"So this is it."
"It is, Luna. We put it off for long enough, but it simply can not go on like this."
"I know you are right. That is why I agreed with you, yet... I am afraid."
"There is no reason to be afraid Luna. This is the way it has to be. Otherwise, it'll only hurt more, the more we put it off.
"You're right. Thank you for giving me courage, Tia. Thanks to you...I know everything will end alright."
"I'll always be there for you, dear sister. Now let's go."
The two sisters took a deep breath as they entered a stunningly sterile, well equipped room in one of the Canterlot buildings. An elderly pony with a shiny tooth for a Cutie Mark looked up at his guests and gave them a playful, parenting look.
"Miss Celestia! I was wondering when I will see you two again! Tut, tut, tut, you missed your last check up~ that is no good! You know what they say, a check up twice a year leaves your teeth in no fear!"
"R-right. I'm sorry." Celestia got noticeably uncomfortable as her dentist approached her. When he saw timid Luna hiding behind Celestia though, a dark satisfied grin decorated his face.
"Miss Luna~ I hear you haven't been at the dentist in quite a while! It has been what, a couple hundred years? A millenium? Good grief, let's check those royal teeth of yours!"
Ignoring his obvious lack of tact, the sisters took a deep breath as Luna sat in the dentist seat first, while the dentist searched through his instruments. Then she suddenly addressed Celestia:
"Oh, right! Tia! We are releasing Discord tomorrow, are we not?"
Celestia blinked in confusion before groaning, suddenly frustrated.
"Oh goodness, I completely forgot about that!" she sighed with a small frown. "Seriously, that draconequus can be so bothersome sometimes; even while enchanted in stone."
"I personally think the Princesses are making a huge mistake."
"Tomorrow? What a sudden decision. But why?"
"They only now cared to inform us? I'm packing my things and getting out of here as soon as possible!"
The whole Equestria was full of such and similar comments, most of the ponies distrusting the idea of letting Discord roam around; even with carefully made plan that was supposed to go smooth - freeing him, stripping him off his powers and giving him one last chance for redemption.
One specific purple pony, though, was excited.
"Twilight, are you insane? How can you possibly look forward to Discord being free again? And YOU of all ponies! I would expect Pinkie Pie to be excited-"
"I AM excited!"
"- my point exactly! But you, Twi? What are you possibly looking forward to, the dancing buffalo?"
"Calm down, Rainbow Dash, I can explain!" Twilight responded, with undoubtedly joyful smile on her face and even sparkier look in her purple eyes. Her friends were over at her place to discuss the big news that shook Equestria, but also to hear something Twilight had to tell them. As she put it, "she had a great surprise" for them.
"You see, there is so~ much I do not know about Discord and his species! I want to learn more about both draconequus species and of Discords' magical powers! He has all kinds of magic I never witnessed before, I just have to write those down!"
Rarity clicked her tongue, but said nothing - she, along with Rainbow Dash was the most against the decision the Princesses made. Dash rolled her eyes and chuckled.
"Oh sure, like the Princesses are going to allow you to just stroll around with Discord, question him about his origins and let you two do the magic tricks together - don't you think the Princesses will have their hooves full with him and his stupid antics?"
"I doubt it~" Twilight said in a sing-along voice, as she finally prepared to tell her friends the big news.
"Discord is coming to live with me here in Ponyville! I will be the one taking care of him and making sure he causes no trouble!" Twilight finally informed them all of the big news with the most splendid smile she could pull of.
The short and awkward silence filled the room.
Rarity did her well known dramatic faint, but it was for real this time; Fluttershy lost the power of speech, being unable even to gasp, Pinkie Pie joyfully bounced higher than ever and Applejack joined Rainbow Dash in uttering a single word.
"Yes, you see, the Princesses are very busy and would have to take a lot of time of their royal duties to teach Discord our values. So I immediately sent her a letter to tell her I would gladly-"
"WHAT?" Rainbow Dash's voice shook the walls of a quiet library. Spike fell to the floor from the ladders as he was packing some books for Twilight, bringing an avalanche of books with him; Pinkie Pie jerked, with a rather silly sounding scream of surprise leaving her mouth.
"Rainbow Dash, don't yell like that! You made my heart go all pitter-patter." she remarked.
"What's the problem?" Twilight asked, slightly confused; the clueless pony wasn't expecting such a rage outburst.
"What is the p- Twilight, what were you thinking? Discord, here in Ponyville? He's going to cause chaos again! He is going to make our lives a living Hell!" Dash continued, Applejack eagerly confirming her words with a nod of her head. But Twilight just giggled like a schoolgirl.
"Oh come ON guys, the Princesses know better than that! They will take away his powers of course! They worked hard on this ancient spell that allows them to take away his powers while he's weak enough; and he can't get any weaker than being set into stone, right? Even if he decided to cause some trouble, I will be able to easily subdue him with my magic if I need to; Discord will be as tame as a kitten."
