Magical Mystery Oops

Twilight Sparkle has spent months researching chaos magic, developing a new spell to unlock magic nopony has ever experienced before. But when something goes wrong with casting, Twilight finds herself turned into a Draconequus and unable to control her new chaos magic. If she ever wants to be a pony again, there is only one who can help her learn to control her new magic.

Of course, learning from Discord was never going to be simple. And after a while, being a draconequus doesn't seem so bad anyway....


5. Experiments for Hangovers

The small cottage on the edge of town was, in all, rather inviting. A small, babbling brook flowed out front, and the myriad of feeders and birdhouses decorating the trees and awnings meant that the air was filled with the constant melody of gentle songs. Even the dappled sunlight that filtered through the branches overhead helped give the place a serene, comforting atmosphere.

Which was probably why Spike was utterly confused as to why Twilight had been standing outside, staring at the house for a solid five minutes as if it was a dragon's lair. "You alright, Twi?"

"Just...working up to it, Spike," Twilight replied as she took another calming breath.

Spike arched an eyebrow. "It's Fluttershy's. What's there to work up to?"

She decided against trying to explain the source of her hesitation, mostly because she wasn't sure of it herself. It was just apologizing for making a rash decision – she'd done that plenty of times. Like that time she thought she was going to fail Princess Celestia and enchanted her Mr. Smartypants doll, which she still couldn't find, though she thought she might have spotted it at AJ's once, but that made no sense so she—

Right, still avoiding things.

She'd apologized before. They were usually awkward, sure, but never really difficult. She could only assume it was some underlying mental block related to the fact that she was faced with the dilemma of dealing with one of the few beings she could think of that would probably not accept her apology.


Right, still stalling. "Sorry, Spike. Let's go." She crossed the small bridge over the brook and went up to the front door. Her claw was a split-second from knocking when the door swung open of its own volition.

"It's only been a week, dear!" Discord shouted behind him, his head rotated further than it possibly should have. "I think I remember how to take care of the chicken coop." His head started twisting back to a more normal-ish position as he muttered, "Fluffy little buggers. Lucky I don't just turn them into pillows or..." He trailed off when he noticed Twilight standing in front of him. A few expressions shot across his face so fast that Twilight wasn't sure what they were, but he eventually settled on his usual smirk. "Here to ask me for help again, oh mighty Princess Sparkle? Surely, you're getting tired of this."

Twilight was certain that at least some part of her mind had been putting together a detailed proposition to give to Discord. She was certain it would have been logical, concise, and perfectly shaped to bribe him back to working with her.

Instead, what came out of her mouth was "Does Fluttershy really not let you use your magic?"

Discord closed the door behind him with a sudden slam as he jerked in surprise. "Where did you hear that?"

"But why would she do that?" Twilight asked, for the moment ignoring Discord's question. "And, come to think of it, how can she even enforce that?"

Discord gave her a confused stare. "—Did you somehow miss the part where I nearly destroyed Equestria three times? After Tirek, she took away my 'fun' privileges. And as for how." He shrugged. "She's my friend."

"That's my point," Twilight said, well, not quite at Discord, since she was staring at some point somewhere above his head as she thought out loud. "I could understand doing that if you were dangerous, but you obviously aren't. Sure you're annoying, rude, and completely ignorant of the scientific method, but not dangerous. Besides, Luna has almost destroyed Equestria twice as Nightmare Moon, and after the second time we’re not even bothering with monitoring her for a relapse. You got dumped into a town that is home to the Elements of Harmony. And with Tirek, I'm pretty sure I would never have worked it out if it wasn't for all those notes you left in our journal, so that should balance out." She gave a small nod to nobody as she returned her gaze to Discord. "Anyhow, that not what I was—why are you staring at me like that?"

Discord—and Spike as well, for that matter — were staring at Twilight as if she had just sprouted wings (she had seen that look before). Discord opened his mouth to say something but interrupted himself as he turned to look at the front door. An instant later, it swung open as a mane of pink hair poked out.

"Discord, if you—" Fluttershy cut off mid-sentence when she noticed that he was right in front of her and, thus, yelling wasn't required. "Discord, what are you—oh, hello, Twilight." The yellow pegasus gave Twilight a soft smile as she leaned around Discord. "Can I help you with anything?"

