"Now, yell at him!" Applejack ordered with a harsh stomp of her hoof. Harsh enough to make Fluttershy cower, before straightening and glaring at little 'Disbloom'. "He just wrapped Angel up in toilet paper ta make 'im look like a mummy! What are ya going to do?!"
The sweet, reluctant look lingered in her eyes for a moment longer, before her face twisted sternly as she glared at the giggling Applebloom. "Discord, I've had enough of you tormenting Angel..."
"Discord, I've had enough of you tormenting Angel!" Fluttershy shouted, and felt a smile cross her face as the apple sisters beamed with pride. She kept scolding. "You are to stay in your...er..." He didn't actually have a room. He slept on a pull out bed in the middle of the living room. "Um..."
"No 'umm's! Confidence, Fluttershy!"
"You are to stay in your bed! You won't be getting dessert tonight or tomorrow, either!" She giggled as the girls exuberantly tackled her into a tight hug. "So do I sound like a stern mother?" she teased.
"Oh hay, I'd say so!" Applejack laughed, slapping her friend's back playfully. "He'd be a fool to defy ya now, girl! Now...let's work on getting some traps for those varmints!" At the horrified, squeaking gasp, she turned towards the pegasus. Realizing how that sentence sounded on the ears of a pony who spent her life with bunnies, she rephrased with a wince. "Ah, humane traps, Sugar cube. It just catches them so we can release them somewhere."
Fluttershy made a distasteful grunt, but she decided not to say anything. It wasn't her preferred way to catch a bunny, but she didn't want to risk anything else scaring away the little critters. "Alright then, we need to find some suitable bait for the bunnies. They really like lettuce. Can I borrow a few leaves for them to nibble, Applejack?"
The country mare gave her a strange look. "Oh sure; ya can borrow them on one condition..."
"Oh? What's the condition?"
She grinned. "Don't give me back the leaves when the bunnies are done with 'em."
Taking care of dumb, fuzzy animals was not Discord's preferred cup of tea, and he lay there on one of his clouds just above the ground, and glared at the sky. He had just fed the fuzzy critters, and they were now shewing away on their gross vegetables. One of the baby bunnies had made himself comfortable on his chest without his permission.
"Oh, what are you looking at?" he growled as the baby bunny's hungry button eyes targeted his cotton candy, chocolate milkshake. "No, I don't think so." He held his paw up to the baby's face to block his view from his drink. "Discord does not share his drinks with baby bunnies."
The bunny stared at him...and he teared up.
Throwing a claw to his face and sliding it down in exasperation, Discord offered the fuzzy vermin a sip. "Oh, I've become such a softy! Now go on—get!" Tummy full of milkshake, the bunny happily hopped off the cloud.
Rolling his eyes, Discord felt around the cloud for his plate of cinnamon cookies. There was one left. He blinked as his talons grazed over the empty plate. All he felt was a few little crumbs! The spirit launched himself to the edge of his cloud and gaped at the bulging-with-cookie face of the baby bunny. Little thief!
Growling, Discord immediately bolted after the bunny and into Everfree Forest. "Hey, fuzzbutt, how do you fancy being turned into a bowling pin?" Discord asked with a malicious grin as he conjured up a bowling ball.
The bunny glanced back and squealed in terror as he picked up the pace and darted through the trees like a blur of ivory. The little guy could move fast, Discord would give him that credit. They were far from the cottage now and getting deeper into the forest by the second, but Discord wasn't going back home until he had avenged his cookie! Finally, somewhere in a misty part of Everfree, the bunny managed to escape. Discord caught movement in a nearby cave through the mist and incorrectly guessed it was the bunny.
Fantastic hiding spot, you ratty little beast, Discord thought venomously as he glared at the cave. You're toast now. Actually...I prefer maple syrup! Giggling maniacally, the draconequus ignited his talon and sent a torrent of maple syrup into the cave.
"Take that, fuzzy!" he laughed. "No one steals Discord's snacks!"
Twin snarls erupted from the cave, and Discord instantly hopped back in alarm, staring at the cave opening in shock. Well...that bunny had lungs! Of course, there was the matter of the echo helping it along.
