Hello, everyone! Yes, I'm finally surfacing again lol. I hope everyone is doing well (and enjoying TrotCon or SDCC if you're at either of those events :) ). I've had a very busy couple of months, but with the new season here I decided to write this brief story (maybe two more chapters total) to explore Discord in his final appearances on MLP: FIM.
See bottom A/N regarding MCDE :)
The Endgame of Chaos ('The Beginning of the End')
The End of the Beginning
And so, once again, the day was saved thanks to Princess Twilight Sparkle and her court of friends.
Oh, certainly Celestia and had joined with Starswirl to help keep the Everfree Forest at bay, and Discord had stopped a few of Sombra's blasts (and taken one). But ultimately Celestia's former faithful student and her friends had beaten back the surprise return of the villain with their own magic, no Elements required. They would make good leaders for the future: everypony would be safe in their hooves. And besides, after so many years Celestia was a little tired, and she knew Luna must be too.
With the girls gone from the castle now, Celestia and Luna each let out a sigh. The two sisters turned to each other. Celestia smiled. "We should probably check over the castle and grounds to make sure everything really is back to normal and that there's no lingering dark magic."
Luna nodded, though her eyes were hazed in some tiredness. "Yes, you're right, sister. We'll all need quite some time before we have to face a battle again—best not leave any lingering forces of darkness to chance."
Celestia placed a hoof on Luna's shoulder. "I know you must be especially tired, Luna—you haven't slept since yesternight. Why don't you just take a quick fly over the grounds to make sure everypony who was under Sombra's spell is safe and gone. I'll take care of checking through the castle."
Though she'd been holding it back, Luna finally gave into a yawn and nodded. "I would appreciate that very much, Celestia. Thank you."
The two sisters shared a brief hug and then Luna flew up and teleported out of the throne room.
Since Sombra's base of power had been in the throne room, Celestia decided to search for any remnants of dark magic here first. Maybe there would be some clue as to how he had returned to power in the first place. Such a strange event to happen—the most unexpected one Celestia had witnessed in quite some time.
Celestia turned as Luna reappeared flying in the throne room, her brow furrowed.
"It's Discord! Come quickly!"
Celestia's eyes widened; she instantly flew up to meet her sister who teleported them away.
When the sisters reappeared, Celestia saw they were just outside of the throne room's castle wall. She wasn't sure what she was supposed to be seeing until Luna pointed downward. There was Discord, out cold and slumped over the hedges against the wall, curled up on his side.
The sisters flew down and landed by him.
Luna frowned in concern. "I saw him like this as soon as I got out here—he must have fainted after he left by the window!"
"Discord!" Celestia lifted up his head with her hoof and tried to smile. "Discord, the girls are gone, you don't have to pretend anymore that Sombra actually hurt you. Fluttershy will be very worried," she added quickly, knowing Fluttershy was always the key to getting the truth from Discord.
He didn't respond.
Celestia's eyes widened more. "Luna…" she powered her horn, "help me lift him up and get him back into the castle—I don't want to risk teleporting him right now."
"Mmm… Oh honestly…" Words came weakly from Discord suddenly as his eyes blinked open, "can't a draconequus just take a nap without all this…oh…" He clutched his side and grumbled as his eyes cringed shut again.
Luna and Celestia just looked down at him with wide eyes and stricken faces. Then the pony sisters gazes met again, all seriousness. "He needs help—now," Celestia declared.
Luna nodded and powered her horn as well. "I'll alert the staff to prepare a place for him."
"No." Celestia shook her head. "I don't want anyone finding out about this just yet—we'll bring him to my room. It's the only bed that'll fit him except yours, and you need your sleep." The two sisters had Discord lifted up by now.
Another dull groan escaped the chaos master at the movement. "What? Oh, I am not being carted around like some fragile filly—I'm going home!" He squirmed in their hold and held up his fingers to snap, though the two digits weakly slid past each other without the familiar pop of his magic.
"It's alright, Discord." Celestia frowned down at him. Then the two sisters flew up with Discord suspended between them, eventually finding the window that led to Celestia's room.
