"But I'm hungry," Pandora whined. "I don't wanna go to bed, I want a snack!"
"As much as I support the idea of feeding a growing draconequus as much as she wants to eat, your mother will have my head if I let you snack after brushing your teeth," Discord said, attempting to tuck in the squirming cub. "Also, I do tend to think that six cupcakes, an entire bag of popcorn, a bowl of cereal with chocolate milk and extra sugar, and half the tray of your old high chair really ought to be enough of a snack for tonight."
"I could eat my pillow," Pandora threatened.
"And if you do, I will make you explain to your Aunt Rarity why you ate the hoof-made pillow she put so much time and craft into making for you even though I could have made you a much more interesting pillow with a snap of my talon, and you will be responsible for reviving her when she faints and listening to her go on and on about how this is the Worst! Possible! Thing! So do keep in mind that your choices have consequences." He fluffed the pillow in question as Pandora pouted at him. "There we go. Snug as a bug in a hexagonal beeswax cell! Assuming that that bug is in fact a bee, because bugs that aren't bees don't do well when they try to sleep in the hive."
"Daddy, are there any other draconequuses? Mommy says Spike came from another country when he was an egg 'cause there are countries where everypony is a dragon, but I never heard of another country where everypony was a draconequus. Is there a country for draconequuses?"
"Draconequui," Discord corrected automatically.
"Really?" Pandora wiggled hard enough in excitement to displace the covers that her father had just tucked in around her. "What's the country of Draconequui like? Is it really far away? Does it have princesses too? Maybe I could grow up to be a princess in Draconequui like mommy used to be a unicorn but now she's a princess in Equestria!"
Discord opened his mouth to correct the child... and then changed his mind, and grinned.
"Oh, it was a wonderful place," Discord said. "The sky was green and the grass was orange, except on Tuesdays, which happened every other Thursday. The rivers were lemonade, except when they were chocolate milk, or orange juice, or green bean cider. All the draconequuses in Draconequui were always partying and having chaotic fun! And no one ever made them brush their teeth, because if their teeth got cavities they could just go to the bookstore and buy new teeth."
"How come they sold teeth at the bookstore?"
"Well, obviously, because no one would have gone to the toy store to buy teeth. Unless they were toy teeth. Which the draconequus cubs loved to play with, by the way. It was great fun to get a set of toy teeth and make them chase dolls around the room!" Discord demonstrated this by snapping an animated set of toy pony choppers into existence and letting the toy fly above the bed quilt, chomping, until it reached Pandora's stuffed manticore, which came to life and feebly swatted at the teeth with its scorpion tail, to no avail as the teeth clomped down on the tail and rode it easily.
"Daddy!" Pandora scowled at him. "Don't bite Manty!"
"Norbert," Discord corrected. "Manty is a ridiculous name for a manticore."
Pandora folded her arms and pouted. "You said I could name my toys anything I wanted because chaos is about freedom!"
"I didn't expect you'd name your manticore something as unutterably boring and predictable as Manty."
"And that's why it's a good name, because you didn't expect it!" Pandora said smugly. "Now stop biting Manty with the toy teeth or I'll tell Auntie Fluttershy on you."
"Oh, the horror." Discord rolled his eyes, but dispelled the toy teeth into nonexistence. "Fine. Your precious Norbert is safe from teeth... for the moment."
"His name is Manty, Daddy."
"You can call him Manty all you want, but I think he looks like a Norbert."
"Can we go to Draconequui sometime?"
The change of subject didn't faze Discord. "I'm afraid not, my dear."
"Well, therein lies a story. But I know for a fact that small draconequuses hate listening to stories-"
"No, we don't!" Pandora shimmied out of the covers entirely and started bouncing on the bed. "Story! Story! Story!"
"-because, the deal is, if I tell you a story you have to go to bed, no backsies, and obviously you'd hate that."
"I can go to bed if I get a story!"
"It certainly doesn't look that way. It looks like you're bouncing on the bed."