The twin heads bared their ugly, yellow teeth and roared at him, so loud that Discord had to dig his claws into the earth to keep himself grounded. He whirled around in horror and realized he was by the swamps. How could that bunny be so incredibly stupid?
"Whoa! SOS, somebody help me!" Discord squealed as he bolted from the spot, and only left a cloud of smoke behind. "Equestrian gods, I guess you hydras don't like maple syrup!"
His answer was a splintering snap as the great, two headed beast pounced on a tree and destroyed it as if it was kindling. Through his flying, Discord spotted that stupid baby bunny pathetically hopping as fast as his barely developed feet could carry him, and he quickly scooped him up.
He'd probably be able to fight the hydra and possibly scare it off, but it would be best if he just left its territory so they wouldn't have anymore issues.
Bursting through the trees and tripping into Fluttershy's garden, Discord bolted to his feet and brushed off as much of the dirt as he could. "Okay, you dumb critters! That's enough of the outdoors for now, so why don't we all just head in-"
Just then, there was a thundering roar as the hydra savagely lunged where Discord had just stood, and effectively crushed the rest of Fluttershy's beautiful garden into mulch.
The draconequus gasped and spun around to the hideous beast—just in time to have its tail strike him viciously across the face and send him slamming into the side of the cottage as he dented the wood. "Gack! Ow—dear Celestia!" Gasping, the spirit stumbled to his feet. His paw gingerly explored the new welt across his face, and he growled.
Oh, you're going down, scaly! He charged a powerful spark of lighting and hurled it at the monster. The hydra screeched and convulsed on the spot, before whipping its tail once more. Discord easily dodged it and blasted again.
Frightened and thrown in a state of utter panic (as it's prone to happen with animals), the frenzied creatures began hightailing it out of there and stampeded towards town. The hydra lost interest in Discord and gave chase.
"Oh no you don't!" Discord shouted, "If something happens to Fluttershy's animals I'm doing to be the one to do it—not you!" He leaped on the hydra's back and sunk his teeth into it. The hydra reared its ugly heads and threw them back with a furious snarl, clocking Discord right in the snout.
The draconequus bounced off and landed harshly on his rear as he clasped his hands to his throbbing snout, and muddled curse words into them.
Back in town, the ponies were peacefully going about their business; shopping, selling, and hanging out by diners, when they noticed the ominously familiar cloud of dust and silhouette of doom-bringing animals.
"Stampeeeede!" Lyra screeched. Everypony's head shot up, but by now the more deadly form of the hydra was visible, which only heightened the terror as the screaming began.
Fluttershy had been enjoying a relaxing afternoon laying on hay bales with her friends when the distant screaming was heard.
A wheat plant in her mouth, Rainbow sat up and looked at the direction of town. "What in Equestria is with all the screaming over there?"
"Is there any laughing?" Pinkie wondered, and then her eyes bulged and her mouth hung. "There better not be a party over there without me knowing about it!"
"Whoa!" Rainbow flapped back in alarm when she saw the brief flash of a tail. "Some sort of dragon or something! Or..." That's when she saw the double heads through the trees as it bent down to devour a galloping pony. "It's a hydra!"
"A what?" Twilight gasped. She was already fumbling with her bag to get her inkwell and paper so she could write to Celsetia.
"This has Discord's name written all over it!" Applejack growled.
Fluttershy's eyes widened, before they viciously narrowed. "If it does, then something else is going to have his name written all over it..."
Discord stood between the hydra and the Crusaders, his talons poised and viciously flickering. He enveloped the kids with a golden bubble and pushed them to safety with his tail as the hydra lunged for them.
"Hey, I wonder if we can be Cutie Mark Crusaders, hydra wrestlers!" Scootaloo wondered. Her friends all put on battle faces and began to charge for the beast. "CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS HY-" A feline arm swooped them up abruptly as Discord quickly took off with them.
"Nope, nope, nope! Not today!" he yelped, dodging another swing of the hydra's tail. It slammed into, and detonated several vendors' carts, and sent the vegetables contained inside rolling.
Snarling, Discord turned and focused his magic to try and teleport the beast away. His talon gave a crackling, fizzing pop and sent him flying into one of the broken carts. It was just no use! Without his full power he couldn't teleport a beast that big!
