• Published 7th Apr 2014
  • 1,284 Views, 262 Comments

The 34th Equestrian Hunger Games - Sketch-Pad



The Equestrian Hunger games. Probably heard of them, I'm guessing. I'm Terra North, and on this the 34th year, I think the games are going to change.

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I - Just an Ordinary Day

It was a Saturday morning as I walked around my town's square. The chatter of the ponies around me filled my ears as each step rattled my hooves on the cold, brick ground. Stalls lined the square like usual this morning; ponies came to sell items they crafted on their own time. I recognized the same ponies I did every Saturday. Berrytwist, the pony who makes smoothies. Gleaming Glass, a pony who makes small structures out of stained glass. The twins, Tight-Knit and Top-Knot, who crafted articles of clothing. There were 17 total booths in the square, never more and never less. Each pony I had seen every day at the square, and if some pony did not make an appearance, the square would always express concern. Not only was this a place for shopping, but it was a place for news and gossip. It was an important part of District 6.

I walked the quilt booth run by a middle-aged stallion, Weaver. He had no family as far as I knew, and all he did was sit and Sew his blankets. I smiled at him briefly, remembering when I had begged him to teach me how to knit, desperate to find my talent so I could earn my cutie mark. I had learned the skill, yes, but It wasn't my forte.

I heard my name come up from behind me, and quickly felt the soft brush of feathers against my side, followed by a gentle kiss placed on the corner on my right jaw. My cheeks flushed red with embarrassment as I turned my head to see my coltfriend, Circuit.

He was a very tall, fairly muscular pegasus, with a pale grey coat and a sharply cut red and black mane. A black, circular tattoo outlined his shoulder -- a gift for his recent seventeenth birthday. His green eyes glistened with happiness as they met mine. He had been my coltfriend for almost a year and a half now, and we were very close.

I smiled and nuzzled his nose, as he begun to wrap his tail around my own.

"So, you up to anything?" He asked, a sly smirk on his face.

"What I usually do when I come to this part of town," I said teasingly, "I buy stuff."

He laughed, which always sounded something between a scoff and a chuckle. "Well, yes, but what are you looking for?"

I gave him the 'oh really' look. I knew he was just teasing me, so I figured that I could at least try to play along. We had been friends for about 6 years before we had started dating, so we knew each other as well as the back of our own hooves.

Circuit was edgy, usually willing to speak his mind. This usually gets himself in trouble, but on the rare occasion, he can spurt something witty and clever. He would not be afraid to speak his mind on anything; shoes, the weather, the neighbor's cat. The only thing he would ever avoid discussing were his feelings. In all my years of knowing him, I still never quite understood why. He would give out his opinions like free candy and was more than willing to step in when asked to. But when he himself had an issue of his own or needed an opinion, he would never really ask for help, usually boxing things inside of his mind until I managed to scrape it out.

He was staring right back at me, knowing that I wasn't just in the square for nothing. "Okay, my mom is trying to see if I can buy some new clothing for the reaping today at noon," I answered him.

His wings opened halfway and he rolled his eyes. "You don't need to get anything to dress up, Terra, you're so beautiful already."

I blushed and rolled my eyes, trying to fight a grin from appearing. I failed. He was sweet of course, but compliments always made me embarrassed. "While I happily accept your compliment, you know my mom. If she asks you to do something, you had better do it."

He cringed for a moment, sucking in air through his teeth and making a little hissing noise. "Yeah, I kinda learned that one the hard way." He chuckled with a shrug, before turning to look at an accessory booth. "I can help you look for something if you would like."

"Sure."

This particular booth had recently been taken over by the original owner's daughter, Scarlet. She was an upbeat mare who always greeted her customers with a smile. The style of the booth had changed since she took over, but the items were pretty and still made with high quality. We roamed around the booth until we had picked out a beautiful, pullover infinity purple scarf, one that Circuit said matched my eyes, as well as a complimentary hair clip. I slipped the two items into the small satchel that was hanging around my shoulder and decided that was all I needed for later today. I didn't need a dress or anything, just something simple so that I looked nice. After all, I had no plans to be reaped.

Just as we were about to leave and head back to my home, I spotted a little gold necklace hanging off of a table. I went to levitate it with my magic and examine it closer, but an older pegasus pony at the booth had already picked up the item. She seemed to know that I had glanced at it, as she proceeded to beckon me over, holding the metal object in the palm of her hoof. Once I drew close, she extender it out for me to see it clearly.