Pandora climbed into her blankets and pulled them up around herself, looking up at her daddy with eyes sufficiently large and adorable that they were probably illegal outside of Equestria. "No, it doesn't! It looks like I'm in bed!"
"But are you in bed or do you just look like you're in bed?"
"I am in bed!"
"Well. Maybe you might have earned a story, then."
"Story! Story! Story!"
"-if you stop chanting. You have to be quiet or you won't be able to hear the story."
Pandora manifested a zipper on her own lip. This proved to be somewhat problematic, because she'd made it with the teeth not interlocking quite correctly, which meant it got stuck when she tried to unzip it. After snickering not-entirely-quietly at his daughter's increasingly panicked attempts to get her mouth back open, Discord snapped his talon and restored Pandora's mouth in an unzipped state. "You should really learn more about how zippers work before trying to zip your own mouth shut," Discord said.
"I could practice on Spike or somepony," Pandora suggested.
"Spike is your big brother and will likely not take well to having his mouth zipped imperfectly. Why don't you try your Aunt Pinkie? She's used to it."
"Stooooory..." Pandora said, in her best sinister voice, akin to the one she would use when imitating King Sombra to terrorize her cousin. Though her Sombra imitation involved saying "Crystallllssssss," not "Stooooory."
"Oh, very well. So as I mentioned, the draconequuses of Draconequui were always partying and having a wonderful chaotic time. And King Stuffypants the Alicorn hated that."
"Who is King Stuffypants the Alicorn?"
"The king of Equestria, of course. What other country do you know has alicorns for rulers?"
"But Equestria has princesses!"
"Well, where did you think the princesses came from?"
Pandora blinked, thinking about that. "Um... I guess... from other alicorns? Because Skyla has an alicorn mommy. But I have an alicorn mommy and a draconequus daddy so that's better because Skyla's daddy is just a unicorn!"
"You shouldn't say such things about your uncle," Discord chided. "They're completely true, of course, but mommy will feel sad if you remind her that her brother is just a unicorn."
Pandora nodded. "So King Stuffypants was Princess Celestia and Princess Luna's daddy?"
"Well, ancestor at the very least. He was actually the first alicorn, you see."
"But if he was the first alicorn and alicorns come from alicorns then where did King Stuffypants come from?"
Discord considered reminding Pandora that her mother hadn't been born an alicorn, and decided that his other plan was funnier. "Well, I'm sure someone has told you how alicorns come from all three pony races."
"And you know the story of Hearth's Warming Eve, of course."
"Well, King Stuffypants was the son of Princess Platinum, Commander Hurricane and Chancellor Puddinghead. So because his parents were from all three pony races, he was born an alicorn!"
"Daddy, how can a pony have three parents?" Pandora asked, aggrieved.
"Why, magic of course! How else would you think? So King Stuffypants was an alicorn, and a very stuffy one, hence the name. He hated the nation of Draconequui because it was so much more fun than Equestria."
"But why did he hate it if it was fun? He could have just gone and lived there, couldn't he? Or do draconequuses not like to live with ponies?"
"Nonsense, we love it! We're a very, very generous species, Pandora, never let anyone tell you otherwise. We're always happy and eager to share our chaos with anyone, whether pony, dragon or bipedal coatless ape-thing!"
"So of course King Stuffypants or any other pony could have gone to Draconequui to have fun and party all the time, but that was exactly the problem! See, in Equestria ponies live in harmony, and that means they burst out into song all the time. And if all the ponies saw how much fun the draconequuses in Draconequui were having, they would all want to move to Draconequui, and then who would be around to sing? Harmony would be destroyed because there would be no ponies singing. So King Stuffypants thought that was a terrible idea, so he-"
"Don't draconequuses sing?"
"Not well, my dear. Not well at all. In fact I'm named for it. The word 'discord' means bad singing."
"I like your singing, Daddy!"
"That's sweet, dear, but you're the only one."
"Does that mean I can't sing?" Pandora's eyes grew wide with distress. "But I love singing!"
