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All Harmonious Paths Lead to Chaos (PM for Invite)


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All around Yù Yuè was nothing but the serenity of trees, a crystal-clear pond, and a quacking pair of mandarin ducks swimming about in it. Even an Elder Long could be lulled to sleep by the soothing qualities of nature pervading the area. The Empress — garbed in a sparkling shimmersilk robe of floral patterns on red — looked just as scenic as her surroundings. A modest crown (by Long Sun standards) decorated the royal mare's head, her hair meticulously styled to accentuate the neckline. All in all, a creature of imperial elegance.


The stallion currently privileged to stand beside Empress Yuè was one of the newer instructors at the Imperial Academy, a dutiful unicorn named Silverheart whom was personally recommended to the Academy posting by the Empress. A token band of hoofmaidens and bodyguards stood in silent vigil behind, ensuring the Empress and her companion enjoyed all the privacy they needed. Obstinately, Yuè had come to relay how pleased the Academy's headmaster was with Silver's performance so far... and to extend to the Equestrian an invitation to a palace banquet tonight. Yuè's brother — Prince Hēi Lián — would finally be home in Huangjing with his retinue a few hours from now after an extended stay in the Western realms. Doubtless Lián will be surprised to find a celebration in his honor ready for his return. Yuè missed him dearly.


For one reason or another, the conversation between Empress Yuè and Instructor Silverheart meandered onto other topics. At the moment, the focus of Yuè's tangent were the mandarin ducks she was pointing out to the unicorn next to her; ".....They say in Long Kong that the drake and the hen make an odd couple, because their plumage is nothing alike. And yet the pair mates for life, all the same."

Nobody could ask for a more serene moment. Only a being of pure chaos would wish otherwise.....

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Questions, Questions, Questions: In the silver coated pony's head there was nothing but. So many queries and quandaries as he wondered how he was so lucky to be where he was right now. All of those sorts of curiosities were soon silenced when he let his eyes rest upon Yu, then they were replaced by one large one that consumed the whole of his mind: "How did she become so wonderful?" The stallion let loose a silent sigh of admiration, turning his gaze to a nearby pond in order to not make his interests so obvious. 


Silver had been taking to Long Guo's customs quite quickly. The land was vibrant and beautiful, the architecture intricate, its people kind and the fashion gorgeous. Speaking of Fashion, Silver had procured some lovely additions to his wardrobe since arriving. On his hours working he would be seen in the traditional vestments of the academy, but at this moment he wore a soft green Hanfu. There was fine floral patterns embroidered on collars, cuffs, and sash. All in all, a very cozy outfit. His mane was nicely brushed and groomed. The headmaster had said he should trim his mane a bit to show off his neckline: a bit of advice that Silver had only realized he may have meant in jest. At the end of the day though it was done.


Talks with Empress Yu Yue always went for so long. One thing would lead to another, jokes would turn into stories, small talk was made, stories of the latest heroic wuxia pubication would capture and turn both into starry eyed dreamers as they imagined those scenes. The Stallion brushed the stubborn, minty green lock out of his eyes after one bout of laughter ended and lead to his empress musing. Silver had the remains of a sandwich before him, mostly crumbs. Soon those bits of bread were engulfed in a green aura that brought them to Silver's hoof. He sprinkled some of those crumbs a small distance away, but close to the pair by the pond. While the thankful quacks were made in his direction he took note of the two waterfowl. "Ah yes... the hen is the more earthen colored, while the male is covered in more resplendent tones." For a moment the stallion glanced done at himself and then to the empress, "In the end their desires though, remain very much the same." 

He gave yu a playful look, "I do have to admit, perhaps they are not too dissimilar to you and I... Although I'd have to admit, I think such a comparison would be more accurate if I were the more colorful and you they grey, but I imagine grey is no color I could really see upon your likeness, Yu."


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Just as there is a center of calm within the raging storm, so there must be in the center of calm a chaotic turmoil...


In this time, and in this place, that center was Fēng Yīnhǎitāo, though that longma did a good job of hiding it.  The Celestial empress never went unguarded by a member of the Imperial Watch, and for today, that duty was incumbent upon Feng.  Most days, this was a quiet thrill to him, as among all her subjects and servants, there were few who could be said to enjoy her mere presence or proximity more, even in unacknowledged silence.  Indeed, those particularly astute or suspicious might implicate to him affections beyond that of a mere faithful servant...


He would have found such an accusation hard to deny, before the awful tribunal of his own soul.  Why else, in the midst of such tranquility, was his heart so lacking in harmony?  What could possibly disturb him, in watching over Yu Yue as she contemplated the ducks in the pond with a foreign visitor?  Was it to do with the visitor being a stallion of attractive, if effimate, countenance, being shown favor?  An invitation to dinner, and personal time with the Empress, no less?


*Enough, I plead guilty.*  Feng had to admit that not only was this so, that it ultimately must be so.  Lovers seek attractive mares, and attractive mares seek lovers.  Empresses must have consorts, and a foreign noblepony was by no means a politically inept pick.  Much less so, for instance, than a mere Agent of the Watch...


Were he less trained, Feng would have sighed.  As it is, he kept his discontent and turmoil hidden behind impassive features.  It was a tragedy, but one to which he must surely resign himself.  Only the most chaotic of upsets could possibly have it end otherwise, and how could he responsibly plead for that?


Nevertheless... behind the innermost doors of his mind, the plea was sent.  A silent, hidden plea that could not move a Cicada, and yet might shift the universe.

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It perhaps began as an idle curiosity, but with the spirit of chaos any measure of leisured inquisitiveness was cause for worry. He had been amidst a casual Guy's Night, as they cared to call it, when a missive was received by the young dragon. It was than that a curious question was presented. If he was a draconequus, why hadn't he the ability to use magic fire? Well, without an answer the spirit had no choice but to fudge the information a bit, embellish with his already impressive skill set. He would loudly declare that it was his muzzle and he would do what ever he wished to do with it.


But now he wanted to breathe fire.


He had recalled from the festival that a certain female had done well to make toasty not only her dress but a portion of the sky and unsettle a pony or two. The eastern ponies must have had some from of training for that, unless it came natural to their mingling with dragons in some way. Now what began as a wholly reasonable visit to learn the deep, ancient secrets of fire breathing, turned into a rather inside out tour learning about their illustrious history. Oh and what a narrative it was. Peace, harmony, prosperity? It seemed the kingdom was long overdue for a visit from your friendly, neighborhood chaos. At least… that would have been the case in the past.


Elaborate plans and nonsensical disguises that didn't hide his true form from prying eyes. Oh the theatrics of the past… how he was over them. Now if Mei's outfit and attitude were anything to go by she had to be a noble of some sort. While their meeting brief he would find himself believing they were friends. A shared, concordant admiration of the wildly chaotic cherry blossoms had to count for something! It wasn't often other ponies, or in this case Qilin, shared his likes! Besides he did like the looks he was getting as he bounced along the streets. You'd think the Long Guo natives never seen a draconequus, whatever one was.