Tripping on a tomato of all things, Discord went sprawling over his heels and crashed into the ground. He could only stare in horror as the hideous monster leered down at him and prepared its mouth to devour him fully. Right when the malicious jaws nearly snapped him in half, a tremendous blast of power from above slammed into the monster's back.
Stunned, Discord watched as Celestia sent another cascading blast of shimmering magic careening into the hydra's face.. He was too busy watching the beast screech and dance around in agony that he didn't even notice six certain ponies were helping him up.
"How did this happen? Twilight demanded. She knew she didn't even need to ask to know the idiot had something to do with this.
"O-oh, it turns out hydras don't like maple syrup," the dazed Discord responded. There was a screaming chorus of "WHAT?!" from the girls, but the thundering explosion from Celestia's horn drowned everything else out.
In the midst of the smoke from the final blast, the injured hydra gave a last shriek of agony and scurried back to the forest, yelping like a wounded puppy. This time was taken to survey the damage.
Cheese...curds... Thankfully, miraculously, there were no injuries, although the devastation was widespread. It was mostly vendor carts that had been destroyed, and wagons. Thankfully this part of the town the hydra had been in had more vendor stations than houses, and so nopony was homeless. Still...there was wreckage everywhere.
The draconequus could hardly believe this had happened. He was still in a great state of shock. He moved his mouth to try and say something—anything, and nothing but silence came from him. Discord could see the heads of six distressed ponies as they spoke to Celestia. Suddenly, all eyes were on him. The most livid, seven pairs of eyes he had ever seen!
Honest to the gods, he nearly lost control of his bladder in fear as the enraged alicorn walked, eerily calmly up to him. Discord backed up quickly, getting lower with every step until he was on all fours like a chastised little puppy.
Celestia said nothing for a few moments, and even though the two of them were now very close again, Discord was still terrified. "...I will deal with him when we get back to the palace." She turned away from him and began walking back to the carriage. Without being told, the draconequus began to reluctantly hover after her. He was just about to step into the carriage when Fluttershy stepped forward.
"Your majesty, wait."
Celestia turned to the little pegasus, and was startled by the fire she saw in the girl's eyes. Yeesh, what a scary sight. "What is it, dear?"
"I will take care of him," the pegasus said, and in such a sharp tone it made everypony wince. "You have my word that he will never do this again."
Celestia studied the pony's face carefully; she was absolutely seething. Normally, Celestia would be reluctant to say yes, thinking that the timid little sweetheart would not give an adequate penalty, but that did not seem to be the case today. She directed her stony gaze at Discord. "...Fair enough. Discord, in addition to whatever Fluttershy gives you, I expect you to clean up this mess first thing tomorrow morning. Plus, you are going to use your magic to re-create the things you've ruined."
The spirit gave a grunt. He had been given enough of his power back that he could mend some of the things he damaged, but to do so with the meagre portion of power he had would lead to draining his magic supply, for at least a few days. There would be no chaos at all! "...Yes, Tia."
Celestia's face then softened in the way his father's did to let him know that no matter how angry she was, she still loved him. "I'll see you at our visit tomorrow evening." With that, the carriage took off, and all of the tired, and still shaken ponies retreated back to their homes—save for Discord and the girls.
Every harsh glare by the ponies made Discord feel more and more uncomfortable. Geez, it was supposed to be a joke! He did not mean to nearly get the entire town eaten. He did not mean to anger a hydra of all things. They should look at the bright side: It wasn't a basilisk! A silver lining if there ever was one.
"Sugar Cube, if ya want I can figure out what to do with 'em," Applejack told Fluttershy. The angered pegasus only moved away and stood beside Discord.
"Thank you, but we're fine," she said in a short, clipped tone.
Glaring the mismatched creature daggers in the eye and hovering nearly right in front of his face, Rainbow Dash didn't look so certain. "I don't know, Flutters; maybe you should have let Celes-"
"I said we're fine!" the pegasus snapped. Right then everypony fell silent, and Rainbow Dash faltered in the air in shock. Fluttershy didn't even look back at them once as she began to very silently walk away. She didn't ask Discord to follow her—she expected him to follow her. Follow her he did.
It was silent among the five shocked ponies for the next few moments, until Rarity finally spoke. "Was that our sweet little Fluttershy?"
