Every step made her belly throb and ache and whine for some morsel of food, big or small, just anything to please its desperate demands. Her parched throat burned, feeling as dry as the hottest desert. Her limbs trembled and ached, but she continued stumbling.

Ponyville. She hadn't ever been there – that she remembered anyways, but she was sure there was plenty of food for her to eat. Surely there were unattended gardens and berry bushes somewhere. Her belly and heart feeling slightly lighter, she galloped down into the bustling town.

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"Oh, Discord, come on!" Fluttershy squealed in distress, trying to grab onto her new set of dazzling plates before they became bananas and pineapples. Like a stingy child, she grabbed onto and tightly held the surviving plates, pressing them tightly to her chest and drawing up her knees.

The impish spirit hovered above her, talon raised threateningly, pointed towards her new favorite rose decorated plate. At seeing this, the pegasus latched her mouth onto her trusty feather duster tightly, challenging the spirit. Discord's face fell in dread, but after a few minutes he turned the remaining plates into food.

Fluttershy whined as she felt the stabbing poke from the prickly pineapple, felt the smooth banana peel, and...chocolate? She stared flatly as he swiped the banana and chocolate from her arms, casually peeling it and taking a large bite of both.

"Do you know what tastes good together? Banana and chocolate; it is simply deeeeeeeee-vine~!" He fell onto his back in the air, cackling like an idiot – only to give a yelping squeal as the pegasus tackled him, over the couch, and onto the hard floor. Discord gave a squeaking snicker as the tip of those evil feathers barely brushed against his side, but he managed to wriggle free and take to the air, Fluttershy following.

"Do you have any idea how much those plates cost?" Fluttershy exclaimed, voice sounding funny and muffled with the duster in her mouth. "They were the last in stock!" She captured the spirit's tail in her mouth, squeaking as he shook her up and down to try and get rid of her.

"Why spend so much money on plates when you can simply buy a bunch of bananas? They're far more fun~!"

"Plates aren't meant to be fun – they're meant to hold your food!"

"Use your hoof to do that~!" The spirit was already in giggling hysterics by just how annoyed and flustered he was getting his favorite pony. Fluttershy managed to corner him, pressing him against the wall and preparing to unleash her feather dusty, tickly, unrelenting wrath on him, when Angel frantically thumped on the door.

Discord's silly grin fell, eyes narrowing at the beast that glared right back at him. He hated that rodenty-thing; if it was up to him they'd already have eaten their first plate of bunny stew. Although he was relieved that feathered fiend was nowhere near his sensitive skin now, the draconequus heavily sulked when Fluttershy hurried over to the bunny.

"Oh no! Are you sure?" Discord rolled his eyes at whatever dramatic thing that had happened – it was probably nothing; it usually was. Fluttershy was already on her way out the door, much to the exasperated spirit's annoyance. "I'll be right back, Discord. Angel just told me there's a baby bird that fell from its nest!" She had already galloped out the door.

That pony and her dumb, sappy-wappy kindness. He hated when his fun was ended just because a dumb animal needed de-sicking. Of course, he didn't have much right to complain about it. If it wasn't for her 'sappy-wappy kindness' he'd probably be back in stone, and or dead. Still, what was so important about a stupid baby bird that they had to interrupt their fun – HIS fun? The mother could probably tend to it.

Pouting, the spirit looked out the window, where Fluttershy was tenderly, soothingly running a hoof over the fluffy-wuffy, spindly little hatchling's fuzzy head and helping it back up into the tree.

Discord hung upside down from the ceiling like a bat, rubbing his beard in deep thought. Oh, the walls could use a nice make over. Maybe butterscotch coated instead of a blucky pink? The floor could do with some chaos. Snickering, Discord flew down, closer the the floor, intending on bringing some nice chaos to surprise his favorite pony with when she came back in.

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The morning hadn't gone too great for the little filly. She was unable to steal food from the pony merchants, even though the gleaming dewy vegetables had been sticking right out of the wooden carts. When she reached for a pastry a unicorn gave her the most frightening glare. Hungry, tired, and sore the teary eyed girl cantered to the outskirts of town.

In the clearing of some trees, past the paper leaves she saw the little cottage, and she saw its owner with her back turned, helping some wiggling creature on the ground. The outside of the cottage had its own beautiful garden with lettuce and carrots and even some fruit vines. The cottage just screamed food. Already her mouth was watering.

