Knights of Little Canterlot by AlmanacPony
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Adventures of Shockie Sparkle

 




 

The city of Pegasdale loomed before the mareish colt as he buzzed along excitedly. The wind ruffled his feathers, the sun shone brightly, and after a good sleep the previous night, Shockie was certain that nothing could dampen his spirits.

Shockie Sparkle was a young Pegasus. His build was mareish in nature, lithe and supple. His coat was a pale orange, almost yellow, and his eyes were a deep and regal blue. His mane stood out as a simple teal with a single orange streak that ran from fringe to tip at the back of his neck. The same applied to his tail.

As the young stallion looked over the city he couldn’t help but compare it to his home city of Aerie.

Aerie was the central hub for the eastern trade-lines and several times bigger than Cloudsdale, and several more times larger than Pegasdale in front of him. Considered one of the largest Pegasus cities in the world, Aerie boasted a some forty-million inhabitants and buildings known as cloudscrapers, the largest Pegasus build buildings of their kind, all supported on a vast interchanging networks of strong storm clouds. Beneath the city a never ending storm of rain and lightning raged, controlled and used to harvest electricity from the lightning, it was said to be both dangerous, but also incredibly beautiful. The constant wash of rain and lightning electrified the landscape and caused special crystals on the ground to react and keep the air charged, producing a myriad of colours equivalent to a constant aurar borealis that span and shone beneath the city. Near the edge of the city it was possible to hear the constant crack of lightning below, and it was on the quietest days that Shockie found he missed the sound.

The city before him was nothing like Aerial. It was more akin to Cloudsdale in style. Its fluffy white clouds supporting its inhabitants, several levels of living were already able to be seen, likely focusing on a class system based on the levels that one could live, with the richest living at the highest points. The one thing this city had in its name though, were the Spires of Elysium. Famed for their beauty, they were created from ionised marble. The material often too heavy to be used on clouds, this one was magically enhanced. It and the coliseum were among the first buildings in any Pegasus city to be designed out of a non-cloud material, and with none-Pegasus in mind. The clouds were specially charged and the water from the clouds were drained into the concrete mixture that held the marble together, creating a building that was capable of standing on the clouds, but also majestic and beautiful. The magically charged material shone and sparked oddly in the light of the sun, glowing softly at night and often spat out a shock of sparkling colours of magic. The spires shot out of their coliseum that was situated in the middle level of Clouds, available for all classes to attend. The spires were the symbol of Pegasdale, and reached to almost cloudscraper levels of height. As small and quaint the place was for a city, Shockie had to admit the Spires of Elysium were beautiful, and the perfect place to host this year’s Equestria Games.

Shockie was already entering the city and landing down on one of the cobbled streets. A few of the cities around had started designing places and walkways that non-Pegasus could walk on, and doing so had started reaping benefits for the city. Trade ponies of Unicorn and Earth Pony were finally able to attend the cities, meaning a wider change in the produce and trinkets available, as well as a few culture meshes.

The buzz in the air was tangible as the young stallion walked through into the bustling market. The hum of activity showed the prosperity of the town as stalls and carts lined the streets, selling all forms of wares from produce to jewellery. Ponies of all kinda dotted around between such stalls; Pegasus, Unicorn and Earth Ponies, he was even shocked to see a store or two that held a Zebra. They were not common at all round these parts all, but it seemed even they were here to see the Equestria Games.

This was only the second time that the city had ever hosted the games, the coliseum otherwise being used for concerts and special occasions if royalty ever visited. Which was more often than most would think; a certain Prince Blueblood was a regular attendee of Pegasdale. In fact, Prince Blueblood was scheduled to host the Games this year.

All of this information was plastered around on billboards, signs and posters on various walls, and Shockie couldn’t help but feel anticipation of getting to meet a member of the Royal family. Though he doubted he could get close.

It was as such a thought entered his mind that a commotion from nearby drew the young stallions gaze. His eyes looked down a street to the left in time to watch a large carriage begin to role itself up over the cobbled stones. The carriage was pulled by Pegasus donned in emerald green armour that was so ornate that it was not only painful to look upon due to the colour, but the design looked painful and heavy to wear. Indeed, the guards were tired, panting and looking rather grumpy.

The carriage soon came to a complete stop and the panting stallions looked ready to collapse, but eternally greatly for the break. The doors opened and a scurry of hooves could be seen as a smaller and younger stallion –looking barely into his late teens- ran to the foot of the open door and threw himself on the ground, just in time for a hoof to come down and stand on his back. Shockie watched as a white coated unicorn stallion used the other pony as a step and lowered himself down onto the cobbled street. He was tall; his mane flowed in a perfect prissy blond wave that cushioned around his neck softly. His horn was larger than some unicorn’s Shockie had seen, and he held his head with an air of complete dignity. His eyes were closed as he stepped down, he turned his head and when they opened, Shockie watched as his piercing blue eyes were revealed, the colt’s eyes widening. The stallion was EXTREMELY handsome…but something about him was…off.

The moment he exited, a rabble of admirers ran over to him, shoving papers into his face for him to sign. Many of them were young colts and fillies, teenagers. They would look a similar age to Shockie, though he was actually older, he just didn’t look it. The admirers crowded round the prince whose eyes widened, his right hoof lifted as though in disgust and he shook his head, his nose high in the air.

“Oh my! No, no, and again, no. Somepony get these commoners away from me.” His voice was nasally and pompous, his nose upturned away from the rabble before him.

Guards emblazoned in green armour pushed through the crowd and pushed the admirers back, all of which looked hurt as the Prince coward away from them, seeming to shudder in disgust.

Prince Blueblood turned to the young guard he’d used as a stool, the young stallion looked to have a grey coat like the other stallions and yellow eyes. His tail was a trail of yellow and red, but his fake mane was only white as his own was hidden under the helmet.

“You there, go fetch me something from the stalls that will win me favour in this place.” He said snootily. “I have been instructed that I must adorn something of a common garb to honour all the classes, but I refuse to wear something big, a cheap piece of jewellery would do. I do not want to be infected by their common ails.” Prince Blueblood shuddered and looked grumpy as the guard ran off to do as asked.

Shockie stood there as the rabble of admirers finally thinned before dispersing completely. The guard returned eventually and ran up to Blueblood, his hoof held out holding a bracelet. The prince looked down at it and seemed to recoil in fear.

“No you fool! At least wash it first, what if I get their common germs?!” He Demanded, the guard sighing and grumbling before turning to take the bracelet away.

Shockie approached slowly. “Why do you need the bracelet, sir?” He asked shyly, but curious enough to learn.

The Prince didn’t even look at who was speaking.

“I am hosting the Equestria Games, a royal honour and a duty that I must perform sometimes. But as commoners can enter as much as anypony with class, I must honour all the classes no matter how repugnant they are.” He said loftily. “I am forced to therefor wear a representation of the lower classes and a bracelet shall do. At least I shall not have to wear it for long.” He said, his eyes opening and for the first time actually looking at Shockie.