He would have a long talk with Celestia about that. Who gave him such an absurd title? Why not his majestic and long bodied noodle? Or the former chaos emperor supreme? Honestly he could have come up with one hundred and one fantastic titles for what he was! He was quite intrigued by the lovely shops the country had to offer. It was a nice place, though he wasn't one for order, which was tell tale as anywhere he visited as he left his mark. Whispers of a strange serpent dragon using napkins wrong or sitting on his head during tea crossed the lips of citizens as he disrupted the harmonious air that was the cornerstone of Long Guo.


After a bit of lunch the spirit decided to take his leftovers and head out for a stroll. Now when you visited a country you had to pick its capital as the focal point of a visit it was where all the fun happened after all! In times of peace one could witness lawmaking and the innovation of new ideas, but there was also the panic to experience when something went wrong. If it was anything like Canterlot: his minor infractions towards etiquette could stir questions for miles! After all he used the correct spoon for soup, but it never said he couldn't use his tail to manage the utensil. A chair may be for sitting, but there was no rules against his floating above it and taking leisure in the air as he held his tea cup upside-down and slurped the orbs of tea as they bubbled down.


Currently the troublesome spirit had arrived at the Imperial Academy for Magical Study in Haungjing. While he had been first tempt to enter the Palace to locate Mei since she seemed a noble mare, but something tickled his ears.


Or somepony.


Be careful what you wish for.


"Feathers aren't all what they are cracked up to be, you know?" A voice suddenly came from the middle of the pond. 


Sitting in a small, much too small, rowboat was the slender, serpentine form of the old draconequus. He wore a fisherman's vest and cap as well as rubber trousers for wading. Clutched in his paw and claw was a fishing pole, the line dangling in the waters. the ducks would swim over to him expectantly. the fishing line would poof and instead he would be in a white, frilly dress with a pink ribbon around his waist and a matching pink parasol. he had a bag of grains in paw and would toss a clawful into the water. His ears perked, the sunhat protecting his sensitive head from the harsh sun.


"They get all itchy and matted if you don't was them everyday. A good percentage of grooming goes to the feathers!" With a torso full of them he probably knew what he was talking about.


The spirit had sensed a disturbance in the force and just couldn't help himself. Somepony was bored and stank of it! Boredom was just another opportunity to make friends! Ponds, ducks, serene landscapes? he was the least boring of these things. As he emptied the rest of the grain bag by spilling it unceremoniously into the pond he would move to step off the boat, only for it and he to vanish and the beast was now perched on land, rest on his haunches. 


"it was  good thing I showed up when I did, do you have any idea what you were about to fall into!?" He urged. There was  long pause. "Boring and apathetic monologuing on how tragic busy days are!" He would jest pon their poetic lamenting of ducks and feathers. 

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...Oh my! What a bold stallion, Silverheart was.


Yù Yuè was nobody's fool, hence the blush on her cheeks... and the smallest glimmer of a smile. At the time the Empress invited the unicorn to leave Celestia's royal guard to expose Long Sun students to the art of unicorn magic, the royal qilin told herself how it made sense to bring the elder brother of the new Equestrian court painter into her fold. Standing beside him, Yuè understood that rationalization to be a lie. Based on the qilin's own prior observations — and those of her perceptive (if gossip-prone) attendants — Silverheart's interest in serving the Empress appeared to come straight from his heart.


Up until this point, such thoughts remained largely unspoken by both the mare and the stallion, aside from the occasional remark about the other's beauty or handsomeness. But this was the first time Silverheart had taken that next step past mere compliments. No doubt the Equestrian stallion would make a wonderful lover if given the chance; he was tender in soul, and shared Yuè's moral compass and passion for stories of gallant heroism. But whether Silverheart was somebody that the Empress could present to her subjects as an emperor they would willingly embrace — somebody who could be relied upon to help manage an entire Dragon Kingdom — that was a question for another day.


For the moment, Yuè played things coy with Silverheart. "..That is what separates us from the animals, Silverheart." The mare smirked in the stallion's direction; "In our world, it is the mare who is expected to... stand out, as someone might put it. Although I must admit that stallions don't require colorful feathers to att-" 


A strange creature's voice rang out then, to proclaim the pitfalls of having feathers. He was nothing like Empress Yuè ever saw before; the serpentine creature looked superficially like a Wise and Noble Long, but the limbs, the antlers, the teeth even... all seemed discordant about him. The magic he possessed was completely different from any other beings; with only a snapping of fingers, anything could materialize or dematerialize at will.


It finally dawned on Yuè that she in fact knew who the creature was, from her studies of Equestrian History during her time at Fenghuang Monastery. Before a word could be spoken however, the sound of hurried commotion bellowed from the path leading towards the Academy, sending the ducks in the pond into a panicked flight. In that very instant, shadowy figures wearing the black brocade of the Imperial Watch seemingly spawned around the royal qilin and assumed defensive postures. Although they may go unseen at times, the loyal protectors of the Empress were never far away.


Moments later, longma wearing the uniform of the Huangjing City Guard appeared to hover above the strange being. They were quickly followed by a column of qilin city guards, who aggressively halted in front of the serpentine visitor. And in their wake came another column, this time of all the rest the attendants in Empress Yuè's entourage. At their head marched the fear-stricken Chamberlain and the portly Captain of the City Guard; a flustered fellow with a face akin to a pig.


[Your Majesty!] the raspy-voiced Chamberlain cried out in the Long language; [You must get away from that creature at once!!!]


The fuming, near-exhausted Captain pointed an accusatory hoof at the creature; [This false dragon has made a nuisance of himself the entire day, inflicting his unwelcome parlour tricks upon the helpless citizenry! And now he DARES trespass into the Inner Ward! Brazen insolence CANNOT go unpunished, Your Majesty!] Yuè sighed; she knew as all Long Sun did that entry into the Inner Ward of Huangjing was barred to all who lacked permission. Such matters of trespass were always taken seriously.


The jittery Chamberlain jutted in. [Qing!] he ordered the personal attendant who stood beside the Empress throughout her rendezvous with Silverheart while the rest of the retinue stayed out of sight; [Take Her Majesty back to the safety of the Palace!]

Yet the Empress couldn't bring herself to budge, lacking the fear or the self-righteous fury that seemed to inflict everyone else. All she did was stare wide-eyed in fascination at the creature, muttering his name; "...Discord....."

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Huangjing! Ahh it was good to be home again. Prince Hēi Lián's stay in Equestria was a wonderful experience, truly. He got to meet many lovely ponies and managed to hand out the gifts that he and his sister had originally planned to at the Gala! All in all a very successful vacation one might say.

But now, he was home! Even if no one was particularly aware yet. The Prince had decided to opt for the 'surprise' route, dressed in a rather plain looking robe the concealed his face and figure, leaving only his horns to really see. He was especially glad he did so after seeing that there were preparations through the streets being made. Ribbons, streamers, musicians practicing. Yep, Yuè missed him alright!