Quickly, the little filly took the opportunity with the older pagasus's back turned, and she skittered over the grass, up the grassy hill, turning every so often to see if the pony had turned. Satisfied she was in the clear, the child hopped through an open window.

Placid, sweet little cottage on the outside and literally sweet on the inside! The walls were dripping with Discord's butterscotch, and the floor was icing sugar! She dove her face into the sweet mounts of white, lapping up the saccharine crystals. Her attention was directed to the fridge in a far room that seemed to just gleam and invite her over.

Hurriedly, the young pegasus scurried over to the fridge, throwing it wide open, drool dripping to her hooves and her legs weak when she saw all its beautiful contents. The filly directed her attention to a heaping plate of chocolate cream donuts, gathering as many as she could into a pile on the floor.

She gave a suppressed little squeak of horror as a brute force latched onto her tangled, filthy orange tail and lifted her up by her rear. The filly's jaws clamped down harder on the chocolate donuts, sinking her little teeth into the soft, buttery bread, the chocolate cream filling her mouth.

"Well, well, well," Discord sing-songed quietly under his breath, leering crimson orbs piercing through the frightened child's heart. "What does spot my eye? A wandering thief, it seems." He casually held the squirming and bucking tot, rubbing his goatee in deep thought. "Stealing at such a young age. You know, I would be proud if it wasn't for the fact you're stealing our food!"

The child tried not to show her sheer terror at gazing at this mismatched, frightening monster - a creature she hadn't ever seen. She tried to kick the beast in his twisted muzzle, but Discord only held her further away from him.

He examined the baby pony, who looked to be no older than three judging by her size. Twisting the girl around in his talon he spotted her little wings; one only half formed, shriveled, and weakly flapping. Holding the baby up more at eye level the spirit realized that, although her body structure was stubby and frail, her face looked older than a toddler. Ah, a dwarf pony.

"My food!" Discord exclaimed, staring at the chocolate coated pastries clenched between the brat's teeth. His favorite food that Fluttershy bought just for him. "My food!" Growling, Discord decided to give the tot a chance to repent as he held out his paw expectantly.

The filly stared at his open palm, but didn't even consider it, swatting it away with her tiny hoof as she clutched the pastry tighter, emitting a threatening growl. She twisted her snout away each time Discord tried to grab at it, and she fought to weakly kick away his prying hands.

With a fierce snarl, the draconequus dug his claw into the pastry, not even caring if he mutilated it, only wanting to get his possession away from her. The filly held strong, digging her teeth deeper into the flesh of the doughnut and rearing her head back.

Discord roughly wrenched it from her mouth, and tears stung the pony's eyes, her hungry stomach realizing it wouldn't be fed the needed meal and beginning to painfully gnaw at her instead. Angrily, she summoned as much strength as she could and gave his arm a fierce thwack with her hoof.

"Ouch!" The draconequus yelped, dropping the filly, who fell flat on her face. Rubbing his arm and hissing, Discord floated over the child, leering darkly, intent on teaching the impertinent brat a lesson. "Oh, I can swat too, you know," he seethed.

Rubbing her bleary, wet eyes, the filly blinked in confusion as a wide, red ping pong paddle appeared floating in front of her face. She backed up nervously, and the ping pong paddle casually levitated with her. As she tried to move forward, it blocked her. Any movement only made the paddle etch closer. Undaunted, the filly turned. That was a mistake.

The ping pong paddle swung back and connected hard with her rump, causing her to gasp and sprawl onto her stomach. She whimpered and tried to buck it away, but it sailed over her trembling legs, swatting her harder. Yelping, the child scrambled into the corner, burying her face into her hooves and the corner on the floor, weeping a frightened squall of tears into her hooves as the paddle continued spanking her.

Discord merely gave a satiated smile, relaxing back contentedly on a plush, pink cloud, folding his legs. "Perhaps this will teach you not to steal from the god of chaos~?" He smiled as the filly's cries became more pronounced, giving up on fighting the terrible punishment.

Fluttershy had expected a lot of bizarre sights to meet her eyes when she walked in the door. She was sure she'd find her poor bunny tossed somewhere in the corner as a hilarious prop, usually a cotton ball. Perhaps the walls would be dripping with fudge like last time, and he'd be there laying in it, making sticky fudge angels with his back. Oh, the pony certainly hadn't expected to find a child crying and cornered as she was beaten by the smirking spirit's magic.

