• 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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V - Costumes and Chariots

I woke up, blinking my eyes to the light that shone through underneath the door. It shouldn't have been in my eyes if I was asleep on the bed, but alas, I wasn't. I don't remember much about last night, let alone sleeping. Though I think that at one point I had decided the bed was too soft so I just decided to sleep on the floor. Or, I could have also just fallen off of my bed and decided not to get back into the heap of fabric. Either of those things could have happened, knowing myself.

I knew I had to get up and at at least try to tame my mane that I could feel was all over the place, but at the same time, I knew that if I got up, then I would have to go to breakfast and socialize. I would really prefer my socialization be limited to facial expressions and body language later, like later when I had to ride on those chariots.

No matter how much I didn't want to, I got up from the ground, letting out a very tired sounding sigh in the process. I strode over to the bathroom that was attached to the bedroom, and I was lucky enough to find a silver brush. I carefully pulled it through my mane, taking out most of the knots I could find. I did the same with my tail, and it had been a few minutes before I finally put the brush down. My mane was as good as it was going to get.

I wasn't overly worried though, as we would have to be with our designers about two or three hours before the chariots were presented, just to get ready. They would do our hair and our make up, and make any last adjustments to the garments they designed for us to wear. And when they did that, they would surely hose us down at least twice.

I made my way out of the bathroom and looked at the nightstand next to my bed. It was there I saw the gold necklace that I recalled taking off and putting there. I picked it up and placed it over my head again, and let it slide down and dangle from my neck. I lifted the metalwork up with my hoof and viewed the six-pointed star one more time before I let it go.

I walked out of the gray and blue bedroom and made my way over to the dining table, where most ponies were sitting and eating. The only one I didn't see was the male unicorn mentor that I didn't know the name of. I figured he was still in bed. I sat down in the blue velvet chair and proceeded to grab an apple from the fruit bowl, not saying a word to my tablemates. I had only taken a single bite when Jet Stream had commented.

"Well, looks like the princess has awoken," He said, a weird dirty smile on his face. "Did you sleep well?"

I flicked my ear, and took another bite of my apple before I said, "Define what you mean by 'well.' I slept and had rest, and I'm awake now."

Jet Stream had made a sour face at me, and gone back to eating his pancakes. I was actually glad that I had said what I said. I didn't like his personality that much and if he was going to stop, then I would probably have to deliver the same short remarks that he did. I knew that I was a little rude, but at the same time, I was always meaner in the mornings, especially if I was tired or reluctant to wake up. And I was very much feeling both this morning.

This time Wind was the one to talk. "I can see that you're not really a morning person, Terra." She said, putting a thick pink sauce on her potato cakes. "But at the same time, while what you said wasn't exactly the nicest thing, It was actually quite a smart thing to say." She looked away from her food and up at me. "In fact, it sounded like something that a good tribute would say."

I smiled, and grabbed myself some potato cakes. "Thanks actually. At least I'll know I will fit in with the others, " I said with a chuckle. I decided not to put anything on them, other than salt. I wasn't sure what that pink sauce was, let alone if I would even like it.

After I finished the remaining course of my meal, the group of us six ponies made our way into the elevator. When I had looked at the clock we passed on the way into the silver tunnel, it said that it was around nine thirty in the morning, and the chariot presentations were at one. This meant that we would have to go without lunch today.

We had only gone about halfway down when the elevator stopped. The doors opened, and we were surprised to see another apartment. Two tributes and 3 mentors, strode inside. The thing that caught my eye was how intimate the two tributes were. The Grey pegasus stallion was almost constantly snuggling the scared looking blue mare. I felt sorry for them, and my heart ached. They reminded me too much of Circuit and I back home. Now I wasn't sure if their situation was similar to mine, where she was reaped and he volunteered. Only, in this case, the stallion actually did volunteer. It made me wonder what it would be like if he was actually here.

The doors closed and we moved down another two more floors, and then we bid goodbye to the couple that had shared an elevator ride with us. We made our way over through the lobby and into the same metal carriages that had brought us here. However, the windows in this metal box were covered, so we were not able to see where we were going. I couldn't tell how long we were riding; if it was five minutes or fifteen.

