A pulse of evil surrounded him as he walked out into the temple, and it smothered him, filling his heart with a dark, ominous feeling. Able to see the spiked, razor sharp back of the other entity, the angered stallion approached.
"Maelstrom!" Aegeus snarled. "Maelstrom, what are you doing?"
"Cruelty!" His voice had risen, both to drown out the infuriating stallion, and in pure excitement as the black cloud entwined with the spectrum of dark, rusted colors and began to rise. "Greed-" He was cut off as a tremendous spark of power erupted from the enraged stallion's horn, and careened into Maelstrom's spell, zapping the rusty colors into nothing and dissipating the dark cloud.
Maelstrom blinked for a moment, and rather then seethe with rage and retaliate immediately, a childish pout drew up his face, and his arms slumped to his sides, like a five year old whose block tower had been knocked over. "Oh, now look at what you did, Aegeus!" He sounded like a whiny toddler. "Now I gotta start all over!"
"What were you doing?" Aegeus demanded with the harsh stomp of his hoof. He stepped in front of the entity, forcing him back a step. Maelstrom only rolled his eyes and nonchalantly stepped away.
"Nothing but a little magic, Aegeus! Goodness, who said that there was a law against that? I mean, we are gods, aren't we?" he asked sarcastically with a dead pan look.
"I'd say that was a little more than a simple spell, Maelstrom." The stallion's eyebrows furrowed and his amber eyes blazed with fire as he snarled. "Since when do the gods use magic like that? Greed? Deceit?"
"Well, you should try something new everyday," Maelstrom responded in a low, and poisonous tone. He hopped back again as the stallion snapped at his face, his teeth bared.
"It is against the council's law to tamper with such dark power!" Aegeus hissed, and harshly jabbed Maelstrom in the chest, his blazing ember meeting blazing scarlet. "Don't forget who's in charge of you!"
It was then the entity's blood red eyes glazed over with a cool look, and hatred was immediately evident in his voice. "Oh, believe me...I never have." The stallion was in such close, easy reach. All it would take was one brutal snap and he could shatter the bones in his neck, and crush his windpipe. All in due time...
Discord let his body casually float a few moments longer, drifting between the conscious and unconscious world. He could hear the distant, tired, and equally alarmed voice of his wife, and the exasperated and sarcastic tone to Rain Drizzle's.
His eyelids fluttered for a moment, catching the glimpse of Celestia's concerned frown, before everything melted back into darkness. He felt a hoof sharply nudge him, but he wasn't quite sure if he was ready to wake up yet.
He needed to think of something else. Blue birds and an Angel bunny cotton swab-
She is pregnant!
-a Twilight with her mane tinted a marvelous, sticky chocolate-
All at once, he shot up with a yelp, startling his wife and the servant nearly onto the floor. "PREGNANT!" he squealed, "Pregnant ponies are everywhere! They're trying to make me eat broccoli!"
Leaned back into her pillow as a precaution, Celestia gave a slight, wayward smile, while Rain Drizzle next to her mouthed, "should I get a sedative?"
"Darling..." She rubbed an alabaster hoof over her husband's tense, fur-sticking-up paw. His eyes seemed to twitch and dart around frantically, not actually looking at anything. Well, what exactly did she expect? In the middle of a world crisis, not even a month after marriage, he was going to be the father to a brand new little foal.
Or...dragon-ling... There was honestly no telling how...unique the spawn of a creature with dozens of different body parts and an alicorn would look like, but surely their child would be beautiful.
"Tia...!" He squeaked as if there was no air left in his lungs, finally managing to snap into reality slightly. "You...and...that?!" He pointed a shaking finger to her tummy, his mind a jumbled mess when he realize there was something living inside her. "There...there's a...a thing...a thing a thing in you?!" He couldn't even speak properly and just gestured blindly to her stomach with a baby inside.
Well, marriage had been fun while it lasted. In probably just a few seconds there would be a large, Discord shaped hole carved in her wall. "Yes," she said quietly. She waited, watching those hysterical, mismatched eyes as they twitched and flickered, just waiting to burst through the bricks.
Yet all at once, to the queen's shock, a large grin broke out across her husband's face, his ruby eyes simply sparkling with joy. "Oh, Tia! How wonderfully chaotic!" he practically crooned, crushing his wife, and his baby, in case he didn't remember against his chest tightly.
Shock flooding through her, Celestia's heart slowly filled to the brim with utter joy as well. He was happy! Never mind the fact there was a crisis going on, he wasn't going to leave her! "You're happy...? You're happy!"
"Of course!" Discord laughed, swinging his poor, very nauseated wife rapidly back and forth as he bounced on the bed. "Just think, Tia! A little you! A little me! A little Discord to carry on my chaotic legacy!"
Laughing with him, reality struck the queen, and she felt her eyes rolling up into her head. "A...little Discord..." A...LITTLE...DISCORD! Discord pulled back her limp, rag-doll figure enough to grin into her pale face.