Thus far only two others knew that Lián was back in the Imperial Capital yet. Sī Jīn, who the qilin was sure was lurking just out of sight while still managing to see everything. It was eerie in a very exciting way! He couldn't ask for a better handmaiden or friend. Speaking of friends, the second of the two walked closer. The prince had just so happened to run into a certain Diamond Dog: Liviel, a fellow Anointed Follower and a friend of his sister. While Lián himself wasn't as familiar with the diamond dog as his sister, he felt familiar enough to speak with them and invite them along to travel to the palace to surprise his sister. "...and it took about three days to get the stain out. Needless to say Yuè wasn't allowed in any of our siblings' rooms for a little while after that." Lián said, finishing off a rather humorous childhood story about his sister as they arrived at the gates of the palace.

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Liviel smiled as Lián finished the story, giggling as she walked with the disguised prince. She was here to visit Yue, but it was quite the pleasant surprise to meet Lián on the road, to get to know him better. They were friends after all, though not all that close unfortunately. 


"It certainly sounds like a wonderful childhood, my own was spent in the monastery, helping out and exploring the area." The dog said, looking around at the decorations briefly as they walked. "Well, it appears you are expected. Or at least she looks forward to it greatly." She added, giggling again. 


They walked into the inner ward together, eventually finding the location of Yue. Not that it was that difficult with all the commotion around her. 


"[Yue! How have you been, my friend? And what is going on?]" She asked in the Long language, looking around at all the guards as she approached. Eventually, she followed her friend's gaze and smiled at the creature that seemed to be the cause of the commotion. "Oh, hello again Sir Discord. Have you been well since the festival? Please do not think ill of them, they are sworn to protect the empress from any and all threats."

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Just breathe, Qing. Breathe.


Dong Qing reminded herself of this constantly. For the first few weeks it had been nothing but office work. Papers, pens, stamps, security clearances, schedules; all of the things she was good at. Qing had cleaved through her papers, even fast tracking a few through the proper Imperial Watch channels, with all the efficacy of a well sharpened Long Dao. In a matter of days she was properly inducted and cleared and within three weeks she had already assumed command of tasks previously held by her predecessors. Within the first month, she was fully integrated and handling the Empress’ affairs.


But this. This pulled her out of her element. Somewhere between bodyguard and handbag, Qing stood quietly by as the Empress and her consort went about their business. Qing had gone out of her way to dress inconspicuously while still remaining within dress code, dispensing with the hanfu in favor of a simple jacket, collar, and tie. Still, she felt she stuck out like a sore hoof. She was no bodyguard, but she still towered over Yue, Silverheart, and most of the bodyguards. Subconsciously, Qing found herself hunching in an effort to not make Yue seem small. With her height, however the effort was futile.


The sudden appearance of the snake-like figure nearly made her jump out of her scales. She yelped in surprise, clapping a hoof over her mouth and muffling the exclamation. The jostling knocked loose her glasses, sending them sliding down her muzzle. Thankfully, the chain behind her neck caught them, preventing them from crashing to the ground. She quickly composed herself and put her glasses back on.


Was that a Long? Here? Now? She hadn’t prepared! She hadn’t been informed! Had she missed a memo? The sudden arrival of the Chamberlain and an entire platoon of guards and subsequent flurry of activity made her head spin. Was he dangerous? The guards and Chamberlain seemed convinced that he was… or perhaps more of a nuisance. With the following arrival of the diamond dog monk, the courtyard was becoming busier by the minute.


The sudden rush of adrenaline faded and Qing quickly sifted through both her prior officer training and her now intimate knowledge of Imperial government procedure. Danger would be sudden. If this “Long” were dangerous, he would have acted already. Furthermore, Yue herself seemed to recognize him.


Breathe, Qing. Breathe.

“[Stay your hoof, Chamberlain. Her Majesty will decide as she sees fit.]” She finally said. Switching flawlessly between tongues as she addressed Yue and Silverheart, she continued in Common, Bìxià, Mister Silverheart. The Chamberlain recommends that we return to the academy atrium. I will, however defer to you. What is your ruling?”

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The first step on the thousand-mile journey from foolishness to wisdom is hearing the ancient proverbs, and laughing at them.  All the subsequent steps consist in learning that they happen to be true, as well as old.


Today, Fēng was about to learn that he really should be careful what he wished for, for the express reason that he might actually get it.


It all seemed to happen so fast.  One moment, he was standing watch by his Empress and her guest (he refused at this point to refer to Silver as a 'consort'), the next a great apparition appeared in the pond.  A fishing... well, one really couldn't call it a long; Discord bore the same resemblance to the majestic eastern dragons as the grotesque sketches in a student's notebook did to the elegant illustrated calligraphy beloved by the scribes.  Of course, one had to admit that the students were on the whole more convivial company than the scribes, and the analogy held true even here.  When Fēng had traveled to Longri-la, the whole atmosphere of the place, combined with the ritual reverence of his culture towards theirs, had served to stiffen his manner to it's most formal.  Discord, on the other hand, spoke to a different part of the longma, the heart buried under drills, training, and professional reserve.  The heart of the Village troublemaker...


The Watcher's humor, as well as his senses, were alerted.  Half a second before his compatriot's emerged, he knew that they would come out in formation.  Instead of taking point with the rush, however, he held back, standing especially close to Yu.  The important thing was the protection of the Empress, after all.  Any being that could warp into the Inner Ward like that would surely be able to warp out of their grip, and if one of the Watch was not free to shield her with his own body... it didn't bear thinking about!


With that reflection in mind, Fēng could not help but see the humor in the chamberlain and constable's blustering.  In fact, with that sensibility awakened, the joke was enough to break his customary silence and respectful observances.  "May I ask the captain,"  He began, in a dry tone, "Just what he imagines that he can actually do to a being able to warp where he wills?"  This was likely the first time that Yu, or any of her inner circle, had heard him crack a joke before.  Talk about your inner depths...


The arrival of Liviel seemed to herald the return of the Empress' brother, and it seemed that it would be up to the Empress herself to determine where things went from here.  Which was fine by Fēng; after all, he answered to her, and her alone.

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Silver's brow perked at the unexpected voice and the sudden silence of the Empress. That voice was familiar... where had he heard it again? The stallion's memories brought him to a scene in which he'd been stationed around the new castle, hearing the voice of someone speaking to the princess. There was a name she called him, it was a name he should definitely know if he recalled correctly. It was then Silver felt  presence behind him, one he'd not felt in a long time. A magical signature of disorder and disarray that made an orderly stallion such as himself shiver. He was about to speak the name, but the entrance of the guard and the raspy chamberlain's entrance drowned out his word.


