• Published 13th Aug 2013
  • 3,870 Views, 147 Comments

Games Ponies Shouldn't Play - DagaYemar



Trixie and her five best friends are about to play Diplomacy. Let's watch.

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Summer 02

“Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing!” Trixie hissed. Everypony else had broken off from the table, leaving just the two of them alone with the board spread out between them.

Carrot Top blinked and leaned a little back from her friend’s intense stare. “Um… what?”

“I have to admit.” Trixie continued, waving a hoof through the air in a dismissive gesture. “I did not expect this level of competition from you, but I accept your challenge!”

“I don’t know what…?”

“Just remember, I’m watching you now. The next time we meet, it will be on the fields of battle!” Trixie held a hoof up to her eyes and then swiveled her fetlock one-eighty degrees to point at Carrot Top. The show mare backed slowly from the table, never taking her eyes from her target.

Carrot Top watched her go with her mouth hanging slightly open. “But… I only did that because I thought you were already coming after me…”

For the third turn in a row Carrot Top found herself alone at the table, but for the first time she realized how lonely her seat really was.

“So, it seems Lyra played both of us.” Cheerilee said.

Raindrops nodded. “She’s the one who aimed me at the West Dune Sea.”

“And I was the one who pointed the move out to her in the first place.” Cheerilee sighed, tapping her shin thoughtfully. “I’m not really sure what her long term plan was, but clearly she didn’t want either of us to get the space.”

“If she really wanted to keep us from getting it, why did she move all her units away last turn?”

“I’m not sure…”

“We could just ask her what she was thinking.” Raindrops suggested.

Cheerilee considered the thought, but a slow grin crossed her features. “Perhaps… or we could get back at her instead. For pitting us against each other like that. She does seem to be very nervous about us just talking together.”

The two of them looked sideways at Lyra, who kept shooting worried glances in their direction.

Raindrops’ grin soon matched Cheerilee’s own. “I could get behind that. But there’s still the problem of which of us gets the Dune Sea.”

Cheerilee thought for a moment, and then walked over to where she’d left her bag next to the door.

“I just know that they’re talking about me.” Lyra muttered again, trying to watch the other pair from the corner of her eye.

Ditzy blew a breath out through the side of her mouth and nodded dourly. “Probably. Why did you do it anyway?”

“I don’t know! It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Lyra said. “Raindrops said she wanted to go north and Cheerilee told me she was going south. I just didn’t want to two of them marching through me to get at each other.” She almost flinched as the two mares in question looked back at her and smiled.

“Well, at least now you know that won’t be going though you to get at each other…”

“That’s not funny, Ditzy! I really think I’m in trouble here!” She turned to keep the school teacher in view as Cheerilee walked over to the door and picked something from her bag. “Is she… flipping a silver bit? What’s that about?”

“Look, we should really get back to our own plans.” Ditzy interrupted, trying to pull her friend’s attention back on topic. “You won’t be heading any further in my direction anymore, I take it?”

“I think I’ve got enough on my plate.” Lyra sighed.

“Do you need any help with them?”

Lyra considered the offer. “I can’t immediately think of a way that doesn’t make you the same target I am. I’ve got one or two ideas left, but… personally, I kinda just want to get this game over with. It’s a lot more taxing than I thought it would be.

“I mean, look at the board! We’ve been playing for an hour already and we’ve each only got about four or five territories. And the game won’t end until one of us gets sixteen? I can tell right now that can’t happen quickly. How is one pony supposed to take more than ten without everypony else teaming up to take them down?”

Ditzy thought hard about the points her friend brought up, but was saved from answering when Trixie sudden interposed herself between the two of them. “Excuse me, Lyra, but I need to borrow Ditzy for a while. It’s a matter of life or death!”

“It’s alright; we’ll continue this in a bit.” Ditzy said reassuringly, allowing herself to be pulled away.

Trixie looked back at the mint unicorn for a moment. “What were you… no never mind. I need your help getting Carrot Top out of my nation.”