Applejack was the only one who wasn't shocked to the core. "Ho boy," she breathed, "He is in fer it."
It was total, stone cold silence walking back to the cottage. It reminded Discord of when he was young and had pushed his parents so far into anger that they didn't say anything, and only tortured him with the foreboding silence. The silence was uncomfortable, but Discord wasn't as tense. It would be annoying being condemned to the cottage for the next few days, but he preferred that sentence in comparison to whatever Celestia would do to him. She'd probably tattoo him with bruises!
Little did he know, a 'grounding' was not what the pegasus had in mind this time.
They reached the cottage, where Fluttershy could easily see her darling animals cowering everywhere; bushes quivered with bunnies behind it, and sweet, frightened eyes peeked out behind trees. As incomprehensibly enraged as she was, it melted immediately when she saw her animals.
"Oh, my babies," she said softly, and opened her hooves for the trembling critters to climb into them. They did, and soon Fluttershy was cuddling and kissing them as she tried to calm their fears. "Let me take a look at everyone." She examined each of her animals thoroughly and was relieved to find no serious injuries. There was a scratch or a small cut here and there, which she treated with medicine.
With her animals tended to, calmed down, and a bit of few-second repairs done, Fluttershy looked briefly at Discord (who she had ordered not to move an inch from under a tree near the door or make a single sound).
Giving one last encouraging look to one of her youngest bunnies and coaxing him home, she finally turned to Discord. All the rage came flooding back, and her chest seemed to swell as she prepared it to either a) scream at him, or b) take a few deep, deep breaths.
Discord, amazingly had obeyed and hadn't moved a muscle, nor made a single sound until the pony finally turned to him. He had that classic the-cat-that-ate-the-canary look on his face as he stared up at the seething pegasus. There was no smirking or jokes, or any attempt to try and sweet talk her. He seemed too stunned to even apologize yet. At last, he spoke very quietly. "Well...that could have ended in disaster."
"Yes, it could have!" Fluttershy shouted. Her shout alone was enough to make him hop back in shock. She rarely raised her voice to him. "You—I don't even—how could you do such a thing?!" she finally yelled. Sweet little Fluttershy had gone away to play for now, and Flutterrage was here to stay it seemed. Discord had no idea that the scolding was just the beginning. "You nearly got yourself, the town and my own animals killed! You were all nearly eaten!"
Discord hesitated. He wasn't used to his chaos having such deadly repercussions. Nearly turning all of Fluttershy's furry little friends into a full coursed meal wasn't exactly what he had in mind. "Well, if the hydra hadn't-"
"Oh, don't even try!" the pegasus snapped at him. "Don't even try to give me that! It was not the hydra's fault! It was not my animal's fault-"
"Well, to be fair I was never going to blame your anim-" Discord started to protest, but was cut off by the pony's slicing voice.
"It was your fault!"
The spirit had no idea what to say. He was utterly baffled by this point, and felt a twisting, ominous feeling in his stomach. Something about her anger was a little concerning. He truly couldn't remember the last time she had actually screamed at him.
Fluttershy took a few moments to collect herself and calm down. She had been told by Applejack that the most important tip to remember when delivering any sort of punishment was to be calm when you approached the miscreant. If you didn't remember, you could end up saying, or doing something you'd regret. She already felt the urge to slap him across the face. Sweet little Fluttershy wanted to slap someone.
Fluttershy searched for a good tree, and targeted one close to the tree Discord was sitting under. She walked over to it and positioned herself under a branch to snap it off. Before doing so, she turned to Discord. "Get inside." He did so without argument!
Applejack was right; being firm and mean when you had to be was greatly effective. She couldn't remember the last time he had been so obedient. Hopefully it would stick for a while after this ordeal (but it was Discord, after all. She'd be lucky if he behaved for ten minutes after his punishment).
The nervous spirit waited inside and anticipated his sentence. He'd probably have to deal with one monstrous lecture, and it looked like she'd be yelling the entire time rather than using her soft, timid, but still firm voice. He wondered what his sentence would be. He'd probably get no dessert for a while (honestly, he'd be surprised if she decided to feed him for the next few days), and he'd probably be on a week's house restriction. ...He wasn't entirely sure; his pranks had never nearly caused the deaths of who knows how many ponies, and animals alike.
