A last minute little Christmas story from me ^_^ Sort of random, but I hope you all enjoy! Please enjoy! (This is based in part on the concept of the ep "A Hearth's Warming Tale").
How The Grinchalis Stole Hearthswarming…Sort Of?
In a small, dark cave on a dim night in the Everfree Forest, a black and weathered pony-like figure with a warped horn and tattered green wings rested. Fortunately, the season was a mild one right now, so the nights weren't too cool. But either way, temperature wasn't her concern; she could easily turn into a wooly yak if she wanted or a small dragon with a thick hide. No, her concerns were much larger—she had lost her hive, her people, her power…and her food.
The ache in her for love was maddening, and all because of that purple pony. Oh no, not the original purple pony whose weirdly obsessive knowledge of her former babysitter and future sister-in-law a couple years ago had ruined the changeling queen's plans to reign supreme as a queen of stealing love. This was a new purple pony, paler and without wings and not quite as annoyingly brilliant but still infuriating! She had mounted an army of the blue one good at magic tricks, the unspeakable chaos master who had bowed down to pony rule, and that wretched traitor Thorax who now dared to call himself King!
Chrysalis's eyes glowed with rage. "How dare they change my changelings, banish me, spread the thought of GIVING love! How can I conquer this land without my army?! How can I even feed myself without my army?" The fallen Queen stared out into the night…but then a wicked grin came to her features. "But there is one thing I shall have, no matter what—my revenge. And once I figure out how to enact it, the changelings will bow to me again and the ponies too. And I'll put an end to the treacherous Thorax and that new little purple menace and that old purple menace once and for all!" She stamped her hoof and broke into maniacal laughter.
Then thunder cracked, and suddenly the sky started pouring rain.
A dry look came to Chrysalis's now drenched features and she sighed. Then she finally moved farther back into the cave and laid down her head on her hooves. "They'll see, one day I'll be queen again and have all the love for myself. I'll show them that they were wrong and I was right. And I'll make my people regret turning into those tacky colorful spectacles once and for all." She pouted. "As though there was ever anything wrong with basic black."
She closed her eyes and soon fell into the fitful sleep as the rain poured on.
Chrysalis's eyes opened, but the landscape around her seemed cloudy and smoky.
She sighed. "Oh, tell me a dragon isn't nesting nearby—that's all I'd need right now."
"Chrysalis, the Changeling—you have been chosen. Apparently."
Chrysalis instantly jumped up with a glare. "That voice…I know that voice. Discord! You washed up has-been of a villain, come out here and face me!" She smirked. "Unless you're too afraid I'm going to turn into that precious yellow pony you've become a complete sap over."
Discord's disembodied voice sighed. "Making fun of me for joining up with the ponies—yeah, been there done that with Tirek already. Do try to keep up. And speaking of fallen villains, at least I'm not sleeping on rocks somewhere in the rain right now."
"You pathetically love-filled creature!" she spat. "I should…" But then she blinked. "Wait a minute—I'm sleeping. Does that mean I'm dreaming?"
"Oh, ding, ding, we have a winner. Really, you're getting so slow on the uptake, Chrissy."
"Do not dare call me that!" she boomed. "I am Queen Chrysalis!"
"Yeah, Queen of nothing…"
Her eyes glowed with green fire.
Discord sighed. "Okay, but seriously, I'm not supposed to be getting into a battle of wits with you. I'm here to help." There was a flash, then he appeared standing before her…with a book in hand.
Chrysalis bared her fangs with a hiss.
Discord waved her off. "And before you try anything, you can't suck love in dreams—remember?"
She closed her mouth but still glared at him. "If I really am dreaming, then this must be the work of the blue princess."
