• Published 28th Oct 2013
  • 1,248 Views, 28 Comments

Queen of Games - Insanity the Wonderful

Twilight is granted a power that will take her to new depths

  • ...

Ep.2 - Princess's Guard, Leader of High Treason!

The cellar of Canterlot Castle was mostly dark and silent. It was hardly ever used by the Princesses, though there were some who had put it to use for there own purposes. In the lowest room there was a stallion dressed in royal guard armor whispering into a basin of water.

"Yes, sir, I just received it. Are you sure I'm capable of using it?"

The water shook, and a heavy, deep voice responded. "Yes, you fool! I would not have trusted you with it if you could not. My plan has covered all of the bases, there is no way anyone could mess this up, except for any incompetence from you. But so far you have proven to be reliable, so you have my trust."

"I understand. Yes sir. No incompetence."

"Good. Now, are you certain that you look the part?"

The stallion checked over himself. "Yes, sir, white coat, blue mane, I blend in perfectly."

"Do you have an concerns before this begins?"

The stallion paused, thinking of any discrepancies he might have. "Actually yes sir, I was wondering, why do I have to do it in Ponyville, and not right here?"

The water flicked around. "Because there are too many eyes watching. The town is smaller and there will be less security. Besides, there will be no one there who has any kind of power to stop you. Anything else?"

He shook his head.

The smooth, deep voice chuckled. "Good. Now go, Firestone. Complete this mission and Equestria will be yours."

Firestone turned away from the basin, which had gone silent. He trotted over to an old table, on which rested a wooden case. he pulled off the lid with his magic and stared at the item inside. It was a pure gold rod, at the tip there was a sphere that had two sharp wings jutting out of it, and the sphere itself was adorned with the Neighgyptian eye.
= = =
Princess's Guard, Leader of High Treason!
= = =

The now completed Sennen Puzzle bounced off of Twilight's chest as she ran back and forth through the library. Spike had tried multiple times to get her attention, but as usual, to no avail. He had learned throughout the years that when Twilight gets worked up about something, the safest thing to do is to just stand back and wait. A week ago, they received a letter from Princess Celestia telling them that she would be coming to Ponyville for one of her casual visits. Though he should've known better, Spike tried to talk to Twilight anyway.

"There's nothing to worry about, Twilight! It's another casual visit to say hello, and besides, if she asks about the puzzle, you finished it, right? So no worries."

Twilight let out one of her exasperated groans. "Yes, but I was supposed to report to her my findings on it, but I can't do that because it doesn't do anything! She expects me to tell her all about its mysterious powers, but there are none! It turned out to just be a really hard puzzle, that's it!"

Spike took a few steps back. "Well, ok, but, why are you still wearing it then? You're not really one for fashion statements..."

Twilight slowed down her frantic moving and sighed. "I don't know, Spike. For some reason I can't put it down. It feels like I'm missing something big. Truth is, I do think that there's something special about the puzzle, but no matter what I try, I can't get a reaction out of it."

Spike thought for a moment. "So, it is magic? Or just really cool looking?"

Twilight laughed. Spike was smiling because he felt she needed to. "Well, it definitely is cool looking, but my problem is that if it does have some magic power, I haven't figured it out yet, and if the Princess wants to know about it, I can't tell her anything. I have nothing to report!"

Spike thought about her predicament. "Well. she didn't really give you a deadline, right? Just tell her the truth, that it's taking you longer than you thought to study it and you need more time. And you can at least report to her that we concluded on the fact that it looks really cool."

Twilight shared her laugh with Spike that time before wrapping a leg around his shoulder. "Thanks for keeping me in line, Spike. You're my sanity nowadays."

"Aw, no problem, Twilight." There was a polite knock at the door. "I'll get it'"

Twilight turned back around to look for her saddlebag as Spike jogged over to open the door, and when he did, his face irradiated a look of infatuation. As soon Twilight noticed that Spike was indisposed, she smirked.

"Come in, Rarity."

As soon as the unicorn knew she was welcome to enter, she dashed inside and grabbed Twilight's shoulders. She spoke hastily as if she still needed to run around all of Ponyville.