It was a gold, six-pointed star with a smaller, bronze colored star behind it. I recognized this symbol, but as far as I knew, Discord had done all he could to try and get rid of any trace of it. I looked up at the old mare who was holding it. I realized that it was the previous owner, who had begun to grow wrinkled and withered. I knew exactly what this symbol was and what it stood for. Yet, I smiled, trying to hide my discomfort. "It's beautiful, but isn't this-"

She quickly shushed me. "Yes, I know what it is, Dearie. It was going to be my granddaughter's, but she was reaped last year and she had not come home to receive it." She paused and sighed. "It has been passed down through my family for several years from mare to mare. Scarlet had it for a while but never brought herself to wear it. She figured her daughter would... but clearly the fates had different plans." She gave me a gentle and humbling smile, shaking off the sadness that had crept on to her face. "She was hoping to sell by it today. It only ever reminds her of her daughter. You can have it if you'd like. Free of charge. This being what it is, I don't think any pony would pay for it."

I pushed my eyebrows together as I looked at her and gave a little frown. "Well, thank you, but I don't think I can take this-"

She leaned towards me and wrapped her foreleg around my own. She placed the small trinket into the center of my hoof, and looked at me straight in the eye, a single tear falling from her cheek. "Please, I insist." She let go, lowering her head. I tucked the small object against my chest, holding it close. She let out a shaky sigh and then let her smile return to her face. She turned and walked away, sitting in a chair shaded by the booth. Circuit and I watched and she closed her eyes and leaned her head back, looking as if she wanted to forget everything.

Circuit pulled me away from the table, and whispered, "Geeze, that was a little creepy..."

I nodded. "Yeah..." The way she talked, just how she spoke her words, had given me goosebumps on the back of my neck. It's sad that she had to go through something like that. I had forgotten that Scarlet was Summer Light's mom. She was only 12, barely old enough to be reaped. I guess I never made the connection..." my words trailed off as I looked at the ground. Why did we have to do this blasted games? All it ever does is rip families apart.

"Well, I can walk you home, and then I have to get ready for the reaping," He said, lightening the mood a little bit.

"Thanks," I replied, leaning my head on his shoulder for a brief moment.

And so he did. He walked me back to the little blue house that my family called home. It was two-storied, yes, but it wasn't the nicest house in the district. District six, my district, while not the poorest, was typically considered a lower-middle-class district. We were not at all as poor as district twelve or eleven, but we were nowhere near the richness of the first and second districts. For being the district that makes something as important as transportation, you would think that we would be a slightly wealthier district.

I stepped onto the porch of my house, and I turned to look at him, now that we were at eye level. He had always been a few inches taller than me. He spoke first, his gaze locked with mine "I hope neither of us will be reaped today, because I would like to have a little party afterward. You know, to celebrate not being reaped."

I smiled and kissed him on his forehead. "It sounds like it would be fun. What did you have in mind?"

"The usual, movies and snacks, play a board game or two with the usual ponies. But maybe, when it's all over, you could spend the night?" His tone grew softer and more intimate. "Perhaps you and I could have a little alone time?"

I raised an eyebrow at him with a little playful giggle, before softly whispering, "Are you suggesting what I think you are suggesting?"

"You'll have to come to the party and find out..." He kissed me again. I could feel him smiling, and it actually made my heart flutter a little bit inside my chest.

"Well, in that case, I think I will be looking forward to tonight," I whispered as I gently pulled away.

"Heh, yeah, as long as neither of us are reaped," He added.

"Don't worry, I'm sure we'll be fine. We have been for years, why should this one be any different?" I said, trying to reassure him.

He lifted his hoof and caressed my chin. I watched his eyes flicker over my face. "If I was reaped, though, what would you do?".

In an instance, I knew that I would volunteer to take the other mare's place, and be there to protect him. I had good magical abilities, especially nature. This was unusual -- especially for my district -- to be so naturally gifted with magic. Most unicorns knew basic magic, levitation, light creation, and there were some who knew how to start a fire. But not for me, apparently. I can cause rocks to naturally change their shape, cause crystals to grow and flowers to bloom. I can start a fire with ease and move water effortlessly -- something that is a lot harder than holding an item like a hairbrush.

But getting back to his question, I had to answer him. "I would volunteer, and take the place of the mare that was already chosen. I would do what I can to protect you, and fight by your side. And so be it, if we die in the arena, then we should die together." Still, the words made my heart ache. Even if I wanted them to be true, would I truly volunteer? I don't want to die. Nopony does. But I also knew that I couldn't let him go alone.

He smiled and kissed me. After he pulled away, he was still smiling. "I'm glad to see that you would risk your life for me. It's the ultimate sacrifice."

Our foreheads were touching, and I was looking at him, trying to read the thoughts and emotions behind his face. His eyes were closed, his eyelashes sweeping against his cheeks. He was very clearly thinking about something, and I needed to know what.

"You would do the same for me, right?" I asked him, "volunteer for me if I was reaped?"

He opened his eyes and looked at me. There was some kind of negative emotion churning in his eyes, and I didn't like it. Why did he have to look at me like that? They were always filled with emotion, oftentimes passion or love, but there was something in his eyes that I have never seen there before. And I hated it.

"Yes, Of course, I would. You know I would." He said, kissing me again. He glanced behind me, and I knew that someone in my family was definitely peeping through the window. "I should probably get going. I'll see you at the Reaping." And with that, he turned away, trotting down the street.