"Oh, there's no reason to assume you can't sing, Panny. After all, you're part pony, and ponies sing quite well."
"But I thought I was all a draconequus!"
"You are all a draconequus."
"Then how can I be part a pony if I'm all a draconequus?"
He patted her head. "The word 'draconequus' just means 'dragon pony,'" he assured her. "All draconequui - draconequuses are part pony. You just have more pony in you than most of us because your mother's a pony, but that doesn't make you not a draconequus, any more than being purple makes Spike not a dragon."
"That doesn't make any sense..." Pandora murmured.
"But we're part griffin too, aren't we?" Pandora held up her lion paws. "So how come that's not in our name?"
"And we're also known to have snake and goat in our makeup as well," Discord said, sticking his forked tongue out and swishing his long, noodly body through the air for emphasis while pointing at his goat horn, before sitting back down on the bed. "But alas, we learned that including all parts of our nature in our name just leads to tragedy."
"Well, once upon a time the correct name for us was dracogriffiherpecaprequus, which means 'dragon griffin snake goat pony'. Back in those days, the first pony and the first dracogriffiherpecaprequus were best of friends. So one day Pony and Dracogriffiherpecaprequus were playing together by a well-"
"What were their names?"
"They didn't have names. Names hadn't been invented yet, so they were called Pony and Dracogriffiherpecaprequus. Since they were the first ones, there wasn't any confusion."
"Were they fillies or colts?"
"They were both fillies. Like you." Discord booped Pandora's nose. "In any case, they were playing by the well. Pony was being very naughty because she had been told not to play by the well, but Dracogriffiherpecaprequus could take of herself and everyone knew it, because we are simply that awesome, as your aunt Dash would put it. Well, wouldn't you know it, Pony was clumsy and fell in the well, which is exactly why she was told not to play by it."
"Did she die? Did her head snap off and all the bones stick out of her neck?"
Discord stared at his daughter. "Has Scootaloo been babysitting you lately?"
Pandora nodded eagerly.
"Well, this is not a creepygasus story, so no, she was not dead. But her friend knew she needed help. So Dracogriffiherpecaprequus went running to their parents-"
"How did they have parents if they were the first pony and the first draco-all the name thingy?"
"Their parents were amorphous blobs of formless matter. So she ran all the way to where her parents and Pony's parents were having a conversation, as amorphous blobs are wont to do-"
"How come she ran and she didn't fly?"
"Because it was Thurblesday. Draconequui- seses can't fly on Thurblesday."
"Does that mean that when I grow up and can fly I won't be able to fly on Thursblesday?"
"Oh, no, I got rid of it when I was ruling Equestria. Flying is much more fun than not flying, so I just outlawed Thurblesday and now we never have one. But in those days we still had Thurblesday, so Dracogriffiherpecaprequus couldn't fly to her parents. So she was rather out of breath when she said, 'Help, Pony's fallen in the well!'
"Well, the grownups were so engaged in their conversation that at first they didn't hear her, so Dracogriffiherpecaprequus repeated, 'Help, Pony's fallen in the well!'
"That got their attention, and they turned to her. 'What did you say, dear?' they said.
"I said, 'Help, Pony's fallen in the well!'"
"So they went and got Pony out of the well and she was fine."
"That's a dumb story," Pandora said.
Discord glared at her. "I'm not done, impatient one. Unless you'd like to go to sleep right now? I could turn out the light and leave..."
"You said it was dumb."
"It's only dumb if that's how it ends! You said it wasn't done so it's not a dumb story. Only if it has an ending like that."
"Well, then." Discord, mollified, resumed his story. "So the next day, Pony was being good and staying well away from the well, watching Dracogriffiherpecaprequus play there. Only, little Dracogriffiherpecaprequus couldn't keep track of the days, like all good little chaotic foals can't unless they have a calendar, which she didn't-"
"I can keep track of the days!"
"Good, because I can't. Isn't it Faraday?"
"No, it's Wednesday, Daddy!"
