• Published 5th Mar 2020
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Game Quest: Super Mario 64 - Phantom-Dragon

Princess Twilight Sparkle and friends arrive in the Mushroom Kingdom to help Mario and his buddies rescue Princess Peach.

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The Cave of Games

1000 Years Ago

I still remember it like it was yesterday, though it was countless moons ago. Of course, I was a young sorcerer back then having barely grown my beard. Back then, I was simply ‘Starswirl the Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ studying amongst a select few of my former colleagues.

There was an Earth Pony, Thunder Lawn, just as strong as Rockhoof but with the joyful spirit like that of Pinkie Pie. I remember him very well: A little colt in a stallion’s body, with his usual antics involving imaginative stories and nonstop fun-and-games.

Jumble Weed, a unicorn with astonishing intellect that would make Twilight look like a student. But a unicorn with an oversized ego as great as Rainbow Dash.

Light Feather, a kind Pegasus and gentle soul, shunned by the rest of her kin for being the only Pegasus desiring to study magic despite its “reservations” among unicorns. Nevertheless, I was kind enough to teach her a few magical spells of my own making, spells even a Pegasus can master. Light Feather became one of my most promising students of magic; in fact, she devoted her whole life using magic to heal the sick and injured. Even back when there was only one such alicorn at the time, she had the makings to become one herself.

Last, but certainly not least, there was Galaxia, an alicorn with great powers, which far exceed that of Celestia, and Luna combined. She had a unique ability: To traverse the far reaches of space, across galaxies, and countless universes, with little to no trouble. She was a strict pony but had a good heart.

Once, I had the honor to meet them all together in Crystia, a small kingdom in the west. It was there where I began conducting experiments on the prototypes of my magic mirrors, for the purpose of advancing the spells required to traverse across the universe.

One fateful day, I was on the verge of perfecting my magic mirror, with Jumble Weed at my side, when Thunder Lawn happened to bring some of his ‘games’, against my strict orders. With but a small act of disobedience, he had inadvertently added the tales of his games, as well as the ones I collected in my travels, into my magic. I remember how the cave shook, the stories scattering across the air, flying into the mirrors. But to my surprise, rather than being lost in other worlds, they ‘became’ the worlds.

The results were beyond anything I could ever anticipate; my prototypes have brought the stories to life. Each one accessible within the mirrors I created in the cave. From that day on, my colleagues and I spent months, even years, traveling across the fabrics of time and space, collectively studying the background of every world, their population, and their understandings. To our astounding discovery, each world was a story from Thunder Lawn’s games.

Thus, it was agreed that we’d dub this meeting place the Cave of Games.

In the end, my magic mirror experiments were a success beyond my wildest dreams… And a failure beyond my most horrible nightmares.

Sometime later, an unforeseen development with the cavern’s magic would lead to a terrible catastrophe. I don’t know “how” or “why” to this day, but I do remember “what” happened. Galaxia, along with Thunder Lawn and Jumble Weed had just returned from another of their trips within the game worlds, I was to rendezvous with them to inquire what they discovered. But when I arrived to greet them, I discovered they returned… Different. My colleagues were consumed by darkness, its strength fueled by their fears… Their anger… Their frustration. Once close allies now corrupted to hate, wasting no second to attack, fighting amongst themselves. The ponies that I had come to know, and trust lost themselves to the darkness, caring for nothing but the desire to win a fight that was a mere game to them.

I knew I had to stop them… Even at a ‘terrible’ price…

Present Day

“… And that was the last time I saw them,” Starswirl concludes, grimly.

“Wow!” Twilight gasped, in astonishment. “I mean, I can only imagine how hard it must’ve been for you, Starswirl.”

Starswirl the Bearded had returned during another one of his lengthy travels, during which to study the recent changes of Equestria. Since his return to Canterlot, the old bearded unicorn had sat down for tea with Equestria’s newest supreme ruler, Princess Twilight Sparkle, and her advisor, Spike the Dragon. As he took a dainty sip of his tea, his thoughts returned to that dark day in his life among many. In all the years he spent traveling, he longed to forget that one moment but to no success.

“I only wish that were the end of it, Princess Twilight,” Starswirl spoke, gravely. “Even in limbo, amongst my fellow Pillars of Equestria, I still have nightmares of that wretched day. The day my three colleagues lost themselves to corruption, and the fourth left with a broken heart.”

“Light Feather?” Twilight deduced.

The mournful wizard confirms with a nod, the princess could see the regret in his eyes.

“It was a devastating tragedy for both of us, but more so for her,” The unicorn sighed, grimly. “Witnessing her friends succumbing to the corruption of the darkness, helpless to save them from their terrible fate. I tried convincing her that only by working together we can reverse the darkness infecting her friends, but she wouldn’t listen. Out of untold sadness, I watched her vanish into one of the mirrors, never to be seen again. I had since left the cave, sealing it with a spell so no pony can neither find it nor open it. But not before leaving a shrine, in honor of their memories, to remember only the ‘good’ they’ve done and not the bad. Yet to this day still, my slumbers are still riddled with nightmares of that tragedy and I still ask myself, ‘Could I have done more?’”

Twilight Sparkle and Spike both turn to each other, exchanging sad looks.

“I’m sorry to hear what happened to them, Starswirl,” Twilight frowned, sympathetic.

It was quiet between the two, at first no pony knew what to say. But then, a small twinge of hope appears on her face as a thought came to her.

“Perhaps… Maybe now there is a way we could help.”

“I appreciate your optimism, Princess,” Starswirl replied. “But what more could you do where I couldn’t?”

“You’ve seen how much Equestria has changed, the magic itself is constantly evolving in ways no pony could ever imagine,” Twilight explained. “I was thinking, if we could find that ‘Cave of Games’, to further study the means to reverse the damage, we may have the spell needed to undo what was done. I can’t say it’s guaranteed to work, but we’ll never know if it fails if we don’t at least try.”

“Very well then,” Starswirl nods. “But… If you are to enter the cave, you will need this.”

Reaching deep within his cloak, Starswirl reveals a large medallion resembling that of a golden coin.

“This medallion is the key to finding the Cave, the only way to unlock the spell guarding it and reveal it’s secrets. But be warned, should you choose to enter the Cave, I cannot promise you’ll succeed. And even if you do… You’ll never be the same, again.”