Turning around with a nervous feeling rising in his gut, Silver looked upon the very visage of chaos. Even now it was somewhat difficult to picture Discord as an evil overlord that he was in the past: especially with his somewhat goofy visage staring him in the face. There was something though that made Silver especially wary of him, something at the core of his being that told him being in contact with a spirit of disharmony was not a very good idea. Discord however was now an ally to the Equestrian crown, reformed (for the second time, but whose counting?) , and a personal friend to the new princess so his own training and devotion to Equestria's allies managed to make the freckled stallion give the serpentine chimera a only slightly forced smile. 


With all the commotion with the guard he had prepared to respond to the chamberlain to sooth him with logic, yet he was beaten to the punch by one of the guard members. He appreciated the other stallion's attempt to force the official's thoughts to reality, but he had to disagree with the tone. Not to mention that Yu's personal maid requested his words so he couldn't help but feel slightly annoyed by the interruption. 


"I believe introductions need to be made..." Silver looked to Qing, "This is Discord, Lord of Chaos and Disorder. That may sound alarming, but I promise you that he will cause no harm to the empress or anypony, qilin, or longma here. His antics are strange and on occasion a small blow to one's pride, but never lethal or cause for alarm. What this guard says is true: Even if we move the empress he could appear wherever she is by willing it and there is no point in having her brought elsewhere." Silver leaned in a bit closer to whisper something to the stocky mare... 



"Please tell the chamberlain that if we do suddenly move the empress it may not inspire faith in the citizenry. If the divine empress flees in the presence of such a being wouldn't the world begin to wonder? If Discord stays in Long guo I doubt he'd keep such a thing to himself."






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It was like watching the introduction to one of those plays put on for foals where the villains all burst from the shade and surrounded the heroes. He was sure the Crusaders have put on a show or two in which such antics and death-defying feats were had. It did carry memories of his close run-in with Squall's cleverness. He would have to return for a visit and admit to the stallion ninjas were real. Perhaps training as a secret agent of shadow was thrice more fun than learning to breathe fire. He would consider it, but the chaotic god could only relish in the sudden bedlam that arose with his mere entrance. How it made him miss those days!


Said false dragaon-kin floofed up at the accusations. His claw came to rest against his chest, those sharp, griffon-like digits burying into his dark, brown coat of downy plumes. "How rude!" He groused, like a foal who had been told a hot pink bike was not cool. "Parlour tricks?" Of all the list of slanderous jabs he had to prickle from, it was the insult to his magic that stung. And rightly so!


The chimeric narcissist was taken aback by such a souring allegations of his magic being cheap, censured by the guard in question. While his actions could be taken as malfeasance, he was on his best behavior. That was saying quite a bit considering his bad behavior often leveled societies. The constraint he currently held, which kept him from turning the mouth into a chicken on sight, was due to the fact if such a thing caused a national incident, or a scene... Celestia would lecture him. Than Twilight would. And Flutter would not hold tea time for a week! Ugh! His claw clenched over his heart as he reeled back the festering desire to turn the male's squaking into actual squaking.


The sound of his name on another's lips causes him to perk up. He turned to look at the empress. Is that what they called royalty around these parts? The male pushed to stand to his full height. Now as strange and discombobulated his collection of limbs were…


Discord was still predatory in many aspects. Sharp fangs and jagged horns were not something one would content with. Claws tipping his forelimbs and opposable thumbs made him as able to scratch an itch and juggle expertly standing on his hind, digitigrade legs he easily pushed into five feet. Given the average shoulder height of a pony it was an impressive reach. His weight was mostly muscle. Flexibility came naturally to him. Over all he was a fearsome fiend. Spellwords and an array of spells that could have the guard and their compatriots running about in terror.


But it was as Silverheart strained to admit through gnashing teeth. Reformation did put a damper on your first ideas. And having a relationship with the Princess of Friendship further detained his desire to expel any sour faced, rude pone he met! Courtesy.


"See?" He puffed up at the title. Twas an easy thing to inflate the snake's ego. "She knows her stuff. I have to admit that, for an Equestrian, you're well informed dear..." He imposed a mistake in gender upon the slender stallion.


Far be it from Discord to really notice such things. He was a narcissist after all. Though stood the secondary case of many of the males he's held frequent contact with were a might burlier and a notch taller. Tapping a paw digit on the end of his muzzle he pointed to tall, dark and silent in the back when he spoke up. Now that was a clever pony. Brownie points sir. In fact two tasty fudge brownie cubes appeared before the focused guard. A considerable reward, given the mishap his deep, subconscious wishing brought into the center of calm and peace. Still, look at that! Another clever one amongst the empress' present entourage. Oh and there was more to come. He could agree with such a sentiment. It took but a simple observation to understand how foolish it would be to think walls were what stood in his way to directly attaining the attention he so richly deserved as an easily bored, mayhem stirring chaotic beast. 


"Such a lucky maiden to have such intelligent figures at the ready. Can't say that about most leaders I've met." And he's met many in his long life.


Many were too foolish and pigheaded to really listen to their hearts on the matter. When two more figures entered, as he elected to ignore the nin-gaurd in question. While their numbers could overwhelm him, there was no way they could stop him. He would just teleport away and find another set of ponies to cajole. Though he did wonder... what made a this place so grandiose that it was restricted. Oh Discord hated not knowing things and, even more so, despised being turned away. The more you told him no… the bigger the tantrum in the end. Manipulation was key when dealing with an ages old ego.


But upon seeing the familiar, zen-like face of the Diamond Dog the magic bending serpent vanished and appeared beside her, moving to (if he could) to lean against her like a table: his paw's elbow making move to rest against her as he stood. Though if Liviel protested or moved he would just end up resting on the air as if it were solid. From this spot he could better see just how ferocious her guard were. He wondered what would make them jump...


"Oh Liviel, fancy meeting you here!" He greeted the canine. He was not one to forget a pony, let alone the most placid Diamond Dog he had ever seen. "Why I've been well. Practicing my Neighponese and even came to learn a bit more on these islands." He put a claw to his chest. "A threat? Me? Hardly. Curiosity is hardly threatening." He grinned, motioning his paw. "This is after all a grounds for educating others in magic." So the guard wanted a parlour trick?


How about a spider or a fly? He held up his claw to give a snap, in an attempt to change the mane colors of the guards. Temporary it would be, but such a pain to dispel. It was an easily blocked spell too, that is if you caught his claw in time.

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As Discord stood upright, Yù Yuè managed to get a closer look at the being that ponies name draconequus. A rather bizarre term by Yuè's reckoning, for weren't the Long Sun already a mixture of dragon and equine? Yet nothing about Discord seemed equine about him at all. Indeed, the Empress was rather reminded of how she imagined a feral serpent dragon would appear; more savage than their wiser and nobler counterparts. Except unlike those feral beasts, this... "false dragon" of sorts reeked of over-cleverness by half. That made sense for a figure consistently described as a trickster spirit, Yuè supposed.


A trickster who had once subjected an entire kingdom to a reign of chaos... a thousand years ago!