"Twilight! I was just thinking that we should all be dressed for the Princess and I needed to make sure- oh darling are you still wearing that thing?" Twilight noticed that Rarity was staring at the puzzle. The fabulous mare whined. "It doesn't even match you mane! how can you do this to me, Twilight?"

Twilight sighed and shrugged Rarity off of her. "Spike and I just finished this discussion, Rarity. I'm still wearing it because I'm still researching it. Besides, the score is two to one, in favor of it looking good."

Rarity fidgeted a little before giving in. "Oh, fine. You win. But do hurry up and finish your research as soon as possible, if you would." She smiled to make sure Twilight knew she was kidding.

Twilight returned the smile before returning to her saddlebag. "I'm just heading out to pick up a few things before the Princess arrives. And Rarity, just like every other casual visit, Celestia doesn't expect us to dress fancy."

Rarity muttered, "It doesn't mean we can't."

As Twilight threw the bag on her back and moved to the front door, stopping to look back at Rarity. "If you need anything, Spike will be more than happy to help."

Spike suddenly fell out of his stupor and ran over to Rarity. "Yep, anything you need, my beauty..."

Twilight laughed lightly as she left the library.

Sugarcube Corner was upbeat with conversation as the many Ponyville ponies were excited about the visiting princess. As Twilight entered the room she noticed that Rarity had ignored her statement about the attire, and that Celestia hadn't arrived yet, though there were already four guards strategically placed around the room. She saw her friends scattered amongst the groups of talking ponies, save for Fluttershy who was over in the corner, waiting for the party to be over. Twilight decided first to keep her company. She navigated her way through the crowd over to her friend.

"Hi, Fluttershy, how are you holding up?" Twilight inquired about the mare's recovering head.

Fluttershy was relieved to be close to one of her friends. "Oh, hello, Twilight. I'm doing fine. Although I'm anxious to see Princess Celestia again. She still isn't here yet."

Twilight looked back towards the entrance. "Yeah, I noticed. She probably got held up back in Canterlot. I'm sure the Princess won't take too long, she likes these visits a lot since most of the time she's really busy."

Fluttershy seemed to have nothing to talk about, so Twilight just stood by her side and they both waited for a little while, until finally Princess Celestia arrived. when she entered, she was accompanied by two guards, who were standing next to her on both sides. Twilight was focused on the Princess, but suddenly she was distracted by a shiny object being held beneath one of the guard's armor. She assumed it was just a personal valuable and ignored it. After Celestia made her greetings and the room calmed down, Twilight was able to eventually talk to the Princess.

"Hello, Princess! It's great to see you again!" Twilight greeted her mentor happily.

Celestia smiled at her young student. "Hello to you, too, Twilight. I'm very happy that I was able to come visit you and your friends. It really doesn't happen often enough."

"Well I'm glad you're here. Things have certainly been exciting lately."

Celestia nodded. "Yes, your letter was very descriptive. I'd like a chance to talk to Fluttershy later, I'm a bit concerned about her, naturally. But I'm also very surprised that you've already solved the Sennen Puzzle. It must've been quite easy after all. At least for you, Twilight."

Twilight blushed. "Oh, I wouldn't say that it way quite so easy, it did stump me at times, but that's not really important." Twilight looked at the ground, thinking about how to explain to her mentor that she hadn't learned anything about the puzzle.

"Twilight? Is there something wrong?" Celestia was quick to pick up on her student's thoughts.

Twilight blinked back into focus. "Oh. Um. Well, we can talk later, after the party."

Celestia nodded. "Of course, Twilight."

The party was still in full motion when Twilight and Princess Celestia took their leave for the library, later in the night. They were followed by one of the guards for the Princess's safety. The same guard, Twilight noticed, that was carrying a weird golden object between his armor and body. When they finally arrived and entered, Twilight began to confess her lack of progress in her research.

"...But no matter what I do, nothing ever happens... I'm sorry..."

Celestia laughed. "Twilight, I'm amazed that you've already finished solving the puzzle by this point. You've already exceeded my expectations, it doesn't matter how long it takes to discover anything, so long as you're trying, it's good enough for me."

Twilight was reassured by her teacher's kind words. "Thank you, Princess. Oh, but, I do know some things about it! I left my notes on the table."

