The will of the herd was the most important thing of all. As long as the herd loved Nadir, she could survive. Her feelings and emotions didn't matter, but it was difficult to maintain a mask of friendliness or approval among these barbaric acts. She was one of many gathered in a crowd to witness the burning of a changeling nymph that was previously acting as her daughter, unknown to herself. Despite how much she wanted to protest, she didn't dare for she needed the emotions of ponies nearby to live. That was the curse of a changeling where her desires were secondary to the will of the herd. A powerful unicorn long ago thought it was the perfect way to combat hatred by cursing them into changelings that needed love to survive.
As soon as the mayor finished the victory speech about how they rooted out someone evil, the pyre was lit. It took every ounce of her will not to flee or intervene. A search for the original pony that didn't exist must also begin shortly. Even though there were a few outcasts that abducted ponies, most of them just sought to blend in among the populace to survive since that was necessary. Even after three generations, the curse still affected them – they needed to consume the love of ponies.
She had to appear as part of the herd – uttering words that she didn't believe in just to get by. It took an extreme effort to force herself to laugh at the scene in front of her when the changeling screamed. She assumed the herd wanted that, so that's what she did. Other ponies around her were laughing, she had to force herself to join in. They found out Sapphire Twinkle was a changeling when she thought she was alone and could let herself be free in her natural form. No one should've been there in the first place. Someone else broke the school's rules yet she was the one to pay with her life. Changelings at large just wanted to survive.
They asked her for all the information she had concerning Sapphire Twinkle – when could the abduction took place and everything. Despite everything she provided to the best of her ability, they weren't happy. She could tell for there was no love for her to consume anymore. It was terrifying to think about – what if despite everything she did, they didn't love her anymore. If things didn't change, she could experience hunger and withdrawal.
After an exhausting day, she was finally at home alone. She made a wish upon a star for someone to lift the curse. If only she didn't need love to survive.
Her world vanished in a flash.
Nadir found herself falling upwards into the sky as the ground moved further and further away. She could see that clouds were falling down as she screamed for it to stop.
"Hello, I decided on my one good deed today, I will make someone happy. What do you want?"
The unique creature that stood before her, distracted her from her immediate grief. It was as if some enraged unicorn took the worst parts of every animal and combined them into one. "What happened to you?" Nadir said. "Who did this to you? Is there anything I can do to help?"
The creature laughed. "I was born this way. You can call me Discord."
Nadir stopped falling upwards just before she was about to enter space. Her heart pounded as she thought she was going to fall back down – not even her wings would save her from this height.
"Oh, relax." Discord snapped his claw.
They were on the ground in the middle of a grass field.
"What happened?" Nadir said.
"Hm, don't you like it? Okay, let me change it back."
"NO!" Nadir screamed.
It was a dizzying array of flashes as they appeared in the sky in one second, and back on the ground the next.
"Please don't do that again."
"Oh right, your wish. What do you want most in life?"
"I wish I didn't need love to survive. They killed her right in front of me yet I can't openly hate them."
"Silly, no one needs love to live. Whatever, granted!" He snapped his claw.
"You don't need love to live."
"I don't feel any different."
"That's because no one needs love to live."
"But I do. I must hide how I truly feel and act how ponies think I should act. As long as they love me, I can survive."
"That sounds ridiculous. Anyway, I still owe you a wish since that one did nothing."
"Can you bring someone back to life? I saw her die in front of me. The town wanted that to happen, so I couldn't protest. They thought she was a changeling so they killed her."
"No, but I can do something similar. Tell me what she looks like."
With the aid of the descriptions, Discord snapped Sapphire Twinkle into being. She was exactly as she looked the day before the town decided to kill her since they decided she sympathized with changelings. "Who are you?"
Nadir sobbed. She shook her head. It wasn't her, Discord already told her that.
Discord snapped his claw again and Sapphire Twinkle faded away from existence. "No good, I see. Well, I tried. Do you want to wish for anything else?"
She shook her head.
"I'll keep in touch." Discord snapped his claws.
