Inside Zecora's hut, the three that stayed behind were all arguing, tied up in magically enhanced rope. Partially about who's fault it was that they got caught, but mainly about whether or not it was "manly" to know about and watch "My Little Pony". Dale was arguing that, no, it was the opposite of the epitome of manliness (or the epitome of the opposite of manliness- Dale kept switching the two around.) Boomhauer retorted with the facts that watching a certain show doesn't even affect your status in the manliness territory. When Bill was brought into the equation, he kept wavering and changing sides, saying "Can't we both be right?". Upon being questioned on how they even could both be partially right, he responded with "I don't know, why did you think I was asking you two?"
Unbeknownst to them, Zecora and Hank had simply been watching them argue for a good 5 minutes or so.
"The thieves' nonsense arguments, the pleasure me verily, they blabber on mindlessly, I watch them fight merrily!"
That pony-princess can wait, watching these idiots argue is more entertaining, Hank thought to himself. After a moment, he realized he was placing pleasure above priority, something which Hank hated to do.
"Uh, excuse me, miss?" Hank quickly asked Zecora. "I need my friends back right now, it's really important."
"These are you friends? You said you didn't know these bums! You said they were just some thieves from the slums!"
"Uh, yeah, I know I said I didn't know them, but they're my friends and the pri... prince..." Hank couldn't get a word he thought to be so girly like princess out of his mouth. "The... female in highest authority wants to see them for... something. I don't know what, but-"
"Wait, you say Celestia sent you here? Then go on then, don't let me interfere!" With that she literally shoved Hank and the others out the door, and then some, putting them about halfway from the city gates.
About one-fourth of the way to the gates, the argument between Dale and Boomhauer had cooled down, particularly after the point Boomhauer brought up the fact that Dale had every Twilight book, movie, and piece of merchandise. Though, he claimed that it was all to check for government devices to brainwash women. And, yes, he did have to purchase the Japanese knockoff items, as well as print out several fanfics. Just in case.
After they finally reached the city gates, Oak Shield stopped Hank again. "Sir, I regret to inform you that the city of Ponyville is temporar-"
"Oh, cut the crap, " Hank said, cutting him off, "you know who I am!"
Shadow Bloom looked over at him. "Oh, yeah, right. Shield, it's that one guy, uh, Ruthless-Fort or something or the other?"
"Oh, yeah, Three-Name, the one the Princess said she wanted! Do you want to walk or be teleported?"
"Wait what?" Hank, Dale and Bill asked in unison.
"Teleported!" said Boomhauer, excitedly, in a voice a bit louder than the rest, drowning them out.
"Okay then," Shadow casually replied. He turned around to talk into the Vocaplulev. "Yeah, uh, Quick Quiver? We're going to pull a Charlie Tango Four, okay?"
A voice responded, "A what now?"
Shadow replied, "We're sending four up to Canterlot."
"Well why didn't you just say 'Teleporting four to Canterlot'?"
"Because Charlie Tango Four sounds cooler, okay?""
"Yeah, whatever you say, Bloom..."
Shadow Bloom turned back around, preparing to fire off a teleportation spell, seemingly unaware that the quartet were arguing on whether or not they should go by telerportation.
When the quartet was teleported up to Canterlot, Hank and Dale both exclaimed in pain ("Got-dang!" and "Gih!", respectively.) Boomhauer and, oddly enough, Bill stayed quiet, if not flinched a little (Boomhauer had been training for this moment for all his life, and Bill just didn't react). The guard in Canterlot, Quick Quiver, chuckled a little.
"First time?" he asked.
"Gah, sumvabitch that hurt! And, yes, it was my first time being transported magically, and I intend it to be my last, too!" Hank mumbled a few obscenities regarding how much it hurt to be teleported. He said something along the lines of "Those fellas on Star Trek never got hurt."
Quiver laughed again. "Ah well. Always hurts the first time. Anyway, Princess Celestia said she wanted to see you four, so best not waste any time! Come on, right this way." He entered his horn into a hole in the wall. Both the horn and the wall pulsated with energy. Suddenly, there was a mighty FWOOM, and, anticlimactically, the door creaked open a bit. Quiver gently pushed the door, opening it.