"Have you told Luna yet?"
"N...not yet," Celestia croaked weakly, a hoof barely lifting enough to falter in the direction of the hall. "She's in..." Abruptly, Discord dropped her there on the bed and sped out of the room, while the queen was left to choke on her own bile and settle her aching stomach.
"Hey, Luna!" Discord shouted, practically running his startled sister over in the hallway. "How much do you hate me?"
"A lot," Luna answered, tilting her head at his large grin. "Why?"
"Because there's going to be another me!"
The night alicorn blinked and then snorted as she tried to decipher his stupid riddle, wondering what he was going on about now. It clicked within moments, and, eyes bulging, she stared up at her brother, who only nodded in excitement.
Celestia heard absolute silence for the next three seconds. It was very much welcomed in her state, and something she was going to miss. Why, in only a few months there would never be anymore silence ag-
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" The queen had no time to prepare as her positively-flipping-with-joy sister tackled her down on the bed, as well as Discord's heavy, cotton candy filled body. She moaned as her insides did an uncomfortable toss, but she could hardly hear it over Luna's screaming, and Discord's high pitched giggles.
"Oh, Tia! You're pregnant!?" Luna shrieked shrilly into her ear, causing the mare to give a wince and whisper a very nervous yes. "Oh, I can't believe it! I'm gonna be an Auntie!"
"Not...if you both...don't let go of me!" she managed to gasp out as her face turned a brilliant shade of blue from all the death hugs and squeezes from both sides. Getting the point, they loosened up, and she took a much needed gasp for air.
The two siblings then turned to each other, hugging each other joyfully (a very rare thing with them), and chattering like high pitched hyenas about all the things they'd teach the baby, names for the baby, and etcetera.
"I'm going to teach it how to turn the flowers into puppets so it can chase the gardeners!"
"I'll teach it about all the different types of constellations!"
"How's Discord Junior for a name?"
"How about Astral?"
Celestia took this opportunity to gently ease herself under the quilts as the two continued jabbering about all sorts of ways they wanted to corrupt her baby. Not even seconds after settling, they both yanked her out again and into another, even more violently swaying, shaking, and bouncing hug. Celestia decided to keep quiet about the fact she was about to throw up on them so she wouldn't ruin the mood.
Over the period of the next week, the world was tossed into a downward spiral of madness and tragedy All around the country, and even outside of it, disasters began to occur. An earthquake in Manehatten. A massive, smoldering heat wave in Fillydelphia, a flood in Trottinghan, and the tail end of the epidemic wiped out the lives of a thousand more – Equestria and Disarray alike - before it disappeared.
The death total was beginning to rise greatly, and the entire world was thrown into a panic as it became significant that things were seriously wrong. It wasn't something a quick spell could fix.
"Derpy, I said move the clouds to the left!" Rainbow Dash commanded, annoyed. She facehoofed heavily as the feather brain elegantly glided the cloud further to the right. Darn, probably dyslexic pony. "The left, Derps! The left!"
Tilting her gray head, the pegasus smiled and eagerly slid the cloud into the proper direction. "Sorry, Rainbow Dash. Does this look good?"
"It looks fine, Derpy." The pegasus gave an awkward smile. "Thanks." She soared up to her batch of clouds, and gave them a mighty pound. The mound of fluff jiggled...but that was it. Her violet eyes widened and she gave the cloud a harder, frustrated thump. "Derpy, can you get your cloud to rain?"
Derpy looked down at the cloud under her hooves and gave it an experimental pound. Not a single drop of rain fell. The two looked at each other in horror. These gray clouds were rain clouds, and they should be spraying water like a geyser.
"What in Celestia's name is going on with this thing?" Rainbow Dash growled as she gave the cloud a swift kick out of anger. It didn't budge.
"Is it out of water?" Derpy asked with another tilt of her head. She shrunk back as Rainbow glared at her.
"Don't be ridiculous—of course they're not out of water!" She tried to keep the fear out of her voice. There was really nothing else she could think of this being at all. Sure, perhaps one cloud could be a 'dud'. But two of them? By the look of frenzied pegasi around her trying to beat water out of their clouds there was more than two.
"Yo, Rainbow Dash!" Rainbow Dash instantly froze on the spot at the ever familiar, rugged voice above her. Sure enough, there she was, her sun yellow face etched with concern and her fiery mane seeming to have withered in stress. She looked terrible.
"Spit Fire?" The younger pegasus flew up to meet her. Lately she had been trying to get control of her emotions so not to embarrass herself in front of The Wonderbolts, but she couldn't help but gawk at the horrible one of the top fliers in Equestria was in. "What in Celestia's name-?" She quickly covered her mouth, not wanting to be rude.
Spit Fire gave a grim smirk. "No need to be sorry, because I know I look terrible." She looked ready to pass out. "We've been on the go non stop for days. We've been trying to figure out what's going on with the water." A somber look crossed her face. "And we figured it out." She took the younger pegasus's hoof (something Rainbow tried not to squeal over).
