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A Marriage of Inconvenience
Slouching, Discord looked into the mirror. The gold-inlaid marble walls of the palace suite around him showed up the same in the reflection, but the image of himself that he saw there was wearing a lime-green tuxedo instead of the orange one he actually had on. "What do you think?" the him in the mirror asked.

With a sigh, he glanced at himself standing on the carpet beside him. "I think you both ought to know that this is making me very uncomfortable."

"Of course." The him in the mirror nodded. "We wouldn't have it any other way."

"Indeed." The him on the carpet grabbed a pawful of spaghetti out of the air. "Because if you're not uncomfortable, then nocreature will be uncomfortable! And we couldn't have that, now, could we?" He straightened the spaghetti strands between his lion claws and his eagle talons, and the left sleeve of Discord's tuxedo jacket shriveled till it barely covered his elbow. "Perfect!" the other him shouted.

"I'll say it is!" The him in the mirror grabbed his own sleeve and tore it till it was the same length as Discord's. "After all, when the Lord of Chaos gets married, the entire world should be uncomfortable!"

Glaring, Discord snapped his claws, and the two tiresome Discords disappeared. "Well, this isn't helping at all!" he declared, staring at the empty mirror. Raising his voice, he called, "Can somepony take this mirror away? It seems to have slipped a cog."

"Discord?" a familiar voice asked, and Discord swiveled around to see Twilight step tall and stately through the suite's doorway. Her mane billowed in the non-existent breeze, and her white gown clung to and draped from various parts of her in a manner altogether too tasteful.

As tempted as he was to hop over and lick it to test how tasteful it was, he decided he would rather be horrified. "Twilight!" He reached up and wrenched both his eyes from their sockets, pressing them against his chest to shield them. "You know it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony!"

"Uh-huh." The hem of her gown made the most intriguing swish-swish sound across the carpet, and the slightly growing volume of her words affirmed that she was indeed coming closer. "We kind of need to talk about that, don't you think?"

"Hmmph!" Letting his eyeballs float upward like little yellow balloons, he folded his arms and spun away from her. "I can't imagine what you mean!" He slammed his head over sideways to impale his eyes on the tips of his horns, then straightened up so they could slither down into place again. "We're as happy as a soon-to-be husband and wife can be!" He glanced at her. "Aren't we?"

"You tell me." She stopped, her face not adorned with the wide-eyed confusion he was used to seeing there. Instead, she looked almost as tired as he felt himself. "And I mean that literally. Tell me why you've transformed all of Canterlot into one giant wedding chapel, why you've locked me into this admittedly lovely gown, and why you've brought the entire governing structure of Equestria to a halt while insisting that you and I are scheduled to get married."

"Because...I love you?" He tried to state it definitively, but the things squirming around his innards wouldn't let him.

Twilight gave about half a smile. "We both know that's not true."

"Well?" Leaping away, he shot his arms off like miniature rockets, zooming around the room amid gouts of cherry-scented blue smoke. "What choice have we got? We're the only two left!"

"Only two?" Her forehead creased in something close to the proper sort of confusion, but Discord found he wasn't getting any pleasure at all from the sight. "Discord, I don't—"

"I'll explain, then!" Almost having to spit that horrible word out, he sucked his arms back into place and held up four digits on his lion paw, two digits on his eagle claw. "There are exactly six immortal beings in this entire world, Twilight Sparkle! Two of them are sisters, two of them are mother and daughter, and then there's you and me! We need some sort of intimate relationship, or the whole thing will... It'll... There won't be any...any..." The room whirled, and he found that he couldn't quite remember how to form words.

"Ah." Twilight had somehow sidled right up next to him, was reaching out a hoof and resting it on his shoulder, and Discord suddenly realized that he'd collapsed into a boneless heap on the floor. "I miss her, too," she said softly.

Whatever internal consistency he'd been clinging to melted, and Discord couldn't stop himself from becoming nothing more than a fetlock-deep puddle of goo covering the entire floor of the suite.

"But marriage isn't the answer," Twilight was going on. "We're friends, Discord, and we always will be. Maybe that'll change to something else someday, but right now, talking to each other as friends is the thing that'll help us both the most."

Not even sure where his mouth was at this point, Discord let a couple bubbles form in his current morass. "Help?" one bubble squeaked when it popped, and the second gave off a gassy, "How?"

"By remembering the good times of the past, gathering with the friends we still have in the present, and vowing that we'll make her proud as we head into the future." Twilight's legs moved, and he felt her settle down into her stomach, the sodden mess of him sloshing against her gown. "It won't be easy." She'd gotten even quieter. "But we can do it together. Just not as husband and wife..."

Parts of him shrieking that he needed to scoop her up, needed to merge with her, needed to do whatever it took not to make the same mistake again, Discord instead reformed his lion paw just long enough to snap away the white flowers and banners from every lamppost in Canterlot, change the thousands of bridal shops in town back to whatever they'd been before, and let Twilight's dress dissolve, dripping like melting snow down into his liquid self.