The inside of the palace was magnificent. The halls were lined with arcane artifacts, some semi-recognizable, and others that seemed completely foreign to Hank and the others. They couldn't fully appreciate them, however, due to Quiver magically dragging them through the massive castle. Any attempts to slow down, go faster, or diverge from the path resulted in a small electrical shock, something they all learned very quickly. After a good 10 minutes of, well, cantering, they finally reached the Princess's room.
They all expected to see a beautiful bedroom-type room, which happened to have a great view of the country, and maybe a fireplace. What they got, however, was a sort of office, nonetheless a beautiful office. A large oak desk sat in the center of the room, on top of a rug with a sun on it. The walls were lined with books, hundreds, if not thousands of books. Windows lined the wall behind the desk.
And, of course, in the middle of the room was Celestia. She had a worried expression on her face, and was pacing around in the middle of the room. It took her a moment to realize that he five of them had entered the room.
"Quick Quiver, you may go," she said.
"Yes, milady," he replied, trotting back to his base.
"Now, as for you four," she said to Hank and the others, "I need to ask you all a few questions. For example, why are you here?"
"Well, ma'am, I have this theory that these aliens sent by the government-"
"Oh, shut up," Hank said, interrupting Dale. "Er, your highness, y'see, there was this portal, at the base of a tee with all these symbols on it and whatnot. And then, one of us, who will not be mentioned-"
Dale coughed, and it sounded suspiciously like "Boomhauer".
"Suggested that we jump in. And, well, now we're here."
"Uh huh, and did any one of you know where that portal came from?" They all replied with some variation of no. "Well, do any of you know anything about the being known as 'Discord'?"
"Er, no," Hank replied to the alicorn. Boomhauer, by this point, was bouncing up and down in glee, too overjoyed to speak.
Celestia delivered a long, time-consuming talk about the origin, rise, fall, and essentially entire history of Discord. During this speech, Hank slowly lost focus, then regained, then lost it, then regained it, in a cycle of attentiveness. Dale never paid any attention at all, and simply stared out the window. Bill slowly, but surely, fell asleep standing up. Boomhauer, on the other hand, (or, as the situation was, on the other hoof,) attentively wrote down every single word she said.
"...and now, once again, he is loose, and has opened portals to other universes; not only your reality, but dozens of others!" screamed the alicorn, panicking.
"Wait, exactly how many other 'portals to other realities' did this Discord fella open?"
Celestia checked a large stack of papers. "Oh. Well, at the moment, only one, but he could open others! Who knows? He could open the portal to a nightmarish dimension of demons and unholy beings to conquer Equestria!" Celestia drew a long sigh. "So, does everyone understand this?"
"I, uh, sorta missed some of what you said, do you mind doing a recap?" Hank asked, blushing, ashamed he had to ask.
Before Celestia could restart her speech about Discord, Boomhauer cut in. "Yo, dang ol' couple thousand years ago or so, this dadgum thing made of chaos over takes this here land, man, and he turns the entire world into dang ol' insanity! And I tell ya what, this ain't like Gribble's conspiracy conspiracy insane, no man, talkin' 'bout dang ol' exploding milk and soap roads and night and day last two dadgum minutes each man. So the, these two ponies, man, they just go right on in and *chk chk BOOM* tell ya what, now this guy's made of stone, man! So, tell ya what, man, he stays in stone for long, long, long time, then he breaks out and BAM now world's insanity again! But then, these other ponies, *chk chk chk chk chk chk BOOOOOOM* man, but now he ain't in stone, and that's bad, man, that's bad," he said, never breathing in during the entire time. He panted for a while, and then promptly passed out.
Hank looked at Celestia. "Now, why couldn't you just explain so we could all understand it, like that?"
Celestia facehoofed. "Regardless of the clarity of anypony's description of the continuous rises and falls of Discord, what's important is, he needs stopped. And, since you were the ones he summoned, I figure that you should be the ones to do battle with him."
At that very moment, not only did Boomhauer regain consciousness, but he also jumped in joy so high and fast, it created a pegasus-shaped hole in the ceiling.
"Er, does he always do that?" Celestia asked.
