Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 145

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Chapter 145

I stretch with a broad grin on my face. I think Clark’s going to be alright, Discord’s free to get reformed and be a friend too, and I think they’ll do well together. Maybe too well, but that’s for everyone else to deal with.

I head downstairs and walk to Fluttershy’s to inform Clark that he’d get to meet a new friend of mine later today, not going into much detail about Discord, just that I get along well with him. I also mention that the princesses will be there, but since it’s for more of a business visit, he’d probably have to go up and see them himself if he wanted to actually meet them.

Fluttershy certainly looks nervous about the mention of Discord though, and her story about what he did to her was kinda... messed up, but from what I can gather, he was just trying to shame Fluttershy... which she honestly already does to herself on a daily basis. Can’t blame the guy for throwing in the towel and going on the offensive, really.

“So yeah, the princesses said they’ll be here in Ponyville at about noon or something I think. Though Discord kinda ran off last night because Twilight wouldn’t let him sleep in the library. I figure he’ll be here in time though, he seems to like hanging out with me.” For a moment, I expect Discord to appear at that moment, but am somewhat sadly disappointed. Ah well, he’s sure to be here for the discussion.

We talk for a few minutes, Clark sitting down and hugging Fluttershy. Strangely, she doesn’t shy away from Clark at all, in fact leaning towards him a bit. After she gets over her trepidation, likely with Clark’s massaging claw-tips to aid the process, we get moving towards the library. Twilight should know where we’re supposed to go.

Standing around in the field, Twilight fidgets. “Where’s Discord now? Why isn’t he here? What if the Princess gets mad at me for losing him? Ooh, what if she gives me a bad grade? Oh no, what if I fail?”

“Fail what exactly?” I ask the paranoid ball of shaking lavender fur beside me.

“Fail her test! I can’t do that to her!”

“For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Calm the fuck down! You might give yourself a cardiac arrest if you keep up this ritual of flipping out over the dumbest things.”

“But- but I could get an eff! That’s the worst grade of all!”

I kneel down, and hold Twilight gently by her side. “Twilight, calm down, and listen to me very carefully. You are not being tested, and therefore you cannot fail. Secondly, chill out, or you are going to end up killing yourself with these pointless anxiety attacks. Got it?”

She takes a shaky breath, petting her tail gently. She nods, slowly, and continues to try breathing properly.

“Alright, now that we’ve calmed down the bucket of nerves...” I turn to the others in attendance. “Where are the princesses anyhow?”

One of the elements of harmony is about to say something, but she’s cut off as Pinkie points up at the sky and hops up and down excitedly. “Over there! Over there! Ooh, I spy something blue and really big!”

“Pinkie, that’s the sky.” Something’s odd. That’s a bit more random than she usually is... oh well.

“Wow, you’re good at this game. Alright, you spy next!” Pinkie smiles at me as Celestia touches down nearby in an ornate golden chariot, the pegasus guards pulling it looking around stoically. Given the cutie-mark shaped wheel-well, I’m guessing it’s Celestia’s.

Clark is sitting down in the grass, Fluttershy on his lap. The two are becoming practically inseparable. Pinkie hops a little in place, and I see that her smile’s actually a bit strained. Thinking about Pinkie’s story, I can understand why she’d be a bit nervous by the upcoming meeting.

And, right as Celestia steps out of the chariot, Discord poofs into place, wearing an electric-blue hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts, a super-tourists hat on top his head, and sunglasses mostly covering his eyes.

“Hello, everypony!” Discord leers around at the ponies, though the leer turns to an amused smirk when seen from the side.

“Heya man, where’d ya go?”

“Why, Hoofwaii, of course. Why else would I wear this? It’s tacky, even by my standards!”

I cringe at the unintended pun. “Forget I asked... So, down to business I guess. Might as well get this over with, right?”

“Oh, fine, I suppose. So, Princess, what have you got for me? You gonna sic Twilight on me until I’m all friendship’d into reforming?” He gesticulates wildly as he speaks.

I laugh. “Pffft, like that would work. She’s such a social recluse, she’s here to learn about friendship herself from what I heard.”

“Ooh, shots fired, Anthony,” he shifts around to hold Twilight around the shoulders, like he’s supporting her. “Can’t you see she’s wounded by your cruel words?” He looks at me with a  super-serious look... for almost a full five seconds. We both break into laughter at Twilight’s expense. After the laughing dies down, I see that Twilight actually does look a bit upset by the teasing. Oh well, guess it’s just a sore point, she’ll be fine.

Celestia clears her throat to get our attention and once she has it, she begins. “No, we will not force Discord into reformation, as that rather defeats the purpose of reforming him in the first place.” Discord gives an exaggerated gasp of surprise. “We need to do as you said earlier Anthony. We must win him over to our side of thinking, have him see the way we do and sympathize with us and befriend him. But just because it is your idea does not mean you will be the one to execute it. Instead, it will be a team effort of all of you, but I have selected Fluttershy to be his caretaker as I feel she would be the best suited to look over him.”

Wait... the pegasus who flinches every time someone says his name? What the heck? Ah well, if that’s the way Celly wants it...

“So, what now?”

