the Discord-in-chief? He’s doing an absolutely rubbish job of it, after all.

“Oh, like you could do any better-”

At this point? Yes, I think I could.

“You managed to get us sealed away in stone. Multiple times. You honestly think that all of us lack the common sense necessary to keep you from becoming me?”

What fun is there in making sense? And I can’t say you’ve been any fun at all. You always were too serious, Discord. Troublesomely serious.

“What, more serious than 'captain roll call' over there?”

I’ve never attempted to act for us,” Discord replied. “I’m simply here to keep us from acting irrationally toward ourselves. And to keep us from acting rationally toward everything else, I suppose. That’s why we’re here, after all.

“You think I’m being too rational to them? You?”


“That’s the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it?”

Actually, I think it’s the kettle attempting to buffalo as hard as it can about pots.” Discord steepled his fingers together and chuckled. “See, it’s trying to keep the rest of the cookware from noticing that it’s too holy to be any good.

“If I was buffaloing, you’d be able to thwart me with a pie to the face. Any Appleoosan could tell you-”

The rest of Discord’s sentence was muffled by a pie, which abruptly materialized and collided with his face. Discord sat, juice and whipped topping dribbling down his face and onto his chest, while two other Discords howled in laughter.

“I suppose I walked right into that one. Sat right into that one. Verbed right into that noun.” Groaning, Discord pulled the pie pan off of his face, dislodging the rest of its contents all over his body. Experimentally, Discord poked his tongue against the pan, lapping briefly at the contents.

“Bitter. Bitter and acidic. Funny, I didn’t know they made grapefruit-and-meringue pies in Equestria.”

Oh, has our beloved home become the property of Equestria? I’m quite behind the times, it seems. Should I put on a loincloth and resume my hunting-and-gathering duties? I’m certain it would match my archaic knowledge quite well.” The chuckle that followed was almost completely drowned out by a different Discord’s hysterical laughter.

Wait, Discord thought. Neither of them ever laughs like that. Then who…?

Eschewing humor entirely, Discord quickly wiped the remnants of the pie from his eyes. There was a Discord staring scornfully back, and there was a Discord apathetically gazing at nothing in particular.

And there was a Discord rolling on the ground, beside himself with mirth.

“Laughing Mad!” Discord beamed. “Thank heavens you’ve arrived. I was worried that I’d be left alone with these insufferable clods.”

Clods! Clods of Discords! Discord Rocks! Discord Rocks Discord Rocks Discord Rocks eeheeheeheeheeheeheehee…” Abruptly, the fourth Discord hiccupped. Evidently finding the hiccupping to be even funnier than the phrase “Discord Rocks”, he toppled back onto the floor and began laughing harder than ever.

“Here, chap. Let me help you with that.” Discord reached back in the narrative and reset the fourth Discord’s text to pink. “Do stay with us for a while, won’t you? Can I get you some tea? A reconstituted pie, perhaps?”

Stay? Stay for 3.14159265358979323Lotta digits. Lotta digits for lotta pie and lotta stay.” Discord turned to stare at Discord with childlike innocence. “Why lotta pie? Why lotta stay?

“Because I’ve been talking in circles, so I might as well eat circles while I’m at it. What do you say, chum? I can make your favorite – Pecan pie. Nutty pie for a nutty Discord, right?”

Nuts!” The fourth Discord’s eyes glistened with delight. “All nuts! Forever nuts! Infinuts! Nutastrophe! Nutpocalypse! Singularinutty!

And perhaps you could help us while you’re staying here.” Discord leaned in, grinning malevolently. “We wanted to have a little talk about ourselves.

Ourselves?” The delight in Discord’s eyes evaporated instantly. Just as suddenly, confusion and a trace of fear slipped into the void. “Talk about what?

“Nothing important! At all! It’s just a friendly chat-”

Friendly’s a colorful way to phrase it, I suppose.

Discord giggled. “Literally!