"Oh!" the pony gasped, hooves flying to her face as she galloped towards the poor child, fiercely bucking the ping pong paddle (which promptly slammed into a yowling Discord's face), and taking the trembling foal under her wing.

"Who is she?" the pegasus gasped as the heavily breathing girl cowered under her wings, crouched low to the ground, sunset mane drenched with tears and sweat. "Where did you get her?"

The yellow foal scrambled under the saffron pegasus's belly, crouching underneath it and trembling in terror, looking with wet, wide green eyes at the spirit snickering above her. Fluttershy gasped, seeing the red sniffling face, and the equally red backside on her.

"Oh..oh, you jerk!" the pegasus shouted up at the flabbergasted spirit, draping a comforting hoof over the sobbing child. "You're such a big meanie sometimes, Discord!"

Discord's twisted muzzle dropped in shock at Fluttershy's words, mouth gaping as he tried to process some words. "Oh - oh, I'm the jerk?" he spluttered in rage. "I'm the bad one here? She was stealing MY food! She needed to be taught a lesson!"

"Not to the point of beating her!" Fluttershy retaliated angrily, ignoring Discord's spluttered snarls as she gently tried to console the child – who promptly darted out of her soft touch, scrambling under the couch and clutching onto the couch leg for dear life.

"Aww, it's alright, sweetie," the element of kindness softly cooed, bending down to the trembling girl's level. "Did the big bad spirit hurt you?"

By this point the exasperated spirit looked like he was malfunctioning as he spluttered and twitched in rage. "Wha – but – she – I – ARGH!" With a furious snap of his fingers he was gone and so was the edible mess that was the cottage's interior. Fluttershy only glared coldly at the spot where her angry companion had been. Good riddance.

"Are you hungry, sweetie?" she asked softly, trying to coax the petrified child out. Her voice should do that – it usually did with the rest of her animals. They'd crawl out fearfully, reassured by her gentle touch and voice. She lowered her head, wriggling it under the couch, only to receive a stinging hoof mark in the face.

Fluttershy vigorously rubbed the red print to soothe it, blinking several times before attempting it again, staying a further distance from the child. The wide jade eyes regarded her with fear, unblinking, her body flat to the ground like a cat.

Fluttershy pursed her lips, wriggling her face out from under the couch. The filly cautiously, curiously titled her head, watching the hooves as they moved farther away, towards the fridge. Likely to put the cinnamon bun away. She gasped when she saw the approaching hooves, and the pegasus snarled when Fluttershy got a very gentle hold of her tail in her mouth.

The whimpering child braced herself to be smacked at again, shutting her eyes and tensing every muscle. A sweet, warm aroma filled her nose, smelling of sugar and spices. When the girl opened her eyes an icing dripping cinnamon roll was being held out to her. The scent was tempting, her stomach giving a melodious hum, but the child was distrusting and backed away.

"No, it's okay. Nopony will hit you...Here."

After a few more cautious seconds, the foal angrily turned her head, and Fluttershy tried not to giggle as the hungry eyes betrayed the kid, constantly looking back at the treat. Within seconds, the girl had snatched up the sugary pastry and was tearing into it with her teeth. Fluttershy watched with growing concern as icing dripped down the pony's chin. Etiquette had seemed to go out the window with this kid.

"Oh my..how long has it been since you've eaten?" The girl's eyes lowered, but Fluttershy didn't need a response, only having to observe the thin belly, devoid of a kid's usually healthy, slight pudginess. Her coat and mane weren't fairing much better; both were greasy and caked with grime. Who knew where this girl had been and how long it had been since she had bathed.

"Are you aware you're covered in dirt?" Fluttershy asked softly, and the child seemed to lower her head in slight shame. "Y-you're a little..smelly," Fluttershy said quietly, chewing her lip. "Would you like me to bathe you?" At the narrowed, suspicious eyes, Fluttershy quickly rushed on. "It won't hurt, I promise. It will feel nice to be all clean again, and we can do it while I start boiling the pot for some nice hot soup."

The foal backed up from the pegasus a bit, crouching down and gazing inquisitively and apprehensively up at the gentle, compassionate face. She relaxed slightly at the question, having missed the feeling of nice, soapy water and cleanliness. When Fluttershy reached a hoof out to her she fiercely drew back.

