It was picnic day for the ponies, and the familiar canister of juice and checkered blankets were packed into a wooden basket. The girls, their pets, and a certain draconequus changed their usual picnic location and spread the blanket out just by the lake.
"Hehehehe!" Pinkie Pie sprung about in the shallows and sent water flying everywhere. "We should totally come here more often! None of the other picnic places we go to have somewhere to swim!"
Twilight flinched and held her hoof over the food for coverage. "Pinkie, stop hopping so much! You're getting water everywhere!" She shook a few drops off her own body and beckoned the pony over to sit.
Rainbow Dash merely glared down at the picnic spread. "Why can't we ever do something cooler instead of namby-pamby picnics? I'm not even hungry!" Of course her words betrayed her hungry, snarling stomach. "I mean..." She blushed as her friends smirked knowingly at her. "Well...I guess I am, but I still wish we could do something more exciting. Or GO somewhere more exciting for these picnics!"
"Like where?" Twilight asked. There weren't many places 'exciting' in Ponyville; your average spring, and some flowery hills was all you could really find.
An excited grin crossed the boisterous pegasus's face as she swooped down to her friends and pumped her hooves eagerly. "Like Everfree, or somewhere near where the dragons live!"
"Dr-dragons?" Fluttershy squeaked, and hurriedly dove behind Discord's tail for coverage. The spirit gazed down flatly at the girl and tapped her head with a claw.
"Fluttershy, might I remind you, you live with someone who is part dragon. See?" He flicked his tail into her face, showing his pink spines. The pegasus squealed and buried her face into the grass.
"Yeah, dragons!" Rainbow Dash went on, "Wouldn't it be so cool? I mean, we're sitting here eating our picnic lunch, and we hear the mighty, awesome ROAR of a dragon! And we see fire, and smoke from the distance, and-"
"Rainbow, dear," Rarity interrupted, "You're sending poor Fluttershy into a state of catatonics." She pointed to where the petrified pegasus was on her back, a single leg twitching like a fly.
The grin quickly fell from the cyan pegasus's face as she slowly descended onto the picnic blanket. She crossed her arms like a petulant filly and glared at the ground.
Applejack looked over at her friend with a mischievous twinkle in her eye as she gave the pegasus a slight nudge. Rainbow Dash turned just in time to gawk at the amazing, well-missed sight of cider glasses. She stared, eyes positively twinkling.
"Is that...is that...?!"
The southern mare laughed. "Ho-ho, you betcha! We had half a barrel of cider left, and I saved it especially for this picnic! There's enough cider for seven glasses." Applejack chuckled at the sheer look of joy on Rainbow Dash's face. It was adorable.
Once the glasses had been filled with the foaming, and spice scented beverages, the group of friends happily knocked their glasses together and took a big swig—just as Discord snapped his fingers.
"UGH!-BLEGH!" The six ponies did a synchronized spit take and desperately rubbed the stinging taste of vinegar off their tongues, each pair of hooves fighting over the canister of lemonade to rid them of the awful taste.
Discord collapsed to his back in the sand and began laughing hysterically. "Oho, my stomach!" he guffawed, wrapping his arms around his belly as his hysterics sent him into stitches from laughter. Recovering from the fit, he rose into the air and wiped a tear. "Hoho, I guess vinegar compromises the taste of cider?"
"You JERK!" Rainbow Dash screamed in rage. She dove down to him like a vicious arrow, and bucked fiercely against his chest, sending the startled creature back a few feet, luckily into the soft sand.
"Oh, he's dead now," Applejack chimed, "Nopony messes with Rainbow's cider."
"Or my taste buds!" Rarity cried as she kept scrubbing at her mouth and gagging.
Fluttershy scrambled over the picnic blanket as she watched the cyan pegasus reel back a hoof to slam into his face. She leaped in front of Discord right before Rainbow Dash let her hoof fly. "Rainbow, enough! I know what he did was...was mean, but don't you think you may be overreacting?"
"Overreacting?" Rainbow Dash shrieked, which caused Fluttershy to squeal and crouch on all fours in the sand. "THAT WAS THE LAST OF THE CIDER! HE RUINED THE LAST OF THE CIDER!"
"Rainbow Dash!" Twilight shouted. She grabbed the mare by the tail and yanked her down to her level. "Enough!" Frowning, she turned to Fluttershy. "Fluttershy, control your...Discord!"
The saffron pony exhaled a long, shuddering sigh and finally turned to the smirking draconequus. Without even saying anything, she gestured her hoof towards a rock sticking out of the sand, a few feet away from the picnic blanket.
Discord rolled his eyes back into his head like a teenager and gave the brash little pony a deadpan glare. "Really?" He hopped back a step as she lashed out with "The Stare", boring into his skull and mind. Blinking away the horrid look, the spirit's face twisted up in annoyance. "Alright, alright!" He sulked over to the rock.
"Must you always bring him with you?" Rarity griped. "Surely you can leave him at the cottage once in a while. Or perhaps you could find someone to watch him."
"No, I tried that," Fluttershy murmured with a lilting sigh. "I got Derpy to look after him for ten minutes while I was out of the cottage, and I came back to find her taped to the wall while Discord shot gumballs at her."
"Ah'll tell ya what that varmint really needs is a firm licking," Applejack growled. "Ah'd never put up with Applebloom behaving like that. Lucky for me, she's usually as sweet as a pumpkin pie."
Fluttershy shook her head. A true physical punishment was not impossible for her to do, but she saved her new switch for severe and dangerous offenses. Switching him was usually for the reason he nearly got himself or someone else killed, and that was probably the only time she'd have the courage to use it on him anyway. He had gotten his last one a mere three weeks ago when he accidentally set Owlowiscious on fire with a prank, and she had made him just about bawl with that one.
"I...I hate resorting to that," Fluttershy said quietly. "I've promised myself I'd only use it when he puts himself or others in danger."
Rainbow Dash snorted in rage. "I'd say taking my cider is certainly a dangerous idea with what I could do to him!" She yelped as Twilight angrily nudged her. "Ugh..."
"Come on girls, why don't we try to enjoy the rest of our day?" Twilight suggested helpfully. "It's still beautiful out, and I bet the water is warm."
Glum frowns soon turned to smiles and laughter as the six ponies waded out into the shallow waters and started splashing each other. The girls engaged in a fun game of "Marco-Polo" as Discord watched on.
Rolling his eyes, the draconequus laid back on his rock in boredom and looked at the girls. How boring. Splash fights? So predictable. They really could use something to liven up their play session, he noted. Giving a scheming grin, his talon ignited and he snapped his fingers.
The giggling group of girls blinked as the water seemed to shift around them. They turned around—just in time to see a large, scaly form rise out of the water. Its large, wet eyes leered down at them as it bared its razor sharp teeth. Gaping for a few seconds, the ponies started to scream.
The sea serpent slammed its spiny tail into the foaming water and sent the waves into the girls. It would have been a fantastic thrill ride if their lives weren't in danger.
"Girls!" Twilight shouted, "Get onto shore!" The six ponies scrambled to get into the sand, and gave shrill screams as the monster lunged at them. All they saw was the glint of silver fangs, and then it disappeared into a sudden explosion of smoke, leaving only a cackling draconequus in the air where the monster had been.
