After careful review of Twilight's life and achievements, Celestia had gone down her 'Friendship Checklist' to see what lessons Twilight still actually needed to learn...and with Iroh's help, had determined only one last lesson she felt she still needed to pass on to her before taking the next step. Laying that groundwork for the next step, she contacted Twilight regarding one more mission she had for her.
She then sent several of her guards to the statue garden. She hoped this would work as well as she hoped.
Twilight stared up at the statue before her, surrounded by her friends, remembering her last encounter with the entity so entombed. "Princess Celestia...are you sure about this?" she asked worriedly. "I mean...it's Discord we're talking about here! The Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony..." Her defensiveness and worry drained out of her as she heard her own words, to be replaced with curiosity.
"I'm well aware of the problems you had with him in the past, Twilight," Celestia replied softly. "However, I feel that if you all work together, you can find the good in him and reform him. However, I feel that in this case, you should follow Fluttershy's lead. I believe her best suited to reaching him, with all of your assistance."
"Yeah...I suppose," Twilight murmured, not quite hearing the voices of her friends around her as they expressed their own views on the matter. She rubbed her chin with her hoof, her mind plainly elsewhere.
Celestia stared down at her student, somewhat concerned for her distracted state. She had expected a great many possible reactions, but not this. "I have cast a spell on the Elements so he can't steal them from you," she continued, opening the chest to distribute them. Despite the glee of the others, Twilight seemed to barely notice the tiara on her head, only nodding distractedly and mumbling 'Yes, Princess'. Celestia frowned at that. "...Luna wishes to know when you might be free to go out on the town for a night of drunken debauchery," she offered, trying to get a reaction out of Twilight.
"I think Thursday's open," Twilight muttered, plainly not having heard what was said.
Celestia sighed as Rainbow laughed. "And you've become so lost in your thoughts you aren't even listening," she murmured, trying to decide whether to be pleased Twilight could act this way around her or feel disrespected by it.
"Excuse me everypony," Twilight suddenly spoke up, "but there's someone I need to ask something of before we get started." With that, she pulled a small glowing stone out of her saddlebags and vanished.
Celestia groaned, putting one hoof to her forehead. "Why did Cadence have to introduce them in his Library?" she muttered, before turning to head back to Canterlot, hoping she hadn't made a terrible mistake.
After a time, Twilight reappeared, looking somehow heartbroken. "Let's...let's let him out," she stammered out.
"Twi? You okay?" Applejack asked worriedly as everyone stared at her.
"No," Twilight replied. "But we need to do this."
"O...okay..." Rainbow muttered, moving into position.
"Where'd you go, anyway?" Pinkie asked curiously. "Huh? Huh?"
"Before judging someone, one should walk a mile in their shoes," Twilight murmured. "It's an old saying. I...had to talk to someone who knew Discord's foot size..."
While Rarity, Rainbow, Applejack, and Fluttershy all looked confused, Pinkie nodded in understanding. "So what's his size, huh? Six? 12? 274?"
"...one," Twilight replied.
As everyone else continued to look confused, Pinkie's jaw dropped. "Oh...oh wow..." She rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "Nowonder he didn't know to provide whipped cream with the chocolate milk."
"Uhh...?" Spike began, totally confused.
Follwoing Twilight's lead, the others turned the power of their Elements to freeing Discord. As the statue shattered, Discord fell on his back laughing. "I can't believe you actually said that, Twilight!" he gasped out. "Really, free Thursday for dru-"
He was cut off as Twilight and Pinkie both glomped onto him, holding him close in a comforting embrace.
"Umm...while hugs do help show good feeling, I'm not sure if that's how we should start..." Fluttershy began. "But if it works, that's okay..."
Discord blinked, staring down at Twilight and Pinkie. "Twilight, you're leaking on me," he chided, pointing to the tears pouring from her eyes. "I don't think I like it."
"...I'm sorry..." she whispered back.
Discord blinked. "Well, I suppose if you move your face-"
"For judging you just for being chaos," Twilight continued. "Just like...the other spirits did..."
Discord stared at her as the other ponies glanced back and forth in confusion. "...uh..."
"I asked Wan Shi Tong about you," Twilight explained, causing Spike to let out an 'Ah!' of understanding.
"Oh, that stuffed shirtless!" Discord grumbled, rolling his eyes. "The less I hear about him, the better. If he wasn't so stuffy-"
"Then the other spirits might have been more tolerant of your chaotic nature, and you wouldn't have been ostracized from the only other entities in existence during your formative years that would live for more than the relative blink of an eye?" Twilight clarified.
This brought gasps from everyone listening. Moments later, Fluttershy was glomped onto Discord, stroking his head. "Oh...you poor dear..."
Spike glomped onto Discord's leg. "I...I feel your pain, bro..." he murmured, sobbing.
Discord could only stare, stunned, as Applejack, Rainbow, and Rarity joined the spontaneous group hug. "I absolutely do not need this!" Discord complained as the hugs got tighter and more comforting. "This is not filling a void in my heart that certainly doesn't exist in the first place!" He struggled as the hugs got tighter. "Hey, I still need to breathe, you know!" As this brought giggles instead of tighter hugs, he considered that progress.
