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Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I do own a pretty rad T-shirt, and I’m willing to make a trade with them.

Title image originally by:

FiMfiction Link

Forget about all that… Forget about all the bad and the chaos… Just think about the laughter…


…and don’t forget about me after I’m gone.



Let it never be said that Savoir Faire let anything stand in the way of duty. Ponies ran through the halls of Canterlot Castle in an uproar, with the force of their panic enough to shake the ivory walls of the palace. The mare couldn’t completely blame them, of course; a sudden and violent coup of the throne of Equestria certainly deserved some commotion, but she wouldn’t let herself join into their hysterical masses -- no matter how tempting the invitation -- and continued to stride through the palace on the way to the main ballroom where catastrophe had struck the kingdom not a few hours earlier; the king and queen of Equestria had been struck down in the middle of a banquet by an unknown assassin with terrible strength, and the two young princesses were nowhere to be found.

           As she drew nearer to the cursed doors, she took a moment to examine herself in the reflection of an abandoned silver platter to ensure she looked just right. Her pinkish-purple coat was sleek and presentable; her purple eyes were complemented with the perfect shades of make-up; her curling dark purple mane was coiffed to perfection, with the customary cap of the royal advisor centered neatly between her ears, pinned to her mane to stop it from slipping off (Savoir Faire always questioned the design of the headgear; she often wondered if someone had just stitched some blue and yellow fabric to a box and called it a hat). She was adorned with the traditional robes that had been passed down to the grand advisors of the royal family, and the warm, blue fabric almost completely covered her body from her chest to her flank.

           The advisor deflated with a sad moan. She looked ridiculous in her get-up. How could a pony be expected to take herself seriously wearing something like that? She supposed no one would ever seek her advice for the summer fashion line-up. Holding her head up high to avoid needing to refasten the hat, Savoir Faire continued to the ballroom. Unsurprisingly, there were no guards standing watch at the doors as they normally did; after the devastating defeat the elite soldiers suffered at the hand of the invader, it would take a complete lunatic to try to approach whatever monster now controlled the fate of Equestria.

           Drawing a deep breath, Savoir Faire, the completely loony royal advisor pushed on the great door and was immediately received with a pie.

           “Woo! No hands!” a low voice cheered from across the room. Savoir Faire ignored some unhappy memories the welcome had triggered as she wiped the goo off of her face. Clearing her vision, the advisor looked in shock at the scene around her. The ballroom appeared as if a tornado had swept through: the curtains were torn to ribbons, tables lay broken in half under stacks of broken dishes soaking in sticky and dried punch, garlands that had been so tastefully wrapped around the pillars were hanging limply from the columns, several streamers were messily tangled in knots around the floor, broken windows let in the occasional breeze that would send some cracked wine glasses rolling across the tile floor, and the massive ceremonial cake that had once been the centerpiece of the room now existed solely as globs of frosting and yellow sponge that smeared the walls.

           And in the middle of it all sat the strangest creature Savoir Faire had ever laid eyes on. She regarded the beast quizzically, as the thing himself split his attention between the pied earth pony and the plates and assorted pieces of silverware that orbited around him. It had a gray face that could barely be described as equine, with two lop-sided eyes topped with great, bushy eyebrows as enormous and shaggy as the hair trailing from his chin. He had both deer and goat antlers poking from the top of his head, and a long neck that changed colors from an amber gray to a dark chestnut brown at where she imagined his shoulders were. His body was long and slender, and seemed to be able to twist and angle in near-impossible ways like a serpent.

           Each shoulder blade had a different colored wing curled under it: one a blue pegasus’ wing, and the other a purple bat wing. His left arm exploded into a cluster of feathers with an eagle claw extending from the mess, while his right was a powerful lion’s paw. One leg looked like it was taken from a deer, with the other from some reptile. Finally, the fur thinned out at the base of his body to reveal a ruby-red snake’s tail that plumed into a white collection of hair at the tip. He comfortably stood erect on his hind legs, which was an exotic rarity for most sentient creatures in Equestria, and also a very unnerving one; this beast stood several hands taller than the former ruler, who had been simply massive by pony standards.

           ‘But the king and queen had been killed in the middle of their eldest daughter’s birthday, so that makes it festive!’ she thought bitterly, trying to fight back her dread with some morbid humor. ‘At least Equestria has something new to focus on, instead of that terrible civil war.’

           “But hey, really,” the creature spoke, “if you could get all this stuff to stop flying around me that would be really, really great. I’m starting to get a little dizzy.” The purple pony looked at the creature with some hesitance and was met with a dopey grin. Cautiously stepping around the piles of cookie crumbs and splintered wood, she crossed the ballroom and began to pluck each of the orbiting bodies out from the air, flinching each time in fear that the creature might suddenly lash out at her. To her surprise, the thing was content to leave her to her task and merely hummed absent-mindedly as Savoir Faire stacked the silverware in neat piles on the floor.

           Savoir Faire carried the plates to a nearby table by expertly balancing them on her tail, prompting the creature to rise up from the floor to his full height and watch her with interest. Looking over at a half-eaten cake mashed on the ground, he picked up the dessert and attempted to balance it on the tip of his reptilian tail, only for it to immediately drop to the ground again with a splat and spray him with frosting.

           “Hey, how did you do that thing with your tail?” he called as he scurried over to to the startled pony’s side.

           “Years of practice,” Savoir Faire managed to squeak out, which appeared to satisfy the creature. She cleared her throat and quickly bowed her head. “Hello, Your Majesty, my name is Savoir Faire, and it is my honor to serve you.”

           “Did you drop something?” the creature asked as he watched this strange spectacle.

           “No, sir… I was bowing,” she answered, standing back up to prevent that ridiculous hat of hers from slipping off. As she contemplated ways to recover the situation, she was struck by the thought that this new ruler must be from a much different culture. What a perfect way to break the ice!

           “So, Your Majesty, you must be from far away.”

           “If you say I am,” he said with a passionless shrug.

           “Erm, no, I’m sorry, I did not mean to assume. Where do you… eh, hail from?” she asked, mentally kicking herself at her embarrassing attempt to use more ‘sophisticated’ language.

           “Oh. I don’t really know, I’ve never tried before,” came the confusing response.

           “Tried what?”

           “Tried to hail. Where do you hail from?” the creature asked.

           “Oh, so gracious of you to ask!” Savoir Faire said with a forced grin, struggling to keep the exchange afloat. “I come from right here in Canterlot. I’ve lived in Canterlot Commons for all my life.”

           “Do you think I could hail from there?” The advisor looked up at her charge for a moment in uncertainty while in her mind she jumped around like a maniac, desperately reaching out for the retreating threads she could grab on to and carry the conversation with.

           “I… I’m not sure what you mean, Your Highness.”

           “I’ll be honest then, I’m not entirely sure what you were talking about, either.”

           “Where were you born?” she asked as frankly and respectfully as she could.

           “I don’t know where it was.”

           “How old are you?”

           “I’m not sure.”

           “What is your name?”

           “I don’t think I have one.”

           “What are you?” The advisor gasped as her harsh words tumbled out of her mouth faster than she could push them back in, and braced herself for the repercussions of her brashness.

           “I… I don’t know,” he said thoughtfully. “I feel like I should, though. But I just don’t.”

           It was at that moment that Savoir Faire had a most unpleasant epiphany. This strange, foreign creature that had seized the throne and plunged all of Equestria into panic, with power enough to kill the king and queen and drive the royal sisters into hiding, was a complete and utter simpleton.

           ‘Well, if this is going to end with all of Equestria running headlong into a brick wall, we might as well get it over with quickly and get there at full sprint.’

           “So, Your Highness, I believe we should relocate to the throne room so you may attend to your duties,” Savoir Faire said, doing her best to appear professional. Sure, this thing most likely didn’t understand the significance behind her formality, but perhaps she’d be lucky enough that he’d pick up on whatever shaky bit of confidence she was projecting and simply do whatever she said.

           ‘Oh heavens above, we’ve essentially become the ruler of Equestria haven’t we?’ The purple pony winced at the thought and fully regretted coming to the palace that morning. ‘Full sprint into the wall. Let’s do it.’


           Though the pony felt absolutely absurd as she exited the ballroom, leading the new king of Equestria by the hand like a child, as she caught the amazed glances and heard the hushed whispers of the few ponies that were still too frightened to run away or taking time to do a little bit of looting on their way out, she felt more than a bit of pride; maybe a kernel, or even a modicum of satisfaction. There she was, the pony they all laughed at and ignored, and now she was the sole advisor to the king because she was the only pony who had the nerve to seize opportunity and most likely lead the world to ruin.

           She’d have to get her mind off of that if she wanted to hold onto that modicum.

           “So, Your Majesty, this is your throne room,” Savoir Faire announced as they entered the grand chamber, the creature taking in the magnificence of the room with endless wonder. The colorful stained-glass windows stretched from the marble floor to the ceiling high above them, and the rich red crimson carpet extended all the way to the magnificent throne at the end of the hall.

           “This is mine?”

           “That’s correct.”

           “Wow… Does everyone get one of these?” he asked.

           “No, sir, just you.”

           “Why me?”

           “Because you’re our new king,” she answered, reeling back her building frustration.

           “How’d that happen?” he asked as he continued to scan the room with wide eyes.

           “You killed the last one. Now,” she spoke quickly to avoid dwelling on the memory of the grizzly scene, “as the absolute ruler of Equestria, it is your duty to maintain order in the kingdom.”

           “Are you sure? Hum…” The creature scratched the space between his wings vigorously causing his tail to happily wag and swat the floor. To her embarrassment, the pony had to bite her lip to stop herself from snickering. After his fit had ended, the creature lost himself in contemplation again and idly flicked the tip of his snaggle-tooth. “That really doesn’t sound like something I’d do.”

           “I’m sure that if you tried, you’d surprise yourself.”

           “You know, I kind of miss the plates…”

           “Please try to focus, Your Majesty.”

           “Hey, if I’m king and in charge of everything, then why are you telling me what to do?” the creature asked suspiciously, squinting at the nervous pony.

           “Because that is what an advisor does.” Savoir Faire sighed in relief as the creature accepted it with a nod. To her shock, the creature proceeded to swiftly snatch the hat from her head, disturbing a long curl of hair, and wedged it between his horns.

           “Then I’ll be the king and the advisor!” he declared triumphantly.

           ‘Okay, girl, you’re going to have to be clever about this one to recover from this. So just think for a second and don’t just blurt out whatever—’

           “I’m still the advisor because I’m wearing the robes!”

           ‘How can you be so bad at this?’

           Savoir Faire didn’t like the new way the creature was looking down at her. The expression he wore had no business appearing on the creature’s goofy face. He looked focused.

           “Gimme,” he said firmly, reaching out for her with his paw. The pony shrunk back from the creature, in no hurry to reveal herself.


           “But I’m the king!” the creature whined. “Aren’t you supposed to do what I say?”

           “I’m your advisor and I think it would be a bad idea.”

           “But I have the hat!” he pouted.

           “But I have the robes,” she replied smoothly. “And your immature behavior is completely unfitting of a king.” Savoir Faire was surprised by her own audacity. This was the creature that had murdered the most powerful alicorns to ever live, and there she was, an earth pony, talking down to him like some petulant colt.

           “Aw…” the creature sighed sadly, kicking the air in dejection.

           “But being the king isn’t bad at all,” the advisor said hastily. She knew that the former king was a terror when he was in low spirits, and she didn’t have any desire to be the pony that upset this new ruler. That, and her very nature wouldn’t allow her to let anyone stay unhappy if she could help it. “You can do things that no one else can!”

           That seemed to catch the thing’s attention. “Like make plates spin around?”

           “Yes…?” Why not let him have that? “But more importantly, you can, and need, to raise and lower the sun and moon every day and night.”

           “I can do that?

           “Of course you can,” she said encouragingly, slapping the creature on the back in support. After a few seconds of silence, she looked up into his beady yellow and ruby eyes with concern. “Can’t you?”

           “I don’t know,” he answered with a shrug before reaching around to scratch between his wings again. “What happened to the last guy who did it?”

           “We’ve been over that already,” Savoir Faire said gloomily. 

‘Hey, if he can’t raise the sun, then we can just call it a day and just kick back and wait for the world to end.’

           “So… What am I lifting?” the creature asked.


           “The sun? The big yellow thing in the sky? You know what the sun is, don’t you?”

           “I do! I do!” he snapped defensively. “I just didn’t have the same name for it as you.”

           “What did you call it then?” The voices inside Savoir Faire’s head were all taking turns kicking whatever part of her brain that insisted on antagonizing the seven-foot tall chimera. Thankfully, rather than turn her into a smoldering pile on the carpet, the creature simply mumbled an indecipherable something and began to innocently stroll away from the pony.

           “So are you going to try to raise the sun?”

           “Well, where is it?” The advisor had to pause at that. She honestly didn’t know; she had never thought about it before. The sun was in the sky during the day and gone at night, it never mattered to her where it went.

           “It usually rises from the east… That way,” the pony said as she led the creature’s gaze toward the horizon. “Well, it always rises in the east, actually.”

           “So, I just go over there and do what with it?” the creature asked, twirling his beard around his talon.

           “You just have to pull it up into the sky a little. Then, gravity should start doing the rest of the work—wait, what? No, you don’t have to go anywhere. You should be able to do it from here. I think…” she added privately.

           Before she could say another word, there was a snap and a flash and the creature was gone. She easily recognized the flash as a result of teleportation magic, having seen the two royal sisters play enough magically enhanced games of tag to identify some spells. The sudden disappearance had caught her off guard; the creature didn’t seem like he knew how to use magic. Well, yes, she knew that he must have been able to use magic, since he defeated the king and queen, but he didn’t seem to be in control.

           And then she tasked some strange creature that she didn’t trust with magic with the sacred duty of raising the sun.

           ‘How can you be so bad at this?!’ the voice in her head shouted again, much angrier this time.

           “I don’t know!” she exhaled, aggravation clear her voice. She didn’t need someone else to nag her to remind her that this was a bad idea, least of all herself.

           ‘Well, now you’ve gone and lost track of… of…’

           “What the hay do I even call him?”

           The ground suddenly shrunk away from the pony, causing her to yelp loudly and clutch onto the surface beneath her as tight as she could.

           “Hey there,” a freshly familiar voice mumbled beneath her. Opening her eyes, the pony nearly yelped again when she realized she was wrapped around the nameless creature’s head. The creature grabbed her with both hands and placed her back on the ground. Savoir Faire cocked an eyebrow at the proudly smiling king before she finally noticed the sunlight shining through the windows.  

           “How did you do that?!” she gasped, astonishment and relief mixing inside of her.

           “The same way I made the plates dance around,” the creature replied simply with a snap of his fingers, deflating a bit at the underwhelming praise of his accomplishment.

           “You overshot it a little,” Savoir Faire commented as she looked at the sun hanging high in the air at the crack of dawn.

           “I was scared.” The creature’s sad whimper intrigued the advisor to turn to face his shivering form.

           “Of what?”

           “The monsters!” he said darkly as he jumped toward her to loom menacingly above her. “The monsters that live on the bottom half!”


           “The whole world is flat! Like a plate!” he exclaimed, withdrawing a plate from behind his back to demonstrate. “We’re up here on the top half, and the other half is full of awful, awful monsters!” He twisted his already misshapen face into something even more unpleasant. “I saw them! They nearly grabbed me!”

           Savoir Faire could only stare at the creature hovering over her with wild eyes as she tried to process this horrifying new information. What other unknown terrors had the alicorns protected Equestria from in secrecy? How could they possibly defend themselves against an entire race of demons that could threaten the ruler of the kingdom? How could he be laughing at a time like this?

           “Bahahaaahahaa! Ahahahaha!” The creature was in stitches, rolling on his back and slapping the floor with his tail. The advisor’s expression immediately soured.

           “You were making a fool out of me!”

           “I was being funny! It’s just a joke,” he sighed dismissively as he wiped a tear from his eye.

           “That’s not funny,” she asserted, stomping a hoof down. “And I know funny.”

           “Oh yeah?” the creature challenged, raising a bushy white eyebrow in interest. The purple pony cleared her throat and immediately slipped into a goofy smile.

           “A stallion has been feuding with his unicorn neighbor for years. He eventually gets tired of him and goes over to deal with him face to face. Later in the day, he comes back to his house standing at two feet tall. His wife comes over and shouts, ‘Honey! What happened?’ He says, ‘I had a screaming match with that mule all day and then he shrank me!’ The wife is in complete hysterics and doesn’t know how to handle this. She asks him, ‘Are you alright?’ And he says to her, he says ‘I’m a little hoarse.’”

           Savoir Faire waited with a cheesy grin for a few seconds as she waited for her audience to react. Just as she was about to lose hope, the king’s deep laughter exploded around the walls of the throne room again.

           “That was terrible!”

           “Some ponies have no sense of humor. And he even managed to lose that tacky hat,” she bitterly mumbled with a sort. “So if there was no monsters, what happened to just a little push?”

           “It was my first time!” he said defensively. “I didn’t even know what I was going to be working with a few minutes ago!”

           There was another flash, and this time it was the king’s turn to yelp. In an instant, the massive creature was curled behind his advisor in fear. Savoir Faire followed his terrified expression to a neatly tied bundle of paper that had been magically teleported into room. Savoir Faire was familiar with the practice employed by The Daily Hoofprint, the largest news outlet in Equestria; the presses were enchanted to teleport every new edition to their customers at each sunrise, and the former queen enjoyed beginning her morning by reading on the new developments from around the nation in peace before hearing it shouted at her by panicked advisors.

           Savoir Faire made a show of herself as she boldly and dramatically strode toward the menacing paper and internally grinning at the amazed expression on the king’s face. Untying the knot, the advisor spread out the front page and saw a rough drawing of ponies fleeing from Canterlot Palace, which had been creatively spruced up with a hefty amount of burning towers and thunderstorms.

The End of Equestria?

By Dirt Digger

All of Equestria was plunged into chaos last night as Princess Celestia’s 525th Birthday celebration was invaded by an unknown assassin who immediately attacked the guests. The assassin marked his appearance with the shocking murder of King Equinox before turning his wrath against Queen Cressida and the Royal Guard.

Equally disturbing was the discovery at Bison Gulch, the wasteland that had been the scene of the greatest civil war in Equestria history. The thousands of ponies, griffons, bison, and others that had been ceaselessly warring for the last decade appear to have vanished without a trace. Presently, there is no evidence connecting the two, but investigations are underway.

There is currently a great discord among government officials concerning who will take the throne of Equestria with the fate of the royal family suspended in mystery. Some guests claim to have witnessed Princesses Celestia and Luna fleeing the palace during the attack, but there has been no sign of the sisters as of yet.

Nothing is known about the assassin, but ponies are advised to stay on guard, as he is presumed to be at large and extremely dangerous…


That was about as much as Savoir Faire could digest for the moment. Her robes suddenly became much heavier as she understood that she was the only one who was going to recognize the creature as the new ruler of Equestria. The pony couldn’t really blame the rest of the world for not immediately siding with some treasonous mishmash of animal parts, but until the two princesses returned to take back the throne and banish her for supporting their father’s murderer, there wasn’t much to do put push forward.

           But the more she thought about it, the more she felt that she was doing the world a favor. What would have happened if she hadn’t been there to tell the thing to raise the sun? It might have never happened! She already saved Equestria from disaster, and it was only her first day. Not too bad. If she could just keep lying to herself like this, then she just might be able to stay sane.

           And Savoir Faire wasn’t even sure if she would even call him “dangerous.” Maybe troublesome, but he didn’t appear to be much of a terror.

           “Look! Look!” the creature cheered, distracting the advisor from her thoughts. “I can do the other one, too!” The beast snapped his claw and the sun vanished behind the horizon to be immediately replaced by the moon.

           “Your Highness, it’s only seven in the morning! It’s too early for the moon to rise—”

           “Yeah, yeah, in a sec. This is so cool! Light! Dark! Light! Dark!” he giggled in childish glee as the solar bodies danced and swirled across the constantly changing sky. With each sunrise, another newspaper appeared in a flash with only half-written sentences or even single letters. Savoir Faire tried not to laugh at the mental image of the journalists losing their minds as their entire stock of paper vanished before their eyes and forced herself to be serious.

           “You really should just put the sun back in place.” The advisor’s advice was lost on her liege as her words were drowned out by another fit of cackles. “I mean it this time, you have to—”

           “I wonder what would happen if I had them both up at the same time?”


           At that, the creature stopped in mid-finger snap and arched his long neck over his shoulder to look at his advisor.


           “If…” the pony began hesitantly, surprised at herself for her sudden outburst. “…if you don’t already have a name, I think Discord would fit.”

           The creature snapped his claw one last time and let the sun rest at the edge of the horizon as he brought his paw to his chin and stroked his beard in contemplation.

           “Discord,” he repeated, sounding it out and tasting the word. “Dis-cord. Discord. Discord.” The creature paused a bit longer and Savoir Faire could practically see the gears in his gray head grinding against each other. After several moments he finally turned to look at the pony again with a raised eyebrow.


           “Discord,” she repeated. “Considering how disagreeable you are right now.”

           “I’m Discord,” he said one last time, and his crooked mouth stretched into a grin. “My name is Discord!” The newly-named king began to hop around the room, shouting his name whenever he took a breath between his fits of laughter. After a solid minute, he went rigid and bounded toward Savoir Faire, stopping mere inches away from colliding with her.

           “Can I name you?”

           “I already have a name.”

           “I forgot it.”

           “It’s Savoir Faire.”

           “Nice to meet you,” he said, extending his paw and shaking the purple pony’s hoof. “I’m Discord.”


           Outside of Equestria, orbiting at about three seconds to the left of the rest of the universe, there exists a void. Just an endless expanse of nothing that was often responsible for the very fate of Equestria. It was here that the most important members of Equestrian society held their councils. Though they never truly spoke, and no one was actually ever there, each member held unimaginable influence over even the most insignificant pony’s life.

           ‘What is he doing?’ one asked, aghast at the scene unfolding before them in the palace of Canterlot: a tall, serpentine creature decorated with bits and pieces from all across the animal kingdom was hopping around a confused purple mare in dark blue robes.

           ‘He’s living,’ another spoke in a deep voice, addressing the word as if he had stepped in something foul. ‘This is obviously all your fault.’

           ‘Don’t look at me! I had nothing to do with it!’ a third member snapped back.

           ‘It does fall under your responsibilities, Life,’ a fourth voice chimed in.

           ‘Love, Death, I will ask you to refrain from instigating an ordeal,’ a stiff and monotonous voice spoke up, and the others settled themselves. ‘What we need to figure out is what it is and how it has come alive.’

           Each member shifted their focus to their fellow councilmen, hoping one of them would have an answer.

           ‘It clearly has power similar to ours,’ a new voice said. ‘Is it possible that he’s one of us?’

           ‘Yeck,’ Love spat distastefully. ‘I hope not.’

           ‘I believe Nature may be correct,’ the emotionless voice spoke.

           ‘Time, you know that’s impossible!’ Love interrupted. ‘How could a new spirit have just popped up without us noticing?’

           ‘Did I fail to mention that?’ Death asked, his ominous voice hinted with mischief. ‘I must have been enjoying myself too much.’

           ‘Death, if you’re responsible for this…’ another voice growled reproachfully.

           ‘Oh please. Like I would go out of my way to make myself another nuisance,’ Death replied. ‘There’s been a force building above Bison Gulch for the last decade. It felt right on the verge of consciousness when… this appeared.’

           The other spirits regarded their brothers and sisters suspiciously. Each was the conscious embodiment of some governing force of Equestria: Life, Death, Nature, Time, Love, and Harmony. Begotten from some abundance of the force they drew their strength from, each spirit of nature had secretly governed Equestria since the dawn of time through subtle exertions of their power.

           Over the eons, there had been countless minor spirits that had formed and vanished before accumulating the strength to join the ranks of the six divining forces, though none of the greater spirits had complained. The fewer contenders there were, the more power each spirit held over the world, and not a one among them could be convinced to part with even an ounce of their strength. That, in addition to the fact that the spirits could barely stand one another, was enough to convince each spirit that none of them had willingly allowed this newcomer to come to be.

           ‘While that may be useful information, that still does not answer anything,’ Time said. ‘What is our new brother regent of? And why has he been made flesh?’

           ‘I wouldn’t mind having a body,’ Love cooed.

           ‘Nothing good can come from flesh,’ Death growled. ‘Harmony, while I’m not sure why I even bother asking, do you have anything to contribute?’

           ‘No, I’m fine. Thanks for asking,’ came the reply from the unassuming spirit.

           Death almost wished he had a physical form that he could bash against some wall. Dealing with the others was a constant source of vexation for the spirit, and he could have sworn they did it all intentionally.

           ‘It doesn’t matter what he’s the spirit of, he’s making a mess!’ Nature cried. ‘Did you see what he was doing with the sun and the moon? Did you? I can only imagine the devastation that alone will have on the ecosystem!’

           ‘Oh, don’t get me excited,’ Death chuckled. If they went out of their way to make him miserable, why not return the favor?

           ‘What would you suggest?’ Time asked before the two spirits could begin a new feud.

           ‘Putting a stop to it! Weaken him, tear him out of that flesh suit, drag him back here until he fades away!’ Nature raged. ‘He has no right to be alive!’

           ‘Do I detect some jealousy, sister?’ Love jeered.

           ‘That’s absurd!’ the spirit shouted. ‘But if he had only just achieved consciousness, then he shouldn’t be walking around—he’s a moron! Just look at him!’

           There was a general mumble of agreement.

           ‘Well, I’m not ashamed to admit my envy,’ Love said with a sigh. ‘It simply isn’t fair that this sprite of a spirit is the first to make his debut when I’m so much more deserving of the spotlight.’

           ‘Your frankness is admirable, but I ask you to retain yourself,’ Time spoke coldly. ‘Nature makes a strong point. Such a fledgling spirit could spread disaster if left to take such direct control over the world.’

           ‘While I fully support the idea of destroying one of our own,’ Death chimed in, ‘there’s still the detail of how. We can’t just start warping the world to try to remedy this.’

           ‘Isn’t it obvious?’ Love exclaimed. ‘We must fight fire with fire! Go tête-à-tête with him on his own terms!’

           ‘I’m not giving you a body,’ Life said warningly. ‘So you can just let go of that little scheme.’

           ‘Well, you tell me then, sister,’ Love began, arrogance radiating from the spirit, ‘what other options do we have?’


           Discord had adjusted to and grown bored of palace life in less than a few hours, and had spent most of his day shadowing Savoir Faire’s every move. In the kitchen, in the halls, in the library, in the bathroom—he was relentless. The king bombarded his advisor with a never-ending barrage of questions about every little thought that floated into his mind. She had long since stopped trying to answer, as he would always ask something else the instant she tried to speak.

           But, on some small level, she was grateful for the company. She had been searching high and low through the palace to see if there was a single soul that had stayed behind other than her, but after most of the day exploring every last room and corridor, she could safely say that it was just the two of them.

           “This might be a problem…” she murmured as she turned down another hall.

           “What’s up?” An aggravated sigh hissed out of the pony’s mouth and she turned to face Discord.

           “It looks like no one else is here,” she admitted.

           “You mean all those noisy ponies from last night?” he asked, furrowing his brow as he tried to remember the shouting crowd rushing for the exit of the ballroom. “I’m not sure if I want them around if they’re going to be yelling like that all the time.”

           “Yes, last night was a big night,” the pony said tersely. “But we can’t exactly maintain the palace with just the two of us.”

           “Well, why not?”

           “Because there’s simply more that needs to be done than we can do by ourselves,” she explained, hoping that he wouldn’t press the topic so she could think of a solution.

           “Okay then.” The purple pony smiled a bit, grateful that at least she could have one thing go smoothly for her.

           “So then where do we go?”

           “Go?” The question made her stop in her tracks. “What do you mean ‘go’?”

           “Well, we can’t stay here. You said so yourself,” Discord said, pointing a paw at the mare. “So we should go somewhere else.”

           “It just doesn’t work that way,” she moaned. The pony had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach that things were about to get worse. “The king has to stay here so his subjects can find him when they come to him with problems.”

           “Well, when are they coming?” It was a much better question than Discord knew, and one that even Savoir Faire’s ever-worried mind hadn’t pestered her about yet. If there wasn’t a soul in Equestria that even knew about Discord, let alone his quasi-legitimate status as king, she couldn’t really expect any audiences any time soon.

           “And won’t I be able to solve their problems faster if I’m right there?”

           ‘Yes, especially if he causes them.’

           “So we should go to them!” the king decreed triumphantly. “Where should we go first?”

           “I—you—Your Highness, I really must insist that we stay here for a while longer until I can think of something—”

           “But I already thought of something. Why should we wait?” he asked as if it were the silliest thing in the world.

           “Because it’s a good idea to have more than one idea in case something goes horribly wrong?” the advisor said sarcastically.

           “Pshaw. So should we pack some things, or what?”


           “I really can’t convince you to just stay here?” Savoir Faire asked one last time as the two stood at the main gates of the castle.


           “Fine,” she sighed as she shifted her shoulders to adjust the saddlebags strapped around her back. She just knew that it was going to be ungodly hot out there in her robes.

           Discord strode toward the massive gates and pushed open the heavy doors with the slightest effort. As the purple pony was astonished by the immense strength the creature must have possessed, the king was taken aback by something infinitely more awe-inspiring: his new world.

           The first thing that caught him was how crisp the air was. His lungs chilled with every deep breath, delighting in the exquisite sensation. He realized that it must have had something to do with how high up they were—he didn’t know why he knew, but he just did. Which led him to his next discovery: the picturesque purple mountain the palace extended from. A stream of water from heavens-knew-where cascaded down the rocks with a dull roar, eventually coming to rest in the clear blue lake that surrounded the palace and separated it from the gorgeous stretch of green that stretched down the mountainside. Discord could see clear through the rippling surface, even from a distance, and his first instinct told him to dive in. The only thing that stopped him was his unexplainable desire to not interrupt the bright chirps of a trio of colorful songbirds that fluttered in the air above the creature, blissfully spreading their music to whoever wished to listen.

           Savoir Faire watched in fascination as the rambunctious Discord was finally still. She had never seen someone so relaxed, so at peace with themselves; the hypnotic calm was contagious. The pony quietly approached the motionless creature, closed her eyes, and they listened to the world together. The trees swaying in the gentle breeze could just barely be made out over the rumble of running water splashing into the lake. Birds sang and called out all through the air. If she opened her eyes, she could almost see all of Equestria, a breath-taking sight by itself. She had lived in Canterlot for all twenty-odd years of her life, but this was the first time she had ever stopped to look around her.

           It was a shame that she was about to help it all be destroyed.

           “Hello, everypony! King Discord is here to help!”


Chapter One>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I’m still willing to trade that T-shirt.

FiMfiction Link

“Your Highness, please turn around and look where you’re going.”


“But would you look at the size of it!” Discord gasped as he clumsily walked backward down the dirt path, keeping his eyes on Canterlot Palace. “It’s so big!


“I know it is, but I don’t want you to tr--aah!” Savoir Faire’s worry came to pass as the king’s wandering tail swept her hooves out from under her. The serpent tail snagged on her royal robes as it swung by and flipped the earth pony onto her back. The sudden interruption proved too much for the malformed creature as it disrupted his balance and sent him tumbling down next to his right-hand mare.

“Sorry, Savvy,” he offered between giggles. The pony sighed and began to pull herself off the ground before her liege’s heavy lion paw grabbed hold of her and squeezed her to his side. “Where are you off to in such a hurry?”

        “For the umpteenth time, Your Highness, we should try to make it to Ponyville before sunset,” Savoir Faire explained.

        “I don’t like that name. ‘Ponyville.’ It seems so... uninspired. I can guarantee you that name is never going to last,” Discord rambled as the purple earth pony heard his speech echo in her mind. The entire day had been like this ever since King Discord had insisted on leaving the castle. He would spend anywhere between twenty minutes to half an hour keeping his eyes on everything around him but the path, remarking on the warm summer sun shining down on them, the shapeless clouds sleepily drifting across the bright blue skies, the entertaining rustling of leaves in the trees, how unbelievably enormous or microscopic this or that was, and then he’d finally manage to trip over Savoir Faire and leave the two in a heap. Then he’d ask her where they were going again and go on the same tirade about Ponyville’s name, and then they’d pull themselves up and start the whole thing over again.

It had really stopped being funny after he nearly took them both over the side of the mountain a few hours back. Now they were on steady ground, and the rolling fields to the rest of Equestria were lying open before them.


Savoir Faire moaned as she looked at her robes -- the royal blue fabric was already covered in dirt and beginning to tear and fray in places. The saddlebags only added to the weight of the heavy robes, and the heat was beyond unbearable. If the cursed thing didn’t have its hoofful of uses, the purple pony would have torn the rag off and stuffed it in some chamberpot back in the palace.


“Look, Your Highness, we really do need to hurry. It’s important that we get there while it’s still light out.”


“Why’s that?”


“So they can get a good look at you,” she answered, uncertain with her own reason. Sure, the creature wasn’t something anyone would want to meet in a dark alley, but she wasn’t entirely sure if the visibility would be able to reveal any “good side” the king might have.


“Can’t I just keep the sun in the sky?” Discord asked, squinting as he stared directly at the burning orb.


“No, you can’t,” Savoir Faire said tiredly as she walked past him, silently praying that he would just leave it be and follow her.

        “Bet you I can!” Before another word could be said, Discord vanished in a flash, leaving the pony behind. The advisor let out a tired moan as she trudged down the path alone. She had stopped worrying about him never coming back to her after the third time he had attempted to do heaven-knows-what to keep the sun in the sky, and those moments she had alone were actually the best opportunities for her to make some progress toward Ponyville.

        ‘You just love getting us into messes, don’t you?’ Savoir Faire’s inner voice of common sense nagged at the pony after an hour of solitary trekking.

        “Is this about something new I’ve done? Or is this still about my stroke of genius that’s still in progress?”

        ‘The latter.’

        “Well, I’m suffering enough about that without me to make me feel miserable about it, so shush.”


        ‘On an unrelated note, he’s been gone for a while this time...’

        She had to agree with herself on that. Normally, would Discord have reappeared with a fresh expression of defeat by now. But she couldn’t find any sign of him anywhere -- the only other thing around for a mile was that pony collapsed on the side of the road up ahead.

        “Oh no.”

        Savoir Faire dashed down the road, kicking up dirt and rocks in her wild sprint, feeling the contents of her saddlebags bump and shift and jostle around. She skidded to a stop over the crumpled form of the pony and began to examine him. The green earth pony was just barely breathing, so that was good news. A black beret sat askew on his shaved bald head, holding down his folded ears. His fur was covered in dirt, from his black, unkempt tail to the dark purple vest that covered his body from his chest to his barrel.

While her first instincts were telling her that this pony was obviously just barely clinging to life, the royal advisor had a difficult time determining the cause of the ailment. He didn’t look sick, and there weren’t any lesions or cuts or blood anywhere on him. Her eyes drifted to his lower half, and the pony’s cutie mark caught her attention caught her attention. It looked like a brown bag with a golden coin in the middle...


“Alright, hold nice and still. I really don’t want to have to roast you,” a small voice growled behind her. Savoir Faire froze in fear and looked over her shoulder and nearly jumped in surprise at the sight of a dragon behind her. Well, a baby dragon, but a dragon nonetheless. It had a round face and a short maw, with several crooked fangs peeking out from under his scaly lips. He had brown fins and scales on his slender stomach, with the rest of his body being covered in a green that matched the hurt pony, who was now miraculously standing on his feet... and tying a dark purple mask around his face.


“Heh heh heh! Good work, Patsy! Another Dumb Dora stuck smack in our perfect trap!” the pony laughed. His voice was loud and nasally, and it looked like the dragon, Patsy, liked hearing it as much as she did.


“Really? You’re doing that voice again?” the young dragon sighed.


“Boo! Boo, see? You just keep that fire-spittin’ maw of yours aimed on this canary, and you fry her the second she tries to sing, see? Myah,” he added for good measure. The advisor almost wanted to laugh at the ridiculous accent, and any sense of grave danger immediately melted away. The green pony stomped a hoof on the ground in agitation before pointing it accusingly at his partner-in-crime.


“Just button your yap and search the dame’s bags!”


“So I’m doing all the work,” Patsy sighed.

        “Cut it out, Patsy,” the pony hissed at the dragon. Patsy rolled his eyes and began to rifle through the saddlebags, grabbing the few bits and scraps of food that Savoir Faire had brought with her and taking them over to the bandit to inspect.


“Are you yanking my crank?” the bandit shouted as he shifted through the sad haul. “Are you trying to tell me this is all the suds she’s got on her?”


“If you don’t believe me, check her for yourself,” Patsy said with an indifferent nod of his head.


“Well, what about her robes? Those look pretty ritzy.”


“You touch me and I scream!” Savoir Faire blurted out. It wasn’t a fantastic threat, and neither of the two looked that physically imposing, but the Canterlot pony was never much of a fighter and she hoped that she could just convince the two to leave with what they had.


“Say what? Open your ears and listen good, doll, because Masky is the one calling the shots here. And Masky gets what Masky wants, see? Myah!” the pony sneered as he crept closer, ignoring his unsupportive dragon’s scoffs. Savoir Faire took a few frightened steps backward, trying to judge if she would be able to outrun the highwaypony. That is, until her robes caught on something and she tumbled onto her back. Looking up, the pony’s face broke into an ecstatic grin at the sight of the figure towering above her.


“Okay, so I couldn’t get the sun to hold still. This time,” Discord added pointedly, squinting at the purple pony.


“What the hay is that thing?!” a nasally voice shouted, catching the attention of the two royals. Masky shoved the indignant baby dragon in front of him, making little attempt to hide his shock at the sight of the creature. “Patsy, you go get ‘im!”


“Me? Why me? What am I supposed to do?” Patsy whined, fear starting to seep through the dragon’s voice.


“I don’t know! But I raised you and kept you kicking, so now it’s time to return the favor and help your pops out!” A loud and spirited chuckling gave the two pause, and the bickering pair looked at the frightening new arrival to see the enormous creature rolling on the ground in a laughing fit.


“These two are a riot!” Discord cheered, oblivious to his advisor’s unhappiness. When he finally wiped the tears from his eyes, he noticed the pile of supplies behind the bandits and snapped his fingers. “Savvy, you dropped all of your things!” he chastised as the pile reappeared in the air above the purple earth pony and flew into her empty saddlebags.


Magic! She’s got backup packing magic!” Masky hissed fearfully.


“You didn’t figure that out when he appeared in a flash of light?” Patsy snipped caustically.


“Hey! Hey tall, dark, and gruesome!” the green pony shouted. “What’s your deal? Yeah, you!” he added after the creature looked around to see who else Masky might have been talking to.

“My name is Discord—”


“But that is King Discord to you!” Savoir Faire interjected. She grinned at the frightened looks on the bandits’ faces as they began to realize their situation.

The two shared a moment of dread before Masky quickly took off his beret and pulled out a small red pouch. He handed the bag to Patsy and the baby dragon pulled out a small yellow rock and chomped down on the stone, obviously disgusted by the taste. Before Savoir Faire could question the two, the thief had already started speaking.


“So he’s the king, eh? And just what are you to him, sweetcheeks?”


“I am the chief royal advisor to His Majesty,” the pony said, drawing herself up and speaking with as much pomp as she could muster, remembering how the royal family would always address visiting dignitaries or nobles. “And you have committed a grand felony by assaulting a member of the royal cabinet!”


“Eeek, you got a real bearcat on your hooves, boss,” the pony said with an exaggerated grimace. “Settle down, toots. The men are talking.” Savoir Faire was struck dumb by the snub. What did she have to do to get ponies to start showing her a little respect? She was head advisor to the King of Equestria! Did she need to start ordering executions before people would pay her some mind?


“Well, Yer Excellency,” Masky continued, strolling up to Discord and walking around the creature, examining him from top to bottom, “for the king of ponies, you sure don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen. So what they hay are you?” Discord thought for a long while before an answer finally came to him.


“I’m an alicorn!” he declared proudly, pointing his nose up proudly and placing his hands on his sides in an impressive pose.


“N-no. No, Your Majesty. You’re not.” She hated to disagree, but she’d rather have him rooted in reality as much as possible. Besides, she was genuinely curious herself. She knew that he didn’t have the answer, since he said as much himself just earlier in the day, but perhaps the mouthy pony would be able to pry enough information to get her started on her own investigation.


 “What? I’ve got wings, and I’ve got two horns!” the king explained matter-of-factly. “I’m more of an alicorn than any other alicorn!”


“Well, the head is vaguely equine in nature,” a garbled voice spoke up. All eyes were on Patsy as the baby dragon strutted over to the group, chewing on a second rock. Masky grinned proudly and slid to his partner’s side, shooting Savoir Faire a smug look as if to say ‘I taught him everything he knows.’


“And I can smell the dragon on you,” he continued, his nostrils flaring. So, he’s some kind of… draco-equine--”

                “He’s a Jabberwocky!” Masky interrupted. Patsy’s feeling of accomplishment immediately dissipated, and he gave the purple pony standing behind the king a chagrined frown.




“Draconequus,” she repeated loud enough for the king to hear her, though the word didn’t seem to strike any nerves. But if he didn’t even know what he was, then it didn’t seem unfair for her to give him a made-up name.


“So what are you and Mrs. Grundy doing all the way out here? Shouldn’t you be hob-nobbing it up in your big, fancy palace?” Masky asked with heavy condescension as Patsy chomped down on another one of his yellow rocks. The pony coughed from the acrid stench and took a few steps to the side.

                “I know, isn’t it so big?” Discord said happily, letting his tail swing freely and knock his advisor off her hooves again.


“Oh, come on!”


“But I’m traveling across Equestria to help my subjects handle any trouble that’s bothering them.” Masky’s limp ears perked up at the answer, and Savoir Faire could have sworn that the thief’s irises turned into two shining bits for a moment.


“Well, then this is some stroke of serendipity that I caught you. Can you do a poor pony a favor?” Savoir Faire didn’t like the manic grin that was beginning to dominate the greedy pony’s entire face.  “Mind snapping me up a small… oh… mountain of lettuce?” he asked softly.


“Lettuce?” Discord asked, puzzled.


“Yeah! You know, some bacon, jack, scratch, moolah, dough!” he listed off, his voice beginning to regain its harsher tone. The draconequus looked at his talon and his paw in curiosity, examining each digit and bending and flexing them individually as he turned his wrists over.


“I can do that?”


“Oh, don’t play dumb.” Savoir Faire felt guilty about the amused snort she let escape. “I know you eggs with your magic always zap up things for yourself. Don’t be so be so stingy!” Discord turned his head to look down at the purple pony at his side, his yellow eyes the size of dinner plates.

                “I can make things for myself, too?” He sounded like a colt on his first Hearth’s Warming Eve seeing the stack of presents left for him. Savoir Faire thought it would have almost been adorable if it weren’t for the fact that the most powerful magical creature she had ever known was learning about greed.


“Wait a hot second,” Masky butted in, shaking his head and clenching his eyes, looking as if he was trying to stop his brain from bursting. “He really didn’t know that?”


“Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag,” Savoir Faire muttered bitterly as she glowered at Masky.


“And he’s the king? Patsy, I think we need to lay low somewhere off the map for a while, see? I can’t see this ending peaches. Let’s blow this fruit stand.”


Before another word could be said, the green dragon opened his mouth and expelled an enormous cloud of noxious gas that covered the field and blinded Savoir Faire and Discord. Savoir Faire could hardly breathe through the smog; she recognized the burning smell as sulfuric gas, and realized too late that that awful pony had been stalling for time while his dragon could chomp on those rocks. She had been made a fool of again. And probably poisoned this time, too.


‘Another fine mess you what in Equestria is that smell?!


There was a snap, a splash, and then a moment of silent contemplation. Cautiously cracking open an eye, Savoir Faire saw that the cloud had vanished along with the two miscreants. She noticed that the immediate area had been covered by a thick green liquid. She also noticed that she was drenched in said green liquid, and had a recognizable taste in her mouth. Licking her lips, her intrigue melted away to disbelief, and the advisor gave her king a flat expression.


“Pea soup?”


“I thought this would be better than that gas,” he said innocently, waving his paw at the puddle of soup around them, some drops slipping off his fur and onto the ground. He was as soaked as she was, with his fur and hair all matted down by the stew, and the pony discovered with some revulsion that draconequuses (draconequui?) resembled drowned rats when wet.


“Well, it is, but… Couldn’t you have just magicked it away?” she asked, not entirely certain about the specifics of magic. Though, in fairness, the draconequus likely wasn’t a whizz himself.


“Maybe? I just thought this was… better,” he repeated again with a shrug.


“Well could you at least clean me off?” The pony would quickly regret her words as a bucket of cold water emptied out on top of her. She didn’t even want to see what her robes had been reduced to at this point. Pushing her wet mane out of her eyes, Savoir Faire glared at Discord as his cheeks began to puff.

Unable to hold it in any longer, Discord exploded into his wild laugh, falling onto his back and pounding the ground with his arms and legs as he rocked back and forth. As his howling reached its crescendo, it suddenly ended with a sputtering cough as a brown liquid squirted grotesquely out of his nostrils.


“You made me laugh so hard my drink came out of my nose!”


“Drink? What drink?” The draconequus motioned toward a glass of chocolate milk that was hovering beside him. “Where did you get that?”


“I made it for myself.”



“I know! I can’t believe I can do that!” he exclaimed giddily.


“Really? Just like that?” the earth pony snorted, disappointment clear in her voice. “Just like that you’re going to start listening to what some crook, who tried to rob your advisor, might I add, tells you about behaving?”


“I’m not allowed to listen to other ponies?”


“Not when they’re felons!” The king considered his advisor’s words over a drink from his glass. Or, rather, a drink of his glass. Savoir Faire looked on in bewilderment as the creature greedily guzzled down the glass as if it were liquid, while the chocolate milk stayed stationary in his talons. The moment he realized what was happening, Discord released the liquid and skittishly jumped back as it shattered into shards on the ground. And despite how cross she was with what could be the gateway to a series of poor behavior, and how she knew she shouldn’t do anything that might encourage it any further, Savoir Faire couldn’t help but laugh at the draconequus’ antics.


“It’s not funny,” he sniffed, offended. “I wasn’t trying to do that. Magic is hard…” But though he tried his hardest to stay upset, there was something contagious about the pony’s laughter that forced him to concede and join in her merriment. As they sputtered out their last few giggles, the pair took a moment to just smile at one another. And for the first time that day, Savoir Faire imagined that she might have made a smart decision after all.


“Well, we’re still miles away from the town, you’re filthy with pea soup, and it’s an hour until sunset—don’t try to stop the sun again, please—so I think we may have to wait until tomorrow before you make your grand debut.” Discord thought for a moment, twirling his stringy, wet beard around a talon, before he was struck by a spontaneous burst of inspiration.


“I have a better idea!” Discord grabbed his squealing assistant and dropped her onto his shoulders before flopping onto the ground, sending pea soup splashing onto him. With another snap of his paw, the long dirt road transformed into a trail of soapy water. “Hold on tight, Savvy!” With a mighty heave, the draconequus sent himself streaming down the road, cutting across the fields of Equestria like a sleigh, as Savoir Faire screamed in fear and delight all the while.


                The sun was just hanging above the horizon when the pair’s wild ride finally came to a stop a short distance from Ponyville. Savoir Faire drowned out Discord’s familiar rant about the name as she inspected every square inch of him to ensure he was ready for the public eye. She was genuinely surprised that the “soap slide,” as the draconequus had taken to calling it, had worked so well. The king had been cleaned; now he needed to be presentable.


                “Okay, you want to look nice for the nice ponies, alright?” she said, mimicking the tone the kindly old pony who raised her would always use on her before meeting a new prospective couple. “Stand up straight, suck in that gut, chest out, chin up… Perfect! Now, let’s see your regal canter.” Savoir Faire stood back to watch as the disproportional creature took a few awkward steps forward. He stepped forward in something that resembled a waddle, so focused on keeping his body stiff that he forgot to bend even his legs. After a few steps, his composure broke and he fell into his usual lanky motion, swinging his eagle claw loosely at his side and letting his tail groove back and forth just out of rhythm with the rest of his body.


                “Good enough, we’ll work on it later,” the purple pony said quickly as she rammed her head into Discord’s lower back and pushed him into town.


                It was immediately apparent that something was terribly wrong in Ponyville. The entire town seemed empty, with every humble hut and house and building and business completely vacant. Discord would wander into a house every now and then, with Savoir Faire immediately following after him to stop him from carrying out whatever little trinket caught his attention, always checking the streets outside to make sure they hadn’t been seen, but there was never a single soul to be found.


                “I told you this place would never last,” Discord said in a singsong voice as he rubbed his paw where the pony had swatted him as he tried to snatch a free pastry from a bakery.


                “This doesn’t make any sense. Ponyville may be one of the smallest towns in Equestria, but there’s no way everypony in the entire town could just up and vanish. Where could they all have gone?” the royal advisor thought out loud, keeping her eyes on the ground as the two rounded another street corner and entered the town square.


                “Why don’t we ask them?” Savoir Faire looked up in shock as an enormous crowd of ponies gathered in a huddle, all clamoring and grabbing at something.


                ‘How could we not have heard them from just around the corner?’

Ignoring the thought, Savoir Faire inflated herself and cleared her throat.


                “Citizens of Ponyville! We present to thee thy glorious ruler, His Majesty King Discord!”


                “Why are you shouting?” Discord moaned as he lowered his paws from his ears.


                “I-it’s the traditional royal Canterlot voice,” the royal advisor explained, feeling somewhat embarrassed with herself by the reception. “That’s how the members of the royal cabinet are supposed to address your subjects.”


                “Well, I don’t like it,” he said bluntly, folding his arms and aiming his nose up. As Savoir Faire tried to carefully construct an explanation about the importance of shouting at ponies, the obstreperous crowd started to shift and spread to allow something to pass through.


                “Please, everypony, if you could just settle and let me step out for a moment…” The entire town immediately became silent and obediently parted. There, in the center of the crowd, was the single most gorgeous creature Savoir Faire had ever laid eyes on. She was absolutely stunning, from head to tail. She stood tall and regal, and while all alicorns fit that description, this one was especially resplendent. The mare’s deep red mane flowed in the breeze and curled down her back, her tail doing the same. The alicorn’s coat was a soft, luscious pink, and the earth pony could tell even from a distance that it would be silky and luxurious to the touch. And Savoir Faire found her one desire in the entire world was to touch her.


                “Hey! You get back over here!” A jolt of energy coursed through the pony’s brain, down her spine, and then exploded and filled her entire body. She blinked a few times and looked in surprise at her surroundings. She found herself halfway across the square, though for the life of her she couldn’t remember ever moving. Discord was hovering over her protectively and cautiously withdrew his talon from the top of her head. “You got this weird look in your eyes and then you started walking towards that guy.”

                “I don’t… Wait, guy?


                “Fine, you can keep her,” the mare said in an airy, but still masculine voice. “My harem is large enough as it is. I hope that you’ve been enjoying your time with a body just as much, Brother.”

                “A lot is happening right now, can we just take this one thing at a time?” Savoir Faire moaned as she buried her face in her hoof. “You’re male?”


                “I am,” the alicorn said proudly as a few mares began to crowd around him again, fawning avidly over him.


                “Then why do you look like a mare?”


                “Because my sister has a cruel and awful sense of humor,” he replied flatly, though his mood did not stay sour long as his coven continued to caress him.


                “And that leads us to the second matter—”


                ‘—Because making sure you’re not doubting our sexuality is totally the most important thing going on in our life right now—’


                “—Did you call His Majesty ‘brother’?”


                “You say that like it’s more bizarre than calling him ‘His Majesty’,” the alicorn scoffed. “And yes, that creature fluttering over your head is my brother. We’re cut from the same cloth, as it were.”

                “I told you I was an alicorn!” Discord shouted, pushing his nose against Savoir Faire’s and smirking victoriously. “We even look alike!”


                “Don’t even joke! Gracious, you’re even worse than Life,” the alicorn shuddered. “No, brother, you are not an alicorn. Neither am I, in truth. This is just a little costume I was given so that I may meet you directly.”


                “Nice to meet you. I’m Discord,” the draconequus greeted gladly. “But I think that I’m supposed to be talking to some ponies here and solving their problems, so we should talk some other time.” Both the king and the advisor frowned at the vicious volley of laughter that was launched at them by the crowd led by the Casanova alicorn.


                “How very droll, brother. I think you can see that I’ve already solved any issue that might have plagued the citizens Ponyville. Love always does,” he said with a seductive wink.

                “You hypnotized them!” Savoir Faire gasped in disgust. “They can’t help it, they’re in a trance!”


                “If it’s so bad, then why isn’t anypony complaining?” the alicorn challenged.

                “I’m complaining!”

               “Oh, you don’t count,” he retorted flippantly.  


                “And I’m supposed to help them!” Discord challenged, jabbing his paw into his chest and taking a bold step forward. He didn’t truly know if it mattered whether or not he was directly responsible for helping ponies as long as the job got done, but if his advisor was upset, then he supposed that anger was the appropriate response.


                “I think that the spirit of Love is a more welcome force to end plight than the spirit of War,” the alicorn said coldly.


                “Alright, I’m sick of being left out in the dark here,” Savoir Faire snapped. “Start talking. Now.”


                “I suppose I should cut to the chase,” he said as he broke away from his swooning mob. “The others will be sure to throw a fit anyway, but it’s best not to dally. In short, the creature standing before us is going to destroy Equestria, and I’m here to take him away before he does. Now, brother, come along.” Discord paused and looked back at the alicorn and Savoir Faire.


                “Do I go with him?”


                “No!” the advisor shouted, stomping her hoof furiously on the ground. “And you’re going to have to do better than that!”


                “Fine, we’ll do the long version,” he sighed tiredly. “All of Equestria is ruled by spirits of nature. Life, Death, Time, Harmony, Nature, and yours truly, Love. Each of us was begotten from some massive accumulation of force that we control, gained sentience and mastery over our elements, and guided the course of history from before the days the races of the world first climbed out of the mud. It goes without saying that we are quite powerful, and applying our influence too thick could spell devastation for the entire world.” Love caught Savoir Faire’s critical glance and looked back at the crowd of ponies staring dreamily at the spirit’s flank. “Would you get off that already? It’s only one town. And it’s Ponyville. Horrible name. I can guarantee you it’s not going to stand the test of time.”


                “So if Discord is like… If he’s like you, and a spirit of nature, and all that… Then why is he so… Why is he such a—”


                “Mental midget? Your ‘Discord’, as you call him, is a spirit of nature that has been somehow made flesh before he could… mature. Likely due to some rogue spell that struck his newly formed consciousness before he had time to scrounge up even a single thought to call his own.  And it just so happens that he was born from that dreadful civil war that had been raging at Bison Gulch for these last few decades. Though to be honest, we’re not certain what he’s the spirit of yet, but I’m willing to bet on War. And now you’ve named a spirit of nature king of your land, and plan on parading him across the globe to try to apply his personal touch wherever he can, and you think this is a good idea?”


                ‘In our defense, we didn’t know all that before. Wait, he can’t hear us in here, can he?’


                “He’s unfathomably dangerous to you, my brothers and sisters, and the entire world. He barely had a mind, and then he stole some reckless unicorn’s life spell to take flesh and heart. He’s brainless! A conscious force of nature with a mind full of—full of fluff and a slave to his emotions!”

                “I wouldn’t have expected Love to be so opposed to emotions.”


                “In any other situation, I truly wouldn’t be bothered. But I’m something of an authority on matters of the soul,” the alicorn raised his front hoof ominously and pointed directly at his brother, “and I can see right to his black heart.”


                “Are we talking about the same Discord? Because mine throws pies at ponies when he’s at his worst,” the earth pony quipped, though her tone was lacking in humor. Discord had been silent for a while, standing stone still as Love’s words were breaking over him like stormy water crashing against a rock.

                “You know just as well as I do that he’s done much worse than that.” Love’s voice was grave, and his words struck a nerve deep in the pony. Did she truly forget so soon how the draconequus ascended to the throne? But could he really be blamed? If it was true that he didn’t have a mind, then perhaps he didn’t know what he was doing?

“He was born from war! From hatred! Sorrow! Blood!” the spirit of love’s shouting tore her from her thoughts, and his sudden outburst startled both of the pensive royals. “What do you think he’ll become as his true nature starts to reveal itself? He’ll become a force of pure destruction if he’s left alone to his own devices.”

                “Well, he’s not being left alone!” Savoir Faire barked defensively. “I am the royal advisor to the king of Equestria, and it is my duty to ensure that he rules fairly and properly.” She was truly beginning to loathe the sound of the pony’s laugh.

                “You? A simple mortal thinks she can command a spirit of nature?

                “I’ve been doing pretty well so far.” She glanced over at Discord, silently pleading for him to say something, anything.


                “He’s an infant!” Love exclaimed. “He simply imitates whatever he sees around him. You’re a fool if you truly believe that you can contain him forever.” The insult stung Savoir Faire worse than any of them could know. “Only my kin and I could ever sculpt this misshapen mess into something redeemable.”

                “What, so he can be more like you?

                “Well, we can only hope he’ll follow my example,” Love said as he calmed again, and fell back into the waiting hooves of his harem. “Life is a snob and Death is a scoundrel. Nature’s a manic-depressive psychotic, far too emotional for her own good. Time is tragically passionless, and Harmony... Well, Harmony is something of a waif. Not quite all there.”


                In an instant, Love thrust himself from the thrall of ponies and landed dramatically in front of the draconequus to stare him directly in the eyes.


                “Come with me quietly, and I promise you, I’ll breed you to be the finest spirit you can be!”

                “Like you!” Discord shouted in admiration. The king dropped down on his reptilian knee and threw his arms open wide to gesture toward the surprised alicorn, shaking his hands to add what he thought to be dramatic impact.

                “Are you—Are you mocking me?!” the alicorn sputtered, reeling back to his waiting admirers to be consoled.

                “I was just acting how you taught me,” Discord said with a devilish grin as he casually returned back to his advisor’s side. “Learning by example and all that, wasn’t that the point?” he asked louder than necessary, pointing a talon at his fellow spirit.

                “This had better not be how you act from now on,” Savoir Faire said warningly, though she couldn’t help but grin at the king’s teasing. But more than that, he had actually stood by her without her telling him to.


                “I’m warning you now, War, come with me now and there won’t be any more trouble,” Love said, though the loving embraces of Ponyville’s citizens softened his sternness. “Our brothers and sisters are not as tender as I am. You don’t belong here.”


                “I think I do.” The draconequus’ voice was its usual breezy nature, which made the ferocious expression on his crooked face all the more frightening. Love simply shrugged and turned his body away from the pair and focused on his adoring stable of ponies.

                “Very well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when the others come to take you by force. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a body that I’d like to take advantage of and a town full of ponies more than happy to take advantage of me.” Just as Love was preparing to recline into the mob and descend into bliss, an unseen force suddenly grabbed the pink alicorn by his red tail and began to drag him away from the crowd, both to the horror of the ponies and the spirit himself.


                “No, please! Just a little bit longer! Just another day!” He shouted in pain as his ears began to stretch and drag him across the ground on his stomach. “Another hour! Another minute!” He hung limply in the air, suspended by one of his wings over the screaming crowd. “Fine! I’m done! I’m done! You’re heartless, sister!” In an instant, the pink alicorn burst into nothingness, and a pale pink mist floated into the sky and dissipated.


                “Wow,” was all Discord could manage to say as he kept his eyes on the fleeing spirit. “Are all families like that?”


                “I wouldn’t know,” Savoir Faire mumbled sadly before a confused, dull racket from the freed ponies of Ponyville caught her attention. “Okay, they’re back with us. Go introduce yourself,” she urged as she pushed Discord closer to the crowd. The king looked uncertainly between the purple pony and the mass of wary subjects, struck silent by the sudden attention.

                “Say something,” the advisor silently mouthed.


                “Citizens of Ponyville! I am your new king and master!”



                “Mistakes were made,” Savoir Faire thought out loud as she worked on starting a fire. She glanced over her shoulder at Ponyville in the distance, wishing that they could have spent the night in the town.


                ‘Mistakes like letting the spirit of War talk to a frightened crowd?’ her inner voice snipped as she unsuccessfully struck a match against a rock.


                “We also talked with that creep until sundown, so the poor lighting didn’t help.”


                ‘Neither did the booming address by the monster.’


                “Stop talking about him that way!”


                “What’s happening?” Discord asked as he popped his head out from the inside of the latest tent he had tried to conjure. The draconequus had been at it for a while, though he was having trouble meeting Savoir Faire’s unreasonable specifications of both “triangular” and “large enough to fit in.”


                “Nothing, nothing,” she fibbed. “Just a little tired. It’s just… been a long day.”


                “You’re telling me. I was made a king earlier today,” Discord said casually as he sat down next to the pony and spat a red glob onto the pile of sticks she had been working over, the wood immediately igniting. The pony kept her eyes on the fire as she reflected on the day’s events as her lord turned his focus upward. Meeting the wild creature, essentially becoming the leader of Equestria, leaving Canterlot for the first time in her life, nearly falling off a mountain, being mugged at dragon-point, the “soap slide”, and then the debacle in Ponyville with the spirit of love.


                It had been a trying, and, frankly, disconcerting day.

                “So we got run out of one town,” Discord said dismissively, noticing his advisor’s dolor. “It’s just Ponyville, Savvy. Nothing important about there. So, can the moon rise in the North?”

                “No, East to West,” she answered, forcing herself back into her advisor mindset.

                “But that’s what the sun does!”

                “Discord, do it right!”

                With some half-hearted grumbles, Discord raised his eagle claw and lifted the moon. The celestial body hung peacefully in the air and illuminated the open field the two had set up camp in. It was incredibly peaceful, Savoir Faire thought, as she admired the tranquil landscape. A few fireflies floated danced through the air to the choir of chirping crickets and clicking of insects in the grass. The draconequus next to her nudged her delicately and handed her a few apples he had plucked from a nearby tree and the two enjoyed their meager dinner. When they had finished, they two had made a game of seeing who could spit the seeds the farthest. Not that they could even follow the black seeds in the dark night.


                “Alright, you win,” the pony conceded as Discord spat the last of his seeds in a high arc. “Let’s get some sleep.” Discord nodded and immediately dropped onto his back and was fast asleep. Chuckling softly, Savoir Faire laid down beside him and closed her eyes, letting her exhaustion overtake her, holding onto a single happy thought as she drifted to sleep:


                Perhaps if he was really as impressionable as he seemed to be, then maybe she could steer him in the right direction after all.


<<Prologue -- Chapter Two>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

And I’m starting to fear that might not change. I might have to up the T-shirt ante a bit.

And New York City... You just stay classy.

FiMfiction Link

        “I thought you were supposed to wake up from those dreams before you hit the ground,” Savoir Faire moaned as she was jostled awake by a surprise meeting with the grass. As she rose to her hooves, shaking off the last traces of sleep, she realized with some embarrassment that she had fallen asleep on top of her traveling partner. The draconequus was twisted in a curve above her, cracking his back loudly and shivering in delight from the release.

        “G’morning, Savvy,” Discord yawned as he stretched his mismatched arms high over his head before giving his stomach a light scratch.

        “Good morning, Your Majesty,” she returned, giving the king a curt bow. “Well, it almost is. There’s still the matter of your morning routine.”

“Oh. Right,” the king said firmly, causing the advisor to grin proudly. Her sleep may have been less than salubrious, but if Discord’s first instinct in the morning was to raise the sun, then the purple earth pony just might have found reason enough to stay awake.

“Breakfast!” the chimera cheered excitedly as he hovered over the smoldering fire pit. Savoir’s body sagged as she watched the dying embers roar back to life at the snap of Discord’s claw. Perhaps she was expecting too much. The pony looked morosely at the empty sky; the moon had vanished beyond the western horizon heaven-only-knew how long ago, and the sky above them was desperately waiting for the first lights of dawn to restore the balance of night and day to order.

Just as the advisor was preparing to let fly a verbal lashing, a demanding gurgle from underneath her robes offered a powerful counter-argument that food was delicious and the sun could wait.

“Eggs would hit the spot,” the pony said as she approached the fire and reached in her saddlebags to see if she had brought along any eggs as the king went about his own devices. Discord dug his paw into the dirt and began to tug on some unseen object, straining from the effort. With a final heave, he managed to pull an adult orange tree from the dirt, the ground beneath them shaking mildly from the sudden crop. Eagerly rubbing his hands together, he snapped off one of the branches and jammed the extension back into the base of the tree. Squeezing the tip of the branch experimentally, the draconequus was pleased as a small spurt of orange juice impossibly sprayed out of the wood and splashed into a pair of cups he held out. Returning to his companion, Discord handed his advisor a glass and the two shared a drink, though the spirit made an increased effort to be sure to drink the juice and not the container this time.

“Do you think you could snap up a frying pan?” Savoir asked after a refreshing sip.

“Oh, I see,” Discord said with a sly grin, “when I make something for myself, I get a big talking-to. But when you want something from me, it’s a whole different story.”

“Yes. Helping other ponies is the reason you wanted to leave the castle, remember?” Discord paused at the response for a moment before dismissing it with a “bah” and summoning a frying pan to cover the flame. In a few minutes, Savoir Faire had prepared a humble plate of fried eggs for the both of them, which both royals wolfed down in seconds (and for one, plate and all).

“Hey, Savvy?” Discord asked as he finally began to raise the sun, “where do eggs come from?”

“From chickens.”

“Just from chickens?”

“Well, I mean, other animals lay eggs too,” she began. “Mostly reptiles and birds.”

“Like this?” A flash of light brought with it the second strangest amalgamation of beasts the earth pony had ever seen: its body was small and reptilian, with a long dragon’s tail and two leathery wings, but at its neck, the beast’s scales turned to feathers. The chicken-headed lizard strutted around in confusion, pecking the ground here and there as it strutted about.

Unable to bring herself to watch the strange mishmash of animals for long, Savoir Faire quickly snapped her head to look at Discord with revulsion.

“When you do that... snappy thing... with your magic?” she asked, gesturing as best as she could manage with her hooves. “Are you creating these things? Or just taking them from other places?”

“I’m not sure,” the spirit answered with a shrug and a snap of his claw. Another flash, and another of the creatures was there, squawking and hissing at the other one. “There, now they won’t have to be lonely.”

        “I don’t think they like each other.”

Discord turned his attention back to the two as the creatures hissed and cawed angrily at one another, stretching their wings and puffing their chests and raking their talons on the ground. Suddenly, the first dashed away from the newcomer, heading past the orange tree and flapping its wings to try to take off to the sky, but only managing to flutter in hops. In its pursuit of the other cockatrice, the second crashed into the low tree branch and broke it off as it continued undaunted after its new mate.

        Discord and Savoir Faire watched with some concern as orange liquid began to gush from the base of the tree, quickly pooling around the tree and spreading out farther and faster by the second.

“I think the tap’s broken.”

“We should go.”



        “It’s not apples.”

        “It’s definitely apples.”

        “I’m not lying to you, the answer isn’t apples!”

        “Then it’s unsolvable.”