The mareish stallion tried to give a nice smile but the Prince only seemed to recoil and trip over, he fell onto his back and let out a yell.

“No! I have been injured!” He cried out dramatically. Shockie looked around in a confused daze, how had just falling over hurt him? What had made him fall over at all? Was it him?

“I-I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to.” He held out a hoof to try and help the prince up only for one of his hooves to catch on a coble stone. He tripped over and suddenly fell on top of the prince.

Prince Blueblood screamed.

His cry pierced out as he pushed Shockie off, pushing him into a slight puddle nearby, making the mareish stallion yelp. The Prince shook himself and jumped into his carriage frantically as though he were being attacked.

“Get me out of here you fools! I am surrounded by commoners!” He demanded. The carriage sped off just as the young guard finally returned. His hooves were wet and some red fur seemed to be at the tips. He watched the carriage speed away and his eyes widened.

“W-wait!” He called out and galloped after them calling out in an attempt to make them stop.

That was one of the most interesting experiences Shockie had ever had, though not the first negative one. He sighed to himself, shaking his back hoof that had caught on the cobble stone. Honestly, this path was extremely well done and the cobbles barely stuck out at all. It was almost smooth and yet he’d still somehow tripped over. He grumbled to himself as he headed towards the stalls, hoping he could find something to make him forget how clumsy he could be sometimes.

The stalls were lavished with produce and fantastic products. Jewellery and rare fruits and crystals and gems lined along some of the more extravagant tables.

Shockie smiled and paid a few bits for a new kind of fruit found in the far-east apparently, it was green and weirdly shaped. He looked over it, took a single bite and squealed as it turned out to somehow be spicy. He gulped some water that the stall owner offered him, only to have to pay for that too. He walked away grumbling slightly before his eyes fell upon the coliseum.

He had travelled through the main street without realising it, and stood at the steps that led up to the middle section, and on that middle section was a singular building, large and round and majestic, held up by supporting marble pillars that gave it an archaic design but the material shined and looked polished that made the entire building seem ethereal in nature. The sun beat down and reflected off of the white stone, making it almost hard to look at. The annoyance in Shockie disappeared as the mareish colt bounded towards the steps, excitement running through him.

Reaching the top of the stairs only made his jaw drop though. The coliseum had seemed close from the bottom of the steps, but that was only because of how massive it was. It was actually quite a distance away and up another larger set of stairs. He bounded towards it only to be stopped by a pair of security stallions wearing blue outfits.

“The coliseum is closed during preparations, I’m sorry but you can’t go in there-” He hesitated for a moment, gulped, and arced his head slightly as though to look a bit around Shockie only to cough slightly when righting himself, “-Sir.” He finished awkwardly.

Shockie Sparkle’s expression flat-lined and he grumbled turning and walking away. He had arrived far too early; he wondered what he was supposed to do in the meantime. There weren’t much entertainment here in the town centre, a few puppet shows maybe, but he wasn’t in the mood for them. It was as he walked away that he heard something. Nearby there was some muttering and grumbling as well from a voice that sounded vaguely familiar. Shockie turned a corner and saw the same young stallion guard as before. He was washing the bracelet again in the fountain water.

Shockie approached curiously, the fountain was beautifully engraved with a mare standing on her hind legs and shooting the fountain water out of her mouth, it was quite beautiful and a passing thought through his mind had him wondering what the fountain was made out of. Likely that charged cloud marble that the other buildings were.

“Hello.” He greeted cheerfully. The other stallion obviously hadn’t heard him approaching, because the sound of Shockie’s voice made him jump and stumble, with a yelp the guard fell over backwards into the water. Shockie eeped when the other stallion fell in, galloping over to the fountain to see if he was alright.

“Are you okay?” He asked sounding concerned. He saw the water turning a grey as oil seemed to be washing out of the stallions coat leaving a vivid red coloured fur in its place.

“I’m fine.” He grumbled and climbed out of the water, shaking himself dry; he looked at his coat and sighed.

“Is that dye?” Shockie asked curiously, looking over the stallion. Although Shockie was older, they were both roughly the same size. Despite being adorned in green armour, the Pegasus in front of him now sported a strong red coat, some of his mane had flipped out from under his helm and proved to be a shade of red and yellow, just like his tail.

“It’s cheap dye.” He grumbled. “Royal Guards dye their coats.” He grumbled.

“But what if it rains?”

The stallion sighed. “They have BETTER dye. It’s water resistant. Mine however, is cheap and I’m not paid enough to get better stuff because Prince BlueBUTT is about as generous as a griffon’s hide!” He growled, obviously finding the subject an irksome one.

“S-sorry.” Shockie pouted. “What’s with the armour?” He asked curiously.

The guard shrugged and said, “Prince BlueBUTT designed it.” He looked at it and grumbled. “It’s uncomfortably tight round the middle, the helmet is WAY too heavy and small around the inside, and there is no need for all these spirals put on it.” He sighed and looked down at the bracelet he still held in his hoof. He grumbled and began trying to wash it again.

“Didn’t you wash that already?” Shockie asked, sitting nearby, trying to come up with some sort of conversation if it was possible.

He sighed and shrugged. “Apparently it wasn’t clean enough, and I should bring it back bound in a cloth so it doesn’t have my ‘common’ hooves upon it before he has to wear it.” He said through gritted teeth.

“What’s your name? I’m Shockie.” He said chirpily.

“Summer.” He shrugged. “Shockie’s a weird name for a mare.” He shrugged.

Shockie seemed to puff up at that.

“For your information, I’m a stallion.” He said grumpily. He’d often been confused for a mare at first, and it was starting to get quite irksome.

“Oh, sorry!” Summer gasped, his cheeks reddening. “I…just assumed and...” He blushed. “Sorry.” He gulped, only relaxing when Shockie waved a hoof in dismissal with a sigh.

“It’s okay. Why are you with Prince Blueblood then if you don’t like working for him?”

Summer sighed at that and shrugged. “I wanna be a Royal Guard. And this is good experience, I did the academy, but they said I was too small and should wait till I was older. But if I do this, and I go in, I might be able to become a high rank and maybe even reach Captain one day!” He said, his eyes lighting up at the concept of being a Captain of the Royal Guard.

Shockie smiled, it was nice to see a pony so passionate about something.

“Well I think you’ll make a great Royal Guard.” He giggled. “Have you ever seen the Equestria Games before?” He asked the stallion curiously; happy they seemed to be becoming friends already.

“Nah, I wasn’t really able to.” He shrugged. “It was always in places I could never get to in time. But now I’m here, and I’m kinda excited.” He chuckled, still washing the bracelet. When he thought it was finally done, he sighed and wrapped it in a clean cloth. “Well I kinda gotta go now.” He smiled, turning to Shockie who simply nodded.

“I hope to see you around.” Shockie smiled and turned away, making his way back to the stairs that lead to the main street. He was happy to have made a new friend.

The next few hours were spent at the puppet shows. He wasn’t much in the mood for them, but they were common in these areas and he was happy for the entertainment that could waste a little time.

