• Published 7th Apr 2014
  • 1,285 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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IV - Welcome to the Capitol

After a while of sitting in the back of the train, Wind had walked back to see me. She had gazed over me then with a grin as she told me that we were arriving the Capitol soon. I didn't want to leave the train. well, actually I did, I just didn't want to leave the train at the capitol station we were at.

I had only stood up out of the seat when the train had slowed to a halt. I followed my mentor towards the entrance of the train, only to find Jockey smiling out of the window. He was laughing and looked like he knew what he was doing, waving at the surplus of colored and modified ponies that hollered at our train. I saw another train pull into the station on the tracks opposing us, and the same thing was happening to them. I tried to figure out what district the train was from, until I saw a small number '5' etched onto a panel above a door.

I could see a hoof waving in the window, and a smile upon the waver's face and the crowd had loved it. Wind had leaned over to me and whispered, "If you want to get sponsors and want to have a high chance of winning, involve the crowd, like they are your family." The mare in the other train backed away and went to go and talk to the other mentors.

I had looked out of the window on the other side of the train and saw yet another train pull up, this one more worn down, but I could see the number '7' etched even more clearly on this train. The other ponies were arriving on other trains as well, but the only ponies that we would be able to see first would probably be the ponies from the fifth district if the crowd allowed us to do so.

I viewed the sea of colors and eyes as it was parted by several ponies wearing white. They had walked towards the entrances of the train, and I knew that if they were not there to clear and block a path, then I would probably end up becoming swarmed and trampled. Jockey and I were pushed towards the door, and we waited for a few seconds before the door slid open and bright sunlight had struck our faces. We were practically launched out of the door, and we were met with several peacekeepers.

We were brought to a pathway that was blocked of with heavy-duty fences and more peacekeepers. although, that did not stop the hoard of ponies from reaching past them towards the small group that made their way through the row. We were joined by two other tributes from district five, along with their mentors. The mare tribute's body was a shimmery pale gold, and her long wavy mane was of a darker hue that seemed to glitter in the sunlight. It was hard to tell if she was a formidable foe or not. She was tall and thin but had wide, curvy hips, giving off the appearance that she would be good for kicking. But she didn't seem strong otherwise. Her emerald eyes were decorated with eyelashes that reminded me of feathers. The other however had caught my eye, because he actually fit in well with these capitol ponies.

I had never seen a pony like him before; if he was even a pony to begin with. He was a deep shade of green And had a short, curved horn on his head he had no mane, but he had a yellow tail that looked like a dragonfly's wing. He had what looked like armor on his back, but it looked like beetle wings. 3 Yellow gems lined his chest, but his eyes were what had drawn my attention. They looked glazed over, almost like pearls. They were bright and vibrant orange, like the color of a sunset. There was a faded yet bright spot on his eyes that move around, and I had to guess that they were his irises. It made it hard to see where he was looking, however. If I had to guess, I think he was something called a changeling. They were rare and most of them disappeared along with the Crystal Empire

We had exchanged glances with them both before we were pushed down the aisle. Jockey and the other golden mare were waving and acknowledging the roaring crowd, shaking some member's hooves and giving others hoof-bumps. They would surely be the crowd lovers. I, on the other hoof, Was only smiling and politely acknowledge the other ponies. The bug-like stallion from the other district appeared to be scowling at the crowd, unless his eyes were fixated on the ground. I wanted to ask him why he was doing so, but I was a little scared to. I didn't know much about changelings, other than the fact that they were able to change their form into any appearance they wanted.

Taking a breath and trying to muster up courage, I fell back so I could walk next to him, leaving Jockey and the golden mare up at the front to wow the crowd.

"Um, hello. My name is Terra North, or Terra." I said, trying to be a little friendly.

"Scale." He muttered. I was surprised that I had been able to catch his name since he spoke so quietly the crowd almost drowned out his voice.

We walked for a few more awkward steps, before I spoke to him again. "I don't know if you just don't like the situation or if you're just trying to act tough, but you should at least act like you want to be here. It's a good way to get sponsors." I had said this in a quiet tone, hoping that the crowd wouldn't be able to hear. However, when I had moved closer to him, the crowd had actually only gotten louder.

"I don't need sponsors to survive these games. I just want the games to be over and done with," He said, in a rather conceited manner.

I puffed a sigh and tried to smile at the stallion that was staring at me with his bug-like eyes. "We all don't want to be here, trust me, you're not alone on that boat." I looked over the crowd, and for a moment I was re-living the walk in the streets before the reaping. "But you know that anything could happen in the arena, and it is utterly unpredictable. Everypony should be searching for anything to help them." While I knew that was true, I wasn't exactly doing that myself.