        Savoir Faire chuckled and shook her head to wipe the humor from her face. It had been several days since had left Canterlot with the simple-minded king, and the draconequus had never ceased to surprise the pony. Discord displayed power unlike anything she had ever witnessed in all her years of living in the magic capitol of Equestria, constantly performing bizarre and creative acts that she would never have believed to be possible. He would crack a rock like an egg and cook the yolk and no one would ever believe it if they were told where it came from; he could grab a fistful of grass and, with no small amount of showmanship, unclench his paw and reveal an apple; and of course, they were never thirsty ever since the creature learned how to pull fruit from the ground. (And it was certainly fortunate that most of his tricks revolved around food, as Savoir Faire shortly realized she had not packed nearly as much rations as she had thought.)

        To the advisor, all of Discord’s displays seemed to come as naturally as breathing, having never once seen him expend any time or effort in learning his tricks. The urges to try a little something of this or that came to the king on a whim, and Savoir Faire had long since abandoned trying to dissuade his casual indulgences and resigned herself to giving a disappointed “tut” when a bird squawked in surprise as the berry it was about to peck popped like a bubble. She would only ever intervene with her advice on those regular events where the draconequus attempted something grand or do too much all at once and lose control of whatever situation he had concocted, though in those cases, her learned advice consisted almost entirely of some variation of “run.”

        And every time the pair was catching their breath after leaving some new calamity behind, all the earth pony wanted was to be able to reach out and teach him how to control his magic. After all, ponies loved a unicorn. Ponies always wanted a unicorn around. Ponies looked twice at a unicorn.

        But like clockwork, whenever Savoir Faire’s mind turned to those bitter thoughts, there was always a small sigh or, equally jarring, an absence of noise that would bring her attention to the towering creature beside her. It was so easy for her to forget how much Discord enjoyed imitating every creature that caught his attention, with his advisor being his favorite study. It brought a little happiness to her trek whenever she’d catch him trying to step in rhythm with her; she’d tease him a bit by starting to stomp and canter and trot as erratically as possible, but the draconequus always managed to follow those silly walks shortly enough. But whenever Savoir would catch him wearing her own disquieting frown, the pony could not help but feel responsible for whatever unhappy thoughts he was tormenting himself with. So she would put on one of the hundreds of silly faces she had perfected over her years and stare at him until he turned and cracked up at the sight.

        Riding on the wings of her victory over gloom, the advisor would complete the routine by beginning the day’s lesson of proper royal behavior and etiquette. Her pupil had made the first lesson agonizingly painful by staunchly refusing to make any attempt to participate and antagonizing her as often as he could until she simply gave up and spent the rest of the day facing his endless torrent of questions about every little thing he could think of. (His favorite question was simply “Why?”, which he would gleefully repeat in response to everything until Savoir was forced to set him on a new subject or risk trying to explain the most intricate workings of the universe, a topic she wasn’t entirely well-versed in.)

        Savoir Faire found her answer when a welcome dose of spontaneous inspiration struck and prompted her to make a game out of the exercises. It took no small amount of thinking on her part, but she was able to keep Discord engaged with riddles that she would clumsily combine with her larger point. It wasn’t perfect, but nothing ever was.

        “There is an answer,” she said encouragingly. “Try to think. It goes around and comes around, and touches all you earn. And though you may not ask, you’ll receive it in return.”


        “It’s not apples.”

        “Then what is it?”

        “Generosity,” she said plainly, a carefully-measured amount of disappointment clear in her voice. “Remember what we talked about the other day?”

“You know I don’t,” the draconequus said with a shrug.

“I was telling you about the Virtues of Sovereignty. Truth, benevolence, positivity, generosity, loyalty, and magic,” she listed off. “You’re going to need to know these if you want to show everypony what a great king you are. Are you still listening to me?” Discord whistled innocently as he took a sudden interest at some invisible something in the sky.

“Discord.” The spirit cringed at the sound. It was the magical tone of voice taught in secret to to parents, teachers, neighbors, and all those people in your life with complete direct control of your fate that bewitched the hearer to face the speaker and miserably take whatever masterfully-worded condescension followed until you were permitted to mumble an emasculated “sorry” and be sent off to rethink your life. “Focus.”

“Sorry,” the king mumbled sheepishly.

        “We’ll be in Manehatten in just a few hours, and I want you to be at your best,” the advisor continued, softening her tone to something more sympathetic. While the flop at Ponyville certainly wasn’t completely Discord’s fault, they had lost their chance for what Savoir Faire was hoping would be the trial run for the new king’s introduction to his subjects. “It is wonderful that you were already eager to help ponies from the start, but you need to understand
why you should help your subjects, and when it is better to just leave them to help themselves.”

“Like with that pony and the dragon from before?” Discord hazarded, his head sagging limply in submission.

“Precisely.” The earth pony smiled at how immediately the creature’s mood changed from the small bit of praise. “And I’ll be there to help you whenever you need me.” Satisfied, Discord took a few strides forward and took off into the air to get a view at the small town.

‘Well, with us there, what could possibly go wrong?’

Savoir Faire shut her eyes tight and prayed in the hope that the divine forces that had ignored her all her life had taken a sudden interest in her. “No, please. It has to be perfect, it just has to be. Just this once.”


The purple pony was speechless. She wasn’t expecting all of Manehattan to rush to greet them the second they set foot in the bustling town, but she didn’t think that they would be completely ignored. Ponies of all shapes and sizes and colors pushed through each other in organized mobs, walking in and out of buildings and joining the throng without so much as a passing glance or a word shared.

“Citizens of Manehattan! I present to you his royal majesty, King Discord!”

It was like an eerie dream. If Savoir Faire hadn’t seen a few ponies turn to look at the pair for a split-second, she would have sworn they were invisible. Or ponder the possibility that they had been dead all along.

“His Grace has come to grant his subjects a boon. Simply speak your request and we shall do our best to aid you!” she tried again. Nothing. It was unbelievable! The ponies just went on their way, not giving the sight of the seven-foot tall draconequus and the Canterlot pony draped in a completely ruined blue robe a second thought.

        “Savvy, I don’t think these ponies are very keen on generosity,” Discord spoke, seeming much less effected by the citywide snub than his advisor.

Ignored. Again. It wasn’t like she was trying to ask anything from anyone this time, she was trying to help them! And still, not a soul would give her the time of day. Even that bandit was quick to ignore her after something else arrived on the scene. Was there just something fundamentally flawed about her that made ponies want to turn their backs and abandon her? Was there something about her voice that stopped others from hearing her, no matter how hard she cried out? Or was her coat a rare shade of purple that every living creature in Equestria couldn’t perceive, no matter how many garments or outfits she wrapped herself in? She couldn’t keep living like this...

“Savvy?” a low voice called softly.

Savoir Faire looked up at Discord with a hard grin. “Yes, Your Majesty?”

“Are you okay?”

“Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be?” She felt a single tear tracing down her cheek and hastily wiped it away. “We can’t stop now,” she forced herself to say, sniffling lightly. “There must be somepony out there for us.”


Manehattan was one of the wealthiest and largest provinces in all of Equestria, due to the workings of a number of social and economic factors that enabled the city to grow in size and industry to outshine even Canterlot. Thanks to the railroad industry pioneered by John D. Rockinhorser, ponies flocked to the then-small town for work. The city’s close proximity to the coast made it a central location for traders and migrants looking to profit off of the growing wealth of the city. The growth in population necessitated the construction of more buildings for those ponies looking for a new home, and when some shrewd businessponies realized that others would pay out the nose to live in a small apartment in an already cramped city, hotels and apartment complexes began to spring up from the ground and tower over the city as if to say: “For just two thousand bits you can live in one of these rooms and have just enough space left over to squeeze in a chair or maybe even a table if you’re slim.”

The magnitude of the city became legendary to the rest of Equestria, making it a tourist hotspot on top of being a central trade location and the most well-disguised landfill in the world, and thousands of ponies would annually flock to see the lights and hear the sounds and hopefully not get trampled in the process of being mugged by every legitimate and illegitimate business-stallion they met. And once their business was done, the local Manehattanites would turn to their neighbors and bemoan the fate that had befallen their beautiful home and how their ancestors didn’t travel all the way there so tourists could come to admire it.

Pride (or, for some, envy toward those who were smart enough to live anywhere else), led the locals to harbor no small amount of impatience with the rest of Equestria as outsiders trickled through, and the Manehattanites all unanimously adopted a “you-keep-to-your-own, I’ll-keep-to-my-own, get-outta-da-road-joik” mentality. (Though there also existed an outgoing  minority which took on a “shout madly in the streets because there are microchips in my brain” approach to life.)

Savoir Faire was not aware of any of the rich and winding history that resulted in the stubborn and ill-tempered creatures known as Manehattanites, which only compounded her frustration with the extreme rudeness of the city ponies. Discord silently tagged behind the pony as she darted here and there, cornering any solitary pedestrian and aggressively probing them for any possible crisis that could use royal intervention. The advisor received a variety of responses, ranging from a sheepish grin and quick escape into the crowd to outraged and extensive shouting to some dismissive muttering, but each and every encounter unanimously ending in failure.

The pony continued her efforts for hours, combing every street for opportunity and finding nothing. Savoir miserably walked down the surprisingly empty streets of the Manehattan slums, kicking herself for getting her hopes up so high. The moon was beginning its nocturnal flight, and the dim lights of the slums cast gloomy shadows on the gray sidewalks. Savoir Faire was certain that there was something poetic in the situation, but she wasn’t in any mood to care.

Discord looked at his advisor uncertainly as he copied her footsteps; usually she would have caught on and started to play with him by then, but she just continued her slow trudge, barely lifting her hoofs off the sidewalk and occasionally stepping on the frayed ends of her tattered robe. The draconequus anxiously twisted his tail. Something was wrong with his advisor. But he was there to help, wasn’t he?

“Savvy? Are you alright?” he asked tentatively. The purple pony stopped dead and sighed heavily, her head sagging even lower as she deflated.

“I’ve been better.”

“Do you have a problem that I could help you solve?”

There was a pause. And then, “I’ve been trying to find people to help. But it’s been hard so far. Could you help me?”

Discord delicately patted his advisor’s head, the fluffy light purple mane gently springing back to position, and scanned the streets in hopes he could spot someone who looked as miserable as the purple pony at his side. His natural height allowed him to see a good distance around, but he wasn’t able to see anything. But he felt something.

The spirit finally paused to contemplate the strange sensations that had been tickling at him ever since he entered the city. He had no way to put it into words, but he could feel this dull tingle as he walked through the streets; the sensation sharpened here and there, pulling his attention in the direction of ponies who had collided with each other or a family of tourists all disagreeing on where to visit next, and other such things. Sometimes he could know exactly what was happening without ever turning to look at it or hear it.

But now it was more than just the tingle. Now it was as if he could hear emotions. Or feel them? Taste them? No, maybe not taste. It was like every sense at once and yet something completely different. There was a sort of gray heat surrounding Savoir; like a fire that didn’t burn him, but actually soothed him with its energy. He could hear the sound of two ponies arguing with each other, berating and swearing their hatred for one another. It was the same sound that he heard during those moments on their trek when Savoir was quiet for a while. He always tried to listen to what the voices were saying, but whenever he tried to tune in, she would always suddenly look at him with some silly face and distract him. Though Discord would always try to walk by the little pony and stay in the warmth she always radiated, there were times when it wasn’t enough and would have to make his own. Some instinct would tell him that he needed to turn a tree into rubber or turn a bird hot pink, and he would, and it would make him feel warm for a while. But then the awful coldness would creep back and he had to do it all again or he swore he would freeze to death. That’s why he liked this new city so much: it always felt warm.

Now, past the glow from the purple pony, he could hear something else. It was like five voices all chanting the same sad cry over and over. A small smile stretched across Discord’s face in response to the sound, though he wasn’t immediately sure why he was happy to hear it; he wanted to think that it was because he had someone to help, or that he could cheer up Savvy, but it didn’t sound right to him. He was almost happy to hear that the pony was unhappy. He wasn’t sure if he liked that thought.

“Come on, Savvy, this way!” Discord said excitedly, scooping the surprised pony off her feet and fluttering into the air. He blindly followed the sound or feeling or smell or whatever it was, zagging and cutting down alleys and streets until the sensation was at its strongest. It was only after the draconequus put down his pony that the two realized where they were.

Before them stood a dismal building wedged between two equally miserable-looking structures. The only reason it could even be called a house was because the walls still seemed to manage to stop what was left of the roof from falling off. The outside was covered with graffiti that served as the only bit of color in the area.

Without a word, Discord walked toward the splintered door, knocking carefully so as not to send it completely off its hinges. After a few moments, the door slowly creaked open to reveal a small and cautious-looking young pony’s face


“Can I help you?”

The pony whimpered and backed away from the door and an older, though equally-weary, stallion took his place.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Please.” The stallion’s face was haggard, with tired and desperate eyes sunken back into an emaciated gray face.

“Excuse me, but do you have a problem that I could help you solve?”


To say the family was troubled was a grievous understatement. The father, Dusty, rounded the family into the kitchen to meet their guests and sadly recounted the family’s history of misfortune: The matriarch of the family, tenderly nicknamed Granny Granular, had led her family to Manehattan as one of the earliest immigrants to sail to the city. Through hard work and honest living, enduring heavy tragedies and loss of loved ones, the family had earned their new life of complete destitution. The family struggled to scrounge up enough food to stay alive, with most of the family’s food going to the youngest filly, Mite, who had spent most of her few years sick in bed. Dusty, his wife, Arenose, and their older daughter, Reverie, worked tirelessly to keep the family afloat. The pressure of their situation was constantly eroding away at them, especially on Reverie, whom the family depended on for her unicorn magic, which the family of earth ponies viewed as a gift from heaven itself.

As Dusty talked as the family and royals gathered in the drab and cracked kitchen, Discord couldn’t help but have his mind wander to the enormity and color and life of the palace back in Canterlot. He had already decided how he was going to help these ponies, but first, he would need a better look around.

“Sorry, excuse me, I need to use the little colt’s room,” he spoke up as Dusty warmly recalled the story of how he and Arenose met.

“Whichever room has the bucket in it,” Granny said in her weary voice. Discord awkwardly returned her warm smile and scampered off into the hall. There were only two choices, so the draconequus stepped through one of the doors and stopped in his tracks when he saw the tiny, confused bundle looking at him from within a cocoon of thin rags.

“Oh, hello,” the voice said sweetly. “I thought I heard voices, but Mama doesn’t like it much when I get up. My name’s Mite. What’s yours?”

“Well hello, my little pony. I am King Discord,” the spirit introduced himself proudly.

“Wow, you’re a king?” the filly said with what little energy she could manage. “What’s it like?”

Discord thought for a few seconds. “There’s been a lot of walking around so far.”

“I wish I could do that. But always Mama says that I need to save my energy. I asked Granny why and she said that I was sick,” the filly said sadly. “I know they all worry about me. And it makes me sad that I can’t even help. I wish I was better.”

“I could try to help,” Discord offered as he took a few steps closer to the wide-eyed girl, trying her hardest to fight her exhaustion.

“Really? You can make me better?”

“Sure. It can’t be too hard.”


Savoir Faire internally sighed as she dreamily listened to the family’s tales of hardship and togetherness. She would have given anything to have someone to lean on when she was younger. And though she wanted to let herself melt into the family’s story and join them as they suffered together, a terrible feeling was nagging at her. Some dreadful omen that something was going to spoil this short-lived moment of solace: experience.

“Oh, no no no no no! S-Savvy!”

Before the second “no” had escaped Discord’s mouth, the advisor was already on the scene of the latest disaster. The draconequus was frantically hopping back and forth on his mismatched legs and twisting his tail as he madly flicked his attention from the purple pony to the brown potted plant that was standing among a small stack of blankets.

“Where’s Mite? Where’s my little girl?” Arenose asked, admirably fighting her first instinct of shrieking in despair. The rest of the colorless family was struck paralyzed as they watched the two strangers in their home hover over the shrub that was once their daughter.

“Discord, what did you do?” the advisor hissed harsher than she intended.

“I was just trying to help! She was sick and--and I was trying to use magic to make her better! I wasn’t trying to do this!

This couldn’t really be happening, could it? Savoir wanted to just shake her head and be back in the living room with the rest of the family, dreaming of a life like theirs. But it had all fallen apart. Again. And it would always be this way. Why did she always have to try so hard when it only made it hurt more in the end?

‘I could have told you this would happen. Why do you always have to fight me?’

But before she could advise her distressing king to flee, an uncertain voice broke the tension. All eyes were on Reverie as the young unicorn gingerly entered the room and approached her transformed sister. If it weren’t for the never-ending sounds of city life that were penetrating the house, one could have heard a pin drop as she carefully inspected the withering leaves of the plant. Seconds passed like hours for everyone watching, but as she turned her former sister around in her hooves and held it up to what sparse was present in the room, her movements became more and more confident until at last she rushed back to embrace her family with tears shimmering in her eyes.

“He’s done it! He’s done it!” the unicorn cried.

“Try not to knock over Granny on the way out,” Savoir whispered to the tense spirit huddled over her.

“He’s saved her!” Discord began to dash for the crowded doorway, though his escape was foiled by a swift tug on his tail by his curious partner.

“What do you mean?”

“I could never help Mite before. My magic isn’t nearly strong enough to heal ponies, and we could never even afford a doctor to find out what was wrong,” Reverie explained, her cheeks wet with warm tears. “But Mom, Dad, Granny! Do you remember a few months ago when I was house-sitting for Ms. Belle down the street? She showed me how to take care of her plants if they started to wither!” Not wasting another second, the unicorn turned and aimed her horn at the plant, a small, green magical glow surrounding the two of them.

Before the ponies’ very eyes, the limp, brown plant began to straighten and become rigid and tall; the withered leaves unfurled and spread as the sickly brown was washed away by a gradual green that crept and spread across the entire plant.

“Excuse me, sir? Could please undo the spell you cast on my sister?” Discord snapped his talon and in a flash, the healthy-looking plant was replaced by a healthy-looking, though somewhat confused, filly.

“How did I get over here?” Mite wondered aloud. Catching sight of her mother, the filly scampered back to the bundle of sheets that composed her bed before looking at her hooves in shock. “I’ve never been able to move that fast before.”

Unable to contain themselves any longer, the family rushed to their youngest member, lovingly embracing her and nearly drowning the little pony in a ceaseless stream of exhilarated praises and loving adoration.

        Savoir wanted to sing out from the top of the tallest tower of Manehattan. It had finally happened: everything had turned out fine. No, better than fine, it turned out fantastic! Better than she had ever dared to hope! She could have exploded with joy then and there if it weren’t for one tiny irk poking at the back of her head.

        ‘Well, this wasn’t a disaster and they all seem happy. But how’s your little pet handling it?’

        The pony turned to look at her king only to find that he had vanished. Her ears perked up at a sound partially hidden by the overjoyed cheers of the family: a sharp ‘snap’ and familiar guffaw echoing from somewhere else in the house. Soon after came a loud series of cracks, splats, and even a fwee; when the wild cacophony finally culminated in a massive crash, the ponies finally ended their tender moment and cautiously moved into the hall.

        The family nearly had to shield their eyes from the vibrant colors that shone from every corner of the suddenly enormous interior of the house. Stripes, spots and polka dots of spread across the walls as if there were some arts-and-crafts detonation. Ribbons and curtains cascaded down the ceiling, and occasionally the windows scattered about the room would fly off the wall and fasten themselves somewhere else. Now and then a polka dot would peel away and drop on to the ground, making a hole in the ground that appeared to magically lead to any number of the other spots around.

        The floor in front of the family shook and bulged up as something began to force itself up. With a final push, the floor stretched into a tall white box. Dusty regarded the black handle running down the side of the box for a moment and slowly pulled on it. The box immediately swung open like a door, letting all manner of fruits, vegetables, sweets, dairy, and bread wash over the pony, completely burying the shocked father.

“Come on in, and pull yourself up a chair!” The ponies jumped as Discord suddenly appeared right behind them, grabbed Mite and Reverie in his arms, flapped up into the air, and dropped them in two floating arm chairs. “Let the fun begin! It’s time to let down your hair!”

A large chest appeared behind the draconequus in a flash and closed around him, taking both of them to the ground. The instant the chest touched down, Discord sprung up from inside of it, the container suddenly filled to the brim with bits.

“It’s wacky in Discord’s playhouse!”

Savoir Faire was stunned from this day’s latest fit of complete whiplash. She didn’t know her record for having her hopes raised one second and then destroyed the next in a single day, but she was certain that today had shattered it.

“Oh my stars and garters,” Granny gasped. “Dusty, would you look at all this food?”

“And all those bits! Arenose, I can finally buy you a real wedding band!” the husband exclaimed, embracing his wife warmly.

Savoir Faire suppoed that the record was just made that much harder to beat. She watched with some pride as Discord showed off all of the new accessories and rooms and surprises he saw fit to implement in the poor Manehattanites’ home, including a kitchen with a hot, cold, and lemonade tap, a new rocking chair for Granny with several vibrating settings, and a pool-sized jacuzzi, and another refrigerator with an endless supply of food in case the ponies were too hungry to walk down the stairs and get to the first one.


Hours later, Savoir and Discord were finally able to slip away from the family’s endless praises and thanks and find some shelter from the constant pushing crowds of Manehattan in a short alleyway.

“Your Majesty,” the purple pony began, “if you don’t mind me asking, why did you do all that?”

“What do you mean? They were hungry so I gave them food, and they were poor so I gave them money. I didn’t do something wrong, did I?”

“No, not at all. I’m very proud of you for that, Discord, but I was referring more to the radical home makeover. Why did you do that?”

“Because I wanted to help them. And I wanted them to stay warm, since their house got so cold after I turned Mite back. Besides, they looked like they were having fun. ”

It was at that exact moment that Savoir Faire, the humble earth pony advisor, set in motion a series of events that would forever change the course of history.

“Well, I don’t suppose there could be much harm in having a little fun now and then,” she said, opting not to argue and ruin this victorious moment.

“So, where to next?” Discord asked as he snapped the map the pony had packed in her saddlebags and unfolded the parchment. Savoir shifted the bags on her robes and leaned squeezed underneath the draconequus to see for herself.

“Well, we came from Canterlot then down south to Ponyville...” she said softly as she traced their path with her hoof. “Then we went north east to Manehattan. So it would be best to go...” There was an awkward pause as she moved her hoof to the city and remembered unhappily that the city was on a peninsula.

        “So it would be best to go... exactly back the way we came,” she concluded with a sough. “I guess we should go ask Dusty and Arenose if we could intrude on their home for a night. They shouldn’t mind, I think the hardest part would be convincing them to only let us stay the one night.”

“You know, Savvy, I could probably fly us back to Ponyville in a day,” Discord offered to the pony’s surprise. “I really don’t feel that tired. And I bet I could carry you.”

Savoir Faire smiled softly up at the spirit’s hopeful face for a few seconds as the voice inside her head shouted and booed and bashed trash can lids against her brain and stomped up and down, crying out for reason and sanity and survival.

“If you really believe you can manage it, then I trust you.” Before the pony could rethink her words Discord was already in the air with a throaty cheer, and with one swift motion he clicked his heels together, tossed the pony onto his neck, and zipped off to the sky. Time seemed to slow as the two hovered above the city, giving Savoir a moment to admire the electric beauty of the metropolis.

Discord reached around his back to hold the pony’s hooves down securely and beat his wings. And then they were gone.


        There was a saying among pegasi: “Equestria’s real beauty can only be appreciated from the air.” As far as Savoir Faire was concerned, it was just a line of nonsense that the flying ponies liked to spout to belittle the earthbound races. (And it may have just been the earth pony in her talking, but she always wondered what the pegasi saw that was so impressive when they had their heads stuffed in a cloud or each other’s rears all day long. As far as she was concerned, you couldn’t appreciate the real value of something until you took a long, close look at it.)

        But as she rested on Discord’s shoulders, the light of the sun shining from directly above her, she did have to concede that the higher view gave her a new perspective over the land and showed her things she had never noticed before during her walk to Ponyville. The dreamy way the clouds listed through the sky, or how lively the town looked with all of the villagers moving through the streets like little productive ants, or how much smaller and closer together the world seemed when you were above it all. But the most prominent things Savoir noticed was the enormous forest that stood at Ponyville’s borders that she was fairly certain hadn’t been there just a few days ago.

        “I think we should investigate,” Savoir said. “Something does not seem right. Not even unicorn magic should be able to grow a forest this quickly.”

        “You’re certainly feeling adventurous, Savvy,” Discord said with a wily grin. “It’s nice to see you ready to dive into something without wasting time trying to learn about it.”

        “What? No, that is what I was suggesting we--” The rest of the advisor’s words transformed into a shrill yelp as she clung onto the plummeting draconequus’ neck.

        The landing went as smoothly as the pony had learned to expect, and the two spent a good minute trying to pull Discord’s head out from the ground after the spirit had forgotten to slow his descent. With a great heave Discord was released and stumbled backward, tripping over emerging tree roots and his own tail before finally catching a low-hanging tree branch on his horns and flopping onto his belly. Rubbing his poor aching head, the draconequus cracked open an eye to take in his first look of the forest.

        Flapping his wings to right himself onto his feet, Discord rubbed his eyes to make sure they weren’t playing tricks on him. The giggling Savoir was surrounded by that comforting gray glow as always, but all around her was a heavy fog of green light, matted with familiar flecks of gray here and there. The green permeated the forest, oozing out from the trees and grass and trailing out from the bushes where animals were hiding in their burrows from the sudden interlopers.

        And beyond the thicket of trees and green was a shimmering green light as bright as the sun (well, he was counting on the sun still being bright since the last time he saw it. The forest canopy very near eclipsed all light). Squinting to focus his gaze as the emerald glow faded away from his vision, he caught sight of a figure, possibly a pony, watching them. Perhaps having realized it had been spotted, quick as a whip and quiet as a breeze, the figure retreated with a bound into the dark cover of the forest.  

        “Are you hurt, Your Majesty?” Savoir finally asked as she grappled with her dying giggles.

        “Yeah... I mean, no. I’m fine,” he said. “Say, Savvy, I’m not sure I like this place.”

        The humor left the pony’s face and she twisted her head this way and that at the forest, stepping in place as she tried to get a feel of the earth. “I agree with you on that. There is something bizarre about this whole forest. It feels like...” she paused as she scrounged to find words. The feel of the earth came naturally to all earth ponies and seldom needed explaining; it was like trying to describe color to the blind. “It’s not quite magic, but it’s not quite natural, either. It’s like somepony forced a forest to grow.”

        Discord was hopeful that his small shiver went unnoticed and drew closer to the purple pony. “I think we should head that way.” He pointed in the direction of the figure from before. “Just call it a hunch.”


        The pair pushed through the brush of the forest, trying their best to navigate the unfamiliar ground, their only protection from bumping into trees being the ball of light that Discord had conjured to hover above them.

“Are you sure we’re going the right way?”

“You tell me. You were the one who said we should go this direction,” Savoir said testily. She may have been an earth pony, but she was always a Canterlot mare at heart; the down-home style of living simply was not her way, and she was certain that even the most rustic and verdant pony would quickly lose their nerve in this wicked maze. Not to mention every branch and bramble was trying to rip her already-tattered robes.

 “Right, right. I just expected to have found something by yow!” The draconequus blinked in surprise a few times at the sharp spikes that were rising just inches away from his face. He felt a weakening pull on his tail and floated up to solid ground next to the panting pony. Looking back in front of him, he saw the deep pit that had so suddenly swallowed him.

“What were you thinking?” Savoir shouted angrily. “You could have been killed!”

“Sorry, Savvy. I wasn’t trying to, or anything,” Discord offered weakly. The pony kept her eyes locked on him for a while longer before finally breaking away.

        “Just don’t scare me like that again,” she said sternly. “I don’t want to have to put your tail in my mouth a second time.” Discord bit his lip and twisted his tail as he regarded the sullen pony with confusion. He hadn’t tried to scare her or make her angry that time, and no one was hurt. So why did he feel guilty?

A green glow stole Discord from his thoughts as the figure appeared again, this time standing much closer. The draconequus’ great eyebrows furrowed in suspicion and he calledd out, “Hey! You did this, didn’t you?”

The glow dimmed and the figure glided deeper into the trees. He did not stop to listen to his advisor’s alarmed shouts and tore off after the stranger as fast as his wings could take him. Discord twisted his body this way and that to avoid every tree branch that he could have sworn were lashing out as he neared them, never slowing down or letting his quarry out of his sight. After a long and dizzying chase, he finally exploded through a curtain of vines and found himself in a large clearing. Shielding his eyes with one hand to block out the setting sunlight (and taking a mental note to make something that could do that for him another time), Discord finally laid eyes on the creature that had been haunting him ever since he entered the forest.

“A deer? My would be assassin is a deer?” He couldn’t help but laugh in spite of himself.

“Things are not always as they appear.” The soothing voice immediately caught Discord’s attention and he glared at the doe critically. “Brother.”

“Who are you?”

“I am the predator. The prey. The shelter. The trap.” The doe spoke with a wild grin, her eyes burning with an intensity mostly unknown to the species. “But you, Brother Decay, may know me as Nature.”

        “I think you might have me confused with someone else. You see, my name is Discord.” Discord took a step back as Nature slowly advanced, her body crouched low as though ready to pounce.

        “You little twit,” the doe spat. “You lower us all by calling yourself by what those lowly ponies label you.”

        “Hey, I didn’t even have a name until Savvy gave me--”


        “How dare you allow a mortal to have any sort of power over you!” Nature roared, her calming voice transforming into a painful rasp. “I would have done you the favor of ridding you of her had you not blundered into my trap first.”

        “Leave. Now.” Though Discord’s expression was as still as stone, his voice was dripping with menace he had never thought himself capable of.


        “I shall. Just as soon as I rip you out from that costume.” The earth below Discord suddenly opened and swallowed him, burying him up to his waist. He lifted his talon to call on his magic, but the vines he had cut through sprung to life and constricted his two hands, binding them together. “And for all the harm you have done to me, I shall not make this pleasant for you. Treating the sun and moon as though they were playthings. Turning dirt to soap and water. You have done everything in your power to antagonize me, and now I shall have my satisfaction.”

        Discord struggled against his shackles, but his efforts only served to excite the spirit further.

        “You even had Brother Death furious with me. He tells me that you stole something that belonged to him by turning it into a plant,” Nature whispered into his ear with her serene voice as she stalked around him. “And while I could not care less for whatever business you two have to settle. As far as I am concerned, whatever you own is whatever you take for yourself.”

        “So, just how exactly are you going to get me to go with you?” Discord challenged as the deer came around to stare him down. “The other guy couldn’t convince me, and I really don’t feel like going anywhere with you right now either.”

        Nature’s laugh was sharp and loud, like an eagle trying to chatter like a squirrel. “Do not make the mistake of expecting me to be anything like that buffoon. If a wolf tried to let things play out and hope for the best that a meal would come to him, he would starve.” As she spoke, the spirit’s form began to ripple and shift. The elegant frame became more pointed and streamlined as her neck sank and pushed forward. Her muzzle stretched away from her face, her mouth filling with two rows of sharp fangs. Her hooves split into wide paws while her tail stretched out further. The transformation complete, Nature pointed her head to the sky and released a bloodcurdling howl that chilled Discord to the bone.

        “As I said before, I am the predator,” the wolf spoke with a deep, guttural growl. “And now, Brother, you will be my prey.”

        Discord shut his eyes and turned away as the beast lunged at him, afraid to face the coming attack. When seconds passed and nothing had happened, he risked a peek. Nature was rolling along the ground, clawing and hissing at a purple shape that was pressed up against her.


        With a great buck, the little pony managed to send the wolf flying off of her. Not wasting a second, Savoir Faire galloped to his side, her legs trembling. “Discord, what are you doing?!”

        “I’m in a hole! What are you doing?!”

        “Well, if I really did just tackle that wolf, then I’d say that I’m losing my mind!” she grunted as she tried to chew off the vines wrapped around the draconequus’ hands. Another snarl filled the twilight air and Discord threw himself over the pony.

        “What’s happening? Are you okay?” she asked as she left her work for a moment to look at his pained face.

        “I have a wolf on my back please chew faster.”

        Nature savagely tore into Discord’s flesh, biting and tearing whatever she could get her fangs on. Any trace of her grace was abandoned as the spirit allowed herself to be completely absorbed by her primal instinct. Every second brought new progress into wearing down the rogue spirit, and with it, greater desire to continue. The desire for more was intoxicating; and Discord could feel her every emotion and urge as she attacked burning into his own soul.

“Got it!” Discord threw himself back, shaking the surprised wolf off of him. Not wasting a second, he snapped his paw and vanished from the ground to reappear at Savoir Faire’s side. Scooping the pony in his arms, Discord tried to soar into the air to escape the wild spirit, but rather than the feeling of wind catching under his wings, he felt a crippling pain that forced him to cry out.

“I think she got my wings!” he moaned to the mare as he dashed away from the beast snapping at his heels. Nature managed to bite down on the tip of Discord’s tail, causing him to lose his grip on Savoir and sending her rolling on the ground, her robe catching and tearing on every branch and root and rock on the way.

“You will not escape me,” Nature barked after the draconequus managed to free his tail from her grip. “I have spent days growing this beautiful forest, building my power, all just so that I might end you that much more easily. And even if you could flee, you would only find the others waiting for you. We will never stop hunting for you, Brother.”

Discord squinted and blinked as his vision flickered. The fog had returned, flowing out from the forest into the spirit as she paced around him. It came from everywhere, for miles and miles, every last inch of vegetation fueling Nature’s strength. But that wasn’t all. All those specks of gray that had dotted the green fog dropped from the miasma and covered the clearing, bubbling like a cauldron. And as the heat wafted up from the boiling pool, he could feel all the hate and the violence and the malice that had baptized the forest, from the tallest tree to the humblest blade of grass.

The draconequus clenched his fist, feeling the heat wash through his hands and tickling his finger tips. With a snap of his claw, the ground beneath Nature became a thick puddle of pudding that sucked her legs in and held her still. The wolf snapped viciously at the air as she struggled against the muck, only to gag as a bar of soap suddenly wedged in her mouth. Growling viciously, Nature lowered her body into the puddle and disappeared.

Savoir Faire swallowed nervously as she watched the two spirits battle. Discord had somehow managed to tilt the odds in his favor, but she still didn’t trust the wolf to give up that easily. “Be careful, Discord! She’s up to something!”

Her suspicions came true as she screamed out from a sudden pain in her back leg. Looking over, she saw a wolf’s head sticking from the ground, quickly being joined by the rest of the beast. With the strongest buck she could muster, she kicked the animal off of her and limped away as swiftly as she could as Discord rushed to meet  her

“You both have no hope to survive. I hope you know that,” Nature said with a blood-stained grin as she prowled closer to the injured pony. “I have all the forest giving me power, healing this body Sister Life so graciously loaned to me. You will need something bigger than a pool of desserts and some soap.”

“Bigger?” Discord whispered to himself as he managed to reach Savoir just before their opponent could. With a snap, he teleported the two of them to the far end of the clearing, away from the feral spirit. “Savvy, I think I have a plan,” he said as he set the pony down.

“Well, could you run it by me first?” Her words were lost as her charge vanished with another snap and a flash. Hesitantly turning around, she saw that Nature had already made it half way across the clearing, teeth gnashing together viciously, slime dripping from the corners of her mouth.

“I will suck the marrow from your bones!”

If she doesn’t kill us, then I’m going to kill you!’

The wolf’s yellow eyes bulged as its entire body skidded to a halt. As if by its own, the wolf tilted her head to the night sky, aimed at the full moon hanging high above them, and let her howls echo across the forest.

There was another flash and a shadow covered the clearing, to both Nature and Savoir Faire’s terror. It hung in the air for a second or two before finally dropping to the ground with an earth-shattering crash that knocked the pony off her hooves and sent her tumbling into a thorn bush. When the dust had settled, she finally pulled herself away from the prickers and looked up to examine the giant stone castle that now dominated the clearing.

        A flash of light from inside the castle caught Savoir’s attention and she delicately limped inside, making sure not to put much weight on her injured leg. She could immediately spot Discord’s distinct profile from inside and made her way over to him. Only after the two had finished their long embrace and he had put her back on the ground did the Canterlot pony realize with dread that she had walked all that way from the thorn bushes without tripping over her robes.

Discord had made it a habit to not think too much about things that Savoir didn’t tell him to. But now, as he looked over the purple pony, her blue robes shredded and lost, leaving her completely exposed, he wondered about the significance of the marks he noticed on the flanks of the ponies he encountered. Savoir told him that the cutie marks were indicative of a pony’s special talent, but he sometimes he wondered how much the marks really meant. And as he gazed down at his companion, her face twisted with humiliation and shame, he wondered what sort of special talent involved a baseball and a screw.


<<Chapter One -- Chapter Three>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

Someone stole my T-Shirt.

FiMfiction Link

        “How did you like that?” Discord asked excitedly, motioning to the interior of the stone castle he had conjured to crush the Spirit of Nature. “See, she said I would need something big to stop her, so I thought, ‘What’s the biggest thing I know?’ And then I remembered how from day one we were talking about how big the castle was! So I snapped up a castle, and it worked!” He stamped his hoof on the stone a few times for emphasis. “So, did I do good?”

        ‘No! No no no no! No! This can’t be happening! Stupid! Stupid stupid stupid robes! Stupid stupid!’


        “Yeahyoudidreallygood!” Savoir Faire blurted out loudly, making the draconequus recoil.

        ‘We have to run, now. We have to run away and cover it up and maybe try it again after he forgets our face.’ Savoir stomped her hooves on the stone anxiously, causing a surge of pain to race up her hind leg and nearly drop her to the floor. The pony shut her eyes tight and hung her head low, biting down on her lip to stop her whimper from escaping.

        “Are you feeling okay?”

        “YesI’mfine!” she yelped again.

        “Because you were bouncing up and down like that.” The pony was sending out a scorching wave of heat that might have taken off the spirit’s eyebrows if it was, well, real. And while it tingled him to the core, he could tell that it was hurting her, so he set to trying to use all the knowledge at his disposal to cool her down. “Do you have to use the bathroom?”



        Darn. He was certain that was it. “What happened to your robes?”

        “Theywererippedupandnowthey’regoneokay?” The tiniest rise in heat betrayed Savoir’s otherwise perfect poker-face.

Discord twisted his tail as he wracked his brain for a solution. “I could try to make you some new ones. Would you like that?” Savoir didn’t take her eyes off the ground. Hesitating only a moment the draconequus snapped his fingers and a floating cut of fabric appeared in the air over her. “Maybe something with stripes or spots. I’m thinking something in green--no, red! Agh! Purple! I mean shmellow! Blue?”

The silence in the air weighed heavy on the desperate creature who draped the blue canvas over the downcast mare’s shoulders before squatting down in front of her, arcing his neck down and resting his head on the ground underneath her. Discord looked up at the frozen pony with puppy-eyes.

“You always help me out and steer me right.” Savoir tensed. “Can’t I do anything to help you now, Savvy?”

The heat could have melted stone and turned the forest to ash.

“Stop calling me that!!” Savoir shouted to the night sky, bringing both her hooves down in an exacerbated stomp that nearly flattened Discord’s head. Discord was dumbstruck and found himself completely unable to find any words. “My name’s not ‘Savvy’!” she cried out again, rising to her hooves despite the pain and narrowing her bloodshot eyes at the draconequus.

“Savoir, why--”

No! I said that isn’t my name! Don’t you ever understand anything I say?!”

A single spark triggered something deep inside of the spirit. “Don’t you shout at me!” Discord raged, bringing himself to his full height to tower over the stunned mare. The inferno inside the draconequus could have lasted forever -- he could not deny there was a temptation to fan the flames -- but he faltered. He would never know what Savoir had witnessed, but one look at her cowering frame filled him with enough guilt to make him certain he never wanted it to be seen again.

What followed was a long period of silence, with neither of the two feeling worthy to speak a word, much less look at the other. The pair split apart and moved to opposite sides of the chamber, keeping their backs to each other. Just as Discord was beginning to fear that this unwanted stand-off would never end, a sharp inhale from across the room caught his notice. Turning his head as far as he dared, he saw the pony who was not Savoir Faire miserably gimp in his direction, the fabric slipping off her back and onto the floor. The king sighed heavily and deflated, certain that he was about to be delivered a fully-deserved earful; not eager to receive his scolding, he stayed put until she finally reached him. Curiously, rather than scold him for his temper and his failure to follow the six Virtues of Sovereignty, the injured pony walked around in front of him and laid down on her side, extending her injured hind leg toward him.

“I’m sorry,” she spoke softly. She was still afraid to look him in the eye and opted to let a few teardrops splash behind her where he couldn’t see. With equal parts hesitance and fear of error, Discord extended his paw and gently curled his fist around the mangled hoof and pictured in his mind the tissue and fur mending. He released his grip quickly and experimented with opening and closing his numb paw, finding the feeling returning to it after nearly a minute.

The mare carefully rose to her hooves, stomping the healed leg on the cobbles with satisfaction. Her smile became sheepish as she finally looked over to the watchful creature.

“Thank you.”

“What did you mean,” Discord said slowly, not wanting to upset her any further, “when you said Savvy isn’t your name?” The pony’s ears went limp; it would have been easy to say that it was just a joke and it did not mean a thing, but she could not stand to lie to him for another second.

“I mean that my name... isn’t ‘Savoir Faire’. I didn’t tell you the truth when I told you my name.”

“Is my name not Discord, too?”

“No... No, you can be Discord if you want to be.” Every fiber of her being fought to stop the words from escaping, but she pushed onward. “My real name is Screwball.”

“Like your cutie mark?” The purple pony followed the talon’s path to the insignia on her flank.

“Yes. Precisely like my cutie mark.”

“But I don’t understand,” Discord puzzled, twirling his white beard around a claw. “I thought you said they relate to special talents. So what does that have to do with giving good advice to ponies?”

“I’m not an advisor.” The words did not come easily, but Screwball felt relieved to say them. As the moon climbed higher in the night sky, the forest became cooler. The pony shivered a bit and sidled next to Discord and sat against him.  

        “If it’s about the robes, I could make you some new ones,” the draconequus said as he telepathically pulled the discarded robe back toward them.

“I mean... I lied about being a royal advisor, too... I was the court jester.” The pony paused and waited for the outraged cry of betrayal at her deceit, but it never came. Instead, Discord simply shifted in his seat and cocked his head to the side.

“Why a jester?”

She supposed there wasn’t any harm in telling. “It was just what I was good at: making people laugh by acting silly and performing tricks. I lived in Canterlot all my life, and I couldn’t find any work in town where I could put my talents to use and I didn’t want to join the circus, so, like most ponies in town with nowhere to go, I applied to directly serve the king in the palace. I was given a single chance to impress the royal family, so I gave them my best routine of jokes, juggling, and falling on my face whenever it felt appropriate. They kept me around, and I was left to tend to myself. I had a small room tucked away in some corner of the palace away from even the other servants, only called for duty whenever the king became too upset to think clearly or for certain events like balls or... birthday parties,” she added with a wince, remembering her first glimpse of Discord as he tore apart the banquet hall while she joined the guests fleeing in terror.

“Was it fun?”

“Not... really.” She could have left it at that, but she felt that she owed Discord more. And deep down, the pony was grateful to finally have someone who cared enough to listen to her. “I was the only fool in the castle, so I never had much in common with the other servants. I never expected to impress anypony by being a jester, but I thought I could at least be afforded some courtesy. The maids were always ‘too busy’ to talk with me, since they always had something new to clean or some gossip to share with the others. The cooks would always make me bake my own pies for my routines, and they obviously weren’t happy whenever they saw I had come to their kitchen to use the tiniest sliver of their precious supplies. The guards actually spoke to me the most, in that most of them would insult me or laugh after they tripped me when I walked past them. The gardeners and animal keepers always had a fun time tossing an acorn in my mane and then letting a squirrel after me. I often wondered if I was actually invisible to the princesses and the queen outside of the throne room, considering how they were always celebrated for their grace and yet never seemed to notice my greetings.”

“But then why did you say you were an advisor?” It felt like something was squeezing her heart, but Screwball couldn’t stop herself from talking. So she continued, pushing down her sobs and holding back her tears as well as she was able.

“I think it was because... I think I wanted, just once in my life... to be appreciated. I thought if I stayed behind when everypony else ran away, others might recognize me for my... I don’t really know what I imagined they’d think. So I hid all night in the real advisor’s chambers, and the next morning there were only a few ponies skulking around, so I took that as a sign that there was a reason that everypony stayed gone. And then I thought, ‘There’s change in the air, so why not join the change?’” Her voice was bitter with self-deprecating enthusiasm. “So I grabbed a new set of clothes and set out to meet the new world with a new name and a new life. And it gave me a pie in the face... And you. And for the first time... For the first time I don’t... I don’t feel so lonely all the time.”


        ‘You stupid blabbermouth!’

        Discord twisted his head to look her in the eye, confusion plain on his face. “Why were you lonely?”

        ‘Don’t tell him a thing! He doesn’t need to know!’


        ‘It’s our business! None of his!’

        “My earliest memory is riding on a train headed for Canterlot.” Screwball breathed slowly to keep herself afloat as her storming mind threatened to swallow her. She was terrified of thinking about her youth -- she had spent her entire adult life trying to move away from it. “I was just a filly, I couldn’t have been more than five. My parents weren’t with me... Not... Not that I would ever know them if I saw them... I never knew why I was put on the train or why I was sent to Canterlot... Looking back, it’s hard to be sure if I was abandoned or if I might have snuck away, since I was stowed away with all the luggage. I had no idea where I was and I didn’t know anypony there.”

She breathed for a minute before continuing, speaking much softer. “I always tried to make friends with the other foals my age, but they all avoided me like a plague. I guess they just saw me as a stranger. I was close, once. An apple cart nearly ran me over in the street. It was the happiest day of my life. A few of the apples flew off and almost pelted me so I threw my hooves up to catch them and then my hooves threw the apples up all on their own. Before I knew it, I was juggling them and all the others were watching me... I think they were in awe... It felt nice. One of them even laughed. Then an apple rolled under one of my hooves and I fell down and they all bonked me on the head. And then we all laughed. They helped me up and asked me my name, so I told them--no, I told them my real name--but then their parents hurried over and pulled them all away. I wasn’t sure what they were saying to the kids, but it didn’t sound encouraging. But I didn’t care. Because I wiped myself off and I saw that I had a cutie mark. So I ran home to tell... Nana.

“Stars above... I miss you, Nana. I... There wasn’t any real orphanage in Canterlot for me to go to. But I found Nana--well, she found me when I snuck into her house one day to steal some food. I thought I would never walk again after the whipping she gave me, but she took me in, sweet old thing she was... She did her best to set me straight, teach me right from wrong, how to read... She even tried to find some couples who might have wanted to adopt a filly for me. I lived with her for a year before I got my cutie mark. We never had much money, so once I found my talent, I tried to help raise money for her with some street performances. It wasn’t much--I never expected to make enough to fix the leaky roof that always dripped even when it wasn’t raining or or repaint the house or fix the lock on the front door--but we had more to eat. And then... one day... I went back home. And Nana was lying on the floor... she was old, but I never... I didn’t even want to think... I tried--tried to help her up, but she couldn’t move... She... And I... B-but she said to me--she told me to think about the good in the world... and she made me promise... promise not to forget about her.”

Screwball took another breath. She had done it: she was almost through and she was still holding herself together. The years since then had helped, and though the storm inside her was still raging, only the tiniest drops of water were leaking out.

        “I was only six years old. But Nana had left me the cottage. I wasn’t actually old enough to legally live on my own, but nopony ever bothered with us before, so I don’t think they ever knew. So, I lived on my own--”

‘Alone with ourself.’

“--and I just tried to get by in life with whatever bits I scraped up from my street acts. I just kept to myself mostly until I was sixteen and old enough to work in the palace. And five years later... Here I am.”

        She finished speaking and sat silently. The eerie quiet of the forest had been filled with the hushed scratches and rustling of the animals who had cautiously emerged from their hidden shelters once they were certain the terrifying calamity that had shook the land was over. A light wind howled sadly through the stone castle and was gone. A few curious birds boldly landed on the tops of the half-formed walls and looked down at the two inhabitants with wondering eyes. When the peace threatened to never break, Screwball raised her head for the first time since she began talking and looked to see Discord’s reaction.

        ‘What will it be? Anger? Contempt? I’d wager my money on disappointment. But there’s always the chance that he’ll just laugh at us.’

She prepared herself for the worst and turned to the draconequus she had lied for his entire life. And for all the time the two spent together, she should have known better than to think that Discord would have made anything simple. His face was still, his white eyebrows furrowed in contemplation and his jaw locked to one side. Try as she might, the pony could not see through his cryptic expression; she gazed deeper into his gold and ruby eyes, noticing with some strange humor their difference in size, desperately searching for her answer. Did he know what he was doing to her? Why couldn’t he just get it over with?

        “So... you’re telling me you didn’t have an advisor for all your life?” Screwball blinked, stunned by the random question.


        “You know, like you,” Discord said simply. “You’re always looking out for me and trying to teach me things.”

        “Discord, not everypony has an advisor.” Leave it to him to drag her into the most emotionally fragile moment of her life and turn it into another lecture on basic pony society. “Kings and other rulers are the only ones that ever need them.”

        “Not true! Mite and Reverie had three of them!”

Screwball’s mouth hung open as the draconequus’ words swam around her turbulent mind. There wasn’t a single trace of humor or irony in his voice, or even the slightest smirk on his crooked face. A beacon of light broke through and the pony’s mind became calm as she reached a stunning understanding.

‘Does he really think that we’re his...? No, don’t you even think about entertaining that thought! Get back here!’

Screwball wouldn’t hear a word of it. In an instant, she was airborne and headed directly for the silly creature’s neck. She wrapped herself around him and buried her wet face in his fur.

        “Ooch! Owie,” he whimpered. The pony pulled her head back to see that she had wrapped her hoof around his damaged wings. Screwball leaned down and gave each wing a gentle kiss before looking back up at Discord’s confused face.

        “Do they feel any better?”

        Discord sniffed. “A little.”


        Sleeping on the stone floor really was not all that bad, Discord thought. He preferred the soft cushion he had conjured, but if he had rolled off of it to be on the ground, then there must have been a reason. Rubbing his bleary eyes with his paw, the king of Equestria examined his new castle. He wasn’t entirely sure if it was completely built when he summoned it, but dropping it probably didn’t do the fortress’ structural integrity any favors; here and there he’d spot missing chunks of stone that were a bit too large and gaping to pass for windows, and he had to watch his step or he might drop down to the lower floor.

        A sudden discomfort in his lower stomach interrupted his review and brought his entire focus to one critical, dire need. Popping back and forth on his feet as softly as he could, Discord shuffled to the foot of the second bed he had conjured, where his advisor was lying in a heavy slumber.

        “Psst... Hey,” he whispered as urgently and softly as he could. “Hey... Hey, Savvy?”

        The purple mare groaned some unintelligible string of slurred syllables and readjusted herself. Fretting for a moment, he moved to the side of the bed she had rolled onto and gently poked her in the ribs.

        “Hey, Screwball? Scroob?”


        “I have to go.”

        With a tired moan, Screwball lifted her head ever so slightly and cracked open an eye to witness the draconequus’ interpretation of “the potty dance.”



Screwball’s hooves barely left the ground as she trudged through a relatively clear path between the trees, leading her charge deeper into the woods. She would have been more than happy to stop at the edge of the trees surrounding the castle, but Discord had refused to stop until they were farther away.

        “Okay, this is good enough,” she announced as she came to a sudden halt. Easily understanding that he was not being given any room to argue, the draconequus sped a few steps away from the pony and took cover behind a tree. As he went about his business, a faint sensation drew his attention to a laurel green light throbbing faintly a distance away. The forest was still filled with the green haze just as before whenever he checked, though the splashes of gray that accompanied it had become much less frequent in their appearances. And though he typically never felt anything from the verdant lights, this one peculiar hue seemed to beckon out to him.

        It was only the gentlest snore that stopped Discord from investigating. He poked his long neck out from behind his tree and saw Screwball lying flat on her stomach with her hooves spread out in front and behind her, sleeping like a log. He gingerly scooped her up in his arms after deciding that it was not the best time to practice the pony’s trick of balancing something on his tail (or rather, deciding he would rather avoid getting the earful if he messed up) and set her back gently on her bed back in the castle.

The draconequus bit his lip as he looked around at the dilapidated walls and found that each open hole to the dark forest suddenly much more threatening. Focusing with all his might, he snapped his claw, wincing at the sharp snap but relaxing when the noise didn’t seem to disturb the pony. He checked his handiwork and beamed with pride as brick after brick appeared from thin air and silently moved to patch in the missing spaces. Nodding contently, Discord exited the castle and made his way back towards the light.

It took him another few minutes to find it again--his wings still hurt too much to move, let alone fly with them, and after the chill he felt when he healed Screwball’s leg he was reluctant to try the spell again so soon. Discord never thought much about how easily magic came to him; from what he gathered with Reverie, a unicorn typically had to learn and practice a spell before they could use it, while all he had to do was want something to happen and--voilà. He wasn’t entirely sure where he learned that word, either. Maybe from that pink fellow from Ponyville who looked just like him? He supposed that it must have to do with being a Spirit, though he still was not certain what he was supposed to be the spirit of.

A blazing light brought his mind back to the present and he stared in wonder at the gaseous ball floating before him. It was a small sphere, about the size of an apple, glowing a faded green. It was surrounded by a flickering gray flame that twisted and bent in some imaginary wind. At times, streaks of gray would blaze across the surface of the ball, tracing some strange symbols that he could almost understand. It pulsated with a power unlike anything he had come across; it felt as if the familiar gray was trying to overcome and enslave the green orb, forcing it to surrender all it was. It was power. Pure power. Power enough to change the world.

It was hard as a rock and had a strong spice to it, Discord discovered as he thoughtfully gnawed on the thing, but he was certain that he could crack it open. The draconequus chomped down and his eyes bulged wide. He lurched forward to vomit out the toxins, but it had already vanished down his throat. It was the epitome of all things vile, soggy, jejune (he still could not figure out where these words were coming from), and yukky and he gasped and wailed for the taste to fade. He died that night, poisoned by a deceitful floating jawbreaker.

After a few moments, Discord peeked an eye open and discovered with sheer incredulity that he was still very much alive. It seemed impossible, given what he had just endured. Gagging at the thought of it, he opened his mouth and tried to forcibly sweep off any traces of the nefarious venom from his tongue.

“Brussels sprouts,” he spat dirtily. Disgusting. He would see to it that the putrid weed was outlawed from Equestria and have Brussels wiped off the face of the kingdom, wherever it was. As he stewed, a nagging thought wriggling at the back of his mind finally took his attention. How did he know what Brussels sprouts were? Every hair raised in excitement as an entire world of knowledge flooded into the creature’s skull, swirling around tighter and smaller until it completely dissipated.

He sat for a moment in quiet contemplation, pondering the new wisdom filling his head. Images of animals, plants, storms, and the entirety of Equestria flashed before his mind faster than he could process, and yet he could still comprehend it all.

Well, most of it.  

        Maybe just some of it.

        The parts that mattered, he settled gruffly with some unseen force of skepticism before examining the green fog swirling around his hands. It felt damp and squishy, but still had that comforting warmth. Like sticking his hands in a cloud of steam.

        “Hm. Cloud.” Discord snapped his talon and a tiny, cottony ball of fluff appeared in the air before him. The white thing doubled in size over and over until it was about the size of a pony and the spirit looked on in satisfaction. Perhaps he could try being the Spirit of Nature, considering how unpleasant the other one was. A sweet aroma drew his attention back to the cloud and he judged his work for a second time. He scooped a dollop of the fluff onto a talon and licked it skeptically.

        “Marshmallow?” He checked his mind to see what he knew about clouds and was mostly certain that they typically weren’t made from sweets. He thought it was a pity, though, they should be. A small roll of thunder purred from the cloud and a shower of sparkling orange liquid poured down from the cloud. He knew that regular clouds usually rained water, but he had no idea how marshmallow clouds should behave; though he figured that orange soda didn’t seem too far off.

        “So I could already move the sun and the moon for some reason. Now I’ve got clouds, rain, what else goes along with that?” A image of bright colors flashed across his eyes. “Rainbows! Yes!” Discord waved his paw over the cloud, aiming to create a streak of color over the white cover, only for nothing to happen. He tried a few more times before stomping his hoof in frustration.

        “Fine! What do I need to do to make a rainbow?” he pouted to the magical instruction manual in his head. “Uh huh, magic, I figured,” he scoffed as the ingredients came to his mind. “Spectra? Not sure what that is. What else, what else? Ponies? No, just pegasi? Why do I need... And a big machine... And... So I take the pegasi and I put them in... and...” Discord felt queasy. He swiped his arms through the marshmallow cloud in hopes that clearing the fluff away would wipe the image from his mind, the gobs of white sticking to his fur and feathers and wings.

        He looked at his sticky body with unhappiness. The old lady would probably have a fit if he came back covered in clouds. He gave a whistle to the sky and almost immediately a small group of forest critters answered. A few birds, squirrels, raccoons, and bunnies came to the draconequus, regarding his strange form with as much indifference as they would give to any other wild beast. He decided that he liked animals.

        “Alright, guys, help me clean up a little, would you?” he said, motioning toward the white globs clinging to him. The animals did not budge and and wondered if he needed to repeat himself.

Discord opened his mouth and screamed as the animals all dove at him at once, biting, scratching, gnawing, and screeching as he tried to throw them off. He dashed through the forest, flapping his arms and legs and howling in pain as each animal sunk their teeth straight through the fluff and into his skin. One of the squirrels was just clawing at his face with no clear purpose other than hurting him, and birds pecked at his neck and wings. He tumbled and tripped as more animals, enticed by the noise, joined in the assault and tore into the draconequus. A woodpecker perched on his antler and jabbed at his other horn, beavers jumped in unison and sunk their buck teeth into his thigh, and he wasn’t sure but it felt like a snake was trying to get friendly with his tail.

        The mania finally ended when the tortured spirit collided with a tree with every animal simultaneously fleeing from their victim as he fell to the grass with a hard thud and a pathetic moan. He decided that he did not like animals and that he could make better ones if he wanted.

“...You were lying to me about the rainbows, weren’t you?” Discord grunted as he rose back to his feet and rubbed his aching head. “I’ll admit, that was funny.” He rubbed his sore spots and took some small consolation in that he had been cleaned of the gunk, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.

“I’ll just let the pegasi handle the weather for themselves,” he decided. “We need a better breed of animal in Equestria. So where should I start?” His stomach growled noisily, but he ignored it as he went through a list of every animal he could think of. “Squirrels? No, I think I’m still mad at them. A fish? Eh, not exciting enough. An aardvark? I don’t even know what that is. Bear?”

His stomach shouted a second time and Discord grabbed his gut and shook it angrily. “Fine! I’ll have a potato or something.” He snapped his claw and a flash of light exploded a few feet away. The draconequus regarded the potato with dissatisfaction--it was a little more alive than he typically preferred. It was nearly the height of a pony, though it was perfectly smooth and oblong. And covered in brown fur, with two arms and legs that ended in paws, and a large mouth. The potato landed on its paws, sniffed the air suspiciously, and soundlessly moseyed off into the woods.

        “I guess that was some sort of potato bear,” he commented as his appetite suddenly vanished. “Ursatato? Beartato? Whatever, I’ll let somepony else handle the names. This next one’s going to be perfect!

What followed was a series of oddities grand enough for Discord to step down from command and begin his own circus: dolphins that swam through the air and submerged underground to breathe; another bear with a manatee tail; frogs and owls that sang and danced; ants the size of pumpkins that could only move side to side; legless cats that hovered a few inches off the ground; another pair of cockatrices; cute little things that appeared to be some type of colorful winged gumballs; lizards who could change the color of their scales to stand out among their environment; another bear, this time mostly normal save for the tortoise shell; ugly flightless birds that would try to dig underground rather than fly and only manage to fit their heads down; and strangest of all, some sort of flying alligator with a rabbit’s head and the upper torso of a live cat for a tongue.

        “One last shot. Gonna try... elephant.” He snapped his claw and there was an enormous flash that forced him to shield his eyes. When he opened them again, he found with disappointment that he had created yet another bear. Granted, this one was about half the size of a Manehattan hotel and looked like a living constellation, but it was still a bear.


        “Well, I think my work here is done,” he said to himself as he clapped his hands together. “You guys just... do whatever.” He snapped his paw and vanished in a flash and reappeared closer back to the castle, strumming his talons against a tree trunk. “I tried weather and animals. So, I guess that just leaves... plants,” he said, pausing to give a massive yawn. But he couldn’t sleep now when he was finally in the zone. He had a great feeling about this next bit, and then he could show them to Savvy--er, Screwball, and she’d be so impressed! The draconequus kicked his legs and giggled in glee at the thought and snapped.

        After a few seconds without any developments, a small blue stem sprouted up from the ground with a white bud. The flower rapidly matured and the bud soon blossomed, spreading into four large blue leaf-like petals. From the center of the plant, the pistils released a small cloud of spores that sailed a few inches around and buried themselves in the dirt. The process repeated over and over again until Discord saw fit to end it. After just two minutes, he was standing tall over a field of gorgeous sapphire flowers.

        “Wow, these are really boring,” he lamented as he plucked one of the plants and carelessly discarded it. He flopped down into the bed of flowers and regarded his new creations with disappointment. He wanted to create new animals, but none of them ever came out the way he wanted them to -- now that he tried making some flowers with absolutely no expectations, they came out perfectly normal. And he was still unsatisfied. His moans were muffled by the dirt as he kicked and pumped his arms and legs in a fit.

        He just wanted to know when things were supposed to go right. His problem was that he was never sure when things were okay or not; whenever he thought things were going well, Screwball always looked unhappy, but when she felt positive about something it never sat right with him. Discord was sure that if he showed the pony the flowers like he planned, she’d just go on about what pretty colors and how nice they were and not consider for one second how plain and uninteresting and boring they were. He liked her, he really did, and he would always take her advice and listen to her even when he would pretend he wasn’t, and they would laugh at the same things together, but he could never shake the thought that what she wanted for him wasn’t in line with what he wanted.

        And what he wanted right then was a funny flower. He rose to his feet and snapped his talon and the flowers were glowed a muted azure for a moment. Discord goose-stepped through the plants, his arms folded behind his back, and began to speak to the flowers as though he was addressing a crowd of ponies.

        “Now, hear me well, as I shall not repeat myself! Equestria is under a new command and a new law: mine. I am the absolute ruler of the land, and I have already begun an undertaking to bring this world into a new, greater era!” he pontificated, trying to put all the pomp and formality Screwball had taught him into his speech. “A new chapter in history that shall live forever in the minds of each and every last pony for all of time! My name will be sung in songs generations from now, carried on the winds and echoed across the canyons!” He paused for effect, another trick Screwball had taught him: if he ever lost his train of thought, he was instructed to say a bunch of verbose nonsense and wait a few seconds to think while the audience tried to find some profound significance in his words. If he thought fast, he would be able to continue before anyone realized he was just waxing poetic. He always liked that plan: he liked to talk, and he loved nonsense even more, so it was a no-lose situation as far as he was concerned.

        “Every last subject will have a role to play, I can guarantee you that. Not a single soul shall go unnoticed or forgotten or left alone, ever again,” he continued, thoughts of Screwball’s unhappiness still fresh in his mind. “I am your ruler and I have sworn myself to giving every last subject my full attention as I pursue my eternal goal of purifying Equestria. And that is where you come in,” he said, at last turning his attention to the plants, which had all been struck speechless by the grandiosity of his words.

        “Henceforth, heretofore, and howdy doody-ipso facto, you shall be the official flower of Equestria! You have all been given a precious gift, one that means more to me than anything else in this world: a sense of humor. I command you to across the world, bringing laughter to everypony. I cannot think of a crusade with greater honor and I give this to you. What say you?”

        Discord waited in troubled silence for a few seconds before it occurred to him that his audience was a bed of flowers. “So... I’ll just leave you to it, then.” He trudged out of the flowers, uncertain if his message had gotten through, before he noticed how much closer to the ground he was. The king of Equestria peeled with laughter as he looked at his silly new body. His entire coat was the same amber gray of his face, with shaggy strands of hair extending down to his hooves -- plural! He tried balancing on his new hooves and flicked his strange new tail back and forth as the wild guffaws poured out from him.

        When his giggles had subsided, he stomped his hoof and he felt a rush as he was painlessly returned to normal. And then he laughed some more. He had been turned into a pony! How much funnier can you get?

        “You guys make me proud, all right?” he called over his shoulder to the at-attention flowers before bounding off deeper into the forest. He was positively ecstatic -- there he was, off on his own, doing what he wanted, making the world a happier place his own way, and he didn’t need Savvy or Screwball to tell him what to do and it still worked out better than he could have hoped! More! He was on a roll! He couldn’t stop now! He wanted to do more! He didn’t even feel the cold as he healed his wings and shot off into the sky, grabbing two fistfuls of the forest’s green haze as he ascended, the mist stretching and pulling like taffy and twisting around him as he spiraled higher and higher. As he broke through the treetops and looked down at the endless expanse of trees below him, a single word remained in his mind:

        “Landscaping!” Discord yanked on the two chords of natural energy, the extensions arching and lashing like whips as they tore across the entirety of the Everfree Forest. The draconequus’ glee immediately came to a halt as the earth trembled and shook as if it were about to split in half. And sure enough, the entire woods was struck by a great cataclysm as the ground ferociously broke and morphed and crumbled. Enormous tracts of land shakily grew higher and forming plateaus all across the forest, while in other places the earth simply fell away to create sprawling, misty chasms and mucky swamps. Trees were uprooted and crashed to the ground or dropped down and splintered on the obscure ground below as animals scattered for shelter. Loud cries filled the air, accompanied by the crashing of boulders and howls of beasts. The madness only grew as large stone domes began to bulge out from the ground, bursting forth in spurts as if being hammered out by an angry god, finally forming caves and mountains. More trees and plants were swept away in a thundering river that snaked and spread as if with a mind of its own, with all trails eventually finding an exciting end at the edge of a cliff and transforming into waterfalls.

        Discord watched in awe as the chaos unfurled below him, all brought about by his own two hands. He wanted to laugh, but from across the forest, passing the river, blowing through the mountains, cutting through the air, above the cacophonous symphony of the transforming forest, a single sound split through his head.



<<Chapter Two -- Chapter Four>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

“The Blah Story” belongs to Nigel Tomm and is a work of highest art.

I got a ransom letter in the mail today. It said that if I ever wanted to see my T-shirt again, I would bring $10,000 in unmarked bills to the wharf by the end of the month. Anyone want to help pitch in? It’s a really rad T-shirt. 

FiMfiction Link

‘I think that went well,’ Death said.

‘Show some respect--’

‘Respect for the dead, Sister?’ The formless consciousness that was the Spirit of Life did her best to glower at her callous opposite from across the limitless void the spirits occupied. ‘Oh, “the dead”,’ Death continued, a tone of conniving whimsy in his words, ‘Now that is a phrase I never expected to use in reference to one of us. It tingles the senses.’