"Ohohoho, you all should have seen the looks on your faces! BAHAHAHA!"
For a moment Twilight completely forgot she was the one trying to keep everypony calm as she felt the rage build within her. After taking a few moments to pant and tremble, the mare turned to Discord with a look of outrage. "YOU!" she snarled fiercely. She galloped towards the draconequus and bumped him so hard with her horn he fell back into the sand.
Discord yelped as he slammed heavily into the sand. He rubbed where her horn had jabbed him with a wince. "Cheese! By Chaos, it was never going to hurt you—it was an illusion!"
"BEAT IT!" Twilight shouted at him. She snorted in fury and stomped her hoof at him. Discord gave the unicorn a cautious glance and snorted as well. "Scary, Twilight. What if I don't? Are you going to resort to beating me against the walls again until nearly all my bones are broken?" Something akin to a sneer and hidden regret crossed his face as the most anguished one crossed Twilight's.
"YEOW!" Giving a squeal of pain, Discord immediately spun around, expecting to see Applejack. He gaped a little at seeing his enraged guardian, her hoof still raised from where she had struck him. "Et-tu, Fluttershy? I'm not a fly you can just smack!"
"Just go home!" Fluttershy huffed in rage. "I'll be back shortly. No dessert for a week!"
The draconequus looked back at the girls, only to be pierced with six cold glares completely devoid of forgiveness. Curling up his lip bitterly, he started back to the cottage.
"Argh!" Twilight stomped her hoof into the sand. "I just wish for once he'd leave us alone!"
"Please!" Rainbow Dash sneered. "That's all you wish for? I wish he could never torture us like that again! Life would be so much easier if he just didn't have any power!"
"Girls," Fluttershy said quietly. She was no longer fuming in rage and had gone back to her quieter demeanor. "I know he's a lot to take, but to wish he has no power? You may as well just wish his unhappiness..."
The ponies all quieted, but the fierce glares hadn't gone away. Blinking back tears, Fluttershy suddenly felt it might just be better for her to leave. She suppressed her tears and looked guiltily at Twilight. "I'm sorry for this, Twilight. I'll take him to your house to apologize later..."
The ponies all exchanged looks of guilt, but they were still too angry to go back to the pegasus, and only watched her walk away.
Fluttershy escorted Discord into the tree house. The walk the entire way was silent since the two didn't wish to speak with each other. All Discord knew was that he was supposed to apologize to the stupid unicorn for 'hurting her feelings'. It would be a lie to say he didn't feel the slightest bit guilty since what he said was over the line, but Twilight wasn't exactly civil to him either.
The two entered the tree house in silence. Discord's mismatched eyes roved the room and rolled in annoyance. Books. Books were everywhere. Twilight never wanted him to come over because she never wanted to risk anything happening to her stupid books.
"Twilight, we're here," Fluttershy called quietly up the stairs. "And I think Discord wants to say something."
The draconequus crossed his arms and rolled his eyes with a growling mutter. He hated being treated like a colt, but if he refused to apologize his butt would probably get a hoof-full of her wrath thanks to Applejack. "I'm not apologizing until she apologizes."
He expected an indignant snort and an immediate refusal, but a surprisingly, small smile crossed the mare's face. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for handling the situation so badly and pushing you over."
The draconequus shrugged casually and nodded. "And I'm...s...sss-sorry for what I said." Ugh, gag. He really didn't care for all this mushy-gushy stuff and hoped his apology would be enough to please Fluttershy. A glance at her approving nod and he heaved a deep breath, floating casually up to the second floor.
So many books. So orderly. Oh, it was just disgusting. Really, it just begged for a little bit of chaos and rearranging. Twilight couldn't get mad at him when he was merely trying to do her a favor.
"Listen Fluttershy, I'm sorry we all made you feel like you weren't welcome," Twilight sighed as she poured the both of them some blueberry tea. "You know you always will be, and, well, Discord will be too, it's just..."
"No, I know," Fluttershy said quietly. "The price of taking care of Discord will always mean I risk ponies getting mad at me a lot." She smiled as Twilight gently nudged her face against her.
"Nopony is mad at you or will ever be for something he's done..." Grinning, Twilight pulled back and walked over to one of her shelves. A hue of magic enveloped one of the books and pulled it out. "Now, there was something I wanted to show you. I read something interesting about woodland creatures, and I think you'll agree it's pretty neat!"
Fluttershy stared at the book hovering in front of her and screwed up her face. "Twilight...this is a cook book." She squeaked, and tears filled her eyes. "Don't tell me you were going to show me a recipe with forest animals!"
"What?" Twilight yelped, "No, I'd never—is this really a cookbook?" She snatched the book back and flipped through it, her mouth gaping. Although on the cover it said Facts Of The Wildlife, there was nothing but recipes inside.
"Uh, Twilight?" Spike leaned over the staircase and waved a book at the mare. There was a disgusted look on his face. "Why is the dragon book...uh, not the dragon book?"
"What?" Twilight whined, "What's it about?"
"Uhhh..." Spike gave one last look at the book and shuddered. "...Adult stuff," he whispered, "...Detailed...couple stuff."
"WHAT?!" Twilight darted about frantically and hastily went through several books. "Everything has been mixed up! It's all...out of order!"
Spike just slapped his claw to his eyes and flung the unholy book to the ground. "Why do you even have a book like that!?"
"Discord!" Twilight snarled at the giggling draconequus. She didn't even have any evidence (wait a minute, yes she did; how do books change contents by themself?), but she knew he was behind this. "Turn them back! NOW!"
"Okay." With a devious grin he snapped his fingers. Suddenly, the words leaped from the pages and began bouncing through the room. Twilight screeched, and simultaneously, Spike did as well.
"Eep!" Fluttershy ducked a swirl of 'b's and a few 'a's. "Discord, stop it!" She growled and stomped her hoof at him. "There's a perfectly good tree outside!"
"Augh, Spike! Get control of the words! Get Applejack or something to round them up!" Twilight hurriedly grabbed an armful of words and shoved them into books. Spike did the same, until eventually, they had caught all of the bouncy letters.
With a distressed whine, the unicorn stared at all the squashed letters in her books. It was like a squished mess of text and nothing could be readable. The mare put her hooves to her face. "Oh, it'll take forever to fix this!" She had the magic, but to individually go through her thousands of books?
The draconequus snorted. "Relax, little-miss-drama-pants! I was just about to turn them back to normal!"
"NO!" Twilight snarled at him, shoving a hoof against his chest. "You've done more than enough! Just get! Out! OUT!"
Hurriedly, Fluttershy clamped her mouth down on his ear and dragged him out the door. She practically hurled him out in the open as she glared furiously at him. Too upset to say anything to him, she simply stormed on through the streets.
"Oh, let me guess, you're going to buck a branch off one of the trees?" the spirit sighed.
"No," Fluttershy growled. "Mrs. Cake's birthday is later today and I need to do some shopping, and you need to go take a bath." She growled, "And you better not do anything else to upset me for a while. I'm not very happy with you right now, Discord."
"When are you ever..." he muttered. A harsh glare from the pegasus and he reluctantly flew back to the cottage to have a bath. Judging by Fluttershy's rage, it probably wasn't a good idea to slather the walls in toothpaste. This time anyway.
