The King & Shy

After a terrible storm sweeps through the Everfree, Fluttershy finds the weakened but still powerful King Sombra on her doorstep. Unable to resist his dark magic, she finds herself trapped by a spell that forces her to aid him, protect him, and heal him until he is strong once more, all while keeping his revival a secret from her friends. Unwilling to risk bringing her friends into the situation and endanger them, Fluttershy decides on a riskier tactic
If she could reform Discord, why not the Tyrant of the Crystal Empire. After all, with his spell keeping her from betraying his presence, it might be her only hope. Can she kill the Dark King with Kindness? Or will the ancient sorcerer once more stretch his shadow across Equestria?
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/328886/the-king-shy

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1. Act 1 ~ Sabbatical

The teapot drifted lazily along beside a small herd of ambulatory cakes like a shepherd tending its flock. Every so often it would tip forward a small stream of fragrant herbal tea would pour out and flow along a random course before ending its journey at the one of the two cups that were positioned relatively near their respective owners. Fluttershy had long ago gotten used to the rather cavalier state of physics during weekly tea times with Discord who was quietly drinking from his own cup whilst upside down. Gravity had taken the afternoon off so everything in Fluttershy’s living room was gently bobbing about. Fortunately, the rehabilitated Draconequus had long since learned to put things back where they were. It took him a bit longer to get the hang of putting them back in all the right dimensions of course. there were a few troublesome months where Fluttershy’s couch would occasionally be left missing for a few hours before she could call Discord back to retrieve it from wherever in the fourth dimension he had left the thing. Nevertheless, Fluttershy was incredibly proud of his progress.

“I’m quite certain, dear Fluttershy, that you are incorrect on this matter,” Discord finally rebuked from his position a few degrees acute to the leftmost corner of the room. “Rainbow Dash certainly has all the skill of a Wonderbolt but I would be lying if I said I thought she was ready to work as a team. She is just too brash! Maybe in a year or two.”

“Oh Discord, you know as well as I do that she just needs a chance,” Fluttershy quietly defended her friend. Not that she necessarily disagreed. Rainbow did have a pretty bad case of what her father called ‘Solo Flyer Syndrome’. “I’m sure that Rainbow could thrive in a team environment just fine.”

Discord shook his head. “Maybe, and trust me when I say I’m as much of a fan of throwing a wrench into the gears of a well-oiled machine as the next Spirit of Chaos, but the kind of stunts the Wonderbolts would end up being the wrong kind of chaos. You know, the kind that ends in a hospital visit.”

Fluttershy winced at the thought. She appreciated Discord not going even further with it though. It was rare but a stunt flying accident could lead to far worse than a few weeks in hospital. Far, far worse. Something closer to home was bothering the yellow mare, though. “Discord, this is a little off topic but… are you alright?”

Discord suddenly righted himself (in relation to Equus) and met his host’s eyes with a cocky grin. “Why Fluttershy whatever do you mean? I’m just concerned about the wellbeing of my good, good friend Rainbow Blast.”

“Dash,”

“Same thing.” Discord harrumphed and went back to his tea which was refilling itself.

“You know,” Fluttershy began carefully, “I only ask you because you seem… uncharacteristically serious this afternoon. And concerned. About our safety and livelihood.  Not that it’s, uhm, a bad thing. It just seems a little… strange.”

The quiet pegasus kept her face schooled carefully to an offensively neutral expression that conveyed care and concern without being too forward. Another trick her father had taught her, though she was nowhere near his level. He and Fluttershy’s mother could hold entire conversations with a few silent looks. And often did. After a few moments Discord let out a heavy sigh, and Fluttershy knew she had won.

“Oh… very well,” Discord said softly. With a snap of his fingers the entire room righted itself perfectly. Every piece of furniture immediately zipped to their proper places and settled in without a single care for the laws of inertia. “The truth, my dearest Fluttershy, is that I’m leaving soon.”