“How?” Ditzy asked.

Trixie opened and closed her mouth a couple of times like a fish. “But… you’ve got all those air forces! I need you to move them up and support my attack on Haupstadt!”

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m also a bit surrounded right now.” Ditzy gestured back at the map. “Cheerilee’s got a pair of armies aimed right at me. I’ve got to focus on that for the time being.”

“Look, I’ll talk to Cheerilee for you!” Trixie said desperately, getting down onto her knees. “I don’t have enough units to do this on my own. Please?!”

“Well…”

“Pleeeeeaase?!”

“Ok, Ok! Just get up!” Ditzy said, embarrassed. She pulled her friend off the floor. “There’s nothing I can do this turn, but I’ll try to get closer. And you definitely owe me!”

“Thanks!” Trixie said quickly, already scanning the room to find her next target. Ditzy sighed as her friend ran off, already thinking about who she needed to speak with next.

“Cheerilee?” Carrot Top asked, “Do you have a minute?”

“For you, I’ve got five.” Cheerilee replied, patting the floor next to where she was sitting. “I’m glad you finally decided to have a strategy session with somepony. The way you handled Trixie was pretty well done.”

Carrot Top face fell slightly. “Don’t remind me. Look, I just wanted to say that I didn’t want to start anything yet. I’m going to be completely swamped holding Trixie off for a while.”

Cheerilee grinned, cocking her head to the side. “You thought I was going to attack you?”

“Not really.” Carrot Top said, pulling out her map for emphasis. “I’m just covering my bases. You’re going to be spending the next few turns around here anyway…”

Cheerilee blinked at where her friend was pointing and leaned back a little in surprise. “You saw what I was planning?”

Carrot Top paused and then looked down at the map, which she’d only been casually holding in her hooves. “Saw wha…” she started, but froze as a loud cry interrupted the general stillness of the library.

“WAIT!!!!”

Trixie landed from her leap with her hoof outstretched as if to physically hold the two of them apart. She suddenly seemed to realize the way the two of them were looking up at her, as if she’d suddenly lost her wits. A quick glance around the library revealed the rest of her friends watching her in much the same way. She swallowed and pointedly ignored the others, trying to piece together some of her dignity.

“I mean, I need to talk with Cheerilee. Right now. Before the time is up.” Blushing enough to turn a deep purple, she all but dragged the school teacher away to the opposite end of the library. Carrot Top watched them go with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“Jeez, I wonder what that was about.” Lyra said, taking the spot Cheerilee had so recently vacated.

“I… have no idea…”

“You sure you don’t?” Lyra said coyly, nudging her in the shoulder. “I bet you could handle both of them in a pinch if you had to, eh?”

“Why does everypony keep saying that?” Carrot Top muttered. “It was just one move. I’m still stuck up in this corner with nowhere to go.”

Lyra frowned. “You think you’re stuck? I’m squished between two players who have good cause to wipe me from the board.”

“Yeah, but you can still spread out!” Carrot Top retorted, shoving her map forward like a shield. “I’ve got nothing but the edge of the map on all sides on me up here!”

“Well, yeah, but I don’t…” Lyra’s voice trailed off as something on the map arrested her attention. “Actually, now that you mention it… I never thought of that! But I’d have to… sorry CT, but I’ve got to make some last minute changes. Where did I leave my notebook…”

Carrot Top gaped at her friend as she scampered off in search of her papers. Slowly, she turned her map back towards herself and studied it to make certain it hadn’t randomly translated itself into a font of limitless winning instructions. “But… what did I say…?”

“You want me to attack Carrot Top?” Cheerilee asked. She wasn’t really all that surprised, but the intensity of Trixie’s expression as she asked was a little intimidating.

“Not right away, but I need you to get up there as soon as you can.” The blue unicorn clarified. “Threaten her a little; get her to send some units to defend against you. Anything to take some of the heat off of my fight.”

