• Published 14th Apr 2015
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Chrysalis Wins - Arkolo



Chrysalis's invasion is successful. The challenge of ruling begins...

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Ch.59 "Round Two, Hot seats"

Chrysalis Wins

Ch.59 “Hot Seats”

“We have a winner!”

Discord’s voice rang throughout the stadium as if he stood in a thousand places… which he in fact, did. Trumpets then blared, a shower of confetti showered the grand audience, and the king of chaos gracefully floated down from his elevated column to the competitive platform.

The inane chimera regaled himself in a large flowing toga, which draped over one shoulder, and wore a crown of olive leaves on his head. He landed right next to the hornless, wingless, pink scuffled princess.

In one simultaneous action he scooped Cadance with his lion paw, and cracked his eagle talons against one another. An over-sized golden paper ticket appeared out of thin air, and he snatched it with his free paw. Then he took the ticket and shoved it in the peachy alicorn’s mouth.

Cadance was all too bewildered to react much, and stared down with surprise at the shiny reflective object between her teeth. The pretty pink princess was a pretty good reader, because she was a closet nerd, she even made a strange habit of reading things upside down sometimes, for fun…

So despite the nonsense showered around her, she noticed the ticket had writing on it, which said “Free Pass”. Her eyes widened even further and her pupils shrank like crumpled paper. It was at this time Discord spoke in his announcer voice.

“Congratulations ponies of Equestria. One of your princesses won the first round!”

He made a large sweeping gesture towards a large portion of the audience. There were a few cheers, but many were hardly enthusiastic. In fact there were several boos… perhaps it had something to do with Luna, Celestia, and Shining Armor. All of whom still floundered in the virulent sauce, and were still chased by little saucy demons.

Discord seemed to largely ignore the mixed reaction, and continued to speak.

“As winner you, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, can use this ticket to skip one round of the Discord Games. It’s only good for one use, and only for you. So no hoofing it over to any pony else.”

He set the bamboozled pony down, then seized one of her hooves with both of his paws and shook it vigorously. His announcer voice was gone, and his next words were only heard by Cadance.

“Congratulations again, I must say, I particularly enjoyed your last little stunt there. I mean, you looked so pitiable it’s no wonder that big bad changeling threw himself over the edge… HAHAHA!”

He cackled a little and quickly ruffled through Cadance’s disaster of a mane. Then he turned towards the crowd and amped up his voice once more. Both paws were opened wide and inviting.

“Alright, time to move onto our next game. All of you in the audience just saw how you’re dignified royalty behaved in a hoof tussle. Some disappointments, some surprises. Now, for our next round, we’ll see them use their words. Not their usual political banter either, no, we’re going for something more… honest.”

With a snap from his lion paw, the entire platform shifted around. It became narrower, and several brand new objects appeared. Two catapults became center stage, each of the munitions bowls were made of a bright shiny metal. Also, a segmented bench with a few rows was added nearby, which had an excellent view of the two projectile devices.

Another snap brought the losers out of their saucy inferno, all of them were placed in different sections of the new bench, and transparent barricades kept them individually separated. Each of the ponies and changelings were in various expressions of pain, well, most of them.

More still screeched like a banshee.

Monarch was battered head to hoof, and had managed to stay plastered to the glass instead of ever falling in the sauce. She wheezed as she twisted and cracked her neck to its proper position. Her form was also returned to full size.

Celestia sat rather still, and daintily poked out her tongue to taste some of the sauce glopped onto her face. When her tongue withdrew back into her mouth, she hummed thoughtfully, then gave a mild nod of approval.

Luna on the other hoof, danced in place and spewed forth a string of curses.

Sombra bit his lower lip, and drew blood while he sat in placed and trembled something fierce. He was otherwise silent.

Shining Armor beat his head repeatedly and rhythmically against the barrier on his section of the bench.

Chrysalis stared daggers at Crone, the fire in her eyes was more determined than the burn of the sauce.

Crone huddled to one corner and breathed through her teeth, eyes clenched shut.

Specter did his best to meditate, albeit, not very well.

Armor smashed his hooves against his barriers with force that would shatter other equines. Meanwhile he grunted to himself “Fight the pain, fight the pain!”

Discord hovered above the pretentious group, armed with a fire extinguisher. The first equine to receive a blast of coolant was Moore, who now screeched for an entirely different reason, but she eventually calmed. Soon the rest of the previous round’s losers were ‘cooled off’ as well.