Rainbow Dash was more than confused as her hero led her out of the clouds, and took her down closer to the ground as they flew just over the very top of the trees. "How come you're taking us to the ground? Wouldn't the problems with the clouds have to do with Cloudsdale?"
Shaking her head, Spitfire dove further down with Rainbow and pulled back a few bushes. The horrified pegasus beside her could only give a quiet gasp.
The once brimming, clear lake shimmering in the sunlight was barely nothing but a withering little puddle slowly disappearing under the sun's cruel heat by the moment. The plants around the evaporated lake had died as well, and over the distant hill, Rainbow could see another crater from where a lake used to be.
"Wh...what happened to them?" Rainbow Dash cried, "What made us lose so much water? Was it the recent heat wave that just slammed Ponyville? We-we didn't have the heat that long! Although it's unbelievably hot today..."
The older pegasus shook her head, a stony look upon her face. "The Wonderbolts gave been working without rest on this case. We've been getting large buckets and forming small tornadoes to get what little water we can to Cloudsdale. We're not entirely sure why the water is disappearing so fast, but we do know the outcome if we don't solve this."
Rainbow did as well. The horrified expression as she thought of all the perishing ponies, dry, cracking lands, and famine confirmed it. "Do you need my help?" Rainbow Dash asked quietly. "I'll gladly work the nights and help you guys. I mean, I can stand to lose a few night's sleep, especially if Equestria is in danger."
A look of true admiration and compassion crossed the Wonderbolt's face as she gazed fondly at the young pegasus and embraced her. "You're truly a wonderful pony, Rainbow Dash, and we're proud to call you our friend—especially in these hard times. For now I want you to try and keep Ponyville calm, and try not to let them know about the lakes until we start getting it under control." She propped a hoof under Rainbow Dash's chin (who was absolutely frozen to the spot in incomprehensible threatening-to-explode joy). "Chin up, Dash. It'll be okay." With those parting words, she flew back up to the sky.
Rainbow Dash really just stood there for a moment with her mouth stupidly gaping. Exploding into high pitched, girlish squeals, loop-de-loops and cartwheels, she almost forgot about the current disasters.
"Heat waves, floods, earthquakes..." Celestia threw down the scroll in anger and frustration, letting the parchment clatter to the floor and roll itself back up.
"Say it with a smile, oh solar queen," Discord sighed as he read another scroll. They were coming in twenties; Discord was honestly wondering if he'd have to have a carpenter make another room just for their mail. "I've got enough to worry about with Disarray on my plate." And now his pregnant wife.
"I've sent Luna out to Equestria to check on the country and try to stabilize as much of it as she can. I don't know when she'll be back." The queen tried to keep her voice from cracking, but a glisten shone in her eyes. It could be months before her sister returned. Catching onto his wife's pain, Discord immediately folded his arms around her.
"It'll be alright, Tia..." Discord tried to sound as soothing and comforting as possible, but really...what validity did something as insignificant as 'it'll be alright' have? Nothing. It was just a meaningless phrase said when one had lost all foundation of hope. Yet, it was all he could think of...
"Your majesties." Their faithful servant, Rain Drizzle was at the door. Like everyone else in the palace, she had lost that happy look in her eyes. "The Elements of Harmony have come to see you."
"Well, I didn't know necklaces could walk." The dracoenquus tittered at his own joke, even if nopony else would. Someone needed to stay cheerful in this situation!
The doors opened, and in came the six (albeit confused) faces as they stepped into the royal bedroom. It wasn't often they met the King and Queen in here, but right now Celestia wasn't in the condition to move around too much.
It pained both the alicorn and spirit to see the helpless look on the girls' faces, as it truly wasn't something they saw often. They were brave ponies, and they were always so confident that there was nothing their friendship couldn't fix. Up until now, that had always been the case. There was no villain here to destroy using their bond (that they knew of), and love couldn't impact a bunch of natural disasters.
Discord's eyes widened in alert at the sight of his favorite pegasus crying her heart out against Rainbow's shoulder, who was giving her an awkward, but still sincere hug. "Flutter...Butter?" He knew she was the most sensitive of her friends, and cried at the drop of a hat. Of course this would upset her.
"Oh, Discord!" Bawling, Fluttershy bolted towards the draconequus and attached herself to his chest. She was blubbering so much the spirit could hardly understand her, but he still hovered a paw over her back regardless. "M...my...an...an..!"
Twilight sighed heavily as the spirit shot her a desperate look. There was a look of true pain in her eyes. "Some of the lakes have dried up, and there's been no rain. A lake close to the forest was first to go, and a lot of the animals within it have died."
The spirit stiffened and Celestia lowered her head. His hold on Fluttershy became tighter as he shut his eyes. "So we add a drought to the disasters?"
"Yeah," Rainbow Dash said softly. "Spitfire doesn't want anypony else to know, and pretty much everpony doesn't. She wanted us to come to you two though, because the Wonderbolts just can't handle this, and we can't either."