The door finally opened, and when Discord saw what was tucked between his guardian's teeth he nearly blacked out. Just as quickly though, he felt the urge to laugh as he stared at the switch. She had been spending way too much time with Applejack. He knew there was obviously no way she was going to go through with this, but he decided to let her act big for a while. It was the least he can do when he made the girl's life so chaotic.
Fluttershy's heart was absolutely pounding, and her breath came out in little, shaking gasps. She felt ready to black out herself, and she wasn't even going to be the one receiving the terrible punishment. I can't do this, she realized with a surge of fear. But then...where would the victory be if she didn't do this? She would not have accomplished getting his attention, or taking control, or going through with her discipline again. For both their sakes, this had to be done.
Discord learned abruptly fast that she wasn't joking with him, as she ordered every animal in the cottage - Angel included - to leave, before shutting the doors and windows. His eyes grew increasingly wider as the saffron pony came towards him.
Gotta teleport, gotta get out of here! Come on, body—do something! Discord's mind pitifully squeaked, but he could only stand there, eyes fixated on that terrible switch that flooded him with unwanted memories. He was frozen for one second too many though, as he suddenly found himself tummy down on the couch, with Fluttershy behind him.
The switch tasted bitter in her mouth, like sour cream and old coffee beans. The prospect of what she was about to do with it just made it taste even worse. She lowered the stick, and Discord, if possible, froze more when it lightly rested against his flesh. He was actually scared, legitimately frightened. That switch was not a pleasant experience...he knew from experience. His body wouldn't act, and therefore wouldn't dart off of the couch.
Fluttershy raised the switch high in the air. Her heart pounded and her hoof faltered. With a small whimper, she barely tapped it against his backside. She just couldn't do this!
Discord relaxed in a mixture of relief and confusion, his head tilting up to stare at her in the eye. He turned away and felt the urge to snicker into the couch. I knew she couldn't do it. He laid there patiently, waiting for her to drop the facade and tell him to get up.
Fluttershy's eyes slid shut in dread and turmoil, and she squeaked out a sob as a single tear rolled. Ready to slide the spirit off the couch and just condemn him inside for a few days, images suddenly crossed her mind. The hydra, the screaming, seeing her animals nearly killed, and seeing...Discord nearly killed. With that, her eyes slowly opened, and they had hardened completely.
His smirk was gone like that, body giving a shaking gasp as his eyes contracted wildly. There was a whistling sound, and then the stick snapped against his rear again, and again. Discord cried out in pain, as his claws tore into the cushions and he gritted his teeth Fluttershy wasn't going easy, and she wasn't backing out like he was certain she would.
Okay, enough of letting her act big! Get me out of here! Desperately, the god fumbled to snap his fingers. However, like tickling always left him too consumed with the sensation to be able to concentrate on his magic, this switching did as well.
Fluttershy kept up the steady smacks, her cold eyes glaring down at the creature. She didn't bother to lecture (really, it was taking all of her toughness to administer this punishment); getting your bottom swatted at like a colt was more than enough to get the lesson across.
The draconequus bucked and twisted, mortified at the indignation of having a pony a thousand times younger than him smacking him, but also, honestly, emotionally shaken to have sweet little Fluttershy hitting him. "A-alright, I've learned!" He grit his teeth as the switch kept coming down with strokes that felt like fire, falling in random places on his rump and the base of his tail.
Discord whimpered as the pain intensified and the seconds ticked by. He realized he wasn't getting away until she said so. He heard a terrible sound, buried his face into the cushion and hugged it until a part of it burst, sending feathers everywhere. It took Discord a while to realize the strange, strangled noises were his own sobs, and that he had tears rolling rapidly down his face.
Hearing his muffled crying, Fluttershy instantly dropped the switch. The 'Flutterrage' part of her gone, and the timidness back, her hooves flung to her mouth in horror when she realized she had actually made Discord cry. Not even Applejack had accomplished actual sobs!
Rather than wither in guilt and berate herself for this, and run off and cry, Fluttershy followed through with Applejack's teachings and began tenderly rubbing his heaving back. She leaned down and began gently grooming his face with her tongue, lapped down a few messy curls, and nuzzled his ear.