All the same, we arrived at the 'stylist' building, and we made our way inside. There were a group of 4 ponies there to meet every pony, four for every stallion and four for every mare. That was too many stylists, and each pair also had their own separate costume designer. There was far too much money put into these games.

I made my way over to a group making eye contact with me and beckoning me over to them, I found myself in slight discomfort when I saw that two of my stylists were stallions. I didn't know the exact procedure they went through, but I knew I wouldn't be happy depending on what they did, so all I could do was hope was that they were homosexual, or only do something like my hair.

I followed them to a new room, saying goodbye to Jockey and the mentors. Attached to this room was a shower where the two mares had taken me to be cleaned, scrubbing literally every inch of my body with a vanilla smelling shampoo and conditioner. After that, I returned to see the stallions with all these weird products in their hooves. The four of them spent a great deal of time shining my hooves, brushing my mane and coat, and they even made my brush my teeth with weird tooth paste that made my teeth whiter than snow. I felt overly pampered to the point where it was almost violating.

After they were done grooming me, they left the room, and a young mare had walked in and taken their place. She reminded me of Scale, but a lot more elegant. Her coat was a shiny lavender color, but she was less bug-looking than scale was. She didn't have the exact beetle shell on her back, but she had some kind of extra layer of skin in the same spot that was thicker than the rest of her body. It was hued in deep, royal purple. Her tail was similar to that of a dragonfly's wing as well and colored a light shade of blue. Unlike Scale, she had what looked like a mane, made of a similar wing-like pattern as her tail. It was swept to the side and curled around her face, Her horn also looked more normal looking, unlike Scale's, like she could actually use it. She was odd, yes, wasn't entirely pony. That was clear, but somehow, that was okay.

"Well, hello Deary, my name is Glimmer. I've been very excited to meet you ever since I saw your-" She trailed off, and gave me a confused look. "Are you alright? You look a little startled or shaken up."

I smiled nervously. "Yes, I was just a little overwhelmed with this whole process of grooming," I explained, "And the fact that you're not 100% pony," I added quietly.

She flicked her ear, and her tone turned a little sharply. "Yes, I'm well aware that I am part Changeling." She sighed. "I'm actually surprised that my parents decided to have in the first place, especially with the setting. They were all so busy fighting in the war for the crystal empire that one would think that there would be very little time for romance-" She cleared her throat and shook her head, shifting her tone dramatically. "Never mind my origin story, you probably don't need to hear about my parent's part in the revolt. Most ponies don't even know about it anyways!"

It was interesting though. I wanted to know what she had to say.

She walked closer to me and got a better look at my mane. I heard her mumbling to herself, and after a few moments she stepped back and nodded. "Well, the idea I had in mind will work perfectly. Would you like to see the dress before or after we do your makeup?"

I shifted my weight on my hooves, and thought before saying, "Um, after?"

She flew forwards on the tips of her front hooves, and exclaimed in a squeaky voice, "PERFECT!!"

Right after that happened the four other stylists returned to the room happily. I sighed, and reluctantly let them take me over to a chair surrounded by mirrors. They had only looked at Glimmer once before they went to work

It was like they already knew what to do. One of the stallions had started on the basic face makeup and one of the mares had started doing something to my mane. I could feel one of the other two ponies tugging at my tail, so I knew that they were doing something else. The fourth pony was polishing my hooves.

Before too long they had finished with all of the makeup, hair and general body maintenance, and when I saw it I was actually surprised. I had expected something overly girly, but the makeup was actually quite mature and rather bold. I could see that they had used a shimmery gold eyeshadow that faded into a silver or steel colored eyeshadow. There was a dark bronze line that was actually under the bottom of my eye and flared out in a simple design at the upper corner of my eye. Dark brown eyeliner was atop my upper eyelid and faded into the bronze one when they had met.

My mane had been pulled back out of my face with two braids that were pulled around my ears. The rest of my hair was down, but it was wavy and actually looked longer than It had before. A little chain had been placed around my forehead and looped around my horn. The top part of my tail had also been braided, though the style was not anything I could describe.