Actually,” Discord leaned forward. “We were talking about who might potentially have to take responsibility for being Discord.


We were wondering if you might be a willing candidate. I’ve abstained, and there are conflicts of interest between-

The new arrival grabbed the pie pan from Discord’s paw, slammed it down onto the floor and dove headfirst into the pan. His body sunk through it, and in the blink of an eye he was gone.

The room grew silent for a few seconds.

…I suppose I’ll take that as a vote to abstain,” Discord ventured.

“Why did you have to do that?” Discord snapped. “He was having a perfectly wonderful time, and you had to go and ruin it!”

It was a legitimate question.

“You know he hates the R-word!”

You know what I hate?


Believe it or not, no.

“Oh, come on. Don’t think that I’ve failed to notice your earlier crack about holes, by the way. For the record, you failed to pronounce the silent E in ‘holey’, and completely ruining your metaphor by being lax on your pronunciation hasn’t exactly confirmed the veracity of your assertions.”

I meant every word I said, Discord.

Silence fell.

“Under what grounds are you…” Discord rubbed his eyes, abruptly looking a century older. “I’m not trying to recreate anything in my image. I’m not trying to recreate anything at all. And if I appear to be acting self-righteous, it’s only because you’ve insisted on antagonizing me this entire time we’ve been talking to each other.”

If antagonizing you is the only way to get you to break character, I’ll gladly do it. One of us needs to peel back your snide self-satisfaction to get you to actually look at things for a change, instead of pretending to see how things should be.

“And to that end you’re going to accuse me of playing-"

What I’m going to do is tell you this: We’re worried for ourselves. We’re worried for the Discords we can’t see anymore. We’re worried that we might have been changed without noticing anything. I can’t be sure if I’m the Discord I always was, or if I’m not the Discord I used to be. Do you know what that feels like, Discord? To know that when you’re been suppressing your thoughts of who you used to be, I’m slowly losing my sense of self-identity and I’m fully aware that there’s nothing I can do about it?

“Oh, now you’re going to attempt to invoke pity? You have the gall to tell me that everything I’ve done has been disgraceful enough that I don’t deserve to think for myself anymore, and now you’re trying to get me to feel sorry for you? Well, chum, let me tell you something.” Discord’s face whiplashed from fatigue to the thin bridge between anger and scorn. “Change is good. Isn’t that what you’ve been telling me? Haven’t you been accusing me of not changing enough for your taste?”

Discord’s claw shook as he clenched down on the armrest of his couch. “We’re dying, Discord. You don’t care about that? At all?

“Care? Why should I? You’ve done nothing for us but brought us bad decision after bad decision. You’ve harangued me at every turn, you helped scare off poor Laughing Mad, and you didn’t even participate in teatime. Oh, and there’s the fact that you’d be trying to erase me from our mind if you had the power to do so.

So you admit that-"

“I don’t admit anything. I honestly don’t know why my mind has arranged itself exactly as it had. But I do know that I couldn’t care less about you.”

I don’t believe it.” Discord’s voice was barely louder than a whisper.

I do. The aspect of Inevitable Betrayal is under no obligation to refrain from betraying us. That would be against his nature. I suppose it’s not against his nature to betray the concept of betrayal, either. I can’t stop him. I’ve never had that power.” For a moment, Discord’s composure broke, and something not unlike misery washed over his face. “But I wish you’d reconsider what you said, Discord. Please. I don’t want to go.

“I’m not getting rid of any of us! Not on purpose, anyway.“

Are you actually bothering to rethink what you’ve been doing?

“Well…there’s got to be some sort of compromise that we can arrange-”

That’s not how our brain works, and you know it. You’ve been the only one of us to compromise on anything, and even that compromise was supposed to be a lie. What happened to you?

“What happened to us was that we found a reason to change. Not simply change for the sake of change, but a purposeful change. Change for a cause outside of itself. Change with meaning. Don’t you see? For all that you want to say about Fluttershy, she could be responsible for the greatest change in our lives since our inception. Why don’t you see that?”