It was after another two hours that trumpets began to blare from the coliseum. Looking around he noticed stallions and mares heading in that direction so Shockie figured that meant they were finally allowed in.

Following the crowd, they walked the distance of the main street, up the stairs, over the platform, up another set of stairs that were still guarded by the same security guards dressed in blue as before, only to come across the large red carpet of the higher classes.

The coliseum was certainly designed to house both the upper and lower class, but the upper class certainly got the better of it. The upper class were allowed to enter the building first, their entrance arriving on a beautiful embroided red carpet that was as supportive as stone, but felt like clouds underhoof.

They wore gorgeous suits and the stallions often wore monocles. They seemed the height of pretention as they walked by, many with their noses held snootily up in the air. Shockie heard himself audibly sigh. He’d been many places, Canterlot, Cloudsdale, and even Manehatten; in his travels he’d come to realise something unfortunately true. The rich were the same regardless of where they were found.

Once the upper class were in, the rest were let through the doors. Thankfully the coliseum was designed to house tens of thousands, and that meant plenty of seats for everypony.

Shockie found a seat on the lower stands so he could get a good view, and sat down, his tail flicking about in excitement as he waited.

Waiting seemed to be all he was doing for quite a while. He kept on his seat, and his excitement seemed to dull as the seats filled up and up, until the entire coliseum was full to the brim with spectators, but nothing had yet began.

He felt like his legs had fallen asleep, so he decided to go take a walk. He reserved his seat and headed out, wondering what he might find if he went exploring a bit. Walking out and around the stands he found a path that was quite deserted that seemed to run around the entire building. This might be a good way of seeing all the action from different angles, so he decided to venture fourth and find out where such a path lead.

He’d managed to walk halfway round the entire coliseum before a trumpet sounded. He squealed happily and rushed out to a balcony to see what was going on. He hung over the edge precariously, watching as the trumpets sounded and a brass band erupted into the coliseum, their music soon met with a cacophony of cheers from the stands that almost drown them out.

Shockie joined his cheers with the rest, raising his hooves high in applaud before he yelped, stumbling and falling over the edge. Shockie felt his world tumble and seem to slow as he began to fall, his eyes wide and his wings splayed in an effort to catch the wind and pull himself out of the fall, but he was backwards, his wings flipped down to his hooves and he fell like a stone. The sky and balcony rushed away from the stallion as the wind whistled into his ear before a dull thud sent his world black.

Shockie’s unconscious state didn’t last long though. As the dull throb of the world around him soon calmed down to a light haze he felt himself being shaken awake, lying on something that was both soft, and uncomfortable. Grumbling, the stallion looked around in confusion.

“Wha-?” He asked, shaking his head in an effort to clear the fog.

“You dolt!” Said an angry voice as he was pulled off of whatever he was lying on. Stumbling momentarily he looked back, eeping when he saw a crumpled stallion laying there on the floor, his wing at an odd angle as he groaned. He’d fallen and landed on somepony, and they looked hurt.

“Oh no, are you okay?” He asked in concern, running over hoping to offer any form of aid. He was stopped by a pair of hooves that cut off his path before he could even get close. Glaring golden-brown eyes stared at him from under a stern brow and a spiked fiery orange mane.

Shockie recognised the mare for a moment but couldn’t remember where from until he noticed the uniforms, his blood went cold as he saw the blue streaked with yellow tight suits. He gulped.

The Wonderbolts.

He’d just hurt one of the Wonderbolt members, and right in front of him was a very upset Spitfire.

He looked around her and saw that the pony he’d hurt was a white maned mare, her hood on her outfit was down and her coat was a light blue.

Fleetfoot.

“Oh no.” He said as his cheeks. The thought that he might have just ruined the best team in the games flashed through his mind before logic calmed him down. They were the Wonderbolts, there were more members than this, and surely they had a backup…right?

“What in Celestia’s name do you think you’re doing?!” She barked loudly. “You just hurt my team member!”

Shockie gulped, finding the mare to be quite frightening when angry. “I-I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to.”

Spitfire turned to Soarin, the other Wonderbolt member who currently sat beside the injured Fleetfoot. “We have to contact Rapidfire, we need a third member.”

Soarin sighed. “Rapidfire’s with his family, his mare’s gonna have a foal.” He said softly, knowing the news wasn’t good.

Spitfire’s eyes widened. “Blaze?” She asked, as through grasping at straws.

“You know she can’t.” Soarin said, shrugging.

“Fire Streak? High Winds? Lightning Steak? Misty Fly? Silver Lining?” She asked rapidly, her eyes growing wide as Soarin only shook his head.

“There’s only us, Spitfire.” He said, his face taking on a sullen expression. The stallion sighed softly as he looked down at Fleetfoot. “If we can’t find a replacement within the next twenty minutes, we’re out of the games.”

Shockie’s eyes went as wide as Spitfires at that point. He hated feeling like he’d ruined the best team’s chance at even competing. He looked around, wondering if any nearby Pegasus would volunteer but they all seemed to be shrinking away, as though afraid of getting picked. He gulped.

“I...erm...I could do it.”

Spitfire rounded on him in an instant, her face dangerously close to his own as she stepped up in front of him.

“You’ve done enough!” She shouted, panting heavily in her distress. A hoof pressed softly on the mares shoulder and the touch seemed to calm her down for a moment. Turning her head Spitfire looked at Soarin who kindly smiled before turning his attention to Shockie.

“What’s your name?” He asked curiously, not a hint of animosity in the tone he used, which in itself made Shockie feel both calmer, and confused.

“S-Shockie…Shockie Sparkle.” He said shyly, his front right hoof shuffling gently on the ground as he stood there, feeling incredibly nervous.

“Well Shockie, are you a good flyer?” He queried, looking quite interested in the answer.

“I suppose. I mean, I’m traveling and fly every day, I’m okay at speed and…I can fly upside down.” He said, not knowing if that would be useful information or not. He had no idea what might be expected of him and quite frankly, he was somewhat scared to find out. But he HAD put them in this situation, and he wanted to help make it right anyway he could…even if it meant embarrassing himself.

“Not sure we’d need that.” Soarin chuckled. “But we do need a third flyer, and every other Pegasus seems to have left the building.” He sighed, looking around at the now empty area.

“I don’t want him, Soarin.” Spitfire said firmly, her brow furrowing. She didn’t seem as distressed as before, but she certainly seemed angry.

“Well it’s that or we don’t get to compete at all.” He said firmly, looking at her expectantly.

Spitfire looked conflicted. She seemed to look around, hoping that a different option would present itself before defeat seemed to take her.

“Fine,” she grumbled. “But I’m not happy about this.” She said, stalking over to Fleetfoot and helping her up. “Let’s get you to the infirmary.” She said softly.

Soarin turned to Shockie and smiled. “And let’s get YOU an outfit.” He grinned. “Follow me, Shockie.”