‘Death, contain yourself,’ Time spoke firmly, though his voice remained passionless as ever. ‘Brothers, Sisters, we are presented with a quandary. To walk among the mortal coil to confront our wayward brother we must accouter ourselves with flesh and blood in forms bestowed to us by Sister Life. But now we see that to do such is to make a grave risk of falling prey to the fleeting fragility of life. Sister Nature had been slain with the demise of her shell. This inherent danger to not only our very own beings but the balance of the planet we uphold has transformed this errand into a more dire situation.’

‘Not to interrupt what I am sure would be another one of your fascinating and enduring monologues, Brother,’ Life interjected, ‘but there isn’t need to worry. Nature is still very much alive. She is just going to... be a while until she is ready to rejoin us,’ she decided uncertainly.

‘I don’t understand,’ Harmony’s soft voice called up, echoed by a scoff from the grim spirit.

‘After our brother, erm, crushed her, she was scattered through her forest. She was in the process of gathering all of herself when he had stumbled across what she had assembled and... Well... Ate her.’ It was infuriating how Death could be so mirthful at the worst of times. ‘She is still in the forest, infused in every plant and animal inside, but she no longer has the power to form a conscious mind and return.’

‘So as far as we’re concerned, she’s dead, is that right?’ It was less of a question and more of a statement. Death could feel the other spirits observing him.

‘Please, Brother, there is no need to be so macabre,’ Love moaned, tangibly upset by the grim spirit’s speech.

‘No I think there is, and I think I will speak my mind.’ The coal black cloud drifted through the empty realm like an autumn leaf on the wind, floating over the remaining four with morbid amusement. ‘Because our two attempts at shepherding our brother has resulted in failure on Nature’s part and embarrassment on Love’s part. Frankly, if this gets any worse, we’re going to end up with one of those miserable worlds with those hairless monkeys.’

‘Excuse me? Embarrassment?’ Love challenged.

‘The moment you entered that world you had every creature in sight fondling you.’

‘Yes, Brother, why was that?’ Life interjected.

‘I just did what I had to,’ the spirit said defensively. ‘My body felt so numb until I followed this instinct to spread my influence. The entire town was immediately covered in a cozy pink steam--’


‘Yes, pink. And then Brother came barging in like some tacky gray torch and ruined the entire mood.’

        Away from the others, Death allowed his malice to quietly brew. How could he help it? All those ponies and other creatures drove him nearly to madness; all of them so saccharine sweet and innocuous, happy to wear their blinders and ignore how temporary they all were and snub the reality that was him. It was an insult to him every time he saw the world they had created for themselves, and the spirits they spawned whom he was begrudgingly forced to know as his siblings.

He had been so mighty in those early years, ruling alone with Life and Time; famine, disease, and bloodshed were plentiful and they all knew and feared him. And then in the blink of an eye, Love and Harmony had appeared and he felt himself weakening. As they cultivated the world, Nature joined their ranks and it spelled the end for him. As if to spite him, the creatures of Equestria unified in peace and togetherness.

There was no violence; there were no illnesses to cut a life comically short; there were hardly any dangerous encounters with the more savage beasts that roamed the world since the ponies were content to stay huddled in their quaint little towns and live their happy little lives until they simply reached the end of their time. And the ponies would grieve and it was delicious, but all too soon they would forget their losses and his existence and it would be over.

        But now for the first time in centuries, he had someone on his side. This new spirit who brewed discontent and ill-will had sparked the greatest war he had ever witnessed, made every citizen of Equestria fear for their lives following the deaths of half the planet’s alicorn population, slain one of his own sisters, and above all else, reminded Death of what he truly was: he was not merely the incarnation of Death, but of Finality. The End of All Things. This was his destiny, and he would embrace it heartily.

        Though, for dignity’s sake, he would not share his new full title with the others. He was not thrilled by the thought of being referred to as “Teat.”

He returned from his thoughts and returned to the other spirits who were all being regaled with Love’s fantastic and most probably enhanced recount of the strange colors and auras that filled the world. It seemed that when they walked the earth, rather than possessing an innate knowledge of when their influence was expanding or contracting as they did while in their natural state, the comprehension was achieved by appealing to the senses as a visible spectrum accompanied by a tactile phenomena in the presence or absence of their element.  

        ‘I do pity Brother Chaos,’ Harmony sighed. ‘He spends all of his efforts trying to fill with the world with excitement and color, and all he sees is more gray.’ There was a prolonged silence in response to the spirit’s sudden expression.

        ‘Sister,’ Time said with a tone that threatened to show some sign of emotion, ‘did you just refer to our brother by a name?’

        ‘Yes? Why?’

        ‘So you’re telling us that you knew what he was the regent of this entire time?’ Love asked with unmasked suspicion.

        ‘He is the Spirit of Chaos, yes. I thought that we were all aware. No...?’ The colorful spirit seemed to wane to match her meekness.

        ‘Have you not paid any attention to a word we’ve said in these last cycles?’ Death growled. It didn’t matter to him if she was keeping information from them, he did not need to know more than he already did about their brother, but it still drove him to madness when he felt that he was being ignored.

        ‘You know I don’t like to listen to you when you’re all shouting with each other,’ she responded with a sad warble in her voice. ‘There’s no need for you to all get angry with me.’

        ‘Sister, our frustration is because this information could have helped us resolve this problem from the start and would have saved us the loss of Nature,’ Life said, speaking more sensitively but maintaining her sternness. ‘If we had known he was your opposite, we could have had you put a stop to him when you were still vastly more powerful.’

        ‘It is your duty to subdue Chaos and protect the world from any further disruption,’ Time said.

        ‘I couldn’t!’ Harmony gasped.

        ‘In that case, I suppose I can take one for the team and go again,’ Love declared, only to be immediately and curtly reprimanded by Life.

        ‘Sister Harmony, why is that?’ Time asked.

        ‘It’s simply my nature. I can’t do something to stop him or fight him if he doesn’t want me to. I can only give him the opportunity to stop.’

        ‘So, that’s three useless siblings,’ Death said in a perfect recreation of his usual detached grouse. ‘I think that means I’ll have to visit him next, then.’ If the spirit had a body he could never have hid his gossamer grin.


        The forest was not quite as frightening in the light of day, Screwball admitted to herself as she walked through the jungle. Well, it seemed like a jungle in some places, with low-hanging vines, palm trees, bamboo shoots, and a humidity that made her mane explode into a frazzled mess. Then it would change so subtly she could never be sure precisely when it happened, and the pony would find herself surrounded by oaks and pine trees and maple leaves with tall brown and orange grass that crunched underfoot, and then she would nearly stumble into bramble bush wound around a cactus. All around her, the animals of the forest were engaged in a symphony of caws and howls and, most unnervingly, loud volleys of “Ni!”, among other equally unwelcoming sounds. It was as if the entire area was filled with every plant and beast one could imagine of all squashed into the same place.

        And that was to say nothing about the disaster zone that the forest had become overnight as a result of Discord’s late-night mischief. She chose to remain silent about her disappointment when she saw that the draconequus looked sorry enough on his own, though she would give him a disparaging glance now and then to make sure her point got across. Screwball was beginning to grow concerned over Discord’s recent behavior; she had learned to tolerate him when he would turn a wildflower into a lollipop on a whim or stick a bird in a soap bubble as a joke, and would even share in his laughter from time to time, but those instances had all been harmless. And if she ever thought he went too far, she would always reprimand him and he would begrudgingly submit and abstain from any magic for a while after.

But ever since Manehattan with Dusty and his family and their house, she had been worried over how long she would be able to keep the draconequus in check. He had created an entire castle out of thin air to crush that wolf, and, granted, she had been trying to kill them and she was thankful to be alive, but as she was tossing in bed inside the fortress, she wondered if he had done it just to make the most out of the opportunity to do as he wanted. And once she had fallen asleep, Discord had sneaked out into the forest and acted like a child throwing his toys around a room.

‘“Child.” That one idea is making everything so much more complicated than it already was.’ 

‘But that’s what he really is. He’s practically an infant, he doesn’t know any better,’ another side of her argued.

‘And so now we’re going to be a mother, are we?’

‘No. Not us, just me.’

‘We know we can’t let somepony into our life without getting our heart broken. That’s why it was always just us.’

‘Well I’m sick of it!’

“Screwy?” a thick voice called uncertainly. Screwball realized that she must have been scowling again. Her face automatically shifted into a goofy shape, crossing her eyes and letting her tongue hang loose from a dopey smile. The jester turned to her worried king and his worried expression immediately shattered against an outburst of delight from both of them.

Her fears once again banished to lurk in the dark corners of her mind, the pony collected herself and donned the air of propriety she had worn as Savoir Faire. “Now then, I think it is time to continue with your lessons.”

“Wha? Ahh! Okay, you got me,” Discord chuckled.

“I am quite serious.”

“I am too! That was funny!” Discord’s smile faded after a few seconds and his eyebrows twisted in confusion. “You’re serious? You’re seriously serious? I thought that I didn’t have to do those anymore since you said you aren’t a real royal advisor.”


Screwball did not so much as blink in reaction to the enormous gray face that was suddenly pressed up against her own in defiant challenge. “I am still responsible for you, and you are not allowed to go to any more towns until you have had your lesson.”

The draconequus grumbled and pouted for a few seconds before giving in and dropping onto his rump with an indignant “hmph” and slapping his tail noisily against the ground. Before Screwball could say a word, Discord suddenly sprawled himself on the grass on his back with a loud moan, only to start wiggling his arms and legs for a few seconds and shift onto his side, then his stomach, then onto his other side, then his back again, and back on his rear.

“Sit still.” To her relief, the antsy spirit immediately halted at her command and turned his attention to her. “Now tell me the Virtues of Sovereignty.”

“Loyalty, magic, generosity,” Discord recited tiredly, “positivity... Um... Truth... And...” He gave an embarrassed chuckle and compressed himself into a pathetic hunch.

“Benevolence,” Screwball completed. “You really should know them all by now. But I’m glad you brought up Loyalty first, because that is what I’d like to talk about for today. Tell me what Loyalty is.”

The spirit looked contemplative as in his mind he was frantically trying to arrange his messy thoughts into something coherent, only for the words to slip out of his grasp the second he caught one, like a doorknob made of soap. Oh but wouldn’t that be funny to try some time? He caught an impatient look from his instructor and felt helplessly compelled to open his mouth and go with whatever alphabet soup words poured out.

“It’s like doing something you said you would do? So if you told somepony you would do something for them, you would do it instead of doing something else or doing something else for somepony else?” Nailed it.

“That is part of it,” Screwball said with a gentle nod. “But you already showed that you know more about it than you said.” She privately grinned at the curious look she received. She had been thinking about it since the morning and was proud of herself for what she had come up with. Plus, there was something cute about the way he would always over-exaggerate every facial expression.

“Loyalty can also mean putting the needs of others over your own desires. Do you remember yesterday when you were fighting with the wolf and she attacked me?” Discord’s lip trembled imperceptibly at the memory. “You threw yourself on top of me to save me, despite knowing you would be hurt. That’s called sacrifice, and sometimes a king is required to make personal sacrifices for his subjects. Do you understand?”

        “I think so.”

As simple as flipping a switch, Screwball returned to her more casual demeanor, completely discarding any traces of solemnity she had displayed just seconds ago. “Then I think that we’re finished for today.”

“Does that mean we can go back to Ponyville now?” Discord asked, his wagging tail slapping against the ground in excitement. She hesitated in her response. After their last visit, she wasn’t sure if it would be wise to try to introduce the village to the new king of Equestria so soon. But the draconequus’ social skills had certainly improved since that first day, however small the change might be, and with luck, they might have scared off any more of Discord’s psychotic ‘family’ long enough to have a pleasant visit.

After a few seconds of consideration, Screwball decided that going to Ponyville was not the smartest choice of action. But it wasn’t an astronomically catastrophic choice, either.

“If you feel ready for it, I suppose we could.” She couldn’t help but beam when the overjoyed creature flew into the air with a proud cheer, but a sudden thought stole away some of her confidence. “Hey, Discord, could I... can I still take you up on your offer from last night? For a new set of robes?” The spirit cocked his head to the side in intrigue. “Just for appearance’s sake, is all. Just so they remember to listen to me when I talk.”


        After another half hour of trekking through the disorienting forest, the pair finally escaped from the umbrageous shade of the trees to find themselves standing at an outside border of Ponyville. After much insisting, the freshly redressed Screwball convinced Discord of the necessity of entering the town through a main entrance by stressing the importance of ceremony and how dubious it would be for two strangers to emerge from a forest and claim to be their rulers.

The two circled around the edge of town toward an entrance; Screwball kept closer to the concealing wall of buildings that formed a wall between the forest and the rest of the village, giving the woods a trustless glance now and then in case some new predator might suddenly lunge out from hiding at the happy spirit bouncing just a few steps behind her.

        To the pony’s relief, no ferocious beasts with great, slobbering mouths and blood-stained nails came howling from the darkness to drag them away. She then prepared herself for the next danger to their health and safety: the town full of ponies who would undoubtedly run them out before she could convince them to recognize the intimidating chimera as their new supreme ruler.

        “All right, no sweat, this will be fine,” she muttered to herself. “All I have to do is walk through the gate, announce the arrival of ‘King Discord, ruler of all Equestria,’” she practiced a pose and exaggeratedly waved a hoof to her side where Discord would be standing if he had not already rushed into the village. “Then he’ll give a speech while they all form a mob and -- oh, Discord, you should think about what you’re going to say. Discord?”

        Screwball’s jaw might have hit the ground if she hadn’t sprung up into the air at the sight of the conspicuous creature drifting around the town with a childlike wonder at everything around him. On his first visit, Discord had not been looking forward to seeing Ponyville; now, he could barely even remember what had possessed him to think so poorly of it.

        The village was absolutely gleaming in the sunlight. A soft yellow dome of light covered the town for as far as he could see and touched every last thing beneath it. Some houses were given shade by soft pink clouds that positively oozed tenderness, and gardens and fruit stands were glazed with a shifting green mist. Even the ponies who were too busy talking with each other to look his way shimmered with a rainbow light every so often.

Discord ignored the small chill and blinked away the colors. And to his building joy, just beneath the cover of the supernatural glows, the town itself was as vibrant as a rainbow. The town was completely exploding with life! He had never seen so many birds all in the same place when he was traveling, and all the ponies were so colorful, and all the buildings were so vibrant they looked good enough to eat, and would you just all the foals playing in the street, and the smell of fresh-baked pastries filled the air and caressed his nostrils, and oh my there certainly were a lot of ponies looking at him now. It was all so-- it was-- it was...

“Boring.” Discord frowned and considered the word that had formed on his lips all on its own. It seemed to fit. He didn’t like that it fit. And he didn’t like why he didn’t like that it fit. He would have liked to say that it was because Screwball would appreciate the town so he should appreciate it, too, but that wasn’t the reason. He simply didn’t like the town: it felt as if it was fundamentally wrong. And to only complicate things even more, it was the wrong type of wrong. It wasn’t the type of wrong he liked. It was bad wrong.

His brain hurt from the mental strain and he snapped his head around to spot the one pony he trusted to do his thinking for him standing at his side, struggling to look strong. He followed her worried glance and saw the crowd of ponies that had gathered so suddenly all regarding the two with unhappy faces.


        “Who are you?” The question was posed by tangerine yellow stallion with an unkempt orange mane standing at the head of the mob.

        Before the draconequus could say a word, Screwball had already started that loud shout he thought was funny. “Citizens of Ponyville! We present to thee thy glorious ruler, His Majesty King Discord!”

Discord simply could not grasp the point of the royal voice. Screwball -- well, she was Savoir Faire at the time -- said that the royals should project their voices so that there was no confusion for anyone listening that their words were of dire importance and unarguably true. She had gone on about some history about the voice, saying how in olden days, two royals who had a disagreement about an issue would continuously speak louder and louder in turn; the matter was settled depending on who ran their throat raw first or who went deaf first (the deaf individual obviously being the victor as they would have become invincible to the other’s argument). The practice eventually trickled down to common ponies and became the universally accepted method for settling an argument or impressing other ponies. (When he had asked why they said “we” and “thee”, she had told him to be quiet and finish his dinner.)

        It was by that reasoning that Discord had concluded that the citizens of Ponyville were all deaf as they appeared immune to the purple pony’s announcement, which would certainly prove detrimental to his efforts to try to help them. He clapped his hands together twice and a large white cone appeared in his paw with a flash, the sudden appearance visibly frightening the crowd. Pressing a switch on the cone that caused it to crackle with an unpleasant electronic whine, Discord held it up to his mouth and shouted with all the power he could muster.

        “Citizens of Ponyville! Do not be alarmed! I am here to end your suffering!” he shouted. The ponies all miraculously seemed to regain their hearing and wailed in response to the ear-splitting declaration. Screwball nudged the draconequus in the ribs and morosely took the megaphone out of his hands and placed it on the ground.

        “How dare you!” the tangerine stallion shouted again. “Our king was a proud alicorn before some cowardly villain assassinated him! He wasn’t some ragtag... thing!” he cried, stomping a hoof on the ground in emphasis. This was echoed by a murmur of displeasure from the rest of the ponies, whose numbers had continued to grow. If the entire town was not there already, they would be soon.

        “Fellow Equestrians, please! I served the royal family as their chief advisor for many years, and the duty fell to me to choose a new leader in the absence of an heir!” There was something about Savoir Faire’s voice that sounded strange to Discord. She sounded exactly like she had those first few days, but after the previous night he could not help but notice that the words lacked the genuineness she had spoken with in the castle.

         The stallion did not relent, and instead only continued to shout back. “This whole world is going to the dogs!” A few volleys of indignant “yeah”s erupted from some of the ponies in the mob.

        “The sun and the moon have been all screwy ever since King Equinox was murdered!” a mare from somewhere in the center of the crowd cried out. “It goes from day to night in a second and I can hardly tell the time anymore!” More rumbles of agreement.

        “And we can’t forget that dag blasted forest that just sprouted out of the ground overnight!” an elderly pony rasped with a voice as shaky as the hoof she was trying to hold in the air. “Nopony has any idear about where it came from, and as if it weren’t enough of an eyesore, last night it goes all loopy and flipped itself all to damnation!” The rabble was growing louder.

        “And then everypony all started acting all funny when that pink pony showed up,” a ginger filly piped up. The mob quickly grew silent and a large number of ponies lowered their heads after taking a sudden interest in their hooves. The filly looked around at the dumbfounded ponies with perplexity. “Did I say something wrong?” The filly’s mother sheepishly pulled her out of the crowd and the silence lasted for a few more seconds before the stallion at the front of the mob coughed meaningfully.

        “Yeah! That creepy forest went crazy last night and the whole world felt like it was getting bucked in the head by Hayseed!” The pony nodded to a stallion who could have passed for a brick wall (mainly because no one in their right mind would dare to question the hulking pony). The imposing pony stepped forward to join the head of the pack, his front hooves twisted inward to point at his chest, and narrowed his eyes at Discord.

        “An’ then this fella’ shows up an’ starts sayin’ he’s a king,” Hayseed added, speaking with a heavy accent that seemed to bizarrely only belong to him. “If y’all ask me, I think there’s somethin’ mighty fishy goin’ on.” The gargantuan pony intensified his glare even further, though Screwball was certain that the stallion’s eyes were actually closed by that point.

        “Everypony, I beg you to listen to me,” the royal advisor strained, though her plea fell on deaf ears.

        “And what the hay is that big guy supposed to be? Some kind of gobbledygook?” accused another voice from close to the front of the mob.

        “I ain’t never seen nothin’ like him before!” Hayseed agreed, pointing an accusing hoof at the space a few feet to the left of Discord.

        “No, no,” Screwball moaned weakly to herself as she reared onto her hind legs and waved her front legs toward the distempered mob in hopes of calming them. “Ponies, please! If you would just give me a minute to explain, I’d...” Her words died when she noticed the trio of colorful balls that were flying in arc around her head. The jester’s trained hooves had immediately begun to act through the motions of her most basic of tricks the second the balls had dropped into her grasp, and though she didn’t know precisely when she had begun her routine, she had a strong hunch about who had started it.

        The rowdy mob was immediately silenced by the circus act that had spontaneously appeared before their eyes; some were simply baffled, others were mildly amused by the show, and more still were completely mesmerized by the cheerful little toys’ hypnotic dance.

        “Is this some kind of avant-gard Germaney theater crock where a big whatchamacallit stands up an’ shouts at us, an’ they dress up a juggling mare in a bathrobe right next ta him after they grow this big ol’ forest a’ terror right behind the town, an’ then all the critters in there start howlin’ and cacklin’ like some half-remembered nightmare through a cracked window of regret? Because if that’s what the hay this is, I’ve seen it done better, I’m just sayin’,” Hayseed said dismissively.

        “That’s where you’re wrong,” Discord cheered enthusiastically, waving his paw which suddenly held a bowling pin. “There’s nopony better in all of Equestria than--” He threw the bowling pin into the air, which twirled slowly a few times before landing evenly in Screwball’s hooves for a moment before it was immediately tossed into the air again. Discord snapped his claw and a large banner appeared in a flash of light, bearing a picture of the purple pony’s smiling face with her name painted on either side of her.

        “--Screwball the Magnificent!” Discord called in a booming voice as he made a grand sweeping gesture toward the pony. Screwball smiled nervously at the small round of applause some of the crowd reluctantly gave. “The undeniably, reliably magnificent!” the draconequus carried on, oblivious to the pleading grimace of the performer.

“She can’t be stopped!” Another snap and a flash and a table appeared a few feet away, carrying a large spread of apples, rubber balls, tomatoes, cabbages, and eggs. “Step right up and see for yourselves if you don’t take my word for it!”

To the surprise of everyone but Discord himself, a wide-eyed filly fearlessly slipped under the legs of the crowd and approached the stand. She happily received an apple and a gentle pat on the head and was ushered toward the purple harlequin. At the signal the enormous creature gave her, the little pony lobbed the apple into the air toward Screwball, who faltered for only a moment with the new challenge but soon regained her rhythm.

The juggler nearly dropped everything in alarm when a chorus of cheers and applause exploded from the crowd. She swallowed the kingdom-sized lump in her throat and relaxed her smile as a feeling of pride swelled in her chest; never since the day she earned her cutie mark had Screwball felt so appreciated. Even in her years in Canterlot Court, she was always either some short reprieve for the king and queen or some sideshow at a fair and was little more than scenery for the ponies there. And now she was entertaining entire villages! Sure, they were throwing things at her, but it was in the most flattering way possible. And she had been hoping for a chance to try out some new tricks she had been practicing.

        Discord grinned as he watched Screwball hop between her back legs, kicking the balls back up in the air with the free hoof and catching them behind her back, only to toss them up again and bounce them off her tail. Even the little nip of frost that stung his tail couldn’t bring him down at the sight of his master plan coming together. All he had to do was pull on a little silver string coming from one of the townsfolk, and then the little filly was doing whatever he wanted! He made her play along with his act for Screwball, and then the rest of the town immediately calmed down and warmed up to them.

        Well, they weren’t exactly as warm as they were before when they were all shouting at one another, but he was fairly sure things were going much nicer now. He only wish he could brag about it later, but he was pretty sure that Screwball would have some problem with his little trick with the pony, and after he was lucky enough to get away with his fun in the woods last night, he wasn’t feeling daring enough to risk getting in trouble again.

He cheered along with the crowd as they ooh’ed and aah’ed as the showmare balanced one of the balls on her nose. He leaned with smug satisfaction against the wooden stand as a few more children took some of the tomatoes off the counter and tossed them towards the jester for her to juggle.

“So I’m not being exactly honest,” he muttered to himself as he watched Screwball readjust to the new pattern. “Positivity was always my favorite of those virtues, anyway.”

“And now, fillies and gentlecolts, it’s the big finale!” the juggler cheered to the roar of the crowd. She tossed the balls and fruit high into the air over her head and fell back down onto her front hooves to look upwards. Her purple eyes opened wide as she began to scurry back and forth, stamping her hooves wildly on the dirt as she tried to reposition herself. The crowd audibly inhaled as the first tomato plummeted to the ground just a few feet in front of the mare. With a cry, Screwball dove through the air toward the descending fruit, only to land flat on her belly just an inch too short. The tomato splatted against the ground and covered the juggler’s purple face with red mush. The rest of the balls followed quickly after, the apples and rubber balls all harmlessly bonking her square between the ears in succession.

The crowd roared with laughter as the purple mare dizzily stumbled around for a few seconds before making a gracious bow, too overjoyed to even bother to wipe the tomato paste out of her face.

The noise was music to his ears. Discord’s eyes flashed with excitement and he vanished and reappeared in a flash behind Screwball, scooping up the surprised pony in his paw and tenting his talons.

“If you liked that, just wait until you get a load of this!”


“That wasn’t really too bad,” Screwball said half-heartedly as she stoked the struggling fire. The crackling wood was the only sound that could be heard for miles around. The day was far behind them, though the sky was still trapped in a twilight purgatory that now matched the sullen melancholy of its master. “Things went pretty smoothly after stopped trying to act like royals.”

“I messed it up, didn’t I?” Discord asked after a long silence, his voice weary with dejection. The pony was silent for another minute as she kept an eye on the fire as she experimentally prodded it and added more fuel to the fire, too afraid to admit she truly didn’t have any idea how to keep it burning. And from a corner of her mind, a voice was adding the day’s catastrophe to the list of evidence that she was losing control of the spirit.

“Maybe next time ask me the next time you want to make it rain tomatoes,” she finally said. The draconequus puled sadly and buried his face deeper into his knees as he tried to make himself disappear and save the world the trouble.

Screwball gave the fire a hopeless look and gently moved next to the pathetic creature to rest a loving hoof on his back. She felt the muscles under his shaggy fur tense for a moment before responding to her touch. He turned his head just enough to look at her out of the corner of a watery ruby eye and see her consoling smile. Discord quickly hid his face away again with a loud sniff, trying his hardest to stay miserable in the face of the matronly pony’s unrelenting compassion.

“You made a mistake,” she said as she tenderly stroked his back. She smiled sweetly as she remembered those bittersweet nights when tender Nana would coo and caress her and keep her in the same way. It must have been easier for the old mare to hold her when she was a filly and small enough to curl up beside her, but the purple pony did her best to wrap around however much of the chimera’s body she could and nuzzled up against him.

“But that’s no need to worry.” As more of her departed caretaker’s consoling words returned to her, the more Screwball wanted to laugh along with the cosmos’ grand sense of humor. “Some ponies might say that it was a mistake for me to take you in. And I will never listen to them. Because sometimes...” She gave a peaceful sigh. “Sometimes life is about making the right mistakes.”

        The pony’s smiling eyes met Discord’s enrapt expression and the two embraced lovingly for a few moments. Screwball pulled back when she felt a powerful shudder spread across his body and looked at him with motherly concern.

        “You’re going to catch your death sitting out here. Why don’t you help me get the fire started?” Discord looked around her to see the sad campfire that was now nothing more than a measly pile of burnt twigs and ashen leaves.

        “Just one thing we need to do first,” he replied, putting on a brave face to hide his fading sorrow. Before the pony could say another word, the draconequus snapped his talons and the two suddenly found themselves standing in a silver sailboat. The hull was as thin as silk and was delicate to the touch, but Screwball could tell at a glance that it was as sturdy as any vessel, though she could never explain why. The boat’s frame swayed and flowed as if it were being caught in a gentle breeze, and the single sail looked as though it was cut from the starry night sky itself.

        The ship rose off the ground as gently as a feather and floated higher and higher off the ground with a graceful swiftness. The earth pony could only watch in awe as the world expanded beneath her. She had always been silently envious of unicorns and pegasi for their natural gifts of flight and magic; but now, as she looked out at all of Equestria spread out for her to admire, with its tranquil lakes hugging the borders of the charming settlements speckled across the land separated by sprawling pastoral fields and rugged mountains, she pitied the ponies who saw this daily and had the splendor of the sight stolen away from them.

        But for her, as she sat in that flying ship with only the grinning spirit for company and looked at the wonderful little world, she swore to forever treasure this single most magical moment of her entire life and never forget it as long as she lived.

        As long as she lived...


        Screwball turned away from the perfect sight to look at Discord for a moment of unwelcome solemnity. Who knew how long he would live for? Centuries? Eons? He would outlive an ordinary pony a hundred thousand times over. Would she just be a tiny blip in his memory?

“I think I’m a little late with the moon tonight, Scroob,” the draconequus chuckled shamelessly as he tossed an onyx anchor at the ghostly satellite floating in the distance.

“Don’t worry about that,” she answered as calmly as she could. “Forget about all that,” she repeated more softly. “Forget about all the bad and the chaos… Just think about the laughter.”

Discord shrugged and began to pull on the anchor line to drag the moon into position for its nocturnal flight. As much as she would like to look back at the planet beneath her, the mare was powerless to take her eyes off of the busy creature standing just a few feet away. Her eyelids grew heavy and her sight grew dim as exhaustion finally claimed her, but she struggled to stay awake as long as she could until one final echo from her memory ushered her to rest.        

“…and don’t forget about me after I’m gone.”


        The day’s walk away from Ponyville had been fairly uneventful outside of Discord’s usual magical antics. Screwball even allowed herself a few guilty indulgences and laughs when he offered her a wildflower he had turned into a simply delicious looking popsicle. The treat was more than welcome on the seasonably warm day, though she found the summer days much easier to handle now that Discord was more than happy to snap her up a new change of robes whenever she needed them, leaving her free to discard those horrible blue rags with extreme prejudice whenever the pair left a town.

        Most of the day had been occupied by the draconequus’ juggling lesson after he had expressed such passion in learning. The pony could not deny that he had talent, but she was not sure if she could say he was improving at all. He would always start off shakily, but still managing to keep the balls airborne as he frantically danced and shifted underneath them. It was only once he began to develop a pattern that he would lose control and drop them all to the ground. Fortunately, Discord never seemed to be discouraged after his failures, and it was hard not to laugh when the balls would hit the ground and splat into gelatin or crack open and have a blue-jay fly out of it.

        It was late afternoon when the pair came across a hotel standing on the side of the dirt road. Though “standing” may be a bit too generous. Screwball felt it was more accurate to say that the building was slouching. The roof was missing large patches of shingles, most of the few windows were either cracked or too covered in grime to see the cracks, the rotting brown wood was stained here and there by small stripes of yellow paint, and it looked as if the front door was about to fall off its hinges.

        The door hit the ground with a sad smack and Screwball wondered if she had magical abilities before an agitated black-and-green striped pony wearing odd bands around his neck and hooves stormed out of the building and tried without success to lift the door back into place.

        “How about a little help over here?” the pony shouted at no one in particular, relaxing slightly when the door lifted up on its own and dropped neatly back into its crooked frame. “About time, do you expect me to do everything around -- what’s hanh?” The pony’s yellow eyes opened wide at the sight of the freakish chimera leaning against the door.

        “Another happy subject,” Discord announced proudly as he slapped his hands together. “Hey, I’ve never seen a pony like you before.”

        “Oh. Eh, I am a zebra from far away. So let’s just leave it at that, okay?” the pony answered.

        “I thought zebras were supposed to be black and white,” Screwball said suspiciously as she caught up with the two.

        “I dyed it, toots, it’s all the rage. Back where I come from this is the latest craze,” the zebra said defensively, shaking a decorated hoof in her face and causing the various rings to jangle dully. She wasn’t able to get a good look at the strange jewelery, but she was certain that at least one of them were rings from a shower curtain.

        “Well hey, it’s going to be dark in just a little time. Why not spend the night at my inn? I promise it’s fine!” The zebra demonstrated his point by pulling the front door off its hinges again and doing his best to keep his Cheshire cat grin. Discord gladly entered, only grunting as he caught his horns on the top of the door frame, followed by the much more cautious Screwball.

        The inside of the inn was as well furnished as the exterior, with the lounge looking as if it had been abandoned for years. Most of the furniture was a solid shade of ‘dust’, with some corners of the room decorated with spiderwebs that even the arachnids must have left unoccupied. The floorboards that didn’t squeak threatened to snap underfoot, though there were some tracks across the floor that looked like a pony and some lizard had walked through only recently, or, they had been there for a while and simply chose not to clean up. The couches and chairs in the sitting area either had their cushions torn off, de-stuffed, or had a metal spring poking out through them (those were the more comfortable options, as the rest had the seats completely rotted out from the chair). A dilapidated, disemboweled grandfather clock stood beside the untrustworthy staircase, its hands eternally frozen at 11:53. The front door slammed twice -- once when the zebra shut it, and a second time when the door hit the ground again -- and the innkeeper giddily scampered between the pair and dove over the counter.

        “Welcome to the Grifter Inn,” he said proudly as he reappeared over the counter to grin at the pair. “We’re going through some... eh... renovations, but I promise, we’re still the best there’s ever been! So, how many rooms?”

        “I actually think we should be going,” Screwball said pointedly as she tugged on Discord’s tail.

        “Woah! Hey now, let’s not be too hasty. Why take your chances out there and sleep like bugs when you could spend a night in a bed, all nice and snug?”

        “It looks to me like all the bugs are already in here.”

        “Smart mouth,” the zebra grumbled before returning to his cheery disposition. “You’ve caught us at a bad time, and for that I’m real sorry. But I promise you’ll be happy here, or my name’s not Quaggari.”

        “Come on, Screwball, this could be fun,” Discord said as he pulled his sore tail out of the pony’s grip. Screwball looked flatly at the pair of puppy-dog eyes for a few seconds before deflating and turning back to Quaggari.

        “We’ll take a double,” she said expressionlessly to the grinning zebra.

        “Well wait a minute, doll, are you sure a double is what you need? Because by my eye, it looks like I’m serving jabberwocky royalty.” The purple pony furrowed her brow at the slimy innkeeper. “I’ll give you a deal that’s really neat, and for half-off I’ll give you the bridal suite.”

        “Fine. Whatever.”

        Quaggari greedily clapped his hooves together, his gaudy chains clacking against each other unpleasantly, and slammed on the call bell more times than was probably necessary.

        “Enough with the bell! I’m coming already,” a small, gravely voice shouted from upstairs, and the ceiling creaked with the sound of light footsteps moving closer. Quaggari panicked as a sudden thought crossed his mind and he hurriedly excused himself before stampeding up the staircase. Screwball twisted her ear to try to listen to the hushed, angry conversation, but was unable to understand a word of it. She turned her attention back to Discord, who had wandered over to the sitting area to examine the clay flowerpot that was filled with what must have been a lovely fern before it starved to death, before an urgent stamping of hooves brought her attention back to the panting zebra, who had once again taken position at the front desk.

        “The bellboy will be right down. I just had to remind him about his manners around customers,” Quaggari explained.

        “That didn’t rhyme,” Screwball challenged.

        “Yes it did. Don’t be stupid,” he replied darkly before a slow series of footsteps caught the attention of everyone in the room.

The bellboy was small, about as tall as a healthy foal, though nowhere near as adorable. His skin was green and rough, though most of his body was covered by a green buttoned-up jacket. He wore black buckled shoes (though what purpose the buckles might have served was a mystery to the world) over his white stockings. Several sharp teeth poked out from between his scowling lips, and the entire affair was completed with a black bucket that was strapped on top of his head.

“I’d like you to meet my staff, O’Patsy. He’s a leprechaun all the way from Shetland, yes sirree,” Quaggari explained. Discord was fully impressed, however Screwball held some reservations.

“You’re not a leprechaun.”

“Sure I am. Hidey-hi and hidey-hoo, I’ll eat your dog and shine your shoes,” he sang mirthlessly as he danced what could loosely be defined as a jig.

“He’ll take your bags and get your room ready, and you can discuss pay with me,” the zebra explained, smiling a bit too wide at the word ‘pay.’


Discord looked around the room confusedly for a moment before looking at the grinning zebra. “We don’t have any bags.”

“Then what are you still doing standing around here? Get your diapered tush in gear and get their room ready!” the innkeeper shouted. The leprechaun manipulated his hand into an ancient Shettish symbol before trudging back up the steps, muttering a few words of equally authentic Shettish heritage as he went.

“They’ve got those tempers,” Quaggari said simply as he slapped a yellowed scrap of of paper on the desk and grabbed a pencil in a hoof. “But customers are always welcome! So the bridal suite is occupied,” he spoke to himself as he jotted down notes on the paper. “I assure you we have reasonable prices -- plus some little extras on the side.”

        “Such as?” The royal advisor could already feel a hole beginning to burn in the royal coffers.

        “Well the food is gourmet, so if you want to eat, you better be ready to pay. You gotta pay for any lice you take with you, and it’s extra for the mice--”

        “This is just getting better and better.”

“--and it’s two percent for looking in the mirror twice,” Quaggari finished bitterly. “How about you just pay for the room now and we’ll figure out the extras tomorrow.”

“Fine. How much for the room?”

“Five hundred bits.”

“For a room in this dump? That’s outrageous!” The mare’s cry was cut off by the slap of a sack full of coins dropping on the counter before it was near-instantly snatched by the greedy stallion.

“This’ll do. Feel free to sit down, I’ll call you when we’re ready with your room,” the innkeeper said without ever taking off the bag he was coddling in his hooves.

        “Do you have any books in this place?” Screwball was answered by a wordless flailing of a hoof in the general direction of the sitting area. She followed the arm to a long-forgotten bookshelf, and found with surprise that there was actually something on the shelves. Taking one of the books, she called Discord to sit next to her and cleared her throat.

        “This book is called... ‘The Blah Story.’” The draconequus immediately chuckled at the title and the pony opened to the first page.

“Blah intimidated, they blah to blah blah, where blah and blah passed a blah blah. Blah little blah that blah blah one blah surprised to blah what blah their blah were blah.


‘I always blah a blah to blah a blah,’ he blah blah.


‘I like blah.’


‘You can’t be a babyoubiquitouseadogablahomeffectonightobyeassymmetri-cityowlablaheatenderopechoeslightlyuppiepitheturnsweetoastiedgedificexcre-tadamanterribleducatedrumustablahisisterealityearnobodyesirapacityounde-rstandoorbellicksensuousecretownevereadsimplelationatchomiciderectionabo-blahisuperediagramustolerate...”

        Screwball stopped talking and stared at the pages with incredulity.

“I don’t think that this is the best book,” she said after a while.

        All of the occupants of the reception area covered their ears in pain as an enormous chime like the tolling of a church bell exploded in the room. Screwball turned a pained glance at the grandfather clock, whose hands were now laced on top of each other and aimed directly upward.

“O’Patsy! Shut this damn thing up!” Quaggari shouted out, just barely remembering to complete the rhyme. “The clock keeps chiming and it won’t stop!”

“I already broke it for you when we got here, what more do you want?” came the shout from the angry weeman from the top of the staircase. The clock chimed several more times before the last sound died away with a hollow tone. The zebra tucked the bag of coins under one leg and stuck his head inside the body of the clock.

“There’s gotta be some speaker or something in here you missed,” he grunted as he scanned every inch of the dust-filled clock for some forgotten part, but coming up empty-handed.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Screwball said timidly as she approached the other pair, making sure to keep close to Discord’s side.

“Ah, don’t be dingy. It’s not even really near midnight,” Quaggari dismissed as he walked over to the open front door. “See?” His confidence quickly faded when he was met by the absolute blackness of night.

        “Discord, if this is one of your jokes, it isn’t funny,” the purple pony said, her words more hopeful than they were stern.

        “It wasn’t me, honest.” Discord poked his head out of the door frame and scanned the night sky. “Hey! Somepony brought out the moon way too soon, too!”

The other three huddled around and looked up with growing dread as dark gray clouds parted away to reveal the full moon hanging in the direct center of the sky. The four flinched as an ear-splitting cry cut through the air, louder than even the grandfather clock’s deafening knells. An great black figure was silhouetted against the moon, flapping enormous wings with perfect regularity as it flew ever closer to the hotel.

        “Patsy, there’s a back door in this place, right?”


<<Chapter Three -- Chapter Five>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I got the ten thousand dollars, no thanks to you guys. Man, they better not have shrunk my rad T-shirt in the wash, otherwise I’ll never be able to trade it for ownership of My Little Pony!

FiMfiction Link

        Discord and Screwball were frozen in place as they locked their eyes on the menacing figure flying down at them from the inky night sky. There was no doubt in either of their minds that they were about to be visited by another one of the draconequus’ psychopathic family members and were already preparing for the worst. Their experiences with the last two spirits consisted of a town-wide orgy and a bloody struggle for their very lives; Discord couldn’t imagine this encounter would be any more enjoyable. His claws began to radiate with an imperceptible gray heat in anticipation and he took a step forward to position himself between the approaching foe and Screwball, only to nearly trip over the pony who had already taken a defensive stance in front of him.

        “Criminy, Patsy, hold me still!” the innkeeper barked. The brown baby dragon struggled to stay on his feet and hold the pony at the same time.

“Masky, have I ever mentioned how stupid all your plans are?” Patsy grunted as he readjusted his grip on the con artist, his claws constantly slipping on the stripes of wet black paint that had served as Masky’s shoddy zebra disguise. The green pony was stretched out with his legs sticking straight out in front and behind him.

“Ah, applesauce. I got us five hundred smackers off’a that hotel scam, didn’t I?” he said as he immersed himself in his new role. “Just trust me on this one. That big ol’ flapping thing up there’ll give us a glance and think we’re one of its kind! See? I’m the wings and you’re the little body if you just stop squirming! Patsy, you’re going to blow this!

A gust of wind sent the two thieves to the ground as the new arrival slowly touched down to earth a short distance away from the party. While typical avian creatures flap their wings quickly to slow their landing, this new creature had just continued moving its long wings at the same rhythmic speed he had maintained while racing toward them. Its body had simply slowed in the air before landing on two silver legs.

The spirit was a few heads shorter than the draconequus, though still more than large enough to tower over Screwball. The pony did her best to hide her uneasiness; of all the things in the world it could have been, the spirit had taken the form of an owl. Screwball loathed owls. She had once tried to incorporate an owl into a routine of hers, asking questions and only receiving a questioning “hoo?” in response, leading to her feigned frustration. The princesses adored the owl so much they adopted him as a pet and made him an honorary duke. Screwball loathed owls.

And unlike the spirits of Love and Nature, who could have convincingly passed themselves off as a real alicorn or ordinary animals, this new arrival appared entirely unnatural. Its entire body looked as though it was made from the armor of the Royal Guards polished down until all color had been scrubbed from it, leaving it a shimmering silver that managed to reflect light even in the starless night. Its eyes looked like two glowing crystal balls that passed through a range of colors, from yellows to red to blue to green. Screwball was almost certain she could see the faint phantoms of gears and numerals drifting behind the glass. It twitched and moved in a sad imitation of a living creature, with each motion falling into a stiff and regimented pattern.

“Brother Entropy. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I am Time. I have come on behalf of all our brothers and sisters. Brother Death especially sends his regards.” The spirit’s voice was emotionless and peculiar, producing a clicking sound periodically between syllables that rendered his words disjointed.

        “My name is Discord. And you are not welcome in my kingdom,” he replied stiffly, pushing around Screwball and stepping toward the spirit encroaching on his territory. He understood that he would have to be serious if he wanted to beat the spirit away before it had the opportunity to cause any harm to anyone.  

        “I am familiar with your pet name. I was merely in-tend-ing to...” He slowed to a stop, his mouth locked open as if frozen in time and the yellow light faded from his eyes.

        “Alright, champ!” Masky cheered as he hopped out of Patsy’s arms and sauntered between Discord and Screwball. “You stopped that drip dead in his tracks. To show my gratitude, you both can spend a night at the inn at just half the usual fee.”

        Before Screwball could deliver a well-deserved slap across the lowlife’s nose, there was a loud sound like the angry grinding of gears and the owl began to spasm. A hellish yellow light returned to his eyes. Masky yelped and dove back at the unsuspecting baby dragon to resume the disguise, leaving them both in a pile.

        “AddressYouInA less ceremonious manner,” he sputtered rapidly as if to make up for the time lost during his silence, “to show my good will. To that end I gave you a new name. So that we might have a colloquial relationship. As I said earlier, I am Time. Now you may give me a new name.”

        “How about Creepy?”

        “Most droll. I should have anticipated as much after watching my brother for these past days. The time for informality has now passed. I shall proceed to my business,” the owl ticked. “Brother Chaos, you will join us in our pantheon where you belong and cease all of this triviality.”

        “Hey, chief!” a rough voice whistled. Discord, Screwball, and Time broke their stares to look at the approaching dragon just barely managing to hold a green and black-striped pony up. “This whole business looks like it’s just between the three of yous, so if it’s all the same to you, I’m just going to fly off. Sound good?”

        Time merely observed the spectacle for a few moments before speaking. “And who precisely are you?”

        “I’m an owl, see? Like you.” There was a long silence before the spirit excused the buffoons, who were more than happy to flee the scene with all the speed they could muster.

“You have a penchant for attracting the strangest company, Brother,” Time said simply, turning his attention to the purple jester a bit too long to achieve any sort of subtlety. “Let us not delay. Every wasted moment provides an opportunity for new disaster.”

        “How long does it take for you maniacs to get the message?” Screwball yelled as she stomped her front hooves. “He doesn’t want to go anywhere with you!”

        “Your desires have been taken into arbitration. We have concluded that they are inconsequential.”

        “That’s it,” Discord snarled as he bared his claws at his sides, the air around them quivering dangerously. “You have five seconds to get out of my kingdom before I throw you out. One...”

        “Brother Chaos, you are being childish.”



“I would do what he says,” Screwball said. She truly didn’t want the draconequus to get in a fight, and only hoped that this spirit could simply be intimidating into flying off. “He dropped a castle on the last one of you.”

“Three... Four...”

“I am very much aware of my sister’s death.”

The pony faltered as the weight of the revelation struck her. They had killed the Spirit of Nature, the being responsible for cultivating the planet and maintaining the weather. What was that going to mean for the world? What would happen to the farmers that supplied Equestria with food? How would plants grow? How long would it take before the world’s ecosystems completely fell apart?

All those thoughts immediately became trivial when a new wave of fear crashed over her: they had killed a Spirit. Spirits could be killed. And Discord was...

‘The Spirit of Chaos. I’m honestly not surprised. It explains why he’s such a pain in the flank.’

He could die. He could be killed! No. She shook her head, her curly mane bouncing side to side. No, she would never allow it. She would take him and keep him safe forever, and she would die before she let anyone try to hurt him.

“Discord, I can’t let you--” Screwball’s words were lost as she stared at the creature, mystified. He was as still as a statue, his claws pulled back in anticipation of some powerful spell.

“I presume you wish to be sensible in this matter now,” Time said in his robotic monotone before turning his gaze back to the frozen spirit. Discord’s body jerked as he reset himself.

“Ruof... Eerht... Owt... Eno.” The draconequus blinked a few times looked around himself in confusion. “Did I just go somewhere? Oh yeah,” he said as he glared at the owl intently watching him. “I was just getting ready to turn you into a schnauzer.”

“Brother Chaos, I am not here... to... fight...”

        “Why a schnauzer?” Screwball asked.

        “Why not? Let’s see what he thinks. Hey, Creepy! You like dogs?” Time’s head hung forward limply and his body sagged in a decrepit hunch. The creature showed no sign of life beyond the sound of gears rattling from his still form.

        “Should we leave?” Screwball couldn’t stop herself from shouting when Time’s head violently lunged forward, his eyes glowing a fiery red, as he spread his wings behind him and let out a vile cacophony of retching and gagging. He finally disgorged a large pellet that appeared to be made of undigested wire and brass.

        “IAmHereTo convince you to end this madness,” Time said quickly, his body shaking with excitement as he hastened to get back on schedule.

        “Ugh, talking? This is going to take forever, isn’t it?” Discord moaned. “Couldn’t you just at least try to tickle torture me with your feathers?

        The owl wordlessly spread his two wings to its sides, the spirit’s wingspan dwarfing even Discord. The vanes of the silver feathers hummed with a blue light and the spirit beat his wings just once, slashing them across the air with all the force of a guillotine. He held his two wings out in front of him, revealing two large, jagged tears floating on either side of him. It hurt Screwball’s head to look into them for more than a second at a time, but she could make out a throbbing tunnel of flashing colors inside of the holes.


        “On second thought, let’s skip the tickle torture,” Discord said nervously, his confident exterior rapidly slipping away. Ignoring the clownish spirit’s protests, Time beat his wings back again and the pair were thrown off their hooves and dragged helplessly toward the separate portals.

        “Discord!” the purple pony cried as tumbled through the air, catching a glance of the draconequus managing to fight against the vacuum by digging his claws into the dirt while she flew ever closer to the ravenous cut in space.

        “Screwball!” Discord raised his claw to summon his magic and immediately lost his grip.


        It was beautiful. A candy-coated (literally!) wonderland of lights and sound and color and excitement and laughter sprawled out as far as he could see! He saw an apple hanging in a tree inflate to the size of a pony’s head and fall to the ground to crack open and hatch into a fish that casually fluttered into the air. A frog mooed like a lion before taking a few hops forward and sinking beneath the purple checkerboard landscape with a splash. A white pegasus with a butter yellow mane squealed as she zagged and zigged through the air, her eyes glued to her shadow which almost seemed to be moving a half of a second before her. And the trees! The trees were dancing! On their heads! The trees had heads! And they were spinning around and bowling into ponies here and there and everywhere!

        A house a short distance away swelled to bursting and a river of fudge spewed out from every nook and most of the crannies of the building. A few fillies popped their head out of the chocolate goo to shout in excitement before the muck suddenly reversed flow and drew them back into the cottage. A curious cloud above Discord caught his attention before it petered and creaked and fell forward out of the sky, shattering on top of his horns into shards of yellow glass. He eyed the shards critically and bit down on one of them, his smile widening when he discovered the cloud to be a creamy macaroni and cheese.

        Discord pushed himself to his hooves by balancing on his tail and fluttered to a soft landing. He stretched his arms over his head and cannonballed into the patch of ground in front of him. The moment he touched the purple grass, his body passed through like a ghost, and he gleefully swam through the ocean of colorful plastic balls that were hidden just beneath the surface. He turned and curled and twisted in the current for what felt like hours, and after he was certain he was good and lost, he finally clawed his way out of the ground, pushing a house onto its side as though it were on a hinge to let himself up. He peeled a strip of paint off the house to wipe off all the dryness and threw the towel onto a growling cat feuding with a mewling dog pinned up in a tree.

Some nervous-looking yellow and orange stallion wearing a pair of saddlebags was talking to a flattered and smiling unicorn mare. Without warning, the stallion stopped dead in his sentence and looked over at the saddlebags with horror as marinara sauce and noodles began to bubble out of the packs.

“Are you alright, Raviol--” The unicorn’s words were cut off as the stallion was suddenly propelled into her, the force of spaghetti spiraling out of his pockets too much for him to stop. The two screamed as he tilted backwards and flew off into the sky, traveling faster and faster as he fought against the pull of gravity, meatballs raining down on the amazed children below.

He simply couldn’t stand to watch any longer. He was certain he was going to die. Discord fell to the ground and cried and choked on his laughter, rolling in the warm, gray haze.


        “Am I dreaming? Is this an awake nightmare?” It might have been the thunk on her head she took as she fell through whatever trap that lunatic owl pushed her into, but she was certain that there was something very wrong with the world as she forced her eyes open and rose to her hooves. The sun and the moon clashed with one another in the sky. Pigs flew through clouds on feathery wings. Terrified ponies juggled their screaming newborn children. A manic-looking unicorn walked on shaky legs before she let out a sneeze and breathed a jet of flame twenty feet in front of her.

        “You do not seem to be enjoying yourself,” clucked an unwelcome voice. The jester wheeled around to glare at the silver spirit perched on the branch of an upside-down tree. “I am genuine when I say that I share your sentiments. The solar bodies are not serving their purpose to dictate the time,” he continued as he stared icily at the warring satellites. “Matters are even more complicated. This body seems to have a mind of its own. It is quite persnickety about keeping a sleep schedule. It actually forced me to rest for a short period before I could speak with you. It is convenient that your body had done the same to you.”

        Screwball tried her hardest to put on a brave face and stomped a hoof at the nonplussed owl. “Take me back.”


        “I am sorry to disappoint. But I am not as readily subservient to mortal whims as my brother is.”

“Fix whatever you’ve done and take me back to where we were before. Or Discord will--” Before she could complete her threat, a deep and familiar laugh caught her ear. She turned with a broad smile to meet the draconequus, the indeterminate amount of time she must have been apart from him far too long for her liking. The smile melted away to dread when she saw the Spirit of Chaos clicking his heels and laughing at a squadron of uniformed pegasi with only one wing each fly miserably in circles around him. A terrible realization began to creep across her mind.

“He couldn’t have. He couldn’t have done all this,” the pony whispered, too afraid to raise her voice and hear the emotion in it.

“He... will...” Time slurred. “InOneHundred year’s time this is what will become of Equestria.” In an instant, the owl disappeared from the branch and suddenly appeared standing close at the mare’s side.

“No. It can’t be him... That can’t be him...”

“This is the hundredth year of the Discordian Era in Equestrian history. That is the Discord who reigns over the world. He is a tyrant who abuses his citizens for his own merriment. He twists laughter into sorrow, corrupts kindness. Poisons love, spreads despair, and wreaks havoc. All under the supposed authority of sovereignty.”

“I never told him to do this!” the pony shouted.

“Not. That he would have needed any reason to justify his indulgences,” Time continued without delay. “Nothing could have stopped him once he had been unleashed upon the world. Only delayed. But no mortal power could have ever prevented this.”

        “What are you trying to say?” Screwball challenged.

        “I am saying,” Time said with the slightest hint of tenseness, “that you have been harboring the greatest monster your kind has ever known.”

        Not waiting to hear another word of the spirit’s lies, Screwball galloped toward the draconequus, the chimera still cackling as the pegasi looped around.

        One stallion fought to keep his eyes open as his aching muscles and tired mind commanded him to sleep. It was fear alone that drove the pegasus, who needed only to look at various colorful pillows on the ground below to be reminded of the fate that awaited him should his performance disappoint their sadistic ruler. His eyes lingered on the cushions that had once flown together with him for a moment too long, and he collided with another flyer. The pony prayed with all his might that he had only crashed with another pegasus, and his heart sank when he lifted his head to see two yellow eyes narrowed at him. He let out a cry of pain as his single wing was seized by the chimera’s lion paw and carelessly swung about as the spirit ranted.

        “Get your act together, Icarus! You don’t see Nimble over there colliding with anypony!” Discord motioned toward another pegasus who was too terrified to turn her head and witness the coming tragedy. “You know why? It’s because Nimble is a damn professional. But if you’re really so tired, then I think I can arrange for you to get some rest.”

        The screaming pony was flung to the ground and exploded into a cloud of feathers and cotton at Screwball’s hooves. The mare shrieked in fear at the sight, and the sudden turmoil was just enough to catch the tormenting spirit’s attention.

        “Well, well, well, what do we have here?” he said with a wolfish grin as his tail flicked side to side in the air. “Somepony here to watch my Blunderbolts practice?” The pony kicked her legs in protest as she was lifted off the ground by the eagle claw that was suddenly clutching her neck. “So, what is it? Trying to get a sneak peek of the show? Or,” Discord gasped dramatically, “are you trying to steal our routine?”

        “D...Discord,” Screwball managed to choke out, “it’s... me...!”

        “Me? No, the name doesn’t ring any bells,” he said with a frown. “I don’t owe you money, do I? No, wait, I remember, we met at a local single’s mixer in Staliongrad. Wait, I’ve got it! You were the maid of honor at that awful wedding with Shining What’s-His-Name and Cadence Something! No? Well, I don’t like this game anyway and I must get back to rehearsal. No wobbling, Nimble! You’re better than that! It’s a long drop, so try to aim for Icarus. He looks particularly fluffy, he really must have been tired.”

        Screwball screamed as she kicked her legs in the air, miraculously landing on the pillow. She wasted no time in dashing away from the nightmare she had just experienced. She ran as fast as as her hooves could carry her, not stopping until her body simply could take no more and collapsed under the shade of a giant lollipop. Her chest rose and fell as quickly as the heart pounding in her chest, and her body shuddered with the effort of holding back her frightened tears.

        “That did not seem like a prudent course of action.” The statement was followed by a few ticks and a soft flap of wings as the silver owl descended onto the candy. “I hope you are taking this situation seriously.”

        She gave no response and continued panting as she tried to grapple with the significance of her encounter. Ten thousand thoughts all flooded her brain, relentlessly bombarding her with sudden realizations, each more terrifying than the last. He had thrown away everything she had ever tried to teach him. All those mornings and nights they spent talking, he had forgotten every word. Or did he simply never care? Or were her suspicions right all along and he would only behave himself when she was around? The pony had no doubt that she was dead after one hundred years. So how long did it take for him to devolve into... that?

        No. No, he didn’t devolve. She knew that. She wished she could say that he had become some twisted shadow of his younger, innocent self, but she knew better. She had looked into his eyes countless times, those wonderful gold and ruby orbs always working their magic to bring her cheer and make her smile. And when he clutched her by the neck and dangled her in the air, she looked into his eyes.

        And they were the same. This monster was pure cruelty in word and deed, something she could never say about her Discord. But when she looked into the eyes of that stranger, she saw the same spirit and soul that had laughed with her and comforted her when she was at her weakest. The same draconequus she was willing to risk her own life to protect. It was him. She saw it in his eyes, he had not changed at all. It was Discord.

        ‘Nice of him to remember us.’

        Screwball felt like a Windigo raced through her and turned her insides to ice. This final pain overwhelmed every other thought and pushed them to the cramped recesses of her mind so that it could freely dominate her. He didn’t remember her. He couldn’t even recognize her. The creature she cared for like a child looked at her with those haunting eyes and had no idea who she was. He had forgotten about her.

        "It was a case of nature, quite literally, versus nurture,” Time spoke up, his heartless voice piercing through her numbed mind. “However. It is an eternal battle as he is an eternal child. And you,” he said as he twisted his head to look directly down at the devastated pony, “are not. Once you are gone, so will be any memory of you or your words. You continue on this pointless quest. Even after... WhatHeIs capable of. And what he is more than eager to do.”

Images appeared before Screwball’s eyes. She saw a sick filly lying under a thin pile of rags in a small, dirty room looking up at a contemplative Discord seconds before he snapped his fingers and transformed her into a plant. The scene changed and Discord had seized the life energy of a forest in his hands and soared into the air, laughing riotously as he snapped the strands like a whip and plunged the forest into utter catastrophe. A young pony could only scream inside her own mind as her body acted beyond her control, pulled along by marionette strings toward the grinning draconequus. A medley of images of birds flailing inside bubbles, trees spewing juice, flowers turning into sweets, roads turning into soap, and various other pranks suddenly took on a much more ominous meaning. A final image of Discord appearing above a crowd of panicked Canterlot ponies holding a dead alicorn with a jet black coat in his paw for all of Equestria to see. She could see her own face from within the mob.

        The pony shook her head violently, dispelling the visions and letting her head hang limply down at the unnatural ground.

“You’ve lost any sense of purpose you carried on this venture. You sought validation. Then you wished to protect Equestria and uphold the balance of nature. Soon after, you chose you would fool the world to see Brother Chaos as something other than a monster. And you have failed to even convince yourself of this illusion. So I must wonder. Why. Do you insist on continuing this apocalyptic mission?”

When he received no answer beyond troubled sobs, Time inflated his chest and took flight to retrieve the missing younger Spirit of Chaos. Leaving the sad mare alone, the Spirit of Time was unable to hear her tiny whisper.

“Because he’s mine.”


        “Okay, a little more this way. Now a little back. Perfect!” Discord put his hands on his hips and looked with satisfaction at the precariously stacked tower of trees, fruit, clouds, houses, some sleeping animals, some awake animals, and anything else he had found nearby. A helpful group of pegasi were more than compliant and quick to get to work on whatever he asked them to do. They had finished placing the last seesaw at the top of the ramshackle tower and flew a few feet back in anticipation. Discord snapped his claw and a heavy shimmering yellow and black ball appeared in the air. He slipped his talons into the holes, and brought his feet together at an angle. He stared long and hard at the tower for a few seconds before dancing forward on the tips of his hoof and reptilian toes. He swung his arm forward and sent the ball thundering toward the tower, and with a cry of “Yabba dabba doo!” the ball hit its mark and sent the tower exploding into a shower of debris and junk. Discord whooped and hollered as the tower fell to pieces around him, only coming to a stop when the last of the tower had stopped falling.


        “Eh, wasn’t as fun the second time,” he sighed. “Come on, everypony. Let’s go find something new to do.” The pegasi all shrieked at something and scattered off in every which way, with some flying straight down through the ground and others moving in reverse. The draconequus turned with a frown to see a familiar silver silhouette hovering down from the sky to land just next to him.

        “Good afternoon, Brother.”

        “Well, I think it might be night--no now it’s morning... Noon... Eclipse... I don’t even know what you’d call that,” Discord rambled as he watched the sun and the moon duke it out in the ever-changing sky. The mention visibly irked the Spirit of Time, who hurriedly changed the subject.

        “I apologize for any animosity between us earlier.”

        “You know, I should be turning you into a terrier right now. But I’ve just been in such a good mood, I might not even drop a barn on you,” the draconequus said with a genuine laugh. “Well, maybe just a silo.”

“That is appreciated. I trust that you enjoy this world?”

        “Are you kidding? This place is the best!” As if to emphasize his point, a tap-dancing skyscraper donned with a top hat and twirling a cane came tapping across the chaotic landscape. “I only wish Equestria could be this much fun.” Discord’s ear twitched at the sound of a soft gasp and he looked back to Time. The owl made a few slow strides to the side to reveal a disoriented purple earth pony sitting on the ground, her front legs just barely holding her torso up. The Spirit of Chaos wasted no time in flying to Screwball’s side and taking her in a warm embrace.

“Have you seen this place, Scroob? Isn’t it just wild?” His exuberance abated when he noticed Screwball’s purple eyes were red and puffy with tears. He pulled her into himself protectively and snarled at the owl. “Did you do this to her?”

        “It was not I. And it brings me no joy to say her sorrow is an outcome of your own machinations.”


        “This is your fault,” he clarified. “Everything.”


        “You’re lying,” he growled, baring his pointed teeth.

“I cannot imagine what I have done to make you both doubt my every word. I have spoken nothing but the truth. This is the world you shall create should you continue to walk among mortals. This is Equestria after only a century of your anarchical dynasty. Ponies live in constant unrest and unhappiness in the face of never-ending strife.”

        Chaos incarnate examined his world with a second eye. The grins on the faces of ponies continuously playing leap frog suddenly appeared strained and pleading. The shrill cries of the filly whose hoofsteps would sporadically unleash a burst of smoke and fire sounded more frightened than surprised. An emaciated rabbit hanging upside-down by a monkey tail from a tree branch lost its grip and dropped to the blue checkered grass and remained motionless. A pony with baggy eyes glared spitefully at the feuding sun and the moon as he limped lifelessly after a galloping bed. Discord loved all of this, but he was the only one. He couldn’t see a single other pony enjoying themselves. He didn’t even think of trying to find Screwball. Suddenly, all the gray warmth that surrounded the spirit did not feel as exhilarating.

        “She met your future self as well. You were monstrous in how you treated her.” If he was capable of expression, a hungry grin would have spread across the spirit’s face. He was close now. It was just a matter of, well, time. The correct application of the proper pressure would be all it took to force sense into the two and save the world. “Brother. If you wish to avoid this calamity, you know what must be done. You understand that you must come with me. For all their sakes.”

        Time leaned forward ever so slightly with anticipation as Discord surveyed the world around him. Watching the chaos he was destined to spread, the terror on the faces of ponies, the silent fear of the one living being who ever showed him any compassion, and finally the awaiting eyes of the wold himself. This was it. This was his victory. It was inevitable now. He foresaw this.

        “I won’t do it.”

        “What.” Time stood still for its Spirit.

        “I just won’t do it. Any of it,” Discord said resolutely. “I’ll stay with Screwy, and now I know to avoid doing all of this.”

        The lights behind Time’s incandescent eyes flicked on and off for a few seconds and the spirit’s head twitched. The world began to fall to pieces around them. Scraps of the purple sky dislodged and dangled as if they were hanging from a hinge before dropping to the ground and crashing with a resounding gong. The ground sprung up into the air and dissolved into bits of sparkling bronze, ponies broke apart into clockwork pieces with a sprang, the clouds littered cogs and screws. The entire world crumbled in an enormous cataclysm of clangs, twings, and whistles, as if a clock was stuffed with some of Discord’s exploding rocks and let to burst.

        This was not something that should have ever happened. He had anticipated and predicted every possible reaction and outcome, and manipulated events until complete submission and compliance was the only available conclusion. He was the Spirit of Time. He should never be surprised or agitated by new turns of events. And yet. And yet. And yet. And yet and yet and yet and yet and yet and yet. They turned their heads at their indisputable destinies.

No. No, he just needed to convince them for just a little longer, that was all.

"If you choose to remain in this world, that will be your future,” Time announced as the last piece of the future landscape vanished. The three were standing outside of the dilapidated inn, the full moon still hanging high in the night sky. Discord gently set Screwball back on the ground and the two turned to face the persistent spirit. “You will do nothing but hurt the world and all who live within. This is not something you can avoid, Brother."

There. He just had to explain it to them. That was all. That should have done it. They would submit now. He had foreseen it. This would be the end of it now.

“Would you shut up already? Do you even listen to yourself when you talk?” This pony was beginning to be a nuisance. The mare took an aggressive stance and glared at the spirit, her hateful eyes burning for the opportunity to repay the spirit for her heartache. “Of course he can avoid it if he wants to. He’s the Spirit of Chaos! His entire being is based on defying expectations! There’s nothing he can’t be!”

“He cannot be a kind--”

“Discord is the kindest, most sweetest creature that I’ve ever known! When I met him, the first thing he wanted to do was to meet and help as many ponies as he could.”


“He saved a dying filly’s life and lifted her family out of complete poverty. He put on a show for all of Ponyville just to make them laugh. He even willingly helps petty crooks because he wants to help out everypony, no matter who they are!” Screwball’s face softened slightly. “And in my entire life, I’ve never met a soul who cared as much about me as Discord does. I don’t know what I did to deserve somepony as great as him, but I’ll never let him go.”

“Screwy...” The air grew lighter for a second as a slight smile crossed the pair’s faces in spite of their situation. Any comfort the two felt was quickly stolen away by the sound of a low growl echoing from deep in Time’s throat. The spirit had begun to spread his silver wings around him, causing even the larger draconequus to feel slightly intimidated. His eyes were glowing with a dark intensity, the spheres now radiating with a menacing black light. The spectral symbols and cogs that drifted inside were clear to see against the infinite darkness.

"End. This foolishness. Now come with. Me.” The Spirit of Time’s speech had almost completely disintegrated, his sentences sounding like nothing but fragmented composites heartlessly strung together.

        “Oh sure, just let me pack my things,” Discord chuckled, trying to cover for his earlier fright. With a snap of his fingers, a dozen suitcases suddenly rained down upon the metallic spirit. Time’s only reaction was to growl lower and quake for a few moments before snapping his head directly in Screwball’s direction.