Nadir appeared back on the balcony of her house. Her husband was out of town – how did he expect her to react? That mattered more than anything that she wanted to do. In the past, she saw anything the town burning anyone alive that they thought were changelings or friends of changelings. She wanted to cry and grieve, but what did he expect? There was also the chance that nearby neighbors would report her actions. If her husband expected her to grieve and she didn't, that was also dangerous. At least, there were still hours before he returned in the morning.
"That imposter took our daughter away," Night Skies said. "We need to find her."
Nadir lived as Azure Skies was sure that, that wasn't the case. "Yes, we do. Can't your spells find anything? Maybe, they struck while she was at school?" It was all a façade to placate Night Skies – encouraging him to look for someone that didn't exist. The stream of love that she consumed from him usually should return if she acted well enough, but it never did before he left for that task. She didn't dare complain since that would be selfish and that wouldn't help her in any way. At least, as a pegasus, she didn't have much to do with finding and searching for missing ponies. The unicorns handled that the best.
She ventured outside hoping that she could feast on love from nearby ponies. Her usual source of sustenance gave her none. Love withdrawal had terrifying effects ranging from madness and death. No one seemed to care about her plight at all despite their outward displays of concern. There were no traces of love for her to consume. They weren't buying her act and she didn't know what else to do. In her mind, she played the role perfectly – acting like a grieving mother concerned about the sudden disappearance of Sapphire Twinkle.
Love withdrawal should be setting in soon and she didn't know what she could do to prevent it. She started crying in the middle of the park as that realization hit her. A fate that no changeling wanted to experience.
"What's wrong?" a concerned earth pony said.
She didn't detect anything for her to eat which was unusual. "What if we never find Sapphire Twinkle?" The town was looking for someone that didn't exist.
"I'm sure they will. Not even a day passed since they started searching."
"I hope your right."
"Feeling better now?"
She nodded and forced herself not to cry.
The insufferable useless earth pony finally left her alone. The day went by without any success. None of the ponies gave her love to consume. Night Skies didn't return home at night, he had to be searching for Sapphire Twinkle still with the endless incantations. Love withdrawal was sure to set in and she didn't know what would happen to her. Every changeling experienced withdrawal differently.
Her memories of the morning were hazy, once again she ventured into town. Somehow, she ended up on top of a pony in a back alley. The pony was dead and her mouth tasted like blood. Apparently, she was eating the pony's flesh.
The flesh tasted great and her hunger subsided. It was wrong to eat ponies yet she needed to eat just the same. Regular food didn't do anything for changelings, it's not like she didn't try in the past. Love was the only thing they could consume.
After eating the pony, she would turn herself in. She already committed a crime; she might as well indulge in what happened. It didn't take long for her to finish eating the pony. Now, she had to think of the best way to turn herself in.
She knocked on her neighbor's house. The changeling hating neighbor could take care of it. Once Emerald Shine answered the door, she said, "Hi, I have something to show you."
"I'm sorry that we couldn't find Sapphire Twinkle yet. Come in." Emerald Shine was part of the rotation of unicorns to find missing ponies.
Azure Skies dropped her form. "I am Nadir."
"Oh wow! An actual changeling."
"Don't you hate them?"
"No, I'm curious about them. Say, can I study you?"
"But… I saw you laughing around the pyre."
"I felt like I had to, it was horrible. Since you're a changeling, is there something that you can tell me to help with the search?"
"It's very likely that Sapphire Twinkle was always a changeling, not someone that was replaced. Only a few changelings replace ponies, and those are rare. Most of us just want to survive in society."
"If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. Meanwhile, can you tell me about …"
The conversation dragged on for hours. She wasn't brave enough to confess the crime she committed earlier today yet she didn't detect a single trace of love from the pony. It didn't make any sense, none of it should've been an act.
She suddenly vanished.
She appeared in that bizarre world again where she was falling upwards.
"Discord?" she questioned.
"I am Strife. I helped you eat since you were hungry," Strife said.
"You took control of my body and killed a pony?"
"How do I say this? Well, his magic had some unintended consequences. You no longer need love to survive and you need to eat ponies."
"Change me back!"
He shook his head. "I like it better this way. Wouldn't it be great to become my little apex predator? Well, you don't have a choice."
"I'll just starve."
"Go ahead and try, I'll be watching. Just think – surely, there's someone that doesn't deserve to be alive. If worse comes to worst, I can always force you to eat."