"She was here to ask me for—" Discord was going to say 'help' but was once again cut off by Twilight.

Though, this time was rather more forceful as the purple draconequus was suddenly very, very close to him as she carefully examined his coat. "How did you do that?"

"Hey!" Discord snapped as the other draconequus pulled up one of his legs and started running a claw up its length. "You want to poke around down there, you buy me dinner first!"

"Oh, oh my." Behind them, Fluttershy began to blush as she watched two of her friends get far closer than normal on her front porch.

Twilight seemed to pay no mind to the scene she was making as she worked her way back up, prodding at Discord's torso. It was subtle, but the strings radiating out from Discord—those same strings of potential that had faded into the background over the last week—were all vibrating softly now.

"How did you know Fluttershy was at the door?" It wasn't sound as Fluttershy made as much noise as a sighing mouse. Twilight was fairly sure it wasn't scent, and she could only think of one reasonable answer. "Was it a string effect?"

Discord finally managed to push Twilight back a few paces. "A what?"

"Those strings," Twilight gestured at one, though after a moment she realized that only two of them could see them. Unless... "You see the strings, right?"

"I think the phrase is 'duh'," Discord replied. "And I just knew, so stop poking me!"

"But you said you couldn't sense anything." Twilight continued to ignore Discord's complaints as she kept examining him. "Maybe because you care more about Fluttershy than the anomalies that are spawning. But I care about the anomalies, so if it's psychologically influenced, why can't I sense them? Unless..."

Twilight trailed off into indeterminate mutterings as a familiar blue and multichromatic pegasus descended toward the house. "Hey, guys, what's..." Rainbow Dash trailed off as she noticed Twilight effectively wrapped around the other, and she noted larger, draconequus. "Jeez, Twilight, if you were coming here anyway I would have just—"

"I need you!"

Everybody, pony or otherwise, went silent at Twilight's little exclamation. Her eyes were locked on Discord's, and a look that could only be described as 'manic' was quickly spreading across her face. "I need you right now!" She took a quick glance around. "Wait, not here, aha!" She snapped her claws, and an instant later both draconequi vanished in a burst of sparkles.

There was a brief moment of silence before Rainbow Dash threw up both her hooves and started to fly away. "And I'm gone again."

Twilight, however, was paid little mind to whatever psychological trauma she had incidentally inflicted on her multichromatic friend. Why would she, when there was science to be done?

A split-second after vanishing from the front of Fluttershy's cottage, they appeared in one of her basement laboratories, or as Pinkie liked to call them, her 'fungeons'. An array of candles lit themselves of their own accord as she teleported, paying the woozy draconequus behind her little mind as she darted toward one of her work tables. "That," Discord muttered as little Fluttershy's flew in circles above his head, "is far more disorienting when I'm not doing it..."

"Oh, hush," Twilight muttered as her claws danced across the workbench. Reading had found nothing, and her own notes had come up short. This meant there was only one recourse, research! A tingling shock coursed through her at the thought, a energizing bolt that sent her claws working even faster as she pulled together everything she would need. Yes, that spark of insight when she saw Discord was just what she needed, and she wouldn't let it escape! The vision before her mind’s eye had affixed into crystalline clarity. It was so obvious now! All she needed was—

"You're monologuing, Twilight," Discord chimed in behind her.

Oh, was she?

"Yes, yes you are."

Oh, oh well. What did it matter? There was knowledge to be had! A little excitement was reasonable. Nay, it was expected!

She darted around the chamber, pulling gems and wires and whatever spare clockworks were lying around as she quickly started modifying her existing equipment. The thaumascope hadn't seen much use since she had strapped Pinkie into it, but with a few modifications, it would be perfect for what she had in mind. It would be faster if she had help, but she had teleported without Spike and was in no mind to head back for him. She would have to make do. "Discord! Hand me a 3/17 occipital left-leaning Heterodyne wrench!"

"I don't even know what that is!" Discord exclaimed, "Besides, I still haven't decided if I'm actually going to help—"

"Third wrench from the left, second row!" Twilight shouted as she pulled a panel of the side of the contraption she was working on and stuck her head inside. "Now!"