When the task was complete the draconequus flew up and between the catapults he had conjured. He brought a conjured mic to his face and spoke in his game host voice with a slightly different twist, and he also wore a fine suit.

“Here we go ladies and gents, I will now demonstrate how round two of our fantastical game will go.”

With a snap two more Discords appeared. One of them was dressed up in pompous royal heraldry, the other was a strange hybrid-ish thing that look like a cross between a changeling and himself. Each of the new two Discords stood in the bowl of a catapult.

The main suited Discord breathed heavily into the mic.

“I will randomly select two competitors for each mini round. The two chosen contestants will engage in a verbal battle. During the course of which, the losing side will feel their seat get hotter and hotter.”

The two contestant Discords, the royal goon, and changeling loon started to banter at each other.

“You’re ugly.”

“You’re a snob.”

A small heat wave came from the metal bowls, and both of them started to dance uncomfortably on their feet. The suited discord continued to orate.

“The better you tear apart your opponent with words the hotter their seat will get.”

The royal goon threw out a snide

“You’re weak and stupid!”

The chitinous loon leaned forward over the edge of his bowel, and said very poignantly

“No one loves you… You don’t even love yourself.”

The royal goon’s eyes flashed wide with fear. And the metal bowl grew red hot.

“How did you kno- wuuuuaaaah!”

The catapult triggered and the royal goon was flung by the catapult over the edge of the reshaped platform. The sauce below had been replaced by water, with large chunks of ice afloat in it. With a loud splash the beaten Discord goon disappeared under the surface, then quickly reemerged. He began to shiver at the frigid temperature. In a sad effort, he paddled over to a block of ice and attempted to scramble on top of it.

Announcer Discord spoke once more to gain everyone’s attention.

“After a certain threshold the catapult will release the loser into the waters below, where they can relieve the ‘burn’ their opponent gave them. Hehehe. One last thing. Since I’ll draw this randomly, if you happen to be set against a friend, you still must participate. No pity points this round. Refusing to play will result in both you and the set opponent being disqualified…”

The extra Discords disappeared, and the suited announcer drew up a card table and a very small deck of cards. He shuffled them around in a haphazard manner. While he shuffled, he turned towards Cadance, who still had the large golden “free pass” in her mouth.

“Deary, now’s the time to decide if you want to use that free pass or not. If you choose not you, you can retain it for a future round.”

Cadance looked towards the benches. Celestia, Luna, and Shining Armor all mouthed “use it”. When she looked at her fiancé tears started to well up in her eyes again, and the giant ticket fell out of her mouth. Discord watched all of it with a raised eyebrow.

“So is that a yes or no?”

The pink alicorn looked directly into her stallion’s eyes. The answer was obvious, but she struggled to say it. Her expression became downcast, and she choked out a “Yes”.

“Very well! You get to skip this round princess!”

The chimera flipped the cards over, picked a card with a little picture titled ‘Kay-dunce’ and flung it out, where it promptly exploded somewhere in the background. Then the cards were all placed face down again, and shuffled. After a minute or so of intense card swishes he picked two and flipped them over.

“Our first contestants will be… Princess Luna, and Queen Crone!”



---



Crone let out a long sigh, and rubbed her face slowly with a hoof. At the moment, she seriously considered if she’d rather be in war than involved in this. Soon her barrier dropped and she was magically dragged out and onto one of the catapults. The changeling clone initially flinched at the circumstances, fearful of the magic going on all around her, but surprisingly the magic didn’t affect her at all. No allergenic effects acted up. This only increased her uncanny feelings toward the self-proclaimed Spirit of Chaos, he couldn’t somehow be aware of her condition... could he? Or even stranger, do something about it?

Similarly Luna was taken off her spot on the benches and placed in the opposing catapult. The dark-blue pony princess sported a vicious scowl, and the faintest hints of a smirk, still mostly angry though. Luna was about to open her mouth when Discord interrupted her.

“Oh, yes I forgot I wanted to add one more feature to this game.”

Everyone raised an eye brow, and some sighed. Another whispering wispy wisp of magic whimsied some more objects whimsily towards the benched contestants. They were simple panels, and each panel had a red and green button. Discord held a panel himself, and continued to explain his newest amendment.

“Incase both contestants are equally good, I’ll allow bias to skew the matches... Aw who am I kidding, I’ll let bias affect the matches right from the beginning, hehehe. The red button will heat the seat on the right, the green button will heat the seat on the left.”

“Who’s right and left?”