"Oh, she's facilitating, but it's sort of a collective project," Discord explained with a shrug as he opened the book and snapped up a pair of reading glasses for himself. "You're bitter, you're on a warpath, you think you've been wronged—not that you're much of a threat on your own, but just in case you do get any bright ideas, a few precautionary measures never hurt. Besides which…some ponies really do feel sorry for you." He gave her a flat look. "Not me, just to be clear—I'm still quite miffed about the Fluttershy thing actually. But in the spirit of friendship and once being kindred villains or whatever, here I am. Now, where were we…? Ah yes, picking a story for you." He opened the book and glanced inside. "Oh and for the record, I'm not technically 'Discord' at the moment—call me 'narrator'."
Chrysalis's look became dry. "This is stupid. I'm waking up now."
"That's what you think," Discord replied smoothly, flipping pages.
Chrysalis fumed. "I WILL have my revenge, no matter what you do to me." Her eyes narrowed. "I hate ponies, I hate all the love they have so freely while I starve, I hate everything that breeds such love in their hearts, and I hate being left out!" Then she blinked. "Hmm…hmm, hmm…" Chrysalis started laughing maniacally. "Oh I know, yes, now I know what to do—it's so simple! If I can't drain love, I'll make it come to me instead! Oh you foolish draconequus!" She grinned wildly. "Just wait and my revenge shall be fulfilled!"
Discord, however, didn't fret or question her: he just stopped flipping pages and twirled his beard… " 'If I can't drain love, I'll make it come to me instead…'" he repeated. He flipped another page in the book and then grinned as he looked up. "All right, yes, that's it! Here we go! Hold on to your holes, Chrissy, you're about to have a crash course in the real meaning of love. Now, you can generate snow boots, right? Oh, never mind, the story magic should do it for you!"
Chrysalis's eyes went wide. "What, what are you—Do not snap those fingers! I am Queen Chrysalis!"
Discord chuckled. "Not for long!" And with that he snapped.
Everything became lost in mists and swirls of color.
The next thing Chrysalis knew, she was opening her eyes to find herself on a snowy hill overlooking…Ponyville of all places!
She gasped and pointed to Ponyville with her foreleg:
"What in the world am I doing here /
by all of those ponies I can't stand to be near?"
"Wait, what's going on? Is this some kind of sign? /
Why am I talking with a zebra's rhyme?"
She jumped as she suddenly noticed that her outstretched foreleg (besides bearing a black winter boot) was green.
"And why am I green? /
What does this mean?"
"Hmm…" Discord's disembodied voice chuckled as he replied:
"We're gong to play a little game, my dear /
Think of it as literary therapy. And we're starting here!"
He took a deep breath, cleared his throat, and began his role as narrator for the official story:
"Every pony down in Ponyville liked Hearthswarming a lot /
But the Grinchalis who hid just North of Ponyville did not!"
Chrysalis's whole look went dry. "You've got to be kidding me."
"No, I'm not, and shh—you're interrupting! Really!"
"But this is a Hearthswarming tale, and in reality it's June!"
"It's an analogy for great love—now just let me continue!"
Discord cleared his throat and went on with the story despite the angry glare of a green Grinchalis:
"The Grinchalis hated Hearthswarming! The whole Hearthswarming season! /
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason. /
It could be her horn wasn't screwed on just right."
Grinchalis glared up at her horn and touched it.
"…It could be, perhaps, that her wings were a fright."
Grinchalis fluttered her wings and hissed.
"There's no need to insult me!"
"I'm coming to my point—you'll see!"
"But I think that the most likely reason of all /
May have been that her heart was two sizes too small."
Grinchalis smirked. "Of what heart do you speak?"
"You know what I mean, now not one more peep!"
There was a snap, and Grinchalis's mouth zipped shut.
Discord cleared his throat and went on again with the official poem:
"But, whatever the reason, her heart or her horn, /
On Hearthswarming Eve she viewed the ponies with scorn.
Staring down from her hive with a sour, Grinchalis frown /
At the warm lighted windows below in their town,
For she knew every pony down in Ponyville beneath /
Was busy now hanging a mistletoe wreath."
And indeed, as Grinchalis finally unzipped her mouth, she looked down to the snow-covered town filled with lights and decorations and ponies prancing about with loving smiles. And then she gasped at another sight—Princess Twilight and her court (and that wretched purple Starlight) standing outside the crystal friendship castle as a chariot pulled up and out came Princess Cadance, Prince Shining Armor, and that bundle of joy baby Flurry Heart—and Thorax too!