"Oh, good. I hate Faraday, I've never enjoyed cages. Anyway-"
"-it was Meeglesday, and on Meeglesday, we draconequuses, or dracogriffiherpecaprequuses, get clumsy, so-"
"How come you didn't get rid of that day, Daddy?"
"Well, it only comes around every twenty three and a half years, so I'd always forget about it. And I'd mean to outlaw it as soon as Meeglesday came around again and reminded me of itself, but then I'd hit myself on the head because I'd be clumsy, and I'd forget all about my plans. Anyway, it was Meeglesday, so Dracogriffiherpecaprequus fell in the well."
"But she didn't break her neck."
"Nope, but her friend knew it was important to rescue her. So Pony ran to their parents and said, 'Help, Dracogriffiherpecaprequus has fallen in the well!' Only she was quite out of breath when she said it, so she was panting too hard for her parents to even notice she was talking.
"So she said again, 'Help, hah, Draco, hah, griffi, hah, herpe, hah, capre, hah, quus has, hah, fallen down, hah, the well, hah,' panting just like that because saying such a long name when she was already out of breath was making it hard for her to breathe.
"This time her parents noticed her. They said, 'Pony, what did you just say?'
"'I said, hah, Draco, hah, griffi, hah, herpe, hah, capre, hah, quus has, hah, fallen, hah, down the well,' she said, but she was panting and they still didn't understand her.
"'Pony,' they said, 'slow down and take a deep breath. We can't understand a word you're saying.'
"Pony was quite upset, fearing that her friend might be drowning. 'I said that Dracogriffiherpecaprequus has fallen down the well!' she shouted.
"'Well, why didn't you say that the first time?' her parents asked, and they all went to rescue Dracogriffiherpecaprequus, in the nick of time, because something terrible was just about to happen!"
"Was she gonna drown?"
"Oh, no, not at all, dracogriffiherpecaprequuses have gills and can breathe under water. No, she was about to swim out to sea and become a sea serpent, and sea serpents are the worst whiny crybabies you ever heard! So they saved her from that horrible fate in just the nick of time, but they realized that the tragedy had almost occurred because her name was so long, so they shortened it to draconequus." He stood up. "And now that storytime is over-"
"Daddy! You were telling me a different story before about Draconequui! And King Stuffypants!"
"Ah. So I was. Nothing gets past you, does it, Panny?"
"You have to finish that story or I won't go to bed. No backsies, you promised!"
"Actually if I recall I was explaining that while you may be more pony than I am, you are still entirely a draconequus."
"Uh-huh! 'Cause I don't want to be not a draconequus, that would mean that I'm not your baby!"
"Oh, sweetling, you'd be my baby no matter what species you were. There's no need for children to be the same species as their parents, after all. My own mother was a banana!"
Pandora gave Discord a Look. "She was not."
"She was too! How would you know?"
"Daddy, your mommy was not a banana."
"Well, possibly she was actually a plantain, but no draconequus would ever want to admit to such a thing because 'plantain' has the word 'plan' in it and why would we ever want to plan anything? What would be the fun in that?"
"Uh-uh. She wasn't a banana. You're just joking."
"I'm wounded!" He pressed his paw to his heart. "My own darling daughter disbelieves me! And on a subject as important as the species of her grandmother, no less!"
"Anyway, do you want to hear the rest of the story of King Stuffypants the Alicorn and the nation of Draconequui?"
"Then stop interrupting."
"But I wasn't-"
Discord put a finger to Pandora's lips. "Shhh. So King Stuffypants the Alicorn tried to persuade the draconequuses of Draconequui that they were having too much fun and should stop, but pfft, as if they would listen to him. So he decided that he needed to find the Elements of Harmony and use them to make the draconequuses stop having fun."
"But the Elements of Harmony are good things!"
"So are school and spinach, and yet no one considers either of them any fun. In fact I'd venture to say that school is one of the biggest fun-killers in the universe, next to the Elements of Harmony."
"I like school... sometimes..."
"You're in kindergarten. It gets worse, trust me."
"Mommy says school is fun!"