Crone eyed the panels, and didn’t like this new addition at all, and her slightly panicked tone revealed that all too quickly. When her head swiveled towards the benched competitors her heart sank, she immediately knew most of them would instantly turn on her. If Chrysalis’s snide glare was anything to go by…

“Hmm, oh? Luna sits upon the red marker, and you sit on the green one Crony. Alright! 1… 2… 3… Start!”

The changeling clone immediately felt a bunch of heat under her seat, and not even a word had been spoken. A quick glance showed Celestia’s, Shining’s, Monarch’s, More’s, and Chrysalis’s hooves all pressed on the green buttons of their panels. Sombra, Specter, and Armor just sat and watched.

A haughty laugh caused Crone’s attention to snap to her opponent. Luna’s scowl had transformed into a full-blown smug smile, then she spoke first.

“Would you like to give up? Your hope seems as nonexistent as your list of friends…”

The heat grew under Crone’s seat even more, and she could feel the heat whip all the way up to her face. She began to breathe rapidly, and when Discord made a loud jeer it didn’t help her composure either.

“OH! What a nice opening line, heh, you were always willing to say blunt things Celestia wasn’t Luny.”

Luna rolled her eyes as Discord’s ‘compliment’ then turned expectantly to the baked changeling. Despite the immediate disadvantages, Crone managed to bark back.

“Friends? You would know! Murder, and Traitor!”

The surprising volume of Crone’s voice created just as surprising an effect. There was a gasp to be heard, heard as it rippled through the equestrian audience, and a few others. The changeling clone also immediately felt some of the heat lessen on her. She glanced at the benched competitors again, and saw Chrysalis no longer had her hoof on the green button. The snide glare was gone, and her face fell towards the ground.

As Crone turned back to Luna she saw hesitation in the princess that wasn’t there before. So she tried to capitalize on the small window of advantage she had opened.

“Yes, murderer. You’ve all but killed my best friend! You smashed her brain to bloody pieces! You sloppy arrogant beast! Do you know how many ponies we killed in Canterlot? Zero, nothing, we kept all of you alive, and intact. But you, you couldn’t spare the same decency, even if we are enemies…”

Luna’s smirk had disappeared, and her strong confidence had cracks. She started to actually feel heat on her seat.

“I did what I had to, don’t pretend you can be justified, you attacked first.”

“That doesn’t dismiss your brutality! Besides, who are you to talk about justice, traitor to Equestria, to your own sister.”

Luna started to evolve a nasty snarling twitch on her muzzle. She pointed an accusatory hoof at the derisive queen.

“Don’t talk about what you don’t know!”

“From what I heard, you were just as bad when you came back little over two years ago. Still a nightmare, still wanting to steal the day from every pony. Unrepentant as ever. It took their most powerful magic to force your hoof to conform. Whose to say you can be trusted again? If a thousand years didn’t change your mind what will? I bet you’ve just been playing nice…”

“Shut up! You miserable hag! You couldn’t get anywhere without disguises to further your cause. You and your kind thrive off of deception and treachery! Your nature speaks for itself.”

“HAHA! My nature… My sister over there, Chrysalis, fooled all of your prim proper Canterlot ponies, she fooled Celestia… But one thing she has never betrayed, one thing I never betrayed, was our family, our swarm. The same can’t be said for you. You’ll never be able to truly repair your broken bonds.”

Significantly more heat had built up under Luna, and she stood up, so only her hooves were in contact with the steamy metal. It was only a temporary reprieve though, and she started to sweat heavily. However, the heat bothered her less than the words being thrown her way.

“You-your lying! I remember, you told me back in the caves, my sister still loves me. I felt it, y-you told me what it was!”

Crone looked confused for a moment, but then realized what the pony talked about very quickly.

“That? You were high on the love I had collected from thousands of ponies… I said what I said to get your blubbering trap silenced. None of that love was for you. Heh, infact, most of the ponies still don’t pay you heed, I know, I’ve tasted it. Also, I won’t deny that Celestia still has love for you, but would you like me to also elaborate how much pain she still suffers because of you? How much resentment she has, but won’t say? How disappointed she is? How little she actually trusts you?”

Luna no longer look at Crone, whether it was tears or sweat running down her face, one couldn’t tell. She instead looked toward the benches, to Celestia. The white alicorn had concern and worry deeply engraved into her features, the older sister mouthed “don’t listen!” but Luna didn’t see, her eyes were already clenched shut and a trembled grimace had come across her face.

“I’m sorry Tia.”

BEEEEEEP!

The catapult under Luna was triggered and the blue alicorn was flung off the platform to the icy waters below. As soon her opponent was gone, the heat under Crone’s seat disappeared, and she sighed in relief. Discord’s voice blared in again.