Suitably enough, the coming of Discord was already fueling discord within the imperial ranks. Qing had wilfully countermanded the Chamberlain's order in the name of the Empress (the Chamberlain would remember that slight), while Feng openly mocked the Guard Captain's ability to deal with the Chaos Spirit. Silverheart went ahead to vouch for the distinguished visitor; a sentiment shared with a recently arrived Liviel, fellow Harmonious Path follower and Grand Galloping Gala attendee. Due to the subtly tense nature of the situation, Empress Yuè could only afford a nod and a brief clasp for hooves to greet her diamond dog acquaintance before bringing her full attention back on Discord.


It was only when the draconequus seemed ready to snap his fingers when the voice of the Empress finally rang out to all in the area who could hear; "What business brings you to the Imperial Capital, honorable spirit?" There was no hostility in her question... nor was there friendliness either. It was a question asked by a stern royal qilin, whose duty it was to be the unyielding anchor of harmony in a stormy sea.


"Ahem!" That would be the Chamberlain recovering his nerve; "I'm afraid if you desire an audience with the Empress, it must first be scheduled with us." Just like that, he whipped out a scroll detailing Empress Yuè's schedule for the week, every hour accounted for. Yuè's personal assistant would have possession of a copy as well. "And since you have no appointment, you have no further reason to be here!"


The Chamberlain's tactlessness notwithstanding, Empress Yuè recognized that he had a point. She was taught well the proper manner in which to conduct herself as a Heavenly Daughter of Dragons. A willingness to listen to all voices was a virtue, but allowing everyone to make demands of her time as they pleased would only make other perceive the Empress as a pushover. An empress incapable of instilling respect in the hearts of her servants and her subjects. In order to tread that fine line and keep her throne, Empress Yuè always needed to project strength whenever in the presence of subjects... and very important beings from lands beyond.


"What my chamberlain means to say," the qilin mare explained to Discord in her authoritatively serene voice; "Is that a great many matters require my attention today, Lord Discord. If you request an audience through the means required of all other lords, it will be my honor to host you at the Imperial Palace. However, I must return to overseeing final preparations for Prince Lián return." Indeed, Yuè's visit of the Academy had ran on far longer than intended thanks to indulgent conversation with Silverheart. The Empress concluded her words with a courteous nod of the head; "I hope you understand the importance of maintaining harmony in our great city."

The Empress made no further mood, waiting to see how well Discord took her response. As much as she'd like to treat with an ancient spirit over jasmine tea, other responsibilities and plans weighed down on the qilin mare. Yuè could only hope that Discord realized as much. Meanwhile, every guard maintained their position, although most had relaxed their guard on account of their sovereign's conciliatory tone....

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"Ahhh, expectations are a rather fickle thing aren't they? I always like keeping the council and our dutiful servants on their hooves. Late, early, I either meet, exceed, or make my own expectations." Lián said with a little grin on his face "Feel free to go on ahead, despite not reaaaally wanting to, I must let some know of my return so long as they keep it a surprise from my sister. I'll be along in due time." the qilin gave Liviel a bow before making his way into the palace.

His trip to Equestria didn't send him home empty hooved, but bringing it all early wasn't going to work for moving inconspicuously. He had to let some of the handmaidens and staff know to be expecting packages for him and to leave them in his room when they arrived. Then, a nice quick shower! Afterwards it would be just about time to go and surprise his dear sister!

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Sī Jīn was finally fully back in her element. Before they'd even landed, the handmaiden had Ridden over to the docks to get the prince's affairs in order. Fees were paid, roads were cleared, a path was made. Once Lián had disembarked, there was a coterie of porters ready to load carts with his luggage. She may not be the chamberlain, but her clan prided itself on courtly training and competency. She'd followed at a discrete distance until she spotted some of the Palace's guards, then Ridden ahead to draw the prince a bath.


She'd had more than enough time to bathe herself by the time Lián arrived, and had a towel and clean robes ready for when he got out. In short, she did her job well, and was more than ready to accompany Lián into the gardens, even if she wasn't personally fond of the surprise this time.

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Liviel returned Yue's silent greeting, about to speak to her when Discord decided to use her to lean on. Well, she wasn't going to deny him his simple pleasures. Not that one, anyways. 


"Wonderful. Perhaps I could teach you more later, if you have the time. And curiosity can be dangerous, hence the saying about the cat." Liviel said, smiling a bit as she looked at Discord. As he went to snap his fingers and cast more magic, she shot her paw forward to try and grab it before the magic went off. "No reason to make the guards more nervous sir Discord." 


Once Yue began speaking, Liviel fell silent, releasing Discord's hand once she felt he was not going to do it. The dog simply continued to serve as Discord's armrest for now, working to keep both sides peaceful. 

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The time for Yun He to leave Huangjing was nearing, and her affairs were almost in order. Bags were packed with scrolls, brushes, pens, ink stones and ink sticks, and plenty of empty books. Oh, and a comb. And some food, as well. The longma mare was eager to finally set hoof down a new path, but first things first - she wished to deliver a thank-you note to her Master. He had been her greatest support in this city, and the times when she found it too crowded to study at the Academy, he kept her on track for her studies. She was terribly antisocial, so having someone who believed in her abilities enough to keep her up-to-date in her classes had been crucial to her education, and by extension, her happiness and stability.

The willowy longma took wing and found herself lazy climbing her way into the sky courtesy of a rather strong thermal, then drifted from her home in Huangjing over towards the academy. Her opalescent scales shimmered in the sunlight as she glided towards her destination. It was a rather relaxing experience, actually...the smell of greenery and street food wafted around her, and the noise of the city was muffled by distance. Besides, the skies were relatively free of commotion. However…

As Yun He flew closer to the Inner Ward, she heard a voice crying out…

“Your Majesty! You must get away from that creature at once!!!”


Your Majesty? Yun He snapped to attention, narrowing her cold gaze down towards the Inner Ward. What she saw was...huh? What was that creature? And what was it trying to do to her Empress? Antisocial though she may be, Yun He was still a daughter of Long Guo, and as such she felt passionately protective of her Empress. For the first time in her life, she even resented that she had abandoned all of the flight training her parents had tried to force upon her in her youth. She was far too weak to pull off a fast dive, and instead had to wind her way down into the commotion.

When she landed softly nearby the forest-coloured longma (and a respectful distance away from the Empress), the scene seemed much less chaotic than it had moments ago, from up in the sky, but Yun He had not been present for any conversation exchanged since the Chamberlain had cried out. She eyed the bizarre mishmash of a beast suspiciously,


“Pardon the intrusion,” she said quietly, curtly, to the other longma with a stern frown marring her otherwise pleasant looks, “I am an illusionist, a former student of the academy. Might I be of service?”

All the while she spoke in her cold, flat voice, Yun He kept her eyes pinned on the strange beast.

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The Lord of Chaos and Disorder, eh?  Feng eyed up the noodly newcomer anew once Silverheart made his introduction.  Could there be in concept anything more calculated to discombobulate the national sensibilities of Long Guo?  Not only did he stand in stark opposition to the principles and Path of Harmony that acted as a unifying cultural touchstone across the vast realm of the Empress, but his very shape and form seemed designed to make a mockery of the very Long which gave their name to his country, and were treated with reverence across the breadth of it!