Fluttershy froze up slightly but tried not to let the shock show. She didn’t want to stop him from whatever little momentum he had let build up. Instead she just said, “I see, and uhm, where are you going?”

“A very long ways away,” Discord said softly, his voice had taken on a somber quality that was completely at odds with his normally rambunctious personality. “The truth is that I love Equestria. I love my friends and my place here. You especially, dear Fluttershy, have made this orderly place more of a home than I ever expected.” Fluttershy just nodded, silently urging him to continue. “But… it is also true that I will never belong here. In the end I need chaos. The same way Ponies need love and friendship. As much as I’ve come to care for you and the others... I’m a Draconequus. I will never be a pony.”

“But-!” Discord raised a finger to stem the tide of rebuke that had built up on the tip of Fluttershy tongue. He didn’t use magic. He didn’t need to. Besides, he would never use his magic so selfishly, not anymore at least.

“Hear me out, Fluttershy,” Discord said softly, his mismatched eyes seeming to become much brighter. “I didn’t say I was leaving forever. I fully intend to come back. However, I feel the need to wander, to express, and that’s something I cannot do here and still keep my promises to you about behaving.”

Fluttershy felt tears spring up behind her eyes but she quickly pressed the feeling back. “How long will you be gone?” She said instead.

Discord gave a noncommittal shrug. “I’m not sure, but… my reasons are more than just idly indulging wanderlust. For the first time I can recall in… oh… maybe ever, I feel a purpose calling to me.”

That, perhaps more than anything, shocked Fluttershy out of her worsening mood. How many times had Discord repeated the mantra that chaos didn’t need a reason to happen or a purpose beyond itself. That was the whole point of chaos, he would say.

“It’s for that reason that I, Discord, am going on Sabbatical!” With a snap of his fingers Discord was suddenly wearing a dated, old tweed jacket. The kind that a pony with tenure might wear. “I intend to find another Draconequus! True, I’ve never heard of another one, but then again I’ve never looked or listened. I can’t help but wonder if there are more, or if I am truly the only one. But I do wish to find out. To satisfy my curiosity. That’s not something I can do in Equestria, I’m afraid.”

Fluttershy felt as though her heart were about to burst with emotion. Lots of emotions. Sadness, joy, and pride were some of the chief among them. For the first time in their friendship, Discord wasn’t just passively accepting that being friends was a good thing. No, he was finally appreciating it as something greater. Something that filled a longing within him. And now he was setting out to take a whole new step; making a friend. Without warning Fluttershy leapt forward. tackling into Discord and hugging him tightly. The Draconequus chuckled as the featherlight pegasus held onto him. There were tears, but there was also laughter. She was so, so proud of him.

“I’m going to miss you so much,” Fluttershy said through a happy sob. “We all will! Even Twilight. You drive her crazy but she cares about you a lot.”

“I know, dearest Fluttershy, I know,” Discord said softly as he pet her bright pink mane reassuringly. “And I promise to return, even if I can’t promise when.”

Nodding, Fluttershy stepped away from her friend and gave him her best smile. “I know you will, and I wish you the very best luck on your sabbatical, Discord.”

“Ha! I’m the Lord of Chaos, my dear!” Discord declared, “and I quite literally make my own luck! See?” He held up a clover with sixty-four leaves.

Pressing a hoof to Discords claw, Fluttershy smiled up at him. “Are you going to tell the others too? And what about the Princesses?”

Making the clover vanish with a twirl of his claw, Discord huffed. “I already spoke to ‘Tia and Lulu about it, after all I couldn’t very well just vanish from under Sunbutt’s nose or she would think something was up. She has the means to contact me if it’s really an emergency. As for the others… I was hoping you could break the news to them. For once I think I would prefer to leave quietly rather than with a bang, as odd as that may seem.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I understand completely, I’ll gather them together tonight, I guess you were planning on leaving after our tea?”

Giving her another grin Discord shrugged. “You always did know me best, my dear.”

“Well, then,” Fluttershy responded with a steadiness in her voice that surprised even her, “I think we should make the most our last tea time. Even if it is only for a little while.”