“Apologies on stage equal an automatic loss! Unless they’re sarcastic, or mocking! With that, congratulations Crony on winning your first match. Good luck surviving the next one(s). Because at the end of this game, there will still be only one winner. Time to go back to your seat!”

The catapult the changeling sat on suddenly swiveled, and pointed back at the benches. Crone, had only a moment to comprehend before she was launched back into her seat amongst the contestants, face first.

While she groaned with her head stuck between planks, with her flanks raised high in the air, Discord whipped out the card table and cards again, and them shuffled about. He picked two and flipped them over.

“The next match is Celestia, and Monarch!”



---



Within moments the next two contestants were drawn out and placed on their respective platforms. Monarch was over the green trigger and Celestia the red one.

The alicorn held a fuming glare at Crone, who still worked to get upright. She only did that for a moment before she realized where her attention should be, the giant queen sitting across from her.

Now, Celestia was generally use to being taller than most equines around her, other than the occasional visit from foreigners such as the yaks, or zebzebians. This is not what bothered her when she looked at Monarch, what bothered her was the eyes. There was something dead in those ghastly green rings.

Monarch faced the eldest princess, but she didn’t look directly at her, but off into nothing at all. One corner of her mouth picked up in a lazy smile.

“Would you like to start the mud-slinging, or shall I Celestia… To be fair, I know much more about you than you know of me.”

The alicorn seemed to ignore the words, as she continued to study her opponent. It was easy to see several members of the bench had already pushed buttons on their respective panels. Her eyes opened slightly wider when she saw who.

Armor, Specter, More, Chrysalis, Crone, and Shining all had their hooves on the green button. Only Sombra stuck his hoof on the red button with a coy smile, he even gave her a complimentary eye brow roll. Otherwise Celestia could easily see a hateful glare from Armor, Specter, and More directed at Monarch, while Chrysalis and Crone actually looked a little fearful, Shining was just being loyal.

Her study lasted a little longer, Monarch reacted quite passively to the heat, she in fact increased her smile with the pressure. Discord looked about ready to lose his patience between all the exchanges of looks, so the alicorn moved on and spoke.

“I don’t need you to explain your history, it’s already written in your expressions. Your soul is dark in more ways than one.”

“Heh, I think you’re going to have to up the ante if you actually want to get insulting. The fearful benched scoundrels are more biting with their pathetic button-operated-opinions.”

“I don’t see fear so much as hate… Is that one of your talents? Do you enjoy receiving such hatred directed towards you?”

Monarch just smirked ever so slightly, and Celestia picked up on it, and continued.

“Then I have nothing but pitiable feelings for you. What a sad existence you must lead, if your primary purpose is to drive others to punish you in any way they can.”

“Please tell me Celestia, why is that sad?”

Monarch’s smile was even wider, despite her seat getting even hotter. Celestia was somewhat confused, the changeling must be feeling it, she could see heat waves for goodness sake. She didn’t let this distract her from continuing though.

“If that’s even a question for you, then you must not have experienced love for yourself. Sure, you can eat it all you like, but it would seem you have never been appreciated for who you are. Nopo- changeling has appreciated you as you deserved, so you became what you are…”

Monarch’s smile dropped on one side of her mouth, then slowly rose on the other side. The heat continued to rise.

“I’ll give you credit for perception Celestia, though it’s really only a half credit. I did enjoy a good chuckle when I heard how this all started. An amateur royal was able to get past you, and straight beat you…”

“The same mistake will not be made twice.”

Some heat left Monarch and went under the alicorn.

“That doesn’t matter, you’ve been manipulated far more than you know my dear. You don’t need to worry about it though, my-little-pony. Once business is done here and Discord has had his fun, my plans will unfold. I am the answer for pony and changeling kind.”

Celestia’s reserved expression became somewhat quizzical.

“Does your plan involve talking like a maniac?”

Monarch smiled even wider, and gestured towards Discord.

“Don’t get insulting to our wonderful host now. What you creatures call madness is simply vision beyond what you’re capable of understanding.”

The draconequus hovered fairly close by and nodded in appreciation. He even whipped out his personal panel, and started to trace a claw over the red button. But Celestia called out before he could press it.

“Don’t you dare!”

Discord hesitated at the scolding tone aimed at him.

“B-but, she said nice things about madness!”

“She doesn’t share your kind madness Discord, she wants to kill and rule. She’s probably cooking up a way to kill you even as we speak!”