I liked what I saw, actually, and I was glad that it wasn't anything too girly. Though when I had seen the outfit she had made, it made me very happy. It was a sleek suit that shimmered with shades of gold, silver, and bronze. The neckline was in a 'v' and was lined with a sharp gold ribbon. Diamond-shaped holes led down the outsides of the front legs, showing just enough of my coat. My hooves were covered, but I could feel that there was something underneath them to not only make me taller but probably also to protect the fabric and the hooves. There was a decorated bronze backplate on the suit as well. Coming from underneath it though was a few layers of sheer grey fabric that flowed from my sides to past my tail.

It was sharp and fierce, but at the same time, it was still feminine. I probably couldn't be happier with the costume. It was somewhat diversely colored, and while it was actually quite simply designed, it would surely stand out. The designers seemed to like it, so I figured that I looked good.

"You look beautiful! It's even better than I had imagined!" Glimmer remarked excitedly. "I made sure the cape was a light enough material so that it would flow when you're moving on the chariot, which will only add to the appearance. The crowd should absolutely love you!"

I smiled shylyas I felt heat rush to my cheeks. We left the room shortly after that and we met up with Jockey. He looked equally magnificent, though his outfit wasn't as feminine. We looked like a pair, and I was actually proud that we did.

They pointed us towards our chariots, and we had a little bit of time before we would have to ride out. Being in the middle was nice, but the ones that are always remembered are the ones in the beginning or the end.

I walked over to the chariots and nodded to the two black stallions who would be pulling the cart with a decorated 6 engraved on it. The stallion's chest plates attached to their harnesses had the same 6 on it as well. I looked past the two colts and spotted Scale. He was looking out at the crowds through the tunnel that lay in front of us, not talking to any pony. The mare, Golden Quill, was nowhere to be seen. I thought for a moment before deciding to socialize with himself again. I trotted over to him gave him a nod. The corners of his mouth curled upwards just a little when he saw me, though this time his smile seemed much more devious.

I couldn't tell what his costume was, but I figured it had something to do with power, since his district was exactly that. Literally all I could see was that it was a bright, neon green jumpsuit. It had no frills, no sparkles, nothing.

"Oh Hi Terra. I'm glad I had a chance to talk to you." He cleared his through and looked slightly uncomfortable. "I wanted to thank you for that advice you gave me yesterday. I'll surely keep in it in mind when I power through the games."

I actually giggled at his comment, but it was more of a playful laugh instead of an 'oh you actually suck' laugh. "It's good to see that you're still confident in your skills. Perhaps you can teach me a thing or two about fighting?"

He snickered. "I just might. You're going to need all the help you can get if you're going to stand at least a little bit of a chance against me." He picked up his hoof and gave a coy expression. "Though we'll have to be careful if we do. There is a rumor going around that if I punch you while I'm angry, then I'll inject you with poison."

I flicked my ear at him and responded back with a litle smile, "Well, if it's true, then you really are a threat."

We laughed at each other. I don't know exactly why. It was so difficult to tell if he was pretending and being light-hearted, or if he genuinely was a dark pony deep inside.

I heard footsteps from behind him, and I turned to see a green pegasus trotting over. Her mane was composed of two colors, a turquoise and a light blue. Her costume was mixed with a shiny marble fabric as well as silver. In fact, it actually looked like real materials, which only made it look that much more expensive. She had a friendly smile on her face, though Scale looked wary of her.

"Hello you two, I'm Cherry Cloud, from district two." She snickered, "Oh hey, that rhymed."

"Why are you back here, instead of with the other career districts?" Scale asked firmly.

She shrugged. "Eh, well, I would surely like to try and get to know the other tributes before I choose an alliance."

He flicked his tail in annoyance. "I know that trick, it is done often. They try to befriend you and say that they want to have an alliance with you, and then they turn on you." Both Cherry and I had taken a step back, though her ears were flat against her head. "I won't fall for that trick." And with that, he turned and walked up into his chariot, his nose held high.

Cherry Cloud walked over to me, a look of sympathy on her face. "Was he like that when you met him?"

I shrugged. "Sort of. It seems like Scale's set on winning, and he's set on winning with as little help as possible."

"Oh well. Guess that's just the stallion in them," she said with a little chuckle. I looked over at Scale who had flicked his ear at us in annoyance, which only caused us to smirk. "Oh, I never caught your name by the way," she added.