Wan Shi Tong was surprised, somewhat unpleasantly so, when Twilight once more returned to his Library, this time with all her friends in tow. While he knew all of them from his time in another form in Twilight's world, there was one in particular he did not like seeing. "Twilight," he scolded, "I thought I made my feelings plain regarding that spirit and my library."
"You did," Twilight replied. "But Celestia asked us to reform him, and once we were able to get through to him-"
"I still dispute that!" Discord interrupted, leading to Twilight blowing a raspberry at him, which he returned in kind.
"-I thought the best way to really help him would be to resolve the longstanding conflict between you two," Twilight concluded as though she hadn't interrupted her own words to stick her tongue out. "After all, if the two of you can get along, then he's certainly reformed, wouldn't you say?"
Wan Shi Tong scowled. "And why should I believe he's capable of restraining himself long enough to not earn my ire by disorganizing my library for fun?" he demanded.
"Well, first is because Twilight convinced him to reorganize the card catalog to match if he does that again!" Pinkie offered. "And second, maybe he just needs a flower of his own?" She gave Wan Shi Tong a huge smile.
Wan Shi Tong glowered at Pinkie. "I don't know if I should be more irritated that you used knowledge you should not possibly have to make that point, or that it is a valid one." He sighed. "Very well. If each of you brought a contribution to my collection to prove your dedication to knowledge for knowledge's sake, I suppose I can hear you out as far as Discord is concerned."
"Did I mention you're my favorite?" Discord whispered to Pinkie, who giggled in response.
Rarity was the first to step up, offering a catalog of all her original fashion creations.
"Hmm...quite intriguing designs," Wan Shi Tong murmured as he accepted it. "Certainly unique as far as my collection is concerned."
Fluttershy timidly offered a collection of stories of the lives of her animal friends.
"Quite the dedicated caretaker you are," Wan Shi Tong murmured in response, gently taking the book.
Applejack stepped up with a large book. "This here's a history o' Ponyville from the day Granny Smith and her folks founded it until today, written in her own hoof."
"A personal account of such length should be quite the unique addition to my collection," Wan Shi Tong replied. He then turned to Pinkie and Rainbow.
Pinkie grinned as she handed over a book that appeared to be in the process of writing itself. Curious, Wan Shi Tong opened to the last page with writing on it, his eyes trailing down to the last line as he read about himself reading about himself reading-
He snapped the book shut, glowering at Pinkie, who was in the midst of exchanging a hoof bump with Discord. "Hilarious," he stated bluntly, adding the book to his collection. He then turned to Rainbow Dash.
Grinning smugly, she handed over a book titled 'Tricktionary'. "Done every last one of them!" she proclaimed smugly.
Wan Shi Tong sighed as he took the book. "I suppose every heroic group has to have its Sokka," he mumbled under his breath, making Discord cackle. "And what about you?" he asked, turning on the Spirit of Chaos.
Reaching under his lion paw with his eagle talon, Discord pulled out an ancient tome wrapped in a bow with an "I'm sorry!" note attached. "I...found the one that went missing," he explained.
Wan Shi Tong stared at Discord for a time...and smiled. "Apology accepted," he stated firmly, taking the book. He then pulled out another book. "Twilight, Celestia left this with me, to give to you next time you came here after reforming Discord. It's Starswirl's last spell journal."
Twilight gasped in surprise. "Really?" she squealed excitedly.
"There's even an unfinished spell in the back," Wan Shi Tong explained. "It has several evocative elements, so don't read it aloud unless you're ready to cast. Also, it has something to do with the Elements of Harmony."
"Then it's a good thing we have them with us, isn't it darling?" Rarity gushed, stroking her necklace.
"I'll have my Knowledge Seekers prepare a spot for you to study," Wan Shi Tong stated as a few of the spirit vixens approached. "In the meantime...I suppose it wouldn't hurt anything if Discord and I...caught up."
"Just like that?" Discord asked, surprised as the ponies followed the foxes. "You really think it'll be that easy to bury eons of enmity?"
"We have common ground now," Wan Shi Tong replied, staring after the ponies as they raced off. "We share friends...whom we must both one day watch whither and fade, taken by Time."
Discord stared after the group. "I...suppose you have a point..."
Discord and Wan Shi Tong sat in silence, sharing a pot of tea and Sokka's joke book, when there was an explosion in the distance. "What was that?" Discord demanded, stunned. "And why does it feel like fan rage?"
"That came from where Twilight and the others are!" Wan Shi Tong gasped out, racing forward, Discord close behind them.
As they arrived, they were blinded by returning light. As the light faded, both were able to clearly see Twilight and the others...but there were far more horns and wings than there should have been.
Discord stared at this, then burst into laughter. Wan Shi Tong turned and walked back into the library. "Nope!" he stated firmly as he grabbed Pinkie's submission. "Who this insanity!" Flipping to the last page, he took a quill and added