Grinchalis hissed madly. And now she and Discord went back and forth as they carried the poem forward (Discord's narrating supplementing Grinchalis's dialogue):
"And they're hanging their stockings," she snarled with a sneer. /
"Tomorrow is Hearthswarming! It's practically here!"
Discord's voice brightened. "Now you're getting into it!"
Grinchalis rolled her eyes. "I'm clearly being forced—might as well go with it!"
Discord and Chrysalis continued with the poem now:
Then she growled, with her Grinchalis hooves nervously drumming, /
"I must find some way to keep Hearthswarming from coming!
For, tomorrow, I know all the pony girls and boys /
Will wake bright and early to spread love to one another!
And then! Oh, the hunger! Oh, the hunger! Hunger! Hunger! Hunger! /
There's one thing I hate! All the HUNGER! HUNGER! HUNGER! HUNGER!"
Her green eyes burned, and her voice was practically a growl!
Then the ponies, young and old, will sit down to a feast. /
And they'll feast! And they'll feast! And they'll FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
They'll feast on chocolate pudding, and roasted veggies like beets, /
Real food is a feast I can't stand in the least!"
Chrysalis blinked and then a smile came to her features as a fresh thought occurred to her.
"Yes, that's it, just like I earlier stated! /
Hearthswarming creates love, so in order to be satiated /
I could steal all the Hearthswarming decor /
And then they'd come crawling to me with love to have it restored!
"You're getting off story, back to how it goes. /
I'm the narrator, I think I should know."
Grinchalis shook her head with a glare but went back to staring at the joyful ponies, this time with a conniving grin. The official poem went on, back and forth between Discord and Grinchalis again:
"If I let Hearthswarming come, then they'll do something I hate most of all! /
Every pony down in Ponyville, the tall and the small,/
They'll stand close together, with Hearthswarming bells ringing. /
They'll stand hoof-in-hoof, and those ponies will start singing!"
"And they'll sing! And they'll sing! And they'd SING! SING! SING! SING!" /
And the more the Grinchalis thought of this pony Hearthswarming Sing, /
The more the Grinchalis thought, "I must stop this whole thing! /
Why for fifty-three hundred years I've put up with it now!"
She paused and blinked, looking to the sky. "Hey, I'm not THAT old!"
Discord's voice chuckled. "Couldn't help it—having you say that was comedy gold."
She rolled her eyes and went on (along with Discord):
"I must stop Hearthswarming from coming! But how?"
Then she got an idea! An awful idea! /
The Grinchalis got a wonderful, awful idea!
"That's something to which I can relate. /
It's about time this story went from bad to great!"
As Discord sighed, she cleared her throat and she (and he) went on with the poem:
"I know just what to do!" The Grinchalis laughed in her throat. /
"I'll turn into a pony and make a festive yoke."
She found some evergreen branches to fashion into a yoke and some holly to put into her mane, then used her changeling powers to change into a red mare.
"And she chuckled, and clucked…"
Grinchalis (and Discord) continued:
"What a great grinchy con to deceive!" /
With this form and this decor, I can pass for the spirit of Hearthswarming Eve!"
"All I need is a sled." The Grinchalis looked around. /
But since sleds are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the Grinchalis? Hah! The Grinchalis simply said, /
"If I can't find a sled, I'll make one instead!"
So she took an old log, and some bark and pine leaves. /
And used her skill to make a sled with ease.
Then she loaded herself aboard with some flair /
And prepared to slide down into the town square."
Then the Grinchalis pushed off, and the sleigh started down /
Toward the homes where the ponies lay a-snooze in their town.
Chrysalis glared at the sky. "All you're doing is letting me practice for my revenge, you know!"
Discord's voice replied: "Maybe, maybe not—I guess we'll see. Now just go!"
Chrysalis turned her glare to all of the Hearthswarming decorations in Ponyville.