Cheerilee tilted her head back and pretended to hold herself aloft. “And what if it helps me to have the two of you fighting it out?”

Trixie gritted her teeth in frustration. “Look, I’m coming to you on bended knee here. I need to get my territory back! What do I need to do to get your help?”

“I don’t know…” Cheerilee mused, drawing out the time. There’s only a minute or two left in the turn. If she hasn’t had the time to write any moves down yet… “After all, I’ve got a lot of other angles to work on right now. I’ve got Lyra on the ropes, and as for Ditzy…”

“NO!” Trixie interrupted, then pulled back and sucked in a breath through her teeth. “How about if I owed you a favor? Anything you need, at any point in the game, I’ll do for you. All you have to do is move on Carrot Top instead of anypony else. OK?”

Cheerilee considered it. I suppose this is the real currency of the game. It’s not all that out of my way, if I alter my plans just a little. I don’t know how I can hold Trixie to her favor, but if she really does mean it…

“Alright, I’ll do it.” Cheerilee said. “But only one unit! I’m not going to engage myself fully in this, but placed right, one unit is all you’ll need.”

“Thank you!” Trixie sighed, and then seemed to realize just how little time she had left. “I haven’t written anything yet! Gotta run!”

The school teacher watched her run back to the table with mixed feelings. Looks like she’s falling apart faster than I would have expected. In fact… she’s getting a little too upset about this. I’ve seen her handle much worse than this. Is she faking it for some reason? What would she gain by making me think she’s losing it?

Confused, Cheerilee opened her notebook and crossed out one of the lines written within. One way or the other, the next few turns would reveal much.

“There’s not a lot of time left.” Twilight said, holding up the hourglass as evidence.

“I understand,” Ditzy responded. “There’s just something I need to know. How do these games usually end?”

Twilight shuffled the pages together and cleared her throat. “Here we go. I’ll start with the griffons. Their air force in Hippopotamia moves into Konja, and this time I won’t put down a flag until next turn, if it is still there. The other air force supports their navy’s attack on Haupstadt. Unfortunately, the elk’s army, with the support of their navy, was also moving into Haupstadt. So neither unit gets to move.”

“But wait,” Trixie interrupted. “How was her army moving into that space? She’s got an air force there.”

“Actually, her air force moved into Kaunas this turn.”

“WHAT!?” Trixie exclaimed, watching the piece invade deeper into her territory.

“Her other army tried to move into Breidas,” Twilight continued, “but the camel’s army also tried to go that way, so they’re both stopped. Cheerilee’s army in Paardveld tried to move into Pferdreich, but since that unit couldn’t move this one gets stopped too. Fortunately, her last army makes it into the West Dune Sea unopposed.

“The camel’s navy succeeds in moving into the Sea of Tranquility, as the pony’s navy retreats into Broncordia with the support of the Canterlot air force. Ditzy’s other two units move into Latigo and Palomino. As for the tapirs, their three navies enter the Azure Reaches, Zaldia, and the Horse Steppes. That’s two new territories, if she can keep them. Her air force moves into the Sea of Neighrobi and her army stays put.

“That leaves the buffalo. Their army in Garanha moves into Caballeria with support from the air force in Tatanka. The North Dune Sea army goes north to Pte and the East Dune Sea army holds its spot. And lastly, the army in Ptehinchala invades the recently vacated Killa.”

The table was unusually quiet as the last piece was moved. They held it for a moment before Raindrops broke the silence. “Is that it?” she asked lightly.

“Um… yes. You can start the next round now.” Twilight answered.

“Very well.” Raindrops said softly, and looked up from the board to lock eyes with Lyra. “Then let’s get started.”

Author's Note:

I sure hate writer's block, how about you? Let's take a look at the board:

Click here for a closer look.

The lines are finally starting to blur. How will Raindrops's react to this turn of events? What is Trixie's real plan? And can anypony stop Carrot Top's advance? All these questions and more may or may not be answered, next time!

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