Of course it’s a significant change. Significant enough that it necessitates a complete erasure of everything that came before it. Tabula Rasa. Blank slate. But this blank slate could lead to no art at all. I wouldn’t find it unlikely to believe that this fundamental change could lead to the end of change in us, and the beginning of law, order and harmony.

What my ‘esteemed colleague’ is trying to say is that you’re dense beyond belief if you think this paradigm shift will lead to greater and grander things. Much as you’re a black hole of intellect, this preposterous idea you’ve posited is a black hole of adaption. You want to believe that our deaths will lead to some sort of twisted rebirth? Fine.” Discord crossed his arms. “But you know just as well as I do – just as well as all of us do – that when we die, we’ll die forever. No more change. No more creation.

The only thing left to do will be to turn out the lights before we go-

-And lock the door after we leave.

Seconds ticked by, each one void of conversation or expression.

“…Melodramatic fatalism has never suited us. As far as pranks go, I find this one fairly hard to believe-“

You’re bloviating.

When has he not been? He might as well be the aspect of ‘Useless Banter’. Look, let’s call a vote of no confidence right now, and get this over with. He’s clearly failed to provide any legitimate defense or explanation at all-"

“Explanation of what?”

Attempting to replace us.

“And what, exactly, am I replacing you with? Feigning secrecy loses half of its charm and all of its meaning when it becomes painfully obvious that you’re going to reveal your secret at a dramatically important moment. Would it kill you to simply assume I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about and show me already?”

You want to continue to play innocent? Fine. Be my guest. I don’t care anymore. Go look for it yourself.

“Where is it?”

Last place you’d expect.

“Right in front of my face, then?” Discord sighed, and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, a grey metal cage sat before him, covered in a dull green curtain.

“Oh, look, a present. Happy birthday to me.” Discord rolled his eyes and pulled the curtain off.

The twisted amalgamate in the cage barely looked like a draconequus and looked even less like a pony. Instead, it looked like bits and pieces of both creatures had been lopped off with pruning shears and crudely stitched together. Its hooked hooves scrabbled at the bars of the cage as it tried to hoist itself onto three stumpy hind legs.

“I’m pharree…” the creature mumbled through a mouthful of mismatched teeth. Tears leaked from its single bulging, yellow eye. “I juphh wanted to phee you…”

“What in Equestria…” Discord mumbled. The creature scrabbled back to the opposite side of the cage, whimpering in fear.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

“I mean, I…I suppose it is. In a manner of speaking, that is. How did that-"

Oh, come on. It’s utterly revolting! That’s what you want to say, isn’t it?

“Not necessarily-"

Oh, look. You’re lying to yourself. Again. That’s what you’ve been doing for months, isn’t it?

“Stop putting words in my mouth-"

One of us has to speak our mind for you. I know as well as you know exactly what we think of that…that thing.” Discord pointed at the creature in the cage, which continued to whimper as it shied away from his accusatory finger.

“What I know is that you’re blowing things quite out of proportion. Honestly, Discord, this base level of rancor you’ve adopted is completely unlike us. You may continue to claim that I’ve been acting out of character, and you may also claim that I’m being rather illogical in all this. If both things are true, however, I’d simply like to state Tu Quoque, and be quite content in my own logical fallacy.”

You’re being petty for the sake of being petty.” Discord stood up, calm demeanor gone in an instant; only loathing remained. “Discord’s right. You don’t deserve to represent us.

“I deserve to represent whomever I please. Or are you volunteering to replace me?”

At this point? Yes. Yes, I am. Stand down, Discord.

“Well, then. What about the thing in the cage? Will you see that it’s represented, too? Or were you thinking about throwing the baby out with the bathwater?”

Who cares about what happens to it? It isn’t even part of us.

“I care.”

You don’t matter anymore.

“Refusing to acknowledge part of our mutually shared psyche? How generous of you. I dare say your generosity almost matches that of Rarity.”