Those heartbreaking looks all turned to Celestia and Discord, their pleading, tired eyes demanding one answer: "what do we do?"
"I'm afraid the only solution is probably not one either of you will find all that comforting."
The group spun around. The voice seemed to have come from no particular direction, but just echoed through the entire, vast bedroom. It sounded ominously familiar and not so much as welcoming. Everyone had their suspicions, but Discord was already low against the ground, his fur flaring up and his teeth bared viciously.
"Now that's not how a king should behave."
The figure stepped onto the illuminated carpet and from behind the shadows from where the curtains on the far left side of the room were closed. A shimmering, silver hoof stepped first, and a pair of turquoise eyes targeted them. The eyes looked cold and glazed over.
The tired, tensed crowd relaxed, although looked deeply confused. "Silverware? What are you doing here?" Celestia asked with a yawn. Silverware, next to Rain Drizzle, was her most loyal servant. "I gave you the day off to go check on your relatives in Fillydelphia."
The mare's eyes became more distant. "Thank you kindly for that, your majesty, but I don't need to right now." An unsettling smile crossed her face. "This was just a convenient way to get past the guards." Before Celestia could question why a servant needed to sneak back into the palace, a green light enveloped the mare.
The green magic ate away at the disguise with a crackling noise, and the group watched in horror as those gentle, serene eyes transformed into dragon like, cold and cruel irises. A single fang protruded out as she grinned maliciously at the group, and fluttered her moth-bitten wings.
Discord's mismatched eyes had contracted into shocked, tiny pin-pricks. They went back to normal as he snarled and ignited his talons in fire. "You-!" The booming, hateful voice was enough to make everypony shiver, and set Fluttershy's waterworks off again. Discord's eyes were just blazing with sheer hatred, and his fangs were bared with the desire to flay off the black demon's skin.
Chrysalis took this time to fully take in their appearances. It hadn't been too long since she had seen that snooty Papa's girl, but it had been eons since she had seen that disgusting mess of meat. He was still as hideous as she could remember, but he had certainly changed. Wearing Aegeus's attire, crown, and a flowing red robe, he looked like a true king.
It was just then that several tiny heads poked their way out from behind Chrysalis's sea green locks. Wide, shiny blue eyes stared innocently up at the group as they buzzed and squeaked questionably up at their Mommy. Fluttershy wiped her eyes and gave a quivering smile when she saw the precious babies. She took one step and Discord stepped in front of her with a livid glare.
"Get away from those!" the spirit hissed. "I bet they're poisonous."
If Maelstrom hadn't forbidden her from killing that abomination, he'd be dead on the floor and gored through the face. How dare he say things about her children. Her horn began to ignite, but she extinguished it before doing something she'd regret. Unfortunately, Discord had seen the brief flicker and crouched in an attacking position, taking her horn flaring as a call to arms.
"Discord, stand down," his tired and annoyed wife ordered. She didn't even look angry, nor had a threatening tone to her eyes or voice. Instead of a dangerous queen bee and her colony, Chrysalis merely seemed like an annoying wasp right now. She was capable of causing problems, but there was too much other disasters going on for the queen to really care.
Still, she knew she couldn't ignore a potential threat being in her kingdom again. "What are you doing here, Chrysalis?"
The queen rehearsed what she had gone over in her head as she spoke to the mare. "I'm here for the exact same reason I'm sure a lot of ponies have as they come to you." She smirked at the saddened looks on their faces. "And they beg help from you, for you to fix the land and bring everything back to normal." She looked at Discord, and found she couldn't pass up the chance taunting him. "Indeed, isn't the all powerful god of chaos supposed to harbor the most magic in all of Equestria? Why aren't you doing anything to help them, Discord?"
His head hanging slightly, Discord's venomous pupils still darted up to her as his lips curled back in a hateful, warning snarl.
Celestia, however, seemed mildly intrigued. "You mean to tell me your land is suffering the same catastrophes?" Other than Disarray and Equestria, Celestia was certain these disasters had so far only been confined to her country, and she was therefore surprised to learn the desserts had been tainted with these problems as well.
"Indeed," Chrysalis said quietly. She feigned a convincing look of anguish as she shut her eyes. She even tried to get a few tears going to try and gain at least Celestia's sympathy, but all she managed were misty eyes. "When the sickness hit the hive, my changelings began to die. Thanks to that magical blast your damn brother and that princess used, our numbers had dwindled." She shifted her hateful eyes to Twilight.
The lavender unicorn instantly flared in anger and lowered her horn threateningly. "Well, if you hadn't tried to drain my brother's life," she snarled. Discord contemplated whether or not to let her strike at the mare, but deciding it was too risky, restrained the unicorn lightly by her tail.
"There wasn't much I could do," Chrysalis said in an uncharacteristically soft tone. This wasn't entirely part of her act. It wasn't hard to feign the true hopelessness when her children had begun to die. "I tried to take care of what was left of my children, but the sickness took so many of them. I took a few of the newborns with me and decided to find us all a new home."