Twilight led Celestia over to the mass of papers and books containing information and theories regarding the puzzle. She explained to the Princess everything she knew about the Sennen Puzzle, including the writing on the box, and the supposed Game of Darkness. Princess Celestia was intrigued by the information as Twilight finished her presentation with what Fluttershy had told her.

"...because even though you can't see friendship itself, you can see it in your friends. Fluttershy was the one who figured that out."

Celestia smiled at the thought that Twilight was still focused on friendship. "Well so long as the puzzle is bringing you closer to your friends than I definitely recommend you continue your research on it."

Twilight nodded to show her understanding. The puzzle was still important enough to continue studying. Princess Celestia interrupted the silence.

"By the way, Twilight, could I see the box that the puzzle came in? I never really had a chance to look over it, myself."

Twilight nodded again. "Of course, I left it in the other room, but I'll go get it." Twilight hastily made her way into the other section of the library to retrieve the golden box. Princess Celestia thought she would be alone for a minute, but suddenly the front door opened, and the guard that followed them stepped inside.

"Hello, Princess."

Celestia was surprised with how informal the guard was acting in front of her. "What is the meaning of this interruption? Do you have a message for me?"

The guard laughed at the perfect setup. "Actually yes, the message is that your kingdom is mine!" He revealed his mysterious golden object and held it in front of him using his magic. Before she could react, a flash of light came from the rod, beaming itself into Princess Celestia's head. As she winced in pain, a cloud of yellow smoke phased out of her chest, and flew into the golden rod. Princess Celestia fell.

The stallion laughed wildly while standing over the fallen Princess. "So long as I hold her soul, the princess is forced to do whatever I command her!" As he fell back into laughter, he was unaware that his actions were being witnessed by a mare peeking through the crack of a door.

The Sennen Puzzle glowed.

Twilight took small steps back from the door. Her eyes were closed as wisps of black and purple aura circled her, growing larger and larger until she became a spherical cloud of dark energy. A golden light illuminated from the shadowy ball, in the form of an eye.

"So, it's game time."

The guard quickly looked up to find the source of the intruding voice, only to find himself staring at the darkened sky. When he looked back down, he was overtaken by fear upon noticing that he was suspended by a rope off the top of the town hall.

"What the!?- What is this!? What's happening!?" He looked around frantically as his legs curled around the rope. His attention was taken by the glow residing at the top of the dome, hanging around the neck of the mare leaning against the spire. Twilight looked down at the stallion with her malefic grin.

"Hey, how's it hanging?" She laughed casually. The guard was terrified by her lack of concern. Twilight turned to the golden object tied to the spire next to her. "So, pretty nice Sennen Rod you've got here. Tell you what, I'll play you for it." She was still wearing her unique smile. "we're gonna play-"

"A Dark Game." The stallion cut in.

Suddenly Twilight's unbeatable smile disappeared, and it was replace by a look of annoyance and slight worry. "And how do you know about that? Possessing a magical artifact that gives you total control over others is one thing, but knowledge has to be passed down..."

The stallion maintained his expression. "I accept your game, mare. Winner gets both Sennen Items."

Twilight glanced down at the puzzle swaying in the wind. She turned her attention back to the stallion hanging beneath her. "Who are you? Give me your name."

The stallion was reluctant to speak at first, but eventually he admitted his identity. "Firestone. Who are you?" He retorted.

Twilight stared into his eyes. "Twilight Sparkle."


The two stared at each other, bent on defeating the pony in front of them more than anything else in the world. Eventually Twilight started laughing lightly.

"So, are we gonna play or not?"

"What are the rules?"

Her wicked smile returned, prompting her leap towards the edge, revealing the end of the rope that was tied to her, and slid down the surface of the dome. As she was descending, her hoof was sliding along the tiles, spreading playing cards face down. When the rope finally caught her, it yanked on Firestone, pulling him up, and her down, until they were right across from each other.

"The rules are simple. We'll take turns choosing cards, then we'll take steps up the roof, the number depending on the value of the card we drew. And we only pick cards that we can reach with our hooves."

"Okay. Anything else?"

Twilight pondered what she had said for a moment. Then came to a little realization. "Oh yeah, aces count as one."

"Fine, who starts?"