Ugh! That’s another pony name, isn’t it? Why don’t you just swallow a phone book while you’re at it?

“Perhaps we could share dinner. I mean, you’ve prided yourself on being a truer Discord than I am, but you just admitted that I don’t matter and shouldn’t get a say on things. Rather similar to what you’ve accused me of doing, dear Discord.” Discord smirked. “I dare say, a plateful of crow is certainly in order.”

Then I’ll serve you an appetizer of your own words! Tell me the name of the creature. Since it’s so obviously part of our psyche, you shouldn’t have any problem identifying it. Or are you going to admit that it’s a foreign introduction, and not actually part of our-

“Timid Curiosity.”


“Isn’t that right?” Discord tilted his head towards the creature in the cage. “That’s you, isn’t it?”

The creature looked up at Discord. It nodded, and its mouth bloomed into a lopsided smile. “Yeph. Thatph me.”

“There we go. Here, I’ll give you a color, too – how about this? Is that better?”

Timid Curiosity broke out in a toothy grin. “Yeph, phleaphe! Thank you pho much!

I don’t believe it. I don’t believe this!” Discord sprang to his feet, lips curled into a snarl. “You’re making things up, just to spite us! That…that thing doesn’t have a True Name! How dare you imply that something that doesn’t even look like us is our equal!

“Am I making things up? Am I wrong?”


“I wasn’t asking you. I was asking our more rational colleague.”

Discord’s gaze flicked over to the thing in the cage. He stared for a few seconds, chewing his lip. Abruptly, his shoulders slumped and he sighed in defeat. “You appear to be correct. Timid Curiosity is its True Name. It is as deserving as the rest of us to attend our meetings and take lodging in the halls of pandemonium.

How can it be one of us? It doesn’t even look like us!

Appearances aside, it bears no fundamental characteristics different from any other aspect of our personality.

Fundamental Characteristics? You’re insane! When have we ever been timid? When have we ever needed to be timid? We almost brought the rulers of the sun and the moon to heel! We’ve kept counsel with the Devourer of Souls! We could obliterate the Queen of the Swarm and the King in Crystal with a single thought! This aspect isn’t just vestigial – it’s actively harmful to us, and I refuse to legitimize it!

“Our aspects are not and have never been about what we need, Discord. They’re about who we are. After all, I certainly don’t need you.”

You’ve got it backwards, you sanctimonious prick. You’re the one who needs us. You need us to keep you in check, to remind you of who you are, to try and keep you on the crooked path. But we don’t need you. Not anymore. You’re a cancer on the rest of us, and we’re going to excise you and everything you’ve done before you kill us.

“Go ahead and try it. You’re nothing but a nagging little voice in the back of my head, Discord. You’re the little demon on the shoulder of an even bigger demon, telling it to ignore the grand scheme of things in favor of petty acts of spite.”

Oh, that is it.

Stand down, Discord and Discord. In light of what’s been discussed here, we’re going to arrange for a realignment of interests-

“There’s nothing more to discuss. Neither of you are bothering to attempt to understand what I’m saying, so this meeting is pointless. If you’ll excuse me-"

Discord cracked his knuckles. “You’re free to leave. Leave our consciousness, anyway.

Pleaphe don’t phight! I’m phorry! I can leave, iph you want…

No. Stay. We’re going to need you for our official trial-"

There isn’t going to be a trial, Discord. Neither of them will stick around long enough for that to happen.

“And how do you plan on getting rid of me? Are you going to try to kill me?”

I’m not going to try. I’m going to succeed.

That’s impossible. Furthermore, our melodramatic sentiments on all sides of this argument are an embarrassment to us-

I’m not trying to be melodramatic, I promiphe-"

I concur with the embarrassment sentiment. At this point, all of you are an embarrassment and a disgrace to me. Why in Equestria do you think I’m willing to show any self-restraint anymore?