For all that, Feng couldn't help but like him.  Perhaps it was from the free brownies, perhaps from something deeper in his soul.  Nonetheless, he did smile a grateful smile at the draconeqqus, before offering his extra treat to the Empress.  Not before taking a bite of his own just to make sure that nothing harmful was in it.  "I don't see him as intending any harm, but I would caution against outright forbidding him."  He whispered to Yu.  "I have... familiarity with his sort.  If you tell him he can't do something, he'll bend all his efforts just to prove you wrong."  *Just like my village told me that I couldn't possibly qualify for the Imperial Watch, ha!*  "There is no need to heap further harassment upon the Chamberlain, who, um..."  Feng's quick look appraised him of the mane-color situation.  "Who currently has a pink mane."  His eyes quickly rolled upward.  "Is, um, mine the same color?"


This would make the most extended conversation he would have with the Empress, ever, if this went on for much longer.  With the bevy of newcomers coming in, and the inexorable wheels of protocol beginning to turn, such a happy moment was due to end, however...

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It appeared he was not, in fact, a Long, or from anywhere close to Long Guo. The fact that this “Discord” came from Equestria certainly explained the unfamiliarity. Qing breathed a small sigh of relief as the Empress took charge before stiffening again after realizing that if there was disagreement about Discord’s place in the queue, Qing would likely have to redo the entire day’s remaining schedule. Such was the life of palace staff.


"Please tell the chamberlain that if we do suddenly move the empress it may not inspire faith in the citizenry. If the divine empress flees in the presence of such a being wouldn't the world begin to wonder? If Discord stays in Long guo I doubt he'd keep such a thing to himself."


Qing nodded to Silverheart before turning back to the Chamberlain. “[I believe we have a handle on it, Chamberlain. I will relay a change of schedule to you if such a thing is required.]”


Already, Qing was shuffling the schedule in her head. Every possible permutation and dependency had to be considered, what with all of the goings on with the Prince’s return. There were a couple of times that Qing could already find to slot Discord in, provided that the Empress would go with a standard one hour time slot. But seeing as Discord was something of an Equestrian… would it even be right to call him a dignitary? Regardless, the Empress might have found it proper to devote more time to him, which would necessitate different blocking of --


“Pardon the intrusion, I am an illusionist, a former student of the academy. Might I be of service?”


Qing involuntarily took a step back, the new arrival’s interjection momentarily breaking her concentration. She stared at the longma, her eyes blank in shock before regaining her composure, mentally filing away her scheduling ideas, and addressing her properly. If this kept happening, Qing was certain that she would have a heart attack by the end of the day.


“Her Majesty is currently addressing the issue. However, we thank you for your offer of assistance, Miss…?” she replied, waiting for the new arrival to fill in her name.

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Ahh yes, a nice hot bath was exactly what the doctor ordered. Lián would once again have to thank Sī Jīn for her forethought. He could stay here for hours and just let the relaxing steam wash away the world and its worries for a while. Despite how much he would have liked that however, he did have obligations to attend to as always. Part of him wondered, as he dried himself off, just how many thought his life was simple due to the fact he's only the Prince and not an Emperor? He wondered if any of them would ever have to go through the paperwork he did just to explain his impromptu vacation in Equestria?...That was neither here nor there for now, right now he had a little get together to attend to! Much more important than some stuffy old regulations.

Once dried and bedecked in his regal attire (Ancestors know the chamberlain would likely throw a fit if he just showed up with nothing on), Lián made his way from the castle along with his ever present handmaiden. "Sī Jīn, thank you for getting my bath ready for me! With all the 'welcome home's from the staff, I wouldn't have had the time to get it ready myself and actually enjoy it. he said as the two made their way through the thankfully quiet back alleys. The trip to the Academy was looking to be uneventful, though the scene at which the Prince arrived upon appeared as though it would make up for that at least twofold.

There were a number of faces he recognized, but the primary one that he didn't was a strange sight to behold! Bits and pieces of various creatures cobbled together in a mishmash of noodle-like oddity. Certainly not a Long then, he didn't seem to posses an ounce of their poise or grace, but at least he didn't seem to be hostile. Clearing his throat the qilin announced his arrival "I do hope I'm not interrupting anything! the Prince said with a grin as he walked closer to the group. "Chamberlain? I love what you've done with your mane, pink is so your colour." Lián tried to suppress a giggle as he made his way through the crowd, bowing in greeting to all present as he made his way to his dear sister.

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Silver flinched or a moment upon hearing that first pronoun placed upon him by the draconequus. Sweet Celestia, he'd thought this part of his life was over. With the tuxedo's and armor and even trying to trim his eyelashes but apparently not even a demigod of chaos was not above mistaking him for a mare. Even though the urge to go into an in-depth refutation of such a notion, he kept his calm. The only evidence of his irritation being a furrowed brow that smoothed out not long after its appearance, "Allow me to correct you, Sir Discord. I am Silverheart a stallion originally of the guard back in Equestria. Being well informed is part of what my previous job required... and is a good habit to keep up." He kept his tone diplomatic as he could, but placed a bit of emphasis on the word 'stallion' for the serpentine chimera.


Seeing the pleasant expression and tone coming from Discord, Silver relaxed slightly: Reports back home had said that Discord tended to be much less... chaotic around previous acquaintances. His magic was still not being used to turn anypony into a large dance troupe against their will, the biggest prank caused by the spirit being the sudden color changing of the chamberlain: an act which even got Feng to crack a smile. It even got a stifle chuckle from Silver... for a moment before he just gave the watcher a mix between a flat-look and a glare as he offered the empress a brownie in the middle of a situation where she would need to show decorum. This was no time for brownies... no matter how deliciously, chocolaty and moist they were.


Seeing as Yu was trying to delicately respond to the spirit by translating the words of the heated chamberlain to a more palatable sort to a being who could turn her into one of those ducks he'd remarked on earlier with just a thought.


As if fate had conspired to make this event even less likely to be resolved quietly, there were soon a multitude of eyes peering over the balconies and from the classrooms adjacent to the garden. A bevvy of gasps and vocalizations of wonder came from the students of academy as they inspected the scene, none of them willing to come too close out of respect for the empress but all of their eyes locked on the spirit of chaos from the foreign land. A good number of these eyes belonged to faces in Silver's own classroom, when the fell upon him expectantly he forced a smile and said, "Um... there's nothing to see here. Move along to your studies?" After some glares the stallion shook his head and gestured to Discord, "I was hoping to cover this in the histories of magics in equestria lecture next week but seeing as one of the subjects is right here... Please welcome Discord, reformed spirit of chaos and disharmony."


More gasps were made at the entrance of none other than the prince! This gave Silver a moment of respite to bow his head, "Good to see you again, Prince Lian."