"Why you!" Nadir shot magical fire at Strife.
Strife laughed before screaming. "You actually hurt me!" He snapped her away from his realm.
"Where did you go?" Emerald Shine said.
"Say, have you ever heard of…" she described Strife to her. She did leave out how he took control of her body and how he cursed her to eat ponies.
"No, but that world sounds cool. I wish I can meet him."
"Is there anything you can do to protect me from him? He won't leave me alone. It's very disorienting to suddenly appear into a world where you fall to the edge of space."
"Sorry, that's very advanced magic. If you need something that I can help with, please let me know. Soon, it's time for my shift in searching for Sapphire Twinkle."
"That pony doesn't exist."
"There's a chance, isn't there?" Emerald Shine smiled sheepishly. "I know, but it's not like I can just drop the act without consequences. If any other changelings need help, I'll help them too. It's been a pleasure meeting you." She teleported away.
Nadir left her neighbor's house and returned to her own. The thought that Discord could take control of her body at any time was terrifying. A curse that required her to eat ponies was even worse, at least, she didn't need love to survive anymore. Even so, she shifted back into her pegasus form before walking in. Night Skies was already home much to her surprise.
"How did the search go?" she asked.
"No luck. Will we ever find her?"
She decided it was now or never. She shifted into her changeling form. "The truth is, I believe that Sapphire Twinkle was always a changeling. Only a small minority replace ponies."
"Liar!" Night Skies shot a magical beam that she dodged. "They abducted Sapphire Twinkle, and you're behind that, too! I will have your head. The town will hear about this."
There was no turning back. She had to defend herself. Her magical fire burned Night Skies enough to render him immobile. Strife appeared again. "Bravo! I wouldn't miss it for anything. There's a pony waiting to be eaten!"
"Leave me alone," Nadir shouted.
Strife laughed. "You don't have a choice, my little apex predator. Consume them, it's what you're meant to do."
Nadir tried running away, only for Strife to encase her in a bubble.
"I can just control you."
"Even you must grow bored eventually."
"You're right, that would take up a lot of time. How about a deal? Only eat ponies who deserve it and I vow to not take control of your body."
"How can I trust you?"
"You can't. Take it or leave it. All your life you've been acting to appease someone. Why not appease me?"
"That's it. I'm revealing you to the town."
"Hah, with any luck, you'll end up in an asylum. I wonder if they still vivisect changelings. Your disguise might falter at an inopportune time. We wouldn't want that, now, would we? No matter what you do, you can't escape me. Take the deal, if you're lucky, you'll starve to death. How many evil ponies could there be?"
"Fine." She shook hooves with Strife. "Only the deserving ones, and don't take control of me, ever."
Thousands of years later…
A messenger ran in the throne room of Canterlot. "Princess Twilight Sparkle, we detected a massive gathering of chaos energy. We've never seen anything like this before."
"Where?" She resisted the urge to reprimand the pony for calling her princess.
"The town near Sunfall Forest."
"Are you sure that's not Discord and Fluttershy having a picnic?"
The messenger shook his head. "We're well acquainted with their magical signatures. You should come over to the academy and take a look yourself."
Twilight noted that since they didn't teleport here, it wasn't urgent yet it was enough of a concern to involve her directly. They took a stroll throughout Canterlot to arrive at the academy.
"Princess Twilight, we're so glad that you came. Take a look at this."
"Thank you, Principal Storm Chaser."
One look at the graph, she said, "We need to find Discord immediately and assemble my friends." It reminded her of the last time a calamity nearly happened. Some horrors lurked in the multiverse that sometimes tried to breach their world. An unfortunate pony died to a horror with many eyes before Discord sealed the rift.
It wasn't an elegant solution but it was the best idea she had in mind. She created a team in the past to track down her friends if emergencies arise. Even without their Elements of Harmony, their presence still amplified her power plus they could provide counsel on difficult decisions.
Discord and Fluttershy weren't in Ponyville so she looked at the next plausible location. His personal realm was always unsettling for her, but it was an emergency. She readied herself mentally before attempting to teleport on his plane.
She teleported into a forest made out of white hair it seemed.
"Oh, hi, Twilight!" Fluttershy called. "I didn't expect to see you here."
"Where is he?"