"Your mommy is weird. And that's coming from me. Now, King Stuffypants the Alicorn set out on a quest to find the Elements of Harmony so he could stop all the draconequuses from having fun. He knew that the Elements of Harmony were sold in department stores and grocery stores, by the cash register, but they came in blind bags, and there were quite a lot of completely useless ones. As you know, the only useful Elements of Harmony are Laughter, Kindness, Magic, Generosity, Loyalty and Honesty, but when King Stuffypants bought a group of the blind bags they were full of Elements that were of no use to him whatsoever. Like the Element of Pancakes."
"That sounds useful to me! Can I be the Element of Pancakes?"
"I don't see why not, you already have Pan in your name. He got that in his first batch, along with the Elements of Laughter, Road Signs, Stream of Consciousness and Peanut Butter."
"Can I have the Element of Peanut Butter?"
"Well, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna had three Elements each so you can certainly be both the Element of Pancakes and the Element of Peanut Butter. Anyway, in his next batch, he got another Element of Laughter, two Elements of Road Signs, and an Element of Toothpaste."
"I bet Dr. Minuette is the Element of Toothpaste!"
"I am positive that that's the case. Next he got another Element of Peanut Butter, the Element of Kindness, and the Element of Toe-Stubbing."
"Daddy! Elements are good things! You can't have an Element of Toe-Stubbing!"
"Not all Elements are good things. For instance, the Element of Honesty. Honesty is positively awful."
Pandora scowled. "You shouldn't say mean things about Auntie Applejack, Daddy."
"I didn't! Applejack is quite tolerable. It's just that she has a terrible Element."
"I'm gonna tell Mommy you said that..." Pandora crooned in her best "you're busted" voice.
Discord sighed. "If your mother doesn't know my opinion of honesty by now, then our marriage is a complete sham and I've been living a lie for years, so I'm fairly sure you won't be telling her anything she doesn't already know. Now shall I finish this story or did you want to go to sleep now?"
"Eventually King Stuffypants had managed to collect the five useful Elements of Harmony. He had a lot of duplicates, like three Elements of Generosity, which he gave away to his friends, and an absolute ton of Elements of Loyalty, because those are a dime a dozen."
"Daddy! Now you're saying mean things about Aunt Dashie!"
"Oh, calm down. I'm just ribbing her to get back at her for all the time I had to ride around in her saddlebag as a stone horn while she was supposed to be helping me collect the rest of the parts of my statue body."
Pandora gave Discord a look of flat disbelief. "That didn't happen, Daddy. You're just making stuff up."
"My darling daughter, would I lie to you?" Discord asked his offspring, his eyes improbably large and his paws clasped in front of his chest.
"You just said that Honesty is the worst Element there is, so... yes?"
"What a smart daughter I have! I'm so proud of you." Discord coiled his tail around his daughter in a brief hug.
"Daddy, now all my blankets are falling off!"
"You have fur."
"But I like blankies!"
"So put them back on."
"Finish the story, Daddy."
"Of course, of course. Now, the thing is, King Stuffypants still didn't have the Element of Magic. That's because Magic is Friendship and he didn't have any friends."
"You said he did have friends. He gave Elements of Generousness to them."
"He actually had hangers-on and sycophants, not actual friends."
"Because kings are evil, of course, so naturally he didn't have any friends."
Pandora attempted to process this. "But daddy, you were a king."
"Were too! You even said so. When you ruled Equestria!"
"Oh, but I wasn't a king, Panny. No self-respecting creature of chaos would ever call himself or herself a king! I was called the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a title of respect. Nobles would come running up saying 'Flying Spaghetti Monster Discord, our peasants are revolting!' and I would say 'That's because you won't share your soap with them!' Then I'd turn their roads into soap and their meadows to swimming pools so the peasants could get a wash and then they wouldn't be revolting anymore." Discord sighed contentedly. "Ah, those were the good old days. Ponies used to call me their 'noodly master' and I would give them pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was a wonderful time."
"You were not the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Daddy."