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The spirit wasn't too quick to sour. His time under reformation, and a few disconcerting experiences did to lead him from a less jagged road of critical reaction. When Yuè spoke up mid-snap the tips of his digits touched, her voice giving cause for him to hesitate. This allowed Liviel a chance put her paw over the offending claw. It made no move to spark: a possibly unnecessary action to start up his magic. Just as with most things it was of great likelihood the snapping of his digits were but a theatrical flair added to his particular type of habits. Perhaps not. It could well be the only means in which he could cast without the use of a unicorn's horn or a qilin's breathing magic. He could assure one that his goal was not the empress or her entourage of merry hens, because amongst all that clucking there hasn't been a singular attempt to show courtesy, fear, or joy to the very luck they had been blessed with: a reformed spirit of chaos. His snarly expression twisted between emotions: annoyance, thought, and, finally, interest. 


They sorely needed an attitude adjustment.


The threatening claw lowered, his tail moving to lay against the ground. The white tuft of fur shifted, moving before it took the shape of a hand and gave a snap. Whoops, had the Chamberlain been unable to avoid the spell? His ruby eyes snapped to the Chamberlain, a soft glowing ring around those crimson pupils, which faded as soon as there was a blink. The spirit's white, fluffy brows flattened as he raised his head to level with the pony. He seemed to be deep in thought. While his actions would not cause Equestria undue conflict, it could bring to question Twilight's ability to lead and teach and while he would take many opportunities to make her friendship lessons difficult, there were many he had taken to heart. He still felt she was too young to be ordering him around, but Celestia had placed him under her tutelage, no matter how arduous a task it seemed for any pony to undertake. The sharp words that sat upon the edge of his lips were filled by Liviel's calm response to his charming attitude.


He turned his head towards Liviel, holding his his claw up with an accompanying shrug. "Is it just usual that qilin and ponies don't listen when their elder talks?" He pondered. "Or do I misjudge and they've no grasp of the modern Equestrian tongue? It isn't as if I bumble about between Olde Equestrian." The reference was one that easily slipped passed one's muzzle, but hopefully causing it's intended victim's ears to burn. Sorry not sorry Luna. He stood straight and put his claw to his chest, sitting upon his haunches, brows drawing up to give him a most innocent expression. "I mean I still use all the hip terms. I'm not irrelevant!" He went on a seeming panic before hid head leaned back, paw and claw at either side of his chest as he began to laugh.


It was the sort of scathing laughter one had turned towards a pony who had, rightly, made a fool of themselves. This empress was mightily full of herself. It seemed a feat to present oneself as a fool before the king of them. Perhaps the young Euqestrian maiden had took notice of it. He floated off the ground, curling about like a kite tail in the wind. The way he twisted and twirled could unsettle an individual, his flexibility unrivaled and his static movement reportedly a random and unnecessary vice. Harmony? This? If they called this harmony he was a monkey's uncle. 


"My, my this fellow seems to have his wits about him. It isn't as if I came specifically to honor you empress. Rather presumptuous to assume I came to see a pony, qilin, whom I've no association with. Who comes to a foreign country to learn of its history, go an talk to its empress?" He introduced a paradoxical query. 


How did one visit a land to take in its rich history and not speak to the next in a long line of heirs? It was Discord and if he said he was not, he was after something else. There was no need to pen him into any sort of appointment for a flight of fancy, which he seemed to have a lot of those. And he thought Celestia kept tight schedules! Yuè took the cake. Of which would sadden the princess of sweets. The spirit chortled amongst his more unflattering thoughts of the mistress of the sun.


"Harmony? You? I've been about your town today. Looks can be deceiving." He scratched at his beared leaving to hang what could be considered a sacrilege. "Just a day in a crowd and I can already see what behind these armed guards and your walls seem to miss out upon daily. Nevertheless..." He pursued. "I've actually come seeking the maiden called Mei, though I grew distracted by an odd disturbance about this place…" His eye drifted over Fēng before turning to Silverheart. He pointed his claw at the lass -- lad? "You?" He looked the 'male' up and down. "You seem a little short for a guard." He put his paw to his muzzle thoughtfully, brow arching as he set his claw to his elbow. "No. I shan't believe it. They don't just let anypony into the guards. Besides you look more like a penguin than soldier." He teased moving to take a step closer, but stopped midway.


Upon the arrival of yet another face, one quite fetching, the draconequus turned his head, pushing to float when his paw and claw raised off the ground. He seemed to be in perpetual motion. If his mouth wasn't moving some part of his chimeric form was twitching or writhing. His ears pinned back, the serpent of chaos not shifting too far from Liviel as she was a decent home base. The calm Diamond Dog didn't get scolded or growled at for presenting herself before the schedule keeping time master! A chuckle rumbled deep in his throat. So many words to play with but none could be used without undesirable effects. Alas that was the trouble with spellwords. You had to play a correct tun or the rats would dance rather than curiously follow. Qing made attempt to clear the disruption, but it was a perfect opportunity Discord couldn't miss.


"A lecture?" He cocked his head, dragging his sharp, eagle's claws along that wizened beard as it turned towards Silverheart, as if indicating to the stallion something. Perhaps it was a lot and regretful action to take. "While I am a grand and remarkable historical artifact..." He tittered. "Oh Silverheart, darling please. You're embarrassing me!" He reached into his feathered coat and produced a piece of hardened paper to fan himself with. 


Seeing as Discord knew as much of the native tongue of Long Guo as he did of Cockatrice he would find understanding some of the back and forth an impossible task to serve, given the circumstances. But he had his own ways of communicating chaos without adversely affecting his good guy points. He moved to settle down by Silverheart and held out a picture.


"No, no I don't want to intrude!" He grinned. "Besides I've no interest in causing trouble for a busy empress. I was actually seeking a friend of mine." The paper was held out to the suited stallion. It looked to be a photograph displaying a most chaotic scene with a very angry looking Lìan Mei. "She was dressed quite well and was with fiery attitude. I believe her a noble in these parts, but to be sure I came to visit." Not really the untruth, he has more complicated reasonings, bit if it would ruffle a few feathers... "Do you remember her Liviel? She was quite good at breathing fire and had such an outstanding patience, not that it rivaled yours." The sarcastic tease.





He was uncomfortably close to the stallion, jaws parting as he offered him a gentle whisper. "You're quite a charming fellow to stick your neck out like that. I suppose Equestrians should have each other's backs whenever trouble rears." He sucked a tooth. "But a lecture, all about me? He riveting!" He would attempt to pinch his cheek with that delicately fierce looking paw before popping a brownie in his muzzle.


The appearance of the prince heralded no great attention from the spirit, one who preferred focus to be dedicated to his antics. He hovered back, centering himself purposely amongst the small crowd, as it became when Yué's hidden force were no longer so hidden. Princes hadn't a grand position in Equestrian government as far as he has seen, a figurehead at best. He raised his head, sitting straight against the air of gravity. His paw moved to clasp over his claw, the regal serpent sometimes giving off the air of a noble Long. Of not for his chaotic nature one could almost mistake him for the Eastern shore legends. A regal dragon with the body of a snake. Raking claws that tore clouds asunder to bring rain and lightning, the features of a noble lion, with a fiery mane and bellowing voice that sent shoved down one's spine. 