Everything was so hazy and dark. All Discord could see were shadows moving. He heard cries and there was smoke, but no one came. Everything so bleak. No light of the sun or light of the moon or lights of friendship. Bad times in a bad past, and he was there and bad too. The only laughter was his own, and it sounded cold and hollow and cutting. No escape. And maybe it was all coming back…
Gradually there came some hazy lights to his eyes, and he felt a dull ache in his side. There were soft sounds like voices: pretty, perfect, princess voices. Oh for the love of chaos, if what he thought had happened had actually happened, he'd never get out of this one…
"Luna, it's okay, you can go to sleep. I'll look after him."
"He's having a nightmare right now."
"I can tell. Besides, Celestia, we don't know how badly he's hurt or what kind of healing he might need. It might take both of us to help him. I'll at least stay until he wakes up."
"Mmm…" Discord groaned, keeping his eyes deliberately squinted shut, "does that mean if I admit I'm up, I'll get at least some peace because only one of you annoying princesses will be here instead of two?"
"Discord!" "Discord!" the pony sisters exclaimed at once.
And then Discord's eyes flew open because suddenly two alicorns were half on top of him and hugging him.
"Ow!" Discord winced. "Not healed, not healed! Ladies, please!"
The princesses released him and stepped back with abashed smiles.
"Apologies, Discord," Luna started, "we were just so happy to see you awake."
"And to hear your sarcasm," Celestia had to add with a smile. "That seems like a good sign."
"Ugh…" Discord sat up a little and rubbed his head as he finally took in his surroundings. He blinked: canopy bed, fancy vanity table, pink and purple colors everywhere, a lot of scrolls and books, sun emblems scattered among the decor. He collapsed back down against the pillows. "Sweet chaos, you two seriously brought me to this sunshiny place? Not that I haven't dreamed of pranking you on your home turf, Celestia, but I've had a long day and I'm really not in the mood."
"It's the only bed that would fit you besides Luna's," Celestia explained, "and she needs her sleep." She glanced at Luna with a big sister look clearly saying it was bedtime.
Luna pouted and held up her head. "I'm not leaving until we talk to Discord." She turned to him. "Discord, what happened? You said you were fine back in the throne room with the girls—that it was all a joke."
"The girls!" Discord's eyes flew open wide and he sat up (a little too quickly because he winced again in pain). "You didn't tell them about this, did you? Oh please tell me you two at least had that much sense!"
"We wanted to talk to you first," Celestia replied gently. "We didn't want to worry them until we had an idea of what the problem was."
Discord let out a relieved sigh. "Good. That's very good… Fluttershy needs to relax and be happy." He brought a claw to his forehead. "I figured Sombra would keep taking shots and I'd let one hit me for effect—I didn't think he'd take an extra powerful pot shot at Fluttershy just because I got sloppy and brought her up. Of course I jumped in front of that one—I didn't have choice."
He caught Luna's gaze—her eyes were narrowed slightly in a searching way. "So you did let him hit you to prove a point to the girls. But when he hit you, it actually did hurt you somewhat. Is that what your nightmare was about?"
Discord glanced away with a stubborn pout. "Oh like old smoke-and-mirrors Sombra could really hurt me, the master of chaos. I'm fine, just a little sore from my first battle in a while and tired too. I've been having to give the girls nudges all day to build their confidence and to get Twilight to stop 'twilighting' so hard." He rolled his eyes. "Not all of us can be off giddily planning retirement."
The sisters couldn't help but share a small guilty look before they turned back to Discord.
Celestia took a deep breath and approached him on one side of the bed. She made eye contact and leaned in close. "Discord, do not change the subject. You got hurt—it happens to the best of us. Now tell us how badly and what you need to feel better. Please."
Discord's eyes widened. He squirmed a little under the covers then sunk against the pillows with a sigh. "Seriously, I just need rest. My powers have to recharge a little after everything I did. But I was impatient and tried to snap myself home so I could do relax there. I guess that big of a jump was too much right now, though, and I got a little light headed and decided to take a power nap…
Luna raised an eyebrow, her tone dry. "Outside in the bushes?"
Discord crossed his arms and held his head high. "Unless that's suddenly illegal, then yes!"
Luna rolled her eyes.
