Disclaimer: I don't own Minesweeper. I only own this story.
Firstly, this is an extended version from the original story, extended due to popular demand. Thanks for all your reviews!
Smiley #936 was afraid. Very afraid. He had known he was doomed the moment his arch enemy, Smiley #792, got the sunglasses and with it the temporary authority to decide who would be next to play. To die. For that was probably what would happen to any Smiley who entered the formidable tiled room. Recently, the Minesweeper had been playing only the expert level, after vowing to accomplish it if that was the last thing she did.
Vividly, #936 remembered the day when #792 came to power. They had been young Smileys then, fresh out of The Smiley School. Those were the good ol' days, when the Minesweeper had been content enough playing the beginner and intermediate level. And it was then that #792 was called out to play by the then sunglass wearer, the venerable #316.
It was an intermediate level game, known by the Smileys to be possibly the easiest level of all, contrary to what many believed. True, the beginner level had only ten mines, but the fact was that the playing field was smaller also meant that much of the success of the game depended on luck, rather than actual skill. The expert level, though, did not differ very much from the beginner one in that just as much, or probably even more, of the game's success depended on luck. The Minesweeper could be an excellent player, but even then fail the level due to the simple fact that there was just not enough information. He or she could be safe on the first click, which most of the time unearthed just one number, and on the second click hit a mine. The Smileys knew this – and quaked in fear whenever an expert level game was announced.
#792, however, had got the intermediate level, where skill was the most important factor. And the Minesweeper had skill. The game had been a success, and #792 had got the sunglasses.
Later that day, he had strutted out of the waiting room greeted with loud applause, and had made his way to the top of The Smiley Castle where he took the throne, shades visible on his smiling face. #936, the new king's school rival, had been called up and had a few words delivered to him, which would stay forever etched in his memory…
"You were always the 'good' student, #936. Never missed a class, loved by all the teachers, had the best smile, etc etc etc. But now you see that all that hard work has come to nothing. You could have spent your time enjoying yourself, you know, as I did. And look at me now, one of the youngest kings ever to rule the Smileys. To decide their fate, just as I will decide yours. Use your time well, #936. You might not have much left. Not when I'm done with you, that is. I will have my revenge for all those years in school where you beat me, made me look dumb with your towering high marks and that stupid smile of yours which everyone seems to like. Oh yes, I will have my revenge. What say you I slot you in for… the next expert level game, hey?"
And #792 had laughed, a cold, cruel laugh that caused #936 to shiver in fear, in fear of the game that he knew would come someday to sound his doom. The day he was certain to die.
And that day had come, a little too soon for his liking.
Trying to remain calm, #936 stood in line awaiting his turn. Awaiting his death. He watched as his fellow Smileys, many of whom had gone to school with him, went into the room and were killed, one after the other by the Minesweeper. Smiley #174 had gone in five clicks. #219 in twenty-three. And as for poor #612, he was done away with just after the second click.
#792, however, king of the Smileys, was laughing. Laughing as he killed off his friends. Laughing at the fact that he was in control. That laughter reverberated through the whole of Smiley land, all the way to where #936 was waiting. He heard the laughter, and felt anger rising within himself, culminating with the eternal question…
"Why?" he managed to blurt out, voice choked with fury.
#841 turned, his best friend at The Smiley School.
"Why do we have to do this?" #936 wanted to know. "Why do we have to go so willingly to our death? Why does #792 get to decide when our lives will end?"
"Because he's king," #841 replied matter-of-factly. The other Smileys murmured their agreement.
"Yes, but how did he become the king? It was all luck! And because of luck he gets to control when we die? And what about the Minesweeper, huh? What gave her the right to kill us?"
The room buzzed with sudden noise. No one was allowed to talk about the Minesweeper that way. It was unheard of! Especially when it came to a youngster like #936.
"The Minesweeper has her job, and we Smileys have our job. Her job is to kill us for entertainment, and our job is to be killed."
#936 was shaking with a silent anger.
"It's not fair. It's just not fair!"
"Nothing is. So bear with it. It'll be over before you know it."
"I'll be dead," #936 muttered, his usual smile gone from his yellow face.
"Big deal. We all die someday. The Minesweeper will too, one day."
#841 stared wistfully into space, pondering over his last few words.
"And when that happens… we'll be free," he continued. "All of us. No longer slaves to the Minesweeper." #841 paused, continuing in a whisper. "Wouldn't that be wonderful?"
The other Smileys remained silent, not daring to agree for fear of what the consequences might be.
"Not if we're dead," #936 replied, in a somewhat softer tone as compared to previously.
"Even if we don't make it, there will always be others. Other generations of Smileys. And one day, somehow, we'll be free. I know it. One day the Minesweeper will be gone. And we will be fr…"
The voice of #792 boomed out suddenly, interrupting the Smiley.
"#841! You're next. Get going."
"We will be free," #841 finished, before turning his gaze slowly around the room, eyes filled with hope as he addressed them all for the last time.
"Never give up. We will make it… someday."
And then he turned, and left for The Room.
They all knew it was going to happen. It was inevitable, after all.
And yet, when the mines blew up, killing his friend, Smiley #936 was unable to control the tears running down his once happy face.
Nevertheless, there was no time for mourning.
"#936! Get ready. You're next."
It was his turn. This was it. Smiley #936 glanced around at his friends for what would probably be the last time, took a deep breath, and then stepped out onto the platform which teleported him instantly to The Room. he evaporated his tears, trying to maintain his composure as he started smiling as he had been taught to do since his creation. Behind his smiles, though, #936 was feeling miserable. But no one would ever be able to tell, not by the bright smile that hung across his face at least.
Then, Smiley #936 got ready to play The Game. The sole reason for his creation. The whole point of his existence.
One click. Safe.
Two clicks. Safe.
Three clicks. Still safe.
At each click, #936 opened his mouth wide in anticipation of his oncoming doom, then closed it again and smiled his fake smile. And that was not the only reason for opening his mouth in the first place.
"Nice and wide," he kept reminding himself. "Aim for a perfect, round circle."
All those years of advice at The Smiley School were being put into play once more, only this time it wasn't teachers that #936 was facing. #792 was right about one thing. #936 had been a good student.
Click after click, and still no mines were unearthed. The Room was dotted with red flags and numbers, and for once Smiley #936 was beginning to have a faint glimmer of hope. Perhaps he might make it after all…
There were now only ten tiles left which had not yet been clicked on. Nine. Eight. Seven. Then it was down to only two tiles. One held the mine, the other did not. It was that simple… that simple and yet not.
The Minesweeper had never been this close before. Whether she chose the right tile or wrong one was a matter of life and death… for Smiley #936, that is.
And yet, the numbers surrounding the remaining two tiles made it impossible to determine which was the right one. Now, it was back to the usual expert level scenario – it all depended on luck.
Smiley #936 waited. He was in no hurry to die. If the Minesweeper lost, that was the end of him. But if she won… he would get the sunglasses. He could have revenge… for there could only be one sunglass wearer at any one time. In other words, he would be able to do anything he wanted with #792. The death of his friends had to be avenged. He would send #792 to the next expert level game. He would have his revenge…
Meanwhile, as he watched the unfolding drama below, Smiley #792 was feeling afraid. Very afraid. Never before in his wildest dreams had he expected the Minesweeper to get so close to winning, and especially not during #936's game. What was more, he had grown kind of partial towards his sunglasses. He did not ever want to part with them…
The Minesweeper decided that waiting would not help at all. Positioning The Clicker over one of the two tiles, she closed her eyes tight… and clicked.
"Revenge," thought Smiley #936. "I could have revenge…"
He heard a click.
Then everything went black.