“Kill me? HA! Celestia, you should know better… but I don’t doubt you’re right about what she’s thinking. Alright, I won’t push YOUR button… this time.”

Discord’s claw traced from the red one to the green one, and started to apply pressure. Monarch began to look genuinely upset, her reference to Discord was about to backfire horribly. She piped up with uncharacteristic pleasantness.

“Discord, honey, you know I would be so much more fun than this stiff. She put you in stone for over a thousand shodden years! Help me, and I’ll give a more enjoyable time than you’ve ever known.”

The chimera raised both of his eye brows high, and his ears perked, his long tail gave a vigorous swish, and his eyes seemed to give the queen a look of appraisal. When she noticed she had his attention her posture shifted drastically. She rested her chin on her fetlocks and gave him her best doe-eyes. Discord slowly floated down towards the changeling, his uneven golden eyes became half-lidden, and his voice turned sultry.

“mMMmm, you know…”

“Yes my lord?”

Monarch mirrored the sultry tone, and licked her lips. The look was slightly thrown off though, as a large drop of blood dripped from her heavily bruised face.

“The one thing I despise more than a stiff, is a suck-up.”

His claw pressed the green button down, and the changeling was launched far way into the chilly depths that awaited her. Celestia blinked in surprise before she started a faint chuckle. The draconequus turned toward the alabaster alicorn, and muttered.

“Well played.”

Then he opened up to the other contestants.

“Alright next!”

Celestia’s catapult launched her back into the benches before she could smile in triumph. After she crashed into the woodwork, which she totally shattered, a green mushroom popped up above her head, and was followed by a catchy little jingle before it disappeared. Her barriers reappeared and the remaining contestants looked nervously to the fateful card table.

Discord picked out two fresh cards.

“Our next contestants are, prince to be, and brother of nerds, Shining Armor. Then we have uh, what was your name again?”

The card with the changeling’s picture didn’t have a name on it… for some reason.

Specter waved a hoof non-chalantly.

“King Specter.”

“King Specter!”



---



As had happened in the previous two matches, the two chosen equines were taken out of their bench booths, and placed on their respective catapults. Specter was placed on the green, and Shining on the red. Not a moment after they were placed Shining shouted out first.

“You’re a coward, all of you changelings are cowards!”

Specter blinked, before he threw Shining a somewhat shrewd and calculating glance.

“You better calm you’re bluster, colt, or you’re just going to hurt yourself even more.”

Shining just growled at the diminutive retort, he was a stallion, not a colt. He made sure to lean forward aggressively as he brayed his words.

“If Discord hadn’t shown up, the equestrian guard and militias would have pasted you bugs. Your thieving and lying, and under-hoofed dealing has been brought into the light, and there will be no going back.”

Back on the benches Celestia sprouted a look of concern, she hadn’t seen this kind of wrath in her captain before. Also, unnoticed was a faint smile from More, but she made sure no one saw. Specter just sighed.

“You don’t understand the depths of your misunderstanding, Shining Armor.”

“Oh please, what is there to elaborate? Your kind stole my bride and my princesses. Your kind unjustly imprisoned and plundered us. Your ki-”

“Captain grow a brain!”

The alabaster stallion’s rant was over powered by the changeling king’s shout. A brief moment of silence followed, before Specter continued in a calmer voice.

“Chrysalis did all those things. She doesn’t represent my kind, and if you took a moment to notice, then you would see we are quite divided. All of us.”

“You were on her side just last game! You pinned down my Candy under your filthy hide!”

From the sidelines their issued a ripple of chuckles, Cadance hid her face, embarrassed. Discord bust into a laugh, and Celestia appeared quite endeared. It took Shining a moment to notice he had used a pet name… He was infinitely grateful when Specter acted as if that hadn’t happened. The changeling continued on.

“In such a silly scenario I’ll take what allies I can. On to the main point. All of you grievances can still be remedied. Chrysalis has acted as a foolish ignorant child. Thankfully there is still plenty we can salvage from this. However, your childish barking won’t help at all, captain.”

A particular changeling queen and her clone took offense to the statement “foolish ignorant child”, and responded by putting their hooves on the green button. Heat built up under the king’s tush, and he stood up to try and avoid it best he could. His gesture seemed to remind the rest of the benched contestants they had panels too, and more buttons were pushed. More, Armor, Celestia, Chrysalis, and Crone had their hooves on the green button, only Sombra had his on the red.

Discord also had one eyebrow raised.

“What do you think this is? Time for diplomacy?”