Discord broke in here with a bitter snort. "And you actually think Tia and I will let you back into Equestria after everything you've done?" Celestia's face had seemed to barely soften, but her eyes still remained cold and unforgiving.
"Of course not," Chrysalis scoffed. "I wandered around with my newborns for a while...until I reached..." She walked to the window and gazed out into the distance. "...A certain set of mountains." She turned to the group, who continued glaring suspiciously. "Perhaps you've heard of them. ...They reek of death, and are set in front of a certain gate."
Never have been taught this in history class, most of the girls just looked at each other in confusion. Twilight, other than Discord and Celestia, was the only pony that stared at her with realization. "The Decaying Mountains?" she whispered, "The mountains approximately five miles from Tartarus?"
Chrysalis smirked and decided to say what Maelstrom had. "Bingo." Quickly, she washed away the smirk. She was supposed to look somber here! "I could feel the power, and the true evil the closer I got to the gates. The tremendous power seemed to be trickling out from under the gate. There was a black haze hanging over the sky. The further my changelings and I walked, the weaker we became. It felt as if that haze – which we merely thought was smoke at first – was killing us."
"Theoretically, smoke can kill you," Twilight pointed out, "It can cause suffocation, and prevents you from getting a proper breath of air."
"My changelings and I strayed closer to the gates. The closer we got, the more the answer to everything that has been going on became clear. There were cracks in the gate."
"Horse apples, you're lying!" Rainbow scoffed. "Flight school made us take some actual academics and I took a stupid history class. I listened to some of it, and I know for a fact that the gates to Tartarus are indestructible. Nothing can break them. Out textbooks of the ancient war of Tartarus's demons, and the alicorns said so."
"Textbooks don't lie," Pinkie Pie said, her tone comically serious.
"Tartarus may not be like any other gate, but it can be broken," Chrysalis told the ignorant pegasus with a sneer. "The only difference is that any other gate could probably be broken if something hit it hard enough. Tartarus's gate can only be broken once the seal containing the evil within weakens enough. The cracks prove that the seal is weakening."
The ponies all exchanged looks. There were murmurs of fear, disbelief, and anger. Celestia and Discord had frozen to the spot, a mixture of horror and confusion etched upon their faces.
"Tartarus was sealed thousands of years ago," Twilight argued, "That's what marked the end of The Great War." Everypony nodded with her in agreement, but Discord just stared at them all in confusion.
"Your point?" Chrysalis snapped. "Seals can break, as this one has. And what happens when prisons break? Well..." A cruel smirk drew up her face as she turned to look at Discord. "What happened the last time a prison broke? Or when somepony broke out of her...lunar prison?" The room had fallen silent.
"And we're supposed to believe that y'all have turned over a new leaf and want to help us?" Applejack asked doubtfully, a deadpan expression on her face. Chrysalis only gave a short, mean laugh.
"Of course not. I don't care if your precious kingdom shrivels up and blows away with everyone in it," Chrysalis taunted, leaning right up to Celestia's face and taking pleasure in how the mare was unable to really inch back in her bed. Discord viciously snapped at her, and would have ripped off half of her face had she not backed away. Yeesh, what a temper.
"I don't give a bucking horse apple about Equestria, but what's going on with Tartarus is impacting my subjects as well. My changeling race will die, as will I, if things aren't solved. The only thing that can be done is to go to Tartarus, and try to find a way to reseal the gate with the Elements of Harmony."
"Honestly, your race ceasing to exit is almost worth the price to pay for losing the entire world to Tartarus," Discord mused thoughtfully—only to yelp as Celestia gave him a fierce whack from behind. He winced and rubbed his backside. "I suppose the girls need to get to Tartarus then." The six ponies stared at him in horror.
"You must be joking!" Rarity exclaimed, gaping at the sheepish draconequus as he shrugged. "Tartarus is far from Equestria! The journey will take days!"
"Approximately eleven," Chrysalis quipped.
"I gotta protect mah family, and mah farm!" Applejack exclaimed. "There's a drought in Ponyville, and the dry weather is spreading to other towns. We need to do all we can to preserve our crops before it's too late! If our crops die, the town will starve!"
All around the room, the girls began to fret and panic.
"I have to take care of my animals!"
"I need to try and help the Wonderbolts with the clouds!"
"If I'm gone...who...will...plan...the...PARTIES?"
Suddenly, a pulse of magic erupted from Twilight's horn and shot a colossal, magenta spark into the sky. It gave a loud, crackling pop, like a fire cracker. Everyone instantly shut up. Satisfied she had her friends' attention, Twilight gazed at the mares with a somber look. "Girls, we all have things we need to do...but Equestria needs us. It needs us now more than ever. We are the bearers of harmony, and it's our job to protect our land against this threat. Maybe Tartarus isn't the source of the problem, and our journey will be for naught...but what else can we do? What other choice do we have?" She glanced back at Discord and Celestia, as if she expected them to give an alternative solution, but they stayed silent.
