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This story is a sequel to Freeport Venture: Auction Night

As Freeport’s foremost problem solver, Puzzle Piece knows that nothing is ever simple. An easy job today can create complications months or even years down the line. Sunset Shimmer’s acquisition of the Black Codex—a potent, ancient book of black magic—was just such a job. Now the warlocks she took it from have come to Freeport to take it back, and to put an end to Sunset for ruining their plans.

Puzzle Piece has no intention of letting that happen. Whether he can stop them is another matter entirely.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 58 )

Always fun to see another one of Puzzle's adventures.

Two Freeport stories at once? Is it Christmas already?

Yes, new Freeport story! Wasn't expecting two at once, not to mention another Puzzle POV. Interesting to hear about follow-up repurcussions to Sunset taking out a powerful dark mage. I was wondering why Puzzle hadn't been involved in the original story- not that he needs to show up all the time, but listening to Strumming alone isn't the greatest of ideas for Sunset.

Wonder if we'll ever find out what Puzzle's plans for Sunset are. He's keeping an eye on her for the EIS, like subtly getting her out of the way in this chapter (wonder if Sunset will ever catch on), but he's got his own agenda of course. Looking forward to how badly his plan goes (nothing ever goes according to plan).

Oh, this is going to be good. I like Puzzle, and while I like Sunset's more sarcastic attitude, Puzzle's calculating one is far more intriguing. That, and we get to know things about Freeport that Sunset doesn't... like the fact Puzzle knows who the council is.

Great to see more Puzzle action! I mean I'll miss Sunset if she doesn't show up, but this is promising to be quite the fun ride! <3

7667728 Clearly this is an early Christmas Present for all fans of the Freeport series!!

I mean...what else could it be???

Great Story! Looking forward to more.

Immediately upon on contact, this one activated its magical shock bracer. The Roar-gryphon convulsed as electricity shot through his body, and he jerked painfully as he fell to the street.

KFC anyone? :trollestia:

Silken Shadow was currently in her preferred disguise as a sea-green earth pony mare with a dark-blue mane,

I am assuming this pony is supposed to be one of the characters on the picture of your story. Isn't the colors reversed? Or is it not the same character on the picture?

Ok thanks.

PS - I just realized that the pony on the picture was a unicorn. NOT an earth pony.

The Signs-mare nodded. “Yeah, I've heard about it. Real seller's market right now.”

Shouldn't it be "buyer's market"?

I just realised something, pony names do sound like nicknames from a gang of criminals.

It's not paranoia if they are dangerois, it's common sense.

Seriously, bad guys usuallly operate under the "survival of the fittest" law. How in Tartarus those two dumbasses, specially Magna, have managed to survive this long?


Like Strumming said: Magna is just smart enough to get by, and Coptic has the smarts to make it work. Plus, you're dealing with two people who were thoroughly trained as Magi, Magna was trained so well that she was up for election as an Arch-Magus; and Coptic is obviously a sneaky prick seeing as he managed to play a mole in the Magi organization for years to no one's knowledge. They're both ruthless, which helps when dealing with people who want to kill you. Of course, all this is on top of the fact that they're part of a militant black magic cult that has been operating for nearly a millennium which is helping to train and protect them.


You can still be paranoid even when there are people after you.


It seems that the market is just picking up steam for now, meaning that there hasn't been a glut of artifacts on that particular market yet. Which would mean that the prices would still be good.

Sponsorship by another greater organization that wishes to make use of them. Keep in mind, Magna had to be bailed out by them the first time. And based on what Strumming said, I suspect a lot of dumb luck was also involved.

But now that they've struck out on their own... well, it's unlikely that protection still holds.

Ok, Coptic must have really thick skin to put up with Magna for what is probably nearly 24/7. Magna's probably definitely powerful and dangerous, the question is if she'll know to attack the right person. Coptic probably directs her, or at least tries to direct her, but that's the hard part. I'm surprised she even allows him to hold the coin purse, but then carrying all those coins would probably be too much work for her.

Interesting to see Puzzle's strategy in action. He's sure stirring up a lot of trouble. I wonder how easily Coptic and Signs will go along with his plans (Magna would be easy to manipulate if she weren't so stubborn). And now with Strumming in on it, this is probably going to end loudly.