Discord lowered his arms, unyielding as ever. "The point is, I'm not cursed, I'm not suffering, I'm not perishing. I can handle things—Ow!" He tried to turn on his side away from the sisters but winced.
Luna approached from the side he had turned to. "Let me see, Discord."
The chaos master held the covers tightly around him and scowled.
Celestia considered then smiled a little from her side of the bed. "Discord, did I ever tell you about the time Chrysalis defeated me just before Cadance's wedding? In public…very thoroughly I might add."
His ears perked up and he glanced over at her. "No, I would definitely remember hearing that story…
Celestia smiled more. "Well, I'll tell it to you…if you show Luna where it hurts."
There was a momentary stalemate. Then Discord rolled his eyes. "Oh fine… But like I said, it's not a big deal." He moved the covers aside then snapped—on the fur along one side of his body that had seemed fine there suddenly appeared a dark semi-circle; something between a bruise and a singe. "It's just a recoil effect from Sombra, see." He quickly cleared his throat then put all of his attention on Celestia. "Now then, tell me the story!"
She nodded, though not before giving Luna a quick glance. Luna winked then began examining the wound. She made a cloth appear, set some of her magic into it, and gently rubbed the dark area at Discord's side.
Celestia cleared her throat and began. "Well, I was all ready to officiate the ceremony for the many guests when Chrysalis finally showed herself. I stood up to her head to head—I'm all for letting the girls take over, but right then she'd dared to interrupt a fellow princesses's wedding, and I'm afraid I was quite angry. So I took her on, princess versus queen." She held her head high in determination.
"Yeah, yeah," Discord prompted eagerly, "get to the part where she beats you."
Celestia shook her head with an amused smile but went on. And Discord's attention remained rapt as Luna worked at his wound and Celestia recounted not only her defeat but being strung upside down in the throne room for all the kingdom to see much to Discord's interest and amusement.
Not long later, Luna had left to finally get some rest. Discord had a bandage of his wound and a hot water bottle against it.
Celestia remained by his side. "Are you sure there's nothing else you need?"
"I told you, just rest. You know as well as I do that magical recoils can heal perfectly fine on their own. Stop trying to pamper me, honestly!" Discord rolled his eyes. "The attention is fun when I'm faking it, less so when I really do just need to be alone for a bit."
Celestia nodded…but hesitated. "Discord? I…Is something wrong?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Celestia, don't do repeat performances—it's beneath you. You already asked me about my boo-boo, remember?"
She frowned. "I mean something more than that. Ever since Luna and I announced we're retiring, you've been 'extra' supportive about pushing the girls into the position."
"Are you saying it's a bad thing that I put some time into making sure your replacements are really ready to replace you?" He raised an eyebrow with a dry look.
Celestia shook head. "Of course not. But, you were a little overzealous even for you. Taking a hit like that to prove a point was…a lot…even if you are more powerful than Sombra. Is there anything you want to tell me?" She looked into his eyes. "And whatever it is, I won't tell the girls if you don't want me to. I promise."
Discord hesitated for just a moment, which was all Celestia needed to know for sure that something was on his mind. But then his look went dry again. "What's there to tell? I just felt like participating a whole extra lot in this little 'ascension to the throne' escapade. The girls can officially take care of themselves all by themselves. If you two aren't going to be around, they should know how capable they are."
Celestia sat, patient, listening.
Discord eyed her and glanced away, twiddling his thumbs. "And I certainly don't have the time to be their new secret weapon no that the Elements aren't around." He shrugged. "Maybe it's actually good those pesky things are gone for now—it'll teach the girls to fully hone and use the magic inside of themselves."
Celestia continued to wait.
Discord finally shrugged, his voice a little low. The fidgeting and nervous glances stopped, replaced by a serious look. "Look—it's a little odd that Sombra just suddenly reappeared, don't you think? He's not exactly the villain anyone was expecting to pop up on the radar, was he?" His eyes met Celestia's.
She swallowed: it was true.
"And his magic felt…" Discord started, his brow furrowed in a faraway look. But then he shook his head. "Even if Equestria's at peace or whatever, things can go wrong. Things you never imagined or thought you'd see again can surprise you. And I need to know the girls are safe, with or without you and Luna…or me."
Celestia half smiled. "Are you thinking of retiring too?"