"You, po. Ny order him to. Come with. Me," he ordered, his command barely audible over the vociferous clicks and tocks that rattled from his mouth which only served to further agitate the mare.

“I already said no! I don't care if you creeps come after us every day until the end of time, I'll never let you take him!"

Perhaps it was a result of the living shell he occupied, or the body’s unreasonable demand for resting for hours going ignored, or the irregularities in the pattern of the sun and the moon, or perhaps it was due to the nature of the creature he was contending with. But whatever the reason, this encounter had given way to a first in history’s winding track: Time’s patience had reached its end.

        Pony and draconequus began to cautiously retreat as steam spewed from the silver bird’s neck. His neck twisted and spun back and forth as if a demon had seized him, his wings twitched flapped independent of each other, and his body lurched this way and that. The owl gave a final bloodcurdling screech before his head shot off from his shoulders on a piston, his face locked in a terrifying grimace with his beak lying disjointed. After several seconds, the spasms ended and the glow from Time’s eyes faded completely, and the bird fell and crashed to the ground face-first. Discord sniggered a bit when a sudden “cuckoo” escaped the bird’s mouth.

        Screwball gasped as she discovered the reason behind the spirit’s inorganic mannerisms. His body was a hollow shell filled with all manner of gizmos and machinery. Gears and springs were tangled together in an ugly mess, sprockets and weights jangling out of place and getting caught in the grinding teeth. “A sad imitation of a living creature” didn’t even begin to describe it.

        A cold rush surrounded her. Screwball thrashed with all her energy to break free of the eerie power that suddenly gripped her, but to no avail. The energy coalesced into a faint blue sphere around her and she was lifted up into the air over the crumpled body of Time.

        “These emotions are obstructive,” a cold voice hissed as the mechanical spirit began to slowly pull itself back together. “You have pushed me to my limit. I will not say it again. Come with me. For every second you delay, she will age. And wither. And die.”

        “Disc--AAGH!” The pony screamed in agony as lightning arced from the inside walls of the sphere and licked her body. Shaking off his immediate shock, Discord ignored the owl’s objections and torpedoed straight towards the prison. His first attempts to reach in and grab her and teleport her away only earned him a cruel laugh from the carrion spirit.

        “You are only wasting your time. And hers. Give up now. She will be able to live out her limited years much less painfully.”


        “H-hold on, Scroob!” Discord shouted. He twisted his tail on instinct, grinding the flesh so tightly that some of the ruby scales were scraped off. He bit down hard on his tail before tearing at his own face in agony. He just needed an idea. He just needed to think of something and he would save the day like he always did!

...Except he always only ever made things worse. That was all he was good at. Making things worse for everyone else, getting them into trouble, making them hate him. He didn’t want to be that. He didn’t want to be the Spirit of Chaos. He didn’t even want to be the King of Equestria anymore if he couldn’t do it with Screwball! Screwball shouted out again and her dark purple mane began to show aging streaks of white. Tears stinging his vision, the draconequus pounded his fists on the prison over and over, feeling all the hatred, anger, remorse, pain, and fear in the air around them drawing to him with each strike.

“I just want things to stay the same!”

        What happened next was a blur. A light exploded out from the bubble that threw Discord onto the ground, tumbling and cutting his skin on the rough earth. Coughing, the spirit lifted himself onto his staggering feet and squinted through the dust that the burst of archaic energy had disturbed. As the cloud settled, he could see a single form on the ground, one that he could recognize in a heartbeat. Pushing the dust away with the flapping of his wings, Discord raced to Screwball’s side. The pony had no obvious physical harm. No cuts, no bruises, no breaks. All that had changed were the white hairs that highlighted her curly mane.

        But she still was not moving.

        “Screwball?” Discord asked tentatively, hovering over her motionless form and wringing his hands together. “Scroob? Come on now, Scroob.” He tried to lift her onto her hooves, but the pony remained limp and fell onto her stomach without so much as a grunt. The spirit took a step back and fought the urge to grip his tail as fear swelled in his chest. He lowered his long neck down and nuzzled and nudged the purple pony’s face, some of his tears dripping onto her cheeks. “Screwy... We were gonna see the kingdom...” He fell to his knees and desperately shook her lifeless body. “You gotta wake up now. Please... You have to wake up...”

“Brother,” a fearful voice rasped, “do you realize what you have done?”

His sorrow immediately turned to fury and the Spirit of Chaos turned on his trembling kin with a bestial roar, calling upon fire and lightning to strike down the monster. Time’s pleading words fell on deaf ears, and he could barely speak a word as he was buffeted by the storm.

“It is an abomination, Brother!”

“Go away, go away!! Get away from her!!!” Discord roared again and nature heard his call. Dark pink clouds gathered in the sky and cast down a bolt of lightning to strike down Time with the full fury of Chaos. The owl’s metal body fell to the ground, gave one final tick, and eroded away to dust in an instant, leaving only a soft blue light to drift away and vanish on the wind.

Discord’s tears were swiftly made invisible as drops of sugar water began to rain down from the clouds. The draconequus whimpered once before starting his slow lumber. Reaching his destination, he dropped to his hands and knees and wrapped himself around the dead pony, his cries muffled by the earth and the rain.


<<Chapter Four -- Chapter Six>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I’m at the drop spot to make the exchange for the T-shirt. I have a bad feeling about this...

FiMfiction Link

               Gray. It all was gray. The skies were strangled by heavy clouds that refused to dissipate or break. The sunlight that managed to push through the dismal covering was stained, casting a doleful light across the land. The grassy expanse that stretched all around had seemingly been drained of all its former, gorgeous luster. Whatever quaint charm he had seen in the dilapidated hotel was gone and forgotten. Discord was so very, very tired of gray. The gray that surrounded him, the gray that emanated from him, the gray that was the only force keeping him alive. The horrible, mind-numbing, deathly shade was his only company in all the world, and he hated it with every inch of his being.

               A numbness in his feet informed him that it was time once again for his loathsome ritual. The draconequus dragged himself off the uncomfortable couch and balanced his body on his two claws. He moved across the inn’s ruined lobby and exited the building, his scowl growing even more when he laid eyes on the miserable view. After making his way to the dirt road, he finally dropped onto his rear and threw two handfuls of earth into the air, snapping his fingers at each. One of the clouds turned into a metal spring that bounced along the road for several feet before bursting with a loud crack. The other became a few cupcakes and pies that twirled in the air before splatting against the ground.

               The feeling in his feet returned, prompting Discord to stand and sluggishly march down the road away from the hotel. He had no idea how long it took him until he hit the invisible wall. Without a view of the sun, it was near impossible for him to tell one hour from the one before it. His attempts to repair the grandfather clock in the hotel’s foyer only spawned bad memories and inevitably resulted in catastrophic failures. The rising and setting of the sun and moon were completely dependent on when the King of Equestria decided to fall asleep and wake up.

She would have been so proud of him to see him remembering his royal duties all on his own...

               Discord tapped experimentally on the invisible wall and placed his lion paw against it. He traced the wall as he navigated the interior of his magical barrier, reassuring himself that the magic was still holding strong. Deep down he was aware that there was no real need for the inspections, but they were the only excuse he could come up with for getting away from the building. After hours of walking, his tests yielded a positive conclusion: the wall was holding strong, and nothing would be able to get in. Or out. He still had to protect his nation. And now that he was the greatest threat to his subjects’ happiness, it was only right that he locked himself away from them.

               A part of him protested the imprisonment, demanding that he set himself loose and follow whatever whim carried him. But he couldn’t listen to that voice again. It was the voice that always gave him ideas for jokes and fun that made her get mad at him. Worse than that, it was the voice that told him to enjoy that world that terrified her so much. But worst of all... it was his voice. He couldn’t stand being cooped up there, with nothing but endless gray to keep him company and squeaky floorboards to pass the time. He wanted to leave and never come back, to rush out and explore the world that he was promised, bringing fun and color to everywhere and everyone he met.

The thought tempted him as he stood in the open doorway of the inn, looking at the boundless world just outside the barrier. He could even swear he saw some traces of color just on the horizon. He took a deep breath and turned his back on it, slipping between the gloomy shadows in the building and crawling onto the most comfortable couch he could find.

The last three days had passed like this. A spiritless cycle of waking up, raising the sun behind the clouds, eating something, loathing the gray, fighting off the creeping numbness, patrolling the barrier, imagining the wonder of exploring the world, and then lying down until it was time to go to sleep. There was nothing else he could do, he thought.

The spirit was roused from his place by some faint sound he was confident would certainly turn out to be some figment of his mind. His ears perked as the noise came again from beyond the stairs. Though now it sounded more like a smell. Or did it feel like a taste? He wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, it was gray, and he knew he would have nothing to do with it.

He tentatively placed his hoof on the first step, hoping that the smelly sound would just go away. There was no such luck, and he put his lizard foot on the second step and waited. And then the third. And the fourth. And then he waited. And then the fifth, and the sixth, and the feeling was growing stronger. When he finally reached the second floor, his heart dropped. It was coming from the room at the end of the hall. Screwball’s room.

               He hadn’t seen the purple pony since he carried her body out of the pouring rain into the hotel. He had laid her down on the bed in the nicest room he could find and then walked away, promising her that he wouldn’t let himself or anything else ever hurt her again. And now there was something in there with her.

               He didn’t want to think. He dashed down the hall on all fours, snapping his a claw and turning the door into a giant wafer cookie before barreling into it and breaking it into splinters. Silently cursing himself for giving into that sudden impulse, Discord shook himself off and looked around the room viciously.

               His eyes strayed around the room, looking for any sign of the disturbance. Most ponies would have never been able to remember any details about the ramshackle suite’s horrid state, but the spirit found that every imperfection and flaw was crystal clear in his memory. The wallpaper was still yellowed and peeling in all the right places, with no signs of claw marks anywhere. The windows were broken in their same spider web pattern, with the moth-eaten curtains still barely clinging to the windowsill. Half-destroyed furniture was in their proper place strewn across the room, each with the proper half destroyed. Finally, there was only one place left to look. He hesitantly brought his eyes to the bed at the center of the room. The bed sheets weren’t any dirtier than he had left them, other than a few stray bits of cookie settled among the folds of cloth.

Discord didn’t try to fight the tears building in his golden eyes as he looked down at Screwball, lying just as still and peaceful as he left her. The draconequus turned his head away and sat down, hunched over his knees. He coiled his ruby tail around his legs so he could twist the extension as the pony’s last words echoed in his mind. She had called him kind and loving. She said that he could do anything. But she was wrong. All those times he had thought he was helping ponies and changing things, he had just been hurting them. No one liked the gray that all his magic brought, and it never made anything better. What was the point of being able to do anything if he couldn’t do anything right? Maybe it would have been kinder if he had gone with Time and left Screwball alone. At least then she wouldn’t have gotten hurt.

‘We’re inclined to agree with you on that one.’

Discord jumped at the voice. Slowly rising to his hooves, he crept over to the side of the bed and gave the pony a light nudge with his snout.


‘What do you want?’

“Screwball!” the draconequus cheered, all hesitance in his body completely destroyed in the face of his pure elation. In a flash, he had grabbed the pony by her hooves and began swinging her around in circles, hopping all about the room in a mad jig as she bounced along.

‘Put us down, you lunatic!’

Discord stopped all at once, nearly losing his grip on her. Regarding her curiously, he set Screwball back down on the bed. Her eyes were still closed, and her mouth hadn’t moved. It was undeniably strange, but it was the sort of strangeness he could appreciate. Not that it mattered to him in the slightest. All that was important was that Screwball was back!

“Scroob, I’m so glad you’re okay!”

‘You call this “okay”? You’re joking. You’ve got to be joking. We’ve been stuck lying in bed for the last we-don’t-know how long! Were you just not satisfied with how difficult you’ve made our life, so you decided to turn us into a vegetable?’

“I’m... I’m sorry, Screwy,” he said softly, flinching from the harsh words, “I... I never wanted anything to happen to you--”

‘We said from the very beginning this would only end in disaster. And it looks like we were right. If we didn’t have to fight us every single step of the way, none of this would have happened! This is all your fault, you big, stupid freak!’

               The spirit had never felt so small. He bowed his head and was just about to leave the room when a wave of heat washed over him. Turning back to face the pony, his eyes widened when he saw a scowling gray specter hovering over Screwball, her ghostly eyes narrowed on the draconequus.

               ‘Are you still here? Get out, you cretin!’

               “Who are you? Tell me!” Discord growled, baring his fangs at the apparition.

               ‘We’re Screwball, you moron,’ the spirit snapped back.

               “No… No, I know you.” Discord’s mismatched eyes bulged. “You’re the voice! You’re that awful voice that’s always shouting at Screwball and making her feel miserable! Who are you really?”

               ‘We said we’re Screwball. So stop asking, you’re bugging us.’

               “No you’re not!”

               The phantom couldn’t help but snicker at the draconequus’ tantrum. ‘We’re in our head, aren’t we? We know your pink fairy of a brother said that you were dumb, but we thought you’d be able to wrap your head around this at least.’

               “You’re not Screwball!” Discord shouted again, pointing a claw at the phantom. “Screwball was nothing but nice to me! And I’ve heard you shout at her and say terrible things. You’re not Screwball! You-you’re somepony else!”

               ‘Huh,’ the ghost grunted thoughtfully, looking at the ceiling in thought. ‘You want to know something?’

               Discord was caught off-guard by the sudden softness in her voice. “What’s that?”

               ‘You are impossibly, unbelievably thick, thick, thick!!’ she wailed. ‘But if it would get you to leave us alone faster, then fine, we--excuse me--I’m not Screwball. You remember Savoir Faire? Well, seeing as that was my idea, you can just call me that. There, are you satisfied? Now leave me alone.’

               “You still haven’t told me who you are,” he said firmly. “And I don’t just mean your name! I want to know why you won’t leave Screwball alone. I always hear you being awful to her for no reason!”

               ‘Excuse you? “No reason”? Without me, she never would have lasted this long! Whenever she was lonely, I was the one who kept her company. Whenever she started getting impossible dreams in her head, it was me who stopped her from getting her hopes up just to be disappointed. And whenever something went wrong, I reminded her that there was no point in being upset because nothing ever went right for her anyway!’ The ghostly pony’s words were drenched in venom as she floated around the room and kicking uselessly at the scattered debris with each exclamation. After a pause, her expression melted into a grin that sent a chill down Discord’s spine and she vanished, reappearing over Screwball again. Savoir Faire kept her eyes on the body as she spoke, combing her hooves through the purple and white mane as though she were holding a doll.

I was always there for her. I was the only one in the world who cared. She started talking to herself not even a month after that old nanny of hers left her alone, and then she made me, and then we became our-- I became her own best friend.’

               Discord blinked at the revelation. Screwball had always been nothing but compassionate and kind. And even when she was upset she was always trying to be positive. It just didn’t seem possible that the tender pony he had known his entire life could have all that--that--gray inside of her! The gray was bad! It made ponies upset and ruined things! It...

               He swallowed. It kept them alive... Both of them.

I always had to be the one who endured all the pain in her life. Things were always fine when it was just us. And then you came along, you lumbering, stupid, dangerous, freak!’

               The assault pulled the draconequus from his thoughts and he scowled at the offensive phantom. Savoir Faire was hovering just an inch away from his face, her eyes burning with hatred.

               ‘She was mine! She was all mine, and she didn’t need anypony else! And then you showed up and ruined everything!’ Savoir Faire shrieked. In an instant, her expression turned to ice and she drifted back to her lifeless body again. ‘Do you have any idea how much she hates you?’

               “You’re lying,” he dared, taking a step forward. The gray pony gave a sharp laugh and turned her back to the creature.

               ‘Or maybe she’s been lying to you and I’m the only one with enough kindness to be honest. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?’

               “Hah!” Discord folded his arms triumphantly and turned his head up high in pride. “Shows what you know! Truth is one of the Virtues of Sovereignty--” His confidence waned in the face of the vicious cackling.

               ‘You actually bought into all that garbage she was slinging? She made it all up! Everything she’s been telling you about being a king has been one big lie! You’re no king! You’re a monster!’

The word seared across his mind like a bolt of fire. The spirit retreated a few steps, clutching his head in agony, grabbing onto his horns as though he was trying to snap them off his head altogether. That word. That awful word... He remembered hearing it before. He remembered ponies and dragons and griffins screaming and running away from him, tripping over their friends who were just lying on the ground. Some of them were attacking him and he -- and then they stopped. They were all shouting the same thing. Discord howled and scratched at his eyes, hoping he could stop the images and drown out the screams.

His skin began to burn up as the gray began to seep behind his eyes. He roared and struck out at the obscuring haze with claw and magic, his struggling becoming wilder and wilder as his frustration built. He bashed his shoulder against the walls and dressers, smashing the wood to pieces. His arms flew forward and the windows exploded out from their frames and broke into shards on the ground below. A wicked voice laughed from somewhere behind the gray and he prepared to destroy it.

And then, all at once, he stopped. A small purple body was floating peacefully in the endless fog, laying on her side in a deep sleep. Discord wrapped his arms around the pony and pulled her against him so he could hear her whisper.

“Forget about all the bad and the chaos... Just think about the laughter.”

The gray thinned and faded away, leaving Discord alone with Screwball. His paw began to automatically stroke her back delicately, feeling her coat rub against his own. It felt like ages had passed since they last held one another. But even now, it still wasn’t the same. He needed her back.

               ‘Aww, is the tantrum over? Why’d you stop? I was hoping you would get caught up in the moment and throw yourself out the window.’ Savoir Faire’s smirk soured when the draconequus mumbled something too quiet to hear. ‘Hey! You answer me when I’m talking to you! And I told you before to put me down!’

               “She saved me,” he repeated softly. “Screwball saved me.”

               ‘Oh, gag me. Aren’t you sentimental? You really are as dumb as you look.’ The phantom’s scowl grew to match Discord’s smile.

               “Screwy... You saved me again. Just like always.” He ignored the gray pony’s screams as he held her tighter, remembering all that they had been through together, and all that she had done for him. She had stayed with him through all their hard times, despite all he put her through. “She cares about me.”

               ‘No no no! No! She’s mine! She doesn’t care about you!’ Savoir Faire shrieked, yanking her own mane. ‘Everything she ever told you was a lie!’

“Even if she did lie about some things,” he began as he set the mare gently on the bed again, “she only did it to protect me.” For the first time, he took his eyes off Screwball and turned look out the open windows. He could swear that the clouds were beginning to clear. “And as far as I’m concerned, that’s better than the truth.”

               ‘Well, she’s dead, so none of that even matters anymore,’ Savoir Faire hissed, her face contorted into a hideous mask.

               “She isn’t dead,” Discord said knowingly as he turned back to face the pony.

               ‘This is just pathetic. You’re only kidding yourself at this point.’

               “You’re here,” he said, looking into Savoir Faire’s eyes, “so she has to be alive.” The phantom returned the stare for as long as she could manage before briskly turning her head away. She would never admit it, but she saw something in those blood red eyes that frightened her. It looked like confidence.

               ‘I liked you better when you were an idiot.’

               “I’ve been getting lessons.” Discord held his paws over Screwball’s body, trying to understand what had happened to her. Her body was coated by two hues: a blue one trying to push through and reach her form, and a gray one shielding her and fighting off the foreign energy. Her mind was perfectly intact, she was just... sleeping.

               Savoir Faire hovered over Discord’s head, watching him critically. ‘So what are you going to do?’

               Discord would have normally ignored her, but the surprising lack of wrath in her tone caught him off guard.

               “I change things. She’s stuck asleep, so I’ll just change that,” he replied, raising his eagle claw up and tenting his fingers.

               ‘If you really care about her at all,’ Savoir Faire said, her tone a mere echo of her earlier bitterness, ‘you’ll leave and never come back after you’re done.’

               “And just leave her alone again?” Discord scoffed, noticing the phantom’s dreamy smile at the thought. “Get used to having me around. Because I am never going to leave you alone with her ever again.”

               Savoir Faire raised her nose at the draconequus before dispersing into a shapeless cloud of gray. As Discord watched the haze soaked back into Screwball’s head, he considered saving them both the trouble and ridding them of the hateful consciousness. He ultimately decided against it, thinking that Screwball may have grown some slight attachment to the voice.

               The draconequus raised his paws again and gathered all of his focus. He couldn’t afford to mess anything up this time. Not again. Not when it involved her. Regarding the purple pony one last time, he gave a weary exhale. He couldn’t even glimpse at a tree without feeling an impulse to turn it into taffy, but in all the world, with all the power to change and create he held, the pony was the one thing he never wanted to change.

               “I hope she’s not upset about the white hairs,” he thought out loud before cupping his hands around his mouth and leaning down to the pony’s ear.

            “Time to wake up, Scroob!!!”


               Screwball nearly kicked Discord in the mouth as she flailed her legs in alarm, her body instinctively trying to flee from the explosion of sound. Instead, she only managed to tumble on the bed sheets and roll over the side of the mattress with a soft whump.

               “Discord, please don’t do that,” the pony yawned sorely. Screwball wasn’t on her hooves for more than four seconds before she was immediately lifted back up into the air and twirled around by a madly grinning draconequus. After several dizzying minutes of politely asking to be put down, the pony was set back down by the giddy spirit. She definitely ranked it as one of the more interesting starts to a morning she ever had.

               “Somepony’s happy today,” she laughed before a thought crossed her mind. “Where’s the owl? What happened? How... Are we in that filthy hotel?” she asked, scrunching up her nose.

               “Well, I had to keep you somewhere while you were sleeping. And I already paid for the room, so I figured it would be alright.” Discord tried to sound apologetic, but the creature could not stop himself from giggling with every word.

               Screwball simply shook her head and gave a soft laugh. She turned to the mirror to laugh at her bed head and froze.

               “Discord. Why is my mane white?” she spoke through grit teeth.


               The spirit didn’t wait to give an answer and immediately dashed for the doorway, with Screwball yelling right behind him. And as he laughed in elation, a small part of him suggested that this moment could only be made better with an explosion of chocolate pudding. And after some thought, Discord decided to give that instinct a second chance.


<<Chapter Five -- Chapter Seven>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I got knocked out and I’ve been in a trunk since the end of March. I’m starting to think I may not be getting my rad T-shirt back. Amazing that I still have Internet connection, though.

FiMfiction Link

            After Screwball finally recovered from the shock of seeing her mane streaked with white (and convincing herself that it didn’t completely make her look like an old gray mare), the pony decided that she and Discord would settle down for the day to recuperate after their encounter with that damnable owl. As much as she wanted to leave the filthy hotel and never look back, a heavy rain had forced them to stay inside for the night. She had hoped for a salubrious break, privately grateful for the opportunity to stay off her hooves for an entire day and try to plan their next steps on their journey. The jester even entertained the idea of trying to teach Discord to read again, preferably by using a book that didn’t appear to be a veiled assault on written language like the last one.


                Instead, most of her day was occupied by chasing after her impish draconequus all through the hotel in an aggravating game of cat and mouse. Discord would slip away while her back was turned, then she would hear some great noise accompanied by an uproarious laugh, and a new pursuit would begin. Screwball would shout for Discord to behave as the spirit happily refused, popping in and out of doors and bringing all kinds of familiar chaos in his wake. The hotel was soon overrun with dancing pillows, flying fish, chocolate bouncy balls, walls of bubbles, and dust bunnies that were more bunny than they were dust.


                With fears of losing control over the draconequus once again nagging at the back of her head, Screwball continued her search for the missing troublemaker. She had followed after him to a random room, only for him to be—predictably—absent when she opened the door. She slammed the door shut, her patience nearing its end, and shouted for Discord to come out and clean up his mess. Unsurprisingly, her demand went ignored and the pony trudged into the hall, her ears straining to hear any sort of chuckling.


                Screwball yelped when her hooves suddenly slid out from under her. She scrambled to keep her balance as she danced on top of a pack of roving marbles and just narrowly avoided falling on her face by shifting her weight to her side. Her eyes opened wide when she realized she had dropped herself down the staircase to the lobby, and she threw her hooves over her head to protect herself from the coming blows.


                Her confusion turned to relief when the impact never came, and Screwball turned her head up to meet a pair of concerned red and gold eyes. She had never even hit the first step before Discord caught her, and the spirit delicately placed his advisor at the bottom of the staircase.


                “Ow!” Discord cried as he grabbed his stinging snout with his paws. “What was that for?”


                “When I tell you to clean up your mess, you listen to me,” Screwball answered sternly.


                “Fine, sheesh,” Discord sighed as he snapped a claw and immediately cleared the hotel of every trace of his hijinks. “You didn’t have to flick my nose.”


                “You better hope I won’t have to next time,” she said as she walked to the reception area and climbed onto the least uncomfortable couch she could find. “I’ve been chasing after you all day and I’m exhausted. Please just behave yourself now?”  


                “But isn’t magic one of the Virtues of Sovereignty?”




                “And since it always saves us, I figure I should practice as much as I can.”




                Discord groaned in defeat and coiled himself on the carpet under the couch, continuing the argument in his head and unleashing flawless argument after argument until Screwball finally admitted he was right. He really was right, after all. He had pieced that together himself. He was miserable those last few days when he forbade himself from spreading the gray feeling, and as soon as he used it to bring back Screwball everything was great again! So what was the problem?


                He unhappily answered himself when he remembered the look on the pony’s face when she saw that fake future Time had shown them. Discord refused to believe that all that could have been real; he refused to believe that making ponies unhappy would ever make him happy. It wasn’t real, and it was simple as that. He couldn’t hurt anyone with his fun.


                Except for…


                And when…


                Or that time…


                ‘I didn’t let Scroob fall down the stairs! That’s something, isn’t it? Cut it out,’ he hissed at his own brain, rapping himself on the head a few times to knock the incriminating evidence out of his mind. It was making him upset. He liked it better when he had out-argued the imaginary Screwball, it wasn’t as fun when he was doing it alone. Especially when he was losing.


                The Spirit of Chaos twisted his neck around to see what his companion was doing, but his low vantage point prevented him from seeing anything. He slowly lifted his head until he was able to peek over the side of the couch. He was caught off guard when he came face-to-face with a similarly surprised Screwball. The two simply looked at each other for a few moments in an uncomfortable silence.






                “I’m so bored,” Discord said, as he flopped onto his back as pathetically as he could manage.


                “You haven’t even been sitting still for three minutes,” Screwball said with a frown. “It isn’t terrible to just sit down somewhere quiet and think once and a while.”


                “It is so,” he muttered quietly before quickly continuing. “What are you thinking about?”


                Screwball gave a flustered exhale and combed back a long strand of her mane.


                “I’m just trying to decide what our next stop should be from here. We came south from Ponyville, so we could go back east toward the coast and go to Ploughmoth or northwest toward…” Her voice faded and her mouth twisted in a contemplative frown. “This would be a lot easier with—”


                “I’m two steps ahead of you,” Discord piped up. He snapped his paw and Screwball’s objections were muffled under a layer of blue fabric.


                Screwball was perplexed at first, but after considering that she was starting to feel some of the cold weather seep inside the rundown inn, she thankfully slipped back inside the familiar warmth of her Canterlot royal advisor robes.


                “They can help you focus,” Discord explained as he leaned against the back of the couch.


                “I was actually thinking of something more along the lines of a map,” Screwball said, “but this is just as good. Thank you, Discord. I was beginning to feel a little chilly anyway.” The advisor felt a pinch of guilt while watching the draconequus aimlessly meander around the room before collapsing into a chair and rotating himself until his hooves were pointing in the air.


                “Would you like to hear a story?” Screwball asked. She felt like she owed him some reprieve from his boredom, and Discord was more than happy to accept.


                “What’s it about?” Discord was lying on his belly; his gray head cradled in his hands as his hooves idly kicked the air behind him, as is the official story time position.


                “This is the story of how Equestria was made—”


                “Bo-ring! This is just another one of your lessons, isn’t it?”


                “Trust me, the story of Hearth’s Warming Eve is anything but boring. Though usually we don’t talk about it until winter, but that’s half a year away and I think you should know the story sooner rather than waiting.”


                “Then quit making me wait. Come ooon, Screwy!”


                The mare couldn’t help but giggle at his eagerness. “Ahem. Once upon a time, long, long ago and in a faraway land, ponies lived in great unhappiness. For years, the three pony tribes maintained a shaky alliance with one another, with the unicorns demanding food grown by earth ponies in exchange for raising the sun and the moon. The pegasi similarly demanded food from the earth ponies in exchange for their promised protection should the unicorns ever attack.


                “The mistrust that had been simmering finally came to a boil when a mysterious blizzard covered the land in ice and snow. None of the tribes could do anything to stop the blizzard, and they all blamed one another while the tribes slowly starved and froze. It became too much, and when the tribes could endure no more, each set out to discover a new place to call home.


                “After many long months of journeying, the tribes finally each discovered a new paradise! But to their surprise, they found that the other tribes had laid claims to the same land and none refused to surrender their new paradise. It was not long before a great war erupted among the tribes. And as the fighting raged on, the battlefield was soon buried under the same blizzard that had drove them from their homelands…” Screwball’s voice dropped and she closed her eyes for a few seconds.


                “Well? What happened next?” Discord asked, his eyes nearly popping out of his head. “What was behind the blizzard?”


                “I’ll tell you… Right after dinner.”


                The draconequus’ jaw hit the floor and he began to cry out in protest at being made to wait again. Screwball simply waved him away and told him that he could wait until after they ate. After all, a good performer should always leave her audience wanting more, and she had done more than just juggle for nobles in Canterlot. She draped her robes on the back of the couch and began to explore the first floor for some sort of pantry.


                After a few minutes of searching, Screwball found the inn’s modest kitchen and some canned food that wasn’t too far past its expiration date. She understood that the spirit was powerful enough to just conjure up something for them to eat, but for whatever reason, a home-cooked meal sounded… nice. Even if she was stretching the definition of “home-cooked” a bit. When she was finished preparing the food, the two pulled a few chairs around a table and enjoyed a dinner of creamed corn, baby carrot slices, tomato soup, stale croutons, undercooked rice, and chocolate milk.


                It was strange, she thought, that as she sat on a moldy chair, sharing the most meager meal imaginable and making idle conversation with a strange creature inside a broken-down hotel, as a storm outside pounded against the windows and walls, she could not remember the last time she enjoyed something so… nice. And it was nice. It had a charm that was just… nice.


                The moment Screwball had finished eating, Discord immediately began to pester her and hop around, begging her to finish the rest of the story and groaning every time Screwball added some chore to finish before she would continue. He knew she was trying to torture him. It was the only explanation he could think of for why she kept insisting on cleaning everything.


                “I cleared the table, washed the dishes, fixed the broken dishes, cleaned off in the rain, and took a bath,” Discord injected the word with as much venom as he could manage, “and now you finished yours, so can we please get back to the story now?”


                Screwball finished toweling off her mane and stepped out of the bathroom, which had surprised her by being the one spotless and maintained room in the hotel. She was never the type of mare to pamper herself, but it felt amazing to have a proper shower after so many weeks. There was something about sliding down a soapy road that didn’t quite feel as refreshing as a hot shower, at least in her mind. The agitated spirit clearly did not share her sentiments and insisted on making a fuss every step of the way when she was trying to wash him, and the resulting battle to keep the draconequus in the sudsy water was ten times as fierce as her encounter with the wolf in the forest outside of Ponyville.


                “Are you sure we got all the mud off?” the pony asked devilishly.




                “Okay, then we just need to take the towel to the laundry and—”


                Discord wrenched the towel out of her hooves, coiled it into a twist, and snapped it in the air in one smooth movement. At the crack of the cottony whip, the towel was transformed into an enormous fruit roll-up, which the spirit quickly gobbled down.


                “Laundry’s done.”


                Screwball relented and followed the giddy draconequus down the stairs and back to the reception area. She got the feeling he wasn’t satisfied with her slow pace when he started pushing her towards the couch once she reached the bottom of the stairs. She nestled back into her warm robes and collected herself to continue the story.


                “The three pony tribes had all fought bitterly to control their new land, but it was only the most stubborn of ponies who continued to battle on after the blustery winds and freezing snow began to bury the land. Many ponies were frozen solid and trapped in ice by the strange dark magic of the blizzard.


                “Eventually, there were only three ponies remaining: the earth pony chancellor, Smart Cookie, the pegasus leader, Commander Pansy—yes, it’s a silly name—and the unicorn court mage, Clover the Clever. The three of them had retreated to a cave to escape from the cold, and the sight of seeing their tribes driven to extinction had drained their resolve to fight. So the three sat in that cave and spoke with each other, and shared stories of their tribes and their adventures while they waited to be claimed by the storm as well.


                “As time went on, they discovered that they shared much in common and soon forgot their differences. They laughed and sang songs all night and into the morning, truly happy to have found each other in their last moments. Suddenly, a great roar, like the howl of a tornado, rumbled outside their shelter, and the three were shocked to discover the source of the blizzard.


                “A trio of Windigoes, evil winter spirits who sowed hatred and havoc wherever they went, revealed themselves for the first time in their years of tormenting the pony tribes, galloping across the dark sky, snow and hail showering down from their bodies.


                “Well, thank the stars that Clover was Clever, and knew precisely what to do. And by drawing on the power of their newly forged friendships, the three ponies vanquished the Windigoes with a single spell, sending them back to the dark skies from whence they came.


                “The snow soon began to melt and the ponies thawed, finally freed from their hatred. The three tribes united together to found a single nation, which would in time spread across the world and unite all creatures in harmony. And they gave their proud new land a great and proud name: Equestria!” Screwball finished theatrically, satisfied with another story well told. But the expression on Discord’s face warned her that she was about to be asked a lot of questions she would have to make up answers to before she could go to bed.


                “What happened to the Windigoes?” Discord asked.


                Credit where credit was due, she hadn’t been expecting a question like that. “They were sent back to the frozen plains where they came from, never to spread their evil magic on anypony ever again. Now, I’m feeling a little tired, so what do you say we raise the moon and turn in for the night?”


                “But why were the Windigoes evil?”


                “They… well, they just were,” Screwball said, groaning internally. Discord must have been the first one to ever have heard the fairytale founding of Equestria and be the most interested in the villains of the story. “Nopony knows much about Windigoes other than they only want to make ponies miserable. And I think it’s time for—”


                “What if the ponies were miserable already and the Windigoes were lured there by their dislike for each other? Maybe the Windigoes actually wanted to stop them from fight and they could only do that by freezing them,” Discord said, straightening himself.


                “That seems… unlikely, Discord.” The situation was growing uncomfortable, but Screwball knew it was out of her control now. There was a look of purpose in Discord’s eyes, and she knew it wouldn’t be over until he was satisfied.


                “Maybe they fed off of negative emotions and were trying to survive. Why didn’t anypony ever think to find out?” he said defensively.


                Screwball lowered her head as understanding dawned on the pony, and she became very quiet as she tried to think of something to say. She felt like an idiot for telling the Spirit of Chaos a story where the villains were spirits who spread chaos. She could never have anticipated that he might have taken it personally, but that still didn’t make much difference to her. She had to think of something to fix this.


                “I suppose that… if the Windigoes hadn’t come for whatever reason, then the tribes would have never traveled to Equestria and learned to work together,” she said after several painful seconds of silence. She risked a look at Discord’s face and was relieved to see his persecuted expression had vanished, replaced with a dewy-eyed look that still succeeded in making the pony choke.


                “And maybe,” she continued as she climbed down from the couch to wrap her hooves around the spirit in a tender embrace, “the Windigoes are just waiting for somepony more open-minded to give them a chance.”


                Satisfied, Discord and Screwball both gave a loud yawn. Drowsiness finally overtook them and the two lied down on the floor, curled together, as the last pitter-patters of rain lulled them to a peaceful sleep.



        “Alright then, let’s see you try this one,” Screwball challenged. “You can never get enough of me, and I only want for more company. I will conquer any enemy as they become your friend with me.”


                “The answer’s obviously positivity,” Discord answered without a second’s hesitation.


                “Do I detect some smugness in your voice?”


                “You have to at least try to make them harder now, Scroob.”


                “It isn’t easy to come up with these all the time, you know,” Screwball sighed playfully. “And all of these riddles have the same answers, so don’t get such a big head.”


                The next morning was dazzlingly beautiful. An ocean of crystal blue stretched across every corner of Equestria’s sky, without a cloud in sight to mar the tranquility. Not even so much light breeze rolled across the ground. It was as if all the land had been frozen in a single moment of bliss.


                An interesting thing about a magically drawn sun is that each sunrise is never the same as the one before it, and every new dawn carries a life and emotion of its own—or rather, of its master. In the past, on days where the late King Equinox’s mood was especially vicious, the sun would carry an energy that wasn’t just blisteringly hot; it was as if the black and red alicorn himself was glaring down at you with his infernal eyes. But that day, it felt like the sun would have broken into song if only it had a mouth. (Though given her company, Screwball would not be surprised if the yellow giant started to hum a few measures at any moment.) The world was happy, the cosmos was happy, Discord was happy, and Screwball was happy.


                ‘Just wait. I give it to the end of the day for everything to fall apart,’ Savoir Faire snarked from a corner of the pony’s mind. To the voice’s utter bafflement, Screwball’s smile grew in response and an indomitable and entirely foreign cheer swelled in her chest.


                ‘Not today. Today is the day when everything finally goes right. I can feel it.’


                “Here’s a new one. I’m lighter than air but a million ponies couldn’t lift me. What am I?”


                “A big rock.”




                “A small rock?”


                “It’s not a rock.”


                “It has to be a rock.”


                “I thought you were good at these.”


                “When are we getting to the next town?” Discord asked grumpily.


                “There’s a few small settlements that dot the road,” Screwball said, trying her best to sound convinced by the draconequus’ hasty changing of the subject, “but the next really substantial town is Ploughmouth. And that’s going to be a few days from mow. I figured we could trek around the coast during the summer so we can catch some of the ocean breeze and keep cool, and then head for the upcountry bits in the fall and winter.”


                “That sounds pretty smart, Screwy,” the spirit whistled.


                “Huh. It does, doesn’t it?” the pony said, a small pride bubbling in her voice. “Well, I am a royal advisor, after all, I have to—”




                The spontaneous exclamation was nearly enough to make Screwball trip.


                “Excuse me?”


                “The answer to your riddle from before. It’s a bubble!” Discord snapped his claws to illustrate his point and an enormous, oily brown bubble appeared in the air, hovering just a few inches above the chimera’s mismatched horns.


                A pungent smell filled her nostrils, causing Screwball to turn her head away and gag at the salty vinegar taste that had invaded her mouth.


                “What is that?”


                “Soy sauce.” The spirit nonchalantly inserted a long, curly straw into the bottom of the odorous ball and took a long, greedy sip before turning to the purple pony staring at him in complete disgust. “Want a taste?”


                “No! Ew.” She spat her tongue out at the idea of it, only to get squirted in the face with the black liquid. Her face turned green and she slapped at her tongue with her hooves, trying to get the taste off of her mouth, as the masochistic draconequus shook with laughter. As soon as she had swallowed the bile rising in her throat, Screwball cut the laughter short with a swat of her hoof to Discord’s backside.


                “Ow! Hey, what gives?”


                “Don’t do that,” she replied, giving him a stern look before continuing her march to Ploughmouth.


                Discord only shrugged in resignation, quickly slurped down the rest of the bubble, and smacked his lips a few times at the tasty refreshment. He summoned a hand mirror to check his beard for any stray drops, and after being satisfied, he tossed it over his shoulder onto the ground, where it burst into a cloud of steam.


                “This is going to take so long,” Discord moaned as he staggered after his companion. “Why can’t I just snap us from place to place? It would take all of half of two seconds.”


                “One second?”


                “That’s even faster. So, shall I?”


                “No, we are walking,” Screwball said over her shoulder.


                “But it takes forever! I’m just going to teleport anyway.”

                “Suit yourself, but I’m walking,” the pony said breezily.


                “I’ll really do it. I’ll run away. You’ll never see me again!” Discord threatened.




                Discord stopped in his tracks to pout. How could she be so heartless? Well, she’d be sorry. He’d run away and then she’d feel terrible. Yeah. A confident smile crossed his face as he imagined the look of remorse on the purple pony’s face as she begged for forgiveness and promised to never make him walk anywhere ever again. Hah! That’d show her! He raised his claw to make his daydream a reality, his eyes focused on his fingertips as he played the fantasy over and over in his head. Yup. Just had to snap and he’d be out of there. No one to tell him what to eat or make him walk places. All on his own. Oh yeah.


                The draconequus threw his hands to his side in frustration and sulked after Screwball, who hadn’t looked back once.


                “You know that none of the foals ever actually run away when they say they will,” Screwball said suddenly.


                “Hey, I’m not a foal!” Discord said, jabbing a thumb at his chest and growling when Screwball only gave a little hum in response that gave him the impression she disagreed. “I’m not. Why don’t I just fly us? That’d be faster, too.”


                “I like to walk. I’m an earth pony, I like to walk,” Screwball said, a slight agitation in her voice.


                “You liked flying that time we raised the moon.”


                “That was different! Look, why don’t you just enjoy the walk?” She hadn’t meant to snap, but she was at her patience’s end. She just wanted a nice, pleasant day. No flying and excitement, no evil spirits trying to gobble her up, and no more of Discord running wild with his magic. And it was such a nice day; she just wanted to enjoy it, was that so much to ask? She chanced a look at Discord and melted the moment she saw his downtrodden face. She wracked her brain for ideas when her eyes caught a smooth, long rock. She snatched it up and tossed and caught it in the air a few times, an impish gleam in her purple eyes.


                “Say, Discord.”


                The draconequus’s ears perked up and he stopped watching the rock’s bouncing to look at the pony.


                “How would you like to play a game to make the trip go faster?”


                “What kind of game?” Discord’s eyes popped with excitement.


                “It’s a race.” The stone flipped through the air a few times, dancing on the jester’s hooves faster and faster with every toss. With a subtle flick of her wrist, the rock whizzed through the air and bounced and tumbled far down on the dirt road.


                “The first one to get to the rock wins. Ah-ah-ah! But there are two rules.”


                Discord’s body language was somewhere between a beach ball deflating and a can of soda exploding. “Rules?!”


                “Yes. The first rule is that you have to play like an earth pony. No flying and no magic.”


                “That’s outrageous!”


                “The second rule is when you get to the rock, you have to throw it forward again. If somepony is too tired to keep chasing after it, then the game is over and the last one to throw it wins. Sound good?”


                “I don’t like the rules.”


                “Great. Onyourmark getset go!

                Screwball kicked her legs for all they were worth and was off like a rocket, leaving the befuddled draconequus in the dust. She was impressed with herself—not everyone can boast that they were able to catch the Spirit of Chaos by surprise. After a few seconds of galloping, the pony risked a look over her shoulder to check on the competition. Discord’s lanky body was swaying this way and that as he tried to sprint after her, tripping occasionally; his disproportionate, unequal legs clearly not designed for running upright for long distances. It certainly explained his prepossession to flying and using magic to move around. The mare was not sure if Discord simply didn’t realize his handicap, or was simply too stubborn to show any sort of weakness. Whatever the reason, Screwball decided to hold back for the next leg of the race.


                She scooped up the rock and gave it a much less theatrical chuck, sending it farther down the road. A powerful gust of wind spun her on her flank, and she blinked a few times before she registered what had just happened: Discord had tricked her. The long, brown spirit zipped farther away from her, tearing along on all four legs with the greatest of ease.


                “You little rat!” Screwball huffed when she caught up to Discord after his toss, the two running neck and neck.


                “Something the matter, Scroob?”


                “You were sandbagging!”


                “I was just saving my energy for that first part, that’s all. Don’t tell me you tired yourself out already,” the spirit said as slyly as he could while trying to mask his own heavy breathing.


                “You wish.” Screwball gave Discord a light bump with her side, causing him to stumble just long enough for her to take the lead.


                “Playing dirty? Fine by me!”


                The two raced for miles, teasing and tricking one another however they could: Discord would trip Screwball with his tail; Screwball would get Discord to stop and check on her when she cried out for a sprained ankle; Discord would belch in the pony’s face and poison her with the tang of soy sauce still fresh on his breath; Screwball would leap onto the draconequus’ back and ride him like a bucking bronco until she sprang off of him and left the winded chimera behind. It was only after they both finally collapsed next to each other on the ground, their lungs burning as they wheezed and laughed, that they realized they had forgotten about the stone a long ways back.


                And they laughed until it hurt.


                It was early afternoon when the two discovered something they could not believe: a small city of tents of all shapes and sizes, with an immeasurable number of ponies scurrying around the big tops. Every now and then, a balloon would lazily float up past the tops of the tents and drift away. The exciting sound of trombones, flutes, and drums floated on the air, carrying an enchanting smell of peanuts and sugar with it. The entire scene had a glow of magnificence about it that completely dwarfed the small village it neighbored and immediately captivated the travelers.


                “What… What is that, Scroob?” Discord’s voice was just barely above a whisper.


                “It’s the circus.” The word tingled Screwball’s lips and she just had to say it again. “It’s the Barn and Neighly Travelling Circus! I haven’t seen them since I was a filly!” Her purple eyes glittered with unbridled joy as thoughts of high-flying acrobats, magic shows, and exotic dancing animals paraded through her mind. Memories of the smells, the sights, the sheer bliss of being around the greatest performers in Equestria all came at once and overwhelmed the mare, courtesy of a little purple filly and her nana.


                Discord was mystified by the grand circus for his own reasons. Currents of gray wafted around every tent, entangling the ponies who happily trotted from booth to booth, laughing with one another between mouthfuls of popcorn and chocolate, but never strangling them. Inside that all-encompassing cloud that permeated the fairgrounds, there was nothing but joy and revelry filling the air. And it was because of the gray! This was it: somewhere in that circus was the key to using the gray to make ponies happy!


                “So, Your Highness, should we grace the circus with a royal guest?” Screwball asked playfully.


                “They have a secret and must tell!” he spouted before strutting off for the carnival. The pony merely shrugged off the odd declaration and trotted after him, barely able to contain her own giddiness.


                The Barn and Neighly Circus was every bit as wonderful as Screwball remembered it. Sure, she probably didn’t mind the smell of circus animals as much when she was a filly, but it was everything she hoped for. Ponies bumped into each other as they pushed past the tents and booths, some fillies prancing off toward some new carnival game while their parents desperately followed after, sometimes carrying some over-sized stuffed animal on their back. Flags blew proudly in the wind at the tops of every tent, carried on the hot air of fryers churning out fried dough for crowds of hungry customers. She stopped to admire the craftsmanship of the balloon animals and hats and swords being handed out by few clowns as they cartwheeled, tumbled, and pratfalled all across the festivities.


                She had always considered joining the circus whenever it traveled to Canterlot, but King Equinox had been very clear on his policy for ponies who tried to leave the service of the Equestrian Royal Court before they were dismissed: it was typically a show trial for treason which would invariably end with the traitor being banished. So she stayed in the castle whenever the circus came to town, too afraid of losing control of herself and running off to someplace she might have been appreciated.


                ‘Would you stop with that? I’m trying to enjoy myself.’


                ‘I don’t like it here. It’s too loud. Everything smells like elephant poop. I’m getting a headache. Let’s go home.’


                ‘Not a chance. This is my day.’


                “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! If it isn’t my favorite jabberwocky!”


                Screwball froze at the too familiar grating voice and reluctantly turned to meet it. She saw Discord scrounging about for some unknown treasure, weaving between ponies who simply passed off his antics and bizarre appearance as part of an act—something she was very grateful for when the draconequus began to pick up ponies and shake them lightly as if whatever he was looking for would fall out of them. He was wearing that look of intense focus that always felt so out of place on the spirit, but for the first time, the pony found it to be cute; he was like a colt trying to find his special talent as if it was just hiding behind every rock and tree.


                Grinning at Screwball and the preoccupied spirit was a pair of faces that were decidedly less charming. One was a green and brown baby dragon with a crooked maw, and by his side was a green stallion sporting a grin that could probably crack a coconut in half. The two were leaning on a pink and baby blue stall decorated with balloons and cutouts of candy, wearing light blue shirts under tacky rainbow aprons; the illusion was completed by the two white paper diner hats neatly pinned to their heads. If she didn’t know better, Screwball would have never suspected them to be any more criminal than any ordinary carny.


                “Don’t just gawk, get over here!” Masky shouted.


                The purple pony gave an aggravated nicker and walked toward the stand, following behind Discord, who was much more enthusiastic about seeing the pair again. The crook’s smile only grew wider and cheesier as they came closer, and by the time she had made it, Screwball has having difficulty fighting the urge to buck out a few of his teeth.


                “What are the odds you two eggs would’a wandered into this joint?” the stallion said cheerfully as he walked out from behind his booth, slapping Discord on the back. “Ah, great ta see ya. How’d you like some sweets? I’ve been charging all the other drips today twice the usual price, but for you, it’ll just be regular price. That’s practically a steal! Lemme set you up. Patsy!” Masky snapped his head back at his disgruntled accomplice. “Two fairy flosses, chop chop!”


                “We’re out,” Patsy said flatly, banging on the inside of some unseen metal drum.


                “Then make some more! We got customers! Criminy,” Masky moaned and rubbed a hoof against his forehead before meeting with Screwball’s cynical glare.


                “Just what are you up to now?”


                “Hey now, put the claws away! No need to cast a kitten. We’re at a circus! And if you’re trying to insinuate I’m trying any funny business, you’re barking up the wrong tree. See the uniform? Me and Patsy are on the up and up now. Scout’s honor.”


                “Stop flapping your gums and give me a hand with the sugar,” Patsy growled from under the booth.


                “Can’t you lift—Boo! Boo, see?” Masky broke away from the traveling royals and stomped back behind the candy stand where the two threw volleys of family unfriendly words at each other before they hoisted a bag of sugar onto the counter.


                “Are these guys clowns now?” Discord whispered a little too loudly as he watched the two bicker.


                “I’d say they were before.”


                “Real nice, you two, real nice,” Masky grouched as he used one of his baby dragon’s teeth to pop a hole in the bag. “So, how did everything go with the big toucan?”


                “Owl,” Discord corrected as he slid over to see what Patsy was busying himself with that was creating such a loud whirring noise.




                “He dragged us to a horrifying future and then tried to kill us,” Screwball said bitterly.


                The stallion gave a long, high whistle. “Huh… I’m glad we left.”


                 “Why are you working at a circus? What happened to that bag of bits you gouged us on for that room at your stolen hotel?” she snorted.


                “Two things. One, it wasn’t stolen. The place was abandoned so we just moved in, see? And B, the big palooka,” he said, pointing an accusing hoof at the unconcerned Discord, “gave us dummy money.”


                “What? You mean like counterfeit?”


                “He means like chocolate,” Patsy answered as the whirr faded away. “And now he’s got me making candy for brats and cleaning up at the rides at the end of the day when they hork it all back out.”


                “What are you making?” Discord cut in, sniffing the machine curiously. It was a large metal barrel with a cone rising up from the middle with a small black ring in the center.


                “Pure, tooth-rotting sugar.” Patsy demonstrated by grabbing a fistful of sugar from the bag and dropping it in the ring before he was shoved aside by his over enthusiastic partner.


                “Just take a little bit of the white stuff, add some dye, and turn it on…” Masky flipped a switch and the cone began to rapidly spin around. “You only need a little bit to get a whole lot outta it, see? Otherwise you end up making a mess.”


                His golden eyes grew to the size of plates and his lopsided ruby pupils froze in place. He could make mugs filled with ground beef parade through town or make a flea grow twenty feet tall with a snap of his fingers; he could turn water into polka and turn a book into a sandwich with a scrunch of his nose. But Discord stared in total awe at what he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt to be the most magical, miraculous sight he had ever witnessed. It was as if the heavens themselves had opened themselves to him and he was now gazing upon some forbidden beauty that had never been witnessed by living eyes.


                “What... is... that?” he said faintly as he watched floaty webs of pink begin to form out of thin air and cake the walls of the drum.


                Masky cocked his head to the side as he tried to get a read on the draconequus. “It’s cotton candy.”


                “I want some.” There was something unnervingly demanding in his tone.


                “Sure thing, mac, lemme just grab you a stick—or you could do that.”


                Discord’s entire head vanished inside of the cotton candy machine. When she noticed that groups of passing ponies were giving him sideways glances, Screwball decided that he probably had enough. She tugged lightly on his tail, then less gently, then gave the crimson appendage a strong yank that finally made him jerk his head back up.


                Even Patsy couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of the draconequus. A long strand completely covered his white eyebrows to create a single, lumpy unibrow. The tops of his horns were poking out from inside a jumbo pink afro that jiggled and wobbled with every twist of his head. His mouth was completely hidden by a full and hearty cotton candy beard, complete with a combed moustache.


                As soon as Discord saw his warped reflection in a balloon, he soon joined them, rolling and kicking on the ground. Even strangers who stopped to watch were joining in on the fun, and in a short time it felt like the entire circus was laughing with each other. Discord rubbed his sore sides and peeked his eyes open. To his building joy, the gray was spreading all around now, flowing out from him into every pony nearby and then back out to him. This was it! He had found what he was looking for! He was spreading gray and he wasn’t hurting anyone or upsetting them! And as soon as he understood how exactly he was doing it, Equestria would be his oyster.

He was so enraptured by his discovery that he failed to notice the rainbow sheen that glimmered around the spreading cloud.

                “OH-hohoho! And whaa-haha! What do we have hehee-here?” a deep, jolly voice called between rolls of laughter. Masky and Patsy immediately snapped to attention, each replacing the other’s hat, and grinned as widely as they could at the stout, white unicorn standing before them. He wore a tall black top hat and a deep red parade vest decorated with gold buttons, with a complimenting yellow bow tie wrapped around his neck. But the stallion’s most impressive feature was easily his black handlebar mustache that was as thick as Discord’s own confectionary beard.


                “Hey there, chief. What’s the buzz?”


                “Well, I heard a big brouhaha and decided to see what all the ruckus was. And you know, I even had a sneaking suspicion that you two were involved somehow,” the stallion said with a playful wink. “And imagine my surprise when I find this funny fellow!”


                Screwball nudged Discord in the ribs, interrupting his second dip into the cotton candy drum. The pony kept quiet and only smiled anxiously, trying to decide what the proper etiquette was when meeting the ringleader of the greatest show in Equestria.


                “Who are you?” Discord asked bluntly. He wasn’t all that interested in meeting this new pony who was interrupting his indulging of the most spectacular treat in the world.


                “Ah, yes! How rude of me.” The white stallion rose up on his hind legs and threw his hooves in the air. “Fillies and gentlecoats! Stallions and mares! Foals of all ages! It is my esteemed privilege to welcome you to Barn and Neighly’s World Famous Travelling Circus! Prepare to witness spectacles beyond imagination and—Blast, I’m doing it again.” He sheepishly dropped back down on all fours and gave an embarrassed chuckle when he saw the crowd of ponies all covering their ears. “Do forgive an old fool. I sometimes get too caught up in the spirit of the show.”


                Screwball felt her heart flutter in her chest when the stallion removed his hat and bowed gracefully at her and Discord.


                “I am Three Ring, the proud owner, artistic director, equestrian director, and Monsieur Loyal of Barn and Neighly. And it is my pleasure to meet you, miss…?”


                “Scawboir Fall! I—I mean, my name is Screw Fair! Agh, no! That’s not—That is—Screwball!” The mare visibly sagged, exhausted by the challenge of untying her tongue long enough to speak to the greatest pony in the performance arts. “And this is Discord.”


                Three Ring merely chuckled at the pony’s exasperation. “There is no need to feel nervous, Ms. Screwball. I do not bite—well, on most days,” the stallion joked, wiggling his eyebrows. “But I must say, I have seen plenty of strange things in my years of traveling. Why, I even hired most of them! But I have never seen anything quite like you, Mr. Discord.”


                “The pink stuff is just cotton candy, I don’t usually look like this,” Discord replied, cleaning his face of the cotton candy with a single lick of his long tongue.


                “Hohoho! That is good to know. But even still, you are a remarkable creature if I have ever seen one. I hope you do not mind me asking, but what are you?”


                “He’s a jabberwocky,” Masky interjected. “Matter of fact, this big guy here’s the jabberwocky king.”


                The ringleader flinched in surprise and turned to his employee. “Calliope, do you know this fellow?”


                “Ab-so-lute-ly!” ‘Calliope’ said with a toothy smile. “The four of us go way back! Say, boss man, why don’t you let Piker an’ me take a break to show our special guests around? We’ve been hitting on all sixes since we opened, and nopony’s gonna be buying any cotton candy after Jabber there stuck his head in—Aaaand there he goes again. Royalty, amIright? So whaddaya say?”


                “If King Discord and Ms. Screwball have no objections, that sounds like it would be a top-notch idea.” Three Ring turned to the only one of the two who wasn’t neck-deep in cotton candy.


                Screwball opened her mouth to object when the two thieves waved and caught her attention. Masky mouthed something along the lines of ‘Free Circus.’


                “We’d be delighted.”


                “Wonderful!” the ringleader cheered and stomped his hoof. “I want you two to give them the complete tour, you understand? I want this to be the most spectacular day they will ever have!”


                “You can count on us, chief.”


                “I am glad to hear it. After all, there is always more fun to be had with friends.”


                The five all waved farewell as the jovial stallion took his leave. As soon as Three Ring was out of sight, Screwball’s pleasant expression dimmed a bit. Masky’s grin lost its artificiality and melted back to something much more natural, but no less uncomfortable to look at. Discord was happily beaming, satisfied to have gotten another opportunity to get one last dip of cotton candy in.


                “Phew! And here I was afraid that we’d have to actually do some work today,” the conpony said, wiping some imaginary sweat off of his forehead. “Lucky for you, though. I saved you two gatecrashers from the trouble of having to steal a ticket. Come on, King Gobbledygook, the tour’s starting.”


While it could never compare to the heavenly pink clumps of sugar, the rest of the circus was a marathon of excitement and new discoveries for the bewildered king of Equestria. The green pony led him all up and down the circus, leaving no stone unturned and no attraction ignored. And he made full use of the authority Three Ring had given him to take Discord to the front of every line and do whatever he wanted for free. “Royals and smart ponies don’t gotta wait for anything,” he explained.


                 First, he had the group sit in all different types of machines that shook and spun. One time he was in a giant bowls that spun around a track with plenty of other ponies in their own bowls. Another time, they were in a car that flew up and down a track, rattling him in his seat and making his stomach turn upside down. His favorite was when they all stood on the inside walls of a giant barrel; he was expecting it to fill up with cotton candy when the walls started spinning, but after a few seconds he realized he could barely move his arms or legs off the wall. He was struck by inspiration and flipped himself upside down. It was even fun after the spinning stopped and he fell on his head.


                After the rides, Patsy suggested that they go to the fun house while they were all still dizzy. When they arrived, it took everything Screwball had in her to dissuade Discord from his plans to redecorate Canterlot Castle when they finally returned. The draconequus bounced off of the cushioned tubes that hung from the ceiling of the first hallway, then danced across a bridge of shifting floorboards. When Screwball caught up with him, she gave a start as a jet of air hissed out from beneath her and made her jump into the air. Discord almost didn’t want to leave the next hall and spent several minutes making faces at the warped reflections in the funhouse mirrors. He was certain that the next slide had dropped him in heaven when he splashed face first into a ball pit. He dove around in the pool, popping up and surprising the other ponies in the pool. The ponies laughed and Discord laughed, too.


                The next stop took them on a long strip of tents filled with games that involved throwing a ball into a hole, or filling up a balloon with a water gun, or hitting a button as it lit up to make a race horse run along a track, or whacking a plastic diamond wolf with a mallet. Screwball seemed to be enjoying the games more than the others, most likely due to her unbroken victory streak at each tent. While the pony was busily landing ring after ring onto glass bottles with impeccable accuracy, Discord found his attention drawn toward an object sitting on a rack outside of a store. After checking that no one was looking, he wiggled a furry toe behind his back and the item floated in to the air and levitated toward him.


                “Smooth moves,” Masky said quietly, giving Discord an approving nod when the draconequus took it in his hands. He turned it over a few times, inspecting it thoroughly and giving it heavy consideration. His thoughts were interrupted when a gleeful mare pranced in front of him, celebrating another victory over a carnie.


                “Uh huh! Oh yeah, I rock!” Screwball cheered, wiggling her tail and strutting around, not caring who saw. Despite her initial uneasiness, the pony was having more fun than she had in years. The irresistible call of the circus gradually wore down her defenses to the point where she was even finding the company of the two thieves to be surprisingly tolerable, and dangerously bordering on welcome. It helped that they were able to get them straight through everything the circus had to offer, but for the most part, it was due to the fact that they weren’t being overtly devious. And watching the two squabble over almost every little issue was like watching a comedy act, with each one getting so worked up at the cockamamie ideas the other one was spouting that at times it was hard to keep herself from snickering, lest she risk getting a dirty look from the two and cutting the entertainment short.


                Having finished her victory dance, the pony finally noticed the incriminatingly innocent look on Discord’s face.


                “And just what do you have behind your back?”


                “Screwy, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


                “Then let me see your paw.”


                “There, see?”


                “And the other one.”




                “Now both of them.”


                “Fine, you caught me. But close your eyes first. It’s a surprise.”


                 On any other day, she might have been more strict; but the spirit of the circus was calling to her to let the draconequus have his fun. She closed her eyes and waited for whatever cream-filled trick he had up his sleeve. Instead, she felt Discord hovering over her, playing with her mane. After a few seconds, he stepped back and told her she could open her eyes.


                Her eyes were immediately drawn to the yellow and white beanie sitting on her head, the little green propeller twisting a bit as she turned her head to examine it in the full-length mirror the spirit was holding for her (it was a funhouse mirror, of course).


                “Do you like it?” Discord asked, leaning forward on the mirror, his face stretched in anticipation.


                “Of course I do. Thank you,” she said kindly. Truth be told, she didn’t mind the look of it, and she supposed she could stand to wear it for the rest of the day before she returned the almost-definitely stolen hat.


                “I knew you would! See, because I remembered that your advisor robes used to come with a hat. So, I decided that I would get you a new one since I lost the old one.” Maybe it wouldn’t be as easy to leave it behind. “Remember? The first time I raised the sun and the other-world monsters tried to grab me?”


                “Wait, they were real?! I thought you were joking!” the mare shouted.


                Discord leaned his darkened face in close, stared her full in the eyes, and flicked the propeller on her head teasingly. “I was.”


                A heat grew in her cheeks as the three members of her party all had a good laugh at her scare, but she allowed herself to giggle a few times in spite of herself. A simultaneous groan from their stomachs left no confusion about their next stop.


                As hungry as they all were, Screwball and Masky could not stand to stomach more than a few bites of their deep-fried mystery meal before weakly pushing their baskets toward their two companions on the other side of the table. Discord and Patsy were greedily shoveling handfuls into their mouths without any restraint or care for table manners.


                “He eats like a pig,” Masky commented as he watched the towering draconequus reach for Screwball’s forsaken food.


                “No, I’d say he eats more like a duck. I think pigs chew,” Screwball replied breezily. “I don’t even know how to describe him.”


                “Yeah, meals don’t come around that regularly for us, so whenever we do find something to gnosh on, Patsy gets pretty fangorious about it.”


                “That isn’t a word.”


                “It is to me.”


                Before anything else could be said, a high-pitched whistle filled the air, followed by a pop. Every head in the circus turned toward the big top at the edge of the fairgrounds as it started lighting off a few small fireworks into the sky.


                “Showtime, ladies and germs!” Masky cried, slapping the table with a hoof and pushing off onto all fours. “Get a wiggle on, we don’t wanna miss the main attraction.”


                “What’s that?” Discord asked between chomps of what tasted suspiciously like deep-fried butter.


                “Criminy, Jabby, I’m talking about the circus!”


                “I thought we were already at the circus.”


                “Nopony goes to a circus just to fool around with the penny-ante bunk outside. You do that to pass the time until the real show starts! We can make it to a good seat before all these jerks take them if we hoof it. I know a short cut.”


                There was no opportunity to argue as the stallion immediately began to briskly push through the mobs of ponies all headed the same way. Screwball almost lost sight of him when he slipped behind a tent; following after, she was surprised when all the glitz and glimmer of the carnival were suddenly absent. She quickly pieced together that they were outside the circus grounds, and while it had the advantage of not being crowded with ponies to fight through, it was disenchanting to see the less than pristine underbelly of the circus. Screwball caught up to her guide in a short order (she was surprised how firmly her new ‘advisor hat’ stayed in place when she moved in comparison to the original), and after checking to see that Discord and Patsy were too far behind to hear anything, she gave Masky a nudge in the shoulder.


                “Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”




                “Why are you being so nice about all this? I mean, actually acting like you care if we enjoy ourselves or not?”


                The stallion paused a second before answering. “What’s it matter? A guy can’t do something nice without needing a reason? We got a free day at the circus, just be happy.”


                Screwball didn’t comment on the plural and silently kept pace with Masky. A tense quiet followed, and the purple pony felt compelled to say something to fill the space.


                “So… What made you decide to be a criminal?”




                “Excuse me?”


                “I’m a thief. There’s a distinction.”


                “Sorry, I didn’t know.”


                Masky just gave a snort and kept his head forward.


                “I’m sorry if I offended you. It’s fine if you don’t want to answer…”


                “I do it because it’s what I’m good for. Never really could get the hang of clean living. And it keeps me happy, it’s a busy life, and I’ve got an accomplice to keep me company. That’s enough for me,” he said tersely. “It’s the same story for anypony, ain’t it?”


                The ponies were rescued from the uncomfortable discussion by the arrival of their draconian partners. They quickly made it to the back of the big top, and Masky waved the party through the rear entrance, where dozens ponies of ponies were preparing for the show. Acrobats were stretching their legs and their wings, a few technicians were making some final safety inspections on a giant trampoline, and the last few clowns were hard at work squeezing into a tiny little car.


                “Alright, let’s just slip around and grab a s—”


                All four flinched at the loud crack that cut the air. Masky’s lip quivered into a snarl as he turned to face the smarmy yellow earth pony slowly approaching them. The other performers briefly turned to look at the mare with similar expressions before resuming their work.


                “Oh, little mouse, I think you’re lost. This area is strictly for performers. Your candy stand is back outside,” the mare said as she wrapped her leather whip around her belt. Her voice had all the charm of an eel greased with oil. She could have invited them for tea and daisy sandwiches and Screwball still would have hated her; it was the kind of voice she heard far too often in Canterlot, the type of voice that was strictly reserved for ponies who had spent at least ten years with their own head up their flank.


                “Just keep moving,” Masky muttered as he took a few steps away from the mare. “And don’t look her in the eyes, she’ll suck out your soul.”


                “I hope you have reconsidered my offer about selling me that little pet of yours.” Her eyes glinted with malice when the stallion locked in place. “You know I could put it to better use than whatever you do with it out there.”


                “Piker ain’t for sale,” Masky growled.


                “And I’m not a ‘pet’ either, you psychotic skank,” Patsy snapped.


                “Keep your forked tongue inside your mouth, beast,” she hissed, “or I will show you why ponies say that The Fearless Lash is the greatest animal tamer in Equestria.”


