Learning Magic Pt1: An apple for the teacher.
((I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, it’s the story of everything that was happening while CK was off learning how to hide from causality like a sort of reality-ninja. ~Mod))
“So you think you’re old enough now? Stong enough? Wise enough? I hope you can live with the results of that, and I pray the cruel teacher treats you kindly. Make me proud, young one.” Candy’s grandfather had said nothing more than that when he saw the foal heading for the Everfree Forest. No attempts to stall or to manipulate, no shouted orders to go home, just best wishes for the foal who had determined to break the one rule he’d never been willing to drop. It had made the most sense this way, if the quiet lunarians studied and read, and the brave celestians relied on inner strength, and since the mysterious dragons inherited all their power from their parents, the students of Discord the Cruel Teacher should be made to learn from others if they were to master their potential.
It wasn’t like Lyra had said, couldn’t be, maybe Candy wasn’t ever going to cast a spell of light or make things levitate on command, but that wasn’t the point. Magic wasn’t just the unicorns’ domain, they just had it easier. A unicorn could learn to imitate flight like a pegasus, and a pegasus could become strong and hardy like an earth pony, it always took effort but it was still possible. Candy wanted to learn magic, like the Apple family’s secret annual zap apple ritual that had been studied and refined over three generations, or the sonic rainboom that had appeared at the Couldsdale flying show. Candy had always been looking for a way to do magic, but what good was a student without a teacher to learn from?
Mr Librarian had said it was all down to learning, but he’d only half understood what he’d actually brought CK to realise. In their own element did the varied denominations of ponies thrive, celestians in the fore giving it their all, lunarians preparing meticulously, and discordians being shown their flaws by someone more experienced, so that they might eliminate them one by one. “It’s like a statue, nopony ever stuck more stone onto a statue to make it better, you make a great sculpture by removing all the excess and leaving the pure, pristine form beneath visible.” Even in parting from Equestria, Discord had left his message behind. A perfect stone statue of all that they’d learned to fear, iconic as always, as a warning.
“Well, look who thinks they know the score. You’re quite far from home aren’t you, little foal?” Candy looked up, an eyebrow raised. “That’s not right, I was expecting this.” Discord laughed in response, and coiled about a rock which he pulled bits off to eat, the inside apparently being filled with sherbet and the hard outside just being a sugary shell. “Of course you were, but you only expect the unexpected, so doing what you expected was the one thing you wouldn’t have expected me to do. Or not.” Another unnerving laugh followed this skewed logic. “Chaos isn’t about just being unexpected you know, it’s about being unpredictable. Care for some brunch?” A glistening talon lowered to hold another chunk of rock candy out for CK to enjoy, an offer that Candy accepted with a quick “thanks.”
Discord coiled further up the maypole (at least it looked like one now, it was hard to tell for sure) and smirked. “All that talk about being careful and you just accepted something from me right away, not the slightest hesitation. I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with you.” CK’s response was a raised eyebrow and a proffered apple. “Well, then we might as well start with an apple for the teacher and introductions. I’m Candyknight, I was raised by my Grandfather in Caerfilly, one of the few places discordians are still allowed to practise within the law. He’s quite important, and very clever. I want to learn how to do magic.”
Discord’s expression changed rapidly from delight to irritation to curiosity, then finally back to delight again, each old expression moving sideways off his face as the new one appeared. “And you thought I could help? That I WOULD help? What makes you take such grand assumptions, little one?” CK shrugged and continued as Discord ate the apple, then offered back the core. “Nothing at all. I thought you might enjoy the change of pace, and it was that or sit about waiting for another order to come in. Even if this forest is out of the princesses’ control, it must get quite boring. Think of it as a friendly passer-through doing you a favor.” This was important, CK didn’t want to be caught up in making any deals with the incarnation of chaos.
Unfortunately, Discord wasn’t in a mood to make things easy. “Nope, not interested. If you want to learn something as dangerous and unusual as earth pony magic, you’re going to have to prove to me that you don’t intend to abuse the power it would give you.” Candy moved closer, pushing back the fear as Discord leaned down within easy pouncing range. “And just how would somepony prove something like that, cruel teacher?” Discord’s paw shot out, pads up, and he rubbed his opposable talon against the others as griffons often did when talking about money. “Twenty bits, cash.” CK moved back, suspicious. “Ten bits.” Discord followed. “Fifteen.” Candy stopped, back hooves digging into the ground. “Twelve, and I’ll throw in the cost of the apple.”
Discord took CK’s hoof and shook. “Deal, though you still owe me for the apple core.” The same apple core was promptly returned in direct exchange, and Discord leaned back against the maypo… against the palm tree behind him, uneating the apple core one unbite at a time, savoring the flavour leaving his mouth with each bite he hadn’t taken. “Well then, hand over the moolah and I’ll start today’s lesson.” Candy found a coin purse and 12 shiny golden bits were shaken out and dropped into Discords paw, passing through it and not coming back out the other side. “Your lesson for today, and for as many days as you take to finish it, is this: follow Discord back to the classroom.” With that he was simply a maypole again, all neatly tied up in bows of pink and yellow and blue.
Checking to make sure that nopony else was around to hear, Candy responded to the realisation that Discord had just absconded with 12 bits and an apple with a word that described something nopony should ever mention in public, repeated several times very loudly.