"Hey, Disco! Disco!" Pinkie Pie giggled as she hopped in front of the draconequu's face. His gloomy frown disappeared when the party pony held up a tray of cotton candy cupcakes to him. "Do you like it? We made them just for you!"
"Mm, yes, Pinkie, you have fantastic taste," the spirit mused as he swallowed a cupcake whole. "It's absolutely delicious!"
"Here is Mrs. Cake's present," Fluttershy said shyly as she offered a parcel to the pink pony.
"Oh, thanks, Shy! What is it? It doesn't matter 'cause Mrs. Cake will love it either way! I mean, once I bought her a rock—cause, you know, pet rocks are cool—and she said thank you and gave me a hug! She never did take care of that rock though...it died."
"Sad," Discord pouted, "And that rock and Tom will never get to meet."
"Um...I got her a bunch of dish towels," Fluttershy said, "I heard her mention that you had stained all of hers with icing, so I packed up some of my new ones."
"They're delicious," Discord hummed.
The pegasus sighed. "Yes, um, one of them has a bite out of it. I should warn her in advance..."
"No need!" Pinkie Pie giggled, "I'm sure she'll appreciate some new, chaotic dish towels!" She set the parcel aside. "By the way, you were really funny this morning, Discord! Hehe! The look on Dashie's face when she drank the vinegar! HA!" She snorted. "We all looked hilarious!"
The draconequus beamed. "Thank you, Pinkie Pie," he said with true appreciation. As she left to greet some more guests, Discord turned to glare down at Fluttershy. "Why can't you be more like her?" he snapped.
"Because nopony can be anything like Pinkie Pie!" Fluttershy snapped back. The two shot each other death glares and walked in different directions.
"Hey everypony, Mr. Cake is bringing out...the cake!" Pinkie Pie giggled.
All heads turned towards the bakery's swinging doors as Mr. Cake happily rolled out his masterpiece. There was a chorus of "ouus" and "ahhhs" as eyes were laid upon the gorgeous cake. It was five tiers, and each tier had a different icing. It went up like a very light colored, pastel rainbow, and every tier was decorated with different flowers. It was truly a sight to behold.
"Happy Birthday, sweetie!" Mr. Cake exclaimed as he gave his blindfolded wife a kiss on the cheek. He whisked off the blindfold, and Mrs. Cake gasped in sheer delight at the beautiful cake before her.
"Oh, hunny," she gushed, "It's gorgeous! Thank you so-"
A talon snapped, and far too quickly for the desperate pegasus to stop him as the entire cake quivered and exploded, sending frosting everywhere. It completely covered Mrs. Cake.
Gasping and wiping the cream from his eyes, her seething husband turned to Discord. "YOU!"
"Hunny, don't!" Mrs. Cake begged as she grabbed his hoof. "What's a birthday party without a little excitement?"
"That's right, Mr. Tightflank," Discord chuckled, "What is a birthday without any excitement?" He turned to see if he had gotten a smile from Pinkie Pie, and was shocked to see she was glaring daggers at him.
The stallion's face turned several shades of red as he snarled furiously, "GET OUT OF HERE! GET HIM OUT OF HERE!"
"I-I'm sorry," the pegasus squeaked out tearfully as she grabbed the spirit and shoved him out through the door. The door was immediately slammed behind them.
Fluttershy couldn't say anything for a few minutes and only stood there, panting. She couldn't even comprehend how angry she was; she was seeing red.
Discord only rolled his eyes and snorted. "Drama Queen."
Finally, the enraged pegasus spun to him. "You've gotten me kicked out of everywhere!" she shouted at him. "What is the matter with you?" She flew right up to his face. "Don't you realize what you're doing? If...if you keep up the chaos at the rate you're going, somepony is going to complain to the princess!"
The draconequus scoffed. "I highly doubt Celestia would stone me now."
"Doesn't mean she won't do something to you!" Fluttershy snapped. "She could put you on permanent restriction at the palace, and we might not get to see each other for a long time!"
"Isn't that what you want?!" Discord shot back, just as loudly. He was pleased to see a hurt look crossed the saffron pony's face, before she growled.
"Why can't...just for a few minutes, why can't...you...BEHAVE!" She stomped her hoof at him.
The draconequus stood there in silence and gazed down at her.
The pegasus's eyes were cold and devoid of any kindness. "I'm starting to agree with the girls... I wish you didn't have magic anymore. I wish..." Her lips trembled as she teared up. "I wish you could never practice chaos again!"
Discord watched the pegasus as she fled. He could easily see the tears flying off her face as she ran. After a few moments, he quietly sauntered in the other direction.
It was late at night now, and the birthday party was surely over. Discord regretted getting kicked out before they served the cake (err, what was left of it) and ice cream; he was absolutely starving.
"Wait a minute, what am I doing..." Rolling his eyes at his own stupidity, the draconequus snapped his fingers and poofed a giant sandwich into existence. He hungrily chewed at the meat and herbs. Of course, in the presence of Fluttershy he'd never eat a meat sandwich, but hey, he had some lion in him.
Licking the steak grease off his face and finding himself licking his paw (damn cat instincts!), Discord floated on through the foreboding forest. Since the basilisk attack, he knew Celestia and Luna didn't like him going into Everfree, but he had managed to talk them into letting him venture through it as long as it wasn't too far. Really, this is where he could do all his chaos without having to worry about being yelled at, dragged to the corner, spanked, tickled—it was an endless cycle.
Jutting a claw towards a small spring, Discord smiled as the water turned a delicious, carbonated orange. "Ah, magic...what would I do without you?"
I wish you didn't have magic anymore!
The spirit found himself giving a wince as a painful twinge pinched his chest. Those words had affected him, but at the time he was so shocked they had come out of his guardian's mouth that he could say nothing. It wasn't like she said she hated him or anything, but still... Didn't she realize what she said was basically saying she wished he'd be miserable?
"By Chaos, it's that magic that soothes her nightmares!" Discord exclaimed, his voice echoing in the vast forest. "It's that magic that saved her life from a basilisk, and that conjures her up some delicious treats!" His eyes darkened as he snarled. "Ungrateful little twit..."
He had gone a little further than he intended, and the entrance was no longer visible. It was no biggie though—he still knew his way back. There was no harm in going just a few more steps. Discord pushed through the clearing and his eyes lit up when he spotted a larger spring. The moon cast its silver beams down on it and made the pristine water glimmer like diamonds. It was gorgeous.
Discord walked to the edge of the spring and sat down. He cupped some water into his hands, and started lapping at it. He hadn't even realized how thirsty he was until now.
Something slimy slithered by the draconequus's side. It looked like a clump of seaweed dripping down from somewhere. The draconequus twisted around, and froze rigid.
It stood above him with it's seaweed-like mane flipping about wildly as it reared back and snarled at him. Its moss covered skin obscured most of its face, except for its snarling mouth and razor sharp fangs. It pierced him with demonic, golden eyes and let out an ungodly roar.
Discord finally snapped to attention when the beast detonated his eardrums. A fuath! A dangerous, and vicious water spirit. One that wasn't supposed to be in their land in the first place! Discord stumbled back and rose his claws in defense. He smirked.
Child's play! Alright, you little mossy rag—get ready to be turned into a toad! His talon glowed, and that's when a deep inhale shook the beast's slender form.