Specter grit his teeth, and pranced about his bowl. His dark rimmed eyes snapped into something more vicious.

“Fine, you want some ripping words?”

The changeling king growled with fangs bared and a loathsome glare. When he rounded on Shining, the stalwart stallion actually backed off a bit. He had no magic, and an angry predator was nearby by, it hit a primal fear in the captain. Specter’s words came out with a bit of a ghostly hiss.

“How about we start with incompetence. You, Shining Armor, are an embarrassment. You failed miserably at keeping your princess and fiancé safe. Also, you are no general, you’re a guard. Sieges have never been part of your training, idiot. What was your plan? Blindly blunder into the Crystal Empire and toss a storm at it? Throw around some magic and see what happens? Your scouts are also pathetic, because you failed asses a very crucial factor, and are unaware of how much Chrysalis’s swarm has strengthened over the last week. You would have walked thousands of ponies into a massacre.”

Specter drew in a quick breath, and didn’t give Shining a chance to retort to any of it. Let alone, the equestrian captain seemed to brave the criticism that came his way. Even as the bowl heated under his hooves. Chrysalis and Crone released their hold over their green buttons, and nodded at the compliment of their strength, then pressed the red button instead.

“Hahaha, or how about how ungrateful you really are.”

This only made Shining raise an eyebrow and scoff. Specter didn’t hesitate at the pony’s incredulousness and continued right away.

“Yes, you should be very grateful for me, and some of the other changeling royalty. I could give countless examples of how we have actually helped pony kind and many others. You haven’t a clue how many international disputes we have diffused, how many crime lord’s we have overthrown, how many malevolent demons we have purged. All in the name of keeping ponies safe and happy. It’s our need for you that drives us to work endlessly for your benefit. Then all you have to say for yourself, captain, is that we’re cowards… I’ll forgive you for lashing out at the dark, you are young and tender. Hopefully your potential isn’t as woefully limited as your current ability to perceive.”

Despite the long rant, Shining didn’t take long to respond at all.

“You don’t have any proof of your claims, all of your words are just a bunch of lies.”

“I have a few witnesses that can concur right now.”

Specter turned towards Armor and More, then point a hoof at them.

“Armor has been a revelrous leader of the germane ponies for some time. He’s cared for them as if they were members of his own swarm. He’s looked out for their best interest, and has no reason to be insincere with that pursuit. The same could be said for More over there, who’s played mayor of Manehattan recently, and has been revolutionizing that city for good ever since.”

Both Armor and More removed their hooves from the green button, and nodded in acknowledgement. After a moment of consideration, the two royals put their hooves over the red button instead. All of the heat that had largely pressured Specter in the beginning had essentially flipped sides. Only Celestia still supported Shining Armor, while ever other hoof was against him.

The heat caused the stallion to sweat viciously, and he became very distracted. It was difficult to focus as he tried to retort under the pressure. His resolve kept him just coherent enough.

“If you want to excuse Chrysalis as an ignorant child, then all of this is your fault… and their fault! If you’ve been managing us so carefully for so long, then why can’t you manage yourselves?”

Specter snarled back towards the watery depths, where Monarch floundered. He spoke out the side of his mouth.

“That fiend wallowing in the water is the reason. We were civil, we were respectful, and we actually had society among ourselves. Then Monarch and Virus threw it all into a hellish and conceited civil war. Now our kind is almost extinct. Chrysalis and her sister are isolated by products of the unaccounted, because of Monarch’s insane conflict... So sure, blame Armor, More, and I for Chrysalis’s ill-conceived and ignorant invasion. But I shall then hold you to the same standard, and demand you be responsible for the outcome all ponies…”

The heat had finally built to breaking point, and Shining was launched into the air for a few moments, then fell into a swift plunge.

Discord clapped.

“Bravo, what a show, you had me worried there at the start. Onto our next match!”

Like the others, Specter was launched back to the benches without dignity. The card table appeared, shuffles were done, and two fresh candidates were chosen.

“For our fourth match, we have the honorary Chrysalis, and King Armor… Sheesh, Armor, Shining Armor, your mothers should have come up with something more original.”

“I earrrned my name, thanks!”

Barked an annoyed changeling king, which caused Discord to simply shrug.

“Whatever, let’s get this going.”



---



Chrysalis was placed on the red side, and Armor was placed over the green. Armor’s weight caused the arm of the catapult to bend and sulk.

With several examples set before them, the two changelings wasted no time to go at it. Chrysalis and Armor shouted at each other at the same time, and the verbal assault made it difficult to understand what either party was trying to say. If things were slowed down and brought into line, it would look something like this.