Slowly, Discord lifted his soggy, tear-drenched face and looked up at her. He was having a hard time keeping his own head up. He closed his eyes miserably as the pony continued licking his face, his soggy cheeks, and smoothing out his eyebrows. The touch was soothing (well, anything was soothing compared to the blistering pain), and he found himself becoming a little more coherent after she kept grooming him.
Fluttershy had done the job well. Swollen, scarlet welts adorned his skin, from his backside down to his tail, each burning more than the last. He wouldn't be sitting for a while. Perhaps he wouldn't be walking comfortably for a long time either.
"Discord, you could have caused a lot of deaths today," the pegasus said gently as she lifted him up enough to rest his face against her chest. He didn't move (whether or not it was because he was too distraught to get up or he actually enjoyed the comfort she didn't know). "You could have killed my animals, half the town, and worse, you could have gotten yourself killed..."
At that, tearful, confused scarlet blinked up at her. 'Worse'? He was more important to her than her animals? He was still in too much pain and too distraught for that to truly impact him. His face obscured by the saffron of her chest, he scowled furiously, but he wasn't sure what he was scowling at. He wanted to be furious with her, and he wanted to hate her for how she treated him, but he was pretty certain what he was most angry at was himself.
The true realization hit, and although he did feel terrible he nearly killed half of Fluttershy's animals and the town, that wasn't what he was thinking of. The one thing lingering in his mind was the last time he did something this appalling stupid without thinking...and what had resulted.
He squinted his tearful eyes shut as a flash of his dead parents went through his mind, and he tiredly rubbed at his burning eyes and tried to get control of his tears. By Chaos, that hurt like a pine cone pie!
Within seconds the draconequus was absolutely exhausted, and Fluttershy could tell, barely able to keep his eyes open. The combination of his ordeal with the hydra, and his punishment had made him a very tired draconequus. So tired, in fact, that he fell asleep laid across her lap.
Fluttershy smiled lovingly at the sleeping face smushed against her. He looked so sweet and innocent as he slept, and she beamed as he unconsciously shifted to curl more into her. Pressing a final kiss to his forehead, she wriggled out from under him and tenderly laid him tummy down on his bed. He gripped his pillow between his claws and sent another puff of feathers everywhere.
Fluttershy woke Discord up at seven in the morning to begin the repairs, so he ventured out into the town by himself while the pegasus remained at her cottage and worked on the damages around her area. Discord cleaned up some of the wreckage by hand, and alone, he dragged away some broken equipment and tidied around town. Kindhearted as they were, and having pity on the creature, many ponies approached the spirit to help him out, and what was supposed to be Discord's task turned into a community project.
There were no hard feelings for the incident, and all seemed to be forgiven. Really, this was a usual thing for Ponyville: their town gets destroyed, usually as an accident (like when a baby dragon goes on a rampage, or a student afraid of being tardy turns everything to chaos), so it didn't shake anyone up to badly.
With the town tidied, Discord made the final touches. Golden magic flowed from his talons and encased some of the wreckage as it mended back together. Just as he bitterly expected, the repairs drained the limit on his magic and left him with barely any power. Still, other than that small detail, everything was right in Ponyville again.
Things returned back to normal almost immediately. Discord was back to his impish, mischievous self, with the only evidence of his ordeal being the marks concealed underneath an old, red housecoat, and the wince if he didn't move carefully.
Notably, Discord had been timid around the pegasus for the first little while, having no idea what to expect from the same stern nature that thrashed him. He quickly learned, however, that the only thing that had really changed in his life was that if Fluttershy took that stern, and angry tone to her voice, he listened!
The very last bit of wreckage was being tidied up around Fluttershy's cottage that afternoon, as well as the garden being tenderly replanted once again. The ponies stood back and examined their work with pride.
"Can't even tell a hydra tramped through here!" Applejack grinned, "Everything looks so perfect now!" She turned to Discord, and he was surprised to hear true compassion in her voice. "Thanks fer usin' your last bit of magic to fix up some of the dens, Discord."
Stomach down on a pink cloud above the ponies (and covered in a long, brown coat), Discord shrugged. "Uh, yeah...whatever."