Discord cried out as a piercing pain radiated from his chest, and he desperately tried to get a swoop of air as he slowly crumbled to the ground. He watched with horror as his magic aura fizzled down to a dying spark. His ears were ringing, and he couldn't hear or hardly see anything.
The pulse of magic filled the fuath as it was aggressively sucked from the draconequus, draining every last ounce of power he had. At last, the fuath finished feeding from his power and turned to his body laying on the ground.
Discord's ears were still insistently ringing, but he could still feel the fuath's sharp claws latch around his legs. He didn't make much of a response—and that's when he felt the frigid water on his toes. Snarling, the disoriented draconequus turned to strike at the beast, but its head was already under the water.
Discord saw less and less of the surface before he was finally yanked completely underneath the cold water. He desperately held his breath and twisted in the monster's hold as it tried to drown him. His wings flapped in reflex, trying to do anything to get him to safety. Right before he was about to black out, he savagely slashed his claw over the fuath's left eye.
Even underwater, Discord could hear the screech of agony and saw the water tint with red as he scrambled to the surface. He lunged his body up against the wet shore and dragged himself out of the fuath's reach. His wings extended, but they were heavy with water, and he couldn't fly. Scrambling on all fours, the draconequus bolted through the forest until he was sure his chest was going to burst.
Fluttershy wrung out her cloth with a distressed look and kept glancing through the kitchen window. She still saw nothing but trees and grass. He was nowhere in sight. Her worry continued to grow.
With a regretful sigh, the pegasus poured a liquid into Discord's favorite, polka-dotted mug and set it on his bed table. She sat there on his pull-out bed and smoothed a hoof down his pillow.
The door suddenly burst open, revealing the sight of a soggy, sopping wet draconequus shivering in a puddle of water, with eyes so owlish you'd think he saw a ghost.
"D-Discord!" Fluttershy exclaimed. She gasped as he stumbled in and fell on his face. "S-sweetie, where have you been? What happened to you? I've been so worried!"
With a hiss, Discord pushed himself back up into a standing position and accepted the pegasus's loving hug as she clung herself to him. "I-I'm fine. I just...I went into Everfree and slipped into one of the springs is all."
Fluttershy pulled back to look him over. Her eyes widened when she spotted the claw marks on his legs. "Where did you get that?"
"A fuath," Discord answered without thinking. His eyes widened when the pegasus tilted her head at him, and he quickly finished, "They're...these little kittens. They're very friendly, but they have sharp claws."
The pegasus draped a blanket around his form and helped him to his bed, where she quickly wrapped him in more blankets. "I made your favorite hot drink; hot chocolate with cinnamon sugar." She gently pushed the mug to him and he accepted it with a mumbled thank you.
"I...don't feel very well," Discord muttered with a wince. "I think I'm just going to go to sleep." Still practically swaddled in blankets, he laid back against his pillow and continued to shiver.
Extremely concerned, the pegasus nodded and lovingly rubbed his back and shoulders as he lay there and tried to sleep. She watched his face twist up into a pained grimace, and whimpers and gasps that had nothing to do with nightmares, sounded through the room the entire night.
Fluttershy knelt in front of Discord and tended to the wounds on his legs. She was relieved to see they weren't inflamed and infected (she always had such a paranoia with that since his blood poisoning), and she tenderly wrapped them up in bandages. "Those kittens have sharp claws..."
The draconequus hummed in agreement, but Fluttershy was able to see an unsettling haze to his eyes. He barely seemed to be there. "Sweetie, are you alright? You look...well, not alright..."
Trying to snap back to reality, Discord blearily nodded. "I might just have a small cold from...my midnight swim. I'm fine—really."
Fluttershy wasn't certain. She should have figured the draconequus was lying, and she was always able read him like a book until now, but not even she expected the grim truth.
The five ponies regarded Fluttershy and Discord wearily as they walked into the kicthen. Slight glares at the draconequus turned to looks of surprise when they realized the spirit was on all fours, and walking rather than floating.
"What's wrong with you?" Rainbow Dash snorted. If you looked past the insufferable smirk you could see a true look of shock, and maybe a little bit concern. "Did you lose your ability to float?"
"Yes, actually," Discord answered wearily. "I guess I used too much magic yesterday, because I'm entirely out of it today." A bold faced lie if there ever was one, but they'd probably buy it. He did use up a lot of magic and he didn't have it all back from Celestia yet. It was limited.
"Well, it serves you right for everything you've done," Rarity smirked. "Perhaps now you'll learn a lesson from all this, and won't be such an obnoxious creature by the end of it."
"I don't know about you gals, but it's going to be one awesome, prank-less day!" Rainbow Dash whooped with joy, as Applejack and Rarity joined her.
Twilight frowned. She was relieved they'd get a break from Discord's chaos, but she still wasn't very pleased with the surprising meanness of her friends. "Girls, enough," she scolded. She could tell the draconequus was upset by this and found herself pitying him. "Why don't we just sit here and wait for Pinkie's surprise?"
"Oh, yes, yes!" Pinkie Pie squealed. She came skipping out happily with a tray in her mouth. The tray was covered with a light purple sheet, and she happily set it down on the counter.
"Cupcakes?" Rainbow Dash deadpanned. "That is your amazing surprise? Pinkie Pie, you make us cupcakes all the time!"
"Of course, Dashie!" the party pony giggled, "But how often do I make you all your OWN individual cupcakes?" With that, she whisked off the sheet. The girls gaped in shock and tittered in excitement as they gazed at their cupcakes.
Each cupcake matched one of the ponies' personalities to a tee. There was a gorgeous, frilly white cupcake with sugar ice crystals to look like gems for Rarity, and a grassy green cupcake decorated in flowers and butterflies for Fluttershy.
"Oh, Pinkie, this is wonderful!" Twilight exclaimed as she twirled hers on her hoof. It was full of stars and planets.
"Sure is!" Pinkie Pie giggled, "And look! I even made Dissy a special one too!" She held up a messed up cupcake with all sorts of colors and decorations on it. "It's got gumdrops, and jelly beans, and strawberry-banana icing, and sardines!"
The girls stopped admiring their cupcakes and turned to stare at the pink pony with a look of horror. They had blanched several shades of green.
"Here ya go, Dissy!" Pinkie Pie giggled. She held the cupcake out to the draconequus and waited for him to take it. The draconequus stared ahead without seeing anything and began to sway on the spot. Suddenly, he collapsed.
Fluttershy screamed and dove beside him in a fit of hysterics, but Rarity only tutted and shook her head.
"See Pinkie? Even he agreed that cupcake was revolting! Look, he's just fainted in disgust!"
"Guys, I don't think he's fainted from disgust!" Twilight cried as she examined the spirit. "Applejack, call the hospital!"
The southern mare raced to the phone and bucked it off the receiver. "Hi, Nurse Redheart? Our friend just collapsed, and he won't get up! Who? Discord!" The mare growled, "Yes, that Discord! What do we do?" She nodded in understanding as the nurse spoke to her and turned to Twilight. "Twi, is he breathing?"
The unicorn shakily placed a hoof on his chest. "Barely."
"Does he have a pul—uh, stupid question. The nurse says to git 'im to the hospital right away!"