He heard her sigh. "We can stay here as long as you need to," she said, "but Applejack and Pinkie are putting together a good, old-fashioned, earth pony wake tonight just the way Fluttershy wanted. There'll be singing and crying and eating and stories." One of her hooves stirred through him. "It won't help much, but it will help some."

Throughout his gelatinous ooze, thoughts of freezing himself and her and the rest of Equestria into a solid mass of ice warred with thoughts that came to him tinged in yellow and pink: his friends had lost a friend this morning, too.

Nodding sent a small wave to break against Twilight's side, and she seemed to understand. "Let me know if you want to talk, or if you want me to talk." She relaxed deeper into him. "I'm here whenever you're ready."

It didn't help much, no, but yes, it did help some.
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#1 ·
· · >>Baal Bunny
Discord does have a point. A Chaotic point, at that one, but a point nonetheless. Keep in mind (if my MLP trivia bears me correct), that there are two pairs of aunts and nieces; Celestia and Cadance, and then Twilight and Flurry, thus connecting the chain of five of them together by some fashion or another. He's the odd one out!

I love the literary tricks used to portray Discord and his never-tiresome antics. Especially of the use of turning a metaphor literal (The arms shooting up like rockets did nicely for this one). While Discord's actions can be zany and attract the attention of the reader, it still gives adequate attention to the problem with Discord (presumably drowning his feelings by rushing into a marriage).

As for the other things that this needed to improve on, I get the slight feeling that this was part of a bigger whole, a vignette (If that's the correct usage), but as for the word limit on the Writeoff, I won't hound you on that part. Altogether, though, this piece does what its supposed to do.

Thanks for writing!
#2 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
Here we have another story whose base concept explores themes that are rather familiar in the fandom but approached with a method that is sweeter than it is bitter. As much as the immortality gig and the whole 'living longer than your friends' angle that comes with it had always felt tiresome to me, this story works in spite of that, and that's because this is exceptionally well-written.

The descriptions are delightful to read and really tickles the imagination, setting a whimsical tone that is emblematic to the character taking centre stage. Even as it sheds the chaotic surrealism past a certain point, it never loses its momentum as it finishes painting the picture it had started with. Some parts do get a little wordy, which does play into stuttering the pacing quite a bit, though I think it does its job well enough for me to overlook that.

Nevertheless, as enamoured as I was over the technical finesse at display here, I'm afraid that the story itself at its core never really came across as all that compelling to me. Part of it's definitely because of my personal biases as I've mentioned earlier. Another part finds that it's because the story's second half starts piling in a lot more new information, and by the time we realize what's really happening at the centre of it all, we're already being given a resolution.

Put it simply, Fluttershy's death here feels a bit shoehorned in. I never got the time to really stand in their shoes and understand how deeply it had affected them, even though it's the event that kickstarted this whole story happening in the first place. As such, I couldn't grasp just exactly how important this moment of coming together was to Discord and Twilight. In the end, it sorta lacked the impact I think this story sorely needed to complement its imagery, which kinda leaves me a little more than disappointed. I really wished you took your time with it, to let it unravel and guide us into the loss of their friend with open arms. To let the emotions running through them simmer in us as well.

Beyond that, I think this story has the potential to work really well premise-wise. Most of my complaints are things that a broader wordcount could easily remedy, so an expanded version would do wonders to the concept that this story had set out with. Hopefully, you could do the ideas at play here justice then, dear Author.

Thanks for writing, and good luck!
#3 · 2
What I think:

I'd really like to see here is Discord's realization getting applied directly to Twilight. There's a general "his friends had lost a friend this morning, too," yes, but Twilight's right there. It'd be more powerful if he sees specifically that she's holding it together to help him and decides that he's going to hold it together to help her, seems to me...

#4 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
Genre: The Droids We’re Looking For

Thoughts: I’m admittedly partial to Discord shenanigans. I’m much too fond of Fluttercord. But those things aside, this is really, really good. Strong imagery and good humor mix with a full range of emotions, from zany to mournful, ending with a kind of positive acceptance. The scope of the scene is small but it takes me on a big journey by only revealing its game bit by bit.

Absolute thumbs up from me.

Tier: Top Contender
#5 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
I find the weakest part about this story is that Twilight gives little to no indication as to how affected she is by Fluttershy's death – an apparent detachment that seems uncharacteristic, and I would reason as being partially counterproductive in consoling Discord.

I am also torn over the descriptions of Discord's activities here. On one hoof, they're imaginative, well-conveyed, and offer essential insight into his agitation. On the other, there were so many, in such meticulous detail, that it read as storyboard shorthand and my eyes wanted to glaze over much of it (more my problem than yours, Author). I offer this as a data point more than any real criticism.

It takes a long time to make clear 1. what Discord is actually setting up, and 2. what this is actually all about. The first (it's a wedding!) I think should be available to the reader right out of the gate; the second (she's dead, Jim) may or may not deserve more hints earlier, depending on your goals and other edits.

I have some misgivings about the particulars of the diction and dialogue in places, but again that's probably a me issue more than anything.

I really like the image of Discord melting in his despair.
#6 · 2

Thanks, folks:

And congrats to the other medalists! I'll definitely be taking your comments to heart for the revisions before I post the story to FimFiction.