The elder pegasus bit her lip, ears falling in distress. What had this child gone through to make her so distrusting? Quietly, the pony knelt down to the foal. "Oh, I know you are scared, but I really think you should be carried. The bath is upstairs and I do not want you attempting to climb steps without much in your stomach. Okay?"

The girl didn't respond, her jade eyes drifting to the wooden, creaking steps. They suddenly seemed so long and endless when she thought of climbing them. After several hesitant and contemplating moments the foal stepped towards Fluttershy.

Delighted that the pony was becoming a little more trusting, Fluttershy gently took a hold of the greasy, dirty scruff, grimacing from the sour taste and texture. Carefully, she carried the tot up the stairs, into their bathroom. She turned on the taps, letting the steam fill the bathroom.

"Now you wait right here while I boil a pot of soup for you." The pegasus grinned when a small pink tongue slipped from the corner of the girl's mouth, lapping hungrily over her lips.

After dicing potatoes, carrots and scattering them in a pot of boiling water, Fluttershy returned to find the filly fearfully eying the warm water and soap bubbles, even cowering in the corner.

"What's wrong, sweetie? It's not too hot, I promise." Fluttershy carefully advanced to the trembling child, smoothing a hoof over her yellow coat. The child tensed at the touch, but found herself relaxing to the consoling touch.

Fluttershy tried to take the foal into her mouth again, but the younger pegasus fussed, whimpered, and curled her legs up as she was dangled over the soapy water. "Sweetie, I promise water won't hurt you." The saffron pegasus bit her lip, deeply concerned at the absolute irrational fear in the wide, pleading jade eyes.

The foal was trying to scramble away, but Fluttershy held on and managed to gently lower the tearful pony into the water. The girl gave a few squeaky whimpers, tears streaming in steady rivers, only beginning to calm when Fluttershy started gently scrubbing her.

The pegasus lifted the girl to scrub the muck out of her tail, fuming at the bright crimson marks – some bordering on purple as they turned into bruises – on the child's bum. She ran a gentle hoof over the inflamed area, but the girl tensed from the discomfort it brought over the stinging skin.

"Oh, that Discord," Fluttershy huffed, mostly to herself as she washed the shampoo from the child's mane. "I'm so, so sorry you had to go through that – he really can be a sweetie sometimes..and then he can be a jerk. He just doesn't like it when ponies take from him. I don't think he likes kids either."

The girl focused her wide eyes on Fluttershy as she spoke to her, standing up on her hind legs so the pony could scrub her back. Regardless, Fluttershy still needed to lean so far over she almost fell in. The girl was so tiny. If Fluttershy wasn't familiar with dwarf ponies like Pipsqueak, she'd estimate the kid was only about two or three.

As Fluttershy moved to scrub behind the child's ears, she seemed to have pushed some sort of button, or conducted some sort of magic. The girl fell into a state of bliss, head lolling against the caretaker's hoof, her wings raising up in happiness. The saffron pegasus caught sight of the gimpy, half formed wing and gasped. Noticing this, the foal ducked down in shame.

"Oh no, don't be embarrassed," Fluttershy pleaded, still trying to get over the heartbreaking shock of what she saw. "It's nothing to feel shameful about. You know, when I was younger I had really weak and shaky legs." She giggled softly. "I always fell down and had a hard time walking. They were really skinny and noodley. I looked like this!"

Throwing the sponge back into the foam, Fluttershy backed up from the tub, doing a perfect imitation of her impaired walking abilities, stumbling all over the place with a goofy grin. She was delighted when a small smile turned up on that yellow snout.

"See? They're nothing to feel sad about. Plenty of ponies have disabilities but it doesn't make them any less special."

The frown wrinkled back up on that snout. There was that word: 'special.' Oh yes – she heard that a lot from her mother and her father when she was younger and watching with disheartened eyes as fillies younger than her took to the sky.

Fluttershy gave the now sparkling coat a final rinse and lifted the child from the tub, swaddling her in a warm towel. She fit in the crook of her arm like a baby, her little face poking out, blowing a wet strand of hair from her eyes.

"Want to see if the soup is done?" Giggling at an eager nod, Fluttershy trotted back down the stairs, hurrying over to the bubbling, scalding pot. With one hoof she filled a ladle, dumping its contents in a bowl, while holding the child in another arm. Fluttershy gave it an experimental sip.

