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Canterlot Checkers Challenge

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And.... the jump was made!  Earth Writer had made it to his own square just in time; which was to say, 5 seconds before Taira completed his jump over Medo.  The window of opportunity had not yet closed, but only time would tell if it left enough breathing room for him to, well, breathe before making his next jump-

 

Curses!  The stallion hadn't time to catch his breath before the kirin was calling back a warning to his pegasus teammate.  He'd missed his chance for a double for sure, but there was nothing for it; he'd have to be content with a single now, and probably a trade, too, as staying still would mean getting captured by Taira, and moving in the opposite direction left him vulnerable to Dunnie!  *Maybe if I jump now, I can startle her into making a move away, rather than forward?*

 

That was his only shot at winning now, and he took it with a flying leap!

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Discord was especially tickled. His linkling was ahead on the way to the Castle without threat! Icy having let that Pizzapony by may have hurt the noble's chances as well as Earth Writer! Oh dear. The pony would be able to see the pizzapony with the box in hoof, he would like reach the castle before him, than what would Write boast about?! There had to be a way to stop him...

 

With Medo beside Discord the spirit peered down, rolling his eyes at her spoiled pouting. Motioning his paw he levitated her out the penalty box and onto his head. He would offer her a slice of pizza, the nobles complaining that she was getting spoiled. With pizza all around Discord shrugged. "You were so close dear. But so was Ice Storm. What a shame..." So that pizzapony was all a ploy? "But I'll give those trapped in the penalty box a chance to get back in the game. He snapped his paws.

 

With that several boxes of pizza appeared in front of all those in the penalty box, five in exactness. Regarding him he was but three spaces from the castle. 

 

"If you can eat through all of these when this timer hits zero... you are free to continue the game." He pulled a stopwatch from his feathers and it began to count down from ten.

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Despite Taira's callout to her, Dunnie already had her eyes on the approaching blue piece. She could feel Taira's mass slam into the ground after he completed his jump over Medo, all while her eyes locked on Earth Writer. He had lost the advantage so quickly, he was going to do something desperate to try to gain the upper hand.

 

Most ponies would have jumped back, but a fighter like Dunnie knew to close the distance between opponents. Before the blue piece landed on the ground, Dunnie had already already jumped forward, challenging his aggression.

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Nensho shrugged as his distraction didn't seem to help in the end. Oh well, at least he tried. Seeing as it was too late to actually face down Taira at this point, Nensho turned his attention to the pegasus mare being faced down by the stallion. Grinning, he made his way towards them, trying to keep enough distance to avoid getting caught in the mare's jump should she come out on top, but close enough that it would be clear her aggression would be rewarded in kind.

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Dunnie's jumping forward would end up exposing an edge case in the rules.  After all, this game was played in real-time, not in turns.  Therefore, it was entirely possible for two pieces to attempt capturing each other simultaneously.  In this case, what ended up happening was that Earth Writer and Dunnie slammed into each other in mid-air, coconut-like thunk of their heads colliding proving a secret delight to all watching.  

 

"Oohhhh...."  Earth Writer collapsed back on the ground, dazed, unsure of whether he was in his origin square, the square he was leaping to, or in the captured box.  All depended on the rule call of the judge at this point...

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So, there was a way to get back into the game. They had to get through.... five boxes of pizza inn such a short span of time? Medo had no interest in making herself sick to get back in the game. However, the pizza was appetizing. Plus from here she could see the entire board. It was much better for her to watch than play. This is what she usually did anyway. She looked back to Discord. "Ya know what? I think I might just stay here and keep ya company. I've never been good at board games and honestly this seems like the best seat in the... house? world? Plantation? Whatever we're on? I can see everything and enjoy pizza while doing so. Honestly, I don't see how I lose," she said with a smile. "That being said, do you have any soda? Preferably in a glass and not raining from the sky?"

 

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Ice Storm was at a loss for what she could really do now. The layout of the board itself had plotted against her. She wasn't terribly upset, but by Luna she wanted to win. Alas, it probably wasn't meant to be. For the best as well. She looked up to the penalty box and she raised an eyebrow. They get pizza!!!! I want Pizza!!! she thought to herself as she started looking around for different commoners now that she could find a way to get in front of. IF she wasn't going to win the game, by golly she was going to get her pizza. There was only one problem though. She couldn't move backwards, and she was already past most of them. She would have to wait until somepony reached the castle and started moving backwards to get her. She sighed, defeated as she sat and waited. No point in moving now.

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Dunnie’s assault was met with quite a result. Hardly one expected either, but when you played Discord’s games you hardly expected much despite the strict rules in place. The rules, just like the noodle himself, were quite bendable because of the existence of nigh infinitely versions of a game. When Dunnie moved to capture her piece, so did Writer. Nensho dipped out the way just in time for --

 

THUNK.