Discord was halfway across the room before he realized what he was doing. It took the other half of the trip to the tool rack and its neat rows of hanging tools for him to actually ask why he was doing it. "Wait a minute, why am I—"

"Hurry up!" Twilight shouted, her voice muffled as it echoed from inside the console.

"I'm moving. I'm moving!" Discord snapped as he plucked the wrench from where it hung and started back over to the enthusiastic scientist, muttering the entire way. "Ungrateful purple..." He dropped the wrench into a waiting claw that quickly vanished into the consoles interior. "Happy now?"

Twilight's head emerged from the console a moment later, her mane sticking out in disarray as she turned to Discord. "Very, now come on! I need your help with the rest." She grabbed hold of his wrist and dragged him around to the other side of the contraption, talking rapidly as she pointed to various parts of the device. "So, I had to change out the entire conversion matrix since none of it was configurable to your bio-rhythms, it was designed for ponies after all, and I also went ahead and replaced the gauge mechanism entirely instead of leaving the modified monopole system that I had installed, so that should reduce the quantization noise I was getting with my spells before!" She turned to Discord with an excited grin on her face. "Great, right?"

"Uh," Discord hesitated for a moment before answering. "Sure?"

"Great!" Twilight chirped happily. "Now sit down!" Twilight gave him a sharp shove from behind, and she didn't bother watching to make sure he fell into the waiting chair she had made sure was waiting behind him. The soft 'oomph' was enough. She was pretty sure he was about to say something, but it sorta turned into a yelp as the restraints on the chair sprang to life and quickly pinned him in place. "So, now that the equipment is finished, I need to run about 1.21 jigawatts of arcanoelectric energy through your body and see how you react, okay?"

"You want to—" Discord didn't get to finish as a helmet that looked disturbingly like a colander with wires jutting out was shoved onto his head.

And then Twilight threw the switch. Either way, a second later his headwear was the least of his worries.

Twilight dutifully took notes as Discord thrashed in his chair. Well, actually, it was more like he was oscillating in his chair; she'd have to compare it to the power readings later. Sparks danced across Discord's coat, including some rather impressive arcing between his horns. She briefly wondered if that was normal but dismissed it quickly. She had seen him take his own head off before. He'd no doubt live.

The machine gave a small ping an instant before it stopped energizing Discord. A few wisps of smoke curled off the tip of his horns as he groaned weakly. "Ugh," he mumbled after a moment. "Tastes like....coconuts..."

"Oh, hush." Twilight admonished him as she took a look at the print-out the machine was now spitting out. "It can't be any worse than having a piano fall on you." She left Discord where he was as she pored over the printout. Now that she had the chance to examine him properly, working out the cross-interaction patterns was trivial. "This is fascinating. Your physiology shows autonomic reactions at almost every level. Your entire body is like a giant chaos magic tuning fork, and any part of you maintains the properties even when detached. Perfect!"

"That’s lovely," Discord replied flatly before rattling his arm restraints. "Now can you untie me?"

Twilight blinked a couple times as she stared at Discord. "Oh! Right. Sorry." She quickly made her way over to Discord and started undoing the restraints. She was partway through the second one when she said, "Actually, why didn't you just pop out of these yourself?"

"I can be restrained you know," Discord replied as he rubbed at his wrists. "Otherwise, I would have popped out of that statue ages ago." He paused for a second before pulling the colander off his head. "So, any reason you went into your Madness Place, or is this just a normal thing?"

Twilight fidgeted nervously as Discord stared at her. "Sorry, I just got over-excited. It’s not usually this bad though."

Discord studied her for another moment before chuckling and pulling her close and proceeded to give her a noogie. "Just good to know something can get you out of that boring little shell of yours, other than defending yours truly against those mean princesses."

"You realize I'm a princess as well, right?" Twilight replied as she futilely tried to escape Discord's grasp.

"But you are the nice one," Discord replied as he started to simply cuddle up to Twilight. She glared at him, but all that got in return was a smirk. Of course, he was just doing it to annoy her. "You know," he continued as he rested his head atop Twilight's, "defending me, asking me for help, keeping me involved in your hobbies." He faked a small sniffle. "It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside..."