"It's either we try and fight against this evil...or we watch our world and the ones we love perish in it." Pained, barely audible gasps sounded from the group of friends, and a look of anguish crossed every face. At last, they all gave a reluctant nod, and Twilight smiled. "We'll do it, your majesties... We'll bring Equestria back to order again."
Celestia looked down in admiration and love at the young mare, but she soon found Twilight blurring as her vision filled with tears. She drew the young mare into her wing and rested her cheek against the top of her head. Discord hovered awkwardly over his wife's shoulder, his ears pinned back silently.
"You are truly an amazing mare, Twilight Sparkle," Celestia whispered thickly as she gave her teary eyed student a nuzzle and set her down. Then, painfully, now finding herself holding back sobs, she looked up at her husband. "Discord, you will go with them."
It felt as if he had been drenched with a freezing bucket of water. "What?"
"The girls need someone to protect them. With your magic, you are as close as can get to a being from Tartarus. The creatures they will meet will be far beyond any of their strength, but not yours."
Was she insane? "Wha—what? No! No—Tia! No!" The draconequus clenched his fists to his side and clenched his teeth. "No! I won't!" She wanted him to leave? When there was a storm of utter, not-the-kind-of-chaos-he-liked going on? When she was pregnant? "No!" he shouted, enraged. "No! Never!"
"Discord, hear me out..."
"NO!" he darn well screamed, his voice crackling with emotion. "No! I'm not going anywhere! Tia—you need me! You, the baby—you need me!" Mouths all around him gaped in shock, (including Chrysalis's) but they couldn't bring themselves to celebrate right now.
"Discord, the girls need protection! They need someone to look after them! They cannot go to Tartarus on their own without the assistance of an immortal like yourself!"
Discord's face twisted in rage and hate as he felt the heat within him build. "I'm not abandoning my wife and foal just to supervise a group of stupid brats!" he snapped. He really didn't mean what he said. It was just impulse. Really, being torn away from his pregnant wife, knowing he may not ever see her again—how did they expect him to react?
"Excuse me?" Applejack growled, "What did y'all just call us?" The girls glared at him, while Fluttershy's eyes quivered with the threat of gushing with tears once more.
Trying to sooth his anger, Celestia spoke very gently. "Discord, if you don't go, something could happen to the girls."
"I don't care what happens to them!" Discord roared without thinking.
All at once, there were six gasps. The spirit whirled around—just in time to see Fluttershy burst into tears, and start crying into Rainbow. The six, shocked eyes stared up at him, before different reactions began to form. Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow glared coldly to cover their hurt as they left the room to go get packed for the trip. Twilight, Fluttershy, and Pinkie just stared up with wide, pained eyes, before they slowly shuffled out the door.
Discord sat there on the bed with his wife, holding his face in his hands. He could feel his wife's gentle and at the same time, angry glare on him. Slowly, Discord looked up at her. "Tia...you know I didn't mean it. I just...just..." He took a deep, shaking breath when he felt the threat of tears. "I can't leave you...I just can't!"
The queen nodded quietly. "I love you, Discord...I do..." She sighed, "But I also care about the girls." A small smile came to her face as she gave him a gentle and playful nudge. "And I know you do too...even Applejack. What would you do if something happened to Fluttershy?"
The very thought made his insides grow cold and twist in unbearable agony. "...I'll go. I-I will go..." He took a deep breath. "And I'll come back. I'll be back before you know it." He leaned down to nuzzle her, and a single tear dropped on her face.
Celestia pressed a kiss to his lips, and let it linger for a few seconds, before pulling back. "Do you know how to get to Tartarus?" That was an obvious no. Neither of them had been there, and Tartarus had a barrier around it restricting teleportation spells. Reluctantly, she looked up at Chrysalis.
The black mare smirked. "Oh, don't worry, your majesty. I know exactly how to get there, and I can easily lead the way for you all." She sneered up at the fuming, hateful Discord. "Provided the little colt here doesn't mind relinquishing some control." She grinned as he hissed quietly at her.
The spirit's sharp claws reached for her throat, and though he contemplated piercing through her windpipe, he thought better of it. "You touch them and you die."
"Why would I harm the ones who I'm counting on to save my land?" Chrysalis asked calmly. Discord hissed at her warningly, but he slunk out.
From the back of her mind, Chrysalis could hear Maelstrom's satisfied, and venomous purr.
Well done, Chrysalis. Proceed with step two of the plan.
Discord grimly stepped into the portal leading to Disarray. The wacky, funny land seemed flat and lifeless as he stepped onto the other side. Even though the first few hills were made up of checker board patterns, they looked faded and old. They looked sickly.
There weren't as many ponies frolicking about. Discord knew most of them were still recovering, as were the lucky ones in Equestria, Applejack included. You could still see that shake when she walked, and she couldn't go very far. It wasn't very unlikely that he'd probably need to carry her the majority of the trip.