I almost wish we could see Sunset take them on a direct mage battle, but it'll probably be better (and more entertaining) to see Puzzle drive them up the wall with paranoia.

One might assert that Signs is a bit ot of her depth, but in Freeport, it wouldn't do to underestimate someone. She could be playing Puzzle as she (currently...) is playing her.

Might have been easier just to poison their drinks with the free meal, though, Puzzle...!

This one’s civic pride was slightly wounded by the comment that it’s city smelled like rotting fish.


Thorn-stallion to know that now would be a good time to collects his paycheck.”


It was her way to delay telling his clientele the information she already knew in order to

His or her?

The Gravitas-mare swept her hoof to cut this one off. “The Codex is worth a thousand times that.”

If so then Sunset got the deal of a lifetime buying it for ten mil.

“I got nothing better to do, since you sent the kid off.”

Sunset: "I am not a baby goat!"

The two of us headed to a small warehouse this one owed to get ourselves some disguises

I wonder how much he owes it.

“Oh, a couple of thing.”


“Kicking this one upstairs and stop wasting my time.”

Not sure what he's saying here. Other than that he slipped up and called himself "this one."

if the wealth of a collector that pick expensive objects randomly out of an auction.


Interested to see where this goes!


Thanks for catching those for me. They're fixed now.

7715855 Cool. Also, I'm hoping to have the next chapter for my Middy/Dinky story done sooner rather than later. Maybe even today. We'll see.


I look forward to seeing it then. More Middy is always good in my book. I admit, I'm tempted to write another tale with her, even if I'm waiting to do a problem Midnight's Shadow story until after Lunar Rebellion is done.

YAY for Freeport

I wonder what Puzzle Piece is up to.

The Council, i assume. Either a spot for himself or more likely removing them.
I remember Sunset wanting to set herself as a sort of Celestia for Freeport. Except her ties with Equestria make this a big contention point for 2 other countries. However the Zebra's are going to be busy with the brewing civil war, so that leaves only one opponent.
Somehow, i don't think Puzzle will be going against Equestrians, as that would set off Sunset, so most likely we can expect a big pile up with locals, warlocks, Old Mind and current protagonists.

Excellent! An enjoyable read as always. Love this universe. This was a nice insight to some of Puzzle's inner workings.

The Heartstrings-mate rolled her shoulders languidly. “Yup.”

I can't decide if this is actually a spelling error by the author or a Freudian slip by the character :pinkiehappy:

Great story. Your Puzzle stories are always very engaging and get me thinking about how exciting it's gonna be to see more adventures in Freeport.

Had that exact thought at the time of reading it too

Senior Puzzle Piece for el presidente!

He'll make Freeport great again!

I suspect Puzzle's real endgame involves Crysalis' corpse, and the generation thereof.

Just an observation but things usually end up going badly or not the way one expects when someone who is so used to fighting from the shadows comes into the light

This story was good and all, but it's missing that one essential piece: MOAR!!! <3

I keep clicking the Thumbs Up button, but it just won't increase any higher!

7741289 An Sunset. As much as these little 'side plots' are awesome to read. Really the over all story doesn't progress. Sunset is best pony, and I wish to see more of her story. Not just these little jobs she does once in a while, but her overall story arch progress farther too.

Hmm, this has a fair few typos/leftovers from previous changes in it. Unusual for what I've read from Ponibus. Did an editor have to cancel on you?

Well, I'd argue that Puzzle is guiding Sunset on her path--and so this is advancing the main plot, at least a little. We keep getting hints that Puzzle has something BIG in the works, that he has for a while, and that Sunset is basically crucial to those plans. The main arc with Sunset seems to me like it's going to be depending on how these plans affect her--and I'm guessing quite a bit. The thing that bugs ME is that despite Sunset deciding she's going to stay in Freeport to try to fix the place, her own morals are incredibly weak and she's focused on money, like a merc. She nearly hoofed over the Codex in the previous story... I am frustrated seeing a lack of altruism in much of her actions. I'd like to see her growing in that direction. Honestly, it often seems to me as if Puzzle is more moral than Sunset is--although this arrangement to kill his enemies does belie that somewhat. It's just, with Puzzle, I know he's always going to find a way to stop the bad guy AND turn a profit on it, and I don't worry he's going to do something stupid (like help warlocks in a big way) the way I do with Sunset. I never know exactly how she's going to jump, and though she's trying for (mostly) lawful good (if I understand those right...feel free to correct me, anyone), she seems extremely attached to the monetary aspect, getting dangerously close to forgetting her morals in favor of a payoff in multiple situations. Her moral compass is crudely drawn and hard to read, and the needle tends to swing towards personal gain...

