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Lie Me a River · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Game Day
Leaning back, Spike looked over at the other three lawn chairs sitting under the early evening sky behind Applejack's barn. "This is so great!"

Shining Armor nodded from the chair nearest Spike. "I'm glad I could finally get down here for a session." He grinned at Discord coiled around his own chair. "We couldn't've dreamed of this playing Ogres & Oubliettes back in Mom and Dad's basement, huh, Spike?"

"That's me." Discord blew a glowing yellow smoke ring, everything suddenly smelling like bananas. "Making dreams come true everywhere I go."

That got a snort from Mac. "Regular Tooth Fairy, ain'tcha?"

A tiny tiara appeared between Discord's antlers. "I also collect horn shavings, hoof trimmings, and shed feathers." Putting his lion paw to his snout, he said in a loud whisper: "I'm trying to make new friends. From scratch, I mean!"

Spike couldn't help swallowing at that, but Mac gave a laugh, Shining Armor joining in. "Really glad," Shiny went on. "Especially after the week we had up north!"

"Oh?" Glad to change the subject, Spike sat forward. "What happened?"

"Ice worms!" Shiny held up his front hooves, barely any space between them. "They're usually this big, and they dig around in the glaciers. But Monday?" He waved his hooves. "Worms bigger than ponies busted up through the fountain in West Park, flopping around and smashing the gazebo! Me and a brigade drove them back into their hole, but, well, somepony had to go down and see what was going on."

Mac nodded. "Meaning you."

Shiny grinned. "Gotta earn the epaulets." He tapped his horn. "So I light up, march in, zap the things till they're thundering off in the other direction, and what do I find?" He held up his hooves again about the same distance apart. "Another sliver of Sombra's horn! I mean, every time I think we've rounded up the last slice of that thing..."

Spike had to do some more swallowing. "So whadid you do?"

"The usual." Shiny settled back in his chair. "Cady showed up with her containment squad, then the troops and I had to stomp around in the snow for a couple days with amulets to dissipate the residual dark magic." He blew out a breath. "So I was ready for a weekend off."

"Same here," Mac said.

"What?" Spike blinked. "You had ice worms?"

"Dust devils." Mac gestured to the orchard. "Dang things was charging around the rows, shaking the apples off the trees afore they was ready. More solid'n any I ever seen, too: head, tail, four legs, the works."

"Wow." Shiny looked from the trees to Mac. "There a spell for that?"

"Just rain." Mac grinned. "Course, after the pegasi push the storm back out, we gotta slog through the mud and gather up the clumps of hair and bits of hoof that dust devils form around, so yeah." He gave Spike a nod. "Nice idea, having Game Day after all that."

"Wasn't me." Spike waved to Discord, eating little colorful umbrellas like they were popcorn. "Discord brought it up, and after the week I've had..."

Shiny laughed. "Twily running you ragged?"

The memory made Spike's shoulders tighten. "I was restocking our alchemical reagents when I noticed the jars looked weird. They all had this, I dunno, fluff inside: not mold but more like that stuff you blow off dandelions." He rubbed his forehead. "And reagents're so sensitive to magic, I had to open each jar, pull the fluff out, then use the passive scope to make sure the chemicals were okay! Took me three whole days!"

"Fluff?" Mac was looking at Discord. "Like feathers?"

Spike blinked, but Shiny was narrowing his eyes at Discord, too. "Huh," he said. "So what did you do this week?"

"Me?" Discord touched his claws to his chest. "Nothing to speak of, I assure you."

Things clicked in Spike's head, and he sighed. "Discord, if you want us to get together for Game Day, you don't need to do anything crazy! Just ask!"

Discord put a talon to his chin. "I could." He snapped, and glasses of something sparkling and orange appeared in the cup holders of all their chairs. "But I've noticed you ponies always enjoy a day off more when you think you've earned it."

Spike wanted to scowl at him like the other two were, but the glass smelled like liquid citrine. "Fine," he said, picking it up. "But I'm organizing the next one."
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#1 ·
· · >>2Merr >>Fenton >>Baal Bunny
The buildup was decent, but I feel like this story fell flat in the end. The foreshadowing seemed to be pointing towards the guys having the realization that their real lives are basically an O&O game. That Discord was behind it comes out of left field, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel.
#2 ·
· · >>Fenton
It’s not quite out of left field. Discord mentions that he collects “horn shavings, horn shavings, hoof trimmings, and shed feathers.” Each of those were involved in the boys’ problems, so they made the connection. Not exactly the best foreshadowing, but it’s something.

It might have worked better if the author used items that were more... distinct? I dunno. They all blended together as “grody body crumbs” when I read them the first time. I had to go back and reread before I got it.
#3 ·
Funny, I feel it was pretty obvious who did it from Big Mac's story. I mean, it's more or less a retell of Three's a Crowd with Discord's motivations being different.
And it's a nice retelling. The only problem I have is with the ending, it lacks a bit of punch, and I don't know how to improve that.
#4 ·
Enjoyable premise; it had a nice balance between interesting anecdotes that the characters were relating, and those adding up to the larger picture. It felt like I came to the realization at about the same time as the characters, which was nice. As to the ending, I may be too indirect in my own stories, but I can't help but wonder if the ending would have landed better if they hadn't realized what Discord was up to.
#5 ·
Huh. You really packed a lot into here.

Not really sure what to say on this one. It seems like it should be firing on all cylinders; three act structure, framing device, even strong ties between the pieces, but... I'm just not feeling it. Maybe it's because it's all in the past? Hearing about something that's 'happened' doesn't quite have the same impact as something that's going on, and because it's all summary, it's not very immersive... maybe? I dunno.

Anyways. this is alright I guess. Uh, calling Shining Armor 'Shiny' in narration struck me as odd. Also, I was never quite sure what the great thing Spike is talking about in the first sentence is supposed to be. I guess it's just getting together with friends? I originally thought it was just being outside, which seemed a bit odd.

Sorry if I'm not much help here. Thanks for writing!
#6 ·
Not a bad premise, if one that's sort of recycled from an episode or two of the show. The most significant complaint I think I came away with was feeling like the foreshadowing was a little heavy-hoofed. That's hard to avoid when it's Discord doing Discordy things (because who else is going to be the culprit?), so I can't give the story too big a knock for it, but it does leave the reveal sort of flat.

Something this story was very strong at was covering a lot of ground in the available space - I think many authors would have been hard-pressed to relay three different people's rough weeks and then manage a tie-together conclusion in the word limit and have it feel like it wasn't crowded or unnaturally clipped off at points, so good job with that.
#7 ·
Congrats to our winners:

And thanks for the comments, folks! As the twenty-four hour writing period was wrapping up, I still had no idea how to end this, so I figured I'd "crowdsource" the problem, post it here, and see if anyone had any suggestions. So thanks especially to >>GaPJaxie for pointing me toward the punchline--Spike asking, "Why do we play this game again?" and the others reacting to that. Now to polish it up over the next week and enter it in Aragon's Comedy is Serious Business contest!