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    “You have one hour before you die,” he said, staring out the window and into the night sky. He snapped his thin fingers and a clock appeared before him. “Actually, you have one hour, five minutes and thirty-two seconds.”

    “Why! That’s not a lot,” noted Mayor Mare from her bed, tucked under covers that had always kept her warm. She blinked at him. “And you are?”

    He smiled. “Death,” he said, wanting to change up the answer to a question he’d been asked thrice already. He wasn’t death, obviously, but his species was cursed to know when death was knocking at somepony’s door.

    He wondered, sometimes, if this very curse was the reason he was insane.

    “Death,” she repeated and looked around the room, her eyes distant and glazed and gone. She looked to him again. “Am I dying?”

    “You are,” he replied.

    “How long do I have?”

    He stared at her for a moment, then glanced at the clock and replied: “An hour.”

    “Why! That’s not a lot,” she said, her mind tucked under the covers as much as her body was. She looked down at her thin hooves and then back up at him, blinking. “Oh dear! And you are?”

    It was sad. It was sad to know the mare that once thought herself important enough to try and regulate his behaviours was gone.

    “Discord,” he said.

    “Discord!” she replied and when a hint of recognition shined in her eyes, he allowed himself a smile. She frowned and peered at him through her glasses. “Have you behaved?”

    “Who do you think I am? Celestia?” he said, indignant. “Of course not.”

    With a snap of his fingers, a cup of tea appeared before her, the spoon humming a lullaby from her childhood. Literally so, in fact, and though it was severely off-key, she still found it enchanting.

    “Thank you,” she said to the spoon when it finished and then used it to stir the two lumps of sugar at the bottom of her cup. She took a long sip after that, and spoke again when she was done. “Is anypony else coming?”

    He stood up from the couch and floated to the window, looking at the festival in the distance. Ponyville, its heroines and its princess celebrating some inane pony holiday while their mayor died. He didn’t much care, really, but still, it was a haunting idea for him.

    Dying alone.

    “Discord?”

    He turned to her and smiled. “Nopony is coming,” he said, and before you might think him to be cruel, he bowed his head and continued, “as you requested.”

    He certainly felt cruel when her eyes filled with fear.

    “I did? Where are they?”

    “At the Autumn Night Festivities,” he said.

    “Oh! Good! Are they going well?”

    “By pony standards, yes, very well. By my standards, it needs far more ponies screaming and fireworks. I told Twilight I could provide them, but apparently she doesn’t appreciate the burning houses afterwards.” He harrumphed. “Party pooper.”

    She smiled.

    “Pony standards will do.” She drifted off for a moment, and just as he assumed she’d forgotten everything again, she laughed heartily. “Poor Uncle Treaty won the the pie eating contest last year. He was sick for a week! Do you remember?”

    He smiled and took back his seat. “Of course!” he said. “Remind me again who he was?”

    “Grandfather’s brother,” said the elderly mare, as if he knew either, which he did. For one night, he did. “Can you see them from the window?”

    “I did,” he replied. “Uncle Treaty was trying his luck at the contest again.” She laughed like a filly, and he felt uncomfortable. “I should get somepony,” he said, getting up. “Fluttershy.”

    “Do you remember how much father hated weeds?” she asked.

    “Yes,” he lied and forced himself to sit back down. “What about it?”

    “He hated them so much! Every time he woke up and saw them in the garden, he’d be angry the rest of the day. One day, we were having guests stay for a few weeks, and he wanted to impress them with our garden, so he made his own weed killer!”

    “And? Did it work?” he asked, and she laughed gleefully.

    “No, it made them grow faster, until a few days later, it worked. He woke up, and there was no weed! It was like a miracle!”

    He tilted his head and grinned. “It wasn’t the weed killer, was it?”

    “No, it was not,” she declared. “There he was, putting his concoction on the garden every other day, and there I was, a little filly awake at five in the morning, plucking weed from the grass so he could impress our guests!”

    “Five in the morning?” he gasped. “How ungodly.”

    “Yes,” she said, “but he was the happiest I’d seen him when the last thing our guests said before leaving was how much they loved his garden. It made me so happy, I decided I wanted to be mayor so I could make everypony in Ponyville as happy as he.

    He frowned. “I thought it was because it’s in your name.”

    “Actually, it was mostly the pay and the benefits, but I do love when things go without a hitch.”

    He smiled. “Including the Autumn Night Festivities,” he said to himself. A death would certainly dampen the mood, wouldn’t it?

    “The Autumn Night Festivities?” she asked, surprised. “Is that tonight?”

    “Yes, it is.” He gestured to her. “You’re sick, so you can’t go.” She nodded, examining her hooves for a few minutes as he watched from the couch, and when she finally looked up, she asked him: “Am I dying?”

    “You are,” he replied.

    “How long do I have?”

    He glanced to the clock still floating about, and then turned to reply: “All the time you need.”

    “Why! That’s more than enough.” She smiled at him kindly. “And you are?”

    “A friend,” he replied. He got up and crossed his arms behind his back, floating to the window and admiring the scenery beyond. “I’m here to make sure the festivities go off without a hitch.”

    “Oh! Good! Are they going well?”

    “Yes, very,” he replied, and said nothing else.

    “I do wish I could be there,” she confessed. “It’s my favorite festival!”

    He nodded, still looking out the window.

    “Do you remember Uncle Treaty winning the the pie eating contest last year?” he asked, and smiled when she laughed.

    “Yes, yes! He was sick for a week!” she exclaimed, shivering when he opened the window. “Are you hot?”

    “Not at all,” he replied. “I simply want to give you the best view of the night.”

    “For what?” she asked.

    He sat on the couch, and rather than reply with words, he simply snapped his fingers and watched as her face lit up when the night sky did as well, fireworks of all shapes, colors, sizes bursting within it.

    “I didn’t know we were having fireworks tonight! How long do you think they’ll last?”

    He glanced at the clock and settled in for the night.

    “As long as you want,” he replied.

    “Why,” she said, drifting off, “that’s more than enough.”

    FIN

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    1. A Deer
      Sep 13, 22 at 10:46 pm

      This was a heartfelt story and an interesting twist on Discord’s abilities. Using his curse to comfort those in their last moments is a kind thing to do. Liked the progression from ‘death’ to ‘Discord’ to ‘friend’ over Mayor Mare’s final hour. Twilight will have to just deal with a few fires one more time.