"So certain! So confident of your facts! How would you know? You weren't there."
"Because I saw a picture of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a book and it didn't look anything like you!"
Discord transformed himself into a flying amorphous pile of spaghetti with large googly eyes sticking out of the mass. "How about now?"
"That's just transforming magic," Pandora scoffed. "You can look like anything if you do that. I could look like a Flying Spaghetti Monster with meatballs." She snapped her paw and became a giant pile of spaghetti with meatballs... which proceeded to slide off the bed onto the floor. "Hp! Dd! M gng ll mxt p!" The spaghetti flailed a bit, trying to reorganize itself so it could talk properly, and possibly also find its meatballs, which had rolled under the bed. But it was hopelessly entangled in itself, and clearly starting to panic. An outsider might not have been able to tell what the big deal was, but Discord could see that while Pandora had performed a full shape-change, parts of her spaghetti form were still mapped to her true body, and both he and she could see it, so her intestines would now be on top of her and her arms entangled hopelessly in her lungs and her feet dangling into her head... as expressed by a formless pile of spaghetti, of course.
After snickering a bit at her predicament, Discord transformed her back to herself, rearranging her correctly as he did so, while also restoring himself. He was tempted to reverse her hooves and paws, both as a lesson in what happens with uncautious shapeshifts and as an exercise for her to sort herself back, but Twilight really would be furious if he got her all riled up before bed and besides, her efforts to magically restore herself might result in the whole room turning to spaghetti, or exploding.
"Now do you believe that I was the Flying Spaghetti Monster?" he asked dryly.
"No, you're just better at shapechanging 'cause you're the grownup," Pandora muttered darkly.
"So! I believe that's all the story we have time for tonight!" He started to stand up.
"Nooo! Daddy, you still haven't finished the story!"
"Now with all the confusion over Flying Spaghetti Monsters, I've completely forgotten. Where were we?"
"You said King Stuffypants couldn't make the Element of Magic because he didn't have any friends."
"That's right, so he went to Ponyville to learn how to make friends."
"Auntie Applejack says her grandma founded Ponyville and the Princesses were in Equestria when that happened."
"Shows what she knows. There have been five towns on that little plot of land over the centuries, all called Ponyville. So King Stuffypants went into Ponyville and made five friends, and gave them the Elements he'd collected, and that enabled him to get the Element of Magic. Of course his five friends were just as stuffy as he was. Even the Element of Laughter was stuffy. His idea of a comedy routine was," Discord was now holding a microphone and speaking in a monotone, "'What has four wheels and flies? A pegasus in roller skates. Ha. Ha.'" The microphone vanished. "So none of them appreciated how fun Draconequui was. And so when they went to Draconequui, they used the powers of the Elements to banish the entire country to the planet Mars, where the draconequuses are still having wonderful chaotic parties, but now none of the ponies can see them anymore. The end."
"But, wait!" Pandora said. "Does that mean you came here from Mars, Daddy? Can we go back there?"
"Regrettably no," Discord sighed. "When King Stuffypants and his five stuffy friends banished Draconequui to Mars, they missed one egg. So when I was born, it became my mission to spread the fun and joy of glorious chaos all over Equestria, because since I'm stuck here, I'm missing out on all the wonderful partying and nonsense in Draconequui because I can't get to Mars. So I have to bring that splendid nonsense to the ponies all by myself, because I'm the last one left." He ruffled her mane. "Except for you, of course, my dear. Now that you're here you can help me!"
Pandora's eyes welled with tears, and she sniffled. Discord stared down at her in shock. "Pandora, what could possibly be wrong? Why are you crying?"
She wrapped her small arms around her father's narrow torso. "You didn't have any mommy or daddy to take care of you when you were little like I have you and mommy!" she sniffled. "Because they were on Mars! I'm so sad for you, daddy!" Her little face crumpled up, and she made the whining sound she always made immediately prior to a full-blown bawl.