Shockie was lead through a few doors, down a corridor and into some changing rooms. The place was what you’d expect in any athletic area; benches were situated in the middle of the room, lockers lined the walls, showers were behind a wall partition and the distinct scent of body odour filled the air, it was musky and almost dizzying, but Shockie did his best to ignore it. Soarin seemed to not even notice it at all.

“Here ya go.” He smiled, opening up a locker and offering over an outfit. “It’s a little tight, but you’ll get used to it.” The stallion said as a bright smile spread on his face.

Shockie gulped as he took the outfit. He made sure to shower first and get his mane under control before he began pulling on the outfit, slipping his hooves in one at a time. Soarin helped him zip it up and when all was done the mareish colt stood in front of a large mirror, barely recognising himself as he stood there wearing the blue and yellow streaked Wonderbolts uniform.

“Cool ain’t it.” Soarin smirked. “I remember wearing it for the first time, I remember thinking I looked pretty good.” He chuckled.

Shockie flushed slightly. “Everypony’s gonna think I’m a mare.” He gulped, noticing that as long as he was covered full body, there really was nothing that showed he was a stallion. The outfit accentuated his curves, hugged his rump and embarrassingly made him feel slightly…pretty.

“Oh relax. I know a few mares that like feminine curves on a colt.” Soarin chuckled, his words bringing an even deeper flush to Shockie’s face. “You got yaself a marefriend?” The stallion asked curiously as they packed away the rest of the stuff.

“N-no.” He gulped. “I mean…there is one, back in a town I visited, a unicorn…erm...but I dunno. She’s probably moved on by now.” He said, looking a little down, turning away from Soarin.

“Wow, why not just go see her again?” He asked curiously, both of them exiting the changing room.

“I dunno, I really like my adventures.” Shockie said, grinning happily now. “I love exploring and finding new things and meeting new ponies.” He smiled happily.

Soarin seemed to just chuckle at that. “Well, this’ll probably be an adventure to remember.”

Shockie wondered if he’d be right as he stepped up to join the rest of the contestants. They were now in the prepping area; all three of them standing together with Spitfire refusing to even glance at Shockie, a fact that only made him feel even worse about the previous accident. Looking around to distract himself he let his gaze run over the other contestants. A few here and there were Pegasus, and some were Unicorns and Earth Ponies. He smiled at that; he was thankful that, despite the location, the other races would be allowed to perform. Shockie looked back to the main gate doors, they would open soon and they’d get to go outside into the stadium. This might actually be quite fun.

His thoughts cut off as the doors opened up. Bright light flushed in and Shockie momentarily had to cover his eyes with a hoof, when his vision adjusted he was bombarded with a massive sounding cheer from outside. His stomach plummeted. Knowing that there were going to be hundreds of thousands of ponies watching did nothing for the preparation of actually being watched, of the weight of that expectation…and he was standing in as a WONDERBOLT! This had probably been a very bad idea.

Everypony that was competing stepped out onto the field. The arena was massive, and able to house multiple events going at once. The roar of the crowd was so massive that it drowned out any other sound to Shockie’s ears, filling him with more nerves than he’d had to endure before.

“Is...erm...it normal to feel nervous?” He asked shyly of Spitfire and Soarin. Spitfire simply ignored his question and Soarin only gave a half awkward smile.

“Time to show what you can do, just stay beside us.” Soarin said before both he and Spitfire prepared to fly. Their wings were spread, their hunches down, their rumps up and they both had looks of determination as they gazed outside, waiting for the right moment. Shockie mimicked their movements, poising himself ready to move the moment they did. Suddenly, they all leapt out, Shockie leaping out a bit late, but not late enough to ruin the formation. He flew alongside them as they tore out of the doorway and into the cheering cries of the crowd surrounding them. The wind through his feathers felt good as they soared up into the sky. The mareish colt almost lost himself in the sensation, steadily closing his eyes to enjoy it before he realised the others had turned and he’d simply kept on going. He eeped and flew up and around, looping back around and down, but he didn’t barrel to straighten himself out like others would, instead he simply flew upside down, flying down with gravity until he was under the other Wonderbolts and slowly righted himself, suddenly realising he was ahead of them a bit, in the middle, where Spitfire was supposed to be. But for some reason the other two fell into formation and slowly they landed, a cheer rising up at the show.

He was panting, looked around, smiling broadly before waving gleefully. A hoof grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him, Spitfires golden eyes glared at him and his glee vanished in a puff of smoke.

“Don’t ever take my spot again.” She said firmly, getting closer with each syllable of her words until their noses were almost touching. She turned away in a huff and stood off to one side by their flag.

“Wow, Shockie, nice recovery. You should have stayed with us, but you did good anyway. But flying upside down? How’d you manage that?” Soarin asked curiously, not at all seeming bothered by Spitfire’s hostility.

The three of them trotted to an area near one of the racing sections, the other contestants soon lining up as well.

Shockie looked around and saw the other contestants lining up, their banners out representing what area they’d come from. The place was larger than he’d expected it to be from the ground, so many areas for different events littered the field it had him a bit worried about his own performances. Shockie was in 5 different events.

The other events were:

‘Swimming’,

‘Hoopball’ (which was the Pegasus equivalent to ‘Hoofball’),

‘Aerial Relay’,

The ‘Hoop Race’,

And ‘Artistic Flying’ which was a three part event that Shockie would have to compete in solo.

He wasn’t really sure how he felt about doing an event by himself, but every contestant had to do a solo event, and ‘Artistic Flying’ was the only event he had any idea on how to do. He wasn’t even certain he could pull that off, his method of flying wasn’t so much artistic, as it was considered…weird.

“Welcome to the Equestria Games!” A mare’s voice called out. It was stout voice belonging to a proper lady. The mare talking into the microphone had a coat of brilliant orange, a mane of light gold and cornflower blue eyes that gazed out from under a stern and serious brow. She wore a greyish mulberry with a light magenta polo neck.

This was Ms Harshwhinny, the Equestria Games Inspector and Host.

“Welcome one and all to the city of Pegasdale for the beginning of the annual Equestria Games. So, without further ado, let the Games begin!” She called out, the spark and burst of hot flame erupting from the torch punctuating her announcement.

Shockie marvelled, looking to the large ornate torch that was the symbol of the Equestria Games. He smiled, able to feel its warmth even from where he stood, despite its distance away up on its pedestal.

“The first event,” Ms Harshwhinny began, “is the Relay Race. The contestants are The Wonderbolts, representing the city of Canterlot of Equestria, the Firewings, representing the City of Manehatten of Equestria, and the Yangin Kanat, representing the Tuy Rachis of Kartal.” She called out, her voice reverberating around the stadium. The final team she introduced with the weird names were from the Griffon territories.

Shockie looked them over; two of them were strong and lean but a smaller one was with them, he seemed younger than the others, and his wing plumage was black rather than the gold of the other two. His beak was smaller too, he was either younger, or simply a smaller breed. But he looked fast, and that made Shockie uneasy. He turned away from the group and looked towards the announcer’s stage where a stallion walked up in uniform as Ms Harshwhinny walked off the pitch.