Discord narrated again (with Chrysalis helping along):
All their windows were dark. No one knew she was there. /
All the ponies were all dreaming loving dreams without care /
When she came to the only big castle of the square.
"This is stop number one," the old Grinchalis crowed, /
As she flew to the balcony and opened the window.
Sneaking around so many sleeping ponies took skill. /
But the Grinchalis was determined—she had the will.
She snuck with grace and gloated for a minute or two, /
Then finally entered into the castle throne room.
There the pony decorations hung with such beauty. /
"I must destroy these decorations," she grinched, "It's my duty!"
Then she slithered and slunk, with a smile most horrible, /
Around the whole room, and she destroyed every bauble!
Grinchalis raised an eyebrow. "Isn't there a song that should be sung now?"
Discord scoffed. "I'm not paid to sing; you can do it but only if you want to wake the whole house!"
Grinchalis just rolled her eyes. Discord went on:
Grinchalis slunk to the icebox and trampled the ponies' feast! /
She pummeled the pony pudding! She crushed the roast beets!
She cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash. /
Why, that Grinchalis even crushed the last can of pony hash!
Chrysalis was practically parading through the mess with pride.
"If I can't eat, why should others get to?"
Discord sighed. "We know, we know, revenge—sheesh, sing a new tune!"
To the poem once more for both of them:
Then she defaced half the library's books with zeal. /
"Now," grinned the Grinchalis, "I have something—or rather somepony—to steal!"
As the Grinchalis entered the baby's abode, /
She heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
She paused at the sight of the small pony stirring! /
And was instantly glad for the pony form she was wearing.
Flurry Heart smiled at the Grinchalis in disguise, /
Then she gurgled and held out her hooves to say hi.
And, you know, that old Grinchalis was so smart and so slick, /
She was fully prepared to make this kidnapping quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Hearthswarming spirit lied, /
"I have something for you…if you'll just come outside."
So she held out her leg, mouth watering for love /
But something stopped her—a narrator's voice from above.
Discord scoffed. "Wow, you'd kidnap a baby—that's cold, even for you."
"Shut up," she said under her breath, "there's something I'm trying to do."
So Grinchalis took the baby anyway. /
Then off into the night she ran far away.
Into her sled she brought the sweet little filly /
And then sped off (Flurry still smiling with glee).
She left the castle behind without a care /
Decorations destroyed, walls all bare and tired /
On their walls she left nothing but hooks and some wire.
And the one speck of food that she left in the pantry /
Was a crumb that was even too small for a Breezie.
Then she did the same thing to the other ponies' houses, /
Leaving crumbs much too small for the other ponies' mouses!
(While Flurry still thought she was just on a fun ride; /
She continued to gurgle and giggle with love in her eyes).
It was quarter of dawn. The light still hadn't come, /
All the ponies were still a-snooze, when she finished her run.
Still with one special piece of cargo, so loving and pure, /
Proof that love could be stolen (and a feast for herself to be sure).
Grinchalis spoke out of turn again. "See, I did, it—I took what should be mine!"
Discord sighed. "Sure, that's what you think—but give it time…"
Ten thousand feet into the forest of Everfree, /
Is where she rode with her load to bare her fangs and eat.
"Pooh-pooh to the ponies!" she was grinchily humming. /
"They're finding out now that no Hearthswarming love is coming!
They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do! /
They'll realize Flurry's gone and their decorations too, /
And up here before I feast on her, Flurry will cry boo-hoo!
That's a noise," grinned the Grinchalis, "that I simply must hear!" /
She paused, and the Grinchalis put a hoof to her ear.
Discord interrupted now. "So you really think they'll lack love with everything you took?"
Grinchalis glared. "Of course I do—no matter what it says in your book!"
"And Flurry Heart—you really think you'll break that kid's spirit?"
She turned back into the green Grinchalis. "Just wait, you'll see it in a minute!"
And Grinchalis did hear a sound as Flurry moved in the sled. /
It started off soft, and then made her turn her head.