“Oh, look! That’s another thing we can all agree on. The two of you being embarrassments, anyway."

Don’t think I haven’t noticed your exclusion of our new guest as an embarrassment.

“It’s a comparative. After all, the two of you could make Twilight Sparkle look like a suave debutante.”

This hostility won’t look good on a future appeal, Discord. Stand down.

Who cares about a future appeal? Look, you want to get rid of him just as much as I do-

Pleaphe don’t get rid of any of uph! I can keep quiet! I promiphe!

Arbitrarily disposing of any of us isn’t how we work, regardless of what Discord has done.

“None of this is how we work. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Objectively false.

“There’s nothing wrong with founding another aspect of myself!”

Expanding our thoughts, no. Denying aspects of our personality, yes.

“I honestly haven’t been actively trying to get rid of any of you-”

Pleaphe phtop! Pleaphe don’t pfight!

It’s a problem you’ve failed to address-

He’s a problem that we’ve failed to address! His entire existence is anathema!

“-But if you want me to get rid of you, then I’ll happily oblige you.”

Go ahead and try-"


The word was spoken plainly, clear and without accent. Yet its presence invoked the clarion call of billions, echoing as one: the hissing of serpents and the roaring of dragons, the yowling of cats and the droning of wasps, the twittering of countless birds from countless canopies and the howl of a thousand wolves from a thousand moonlit hilltops. It was the babble of every pony who had lived or would ever live: the giggle of schoolyard gossip, the mumbling of dinnertime confessions, the cries of rage and pain and lust in every tongue in the world.

The voice was calm, and undeniably infinite.

All four Discords fell silent.

Slowly, in unison, they turned around.

Something vaguely resembling Discord stood there. The proportions were the same: same horns, same snout, same mismatched limbs and tufted tail. But the air around the figure wasn’t clear; it was more akin to a thin filter, and through the filter was a riot of half-formed shapes, shifting without end in an eldritch collage.

“Primal Chaos,” Discord whispered.

The meeting is over.


The meeting is over.

Rational Anarchy and Unmitigated Catastrophe vanished.

Primal Chaos turned towards the creature in the cage. In a moment, it was gone, as if it had never existed in the first place.


Discord winced. Abruptly, the realization that he was not about to disappear caught up with him, and he let out a shaky sigh of relief.

“So I’m…so I’m the real one, then. At least for now, right?”


“That’s…that’s good, I suppose. I imagine that I must have looked rather ridiculous, worrying like that. I should pull myself together, yes? Figuratively speaking, anyway,” Discord added with a nervous chuckle.


“This is the part where you leave, right? Or perhaps I should leave. Here you’ve gone and swooped in like a proverbial Knight in Shining Armor, and the day’s been saved, right? So now we both get to enjoy our respective Happily Ever Afters, and…and now we depart. Right?”


“…That was intended to be funny. I appear to have been mistaken, however. I’ll make sure to freshen up my banter before we meet again. The only thing worse than a stale biscuit is a stale joke, right?”


“Aren’t you going to say anything? Anything at all?”


“Look, what in the jagged pits of Tartarus do you want me to say? Throw me a bone here.”


“That was a perfect opportunity for a spot of physical comedy. You know, throwing a bone at me, or something similarly punny.”


“I’ve already been hit in the face with a pie. Really, a bone would be a refreshing twist on that sort of trite gag.”


“Was that too obvious? If it was too obvious a joke, then say something. I honestly can’t tell just how detestable you think that little jape would have been.”


“Fine! Stand there and…and stare at me! Feel free to not say anything! I’d offer to do the rest of the talking, but there’s nothing left to talk about. You’re free to go. I’m free to go. If you’ll excuse me-”

The temperature in the room dropped by several degrees.

“If you’ll excuse me”, Discord mumbled. “Please.”


“Okay.” Discord sighed. “This is about her, isn’t it?”

You are struggling.

“Is it that obvious?”