"So you want me to be like Golden Quill and your tribute? Kissing up to the slipshod capital ponies?" He said, his voice turning into what I thought was frustration. There was a green flash that emanated from him, and suddenly the other tribute was walking in his place. The crowd roared.

"Oh, I love these ponies so much! I'm so happy to be here! Don't you all wish you could be as beautiful as I am?" He said in a mocking tone that sounded nothing like his voice. There wasnother flash of green, and he had returned to his normal self. "No thank you. That's not me."

"Hey, I'm not exactly sucking up to them myself," I said, glancing up at the pair who seemed to be competing with each other at who was the friendliest. "But at least hold your head high and be proud. If you're meant to win, then you should be proud that you are the future winner of the games."

Part of me actually didn't know why I was helping him. While one side of my brain didn't want to see any of the tributes die, the other side of my brain kept scolding me, saying that the more I help him, the greater risk I have of being helped less. It altered my odds of winning. Though there was also the possibility that since I had offered him help, he might show mercy on me, if he was the merciful type.

I saw the corner of his lips curl upwards into what looked like a smile. With a flick of his ear, I could tell that he was a little thankful. Or at least that was what I had hoped it was.

We continued down the row until we had reached a transport carriage, something that looked like a purple box on wheels painted with a silver and gold pattern with the number '6' written on the side just above the rear wheel. Four peacekeepers were pulling it from the front, not even giving us any attention. Jockey had happily strode inside. The mentors did too, but the golden mare had followed her mentors to another car, decorated the same with the exception of a 5 marked on their carriage. I had only exchanged a quick glance with the changeling before I had taken my place inside the odd changeling.

I saw my mentors smiling. " I would advise waiting to get friendly with the other tributes until you can see what they can do. You could make a mistake but giving something away to a pony that could turn on you and become your enemy. Still, a changeling for an ally would be a very useful asset."

I sighed, "As much as it bothers me too, trying to befriend to ponies--or I guess creatures--I meet, gives me an advantage, doesn't it? It's a lot harder to turn against someone you know and care for, and even harder to kill them. And in the event they do, the guilt will follow them."

"You're right, but it is a dangerous game to play.

We had reached the hotel rather quickly and we had just made our way through the lobby when I laid eyes on a pair of four ponies chatting in the corner. The dark blue unicorn that caught my eye first had given a glance over to me, and after she did, the rest of the group did too. Her legs faded into a lighter, almost sky blue, and her mane reminded me a little bit of toothpaste. I gave a little respectful nod their way, while the rest of my group kept walking. She gave a sly smile, and nodded back. Her brown eyes blinked at me, and then she leaned over to whisper something in the ear of a silver stallion that stood next to her. He nodded in agreement, and then they went back to their chatting.

We had joined in the elevator with two other ponies, a dark blue mare with a brown mane and a black pegasus with a striking red mane. Jockey had smiled at the two of them, and had carefully asked what district they were from.

The mare responded back with "nine," In a very gentle voice, though I thought I had caught a hint of an accent from her word. Jockey had replied by saying that we were from district six. Nothing was said after that.

That elevator ride was quite awkward, especially since there was no conversation. when we had reached the sixth floor, we had walked off with another nod. Our mentors had taken a different elevator since the eight of us in one elevator probably would have probably ended up being a rather uncomfortable thing.

When I had walked onto the floor, the first thing that I saw was the great window that filled the entire wall opposing the elevator. Practically hypnotized, I walked down the metallic hallway towards this window, around a pit, and smiled at the clear glass. I gently pressed my face against it, letting my horn tap the pane. I was thankful to see that even while the capital was so used to artificial and strangely shaped things, they still had the decency to put windows in their buildings and let in natural light. I was able to see the partly cloudy sky through the pane, and the city as well. I eventually backed away from the glass wall, and looked at the room.

In the center of the room, four green sofas were placed in a circle around a fire pit that was giving off heat, but the flames were clearly fake. There were colorful and decorated plants placed around the room as well, some looking like a kind of bonsai and others were elaborate ferns or more dracaenas. On one of the chairs, there was a little black and round remote, and it made me wonder what it did since I saw no screen anywhere in the room. Placed on one side of the square room were three steps that led up to a platform that had a small but elaborate and modern kitchen. There was also a long, glass and silver table resting atop of it. The chairs that were placed around it were a weird blue velvet fabric, and they were in such an absurd shape that they probably defied the laws of physics. There were also several crystal chandeliers that were hanging from the ceiling, and they sparkled so much that I questioned if they were made of fake or real crystal. There were doorways on both sides of the over-roomy room that led down to other rooms, most likely to private chambers.