"Go ahead." She motioned for Firestone to take the first draw. He reached out to his right and flipped over one of the cards.

"10 of clubs. I'm going up." Firestone got a hold on the side of the roof, and began trotting upwards, sending Twilight sliding towards the edge. When he had taken ten steps, he turned to look down at Twilight. "Now you."

Twilight reached out to reveal a card. "10 of diamonds, looks like we're even."

Firestone reversed, descending once more and soon meeting Twilight at the same height.

"Not for long." He insisted, flipping another card. "6 of clubs, still ahead." He put a little distance between himself and Twilight.

"Are you sure?" Twilight picked her next card. "King of hearts."

Twilight brought herself up the roof and passed Firestone, who was now beneath her.

"I'll catch up, 4 of clubs."

"I have my doubts." Twilight responded. "9 of spades."

As Firestone sank lower he became a bit frantic, though he kept calm and drew another card. "5 of hearts."

"8 of diamonds."

"7 of spades."

"10 of hearts."

"4 of clubs."

"Queen of spades."

In no time, Firestone had reached the very edge of the roof, and his hind legs were dangling over the open air.

"Well, Firestone, I'm only one step from the top. Are you going to draw?"

Firestone was full of frustration. There were still plenty of cards left to draw from, and he held onto the hope that the next card would turn the game around. He went for the card as high as he could reach. When he turned it over, that hope died.

"Ace of spades..." He was contemplating the unlikeliness that he would still win.

Twilight laughed. "That's too bad." She picked up the closest card to her. "2 of diamonds. I win."

Suddenly Firestone raged. "You set this up! That's why you said aces count as one!"

Twilight's faced turned serious when she was accused of cheating. "I did not."

Firestone started moving up the roof. "I can't lose the Sennen Rod, even if you didn't cheat!"

Twilight chuckled, as she was surprised. "And I thought you knew how this game worked. Yet here you are, breaking the rules."

Firestone moved closer and closer to the top, yet despite his proximity to Twilight, he didn't notice the golden eye on her forehead.

"Trying to claim a large amount of power for yourself is a very dangerous thing."

Firestone lost his temper and shot a bolt of energy at Twilight, who turned to let it fly right past her.

"If you think you can rise that high, then you're in for a long fall."

The shot of energy that blew past Twilight into the mist returned from the darkness and headed straight towards Firestone. It hit him hard, dissolving the rope and sending him flying backwards off the roof and straight towards the ground.

"The door of darkness, has been opened."

Twilight's horn flared, releasing a flash of light, and suddenly she was standing over the unconscious body of her opponent, was was squirming and mumbling 'help me, I'm falling!' She turned towards the Sennen Rod resting on a nearby rock.

"Neighgypt will not be responsible for the fall of the Equestrian princess." She wrapped her magic around the rod, which caused a little cloud of yellow light to form from out of the eye, and fly into the library towards Princess Celestia.

Twilight followed Celestia back into the library. The stallion who had tried to hurt the Princess had fallen unconscious on the ground, and the guards had just finished assuring that the two mares were safe, along with removing the stallion, taking him somewhere for questioning. Celestia was examining the golden rod that had been used against her. She soon turned to Twilight and asked if she had any knowledge about it.

"Actually, I might. When I first started researching the puzzle, I looked through a lot of Neighgyptian related books, and I think I saw that thing somewhere. I moved on though because I didn't notice how similar it looked to the puzzle."

Celestia was a little suspicious. "You really didn't notice the similarities?"

Twilight blushed. "Um, no... I'm sorry."

Celestia made the motion for Twilight to continue. She rushed over to a pile of books that she still hadn't cleaned up from her puzzle research. When she found the one she was looking for, she brought it over to the table and flipped it to the page where she saw the relic. Celestia looked over Twilight's shoulder.

"The Sennen Rod. Huh, go figure." She quickly read through the rest of the page, and soon learned a lot more about the situation. "Oh, I can't believe I completely skipped over this page. Princess, I'm so sorry. I should have payed more attention." Twilight felt a bit ashamed at her lack of focus, but Celestia placed a hoof on her shoulder, reassuring her that one mistake was no big deal.

"What have you learned, Twilight?"