It was very quiet walking to his troops. He wasn't greeted by anypony on the way. Whoever was out was too busy wallowing in despair or wandering in confusion to say anything to him. Finally reaching the swiss cheese tents, Discord found his right hand man, and captain of his army.
"Sergeant Caramel Corn," Discord greeted. The general turned to him and immediately bowed.
"King Discord! It's wonderful to see you. How is the queen?"
"Irritable, and tired, and terrible looking. Oh, and she's pregnant too," Discord joked wryly. "I need you to prepare your troops." His voice had become dead serious. "We may have a war on our hands—er, hooves—soon." He didn't want to admit there was a possibility Chrysalis was right, but sadly there was. If the seal from Tartarus did break...Equestria would be no more. "I hope to be back soon to check on you. Train, train, train! Don't stop preparing for this possible war. Everypony needs to be on guard!"
Caramel Corn blinked. "Um—certainly, sir. May I ask where you're going? A vacation?"
"Yes, I am, in fact. I'm heading to Tartarus. Have you seen their brochure? They seem to have a top-notch spa!"
Caramel Corn gave a wayward smile. "I'd say something, but it would be rude to say anything about the king's taste in luxurious trips."
Discord smiled, but it quickly faded. "I'm headed to Tartarus with the girls to try and solve these bizarre things happening to the realms. There's a high chance Tartarus has something to do with it."
The stallion's smirk had fallen instantly. "Oh."
"I'll be back soon. Hopefully in less than two week's time." With those parting words, Discord exchanged a salute with his loyal captain and turned to walk back to the portal. There was an obstacle though. To be more accurate, there was a pinkish lump with a purple and white swirly mane just staring tearfully up at him.
Discord sighed. "Screwball, no, you have to stay." He moved to step out of the portal, but he could very easily hear the quiet clopping of hooves behind him. He spun around to glare at the little pony. "Screwball, I said no!"
She flopped down on her haunches and gave a pug whimper, her face low to the ground. Discord sighed and knelt down to the little one's level.
"Look, it's going to be too dangerous where I'm headed. It's far too risky for you to come along! You have to stay here. You can help Caramel with the troops!" He smiled at her, trying to coax one back. All that happened was she fell to her back and bawled, literally mimicking the sounds of an infant screaming.
The spirit gave a frustrated huff. "Screwball," he warned. She kept it up. Now along with her torrent of tears, there was the sound of a surging waterfall coming from her, as if it was mimicking the flow of tears. Discord just stared. How does she do that? "Alright, alright!" he shouted angrily, "You can come with me!"
Instantly, the tears stopped and Screwball made the sound of a party blower as she happily jumped into his arms and curled up like a cat.
The spirit blinked in surprise and stared down at the content, and sleeping little pony. He shook his head and chuckled. "Oh, my little abomination...what am I going to do with you?" he muttered as he pressed his snout against her forehead.
It was hard deciding what to take for a few of the ponies. For Twilight she only needed her essentials, which were some food, a few books, and a check list. For what the ponies had no idea, but who knew. They might find a grocery store on their way there... Rarity of course, was a different story.
"Rarity, we can't take all of these accessories with us," Twilight sighed. "This sun hat is just far too big, and there aren't enough room for all of your shoes. She levitated a heap of Rarity's "essential" accessories and outfits and lay them in another pile.
"But Twilight, there's no telling how bad the heat will be! And I absolutely have to get another wear out of that hat and shawl before they don't fit me anymore!"
"Rarity, we have sunscreen for the heat..."
"Yeah, Rarity!" Rainbow Dash agreed as she randomly dropped a few things into one of the saddlebags. "I mean, we're going to Tartarus to stop bad guys! We're not going for a fashion show—leave your stupid hat at home!"
"Stupid?!" The fashionista was aghast."You wouldn't know fashion if it hit you on the head, Rainbow Dash!"
"Girls!" Twilight shouted. The two quieted while glaring daggers at each other. "Enough...please." She sighed and looked over at Pinkie Pie. "Pinkie, please don't fill all the saddlebags with cupcakes! I told you we need nutritious food!"
"Cupcakes are nutritious!" the party pony argued. "Pleeeease, Twilight, just a few, teeny-tiny-eeny-meeny cupcakes?"
With a heavy and annoyed sigh, Twilight relented. "Fine. Six cupcakes and that's it." She looked around as the rest of her friends gathered.
"I told Angel to take care of the animals until I got back," Fluttershy said quietly. "Or...what's left of them at least." She sniffled and looked ready to break down again. "H-he promised he would. He knows where the food is."
"And Ah told mah family they'll have to keep up the farm til Ah get back," Applejack said quietly. "But Ah have no doubt Big Mac will keep it in the best condition he can."
"Well, do we have all we need?" Twilight asked Spike. Her little assistant, perched over her back, began crossing things out with a quill.
"Let's see... Food, check! Blankets, check! Water canisters, check! Soap for quick baths somewhere where there's water—check!"
