• Published 7th Apr 2014
  • 1,286 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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III - The Train Ride

After I had finished saying my goodbyes, I was rushed away with the other tribute towards the train station. I wasn't particularly fond of traveling in any form, despite the fact that my district was the one who made all of the aircraft and trains. Ironic, Isn't it? I personally didn't make any myself, but mother and elder brother both worked towards producing them. There wasn't any easier way to travel, so I guessed that I would have to find a way to deal with it.

We were guided onto the train by several peacekeepers as well as the pink mare from the reaping. We were all placed into a lounging compartment. It was nowhere near as plain and boring as the room I had said my goodbyes in. It was longer, of course, fitting the whole cabin of a train. There were 3 seating boots, placed in front of the long window that extended along the whole side of the train. Each was circular in shape and faced the center of the cabin, and decorated in a velvety blue fabric. There were small silver tables inside each one, upon which stood a small orange flower vase. There were two other small sofas placed in the room completed with matching silver coffee tables, each facing the end of the compartment. One wall held a bookshelf, and the other sported a television screen over a faux fireplace. I was impressed by how much they managed to fit in such a small cabin.

I watched the short, dainty pink mare walk towards a door and enter another compartment with the door closing automatically behind her. The tribute, on the other hoof, sat down in one of the booths and began looking out the window as the train began to leave the station. I stared at him for a moment, admiring his collectiveness. He looked perfectly calm. His mane was rather long for a colt, as I had recalled from earlier. I admired his attractiveness and the sun shining through the window highlighted his features even more -- I shook my head from that absurd thought, telling myself that I had a coltfriend. Only...I didn't have one. Not anymore. But I shouldn't pursue him. Only one pony would leave the arena and there certainly wasn't room for feelings. Still, no pony had gone through the games with zero help. Even if only for a single moment, we needed to depend on someone.

I sat down across from him and decided I should try my best to make some kind of conversation anyway. I didn't know his name, and his mother had asked me to protect him. I couldn't exactly do that if we didn't get along.

"So, I'm Terra North, or Terra," I said, trying to make my voice sound at least a little bit excited.

He gave me a little sideways glance, then sighed. "Name's Jockey."

"It's nice to meet you, Jockey." I cleared my throat. I couldn't tell if he was purposefully trying to avoid me, or if he was actually just upset with the whole situation he had been put in. I know that I was, so it would be natural for him to be too. Being chosen is not an easy thing to cope with. I thought for a moment about what I could say next to keep the conversation going. "I remember you saying that you had moved to district six from another district recently. Would it be alright if I asked which one?"

He finally turned to look at me, and I was actually happy to see him smile, even though I could definitely see in his eyes that he was worried. "I moved over from District Four. I used to have a radio show over there, and I was listened to by many. We even had a few celebrities on to talk with me," He said, somewhat confidently.

"Why did you guys move?" I asked, curiously. He was looking a little more comfortable, so I kind of figured that I would keep talking to him until we were interrupted by somepony or something, or until the conversation died.

"The Capitol thought that my family's - mine mostly - talent would be put to better use in a different district."

I smiled at him, "Well tha-"

I was cut off by several hoofsteps and a small amount of laughter behind me, and I had turned around to see several adults standing behind my chair. I knew almost instantly that this group of ponies was our mentors. They seemed to be a decent pair of ponies, and they looked rather proud to be assisting their district yet again. The only thing that really bothered me about the group though was that there was only one mare standing among them. There were two unicorn stallions, as well as an earth pony that was also a colt. But the mare was a small, pure white pegasus with a blue mane.

"Well, well. It's good to see that you two are bonding a little bit," A tall, fairly slim unicorn had said almost jokingly in the back, though there was a twist of a foreign accent in his voice. "Don't get any bright ideas before you guys head off to face your possible deaths." He winked.

"Oh Silver Jet, stop teasing them! It's good for them to practice social skills. That's the first skill they will need in the arena," The mare said sharply at him. I blinked and smiled a little bit as I saw him roll his eyes.

"Well anyways, we three colts will be your mentor, Jockey, so you should come with us. We have a lot to talk about," Silver Jet said mockingly.

I wasn't able to see that stallion fully until now, and I was a little shaken when I saw him. He had half of his black mane shaved off, and the one side that wasn't was rather lazily styled. His hooves were poorly cared for, and, in fact, they looked as if he hadn't even looked at them. But his eyes were what caught me the most off-guard. His eye color was bright orange, but his eyes looked like he had gone without blinking them for days. And from what I could tell, he had a foul smell too, which made me believe that this pony might be doing drugs. While it wasn't my business, it did make me a little nervous for Jockey. The only that that might be his saving grace was the fact that the other two stallions looked much more put together that Silver Jet.