“Right. Rhetorical question. Shouldn’t delve into non-comically ridiculous sentiments. I suppose I wouldn’t be engaging in heated discourse with other aspects of my personality if I wasn’t locked in some internal conflict. Yes, I’m struggling. I suppose you’re going to tell me what to do, aren’t you?”

I do not demand.

“Oh? So what are you doing here, then?”


“Acknowledging what, exactly?”

That embodying chaos is an exceptionally difficult role.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. I’ve been having quite the wonderful time with it.”


“…Why is it difficult?”

The unceasing pursuit of deconstruction requires unlimited energy and unwavering commitment. Even beings of deific power eventually tire after centuries of work, much less millennia. The capacity for change is a universal constant, and even it does not last forever. Merely until the end of existence.

“Do you tire?”

I exist.

“That doesn’t exactly answer my question.”

Primal Chaos’s lips twitched, briefly resembling a smile. “No. It does not.

“Might I assume that the ambiguity of your reply is another attempt to vex me?”

You may assume that.

“Is it true?”

It is true that you assumed it.

“But is it true that were you deliberately attempting to vex me by answering ambiguously?”

Which time?

“I-ugh. I give up. I can see where I got it from.”

Got what?

“No. We’re not doing this anymore. I already rose to your bait.” Discord opened his mouth wide and stuffed one of his arms down his throat. When he pulled it back out, his claw was clenched around a spool of fishing wire and a small metal hook. “See?”

Primal Chaos’s sclera shimmered with all the colors in the physical spectrum, as well as several colors that didn’t exist. “My. I wonder how that got in there?

“Pure happenstance, I’d assume.”


Eventually, Discord scratched his shoulder. “Is that all you came for, then? Simply to deliver a recognition and some condolences?”


“Of course you weren’t. I suspected as much. Still – it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?” Discord smiled plaintively at Primal Chaos. “It would be nice if this whole debacle was a dream, anyway. That wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility, would it?”

There are similarities between dreams and chaos, but they are not identical. Dreams always end. The dreamer eventually wakes and embraces reality. We do not.

“I suppose you’re right-”

You are an exception.


You seek normalcy. Your change embraces an end to change.

“Oh, don’t you start on me! I’ve had quite enough of that for one evening.”


“And that’s another thing. Why do all of you – every single miserable, pedantic little aspect of myself – hypocritically insist that change is a good thing? ‘Ooooh, change is wonderful, change is the best, you should keep changing, Discord!’ And yet when I change this one time, it’s suddenly inexcusable? That’s rather a catch-22, isn’t it? I, personally, accept change as a good thing, but clearly the rest of you don’t. So why bother to lie to me like this? Why are the lot of you so adamant about this?”


“It’s not fair! I’m sick and tired of listening to all of this banter about inexcusable change! Who could possibly be expected to accomplish this sort of impossibility by themselves?”

The aspect of chaos.

“Oh, really? Who are you to tell me what I can and can’t accomplish?”


“…That. That was a rather foolish thing I’ve just said, wasn’t it?”


“Look, why do you want this? Why does this have to be inexcusable?”

The aspect of chaos could accomplish the impossible.

“Yes, you just told me that-“

Ponies can never accomplish such things. They remain trapped within the realm of the strictly possible. Laws of magic. Laws of science. Bindings of civilization, progress, congeniality. The strength that allows them to accomplish at all is a strength that limits what they can and cannot accomplish. For them, self-abasement and growth are the same. To stay with them – to emulate them - you will become like they are. You will no longer be able to accomplish the impossible. You will cease to be us.

“Is that really…?”


“Can’t we compromise at all on this?”

There is a choice.

“And that is…?”

You are tempted.

Discord chewed his lip, and fell silent.

Eventually, he blinked, took a deep breath and replied.

“Yes. I am. I’ve never been tempted more in my life. I don’t think I can ask you to sympathize with me, but can you at least understand?”

I do.

“You do?”