"Right here." Discord was scrubbing the hair. "Do be careful, Twilight, you're on top of Angel right now."
"I don't even want to know. Anyway, we have trouble," Twilight said. It wasn't worth finding out why Discord made Angel giant.
"Of course, we do. We'll treat Angel to some giant carrots next time." Discord snapped his claws. They were in a forest made of giant carrots, but Angel returned to regular size. Angel tried to kick her – that bunny rabbit was angry. "You should join us sometime."
"Look, I know that you're angry that you didn't get to eat giant carrots, but that's no way to act," Fluttershy scolded her pet rabbit. "Now, apologize."
Angel crossed his arms and looked the other way.
"So, what's the issue?" Discord asked.
"The Canterlot Academy's apparatus detected a massive gathering of chaos energy near Sunfall Forest."
"Well, we have no time to lose." Discord snapped them into Fluttershy's cottage. They dropped off Angel then he snapped them into the throne room in Canterlot. Her friends were waiting for her already.
"Take us to the Canterlot Academy," Twilight said.
They appeared around the apparatus which thankfully didn't show any readings of chaos energy. "There was a gathering of chaos energy right here." Twilight pointed to the town near Sunfall Forest.
"We should check it out then, sounds like an adventure. If we're lucky, we can save the world again," Rainbow Dash said.
Discord snapped his claws. "That's strange, it's not letting me teleport us there." He tried again. "Something is blocking my magic."
Applejack narrowed her eyes. "That's not another trick, is it?"
"What? When have I lied to you?"
"Alright, no need to get technical. Well, my magic doesn't work so you don't need me anymore."
Fluttershy grabbed his tail. "Not so fast, Discord. What if something happened to me?"
"Oh fine, I guess I could stay around and protect you helpless ponies."
"It's just Discord being Discord," Rarity mumbled.
"I heard that!"
"Do you think we'll find a giant octopus that lives on land this time?" Pinkie said.
"He doesn't live here," Discord said. "You can meet him after this, I suppose."
"Wait something like that exists?"
"He's over six-thousand years old and eats only pineapples."
"Right, we'll take an hour to prepare before leaving for our journey to the town near Sunfall Forest," Twilight declared.
"Doesn't this town have a name?" Rainbow asked.
Twilight scratched her head. She couldn't think of the name. "It should." She looked at a nearby map, only to find that the settlement doesn't exist. "Guess, we'll find out."
After an hour preparing, they set off on their journey to the town near Sunfall Forest. It was strange since none of the travel routes led there. None of the trains went by the town so they had to walk on hoof since Discord's teleportation magic didn't work. There was nothing unusual about the place that came into view.
"Hello?" Twilight said. "We want to know if you've experienced any trouble."
"What are you?" the earth pony said.
"You've never heard of Princess Twilight, Element of Magic, Savior of Equestria?" Rainbow boasted.
The pony shook her head. "Please enjoy your stay. The Purification Ceremony is about to begin."
"What's that?" Twilight asked.
"We expel the weak to keep the town safe from predators."
A loud bang echoed throughout the town. Someone struck the gong at the center. The town gathered within minutes.
"It's time to begin the Purification Ceremony. The weak are evil because they invite predators into the town. For the herd to survive, we must expel evil. Unicorns, show us the face of evil."
The unicorns channeled magical beams into a crystal ball where it revealed a face.
"Ruby Flicker no longer exists among us. May the herd improve and remain strong. No one is more important than the herd itself."
"There has to be a mistake! I've done nothing wrong!" Ruby Flicker said.
"Excuse me, what's going to happen to you?" Twilight approached the panicking pony.
"Who are you talking to?" a pony said.
Twilight pointed to Ruby Flicker.
"I don't see anyone there. Where are you from?"
"Never heard of it. I think there's something wrong with you. I've never seen a pony with horns and wings before."
"Excuse me, would it be too much for you to leave us alone?" Rarity said. "Where can we stay before we go on our way?"
"The mentally ill attract predators into the town. You are not welcome here. Plus, there's definitely something wrong with him." The pony pointed to Discord.
Discord snapped his claw. "Twilight, do something about him before I do."
"I'm the Ruling Princess of Equestria here to investigate a magical anomaly. Leave us alone or face the consequences. Failure to comply will result in the use of force. Begone!"