I watched Jockey get up from his seat and walk over to the group of stallions that had openly welcomed him. They walked back towards a door, and I watched the four of them leave the room, the door sliding closed behind them.

The white pegasus that was left smiled at me and had taken Jockey's seat. She looked eager and excited; almost like she hadn't looked so hopeful before with any other tribute.

"So, Terra North, tell me what you can do," she said, while her face did not move, all of the emotions in her eyes portrayed that she was excited to hear whatever I had to say.

I thought for a moment, knowing that she probably wanted to know my strengths and weaknesses.

"Well, I am very good with my magic. I'm one of those unicorns who can create fire fairly easily. I'm also good at with water and rocks." I paused and looked at her, but she hadn't reacted at all, so I kept going. "I've been able to move and break rocks, make crystals grow, and freeze water. But my greatest element would probably be plants. I know them like the back of my hoof, and I can create and nurture most of them with ease. Foods and poisonous plants are harder to create, though, and usually, drain me of significant amounts of energy." After this was when she reacted and I was pretty glad that she had.

"Well, as far as creating foods, you are not technically allowed to create them as far as the rules go, which we will need to go over later. However, it sounds like you are pretty adaptable to most situations, which is something that will definitely be needed." She blinked at me with her golden eyes and sighed. "What about weapons? Do have any experience with anything that could be used as a weapon?"

I thought for yet another moment. I remember when I was younger I used to play fight with my older brother, and for a while, I told myself that I was good with close-hoof combat. But that was about seven years ago, and I didn't think that my play-skills would be good enough to survive in the games. However, I have also have been known to kick things with a good amount of strength, but that probably went under the skill of close-hoof combat.

I looked back up at her and flatly told her, "If anything, it would be close-hoof combat."

She shrugged, and she shifted her position in her seat. "Well, I guess that it's better than nothing. How much have you used that fighting technique?"

"Well, I used to play fight with my brother for several years when I was younger. That was a while ago, but I've been known to sometimes get a little violent with my hooves when I'm angry. And, apparently, I'm a good kicker."

"Give an example of your skills." She said quickly.

I paused and sighed. The only thing that quickly came to my mind was that I slapped my colt-friend today, so that's the example I gave her. "I slapped my colt, er, ex-colt-friend this morning."

She laughed at me, which I wasn't exactly intending.

"Brilliant! I think that in individual training we need to work on your fighting skills, and figure out how broad your magical abilities are. Does that sound good?"

I nodded.

"Good. Then let's go get ourselves something to eat."

I hesitated as I watched her get up from her seat. My stomach wasn't all that hungry, even though it was definitely growling moments before I had gotten onto the train. I figured this newly found loss of appetite was probably because I became motion sick, just from the tiny movements of the train. While they were practically minuscule movements, they were visible in the nerves of my hooves, and they were also visually detectable, for the chandeliers and trays would slightly teeter back and forth every now and then. I usually prefer to have my hooves planted firmly on the unmoving ground.

She looked at me with concerned eyes, and I gave an awkward smile. "I've lost my appetite since I got on this train," I said mildly.

She gave me a humble grin but didn't show her teeth, unlike the other smiles she had given earlier. "I used to have the same thing happen to me every time I got on this train, but after several years you get used to it." I gave her the 'oh really' look. "Well, You might not be hungry, but you should still eat something. Dinner is usually a little late when we get to the capital, so it would be good to not try to starve yourself."

I slightly rolled my eyes, and then let out a puff of air. I had little interest to defy her right now, and after all, she was probably right. Even if I wasn't hungry, it would probably serve me best if I had a little bit of food. I got up out of my seat and followed my mentor, and then I realized something. And this something was probably more on the important side. I didn't know my mentor's name. I watched the sliding door open in front of her, and then cleared my throat to get her attention. She turned and looked at me over her shoulder.

"Yes?" She asked.

"What's your name?" I asked, almost hesitantly for a moment.

"Oh, right." She blinked her eyes, and I guessed that she was just realizing that she had forgotten to tell me. "It's Wind Pipe."

She then turned and continued walking on her previous path. I didn't know what to think of her name. I knew that a windpipe was an organ that was located in our throat, but I also knew that one's mind could be taken towards music. Finding musical ponies was pretty rare, so I didn't think that she was at all a musical pony. And if she was named after an organ, well, then I would probably end up feeling sorry for her for a while. However, the most logical place her name came from was probably from an air tunnel that was used for air conditioning. It was the only things that made sense, but I decided that I would call her Wind.