"Hell, I've never seen anyone do that, let alone him," Hank replied.
"Regardless, we don't know where he is for certain, but we do know that slowly, slowly but surely, he is moving towards us."
"How do you know? Do you have an evil-detecting radar or something? If so, can I have it?" Dale asked.
"No.. it's just... here I'll show you!" Celestia walked out of the room for a second. She walked back in with a pitcher of water and a glass. "Now, watch."
She placed the glass on the floor. There was nothing special about it, it was just an ordinary drinking glass. She poured the water in the glass. There was nothing strange about the water either, it just was tap water. She waited a second...
The water burst into flames. Not, the glass, the water. The glass, however, rapidly changed what type of glass it was. For example, in 30 seconds, it turned into the following: a silver goblet, a paper cup, a golden, jewel-studded goblet, a crude, origami paper cup, a coffee mug, and, strangely enough, a cow skull.
"Damn," Dale said in surprise.
"Oh, but wait, there's more!" She walked out of the room, and grabbed a pack of matches. She lit one, and threw it into the flaming container of water. It all froze over.
"Stand back," she said.
"Wait, why?" Hank asked.
There was a blinding flash of light. The frozen glass was now a bright ball of light, zooming around the room. After about ten seconds or so of bouncing around, it went into the middle of the room. There, it turned into a red and purple neon sign with the words "DISCORD ROOLZ" at the top of it. Under it was two hands (a paw and claw, to be precise) taking turns raising the middle finger (or talon). It had no visible source of power.
"Cool! What else can it do?" Dale asked.
"Never mind that. Oh, and, Bill, you might want to move a bit to the right," Celestia said.
"Wait, how do you know my name?" Bill asked, half-surprised, half-skeptically.
"That's not important, just take a few steps to your right."
Celestia sighed. "That's not important right now, just move!"
"Okay, okay, I'm moving!" he said in fear. He took a few steps to the right.
From above, a voice went "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
Boomhauer landed directly on Bill.
"Oh. Oops, I, uh, meant left. Regardless, since we're still trying to pinpoint Discord's exact location, you're all going to need a place to sleep and/or live until we can find him and send you out."
"Wait, what do you mean 'and/or' live?" Bill asked, pushing Boomhauer semiconscious, giggling body off himself.
"Oh, um, sorry, bad choice of words! What I mean is, you'll need a place to stay, and live, and enjoy life until we send you out."
"Woah, 'enjoy life until we send you out'? This sounds pretty suspicious!" Bill said, angrily and suspicious of the princess.
"No, I mean you'll need a place to stay, then we'll send you out! Ugh!"
Before Bill could say anything he would regret, Hank cut him off, putting his hoof over Bill's mouth. "Okay, that sounds just fine. Where exactly are we going to live?"
"Well," she said with a small smile, "I think I might know a few ponies who would let you stay with them..."
"Let's see here... 7,042... 7,043... 7,044..."
Twilight was over at Sweet Apple Acres, helping Applejack with the farm-work. Well, she wasn't technically helping with the farm-work, she was counting each and every apple that Applejack picked/bucked off the tree.
Applejack kicked another tree, sending a small shower of apples falling down. "Shucks, Twi, ya know I enjoy yer company an' all, but, do ya think ya could be doin' a bit more... ya know... a bit more useful stuff?"
"What?" she scoffed in response. "How is this not helpful? I'm counting the apples for you."
"Uh, yeah, sugarcube, ah figured that out. But, when exactly will this come in handy again?"
"Actually, AJ makes a good point," said Spike. "When will we need this data in reality again?"
"Oh, well lots of times! For example, let's say that-"
Twilight would have gone on to talk about all the opportune moments where it would be useful to know that she had gotten 7,045 apples that month, and 145,998 apples all year when Spike let out a fiery belch, incinerating the top couple of dozen apples on her pile, and sending five relatively small scrolls falling to the ground.
Twilight rubbed a bit of soot off her face and brushed the burning apples off the pile. "Seven-thousand-and-fourteen," she said to herself. "Ooh, what are these?" She picked the scrolls up. Coincidentally, the one that managed to be on top of the pile was addressed to Applejack.