Celestia continues. “Now I would like you to take the Elements of Harmony.” she levitates a rather ornate box over to the group and it opens revealing the necklaces and the big crown thingy. The ponies each put on their respective trinkets. “If Discord becomes too unruly or unmanageable, you have my permission to return him to stone-”

“Wait!” I yell. “Wasn’t the whole point of the reforming thing because we didn’t want to have him a statue in the first place?”

“If he has become too much of a danger, I’d rather he be a statue than causing harm.” She turns to the element bearers. “That does not mean that minor disobedience should be retaliated with maximum force. You are trying to reform him, not browbeat him.” Celestia looks at Discord. “And you... if you do cause too much trouble, without doing any harm, then Twilight has been given permission to utilize a backup plan.”

“And you aren’t going to tell us what the result of that will be? That’s not fair. If you don’t know why you are or are not doing something, what’s stopping you? The best way to be nice to someone is to have them choose to be nice themselves, not threaten them with uncertain circumstances.”

“I am simply telling him that, should he choose to be too troublesome, there is another chance he will have before the Elements are to be used on him. I am not threatening him, I am reassuring him.”

“I have to side with Anthony on this, I’m none too reassured this mystery plan you’ve convinced your little student to aim at me. You aren’t being... sneaky are you?” Discord’s tone is somewhere between curious and accusatory, but there’s still the undertone of his normal, joking self.

I shrug. “Seems she is, otherwise she wouldn't try to hide it. She won’t tell us what the result is. Not like that would tell us what the plan is, how it works, or how to stop it. I hardly see how knowing the outcome would change the plan in the slightest, unless the result is the entire plan, in which case it’s not much a plan as it is retaliation.”

Discord and I look at the princess expectantly, putting her in the spotlight. Literally, Discord’s summoned a giant floating lamp and it’s shining in her face.

Without her expression changing in the slightest, she simply looks to each of the Elements, and nods, gently. “I will check in every week, and I will want to get a detailed update. Fluttershy, you may suspend your reports on Anne for the time being.” Fluttershy looks relieved at this, and nods.

Reports on Anne? The f- Okay, that’s just... why does she treat every new arrival like a test subject!? Seriously, I sometimes feel bad for treating Celly like garbage, but then I remember why I do. She can be an uncaring bitch sometimes!

I sigh, and say, “Alright, guess we just... go home now. Not much to do really now that we know what’s going on. Aside from Celestia dodging the question about the backup plan. Oh well, I guess sometimes you just need to feel like you know more than everyone else. I can probably get it out of Twilight anyway.”

“I don’t think I need to give obvious answers to rhetorical questions, Anthony. Now, I must get back to Canterlot. Luna is likely drowning in politicians by now. She’s always been better with numbers than ponies.” Celestia flies away in her chariot. Hey, actually, why does she ride in the chariot if she has wings? The guards are flying just fine from Canterlot and back with the gold chariot being dragged through the air, so why can’t she just flap along back and forth?

I’ve seen her wingspan, it’s about half again as wide as that chariot is, and I’ve seen her fly just fine... lazy royals...

I turn and see that most of the ponies present are giving Discord the stink-eye, but Fluttershy actually looks fine, sitting on Clark’s lap and looking fearlessly at the spirit. Discord, for his part, is examining Clark, who looks distinctly uncomfortable, and I can see wisps of red-orange star-cloud hanging around his right arm.

“Oh yeah, introductions. Discord, Clark. Spirit of Chaos, human with partial demonic corruption but full mental control.”

“Hmm... But the question here is whether he has a sense of humor?”

Clark looks up at the chimeric mishmash, and gives a shaky grin. “As long you don’t mind organized chaos, I think humor comes easier than anything else.”

“Organized... Chaos? What kind of madness afflicts you, I wonder.” Discord reaches out and pulls a brain from behind-or-maybe-inside Clark’s ear, examining it. The brain has googly eyes on the front. “Strange, it’s looks just like a brain, I would’ve expected-” The front of the brain, between the googly eyes, opens up, a cuckoo clock bird chirping and springing out a few times. “Ah, there we go. Anthony, my friend, did you know your other friend is crazy? Why would you hang around someone insane, when you have so many sane people to ‘chill with’?” Discord finishes his question wearing an orange parka with an arm around my shoulders. There’s snow on his shoulders and more snow is falling around us.

“Simple.” I grin. “He’s the best kind of crazy. The fun kind.”

“Ah, that makes perfect sense.” Discord snaps his fingers again, and the field is back to normal, minus the snowman formed of the snow from his now-gone parka. “So... what first? I was thinking over some ‘friend’ things while I was stoned out of my mind, and thought about maybe turning Fillydelphia upside down, or perhaps turning Horseshoe Bay into a literal horseshoe, and seeing what happens from there. Or, maybe, we can go steal everyone’s left shoe in Tuarkey, and just watch the mayhem unfold!”

“Hmmm... How about something much more interesting. Why don’t we go ‘help’ people?” I say, putting as much emphasis on help as I can to indicate the total opposite. “We could spend all day filling their lives with chaotic joy!”

Discord claps his forelimbs happily. “That sounds delightful! Oh, and since Fluttershy needs to watch me, she can chaperone. Y’know, to make sure we don’t go anywhere on our second date.” He bats his eyes at me with cartoonishly girly features superimposed over his own.

“Heh, trust me pal, you’ve already been friendzoned. Friends get to have a lot more fun together!” Next Chapter: Chapter 146 Estimated time remaining: 12 Hours, 26 Minutes

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