• Published 1st Apr 2014
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Puppets of Tragedy - Iridescence T Wind

We all know the story, human from earth goes to Equestria from buying a mystical prop from a mysterious unnamed salesman to attend Comicon. But what you didn't expect was the prop to be a puppeteers crafting kit.

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To make a String out of you

Skargor was used to seeing this twilight doomed world. He had visited it in the past, and often remarked how ordinary it was in comparison to the Canterlot his mortal enemy had. It was weak, the guards ordinary and armed with spears instead of guns, and its defenses couldn't keep a civilian out, let alone its current inhabitant or a goblin like gretchin. He knew this Displaced woman who had accounted for the lack of life remaining well.

If he were to look out the window, he would see the continuous spread of corruption. Plunder seeds, not kept back by the long since dead tree of harmony. Countless bits of clothes and armor strewn about the cities with not a single soul in sight. The perpetual orange twilight would never change, those who had been responsible for it had been defeated and eaten in a swift strike rather than given the chance to even learn about her presence.

Skargor didn't particularly like her world. He preferred a good fight over all else. This sneaky girl had taken out all opposition with a combination of stealth assassinations before taking over the rest of Equestria with hillarious ease. He recalled what he had watched. Magic and the dragon, Kindness, Loyalty, Honesty, Generosity, Day, Night, Love, Armor, then finally laughter had been consumed in that order before the rest of the world began following suit. After her first few cities, she would only pause to take a long month long nap before resuming her gluttonous spree. The Elements of Harmony stuck behind a vault only the princess of the day could of opened, and the changeling invasion had only proven an afternoon snack for the monster of a displaced within.

She had eaten wars and consumed countless. Now he approached her, still far stronger even in his weakened state, far far away from his Waaagh. She had owed him a favor, for granting her other worlds to consume. Now he was going to finally spend a favor in order to get her to do what he wanted. As his large muscled hands pushed past the broken throne room doors, he laid eyes upon the monster who had ate the heroes who dared oppose her and grinned once more.

"Andrea. I call upon you to take your mantle once more." She was asleep, and he continued on, approaching the throne and grabbing her by the head, ignoring the deceiving softness and shaking her awake, "You have a job to do, and I want it done right."

Slowly the monster began to stir. Pink skin, white hair, and an appearance impossible for such a creature of gluttony. Skargor growled, "Up and at it Andrea. You have a job to do."

"But I'm hungrryyyyy."


Meanwhile back in Puppets Dimension... Again.


"Before we get down to business." Yoko stated, as she came walking in, fully geared and armored, "Let us see what you got."

Yoko's squad had taken up sitting on the left side of the door entrance, they were curious to how their leader would fair. On the opposite side as well were Trixie, Amber, Cass, Melody and a few other sirens and mercenaries. As Inquisitor Deargon had the interest as well of the Space Marines in Yokos charge, so too did the ponies wonder how my friend would fair against me. The tension was there, in their gazes. Though to answer Yoko's question I gestured to the array of masks on the ground around me, and brought forth the shield from its hidden state, Marionette tool in the other hand. With what I imagined was an elegant wave, I brought forth a row of wooden puppets, each crouched down, and had them take up a mask each.

"For those who hadn't been paying attention or haven't seen this before. I shall reiterate my villain name and the explain the basics." I flourished as each mask took form on their puppets one after another in a smooth wave of transition.

It took about a second for each mask to become active, about as fast as I could collect the information of the villain donning the mask. All in all the ones I had chosen consisted of...

Aku, formed from darkness to be destroyed. He had transpired to survive the attempts on his life and conquer. For he was the shape shifting master of evil. His origins from a cartoon called Samurai Jack where he had escaped his own death countless times including the spectacular feat of hurling said samurai in the title so hard he didn't just go into next week, but fifty years into the future. His antics and comedy was only matched by his ruthless tactics and wide variety of mechanized minions.

Nox, formerly Noximilien Coxen, a Xelor, or time manipulator who was driven insane by his research into an ancient artifact called the Eliacube. When he lost his family due to a monsterous titan, he finally snapped off the deep end and vowed to rewind his lifes clock in order to save them. He had committed evil under the impression that he could gather enough energy to undo all the damage he had caused, and failed. Only rewinding time by a mere twenty minutes after hundreds years of effort. His sorrow for what he had done was the last thing left after that failure. A once proud family man destroyed by technology he had become obsessed with.

Bowser, King of the Koopa turtles and occasionally goombas, a villain who would only work with his enemy Mario to stop someone else from conquering the mushroom kingdom. Always doomed to failure he has however also shown not to be a complete monster. From engaging in family friendly activities like Mario Party and occasional bouts of saving the world for his own later attempts to gain rule over it. Ironic he only succeeds working alongside heroes in order to advance his own goals. Tragic as well that he will never have his love of his favorite princess met in turn.