“All of you were too weak to manage her? Really?”

“You must’ve been rrraised an ignorant brat! Is full-tilt invasion rrreally the best plan ya could come up with?”

“I did what I had too! Too bad no ‘educated royal’ was around to show me the loops! Meanwhile I’ve been making something of myself! All while you and the rest were stinging your time away with feuds!”

“It’s not my fault ya don’t have a strrraight head on yurrr shoulderrrs. It’s rrregrrretable yes, but ya have no idea what it’s been like fightin’ that devil Monarrrch. Yurrr so blind you can only crrredit yurrself!”

“Yes, I’ll take credit where its due. Credit for coming out on top with the small bag of tools my swarm had!”

“You conceited youngsterrr, do ya know nothin’ of yurrr own kind! We haven’t warrred with ponies in over a thousand yarrrs, yet you have the audacity to brrreak trrraditions set by yurrr betterrrs. I just have to assume you know diddley squat!”

“I know enough to get my way around. I know how to lead 10,000 and more. I know I would crush you if you tried to set hoof in my empire!”

“Yurrr empirrre! YURRR EMPIRRRE! Yurrr arrogance defies belief! Do you not have an inklin’ of that city orrr its inhabitants? I thought this was somethin’ we could perrrhaps talk out. Seein’ how you might have been rrreasonable back in Canterrrlot, but yurrr lookin’ too much like a powerrr crazin’ dolt!”

“Yes my empire! It’s only fair to call it that since the ponies there love me. I saved them from Sombra while all of you sat on your thrones in stupor.”

Armor stopped talking immediately when Chrysalis said Sombra. His mouth just hung open and he stared. Chrysalis kept up her aggressive ramble for a few moments, but eventually she realized her opponent wasn’t really engaged anymore.

“What?”

“What did ya say just a moment ago?”

“That you conniving tools would destroy me because of your own irresponsibility, heartle-”

“No, the moment before that.”

“I saved the ponies of the Crystal Empire from Sombra.”

“King Sombra is back? That can’t be… The empire was as bright as the old vision depicted. If he was back it would be shrouded in dar-”

“Uh yes, Sombra is back, he sitting right over there.”

The frazzled changeling queen pointed over to where the grey stallion sat. Suddenly all of the remaining changeling eyes were on him. There was a mixture of fear and spatial respect from Armor, Specter, and More. Even Monarch who barely managed to latch onto an ice block perked her ears, and a glint of curiosity sparked in her eyes, even as she shivered from the intense cold.

Sombra looked from face to face, and smiled at the reaction to his name.

“Huh, I had a respectable following and I didn’t even know. What a treat…”

Discord sighed and planted his face in the palm of his lion paw.

“For side tracking the point of the match, you’re disqualified Armor!”

The draconequus whipped out his panel and pressed down on the green button. Instead of a launch it was more of a lumpty-dumpty roll. The changeling king didn’t gain any air as the arm of the catapult went up, and jerked him out of the bowl.

He grunted and smacked head over hoof down the body of the device, and eventually tumbled over the edge, where he took a few nuts and bolts with him. Discord tsked at the damage his lovely projectile device sustained from its attempted launch of overly heavy ammunition.

So much work was poured into it, every angle, every detail, the sheen, the wood grain, the welding. The gears and bobs and gizmos, the physics and the planning and the … naw … all it took was a snap of magic. That is all it took to fix it too. Good as new.

“By default, our key queen Chrysalis won this match. Congratulations, next!”

Discord whipped out his cards again and shuffled them, this time no table was involved. Two seconds later he drew two cards.

“More, and Sombra will be match number five!”



---



When the pony and changeling were placed, More had a fascinated look on her face, Sombra tilted his head quizzically. The queen was placed on the green button, and the king on the red.

“The one and only King Sombra… I must say, I never thought I would have the chance to meet you.”

“Pleasure’s all mine miss?”

“More, Queen More.”

“Yes, well, being a fan is all well and good, but what qualifies you to waste my time here?”

“Hehaha! Oh, I’m having my doubts of your authenticity then. The Sombra I’ve seen in visions past wouldn’t allow himself to be so easily relegated to a den of fools like this. Your time here is hardly well spent.”

“I can assure you this was not ‘easily relegated’. I will be on my own way shortly. In fact I should thank our benevolent master of chaos over here for liberating me from that love bandit’s clutches.”