 

Discord winced from his place near the penalty box. There was a large screen magically projecting the game’s play by play which included a high resolution, slowed down replay of the pair slamming into one another. Over and over. It seemed Dunnie and Writer’s move was the play of the day! The spirit pricked up his ears at Medo’s words and laughed as he gobbled down what appeared to be a pizza topped with hayfries, pear slices and a carefully placed, hard boiled egg. The game had become overly complicated, as expected of a Discord event, but what the ponies failed to realize in their tomfoolery was that it was just that! Discord’s event and oft times he was a player as well. He was not much for playing judge without being part of the jury too. So when Medo asked for an ordinary soda, she would not receive.

 

“Well haven’t you noticed?” He raised a full bottle of soda with his paw, levitating it over to her. The fizzy drink wiggled around when it was held and let out a cascade of bubbles when opened. “We’re on the front lawn of the Castle.” He held out his paws. “But over here we are also at the Botique’s front!” No wonder they could see the whole board! They were at both of the goals! ... somehow. In a flash of laughter the spirit manifested a microphone in his claw, tapping the surface with is paw’s pad. “Let him in!” the spirit hailed the guards.

 

It seemed the megalomanic spirit was given reign of quite a bit,  but it was all apart of the game and what as the Princes of the Sun without her love of games? It seemed everything was set up with the aid of the princesses one way or another. How else would Discord take over without their knowledge? Well that was a question for another time. While he had his ways he also had an ego and was not one wont to secrecy for a successful plot and now was hardly any different. The projection over the field expanded for the giant ponies to better view it. He cleared his throat.

 

“Everypony, may I have your attention!” He cried out with the captured nobles and Medo nibbling pizza in the background. “Now seeing as I am a fair and wise rule, any pony to lose is welcomed to the castle for a pizza party!” But why was he announcing that now?

 

Well it seemed the camera moved over to the gates showing a certain pickle faced stallion marching to the guards, his tail flicking. They rolled their eyes but would step back as the pizza pony entered the gates with a new order of pizzas in tow. I-it was him!  Discord pulled the camera to face him once more as he grinned and placed a teeny tiny crown on his head.

 

“King me.” With that all the ponies, and non ponies, on the field would be reverted to their sizes and teleported onto the castle grounds where the pizza-Discord delivered the boxes and reformed into his chaotic self before fusing back with the canoodling god of chaos who was throned on a cloud of pink, bubble-gum flavored air. “Congratulations me!” He praised and spun about, sitting himself up, laughing. “I must say you ponies and -- like, took quite a long time arriving to my celebration.” It was hard to tell if Discord simply set up the whole game to crown himself, or if there would have been a winner had they just not been heroes and saved the pizza pony. No pony would ever know but this was their chance to have some pizza and chat on it now, wasn’t it?

 

It seems those who had participated would be given an invitation to a ship in Baltimare which would take them off to a cruise across the sea to an island paradise, but one wholly unfamiliar to any present pony.

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Had Earth Writer been captured?  Had he captured?  In the end, it didn't matter.  He was only a piece in Discord's game, and Discord's games always seemed to end up with one winner.

 

Three guesses as to who, and the first two don't count.

 

This conclusion slowly sank into the dazed unicorn's skull as the pain faded from it, becoming clearer in his mind as his body returned to its proper proportions.  *Of course this is how it ends.  This is always how it ends.  The powerful play games, and they don't care what pieces they sacrifice for the sake of their fun.*  The bitterness brewing in the back of the unicorn's mind spilled into his conscious thought, burning like hot coffee.  Why had he even trusted this dragonequus for a minute, when ponies were just as apt to use and abuse him for their own amusement?

 

These were dangerous thoughts for a pony to think.  They could lead a mind to places too dark for the sun to reach, and if you stay there too long, you became the sort of pony that did terrible things to other ponies.  And terrible things lead to dangerous thoughts, in a cycle the old and wise know too well.

 

This moment had been a long time coming for Earth Writer.  He had left home at a tender age with a tender heart, but bad decision after bad decision, failed character test after failed character test, left him here, hardened, at the final fork in the road to villainy.  Oh, sure, he was no wizard; he couldn't summon great disasters upon his fellow Equestrians.  But he could write, and write well.  The pen makes deeper, wider, and longer-lasting wounds than the sword...

 

"Never again..."  He muttered to himself, pushing the brim of his trilby down as he squinted up at the sun.  The rays of heat only seemed to intensify the lines of wrath in his expression, like the wrinkles of a raisin.  "Never again."  The stallion emitted something halfway between a sigh and a snort.  Having received his 'revelation' didn't do much to fill the newborn cynic's stomach, and free pizza was free pizza.  He could fix a smile, or at least refrain from frowning, long enough to get a meal.

 

And so he trotted off to the party, hoping that nopony would catch him off-guard.  He was going to have to be very careful from here on out, lest he endure endless lectures about... friendship.

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Well... that was rather sudden... oh well, it was just a game anyways, and only one side got to win. Strange that it was the side nobody knew about, but from what he could tell, Discord wasn’t the worst outcome. Nensho shrugged as the game ended and he found himself on the castle grounds, walking over to grab himself some pizza before wandering around looking for familiar faces. Taira in particular was one he wanted to talk to more. Something about him... drew Nensho to him...

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