 

 

They talked for another few hours, but both of them knew it couldn’t last forever. After tea Discord said one last goodbye, gave the Fluttershy a gentle hug, and then left. Not with a flash of teleportation or by leaving a replica of himself made of cotton candy and cat whispers (Fluttershy never did figure out how he did that). Instead he floated higher and higher til he was well above the Everfree canopy and simply drifted away towards the darkening eastern horizon like a serpent through sand. Fluttershy stood watching his form become smaller and smaller in the distance. Only when he was completely gone did she return to her house and have a good cry. It took a lot out of her but she felt much better afterwards. It was almost six in the evening when she left to gather her five closest friends to share the news. Fortunately it was near the end of Spring and the days were getting longer. Naturally Fluttershy met with Pinkie Pie first, asking her to get everyone together and if she wouldn’t mind if they stayed late at Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie was curious but, rather than pushing for the ‘why’, she did as her friend asked.

Twilight Sparkle was the last to arrive at the Corner, having been caught up in an experiment. Rainbow was flitting around the room impatiently while Fluttershy, Pinkie, Rarity, and Applejack were sitting at a table sharing a nightcap as the evening had fallen in earnest.

“Finally!” Rainbow huffed as Twilight cantered into Sugarcube Corner looking a little frazzled. “We’ve been here for, like, an hour!”

“Half an hour at the very most, darling,” Rarity corrected gently as she took another sip of brandy. “You do have a tendency to exaggerate my dear.”

“Eh, you’re just not moving as fast as me,” Rainbow brushed Rarity’s admonishment off with a laugh. “I’m always going twice as fast as anypony else so it was totally an hour for me.”

Pinkie Pie lifted the old-fashioned glass she’d been balancing on her nose and set in on the table. “Yup, that seems like completely and totally sound logic to me!”

“I think that might count against you, Rainbow,” Twilight remarked as she took a seat at the table with the the other four.

Applejack laughed chuckled as she poured herself another measure. “She’s gotcha there, sugarcube. But now that we’re all here I confess to bein’ a mite curious as to what it was ya’ll felt couldn’t wait til the mornin’ to tell us about, ‘Shy.”

The eyes of all five of her friends turned to her. A few years ago this would’ve been sufficient to drive her back into the recesses of her hair for concealment. Now, though, the looks on her friends’ faces just brought her a warm sort of comfort. Comfort that was somewhat dampened by the news she was about to share.

“Well, uhm, I suppose there’s no reason to beat around the bush,” Fluttershy began takin a sip from her own drink. It was stronger than what she normally drank which was rarely stronger than a glass of red wine from Berry’s vineyard. Now, though, she was grateful for the stronger spirit. “During my afternoon tea with Discord today he told me there was something he wanted you all to hear.”

“Aaaaand he couldn’t tell us this himself… why?” Rainbow drawled from near the ceiling.

“Because he’s gone,” Fluttershy answered a little curtly.

That got everyponies attention.

“You uh, you wanna run that by us again, sugarcube?” Applejack’s face had lost most of its good humor. “Whadya mean ‘gone’?”

“That’s not- I mean-” Twilight stuttered, interrupting Fluttershy’s response, before reorienting herself. “That’s a disaster!” She practically shouted, her wings fluffing out in distress. “We’ve lost track of the Lord of Chaos? How are we going to explain that to Princess Celestia?! We were in charge of him!”

Rainbow dropped to the ground in a crouch with a hard look on her face that drew a frown from Fluttershy. “ Don’t sweat it girls, I’ll find him by morning. It’s Discord, the dude isn’t exactly subtle.”

Rarity coughed into a hoof demurely. “Ahem, kettles and pots, darling.”

“We don’t have time to cook anything Rares,” Rainbow waved a hoof nonchalantly.  “We’ve got a rogue Draconequus to find!”