"You are impossible," Twilight muttered as she gave up trying to free herself and simply resorted to ignoring Discord.

"And now you're flattering me too!" Discord nuzzled one her ears. "How sweet."

That was the scene Spike came home to, Twilight standing in slack-jawed surprise with a glassy gaze while Discord simply hung off her, laughing his tail off. "So," Spike said after a moment, "Did I miss something?"

"Oh, nothing much," Discord said with a shrug without letting go of Twilight. "Just Twilight Sparky here going full-on madgirl on me."

"Okay," Spike replied slowly. "And you're cuddling her. Why?"

"Why, she's just so fluffy!" Discord nuzzled against Twilight's mane some more. "She so fluffy I think I might expire."

"Okay then!" There was a burst of purple light, and Twilight suddenly re-materialized on the other side of the room, attempting to smooth out some very ruffled fur. "That’s enough messing with Sparkle!"

Discord had already collapsed into a cackling mass of chaos spirit on the floor, his usually annoying grin plastered on his face as he wiped a tear from one eye. "Enough messing with you? Never, my lovely protégé.”

"Have you worked that out?" Spike asked as he trundled down the stairs. "Or were you busy doing—" He tried to figure out the right words before giving up and settling on, "—stuff?"

"I think she was busy feeling me up, to be honest," Discord said with a shrug that left Twilight gaping again for a moment before she started to get visibly indignant. Discord interrupted her before she could get going. "I need a place to actually do some proper chaos, and you need help with chaos magic. Sounds like a fair trade, doesn't it?"

Twilight's mouth snapped shut as she glared at Discord, not taking her eyes off him as she pulled over a chair and sat down. "It’s more than that," she replied. "Helping me is more than just teaching me chaos magic, it’s actual research. Spike can only help so much since most of this is original research, which means I need you to actually help in my studies. As for what you need, Celestia and Luna still don't trust you, and neither does a lot of the town."

"And you've been so good and defending me against them," Discord replied as he pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed at his eyes. "It’s really quite touching." He tossed the handkerchief away and gave Twilight his best unamused stare. "What's your point?"

Twilight shrugged. "You need to show you can actually be..." She trailed off for a moment, "Well, I guess Celestia would call it 'a productive member of society'. If you're helping me, a princess, with my work, then that will make you look quite good."

"So you're offering me a chance to get everypony off my back and make some proper chaos?" Discord asked. "What's the catch?"

"No catch," Twilight replied. "I'll even attend your lessons. All you have to do is what I said: help me with my research."

"Hrm,” Discord considered it for a moment, pacing back and forth. "No trying to boss me around again?"

"As long as you don't try and boss me around," Twilight replied, before nervously adding. "This last week has been, well, a bit of a mess. It would have been much more prudent to try and work out a schedule collaboratively then attempting to overrule each other."

Discord considered the purple draconequus for a moment before extending out a claw. "We have an accord then."

Twilight considered the paw warily before slowly accepting it. "Well, that was easy."

"My dear Twilight, you act as if I don't want to help you," Discord suddenly pulled Twilight close, throwing an arm over her shoulders. "And really, you just offered me a way to justify causing chaos for the greater good! What more could I ask for?"

"Okay, first stipulation," Twilight cut in, "no collateral damage, and no using my work to justify doing whatever you want. You want to pin something on me, then you run it by me first."

"Fair enough," Discord replied. "What about our little lessons?"

"We can work out a schedule later." Twilight removed herself from under Discord's arm and turned to Spike. "Can you fetch me the jeweler's kit as well as that mobile gauge field reader we broke last week?"

"Sure thing, Twilight." Spike gave her a quick salute before heading upstairs, once again leaving Discord and Twilight alone. Together. In a basement full of restraining devices and all sorts of other fun toys Twilight had.

No, Twilight was not thinking of how she could use all of them on Discord.

Okay, maybe a little, but not like that. She swore.

"So," Discord drawled. "Now what?"

"Now I need a tissue sample from you." Twilight replied calmly.

"Okay then, how—" Discord's reply quickly turned into a string of very peculiar expletives as Twilight yanked out a few hairs from his mane. before walking over to her work bench.