Davy Jones, Captain of the Flying Dutchman who only became a monster once his heart was broken by a force of nature breaking their deal. His long years of service in combination with this betrayal eventually drove him mad and turned him into the ruthless pirate that he was, sending most souls to his locker, and only allowing a few of those he collected to serve an unnatural life aboard his ship. He had found his end in the whirling tide embrace of his former lover. A cruel end for a sad tale.

Ice King, a man driven mad by a cursed crown to forgetting almost everything and leaving a broken obsession for his 'Princess'. He had been a kind man before going mad, even going so far as to protect a small child during a post apocalyptic event during his slow transition to madness.

Several other puppets were being held back, not because of maintaining a limit, no, I needed them intact just in case I needed them. Several, like Mr. Freeze and Maleificent were held back because I had eventual plans to put in motion soon. Two in fact. Involving a certain stallion and a mare. So instead of bringing them out, I brought out a few other reserves, as a puppet slowly transitioned into a single giant floating hand.

"Master Hand? Seriously Xandy?" Yoko commented.

"I go with the self abuse with toys theory. You know, since they animated those statues." I shot back. Yoko considered it, and sighed, "Sort of see your point but that theory was made well before Brawl."

The hand was from a game series known as Super Smash Brothers Brawl, a massive fighting arena type game that threw together everything Nintendo had in terms of game characters both old and new into one game and told them to fight each other. The one responsible for animating them was the two hands called Master and Crazy who the players would defeat over the course of the campaign. Ironically ending the game as the hands no longer pulling the strings stopped doing so. In a way, it had been self abuse. Brawl had added in forcing them to animate the statues against their will with another villain becoming the boss behind them forcing them on. I still winced internally thinking of how they had been literally speared several times over with what was essentially magic harpoons. Puppeteering the former animator.

Alongside the puppets, their minions began to gradually spawn as well, with five puppets dedicated to each main puppet for now. Alongside myself, the array of Luxord's gambling cards had taken up a defensive ring around me, and grinned to her, "Whatcha think?"

Yoko whistled, "That's a lot of crossovers all at once. Glad they're puppets or I'd pinch myself, Luna, then you for this sort of thing to see if one of us wasn't dreaming." Her chainblade revved, "Though, interesting choice of marionettes and shield for personal weapons."

I shrugged, "I don't like direct confrontation. My Puppets may have super-powered muscles, but I'm still a squishy operator. Normally I'd be out of sight and operating remotely."

"Hence this practice." Yoko replied almost instantly, "Eventually you're going to find yourself in a situation where direct confrontation becomes inevitable."

"Sharp Opera did almost strangle you to death Boss." Amber quipped in from the sidelines, as if I needed to be reminded.

"So, in the case of this demonstration. Lets see how quickly I can get from here..." She gestured with her sword to the ground, "To in your face." Yoko pointed her sword at me, and I promptly began to close ranks. It was too late though.

There hadn't even been a sign of movement, One second she was still near the entrance of the room, and the next she had appeared in front of me with a flash of metallic colored lines being the only indicator before her sudden appearance.

"Sonido type Teleportation. Bleach." Yoko smirked, "You aren't the only one who can do crossovers. Met a lot of different genres of displaced people universe hopping around before Skargor made a mess of things."

She went to tap me in the forehead and I was pushed back easily, I sighed, "Right, so Teleportation is something to be wary of." I said, "Almost like-"

The cards swarmed her as I cut off my own sentence, and a chain blade began to tear into them, but when They parted I was gone, among two dozen other cards, and Dropped myself out of them, as they reconvened even tighter in formation around me, I continued on "Sudden surprises, or unexpected tactics."

Yoko grinned, and made to move again, but the bulwark was already in action. The problem about teleporting in front of me now made readily apparent as two walls of puppets began to intersect crossfire with Yoko. Minions giving a restrained offensive, not aiming to hurt, but rather connect with Yoko.

Yoko, made no such movements, her actions were quick, lethal, and with the grace befitting that of a dancer in heavy armor. The Sword connected lethal blow after lethal blow, the minion puppets breaking into splintered wood from rush tactics. When they failed, I switched tactics. Space marines could last weeks of fighting, so there wasn't the point of trying to wear her down, besides that would be boring to throw a wave of bodies at her until one of us ran out of energy. Instead the bosses of those minions began to move as the wave of minions ended. The first minion to meet the swing of her chainsword was Davy Jones.