"Do you girls have any information that could help us?" the doctor asked gruffly as he secured a tube into the spirit's arm. It took a while for the girls to respond as they listened to the haunting sounds of the heart monitor next to his bed.
"He-he slipped into the spring last night!" Fluttershy sobbed out as she raised her face from where it was buried into Applejack. "He came back soaking wet and seemed to have a cold."
"No, that doesn't help me," the doctor muttered in frustration. "Nurse Redheart, supply him with some oxygen!" He lifted the spirit's eyelids and shone a flashlight into his eyes. His pupils made no response. "He's comatose," the doctor muttered.
"What?!" the ponies cried in horror.
"I don't understand it!" Twilight cried. "How did this happen? He was fine yesterday! He was floating around, and being annoying! Today he didn't have any magic, and he seemed...weird!"
"Is there anything else you girls can remember?" the doctor demanded, "Anything at all? We need something to treat here!"
"H...he went into Everfree last night," Fluttershy sobbed, "And he said he met up with a fuath, which...is why he has those scratches. He said that fuaths are nothing more than harmless kittens...with really sharp claws."
It was then Twilight completely froze over, and it felt as if a bucket of ice water and rocks had slammed into her head. Everything clicked in a sudden, grim, and terrifying revelation. "...Did you just say a fuath?"
"Y-yeah," Fluttershy whimpered. "Why? It that bad?"
The violet unicorn stood there for a few moments, and then she suddenly sprang into a run and raced out of the hospital.
"T-Twilight!" Fluttershy cried as she and the ponies quickly followed. "Twilight, tell me what's wrong! What's a fuath?! Twilight!"
Ignoring her friends, the mare scrambled into her tree house and started rummaging through her books. "Spike!" she shouted, "Bring me the book on Ancient Demons From Tartarus!"
"Uh, sure, Twilight!" Spike frowned at the urgency in his friend's voice. "I think that book is about herbs now, thanks to Discord!"
"UGH! Discord!" Twilight raged as she began searching through several books and carelessly tossed them over her shoulder. The confused and frightened girls watched on until the mare finally pulled out another book. "It's in here!" Twilight exclaimed, "in the book about...female anatomy!"
"UGH!" Spike covered his eyes. "Seriously? Why do you have books like that?!"
Flipping through the book, Twilight finally settled on one of the pages. "Here it is! The fuath!" The more she read, the paler she became.
"Twilight!" Fluttershy shouted, firmly, and almost painfully grasping the mare's shoulders. "What is it? What's a fuath?!"
"A fuath is an ancient water spirit from Tartarus," Twilight began, "It's a vicious demon that isn't to be tangled with. It's almost as dangerous as a basilisk...or perhaps worse than a basilisk. Fuaths have a potentially deadly ability; they can drain a magical being's power—all of it."
The girls gasped, and Fluttershy shut her eyes. Discord had lied to her...
"They prey mostly on magical beings, but will still attack and possibly devour anyone that comes near. They feed off of a being's power and once they drain that, they take the bodies." She heard Fluttershy sob in horror and bury her face into Applejack's back. "The real danger is their venom. The venom is injected by their claws and teeth, into openings in the skin."
"The gashes," Fluttershy whispered hoarsely, "The claw marks...on his legs!"
Twilight's voice was shaking as she continued to read. "M-magical beings h-have...a natural resistance to it because of the-the way it protects their immune system, b-but if the fuath's prey doesn't have anything to protect it...then the venom will k-k-kill them within a day. Often the fuath will drain their prey's m-magic before it kills..." She shut her eyes. "...B...because then it has no protection..."
It had gone dead silent as the ponies absorbed the words in a cold shock. "Discord's been poisoned," Twilight whispered. "W-without his magic he has no way to fight the poison." She exhaled deeply, desperate not to start crying. "It's already been half a day...I don't know how much time he has left."
"N...no!" Rainbow Dash snarled, surprising everypony as she swooped up into the air and glared down at them. "We can't let him go without a fight! We can't just let him—let him die!"
"Ain't no way are we letting one of ours slip away so easily!" Applejack growled, "We'll find a way to get him back his magic!"
"But the fuath has it!" Twilight exclaimed, "I don't think there's any way to get it back...unless..." She stared outside, straight into the direction of Everfree. Suddenly, a ferocious, and determined glare crossed her features. "Come on, girls!"
Throwing open the door, the group was suddenly pushed back by the force of a sudden, powerful gust of wind. Their ears all flattened in response to the ear splitting crack of thunder slicing through the sky.
"Suit up!" Twilight shouted over the wind, "Get some jackets and let's go!"
"Let's go kick some fuath's butt and bring Discord's magic back!" Rainbow Dash shouted. The girls all gave battle cries of their own and charged out the door. Even as they ran blindly through the pouring rain, Twilight couldn't help but think,
We want nothing more for him to lose his power, and now we want to save his life with his power. Irony is a cruel thing indeed...
On the way to Everfree the girls stopped off at the hospital. Unlike when they ran in before with urgency, they merely trotted slowly up to his bed. A look of sadness and regret crossed every face, even Rainbow Dash's.
Twilight walked up to the side of Discord's bed and watched as he lay there, panting quietly. Her misty eyes took in the sight of the tubes going through his arms, and the oxygen mask on his face. Above all, they were glued to the digital lines going across the heart monitor.
Life would be so much easier if he just didn't have any power!
A heavy wave of guilt washed over the unicorn, and she blinked back tears. Very gently, she placed her hoof on Discord's still arm. "...I'm sorry, Discord," she murmured. Trying to remain strong, she turned to her friends with a hardened look. "Let's go!"
The storm raged on viciously, and the ponies didn't see anyone else in the streets. The town was completely deserted of ponies. There was nothing but the blowing leaves and debris on the ground. It wasn't even that late at night, but the storm was too dangerous for anyone to be in it.
"This is all my fault," Fluttershy sobbed into her cloak. "I-I'm why he went off! Whenever we have a fight, h-he walks off to be by himself for a while, and-h-he went into E-E-Everfree b-be-be-"
"Fluttershy." The pegasus lifted her tear stained face to look into Rarity's wide, and glistening, violet eyes. "Don't think this was your fault, darling. It wasn't. It wasn't at all. There was no way to p-predict wh-what was in that forest." She stopped to give a dainty, quiet sniff and walked on with a hoof around the bawling pegasus.
"There are tons of springs in the forest, and I have no idea what one the fuath could be at," Twilight mused hopelessly. "And it isn't like we can split up and look for this monster. If one of us finds it alone, then..." She shuddered.
It was getting hard to keep grounded as the vicious winds continued to blow. Rainbow Dash was even forced to walk with the rest of her friends since she couldn't fly in these conditions. The ponies dug their hooves as far into the dirt as they could and held onto each other to advance up the steep hills.
They pulled their cloaks closer to them as the icy wind wrapped its frigid fingers around them, and they huddled closer together for warmth. No matter what, they were reaching that spring.
"One of us should have stayed back with Discord," Fluttershy sobbed, "And kept an eye on him..."
"Fluttershy," Twilight sighed painfully, "I wish we could have stayed back too, but...we need everyone to fight this beast." She shut her eyes. "All six of our efforts probably won't even be enough, but we have to try!"