“Teams, to your stations!” He called out. He was a Pegasus himself, with a suit and a moustache, and his voice was gruff and strong, yet carried across the pitch.

Shockie and his team went to the race pitch and found themselves in the middle between the other two teams, the Firewings on his right, and the Yangin Kanat on his left. He glanced to his left to check them out, only for the stallions eyes to widen and a light meep of shock exclaim from his lips. The smaller griffon of the three was staring right at him, his eyes narrowed, his mouth twisted into an amused grin, and an air of smugness surrounding him. That feather-brain was not friendly.

It was something that the mareish stallion could have done without knowing, and the knowledge itself did nothing to help him towards being confident for the race. With a light gulp, he tried to focus on what he’d have to do.

“The relay race shall be explained as follows. The first of your teams will race off the finish line, two staying back. You will pick from the ground there,” he called, pointing towards an area on the pitch around 5 meters in front of them where some golden horseshoes lay. “Your teams golden horseshoes, without dropping them, you will race around the track, passing the horseshoe to a second teammate, and then the third. The winners are decided based on standard race rules, whoever passes the finish line first.” He finished, raising a chequered flag.

This was the signal for the teams to get ready. Soarin got ready. The idea was for him to try and pull ahead, and then for Shockie to go second. If Shockie fell behind, then Spitfire could at least use her greater speed to push ahead, and if they were lucky, still come out first, if not, they hoped for second. Or at least, he and Soarin hoped for second, Spitfire had refused to accept any opinion other than them winning.

The flag suddenly dropped fast and Soarin darted out in a shot. He snatched up the Golden Horseshoe in a blue and rocketed around the pitch fast. The Firewings seemed to have chosen their fastest flier who was just keeping up with Soarin, while the griffon team’s choice seemed to be one of the larger ones. He was unfortunately falling behind. Shockie was happy about this, hoping it meant the griffon team wouldn’t be as much of a threat as he initially thought they were; this smugness unfortunately did not last. A single glance to his left told him his fears were well and truly firm as his eyes met the smaller griffons again. The look that griffon gave was one of pure malevolent confidence. It was a look that set a lump in his throat.

He was so distracted by this he yelped when Soarin came close and shoved the horseshoe into his hooves. He eeped and dashed off as fast as he could, which unfortunately wasn’t very fast. He was halfway due to the head start by Soarin’s speed when he was overtaken by the Firewing racer. He panted and flapped harder, and was already three-quarters before the griffon team managed to head off. But this griffon was much faster, batting his heavy wings powerfully and scouring through the skies around the pitch, fast closing on them.

By the time the Firewing racer had passed on to their third teammate who was then off, the griffon had already matched up to Shockie’s side. They exchanged horseshoes at the same time, and suddenly Spitfire was off, but so was the smallest griffon.

Spitfire was nothing but a blur, her wings buzzing intensely, an ionised black cloud of charged cloud energy erupting from her hooves as she soared around the pitch, and to all watching it seemed she could not possibly be matched…but the griffon WAS matching.

The small griffon was right there with her, side by side, smirking at her, his wings beating powerfully and his body arching forward. The Firewing’s racer seemed to have been left behind, overlapped before he even reached halfway around the pitch. This wasn’t a race of three teams anymore, this was a Pegasus versus Griffon race, and the Griffons had brought their best.

Shockie watched with wide eyes as he saw Spitfire start to sweat; she was three-quarters the way round now, closing in on the finish line. Out of nowhere the griffon put on a massive burst of speed and suddenly he was ahead of her. Spitfire seemed to dig deep and suddenly she was gaining, they were side by side before they both passed the finish line. The griffon landed on the ground with a skid, its claws tearing up the turf as it stopped, seemingly not even out of breath. Spitfire however fell. She struck the ground, rolled and lay still.

“SPITFIRE!” Soarin’s voice jumped Shockie out of his daze. The Wonderbolt stallion flew over to Spitfire and the mareish colt could only join, worried at what had happened.

“I’m okay.” Spitfire groaned, getting up on shaky hooves and shaking her mane of grass. “How’d I do?” She asked, looking up at the display as it flashed on. There was a freeze-frame; Spitfire had won, crossing the finish line by a nose in front of the griffon. It had been closer than anypony could believe.

Spitfire turned from them to the griffons. The fire coloured mare was roughed up, panting, and her wings looked sore and strained, but the griffon looked in perfect shape. The larger ones seemed like they might have been out of breath at one point, but had no regained their composure, but the smallest one scared her. His wings looked freshly preened, and he looked like he could go another six laps at the same speed.

The small one looked to their team, its eyes narrowing from Spitfire, to Soarin and finally falling on Shockie, a malevolence that had a shiver running down Shockie’s spine penetrated the mareish colt and had him feeling the need to whimper and curl up.

“He’s going to be a problem.” Shockie said, trying hard not to show his fear in his voice.

“No, YOU are the problem!” Spitfire shouted suddenly, rounding on him with a fury, her nose soon pressed squarely against his. “He only matched me when he set off as I did, which wouldn’t have happened if you were faster!” She exclaimed. “Their other members were slow, I’d have been halfway around the pitch by the time he set off if you had of picked up the pace!”

Shockie stood there as she turned and stormed away, his ears flattened and he looked to the ground feeling ashamed. As he stood there a wing gently rested on his back and he slowly looked up into the eyes of Soarin.

“Relax, we won. You’ll grow on her.” He smiled kindly, shrugging and walking Shockie back inside.

 

*

 

The white puffy clouds rolled overhead through the open blue as Shockie Sparkle looked up from the field. It was three hours since the relay race and once again he stood upon the pitch, ready for his next event. Hoopball.

The game was simple. Three teams competed, and in their category, those three teams were still the Wonderbolts, the Firewing’s, and the Yangin Kanat. The pitch was set out in a triangle, with a single small hoop set at each point. The competitors had to fly the entire time, touching the ground was forbidden, so it was as much a test of endurance, as it was of skill in the game. The aim was to get the ball through any of the enemy hoops. There were some handling rules; the ball could only be transferred from one player to the next whilst in free motion, so tackling the ball from an opposing player wasn’t allowed. Players had to intercept the ball while passing; this meant blocking procedures and manoeuvres were required, as the ball could only be held with one particular player for a total of three seconds. After those three seconds, a player wasn’t allowed to move until they passed the ball to another player, which gave opposing teams the chance to intercept. If however something happened and the ball fell to the ground, the team of the player that dropped the ball received a penalty, where a point was deducted from that teams overall score. Each time a player scored, it was worth one point for their team. The first team to five wins the game.

Shockie used to play on one of his school teams back when he was younger, but such junior friendly competitions did not prepare him for the sight when on the field. The pitch at his school had been long enough that in three seconds a fast flier could easily get from one end to the other, but here the pitch was three times the size. It stretched halfway down the entire stadium and would take at least eight seconds to traverse at top speed, and that was while being chased, blocked and tactically challenged, and with three teams all playing the field against each other, it made it extremely hard for even the most veteran of players to keep entirely aware of everything going on, which was the main aspect of the game. The best players were never the fastest or the smartest, they were simply the ones with the best eyes for spotting who was around them, and where each opposing team were going.