Her stance became drastically different as I had him swing his sword. She began to comment as she parried and dodged each blow with ease, "You're relying on showman fighting Xandy. Big flashy swings, not quick and precise." She stabbed him twice to emphasize her point, the puppet however regenerated and continued to swing, aiming for her sword hand now, "Big and flashy blows are slow, and made to intimidate, however fast and agile opponents-" She cut the sword out of his hand, and the puppet went to grab the chainsword with his claw, it promptly lost the lower end of it as she twisted it to the side and tore through it like a woodchipper.

"Can abuse and exploit it." She finished as the Puppet of Davy Jone surrendered and retreated.

"Not going to stack em all on you at once!" I yelled over to Yoko who nodded her thanks as the next puppet came to line.

Ice King stepped up to plate, "Oh, hello darling! What brings you here?" I grinned as she gave me a new look. Imaginary chaos is fun, "Did you come to stay with me and Gunter?"

The Blue robed form of Ice King kept his distance as Yoko also restrained herself from teleportation and began to run towards him, dodging lightning bolt shaped ice as it was shot at her, dodging with ease as she resumed lecture, "Mages can be painfully predictable if they fire only one kind of spell." She shouted while sprinted, "Especially if they are slow projectile oriented ones. Mix it up, aim at something other than them." She jumped as I attempted to raise an ice wall, and broke on through it, landing on the Ice King and driving him to the floor on his back.

"Okay, Okay I give! I give!" Ice king said as he faded away to a crown, and that was taken away by portal.

Next up was Bowser, who since he was unarmed, I gave him another handy companion.

Bowser and Master Hand worked in syncronization, the giant hand providing covering fire to keep Yoko from countering the giant turtles large sweeping claws. Yoko took a surprising action in power armor, as if it had weighed nothing to her, and performed a double backflip to get away from their reach, switching weapons on the final landing to her boltgun and taking aim. The deafening noise of exploding gunfire ripped apart Master Hand in moments, the leathery hand overwhelmed by grenade like explosions that brought it to the ground, stunned. Bowser weathered the storm of gunfire better with his shell, and managed to do a shell spin into Yoko, for once connecting a solid blow and knocking her back before the tide of gunfire afterwards destroyed it.

I groaned over the lost work, but also relished the chance at the same time to remake the mask better than before later on. Yokos quip this time was, "Expect the unexpected, and bring forth contingencies and smarter planning."

She began running at me as the last two puppets moved. Nox behind me and Aku forward. I could see Ambers grin as Yoko attempted gunfire at Aku. I hadn't been idle as Yoko had gone on her rant, and I utilized a tactic that I had used against her, albeit with a fair bit more difficulty considering the nature of the impact explosive rocket propelled ammunition that was Bolter Rounds. I used Aku's amorphous nature to part before impact, grabbing the fast moving projectiles by the side before they could hit, and quickly redirecting them in a U turn back at her.

By the time the first round had re-emerged and Yoko had noticed what had gone wrong, another twenty rounds had connected with Aku and her pace faltered as she had to move to the side to dodge the follow up spray of wildly aimed gunfire. She swapped back to her sword after that point, sprinting around at remarkable speed to try and hit Aku in the side.

I waited till the last second before having him shift forms, dodging the revving blade by a good half a foot before the giant mass began to descend. Yoko, ever fast with reflexes moved to pierce the form from underneath, but was caught off guard as a mass of tentacles erupted as Akus face became the center of a giant squid like beast, tentacles sweeping out to all sides away from her, as he began to shoot intentionally non-lethal versions of laser beams from his eyes. Yoko dodged out of the way barely in time before the beams connected, but the follow up strikes caught her on the legs and pauldrons of her armor. Knocking her over.

I rose Aku to take advantage of the situation, but paused a few moments from impact as she held a hand up for a halt, "Okay, I'll admit, that was a pretty good move just then." Yoko declared.

"You as well, tore most of my minions to shreds in moments." I responded in turn, "Underestimated how much damage that blade can do against my props. Guess they don't stand up much to the tech of the 40th millennium. Huh?"

"They're neat, but the wielder is the true power of the blade." Yoko replied in turn, "Surprised you came at me with Aku instead of Nox. Was under the impression Aku was being saved for last."

"Considered it, but Nox has the disadvantage of if he uses his powers, a certain pair of ponies would come snooping." I replied in turn, "Can't have Sunny and Moonie coming round here. Maybe elsewhere but not here at home base."

"Ahhh." Yoko said with the dawning of understanding, "That explains it, so hes like your insurance policy in case the two sisters have some sort of time magic shenanigans going on."