7744839 She is not attached to money, per say, but more of she understands that she needs money to keep on working/living. However, she still has a moral code. She extorts Puzzle for money, knowing that Puzzle wants and needs her for something and won't readily deny her. However, puzzle has mentioned that she will tend to help people she feels morally needs it, even if they don't have money to pay, and refuse people that want something very morally wrong done. Such as being hired to kill someone, she refuses unless it's the Council.

As for the Codex, I am upset about that as well. She never was going to hoof it over to the Warlock, that was a fake. But that she hoofed it over to the EIS without making a copy first and keeping the original while giving away the copy.

Sunset is in a very.... gray area. She wants to help, she wants to do good, but understands she can't just dedicated everything to being good as that doesn't pay the bills. What's more, in a lot of situations, it ends with her being forced to do bad things, in her mind anyways. Being so young, or in the heat of the moment, she doesn't think about a better solution and turns to more darker ones.

So Puzzle's tally at the end of this is: two powerful warlocks slain, one rival removed from power, said rivals entire operation annexed, and one offshore plantation marginally improved. Overall, pretty good! XD. Also, this may seem like a strange thing to ask, but I was just wondering what is the situation with Freeport's gang culture? It's been stated that the Council's mercenaries mostly cleared Freeport proper of those they believe diminish trade, so is do the majority of Freeports criminals simply inhabit the outlying islands or are there shadier parts of the city we haven't seen yet?


That's a bit of a complicated situation and I'll try and answer relatively briefly. Namely, the condottieri aim to prevent the types of crimes that do diminish trade. These are namely violent crimes and things like theft. Naturally the condottieri isn't perfect, like real world policing organs, so they don't prevent everything, and anytime you make anything illegal there are going to be those that break the law. And they are fairly corrupt. Then certain criminal activities are more tolerated than others. Smuggling for one, for example, since it doesn't disrupt trade nearly as much as say an incident of assault. Then there are places where it's much easier to engage in certain illegal activities. Poorer neighborhoods and the outlying islands get much less policing than the nicer parts of the city of Freeport, and the natural consequences of that follow.

Gangs take a number of shapes in Freeport. Some act as their own established organizations, either as mercantile houses or mercenary companies, while other engage in far more illegal activities and thus get more attention from the condottieri.

how to quickly duck into alleys for a quick change of costume,

Costume changes ... from a society that typically doesn't wear clothes and can be immediately identified by their magical butt-tattoo?

This one’s professional pride had been pricked

Pride goeth, followed shortly afterwards by a beating.

Pride was the downfall of so many.

See above.

“Your fee will be transferred to you bank account. You are dismissed.”

to *your bank.

That put it all but out of reach for the Esoteric Order, as long as they weren't crazy enough to try and tackle one of the most heavily defended locations in the world.

I'm not betting in favor of their sanity.

she would quite likely go out and try and fight them rather than do the intelligent thing and lie low for a while.

It's very Dresden of her.

the poorer districts of the city often smelled something had died in them—usually because something had died,

And not always fish.

Lots of space for fun with changelings, I see.


“That'd make things messy. Much cleaner if we stay out of it.”

But Strumming, you seem to like things messy.

that didn’t mean her agents would do a dirty deed or two behind her back to give her some plausible deniability.

Poison sounds more Luna's method, not Celestia's.

No sense going after her for the moment”

Missing a period.


This isn't Equestria; this is Freeport, a hive of scum and villainy well outside Equestria's borders.

Equestrians don't wear clothes; however, that doesn't mean the rest of the kingdoms around it do the same.

Before I read this, what is the Dark tag for ?
And how bad does it get ?


There is some killing in this story, so that's where there is the Dark tag. Though I don't think it anything grimdark.

I really like these Freeport stories.

The Gravitas-mare scoffed. “Always worrying about money. Your mean origins betray you.”

“Well, money won't be a major issue for you for quite some time if you take my offer.” 

yeah, they won't need money when they're dead...:twilightoops:

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