All the ponies knew what had happened to him. When they came over that day and saw that housecoat draped over his shoulders, and the way he winced at every movement (plus his still puffy eyes) it was no mystery. However, the girls kindly didn't mention a single thing about it as they all went to help tidy around the cottage. Applejack had flashed Fluttershy a knowing, proud look, and the pegasus had flushed and smiled. Discord, of course, just scowled.
"Well everypony, I'd say our work here is complete," Twilight said happily as she regarded the new and improved cottage and garden with pride. "Great job, everyone!"
"Oh yes, I couldn't have done this without all of my wonderful friends..." Fluttershy said softly, a grateful twinkle in her eyes as she pulled them all in for a group hug. She tried making a grab for Discord as well, but he stayed clear out of her reach.
"Yech! Can't we just get on with our picnic and forget this heinous love fest?" the spirit demanded sourly. The girls all laughed and unfurled the picnic blankets.
Rarity rolled her eyes and tossed back her mane as she took a seat. "Discord, dear, the mushy-gushy hugs are done, so you can take a seat—oh no, you can't, can you?" She gave a single embarrassed laugh, and the rest of the girls giggled a little at the spirit's expense.
Discord's deadpan expression deepened, and he watched as the ponies went back to chattering amongst themselves. He felt a single spark of power in his talon. It was weak, but it was enough. With the snap of his fingers, a large bucket of water had appeared over the ponies.
The girls shrieked as the bucket of water drenched them, and for a moment they could only stare stupidly as it dripped off their bodies. Finally, the six pairs of angry eyes darted up to Discord, who was laughing hysterically across his cotton candy cloud.
"Applejack," Fluttershy asked, almost too quiet for anyone to hear. "What should his punishment be this time?"
A playful sneer crossed the country mare's face as she pulled over Fluttershy's saddlebag. "Oh, Ah think THIS will do just fine~" Pulling back with the dreaded feather duster, she plopped it into the pony's lap. By this point Discord had become aware of what was going on and stared in horror as the six angry glares turned into vengeful smirks.
While he was distracted, Rainbow Dash flew up to the cloud and shoved him off it from behind (taking care to make sure he landed on his stomach), and caused the draconequus to tumble to the ground, From then on, the ponies swarmed him like a tickling rainbow, while the spirit was reduced to hysterical laughter and humiliation yet again.
Usually loving his weekly visits with the princesses, Discord dreaded going there that night, as he knew Celestia was probably eagerly waiting to lecture him and add to his sentence. He was instead surprised to be greeted with a loving hug the moment he saw her, and not one word was said about the hydra incident. It was as if it never even happened.
Luna had teased him, like sisters were apt to do, but a stern warning shut the night princess up and (to Discord's delight), she was sent to her room.
Discord got to enjoy a night of love and pampering from Celestia. He even got extra portions of dessert! Honestly, if this was what he had to look forward to after a switching, he...no, scratch that, he never wanted to endure that again!
Half an hour after dessert, the familiar dragon portal appeared beside Celestia and spat out a letter. With Discord occupied with smearing a gravy stain across the floor, Celestia started to read.
Dear Princess Celestia
First I want to thank you for helping everypony with the hydra. I think we all know he would have eaten all of us if it weren't for you! I am not mad at him though. I'm not mad at Discord anymore and I hope you aren't either. As you can see, he paid his dues.
Through this ordeal I've learned a small lesson about friendship. I was always afraid to be authoritative because I thought everyone would hate me. I've learned though, that without authority nopony will respect you.
"...And Discord learned," Celestia read aloud, "that not taking someone seriously could wind up with serious consequences." She flashed the embarrassed draconequus a knowing smirk.
His backside propped up on the most comfortable cushion in the palace, Discord scoffed. "Ain't that the truth."
Your loyal subject, Fluttershy.
(It's always fun to see a villain - er, ex villain - put in their place in some way. I'm not sure if it's because I'm sadistic in that way, or it just makes for interesting story material. XD I loved writing the hydra part. I tried to keep Fluttershy in character as I possibly could, but in this scenario that automatically makes her seem OOC, it was hard.
Ever gotten the switch? Hurts. Like. A. Bitch! This whole thing just brought back memories of my own childhood thrashings. XD *shudder*
Next chapter of "Distorted Worlds" may very well be up this weekend. Also, did you guys see my latest blog with previews of both that fic and this one? I don't think it went through...)