I watched Jockey go through and look at the same things that I did, though he had walked down into the pit and picked up the remote that was sitting on the chair, and he carefully pressed a little power button with the edge of his hoof. There was a blue flash from behind me, and I had turned to see a little glowing name in the center of the glass. I gasped in confusion, and Jockey pressed another button. This time the entire screen changed into a giant wall of water. There were fish of various sizes swimming among the water, and it looked so clear and realistic, that I had half expected my hoof to go through the glass when I touched it. With another click on the remote, the wall had changed to an old town. He kept flipping through the channels, passing through a factory, a modern street, a giant wall made of flames, and finally a forest scene. The only reason that he stopped was because our mentors had walked in laughing.

"I see that you are both playing with the screen controls. Quite an impressive feature, isn't it?" Silver Jet remarked, a weird smile on his face. "You will find that your rooms have the same feature, just on a smaller wall."

Wind had flicked her tail at the stallion who was clearly going to make another remark, and I was thankful that she had stopped him. "Well, what did you two think about the welcome? It was bigger than the one that we had gotten when we were tributes."

Jockey smiled and replied bumptiously, "I think I might have made myself a good contender for the friendliest pony."

The red stallion smiled back. "You can be friendly with the crowd as much as you please, but don't always be friendly with the other contenders. The audience will always be there to help you, whereas the other tributes won't."

I scrunched up my nose and asked, "Has that happened to any of you?"

The mentors exchanged a glance with each other, before Wind stepped forwards. "Yes." The group walked down and sat down on the sofas, but I stayed above them, out of the pit, watching them. "I was in a group with the two other district nine tributes, and we had made it to the top seven. One night, the stallion decided to turn against us two mares. We were able to take him down, but not without the two of us getting injured. We were lucky enough that the crowd sent us some medicine, but it wasn't enough to save us both. I had fewer wounds so I managed to survive, but the other mare wasn't so lucky. I was too friendly with the stallion, and he knew exactly where to hit us to take us down. But before that, he always misused our friendship to let him get what he needed, and he was frightening if he didn't get what he wanted."

I sighed, and made my way down to the sofas. While one could count that as having their friendship misused and manipulated, because it was so far along in the games, it was going to happen eventually.

"Well, let's not talk about allies now, since we should probably talk about rules," Jet Stream said, obviously bored with Wind's tale.

Everyone agreed, and Wind began her lecture. "Since neither of you are pegasai, the explanation should be a little easier." She cleared her throat. "Unicorns are only permitted to levitate inanimate objects, like weapons, within a fifth-meter radius. This also means no levitating other tributes. While you are allowed to create fire, the intention of the fire cannot be to burn a significant amount of the arena, depending on what it is. You are also not allowed to create any foods with magic either, though I believe things like thorns or vines might be permitted. And if they are, then the capital would most likely prefer that you didn't use them as your primary way of killing. Tracking spells are disapproved, but they are not illegal as far as the rules go, mostly because you will find that there are few unicorns who know spells like that."

"What happens if you break these rules?" I asked.

This time Jet Stream spoke. "While I'm not sure what the penalty is for unicorns, one of my allies broke a pegasus rule, and the game-makers had manipulated the arena shortly after and purposefully damaged her wings, preventing her from flying for the remainder of the games. They clearly went through a lot of effort to do so, but at the same time, she was still able to fight."

At least I knew that they enforced the rules.

I saw Jet stream perk his ears, and stand up from his seat. "Looks like the food is here."

How in Equestria did the food get there so fast without us noticing?

I wanted to get this meal over and done with, and head to bed. I knew that tomorrow there would be the chariot presentation, and I would be able to meet my stylist. I only hoped that the stylist that I received would be a good, smart one. Since my district created transportation, the costumes would need to somehow represent the metalwork that was planes, trains, and cars. There was one year where the designer just painted over the ponies to make them look like robots. While it was a cool idea, it was poorly executed and didn't stand out from the others.

As I ate that meal, all that ran through my head was the ideas of what could happen tomorrow, as well as a possibility that there were loopholes to the rules, or at least a way to bend them so that they might be beneficial to me.

Author's Note:

This was in such a high demand that I just decided to skip
dinner and her going to bed and just give you guys the chapter.

It's a little short, but It's still better than nothing!

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