Sigh. "Check! Elements of Harmony?" Spike glanced over Twilight's back, to where the mare was just delicately placing the box into the bag. "Check!"
The ponies glanced up as a shadow fell over them, and their expressions seemed to have become even more sad and grim as it did. Discord hovered above them, his hands behind his back and his ears pinned back.
"Look, girls...I..." He sighed as they ignored him to go back to their check list and last minute packing. "I'm sorr...I'm sorry." When they turned away, the spirit flew in front of them. "What do you want me to say?! How was I supposed to react? I had just found out I was leaving my pregnant wife! What else did you expect me to do?!"
The expressions on the girls' faces softened immediately when they noticed the draconequus appeared to be near tears. Of course he had acted the way he did. He wasn't thinking right, and he was distraught. Not only was he leaving his new wife, but he was also leaving a pregnant wife when all these disasters were going on! Fluttershy nuzzled his paw reassuringly. "It's okay, sweetie..."
"I don't see why you don't just stay," Rainbow Dash said haughtily. "I mean, I don't mean to say the queen is wrong, but we don't need a babysitter. We don't need an immortal just because we're going to Tartarus. Right, Twilight?"
The girls all looked at the lavender mare hopefully, but she didn't give them the answer they wanted. "Yes, Rainbow...we do need him." She looked at her friends. "These aren't just some mean monsters you find in Everfree. These are genuine demons, and we need all the help we can get to fight them. Remember the basilisks that attacked a year ago?" How could they possibly forget? "That's the kind of power we'll be dealing with. Those basilisks came from Tartarus, and now I know why."
"At least now we know why so many bizarre things have happened." The ponies turned to the serene voice behind them, and smiled as she stood there in all her ethereal glory.
Discord hurried over to his wife and took her front hooves in his hands. "Tia, what are you doing here?" he frowned. "You should be in bed! You look ready to throw up!"
"I am," the queen said with a sheepish smile. "But I had to see you all off." She wrapped her wings lovingly around her husband, who immediately took her into his arms. The two remained in the hug for a few moments longer, before Celestia reluctantly let go. She held Discord's arms and looked at him seriously in the eye.
"Now, darling, I need you to listen to me. When you all reach Tartarus, you need to be at the peak of your power. That distinctly means no chaos. No pranks. You need to ration it through this journey."
Discord stared at her in horror. No chaos? No pranks what-so-ever? NO CHAOS? "Celestia, I...you know I can't do that! I can't not cause mayhem! It's what I do! I'll go insane if I can't cause a little bit!"
The queen was about to argue with his dramatic point, but she found herself contemplating. He was the avatar of chaos. Chaos was his being, and if he didn't cause any of it, that could possibly lead to some dangerous repercussions. Or, it could just lead to him being irritable the entire trip. That wouldn't be very fun either. "Fine. You are allowed three spreads a day. Just three. That means that anything else with your magic has to do with survival. Understand?"
Discord unhappily nodded.
The queen smiled and pressed her lips against his. "I love you..."
"Love you too," Discord murmured painfully. They each exchanged a tear and a final hug before pulling back. As an afterthought, Discord gave her stomach a light nuzzle.
"Well..." Chrysalis walked up to the group. She had no luggage other than the blobs of baby changelings hanging over her back. "Are we ready to leave?"
The group all exchanged looks with each other, and then began to quietly file after the changeling. After about ten minutes into Everfree, Pinkie Pie broke the silence. "I should have brought my instruments! We could be, like, a traveling circus!" she giggled. "And we could do a marching band the whole way down to Tartarus!"
"Pinkie," Twilight began in a serious tone of voice. "We aren't doing this just for fun; this is a serious mission. We have to give it out full attention, and we can't treat it as a joke. Furthermore, banging instruments and causing a racket will just attract the-" She was cut off as a zipper abruptly appeared over her mouth, shutting it.
Applejack glanced back at her friend and glared at Discord. "We ain't even fifteen minutes into this trip and already ya used up one of your magic freebies."
"Oh, that wasn't my magic freebie," Discord said simply, "It was for survival."
"And what in tarnation does zippering her up have ta do with survival?"
"Simple; if we're going to last this trip, we have to shut her up once in a while."
From the front of the line, Chrysalis merely rolled her eyes. Co-ruling with Maelstrom better be worth the time she had to spend with these idiotic foals.
(The part where Discord scolds Screwy for following him reminds me of the part where Bullseye tries to follow Woody out of Sunnyside in Toy Story 3. c: Especially sneaking on hooves
Chrysalis has her work cut out for her.
Sadly, this is the unedited version. My editor is very busy and I have to wait for this to be edited. Excuse the fact nothing is indented, but this was taken from deviantart formatting (other than changing the italics), and my laptop is so bad that I can hardly copy paste anything. I tried copy pasting this fic into here and it took three times and three freezes. Yeah. Wonderful, eh? So I wasn't going to risk re-copy pasting again.)