I called after him. " I love you!" But he gave to response or even acknowledged that he had heard me. My heart sank.

I watched him walk away down the gravel road, and I sighed when he turned a corner. I've known him forever and I knew that he usually kept his promises, but for once I doubted him. Never, in my eight years of knowing him, have I doubted him. Okay, well maybe I did when I first met him and that first year or two, but none that I could recall. Did he have the same momentary thought I did? That even if I say i would volunteer, would I really? I shook my head gently, clearing the stressful thought from my mind. I turned and rotated the doorknob, pushing the door open and letting it swing and hit the wall behind it. I walked into my house with slow, smooth steps, and closed the door behind me. I had only taken a few strides forwards when I was attacked by something small and pale-yellow. And fluffy.

"TERRRAAA!!!" was all I heard as the creature jumped onto my back. It covered my eyes and I fell onto the ground as its laughter filled my ears.

"WHAT IS GOING ON!?" I yelled. I levitated the small thing off of my back, and held him in front of me, a smirk on my face. "Really Flashlight? We do have the reaping later today. I don't need to get dirty for that." I scolded my brother as I sat upright.

My brother was a young, very energetic colt with a pale-yellow pelt and a pale green mane. He hadn't gotten his cutie mark at all, but that was alright. He had just turned twelve, and this would be his first reaping. He had been excited about it for the last month, and it made every pony he knew crazy. He acted like he was prepared to face his death or something. I don't know.

"TERRA, TERRA THE PLANT THAT I PLANTED LAST WEEK HAS BUDS!!! IT HAS BUDS TERRA, BUDS!!!" He yelled, I flattened my ears against my head, and carefully put my hoof over his mouth.

"Flashlight, you're screaming again. If you keep doing that, I'll be dead by next Tuesday."

I carefully removed my hoof from his mouth, but he began to yell again. Thankfully, it wasn't as loud. "Yeah, sorry. It's just it's never happened before! NEVER! Out of the five times, I've planted something, none of them have grown! NONE!"

I sighed, one that was mixed of both happiness and frustration. My mom walked into the room, laughing.

"He did the exact same thing when he told me." She walked over to me and gave me a hug. "Come on, let's get you two dressed up for the reaping today," She said as she let me go out of the embrace.

I then followed her down the hallway, up the stairs, and took the first right at the top of the stairs. My bedroom. I had only taken my atchel off before she had picked up a brush and was beckoning for me to sit.

I sat on my bed as she weaved my blue and green mane into a braid. She did it so delicately and precisely, making sure a single strand didn't get left out. After she was done, she let it go and I felt the braid bounce against the side of my neck. She kissed my forehead, and then proceeded to rummage through my satchel. She had located the purple scarf, and she looked at it with an approving glance. With a smile, carefully slid it over my head, making sure not to disrupt my mane. When she was adjusting it, she blinked a few times when something small and gold popped out of the folds of the purple fabric.

"What's this?" She said, picking it up with her blue-hued magic. "Is this from Circuit?" She asked, a little smirk on her face.

"No, it actually came from an old mare at the shops. She gave it to me," I answered. "The one Scarlet owns now."

"Ah, I see," She added, staring at the necklace for a few moments. "Well, it is a very pretty necklace. I'm just surprised to see that it's of Princess Twi-"

I shushed her, almost in the exact same way that the shopkeeper had done to me. We weren't supposed to talk about it at all, since, for all we knew, there were ears everywhere, even among the walls in our own house. I nodded, and simply told her, "I know mom, I was too." I smiled. "Actually, my reaction was almost the same as yours."

I grabbed the necklace from my smiling mother, and quickly placed the trinket over my head, letting it blend into the folds of the scarf yet another time. I knew that if I was to wear this necklace, then I would have to be careful. Knowing where it came from and what could occur if caught with it, I didn't want to take too many chances. And all of this was just because this necklace was of the great Princess Twilight's cutiemark.

I sighed and watched my mom pull out the little barrette from the small pocket in my bag, and then smile at it again. My mom fastened the barrette to the end of my braid, and I spotted small tears in her eyes. I knew what she was thinking. She was thinking about how beautiful I was, since I rarely would let her, or anyone, dress me up. I was never into the showy stuff like that. She ran her hoof over the braid and sighed.

I really wished that this was just another ordinary day, and I knew she did too. It wasn't all that bad, dressing up for occasions like this, but the type of occasion wasn't one that most ponies wanted to dress up for in the first place. But there wasn't anything I, Or anyone for that matter, could do about it, no matter how much we might want to. This was the reaping, my second to last one at that, and I would have to find a way to deal with it yet again. And if I survived this reaping, then I would have a party to look forwards to. But that was next. I was ready. All that was next was to watch that same unicorn pluck a name from that giant bowl full of so many names.

Author's Note:

I wanted to set the scene and give some back to the main character, which is why this chapter is here.
ONTO THE REAPING!!

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