"What do you think, sweetie? Is it ready?" The pegasus watched in astonishment as the foal took a tentative lick – before nearly devouring the spoon. Both laughing, but sad the child was this famished, Fluttershy took that as a yes and carried the bowl to the table.

The foal hardly waited until the bowl was set on the table, mouth fumbling to latch onto the side and sip, causing the soup to slosh onto the table. Fluttershy watched with growing concern as the child practically stuck her face into the bowl, lapping it and disregarding the spoon as she guzzled the hot, comforting liquid down. Within seconds the bowl had been licked clean, and she had crawled across the top of the table, pulling an orange out of the fruit basket and ripping into it, the flesh of the citrus spurting all over the table.

"Oh dear," Fluttershy frowned, following behind the tot with a drenched cloth and wiping up the spills she made. She was determined to actually get an answer from her previous question. "How long has it been since you've eaten?" The sun yellow head bowed shamefully behind the fruit basket, and Fluttershy decided to try a guess. "A day?" A shake no. "Two days?" Another shake. Fluttershy was beginning to feel sick. "Three days?" A bit of hesitance; a nod.

Indeed the unhealthy, thin body was complimented with slightly protruding ribs that gave the older pegasus a clue that this child had barely eaten in longer than a few days. A few weeks was more like it. None the less, staying silent, Fluttershy just offered another cinnamon bun, watching the girl wolf it down in seconds.

"Do you have a name, sweetie?" Fluttershy watched the cinnamon, icing coated cheeks rise up from the plate of buns, the green eyes turning to her. The child opened her mouth, but the words died before projecting. Undaunted, she tried again, with no success or improvement. She stomped her hoof in frustration.

"No, it's okay.." Fluttershy said softly, figuring some sort of emotional or physical trauma had rendered the girl mute. "Don't force yourself to talk. How about just nod along with this question? Are you five?" The girl fixed her with a livid glare, making Fluttershy shrink back a bit. "O-oh, sorry. Six? Seven?" At the foal's nod, Fluttershy felt her heart sink. Seven years old and the size of a newborn pegasus.

The gentle interrogation over, the child went back to cleaning the rest of the plate, also hungrily gulping down a large glass of milk. Her belly full and content for the first time in weeks, her mouth stained with crumbs and icing, and her lids already dropping, she nearly fell asleep in the chair.

"Tired, little one?" Fluttershy asked quietly, correctly guessing that by the scuffed up hooves the kid had been on the road for quite some time. She moved forward, galloping towards the little girl before she ended up tumbling out of the chair. The child's chin flopped onto Fluttershy's back with the rest of her body, unconsciously snuggling into the warm, saffron fur as she slept.

Fluttershy glanced out the window; Luna's silver moon was slipping past the horizon and rising into ebony skies. All her animals were still asleep and Discord was probably out sulking somewhere. Gazing at the darkening sky made Fluttershy's own eyes begin to grow heavy. She cantered towards Discord's bed, figuring he wouldn't mind if the kid slept there for a while.

The foal slid limply off her back, awakening slightly as her head hit the soft pillows. Her bleary green eyes focused on the caretaker, sliding shut now and then.

"Tomorrow we'll find your Mommy and Daddy." Fluttershy stared, watching as the child's eyes opened a splint, a heartbreaking look overcasting them and her face, tears beginning to spill out as she gave the pony a sad look and then gazed mournfully at the sky.

Fluttershy wanted to cry herself. "Oh." That was all she said and all the girl heard before drifting off under the silk blankets.

Tears still dripping down her muzzle, the saffron pegasus sadly made her way through the front door, into the cool night air. She saw, but ignored the scaly burgundy tail from where Discord was lounging in a tree above. She made her way to the edge of the forest, plopping despondently onto her haunches.

Discord barely glared over at the hunched form from the corner of a hostile set of red eyes. So she was crying, so what. What else was knew? The stupid pony actually took the side of a thieving brat over him! Oh sure he was a jerk, but this was the one time he didn't think he had been. If Aegeus caught him stealing then Equestrian gods help him!

Despite being maternal and kind, she'd never last as a mother, Discord thought with a snort. The hopeless filly barely knew how to discipline. He tried to turn away, but found his dumb eyes looking back at the tears no matter how much he willed them to obey him. Finally, loathing himself, Discord floated over.

"What's wrong? Did the little baby pony steal all your favorite raisin bread and make you cry?" he mocked. The mean smirk fell when the sniffles coming from his caretaker heightened. "What is it, Fluttershy? Whatever it is it's your own fault for not kicking out that brat!"