"When did you master the Royal Canterlot Voice?"
The pony wisely scampered away. Ruby Flicker said meekly, "How did you come here? No one comes or leaves this town."
"We walked here. I would love to know more about the history of this place."
"A terrifying predator preys on the evil in the town. The town holds Purification Ceremonies monthly to keep the predator at bay. Everyone they choose ceases to exist. As long as the town gives tribute, no one dies randomly. I just don't understand why they picked me."
"And what does this predator look like?"
"The only rumors are that it's black as night."
"Certainly, not everyone would agree with this," Fluttershy said.
"Not everyone does. Ones who choose to identify with the evil one inevitably perishes. Even if there's a group. An entire neighborhood vanished one day, without a single trace before."
"Sorry, I wasn't brave enough to support you during the ceremony." Sudden Flicker ran to the group. "I'll come with you."
"You don't have to do this, Mom. It's unfair, that's what it is."
"I insist. So, what's your plan? Stay until the predator claims you or try for the outside world? What are you seven planning to do?"
"We're here to investigate a magical anomaly. The tradition of this town also makes me feel uneasy, this practice ends today. First, we'll bring you two to Canterlot, then we'll do something about the town," Twilight decreed with her wings unfurled.
"It's rather dark, why don't we find someplace to stay and leave tomorrow?"
"What about your house?"
"That won't work, my husband is unlikely to cooperate."
"I insist on trying," Fluttershy said.
"Just trust me."
"Let Fluttershy try," Applejack chimed in.
"Fine, I just don't want anything bad happening to him."
They moved to the house where ponies acted as if they didn't exist. The town attributed anything they did to the wind or ghosts. A collective effort to pretend that they didn't exist. When they arrived at the house, someone barricaded it shut. Wooden planks covered the windows and the door wouldn't budge.
"Fluttershy, Twilight, come up here! Look at this. Do you see what I see?" Rainbow called.
After flying up to the window upstairs, Fluttershy nodded. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy looked to each other before dive-bombing and pinning Sudden Flicker to the ground.
"Uh, Rainbow, what's gotten into you?" Twilight said.
"We saw Sudden Flicker inside the house."
"Let me cast my changeling detection spell," Twilight said. A purple glow enveloped Sudden Flicker. "She isn't one."
Applejack decided to break down the barricaded door with a powerful kick. "Then the other one must be."
Twilight charged in and immobilized the other Sudden Flicker with a magical bubble. To her dismay, her detection spell also turned negative. "This doesn't make sense, both of them are actual ponies."
Sure enough, they both called each other the imposter.
"Let me spend time alone with them. I can tell them apart," Ruby Flicker said. "She's my mother after all. If you're just outside the room, you can jump in if anything happens."
After some deliberation, they agreed on the plan. Twilight was anxious as they watched from the door.
What happened next made Twilight feel helpless, one of them turned into a changeling and overpowered the other two with ease. Meanwhile, an invisible wall prevented them from entering the room except for Pinkie Pie. The changeling was starting to eat the ponies alive.
Nothing the changeling did affected Pinkie Pie but she couldn't save the ponies inside. The pink pony remained unharmed despite wading through bursts of magical flame, giggling all the way.
A draconequus appeared which Discord promptly snapped out of existence. He clenched his teeth. "I forgot about him."
"What did you do now, Discord?" Twilight asked.
"Well, ten thousand years ago, I created someone to spread strife in the world. I wanted chaos to happen without causing it myself directly. Sometimes I felt a sinking feeling of unease after I had my fun so I made a creation with powers and free will. Now, this makes much more sense. If memory serves, this changeling is Nadir. I still owe her a wish."
"Is he truly gone?" Nadir asked Discord. "I did most of what he wanted since the world would be a worse place if I didn't. Can you make it so I don't need to eat ponies to survive?"
"Easily." With a snap of his claw, Nadir became normal.
"You killed them." Twilight pointed to the deceased ponies in the room.
"Your point? They deserved to die," Nadir said. "Ruby Flicker brought misery to other foals by stealing their toys. Sudden Flicker failed at parenting. I do not regret killing them."
"Just admit you're wrong and everything will be fine. Trust me," Discord said.