Sombra’s gesture of platitudes went towards the Chimera, and his gesture of disdain went towards Chrysalis and Crone. The chimera who floated nearby giggled at the phrase “love bandit” but otherwise let the arguments go forward. Sombra’s answer only seemed to dim the hopefulness in More’s eyes.

“Well this is sad then. You were beaten and imprisoned by the nubile queen… What the ancient said must be true then. She did indeed lobotomize you.”

“Lobotomized?”

“Have you no memory of changeling kind?”

“My dear, you can’t expect me to remember something as insignificant as a molly band of feely moochers. There are simply matters of more importance to tend to.”

“So you don’t.”

“Do I have to spell it out?”

“For one who was our antithesis at one point, it must be said… how far you have fallen. I would have expected you to do something to preserve your majesty. I am disappointed all that is left is this quibbler.”

Sombra took the prick with grace, and worked on an actual retort.

“It only means your all the More fool for underestimating me. Is that how you earned your name? More folly, More nonsense, More drivel, More mediocrity, More ignorance, More-”

“Taking a vapid turn aren’t we? Now I really can’t believe you are the one called king Sombra. You’re a pathetic shadow of who he was, and his legacy. Principles abstained; the old image was breath-taking. You, you are not he.”

“I don’t know what this ridiculous standard is that you’re talking about. Though, you’re making me look forward to the day I will make you a slave in my halls. Then we’ll see who’s pathetic, then we’ll she who will have to hide from the shadows themselves!”

“Discord! I call for a motion of disqualification.”

The draconequus landed between the two equines, dressed in the black robes of a judge, complete with a stupid-looking curly wig, and glasses. He held a gavel in one paw and lightly beat it into the other.

“That’s a pretty serious accusation you want there. On what grounds do you want your opponent disqualified, queen More?”

She pointed a hoof at her own skull then motioned towards Sombra.

“You gave me less than half an opponent to contend with. He doesn’t even remember the most crucial things about his own life. Disqualify him because he isn’t a challenge.”

More gave a disdainful and uppity glance towards the crystal king before she looked back to the lord of chaos. Discord played with his goatee for a moment thoughtfully before he droned in a arbitrary tone.

“Have you any proof of your claim?”

More turned to Sombra and asked.

“Who loved you, who did you betray, who’s throne was it that you took? What was her name?”

The dark stallion was thoroughly bemused by the question.

“If you’re talking about princess Auroria, she didn’t love me. The empire’s throne fell to me through diplomatic maneuvers. I came to power because the populous gave it to me.”

The changeling queen just shook her head, and looked to Discord while she tapped a hoof tapped to her temple.

“The true answer is here, if you would like to confirm.”

The chimera extended a lion paw and touched her fore-head, his eyes closed for a minute, and he muttered “oooOooo” then he opened them back up.

“The evidence appears sufficient. King Sombra is disqualified, for not having all his marbles.”

The judge’s gavel came down on the red button, and the stallion was launched towards the frigid waters, to join the other word-fencing losers. No time for complaint was had. More actually managed a small “yay” before she was launched back into the benches, and dealt with a gnarly wood-to-face concussion.

“Exciting, exciting! Look at that, five matches and we have had every player participate. Now that we only have five left, we’ll get see those with the sharpest tongues lash it out! Let’s give some applause to those who made it thus far!”

Several Discords popped up infront of the segregated audiences. Each one held a sign that said “Applaud!” a few of the ponies and changelings complied, and stomped their hooves and shouted encouragements.

The crystal ponies and Chrysalis’s swarm loyally cheered. More’s swarm cheered.

The equestrian crowd seemed happy that atleast Celestia was still contending, and showers of confetti burst down on their side of the stadium.

The germane crowd, however, voiced their disgruntlement with loud booing… as a result showers of spaghetti rained down on them, which created a nasty slick saucy mess. Many of the ponies slipped and tripped over each other.

When other crowds saw the punishment the germane sustained, they decided to cheer, regardless if they meant it or not.

Author's Note:

So I had a merry holiday, how about all of you? :twilightsheepish:

Anyway, next chapter should be out much sooner, :derpytongue2:

K, Sketches N all that

Toga up for your golden ticket...

Discord hosts the debate for Discord vs. Discord!

Match one! Luna N Crone

Match two! Celestia N Monarch

Match three! Specter N Shining Armor

Match four! Chrysalis N Armor

Match five! More N Sombra

Thank you all for being patient again! :twilightsmile:

and oh ya, next chapter won't continue these "hot seat" matches, rather, the teaser image I made for Ch.60 on a blog will be more of the topic. So ye, until next chapter!

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