Fluttershy wanted to turn and shout at him for his insensitivity, but she instead only wiped her nose and sniffled a small sob. "She's an orphan."

For the smallest, half a millisecond a flash of concern went across the belligerent ruby eyes. "Oh." Run away, child gang of thieves, or just a bad kid he expected; orphan he did not. "How do you know? Did she say that?"

"She didn't say anything, and I don't think she can. She teared up and looked at the sky when I mentioned looking for her parents with her."

The draconequus laid back against the grass, folding his arms behind his head and looking inquiringly at his caretaker. So she was a run away orphan. What were the odds the kid lost both parents! Well, he knew how that felt more than anypony.

Come to think of it, he had noted the unhealthy black sag to the dull green eyes, and the way her stomach seemed sucked in painfully, trying to endure probably a while from being fed. The touch of guilt glimmered in his cold heart briefly. The kid was probably too weak to endure a beating like that. He could have really hurt her. Oh well, it was the stupid thing's fault for not just asking for a bite to eat. After all, it was sadly unfortunate (to him) that there were hardly any mean ponies in this insufferable land.

"What do we do with it?" From the corner of tear filled, angry blue eyes Fluttershy glared and he corrected himself in a huff: "her. What do we do with her? She probably ran away from some orphanage. In my time of rule and touring Canterlot as a kid I saw a few pretty gloomy looking ones."

"I have no way of knowing if she did run away from an orphanage or not because she can't talk!" the pegasus sighed, and Discord chortled.

"Ohohoho, I wouldn't say she's completely mute, my dear~" the draconequus snickered gleefully, his embodiment of chaos and disharmony showing in his delight at the child's misfortune. "She certainly made quite a noisy fuss when the ping pong paddle was whaling on her." His laughter died into a pout when his equine caretaker glared sternly at him.

"I don't ever want you doing that again. I'm pretty sure she's been through a lot and she was just too scared to ask for food. After all, she can't seem to speak, and the poor thing is just petrified of baths."

"All kids hate baths."

"No – I mean she was literally cowering and staring at the tub like..like it could kill her!"

Odd reaction, even to him. As a kid and even now the draconequus didn't care much for baths. He had simply loved infuriating Rain Drizzle with turning the tub water into molasses or honey, and blowing bubbles in it. He did the same to Fluttershy, who's reactions were simply hysterical. Fear though; it was never a fear to him or any typical kid as much as it was simply annoyance. Perhaps there was a deeper meaning to that.

Bah, he didn't care. "So where is she now?"

"Uhm..." Fluttershy's head had lowered a little, a pink flush curling over the butter colored face. She fiddled her hooves unconsciously, eyes averting awkwardly away from his narrowed ones. In a whirl the draconequus was at the window, face pressed up against the slick glass. He could already see the top of the curled orange mane illuminated in a speck of moonlight, and he saw her laying there peacefully on his pillow.

"She's in my bed!" So first the stupid brat steals his food, gets him YELLED at, and now takes over his own bed? Oh, he really hated this kid now. Body hunched and tensed in rage, fists clenched at his sides, the spirit let an angry snarl tear out from behind his fangs.

"I didn't think you'd mind!" Fluttershy exclaimed helplessly, trying to put a gentle hoof on his back. He roughly jerked away from her, taking the liberty to slap it with his tail as he turned and scaled into his tree.

"No, I don't mind," the draconequus said casually through tightly ground teeth. "I'll just sleep in a tree or something!"

"Oh, Discord, don't be so selfish! You can set up a hammock in my room." The cinnamon colored back was turned to her, wings snapping angrily to his back, shoulders going forward as he crossed his arms and ignored her. Fluttershy snorted, stomping her hoof and angrily snapping "fine!" at his back.

The spirit watched with narrowed, hateful eyes as the pegasus trotted back into the cottage, evidently looking as if she wanted to shut the door quite roughly, but restraining herself so as to not wake up the little thief.

Thief. That's all she was to him. A thief and an attention hog. It barely processed in his mind that he was experiencing jealousy; perhaps one of the only negative emotions he hadn't ever felt before. To anyone it was difficult going through a period of time being somepony's soul concern and then having to abruptly split it. How was he supposed to get Fluttershy to enjoy his pranks, throw pies in her face and douse her in milk if she was taking care of a filly all the time? Oh, and he'd probably get something like "shhh! The baby is sleeping!"

