• Published 23rd Aug 2016
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Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes - totallynotabrony



It's time for the annual Royal Guard training exercise. A ragtag crew playing bad guys has to go up against the entire rest of the Guard.

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Chapter 10

Melon was sore when he woke up. The cave was pitch dark, though, so he couldn't tell what time it might be.

As he roused himself, he noticed a faint glow in the direction he thought was the entrance. Perhaps that was the sun and it was morning. Melon had always been an early riser.

It was dead quiet in the cave and his movement woke the others. Chalice got her horn light going and yawned. “Did anypony else sleep horribly?”

There were a few mutters in the affirmative. It was a good thing that being in the Guard had broken them of any beautification habits, because there certainly weren’t facilities in the cave to make that easier. A neat appearance was a secondary effect of the enchanted tail bands that provided their official appearance.

The four of them found their way out of the cave. A mailpony was waiting there. Melon gave him a look. Did he have another communication from Lieutenant Mirror?

Yes he did. “I believe this is for you.” The mailpony gave him a letter. It was addressed to Group of up to five who are expecting the mailpony to have a letter for them.

Up to five? Melon opened the letter and learned what he had suspected, that Mirror knew about the wanted posters in Ponyville. However, she noted that after the letter delivered to his hotel room, Colonel Desk Jockey had become so frustrated that he’d returned to Canterlot.

That could be bad news, but Mirror followed up with congratulations on their successful attacks in Horseshoe Bay, Dodge Junction, Canterlot, and the two attacks in Ponyville. She also praised the time bombs they had left in Baltimare, Appleoosa, and Los Pegasus.

“We never did an attack in Canterlot,” said Scootaloo. “And what’s this about time bombs?”

“Of course we didn’t,” Melon realized. “She must think somepony is reading the mail and is putting out bogus information. Not only to warn us, but to make whoever is reading it think that we’ve done more than we actually have.”

“Wait, if we never did an attack in Canterlot, then the blue team would know that was untrue,” said Chalice.

That was a good point. Melon considered it. “So does she actually want them to know this is bogus?”

“Unless…she did that one,” said Dew.

“If they’re paying enough attention to her to be reading her mail, how could she have slipped away long enough to do something like that, in what is probably the heaviest-defended Guard station in the country?” asked Scootaloo.

“It’s the Lieutenant we’re talking about,” Melon replied.

They all nodded in agreement. Dew said, “But if they’re reading her mail, why haven’t they seen that she’s helping us and busted her for breaking the rules?”

“That would be admitting that they were breaking the rules by reading her mail,” Chalice pointed out.

Melon looked at the rest of the papers that had come out of the envelope. There were a few drawings of what appeared to be the whole castle. Difficult to fit on just a couple of pages, but better than nothing. “This could be useful.”

“I wish we could get more information on the Guard HQ,” said Chalice. “We already know that we can’t get that from the local records office.”

“What about the rest of it?” said Melon. He made sure the others could see the drawing. “Any ideas?”

“We could try exploring the caves,” said Scootaloo.

“Or raiding the guards who are inside the castle itself instead of the HQ,” added Dew.

“If the city hall won’t give out Guard station information, I kind of doubt they would let us have anything for the castle,” said Melon. “I heard it was fortified after the Changeling attack.”

“We could still try, just in case,” Chalice pressed.

Melon nodded. “Or we could look for information about the caves and surrounding area. Maybe the local library.”

He shuffled the papers again, finding a note he hadn’t seen yet. It was Mirror’s writing. Tonight, come to the restaurant across from the smoke shop, 6pm.

“What’s that supposed to mean? What smoke shop?” said Scootaloo.

“Why would she put a plan like this in a letter that could be intercepted?” asked Dew.

“It must be code or something,” said Chalice. “But what does it mean?”

Melon frowned. “Well, I suppose we have until six to figure it out.”

“I don’t know if that’ll be enough time,” said Dew. “I mean, I hope it will, but that’s a lot of ground to cover for an unknown puzzle and trying to pull together a plan for one final attack.”

“Good point. Scoots, Dew, you go to the library and see what you can find. Chalice and I will go to City Hall. We’ll either rejoin you at the library or we’ll meet back up at the cave at five o’clock. Stay alert. If you see guards, get clear. We don’t know if they’ve passed our pictures around.”

“What if they’re undercover like us?” asked Chalice. “We won’t see them coming.”

“Well...then they’ll only get two of the four.” Melon looked at the rest of them. Could he and Chalice carry out a mission by themselves? Could Scoots and Dew? Yes, he decided. They were better as a group, but each individual contributed. They all knew what they were trying to achieve and were working towards the same goals.

What would Mirror say? “I trust you all to carry on if we get separated.”

Splitting into two groups, they went their separate ways.