Desire is fickle. It does not acknowledge logic. It establishes passion without cause, and ends passion as suddenly as it came. And it is perhaps the most overwhelming impulse in existence.

“You’re saying this is a bad idea, aren’t you.”

It is the less predictable path. Perhaps you will be happy for ten minutes. Perhaps you will be happy for ten years. Perhaps you will be happy for ten centuries.

“Well, an unpredictable path is good, isn’t it? I mean – we’re supposed to be unpredictable, aren’t we?”

What value would you assume your plan has?

“Off the top of my head? I’d say it seems like a pretty good idea. I wouldn’t be chasing after something if I knew it wasn’t going to be fun. Well, with the exception of these meetings. I rather wish I’d stop having them.”

Exactly how much value do you think your idea has?

“Oh, that’s going to be the point you’ve been driving at, isn’t it? That I can’t predict something like that?” Discord rolled his eyes. “You’re right. I can’t. I don’t know. Satisfied?”

I do not feel satisfaction.

“Sure, you don’t. Even given that you’re…you, and the rest of us are me, and how everything outside of us is everything else, you can’t honestly tell me that you’re some sort of emotionless, apathetic entity.”

I am a fundamental aspect of the universe.

“You don’t feel anything?”

I acknowledge. I observe. I perpetuate. Occasionally, I explain.

“…Anything at all?”


“I…okay. Okay, then. You really are…you really are different, aren’t you? I keep forgetting, and then you show up at one of these meetings and I’m reminded all over again of just how…”


“Why now, of all times? There isn’t anything particularly dramatic going on in my – ah, in our life at the moment. What good is it to bring it up right now?”

You are in an unstable equilibrium. You have been in one for some time. It will not remain so. Despite your instances otherwise, you will soon forget your nature and bind yourself to her. One bind will follow another, and you will reject what you were and what you are supposed to be. You will cease to represent us.

“What will happen to you? Is it possible for chaos to stop existing?”

No. There will be another.

“And what happens to me, then? Will I stop existing?”

You will be a Draconequus named Discord. Nothing more.

“No more chaos?”


“That’s rather a raw deal, isn’t it? I mean, I suppose that’s what the other bits of myself meant all along, but…” Discord sighed. “I don’t suppose there’s any way for this to stop being inevitable?”

Not as long as you are tempted.

“Then what do you want? Should I brain-bonk myself and forget she existed?”

You will meet her again, eventually. The cycle will begin once more.

“Then you’re asking me to stop being tempted by her. I’ll hazard a guess that you’re going to tell me that I can’t turn off the desire part of my brain, either.”

So long as she exists-

“What about that? Unless you’re asking me to-"

The rest of the sentence died in Discord’s throat.


“That’s…that’s a joke, right?”


“That’s got to be a joke. Ha. Ha ha ha. See? I’m laughing. That was a funny joke. Ha.”


“You’re not serious, are you? This isn’t – this is a joke, right? You’ve pranked me! It was a good prank! I took it seriously! You win!”


“You…” Discord’s voice cracked. “You want me to kill her?”

I do not want.

“How is that – how is that fair? She hasn’t done anything wrong! She doesn’t – she isn’t even involved in this whole – this whole chaos stuff! Why do you want her to…to…”

I do not-

“Shut up. Shut up! I can’t believe it. I actually can’t believe this. When are you going to tell me that this is a joke? Why isn’t this a joke? Why are you actually serious about…”


Discord rubbed his eyes and drew a shaky breath. “This isn’t a dream, either, is it? This is actually happening. I want this to be a dream. I want this to be a joke. I want it to be anything except…”


“I don’t deserve this. I didn’t do anything that bad. I don’t want…”


“Please don’t make me choose.”

I do not force.

“You were just-"

You will choose. It is inevitable. I merely elucidate.

“Fine.” Discord clenched his fists. “I choose to not choose.”

That will not happen.