"That and I don't know if anyone else has the same type of thing." I affirmed, "Takes a lot of energy to maintain a decent radius of it though. So I'd rather not have to use it for long periods of... well... halted time?" I stumbled over the phrasing for a bit. How does time pass if time itself is frozen?

"What about personal combat skills?" Yoko asked me.

We were out of earshot as we discussed, having closed the distance and some of the others having gone from cheering for one or the other of us to now chattering among themselves, I spoke conversationally at that point, "Non-existent aside from maybe the two-three years of karate as a third grader. Not like that stuck around that well." I admitted, "I fight most close combat encounters with props like these," I snapped my fingers after putting away the marionette to my side, causing a small explosion that fizzled out into nothing.

"So Swarming is your tactic, how hard can those basic puppets hit? Noticed there was a bit of a delay between summoning them, and getting them in costume." Yoko stated, "You're not always going to have time to get them dressed up."

"Haven't actually tested that much." I replied in turn, to be honest the few times I had used basic puppets instead of costumed ones had been against Shining Armor, who was knocked out cold from a surprise hook, and then against the spirit of the Windigeo King, which had proven nearly useless due to the amount of ice magic that was being thrown around. I admitted as much to Yoko, and she paused. Before having an awful idea. I could tell because of the way her face lit up.

"Punch me."

I looked at her aghast, "What?"

"Punch me with a blank puppet. Just do it."


"I have power armor on. Come on." She was now egging me on, gesturing to her own chest, as she beckoned me at her.

"This does not sound like a good idea." I tried to reason.

"Never hurts to try. Now Do it." Yoko Insisted.

When Yoko had a bad idea, she wanted to do it, no matter what. She was like me in that way. But she was a Space Marine... They did have tough armor.... But why her? Her endless enthusiasm was beginning to show through, and I didn't want to disappoint her, as she continued to gesture at me to hit her.

"Fine, here goes nothing." I muttered, looking away personally, as I brought forth a blank puppet.

It towered over me, and met the Space Marine armored warrior that was Yoko at near head height, which was impressive considering the armor made Yoko a little taller than Celestia; horn excluded of course. The blank Puppet assumed a basic fighting pose and reeled back its fist, I wanted to say something but Yoko was literally asking for it.

I supplied it a bit of magic, the puppet took it, and brought back its fist. Then it lunged forward and the blow connected.

Everyone fell silent as Yoko flew across the room and cratered on the other side. After a few moments, Yoko began to laugh, "Oh god that hurt a good kind of way." Two of her squad mates climbed the rest of the bleachers and began to pull her out of the wall as I stared at my puppet in shock. That had definitely not been what happened the last time a blank punched someone. Sure, Shining Armor had been flung off a train, but I had accounted that due to the wind pressure of trying to fight on top of one. Nor did the Windigeo King really show how well they could perform without a mask template due to the ranged magic he employed to avoid them. Just how much more power did I get over the last few victories?

These thoughts flew into the background as I checked on Yoko. Luckily her armor had taken the majority of the blow, leaving her winded but mostly unharmed aside from a small bruise. Apologies were denied, as Yoko claimed she had asked for it, and wasn't prepared for just how much a wooden doll could output. The puppet itself, I then noted hadn't vanished, though as I noticed just how much damage it had received in such an act of strength. The arm of the puppet had torn itself into fading splinters, leaving it leaning awkwardly to the side as it stared blankly on. Wood had not been meant to be pushed so far, let alone against power armor. I released the puppet as it dropped down, fading away alongside its remains, the dim focus of energy returning to me and leaving me wondering if the marionette tool could handle me directly anymore.

I also worried what would happen should I have had attempted to do the same kind of punch. If I infused magic into one of my own blows, would it rip my arm off in the backlash? That was a terrifying thought. I didn't exactly have a suitable magic teacher, Trixie was hopeless as a magic instructor. Often referring to magic in her own show terms that left me confused on the few occasions I had asked her about it. I'd just have to exercise extreme caution from now on until the situation changed. I also began to wonder if it was possible to break a mask if I accidentally poured too much power into it, or if it would just accept the energy as it had always. Ugh I needed a distraction.

So I stole Twilight's newspapers again.

Reading it had become a habit, and it seemed that both Spike and Twilight had long since given up on the prospect of getting their daily newspaper. Instead, they were already reading a copy with Rarity instead. Huh. Neat. I flipped through the pages as I brought a first aid kit down through portals for Yoko's bruise and I found something that could possibly distract me. Captain Shining Armor was escorting a certain princess as they made public appearances around town to spread love before Hearthswarming.

Ah, a perfect distraction. I pulled upon the mask of a villain he had fought previously, and grinned to myself. A perfect one indeed.

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