                “Who’s that?”


                The animal tamer immediately reached for her tool to punish the insolent foal who dared to mock her before she laid eyes on the indescribable specimen standing in the shadows. It was grotesque—hideous! A patchwork creature that was neither equine or draconian or avian or feline, but some monstrous combination of all manner of beasts. Taming a dragon would be nothing compared to merely unveiling this abomination to the public!


                “And who owns that?” she said hungrily.


                “Nopony,” Screwball said coldly as she stepped in front of Discord.


                “I’m my own draconequus,” the spirit said proudly.


                “Hmph. It talks. But that’s not necessarily an issue. I can make it fall in line.”


                “You’re a lunatic, you know that? Buzz off, wasp,” Masky spat. He cursed and flinched at another crack of the tamer’s whip.


                “I could get you to fall in line in an hour’s time, you know. Mice aren’t difficult to train,” Lash threatened, venom dripping from her mouth.


                “Oh, I don’t know,” Discord interjected as he paced around Lash in a broad circle. “I don’t think you’re probably all that great.” The draconequus gave Screwball a quick wink to tell her that whatever was coming next was going to be good.


                “There isn’t an animal alive that I can’t make bow before me!”


                An evil smile formed on the Spirit of Chaos’ lips. He cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted into the air with the full force of the Royal Canterlot Voice.


                “Come to me, my animal friends!” Discord let loose a booming, ululating yell that conjured images of ponies swinging from jungle vines in Screwball’s mind. A long, pregnant pause followed, where every pony and dragon in the tent waited on pins and needles for whatever was coming next: a small rumble that steadily grew more and more powerful until a stampede of animals of all shapes and sizes tore through the curtain of the tent. They would encircle the cruel Lash, trapping her and stopping any hope for escape before letting out a primal, powerful victory cry, striking a victory for all of nature.


                After several moments of waiting, it was painfully evident that none of that was going to happen.


                “Oh right!” Discord slapped his forehead. “They’re all miles away in the forest. Doy.” He clicked his fingers and a bright flash blinded the ponies. When the light faded, the tent was filled with creatures that made every jaw in the tent drop. There were large black birds with ugly pink faces and long, pink legs that strutted around in mild confusion. A bear’s head and legs extended from a tortoise shell, and the creature lumbered around in a slow malaise before just laying on the ground and falling asleep. Discord didn’t remember ever making the one that looked like a giant yellow and brown spotted pony with the enormous neck and gangly legs, but he decided not to ask any questions. He wanted to savor the look of defeat on Lash’s face—he didn’t know why, but there was something delectable about it.


                “So, have you ever tamed one of these before?” Discord asked innocuously. “I’ll bet you have, since you’re so great with animals and all.”


                The yellow pony trembled for a moment, her face frozen in shock. Discord was beginning to think that Lash would have just broken down then and there and run off; but he could honestly say that he could never, not in a thousand years, ever expect what happened next.


                Like flipping a switch, her mouth snapped into a vicious scowl, her eyes full of fire as she tried to will the disfigured freak to just drop dead. When that failed, Lash reached back for her whip, unfurled it with a single shake, and then raised it over her head; she had prided herself on her ability to be able to draw blood on a single strike, and she was looking forward to seeing what color this thing bled.


                There was a powerful crack and everyone present looked on in shock as the animal tamer dropped to the ground; she hit the dirt and spat out a bloody tooth at Screwball’s hooves. The purple mare was towering over the moaning Lash, her front right hoof stained with a few drops of crimson. She didn’t move a muscle, she didn’t blink, she didn’t breathe. Her entire body was frozen in that single moment of pure, blinding fury.


                “How dare you even allow yourself to live among the greatest ponies in Equestria,” she rasped. She lifted her hoof and swung it across Lash’s mouth again, filling the air with an even louder smack. “And how dare you even think about raising a hoof against him!” Screwball regarded the dazed pony for another few seconds before spitting on her face and walking back toward her cheering audience. “And that was for when Calliope mugged me.”


                “That was amazing, Scroob!” Discord raced to the pony, scooping her up and swinging her in his arms.


                “Well, I just…” Screwball licked her lips and swallowed the lump in her throat. How long had her heart been beating that fast? “She was going to hurt you.”


                “Attagirl!” Masky bounded toward the two with an equally impressed Patsy in tow. “Yowza, what a hook! I mean—POW! What, were you some kinda boxer back in Canterlot?”


                The mare’s cheeks turned pink and Discord finally set her down on the ground. “Actually… I’m a jester.”


                “Yeesh. That sounds tough,” Masky said with a grimace and sneaking the pony a sly wink.


                “I’m jealous. I’ve wanted to deck that harpy ever since we came here,” Patsy said with an approving nod.


        ‘We should do things like that more often.’


                Amid all the excitement, no one noticed the yellow form slowly crawling up to her hooves, dirt and blood still caked on her cheek. Lash took her whip in hoof, readied it for a strike, and gave out a ghastly shriek as she lifted it back.


                “Don’t you walk away from me, you wretched plebeian!”


                The whip came forward. Discord had just enough time to react. But before he could even do a thing, the whip froze in place all on its own. Time stood still as five pairs of eyes were transfixed on the weapon. In an instant, the whip snapped back toward its master and coiled itself around her neck. Lash struggled for breath and desperately pulled at the black leather, kicking her legs in mindless fear.


                “Hello again, Your Highness. Miss Screwball.” Three Ring gracefully strode over his suffocating animal tamer toward at the surprised four. His face was mirthful as ever, though his horn was alight with an almost frightening glow. “I hope you two have had an enjoyable day.”


                “It’s been stupendous!” Discord said, clapping his hands together. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to have any cotton candy with you, would you?”


                “Ohoho! I’m afraid to say that I do not. But I am sure a vendor would be happy to accommodate you once you take your seats. And my goodness! Just when I had thought you would be the biggest surprise today, I discover a whole menagerie of new animals right in my own circus!” The old ringleader gave the dozing bear-tortoise a welcomed scratch behind the ears.


                 He loosened his grip around Lash’s neck slightly. Before the mare could catch her breath, she was suddenly dragged by the throat to Three Ring’s side. The stallion turned his attention down at her for no more than a second, but in that one instant, he instilled more fear and obedience in a glance than any whip ever could in a lifetime.


                “It is a shame,” he continued with his usual cheer, “that we are currently without an animal tamer. But do not concern yourself with that, my friends! It warms the cockles of my heart to know that you have had a wonderful day at our humble circus. Please do stay to enjoy the show. We will be starting in just a few moments.”


                Discord, Screwball, Masky, and Patsy all politely excused themselves and briskly crossed around the interior of the tent toward the rising bleachers lining the side of the big top. By some stroke of luck, they were able to find an open place in line with the center ring.


                “So that was terrifying for everypony, right?” Patsy spoke up. “It wasn’t just me?”


                It wasn’t long before the inside of the tent went dark, with just a single spotlight shining down on a smartly dressed pony in the center ring.


                “Fillies and gentlecoats! Stallions and mares! Foals of all ages! It is my esteemed privilege to welcome you to Barn and Neighly’s World Famous Travelling Circus! Prepare to witness spectacles beyond imagination and death-defying performances guaranteed to thrill!” Three Ring bowed in response to the explosion of applause and continued. “And, it is with my greatest pleasure to announce that our humble circus is graced with the presence of royalty this evening! We have received an extremely generous donation of several wild and exotic animals unseen anywhere in all of Equestria! So please, join me in welcoming King Discord!”


                The entire company was taken by surprise when a bright spotlight shone down on the four of them. Discord gave an uncertain wave, then rose up to his feet, and then finally took a grand bow and blew few kisses as the cheers of the crowd grew louder and louder.


                “And now, without further delay, I present to you the greatest show in the world!”


                “This has been a pretty good day,” Screwball said with a gentle smile.


                Discord looked at Screwball, to the cheering crowds of ponies oozing with that blessed gray, to the performers below taking the stage, and then finally to the cloud of cotton candy floating in front of him.


                “I’d say so, too. Care for a bite?”


<<Chapter Six--Chapter Eight>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I’ve spent the last days in a locked room. I think that my captors are trying to mock me by only giving me a catalogue of Old Navy’s summer shirt collection to occupy my time. They still let me keep my laptop for some reason, so I don’t think that they really accomplish much. Still miss that T-Shirt, though...

And to the best of my knowledge, everyone from Massachusetts still behaves and dresses and speaks exactly how the charactertures of pilgrims I see on television do. So I’m going to just act on that understanding for this chapter.

FiMfiction Link

        It had been nearly impossible to convince Discord to leave the circus, and it had almost as hard to convince Three Ring to let them go. If it wasn’t enough that he insisted the pair spend the night in the finest accommodations he could provide, the next morning he had offered to let them stay with the circus as they traveled around Equestria. It took all the strength the juggler had in her to not leap at the proposal; it’s not every day you’re given the chance of a lifetime. But Screwball knew that she had a responsibility to her king to help him explore his empire and reveal him to his subjects without sending all of Equestria into pure anarchy (though it was that sort of thinking that really made the ringleader’s offer so much harder to turn down). The fact of the matter was that it would be much harder to convince ponies to follow a king who spent all of his time at a circus.

        Masky and Patsy had almost looked sorry to see them leave. The mare still had no idea what had possessed the crooked pair to be so friendly toward them, and supposed that she probably never would. Screwball would never admit it, but she had actually started to enjoy the traveling thieves. And by the time they said their last goodbyes, she could not even be certain if she had just fallen for their deception or if they sincerely had none of their usual dastardly tricks planned for the circus. She wondered if they would ever run into them again.

The soft whiz that occasionally came from the propeller between her ears only served as a further reminder of the old ringleader’s generosity. She had tried her hardest to give it back, or at the very least pay for it, but Three Ring had insisted she keep it as a memento of their time there. And it had made Discord happy to see her wearing it every waking moment, not that she even minded wearing the cap in the least bit. To her, it was a symbol; it was a sign that no matter how bleak things may appear, real happiness was not out of her reach. And as she once again admired the beautiful late summer afternoon she had enjoyed as Ploughmouth came into view, she believed in her heart that real happiness was closer than it ever had been before.  

        Screwball held onto those joyful thoughts with all she had, of all those ponies who had shown them genuine kindness, pushing them to the front of her mind to distract her from the devastation of the scarred and twisted black wasteland that surrounded her. She refused to look away from the quivering draconequus who had buried his tear-soaked face into her chest as she caressed and lied to him.

“Shh... Everything is okay now... I’m here... I’ll always be here... It’s okay... Shh...”


        Cotton candy. Discord couldn’t stop thinking about cotton candy. Cotton candy cotton candy. Ever since he saw it, Discord couldn’t stop thinking about cotton candy cotton candy. He didn’t want to stop thinking about it. Even during Screwball’s lessons and riddles and stories and games all he could think about was cotton candy cotton candy cotton candy. He couldn’t afford to stop thinking about it. Two words, four syllables, eleven letters: cotton candy. It wasn’t just how it tasted like sugar-coated sugar cotton candy. It wasn’t about how it was the most colorful food he had ever seen anyone other than himself eat cotton candy. It wasn’t even about how it felt like he was closing his mouth around a sticky cloud cotton candy. It was about cotton candy. It was about eleven letters, four syllables, two words. It was about how it had told him exactly what he needed to do to make his dreams come true.

        That circus may have been the greatest thing to have ever happened to the Spirit of Chaos. At first, he had spread the gray because he just wanted to. Then, he liked the gray because it always appeared whenever he used his magic, and he liked using his magic. After that, it allowed him find that poor family in Manehattan and he used the gray magic to help them and they loved it. The gray had kept him warm, it chased away the cold that would sometimes creep up his toes and make his feet go numb.

Then, for a while, he thought the gray was a bad thing. It scared the ponies at Ponyville, it scared Screwball when Time took them to that wonderland, and Savoir Faire used the gray to upset Screwball all her life. He had even thought that the gray had killed her. He would have let himself freeze if the gray could hurt ponies. But then: two words, four syllables, eleven letters.

The circus was packed with gray. Ponies were laughing, screaming on rides, clown ponies were falling over; they were covering themselves with gray and they were happier for it. He had to know how they were doing it. And the answer was just eleven letters, four syllables, two words. Cotton candy.

        It was all about the way it was made. Masky had said he only needed a little sugar to make a whole lot of cotton candy. And there was his answer. Discord realized he shouldn’t try to blow ponies away with everything he had to show them right away. He only needed to give the ponies a little bit of gray to start with, and then they would eventually start making their own gray. It was only after they had covered themselves would he start using his magic. By that point, they would all love it, just like the ponies at the circus. Sometimes when he thought about cotton candy cotton candy and rehearsed the plan in his head, he would consider the idea that it would be better to start them with plenty of gray to work with. But Masky had said something about using too much and making a mess. So he would start small.

        He was shaken from his thoughts when Screwball started shaking him. She had been trying to get his attention and after calling his name didn’t work, she went to plan B.

        “Welcome back! You’ve had your head up in the clouds for the last hour. I was starting to get worried, I’ve never seen you be so quiet for so long,” she said teasingly.

        “I was just thinking about Ploughmouth.”

        “I have good news, then. We’re not too far from it now.” Screwball pointed a hoof off at a few specks the distance. “You can just make it out, it’s a couple of miles away. It won’t be long now. Ploughmouth actually has a bit of a reputation for itself. It’s mostly farmland managed by earth ponies, with a fair sized little colony at the center. Ploughmouth is one of Equestria’s oldest settlements, and the ponies as a group have fought to hold onto their old-fashioned traditions and don’t...”

        Discord quickly lost interest and went back to focusing on his plan. He could just squeeze himself with excitement when he thought of everything he had in store. The Spirit of Chaos gave a small nod and “uh-huh” to whatever the pony had just said to keep her satisfied and stop her from hearing the soft snap of his fingers. A stream of invisible, gray haze drifted out of the tip of his tail, lazily coiling around in the air. When it looked like it was enough to get the job started, he cut off the flow. Then, with award-worthy acting, Discord yawned and stretched his arms over his head and behind his back.

        “I know it may not be interesting, but please take this seriously,” Screwball said sternly. “It is important for you to understand why the ponies...”

Discord grabbed a hold on the cloud behind him and finished his stretch by throwing his arms back forward. The cloud zipped arced high into the air, and once it passed over the colony, the gray miasma dropped like a brick. A perfect shot. It was hard to not celebrate, but he couldn’t let Screwball know yet. He wanted to impress her.

“ we’ve to be very delicate.”

“You got it, Scroob.” Discord flashed her a convincing smile just long enough to convince her before he turned his attention back to the distant town to see if he could watch the cloud spread. Three Ring had told him that things are more fun when you share them with friends. He would share it with them, and then they would all love him, too.


        True to Screwball’s word, Ploughmouth Bay Colony was conspicuously antiquated. There wasn’t a soul in Equestria who could say for sure why the ponies of the colony were so dedicated to their hoary traditions and culture. Some speculated that the colony was simply proud of its history, but a brief glance at any textbook would reveal a long list of unsavory tales. There was the manipulation and betrayal of the native buffalo tribes’ generosity after the buffalo taught the early colonists how to reap their new land’s bounty. The colony was infamous for a period of hysteria when over eighty unicorns were accused of practicing witchcraft; though they were never quite certain of why their use of magic became such a sudden issue, the unicorn population fled after being faced with threats of violence, leaving the town with a nearly homogeneous population of earth ponies.

        The stallions and mares of Ploughmouth were even responsible for the nightmarishbut mercifully short-livedfashion trend of buckled hats and horseshoes.

        But what the draconequus found most upsetting about the settlement was how mind-numbingly spiritless and bland it was. Not once during his march through endless farmland did he find so much as a single speck of color that wasn’t some shade of brown. For a moment he thought he saw a bright green blade of grass poke through the soil, but when he blinked the tiny plant had immediately become limp and burnt. Even the green mist of Nature’s energy that hovered over the farms felt like it was unhappy about being there. And on top of it all, the ponies tilling the stretch of farmland in the distance were just as colorless, completely unlike the vibrant colors he had seen with all his other subjects. He had to squint to be able to see anything else about them, and even then he wasn’t certain, but he thought they were looking his way. A smirk crossed his lips when he could sense a thin shroud of gray leak out of the ponies and wrap around them.

        His satisfaction soon faded when he and Screwball finally reached the main body of the town. It looked more like where fun went to die than a place where ponies would ever want to live. Brown andgasp!tan ponies dressed in modest black and white outfits walked somberly down worn dirt roads, occasionally lifting their eyes and giving one another a slight nod in acknowledgement, but otherwise staying completely in their own private worlds. And it was like they weren’t even trying to make their town look cozy! Every building was an undecorated stack of logs and a roof, with a few windows revealing equally bare interiors; a few wooden chairs, maybe a table with a candle on it, and a wooden cot.

He was really starting to miss the circus.

Discord shook his head clear as a familiar heat started to roll towards him from every direction. The ponies had begun to break off their mechanical tracks, stopping to regard the two strangers who had just wandered in. Some of the mares whispered to each other. The stallions just deeply grumbled as they kept their eyes trained on the encroachers. When a confused filly tried to squeeze to the front of the crowd to see what was happening, her mother hissed at her to come back and pulled the foal away.

“Maybe this wasn’t the best idea,” Screwball whispered to Discord, suddenly feeling very self-conscious about her vibrant coat, blue robes, and silly hat.

“Really?” Discord asked with a coy smile, silently observing the mingling tendrils of gray creeping around and tying the ponies together. “Because I have a good feeling about this.” The draconequus instantly silenced the murmuring crowd with a snap of his fingers. They had their own gray—now it was time to add some magic. The sun dimmed and covered the world with a near darkness, other than the single beam of light that shone down on the spirit, his arms spread theatrically at his sides.

“Ponies of Ploughmouth,” he thundered in the Royal Canterlot Voice, figuring that the stick-in-the-mud ponies would probably appreciate the tradition, “it is with great pleasure that We stand before thee today! We come from Canterlot, bearing the most sensational news! We hath come to free thee from the shackles that bind thee to this unhappy life!”

“Not the best choice of words,” Screwball said urgently. The jester may have been unable to see the life forces of the planet, but she didn’t need to be a spirit to know when a crowd was growing rebellious.

Puzzled by the unwelcoming reception, Discord clicked his claws and restored the sun to its usual brightness. The ponies at the big top had gone wild when Three Ring introduced the circus like that. What was wrong with these Ploughmothians? He had given them all the gray they could have needed to get in the mood for excitement! He decided to give them a little more juice to get them going; with how boring their town was, he should have taken into consideration that they would have a harder time adjusting to fun. It was practically an entirely different culture for them.

        “Strangers!” an elderly mare shouted. Her face was ravaged with loose wrinkles around her suspicious eyes, with a short gray mane tied back behind her head. She wore a white coif on her head and a white apron tied around a long black dress. “We knoweth not who thou be, but if thy intentions be twisted as thou art, fast away from this place!”

        “Did you understand a word of that?” Discord asked out of the corner of his mouth.

        “Bits and pieces,” Screwball mumbled back. “Please, miss, would you honor us by telling us your name?”

        “Plain Living,” the mare said curtly, turning her head up at the two royals.

        “Wow. Seriously? Good ponies, do not fear! We—” Screwball could say no more before the crowd began to erupt with angry cries.

        “See how they hath cursed the very sun? Maketh no mistake, these two strangers be witches!”

        “Thou wouldeth invade our sacred home and threaten our children’s lives and commandeth us to not fear?!”

        “How dareth thee come from that hedonistic Canterlot, draped in thy gaudy and resplendent guises, and thinketh thee our masters!”

        “Hark, fellows! By buckles and blueberries, these creatures seeketh our very demise!”

        “I’m so sorry, Discord,” the purple pony said as she slowly retreated from the mob, “this is all my fault. We should go.”

        The draconequus was positively giddy as he pressed his fingers together in anticipation. They were churning out so much gray on their own now! Now he just had to play his cards right and he’d have them eating out of his paw. And what better way to do it than by having them do just that? His fingers clicked and a concession vendor cart appeared in a flash, complete with a pink umbrella to keep him in the shade, compartments for hot dogs and fudge pops, a rack for giant pretzels, a popcorn machine, and of course, a cotton candy bin.

        “Come! Join us in our merriment! Indulge in these delicacies!”


        “Again! It doth weaveth black arts to ensnareth us all in its twisted web!”

        “What foul fate hath fallen the foals thou hath fried for this foul feast!?”
        “Curses and cranberries! My brother’s tongue hath been hexed by the letter of the beast!”

        “Vile witch! Be thee awayeth to the black coven from whence ye cameth! And taketh thy fiendish monster with thee!”


It stood at the center of the warring armies, marveling at itself. Paws! It had pawsno, one paw, and the other was a claw! But its leg wasn’t a claw or a paw, and neither was the other one. And neither leg was like each other at all! It felt long and tall, and It laughed in pure ecstasy. It felt. It felt! It felt its bottom swish back and forth and laughed again.

“What in Equestria is that thing?” It heard a voice shout. It was interested to see this thing. It looked around, staring emptily at the strange faces of ponies looking directly its way. It looked down.

“Brown! It has brown fur!” It shouted spontaneously, patting and rubbing its legs and arms and face, delighting in the feel of hair brushing against skin. “And these! And that! And —what’s this?” It stopped and scratched its head, feeling its paw bumping against two hard things on his head. Touching them with infinite wonder, It stretched its arms as far as they could go to better understand itself.

“It has... horns! Yes! Horns! Horns like you!” It cheered, pointing at the unicorns. It had watched. It had witnessed the unicorns’ power. They used magic. They changed the world around them by wanting to. Perhaps It could do the same.

It couldn’t be bothered to think about that for long, It felt a strange sensation on its... back. Yes, between its arms. It felt like a mild burning. It clumsily reached around with its claw and scratched. It felt amazing. It noticed that it had two things curled on its back. Stretching, It was able to make the things unfurl. It flapped them. It rose off the ground without any effort and was thrilled by the experience.

“Wings!” The word came to It. “Wings like you!” This was amazing. It didn’t know what it was, or what it had before, but now it had life. And life was wonderful. Having life was a wonderful, wonderful thing! But the ponies were not happy.

“You are nothing like us!” a bold soldier shouted.

“You?” It puzzled, bringing a paw to its mouth and poking it on something. “It... is a You! I’m a You!” Its entire body trembled with each new realization. This was life! This was being! “I’m an I! I am a Me!”

What is this creature?” a voice thundered. It knew who was talking; It had heard him talk as the battle raged, telling his ponies to kill more. He was an important thing. He was a powerful thing.

“I’m a Me,” the creature intruded. “And you are a—”

We are the Sun King Equinox! Ruler of all Equestria!” The battlefield was silent at the booming announcement.

“You’re a Me, too!” It shouted happily, clapping in enthusiasm. “You have horns! You have wings! You’re just like me!” It was confused why all the ponies started laughing when it spoke.

        “Thou art nothing like us!” the black stallion declared, cutting his cruel laughter short. “We are Lord of All, and thou be nothing but a m———


        Discord blinked, clearing the dark visions from his mind. He was remembering things he didn’t want to remember. His eyes grew with worry when he saw a dark cloud swirling over the crowding ponies. He stood his ground in the face of the gathering storm even as Screwball stepped behind him. This wasn’t right. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be happening. They shouldn’t have been able to make that much on their that fast. He glanced down and bit his lip when he saw the tide of gray flowing out from his feet and spreading over all of Ploughmouth. He hadn’t meant to do that.

        The purple mare forced her knees to stop shaking as she risked a peek around Discord’s legs to see the unhappy crowd baring down on them. She was no coward, she knew that fully well. She had seen an unsatisfied audience before; she even once had the poor luck to have failed at entertaining the late king. But there was something different about the mob—there was something something in the air that made her hair stand on end.

        The ponies took a step toward them, their eyes burning with mistrust, their snouts twisted into frightening snarls. They were like a pack of timberwolves closing in for a kill, and at that moment Screwball wondered if she would feel better being cornered by the wooden hounds than by her own kind. Everyone knew about how they treated the buffalo and the unicorns, but that was still centuries ago. Ploughmouth was a virtually crime-free environment, the ponies never had or caused any trouble in recent times. Could they really still be so closed-minded that any outside contact stirred them into a frenzy? She wanted to slap herself. How could she have put them both in this situation? She had to fix this now.

        “Everypony, please!” she begged as she stepped around Discord to confront the crowd. “We don’t want any trouble! We can just leave and—”

        Whiff. Crack. Thud.

        Everything came to a screeching halt for Discord. He had to bring a claw to his own heart to make sure it was still beating. It felt like something was trying to free itself from his chest. He could not stand to see it, but he did not dare to look away. It was a lie. It had to be a lie. There was no way it could be happening again. They were lying to him. The rock wasn’t actually there, it wasn’t wet with crimson. It couldn’t have happened too fast for him to protect her. She couldn’t have really gotten hurt. She wasn’t on her knees. Her eye wasn’t really bleeding. She was lying, too. It was just part of a joke. They would start laughing and then they would all have fun together like he wanted.

        “The witch still lives! Never send a woman to do a man’s job!” A large stallion kicked his hoof forward and a heavy, black horseshoe spun forward and caught the struggling mare in the temple. She dropped again and shut her eyes tight. This wasn’t fun.

        A terrible coldness gripped the hearts of every pony in the colony and a frigid gale nearly threw the colonists off their hooves as the Spirit of Chaos screamed. His body twisted and thrashed this way and that as if falling under the blows of some unseen attacker, throwing himself over backwards and stumbling back and forth. The Ploughmothians felt another blast of wind rush them from behind, the air cutting them like hooks, tearing something out of them. And then the beast roared again.

        He had his claws clenched around his horns, pulling at them as though he was trying to split his skull in half. He cried out again and again, each scream more wild than the last, filling their veins with ice and terror. The draconequus clawed at his eyes and stabbed at his ears with nails like butcher knives. He cracked his reptilian tail against the ground over and over, each strike echoing with the hideous snap of bones breaking; every time he lifted the tail, it was bent into more and more grotesque shapes.

        The ponies had no way to react to this horror. Parents watched with the same fear as their unprotected children, not a one among them bold enough to listen to the voice in their head begging them to flee for their lives. Their minds were reeling and their thoughts  were cloudy, as if they had stepped out of a dream and this nightmare had chased after them. What had happened? What was this creature? Some of the older ponies remembered when a chimera attacked years ago, but this barely resembled the other beast. Terror seized them again as he howled again, and watched in confusion as the color drained from his feet.

ScREWball No tHey                                         kilLeD I

 CAN still                         hElp no                 heLP foR

THEm                      cHoCOlAtE mIL                          k dO      noT            wAnt

 to Her                    

 tO HURT thEm’

        Discord gnashed his fangs together as wave after wave of pure agony ricocheted inside him from tip to tail. His entire body was burning up, every muscle and joint snapping and stretching his skin to its limits. It felt as if hundreds of flaming hooks had dug into him and were tearing him apart from every direction. But worse than the pain were the piercing screams that would stab into his mind and scatter his thoughts faster than he could collect them. He had to focus, he had to think, he had to remember! 

‘s S         s        loYaltyBURNinG s                C sc

 s                    c                                                        POsItivItY 

St        R                                                        iFe 

   SCr          ScR    SCR MAgiC  USE IT 

sCr     E                                    ScRe                            





A scream destroyed him again. What were they?! What were the other ones?! He couldn’t remember!! What were they?! He would lose everything! Everything he ever had! Unless he could make the words come and make the pain stop! Lightning split across his mind, threatening to explode his brain inside his skull. He would never survive unless he hurried and found the words. But there was something else working with the screams. There was a second voice. There was a voice in his head that was not his, with its own words. But he did not know which one it was.

I CAn  ’T                mAKe                                                 ThEm                 pa



would                                                                         not

Be           TR               ayED                  YoU                         


                         mAkE                                                MORE









        Discord forced open an eye and was immediately stung by salty water. He fought to see through the blinding screen of tears, though he was barely able to see anything among the world of brown that surrounded. The only thing to be blessed with a unique color was an eagle claw in front of his face. It was his own claw. And it was gray. His talons trembled as they pressed themselves together, ready to spark the inferno that would burn his world to ashes. He struggled with every last drop of strength he had left, but he could not force his fingers to part any more than he could move his own legs.

        The spirit twisted his neck down in and looked on in dread to see his body nearly entirely stained the same lifeless gray. The invading tinct creeped along his fur and seeped into his skin, burying the natural tones and hiding them away as the scorching heat burned hotter. He could feel the fiery noose constrict around his neck, numbing him to everything.

        He growled and strained as he fought to keep the destructive energy at bay, but every effort proved useless as the gray continued its climb. He didn’t know what was happening to him. He didn’t know what would happen to the town. He didn’t know what he was going to do. He didn’t know what was going to happen to Screwball. He had never wanted this. He only ever wanted to make things right for once. He didn’t want all this anger and pain. He never wanted to hurt anyone. The faintest sensation drew his attention to his paw, where the last traces of yellow still clung to his fingertips.

        Discord poured every ounce of energy he had into bringing his paw together, as he screaming every recitation of the two voices warring inside his head.


“It can’t be...”







        The Spirit of Chaos took one last breath before he snapped his fingers and disappeared.


        The ground rumbled with the pounding of galloping hooves. Ponies screamed in alarm, calling out for their sons and daughters and fathers and mothers. Dust filled the air, kicked up by the Ploughmothians in their state of panic, making it difficult to even breathe. Her head painfully throbbed in sync with every heartbeat, and her left eyelid was swollen shut. The sky was pitch dark, like a midnight storm, and the air was heavy with the smell of coming rain. Screwball had little trouble ranking this as one of the worse mornings she ever had. Something didn’t sit right with her.

In a few seconds she was wide awake again, and her memory returned just as quickly. Screwball seized a jittery stallion by the collar of his jacket and stared him dead in the eyes. The pony petrified almost immediately, his past worries completely forgotten in the face of this new, grievous danger.

“Where is Discord.”

“I-I-I d-d I-I d-don’t kn-now wh-wh-who—” The stallion choked back a mousy little squeak before it could escape his mouth when the terrifying purple pony jerked his head closer to hers, forcing him to stare into her eyes.

“The draconequus who was with me.” Every word hung in the air like a weight preparing to crush the quivering pony.

“P-p-please, st-tranger, I-I don’t know—”

“You listen to me, you dirt-farming, mule-cuddling, buckle-wearing son of a bitch. Unless the next words that tumble out of your mouth point me to where my Discord is, I’m going to buck your ass so hard your ancestors will feel it. And I swear by the sun and the moon, if I find out that you Harvest Day parade rejects laid even a hoof on him, your worthless forefathers’ genocide of the buffalo will look like a Hearth’s Warming Eve pageant after I’m through. Do you understand me? Then talk!”

The terrified colonist returned the Canterlot pony’s stare for as long as he was able before giving one sad croak and fainting in her hooves. Screwball cursed under her breath and dropped him gently on the ground before stepping out to face the crowd of frantic ponies and find her charge. Something had gone wrong, that much was a given, and now it was time to grab Discord and run away for the next town.

‘Great job back there. We really let that jerk have it, huh? I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear you say something I want you to say for once.’

‘If you aren’t going to help me, I don’t want to hear a word from you.’

A deafening blast terminated the mare’s internal squabble, and the ensuing shock wave nearly threw her and every pony in Ploughmouth off their hooves. Bells rang inside of Screwball’s already sore head, and she clutched her ears in pain until it finally subsided. Doing her best to throw off her shock, she snapped her head around to find the source of the explosion, knowing she was close to finding the one responsible for it. She pushed her way through the crowd of shrieking ponies until she finally broke free at the edge of the settlement.

She had no idea how long her heart stopped beating when she finally found what she was searching for. An enormous, swirling maelstrom of dark gray clouds and stolen chunks of earth loomed a short distance away, casting off an ominous energy for miles around. Screwball did not need to be a unicorn to know that the shell was brimming with untamed, dangerous magical energy. She didn’t need to be a pegasus to know that trying to navigate inside of that brutal twister was suicide. She didn’t need to be an earth pony to know that she would never last ten seconds in that hell.

She didn’t need to know any of that because none of it mattered. All she needed to be was a mother who knew her child needed her. Because that was all that mattered. Screwball dashed to the vortex and dove in without a second’s hesitation.

        The force of the whirlwind was greater than she could have ever imagined, but it was still not enough to stop her. Screwball firmly anchored her hooves in the earth and crouched low to the ground to protect as much of her body as possible as she forced her legs what she prayed would be the eye of the storm. She nearly lost her footing on more than one occasion when the barren dirt beneath her would spontaneously transform into thick mud that glued her hooves to the ground or scorching hot sand that slipped out of her grasp as she fought to stay grounded. The howling of the wind was ghastly enough for her to wonder if she would discover a string of Windigoes racing over her head among all the debris. The pony ducked just in time to avoid being staked through her good eye by a splintered tree branch carried on the wind. Her eyes flared when she saw the ground beneath her flash into quicksand, leaving her with only moments before she would be buried up to her shoulders—or worse. Crying out for fate to carry her, she shut her eye and jumped into the air.

        In less than a second, a rotted tree trunk slammed into her stomach and winded her. Screwball wrapped her legs around the bark for all dear life, keeping her head down as the tree was carried higher and higher into the storm. Thunder flashed and lightning boomed all around her. The force of the hurricane nearly shook the ground apart, as earthquakes rattled her in the air. She rode through a storm of blistering hail pouring over a chilling inferno beneath her. A black and craggy volcano rose from the earth and spewed out a tidal wave that came close to swallowing up Screwball and her impromptu chariot. And the longer she flew through the chaos, the greater her fear grew. Not for herself, but for the draconequus behind all the turmoil.

        Gone were any traces of Discord’s colorful and sugar-coated mischief. There were no cottage cheese bowling pins, or cupcakes with mashed potato frosting, or a squirrel marching band to liven up their walks. There was no soda rain, or puddles of fudge, or cookie dough logs. Everything he had created here was purely designed for malicious destruction and harm that even the spirit was not exempt from.

        Discord floated lifelessly on the winds, entirely unresponsive to the stones and lightning battering him. Screwball swallowed her immediate terror and tried to take control of the tree’s path, aiming it for the draconequus’s flight path. Once she was close enough, she performed one final leap of faith and dove at him, dragging him out of the air channels suspending him and pulling them both to the ground. Unsure of what else she could possibly do as she realized the short-sightedness of her plan, Screwball pulled open Discord’s wings and forced them to flap until he caught a draft, paying no mind to the knowledge that the only thing consistent in that abyss was the unpredictable wind currents or the fact that she knew nothing about flying.

        The two crashed to the ground, the collision tossing Screwball off of Discord’s back and sending her somersaulting a few times before landing flat on her stomach. Ignoring the soreness that covered her from head to tail, she briefly inspected herself for any major harm, finding nothing but a few cuts and bruises. It was nothing short of a miracle that her propeller beanie was still with her. Satisfied, she spun around to nurse any wounds Discord might have taken, only to shrink in fear as her charge wildly lunged toward her.


The Spirit of Chaos howled like an animal, thick curtains of drool pouring from his mouth as he snapped at the scent in the air. It reeked of misery and confusion. He had to have it. Dirty yellow, pupiless eyes swiveled around until finally discovering the new source of fuel. He pounced in the air and pinned the thing to the ground, savoring the intoxicating aroma of disarray radiating from it. It made a noise when his saliva dripped onto her cheek, but he ignored it. It was only becoming more fearful, more satisfying. He almost could hear its thoughts, screaming for its body to move and flee for its life. Unable to wait a moment longer, he held its neck to the ground with his talon and lifted his paw, his bared claws leaving no confusion about his intent.

        He watched its eyes shift from his paw to his face and watched in pure ecstasy as its face shifted into a mask of absolute terror. But something had happened. He could not bring down his claw for that final strike. He glared at the thing, hating it for whatever trick it had placed upon him, but the longer he stared, the number his body felt. He saw things that weren’t there. He saw a wolf and a castle in a dark forest. A torn robe. And then finally that very same pony wearing that very same look of fear and betrayal that turned his insides to ice. That look that he never wanted to see again. The fire inside him was doused as more memories returned, of stories and games and sunny summer days, of pranks and candy, of circuses and happy gray, of loving every moment he spent with Screwball.

        Discord released his grip and fell onto his knees as he felt the last flickers of heat leave his body and the pandemonium around immediately died. He kept his eyes on the ground, unable to look Screwball in the eye. He felt her hooves tenderly wrap around his neck and he buried his face in her chest, having given up all attempts to hold back his tears. He only wanted to help. He only wanted to make everything like the circus. He only wanted things to be like cotton candy. But instead...

        “Screwball,” Discord choked, “I think I made a mess.”

“Shh... Everything is okay now... I’m here... I’ll always be here... It’s okay... Shh...”


<<Chapter Seven--Chapter Nine>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

Real nice of you all to not call for help for me. At the very least you could try to e-mail me a new T-shirt. Jerks. The least you could do is talk to me in the comments.

FiMfiction Link

        An oppressive silence hovered over the plains. Only the slightest whispers of wind were allowed to speak, leading the grass and leaves in a brief chorus of hushed sighs. But when the noise threatened to overturn the spell, the quiet smothered the breeze and all fell still again. The brittle leaves and yellow grass would give their last few rustling clicks, unsure of when they would be freed to speak again. Even the sun in the sky seemed to have had its brightness muted, the golden ball of warmth now only a pale yellow as it drifted farther and farther from the planet with every day. Autumn was nearly upon Equestria, the warm greens and vibrant blues of summer beginning to fade away to make way for the change.

        “Fall is really such a beautiful time of year,” Screwball said idly, if only to fill the vacuous silence with some sound for even a short while, “the air gets cooler but it still stays nice enough to walk outside, the stars come out so beautifully every night, and all the leaves start turning red and yellow and brown. Hey, do those colors remind you of anypony?” The pony’s hopeful smile dwindled away in the presence of her partner’s unhappy expression and she retreated back into herself for the time being.

        The last weeks of their journey across Equestria had passed with the same melancholy atmosphere. Discord rarely spoke unless it was in response to a question or riddle, and even then, he spoke softly and succinctly. Every word he said was delivered with the same tired sigh, and it was only out of consideration for the doting mare that he even extended any effort to hide his weariness. He had not lived long enough to see a single change in the seasons, and yet he felt like he had grown old. The wonder of the world he had been so enraptured by what felt like years ago had been drained away, leaving no colors or grays behind to fill the space. Even the occasional exertion spark of magic just to stave away the numbness in his feet failed to lift his spirits anymore, though Screwball tried her hardest to laugh whenever a jelly bean dropped out from a bird’s behind as it flew past them.

        Everything had been ruined. And it was all their fault.

        “We’ll be at Jericolt in just a little bit. It’s right there, built into the plateau,” Screwball spoke up again, hoping against hope that the announcement would shake the draconequus from his funk. “It isn’t a very large town, and from there we can start heading more inland for the winter,” she explained, having practically memorized the map of Equestria after so many nights spent pouring over an atlas she found on the side of the road, most likely forgotten and left behind by some other travelers.

When she was received with silence again, the lavender earth pony gave her little propeller beanie a spin. The soft whizz was typically enough to catch Discord’s attention just long enough to try to talk with him.

“Discord, aren’t you excited to meet more of your subjects?”

The draconequus slowed to a halt and let his head fall limply to stare at the dirt road between his feet. “They aren’t going to like me,” he murmured.

“Why wouldn’t they like you?” Screwball asked sympathetically.

“Because the ponies in Hoofington didn’t like me, and the ponies in Canterbury didn’t like me, and the ponies in Maredrid threw a party the second I left...” He ended the list with that, though both Discord and Screwball were perfectly aware that he could have continued for longer. While none of the visits to the towns had been nearly as disastrous as Ploughmouth, they all met Discord’s arrival with reactions ranging between indifference and disdain. Hoofington had been the latest stop just a few days prior, and the ponies there had unfortunately been among those who met them with disdain.

“Perhaps you should not have poofed up that colony of penguins when we were so close to the town?”

“I had to do something,” Discord said with an exasperated growl. “I didn’t know they were going to charge the place.”

“Okay, okay, I’m not mad at you... But maybe the ponies wouldn’t have been so upset if you hadn’t given them fangs?”

The spirit said nothing. He only closed his eyes and turned his head away into his shoulder. He tensed only for a moment when he felt a soft hoof lay itself on his back but kept his eyes closed.

“Please? Please, just try. For me?” Screwball’s hopeful purple eyes caught the slightest glimpse of ruby red from between his eyelids and she immediately brightened. It pained her to see him so unhappy but she was certain that if they kept pushing forward, things would finally change for the best. She understood that Equestria was safe for now as the new king would raise the sun and the moon without fail every morning and night. They could just return to Canterlot and live together quietly for a few years out of everyone’s way until they were forgotten and could return to Equestria with a fresh slate. But that was no way to live; tucked away in some isolated corner, just doing the bare minimum to get along, waiting for the day you would finally be wanted—she had lived her whole life like that, and she would die before she let Discord repeat her mistake.

“For goodness’ sake! Fine! I’ll go!” the draconequus huffed as he moved away from her, walking heavily down the road for Jericolt.

The mare watched him with mixed emotions. She was glad that he would give it another try, since at the very least, Discord would just stand at her side while she did all the talking. But ever since Ploughmouth, the draconequus had seemed to have trouble controlling his frustrations. And as she watched him stomp ahead alone, she worried about what was happening to the spirit who would laugh with her and copy her hoofsteps and play games. And she feared that she may never see that Discord ever again.

She shook the thoughts from her mind and steeled her resolve. She trotted quickly to catch up and in less than an hour, the pair could finally make out the town resting on the plateau in the distance. A breeze rolled down from the stone trail carved into the side of the cliff, carrying an unpleasant odor, but the purple pony ignored the smell as she enjoyed the sound of her propeller buzzing over her ears. She had truly come to love that silly noise; just the sound of it would banish Savoir Faire to a dark corner of her mind, and her thoughts would drift back to happier days. She had faith that the propeller blades flew on the winds of change, and she knew in her heart that the world would start to make sense again soon.


        Screwball and Discord walked softly through the stone streets, the muted sound of talons scraping on the ground and hooves clopping on the cobbles the only sound that filled the air. Not even the wind was bold enough to broadly sail through Jericolt, keeping low to the ground and only disturbing a few grains of dust where the streets intersected. The rest of the town was frozen in eerie stillness, not a shape moved just out of sight, not a bird flew over the town, not a sign of life could be found.

        The purple mare had stayed close to her partner for the first ten minutes as they combed the empty streets, but she could no longer contain her curiosity. The buildings of Jericolt had garnered some fame for their uniqueness, having been carved directly from the stone the town was founded on. It was designed to be used as a military outpost long ago during a war with a small army of dragons; the stone withstood the dragon’s fire and claws and the Equestrian army repelled the attackers in a year long siege. This only worried Screwball more. Because no building that could endure a dragon’s fury without difficulty should ever appear on the verge of collapse.

        Screwball crept up to a building and peered inside a window, hoping to find some clues as to what could have caused this haunting quiet. She bit her lip when she found the window to be completely covered with some sort of black soot. Her mind immediately turned to thoughts of a new dragon attack laying waste to the city, but the theory was foiled when she wiped off the outside of the glass and discovered that the inside was covered as well. Unless the city had fallen to small dragons who were systematic enough to torch the inside of a house as well, there was little likelihood of the beasts being responsible. She lowered herself from the window and returned back toward Discord, keeping her eyes turned to the ground as she tried to come up with some explanation for this mystery. After a few seconds she realized that the draconequus was gone, but she caught a glimpse of a white plumed tail disappearing through a graham cracker door and gave chase.

        The second building was just as worn away as the rest of the buildings, though this one was clearly somepony’s home. She sadly looked around at what must have been the living room; the decorative carpets and curtains had their colors faded and were riddled with holes that lent evidence to the presence of moths. There was a modest cushioned rocking chair sitting by an empty fireplace; the fireplace mantle was decorated with small photographs, knick-knacks like jars and bottled ships, and gently flickering candles. An open doorway revealed a kitchen. Her eyes lingered on the four chairs pulled around the wooden table and silently swallowed her uneasiness. A family’s home. An ugly spitting noise and a retch took her mind off the sad scene and brought her attention to the draconequus slapping his tongue in disgust, and looking more animated than he had in a long time.

        “Yech! Plblth! Disgusting! What kind of crazy pony leaves rotten food just sitting out in the open?” Discord complained as he hovered over the table, inspecting the meager meal of mushy tomatoes, spoiled leeks, blackened carrots, brown lettuce, trying to find anything that looked edible. He picked through the food, lifting morsels off the wooden plates and inspecting them with disappointment and contempt. He missed the food at the circus. He missed having sweets whenever he liked. He missed being able to amuse himself whenever he was bored instead of just trying to pass the time by eating. But most of all, he missed not being afraid of his own magic.

While the draconequus tried to satisfy his hunger, Screwball puzzled over the new clues. The food had turned and the house had aged, which would mean that the home had been abandoned for some time. She turned back to the table in suspicion. The table had been neatly set for four, with plates and napkins and cups laid out in front of each seat. She ignored the twisting in her stomach and ran her hoof across the top of the table. Her eyes grew wide when only the smallest specks of dust stuck to her leg. She hurried back to the living room and dashed to the fireplace and wiped again. The mantle was clean. Screwball’s heart fluttered in her chest as her eyes passed over the decorations; the picture frames had all been lovingly dusted. Finally, her entire body froze as she focused on the candle standing in the center of the display, the light gently melting down the wax.

It could not be. It was impossible. She must have made a mistake, like always. There was simply no way that what she was thinking could ever be right, not in a million years. She took a breath to calm herself, only to choke on the musty air tainted with the smell of rotting food and burnt wax and that. Screwball escaped the house, desperate to escape from that unforgettable stink. But every breath only burned her lungs as she raced down the cobbles, twisting her head at each worn-away building. She skidded to a halt and frantically turned down a new street when she found an abandoned flower shop proudly displaying rows of wilted plants in its windows. The pony shut her eyes and ran as fast as fear could carry her, the instinct to flee overwhelming any reason she had left. Her hoof caught on something and she fell to the ground, scratching her shoulder against the hard road. After ensuring that her yellow beanie was still secure, the mare slowly rose to all fours and turned. The color drained from her face the instant she saw what he had tripped on.

        One of the vehicle’s wheels slowly turned and gave a grating squeak; the other three had been rusted tight. Only the smallest flecks of pink paint still clung to the tarnished handle and body. The canopy had been nearly completely eaten away. A plastic rattle rolled back and forth beside it, the beads inside clattering softly with each shift.

        Every muscle in her body screamed for her to run, but she stood as still as clay. She could not run from it anywhere in Jericolt. The smell was all around her. That terrible, horrifying, nauseating, unforgettable smell. She had learned it when she was only a filly on the worst day of her life. And now it was back, as vile and horrid and fresh in her mind as it was years ago. It was the smell of death.

        “I had a feeling I missed one,” came a teasing voice from behind her. “Scream ‘Ah!’”

Screwball did not have time to react before she was completely engulfed by a black miasma. The pony choked on the pollution and felt as though she was being completely dissolved from the inside out. She covered her mouth and nose with one hoof and tried to clear the gas away with the other. The pony only suffered for a few seconds before hot vacuum of air cleared the black cloud away, pulling every trace of smoke behind her. She hacked for a few seconds longer and fought the urge to vomit, though she was confident that the taste would have been much more pleasant than what she had just experienced.

“That was peculiar.”

Purple ears snapped to alert at the voice. With no small amount of fear, Screwball gradually turned herself around. She kept her head low to the ground and kept her eyes closed as she tried to brace herself for whatever terror awaited her. She slowly opened her eyes and trembled.

The first thing that struck her was the size of the creature. It was massive beyond anything she had ever seen, as enormous as a fully grown dragon and twice as long, its body extending far out of sight. It craned its enormous neck high in the air over the roofs of the buildings, completely eclipsing the sunlight which made the dark purple scales that covered every inch of its frame appear pitch black. Cracks split its skin all along its body, scales and skin cracking and flaking off with every motion. Two gargantuan buzzard wings stretched out on each side of the monster halfway down the length of its neck, making the beast appear all the more tremendous. Long dreads of black hair like porcupine spines wildly flowed from his head, the hair swaying independent from the rest of the body.

Screwball jumped back in a panic when the thing lowered its head closer to her, engrossed in its own examination of her as well. Its sunken yellow eyes were the size of her entire body, which is to say nothing about the crocodilian snout or the tusk-like fangs that protruded from behind its lips. After what felt like an eternity, the serpent finally lifted its head and smirked.

“Ah. You must be Time’s ‘abomination’ then.”

The words were lost to Screwball as she shuddered at the sound of the thing’s voice. It was sweet and terrible, like a madman’s lullaby. Once she hardened herself, the pony finally spoke.

“What in Tatarus are you?”

“Lovely, isn’t it?” the thing asked as it admired itself. “I would never admit it, but I always did enjoy some of Nature’s pets. I believe this one is called a basilisk. A creature that can kill with a glance! Magnificent. It’s after my own heart.”

        “You...” Screwball spoke with trepidation, “you’re a spirit!”

“The last horse crosses the finish line,” the spirit said as he applauded with his wings.

Screwball ground her teeth as memories of her encounters with the Spirits of Love, Nature, and Time boiled in her mind. “I thought we had seen the last of you maniacs with the owl at the inn!”

“Yes, it has taken some considerable time for me to finally be allowed to see you,” the spirit replied sadly. “Life sent that bore Time to try to ‘reason’ with Brother Chaos instead of allowing me to go, and it has been exhausting to convince her to finally give me my turn.” His mouth curved into a humorous smile as he did his best to stifle his laughter at some funny memory. "She even wanted to send me as a catoblepas. A catoblepas! Can you believe that? A killer cow! Absurd."

“Who are you?” she asked firmly, hiding her fear.

        The spirit’s grin twisted into something sinister as he once again lowered his head in front of Screwball, the corners of his mouth billowing with the black smoke from before.

“I am Death.”

“Then it was you,” the mare whispered as she lowered her gaze, “you’re the one who destroyed Jericolt.” Her eyes flashed with anger and she snapped her attention back at the basilisk. “You murdered everypony! The entire town! You’re a monster!”

“If I am a monster, then so is he. I’m just like your Discord. I have to surround myself with my--well, let’s be funny and call it my ‘lifeblood’--to survive. That’s why Life was so reluctant to let me go, the miserable self-seeker,” the spirit explained, his tone darkening for only a moment at the mention of his sister. Death took a deep breath as he brought his attention to the vacant streets surrounding them with a bemused smile. “But... perhaps I overdid it.”

“Don’t even compare yourself to Discord!” Screwball barked, stabbing a hoof at the basilisk’s direction. “You’re a killer!”

“Life is a waste and all things show it; I thought so once, but now I know it,” he recited, his harmonic voice almost making him sound sophisticated. “I’m also a bit of a poet. And you know that his hands aren’t spotless, either.”

Screwball ignored the last sentence and turned her snout up at the giant serpent. “Life is a waste? Says you,” she snipped. There was one thing the jester appreciated about the spirits: they all loved to hear themselves talk. She only had to keep him talking and stall him just long enough for Discord to find her and send this monster back where he came from.

“Life isn’t happy. Trust me, I know Life. Life is cruel, selfish. Hurtful. Look at your life.” The mare was caught off-guard by the sudden direct address.

“It’s been an unending cavalcade of misery and failure. How could you defend the spirit that is responsible for all your unhappiness?” Death inquired. “I am here to try to put an end to every creature’s suffering,” he pledged as he folded one of his wings over his heart. “I stand for mercy.”

She did her best to ignore the spirit’s words, but Screwball could not help but feel a twinge of uncertainty begin to pick away at her bold front. She only wanted Discord to be there. Everyone who ever tried to hurt them were always really there for him, not her. It was easier to be there and stand up for Discord; he was never bothered by what anyone else ever said about him. He got upset when he didn’t win over a town’s favor, but he never seemed worried by what they said. He would just stay quiet and let words roll off his back while she fought for him. He only ever cared about what she thought of him... Didn’t he?

‘Wow. How selfish are you?

The advisor’s mind was brought back to the present when a low humming made the ground under her hooves vibrate. She looked up and watched the basilisk in confusion.

Death swayed his head back and forth slightly as he hummed quietly to himself, “All good things must end. Flowers fade, balloons deflate, and butterflies disintegrate. Puppies die, and teeth decay, and lollipops are licked away!”

“Are you singing?!” Screwball shouted, the performance completely stripping away any sort of credibility she might have held to his words.

“Hm? Am I?” Death asked with mild interest. “Oh, I really must just be so excited. Tell me, where is Brother Chaos? I have been waiting so long to speak with him.”

“You will not touch him!”

“That’s right, you’re the pony who thinks herself able to command the Spirits. Just because it worked for Brother Chaos for a short period does not mean that you are anything special.”

“He listens to me because he cares about me!” Screwball defended. “I keep him under control and he’s thankful for it!”

“Hah! Trying to keep a spirit like Brother Chaos under control is like a flea begging a storm to act gracefully. But I will tell you now, those illusions stop today,” he said, the basilisk’s voice abandoned the sense twisted humor he had kept for the entire conversation, and became something hollow and ominous, like the toll of an iron bell.

“In fact,” he continued in that grave voice as he raised himself into the air, “you can consider this day as the end of all things as you once knew them.” And with a single flap of his wings, the spirit was gone.



A few minutes after he realized Screwball had vanished and left him in that boring house, Discord decided to track her down. It was no great trouble to follow the gray warmth she gave off everywhere she went, but on this particular instance it seemed to be stronger than usual. He didn’t enjoy the thought of Savoir Faire antagonizing Screwball again, but he wasn’t bothered enough by it to pick up his pace. He would be lying if he said that he did not feel frustrated with the purple mare himself for all the times she had taken him to a town that would only chase him away. And it was not as if he didn’t understand that he was making mistakes, too, but he could only be so angry with himself before it boiled over and spilled onto everyone nearby.

The draconequus stopped walking and began bouncing down the road on his tail. He found that jumbling his brain around helped when he needed to get this thoughts together. And the more he thought, the more he thought that if anyone was really to blame, it was all the ponies who got up in arms the moment things went wrong for them. No one ever got hurt because of him, what was their issue? After that... hiccup in Ploughmouth, he never tried setting a spark of gray for towns before they arrived to meet the ponies, and they still would always turn him away. He had begun to wonder if even he believed he was the king of Equestria anymore. No one else seemed to believe it so what was the point, then? From what he gathered by passing comments and stories by Screwball, it sounded like the last ruler was mean and forceful and kept the ponies in control through fear. It was probably bad, but he had begun to consider if that was really what it would take. Heavens know the ponies were not giving him many more options at this point.

Once he reached the end of the trail, he gave one last spring and landed firmly on his feet. Discord cocked his head to the side and twirled his finger around his beard as he contemplated what the pony was doing out all this way. The chaotic heat signature was coming from inside a building that didn’t particularly stand out in any way; it looked as worn out and abandoned as every other one he had passed. His first instinct was to just turn the door to gelatin and slurp it down, but he paused when he considered that he would only get nagged at. He jiggled with the handle and bit his lip when the latch did not yield. Taking a step back, Discord blinked a few times until he could see the invisible colors again to confirm that the gray was behind the door. He scowled at the wood for a few seconds and considered just leaving Screwball in there if she was going to lock him out. With an exasperated sigh, he banged his paw on the door a few times and waited for it to open.

Seconds passed and he heard nothing from inside. Checking again, the gray heat seemed to have grown larger in response to him knocking. He rolled his mismatched eyes and gave the door a light kick with his hoof. This wasn’t as fun for him as it was for her. He hammered on the door again and yanked on the handle, making the door frame shake and bend. After a few minutes, he threw his hands down in frustration, hating at the door as much as he could.

“Come on out, I know you’re in there.” His announcement was met by silence again, but he could have sworn he could make out just the slightest whimper from inside. “Fine. Have it your way.” He vanished in a flash of white and reappeared on the other side of the door, glaring at the heavy lock that was keeping it shut. He flipped the lock with unnecessary emphasis and teleported back outside. The draconequus easily pulled the latch and strode in through the doorframe feeling very victorious over this silly little game of hers.

HIs satisfaction faded away when he saw that rather than finding a sheepish purple earth pony kicking her hooves around in embarrassment, he found a virtual rat’s nest of ponies huddled together in terror. Upon seeing him, a young unicorn filly gave a frightened cry and buried her face in the side of an older stallion; and though the stallion tried to put on a brave face, he could feel that the pony was actually even more scared than the child. There were at least twenty other ponies all pressed against the far wall, watching him with quivering eyes and trembling legs in fearful anticipation of the draconequus’ next move.

“I guess that you’re the ponies I’ve been looking for. Tell me, what--”

“Don’t let him get me!” the filly wailed.

Discord groaned. That marked was the fifth time he had heard that during one of his visits now.

“First off, kid, you’re rude. Second, come outside so I can--”

“Why are you tormenting us, you beast?” an elderly pegasus from the back of the huddle shouted, his eyes brimming with anger and sorrow. “Did you not have your fill taking everypony else?!”

        “If you interrupt me one more time, I’m just going to--”

        “I’m too young to die!”

        “Fine!” Discord snapped, letting his sharpened teeth curl into a menacing snarl. It wasn’t as if this was ever going to work out better than anything else so far. “I was going to offer to help you, but now you can all rot for all I care.” The rejected spirit stormed out of the building, slamming the door with a harsh crack of his tail, and stomped back down the stone roads without any real sense of destination.

        He had meant it, too. Despite everything he had been through in every town, Discord would have been glad to help the ponies with anything they asked of him. It was all he wanted from them: them wanting him around. But no, it was the same story as everywhere else in Equestria. Pop in, say a few words, a child screams, get chased out, a giant snake blocks out the sun, do the same thing the next day. He looked at himself in the reflection of a window for a few moments, wondering if maybe things would be different if he made himself look like a pony. His reputation with the ponies would all be based on a lie, but better to live a lie than not live honestly, right?

        As he pondered, the issue of the giant flying serpent over Jericolt suddenly came to mind. He tilted his head to the sky and watched as the dark creature slithered through the air, twisting its head this way and that as if searching for something. Screwball would probably want him to deal with that. Maybe the other ponies did, too. And what the hay, it would probably be the first bit of fun he had in a long time. With just the smallest flutter, Discord was off like a rocket.

        In a short order of time, Discord had reached the purple basilisk completely undetected. Feeling in a playful mood, he slipped up from behind the creature and landed on the base of the snake’s tail. From there, it was just a simple matter of ignoring the laws of gravity as he calmly strolled down the length of the serpent, the basilisk’s rapid undulating doing nothing to hamper his progress. After a minute, he had finally reached the back of the thing’s head. It certainly said something about the enormity and thickness of the snake that it took him so long and it never once felt him walking on him. Fingers crossed it was in the mood to talk, he’d hate to have to hurt something so fascinating.

        Discord bounced from the top of the basilisk onto the base of its snout and gave it a small wave. It came as a pleasant surprise when the snake stopped in place to calmly observe him.

        “This is unusual. Every pony I have ever met has always fled at the sight of me,” the serpent said in an almost charmed tone.

        “I know where you’re coming from with that,” Discord said as he conjured a bathtub brimming with pink bubbles to lie down in. Screwball wasn’t around, and he had been itching to unwind like this for a long time. Besides, his toes were starting to feel numb after spending the whole day with no magic.

“They’re so superficial,” he added as he scooped two handfuls of bubbles in front of his mouth and blew them into the air where they popped, sounding off various animal noises, chimes, and in one case, part of Beethoofen’s Symphony no. 7. After the orchestra had ended, Discord looked with interest into the basilisk’s eyes and smiled when he saw that his new friend showed nothing but patience and even mutual amusement for his fun. He seemed like a friendly enough sort. Much better than the ponies at least.

        “I would ask you to not stare into my eyes for too long,” the basilisk said pleasantly, “the eyes of a basilisk are known to have some adverse effects on living things’ health.” If his form had eyelids, Death would have blinked in surprise when a pair of gaudy sunglasses appeared between his eyes and Discord.

        “Do you think this would help?” the draconequus asked with a smirk as he popped a bubble with a talon, getting a face full of cake batter from the burst.

        “These will suffice, yes. Thank you, Brother Discord.”

The draconequus snorted a laugh and lowered himself deepr into the bathtub, letting some of the water spill over the side and fly into the air. “I hate to disagree with something big enough to eat a mountain, but I don’t have any family.”

“I think you would recall that you, in fact, do.”

Discord chuckled for a few more seconds and closed his eyes to enjoy the warm water. Death waited for a few moments while the draconequus blissfully ran the water over himself, diving deeper under the water than the size of the tub should have allowed, and then resurfacing with a wooden back brush gripped in his tail. The spirit looked much like a drowned vermin when wet; his eyebrows covered his eyes, his beard looked like a wet rat, and even his horns were draping down on either side of him. He hanged over the side of the tub and dripped into rapture as he scrubbed at an itch between his wings. Just as he reached the pinnacle of ecstasy, his gold and ruby eyes flashed open and the tub vanished, leaving a wet and sputtering draconequus sprawled on the snout of the giant basilisk.

“You’re another spirit!” Discord shouted, unsure of how to proceed at this point. It was either going to end with him talking or them trying to fight to the death. And he really hoped that it was the former; not just because the tractor-sized fangs seemed that much more sharp with the revelation, but because it was the first time he felt he actually liked one of his siblings before he even knew who they were.

        “I am, Brother Discord. You may call me Brother Death. Or just Death if you wish to drop all that boring formality that the others cling to so desperately,” the spirit said with a mocking lilt to his voice. “You don’t mind if I just call you Discord, do you?”

        “No... Discord is fine,” he answered, feeling uncertain about his brother’s friendliness, “I like it much more than War or Decay or Entropy or Chaos or whatever the rest of you were calling me.” He wanted to remain defensive in case this new spirit would prove to be as unfriendly as the rest. Time and even Nature seemed unthreatening enough at the start, and he would never want to go through the hells that they dragged him through ever again.

“I think so, too. It was so unfair of them to label you so harshly,” Death said, his voice ringing like a silver bell. “Really, ‘chaos’ has such a negative connotation to it. After all, you’re not throwing the world into anarchy, are you? You’re trying to rule it. But they’re so quick to label you as something harmful,” the serpent explained with a sad sigh. “I tried to explain that you’re really the Spirit of Change. Doesn’t that sound so much nicer?”

“Well... Yes... It does,” Discord admitted. “So, are you going to leave nicely or are we going to get rough?”

“I’ll be going very shortly if you want me to,” the basilisk replied, “I only wanted to get my turn to see you, have a new face to talk to. There isn’t much opportunity for conversation and pleasantries in my realm of operation. Besides, whenever I try to walk among the ponies in flesh and blood, I’m usually treated like a monster and thrown out of anywhere I go,” he said sadly.

“Wait a minute, you’ve been in Equestria before?” Discord asked, stunned.

“Certainly. All of us have at the start of our lives, much like yourself,” Death lied. “But when the different species of the land would attack us on sight simply for how we appeared, we could take no more and retreated to a private realm of our creation. I see things have not changed much in how the ponies treat you.”

Two white eyebrows raised in interest. “How long have things been like this?”

“Oh, for years and years. You’ve seen yourself how resistant ponies are to change. They’ll do anything to cling to their old-fashioned ways. Ploughmouth is a nice example of that... I can see you don’t want to dwell on that. But this is why you are so important, Discord,” the Spirit of Death continued with a tone of contained excitement, “this world has long been yearning for change. All their desires, their hopes, their darkest prayers, all have come to life in you. The culmulation of all their paranoia, their hatred, their wickedness had stripped them of any reason or purpose, and that power had become in tune with the will of the world. This is simply the order of the universe. And from the ashes of the old world, you shall rise and create a new paradise of progress and change!”

Death threw his head upwards, accidentally launching Discord behind him. The serpent quickly turned around and caught the flailing draconequus on one of his black feathered wings. From there, the smaller spirit climbed back onto his brother’s face and waited for him to continue his passionate monologue.

“These hypocrites live in disharmony and solidarity and loath each other so much that there is hardly any trade between towns. And yet when the product of all their jingoism comes to try to unite them together in peace... Well, I don’t need to tell you how they act.”

        Discord bit his lip and looked away from the basilisk as he tried to digest this new information. Could he have really been going about acting as a king the wrong way this entire time? Screwball said that she would guide him to rule as best as he could, but it never worked, and she wasn’t really an advisor... Every decision they had made together never worked. All the other spirits wanted to take him away from Equestria and the ponies wanted him gone, too, except for Death. But Screwball had still been trying to teach him about life so did he owe it to her to stay by her? The draconequus moaned and began to twist his tail. He didn’t know who to trust in anymore.

        The larger creature allowed himself to smirk as he watched the wayward spirit battle with himself. Death may not have been very accustomed to the subtleties of mortal emotions and feelings, but even the blind could not confuse the draconequus’ expression as anything but inner turmoil. His faith was dying, he was falling into disaster. Perfect.

“You seem so unhappy, Brother. It is not right. No spirit should ever be subjugated and made to suffer at the hooves of some ponies,” Death spat the word so hatefully, the younger spirit could only wonder what sort of pain the ponies had put him through. “You can’t continue trying to rule like the old kings, because you’re not like them. You’re better than them. And that’s why these ponies all hate you. Because they know they’re inferior. And that frightens them.”

“Ponies aren’t like that,” Discord challenged the notion more out of instinct to defend his subjects, rather than out of confidence in what he was saying.

“Aren’t they?” Death asked, raising a scaly brow. “Out of all of the ponies you have encountered in your travels, how many have welcomed you? How many of them think of you as anything but a monster?”

“Screwball doesn’t.” The words died in his throat as memories of a spiteful phantom screaming her hatred for him. He tried to shake the thoughts away, but their impact still lingered. “Even if she did, she doesn’t treat me like...”

“One pony in the entire world?” Death asked with feigned surprise. “Do you think that is right?”

“No... But she likes me because she knows me better.”

“Or does she like you because she makes you act in a way that most pleases her?” Discord had no response. “And what of those who don’t know you? The ones who look at you and immediately hate you, try to chase you away... or worse?”

Ice ran through Discord’s veins and he turned his eyes away. “I don’t know what you’re implying,” he muttered darkly. Why? Why couldn’t he just be allowed to move on and forget that awful moment? That awful moment when he snapped his fingers and made the army... disappear.

“Brother Discord, you do not have to try to hide your unhappiness from me. I was there on that day. The day you were born and then nearly killed just as soon on that battlefield. When all the soldiers and the old king tried to destroy you,” Death said compassionately, his mouth not even pulling into a nostalgic smile as he continued, “and when you defended yourself against them. You should be proud of yourself for not making them suffer. It was better than they deserved.”


“I don’t want to think about that. Not ever again.”

“As you wish. But back to my earlier point, Discord. These ponies will not accept you if you do not prove yourself to them as their savior.”

The draconequus slowly lifted his eyes back to glimpse at the serpent. “What do you mean?”

“They wanted this change. Deep in their heart of hearts, they wanted you to come and bring them change. And as a ruler, you have failed to satisfy their desires,” Death said bluntly. “You have been taking your cues from, quite literally, a fool and it has only ever backfired.”