"Thank you for your cooperation," she said with only the smallest hint of a smirk as she placed the hairs down and examined them under an over-sized magnifier. "Now, I just need to confirm that they react appropriately." She glanced around the room for a moment before snapping her claws. An instant later, a pencil sharpener on a nearby table sprang to life and started trying to eat pencils. Twilight turned back to the hairs for a moment, giving a few thoughtful 'hrms' before snapping her claws again and the pencil sharpener once again became inert. "Discord, could you do something similar on my mark?"

"You want me to create chaos?" Discord replied. "In here?"

"Just a little bit," Twilight replied calmly without looking up from her observations. "I need to ensure the hair reacts to your chaos the same way it does to mine. So, on my mark, do something. I don't care what, as long as it's small-ish and harmless."

Discord stared at Twilight for a moment. "Okay then. Sure. When you're ready."

"On my mark then," Twilight said. "Three, two, one, mark." There was as soft snap of claws and a moment later a small 'ha!' from Twilight before she looked up from her magnifier. "The reaction time was exactly the same. That means we can rule out sympathetic..." She let the sentence trail off before finally saying, "What are you doing?"

On the other side of the room, Discord was watching as a small army of quills went to battle with a similar army of pencils. Well, perhaps army was the wrong word. Platoon, perhaps. Discord looked up from the little battle at Twilight's question. "Oh, me? Just doing what you asked."

"Well, you can stop now." Twilight finished as she turned back to the hairs and almost immediately lit up again. "Based on the delay in reaction from casting, it seems your hairs don't care about who created the chaos. Perfect!"

Spike returned before Discord could ask just what was 'perfect' about it, and the small dragon was set upon by the purple draconequus and quickly stripped of his burden. Twilight paid the two of them no mind as she quickly went to work, leaving the two to watch her go about her task. "So," Discord asked as he leaned closer to the dragon. "How long...?"

"When she's like this?" Spike replied with a shrug. "It usually takes her about an hour to truly warp the laws of nature."

"Done!" Twilight exclaimed as she stood up suddenly.

"Guess she was just sort of poking the laws of nature then," Discord replied with a shrug as he turned to Twilight. "Done with what?"

"I call it the Entropic-probability-decay-function-detection-meter-of-science!"

A trumpet suddenly appeared and sounded a fanfare in Twilight’s face.

Twilight glared at Discord for a moment, who just gave a small shrug before tossing the trumpet away. "So, what is it?"

"It’s a chaos detector." Twilight replied as she held out the small device. It looked like a cross between a compass and a snow globe with a needle hanging inside it gently tapping against on side of the sphere in a little staccato rhythm. It took Discord a moment to realize it was tapping in the direction of his still in-progress writing implement battle. "See, I knew you could detect chaos somehow."

"How by my glorious tush did you manage this?" Discord muttered as he poked at the small contraption. "It’s ridiculous! It’s impossible! It’s-"

"A way to quantify local chaos effects?" Twilight suggested.

"Exactly!" Discord replied. "It’s just wrong!"

"Well, it’s wrong and going to help me with my research." Twilight replied as she fiddled with something on the side. "It took some work, but I managed to work in a filtering mechanism based on my earlier readings. The first version would periodically ping you and myself."

"Wait," Discord asked, "How many versions did you make?"

Twilight shrugged. "Seven."

"You were only working for fifteen minutes!" Discord exclaimed.

"They weren't all separate versions, obviously," Twilight said with a roll of her eyes. "I didn't have enough material for that." She turned to Discord and gave him a smug grin. "I told you if it interacts with the world, I can observe it."

Discord gave the bauble in her claw a poke. "I am almost certain this should be impossible."

"The impossible just takes me a little longer." Twilight replied. as she set meter down. "Admit it you're impressed."

Discord nodded. "Quite."

Twilight rolled her eyes, "Come on, I know this is-" She paused as she realized what he said. "Wait, what?"

Discord leaned back in a chair as he considered the other draconequus. "You are a lady of singular ability, Twilight Sparkle. I'll admit when I first agreed to help you, it was for my own amusement. But now? Now I find myself ever so curious as to what we can make together." He grinned as he summoned a fedora and placed it atop his head. "I'm gonna make you famous, Twily."