"Let's just hope he's not like a certain cat I know." Spike mumbled as he got out of the pile of books, which earned him a stern look from Rarity.
Rainbow Dash was still suspiscious, which Twilight understood; after all, the colorful pegasus was quite fiery when it came to her friends. Twilight had a feeling Dash wanted to get the things between Elements of Harmony and Discord even once and for all, but that chance was taken away from her when the Princesses decided to free him.
"I need your support here guys; I am really, really looking forward to this project. I mean who knows, if it goes well with Discord, me might all even become... well... friends."
While Twilight did expect a reaction, the disbelieving looks of her friends kind of hurt. But then, to everypony's surprise, Fluttershy stepped out and quietly said:
"Twilight is right. Maybe Discord should get another chance now that we showed him the power of Harmony, even if he was a meanie. After all, every living creature should get their chance to ask for forgiveness."
Twilight nodded happily, not understanding how she could for even a second doubt that Fluttershy will help her; the Element of Kindness was on its full display as Fluttershy promised Twilight to be there with her.
"Well, I suppose we could try and hope that brute turns into more or less of a proper gentleman. As long as his powers are restrained, of course." Rarity finally gave in. Applejack shrugged.
"Twi, Ah sure do not like what yer doin' but Ah guess I'll have to trust ya. Yer my friend after all, and Ah'll support ya all the way." she finished with a smile.
Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes and threw her hooves into the air, resigning.
"Being the Element of Loyalty, I suppose you guys know what my opinion is." she sighed, ostensibly annoyed, but not being capable of hiding a small smile.
"Good day, Elements of Harmony. What a lovely day for a walk, is it not?" Celestia started, her sister shaking her head.
"It is an honor to see you all again." Luna spoke, trying to keep the things looking at least half serious as they entered the royal gardens of Canterlot.
The mane six and the royal Princesses soon stood before the Discord's statue, alone. They decided what they were doing here wasn't a circus show, so the entrance into the palace gardens was forbidden that day; apart from the several Canterlot guards, they were the only ponies around.
"Did you bring the Elements? Oh good, let's get this over with nice and quick." Celestia said almost lazily. Luna hoofpalmed, and Twilight shared confused looks with her friends.
"Princess Celestia, forgive me for saying this but... you seem almost careless about this." Twilight said what all of her friends were thinking.
"Well truth to be told, this whole matter IS taking up a whole lot of my time. I was supposed to be drinking tea with a Prince next-country at this time, but I had to re-schedule! I was just telling Luna how bothersome Discord can be even while in stone yesterday! I totally did say that; did I not, Luna?"
"She totally did." Luna replied shorty, seemingly playful, but shooting Twilight and the team an apologetic look.
It was luck Celestia didn't notice the looks on ponies' faces, because if she did and asked them about it, she probably wouldn't get a nice response.
"Well then, let's get down to business. Elements, please stand around the statue; once I activate the spell, you have to concentrate, so be attentive."
The mane six silently listened as they surrounded Discord's statue. Twilight was facing its front, staring straight into those petrified, terrified eyes. His hands extended before him, in defensive posture, his mouth stuck in an eternal shriek of fear. Twilight couldn't help but feel a bit happy for releasing him; being stuck in the stone probably wasn't a nice experience. She wondered what will his reaction be when he realizes he is powerless for the first time in his life.
The circle of light surrounded them all, with Celestia and Luna guiding the magical power as it intertwined between the Elements. They all closed their eyes and concentrated on the energy that flew through them. A blinding light covered the garden and a mystical wind nearly threw the ponies out of balance, but they stood firm and strong. And then a high pitched sounds of spell doing its job.
For a few moments nothing but pure white light was visible, the spell done, hum of the remaining magical force still heard in the air.
The light disappeared, with nothing but soft mist surrounding them all. The statue was gone, instead of it visible a familiar tall silhouette of a draconequus, towering triumphally over them.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Molestia, Lunnie and the Hellements of Armory. What a lucky encounter!" Discord watched over them victoriously, apparently not realizing what had just been done to him. Celestia smiled politely to him.
"I must say, your stone-enhancing spell is getting weaker and weaker dear Elements. I broke out with literally no effort at all. Maybe you should enhance each other in stone for practice." he finished darkly.
"Hello there Discord. It is good to see you again, regarding the circumstances. You seem quite giddy for someone who has just lost all of their powers."
"Lost my powers? Me? Celestia, deary,as much as I like the fact your sense of humor is back after all these years, you need to work on it a little bit more. Well, a lot more, to be honest." the draconequus grinned as he snapped his fingers confidently, expecting to be on the other side of Equestria in the mater of seconds.
Twilight carefully studied Discord's face as it changed slowly from victorious grin, to a confused frown, to rapid blinking as realization hit him, and finally to a panicked grimace worthy of a photo.