“Then what should I should to?”

“Be yourself.” The words rang so beautifully in the draconequus’ mind. “Do whatever pleases you, and shun anything that tries to stand in your way. After all, that’s what earned you the love of that family in Manehattan. When you saved that filly’s life before I had to take her and saved their home so generously, was it because of your fool’s advice or was it by following your own instincts?”

“I just did what I thought felt right...”

        It was time to hammer the final nail in the coffin.

“Please forgive me, this is twice I have upset you now. And I have given you so much to think about,” Death apologized and motioned for his sibling to climb off of his face. Discord slowly walked the length of the basilisk’s nose, his path veering a bit as he was too distracted to keep his eyes on where he was going.

“I promise I will leave you to follow whatever it is that you want soon enough, but before I go, could you just humor me a bit? I want you to play the hero for those ponies hiding in that house down there,” Death motioned to the building the ponies had been taking shelter in, surprising the younger spirit. “Don’t seem so shocked that I know when things are alive. Now, slay the beast who had terrorized their town. Show them that you’re here for their sake, and that you will coddle and protect them like the old monarchy did.” His carefree expression dropped as he at last removed the sunglasses, revealing two slitted pupils staring straight through the troubled draconequus. “And see how they treat their savior.”

The basilisk flew back several hundred feet and exposed his underbelly. “Fire when ready.”


        A purple mare collapsed on the cobble streets, the panic crushing her chest only making it even harder for her to continue sprinting. Fighting off her soreness, she pushed herself to her hooves and leaned against the stone walls of the empty buildings for support. Screwball only wished that the town didn’t reek of death so she could just get some clean air in her lungs. She lifted her neck up higher, hoping that the air would be just slightly easier to breathe.

        Her heart soared when she turned her eyes up just in time to see Discord squaring off against Death high in the air. Her Discord looked puny in comparison to the beast, but he was still more than a match for the giant. A single beam of light erupted from the smaller form and obliterated the basilisk, which brilliantly exploded into a pungent cloud of the monster’s black fog. The cloud only lingered for a few seconds before it thinned and dissipated on a sudden wind. New life flooded into her and she ran as fast as she could toward the building that Discord was descending toward, tears welling in her eyes. Finally, after so long, things were going right.


“Ponies of Jericolt! I bring wonderful news!”        

The survivors of Jericolt cowered from the voice as a small white ball of light hovered in the air at the entrance of their shelter. The orb steadily grew larger and more blinding until it finally burst. The ponies aimed their eyes toward the floor and walls, their fear preventing them facing the new visitor. Discord did his best to ignore their refusal to look at him as he continued in the most inspiring tone he could muster.

“The beast that had plagued your town is no more. Your benevolent King Discord has saved you from destruction!” he announced, throwing his arms out to his sides in anticipation for the praise and gratitude the ponies were certainly about to grant him. After all, in their eyes he had just vanquished a monster. He was like a hero then, wasn’t he?

“And who is going to save us from this monster?” came an angry roar from the crowd.

He would have liked to say that the jeer caused the world to freeze for him, that time slowed to a crawl as he grappled with the understanding that everything Death had said to him was true and that everything Screwball had taught him about ponies and the world was a sugarcoated lie to keep him under control. That the feeling of an icy claw seizing his heart and shriveling it away to nothing felt like it lasted for hours as it squeezed every last drop of empathy he held in him from his body. That even a small voice in the back of his mind pleaded with him to stay by the ponies’ side and care for them even at the sacrifice of his own personal interests. Or that the happy memories of time spent with a purple mare fought for survival against a rising surge of gray heat that struggled to its last breath before being seared away in the flames. But Discord was not given the mercy of a gradual enlightenment, and instead the wild burning in his soul ignited and obliterated him in an instant. He was not so blessed to have been given a moment to cope and was not left with any desire to think or consider. All that was left was an immediate, spontaneous desire to act.

He looked with quiet curiosity from his bleeding lion paw clenched in a fist, to the pile of exploded rubble that once composed a wall of the stone building, and then back to the ponies, now more afraid than ever before. The Spirit of Chaos did not scream, or bellow, or roar in fury and frustration as Discord had before. He merely regarded each object with a new interest for a moment before exiting through the new hole to see the world with new eyes. Empty, colorless, monotonous, this Jericolt stood for everything that he was not, as did the rest of Equestria. But he could change all of that. It was his power and it was his right to rule the world how he saw fit.

Discord snapped his yellow talons, and out of the building marched his tormentors, their faces twisted into grotesque masks of horror and confusion as their legs acted under the command of a new master. The king of Equestria looked over his empire for a moment before speaking softly, keeping his back to the crowd even as he addressed them.

“I’m glad. Thank you everypony. Now I know exactly who I am and what I am here for. Now, hear me well, as I shall not repeat myself. Equestria is under a new command and a new law: mine. I am the absolute ruler of the land, and I have already begun an undertaking to bring this world into a new, greater era,” he orated. He did not need to think of the words as he had already given this speech once before.  

“A new chapter in history that shall live forever in the minds of each and every last pony for all of time. My name will be sung in songs generations from now, carried on the winds and echoed across the canyons. Every last subject will have a role to play, I can guarantee you that.” The ponies trembled at every word. Though the draconequus’ voice remained calm, it sounded as if he was barely able to contain the emotions hiding just under the surface threatening to explode out at any instant.

“Not a single unhappy soul shall go unnoticed or forgotten or left alone, ever again. I am your ruler! I am not a monster! I am not a beast! I am not something to be controlled! I am your king! And I have sworn myself to change Equestria!” The winds howled in response to the declaration. The spirit closed his eyes and embraced the gust, welcoming it like an old friend before at last turning his attention back to the cowering ponies, still struggling with all their might to reach out and just touch one another for comfort.

“Prepare yourselves,” Discord spoke, glaring at his subjects with eyes like fiery coals. “The winds of change are here. And they are not going anywhere for a long, long time.”

        The spirit raised his dragon claw and stepped forward in the air, stopping on some invisible step. He brought his hoof forward and continued to climb the unseen staircase, ascending higher and higher toward the clouds, allowing the raging winds to batter and caress him as he left the world behind him. A million billion thoughts were knocking around in his mind, all vying for his attention, begging to be unleashed first. But when he heard a familiar voice cry out his name and looked down to see a mare staring up at him with perplexed purple eyes, he knew there was one thing he had left to do.


        She wished she didn’t have to be a fool. She wished she could have been someone smarter, someone better at expressing themselves. Perhaps if she had been a poet she could have found the words to put to her emotions at that instant, or if she was artist she would be able to put her thoughts on display for all the world to see. But all she was good for was juggling and acting a fool. She cursed her cutie mark, cursed her talent, cursed the world, and cursed herself when Discord floated down, looking at her with such an alien expression, and she could only bring herself to say one thing:

        “Discord... What are you doing?” Her quivering eyes searched for any sort of reaction, any emotion or indication of what her dear companion was thinking. Her eyes probed into his, begging him to say something and end the oppressive silence that once again surrounded them. She was afraid, but she did not know why. After what felt like hours, Screwball was finally given her emotion: for a fleeting instant, a regretful frown tugged at the corners of his mouth. The pony opened her mouth to speak but was silenced when she was gently tapped on the forehead by a furry finger.

Screwball’s vision blurred and darkened for a moment, and when she opened her eyes she was alone. She madly twisted her head in every direction, terror swelling up in her chest when every search only confirmed her greatest fears had come true. Her tears rolled freely off her cheeks and splashed onto the ground. She didn’t care if anyone saw. She didn’t have anyone to be brave for anymore.

‘I guess this is the part where you rub in my face what an idiot I am for ever even trying, right? Well, you’re right. So get it over with.’


‘Even you’ve left me...? Fine... This is just the universe’s way of reminding me... that happiness is something I’m meant to give, never take for myself. I’m just a fool. That’s all I am...’  

        Screwball slowly trudged toward a building when she heard the rumble of thunder and the pitter patter of early rain. She kept her head low to the ground until she was inside. The moment she closed the door, her tired legs finally collapsed, and the lonely mother cried herself to sleep to the sound of candy corn rain.


        In the void that bridged the gap between the realm of the Spirits and Equestria, a dark black cloud of poison chuckled to itself as it drew closer to its home. Death knew he really shouldn’t laugh, though. The others would be so upset when he told them about how he was unable to make Brother Chaos see reason and that the draconequus was able to overpower the body he had been given. Worse yet, their greatest fears had come to life, and now the rogue spirit had begun to spread chaos and destruction on a global scale.

        Now, it was all they could do was to watch the havoc.

        And all the death that would come with it.


<<Chapter Eight -- Chapter Ten>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I’m starting to think that no one is going to help me out with my T-shirt dilemma.

500 meaningless points to whoever knows where the song is from.

FiMfiction Link

                Out of the clear blue cloudless sky, a bolt of lightning came.


                Princess Celestia did not consider it to be one of the stranger things that had happened to her. It was still mildly surprising when a pony gracefully rose from the crater. It was a pegasus with an alabaster coat, a golden mane, and piercing blue eyes. Her flank was marked with two angelic wings on either side of a golden ring that truly glowed with its own unworldly light.


                “O Great Celestia,” the mare said, her voice trembling as though she were addressing God herself, “it is at last time.”


                The alicorn was lost in her enthusiasm. She had waited for this moment for years. She had watched it unfold in her mind a hundred times over. And now that it was finally happening, it seemed too good to be true. But after so long, she could not turn away from something so good.


                “Is this really the day? The day I have dreamed of?” the princess asked, her voice faint.


                “Indeed, true daughter of Equestria,” the angel said with a serene smile, “it is time for you to embrace your destiny and restore harmony to the world.”


                “Yes!” Celestia cheered, her face beginning to feel sore from her stretched grin. “At last, the tyrant shall fall! I shall reclaim my birthright, save my ponies, and return my kingdom to peace!”


                “Yea, and… eh, verily.”


                “Every day I could do nothing but watch as countless ponies suffered in this madness. My heart burned for justice, and heaven has answered my prayers.”


                “You go, girl.”


                “And with your strength, I shall avenge my mother and father, and end Discord once and for all!” Celestia declared, her voice echoing over the preciously serene plains she had been taking refuge in.


                “But he’s so handsome!” the angel suddenly cried, taking Celestia by surprise for a second time.


                “I’m sorry?” The alicorn blinked a few times, completely stunned by the angel’s outburst.


                “And funny, and smart, and good at dancing…” As the angel listed off, Celestia’s white cheeks turned a deeper shade of pink. She gave an aggravated moan and collapsed to the ground, burying her face in the grass and pulling her long pink mane over her head in a sad attempt to hide herself from what came next. ‘


                “And he’s just the bestest boyfriend in the whole wide world and you and him are going to get married and have a million babies and live in a little house on a hill and eat until you get fat and blow up,” the angel concluded in a mocking tone, the heavenly voice now replaced by a much more familiar voice.


                She wished she could disappear. Turn herself invisible or just fly away or take herself a hundred million miles away in the blink of an eye to escape her embarrassment. In fact, the only thing stopping the mare from doing so was her knowing that it would only make things worse for her. All she could do now was just sit and wait for it to pass.


                “I hate you.”


                “Blasphemy!” the angel gasped. “How can you say that about a soldier of heaven? You’d better watch your behavior, missy. Don’t you know we’re making our list and checking it twice?”




                In a flash of light, the pegasus vanished and was replaced by a draconequus lying in the grass, rolling back in forth in peals of laughter. Every time Discord tried to collect himself to speak again, he would take one look at Celestia’s face and collapse into laughter again. After what seemed like hours, the spirit could pull himself together enough to speak through his giggles.


                “I can’t… Pffft… I can’t believe you—snrk—you really fell for that! Aahaaaha!”


                Celestia decided she had enough. Carrying her head low to the ground, she sulked off. She had no sense of destination; she just wanted to get away from the snickering that was dogging her every step.


                “A bolt of lightning and an angel from heaven? Celestia, can I come visit whatever fantasy world you live in one of these days?” Discord laughed as he wiped a tear from his eye. “Am I really that good? Or were you just playing along for me?”


                “I hate you,” Celestia repeated passionlessly. She had said it so much by this point that it had lost all meaning.


                “Why do you have to be so mean to your boyfriend?”


                The deposed princess fumed. “You are not—! I would sooner—! Augh!” she grunted when she took one look at his smug grin at seeing her wound up again. “I hate you.”


                “How can you say that when we’re so close to our twentieth anniversary?”


                “You are a loathsome, wretched creature,” Celestia hissed. Had it only been twenty years? It felt like she had spent two hundred years enduring the spirit’s constant pranks and watching him turn her father’s stolen kingdom upside-down. That night when she and Luna fled Canterlot, she would have given anything to take her revenge on the beast that destroyed her life, but after just a year of living in hiding, Discord had found her. She and Luna tried to fight only to find that they were hopelessly outmatched. Since then, Discord had popped in on the sisters at least once a week to pester them, like he did with every other pony in Equestria, as Celestia and Luna researched every possible lead that would help them find a way to stop the lunatic’s mayhem once and for all.


                Discord folded his arms and turned his nose up at the princess, feigning insult. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but—”




                Celestia had to shield her eyes from the explosion of light that enveloped the draconequus mid-sentence. When the light had faded, all that was left of the spirit was a scowling statue. Her eyes snapped between the petrified Discord and her sister descending from the sky, wearing a golden necklace with a shining amethyst in the center.


                “L-Luna!” the older sister cried as she galloped toward the night princess the moment she touched the ground. “I can’t believe it! You’ve done it! You defeated Discord!”


                “Psh. No.” Celestia only looked on slack-jawed as Luna lifted a hoof and peeled off her face like a rubber mask, revealing Discord’s simpering head at end of the alicorn’s dark blue neck.


                “You are so gullible, Celestia!” Discord cackled as shook his body like a wet dog, making the disguise fly apart like drops of water, though the jewelry remained. “It’s unbelievable! Twice! Twice in the same day! You’re just humoring me now, aren’t you? You’re so sweet~”


                The draconequus’ tender expression didn’t even flinch in the enormous blaze that suddenly swallowed him. The princess of the sun ground her teeth, her eyes narrowed in pure hatred as she poured every drop of magic she had into reducing the menace into ashes. A click echoed from inside the inferno, and the flames instantly turned into confetti and streamers that scattered into the wind. Discord stood exactly where he had before, looking no worse for the experience, having donned a blue floral print shirt under the gold necklace, tacky sunglasses, and holding a coconut that he was busily chewing on.


                “Are you about done?”


                “Never,” Celestia spat. “Enjoy your games now, Discord. Because I swear on my father’s grave, one day I will find a way to stop you!”


                “Oh, please, Celestia,” Discord said with a roll of his eyes. “If that was true, do you think I would ever allow that to happen?”

                “You haven’t killed me yet,” she challenged. Discord paused for a few moments before removing his shades to glower at her.


                “You’re a smart mare, Celestia. Would you like to learn something interesting?”

                The alicorn said nothing.

                “I’ll take that as a ‘go right ahead.’ I can change rearrange anything any way I please. The weather, the earth, time, life, death, everything you can see and can’t see. Even ponies.”


                “You must be so impressed with yourself,” Celestia scoffed. She took a few jumps backwards when he extended his eagle talon towards her, pointing his index finger at her. She was not afraid of him trying to hit her—he never had before—or even just being touched. But she had seen him use that claw before. He had drained the life from a boorish colt who cussed at him, turning his coat to a muted gray and transforming the pony into a whimpering coward.


                “Inside,” he continued, wiggling his cursed paw in her face, “and out. And I’m not just talking making a case of the pony pox go around or turning somepony into a screwball.” He paused at the word, though even he wasn’t sure why. He shrugged.


                “I can reconfigure the musculature and bone structure of a pegasus. I’m sure you’ve seen that at least once. Just make those wings disappear, make that keeled sternum of theirs just a whole lot of useless tangled knots. I can snap my fingers and take away the very thing unicorns are named for. The finest surgeon in the world couldn’t amputate a horn as cleanly as me—if there were any doctors left, I mean. Leave the skull as smooth as a filly’s bottom.” As if to demonstrate, he rubbed the top of his own head, his horn and antler wiped away by his lion paw.


                “And I’m even considerate enough to not leave any magic in them so they don’t get a big messy build-up and pop. Celestia, you look uncomfortable. Well, I’m glad. Because with all that in mind, ask yourself this.” The alicorn pulled away, but she was held still by his furry paw holding her face tight and forcing her to look into his blood red eyes. Her pupils shrank when she looked at him. For the first time in two decades, his lopsided eyes looked focused. He opened his mouth to speak again; his voice was barely more than a whispered growl.


                “How hard would it be for me to remove a heart?”


                Her mouth clamped shut and she remained stiff even after he released her. He regarded her for a few seconds before taking the gold necklace off of himself and draping around the stunned princess. She only moved again when the crass spirit slapped her flank with his paw, causing her to yelp in offense.


                “Really keep that in mind next time you think anypony can threaten me, alright my pretty princess?” Discord cooed, everything menacing about him melting away in an instant. He continued to strut off and called to her over his shoulder, “I’ve got to be going now. I can’t spend all day goofing off, after all. I have a nation to run! You wouldn’t know anything about that, but it’s really serious business. Ta-ta, Tia!”




                True to his word, King Discord ruled Equestria unlike any leader before him. He did not delegate, or make any decisions on any issues, and seldom assumed any sort of command over the politics of the country; each town and city’s elected leaders handled every aspect of public life. Rather, it was the ponies’ personal lives that he was much more interested in. Either on an intimate, individual level or on a broad scale, the draconequus intervened in every subject’s life in some way or another, sometimes for the better but more often for the worse. It was not uncommon to see ponies with muted colors walking, hopping, or yodeling around towns, or acting completely nasty to one another whenever the king made an unannounced visit and found a pony to be unpleasant.


                “They’re already no fun to be around,” he reasoned, “so what’s the harm in giving them a little extra touch of bad attitude. Hah! Touch! Do you get it?”


                Equestria was a much different place, in more ways than one. Every sunrise brought a whole new world over the horizon (and occasionally, a verizon, a vertical horizon that would hurt your eyes and head if you thought about it for too long). A blue sky was an occasional variety, as were regular weather patterns and crop harvests; if a pony was lucky, they could bite into an apple and have it actually taste like an apple. Jelly roads were difficult to maneuver without some experience with skating, or at the very least peanut butter horseshoes to keep a pony’s hooves on the ground. It was necessary to keep a parachute handy by the front door in the always possible scenario that you wake up with your house above the clouds.


                The greatest disturbance was possibly Discord’s “shift storms.” Roaming clouds of pulsing magical energy that would list aimlessly across the nation. There was never any stopping them—all the begrudged ponies could do was to make sure that they weren’t in the middle of something important when they came around. The storm clouds would arrive over a village or even mostly uninhabited area, and explode with a powerful wall of magic in every direction. Every individual afflicted would find themselves either missing or sporting some new accessories: pegasi might see their wings being worn by an earth pony, and a unicorn would have lost their magic to a former pegasus (who would generally immediately attempt to levitate themselves to replicate the sensation of flying, but all any ever managed to accomplish was bruising their stomach).


                Some ponies had the good fortune to occasionally be given both wings and a horn, and let their new traits go straight to their ego. These ponies were greatly frowned upon by the pony community as a whole.


                It was always an unforgettable day when Discord himself made a personal appearance to give a village his undivided attention, playing tricks and concentrating all his havoc on the unlucky ponies until he got bored. The length of the visits were never certain, like everything else in his kingdom; sometimes he would amuse himself for an entire day, though it was not unheard of for the draconequus to stay for less than a minute. The rumors went that the spirit would arrive with his usual bravado and flair, begin a speech he had prepared only for something in the town to catch his attention and disturb him enough to make him vanish, doing little more than leaving behind a jelly bean rain. It became a local legend that King Discord feared the color purple, a claim that was not entirely supported by his penchant for painting the moon a rich shade of violet on the nights it was not made of cheese.


                From time to time, the monarch would open himself for questions and pleads for boons. The old monarchy would have called it holding court; he liked to think of it as getting in touch with the peanut gallery. The most popular requests were for plain water and food that didn’t protest the injustice of being jailed in greenhouses. But without fail, one individual, some sad mare who was at her wit’s end or stallion who was trying to keep a grip on reason would always ask the same question: Why?


                And the answer would come eagerly, for Discord always loved to say it.


                “If you can't join them, beat them.”




                “Are we all here?” a gruff stallion dressed in ragged clothing asked.


                “Yes, Ore Breaker,” a slightly less gruff pony wearing slightly more ragged clothing answered.


                “Good. Then we can begin.” The stallion exited the small room and took center stage of the meeting hall for the gruffest and most ragged resistance movement in Equestria: Cressida’s Knights, lovingly named for the deceased queen of the moon. (The original idea had been to name the group after the passed sun king Equinox, but the group reconsidered when they considered the possibility of vengeful spirits returning to Equestria during a particularly paranoid assembly. The general agreement was that the queen would be much more forgiving for any failures performed in her name than the violent warhorse would be. [A second proposed alternative was “Churney’s Bakers.” The name was considered for a fairly long period of time before it was scrapped for sounding as intimidating as a purring kitten.])


                “Listen up, you mugs!” Ore Breaker shouted, immediately silencing the sizable mob of ponies that formed the resistance. “You all know the reason we’re all here!”


                “I’m here because I was told there would be complimentary refreshments,” a voice from the mob called to a murmur of agreement.


                “That was a lie. But the real reason you’re all here is to liberate Equestria from the control of the beast! End the reign of chocolate!”


                “End the chocolate rain!” came the response.


                “That’s right!” Ore shouted. “We have suffered under the false king for too long! Where are the green fields we grazed in as foals? Where are the blue skies we thrived under? Where is the peace of mind? Where are the days that stayed as days until it was time for night? Where is Equestria?!”




                “That’s right! Here, in the souls and hearts of us all! And together we—”


                “That big snake flew into Neighvada last week and started messing with my friend Patty’s neighbor’s cousins’ children!” a mare cried up. “He started poking them on the head when they tried to fight him off, and now their youngest won’t stop crawling on the ceiling and her sister is positively wicked!” The mare’s outrage was received with a few scatterings of polite applause and mild support.


                “Er, right,” Ore Breaker cleared his throat, “as I was saying, we will return to a day when the rivers ran clean, instead of just running away! Losing a pillow fight won’t mean getting pummeled by a cushion! An—”


                “And pigs will stop lording it up about how they got wings now!”


                “Don’t start going after the pigs, it’s not like they did anything wrong!”


                “They could just not rub it in as much, that’s all I’m saying. Or at least not fly over my house when nature calls!”


                “Leave the pigs alone, Pine!”


                “What are you, some kinda swine sympathizer?! They gave me the flu just last month! I thought I was going to die!”


                “You can’t catch a flu from a pig. Can you?”


                “You can so!”


                “Because of Discord!” the rebellion leader shouted, trying desperately to retake control of the situation. That seemed to do the trick for the time being. “The pigasi are being used as part of his diabolical schemes and biological warfare! Soon, he’ll come for your children and make them carry the cutie pox! Our drinking water will be spiked with love poisons!”


                “Pigs will have the run of the place!”


                “I say we stop him before he gets the chance!” Ore bellowed. The crowd went wild, stomping their hooves chanting for the death of Discord.


                “Rush the castle! Storm the gate! Find the beast! And take his h—”


                The stallion’s eyes bulged in a very un-gruff manner when the door on the side of the stage that was never there before swung open, and a draconequus absentmindedly strolled into the room holding a toothbrush in his mouth, with a pink towel tied around his horns and one around his waist. The rest of the crowd was deathly quiet as the object of their hatred began to stir from his deep thoughts and look around in mild confusion at his surroundings.


                “This isn’t my bathroom… is it?” Discord asked, though he already had a very good idea about the answer. “Sorry, I could have sworn… Anyway, so what’s new with you all? …Yeah, I think this is embarrassing for us all. So, I’ll let you guys get on with your meeting. Rah rah, go team, and all that. And I guess I’ll see you around? You guys were trying to look for me, right? No? Okay…” he said softly as he shuffled back towards the door he entered through. “Awkward.”


                The door slowly squeaked shut and Cressida’s Knights stayed in silence, save for one who angrily grumbled, “…I bet you the pigs sold us out.”




                “Critter role call!” Discord shouted to a small gathering of creatures that were bizarre even by Equestria’s standards. In his hands he held a checklist and a pen, and he wore a pair of half-moon glasses on his nose. “Call out if you hear your name. Bunyip?”








                “Heeu—I can never pronounce this right—Hyumin?”


                “Out sick.”


                “He would be.  Zone Eater?”


                The ground underneath them rumbled terribly.


                “Just say ‘here.’ No earthquakes, thanks. Platypus?”




                “Can the dirty language. Kelpie?”




                “Jersey Devil? Jersey Devil? Where is the Jersey Devil?” Discord asked, impatiently stomping his foot.


                “He’s in Jersey,” a troll answered.


                “Well where’s that? Oh the heck with it,” the draconequus swore as he threw the pen and paper to the ground, both exploding on contact. “You know what they say about the best laid plans. Organization, bleh. Harpy, was the town evacuated?”


                “I was able to convince them to leave,” the hag replied.


                “Wonderful. Alright, fillies and gentlecolts, let’s hear a warm round of applause for the awe-inspiring mob squad!” Discord called to the empty town below him. “How then, my beauties, don’t forget that tomorrow is pay day, so let’s earn those bits! Tear it up!”


                The horde charged on the empty town and turned the town to rubble in a matter of minutes. Brick by brick, home by home, the creatures gleefully worked to demolish and deconstruct everything in sight (for the sake of thoroughness and simple pleasure, a gnome with a red conical hat tore apart every garden he laid eyes on).


                Once the last of the buildings had crumbled, the goons were encouraged to flee the area by the violent quaking that knocked them off their feet. The last of the werewolves was able to narrowly escape being pulled into the swirling sinkhole that engulfed the ruined town, sucking down every building and tree like water down a drain, leaving only an enormous hole at the center of town. The hole quickly vanished as the Zone Eater ate that as well and disappeared.


                When all was said and done, the town of Ponyville was no more, completely reduced to an empty plain. Discord always had the feeling that no town could last with such a boring name, and he couldn’t say why, but he always wanted to be the one who wiped it away.


                The draconequus didn’t have much time to savor his victory before the heavy sound of tired hoofsteps caught his ear. He turned around with some interest to see a battered and old stallion wearing the old helmet of the Canterlot Royal Guard and glaring at Discord with unfathomable hatred.


                Twenty years. For twenty years, the last of Equinox’s soldiers scoured the land as he hunted down his king’s assassin and the villain that tormented all of Equestria. He had journeyed high and low, waiting for the day he would finally corner the beast and give him a taste of what an old unicorn could do with his horn. His quest had stolen most of his life from him, and the challenges he had faced along the way would have been enough to kill any ordinary pony. But he had a mission to fulfill, to his king, his country, and his fellow soldiers who died battling the impossible monster. And now, here he stood, ready to die for his beliefs; chief among them was the idea that bravery could replace armor, and that anything would turn and run if you shouted loud enough.


                “Time to die, foul demon!” the old soldier roared as he channeled all the magic he had left at his disposal to his horn in one final, glorious strike.


                Discord held up a finger to silence the vindictive pony and used the other hand to open a pocket watch. A cuckoo impossibly sprung out of the small watch a few times before being sealed back in with a click, and the spirit’s face suddenly took on an urgent expression.


                “Shoot, I’ve got to run. I’ve got another appointment I want to keep. Let’s pick this up again some other time. Just find me anywhere. Aloha!”


                The old guard opened and closed his mouth a few times while he tried to come to terms with this grand, final confrontation that was meant to be the conclusion of his lifelong crusade.


                “Son of a seapony!”




                In the senseless madhouse that was Equestria, rational thought had become an obsolete relic of the past. Few ponies put any faith left in the knowledge of the old world, but those who did clung to their memories of logic and coherence with all the strength they had in them.


                Candle Dribbler was one of these last refugees of reason, a humble member of academia now the leader of a psychic resistance. Let the bumbling Knights try to reclaim the heart of the country. But would be through the strength of mind that Equestria returned to normalcy and order. And once the world was restored, he would receive the highest honors and accolades from the rightful rulers.


                Oh, blessed Celestia. It was only because of her that the weary unicorn had been able to hold onto his sanity for as long as he did. She had found him by chance one day, and they immediately began to conspire to find a way to defeat Discord. This was no small goal, as the magic of every alicorn in history seemed to be nothing next to his powers. And so he turned his focus to discovering and researching powerful artifacts and long-forgotten spells that might somehow be able to nullify or drain Discord’s chaotic powers, or even find a way to cut through his seemingly impervious hide.


                Every lead thus far had been a total flop. The legend of the mighty Excalibur, claimed to have the armies in its blade, had been the result of a long game of Chinese whispers. The truth of the matter, and even name of the blade, had been grievously mistranslated across time: Excalipoor couldn’t even prune a tree branch, let alone severing a draconequus’ head. The fabled Whip of Ares was raised against the Spirit of Chaos, and was soon repurposed into the world’s most powerful jump rope. When Celestia rode out to battle against Discord while wearing the mythical Soul of Thamaresa, a mighty gem crafted from the heart of Starswirl the Bearded himself by eight hundred and eighty-eight unicorns, and managed to only stub his toe. The Soul of Thamaresa was then ground into a fine dust and sprinkled on a stack of flapjacks.


                He had particularly high hopes for a set of six gems, prized by the Diamond Wolves for their purportedly magical qualities and thought to have been the embodiment of the strength of Equestria itself. After a series of sieges against the Diamond Wolves’ underground cities in search of the gems, Candle Dribbler, Celestia, and Luna were flabbergasted to learn that the Diamond Wolves only thought the jewels were magical because they were “very shiny.”


                But despite all these set backs and stumbles, the three never once gave up hope for finding their key to victory. And it was that hope and tenacity that gave Dribbler the drive to spend countless nights pouring over a tome that had been discovered during a daring raid of Canterlot Castle, locked away in an iron chest deep under the floor boards of the royal library in the forbidden Starswirl the Bearded wing. He hungrily and painstakingly labored over every inscription, working to translate the archaic and complex old Equestrian language. He ran through every word dozens of times to ensure he never made an error in his translations; too important were the secrets of the text.


                It had taken him a year to complete, working alone by candle light for sleepless nights and restless days, sacrificing his own body’s basic needs for food and water some days just to hasten himself. But at last, he had reached the final page, where one of the students of Starswirl had written the key to his legendary Polymorphic spell. Even the ancient wizard himself only used the spell once himself because he feared its power so much.


                This… was… destiny.


                He levitated his quill and madly scratched out the incantations to what would be the doom of the wicked draconequus once and for all, eager at not just the promise of saving Equestria, but recovering long lost knowledge.


                Always... drink... your... Ovaltine...


                “Wh-what?! What does that mean?!” Candle Dribbler cried, glaring at the cover of the tome where the idiotic student of the great unicorn had penned his name.


                “Dr. Iscod, I  trusted you!”




                Discord surfaced from the center of a great ocean, gasping for breath. He snapped up an inner tube in the shape of a cheerful yellow duck as soon as he recovered, and slapped the side of his head until a rolled up piece of parchment dropped out of his ear. He scraped the few crumbs of earwax off and read the list.


                Cold fusion


                Perpetual motion

                Blue whale naughtiness

                World hunger

                Gingers; souls?


                He licked his talon and scratched off “blue whale naughtiness” with great satisfaction.


                “Another one of life’s mysteries solved! And now to keep it a secret forever. Heheh. Whale watching is more fun the way I do it.”






                “Nice to see you too,” Discord greeted the pegasus that was pacing back and forth on an upside-down chalkboard floating in the air.


                “Fifty four!” the pony roared.


                “Hey, no need to be mad at me. This is what you get for calling yourself a ‘mathemagician.’ Hubris never leads to anything good. But tell you what, you’ve been doing this for a week, so I’ll cut you a deal. Just say numbers are stupid and I’ll undo it.”


                “Twenty nine! Five! Eleven hundred!” the pony chattered desperately, his eyes sparkling at the promise of undoing his curse.


                “Well, I commend you for sticking by your beliefs," Discord shrugged before vanishing.




                “Sorry I’m late,” Discord said as he appeared sitting cross-legged on a tree stump. The rest of his company was sitting in similar positions on the other trees in the forest clearing. “I’ve had a crazy day today. What was it you wanted to discuss today, your highness?”


                “We wish to become an independent nation,” the leader of the group announced, brandishing his scepter proudly as he spoke.


                “Ha! Good one,” the spirit chuckled. His expression dropped when he realized that none of the others shared his humor. “Wait, you’re serious? Oh wow. No. Wow, no.”


                “Why not?”


                “Because you’re a bunch of squirrels!”


                “That’s speciesism!” the king of the squirrels shouted. He dove at Discord, assaulting him with acorn scepter.


                “I’m not having this conversation right now,” he sniffed, rising to his feet and throwing the squirrel off of him. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a funeral to attend.”




                Horses with particularly long faces were gathered around an old blue pegasus lying on her death bed. The old mare’s loving family were standing loyally by her side, hanging on her every word. Stallions were dressed in somber black jackets, mares were in black mourning dresses. Discord was wearing a wacky tacky purple top hat and a lemon yellow jacket.


                “Am I too late?” he asked as he barged through the door. The family gathered around their grandmother protectively, but were parted with just a flick of a lion paw. “Relax, I’m not going to do anything to her that nature wasn’t going to do. I’m just here for the show.”


                “What show?” the eldest son grunted.


                Some believed that the world actually came alive under Discord’s rule, and that it had a wonderful sense of dramatic timing. If a villager wanted to warn a traveler about a haunted estate, lightning would always crack when he pointed to “…the CASTLE!” Someone had better be telling the absolute truth if they tried to defend themselves by challenging God to strike him down if he’s lying. And only the suicidal would ever say “What could possibly go wrong?”


                And right on cue, the old mare suddenly began to kick and spasm. Her body was completely covered by a golden flame that burned her away. At the climax, the golden ball at the center of the blaze exploded with a burst of energy that threw the family to the wall, leaving only Discord to proudly look over the blue pegasus filly that was crying in her bed. Her wails stopped when he pinched her mouth closed for a few seconds and grinned at the foal.


                “No more tears now. After all, you’re still in the most wonderful place in the universe.” With a snap, Discord and the filly were miles above the house, straddling a giant penguin like a steed. With a kick of his spurs, the penguin mooed into motion and began to soar through the sherbet clouds, letting the wide-eyed foal stare down at the colorful wonderland below her. Her attention was stolen by a low voice breaking into a swelling harmony.


Welcome to my kingdom.

Welcome to my land.

Welcome to the empire that only I command~


                The penguin veered down to coast above the gingerbread rooftops, letting Discord wave to the ponies going about their daily business as well as they were able.


Dystopia, my utopia!

My favorite place to be!

Dystopia, my utopia!

Where it’s all for one,

And that one is me!


                Discord jumped from his steed to grabbed onto a street sign with constantly shifting signs, dangling euphorically on the pole.


From Discord boulevard

To Discord avenue,

All landmarks and roads and parks

Are named for me, not you!


                In a flash, he was back with the clapping foal. He held her tight and jumped through a cloud. They tumbled out of a hole in the sky over Ploughmouth, which looked like an abstract painting of a lunatic’s mind: in short, the chaos capital of the world.


                “You know, when I first came along, this was just a one-pony town. But now it’s…

Discopolis, megalopolis!

My untamed legacy!

Discopolis, there’s no stoppin’ us!


                “Is that a word?


It is to me~


                Discord turned his tail into a lasso and threw it out of sight. He tugged it back in an instant, dragging a kicking and screaming Celestia by the leg and dangling her upside-down.


Some have tried to run and hide,

But they just can’t break free.


                Discord grabbed Celestia’s cheek and smiled serenely at her.


They say it’s wrong, but they’ll hum along

To a song in the key of me!


                Down in Discopolis, every pony came sashaying from their doors in perfect synchronization, dressed in shimmering suits and hats and singing in harmony.


Welcome to his kingdom!

Welcome to his land!


                With one victorious toss, Discord threw the giggling foal into the air to place his paw on his chest and stretch his talon up into the air.


Welcome to the empire that only I command!


                The instant he finished the song, he realized his mistake. Flapping his wings with all the strength he had in them, he dove towards the ground, anxiety clouding his thoughts and stopping him from simply using magic. He reached out in the air just a second before crashing to the ground. He tumbled on the plaid, syrupy  landscape for several dozen feet curled into a wheel, clutching his arms tightly to his stomach. Once he finally stopped, he collapsed on his back, satisfied to see the pegasus crawling on his stomach gleefully. He tapped the pony on the nose gently before dropping his head onto a pillow bush.


                “Phew… Heh. Dystopia.”


<<Chapter Nine -- Chapter Eleven>>

   Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

            The one of the kidnappers brought his girlfriend over and they asked if they could use my bed for the night. I don’t like it here anymore.


                Fun fact, Discord’s drink of choice down there was inspired by real life experiences. I get dared to drink something foul one time, and then the next thing you know, it’s my guilty pleasure.

FiMfiction Link


                “It’s a tumultuous day in this neighborhood, a tumultuous day for a neighbor,” Discord hummed as he paddled his waffle cone canoe down a lemon pudding river. “Would you be mine? Could you be mine?” His ears perked at a conga beat of thunder booming over his head, so he took up to the skies to watch the coming show. A smirk split his face when he saw one of his favorite creations slaloming around the tie-dyed cloudscape. He chased after the Shift Cloud, eager to see where the next storm would strike.


                He would have followed it for hours if he had the patience for it. But as he was a busy ruler, he thought it would be better to give it a little boost. He snapped his fingers and sent the cloud racing through the sky, chasing after the setting sun. Discord followed eagerly; out west was where plenty of earth ponies had their settlements. He’d love to see the looks on their faces when they suddenly sprouted all their new appurtenances. Hopefully they wouldn’t be as boring as Ploughmouth was about it and just refuse to not even try to use them. And worst-case scenario: he’d send a little bit of the magic over to the buffalo tribes that lived out there. He always wondered what would happen to them if the storm struck them. Or the Diamond Wolves for that matter. Or dragons, or phoenixes, or centaurs—wait, no, he already found out, they turned into donkeys. There were still the minotaurs. He liked the minotaurs, they were great for thumb wrestling. The only problem he had with them was when they refused to stop calling tartar sauce taurtaur sauce, but that was easily settled after a week of tartar sauce rain.


                A mountain range was quickly approaching, expedited by the mountains moving on their own toward Discord. Somewhere on the other side of the mountains would be the pony colonies, and he could just squeeze himself with glee at all the thoughts bubbling in his mind. He dropped onto the pulsating cloud, and slapped the top of it a few times to get it primed to discharge as soon as somepony was in range. It was too late for him to stop the storm when he noticed a very pony-shaped thing soaring around the clouds above the mountain range.


                It was a race between Discord’s wings and Discord’s magic when he shot off in the stupid pegasus’ direction as the storm erupted with a shockwave of golden energy. It passed by him in seconds and soon splashed into the pony over the rocky peaks. He shut his eyes and hoped that the pony would get a horn and turn into one of those Merry Soo’s that were so unpopular with the other subjects. A loud scream dashed his lofty hopes and he flapped his wings even faster. It was soon clear that he wouldn’t make it to the pony before the mountain did. He couldn’t teleport or he’d lose all his momentum once he reappeared near her and lose her. His red eyes madly flashed between the plummeting mare and the mountains below when an idea overcame him.


                The pony endured history’s most embarrassing rescue as she had her fall softened by the world’s largest whoopee cushion. She fell onto her stomach, trying to settle her pounding heart as the cushion deflated with a flatulent noise. It might have even been really funny if she hadn’t been nearly killed. Discord seemed to share her lack of humor in the situation.


                “What on earth where you thinking?” Discord shouted as he towered over the light-blue mare. “Don’t you know better than to be out flying when a shift storm’s around? I mean, I made them impossible to mistake for anything else so stupid ponies wouldn’t be airborne when one was coming! Didn’t anypony ever teach you better?” The transformed earth pony only stared up at him in worry, completely unmoving. Discord smelled the gray heat wafting off of her and sighed, his long body going limp before he drew himself back up.


                “What’s the matter, can’t you talk?” More silence. “Uh huh. Look, if you’re not going to talk, then I’ll just leave you up here and you can climb down yourself.” He didn’t like the way the girl was staring at him with those big cyan eyes. He was used to ponies looking at him angrily, or shocked the first time they ever see his awe-inspiring appearance. Fear wasn’t uncommon, either. But he wasn’t sure what this pony had going on behind those big glassy eyes, and he wasn’t sure if he liked that. Was it surprise? Curiosity? Confusion? What was her deal? It didn’t matter much to him, he decided after several uncomfortable seconds of silence. She wasn’t talking to him and she wasn’t at the big glue factory in the sky, so he didn’t have any reason to stick around.


                “Thank you for saving me.”


                Discord always imagined it would have taken a lot for something to surprise him. Maybe a pony slamming a pie into his face before he could douse them with seltzer water, or seeing a sasquatch tap dance without any influence on his part. But now that it had finally happened, he felt underwhelmed. And what was made worse was that he didn’t know what to say to that.


                “Okay?” Good enough.


                “Could I ask you a question?”


                “Certainly,” he said as he resumed his usual nonchalant air. There was no good in letting some common pony see him looking troubled, after all.


                “Why did you?” Well that just wasn’t playing fair, Discord internally groaned as he felt his cool slipping again.


                “The resurrection spell doesn’t work unless you’re in one piece.”


                “You mean when you turn old ponies into foals?”


                “Sickness, living to old age, all these are simple things to avoid,” Discord explained with a careless toss of his wrists, “and yet you ponies are always dying. So I put an enchantment on all of Equestria to take a pony on their last breath of life and turn them back into newborns for their families to take care of them. Then they can enjoy their lives all over again. They keep their old memories most the time, too.”

                “Why would you do that? Tamper with the natural order of life and death?” Qustions, questions, questions! It was a good thing he loved hearing himself talk so much, or this filly would be irritating.

                “Because it’s a king’s duty to protect his subjects however he can. This is how I do it.”

                The pony’s eyes widened at the answer. Just when she thought she had gotten used to Discord’s surprises after twenty years, she had a day like today. “Where’d somepony like you get that idea?”

                “I don’t fully remember, but am I so wrong to think like that? What, are you so surprised that I’m not just doing something for a gag?”


                “That’s the sort of reputation you’ve built for yourself,” she said plainly. “I’d be surprised if anypony expected you to want to help anything.”


                “I’m all about defying expectations,” Discord laughed with a wolfish grin. The pony jumped in surprise; she was certain that he was in front of her just a second ago. She turned over her shoulder to see him pacing around her, looking at her quizzically. She twisted herself back to face him when she noticed his eyes lingered on her flank for a moment too long. It wasn’t out of fear of any sort of perversion, but what he might see.


                “That’s an interesting cutie mark. I don’t see many for astrology any more,” the spirit mused.


                “It’s not astrology, it’s astronomy,” the pony said defensively. “One’s looking at the stars, the other one is trying to make some hokey fortune-telling business around them.”


                “I’d imagine both of the fields have suffered ever since they started waltzing around the sky at night, so good for you,” he said breezily.


                The mare’s relieved sigh was quickly inhaled through clenched teeth when Discord asked her for her name.


                “I’m Lunar Lander.”


                “Then it was a pleasure meeting you. But I’d say I’ve been nice enough and kept you sufficiently entertained for the day, so I’ll be seeing you. Ooh, maybe I’ll still send that cloud over to the buffalo and find out what would happen? Wouldn’t that be a sight? Muaha!”

                “Wait!” To both their surprise, Discord halted. “You can’t leave yet. I’m still stuck up on the mountain and I can’t climb down. Could I please have my wings back?” While Lunar certainly wanted her wings returned, that wasn’t the only reason she wanted the spirit to stay around. She now found herself in a very unusual situation to learn more about Equestria’s oppressor, and anything she could learn about him could only help her.


                “It defeats the purpose of taking them away, doesn’t it?” Discord said dryly.


                “I guess, but it’s not like you were trying to get me in the first place—”


                “You mean it was an accident? What a crazy, random, delightfully disastrous twist of fate!” Discord squeezed his cheeks together and made a silly face long enough for Lunar to get the message, and then several moments longer just because it amused him.


                “Well, if you’re certain, then I guess I can’t change your mind…”


                Discord internally winced at the wild accusations. He considered his options. He could leave the original chaos in tact, which would prove that he was staunch in refusing to change the chaos, but would that mean that he would be putting things back in order, but then maybe it wouldn’t really be in order because everything else was out of order, or was it still too ordered since he had to think of the word to describe the situation, or would the second chaos be the larger bit—or…


                “Why does chaos have to have so complicated?!” he finally cried. Discord opened his eyes and was embarrassed to see he was twisting his tail in his hands. He threw it down, fuming that he had picked up the old habit (literally) he thought he had beaten years ago.


                “What do you mean?” Lunar’s ears were raised in interest as she slowly sauntered over to the draconequus.


                “Chaos is supposed to be what’s unexpected. Not just anything out of the ordinary.”


                “Is it?”

                “Unless some other Spirit of Chaos has decided on a different definition, then I’m going with mine. Not that it’s really completely defined, mind you, but it’s—dgh—dah! Never mind. I’m right, be quiet when I’m talking. So being chaotic means sometimes doing what’s doubly unexpected, and then triply and then back to doubly and jumping to tendiddily and… you see where this is going.”


                “I’m actually waiting for the part where you try to make some dumbed-down metaphor that explains it for us simple ponies who weren’t born into chaos,” Lunar said wryly.


                Discord shrugged. “You know, I don’t think about it much myself. Chaos is simpler when you don’t try to explain it, which is why you’ve got me in such a jam.” Lunar was surprised that she was surprised when the spirit wasn’t suddenly swimming in a giant jar of jam. He seemed to pick up on her feelings and gave her a knowing nod of his head as if to say ‘Now you’re catching on, so let go before it’s too late.’


                “So, what you’re afraid of is acting against chaos and doing something that would bring harmony?” The sudden tenseness in Discord’s posture clued Lunar in that he didn’t agree with her hypothesis.


                “I’m not ‘afraid’ of anything, and I wouldn’t be caught dead doing something harmonious. Harmonic? Harmonized? Whatever, it doesn’t matter. I’m chaotic, there’s no two ways about it.”


                “I don’t think you should have to see life like that,” Lunar said softly, her voice carrying a air of wisdom that was more suited for a pony three times her age. “Good, evil, right, wrong, harmony, chaos, there’s no such thing as a cut and dry truth. Even night and day are constantly blended at every moment.” She corrected herself as she turned away from her company to look at the moon suddenly switch places with the sun in the sky, bringing an immediate night to Equestria. “Well, they used to be, anyway. There’s no black and white, that’s no way to look at the world. It’s all just shades of gray.”


                When she concluded, Lunar looked back to see if anything she said had sunken in. She took a step back when she found Discord staring at her as if she had sprouted a second head, which could have been a real possibility. He was as stiff as stone, his golden eyes glowing like lanterns. Just when she was about to speak, Discord flew into a wild frenzy of laughter, rolling on his sides and laughing until his eyes watered and his sides ached.


                “And just what’s so funny?”


                “Nothing, nothing, nothing~” he said as he tried to choke down a laugh. Shades of gray. How do they come up with this stuff?


                “Then why are you laughing?


                “You’ve got a problem with laughter?”

                “You just seem to do it a lot. Even when things aren’t funny,” she added pointedly.


                “Laughter is always the best reaction to anything,” Discord said grandly, a chuckle starting to tickle his throat at just the thought of it.


                “Like playing pranks on ponies?”


                “A draconequus is entitled to his fun, isn’t he?”


                "Where's the pleasure if only you enjoy it?"

                His long gray face fell into a scowl before he began to stomp around the small stone platform. "I took every opportunity to do it their way. I spent every day trying to reach out and give them something to enjoy. And they all turned their backs on me. Ponies don't appreciate anything you try to do for them. They didn't want my gifts so now they'll get them whether they want it or not. And I’ll bet in enough time, they’ll learn to love it as much as we did."

                Lunar Lander titled her head to the side. "We?"


                "You said we."

                "Why would I say we?" Discord asked accusingly.

                “I don’t know.”


                ‘I say we should leave her.’


                Discord turned left and right to find the new voice, and was surprised when he realized that it was coming from his eagle talon.


                “Who are you?”

                “Are you talking to me?” Lunar asked, once again confused by the latest turn of events.

                ‘Who am I?! Did you seriously forget that you stuck me in here, you stupid lummox? Real nice.’


                Swifty,” he said, addressing the claw with the name he had given it a few years back, “why didn’t you tell me you could talk?”


                ‘You’ve been spreading me around and making ponies miserable. I didn’t think I needed to tell you what to do until now. There was never anything to discuss. Plus, I don’t like you, and you spread me with hundreds of other ponies that I could talk to, so there’s that.’


                “Well, at least I know Lionel supports me,” Discord sniffed. He raised up his lion paw and worked it like a hand puppet to nod with him. Lionel was always much better company than Swifty was anyways. Plus, he was fluffy.


                “Excuse me?” Discord’s attention returned to the blue ex-pegasus looking at him hesitantly. “Could I please have my wings back now?”


                With a click of Lionel’s toes, Lunar Lander was washed in a white light that forced her to close her eyes. When she opened them again, she was ecstatic to see her wings back where they always were, and mercifully without any sort of tampering. She tried to approach Discord to thank him, but immediately fell forward onto her chin. She gave a miserable groan and inspected her legs with horror when she discovered that her hind legs were bending the wrong directions.


                "Why are my knees backward?"

                "Thats not how they normally look?" Discord sounded puzzled as he held up a chart detailing pony anatomy.

                "No! Why did you even try to change my knees!,"


                "They connect to the wings."

                "No they don't," Lunar growled, having difficulty fighting back her frustration.

                “Yes they do. The leg bone’s connected to the, wing bone! The wing bone’s connected to the, neck bone—"

                "That's a song! And that's not even how it goes!"

                "Everypony’s a critic.”


                Discord set her knees back in their place without being asked and Lunar rose back to her hooves again in time to see another rapid sunrise. The pegasus sighed sadly at how quickly the night had to end. She always liked trying to test how long the last, brightest stars in the sky could hang in the dawn sky. Instead, she tried to content herself by watching a trio of pigs fly by the mountain, carried on white, feathery wings. After a few moments, she realized that Discord had been silent for an unusually long period and turned her head to catch him staring intently at his eagle claw, mind lost in thought over some mysterious puzzle. Part of her would have loved to enjoy the moment of calm and take time to collect herself, but there was something about the sight of the creature looking so grim and motionless that just felt wrong. And even after spending twenty years living in a world of dancing lakes and candied apple trees, the sight of a pensive Spirit of Chaos was by far the most jarring and unnatural thing she had ever seen.


                "What's with you and pigs, anyway?" she said, dying to set the one consistent thing in the world back to the status quo.


                "I love pigs,” Discord said happily, “I have a pet pig! Well, I had one. He got ill-tempered and I got hungry…” He paused to look at Lunar with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “So I cooked his bacon. I'm sorry, was that joke in bad taste? Because he sure wasn't."


                The pegasus couldn’t help but laugh at the corny joke. Satisfied with a job well done, he decided to treat himself. He snapped his fingers and conjured a floating glass of lemonade and a can of whipped cream. Lunar’s laughter subsided just long enough for her to watch Discord pour some of the whipped cream on top of the lemonade and take a long draught of the concoction. He opened his eye and caught the pony’s look.


                “Don’t knock it ‘til you tried it.” Discord noisily guzzled down the rest of his drink and turned to Lunar with a purposeful look in his eye. “Alright, now spill the beans. Why is it that you insist on being so obnoxiously friendly to me?”


                Lunar wouldn’t have thought of herself as being kind to the draconequus, but she had to say something in response to that. “It doesn’t seem like anypony shows you any kindness, so I thought you really need it the most.” Perhaps she was more right than she thought.


                “Hah! Let me guess, you’ve been abandoned by the rest of Equestria?” Discord said, jabbing a claw in her direction.


                “What? No, of course not. Where did you get an idea like that?”

                “Meh,” he shrugged off the question and rose up to his feet, giving his wings a stretch. “Well, keep up that nicey-nice passive attitude and give it time, and I guarantee you will be.” Discord bounced in the air a few times and turned around with a grand gesture to face Lunar one last time.


             “It pains me to say it, my little pony, but I really must be moving on. Things to do, ponies to see, statuseses to de-quo! Au revoir! Ahahahaha!” With a puff of smoke, Discord was gone.


                Lunar still waited several minutes just in case the draconequus was lurking around and watching her. Once she was confident she was alone, she collapsed on the hard mountain top, exhausted from the anxiety and fear she had been under for the last hour. Her chest rose and fell quickly as she tried to catch her breath and calm her heartbeat, letting her light blue coat return to its darker shade in a wave from the bottom of her hind hooves to the tip of her now visible horn. Her hair turned into a dark violet miasma of stars, and Princess Luna’s disguise was completely disposed of.


                Lunar Lander? What sort of fake name was that? Lunar Lander. Her parents must have been watching over her to stop Discord from figuring out who she was then and there. She shuddered to think how he would have reacted if he thought that he was being tricked into showing some sort of softness to one of his sworn enemies. It was only good fortune that she had managed to see him before he spotted her so she could put on a disguise. It was only by quick thinking that she was able to try to turn that situation into anything useful to her at all. What would he have done if he found out she was trying to find some vulnerability in the beast? Would he have killed her like her mother and father?


                Luna frowned at the thought, though it was not out of the anger and bitterness that the memory had never failed to stir in her mind before. It was that glowing fury and desire for revenge had been dimmed, just ever so slightly, out of the smallest ting of pity for the creature. And as she looked down at her once-beautiful kingdom and all the madness that had gripped it, there was only one thing she had to say.


                “I’ve never heard… a sadder laugh.”



                “So, Swifty,” Discord spoke to his claw as he soared above his dystopia, “now that you’re in a talkative mood, care to make any suggestions on where we go next?”


                ‘Have we been to Canterlot in a while?’


                “No… But I do believe that they’re due for a little royal treatment!”




                Discord slowly paced down the empty streets of the once-proud capital of Equestria, looking this way and that for any sign or sense of nature or life, but there was none to be found. He wondered if the town’s emptiness had anything to do with the time he turned Canterlot Castle into a giant house of cards. What were they worried about? It wouldn’t fall over if a twister hit the city, he had seen to that precaution. These ponies were so excitable.


                Just as the spirit was planning to blow the ghost town, he felt the slightest trickle of warmth creep up his tail. He held the scaly extension in his hands, aiming it around like a divining rod to find the source of the chaotic energy. He followed the trail to the outskirts of the town and found a small house with a small cloud of smoke drifting out from the chimney. Discord rubbed his claws together eagerly. This pony deserved some personal attention.


                Discord knocked on the door and plotted his move. The door slowly pulled open and the pony looked up at the visitor. Gold and yellow met with wide purple eyes.


<<Chapter Ten -- Chapter Twelve>>

  Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work.  “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I was able to get a look outside the window today. The outside world was crowded with moose and beavers and trees and politeness.

I think I’ve been taken to Canada. Those sick bastards.

FiMfiction Link

He had sumo wrestled with bull elephants, spent a week camping inside of an awake and very irate dragon’s mouth, fought a Kraken during an otherwise uneventful trip to the beach, let Luna try to cleave him with some rusty old sword, went upside-down-backwards lugeing down a craggy mountain side, insisted on getting his honey only by stealing from the largest and angriest bumblebears (he still could not figure out why his magic had such a tendency to create bear hybrids), gone skydiving without a parachute or wings, and even had Celestia blast him with flames that would make a volcano seem like the perfect place to cool off. He had endured this and more, all without the slightest frown or wince of pain. It was simply an understanding of his that he was invincible.


                But when the pony lashed out at him, swatting his snout so sharply that it brought a tear to his eye, Discord wondered if the unpredictable and surprising nature of chaos wasn’t necessarily aligned only in his favor.


                “What did I do?”


                The mare grumbled something under her breath, turned, and walked back inside her tiny house. The door was left open, so Discord saw this as an invitation to follow after her and take his well-deserved revenge. When he entered the hovel, he saw it wasn’t quite as beggared on the inside as it was on the outside. In fact, the hodgepodge interior decor was something he could appreciate. He wondered how long after Canterlot was condemned the pony started to loot from other houses to furnish her own.


                Half of the floor was covered with a collection of throw rugs arranged to make a solid carpet, and the other half was had wood barely covered with some straws of hay. From what he could interpret, the carpeted half was the living area and the other side was the kitchen and eating area. He always thought it was strange that ponies would want to keep those two halves separate. Why not eat something while reclining in bed? Or sleep on a table? There was just no understanding their devotion to making things so uncomfortable for themselves.


                On the carpeted side of the room was a bench woven from straw with two cushions of different sizes sitting on the bottom. The cushions were so covered with patches he had a difficult time trying to determine which was the original pattern. The corner of the room sported a pile of blankets wrapped around each other messily and a single goose-feather pillow on one end of the mess to serve as a meager bed.


                The kitchen area was more crowded, lined with cupboards and cabinets with transplanted doors and drawers. On the wall opposite of the front door was another door, though it was a wonderful bit of nonsense for such a small hovel to need two entrances. One wall sported a partially boarded up window with a clear view of Canterlot Castle. The window was draped with lacy curtains and clattering blinds that didn’t seem to be capable of moving. Underneath the window was a mahogany table set for two with wooden and porcelain plates and emptied jam jars for drinking glasses.


                Discord paced around the one-room cottage, looking at the deteriorated state of the place with a mixture of approval and happy bafflement. The walls were water-damaged, with yellowed wallpaper peeling off or long since torn down all over the room. A steel pot was placed in a random spot on the carpet, partially filled with pink lemonade that must have fallen in a storm that passed through the last night. He could only wonder why, with all the houses in Canterlot that were still in one piece, the pony chose some run down shack on the edge of town over the larger and more luxurious manors that filled the center of the capital.


                Because there’s simply more that needs to be done than we can do by ourselves.


                He blinked a few times. It wasn’t every day he had a memory of something he didn’t remember. It was shaping up to be an exciting day. And then he saw it. It was a silly little bauble on the pillow that had been hidden by the sheets from where he first walked in. He walked closer to take a better look. It was a little yellow and white cap with a green propeller extending from the center.


                He could swear he heard something click in the back of his skull. It was a bad click.


                “Oh. Oh this is…  I should—”




                Discord apprehensively turned over his shoulder to see Screwball walking through the kitchen door, balancing a plate of neon vegetables on her tail. She set the platter on the table and pulled a stool out for him to sit on. Without even waiting to watch what he did, she turned for the pot of lemonade and poured some into both of the glasses before taking her own seat and slowly chewing on the plants, mindless of the awkward draconequus trying to come to a decision.


                Discord’s eyes shifted from the food, to the door behind him, to the rigid absence of expression on Screwball’s face that nearly teetered on anger. For a moment he wondered if it would only be harder on him if he tried to run away and if he should just sit down and take whatever was coming to him. He felt his arms instinctively reaching for his tail and mentally slapped himself, and then physically slapped himself for good measure. He was Discord! King of Equestria and Spirit of Chaos! More powerful than any being the world had ever known! He was the ruler of everything that he could see! And he would not let himself shrink away because of the upbraiding of some silly little earth pony.


                Putting on his usual air of ostentation, Discord strutted over to the stool and transformed it into a more appropriate throne to suit his status. He leaned his elbows on the table and snapped up a few of the vegetables, effortlessly juggling them in the air while they rapidly altered color, size, and substance.


                “Not bad, eh?” he asked as he tossed a Swiss cheese tomato in the air.

                “Fix your chair, elbows off the table, stop playing with your food,” Screwball said flatly.


                “And why should I do what you say?”


                “Do you want another swat?”


                With a click of his fingers, Discord set everything back to normal and grumpily chewed on the plain old, ordinary, boring carrot on his plate. Both of them ate in a painful silence for far too long, and with each passing second, Discord was more and more tempted to just flip the table over and leave the uncomfortable situation behind him.


                ‘Why in the name of chaos did you suggest coming here?’


                ‘Are you unhappy?’


                ‘I’m not having fun, yes.’


                ‘Then there’s your answer.’


                ‘You are the worst hand ever, Swifty.’


                Finished with his tiny meal and feeling the awful creeping touch of boredom sneaking up on him, Discord looked around for something to occupy his attention. Out of the whole colorful catastrophe that lined the inside of the house, he made his pick with the beanie that caused this whole situation. He levitated the cap toward himself, letting the propeller rattle around a bit as it drifted in the air, never once noticing the spasms of pain on Screwball’s face in response to the sound. He took the hat in his paws and examined it, flicking the propeller a few times. After a few flicks, he opened his mouth to speak.


                “I am impressed. I don’t think there’s a single extra gray hair on your head.”


                “When Nana’s joints hurt her sometimes in the winter, she would joke and make me promise to never grow old. I never imagined that it would actually happen.”


                Flick, whizz. Flick, whizz. Flick, whizz.


                “Would you stop doing that?”


                “Why? Is it bothering you?”


                Screwball said nothing and returned to eating. Discord examined the beanie again, squinting as he tried to analyze it as rationally and irrationally as possible. But for all his pondering, he could not find any explanation for why the little thing agitated him.


                “Because it’s bothering me.”


                “Then put it down.”


                Flick, whiiizz.


                “I said put it down.”


                “What is wrong with this?”


                “There’s nothing wrong with it.”


                “Yes there is. Why is this thing bothering me? It isn’t magical, it isn’t powerful, and it isn’t special. So why does this bug me?”


                Flick, whiiiz.


                “That! That noise! Don’t you hear it, too?”


                Flick, whizckckc.


                “Be careful with that!” Screwball ripped the beanie from his paws and cradled it delicately in her hooves. She gently rotated the propeller and frowned sadly when she felt it wobbling side to side, knocked loose by the recklessly powerful flick.


                “You broke it,” she whispered.


                “It’s just a hat—”


                “It’s not just a hat!” Discord was taken aback by the fierceness in her tone. “It was a gift. From somepony who used to care about me very much. Somepony who actually cared about making others happy. He gave it to me out of generosity, because he thought I would like it. That’s what bothers you. The same thing about it that bothers me. It’s a reminder of everything you threw away.”


                “I’ve been alive for twenty years having the time of my life, and I spent less than a year with you,” he sneered cruelly. “What makes you think that it meant anything to me in the long run?”

                “Because it did to me!”  Screwball rose on the table, jumping so that she could look Discord in the face. And for the first time, he noticed that despite her youth, she still looked so old and weary. Her voice was so full of grief he could nearly taste it. Her entire body shivered with anger. And he was certain that the only thing stopping her from crying was that she had already ran out of tears.


                “Well...” He wasn’t sure what to say, but he would not stoop so low as to apologize to a pony. “I won't say there weren't some laughs when I wasn't being attacked by ponies and crazy animals.”

                “And the worst part of it all is I waited for you!” The words hung in the air and ripped every thought out of the draconequus’ head. Suddenly, all there was in his whole wide world of chaos was just him and the sad little pony. Her lip quivered for a few seconds and she climbed off the table and back into her chair. She closed her eyes and delicately stroked her beanie in her lap.


                “I waited for you. Every day, I waited. But you never came back. I waited for you and you never came back. And every day I still waited. Promising myself that this would be the day you would finally come to your senses. Promising myself that you would come back to me. Promising that everything would be okay again.


                “I would wake up every morning in this little house, knowing that I was still all alone again, more alone than ever in my life. I would go outside and see what new insanity had overtaken the home I loved because of the colt I… And when I couldn’t bear to see it any more, I would pick up this happy little hat, and I would spin it. And when I closed my eyes and listened to the sound… Just for a second, I could pretend that things were still okay.


                “I remember everything. I remember playing games with each other. Hopping down roads, watching you try to copy my hoofsteps. Chasing after rocks. Playing hide and seek in that lousy hotel. Riddles and your lessons. Reading you stories. Helping Mite and Dusty’s family. Going to the circus.”


                Every memory was accompanied by another rattling spin of the propeller. Discord brought a paw to his stomach, he felt like he had been poisoned. It was probably just bad food, he grumbled to himself. He swallowed two fistfuls of antacids that didn’t do a thing to help and huffed. Cradling his chin on his fist, he waited for Screwball to finish. It took him a moment to realize she had stopped talking. When he turned to look at her again, he was caught off guard by two violet eyes staring straight through him, like whatever caused her heartache was just floating an inch behind him.


                “And then one day... I woke up,” she said quietly. “And the lie sounded too hollow to believe anymore. And that was the hardest day... The day when I finally accepted the fact that you were gone. Accepting that... that you had abandoned me.

                "You left me. After everything we went through together, you left me. No words, no explanation, you just left. And you left me all alone. And I never knew why." She finally looked at him again, and he wasn’t sure if it made his stomach feel worse than when she was looking past him. Now they were looking into him, digging for some answer he didn’t have.


                “I don't remember why I did either,” he said with a shrug.


                “You don't remember? You destroyed my life and you don't even know why?


                “I don't remember much of anything.” It was the truth. Thoughts blurred together most times. He could fly for hours in a single direction simply because he was too busy going to remember if he wanted to go somewhere specific. It wasn’t like he tried to be. It just happened. Maybe it was because of his chaos, it affected him as much as anyone else. Besides, remembering something was basically doing it twice, and he couldn’t be caught dead repeating himself. That was it. That must have been it. It wasn’t because he was dumb like the other spirits thought, or heartless like Screwball thought, or afraid to see what he was missing. It was just chaos.


                “Your brother was right,” Screwball said with a mirthless chuckle. “You are thoughtless. ‘Head full of fluff’ is right.”


                Discord dug into the table with his nails. “I do remember some things. Like I remember you henpecking everything I did.”


                “I only did that because I wanted you to be happy!”


                “Well, congratulations. I’m plenty happy now!”


                “And that’s what I was always afraid of”

                “Afraid of what?”

                “Afraid of you!


                Being surprised by ponies was quickly turning into a very unfun sensation. He wasn’t sure what he was feeling now. Angry? Insulted? Hurt? Love said that he could only be a slave to his emotions (oh, that he could remember) but shouldn’t that mean he could at least understand them? Stupid feelings. Stupid ponies. This was all their fault anyway. Somehow. It always was.


                “I was afraid of you. I was afraid of what I knew you could do, and what you might do, and what you would do… Do you remember when Time came and showed us that horrible future? This future? I had never been so scared in my entire life. So you promised that you would never do any of it.” Screwball’s expression sunk to become even more miserable. “You promised to not forget about me, too. But you did… Just like you vowed to be good king and help your subjects.”


                “Maybe I do know why I left. Maybe it was because I was sick of being suffocated!” His tail whipped in the air viciously. The longer he stayed in that little house, the more he could remember. All at once, those long-forgotten frustrations and feelings of futility came surging back. And he hated it.


                “I felt like I was trying to force myself into a little pony costume just so I could get along and fit in with the ponies who were too thick-headed to even want something new to help! I was only a child and every living thing I met hated the sight of me!”