"You want me to lie?"
"It's just not the place to reveal how you feel. Your methods are also far too radical for the world today. Twilight, I'll take her under my supervision." Discord snapped his claw, Nadir vanished.
Someone witnessed what happened that night, and that became a huge problem. It spread before Twilight caught wind of it. Equestria believed that Discord was sheltering the terror that fed on ponies. The idea that someone could feed on ponies and still remain free was horrifying. Multiple cities wanted justice as they learned about what happened. As a gesture, Twilight named the town Radiant to signify a new beginning for the ponies that lived there and to let Equestria know that she was aware of the problem.
She had been in negotiations with multiple groups, yet the one thing they wanted, she wasn't ready to give. Nadir wasn't causing a threat to anyone as far as she knew. The ponies wanted Nadir to pay for what she did, some even had the gall to demand Discord pay for his actions as well.
At first, it began with small acts of civil disobedience before it morphed into violence since she wouldn't give the ponies what they wanted. Her friends and advisors disagreed on what should happen. Discord refused to let Nadir stand trial for her actions and Twilight was in no position to force him to comply. He was still stronger as a spirit of chaos. The one-way viewings into Nadir's life in Discord's realm were all she received. It was like he had his own student to teach. Not that he was successful, but he was trying and Nadir wasn't harming anyone in her isolation.
It wasn't until the death of a guard that Twilight decided that her current approach wasn't working. What they said had a ring of truth to it, that her friends were above the law. They nearly destroyed the world or have done something similar only for a wrist slap whereas there were dungeons for regular ponies. Discord was someone that she could do something about – she created a room that nullified chaos magic with much effort in case Discord didn't comply with her request to put Nadir on trial yet again.
With her preparations complete, she approached Discord to set her plan in motion. Her friends likely wouldn't approve, but they should understand because it was necessary. Equestria was on the verge of descending into civil war.
"No, Twilight, she's not ready for the world yet, and I will absolutely not let her stand trial," Discord said.
"I thought it didn't hurt to ask. I've been thinking maybe I should visit your realm since you kept asking me to. After that maybe I can show you one of my favorite places?" Twilight knew Discord wanted to show her his realm for quite some time now. Every time in the past, she declined.
"Splendid! Let's go!"
Twilight couldn't believe where they ended up. A place where talking books lived. "Wow!"
"I thought you'd like it."
"Equestria is falling apart, and here I am enjoying myself."
"Don't you remember the rule? No business on Sundays. Now, enjoy the world of talking books."
Even though it was an act, she lost track of time as she talked to the books and learned the wonders within. It was different compared to when she was just reading books. When Discord came to check in on her, she realized how much time went by.
"Having fun?" Discord asked.
"Oh yes! There's something that I wanted to show you, I've been researching chaos magic," Twilight said. It wasn't like she could overpower Discord at his full strength, and her friends didn't know her plans either. She had to lure him into the room she prepared so she could strip him of his magic.
"Let's see what you've planned." Discord snapped them back into the castle.
She led him into the anti-chaos magic room. Once they stepped inside, she tackled Discord to the floor.
"Twilight, what's the meaning of this?" Discord snapped his claw before groaning in frustration.
"The ponies of Radiant wanted to bring Nadir to justice, something that you repeatedly denied. This is the next best thing. I had to do something, they're getting more and more violent every day," Twilight explained. Next, she placed an anti-magic collar on Discord one that he wouldn't be able to remove.
"Some Princess of Friendship you are, your friends don't know about this at all."
"Just rewrite their brains and it'll all be fine. You don't need to do this, you know."
"It's for the best." Twilight looked away. "After I turn you to stone, it'll all be over."
"Do you really believe that's going to solve everything?"
"Shut up!" Twilight unfurled her wings.
Discord yelled at the top of his lungs, "Fluttershy, I need you!"
"She's too far away."
"That's what you think."
Twilight looked around, expecting a yellow pegasus to appear from somewhere, only to see nothing.
"So, Twilight, when and where are you going to perform the spell?"
"You don't need to know."
"Even now, you're afraid. Just imagine what would happen if I break free. What would Celestia or Luna think of your actions?"