"Oh, it's Terra North. Most ponies just call me Terra though," I said, smiling. While she might be from district 2, I could sense there was something different about her. She still had a powerful vibe in her like all of the other careers did, but at the same time, she seemed kind and more innocent than the others. She seemed. . . more sane.

"It's very nice to meet you, Terra," She replied, just after a little bell went off and echoed through the building. She gave a nod and quickly trotted back to her chariot in the front. "I look forward to competing with you."

We had about thirty seconds to get in our chariots, so choosing not to let my ride leave without me, I trotted back to my chariot and stepped inside at almost the exact same time that Jockey did. He had a weird smile on his face. Or at least it felt like a weird smile.

"Where were you?" I asked quickly.

"Talking to the pairs from district eight and nine. They seem like a good group, so we should see if we can join them in an alliance."

"But we don't know them."

"They seem responsible and strong, which would make them a good alliance. And besides, you don't know the creepy stallion from district 5 either!"

I gave him an annoyed look as our chariot started to slowly roll forwards.

"Look, ponies in lower income districts tend to be much saner, or at least when the games start," he remarked.

"That's just a stereotype and you know it," I countered. Part of me didn't know why I was defending him anyway.

"Then why do you believe it too?" He said loudly.

The sunlight hit our faces and interrupted our argument. We put the argument aside, though I knew that we would talk about it later. And besides, we had 7 days of 8 hour training before the games. It would be plenty of time to meet others and develop skills, not to mention we always had individual training time with our mentors after dinner.

Pushing that aside, we came in front of the crowds, and I held my head high. I nodded at the audience and acknowledged them, giving them good smiles. When I saw the cape hanging from my back, it really did flow out behind us, and in fact, it actually looked like metal that had flown out of our costumes and faded away. It was very cool looking. The crowd was constantly cheering and hollering, tossing flowers about to all of the tributes. I had managed to grab a stray bouquet of flowers, and levitated them at my side the rest of the parade, even though I didn't wave. The ride was long and slow, but it was kind of nice to feel loved and admired by so many.

I looked at Scale's chariot, and saw that the two costumes were glowing brightly. Their costumes lit up, and I found myself trying to figure out if it was meant to represent a light bulb or to show radio-activity. Well, whatever it was, they sure stood out, and it made me a little frustrated that we were behind them.

We reached the circle in front of Discord's stand, and our chariot pulled into a specific spot. We were next to district four and district eight, whom Jockey gave a good wave to. The dark blue mare gave a wave back, and that was when I realized that the two of the ponies standing in the chariot labeled '8' were the ponies we had seen in the lobby.

I blinked at them and then turned to watch the tall draconequus, smiling deviously as he stood on his pedestal. I hated him. I hated everything he did. Everything he stood for. I did not like Discord in any way, shape or form.

"Well, good afternoon ponies, creatures and tributes. I'm very glad to see that we have a strong amount of volunteers this year for the thirty-fourth year of our Hunger Games. As always I wish all of you good luck, and I remain eager to see which one of you lucky mares or colts shall reign victorious over your competitors." He was scanning us, and he was looking at all of us in the eyes. However, the last person he laid eyes on was actually me. "As long as you all abide by the rules," he added, his tone darkening. He turned away from the tributes with a chuckle and this time addressed the crowd. "For yet another year, I do say with delight, 'Happy Hunger Games!'" The crowd cheered and roared to life yet again as the chariots moved forwards into the door that rested underneath his booth.

Once we had made our way inside and all the chariots parked were we able to get off our chariots. We were met with our smiling mentors who were telling us 'good job' and 'you looked powerful' and 'the stylist made you look amazing.' But I only blocked out the compliments and focused on what Discord had said. It was like he knew something was up, or that something was going to happen. Did he? why did he look at me? I hoped that it was just my imagination and that nothing out of the ordinary would happen; oh sweet Celestia how I hoped nothing did. Because if something significant happened in that arena other than me dying, then we would surely be in for a hoof-full of chaos. And chaos was something that Discord was very good at and something that no-pony wanted.

Author's Note:

So the maturity level has gone up a little in this chapter.
It will probably keep building as the story goes,
but I can try my hardest to keep it down if people start saying it's uncomfortable.

I also hope you all liked the chariots!

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