                “That’s not true—”


                “It’s true enough! Everywhere we went, nopony wanted my help. They threw me out, chased me away! And no matter how hard I tried, I just could not fit in with them. Even if they wanted me to, I don’t think I could have ever lived that lie you had been crafting for me. I wanted to do good because I honestly thought that I was able to do it. I never understood why everything I tried was a catastrophe. Then my answer came in the form of a grim gray owl telling me who I am. I am disaster. I am Chaos.


                “And I thought I could control it and use it for what you wanted. I did. I thought I had figured everything out. And then Ploughmouth happened. I tried to share my power with them and they tried to kill you. That’s why.”


                “You left me… to protect me?”


                “Did you not listen to a word I said?” Discord pointed his talon square at Screwball’s face. “I left because of you! Your awful advice, your stupid plans, your terrible ideas were always about how you wanted to do things! Just face it, Screw-up, you are a terrible advisor!”


                Screwball caught Discord across the nose again, stinging him sharply enough to bring tears to his eyes. Wincing through his pain, he saw tears in hers, too.


                “I want you out of my house,” she demanded, her voice quavering. “I want you out of this place and I never want to see you again!”


                “Fine by me! I’m bored of this little shack anyway!” Discord snapped his fingers and vanished in an obnoxiously bright flash that popped with the sound of a heavy door slamming shut.


                The moment he was gone, Screwball erupted in heavy sobs. Her shoulders heaved as she wept into her arms, her beanie, and finally her pillow as she dragged herself to bed and fell asleep to the sound of her own weeping. Her tears flowed even after sleep had taken her, but her cries had subsided to only frightened whimpers as night terrors gripped her troubled mind. A breeze wafted through the creaky house and brushed over her head. The beanie on her mane spun gracefully with a comforting whizz, and the pony was granted some solace in her mind.




                Screwball was not sure how long she had slept for when she finally pulled her heavy head from the pillow. It had been many years since the heavenly bodies could be trusted to indicate time, but she still crawled over to her window to look up at the night sky. The moon was in an interesting shape that night. A waning crescent blue moon, teetering just on the western horizon. There was an equal chance of it being about to set, or just rising on the wrong side of the sky.


                Groaning, she made her bed and began her morning ritual. There would be no hope of her falling back asleep now, and she wasn’t sure if she even wanted to try to sleep at that point. She pulled out a glass bowl and poured some oats out of a bag into it. After a few mouthfuls, she felt her throat getting dry and walked toward the old rain collecting pan to see if there was still some lemonade left.


                She frowned in confusion when she looked into the pan, unsure if she was seeing things. She was still tired, and it was too dark to see properly. Her mind may have been playing tricks on her after the night she just had. Her eyes never left the pan for a moment until she finally saw it again. A light ripple spread across the surface of the lemonade. And then another. And another.


                It wasn’t long before she began to feel a tremor shake the wood floor of her kitchen. Her mind was still too groggy to register what was happening, and she walked to her front door to see what could have possibly been causing the shaking. Her eyes shrunk back into her head when she opened the door and saw an incredible and terrible sight: a purple creature with a body that shone like the night sky stomping toward Canterlot.


                Before the rest of the ponies had evacuated the city, Screwball had overheard dozens of rumors of the animals that prowled Equestria. Sometimes when she heard the stories, she imagined if one of Discord’s siblings had returned for another effort at taking him back with them, but the stories never involved the Spirit of Chaos and she assumed them to have just given up completely. At any rate, the creatures were always too bizarre and new to have ever be something other than the spawn of Discord’s imagination. Lions with dragon-like features with a single antler sticking from their forehead like a unicorn horn; oxen that floated across the sky without wings or propulsion; creatures of living stone that warred with the Diamond Wolves for control of their gem mines in search for food; impish flying insects that could fit in a hoof and eat a farm’s entire crop harvest. But most fearsome of all were the monstrous bears cut from the cloth of the midnight sky that could topple a skyscraper in a single swipe of their paws.


                And now one of those colossal beasts was marching directly for her. She did not entertain any fantasies of escaping or surviving. There was no way the Ursa Major would miss seeing her bright fur galloping down the very mountain path it was scaling. All she could do was wait for it to come.


                The Ursa Major moved quickly, stretching a hundred feet with each rumbling step. It was not on a rampage, otherwise she would have probably already been flattened. It was most likely looking for a cave or a new home to settle in. Screwball had to agree with its taste in selecting a home. She only wished the bear had waited for her to leave before making the move.


                The Ursa Major had reached the edge of the mountainside city. It would only be a few more steps until she had spanned the entire length of the capitol and reached her cottage. Judging on how the animal was meticulously stepping down on every building in sight, she did not have to worry about being skipped over. But by the time it had reached the center, it paused and lifted its nose upwards. It gave a deep rumbling growl and turned for the rugged mountain that speared skyward beyond even the height of Canterlot Castle. It lifted itself onto its hind paws and began to scale the mountain in a fervent pursuit of whatever new smell had captured its interest.


                Screwball watched the spectacle in wonder as the Ursa climbed higher and higher. It did not take long for it to make it to the peak, where it clung to the mountain as it spun its head this way and that, following the trail of some tiny thing that caught its attention. It swung an enormous paw out behind it but only caught air. Undeterred, it tried again with its other paw. After several failed grabs, the Ursa let out a mighty roar and clapped both of its front paws behind it. It realized its mistake too late, and the giant lost its grip and balance. It dropped off the mountain and bounced down the rocky slope for the city.


                The entire earth quaked as if the mountain would collapse and crumble to rubble. Screwball could not bear to watch as the titan tumbled closer. She turned from the door and said her goodbyes to her childhood home. The thundering avalanche was nearly upon her, so she closed her eyes and waited for the end. She only had one major regret in her life. She supposed that was better than most ponies met their end with.


                Glass shattered behind her and she was thrown off her hooves. Wood splintered and exploded above her. The Ursa Major howled in pain and anger, the almighty roar deafening her. The howls resonated and echoed around the mountain. Once the Ursa’s roars had faded and vanished, the only noise was that of her propeller clacking above her head, spinning in the torrent of air from the Ursa’s roar.


                With shaking hooves, she reached up to feel the hat secure in its rightful place. Screwball cracked open an eye and discovered she was floating high above the flattened and ruined Canterlot, carried by a tender lion paw and firmly tucked against a furry brown chest.

                “I missed you.”

                “I missed you, too.”


<<Chapter Eleven -- Chapter Thirteen>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work. “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I was actually allowed to walk around outside today. I would have run off, but I felt like the guys were really starting to trust me and I wouldn’t want to let them down like that. Plus I think they have my T-shirt, though I’m not even entirely certain what that has to do with my predicament anymore.

FiMfiction Link

Let it never be said that Screwball let anything stand in the way of duty. Not even the gravity of her challenge of trying to persuade all of Equestria to accept the being they had feared even before he had spent twenty years turning their world upside-down was enough to weigh her down. Though it was more than enough to give her doubts about the situation.  

She had only suggested that they try to present Discord to the public in a more flattering and humbling light. He could go to a town, apologize to the ponies for all the harm he had caused them, undo everything he had done, and then spend the rest of the day catering to their desires so they would warm up to him. Perhaps kiss a few babies, shake a few hooves, and promise them everything they wanted to hear. All of the standard political rigmarole to finally get Discord back in the ponies’ good graces.

        Discord was keen on the goal of becoming beloved by his subjects for the first time, but he insisted on a few alterations of the old formula that consisted of visiting a town and talking until something went critically wrong and forced them to flee. And because the truth that the draconequus wanted to help and serve his ponies sounded too bizarre for even him to believe, he decided that the best way to approach the situation was with a generous helping of lies, deceit, and a dash of chicanery. But most important of all, he needed props and disguises. Everything was set: he had the costume jewelry, he had the caravan with the impossibly sized fold-out stage to carry everything; all he needed was the star of his show to start cooperating.

“I’m having second thoughts about this, Discord,” Screwball said as she mulled over the scheme for the umpteenth time, imagining some new disaster every time she let it play out in her mind.

“Is Swifty being a stick in the mud again?” he asked while lining his face up to look inside her ear. “Because if she’s not, then I’m sticking her right back in my paw.”

Screwball winced from his shouting and gave him a glare, confident that it wasn’t unintentional. He held a hoof to her head to soothe her headache and settle her mind. When Discord left, he had taken her personal voice of doubt with him, keeping it in his claw and using doses of her pure negativity to twist ponies into acting opposite their nature. Once she found out he had been toying with ponies’ personalities and minds, she verbally tore him to shreds until he put the missing piece of her back in her mind. However, after twenty years of being apart and growing independent of one another, the reintegration wasn’t absolutely seamless. It was strange enough knowing that a fragment of her mind had taken on a life of its own, but what was stranger about having it back was that Savoir Faire wasn’t firmly melded with her again. Before she always felt as if she were only arguing with herself. Now it felt like she had a little angry pony living in her brain. And if she was jostled around too much or if a mischievous spirit made a loud enough noise, it felt like something was rattling around the inside of her head.

        “No, it’s just me, Screwball, saying I don’t think I can pull this off.”

“You’re such a worry wort,” Discord said with a wave of his hands. “But if you think you can’t do it, I could always just poke around in your head and make you more confident.”

        “If you ever do anything to my mind again, I mean it, I will never forgive you,” she said harshly.

“Fine, fine. I was just kidding.”

Screwball calmed and looked over her equipment again. She was wearing four golden anklets each with a single jewel embedded on the front, one was a shining red, another verdant green, the third was a light orange, and the fourth was a soft pink. Her necklace was similarly styled, with an intricate pattern tracing the collar meeting at a sky blue gem in the front. Her masquerade required her to separate from her propeller beanie, which she did reluctantly. Discord promised he would make sure it was kept somewhere safe and promptly threw it over his shoulder to vanish without a trace. She had faith that he was being sincere, but she still did not appreciate the trick. Instead of her cap, she wore a simple diadem with an amethyst that complimented her coat while still attractively contrasting against her white-streaked mane. And of course, to complete the look, she was wearing the blue robes of the Equestrian royal advisor.

        It was probably the most ornamented outfit she ever wore, though all it had to compete with was a propeller beanie and a checkered harlequin uniform. That didn’t mean she felt the six pieces of jewelry alone were enough to sell her disguise.

“What if something goes wrong? It isn’t as though we have a perfect record.”

“Chaos is flexible. If something goes haywire, just improvise!” Discord said enthusiastically. He scooped the pony off the ground and dropped her on top of the wagon in the driver’s seat. After he strapped himself into the harness connecting him to the wagon, he tied two reigns around his horns and passed them to Screwball.

“I’m still not—”

“Just pretend you’re in a circus act if it helps you focus, he cut back tersely as he began to pull the wagon forward.

Screwball flapped her mouth silently before leaning back in her seat and closing her eyes, intending to get a little shut-eye to make the trip pass faster. 

        “We’re here!” Discord announced suddenly. He exited his harness with a flip and plucked Screwball up from the wagon before she had time to even settle in. They rotated a few times in the air before he landed on his feet and held her up to show her their destination. “This is one of my most favorite towns in all of Equestria, so I imagine it would be a good a place to restart as any.”

        “You’re holding me upside-down.”

        “Yes I am.”

        “Would you correct this?”


        “Have it your way.”

        “Thank you. And why is this one of your most favorite towns?”

        “You’ll see~” he answered in a sing-song voice.

        “I’m glad to see you haven’t changed at all in twenty years,” she said sardonically. “How did we even get here so fast?”

        “I turned a mountain into a giant piece of candy corn once. I think I can handle taking a pony and a wagon to an island in the middle of the ocean.”

“Then why would you even bother trying to pull...? Wait, we’re where?!”

“On an island in the ocean. You have got to start listening more carefully.” The place had “Discord” written all over it. The wagon was sitting on a straight path that divided the island in half. On one side was a red desert dotted with bushes and shrubs. Orange plateaus sat on the horizon, and the expansive landscape below was filled with small creatures hopping around. Screwball couldn’t decide if she should have been surprised when she couldn’t even feel the heat from the desert despite standing just a few feet away from it, but she supposed that meant the Spirit of Chaos was living up to his reputation. On the other side was a lush rainforest that was bursting with life and energy. Wild birds made otherworldly calls, other animals screeched and whooped, and the trees shook as animals swung through the bush. Dead ahead, like an oasis in the polarized land, was a fair sized settlement that, at least from a distance, looked like it belonged back on the mainland. More than that, it looked like it belonged on the mainland twenty years ago. The grass was green, the sky above was blue and clear, gravity didn’t make any strange sounds, and the ocean on the far side of the town looked like it was made of real water.

        Screwball didn’t have the energy to argue. “Let’s just hurry up before we both come to our senses.”

“Hold it right there,” Discord spoke. His bushy eyebrows were furled in thought as he stared at the purple pony. Screwball did not speak, hoping that just playing along would make whatever game he was playing go by easier. For several seconds, the only sound was the chittering from the trees and the sound of distant waves. Once he had finished working through whatever puzzle had interested him, Discord clicked his talons and lowered the sun. She had never seen the moon look so yellow; it was practically golden.

        As she tried to enjoy the sudden calm that the night brought over the island, Discord clicked his talons again. A shooting star crossed the night sky, leaving a glittering trail of silvery white behind it. The star made a turn and began to dip toward the planet, aiming to crash right on top of the both of them and turn them into a crater in the ground. Screwball made a dash to take cover behind the wagon but a red tail coiled around her hooves and held her in place. She looked up at Discord with desperation, her expression fading to confusion the moment she saw the look of wonderment on the draconequus’ face. She stopped trying to struggle and waited for the punchline.

        It was beautiful. A silver sailboat floated delicately just off of the ground. The hull looked like it was cut from cloth by the way it gently curved and folded, with the sail glittering with starlight.

        “Remember this?” Discord asked playfully.

        Screwball approached the ship reverently, as though a sudden move would frighten it away. Touching the hull, it felt like silk.

        “I do... I still have dreams about riding in it,” she answered softly. “I just didn’t think you remembered it, too.”

        “I’m as surprised as you are. But it’s just what I need.” Without another word, Discord gripped the side of the boat and began to peel the hull away like wrapping paper. Screwball opened her mouth to protest but she was quieted when she saw the boat mending itself as fast as it was dismantled. Once he was satisfied with his pull, he squished it into a ball. The silver was putty in his hands, molding and changing to suit his needs. When he was done, he held his creation in the air with pride: a glittering cloak.

Screwball had performed at countless soirees for the most wealthy ponies in all of Equestria and had seen their extravagant dresses and gowns. She was never one to marvel over fashion and had very little appreciation and understanding of style. And yet she was confident in herself when she deemed the simple cloak to be the most marvelous thing she had ever seen. And now it was being wrapped around her.

“Now this makes you look like the champion of Equestria,” Discord said as he stepped backward, disappearing the old advisor robes with a flick of his wrist. He watched with pride as the little pony moved gently to look at herself, moving like she was afraid jostling around would rouse her from this dream. He decided to give her a bit of encouragement. Bringing his paw to his mouth, he gave a loud wolfish whistle. “Looking fine, Scroob!”

        “Discord, don’t do that,” she pleaded. She only hoped that the cover of night would have hidden her blushing.

“What the matter, Screwy? Don’t tell me you don’t like compliments.”

“It’s not that,” she said sheepishly, trying to think of the words to explain it. “But... just hearing that from you... It’s creepy.”

“And what, pray tell, is so wrong about me saying that?”

“Nothing, just forget I said anything.”

“I don’t know what you’re so worried about your appearance for. At least you’re still a little colorful pony in a land of other little colorful ponies,” he said blithely. “If you recall, my looks never made me many friends. I’ve got a sneer that can curdle dairy.” He demonstrated his point and earned a giggle in response.

“But I’m glad you remember the boat, because that goes to my next point.” He patted the boat as he passed by and the ship sailed off toward the moon. “Do you remember what you said to me that night we rode on it?”

“I said don’t forget about me when...” Her voice dropped as she decided to omit the last half of the sentence.

“Oh. Well there was that, too,” he said, scratching his beard. “But you told me that life is about making mistakes

“That isn’t exactly what I said.”

—so I don’t want to hear you complaining about being afraid of messing something up,” he continued, talking over her. “And take it from a draconequus who knows, sometimes messing things up can be more fun than you expect.”


        The island did not have a very long history, but it was nevertheless an exciting one. When King Equinox sat on Equestria’s throne, he demonstrated a strict “zero-patience” attitude toward criminals. While many ponies were sentenced to death for more serious crimes, the lesser offenders were banished from Equestria. Exiled ponies had the choice of migrating to the frozen north or trying their luck by crossing the expansive deserts of the buffalo tribes. Those who braved the desert would find their new lives in one of the many prison colonies that rested on the coast. While still technically existing under the authority of the Equestrian monarchy, Canterlot paid no mind to the banished ponies. As a result, the colonies considered themselves their own sovereign lands and acted independently of the rest of the world.

        The ponies who were truly a danger to Equestria never escaped Equinox’s mercy, leaving only the more harmless stallions and mares to build and manage these new societies. Business owners who refused to pay taxes managed commerce, crooked politicians found themselves in offices that offered little room for embezzlement, the stockier ponies were put onto the police force, and everyone agreed that unlicensed doctors were better than no doctors at all. The exiled ponies coexisted with the buffalo much more peacefully than the rest of Equestria, and the buffalo shared their folklore and culture with them. Without the fear of Equinox and being exempt from being drafted into his military pursuits, the ponies found life to be much simpler, relaxing, and fulfilling. Though the colonies were often behind in technological and medical advancements, in only a few short decades the prison colonies had become one of the most auspicious places in the world to live. To further strengthen themselves, the colonies declared themselves a micronation.

        For over a century, the ponies lived in unbroken peace, even during the first few years of Discord’s rule, and very well may have gone on unnoticed for years to come. It was only by complete chance that their existence was revealed to the Spirit of Chaos. Unable to endure the strange and dangerous species of animals Discord littered across Equestria, the other cities worked to corral the animals someplace far away where they would be unable to add any further strife to the ponies’ lives. When Discord followed the animals across the desert, he was ecstatic to discover an untapped playground. He severed the colonies from the rest of the continent, reshaped the land into a single island, and relocated it several thousand miles off from the coast. But when it came time to get personal with his subjects, he was stunned to discover how well-mannered the ponies were about the entire situation. When they even adapted to the strange animals, reptiles, and insects that had been forced upon them without so much of a grumble, Discord decided that the ponies had won his favor. He divided the island into a desert and a rainforest, arranged it so that only hard cider would ever rain on the colonies, and promised he would come to vacation every now and then. And for the most part, the micronation of Austallia was once again left alone by the Equestrian monarchy.

And it was in one of these Austallian colonies, Whinneroo, that the world would meet its hero: Savoir Faire the Splendid.


        “Hello, ponies of Whinneroo!”

        “G’day,” came the response.

        Every pony in Whinneroo gathered to the center of town to see the mare who rode into on her bizarre wagon. It was unheard of to have a pony from the mainland cross the ocean to reach the island; the flight would have been impossible for most pegasi even if they knew where they were going. So when word spread that some boys were helping an earth pony setting up some show in the center of town, the news was too exciting to ignore. A mob had arrived on the scene before the stage was even set, and now every eye was focused on the flashy pony. 

        “I am Savoir Faire the Splendid, and I come bringing the most wonderful news!” Screwball continued.

        “Good on ya.”

“Um, yes, thank you... You are all aware of Discord, the mischievous draconequus who had thrown the world into chaos for twenty years—”

        “Hasn’t really been too rough here,” a stallion spoke with a heavy accent.

        “But you never need to fear again! Many had searched for a way to put a stop to Discord’s rampage, none succeeding. Until one fateful day, I made a shocking discovery!” Screwball raised a hoof in the air to display one of her jewels. “Six relics from a culture long forgotten, imbued with unimaginable magical power!” She began to pace dramatically along the length of the stage as she continued her tale.

        “With these tools in hoof, I ventured across Equestria, using their power to undo the chaos that stained the land. Until at long last, I found the madpony himself behind it all. I plunged into battle,” Screwball exclaimed, diving toward the audience and stamping on the edge of the platform. “I fought with him using all of my skill and strength, until I was able to use the jewels’ magic against him! And with a single blast, the deed was done. Rejoice, my fellow ponies! For the cruel tyranny of Discord is over!”

        In place of the cheers she had expected, instead she was received with a steady chorus of muttering. Some ponies were trying to decide if they’d miss the wacky bloke’s visits, others wondered what would happen to the rain. More still were skeptical of an earth pony being able to use magic, and a few were just trying to make plans with each other now that the show was over.

        Screwball swallowed nervously as she looked around at the unimpressed faces of her audience. Fighting to stop her composure from slipping, her mind raced at a million miles an hour as she tried to think of where she had gone wrong. Should she have made up a longer story to make it exciting? Or was it too long to keep their interest going? No, it would have been better if it was longer if she had mixed in some more visual cues! Why didn’t she ask  She had been telling stories at fairs in Canterlot for years, how could she have given such an awful performance? Was she really so out of practice that she couldn’t even live up to her cutie mark and put on an entertaining show? How bad was she that she could deliver unbelievable, mind-blowing news and manage to leave ponies completely uninterested? At least the crowd wasn’t angry just yet. But after seeing this situation enough times from the outside, she knew when it was time to pick up and leave. Was this how Discord felt every time?

        The murmuring died down when a series of odd sounds came from the back of the crowd. A sea of stunned faces parted to allow Discord to stroll toward the purple mare, clapping with every step.

        “Great performance, Savvy! When’s the next show?” he said enthusiastically as he took his place next to her on the stage, giving her a light pat on the head. Her hero.

        “Alright, you got me up the pole on this one,” a pegasus spoke up. “Didn’t she just say you carked it?”  

        “She never said she killed me. I’m just not a ‘cruel tyrant’ anymore. I’m actually really nice now,” Discord explained, receiving some generous applause. “And for my first act in my new rule, I command you all to hit the beach! King Discord is going to throw you a shivoo like only I can!”

        The crowd exploded with excitement, stomping their hooves in applause and cheering with all the life they had in them. In only a matter of seconds, the Austallians had rushed back to their homes and began parading toward the shore, carrying grills, coolers, and all the food and drink they could find. Once the town was empty, Screwball finally exhaled.

        “Thank you,” Screwball said. Her voice was fluttering, but she was still grateful to have the unhappy experience behind her.


“No worries,” Discord imitated the Austallian accent, twisting his mouth into a crooked smirk. “I said that we’d improvise when things went wrong.”

        “Are you saying you were counting on this happening?”

        “We’ve done this routine how many times now without success? I’m actually surprised you let me talk you into it.”

        “...I’m going to kill you.”

        “You can’t kill what you can’t catch!”


The Austallian’s celebration lasted for days, not that Screwball could use that knowledge to make any accurate guess about how long they spent on that beach. She was surprised at how much fun she had; she certainly never enjoyed herself that much at the Canterlot parties. The food, while strange, was delicious, she was able to impress more than a few ponies with her juggling and plate-spinning routine, and a very friendly mare was happy to give her lessons on some sport the locals invented that involved riding a wooden board on a wave (and Screwball couldn’t help but notice the pony wasn’t opposed when she held onto her when she got nervous). She even broke a few of her own rules and had some cider which made juggling more difficult, but somehow it became much more fun.

        Discord was naturally the life of the party. He served as the referee for the volleyball game, fixing the ball so that it would spray whoever hit it with some cream or jam or make some wild noise. He loved to tease Screwball whenever she got on the surfboard by skating around her, wearing a pair of rubber ducks as slippers as he glided around the wave. The spirit was shamefully thrashed when he challenged a group of ponies to a game of ‘Hoofy,’ failing to score a single goal in the whole game. As punishment, he had to drink an entire cider cloud himself and spent half of the party acting as dignified and sophisticated as any snob from Canterlot while still managing to stumble and trip with every step he made.

        Once everyone was too tired or smashed to keep going, the party broke up and they bid the town a fond farewell. They were invited to come back any time and were given two jars of some awful black paste that Discord couldn’t get enough of. Screwball couldn’t help but feel proud when she thought of how much the draconequus had grown since spinning plates in the ballroom. And when she saw those ponies laughing and cheering and living happily in spite of everything in the world around them, for the first time, Screwball wondered if this new chaotic world was really all that bad.

        “I can honestly say I didn’t expect it to go quite like that,” Screwball said once the wagon had its wheels back on Equestrian soil.

“Life’s full of surprises,” Discord replied jubilantly. “Case in point, did I tell you that I have a marefriend?”

Screwball’s eyes grew wide. “I think that it’s just life with you that’s full of surprises.”

        Discord’s witty quip was lost under the sound of a terrible roar that thundered from above them. The two slowly turned their heads upwards to see an enormous dragon circling several hundred feet above them. The beast gave another roar and dove toward the earth, the force of the impact knocking the wagon and its rider into the air. Screwball adroitly landed on her hooves and gulped at the sight of the scaly face, its eyes hungrily focused on the two.

“...Case in point.”


        ‘This is intolerable. You have more than enough, why not share?’

        ‘I see no reason why I should.’

‘Sister, you’re bloated.’

‘I prefer to think of it as healthily plump.’

‘We’ll have to find a separate universe to keep you in if you get any “healthier”.’

‘Have any one of you seen Brother Love? I am having difficulty locating him.’

‘Maybe if we tip Life over we’ll find him flattened underneath her,’ Death sneered. ‘Or perhaps if we’re lucky he faded away into nothing like Harmony.’

‘I’m still here,’ Harmony said softly. Her once vibrant and colorful aura was a pale imitation of its former self, and her spirit was barely a speck. It was a mystery to the other spirits how she was able to still cling to existence, though she was no less noticeable than she had been twenty years ago.

        ‘Worry not, I am among you!’ Love called theatrically before melting out of the emptiness of the spirit realm. ‘I was merely taking a moment to privately enjoy a wedding. It was lovely. The whole affair was decorated with blue roses and red violets. It’s inspiring how these ponies still manage to come together even in these difficult times.’

        ‘More difficult for some than others, perhaps,’ Time said stolidly. Ponies had abandoned any hope of understanding time as a result of the unpredictable days and nights and changing of seasons. None of the spirits had ever seen one of their kind in so much pain as when Chaos would slow or accelerate the passage of time over miles of land. Time would morph and fold and shift and twist as though he were a ball of dough in a child’s hands, whimpering in pain as he tried to prevent himself from being completely torn apart.

        Death’s form shuddered in a growl. That this could even happen was unthinkable. He was once one of the most powerful among all his kin. And now he was holding on to existence by a thread. Chaos should have been the key to his ultimate victory! How could a spirit born from blood and fire be so utterly repulsed by death that he refused to let nearly any creature die? And now, here he was, desperately scrounging for meals, taking whatever meager scraps he could from rodents and plants that were unprotected by Chaos’ spell. Meanwhile his quim sister bulged with every rebirth, energy that should rightfully belong to him! He was barely any more powerful than Harmony, a thought that made him wish he could just fade away.

No. He would not let this be his fate. Chaos’ rampage may not have increased his power as he had intended, but his plans were not foiled yet. And where his moronic brethren saw adversity, he saw opportunity. Death, after all, will always have the final word.

‘Brothers, Sisters, we cannot suffer like this any longer,’ Death spoke. ‘We weaken with every passing day, suffer as our rogue family runs amok with our world, tampering in our domains with no concern for us. He has already destroyed our Sister Nature. And I will not wait idly by until it is my turn to turn to nothingness.’

        ‘Our initial attempts to intervene were fruitless. What action would you suggest?’ Time asked. ‘Brother Chaos ignores all reason—’

        ‘All sympathy!’ Love interjected.

        ‘And even when he was weaker, he was able to overpower Sister Nature,’ Life added. ‘So, if we can not speak to him, appeal to any kindness, and with him adding to his own power every day, there is no hope of stopping him by force.’

        ‘You are all correct. Which is why, for our own survival, we must take extreme measures. It would be impossible to remove Brother Chaos from Equestria now.’ Death glowed with an ominous light. ‘We must remove Equestria from Brother Chaos.’

        ‘Brother, have you gone mad?!’ Love gasped.

        ‘You truly cannot be suggesting that we destroy—’

        ‘It is either that or be destroyed ourselves, Brother Time,’ Death said sharply. ‘As long as we exist we can rebuild.’

        ‘Maybe if we just explained to him what was happening, Brother Discord would change,’ Harmony offered weakly.

        ‘Sister, we already discussed how speaking to him is useless,’ Time replied.

        ‘No... No, I do believe our brilliant sister has an idea!’ Death shouted, surprising the others and especially surprising Harmony. ‘We speak to him personally one final time. All of us together. He can choose to surrender, or he can be destroyed along with his stolen world.’

        ‘And what if he takes the third option?’ Love questioned.

        ‘Which would be?’

        ‘I have to explain this to you? What happens if he decides to destroy us on the spot like Sister Nature? None of us have the power to stand up to him.’

        ‘But we do,’ Death said as he drifted toward Life, the sheer difference in size between the spirits making it look like a beetle flying toward a star. ‘Sister Life has more than enough power for all of us. If he opposes us, we will have strength enough to stop him. And then we wouldn’t even need to destroy the world.’

Life became uneasy as she felt the attention of her brothers and sisters aimed directly at her. She hated her brother for his trickery. There was nothing she could do to change the situation. If she refused to give them form again, they would simply proceed with the original plan to destroy and recreate the world. And while the path of least destruction was more in line with her tastes, she could not help but feel it was another trap. Never, in all of creation, had Death ever agreed with Harmony, let alone compliment her. She knew he had some despicable scheme in store for all of them, but whatever twisted thoughts were brewing inside his mind were his alone to know.

‘What will it be, Sister?’ Death asked, his tone rich with sadistic pleasure. ‘The death of Chaos? Or the death of Equestria?’


<<Chapter Twelve -- Chapter Fourteen>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work. “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I know I’m trying to make it sound really optimistic and happy-go-lucky and hahaha but seriously this is still a kidnapping why won’t any of you send for help?

FiMfiction Link

        The tension in the air was palpable. Neither the pony, the draconequus, nor the dragon dared to make the first move that would spark their battle. They remained motionless as they silently analyzed their opponents and planned their attack. Screwball kept her muscles tense as her eyes darted to look at every inch of the scaly behemoth’s body, trying to anticipate what it would try first. She had to be ready to move out of the way at a second’s notice if the creature struck first. While she had the utmost confidence in Discord’s ability to handle the dragon on his own, she was less confident in her own ability to survive a duel against one of Equestria’s most powerful beasts, and the idea of being struck by two tons of solid muscle was an unappealing one.

        Discord folded his arms folded across his chest and tapped his talon against his forearm. It had been a long time since anyone besides Celestia and Luna challenged him directly, and he was aching to try a few tricks he was saving for a special occasion. And fighting a dragon certainly qualified as a special occasion. He was helpless to stop his lips from curling into a smirk, internally laughing at the excitement of it all.

        If he couldn’t feel the heat coming from its nostrils stinging his eyes, Discord might have mistaken the dragon for a very lifelike statue. The lizard stood firmly on all four claws, its legs locked in place with not so much as a talon twitching. Its wings were half unfurled and ready to lift it into the sky in a matter of seconds. Discord had to turn up to look the dragon in the eyes as the beast kept its head lifted high to best look down on them.

        The dragon opened its mouth and Screwball tumbled out of the way.

        “Aren’t you going to say hello?” The dragon tilted its head at the confused and embarrassed pony splayed out on the grass. “That was certainly spontaneous.”

        “Hello...?” Screwball said uncertainly as she pulled herself up to her hooves and walked back to Discord’s side.

        “Hello. How are you?” the dragon returned. Its voice was deep and authoritative as any dragon’s voice ought to be. But its tone was completely devoid of any anger or ferocity, which made Screwball unsure if she felt mildly comforted or even more worried because of it.

        “I’m... well. Traveling around with... with Discord.”

        “Ah, traveling. That sounds like it must be very fun. Where are you headed?”

        “You know... Just around...” She couldn’t take any more. She spun her head toward Discord, who had been silently watching the scene with some interest and some popcorn. “Discord, what’s happening right now?”

        “If I had to guess,” he said through a mouthful of popcorn, “I would say you are having a pleasant conversation with a dragon.”

        “I think we have different definitions of the word ‘pleasant,’ but yes, I agree,” the dragon chimed in.

        “Alright. That’s what I thought, too.” She spent a few moments looking from the enormous dragon who was trying to hold a conversation to her, to the patchwork draconequus made from half a dozen different animals who controlled the entire world, to the squirrels wearing tiny red capes and flying through the pink and yellow tie-dyed sky above her. “Ohh, I get it. I’m actually crazy. I went insane twenty years ago and this is all in my mind. This makes sense now.”

        “You really don’t recognize me?” the dragon questioned, sounding more amused than insulted.

“Were you a pony I changed into a dragon one time?” Discord asked as he scratched between his horns. Screwball’s eyes bulged.

“You changed ponies into dragons?”

“I changed a lot of things,” Discord answered with a careless shrug, “It’s sort of my gimmick.”

        The two covered their ears to protect themselves from an unholy squeal that threatened to shatter their teeth and liquefy their brains on the spot. Screwball was certain that if a hundred manticores raked their claws across a hundred chalkboards which had all learned to scream in pain when clawed by a manticore, it still wouldn’t have compared. Just as she was certain she could take no more, it came to an immediate stop. She uneasily set lowered her hooves one at a time, unwilling to let them get too far away should the assault resume. She could not find any clue of the calamity’s source, though the dragon looked as though he hadn’t heard a thing.

        “By all that is turbid!” Discord cried, “What was that?! It sounded like the gates of Tatarus screeching open!”

Sorry. I yawned,” the dragon explained, smacking its lips a few times to chase the last of bored sigh out of its throat. “But if we’re going to wait for you two to guess, it’s going to take all dayhowever long that lasts. So let’s speed this up. I’m Patsy. We only met a few times and it’s been a few decades, so if you can’t remember there’s no hard feelings.

“I remember you!” Discord vanished in a flash and began pecking at the top of Patsy’s head with his talon. “You were the leprechaun with the cotton candy salespony, right?”

“That’s one way to put it, I guess.”

“You certainly grew up. I don’t imagine you’d pass for a leprechaun now.” Discord crossed the length of Patsy’s body, sliding down his neck and down to his tail. Once he reached the end, Patsy swung his tail up to catapult the draconequus off of him.

“Enough!” he barked, sounding a bit like a real dragon before restraining himself. “I’m a dragon, not a playground. But this a real stroke of luck. I was hoping I would run into you two again. At first I thought I’d try following the jabberwocky’s scent—wood roasted teriyaki coconut, if you’re curious—but I gave that up pretty quickly. As it happens, I was just out stretching my wings when I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye and I got a whiff of you.”

“I’m feeling very proud in myself,” Discord said as he puffed out his chest and took a whiff of his musk.

        “Yeah, I’m not having you get that smell on me,” Patsy said flatly. He turned to the right and unfurled his wing toward Screwball with an inviting nod of his head. “Come on, I won’t wait all day.”

        “Excuse me?”


“Do I have to really spell out everything I say around you?”

        “Pretty much,” Discord butted in, ignoring the dirty glares directed his way. “Sometimes twice.”

        Choosing not to dignify the two’s mockery with a response, Screwball lifted her nose in the air with a snort and strutted indignantly onto the dragon’s wing. She did her best to mimic the gait that she had seen countless times from Canterlot noblemares after she made a jest about them at a party. The thought of acting like them was enough to bring her head right back down. Heavens forbid she ever let herself get so snobby. She toppled forward when Patsy lifted his wing, and smacked into the spines on his back. Shaking herself off, she let her curiosity overtake her and prodded at the hard scales with a hoof. It was unbelievable how hard they were. It was like touching a boulder with scales on it.

        “Yes, I can feel that,” Patsy called over his shoulder. Screwball gave a guilty laugh and gripped onto a spine as the dragon began to beat his wings and take off into the air. She held on for dear life as she was tossed up and down by the undulating of Patsy’s spine as he fought against gravity. After nearly a minute of violent flight, Patsy kept his wings still at his side and began to glide along the hot air currents.

        “You still back there?” the dragon teased. Screwball moved her mane out of her face and let her glare be her only answer. Unfortunately, the whizzing of the propeller beanie just above the star softened the effect. “Yeah, it’s not a smooth ride for the first bit. But would you have rather flown with him?

        Screwball and Patsy turned to see Discord floating merrily along the clouds in a canoe, using an oversized spatula to paddle himself along.

        “Are you going to keep that up the whole way?” Screwball asked.

        “Only until I get bored or hit an iceberg. Don’t look at me like that, you’d never believe how common they are up here. But when I’m done with this, I’ve got my spare flying umbrella and my magic feather on hand.”

        “Alright, you have a point there,” Screwball conceded to the dragon. “So how long until we get to... wherever it is we’re going?”

        “It’s only another hour or so.” Screwball leaned against Patsy’s spines and did her best to be comfortable for the ride, which was easier said than done. She could have done with a little less banking around clouds and the dipping up and down really wasn’t necessary. And the scales were still a bit too tough for her liking. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to her if she ended the ride with a knot in her spine.

        She sighed and ran a hoof through her mane, bringing a few white strands of her mane into the corner of her view. When did she get so old? She hadn’t aged a day since that night at the inn. She never felt exhausted after a long day like most ponies her age would. For all appearances, she was still a twenty-one year old mare. Never running out of energy would have been a wonderful gift if she wasn’t always too worried about every little thing to ever enjoy it. She supposed she never had that sort of courage even twenty years ago. As a jester she had to put on that disguise and play the part of a hellion, but she never had the nerve to cut loose as herself. Maybe she had been an old mare all along.

        She took her mind off of herself and turned her attention to the draconequus still happily paddling along in his canoe. Her mouth spread in a soft smile when she thought of how enthusiastic Discord had always been in any situation he found himself in. He wasn’t the wide-eyed dreamer he was twenty years ago, but he still showed that same spark of life in everything he did. She prayed that he would never lose it. Perhaps that confidence and courage was just part of who he was, because he certainly never learned it from her.

        “I didn’t know dragons got this big in just twenty years,” Screwball said, not wanting to let her mind linger on unhappy thoughts for any longer.

“Twenty years?” Patsy laughed in his throat. “I got this big overnight. I took a nap outside one day and I woke up big enough to be a star attraction at the circus. Not that I’m complaining about it.”

“You’re still at the circus?”

“No, we packed up and left a long time ago. Three Ring was sorry to see us go. We’re set up in Manehattan now.”

        “What’s Masky’s new scheme there?”

        “You’d never believe me if I told you.” The mischievous grin made it clear that he wanted to keep it a surprise. “Enough about me, what have you two been up to?”

        “Oh... Well...” Screwball faltered for a moment, unsure of what to say. She knew that the dragon wasn’t really inquiring about Discord; someone would have to be deaf and blind to not know what he spent the last twenty years doing. And she had no interest in recounting her last few decades of loneliness. She doubted it would have made for any sort of pleasant conversation. But as always, her rescuer appeared just in time.

“Do I have some stories I could tell you!” Discord exclaimed as his canoe hit an iceberg. He jumped from the sinking ship and landed on Patsy’s spines, balancing perfectly on the point with one paw. “You’ve heard of the Bermarda Triangle, right? I had been wondering what would happen if somepony flew straight into it, so...”


        Screwball had thought that Manehattan was a hectic and crazy place the last time she had come to the city. But however bad it had been, it was nothing compared to the madhouse she was flying over now.

        The buildings that weren’t giving each other makeovers were caught in a city-wide conga line. A few of the black paved streets curved and flowed like ocean waves, sweeping ponies away in the current. In other places, the roads moved like enormous treadmills that would reverse direction every few minutes. A ratbird settled down on a candy-striped street light for a few seconds before the pole curved back and launched the squeaking creature through the air. An enormous chunk of the city had been completely overgrown by a thick jungle, which explained where the building-scaling gorilla had come from. (The jury was still out on the origin of the small, buzzing objects that were flying in circles and dive bombing the animal.) Some sort of giant ten-legged cat creature would bus around the city before stopping at a random location on the side of the street. It would then open its mouth wide, and a number of ponies took turns exiting and entering the creature before it started running off again. Rising from the center of an otherwise ordinary park was a towering, black volcano capped off with some kind of silver dome. Eruptions must not have been a concern as ponies were still scattered around the grassy field, but Screwball still didn’t like the look of the giant telescope extending from the dome which seemed to be staring right at her. In another corner of the city, an enormous dragon and equally gargantuan metal creature were locked in a heated game of Twenty Questions. Giant hot dogs sold pretzels to ponies at street corners. Nothing could walk down one particular avenue without breaking into song and dance. Some roads were impossible to walk through because of the barricades of yellow gnome-like creatures all standing behind one another and shouting “Beep beep!” as loud as they could.

        And through it all, the Manehattanites continued to go about their lives as though everything was just business as usual. Not a single soul so much as batted an eye when a parade of self-playing instruments marched past them. Because nothing, not even a world gone completely insane, could ever hope to prevail over the unshakable, indomitable, unwavering, thick-headed stubbornness of a Manehattan citizen.

        Discord, Screwball, and Patsy each looked down at the city with different eyes. Discord viewed his handiwork the same way a painter viewed his own artwork, looking at it from every direction to find some new way it could be improved. Screwball was twisting her head around in an attempt to just try to process what she was looking at. Pasty paid no mind to the lunacy and simply focused on scanning the buildings below him to locate his target in the ever-changing city.

        “Where is it today...?” he mused. His eyes lit up and he lifted his wings above him, making himself dive down toward the ground. “There you are! Oh, and you should hold onto something.”

“Now you tell me!” Screwball shrieked over the rushing wind as she clutched against Patsy’s spines with all of her strength. She finally lost her grip when they landed with a solid thud, the force knocking her completely off the dragon’s back. Discord wrapped his tail around her stomach before she hit the ground, holding her in place for a few seconds to let her catch her breath before he set her down on the street.

        The building Patsy had brought them to wasn’t particularly special-looking. There were no noticeable features that made it stand out among the other buildings all around it. In fact, it was completely featureless. It had no door or windows. The walls were devoid of any sort of texture or irregularities in color. It was nothing more than a tall, unassuming, red block sitting peacefully against a backdrop of anarchy.

        “I like the color,” Discord said.

        “You’ll like the inside even better,” Patsy said mystically.

        “How do we even get in?” Screwball asked. Patsy invited her to touch the wall, and she was surprised when her hoof sunk through the moment she touched it. She quickly retracted her leg and cradled it gently, half-expecting it to have come out backwards. Discord was entertaining himself by poking the wall in odd spots, making it ripple in patterns like raindrops on the water.

        “I like this building already.”

        “Just hold your breath when you step in,” Patsy instructed, “otherwise you’ll never be able to get the taste of ketchup out of your mouth.”

        “You’re not coming in, are you?” Screwball asked.

        “I’m certainly not going to be waiting outside when it’s so close to dinner time.”

        “But you’re nearly half the building’s size.”

        “Don’t worry,” Patsy said with a devilish smirk, “I’m sure you can find some room if you squeeze in.” Without another word, he lumbered forward. The walls bent and curved as he pushed through it, his enormous body disappearing into the small building like a magic trick. Once the tip of his tail had been pulled through, the wall bounced around
a bit and went still, leaving no sign that a dragon had just plowed into it.

        “This is going to be fantastic, I just know it,” Discord said as he rubbed his palms together in anticipation. He took a step in and was delighted by the feeling of the wall morphing and wiggling around him. It was like stepping inside a giant bubble that refused to pop. He was halfway through the wall when he felt something trying without success to push through next to him. Discord reached out with his paw and took Screwball’s hoof. Once he had made it, he gave her leg a strong pull and the pony came tumbling out.

        “Piece of cake, right?” Patsy said with a wink as Screwball picked herself up and looked around the inside of the building. “Home sweet home.”

        The inside of the house was impossibly spacious, but it was still every bit as chaotic as the city outside. Stripes, spots, and polka dots of all colors and sizes were scattered all along the walls in a predictably random arrangement. Windows would occasionally flutter from their position, using their drapes as wings to fly to a new place to nest. A staircase leading up slid from side to side along the wall. Screwball turned her head up and suddenly felt very small when the building appeared to stretch upwards forever.

        “This is terrific,” Discord said proudly as he appraised the madhouse.

        The sound of light hoofsteps brought Discord’s and Screwball’s attention to a lime green colt curiously staring up at them.

        “Wait, is that...?” Screwball let her question go unfinished, thinking it too crazy a thought to even vocalize. He was a child now, not even old enough for his cutie mark, and somewhere along the way he had traded a unicorn for their horn. Even if he wasn’t wearing the mask, she still recognized that face. She almost wanted to laugh. Patsy grew up into a real dragon, and Masky had turned into a foal.

        “Alright, Patsy, you got me,” she said without taking her eyes off of the transformed stallion. “This really is a surprise.”

        “This isn’t the surprise.”

        “Dad! Daaad!” The colt shouted at the top of his lungs as he galloped toward a door on the opposite wall. He threw it open and slammed it behind him before another word could be said. Discord and Screwball raised an ear when the stomping and shouting continued on the floor just above them. “Dad, Uncle Patsy’s back! And he brought two weird looking ponies with him!”

“Champo, watch your mouth!” an older voice shouted over the sound of doors opening and closing. “It’s rude to say somepony looks weird.” The door Champo had escaped through opened again, but this time the colt had brought someone with him.

        A mile-wide grin split Masky’s face when he saw his guests. “Even if they do look weird.”

Without his mask on, Masky was a mirror-image of his son. He still wore his old cap, which was showing its age with stray threads, faded colors, and what looked like some ameteur patchwork. Time had not left the stallion unaffected, either. Years of carrying that enormous mouth around had left him with heavy smile lines running from his nose to the corners of his mouth. The small bit of added weight hidden under his purple shirt hinted that he had given up his active lifestyle of thieving years ago, but he was still far from fat. If anything, it made him look sturdier.

“Now, Champo, I want you to introduce yourself and be on your best behavior,” he ordered as he gave his son a gentle shove toward the pair. When the introductions were finished, Champo bustled over to where Patsy was laying down against a wall. He laughed as the dragon rolled him along the top of his claws by bending his knuckles, leaving his father to greet his old friends.

“Criminey, you two haven’t aged a day,” Masky whistled. “Can’t say I’m not jealous.”

“Alright, stop right there. What? You have a...?!” Screwball sputtered exasperatedly, glancing with her eyes over to the colt playing with a dragon.

“I have two,” Masky corrected, his chest swelling with pride. “Champo’s got a baby sister, she’s just thirteen months old. Her name’s Caprice.”

“I’ve always thought that was a lovely name,” Discord said.

“You should see her. Beautiful li’l ball of sunshine, she’s got eyes like her mother. And she’s smart, too! She’s already started talking. O’course, both the kids are smart eggs, they get it from me, naturally...”

        Discord was about to put an end to the stallion’s gushing with a well-placed pie until the opportunity was stolen away from him by the clumsy arrival of a sand-brown pegasus. The mare swooped low to the ground and stopped just at the last moment, skidding her hooves against the floor and flapping her wings to steer her away from crashing into Masky.

        “It’s okay! I’ve got this one! I can do it! Hello! Welcome to the Grifter Inn! Your reprieve from all the chaos of... Oh my.” The pegasus became very quiet and her brown eyes became very large as she stared at the unimpressed draconequus standing over her.  

        Discord folded his arms and snorted. He wondered what it would be this time. Whenever a pony met him face to face for the first time, they always gave one of a small selection of reactions. Screaming was almost always a certainty, and judging by the look of the pegasus, his guess was it would be of the terrified variety. It was always a toss up if there would be some crying or running away after. Usually the pegasi thought to use their wings, but judging by this one’s talent for flying it was hard to tell if she’d trust herself enough to try it. She definitely looked like a runner, though. That was the problem with these ponies, he sighed to himself, they were all so dreadfully predictable.

        “It’syou it’syou it’syou it’syou!” the pegasus squealed with glee as she threw herself at Discord, knocking them both to the floor in a rib-crushing hug. “Ican’tbelieveit’sreallyyouIthoughtI’dneverseeyouagainohwowthisisthesecondbestdayofmylife!

        “Kid! Kid!” Masky shouted as he tried to pry the mare away before she suffocated her prisoner. After failing, he resorted to the arsenal of dirty tricks he acquired during his golden years. “Coochie coochie coo.”

        The pegasus yelped in fright and rocketed into the air. She gave Masky an ugly look as she kept her hooves protectively clamped over her arm pits.

        “You jerk! You know I hate that!”

        “You made me a very desperate stallion.”

        “I think you crushed something I didn’t even know I had,” Discord wheezed as he helped himself up. Screwball tried without success to disguise her laughter with a cough.

        “I’m so sorry! But I was just so excited to see you again I had to just... Eee!” Discord narrowly avoided another death grip by pulling Screwball in the line of fire at the last moment. The pegasus either didn’t notice or didn’t care as she poured affection onto the pony in her grasp. Screwball felt her cheeks turning red but didn’t make much effort to resist.

        “Tickle tickle.”

        “Sto-hop that!”

        “Stop trying to kill my pals! I’ve got to look out for my fellow carnies!”

        “Dad, Aunt Mite, Mom said you aren’t allowed to fight,” Champo called while in the middle of performing a backwards somersault on Patsy’s knuckles.

        “Listen to the kid, you two.”

        “You clean off that smirk right now, you overgrown handbag, or I’ll do it myself!”

        “Look out, the old man’s gonna get you, Patsy~”

        “You’re next!”

        “Um,” Screwball spoke quietly, “should we leave?”

        “Not a chance,” Discord said with an eager grin. “This is getting good! I want to see who... Wait, what did you say her name was?”

        The pegasus touched down gently on the ground and folded her wings. She approached Discord and, after fighting the initial urge to squeeze him again, gave a courteous bow.

        “My name is Mite. And I don’t know if you remember me, King Discord, but when I was only a filly you saved my life.”

        “You were the house plant,” Discord gasped. Mite looked confused for a moment before Screwball cut in.

        “He has a very patchwork memory. But if you’re ‘Aunt’ Mite, then that means...”

        “That’s right! Big sis Reverie got stuck with this big mouth. And we’ve been using the house you gave us to help ponies in Manehattan, just like you wanted to do! For some reason, none of that stuff that goes on outside ever comes in here, so ponies come here to spend a few days after something happens to their house or if they just want a break from everything. We have tons of rooms, so we let them stay in them for a few days like a free hotel! And if somepony causes trouble, well, nopony ever causes trouble, but if they did we have Patsy to talk some sense into them!”

        “Forgive me for asking, but weren’t you an earth pony before?” Screwball interrupted, transfixed by Mite’s wings that flapped and shook with almost every word. The pegasus had plenty of energy to spare. But she supposed if she was given a real chance at life after years of being thought good as dead, she would be making the most of life, too.

        “Huh? Oh yeah. I was trying to deliver some food to Ms. Belle since she’s too old to take care of herself anymore, and then one of those crazy rainbow clouds came out of nowhere and then there was a big flash and I had these!” She demonstrated by taking off in the air and flying a few circles in the air. Screwball noticed a white envelope cutie mark on her flank. “Dad wasn’t happy at first, but I think they’re great! I can make deliveries way faster now! Plus, flying is so much fun! And I’m getting really goo-oof!”

        A pie appeared out of nowhere and landed directly on Mite’s head and blocking her vision. She hit one of the doors on the second level and dropped back down into Patsy’s outstretched palm.

        “Discord...” Screwball growled angrily.

        “I see how it is. Just because a pie falls from the sky, it’s obviously my fault.”

        The unmistakable sound of babies crying pealed through the air. Masky, Mite, Patsy, and Champo all tried to hide themselves by ducking their heads under their shoulders, but it was too late for them. The crying was then joined by a frustrated huffing and muttering as a door opened and closed. The ground floor door opened, and an irritated unicorn strutted through the doorway with two crying fillies on her back.

        “Congratulations, you woke up the babies. Uncle Patsy, I’m so very sorry to ask but could you...? Thank you,” Reverie said as the dragon gingerly took the two in his claws. He rolled onto his back, placed them on his underbelly, and began to purr. The babies immediately stopped crying and began to happily babble to each other.

        “It’s a common misconception that mothers take care of dragon hatchlings,” Patsy lectured in response to Screwball’s incredulous expression. “The males actually do most of the work in raising them while the females hoard the treasure. They’re getting away.”

Masky and Mite swore as Patsy ratted them out in the middle of their escape. A magical glow surrounded both of their ears and they were dragged kicking and whining in front of Reverie, who swiftly knocked their heads together.

“I’ve been taking care of the girls all night, day, night, day, and night. I don’t need you two making it any harder by—”

“Sweets, look who it is!” Masky pointed to Discord and Screwball. To his relief, his wife’s expression instantly brightened before she bonked his head against his sister-in-law’s a second time and released them. At least he knew that would be the end of it.

“I’ll be... It’s wonderful to see you both again,” Reverie said politely as she pecked both Discord and Screwball on the cheek. “I wondered if we’d ever see you again. I can never tell you just how much you helped all of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Why does that baby have a cutie mark?” Discord asked bluntly, ignoring whatever boring thing the unicorn was saying.

        “That would be our Granny Granular. She passed away a year and a half ago.”

Discord gave himself a pat on the back.         

        “You two should both stay for dinner!” Reverie said cheerfully. “I know that Mom and Dad would be thrilled to see you both again. And we could all catch up with each other.”

“That sounds delightful. We’d love to. Wouldn’t we, Screwy?”


        To celebrate their royal visit, the family prepared a veritable feast. A buffet of apples, oranges, pears, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, bread, potatoes, gravy, soup, and just about everything Screwball could imagine was spread on the table, with a roasted goose just for Discord and a few dozen turkeys for Patsy. The banquet should have rightfully taken hours to complete, but Reverie and her mother happily explained that it was all thanks to one of Discord’s gifts. The refrigerator was always full of perfectly prepared food, no matter what someone was looking for. It was how they were able to provide care packages for down-on-their-luck ponies and feed the guests who stayed at the house.

        “We truly owe you everything, Your Highness,” Arenose said, her wrinkled face curving to match her warm smile.

        “Don’t worry about it,” Discord said before swallowing a potato in a single bite.

        Reverie and Masky took turns lying to the infants, telling them their spoons were actually griffons who needed to land in their mouths. Even when it came to infants, the green stallion was a convincing liar. An empty chair reserved for Dusty was placed at the head of the table opposite Discord.

        “Grandpa Dusty is old now. That’s why he takes so long to move around,” Champo explained wisely to Screwball, who reacted with a fascinated “Aah” before turning to the younger couple.

        “I never asked, how did you two meet?”

        “It was fifteen years ago,” Reverie began nostalgically. “I heard that a traveling circus was coming to Manehattan. The circus wanted to show ponies that they shouldn’t ever be too afraid to enjoy life, no matter what may be happening in the world.”

        Screwball shifted uncomfortably in her seat from the comment. It was happening too many times now to be just an accident or a coincidence anymore. The family would be making small talk and slip in a comment about how a pony had moved in on the third floor after he was kicked out of his house, by his house; or mention the time a salt rain had tainted the city’s water supply; or explain that a delivery got delayed because a confused Goliathan had wandered out of the bay and start making a mess before it could be guided back to the sea. After they would give Discord a glance as if they were about to ask him for something before changing their minds. Screwball had noticed it happening even before dinner. There was no way Discord could have not have picked up on it, right? Whether he did or not, he never reacted to the comments.

        “I was walking around the fairgrounds, and I heard a voice calling me over. So I walked over to the stallion selling cotton candy and he asked me what my name was.”

        “You stayed at the circus for five years after we left?” Screwball asked, genuinely surprised. “I never thought of you two as the kind to stay with one routine for long.”

        “Well it was twenty years ago,” Masky said quickly. He wasn’t sure how, but he knew that if he let the purple mare keep on yakking, he would be getting flak about it from the missus later. “Ponies change, you know. And the circus was a hard gig to walk away from. We finally had food, a roof over our heads at night, and a whole load of ponies who would look out for us. Once we finally had something good going for us, it was hard to leave it. Except for something better, Rev! I was just about to say that!”

        “Of course, sweetie. And when it was time for the circus to leave, Masky and Patsy stayed with us. We dated for a few years, and then one thing led to another...” she finished lovingly.

        Out of the corner of her eye, Screwball thought she saw Patsy mouth ‘Wedlock’ and motion toward Dusty.

“Oh, Dad, there you are!” Mite greeted warmly as she helped her father to his chair. “We were wondering when you’d be coming down.”

“I still don’t get these blasted doors,” he said bitterly, never taking his eyes off his plate. The room was silent, save for the fillies’ babbling and Discord’s loud chewing. After a few seconds, he lifted his head up and stared blankly at the two guests sitting at the opposite end of the table.

        “I didn’t know we were expecting guests.”

        “It was a surprise visit,” Arenose said as she delicately placed her hoof over her husband’s and tried to look him in the eye. Dusty never looked away from Discord as the draconequus juggled a few tomatoes in the air before swallowing all three in one gulp. The family shared some worried looks with one another but remained silent.

        It was times like this when Screwball really wished her special talent wasn’t cheering up ponies and brightening the mood of a tense situation.

“It was lucky that the house was big enough for Patsy once he hit his growth spurt.”

“Oh yeah,” Masky said, trying to force the enthusiasm back in his voice, “but even if we didn’t have the funhouse here, we’d think of something to suit him.”

“I don’t want to sound rude, but I thought that dragons were supposed to have instincts to migrate and build dens in caves to live by themselves. It really says something that Patsy would want to stay with you more than following his nature.”

“Heh! The big iguana couldn’t leave us if he tried.” Masky leaned in to give Caprice another spoonful of baby food before pulling his head back and pinching his nose. “Criminey! Augh, that is rotten! She gets that from you, you know.”

“Pasy! Made poody!” Caprice announced. Patsy continued to gnaw on his turkey for a few seconds before he felt the eyes of everyone in the room on him. Groaning, he swallowed the bird and plucked the filly out of her seat.

“Fine, but your father’s taking care of you tonight this time,” Patsy said as he carried the filly out of the room to change her diaper.

        “And now I’ve seen everything,” Screwball said, half-laughing. She nearly fell out of her chair when Dusty slammed his hoof down on the tabletop, his old eyes filled with fire.

        “It isn’t right!” he shouted as he pushed himself up with both hooves. “It isn’t right! None of it!”

        “Dad, please—”

“No! You all won’t say it, so I will! Discord, you have to fix this!” the stallion demanded. Discord slowly raised one eyebrow and calmly folded his hands together in front of him on the table.

“I am listening.”

“The world has gone crazy! Ponies are too afraid to leave their homes now because they don’t know if they’ll fall twenty feet if they step out their doors! No one sleeps because of the damn sun and moon playing leapfrog at all hours! There’s no rain! Real rain! Ponies can’t find any natural food to eat! They have to take whatever comes down from the sky or what charity they get from us, and some are too afraid of you to even accept it! Animals are roaming out of control! The natural order of life has been destroyed! I had to change my own mother’s diapers! My daughter isn’t even who she used to be! Earth ponies are sprouting wings and horns and heavens knows what else, and it’s hard to know what shape you’ll even wake up as in the morning!

“You saved my daughter’s life and gave us everything we needed to survive, and for that I can never thank you enough. But please, this world is wrong!” Dusty’s frail legs began to tremble underneath him and he lowered himself down to his seat. He kept his head lowered in silence briefly before he began to choke.

“This is not the world a stallion should have to see his grandchildren grow up in.” He shivered under his wife’s touch but still complied as Arenose walked him out of the room, remaining silent as she tried to console him with sweet whispers.

It felt like years before Mite broke the silence. “I’m... so sorry about Dad. His mind is getting old and sometimes he doesn’t

“It’s fine,” Discord interrupted, looking completely unphased from the emotional outpour. “I have had the pleasure of listening to my fair share of dissidents. This was actually the nicest yet. Usually ponies keep the shouting as brief as possible so they can cut to the part where they start throwing things.”

The family gave a round of polite laughter that satisfied Discord enough to allow him to resume eating. But Screwball was not so quick to forget the outburst. She spied on the family as they sat in silence and idly stirred their food on their plates, their appetites having left them. The smiles and conversations they had hidden themselves behind had been torn away and the truth was laid bare. Even these ponies, who had benefitted more than any others from Discord’s reign, could not endure for much longer. The chaos needed to end.

        “Masky, don’t forget to get your suit ready for tomorrow,” Reverie spoke quietly.

        “I’ll take care of it after dinner.”

        “A suit?” Discord leaned forward, a dopey grin plastered on his face. “What’s the occasion? A wedding? Birthday Party? Is it for a sheep? I can do Baaah Mitzvahs.”

“It’s, ah...  for a funeral.” The last happy face left the table. Discord leaned back into his seat.

“What do you mean?”

“A falling house landed on a friend of ours last week. Her husband is holding a memorial service,” Masky said as he gave Discord a brief look. Whether he was trying to convey something more or just show some respect was unclear. But whatever his meaning, it was lost on Discord as he remained wooden and silent for the rest of the evening.

“So, Champo,” Screwball said with all the forced cheer she could muster, “where do you go to school?”


        Discord and Screwball said their goodbyes to the family shortly after dinner, promising to come by more often as they stepped out through the wall and into the street. The sun was swinging back in forth on the breeze against a quilted sky.

“I’m glad we got to see them again,” Screwball said weakly. Her words bounced off Discord as he focused his attention on watching a pink garbage can hopping along the sidewalk with a frightened pony stuck inside.

“Let’s go somewhere else.” It was not open to discussion. Discord bathed them both in a burst of magic and they were gone.


        Screwball stumbled a few steps forward as her equilibrium returned to her. Perhaps it was just part of being an earth pony, but magic had always been out of her comfort area. Once she was steady, she gave a sneeze. She surmised that she had kicked some dust in the air. Wherever Discord had taken them now looked like it had been forgotten by all civilization ages ago. Every inch of the checkerboard tile floor in the massive room was filthy with dust, down to the moth-bitten carpet splitting it down the center. The handles on the sole door at one end the room were browned with rust and corrosion from the sugary rain that must have come down from the holes in the ceiling. Thick cobwebs were tucked away in the corners of the room and on the candles lining the wall, but even the spiders had abandoned the site.

        The only clean thing to be seen were the heavy curtains that were appearing over the stained glass windows and strangling the light from the room. Once the last of the windows was covered, Discord sluggishly made his way down the length of the carpet, tearing the fabric with his talons as he dragged his feet. He climbed a few steps and unceremoniously dropped himself in his throne, throwing up a cloud of dust around him.

“I don’t think we’ll find anything productive to do in Canterlot,” Screwball said half-jokingly. Her worry deepened when Discord turned away from her to look at the nearest curtain. “Discord, please tell me what’s bothering you. I want to help.”

        “Nothing is bothering me. I just want to take a little break from looking outside for a while.”

        “I know you’re upset, but maybe Dusty had a point. And I’m sure that if you undid—”

        Every speck of dust in the room exploded into the air as the floor rattled and quaked. Screwball dove in the air and raced toward Discord as the ceiling fell to pieces around them. They flew out of the throne room and were horrified to see that whatever cataclysm had struck was not limited to the castle alone. Towers fell like trees. Boulders thundered down the side of the trembling mountain and into the city below. The sun slipped out from whatever force had held it in the air and plummeted out of sight below the horizon, bathing Equestria in a grim twilight.

        Cries of terror from miles around echoed on the winds, with ponies and animals alike panicking in every corner of the land. Anything with wings took to the air to escape the raging ground below, scrambling in any direction and colliding with other fearful creatures in their terror. Rivers and streams became violent rapids, dragging away plants, animals, and ponies in the deadly currents.

        “Discord! Wh-what’s happening?!

        “I don’t know! I’m not doing anything! I don’t know... oh, no.” Discord’s eyes shrunk back in his head as an acrid stench filled the air and stung his throat with the pestilent taste of rotting corpses and scorched earth. His eyes darted around the country beneath him, praying that his fears would be proven wrong.


        For miles and miles in every direction, decay began to eat away at the vibrant world below. Anything caught in the way of the infection withered and died in an instant, staining the earth black with death. The blight traced around the entire length of the globe like a rotting equator and finally completed itself not far from the ruined capital.

        The foul taste grew stronger as a phantom creature began to materialize and coil along the path of devastation. Transparent rows of scales as large as skyscrapers and dark as the night sky formed over the creature, wider than any valley and its neck stretched higher than any mountain.

        Death spread wide his black wings, and bellowed for every living creature to hear.



<<Chapter Thirteen -- Chapter Fifteen>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work. “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

Maybe I'm just talking crazy talk, but what if when I end this story, I'll finally get away from my kidnappers and get reunited with my T-Shirt?

FiMfiction Link

The world of chaos had become as still as the grave. The darkened sky was empty, abandoned by clouds and creature alike. No wind brushed the leaves of the Everfree Forest. The rolling waves of the ocean had been halted. Beasts hid in their burrows, huddled in fear with their kin. Hiding deep in their caves, father dragons protectively concealed their hatchlings under their wings. Only a few ponies remained in sight, their bodies too frozen in fear to flee for shelter. Friends and strangers took shelter together, holding tight to their comrades to find some sense of peace. And for it all, not even the smallest whisper could be heard across the land. It was as if all life in Equestria had been extinguished.

        The Spirit of Death beamed.


            “Since the dawn of time, we have been. Spirits of this world. My brothers and sisters have lived in symbiosis with your species, surviving on the energies you offered up to us. In return, we kept your world in balance. We kept your world in order. We have devoted ourselves to ensuring your existence. And you returned our auspices with betrayal.


            “Through your own ire and thirst for power, you engendered a new spirit to be your own undoing. By senseless war and bigotry, you had brought life to a monster to reflect your own horrid hearts. But now, Brother Chaos threatens to be the end of my kin as well. My brothers and sisters have been starving, fading away to nothing as this weed you have planted chokes us and robs us of our lives. Attempts to reason with our rogue brother have resulted in failure and even greater loss. He will not leave this world. So for our own survival, this world shall be purged. This Equestria and all those who dwell within it shall be returned to nothing. We will create a new world, and we will survive.


                “Brother, I speak now to you.” Death crossed his wings in front of him, balling the end of one wing like a fist to rest his chin on. When he spoke again, he had replaced the grim solemnity in his voice with a more familiar oily smarm.


                “You really did bring this on yourself, you know. We tried playing it nice, but you had to have it your way. I honestly can’t see what you find so entertaining about this world that would make you so stubborn to leave it. But we decided we’d give you one more opportunity to visit us before your precious world goes up in smoke. You know, for old time’s sake. And I can’t think of a better place for your time here to end than where it all started. And just maybe, if you’re a good boy and listen to your big brothers and sisters, we just might leave your ponies alone!


                “We so look forward to seeing you again, Brother. Don’t keep us waiting~!” The phantom faded away in seconds, giving a crooked grin in Canterlot’s direction before he vanished.


                “I am so sick of this family,” Discord gnarled as he glanced at the paralysed mare cradled in his arms. She hadn’t started raving yet, but he was confident that even the heralding of the apocalypse wouldn’t keep Screwball quiet for long. The collapsed throne room did not look any better closer up than in the air, with chunks of broken mortar and stone lying in heaps on the floor. With a snap of his tail, the gray stone covering the dirtied carpet began to float upwards like balloons, fitting together in the open roof like a jigsaw puzzle until it was as good as new.