The dining room we had walked into was much more sparkly and colorful than I could have imagined. The chairs were bright, neon green, and the tables were a weird purple glass that looked like it was moving. There was a crystal chandelier hanging over the three tables that were set up. There was a silver and purple bar on the far side of the cabin that I saw Silver Jet was sitting at, sipping at a drink that had a bright blue hue. There were several dishes of foods set up on one table, and at that table I saw Jockey as well as the two other mentors.

I watched Wind walk over to the table, and take a seat next to the red earth pony. I slightly raised my eyebrow as she had given him a kiss on the cheek, and then he proceeded to smile. I figured they were a couple, and it made the knot in my stomach twist tighter. It reminded me of Circuit.

I walked over and sat down next to Jockey, who had smiled when he saw me. I naturally smiled back, but I couldn't figure out if I meant it or not.

"So, how do you like little Windy?" The red earthpony asked, a small amount of some type of cake in his mouth. Wind rolled her eyes and playfully but carefully punched him in the shoulder, and he laughed.

"She seems like a good mentor, and I'm excited to see what she can teach me," I said nodding.

"You think she's good, then you gotta try these cakes!" The red stallion said, jokingly, shoving a small round pink cake into his mouth.

I turned to look at Jockey, who was actually eating his food on the more civil side, with a knife and a fork. Actually, seeing the male mentors, it made me happy that I wasn't Jockey. You had the slob earthpony, and the druggie Silver Jet. The only male who could even be slightly decent was the yellow one sitting in the corner silently eating his food. He wasn't even looking at the others, now that I had noticed him.

I looked away from him, and had grabbed an apple from a bowl, and began to munch on it. The red stallion kept giving me weird glances, which only made me uncomfortable. I took another bite of the sweet apple and stood up from my seat. The three of them watched as I got up, and they were a little confused. I picked up one of the little cakes, and turned and walked back towards the caboose of the train.

I walked through the first compartment, still eating my apple as I went, when I noticed a small room that was opened just a tad. I knew that I probably shouldn't look through the door, but I did anyway. There was a peacekeeper lounging in a chair in front of a large screen. This screen was made of 12 smaller screens, each one from a different district, as said in the upper right corner. The districts looked comfortable and content, though some were more so than others. The ponies in district one, two, three and looked excited and proud of their tributes. Most of the other districts looked content, like this was just another day and they didn't care too much about what could happen to their tributes. Then again, those who smiled could be smiling for other reasons.

The stallion lounging in the chair stood up, and stretched his wings, filling up a good amount of space as he did so. He looked like he was going to turn around, so with a little skip, I went back to the path that I was on.

I kept walking down the small hallway and finally came to the back of the train. I started out the back window for a moment, and held my breath, counted to ten, and then opened them back up. I could see the metal train tracks jetting out from underneath the train as I looked through the window, but other than that, everything else was a blur. The green trees, the gray rocks, all faded together. I knew we were traveling at around one-hundred and eighty miles per hour, and at most it could have been two-hundred and twenty. It was far too fast for my liking.

I silently laughed at myself as I gazed out the window. Earlier I had done so because I was a pony from a technology district who didn't like technology, but now I was laughing at myself because I was a pony from the district of transportation who didn't like transportation at all. Most ponies said that they barely felt a bump on this train, but ponies from my district usually feel everything wrong on a transport. For example, they will notice if an aircraft isn't perfectly even, or hear the gear that's just every so slightly out of place. While I'm not entirely that detail oriented, I will notice slightly bigger things.

I sat down on the couch and finished eating my apple, and then proceeded to eat the small cake that I was told was delicious. As I took a small bite of it, I did agree that it was of a different flavor, and the texture itself was moist and thick, which was very perfect. There was a type of filling in the middle, which only added an extra burst of flavor. The top of it was dusted with powdered sugar, though from what I could tell didn't have a big effect on the taste. It might have been the best dessert I've had in a very long time.

As I looked out the window of the train yet again, I sighed. I really wished that I could go back, and change the events of what had happened. But I couldn't. All I could do was look back and go blindly forwards on the terrifying path that I was on.

Author's Note:

A little short compared to the last chapter, but I was scraping for this chapter to be long enough.
I feel weird to constantly bring up random somewhat romance-related topics, so if it's a bother, just leave a comment.
Next thing up and coming is a few of the tributes and the Hotel!

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