The pegasus managed a shaky nod and squeaked out another sob into Rarity's coat.
"Besides...he won't wake up until he has his magic back, so he won't be waking up alone."
"Twilight!" Applejack cried out in terror. "Twilight, look!" A shadow had suddenly sprung from the darkness, and a sudden flash of lightning illuminated terrifying eyes and bristles.
"The fuath!" Twilight cried. She reared back and prepared to attack.
"Twilight Sparkle! My, it's a pleasure...greeting you in such unkind weather."
That's when the cloaked form stepped out into the moonlight, and revealed a pale gray body with stripes all over.
"Zecora," Twilight breathed out in relief. "It-it's only you!"
The zebra frowned and looked at the six, soaking wet, shivering forms. "Why are you all out in the cold? Why haven't you stayed inside like the weather mares told?"
"Zecora..." The unicorn felt her throat close up as she gave a small sniffle. "We really need your help." Five more pairs of wide and pleading eyes targeted the zebra.
"...So I see. Come inside and I'll make you some tea."
The ponies all silently trotted behind their foreign friend as she led them past the clearing and toward her well-lit hut.
"Thank you for your hospitality," Twilight began as she hung up her cloak, "But we don't have time for tea right now. We really need you to help us with something." She watched the zebra casually prepare them some tea in a small cauldron, and get some cookies from the counter. "Do you know what a fuath is?"
The plate of treats shattered and Zecora dropped an entire bucket of sugar into her cauldron in shock. She stared at them. "That horrible beast? One time in Everfree I was almost its feast!"
"Then you know what it is?" Applejack pressed. The zebra nodded grimly and cleaned up the broken glass.
"A fuath is quite dangerous, wicked, and mean. During my travels it was the worst that I have seen!"
"We're looking for one," Twilight said hurriedly, getting right to the point. "We need to find a particular one immediately. A...a life depends on it."
The zebra did a double take and stared at the ponies as if they had each grown three heads. "Don't be insane, you must go back! You haven't a chance when the monster attacks!"
"No," Rarity said, bolder than she felt. "We aren't going back until this is done. We need help. We need to know how to defeat it and get Discord's magic back!"
"Discord." The zebra blinked in surprise. "Regardless of your intentions, you can't fetch his magic. That fuath will rip you apart, and that would be tragic!"
"Please..." Twilight could barely recognize her own voice; it was so quiet, pained, and thin. "We have to... He's our..." She glanced back at the group of girls and saw the looks of pain and sadness on their faces. "...He's our...friend..."
Zecora regarded them with admiration and concern. After a few moments, she heaved a quiet sigh. "I see you're with him until the end. He is lucky to have such devoted friends. I will help you—I'll see this through."
She motioned the ponies into another small room and they followed her. The room seemed closed in, as if the walls were nearly pressing on each other. There was only enough room for a shelf stretching from the floor to the ceiling. Zecora walked up to it and fetched a small bottle.
Twilight took the bottle into her hoof and examined it. It was silver and seemed to glimmer with the faintest magic aura. She turned it over in her hoof, and her eyes widened in realization. "It's one of those old bottles Star Swirl The Bearded created in his time! I didn't think there were many left." She turned to her friends. "These bottles are able to hold anything, including magic."
"You are correct; I'm giving them to you. Don't worry about returning it, I still have two."
The first real smiles of the night crossed the ponies' faces, and Twilight embraced the zebra. "Thank you, Zecora."
"The clock is ticking and without his powers, he will not survive five more hours."
"Right." Twilight clipped the bottle against the side of her saddlebag and turned to the door with her friends. "Zecora, where do we find the fuath?"
The zebra turned to them. After a few moments she began making gestures with her hooves. "The fuath that you seek is only a little down east."
"Come on, girls!" Fastening their cloaks back up, the ponies bolted out of the hut and into the heavy, acid rain.
They reached a clearing just after a few miles, and Twilight could see the spring water had an earthly, aqua colored glow to it, as if something was emanating light from under the frigid waters. She took a deep breath. "Are you ready for this, girls?"
"Heck yeah!" Applejack grinned, "We've fought worse, after all!"
Twilight gave a grim nod. "I know we have, Applejack...but this time is a little different." She looked over as her friends stared questioningly at her. "This time we need to kill our foe." There were a few gasps of horror, but surprisingly, Fluttershy didn't faint or burst into tears at the idea of killing it.
"Kill it?" Rarity cried in terror, "Granted it's a horrid beast,I'd imagine, but must we really resort to killing? Can't we just knock it out?"
"No, Rarity," Twilight answered. "This demon's grip on Discord's power will be strong, and it won't let go unless it dies. I know this isn't how we usually handle our battles, but we need a different strategy this time. So, let's form a good plan..."
Pinkie Pie clicked her tongue as she stared down at the glowing, silent waters. She tilted her head and then grinned devilishly. "I know what this Meanie-pants needs! A good wake-up call!" With that, she reached into her saddlebags and pulled out a pair of cymbals. "OHHHHHH WAKEY WAKEY WAKEY WAKEY WAKEY!"
BANG! BANG! BANG!
"Pinkie!" Twilight hissed from behind a tree.
"I told you to let me be the one to provide the distraction," Rainbow Dash muttered angrily.
Bubbles appeared at the surface of the water, and the green, glowing waves began to rise. With an explosion of surface foam, the fuath rose from the water. It flipped its head and seaweed mane back wildly as it howled in rage.
"Now, Rainbow Dash! It's your go!"
The blur of cyan and rainbow bolted towards the monster and began rapidly flying in circles around its head. The demon snarled in fury and distress as it tried to follow the pegasus's movement and keep up with it.
"Now it's your go, Fluttershy!" Twilight paused for a moment, and then hesitated. "Now, I know it's going to be hard for you to harm it since it's a living-" She was cut off as the pegasus darted towards the fuath and yanked back fiercely on its head.
"GIVE ME BACK HIS MAGIIIIIC!" The saffron pony snorted in rage and delivered a fierce kick into its face. "HI-YAH!"
The fuath roared and flung its head about wildly, trying to detach the savage pony from where she was now biting into his neck. He swiped his poison tipped claws at her, but she ducked the swing and slammed her front hoof right into its eye.
Applejack, Rarity and Twilight could only gape for a moment as they watched sweet, innocent Fluttershy beat the monster up and nearly send it tumbling back into the water. After a few moments, they shook it off and charged out into the open.
"Applejack, get behind it! Ready the rope! Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, keep distracting it! Fluttershy, keep...yeah...doing that!"
The party pony snorted in fury as the demon leered its ungodly eyes down at her. "You want some?" she taunted, hopping back and forth. "You want some? WELL COME AND GET SOME!"
The water spirit hissed and took a lunge for her. Its teeth sunk into her tail, and the earthpony screamed. She wrenched it from its grip and stared, her jaw dropping when she saw an enormous chunk bitten clean off. "My tail!" Her eyes viciously narrowed at the fuath. Oh. It. Was. On. "I'M GONNA MAKE CUPCAKES OUT OF YOUUUU!" She reached into her bag for her weapon of choice – a cupcake pan – and began to brutally beat the monster with it.
The fuath snarled in agony and stumbled back, disoriented. It whirled around with a roar when it spotted Rarity, and began dragging her towards the frigid waters. The white unicorn screamed and desperately clambered against the shore line.