He didn't smile back. He didn't look at her. "I'm just thinking about the future."
Celestia considered. Then she placed a hoof on Discord's arm. He glanced at her "Discord, we can prepare for the future but we can't control it. But I promise you, in the end, no matter what, things will work out all right."
He didn't respond with sarcasm or by turning away from her in the bed—Celestia took that as a good sign. She swallowed and decided to try and ask about one more thing. "Discord…your nightmare before…"
"Just a bad dream," he said in a firm way that told Celestia the subject was closed.
She sighed and released his arm. "Just promise me from now on, no more taking hits to prove a point. Please." She smiled a little. "Luna and I were sort of looking forward to having some fun together with you in our retirement, and we'd hate to have you out of commission for it."
Discord's tilted his head at this news and almost smiled. His gaze and tone eased a little. "Well, I'll try not to disappoint you." He settled against the pillows. "And I think…I think it'll all be okay too, Celestia. Some extra preparation just makes me feel better, that's all." He swallowed. "I'm glad you're not retiring just yet—even though the girls definitely are ready to take over." He glanced at her almost like he was challenging her to say otherwise about Twilight and her court.
She nodded. "Even if the girls are ready I'm glad I'm not retiring just yet too." Celestia gave him a gentle hug then released him. "Take care, Discord. Get a lot of rest. If you need anything—"
"I'll just snap it up. I'm still the master of chaos, and I'm feeling better already," he replied with a huffy tone.
Celestia shrugged and glanced to the side innocently. "Oh. Well, I was going to offer to be your personal servant for anything you might need, but if you'd rather waste your energy snapping…"
That offer got a grin out of him. "Really?"
Celestia smiled at the look and sound of the old, sly Discord. "Yes, really. I'll bring you some tea and cookies later, but if you need anything before then just say my name. I'll hear it." She winked.
Discord nodded as he turned over in the bed. "All right, it's your funeral, Princess."
She laughed and gave him a little wave. "Bye, Discord. Sweet dreams."
"Sure, sure—just let a draconequus get some sleep, Celestia, honestly." He waved her off and turned away from her, tucked deeply under the covers.
Celestia watched him for a moment longer. Then she left, and closed the door behind her.
The smile faded from her face a little. That draconequus was up to something, and she had a bad feeling—not that he was plotting something villainous or preparing to spread an excess of chaos, of course. Instead, she felt like he was getting ready to make a choice, and something at the heart of the choice felt sad.
Celestia wouldn't tell the girls about the conversation between herself and Discord, but she would keep a very close eye on their chaos master friend for a while, just in case (and would ask Luna to do the same). Discord had become too dear of a friend to leave alone with whatever he was going through, even if he was too stubborn to admit he might need some help from a friend.
Celestia went off to finish checking the castle for signs of Sombra's magic.
Discord lay still in the quiet of Celestia's room for a moment. Then he let out a deep breath. "He can't be here. As long as I don't say the words out loud, it won't be true. I mean, there's not enough evidence to actually suggest the idea anyway, so why worry anyone? It doesn't matter if something in Sombra's magic felt like…" He shuddered and pulled the covers closer around himself. Through Celestia's window he could see the castle grounds, Canterlot, and Ponyville in the distance. All so orderly but somehow chaotic under the surface in a beautiful way. He'd…almost come to love this land of Equestria. And he'd certainly come to love some of the ponies in it even if he would never say such mushy words aloud.
These days Discord didn't like breaking promises, but he knew that despite what he'd just told Celestia, if the time came for him to take another hit for the sake of this place and his friends he'd do it no matter the cost. Even if he knew for certain it would be a much bigger hit than Sombra's and with much bigger consequences. The girls could take care of themselves: he repeated the phrase silently to himself, because that fact was all that mattered to him.
With the dull ache in his side almost gone, Discord eventually dozed off into a shallow and fitful sleep. And in his dreams he tried to avoid the grey shadows and sounds of sadness and a familiar voice from the past that kept calling to him from a bad memory.
Thank you all for reading! I hope you all enjoy the story-another chapter (set after the ep "Between Dawn and Dusk") should be up eventually. And I'm working on the next MCDE chapter as well ^_^