Fluttershy stomped a hoof on the table. It was light and dainty in comparison to anypony else doing the same thing but it was enough to silence the chatter. “Girls, the Princesses gave Discord their blessing and have a means to contact him. I didn’t ask you all here to argue about him. I asked you here because Discord just wanted me to tell you ‘Goodbye’, for him.”

The silence was deafening. Everyone stared expectantly at Fluttershy who, now fortified with the remainder of her brandy, shook off the incredulous looks and continued forward.

“He wanted to say goodbye himself, I think, but…” Fluttershy’s face fell as she speculated. He hadn’t said any of what she was about to tell her friends but she knew him well enough by now. “No, I’m certain that the reason is because he knew that if he saw all of us together and he was telling us goodbye then he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to leave. I know that… that sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but he loves us all very much. I know he can be annoying, especially to you Twilight, and you too Rarity. And I know that the way he expresses himself is… strange. But he does love us. More than he can really say. It’s the same as how I know my animals love me. They can’t say it but they don’t need to. They have their own ways of showing it.”

With every word the girls faces fell a little more, Rainbow especially looked ashamed. Applejack just nodded, her previous humor seemingly restored.

“Ah reckon he’s got a pretty good reason fer goin’ off them,” Applejack gestured two Fluttershy with her drink before taking another drink.

Fluttershy nodded. “He wants to try and make a friend.”

At that point Twilight checked back in fully.

“Wait, seriously!?” The look on her face was indescribable and Fluttershy flinched back. If she were to try describe it as something between ecstasy, disbelief, and that brief expression of terror right after you wake up from a nightmare and realise you’re safe and sound, she thought it wouldn’t be too far off. “That’s incredible! But, wait, why can’t he do that here?”

Fluttershy gave a soft laugh at the look of confusion they were all wearing. “Because of us, Twilight. We’re his friends but… we’re also ponies. Most of us will always fear him a little bit. He is Discord after all. He told me he wants to try and find another Draconequus, if there are any, but more than that he wants a little freedom. He can’t be himself in Equestria. He knows that and he respects that. But we can’t ask him to deny his nature forever.”

Twilight chuckled slightly. “I suppose you’re right. Like you said, he is Discord after all.”

Soft sniffling sounds from under the table interrupted the conversation. All five of the girls peeked underneath to find Pinkie Pie curled up beneath it with her hair flat. Fluttershy heart went out to her gregarious friend. Of all of the six of them it was Pinkie Pie that had gotten along with Discord the best from their shared love of pranks and laughter.

“I’m sorry that Discord didn’t tell you himself, Pinkie,” Fluttershy said softly. Without waiting for a response she reached down and pulled Pinkie’s prone form into a surprisingly strong hug. “He just couldn’t bear to say goodbye to us. I think it would’ve broken his heart.”

After a few more sniffles Pinkie pulled away. Her hair wasn’t flat and straight but she was missing much of her usual poof. Wiping her nose with a hoofkerchief that Rarity had kindly supplied, Pinkie rubbed at her eyes with her fetlocks.

“I know... it’s not that,” Pinkie said with a sad smile. “I’m just sad I couldn’t throw a ‘Going Away Party’ for him. Or even a ‘Hope You Find A Chaos Lady And Bring Them Back And Make Chaos Babies’ party.”

“Celestia forbid,” Rarity muttered while Applejack gave a shiver of fear.

“I’m not even sure how they reproduce,” Twilight whispered into Fluttershy’s ear while blushing furiously. Fluttershy could only shrug weakly.

“But I’m sure he’s coming back,” Pinkie declared with more surety than even Fluttershy felt. “He wouldn’t leave for good, right?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Yes, he said he would come back when he found what he was looking for. I’m not sure what that means but I trust him.”

Applejack gave a hearty chuckle. “Ah never thought I’d say it exactly, but yeah, so do I.” Pulling the glasses together Applejack poured a small measure of brandy into each of them before taking hers a raising it above the rest. “To Discord; wherever he wanders may he always find his way back home.”

With a glad cheer, the rest of the girls seized their glasses and clinked them together.

 
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