Twilight encased Discord in a bubble so she couldn't hear him. Even now, his words were causing her doubt. She had a guard unit comprised of ponies that disliked Discord for this task. Her performance had to have a degree of royalty to it. It was about putting on a show so that Equestria would be at peace once more.
She scheduled her friends to meet her in the town of Radiant for this occasion tomorrow, without telling them about what was going to happen. Nothing could go wrong with her plans. Only a few more agonizing hours before this would all be over. No more deaths, no more conflict, harmony restored at last.
She arrived in Radiant with her guards carrying Discord in a portable cage. It was time to give the ponies what they want so that peace can prevail. There was a crowd waiting for her to speak, she spotted the other Elements of Harmony within.
"My little ponies I have thought long and hard about the events that happened recently. It is understandable that it is unsettling to learn that someone who killed without remorse roams free. I have heard and come to accept that there should be justice for all.
"While Nadir is beyond my reach, I shall sentence Discord to stone for protecting Nadir from facing consequences for her actions. Let the town of Radiant become a shining example that no one is above the law. Discord, do you have any last words?"
Fluttershy flew up. "What do you think you're doing Twilight?"
"Yeah, we didn't learn anything about this. This is so not cool," Rainbow Dash said.
Twilight had to go through with her plans, she had her guards hold back her own friends, but Fluttershy refused to leave Discord.
"You ponies never cared about harmony in the first place," Discord said.
"Fluttershy, move out of the way," Twilight prepared to fire her spell.
"No." Fluttershy remained in front of Discord, staring at her.
Discord uttered more drivel that would drive her insane or shaken her resolve, she fired when she thought she had a clean shot. Fluttershy became petrified along with Discord in the middle of Radiant.
The townsponies were happy yet she couldn't see her friends except for Pinkie Pie who was already in the middle of throwing a party.
Twilight restored peace by leaving the world without kindness.
Nadir found herself in a world of wonder and fantasy. Everything that Discord willed into existence happened. The draconequus had done much to atone for his actions in the past. Anything she could imagine happened, there were a few limitations, however. Discord kept trying to teach her pony values.
She roamed in his fantasy world since she couldn't bring herself to accept ponies who've done unforgivable things. They were evil, and it was irresponsible to let them roam free yet Discord forbade her from killing anyone. Thus, she remained in Pandemonium where fantasies came true. Every so often they would spend time together.
A chess-colored cat came to her one day. "The master is in danger. We sense it. Can you free him?"
"What do you mean?"
"He needs help. You can leave this place, can't you?"
Discord created an exit within his realm if she ever wished to leave, the downside was that it was a one-way trip. It had been a while since Discord last visited.
"Please help him," the cat implored. "We would help but we cannot leave this place."
She took the portal to Equestria which landed her in the Everfree Forest. It was one of Discord's favorite spots since it was so saturated with chaos magic that it lingered forever. Utilizing disguises, she infiltrated Ponyville, trying to find what happened.
The newspaper made her blink twice when she read it. Twilight sentenced Discord to stone in the newly named town of Radiant. It was the same town that she preyed on for so long. A gleaming example that no one was above the law.
What was Twilight thinking?
It happened that they blamed Discord for everything that happened to that town. There was a minor footnote about Fluttershy becoming a statue for trying to protect Discord. She had to verify if it was true, it was so absurd.
Slowly, she made her way towards the town of Radiant. Since she didn't have Discord's magic keeping her urges in check, her cravings for pony flesh returned. She held off her hunger until she saw the statue of Discord enraged with Fluttershy holding him back.
A beam struck the statue of Discord, shot by a unicorn.
"Excuse me, what are you doing?" Nadir said.
The unicorn tried to run away. She chased him into an alley.
"Care to explain yourself?"
"You wouldn't understand. I was trying to free Discord."
"Twilight sentenced him to stone to avert civil war, but harmony is dead anyway. Fluttershy tried to protect him, not all of her friends were happy with the decision either. They went their separate ways."
Nadir shifted into her changeling form. "I need him to be free. His magic makes it so that I don't need to eat ponies."
The unicorn smiled. "Well, I've got a list of ponies along with a ton of reasons why. Welcome to the team."
"The resistance against Twilight Sparkle."
A/N: Written for the Writers Anonymous Special Places Challenge. Feedback appreciated.