Twilight took a deep breath and turned back to the book. The Sennen Rod and Puzzle are both part of a group of relics called the Sennen Items. There are seven of them total, including the puzzle and rod, there's the eye, the ring, the necklace, the scale, and the key. Each of them have some sort of special power, but there's no detailing of them in this book. I don't think there's information on them anywhere, this is the first time I've seen them mentioned."

Celestia digested the information Twilight had given to her. After a few moments, she turned and trotted to the window and looked up at the sky, deep in thought. Twilight waited patiently for a few minutes until Celestia found something to say.

"Are you sure you haven't ever seen the Sennen Puzzle do anything?"

Twilight thought hard. "No."

Celestia turned to Twilight. "Can you tell me what happened to that stallion? Do you know why he was unconscious?"

Twilight looked at the Princess with a confused expression. "What do you mean? I was under the effect of the Sennen Rod."

Now Celestia steeled her expression. "As was I."

She stood motionless, staring at Twilight, waiting for her to figure it out. Twilight was fidgeting, mumbling to herself trying to piece it together. "But... All I saw was a golden glow, that's the last thing I remember."

Celestia remained still, shifting her eyes slightly downwards, looking directly at the Sennen Puzzle. When Twilight realized what Celestia was thinking, she touched the puzzle with her hoof.

"You think... I hurt him?"

Celestia remained quiet for a bit longer before speaking. "No, Twilight. I know you would never hurt anypony." Twilight sighed with relief. "But, what you told me earlier, these... Dark Games... I'm a little concerned about the puzzle. A lot of magic happens on its own, and I feel as if the Sennen Puzzle is more complicated then I anticipated."

Twilight pondered the Princess's words. "So what are you saying? Are you taking the puzzle back?"

Celestia responded quicker than before. "No, whatever the puzzle did, it was done in the intention of helping us. Twilight, I want you to continue your study on this puzzle. The other thing you told me, Fluttershy's answer to the riddle, I think that is very important as well. Don't ever forget that."

Twilight nodded. "I understand. I promise I'll find out everything there is need to know about these Sennen Items."

Princess Celestia finally smiled. "Very good. I expect you to come through for me, my faithful student."

Twilight was anticipating for the mood to lighten, but noticed that the Princess had fallen back into thought.

"Princess Celestia? Is everything all right?" Celestia stayed silent again for a moment.

"Twilight, have you noticed the last mystery of this night? Can you tell what I'm thinking?"

Twilight knew. "You're thinking that it's not a coincidence that these items are suddenly appearing everywhere. There's a reason the Sennen Items have started popping up, and you don't like it."

The Princess nodded and smiled at her student's diligence. "Very good, Twilight. Then you know to be very cautious from here on out. There is something bigger happening. There may just be a lot more danger ahead. Promise me."

"I promise, Princess. I'll be careful."

"Alright, Twilight. Then I'll leave both Items here with you. It's time for me to return to Canterlot. Farewell, my student."

"Goodbye, Princess."

The room was vast, yet mostly empty and full of darkness. The only light was the illuminated pool of water in the center. The faint silhouette of a large stallion stood looming over it. Suddenly, the door across the room creaked open, and soft hoof beats came inside.

"Speak." The stallion ordered in a deep, impatient voice.

The mare that entered was tense. "Um, my apologies for disturbing you, Master, but um, Firestone has... failed his mission..."

"Yes, I am already aware of that." He retorted calmly. "If that's all, please see your way out."

The mare was quick to back out of the room and shut the door. When she was gone, he leaned closer to the image of Twilight in the pond.

"You've raised so many more questions than one might think, 'Twilight'. How does a stupid little mare in a pointless little town have a Sennen Item? And how could you beat one of my Game Warriors in a Dark Game? Well, no worry, all good things come to those who wait, little mare. Soon we'll test exactly how powerful you are, and once I know that, crushing you will be no difficult task."

The Stallion let out a freeing laugh that filled the room with malevolence.

"You don't even realize that the real game has only just begun."

Author's Note:

Next Time!
A friend suddenly turns into a foe for Twilight, much to the mare's surprise. But what could have caused the turnaround? Twilight will soon find out in...
A Cartload of Questions, Answers Out of Stock!
Has somepony been meddling with Twilight's friends?

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