"SOMEPONY, HELP MEEEE!"
Gasping, Applejack galloped furiously towards the two. "Oh no ya don't! You ain't taking our Rarity!" She lassoed the monster's claws and began yanking with all her might. The rest of the ponies took a hold of the rope and pulled along with her. Within seconds, the beast had surfaced with the coughing Rarity, and Twilight fumbled in her saddlebag for her dagger.
Bound together by its claws and wriggling around furiously on the ground, the fuath whipped its head back and tried to take a snap at the girls. They avoided the sea jaws, and Twilight emerged with her dagger.
"I'm sorry, demon," the unicorn said, "but if this is the only way to ensure our friend's survival, then so be it!" She stabbed the dagger straight into the monster's heart.
It gave a few weak gasps and grunts, and a desperate claw reached out a final time, trying to take one last dying swipe at the group. It exhaled sharply as the blood trickled and tinted the water. Finally, it fell silent.
A familiar, golden glow encased the fuath's body and swirled up in front of the ponies to create a colossal mass of magic. Smiling, Twilight hovered her bottle into the air with her magic and watched as the aura filled it to the brim and illuminated the entire forest. His magic had never looked so beautiful.
"W-we did it," Rainbow Dash rasped out, exhausted. The unicorn only grimly shook her head.
"No we haven't. Not yet anyway. Come on—we're running out of time."
The storm had dwindled to a calm, gloomy rain by the time the ponies made it back to Ponyville at around nine at night. Everything was silent and calm; it matched the atmosphere around them. The ponies tramped in through the hospital doors, and galloped past the reception desk.
"Girls," a nurse began quietly, but the ponies pushed past her and continued through the long corridors, until they finally burst through Discord's doors.
"Discord!" Twilight shouted joyfully, "We got your magic..."
Nurse Redheart was by the spirit's bed, gently removing the tubes and slipping the oxygen mask off his face. Another nurse switched off Discord's heart monitor and gave him a sad look, before they finally turned to the ponies. The ponies stared at her without even seeing her or hearing what she was saying.
"I'm sorry, girls... W-we did everything we could. He flat lined about twenty minutes ago, and we tried to revive him, but it was too late... Everything had shut down. We really did try," she said quietly, and left the group with a pained glance.
The group stood there for a few moments longer, and then Twilight began walking to his bed, mechanically, almost in slow motion. She stared down at him with frozen, unblinking eyes. She gently rubbed his arm with her hoof. It had started to grow cold.
The unicorn bent her head down, so far it hung under her hooves. She shook her head and squinted angrily as the tears started brimming. "We never should have made that wish..."
"Twi, hunny." Applejack said hoarsely, "We never caused this. It was never our fault!"
"But we still wished it!" Twilight sobbed. "We made that selfish wish just to make our own lives easier..."
"We never knew this would happen!" Rarity cried, feeling her eyes water. "If we had known..."
"And why did we wish this?" Twilight whimpered, "When has he ever harmed us? When was his pranks anymore than a bucket of liquid or decorating our house or turning our food into things?" Breathing out another sob, Twilight gripped Discord's cold shoulder. "I'm sorry, Discord!"
With a furious, sobbing cry, she slammed Discord's bottle against the ground. The golden aura rose up from the remnants of glass and encased the draconequus, seeping through his fur. He didn't open his eyes.
"Y'all can have a free go at mah farm," Applejack sniffled, "Ah mean, we-we have enough apples ta sell right now anyway." She wiped a hoof over her eyes.
"And you know," Rainbow Dash breathed out shakily, "That vinegar m-made the cider have a nice zing."
"And when you turn my dresses w-weird colors...I could probably still sell so many polka-dots," Rarity whispered.
Pinkie Pie only started sobbing into Applejack's side, burying her face into the mare's damp fur.
Twilight Sparkle barely realized what she was doing as her body pulled itself up onto the cot. She walked slowly and carefully over the draconequus's body and settled beside his eagle talon. She laid there, her soggy chin pressed against his arm.
The ponies all looked at each other and not one eye in the room was dry. Slowly, they all followed Twilight's motions and climbed up onto the cot. Rarity stood gently on the spirit's chest and began smoothing back his face fur and fixing his gray bangs.
Applejack shuddered out a sad sigh and lay her head against the draconequus's shoulder. Pinkie Pie wriggled her body underneath Discord's limp, feline arm and gazed up with sparkling, tear soaked eyes. The ponies gazed at Rainbow Dash, who was floating beside the draconequus's bed.
The cyan pegasus let out a shaky snort and turned away from the group, crossing her arms. When she gazed back over her shoulder, there were tears in her eyes. With a suppressed sniffle she swooped down to the bed and landed splayed across his legs.
The group of tearful ponies were content to lay there the rest of the night. Their bodies ached with exhaustion and grief, and they wondered how the sun would be able to shine after this. They glanced up at the draconequus, as if they expected to see his eyes flicker, or for him to jump up with a laugh that it was all a cruel prank. That didn't happen though.
The girls weren't sure how long they lay spread across his cot; time seemed to have stopped and there was no counting the minutes. They lay their heads down on the white blanket and shut their eyes.
The rain continued to trickle sadly, and the ponies could hear it as if it was right in the room with them. That's when they realized their body was getting increasingly wet...and sticky. Twilight stared at her hoof in shock when she realized there were drops of chocolate on it. Chocolate milk.
The astonished group stared up, and was sure they were seeing delusions from their own guilt and grief. There was a cotton candy cloud over their heads. Discord's talon was glowing, as was his entire body.
Twilight lunged at the spirit, and placed her hooves on either sides of his face. "Discord...?"
His eyelids began to twitch and slowly opened. They focused on the blurred faces of five, very shocked ponies in front of him. His mouth twitched with a wry smile. "Not used to waking up with a bunch of ponies in my bed. Especially ones that hate me." He blinked. "Geez, what happened to you?" he laughed. "It looks like a rusty cheese grater just spat you out and then dunked you into a puddle of mud!"
"Discord!" Twilight shouted with a joyful sob. She latched herself against his neck, and the rest of her friends followed suit. "Oh, we don't hate you!" Twilight wept," We don't hate you!"
"EUGH!" The draconequus twisted around to try and free himself from their choking hugs of nuzzling doom. "Disgusting! GA-A-AG! When did you all get so cuddly?!" That's when he saw the tears in everypony's eyes and his face softened. "Hey, what gives?"
"We-we're just sorry," Applejack whispered shakily
"We always overreact to your little pranks, darling," Rarity continued in a soft tone, "And we're just...we apologize."
"Y-yeah," Rainbow Dash tried to straighten up to make herself look tough, but she wasn't fooling anypony. "I mean, you could have done so much worse than just, transforming the cider and stuff, and you didn't."
"Indeed," Discord mused thoughtfully, rubbing his goatee. "I mean, I could do this." He snapped his fingers, and suddenly the five ponies were pelted with pies. They all uttered squeals as blueberry and apple filling ran down their bodies, but they only exchanged looks and burst into laughter.
Grinning along with the girls, Discord suddenly realized his bed was missing a pony. His favorite pony. "Did the little Flutter Butter flutter off?"
The ponies looked around and suddenly realized she was gone. "When did she leave?" Twilight wondered, a worried frown on her face.