Yet, this sound wasn't sad! /
Why, this sound sounded glad!
Flurry wasn't frightened to be with a strange mare, /
In fact she gurgled a tune and rose up into the air, /
While ponies came out to sing in the Ponyville town square.
Then the baby released a beam of pure pink love's magic /
That sent her back to her family and friends—this day wouldn't be tragic!
Grinchalis hadn't stopped Hearthswarming's love—it came! /
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinchalis, with her Grinchalis hooves ice-cold in the snow, /
Stood screaming and raving. "NOOOOOO!"
"It came without her mommy! It came without her daddy! /
It came without any of their decorations or presents or wrapping!"
She puzzled and puzzed till her puzzler was sore. /
Then the Grinchalis thought of something she hadn't before.
Maybe Hearthswarming, she thought, doesn't create love. /
Maybe love creates Hearthswarming, and…! No! Idiotic! Absurd!"
Discord's voice spoke up again again. "Uh, Chrissy, once again you're going off script!"
She fumed. "Don't call me Chrissy! And I'm not a character, you twit! /
I told you I want my revenge! I've earned the right! /
I'll never change my mind, I'll never see your light!"
She raged on. "And what happened then, well I'll never let you say /
That in Ponyville my heart grew three sizes that day!
That I became some shimmering rainbow creature of light /
Like all of my subjects did on that fateful night!
I've let you torture me enough, and it's high time you were done! /
I don't care what you say, I wish to be LEFT ALONE!"
There was quiet as she stood in the snow, still with the wreath around her neck and the holly in her hair.
Discord sighed…and then some light footsteps sounded and he came forward.
He looked to her. "Is that how you truly feel, Chrysalis, former changeling queen?"
She looked to him. "You know it is…. Nothing shall wipe my slate clean."
The stared at each other fold a long moment in the chill and snow.
Then Discord floated up and spoke once more, drifting around Grinchalis in a slow circle.
"You stole what you thought brought love only to see, /
That loves comes directly from hearts and is given freely, /
That love restores the lost to those who need them most /
And that greed only leaves you ice cold in the snow.
I know where you are, because I've been there too /
Don't make my mistake, realize what's true; /
You could be happy together with friends, /
But if you'd rather not, so be it—we'll call this the end."
And then he held up his fingers and snapped.
Everything grew blurry again, and then Chrysalis and Discord stood before each other in a shapeless dreamscape once more.
Chrysalis gave him a dry glare. "That was an overly dramatic display even for you, draconequus."
He snapped away the book, and crossed his arms. "Oh please, I restrained myself entirely—you didn't end up with polka dots or pies raining up from the ground, did you?"
"You will explain the meaning of this dream treachery at once!"
"Clearly it was an overly complicated friendship lesson!" He rolled his eyes and threw his arms in the air. "Look, I'm just the messenger: we thought we'd give this a shot, try to 'warm your heart' and 'appeal to your better nature' or something—show you that you don't have to be so angry; you can just feel loved. Yada, yada, all that overly-sentimental stuff that's actually surprisingly true in a mushy sort of way."
Her look went dry again. "When I rule the world, your demise shall be slow and painful."
Discord rubbed his temple. "Yikes, please tell me I never sounded that ridiculous when I was a bad guy."
"Release me from this dream prison now—I am royalty, I order it!"
"Hmm, and I thought the princesses were a demanding handful." He smirked. "Very well, I'm going, and so can you. Just keep our little adventure in mind, Chrissy. Did it make any sense? No. But that doesn't mean you can't learn from it." He winked. "Ta ta. And Happy Hearthswarming even if it is summertime!"
He snapped; before Chrysalis could say more, he was gone and everything shimmered and then went dark.
In reality, Chrysalis opened her eyes with a gasp. Night was still upon her, though the rain had finally stopped. She looked around in the dark, her eyes flashing, but then seeing nothing she let out a deep breath and lowered her head again. She grumbled to herself. "Literary reform therapy—and those princesses think I'm the deranged one." Her stomach grumbled. "I'll find a way to make my way of doing things work. They'll see, they'll all see…Stupid purple ponies always messing up my plans. And such a tacky color—black is truly classic." She laughed to herself and soon drifted back off into sleep.