Shockie, unfortunately, had a difficult time reading and following directions written on a map, let alone following what every player was doing at each time on a field. This was going to be a difficult game.

The field was split up in triangle lines, one of which segmented off the goal area from the middle of the pitch on all team sides. Each team started behind that line on their respective sides and were not allowed to move beyond it till the ball was in motion. They had to choose one star player among them to begin the game. In the Wonderbolts this was Soarin, who was apparently quite good at the game. In the Firewings it was a red Pegasus by the name of Gale Wind, and from the Yangin Kanat it was one of the larger griffins, named Gunther.

Gunther stood a head taller than any of the ponies and was built quite strongly, though the size and power of his wings suggested a speed capability that was not to be underestimated.

All three sides looked at each other; a single small triangle in the centre of the pitch housed a blue ball with yellow stars running in a ring around it. A referee padded up, he was wearing a white and black striped shirt, had a black moustache and orange coat, and his mane was also black. He looked at each of the teams in turn, put a whistle to his muzzle and threw the ball up high. The ball rose far above the flying players and the moment the ball began to fall the whistle was blown.

Every player reacted in a shot. The Firewing player proved to be quick in acceleration and reached the ball first, grasping it and diving low as Soarin and Gunther collided together in mid-air. He flew under them, found another member of his team and threw it hard, but the moment he did a blur suddenly whizzed by, capturing the ball. It was the other large griffon, grasping the ball and heading rapidly for the Wonderbolt goal. He got halfway before he was forced to pass by the three second rule, and he threw it seemingly to no one. Shockie was close by the goal, having been told to basically stand back and not mess anything up by Spitfire. He saw the griffon getting close and his eyes went wide. He rushed for the griffon and when the ball was thrown he saw it as a chance. But the moment he got close a blur whizzed by, took the ball, whizzed around him and the ball was suddenly in motion, passing right through the hoop and scoring the Yangin Kanat the first goal of the game.

Shockie stood there with wide eyes, not understanding what had happened till he saw the blur stop. It was the little griffon. He was devilishly fast and seemed to be a good shot. The sound of outrage behind him made his ears droop as he turned to find Spitfire yelling loudly at the top of her lungs, most of it was about his incompetence.

After a goal the ball was thrown from that goal by one of those sides players. Spitfire was chosen for this. Shockie stood to the side, knowing she was going to pass it to Soarin most likely, so he stayed out of the way. When positioning players during a throw off, the respective players were allowed as close to the goal as they liked, but opposing players had to be behind the halfway line of that side of the field. Shockie currently stood close to the halfway line, with two of the Firewings on the other side of it nearby. Spitfire did as expected, throwing the ball hard, and when it reached Soarin the stallion did something Shockie didn’t expect. The Wonderbolt turned and thumped the ball hard, sending it right towards Shockie before racing down the other end of the pitch. The mareish-colt was so surprised that he’d been passed the ball he flailed instinctively, his hoof thumping out as hard as he could; the ball was struck and flew high down the pitch where Soarin happened to be waiting. The moment it got close, the stallion grasped the ball and ducked under griffon and throwing it up high. One of the Firewings rushed for it but Spitfire came out of nowhere and grasped the ball, rocketing down the pitch towards the Yangin Kanat’s goal. As she moved Soarin got Shockie’s attention and pointed towards the Firewings goal, Shockie took the hint and raced for the goal as fast as he could.

A Firewing and two of the griffons were on Spitfire’s tail as she approached the goal before she suddenly stopped and ducked low before she rushed back the way she came, right past the surprised and still moving opposing players. She threw the ball up and kicked at it with all her might, sending the ball rocketing towards the now unguarded Firewing goal. The ball flew with surprising speed; Soarin intercepted and kicked it whilst it was still in motion, keeping its momentum going right towards Shockie. The stallion reacted without thinking; his hooves suddenly closing around the ball, the force of the impact into his chest sending him back a bit. He eeped, realising he was holding it, looking around as the opposing team players suddenly rushed at him. He turned to the goal, and threw with desperation, terrified his aim would be off. It wasn’t. The ball went right through the hoop and scored the Wonderbolts their first score of the game.

He looked at his hooves and back to Soarin who was grinning at him. The stallion seemed proud of Shockie, and that brought a red flush up the colt’s cheeks. Even Spitfire looked grudgingly impressed.

Shockie wasn’t quite sure how to feel about all this though. He’d never been very good at the game, and he was surprised that he hadn’t dropped the ball yet. This was the first goal he’d ever scored in Hoopball.

He was broken out of his train of thought when he realised he had to get behind the Firewings halfway line, quickly getting into position as they prepared for their throw.

The Firewings launched the ball and they seemed to have a habit of ducking low, passing the ball from one to the other they managed to make it halfway down the pitch before they were intercepted by the griffons. Gunther managed to get hold of the ball, snatching it in a pass and throwing it to the little Griffon who then careened across the pitch and threw the ball once again through the Firewing’s hoop.

After that the Firewings seemed to change up their tactic, throwing it low like usual only to suddenly go high. This proved smart and was unexpected by the others, managing for them to get the ball to their main star player, Gale Wind, who managed to shoot from barely off the halfway line, sending the ball through the Yangin Kanat hoop. Everyone had at least one goal now, with the Yangin Kanat leading by two.

The Yangin Kanat started with the ball this time, which was worrisome. Shockie didn’t much like that small griffon, and his speed was a real problem. Whilst most of them had to make up to two passes at top speed before they could reach the end of the pitch, the little griffon seemed fast enough to be able to traverse half the pitch in the time it took most to get a quarter of the way, meaning the griffons could reach any goal with only a single pass between them.

This was proven when they did just that in their corner. Gunther throwing the ball hard to the larger one while the little one raced down the pitch. The moment the bigger one managed to throw the ball, they were only halfway down the pitch, but the little one caught the ball and within two seconds he was at the Wonderbolt hoop, shooting it through. The score was now Firewings 1, Wonderbolts 1, and Yangin Kanat 3.

With each success of the griffons, Shockie could see Spitfire getting increasingly upset. She had begun to grind her teeth and have mini tantrums before the next play began. When the ball was thrown from their side, they managed to hold it together as a team. The ball was thrown to Soarin, he tried throwing it to Shockie but it was intercepted by Gale. Gale managed to pass it to a team mate but he was intercepted by Spitfire who turned to pass it to Soarin. She hesitated for a moment as Soarin was blocked by two of the griffons, she turned to Shockie was wide open, but took the chance and decided to throw to Soarin, a costly mistake as the Yangin Kanat managed to grab hold of the ball before Soarin could even get close. They careened down the field and for a moment looked close to getting their fourth goal, but the score was stolen by one of the Firewings who managed to intercept and knock it into the hoop with their own hoof, securing the goal belonged to them rather than the Yangin Kanat.

The Wonderbolts were now losing to both teams. A time out was called and the scores stood respectively with the Yangin Kanat in the lead with three points, and the Firewings on two. But the Wonderbolts still only had one.