                “You can put me down now.” The words were almost too soft for him to hear, but Discord complied. Screwball gently stepped out of his arms, keeping her head bowed toward the floor.


                The stiffness in the room was agonizing for Discord as he waited for Screwball to finally say something. He discovered with some disgust that his tail had somehow wound up being twisted between his paws. But with no one looking at him, he decided there wasn’t any harm in indulging a bit. After only a single squeeze, he opened his fingers and let his tail drop down to the floor with a sigh. He wished she would at least look at him.


                Desperate to find something, anything else to focus on, he tore himself away from her and approached one of the stained glass windows. He unceremoniously tore the curtains off the wall and scowled when he watched the cloth turn into an enormous slice of cheese in his touch. He hadn’t even tried that time; it was automatic. He quietly groaned and dusted the yellow crumbs on his chest before turning his attention toward the painted window.


                It was nice, in a way, he thought. Earth ponies and unicorns were running and smiling in a world of green. Pleasant. The pegasi soared in a blue sky around a purple mountain, forever frozen in that moment of pure bliss. Quaint. But it wasn’t him. Though at that moment, he wished it was. He wished he could look at the scene and believe he could jump inside the window and be happy there too. He wanted to want it. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it.


                His eyes drifted up to the top of the mountain where the image of a great king was standing proudly above his realm, basking in the rays of the sun he held in the sky for his subjects. He was an alicorn. Discord lifted his arm and firmly pressed his talon against the king. He kept his claw in place as the king turned brown and rose onto his back hooves, spreading his mismatched arms wide as if embracing the world.


                He had wanted to help. He really, truly did. Maybe it was because Screwball told him to do it, or maybe it was for her, or maybe he wanted to do it to satisfy some stirring of empathy that might have once had. But he had wanted to help. But no one would let him. It didn’t matter if he tried to do it Screwball’s way, or if he tried to do it his own way; every effort was just a failure, because of him.


                He pushed harder against the glass. Even if things started to go right, he would always do something to ruin it. It was never once on purpose! He just didn’t know. But no one wanted to understand. Maybe he shouldn’t have given up on his subjects. Though he didn’t see how else he could have reacted to them. And now, once he was ready to help them again with everything going right, all his mistakes finally caught up to him. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t care if it sounded selfish. It wasn’t fair.


                Discord only finally opened his eyes again when he heard a crackling. He pulled away his claw and took a step back from the window. The image had been deformed by jagged cracks stretching all along the glass. The moment of joy had been destroyed. The sky and earth were fractured in random patterns. Earth ponies had their legs broken from under them. Unicorns had their heads split from the rest of their bodies. The wings on the pegasi were too heavily marred to even recognize. But no matter how or where it was cracked, the breaks only ever joined at a single point. At the top of the mountain, the draconequus’ arms were spread wide, with the hideous lines spreading out from his chest.


                ‘Well isn’t that emblematic,’ Discord thought bitterly, spitting on the window. His saliva quickly spread and bubbled, eating away at every inch of the glass until was clear and the cracks were mended.


                “He said that they were starving…” The sudden words startled Discord, though he was certain that he hid it. He turned around and folded his hands neatly behind his back as he waited for Screwball to continue speaking.


                “What did he mean by that? That you were... like a weed.” Screwball tried not to speak too loudly. She didn’t want to risk letting Discord hear her voice waver. “That’s why they’re... doing this.”

                “I believe he was talking about their gray,” Discord answered smoothly.


                “Their what?” It was unnatural to hear what should have been one of Screwball’s outbursts spoken so mildly.

                “How do I explain this to a pony?” the draconequus mused as he tickled his beard. “Almost everything has this sort of color that I can feel. Well, I can’t really feel every color, but I can still see them all if I look hard enough. I only ever actually get a feeling from the gray. I can somewhat feel green as well, but not as strongly. I suspect it had something to do with that disgusting brussels sprout jawbreaker in the forest. And the colors were all connected to whatever was causing it. Whenever I’m around something unnatural or chaotic, I can see the gray and feel it warm me. Imagine holding your hooves in front of a fire after coming in from the snow. It takes all the numbness away and fills it with just... Mmm!” A questioning look from the pony told him that he should continue.


                “But if I ever went too long without warming up, I would start feeling... Hm, not quite pins and needles. Aha! Like going to a doctor for a broken leg and getting a dose of morphine to numb the pain. You know the leg is still there, but you can’t move it. And you can touch it, but it doesn’t feel like it’s still really a part of you. It feels like touching something that’s you and not you. It...”


                The energy in the spirit’s voice dwindled, but the words were coming too quickly to stop himself now. “It felt like I was touching a corpse. Like I was dying.” He took no pleasure in the reaction telling the ugly truth rewarded him.  “I just never wanted to feel that way again. So I filled the world with chaos. And I never paid it much attention, but I don’t see much of the other colors now.”


                “So when you were filling the world with... gray, the... other colors that kept the spirits alive faded away,” Screwball said, gaining momentum as she finally found the sense in this catastrophe. “And now they’re going to reset the world to save themselves!”


                “They most assuredly are not,” Discord cut in, “because I will not allow it.”


                ‘That’s a good start,’ Screwball thought to herself as she began to pace around, ‘but there still has to be a plan.’ Whenever trouble came her way, she found it was always the best course of action to stay moving. It was impossible to predict when it would be necessary to start running so, it was just safer to be prepared. She did her best thinking on her hooves, anyway.

                The usual pacing did not seem to be helping, so it was time to get serious. She changed from moving back and forth down a straight line to walking in a circle. Simple patterns, that was the trick. Keeping her body in a rhythm would keep her mind on track. Around and around in circles, like juggling a ball in the air. And if one wasn’t enough, then she only had to add another one. And a third one. As many as it took to keep her mind off the realization that the world really was ending now and that she was still responsible for it.

                It still was not enough. She stomped her hoofs on the ground just so she could drown out the sound of her panicked heartbeat, but it only thumped harder. She shut her eyes and let her legs take her wherever she had to go. Was this it? Did she have no more advice to give? Was she just useless now? A fool to the end after all. Some advisor she turned out to be. After all her effort, she still couldn’t be the pony Discord needed her to be. She couldn’t save the world. She couldn’t even stop Time’s prediction from coming true.

                Her hooves finally stopped moving and she opened her eyes to see the grand doors towering in front of her. She looked over her shoulder to see the path she had taken to end there. A squiggling pattern of lines spread around the floor, her hoofprints exploring every corner of the room. And following the path, taking care to place his feet in every hoofprint, was Discord.

                Blissful memories returned to Screwball like long-lost friends. Dancing down the road with the clumsy draconequus imitating her every step; having silly conversations for hours about everything and nothing and all that was in between; guessing games and riddles to while away the hours; sleeping side by side, protectively curled against one another. She wanted to laugh. With all the amazing experiences they had shared, the memories she cherished most were those trifling details. Those tiny moments that seamlessly blended together into days and months to become a single memory of unending happiness were worth any amount of hardship or pain.


                And as Discord came nearer down the path, she knew with absolute certainty that she was no failure. She had saved more than Equestria with her one crazy idea those years ago. She had saved Discord. Without her, Discord could have become anything like the rest. He could have been as perverted as the Spirit of Love, or vicious and unrestrained as the Spirit of Nature. He could have followed in the Spirit of Time’s model and become passionless and single-minded in the execution of his duty, or as heartless and uncaring to the misery of others as the Spirit of Death. He could even have become a thoughtless and savage force of destruction that was as dangerous to himself as he was to others, like the Spirit of Chaos she had seen at Ploughmouth.

                But Discord wasn’t like a Spirit. He had lived among ponies, raised by a pony who taught him and loved him with all of her heart. He had known joy and sorrow, victory and loss, anger, fascination, fear, and compassion like any living pony.

                She had taught him to be the King of Equestria. Now she had to trust him with it.

                “Discord,” she said, her voice breaking against the lump in her throat, “what are we going to do?”


                “They’re asking for an audience with me, and they’re going to get it. I’m going to meet with them face to face,” Discord answered resolutely.

                “But we can’t just walk right into whatever trap they’re planning! We should—”


                “Screwball… I don’t think there’s going to be a ‘we’ this time,” Discord said miserably. “I can’t take you with me. This is goodbye.” He forced himself to look away from her as he raised his talon, knowing he would lose his nerve if he waited any longer. Something caught him by the neck and he was tackled to the ground, knocking the back of his head against the carpet.


                “You are never going to do that again!” Screwball shouted sternly as she pinned him down, her eyes on the verge of tears. “I did not wait twenty years just so you could leave me again!”


                “They’ll destroy all of the world if I don’t go! This is all happening because of me! Now there’s only one thing left that I can do to stop my crazy family from bothering you and Equestria ever again,” Discord pleaded. Two legs wrapped tight around his neck before he could say anything more.


                “There has to be another way...”


                “If there is, we’d better think of it quick,” Discord sighed as he slogged down the length of carpet. He only untied his purple pony necktie once he reached the foot of the throne. Screwball stayed by his side as he climbed the steps and flopped onto the chair, the cushion making a sound like a rubber squeak toy.  


                The doors exploded off their hinges and hammered the ground in quick succession. Two sets of hooves clacked against the toppled wood, echoing through the cloud of dust scattered up by the impact. Screwball used the smokescreen to take cover behind the throne. Discord already had a strong hunch of who his visitors might be, especially given the force that one of them was putting into ever stomp of her hoof. He snapped away the dust to give his friends a proper greeting.


                “Why Little Luna! So nice of you to drop in! You should have told me you were coming, I would have tidied up. Oh, and hello to you too, Silly Celestia,” Discord welcomed with mock-sweetness as a bolt of lightning struck him in the chest.


                “You unbelievable, unforgivable monster!” Celestia shrieked as she let loose another wild bolt. The blast struck its mark, though it was unable to so much as singe Discord’s fur. The draconequus frowned more at the particular choice of words than at the attack, but given the circumstances, he tolerated the discourtesy.


                “Is something bothering you?” He feigned a gasp, “Don’t tell me I forgot about a date!”


                “Your mischief has gone too far, snake!” Luna shouted. “It was already insufferable living in these chaotic times, but now you’ve brought the end of days upon us all!”


                “I know. It’s just awful isn’t it? And I never got the chance to introduce you to a friend of mine I think you would have liked. She was a nosey little pegasus who had some trouble flying the other day,” Discord said casually, delighting in the growing look of shock on the princess’ face. “You both have so much in common, too. You both have blue fur, you share an interest in astronomy, and you’re both not nearly as clever as you think you are.”

Celestia stepped in front of dumbstruck sister and took a stance, spreading her legs and wings and aiming her horn directly at Discord’s eyes. “This is all of your fault, Discord!”

“Oh, you blame me for everything. Death was the one announcing the end of the world.”


“My big brother.” Discord rolled his eyes. “And I was actually in the middle of a conversation about this same issue before you two started blowing down doors like you own the place.”

“This is their castle,” Screwball piped up from behind the throne.

Was their castle,” he corrected.


“You, be silent!” Celestia snapped at her enemy before pointing a hoof at the pony trying to shrink behind the throne. “Who are you?”


“Who, me? I’m nopony worth worrying about...” Screwball’s escape was foiled when she was picked up by a red, scaly tail and dropped into Discord’s lap.


                “Celestia, Luna, I would like you both to meet Screwball, my advisor.”


                “You’ve been keeping a hostage?!” the mare gasped in shock, earning a throaty chuckle for her exclamation.


                “That’s what I love about you, Silly Celestia, you’re always good for a laugh. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Screwy came to me right at the start.” He felt a little guilty for using Screwball to ruffle the big white turkey’s feathers, but Celestia was wasting what precious time he had left, and getting her angry was always the quickest way to make her storm away from a conversation.


                “So she’s a traitor to Equestria then,” Celestia said darkly, narrowing her eyes at the pony in Discord’s lap.


                Discord’s lip curled for a moment before he jumped up from his seat. “Scroob is no traitor,” he said firmly as he floated down the steps toward the unintimidated sisters. “In fact, she’s practically saved the world every day for the last twenty years. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if I would have ever thought to raise the sun. It’s not like your old man left a list of instructions for me,” he added nastily, turning on his heel and strolling back up the steps.


                “Now, if you would be so kind as to remove yourselves so we can focus on saving the world, that would be terrific.”


“Not so fast, snake!” A green orb exploded from the tip of Celestia’s horn. The ball suddenly expanded in a spiderweb pattern and wrapped around Discord, wrapping around him like a net. The prisoner gave a few uninterested tugs at the trap, each prod causing the net to crack with an unpleasant spark.


“I will make you regret those words. And when I locate Father’s legendary battle armor hidden in this palace, I will take pleasure in using its power to defeat you and your wicked brother!”


Diving from the throne and rushing to Discord’s side was Screwball’s very first instinct. But she remained frozen. The princess’ face was twisted and horrid, her eyes burning with all the wrath of her father. No one was ever brave or stupid enough to stand up to the king on a warpath. Screwball could remember every uproar, every explosion, every monstrous rampage of the Sun King, and all she could think to do was to hide in her tiny room and wait for it to be over.

                ‘Well you haven’t had the luxury of doing that for a long time, so stop being such a coward!’ Savoir Faire jeered from the back of Screwball’s mind.

                Screwball blinked. It was true. She had come under attack from the very first day she left the castle. Each threat had been more dangerous and frightening than the alicorns ever were, and every time she wanted nothing more than to run for her life. But she never did. Whether it was some insane wolf, or psycho circus pony, or horrible giant owl, or a whirlwind of pure chaos, she never once ran. She couldn’t.

‘Maybe I am a coward,’ Screwball thought as she purposefully marched down the steps, ‘but I’m brave when it matters.”


‘Try to take a swing at her for me.’


“You’re going to kill... Death?” the earth pony asked, looking at the two deposed princesses with contempt.


“It… does sound peculiar to say out loud. But we shall find a way to stop him.” Even Luna herself appeared unconvinced by her own declaration.


“Alright, then. Say you manage to stop Death. What will you do about the others?”


Celestia’s ears pricked up and she took her attention off her prisoner to stare down at this ally of chaos. “...Others?”


“Yes. Others. Discord has more psychotic family members than you have hooves. And I’ve had the pleasure of meeting every one of them and having them try to age me to dust, eat me alive, gas me to death, and hypnotize me into having sex with them. You spent twenty years trying to deal with one spirit, and you had the luxury of him not trying to kill you! Any other spirit would have killed you without even a second thought!”


Celestia rapidly looked from the earth pony to the proudly grinning draconequus in her net. Discord met her eyes and crossed over his chest before snapping his paw. He dropped the paper heart that appeared in his palm and gave Celestia a knowing wink.


“And you think that your heartless father’s armor is going to protect you from all of them?” Screwball’s ranting turned into a pained scream as another magical net wrapped around her, burning her skin wherever the magic touched her.

                “B-be quiet!” Celestia commanded through grit teeth as she stood over the squirming pony. “Tell me then! If these spirits are so fearsome, how did you survive against them? Just what protected you!?


                “Sister…?” Luna’s voice was soft but urgent as she cautiously stepped backward on trembling hooves.


                “Not now, Luna!” Celestia hissed.


                “Ahem.” Ice ran through her veins as she slowly turned fearful eyes to discover Discord, free from her spell, towering over her. She jumped backwards in what she hoped was a fighting stance. Celestia took her eyes off of Discord for only a moment to look at the space around his head. The air was melting like wax.


                She felt his eyes burning into her even as he was pulling the net off of the purple pony. He crumpled the magic into a ball in his fist as he stomped toward her, his every footstep sounding with a crack of thunder or a guttural roar. It dawned on Celestia as she joined with Luna that she was witnessing something she had never seen before: Discord was angry. Furious. But why? For that pony? What did he care about any pony?


                Celestia’s thoughts shifted as the seething draconequus came closer, the warped space around his head oozing down and puddling on the ground. Her heart was racing but her mind was even faster as she tried to anticipate what he would do to her. He had never laid a hand on her before. Even while she was trying to murder him, he never once tried to fight back. It had always infuriated her. It made her feel as though he didn’t think of her as a serious power. But now, as she feared that she may very well die before Equestria, she realized what a blessing it had been.


                She heard herself whimper when her rear hooves pressed against the wall. The cry was taken back with a sharp inhale, and Celestia wrapped her neck around Luna’s in one final embrace as she waited for the strike.


                “To answer your question,” Discord growled, leaning in close to Celestia’s ear. “Me.”


                Celestia shivered at the word and braced for the worst. Sweat dripped down her forehead as she waited for the strike, the blast, the end, anything. But it never came. After what felt like an eternity, she dared to peek her eye open and screamed as a rubber balloon exploded against her face, staining her pristine coat with soy sauce.


                “I—But—You—Augh! Discord!!


“Hahahahaa! It’s too easy! It’s too easy, Celestia!” Discord howled with laughter as he rolled on the floor, oblivious or uncaring as the still-shaking alicorn fled from the room, leaving a trail of dark brown spots behind her. When he was finally able to put a lid on his giggles and wipe away his tears, he was surprised to see Luna still standing in the doorway, regarding him curiously. He raised an eyebrow in intrigue, but after several seconds of silence he decided he was tired of waiting.


“Do you have something you want to say?”


“Your laugh sounds happier.” Luna immediately turned and trotted out the doorway after her sister, leaving Discord feeling puzzled until the last of the princess’s hoofsteps faded away.


                “Darn it,” Screwball cursed as she rose to her hooves and shook off the last tingles of magic from her coat, “she was right there! And I completely forgot to tell her off about their stupid owl duke!”

                “You had quite the life before I came along, didn’t you?” Discord chuckled as he made his way back toward her at the foot of the throne.

                “And after. I think that maybe I’m just not cut out for normalcy,” she lamented.  

                “It’s overrated anyway. But you’re looking in pretty good shape for somepony who just got attacked by a fussy alicorn. Are you sure you’re alright?”

                “Yeah, I’m... Actually, I am.” She shifted uncomfortably as Discord kept his eyes on her, though she felt as if he was looking clear through her. “Is there a problem?”

                Discord took a moment before he answered, shaking his head as he strolled over to the single clear window. “No, not at all. Everything’s just peachy. That is, if we aren’t counting how I’m going to have to get myself killed to save Equestria. It’s a great day.”


                “Have I ever told you how much I love that little squawk you do when you get upset?” Discord asked sweetly, batting his suddenly enormous eyelashes in a futile attempt to get a giggle out of the pony.

                “How did you get it into your head that getting killed would make anything better?”

                “Because of you.” Discord half-expected her eyes would pop right out of her head. “You said it yourself, Screwball. ‘A king has to make sacrifices for his subjects.’ Celestia’s mother and father gave their lives to protect Equestria from me. Now it’s my turn.”

                “That’s not what I—There’s no point in a sacrifice if it only makes everything worse!” Screwball’s voice strained as she shouted the last word.


                “It’s win-win. If I beat them, then I save everypony. Then I could start pulling back some of the chaos and things will be okay again,” he said solemnly as he looked out the window at the world of chaos outside.


                “And if I… don’t, then I’ll be out of their hair for good and they won’t have any reason to go through with destroying the world. All the chaos will be gone again and everything will be okay again. There’ll be no more ponies worried about shift storms, or falling houses crushing them, or wild animals attacking them…” He turned from the window to give Screwball a weak smile. “So you see? It’s win-win. That’s why I said this was goodbye.”


                “No…! No!” Screwball yelled, thrashing her head back and forth, making her mane bounce around and her beanie’s propeller clatter. “There’s got to be another way! We’ve just got to think about this, you don’t have to do this!”


                Discord closed his eyes and leaned his horns against the wall by the window with a strained exhale. “Do you know what I always envied about you, Scroob? It’s that you like to think so much. You always sit and wait and come up with all these ideas and plans. But that’s something I envy about all you ponies. Those little marks on your rears. They stand for what you’re talented at, but not who you are. They’re only a small part of you. You found out that you excelled at making ponies laugh. But you never had to become a jester in the palace. You never had to do anything related to your mark if you didn’t want to. For all of my magic and my powers, you could do more than I ever could.

                “Me? I don’t have some little thing that tells others who I am and what I’m good for. Instead, I have...” he trailed off and simply waved his paw in front of his entire body. “It’s all of me. So I never had the ability to make choices. My first and only instinct was ‘turn it upside-down’ or ‘make it sticky’. There’s no thought or reason involved, I just have to do what I have to do. And this is something that I have to do.” He finished by kneeling down to look Screwball in the eyes. White and purple clashing with red and gold, begging and pleading the other to stop. Discord took not satisfaction when Screwball turned her eyes away, looking defeated.


                “If this is really something that you have to do,” Screwball began, swallowing her courage, “then I have to do it, too.”


                Discord had to pick his jaw up off the floor. “I think I had something crazy in my ear, could you run that by me again?”


                “I’m serious. I promised you that I’d follow you and make sure that you stay safe. So that means I’m coming with you,” Screwball declared.


                “Oh no you don’t!” Discord shook a finger in Screwball’s face. “If you come with me, you’ll only get yourself hurt or worse!”


                “No I won’t.”


                “How do you figure that?” he snorted.


                “Because I know you’ll protect me, too,” Screwball answered with a soft smile. “So I guess that means we have to stay with each other to keep our promises.”


                Discord flapped his mouth uselessly for a few seconds as he tried to mull over the not-so-twisted logic, letting his eye twitch as he realized it was the wrong kind of nonsensical. The good kind.

                “Are you… are you being crafty with me right now?” Discord asked, his voice practically a gasp. “Suddenly now you start getting clever?”


                “I guess I just needed the right motivation,” Screwball replied with a shrug and a smug grin.


                He tried to fight it for as long as he could, but he was helpless. A smirk split across his face, completely destroying any hope for his cause. But when life gives you melons, you make melonade.

                “Alright then, have it your way.” Discord snapped his fingers and the two were popped into the air by the force of an enormous wooden chest slamming to the floor. The spirit had already thrown the top open and was almost completely submerged in it before Screwball even had the time to ask “what’s that?”.


                “It’s simple,” Discord’s voice echoed from inside the chest as he threw a random collection of pies, pastries, cupcakes, juggling balls, bowling pins, strings of bells, spinning plates, seltzer bottles, kazoos, paper fans, and a dozen other pieces of junk out from the chest to scatter around the room. “If I’m going to be seen with you in a final battle, I can’t have you looking like that.”

                “Like what?” Screwball dared Discord to choose his words carefully.

                “You’re so...” he pulled his head from the trunk and twisted his mouth side to side as he tried to choose the perfect word. “You’re so naked!” he settled as he dove back in. “This is a formal event, Screwball! We can’t have you just strutting up and letting it all hang out! You’ll embarrass me in front of my family!”


                “I can’t even believe what I’m hearing.”


                “So to correct this, I’m going to give you a little wardrobe update. Voilà!” In one smooth movement, Discord had pulled out a glittering silver cape and draped it around Screwball’s neck. The cloak immediately conformed to her body, wrapping around her like a second skin.


                “Here we go! Only worn once on a trip to Austallia, this cloak is sleek, stylish, and made with pure chaos magic. The perfect thing when you want to impress a gang of ancient forces of nature, and protect yourself when they try to rip you to shreds to get their hands on it!”


                “That’s a lovely mental image,” Screwball said flatly as she ran a hoof along the fabric.


                “I could have been the Spirit of Marketing,” Discord said with a cheesy grin. He flicked the propeller beanie while Screwball was entertaining herself with the robe and began to count under his breath.


                “So this is really going to protect me from… Discord?”




                “Why am I hovering in the air?”


                “Seven seconds. I thought it would take longer,” Discord hummed as he looked at the pocket watch embedded in his claw. “But to answer your question, it’s because they can all fly.”


                “You really thought this all out,” Screwball observed with an impressed smile as she practiced with the beanie for a bit. She was delighted to find that controlling it was as simple as wanting to move in a direction.


                “What more can I say? I’m in my element. But we aren’t done yet!”


                “We aren’t?”


                “Of course not! What, first you want to show up in the buff, and now you’re expecting that I’m just going to have you flying around on the sidelines? Oooh no, sister! If you want to tag along, you’ll have to get your hooves dirty!” Discord said anxiously and gave a sharp whistle.

                The chest spun in the air, steadily becoming smaller and shaking as it hovered. As it did, the piles of junk Discord had littered the room with flew into action and poured into the shrinking chest. The chest dropped back down to the ground, this time with a much less dramatic crash. Discord scooped the transmogrified saddlebag up with his tail and hung it around her back. He gave it one last touch and turned the wood pattern into a design of light purple and white swirling together with a screw and a baseball emblem on the face of it.


                “So this is my arsenal for fighting the spirits of nature, huh? A bunch of whatever you had lying around? You could have at least set me up with one of those spring-loaded boxing gloves.” Screwball wasn’t even surprised when her request was granted.


                “They’re all made from my magic. It’s funny to think, but a single one of those cupcakes could do more harm to a spirit than Celestia ever could with all their trinkets put together.”


                “And how much harm can one of these cupcakes actually do?”


                “Don’t eat any of them if you get hungry,” Discord advised with a scheming wink.


                “I’ll keep that in mind.” Screwball tightened the strap of the saddlebag with her mouth and found for the umpteenth time that Discord had his eyes glued to her with a curious expression.


                “You’ve certainly been staring at me a lot lately. Do I have something on my face?”


                “I was just noticing how calm you are about all of this,” Discord said.


                “Yeah… I guess I am,” Screwball agreed. It was strange that she hadn’t noticed it before. Her heart wasn’t pounding, her knees weren’t shaking, and her voice wasn’t cracking—she was even telling jokes! What was happening to her?


                “Ha! It really is the end of the world if you aren’t worrying about something,” Discord ribbed, tussling Screwball’s mane playfully.


                “Why would I worry? There’s only one way this can possibly end.”


                “And how’s that?”


                Screwball grinned. “I’ll tell you after. So are we ready?”


                “Just about.” Discord scooped the pony out of the air and squeezed her tight in a warm hug for a few seconds before letting her go. “There. A nice, traditional draconequus good luck ritual to see us off.”


                The two shared another hug and vanished in a flash.


<<Chapter Fourteen -- Chapter Sixteen>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work. “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

I got into an argument with one of my kidnappers today. I hope they don’t stay mad at me. We usually get along so great.

FiMfiction Link

“Here he is. The prodigal son returns,” Death announced as Discord and Screwball approached.


“Would it not be. More punctilious to say the prodigal. Brother?” Time interjected.


“Does it matter that much do you, dear Brother Time?”


“Yes, Brother Love. It does.”


“Can we please not fight about this right now?”


“No one is talking to you, Harmony,” Death snapped.


“How can you be so rude to her when you insisted on her coming?” Life huffed.


Discord rolled his eyes as the five spirits continued bickering. How he could have ever passed up the opportunity to join their little club, he had no idea. He smothered a wince before it could begin when his gesture accidentally provided him with a better view of the area. Shaking it off, he cast his eyes around him, taking in the barren wasteland that would witness his greatest shame and his greatest triumph.


It was strange to think that he had his humble beginnings in such an empty and dour place. Maybe it used to be exciting but then all the fun got transferred into him when we was born? Though, seeing how it was a gulch, it was likely that it was a pretty plain plain to begin with. Hah! Even in the face of abject annihilation, he still had it! Now that he had broken the ice, he could actually have a proper look around the place.


The half-lit sky colored everything with patches of black and peach yellow, as night and day still struggled for equilibrium. A tiny trickle of water cut through the muddy ground and divided the desert in half. Tall and jagged cliffs rounded around one corner of Bison Gulch’s border and by all that is turbid it was so dull! It would be hard to feel bad about anything he had done to any geologists when this was over. With a lame sigh, Discord redirected his attention back to his squabbling ‘family.’


The first one he noticed was big brother Death casting his shadow over everyone around. The others were puny in comparison. He saw good ol’ Creepy the owl ticking and twitching along as always. There was something different about Love, though he couldn’t quite put a finger on it. What really caught his interest were the two new faces.


One of them was a cow, standing proudly despite, or because of, the impossible amount of paunch stretching from her stomach. Intrigued, Discord blinked a few times to get a good look at the glowing colors his sister had brought, and then he proceeded to blink several more times after being nearly blinded by the enormity of the light radiating from her. Two white, downy wings folded against her back, making him wonder if those were because she really was not able to walk—or maybe she wasn’t even able to fly with those small things. Perhaps this was one of those catoblepases Death had mentioned before.


On the back of the cow was a much less impressive sight. He had always imagined phoenixes as splendid, majestic creatures striking awe with just their very presence. This one looked like it thought it could turn invisible if it wished really hard and quivered like a gelatin earthquake. He had seen fireflies that burned brighter than this sad thing.


“Should we come back later?” Discord called at long last. The wait was killing him more than anything the spirits could muster could. Not out of anxiety, but out of boredom of waiting around.  


“Or maybe you’d like to come back another time?” Screwball added boldly. Wings flapped urgently as Time took to the air, squawking with the sound of grinding gears.


HeBrought the abomination!” the owl shrieked, burning yellow eyes focused on the pony who was too busy being puzzled to be insulted. As quickly as his outburst started, Time reigned himself back in, moving in reverse motion to resume his calm stance beside his brethren.


“Brother,” the cow addressed Discord as she moved to the front of the pack. Her wings fluttered to assist her legs in transporting her girth, yet somehow the glide remained quite balletic. “You may call me Life. And this,” she motioned to the jittery phoenix on her back, “is your starving sister Harmony. We are here to make our final offer to you.”


The firebird looked from Life to Discord several times before giving a shudder and fluttering off of her back and clumsily landing on her feet. She slowly took a few hops toward the unimpressed draconequus, shrinking even further under his glare. She twisted her head away and clenched her eyes tight as she tried to move closer, and she was certain she heard one of the others moan behind her. It was probably Death. It was usually Death.


“B-brother? I know that we’ve never… spoken with each other before. I, um… I was supposed to see you one time, but I didn’t. I’m sorry!” she shouted as she flinched, waiting for some strike. “I just d-didn’t think I could be much help in convincing you before. But… I’m hoping that you could find it in your heart to… come… with us? We’re all hurting very badly, and no one wants to do anything to all these nice ponies. If you just came, then everything would be okay and eep!


Harmony cringed and was paralysed as two hands scooped her off of the ground and lifted her upward. She kept her beak tucked against her chest, shivering in fear of what would come. It was strange that it wasn’t cold, though. The air around Chaos and his pony was lukewarm, unlike almost everywhere else in the country. And it came as a complete shock at how soft her brother’s paws were. Could she… should she?


Taking a chance, Harmony slowly opened her eyes to see Discord directly at her. His face was completely still, but she could almost feel something inside his head tumbling, changing, thinking about what she said. She even risked a hopeful smile.


Discord clamped his paws around the bird and hurled her into the air like a screaming, feathery football. “In your dreams!”


Harmony’s terrifying flight came to a merciful end when she was caught inside of a red bubble. Her screaming only stopped once Love lowered the bubble down to the ground and let her drop onto Life’s back.


“That really, really makes me…” Harmony simmered, conjuring up all her raw fury before she finally cried out, “Have a hard time getting along with you!”


“That went as swimmingly as we could have hoped for,” Love scoffed, tossing his mane dramatically and angling himself toward Discord and Screwball.


“Do you look different?” Discord asked after watching the pink alicorn toss his body around for a bit.


“Oh, you noticed!” Love cheered, clapping his hooves together gleefully. “Yes, I thought that I would change my look a little bit. How do you like it?”


Screwball tilted her head to the side. The Spirit of Love was drastically shorter and less muscular than last time. Even the wings were smaller. His coat was dyed a lighter shade of pink, and his mane and tail now fell low to the ground in curls of gold, rose, and violet hair. His flank bore a new cutie mark as well, a teal crystal heart laced with gold. The longer she looked, the more she felt that her observations were threatening to become something more. She urgently shook the thoughts from her head and gaped at Love in disbelief.

“I think becoming a mare is more than just ‘changing your look a little bit,’” Screwball said.


“Do you like it?”

“I… eh…”


“Brother Love, do. Stop frat-er-niz… IngWith the enemy.”


“I’m just fishing for compliments, you don’t have to ruin everything for me—”


All other voices were lost under the sound of the thunderous roar bellowing out from Death’s mouth. The howl rung in the air long after he had finished to scowl down at the rest of the assembled spirits.


“Can we get on with this already? The world is going to end on its own by the time you’re all done talking!” Death boomed.


“Patience, Brother, wait just another—“ Life’s words died mid-sentence as Death snapped his enormous jaws inches away from her face.

“Death waits for nothing!”


“Brother Time may be able to change your mind,” Life retorted. The basilisk growled and raised his head to stew and mutter above the rest of the spirits. Life allowed her glare to linger on her brother before turning it on Discord.


“I never wanted it to come to this, Brother Chaos, but you have left us with no other options. We are dying, and if you will not concede to our generous offer and leave this mortal plain with us, our only chance for survival is to wipe this world clean and start again.”


“My name is Discord,” he corrected through clenched teeth. “And how dare you come to my kingdom, threaten my subjects with annihilation, and call yourselves the victims!”


“You have lived long enough in your schizoid paracosm,” Time clicked. “You have no valid argument. To claim greater ownership of this. World over us. We are within our right to ensure our survival.”


“Not when it’s at the cost of millions of lives! All those ponies and dragons and all manner of creatures will be erased! Wiped out as if they never existed! And none of that matters to you?”


“And do they matter to you?” Life questioned.


“Of course they do.”


“All of them?”


“No. But there’s more than enough of them worth protecting.”


Love tutted, “You really believe there’s any room in your heart for true compassion? I can see to the real you, and there isn’t even enough room for a heart! If they really mattered to you, you would never have torn their world apart so senselessly. At your core, you’re still a spirit and as selfish as you see us to be.”


“If you will not leave this world willingly, then we will remove one from the other by whatever means necessary,” Life announced as the other four spirits began a slow advance, their expressions ranging from fearful, to expressionless, to uncontained enthusiasm.


“You haven’t stopped me yet.”


“Perhaps,” Death hummed as his horrible teeth twisted into a smile, “but from what I’ve seen, I’m much better at killing things than you are.”


Discord kept a straight face as the world glowed around him. It was coming in from every direction now. He felt the ground moving beneath his feet, as if Bison Gulch was stirring from its slumber to witness the new war. Screwball burned like a torch as she hovered at the ready, her eyes locked on one specific enemy as she dug in her saddlebag for the proper tool. Even the other spirits were all tainted now, making the sensation greater as they closed in. The blaze exploded in his stomach, racing out to consume every fiber of him once again. It was halted, forced down, and contained with only the slightest thought of a purple pony, but it was not extinguished. Discord let it burn hotter than the sun but no bigger than an ember, keeping it as the smallest part of him.


He was the Spirit of Chaos, a draconequus, a king, and a protector. But above all else, he was Discord.


“That may be true.” Discord let a playful grin creep across his face. “But I still might surprise you.”


Death lunged forward, mouth opened wide to swallow them whole. Discord and Screwball dove to opposite sides of the basilisk’s head as he thrashed in fury, struggling to pull his fangs from the hard earth. Discord stumbled on his feet, unable to reclaim his balance before a pair of silver talons clamped around his arms. Time’s grip tightened the more Discord struggled to break away. With his limbs threatening to snap at any second, he summoned a spark of magic to flow through his arms. Discord effortlessly pulled his arms free and smacked Time away with his tail.




“Butter fingers,” Discord answered mockingly, licking some of the yellow cream off his arm. “Margarine?”


Time took to the air again and screeched in preparation of another dive. The war cry became a rattling wheeze as a silver and purple blur slammed into the owl’s chest with an echoing clang. His moment of vulnerability was punished with a buck to the stomach that made his head spin. With the sense knocked out of him, Time’s body instinctively acted to escape. He raced for the far end of the gulch, leaving his brothers to fight alone until he could get away from his attacker.


“That’s the spirit, Scroob!” Discord cheered to Screwball as she chased after the owl and pelted him with whatever she pulled from her saddlebag.


“Sister Harmony, would you be a dear and help Brother Time?” Love sighed.


“Okay. If you think it would help.” Harmony took a few steps before her wings finally lifted her up and after the pony. “Please stop! It’s dangerous!”


Love shook his head in embarrassment of his sister, tossing his mane out of place. He tried to raise a hoof to adjust it, but found his legs were trapped in a giant puddle of glue. The alicorn became uneasy as six miniature Discord clones appeared around him, each one holding some sort of giant, colorful foam tube in front of them.


The Discords didn’t wait for Love to even ask before they began to pummel him with all the malicious glee that a foam pool noodle could bring. At first he had wondered if wetting the tips would be too cruel, but he had a world to save. The lashing continued for a good minute before one of the copies noticed the shadow that had moved over them.


“Hey, other mes. We should probably split,” the Discord said nervously.


“What? You mean again?” another asked.


“I mean out of the way of the big rock,” the first said flatly, pointing up. Death had freed his mouth and had taken a five hundred pound souvenir with him, clenching the boulder in his teeth. The Discords collectively gave a small “oh” and slid together as the rock plummeted closer.

In an instant, the two spirits were taking cover under a giant trampoline. The light from the spell didn’t have time to fade by the time the boulder dropped onto the bounce mat. The fabric stretched close to the ground and snapped up, throwing the stone back at Death, striking him solidly on the jaw and sending him onto his back.


“Hey, look! We’re like twins now!” Discord called as the serpent tried to shake away the mother of all migraines. Death came to his senses once he laid eyes on his younger brother reclining on a bloody, basilisk-sized tooth. He ran his forked tongue along the inside of his mouth, stopping when he tasted his own blood where one of his fangs used to be.


“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I think I’m just going to—ah yes, there it is,” Death said as a new fang sprouted with a small gush of blood.


“Be that way. But I’m keeping this! The Tooth Fairy is going to go berserk when she sees this one!” A pungent smell was all the warning Discord was given before he was overwhelmed by a cloud of noxious gas. It felt as if his entire body was corroding away. He struggled in pain for what felt like decades before he managed to click his fingers together and teleport away from that searing hell.


The instant he reappeared, Death was already spewing another torrent of gas his way. The draconequus flapped his mismatched wings and sped in every direction he could think of, keeping his path as erratic as possible to stay ahead of the poison as he tried to plan. Discord knew that he wouldn’t be able to last long against Death in a straight fight. The basilisk was undeniably more apt at killing any target that came in sight and just as eager, but Discord had imagination and the ability to put it to use. And did he ever have some good ideas.


Discord took off for the sky, veering from side to side to avoid the bursts of poison chasing him. He thought it strange that the sky had suddenly become overcast at some point in the battle, mostly because he had no idea where they could have come from. Chaos only knew that the pegasi certainly weren’t making them today. The idea crossed his mind that perhaps the clouds had appeared in response to his own sense of drama, which seemed like the likely answer when he cut through one to discover it was made of rice pudding. He chose one out of the many at random and burrowed inside of it.


It did not take Death long to follow after, muttering spitefully about the childish nonsense of the clouds as he dessert clung to his feathers and hair. He coasted, slithering around clouds and keeping his eyes opened for any sign of motion. There was no chance of him going inside one of those floating pudding cups to find Discord. He was not about to try flying blind and wind up getting caught in a sneak attack. Even more, he refused to return from battle covered in pudding of all things. No. He would wait for his victim to show himself, and when he did, Death would be prepared.


Death gave an alligator grin when he spotted a cloud jiggle not far from him. He rushed ahead and cleaved the cloud in half with his tail. He was not prepared for two enormous, muscular arms to burst out from the cut halves and grab him by the neck and tail. His first instinct was to gas the arms, but it was not such an easy task with a crushed windpipe. Death cursed the fragility of this flesh body as his mind went hazy. In one final act of desperation, he tossed his head backwards. His hair stabbed into the hand binding his neck, the poison-tipped quills instantly making the arm go limp. A blast of acidic breath then melted the second hand away. Though he was free, Death was far from happy.


“You must think you’re very clever,” he sneered at thin air, “but you cannot hide forever.” It was remarkable that Chaos had the restraint to stay hidden for so long, Death thought as he continued to stalk around the clouds. Given his very nature, it would only require the tiniest bit of bait to make him crack. “If you have no time for me, then perhaps I’ll entertain myself by finding your little pony. I could go for a snack.”  


He threw himself around and dove behind him at the faint sound of fluttering wings. He flapped his wings with all he had, cutting a trail as he streamed above a cloud, refusing to allow Discord to slip away again. Unleashing a roar as he climbed to the peak of the cloud, he looked down and finally found his target.


“All forces, attack!” Discord gave the order to a fleet of squealing troops. The pigasi squadron scattered like confetti, diving around the basilisk’s snapping jaws and charging helmet-first into his soft underbelly. Death thrashed and spewed at the pigs wherever he found them, but for every dozen that came into sight, another dozen slipped away and caught him by surprise.


“And Luna thought I was ‘weird’ for liking pigs so much,” Discord laughed as he adjusted his aviator goggles and red scarf. The nose of the furry triplane growled when he pushed forward on the yoke, sending it diving beneath the rest of the skirmish. “I bet she’d say the same thing about a bearplane. No one has any respect for vision.”


After dropping low enough, the Discord pulled back up. Death was still being held in place by the pigasi, fighting with inspiring pluckiness for creatures that had been pudding clouds just a few moments ago. And with the diversion a success, it was time for the Red Bearon to rejoin the fray. Discord pushed the two triggers and the dual machine guns pummelled the basilisk’s underbelly with a rapid-fire spray of bright green glow sticks. Death roared and writhed as the sticks punctured his scales, lashing out in blind fury at anything around him.


Without a clear shot, Discord changed his tactics and continued his fire at any moment he wasn’t rolling to avoid being obliterated by a swinging tail or a pig swatted from the air. His knuckles whitened around the plane’s controls. The pigasi were being taken out by the handful now with the remaining soldiers slowing as the magic holding them faded. But they had to hold on, just for a little bit longer. Just long enough to wear Death out and give Discord time to figure out how he was going to bring himself to kill him.


He threw his arms up to protect his face as his triplane’s wings were ripped to shreds around him. Discord narrowly avoided getting his head pierced by an arrow turning around to see the bogey behind him. Love was on his tail, each flap of his wings launching a volley of heart-tipped arrows ahead. Discord didn’t have the chance to shout “mayday” before his engine exploded in front of him and tore what remained of the plane to smithereens. If there was a higher power in the universe that wasn’t currently trying to kill him, he would have thanked it for making the cloud he crashed into out of pudding and not concrete. But since there wasn’t any, he settled for blacking out.


“Do you need a hand, Brother dear?” Love cooed, trying without success to stop from snickering at the sight of Death personified struggling against a few ham sandwiches with wings.


“I don’t need help to—”


“To kill, maim, murder, blah blah blah. You’re so glib, I hope you know,” the alicorn snipped. His horn shimmered with blue light and a puffy red heart began to expand from the tip, stretching like a rubber balloon until it finally drifted into the air. Within seconds, the pigs had abandoned their attack to cluster around Love’s spell, oinking and squealing with delight as the pressed against the heart.


Their ecstasy was destined to be short-lived. Death belched out a wave of gas that entirely consumed the gathering. When he inhaled the smoke back into his body, the pigs were gone.


“What’s going to work?” Love sing-songed.


“You’re ruining the afterglow.”


“Teamwork!” Discord’s voice appeared before the rest of him.


“Thank you!” Love cheered. Satisfied, he turned to frown at Death. “Why can’t you be more like Brother Chaos?”


“Because we’re trying to destroy him,” Death answered flatly.


“Are we? You see, I got confused after someone tried to drop a boulder on me!”


“You’re fine now, aren’t you?”


“No thanks to you! If Sister Life hadn’t come to help, I just might not have been able to come and help you with your piggy problem in time.”


“What is the cow doing here, anyway?” Discord spoke up. It was starting to get insulting that the spirits kept ignoring him in the middle of his own showdown.


 Love was nearly surprised to see Discord still there. “She’s here to ensure that our bodies are not destroyed before yours is. Speaking of which.” A blue web launched from his horn and constricted around Discord, binding him in place.


Discord immediately noticed that the spell was considerably more painful than Celestia’s attempt. Once he was finished processing the agonizing pain coursing through his body, he also noticed that flight was difficult even for him without the use of wings. And as he fell through the cloud layer to find Bison Gulch rapidly expanding to greet him like an old friend, he considered if being ignored had really been all that bad.


Once upon a time, in a fit of curiosity, Discord had discovered that he didn’t have a spine or any ordinary bones to speak of. Instead, his skeleton was almost entirely cartilaginous. So while he could truthfully boast that he could fall six thousand feet into solid rock without breaking a single bone, it came as little comfort when all the cartilage in his body had been reduced to powder.


“Uuooh… Am I dead yet?” Lines and shapes blurred into a muddled soup as his eyelids involuntarily twitched open and shut. But he did not need to see to know what was casting a shadow over him.

“Just about.”


Something rough and wet wrapped around his waist and Discord was hoisted upward. A hot and foul wind blew against him, and then everything went damp. For something that was just one enormous neck, Discord was surprised how short the fall down the oesophagus was. As far as he could tellm it was to make room for more stomach.


He lied still on his back, completely motionless aside from the occasional pained grimace. Even the slightest attempt to move his broken fingers felt like having a railroad spike forced down his arm. The results of his tests weren’t very enheartening: only one pinkie claw was still useable. So unless being able to show manners at a tea party would open a fresh-smelling exit from the leviathan, any chance of using his magic seemed unlikely. Just the way he liked it.


“Here’s one for the list,” Discord wheezed to himself as he lifted his finger up. He rose to his feet a second later, sore but mobile, and pulled a rolled parchment and a quill from thin air. Between “Blue whale naughtiness” and “World hunger,” he scribbled in “What is the sound of one finger snapping?” before scratching it out.


The next order of business was to think a way out of the enormous stomach and never speak of it again. The most obvious solution was to teleport, so there was no chance of that. The second most obvious answer was not a pretty one. His next idea was to light a fire inside Death’s mouth and make him sneeze him out. It might have worked if the spirit didn’t already use smoke as mouthwash. After a few more seconds of brainstorming Discord snapped his fingers in triumph.


A seven-foot tall peppershaker appeared, complete with tail fins and a fuse. He struck his right leg’s claws along the end of the fuse and held onto the peppershaker for all he had in him. In just seconds, he was rocketing halfway up Death’s throat and screaming like a kid in an amusement park. He held out his paw and grabbed onto the uvula when he reached it, letting the rocket crash into the roof of the beast’s mouth and explode in a shower of pepper.


Death’s mouth flew open in a violent hacking fit, spitting pepper, glass, and an underwhelmed draconequus in every direction. The ultimate goal was to get out, true, but the coughing completely ruined the presentation. He wanted a sneeze! Was that too much to ask?


“I’m going to chose to remember this with you sneezing me out,” Discord informed his brother as he finished clearing his throat.


“He certainly is tenacious,” Love commented.


“I don’t know what you did in there,” Death snarled in preparation for another lunge, “but this time I’ll be sure to chew.”


“You know what? I was on the fence before, but now I’m not even going to feel bad about this,” Discord said while slowly dropping to the ground.


“About what?”


Discord unscrewed his goat horn and held it parallel to his mouth. “You never took those glow sticks out of you.”




“I didn’t fill them with chaos magic.” He blew into the horn, and there came the sound of a flute.


Death dove forward to snatch his brother while he was vulnerable. He opened his mouth wide, the rushing wind around his teeth whistling in a hollow wail. Just one bite was all it would take. A snap, a crunch, a tear! And once he was finished with the appetizer, the real feast would begin!


His jaws came together with the power to split stone. Discord didn’t bat an eye at the snap mere feet above him. His fingers moved with a shocking yet dazzling grace as he gently breathed into the flute, the music coming not from him, but from the earth and sky, dancing on the wind. Love could only stand and listen in awe as the music became louder, stronger, but never harsher. It was beautiful and somber, fragile and mystic, with a power that felt as if it had a mind of its own.




Death screamed noiselessly. No matter how hard he fought, he could not will his body to move. What was this?! All control had been stolen from him, yet he could still feel every ounce of pain that burned across his body. Across every inch of him, tendrils were stretching, growing, and spreading in every direction. They tore through his skin, forcing away his scales as they pushed upward. He watched in horror as his brother’s trickery came to fruition.


Trees. All over his body, trees were pushing out from his skin and overtaking him. Those green sticks hadn’t been weaponry, they were seeds! Like millions of shovels all scraping and digging at his flesh! Boring into his nerves, paralysing him, making him a hostage in his own body! The torture had nearly reached his head now, and he only hoped that it would deafen him to Discord’s noise.


A blast of magic caught Discord in the stomach and everything stopped. The instant Death felt control of his body return to him, he stretched his wings and retreated for the center of Bison Gulch, leaving a trail of branches and leaves in his wake.


“I am truly sorry for that, Brother,” Love apologized as he waited for Discord to reattach his horn. “It was… beautiful.”


“If you liked that, you should hear me on the sousaphone.”




“Sister,” Death spoke with as much dignity as he could, “I am in need of some aid.”


Life sniffed at the sight of her brother’s injuries and turned her head. “I’m not going to waste my energy on you when the others still have more than enough to manage the situation.”

“I wasn’t asking.”



“You should—not be—here,” Time stated as he slipped between temporal rifts.


“Like I already told him, there’s no way I’d stand by and let you get away with this!” Screwball yelled back as she tossed a bowling pin in an arc over her head. The pin spun in the air and struck Time in the head as he emerged from a portal, sending the spirit’s head spinning.


“O-okay, I think that you’ve had enough of that.” Harmony’s attempts to placate the mare only inspired her to hurl her weaponry even harder. “What if, instead of throwing the pie, we just sat down and shared it—look out! Oh… Could you possibly try throwing a little more gently at least?”


Time hacked up a gear when a spring-loaded boxing glove blasted him in the stomach. Flapping his wings madly, he split open half a dozen tears in space and dove into one at random.


“Okay, you didn’t throw that one, but that still isn’t what I meant,” Harmony explained, discomfited. It was starting to feel like the pony was deliberately trying to upset her. And with how close Screwball was cutting every throw, she almost thought she didn’t mind hitting her, too! No more playing around, things were getting serious. It was time for extreme measures. Harmony tried to swallow the lump in her throat, but it didn’t want to go away, so she just let it stay there until it was ready to go on its own.


Harmony shut her eyes tight and dove at Screwball with her wings spread wide. It was now or never. Time to show all the others what she was really made of! She opened her eyes and smiled in excitement—her plan was working! She was headed straight for the pony’s throat and moving too fast for her to react. She struck dead on and wrapped her blazing wings around her neck in a gentle hug.


“Shh… I think we should just take a minute to talk this over. I’m sure we can all get along if we just communicate,” Harmony said as she petted Screwball’s curly mane. Screwball gaped at the mighty spirit cuddling against her cheek with a mixture of confusion, genuine comfort, and anger.


“Where were you when that wolf was trying to make me into a snack?” she huffed.


“I’m sorry.”


The pony had to sigh at the timid little thing. She could only hope she had never been such a pushover in palace life. If she had been, she had certainly more than made up for it since. Just look where she was now! Advisor to the king of Equestria, sort of! Flying all on her own, in a way! Holding her ground and battling for the fate of the entire world! When she wasn’t indulging one of her enemies in an awkward hug.


“No more fighting anymore, alright?” Harmony said soothingly.

“Hhff… Alright,” Screwball agreed, defeated. “I guess I can just wait and kill time until Discord finishes.” If Harmony hadn’t been enjoying her first real hug so much, she would have jumped for joy. “And there he is now!”


Time held up one wing to shield his body against a shotgun blast of confetti while he used the other to cut a new tear to flee through. He couldn’t even get his head through before a jump rope snared his feet and yanked him away. He tumbled back and righted himself, spinning his head around to find where his opponent would come from next. In any other situation, his foresight would have made him untouchable. But this creature’s anomalousness left him all but powerless. Even the most basic manipulation of the flow of time became challenging in her presence. A horrible rattle from his midsection forced him to retch and regurgitate another jam and lug nut pellet. He was too crippled to even reverse the harm done to him. With every passing second, the syrups and creams she bombarded him with oozed further in his chassis and made simple motion a trial.


Screwball slammed into Time’s head from above. It wouldn’t have come as a surprise to her if she kicked his head out through his bottom. And with the sound it made, she had no doubt that was hurting the stupid bird even if she didn’t feel a thing. Time jerked his wings asynchronously as he struggled just to stay in the air so Screwball took the opening to hit the spirit with everything she could grab. Twenty pound juggling balls mercilessly pummelled his armored body. Steel-tipped playing cards punctured his frame and created gaps to the revealed machinery inside. The cracks were covered with pies that exploded in a shower of foam that seeped through the holes.


Time gave a slow caw and fell like a chunk of lead, crashing to the Gulch below. Screwball looked over at her handiwork with some dark pride. The owl was helpless on its back, every part of it moving out of sync with the rest of its body. Toes kicked, wings twitched, his beak stretched open again and again, and then everything would reset all at once and resume the pathetic display. The lights behind the glass dome eyes were dim and wavering, like an electric candle blinking to death. Screwball wordlessly dug into her back and withdrew a seltzer bottle and a cupcake for the coup de grace on her long-overdue payback.


“Please! No more fighting!” Harmony wailed as she threw herself over her larger brother’s body in a failing attempt to shield him.  

“He started this when he tried killing me back at that hotel,” Screwball said coldly.


“What I… in…ten…ded was a mer-cy,” Time droned brokenly, his voice slowing and hastening at random, “com…pared to Chaos’ med-dl-ings. He… has… doomed you I. OfferMy deepest… sympathy-yey-ies.”


“I’m not going to listen to your garbage this time,” Screwball said as she stepped forward. Harmony flinched but remained loyal in her defense even as the pony readied her final blow.


“You have not aged.” Screwball froze. “It is his… fault and only-ly-ly the begin…ning.”


“Tell me what you know. Now.”


“You are… an abomina…tion never. Seen before. In. History. Lay-ered in the magic of spirits… you have faced. Time… Death… Nat-ure… all fight to touch your-bod-dy as the nat…ur…al order intends. But that night chaos broke the. Order even his own. A wish to create. An eternal stillness. You. Chaos’… magic surrounds your body unnatural. Ly it deter-i-orates even… entropy. Your body shall… never… for-ever… for-ne-ev-vev-er ever change. Feel pain, become… weary. But your mind shall.


“A mortal mind… can not survive an im-mortal. Body. Percep-tions will change. Senses… will fade and madness. Will rob you of. Yourself. I am sorry.”


“Is that all?” Screwball sounded unimpressed. “That should be something easy to fix.”


“Not… in this-case. Your destiny. Is… like… a… prison.” Time’s words had slowed to a crawl now. Only his beak remained motional. “You cannot escape it. How long do you think… you-can-live with… immortality?”


“…Was that supposed to be a joke?” Screwball asked pointedly. “Have a tip from an expert, puns are the lowest form of comedy. Besides, I don’t have to live forever. I can live out my time and then when I’m ready to move on, Discord can undo whatever he did.”


“Then… what… will… he… become… without… you?”


She opened her mouth to speak and immediately closed it again. Time was entirely motionless now, with only the smallest speck of light in his eyes as a sign of life. Her weapons trembled in her hooves as she aimed them at the cracked open beak. She just had to squeeze the valve and she would end it. She would have her closure. He was helpless now.


“Please…” Harmony sniffed, looking up at her with misty eyes. “I know you don’t want this.”


The bottle was heavy in her grip. She wasn’t sure if it was condensation or sweat that made it so hard to hold on. She wasn’t sure if she really wanted to hold on. Giving him what he deserved was one thing. But she couldn’t bring herself to actually finish. If she didn’t stop them, they would destroy Discord or Equestria. But she couldn’t.


Screwball lowered the bottle to the ground and lowered her face. Harmony risked a hopeful smile.


‘Of all the—! That’s it, get out of the way!’


Without wasting another second, Screwball kicked Harmony out of the way to pounce on Time’s stomach. She shoved the bottom of the cupcake on the mouth of the nozzle, and the only thing that was able to match the glint in her eyes was the sadistic grin warping her face.


Hey, Time. What’s soaking wet and blown to pieces?”


Savoir Faire pulled the trigger and the cupcake launched into Time’s open beak. She hadn’t counted on it exploding. The pony was thrown up and landed hard on her head. The pain only lasted less than a second and soon she was back on her hooves, shaking herself off. There was no trace of Time anywhere. All she could find was a shell-shocked and terrified phoenix shaking on the ground.


“Hey… Uh,” Screwball approached uncomfortably, “are you alright?”


“I… I…” Harmony sniffed before wrapping herself around Screwball’s neck in an open sob, “I just wish things would just be okay again!”

Screwball rubbed her hoof against Harmony’s back. “Yeah. I think we all do.”

A horrible wail filled the air. Screwball and Harmony turned and screamed together at the sight. Death was coiled tight at the center of the canyon with his teeth sunk deep into Life’s skin. His body rose and fell, becoming larger by the second as the screaming cow shriveled to dust. Death lifted his head and turned the sky black with a single breath.

“Now that felt good!”


<<Chapter Fifteen -- Chapter Seventeen>>

Head Full of Cotton Candy

A “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” fanfiction

By TheManWithTwoNames

I do not own any of the characters contained in the following work. “My Little Pony” and all subsequent properties belong to Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

Don’t worry guys, I worked everything out with him. We’re all cool now. Except he says that they’re not keeping me around for much longer. Kinda... kinda not good. Worst of all, I forget why I’m even here in the first place. Something about pants?

FiMfiction Link


        Death snapped his neck side to side, each pop sounding like a crack of thunder. The trees entangling his body rotted and fell away, splatting to the ground in puddles of tar and oil.

        “Aahhh... I haven’t felt this good in years!” He took a long drag of the polluted air and sighed it out, the fumes pouring from between his teeth like black waterfalls. “Shame on her for keeping so much of this hidden from me.”

        “Brother!” Love screamed. Death calmly turned his head and greeted his kin with a smile. “Have you gone completely mad?!”

        “Calm yourself,” Death breathed soothingly, “Sister was telling me that I needed more power and merely allowed me toHAH!” He caught the alicorn with his wing using impossible speed and swatted him to the ground. His tail lifted up and hammered down over and over until he left a deep crater in the gulch.

        “Oh no, oh no!” Harmony whimpered and buried herself deeper in Screwball’s mane. “This is horrible! Wh-what is he doing?”

        “Death is saving the world for us, “ Discord answered as he appeared beside them, “and it’s not suspicious or alarming at all. But just in case I’m wrong, you two should get behind me.” His eyebrows flapped like windshield wipers to push the sweat off of his forehead, leaving his hands free to draw in more chaos energy. He only hoped it would make a difference. But with how easily the spirit was able to take down two spirits on his own... Having the odds against him wasn’t thrilling anymore.

        Bison Gulch shuddered five more times before Death held his tail still and looked at the pit. Satisfied with whatever he saw, he carelessly slithered his enormous body in the direction of the last living things in the gulch, smiling broadly and turning his head around him as if waiting for something else to appear. Once he was within neck’s reach, he finally looked down at the three tiny shapes below him. Death spread his wings and Discord braced himself.

“Well done, Brother Discord!” Death laughed a booming laugh. “You played your part gloriously. And don’t fret, Harmony, I didn’t forget about you. I may have never been able to round everyone up to the slaughter if you hadn’t been the one to suggest we all come to visit. And even the little pony has earned my gratitude! As if taking out a spirit didn’t make my job easy enough, you went the extra mile and put down the only one who could have presented an issue for me! My goodness it feels good to be on the winning team!” He laughed again before flashing his teeth in a facsimile of a genuine smile.

“You really are something special. From the moment I saw you those decades ago, Discord, I knew you were the key to making my dreams a reality.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Time isn’t the only one who can predict a future. I knew that you would tilt the balance of the world the longer you stayed alive, causing the rest of us to starve. Why do you think I turned you against the world instead of trying to convince you to come back with me? I wanted you to throw the world into chaos! Being starved myself was not something I had expected, but it did not stop the plan. In our desperation to stay alive, the others would accept any proposal, no matter how vulgar or horrid. At first, I just thought I could just get away with wiping out these hateable ponies, but when you killed Nature you opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities! Now, all the spirits are made mortal and their souls are waiting for me to consume them!

“I will be the end of the spirits! Then I will be the end of all living creatures! Oceans will turn to deserts, forests will turn to ashes, poison and pollution will spread and execute even the smallest bacteria! And when there is nothing left in the world left to die, I will starve and die myself. And then there will be nothing! A dead planet, with no hope to ever live again! I am more than Death! I am The End of All Things!”

The announcement echoed for an instant and halted, as if the planet itself was too stunned to let it be repeated. However eerie the silence Death left in his wake had been before, it was nothing in comparison to the effect of his unholy eulogy. Harmony never imagined it was possible to be so frightened your body refused to tremble. The only sound that was heard for miles was a phlegmy snort.

“You’re calling yourself TEAT?

“You have such a witty mind,” Death snarled at his giggling brother, “I think I’ll start by taking a nibble of it.”

“Whatever you say, Teat!” Discord cackled while Screwball and Harmony bunched together behind him. He almost envied them, being able to act fearful when they were truly afraid. Death had changed the rules now. Being destroyed himself was no longer the more painful option for saving Equestria. The other spirits were gone, harmony didn’t stand a chance, and his gifts couldn’t do much to help Screwball now. It was up to him. It wasn’t like putting on a show for a town anymore. There were no fifth chances if he failed now.

And for the first time, whether they knew it or not, everyone everywhere—Masky, Patsy, Three Ring, Reverie, Mite, Dusty, Luna, Celestia, and even the other spirits—were all depending on him. So he supposed he would just have to do this right.

“Now, hear me well, because I never want to have to make this speech again,” Discord orated. “Equestria is under the command of one solitary soul: me. I am the absolute ruler of the land, and I have spent two decades doing whatever I saw fit for no one else’s benefit but my own. My imprint in history shall live forever in the minds of each and every living soul for all of time. My name will be sung in songs and cursed in the dark. Not a single unhappy soul will ever have to fear for their lives from the wrath of gods and monarchs ever again. I have played the fool, the victim, the king, the tyrant, the spirit, the draconequus, the hero, and the monster.

“And now, I take my role as a protector. Of the land that belongs to me, of the ponies that belong to me, and of all the souls close to me who are under my care. The winds of change have been blowing for years. And now you’re caught in a hurricane.”

“Shut up and die already.”

Discord threw up a bubble around himself and the girls just in time to shield against the ferocious blast of smog that battled to shatter his defenses. Realizing the strain would be too great to maintain for long, he slapped his tail against the bottom of the bubble and sent it bouncing into the air. Once the three were out of harm, the shield popped and Discord rushed forward in a surprise attack.

Fireworks burst in front of Death’s lidless eyes, leaving him blind and helpless to defend against the boxing gloves rocketing or his underbelly. The force of the dual strikes accomplished little more than making the snake’s dried skin even more cracked. With a muttered curse, Discord vanished away to the clouds to prepare a new strategy.

Discord raced around the pudding clouds, touching each one as he passed by and staining them a deep, soupy red. A bone-chilling howl announced his guest’s arrival and warned him to bank to the right to barely avoid a stream of poison. As he rose and fell around the attacks, he dragged every green thread of nature he could snatch along with him. All the while, a acidic heat stung at his wings and stomach. But as he grabbed more threads and pulled the clouds into motion behind him, he felt Death’s attacks losing their accuracy. Discord chanced a peek over his shoulder and grinned at the dizzied wobbling that began to grip the basilisk’s flight path. Death really ought to have spent more time copying other people’s footsteps, Discord thought to himself, or at the very least practiced flying in circles for a few days.

After a few more revolutions, Discord pulled out from his path with his fist securely clenched around the thick knot of green threads. He pulled at the threads with all his strength, and they ripped into the tomato sauce clouds and spun them into a frenzy. The tomato tornado dragged Death inside, trapping and drowning him in a thick curtain of red. Discord knew better than to expect it would hold his brother for long, but he hoped it would give him enough time to rendezvous with Screwball and see if she had any helpful ideas. He only managed to fly a few feet before something big and heavy caught him in the back of the head and spiked him downward.

Discord managed to right himself once he touched the ground. He jumped back, not wasting an instant, and fell on his tail as Death blasted into the ground. The basilisk did not slow once he collided, instead he continued to push deeper into the rock, drilling an enormous hole and tunneling out of sight. Discord froze in tense silence for several seconds before curiosity overtook him and lured him to the edge of the pit.

Eyesight failed him. Without the sun in the sky, he could barely see twenty feet down. He imagined he saw a glimmering scale in the blackness but there was no way to be sure. Even using his second sight was pointless, only making the darkness more advanced. But within the murky black haze, something stirred.

“Oh, Brother! You’ll never guess who I found down here!” Death gasped playfully. A black and bony leg lashed out at Discord’s feet, swiping at air. The hoof pressed against the rim of the hole and was joined by its twin.

Discord slowly backed away, more from shock than real alarm. A body as dark as an eclipse with a crimson mane that carried the blazing fury of Hell rose up. The skull of the pony was as fleshless as the twisting horn jutting from its forehead. A chunk of its neck had been ripped away and dried blood caked around the bite wound. It traced the mortal wound with the tip of its molted wing and kept its gaze locked on the draconequus. The empty sockets flashed with red at the sight of its murderer, and the late King Equinox opened his jaw.

“We know not by what power we are given life again. But the reason is clear to us.” Even as a hollowed corpse, the alicorn’s voice packed an incredible presence into every syllable. “We shall now take our revenge and seize our kingdom! And we shall drag all of Equestria to Hell with us before We Will Allow It TO BE TAKEN FROM US AGAIN!!” Equinox reared to a greater height than Discord and thrashed his forelegs in the air in exaltation of his own mad decree. “I AM EQUINOX!!! THE ETERNAL KING AND CONQUEROR OF DEATH ITSELF!!!”

“Yak yak yakkety yak yak.” Discord pantomimed a flapping mouth with his claw before snapping it and filling the dead alicorn’s mouth with a bouquet of peace lilies. “No wonder I took your throat out. It was to shut you up!” A flick of his wrist replaced Equinox’s legs with boat oars and dropped him on his stomach, his bones rattling in their skin from the force.

“But now that I’ve got you here, and after I’ve had time to take a look around Equestria,” he hummed as he paced around the zombie, tapping him here and there to color his coat with splotches of baby blue and soft yellows, “I have to say, you may have messed up the place more than I ever did. Everypony was so rude! So as my revenge for all those transgressions, I want you to know that I have been dating your eldest daughter for the last twenty years.”



“And because you were hideously cruel to your own subjects, and especially your own servants, I am sending you right back to wherever you came from.” Discord opened his paws and summoned a golf putter that wiggled side to side on a spring. “This is for Screwball.”


“Not what I wanted to hear.”

Equinox’s howls remained long after he had been swallowed by the dark mouth of the chasm.

“Well, that wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped,” Death’s mopey voice echoed. “You hardly seemed bothered at all! Talk about a killjoy.”