"Oh no no no, don't cry, Pandora, please don't cry. No, no. You have nothing to be sad about, I assure you. Yes, my biological parents were on Mars, but Spike's biological parents are in some dragon country or other, and he's done just fine for himself, wouldn't you say? I had foster family just like he did. I wasn't alone."
He wasn't above lying to his daughter if it kept her from crying, after all.
"Oh. Right!" Pandora sniffled again, and wiped her eyes, her face brightening. "I forgot about the banana!"
"Yes! My adopted mother, the banana. See? I told you my mother was a banana, but you didn't want to listen to your old father, now did you?" Greatly relieved that the crying crisis had been averted, he hugged her, planted a small kiss on the top of her head, and pawhandled her small body until she was lying down with the covers tucked around her. "Nothing whatsoever to cry about. So did you like the story?"
"It was weird," Pandora said uncertainly.
"Of course it was. Splendid! I'll take that as a yes. And now it's time for you to go to bed."
"But I'm still hungry! I want a snack, Daddy, please?"
Discord rolled his eyes. "No. You promised me, no backsies, that if you got a story you'd go to sleep. In the morning you can have a big breakfast, but no more snacks tonight." He snapped his talon. The lamp over the bed went out, and the small moon-shaped nightlight sconce on the wall went on. "Good night, Pandora. Sweet dreams."
"Good night, Daddy."
"That took a while," Twilight commented as Discord appeared in the main study, where she was going over research notes. "Did she give you a lot of trouble?"
"She demanded a story. Who am I to deny my only child her flights of fancy?"
"I hope this one wasn't about how Princess Celestia nearly destroyed the kingdom by falling in love with a cake," Twilight said neutrally.
"Of course not! I've already told that story, and chaos forfend I should repeat myself." He curled around Twilight's chair. "So now that I have spent a long, long hour demonstrating my remarkable parenting skills, I don't suppose you're ready to go to bed?"
"I've got a lot of work to do before morning." She glanced up at him. "Some of us can't deliver a lecture extemporaneously by pulling it out of our hats at the last minute."
"Yes, quite a lot of work before morning," Discord said. "It would be a shame for you to do all that work and then deliver your lecture badly from being entirely too tense." His paw and talon went to work on her shoulderblades. "Perhaps you'd do better work after a short bit of, mmm, tension relief, what say you?"
Twilight sighed, leaning back into the massaging fingers. "I don't suppose it will do me any good to tell you not to tempt me."
"Tempting you is what I do."
There was a sudden crash in the kitchen.
Twilight and Discord jerked apart from each other and had both teleported to the kitchen within a second of the noise. A sheepish Pandora was sitting in a pile of pots and pans, which she appeared to have been trying to build an impromptu staircase out of to get at the cookie jar. "Hi, Mommy! Hi, Daddy! I was sooo hungry!" She rubbed her tummy for emphasis.
"You promised me you'd go to bed," Discord snapped.
"Uh-huh! I meant to but I was too hungry!"
"Pandora, what is the rule about snacking?" Twilight asked.
"Um... I forget? There are lots of rules."
Twilight sighed. "You were trying to get the cookies, weren't you?"
"They're out of your reach for a reason. If you're going to snack, you need to snack on something healthy." Her magic caught a bunch of bananas and pulled one free, proffering it toward Pandora. "Something like-"
But Pandora's expression had turned horrified. "NO, MOMMY!" she screeched. "WE CAN'T EAT GRANDMA!"
Twilight gave Discord a Look. He shrugged, grinning.
"Sounds like a very interesting story you told her," she said, deadpan.
He chuckled slightly. "Maybe if you're good and go to bed on time, I'll tell it to you too."
Note: Pandora is not my character; she comes from Lopoddity's chaostheoryandcookies tumblr. Which is adorable and you should check it out. Written with permission. The joke about Discord riding around in Rainbow Dash's saddlebags comes from "Appledashery" by Just Essay, which is on fimfiction dot net.
For updates and notes about my work, visit my Livejournal at alara-r dot livejournal dot com. (Fanfiction dot net strips links, so I have to write it out like that.)
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