Oh, GAG.

Sneering angrily, Discord flopped back against the tree branch and tried to summon ideas in his brain to rid them of this little vermin. Well, he could create the illusion of some sort of terrible, drooling beast to tower over her, panting and dripping saliva from needle sharp fangs. Ha! And he could enjoy watching the child running back out into the lonely wild where she belonged. Oh, or maybe summoning a bunch of spiders to crawl up on her bed. His head was getting heavy, quietly snickering to himself as dreams of tormenting the brat filled his head.

Something cried.

Discord twisted to bury his face in the uncomfortable, rough bark, trying not to whine as the wood scrapped thin layers of his top skin off. Why didn't he just take Fluttershy's offer and make a bed in her room? His body was crippled with terrible cramps, as if he had spent the past few hours sleeping in a small water bottle.

Something cried.

Argh, what was it? An animal? A bird? The wind? He groggily pushed himself to a sit, clearing the sleep from his eyes. When those bleary, mismatched crimson orbs fell on the wriggling and whimpering form in his bed they darkened hatefully. Oh, it was the stupid kid.

Discord snorted thoughtlessly, rolling his eyes and turning onto his side with a painful cringe. So the brat was having a bad dream. As if he cared; nothing she dreamed of could possibly be worse than the nighttime horrors that plagued his unconscious mind.

The tormented whines echoed through his head, making sleep difficult. With a growl, Discord summoned a pair of marshmallow (literally) earplugs and stuffed them in his ears. Noise dying completely, the spirit shut his eyes with a smile. As they had disobeyed earlier, his betraying eyes cracked open to look through the window. They slammed shut when his mind harshly scolded them. After only a second they opened again, and his brain couldn't will them to shut this time.

Groaning, Discord slithered to the edge of the tree branch, hanging part way off it and keeping his ears perked in alert. The child had already kicked off her blankets, tiny, stunted limbs flailing in panic and fear. Discord wanted so bad to ignore the shrill, squeaking cries and go back to sleep – it wasn't his problem the dumb kid was having a mental breakdown. He wanted to lay down and forget she was there. But he couldn't.

Her whimpering cries reminded him too much of Celestia.

Yes, the spirit recalled clearly how his former best friend sometimes crawled into his bed if he stayed the night in her room, weeping about some terrible dream and wanting comfort from him. The cries were so annoyingly identical that he couldn't ignore them.

Eurrrgh, GAG, the draconequus thought, slapping a palm into his face and dragging it down his twisted muzzle. With a snap from his talon and a bright, golden flash of light he was in the living room.

The child's cries were even louder in the house; she looked so unbelievably tiny, almost shrinking into the soft mattress. Briefly, Discord considered a ludicrous prank of turning the bed into a soft marshmallow and watching her sink in between the mattress. That would have to come after.

Conjuring a small amount of power from his meager amount, Discord let the golden light flow to his fingertips, juggling the stream of power before managing to balance it. Gently, he tapped the sleeping girl's forehead with a finger, and a single ripple of light lit the room, as quick and delicate as a drop of dew hitting a pond.

The furrowed frown of distress relaxed and the corners of her lips turned into a small, contented smile as the frightening visions left her head. Her eye lids fluttered gently now and then, a soft, happy sigh escaping her, the light of the moon shining on to her serene face-

Oh, GAG me, Discord thought with a grotesque sound. Gag, gag, gag me with licorice whips and peanuts! And he promptly fell onto his belly by the bed, out before his head even hit the floor.

(Well now, I wanted to write something "Broken Spirit" related, but I also didn't want to write the next chapter yet. I looked over my old pictures of Little Marigold and thought "hmmm..."

Now, my baby's story is different than this, only by a little. For one I made her up both FAR before Pipsqueak came along (look at the date of my drawings if you no believe), and Discord wasn't in the original story. XD But I decided to do a story based on her, Fluttershy, and Discord. I also have pictures of little Mari in my gallery.

To be honest I just think it'd really be cute and interesting to explore the relationship of little Mari and Discord. From hate and jealousy to probably unconscious, wayward caregiver?

This probably won't be TOO long of a fic and I honestly don't know if I'll continue it. I suppose I'll see how the reception is. Not many people love OC stories, but people seem to adore my "Broken Spirit" AU so we'll see where it goes.)