Discord certainly sent shivers, but not the kind that were from awe of power, moreover from the fear of antici----pation.


The unknown.


"Prince." He greeted, curling his claw through his wizened beard.



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What was Discord getting at? If a chaos spirit — known for his tendencies to annoy Equestrian royalty — appeared out of the blue next to an empress, what other conclusion could be reached other than assuming that the spirit had come to "delight" the imperial sovereign with his particular brand of amusement? And how could he DARE think that a foreign traveler in Long Guo would care nothing for learning its long and rich history? Any being that hated the study of history was worse than an... uncivilized barbarian!


Grrrr; now Discord had the gall to presume that Empress Yuè knew nothing of anything beyond the capital's Inner Ward. Back in her youth, she had made plenty of excursions into the bustling streets of Huangjing. Plus there was all those times she and her brother stayed with their mother deep in the rural countryside. Not to mention spending her adolescence in a monastery studying the Harmonious Path. Admittedly, everything had changed when Yù Yuè was chosen as the heir to the Dragon Throne, but Discord would do well to avoid making wholesome generalizations about what an empress knew!


Sucking in her pride, Yuè bit her tongue and let Discord continue speaking and... what did he say about why he was really here? For a... Mei? The royal qilin was taken aback; she didn't personally know any mare named Mei that lived in Huangjing, but the odds of such a mare living in the city were astronomical. Unless Discord provided more to go on, none of the chaos magic in the world was going to help anybody find the maiden he sought after.


Fortunately for the Lord of Chaos, he had a mundane photograph to flash about. Wait a minute... that couldn't be Yuè's Mei, could it? The royal qilin couldn't deny it; the coat color and mane style were dead ringers for Lián Mei. But why did it appear she was about to burn the photographer? What was she doing dressed in a kimono? Just what business did Yuè's sworn sister have with the Lord of Chaos?


Too many questions.....


Meanwhile, events continued to unfold around the Empress. In an inspired move, Silverheart claimed Discord as a guest speaker for his students, at last giving the "false dragon" de facto leave to stay in the Inner Ward. Also, there was... Prince Lián!? He shouldn't be there for several more hours! Not all the preparations were finished yet! Complicating matters was the old Chamberlain, who had finally realized the horror inflicted upon his hair. In a screaming fit, he scrammed back to the Palace... that left Qing in charge of the rest of the retinue.


First things first; to reintroduce harmony back to the locale. Yuè couldn't betray any shock at this critical juncture, lest she appear vulnerable in front of Discord. "As it seems that Discord is actually a guest lecturer in Instructor Silverheart's classroom," the Empress instructed the Captain of the City Guard; "That gives him the right to remain in the Inner Ward..... Your guards are no longer needed here, Captain." Although the flushed Captain looked like he still wanted to take on the legged serpent, he relented and ordered his stallions to leave the scene. With the City Guard marching or flying off, most of the Imperial Watchers who were there to protect their empress first gave her a cordial bow, then eerily scurried off to reestablish a defensive perimeter.


Now that the tense standoff was over, Yuè gave her full attention back to the discordant creature before her. "I know the mare you are looking for," the Empress continued on in her characteristically silky voice; "Regrettably, Lady Mei moved away from the Dragon Kingdom many years ago. She lives now across the Wide Ocean, deep in the heartland of Equestria." The royal qilin refused to offer more information to Discord about her sworn sister's whereabouts, as the only photographic documentation on hand strongly indicated that Mei wanted nothing to do with a being of pure chaos.

"I wonder Lord Discord... why have you journeyed so far to meet with Lián Mei?"

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Goodness gracious, everypony seemed to be in such a tizzy with this...dragon-but-not-really-a-dragon...creature...thing. Which did sort of make his arrival have less of an impact, but oh well. Seeing the Chamberlain have a panic attack and flee back to the castle more than made up for it! "Always a pleasure to see you, Silverheart, I trust you've been well since we last spoke? Perhaps after all is said and done we can take some time to catch up?" the stallion replied with a smile. Though their meeting in Canterlot after the gala was brief, Silver did seem the kind and reliable sort, it would be nice having him around the castle.

Turning his attention to the patchwork guest the his sister was currently attempting to deal with. Discord was it? He recalled the name from his time over in Equestria, but never happened to run into the spirit as far as he was aware. Most ponies there seemed to label him as a 'troublemaker' but mostly harmless. Which to tell the truth, Lián had been called the same once or twice in his youth. Mostly by the Chamberlain. "Quite the interesting visitor to fair Long Guo. he mused to himself, giving Discord a polite nod of acknowledgement as he and his sister spoke.

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"Of course you are not irrelevant, sir Discord, but I am sure there are some here that do not understand Equestrian as well as the Empress." Liviel said, watching the chaotic creature move around. They were harmless motions and jokes, as far as she could see, so there was no reason to interrupt them. At Lián's entrance, the dog gave a nod to him and let the others speak. 


"Yes, I do remember Mei. She and her companion seemed eager to be left alone however. Or perhaps they truly did have a meeting with the Shogun to attend." She said, giving a nod as Discord asked her about the qilin they had met in Neighpon. 


This is day was certainly not one the students were likely to forget, with all the excitement and guards, and the fact they saw none other than the lord of chaos conversing with their empress. Liviel held no illusions that they would remember her, but that was ok. What mattered was that she was helping the situation. Perhaps she should offer some training in martial arts while she was in the city. 

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It seemed as though the excitement and the danger was dying down as quickly as it had flared up. Coldly, Yun He watched as the Chamberlain and the Captain of the guard withdrew themselves from the scene, though she kept flitting her gaze back to the...the...ghastly collection of oddities that formed this Discord fellow.

As the tension slowly dissipated from the Inner Ward, though, it began to grip Yun He twice as hard. Here she was, surrounded by strangers she recognized only by their faces or considerable social statuses, and without any kind of threat to rise up against...what was left? Except to...socialize, perhaps.

Oh goodness. Oh no, no, no. This was bad.

The winged mare nearly jumped out of her skin when words (words directed towards her, no less) softly spoken by Qing, a mare who closely served the Empress, interrupted her train of thought. Her name?

“Yun He,” she said coolly, not making eye contact with Qing. Instead, she kept her gaze glued on the...Discord? It was impossible to look away. It, or he, was just...remarkably wrong. There was no sense of harmony about him! He was like a puzzle that was hammered together incorrectly.

She blinked, snapping herself out of her little daze. In that moment, she realized that it would not bode well to be so...standoffish towards one in such a position as Qing. It was terribly disrespectful. “My apologies,” she added, looking terribly awkward and very obviously out of her depth, “I wanted to help the Empress. If I am not needed, it would be inappropriate for me to stay.”

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