"Right after we were told Discord had died," Rainbow Dash sighed, "I would have told you guys, but I know her well enough to know she'll want to be alone right now."
The draconequus snorted and sat up in his cot, brushing himself off. "Well, she's not going to be alone." He grinned in delight when he realized he was floating above the bed. "Yes! When did my magic come back by the way?"
Twilight laughed. "When six tired ponies beat up a fuath to get it back."
Discord just stared at the group. "You...you six took down...a fuath?"
Applejack smiled. "That's right. It wasn't taking yer magic!"
The spirit continued to stare down in shock until a slow smile crossed his face, gentle and almost affectionate. "...I really underestimated you girls." A more deadpan look came to his face. "Actually I think I realized that when you went all 'Taste The Rainbow' on me ten months ago."
The spirit moved to the door, and did a double take at Pinkie Pie. After a few moments he sighed and rolled his eyes. "Now, honestly girls, I know her tail looks like delicious cotton candy, but really, have a little class!"
The group turned to stare at the party pony and down to her tail-with-a-bite-out-of-it, and they immediately burst into laughter again.
Fluttershy sat there underneath her favorite cherry tree and wept hysterically into the grass. Several animals had come to comfort her, but she had shooed them all away. Her cries only became louder as her heart felt like it was breaking, shattering into tiny shards, and dropping down to her stomach.
A talon carded softly through her rosette mane, and lightly rubbed her back.
"St-st-stop-i-it-Angel," the pegasus hyperventilated out, "I-I-told-you-to-leave-me-alone!"
"Angel?" Discord's amused voice rang above her. "Funny, I remember Angel having a paw, not a talon." Fluttershy twisted around so fast Discord thought she'd snap her neck. She just stared up at him, eyes wide, unblinking, and not even breathing.
Discord smiled gently and waved a playful talon, almost bashfully at her. "Hi?" He watched as the girl just continued to stare at him, still not blinking. "Uh...Fluttershy?" Stare. "...Alrighty then," the draconequus said awkwardly as he folded his arms behind his back and started walking down the hill. "Well, when you find something to say, just-"
"AUUGH!" The spirit screamed as the pegasus suddenly pounced on him and sent them both tumbling down the hill. They landed in a large batch of flowers, and Fluttershy was on his chest, sobbing and suffocating him.
"Whoa...hey! I just...got back from death!" the spirit squeaked.
Fluttershy loosened her hold and buried her face into his chest, sobbing hysterically. "I-I th-thought-!"
"Yes, I know," the spirit said in a kinder tone as a paw wrapped around her shaking form. "I did too..."
"I'm sorry," the pegasus sobbed, "I'm sorry for saying I didn't want you to have magic ever again—I'm so sorry!"
The spirit tutted and shook his head with a smile and an affectionate eye roll. "Calm down; you'll cry yourself dry, and I'll have to give you a chocolate milk transfer. On second thought, keep crying, that sounds delicious!"
The pegasus managed a laugh and nuzzled his face. "I love you...never change."
The spirit grinned. "Did you really think I ever would?"
Dear Princess Celestia,
We've all had quite the eventful day, and I'm pleased to say the story has a happy ending. You know, we always hated what Discord stood for, mostly because he could be so obnoxious all the time, and never just gave us a break, but circumstances have made us come to a realization.
You never really realize what someone means to you until they're gone. I guess this goes for siblings especially; the ponies that just drive you up the wall and you wish they'd disappear. We always thought having Discord around was bad enough, but almost losing him was so much worse.
I've learned that you shouldn't try to change someone, and you should accept them for who they are...because they're your friend.
"Twilight, are ya done with that silly letter yet?" Rainbow Dash asked as she rolled her eyes, "We're trying to enjoy our picnic, and you aren't supposed to be working!"
"I'm done now girls, relax!" Twilight laughed as she put away the letter. "Is my hay sandwich ready?"
"Yeppers!" Applejack grinned. "They're all ready ta be eaten!" The rows of sandwiches were laid in front of the ponies, and the desserts were laid in the very center of the picnic blanket.
The heaping plate of apple pie, cinnamon and all transformed with a golden flash. Rarity shrieked as mud and water oozed out of the mud-pie-turned dessert, followed by a flopping worm. She backed up rapidly, bumping into Discord's chest, which was heaving with laughter.
The rest of the girls watched in awe as limbs sprouted from their desserts and they landed on the plates after pulling themselves up from the cinnamon icing. Dancing a little Irish jig there on the tablecloth, they clapped and spontaneously exploded.
The six ponies stared, trying to process what had just happened. They slowly turned to Discord, who was laughing so hard he was choking on the air his lungs took a swoop of.
Each of the ponies exchanged beaming smiles, trying to hide their secret joy in a purposeful frown and failing miserably. Exploding desserts and mud pies alike, it was just wonderful to see Discord healthy again and back to tormenting them. The grins reached from ear to ear before they hid them in vengeful, playful glares.
Discord took a few breaths and cleared his throat as he sat himself back up, still tittering to himself about the entire thing. "Ohoho, priceless. It should be marked on the box the desserts came in: 'caution, may explode and spontaneously break into a foreign dance.'" He was off in giggles again.
Applejack's eyes glinted devilishly as she turned to her friends. "Come on y'all, let's show this draconequus how happy we are that he's back to normal!" Her friends shouted in agreement and stomped their hooves in battle.
"Oh, you ponies," Discord giggled, eyes holding their familiar sparkle. "You're just too much fun to play—wait, what are you doing?! Augh, no! No, do—AHAHAHAHA!" The six little monsters attached themselves to his upper body like little, giggling ticks and began rapidly poking and probing at his hypersensitive skin.
Fluttershy grinned and climbed up onto the draconequus's chest. Discord did not like that evil look in her eye.
"Fluttershy, don't you dare-"
Twilight scrambled away from the roaring draconequus as the pegasus continued to blow violently against his belly. She watched the sight with utter joy and a grin so wide it almost split her face open. She enveloped her quill with magic, just long enough to write one more thing.
Your faithful student,
(And BAM! That marks probably the best fic I have, like, ever written~! Even without my editor, I think I did pretty damn good (and I would never be heartless enough to have him go through 24 pages-of sheer AWESOMENESS!)
There were a lot of references to "Testing The Boundaries", as you can see. XD I imagine that punishment is probably a regular thing Discord is concerned about now, since his guardian has a backbone. Zecora is a BITCH to write-it took me a half hour to come up with her dialogue! BITCH, WHY MUST YOU RHYME? WHY U NO SPEAK LIEK NORMAL PONIES?
I twisted the fuath mythology a little; I'm pretty sure it is true they drain magic, but I don't think they have venomous claws and fangs. Oh well, I twisted the basilisks a bit in "Broken Spirit" as well~ Also, the fuath escaping from Tartarus, as well as the basilisks in "Broken Spirit", is a result of what's causing all evil to seep into the world in "Distorted Worlds"
To finish off, I'm usually pretty lax with reviews and although I get really sad when a story gets little reviews, I don't throw a fit like some authors do. BUT, I'd REEEEALLY love if everyone that reads this reviews! And I really want ALL OF MY WATCHERS TO READ THIS BECAUSE IT'S EPIC!)