In reality in the throne room of the friendship castle on this night, Discord stood before Twilight, Luna, and Starlight, his hands on his hips. "You know, I'm honestly not sure whether I had fun doing that or whether it was the most boring experience of my life. Reforming people in their dreams with stories from books—really, did you three get into the fermented cider or something?"
The two princesses (and one student) rolled their eyes.
"Discord, we don't know where she is so of course we had to visit her in her dreams—besides it's safer…" Luna reminded him.
"And stories are very effective for expressing morals and helping readers come to personal conclusions…" Twilight added.
"And I for one know first hoof how a story can change somebody's heart about love, especially a Hearthswarming story…" Starlight finished. She came forward with a smile. "Discord, thank you for at least trying with Chrysalis."
Luna nodded. "Yes, I don't believe she would have so willingly participated with any of us or my sister. But you at least know the struggles of villainy. Even if she didn't change tonight, I'm sure something about your efforts touched her."
"You did a good thing, Discord. I'll be sure to let Fluttershy know tomorrow." Twilight's gaze warmed.
"I just hope Chrysalis is all right." Starlight frowned. "I feel bad for her, all alone and hungry." She looked up to Discord. "Even if she didn't want to be reformed, maybe she at least had some fun with the story. I hope so."
Discord sighed and finally cracked a smile. "Well, all of your praise is most appreciated. And who knows, maybe it will help down the line." He cleared his throat and smirked slightly. "Now then, about my price for doing this…"
"Price?" Twilight and Luna said in unison as they blinked.
"Uh, yeah…" Starlight smiled sheepishly. "He mentioned it just before you two came into the room—it wasn't anything major, so I didn't see the harm in agreeing. He just wanted one banana cream pie."
"One banana cream pie that I can do anything I want with," Discord corrected.
"Wait, why couldn't you just snap that up for yourself?" Twilight raised an eyebrow and scowled a little. "And why do you want permission to do whatever you want with it?"
"Indeed, what is your angle, Discord?" Luna glared at him with equal suspicion.
"What?" Discord shrugged 'innocently'. "I just want a yummy treat whipped up by my friends, that's all, and with no strings attached."
Twilight sighed and brought a hoof to her forehead. "Okay, clearly he's up to something."
Luna nodded, her look dry. "Yes…but what can we do? He's already done his job, and it really is a small request seemingly…"
Starlight smiled and then the three of them used their magic to create a lovely, large banana cream pie floating in the air.
Discord grinned. "Now add a card… I'm feeling in a very gifty mood after all of this Hearthswarming rhyming, which wasn't easy by the way, and I want this done right."
Luna, Twilight, and Starlight sighed but used their magic to add a tag to the pie plate that said "From Luna, Twilight, and Starlight!"
Discord's eyes narrowed mischievously. "Perfect…"
Suddenly, in the middle of the throne room, Celestia's bed appeared with a slumbering Celestia inside. She quickly opened her eyes and sat up—the first sight she saw was Discord. He grinned and snapped to send the pie flying right into her face!
The chaos master chuckled and flew up into the air. "That was for leaving me as stone for a thousand years, princess. Even the most reformed of villains still have some resentments. Oh, and guess who helped me get this little 'revenge'—check the tag on the pie plate. Ta ta! And Happy Hearthswarming." And then in laughter he snapped himself away.
Celestia, face covered in pie, blinked and then looked to the tag on the pie plate and then to the three mares in the room.
All of their eyes were wide. Starlight cleared her throat and managed a very sheepish smile. "Heh…uh…it's a long story."
Celestia's look went dry as a blob of cream fell from her face. "I'm listening…"
The three mares sighed, and began to try and explain everything.
But at least her explanation didn't have to rhyme—that was something.
Thank you for reading, and please review if you can ^_^ And have a wonderful new year, everyone!