Twilight rolled her eyes. "The hat makes you look ridiculous. Now come on, I want to field test the meter." Twilight gave another snap of her claws, and the room behind her started re-sorting itself until it was once again nearly spotless. "Spike, take a memo. I need to dismantle the modified Thaumascope later and properly document its design. Do you have spare scrolls for field notes?"

"And ink and quills," Spike replied. "So, what’s the plan?"

"Hopefully,” Twilight began, "observe some of these anomalies. Otherwise, I was thinking of trying to map out that entropic field around the Everfree forest. I think I can use the readings I made from testing Discord to extrapolate out a quantification metric so that I can—" She paused as she looked over her shoulder at Discord. "Well?"

Discord looked up from his miniature battlefield. "What?"

"Let’s go," Twilight tapped her foot impatiently. "We agreed that you were going to help with my research, and this is part of my research."

"Oh," Discord replied as he polished a claw against his coat, examining it leisurely as he leaned against a table. "I dunno. I have been through a rather traumatic experience with you experimenting on me and all. I thought I'd stay in until I was back in a proper state of mind."

Twilight stared at him flatly. "You are never in a proper state of mind."

"So this might take a while," Discord said with a shrug as he lounged back. "Still, don't wait up for me. Have fun collecting molds and fungus or something."

Twilight bristled for a moment before taking a calming breath. Getting mad wouldn't do anyone any good. Time for a different tactic. "You sure you don't want to come?" She asked as she walked over to Discord's couch. "It will be right up your alley. I assure you."

Discord rolled over and gave her an unconvinced stare. "They’re trees, Sparkle."

Twilight nodded. "Trees and the largest concentration of ambient wild magic this side of Canterlot. Pony magic holds no sway over the area. Weather manages itself; animals and monsters run rampant; and plants found nowhere else prosper." Twilight tapped her chin as she thought about it. "Actually, if we could figure out a way to, well, I suppose 'regulate' would be somewhat impossible given the nature of wild magic, but if we could find a way to work with or around it, then the pharmacological rewards alone would be staggering! Truth Bloom could be distilled and used for all sorts of counter-intrusion systems! Poison Joke could lead to entirely new fields within the transformative magics discipline! And that’s just the plants we know about."

She wasn't even looking at Discord as she started to realize the possibilities. "And then there's the creatures themselves! The properties of Manticore and Hydra biologics are almost completely undocumented. Theories have been postulated about venom properties, but getting a manticore to cooperate, if you're anypony but Fluttershy, is ridiculously lethal. And then there's the forest itself! Who knows what sort of mechanism results in it generating its wild magic? A find like that could put me in the history books! Again!"

Twilight found herself giggling at the ideas, but she didn't care. There was science to be done! "Between the two of us, we could rewrite, well, not the whole of magic, but a lot of it. And add a few new books to the stack." She blinked as she noticed Discord staring at her, one eyebrow quirked. Twilight coughed nervously as she recomposed herself, pointedly not making eye contact with the draconequus.

"A-Anyway," She managed after a moment, "The Everfree Forest is basically a giant playground for chaos. It seems like the sort of place you would enjoy. I'm actually surprised you don't head out there more often."

Discord considered Twilight for another moment before giving a shrug. "Maybe I just didn't have the right tour guide." He leaned back as he pulled out a pair of sunglasses and donned them. "So, lead on."

Twilight blinked in surprise. "Really?" All things considered, she was sort of expecting things to go less smoothly. Nothing with Discord went smoothly. It was a stabilizing factor of the known universe.

Discord glanced over the top of his sunglasses at her. "Miss Sparkle, you can be ever so persuasive." He rubbed his paw and claw together as he chuckled. "Besides, you have proven to be singularly capable of making almost anything interesting. This is gonna be a gas!"

He let up on the chuckling for a moment, tapping at his chin before snapping his claws. A moment later, the couch bucked a little before it started waddling toward the door. "Only catch is I'm bringing my couch. Walking is so passé."


Author's Note:

Fun fact - this would usually be the half-way point for one of my stories. This time? Not so much.

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