“What in tarterus was that?” Soarin’s voice was clear over the crowd in the stands, he looked accusingly at Spitfire and his tone was more than displeased.

“What?”

“You know what!” He shouted at her. “Shockie was wide open, why didn’t you pass to him?” He demanded.

“Because he’d have dropped it or something, and I didn’t want us to lose the game.” She said defensively.

“We’re already losing the game, and he hasn’t dropped the ball yet. AND he scored us our only goal so far.”

“He was just lucky!” She shouted back.

“He’s your team mate!” Soarin said, suddenly up in her face with his teeth grit. “Start treating him like it or I leave!” Soarin said before storming off, Spitfire just looking shocked at his ultimatum.

“W-wait!” She said, swiftly flying to him and pulling on his tail. “What do you mean you’ll leave?” She asked with her voice a little soft, looking actually a little scared.

“I mean it Spitfire.” He said firmly, his eyes narrowed as he looked at her over his shoulder. “He’s your team mate, we don’t have anypony else right now, and he isn’t doing that bad. He’s playing better than you right now and he doesn’t deserve what you are putting him through. Start treating him better or I quit the games.”

Shockie was surprised at how far Soarin was going to defend him, it made him feel quite guilty.

“I-” He began. “I don’t want to be a bother; I’ll go if you want me to.” He said depressively, his head hanging and his front right hoof brushing along the grass dismayingly.

“No.” Spitfire said with a sigh, turning to Soarin who in turn looked at her with a hard expression in his eyes. She could tell he was being serious. “I’m…I’m sorry, Shock. You aren’t as bad as I thought you’d be and I guess I kinda let my emotions get the better of me. I’m sorry.” She said softly, brushing one hoof with the other nervously, obviously not used to apologising.

“It’s…okay. Besides, I probably would have dropped it anyway, I’m not very good.” He grumbled.

“You scored our first goal.” Spitfire said with a light smile. “That’s pretty good…so what do you say we go score some more?” She asked light-heartedly, her tone more friendly than it had been since they’d first met. Shockie nodded at that statement and they got themselves set up back on the field.

“Shockie, you go up close to the line.” Spitfire said firmly. “You’ll know what to do when the time comes, but it’ll happen fast. So keep your eye out!” She demanded of him, but not in a reproachful way as she usually had. He almost felt part of the team as he went an obeyed, heading up to the halfway line.

She was right when she said it would happen fast. The moment the whistle blew, Soarin sent the ball flying towards Spitfire who knocked the ball instantly towards Shockie. Shockie yelped and went to grab it, but almost in slow motion he could see the ball stumble in his hooves, bouncing off his chest as he tried to wrap his hooves around it, only to meet air. The ball began to fall and around him everything seemed to slow to a crawl. The small griffon’s wings slid back for an increase in acceleration, Shockie would never be able to match that speed so he did the only thing he could.

He stopped flapping entirely.

His wings slipped right up close to his body, he curled himself into a ball and he began to fall fast, he was rocketing towards the ground and he and the griffon were keeping pace, he kept his eyes on the ball and just before the ball hit the ground his hooves latched on. He aileron rolled and flapped hard, flying upside down and latching his wings behind him catching an updraft and he began to rise, the griffon kissing the dirt underneath him and stumbling to the ground. Shockie was flying upside down, his wings flapping hard as he rose. A member of the Firewings was suddenly on his tail, diving down towards him, fast enough that the mareish Pegasus could feel the swirl of the air caused by the stallion’s wings. He let his wings go limp and he lowered, feeling the fellow Pegasus fly over him before he turned, righting himself up, ducking down under another swooping attack from one of the larger griffons just in time, feeling those claws barely slice through his mane. He spotted Spitfire off to his right and he struck the ball hard, passing it to her. She caught it deftly, barrel rolled around one of her opponents and shot for the goal, the ball flying from her hooves and passing through the hoop with a mighty cheer from the crowd.

The Wonderbolts were now tying with the Firewings.

As Shockie hovered there, panting breathlessly he yelped as he suddenly felt the air knocked from him as a streak of yellow and red speared into him, hooves wrapping around him and spinning him on the spot. Spitfire was hugging him.

“You were great!” She squealed happily in the most mareish way he’d seen her act yet, she’d so far always been a bit rough and coltish rather than girly. But now she squealed happily and suddenly her lips were on his cheek, a bright flush boiling up his neck when she finally let go. She seemed to not notice as she backed off grinning. “Let’s mow the field with these losers.” She said cockily, grinning with such enthusiasm Shockie felt his own grin spread across his face as though it were catching.

The next play off was even better than the last, no longer needing such dramatics they played like a smooth machine. This time Shockie was the first one to have the ball passed to him, something neither of the opposing players expect, he managed to bat it over to Soarin. It was intercepted briefly by one of the griffons but the griffon seemed to stumble, dropping the ball for a moment, but a moment was long enough as Spitfire raced under the griffon and grasped the ball in her hooves. She managed to get halfway down the pitch, pass it to Soarin who was by the Firewings goal, and they managed to score again, tying their score with the Yangin Kanat.

The griffons started to get angry. The Firewings tried their best but it quickly became apparent that the only real competitors here were the Wonderbolts versus the Yangin Kanat. The Firewings managed to have possession of the ball briefly after a good interception, but it wasn’t long before it was stolen by one of the griffons, who sent the ball careening down the pitch only to be picked up by their small fast devil of a griffon, who caught it in his talons and raced down the pitch, scoring through the Wonderbolts goal.

The Wonderbolts played off at that point, Spitfire passing to Soarin who passed it back to spitfire. Shockie kept close by and each time the two passed it from one to the other; they always feigned to pass it to Shockie, but then changed to only pass to each other, never once passing to Shockie. This was done on purpose to confuse the players; they managed to traverse half the pitch this way before Soarin booted the ball right to Shockie who had by this point been left undefended. He managed to fly under some of the opposing team, get close and shoot for the goal. But this time he was intercepted by the largest of the griffons, the ball being caught in his talents. He flew it up and struck it with one of his wings, sending the ball flying far until it was caught by another griffon. They were making their way to the Firewings goal. The Yangin Kanat were on a score of four, if they got another goal they’d win. All the teams rushed for the one with the ball, and when he threw it, the Firewings managed to once again steal the goal from under them, making half the crowd cheer, a quarter of them boo, and the remaining small amount to simply sigh in relief. The goal wasn’t a good one, it was an own goal, the Firewings had scored through their own hoop, losing them a point. They’d known that penalty, but it was necessary. Better than letting the Griffon’s win the game and at least this way they could try and make up the score.

The scores stood thusly; both the Wonderbolts and the Yangin Kanats were on four, with the Firewings on two having lost a point from their own-goal. If either the Wonderbolts or Yangin Kanat’s scored, they would win.