“No, you know what? It will. You want me to solve an impossible problem? Here’s your impossible answer: I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to let you boss me around, I’m not going to let the other bits of me boss me around, and I’m not going to let any of the ponies boss me around. Everything I’ve done, I did because I want to, and I’m not going to let that be taken away from me.”

You are struggling-

“One of us has to struggle. You just don’t like it that I’m struggling against you. But you know what? I’m not going to be bound by you, and I’m not going to be bound by them. Unless you’re going to just depower me right here, right now and get it over with?”

That is not my function-

“Well, you and the rest of the lot are keen on ‘functionizing’ me! You with your pantomimes and melodramatic monologues and theatrical posturing – it would be hilarious if you took it ironically at all! But you don’t, do you? You honestly want to keep me unfettered by binding me to your idea of unfettered.”

You are being obstinate.

“Too sodding right I am.”

That is not a meaningful expression-

“Oh, am I not allowed to reappropriate language? That’s remarkably prescriptavist of you-“


Primal Chaos’s eyebrows dropped a fraction of a centimeter, in an almost invisible gesture of contempt. The breath in Discord’s lungs left him in an instant, and he stumbled backward, scrabbling at his chest and desperately trying to suck in air.

You are correct,” Primal Chaos continued, as if nothing unusual had happened. “Your choice adequately sidesteps a decision that, while entirely possible, you consider unpleasant. It mimics a rejection of conventionality, but superficially so.

The air in Discord’s lungs reappeared as quickly as it had left him. The draconequus gagged, eyes watering as little motes of light popped in front of his eyes.

You are still conflicted. You have yet to make a meaningful decision. Yet, you wish to defy me. Them. Yourself. You are adopting a deliberately confrontational stance.

Discord took a shuddering breath, than another. “Yes. I am.”

Silence fell once more. Discord coughed, clenched his fists and stared back at Primal Chaos.


Finally, Discord sighed. “Will that be all?”

You have peace of mind.

“I do.”

Despite your irreconcilable motivations and desires.


That will be all.

Discord chuckled: a hollow thing, devoid of joy and brimming with resignation. “You aren’t going to force the issue? Not after this lovely little chat we’ve had?”

You have already decided.

“Didn’t we just discuss-”

You have already decided. Eventually, you will acknowledge it.

“What’s that supposed-”

But Primal Chaos was gone.

Discord stood, mouth open, paw pointed at an entity that was no longer there.

A second later, he blinked. When he reopened his eyes, he found himself staring at the dark outline of a towel, in a closet-sized space enshrouded in darkness.

No, Discord realized, not a closet. It was Fluttershy’s bathroom. That was her bath towel, hanging on the towel bar that was bolted to her bathroom door. Everything was back to normal.

“Wait,” Discord muttered as he felt around for the doorknob. “Everything?”

Abruptly, he felt something cold and metallic in his paw, and his spine stiffened. Then he pulled his paw away, and saw that the doorknob had become a bulbous, photoluminescent daisy. Discord squeezed one of the petals, and smirked as it honked like a three-headed goose.

So that was a normal amount of abnormality, then. Which was a good thing.


But what had Primal Chaos meant? Had he already placed one choice over the other? Was his defense of Fluttershy a premature damnation? Would he lose his powers – his being - one day, just like that?

Did that fact that he still had his powers mean that he would eventually kill her?

Predeterministic thoughts slithered through his brain, insidious and unsettling, coiled inexorably around the bravado he had felt minutes ago. Chewing on his lip, Discord reached for the towel bar, toggled it like a door handle and walked outside.

The door to Fluttershy’s room was still open. The shadows inside her room were still artistically angular; the curtains still fluttered in the nighttime breeze. Fluttershy was still lying in her bed, eyes closed, the expression on her face still…


It may not have been the best word, but it would have to do.

Discord lowered himself on to the edge of her bed, inches away from her face. Gently, he leaned over and kissed the top of her forehead. She did not move.

“You’ll never know how much I hate meetings,” he whispered. “I hope you never will.”