"Um, let's see here," Applejack aid, reading the scroll out loud. "'Dear Applejack, Sendin' down four ponies, ah expect y'all to take care of them, Signed Princess Celestia. P.S., Let Hank stay with ya, ah think he'd like ya.'"
Twilight waited a brief moment. "That's all she wrote?" she asked, confused.
"Uh, yeah! Say, Twi, y'all were from Canterlot before ya moved to Ponyville, right? Ya know who this 'Hank' fella is?"
"Well, not really, I, uh, never got to 'socialize' up there. But he might be some citizen. Or a royal guard! Or even *gasp* a close friend of Celestia herself! Oh, you lucky mare you, you could provide a home from one of the princess's peers!"
"Aw, shucks," she said blushing, "ah'm sure it's just some citizen... but, just in case it's one of her friends, ah'll go tidy up a bit! See ya tomorrow!"
"Bye!" Twilight responded, galloping off in the opposite direction. "well, Spike, I guess we should deliver the rest of these, right?"
She delivered the scrolls to each individual pony. Rarity's instructed her to make some clothes, four shirts and four denim jeans. Pinkie Pie's instructed her to watch over somepony named Dale- not necessarily have him stay over, but just hang out with him. Fluttershy's had her provide some type of space for Dale and some other pony named Bill. And last, but not least, Rainbow Dash's instructed her to let another different pony, Boomhauer, stay in her house.
As she walked home, she felt that something wasn't right, that there was something off-kilter with it all. She couldn't place her hoof on what, but it felt like something was missing. But what?
She walked back into her home and sat down in front of the fireplace, to continue reading her book.
Ardennes looked up. "Fordlock!" he said, "there's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hooflet they've worked out."
Suddenly, for no apparent reason, it hit her; she hadn't received a scroll.
What the Tartarus? she thought. I'm her #1 student, why wouldn't I get one?
She trotted over to Spike, annoyed. Spike was in his wicker-basket bed. Twilight poked him. "Spike, can you take a letter for me?"
Spike groaned a bit. "Uhhh... yeah... one second..." He was sweating and clutching his stomach.
"Oh my... Spike, did you eat that one weird looking conglomerate you found behind that dumpster?"
"Hit the deck!" he exclaimed.
"Okay. Wait, why?"
Spike let out an absolutely astonishing belch, producing a flame about ten foot long and five foot around. Out shot around twelve pounds of parchment bundled in a massive scroll that would have hit Twilight right in the head, had she not ducked. It fell to the floor bellow, landing with a mighty *CRACK* as it broke a few floorboards.
Spike stood up. 'Whew, that's better!" he said, coughing. "Ack. I think I might need a throat lozenge after that. Be right back!" He walked into the kitchen.
Twilight galloped down to inspect the massive scroll. The seal said "Addressed to Twilight Sparkle." She picked it up to inspect it.
Before she started reading, she looked out at the window. It was an ominous sunset, if that was possible. As the golden sphere sank bellow Ponyville's horizon, a dark mass of clouds gathered in the distance.
It was an ominous sunset, if that was possible. As the golden sphere sank bellow Arlen's horizon, a dark mass of clouds gathered in the distance.
Bobby walked into the kitchen, where Peggy was standing, staring out the window.
"Mom, where's Dad?" he asked.
"Um, Bobby, let me find a gentle way to explain this to you... huh, guess there is no gentle way. Mr. Gribble has probably gone abso-freakin'-lutely nuts, and is running around in the woods, and it's up to Hank to find him."
Bobby just looked at her. Not sad, or disappointed, or anything, just neutral. "Oh. Okay then." His voice on the other hand was laden with despair. He walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch, watching an episode of Los Dias y Los Noches de Monsigneur Martinez.
"Vaya con dios," he said, before pulling the trigger on his modified wine goblet, shooting his corrupt twin, Monsigneur Emilio Martinez.
Peggy made sure Bobby wasn't looking, and she got herself a can of Alamo from the fridge. She took a long swig to calm herself down and placed the can down on the counter before rereading one of her favorite books, A Dinner of Onions.
She was so focused on reading it that she failed to notice that the beer can briefly became a paper cup.