The playoff started on the Firewings side, and the moment they passed to one of their players, it was immediately intercepted by the small griffon. He snatched it just before the Firewing’s member could wrap his hooves around the ball, sending the ball high. By then Spitfire was in position, intercepting the ball and batting it towards Shockie. Unfortunately the mareish colt never got close. Gale Wind of the Firewings managed to grasp the ball and duck under some of the griffon players, flying high and then passing to one of his team mates. This was then intercepted by Soarin who batted it to Shockie. Shockie yelped when he got the ball, almost dropping it. He flew high, heading towards the Firewing goal again. The entire play seemed on this side of the field, the goal was close to the Wonderbolts and the Yangin Kanat; it wouldn’t be hard for the score to be stolen, or for the teams to be intercepted by the Firewing players. It was a war. The ball was batted from player to player, seeming to be in constant motion as all three teams swerved around each other. Shockie was barely able to see and understand what was happening. He tried to watch where the small fast griffon was going, figuring he’d be a centre piece of the finale, and he was right. He saw the devil grasp the ball in his talons and duck below a diving Spitfire on the attack.

Shockie knew what the griffon was going to do. He dived and headed straight for the goal. The other teams were right on the griffon’s tail but he was too fast, getting closer and closer to the hoop. He was coming from below at a 45digree angle, and Shockie was doing the same from above. He got right above the hoop and let himself drop, just as the griffon shot to score. The moment the ball got close Shockie was there, his body blocking the hoop. His hooves opened and he caught the ball spinning and throwing it, watching it as it shot right through the hoop scoring the winning goal of the game.

The crowd exploded in cheers so loud he almost felt deafened. He had fallen so fast he almost didn’t manage to right himself before hitting the ground. He landed on his hooves, panting heavily. Suddenly Spitfire was on him again, hugging him hard enough that he felt a few cricks pop in his back, his goal earned him another kiss, but this time on the lips. He yelped and was too shocked to move. Her kiss wasn’t romantic or even affectionate, it was a victory kiss and she didn’t seem to notice his reaction before she pulled back and cheered as loud as the best of them.

“You did really well.” Soarin was telling him as they walked back into the team area and headed for the passage that would take them back to the changing rooms. Shockie glanced over his shoulder, noticing the griffons glaring at him, especially the little one. The Firewings however were a little way off, looking miserable.

“Yeah you did!” Spitfire said with a grin. “That game was right-on!”

“Yeah.” Shockie said jubilantly. “They’d have to stop the games to stop us from winning.” He said loudly with a skip in his step.

None of the Wonderbolts saw the thoughtful expression that passed along the smallest griffon’s face.

There were three more events that Shockie had to perform in. But each one seemed to be fraught with difficulties that the others didn’t. It was as though Shockie had nothing but bad luck. During the Hoop Race, one of the hoops became dislodged and fell on him, sending him sprawling to the ground. He had to continue the rest of it with a limped wing hoping that he could make decent time. It was below average, lowering the Wonderbolt score, though thankfully they were still ahead, for now.

The Firewings weren’t having much luck either, and it became quickly obvious their score would never match that of the other teams. Gale Wind however seemed determined to get his personal score up to at least win his team a medal or two. But for now it was looking bleak. The swimming was the next event. Surprisingly it wasn’t Spitfire that proved the best at this particular event, it was Soarin, who seemed to grace through the water as though he had been born in it. He was faster than any of the griffons could hope to be, who were actually outdone by the Firewings. Griffon’s it seemed were not good when it came to water.

Shockie’s turn in the water came up and the moment he dived in, it felt icy. The water was supposed to be heated but this one obviously wasn’t, it was as though somepony had turned down the thermostat on the water temp. He swam the length regardless, but while he was slower than the others, he did swim faster than he thought he would, if only to get out of the water sooner.

He couldn’t understand it, first a hoop coming loose on him, and now the water temperature being changed. It was as though somepony were messing with the events to put him off.

Back in the changing room he was stood under the hot water of the shower in an effort to warm himself up, his teeth chattering away as his fur stood on end. He shook his mane a little, letting its turquoise locks splay in front of his face. Slipping out and drying himself off, he heading for the door. The moment the door opened a crack, the sound of voices drifted in. This wouldn’t have bothered the mareish colt were it not for the first word that had him freezing with the door open but a crack.

“Shockie.” The voice said, “I heard his name is ‘Shockie’ summat.” The droll tone was accented, with a light quip on the end of the words that suggested the speaker was from the griffon regions, the recognition set a large lump in Shockie’s throat as he listened.

“I don’t care what his name is. He’s a problem.” A smaller squeakier voice said, it was an androgynous voice, so Shockie wasn’t really able to tell the gender of the speaker.

“I don’t get why he’s the problem. He ain’t even very good, they only winnin’ because of Spitfire and the stallion one.” The larger one said, seeming a little slow in his words. It was obvious he wasn’t the brains of the department, because the smaller one instantly shot him down with a rebuttal that seemed to cow him into submission.

“Because he’s weak and stupid ya dweeb! He’s the easy one to take down, and he’s also gettin’ on my nerves. I want him out; once they lose a player they’ll be disqualified for not havin’ a full team.”

“Well he’s only got one more event, an’ it’s in an hour.” The larger one said glumly. “I don’t think there’s really much time.”

“Then we best take him out now.” The androgynous voice said, this time a little more distant. They seemed to be moving away. “Unscrewing that hoop didn’t work and the water trick just made him swim faster to get out, we need to kick it up a notch. We need to really take him down somehow.”

Shockie arched, trying to get a better look as the voices drifted further away. When he finally spotted them his eyes widened. He knew who it was before he saw them, having guessed of course, but assuming and seeing were two very different things. The gryphon’s come into view, walking away from the area. It was the one named Gunther, and the smaller fast one.

Shockie gulped, waiting until they left before he walked out of the changing rooms.

He needed to find Spitfire and Soarin.

 

*

 

Trekking through the stadium, the mareish colt made a point of avoiding any of the Gryphon players, eventually finding Spitfire and Soarin in the bar area. He approached them and opened his mouth in an attempt to tell them about what he’d heard, but he was interrupted before he could speak.

“Shockie!” Spitfire called out before he could say anything, looking slightly drunk. “I’m sorry for how I was before, you’re alright, slow and a little derpy, but you’re alright.” She slurred.

Soarin smiled apologetically. “Sorry, she recently finished her last event and got gold, so she’s celebrating. Your event’s up next isn’t it?” He asked with a smile.

“Yes but-”

“That’s great.” Soarin interrupted. “I’m sure you’ll do awesome, why not sit and have a drink before it starts, calm ya nerves maybe.” He smiled, pushing some apple cider towards him.

“No I need to tell you something!” He hissed, grabbing Soarin and suddenly dragging him out, Spitfire having fallen muzzle-first on the table, snoring loudly. She’d obviously drunk just a little bit too much.

Shockie dragged the stallion out, making the slightly tipsy colt giggle a bit.

“Alright, alright, what’s going on?” Soarin asked with a lopsided smile that was oddly charming. “If ya gonna hit on me I prefer mares.”

“No I-” He looked shocked and shook his head, his cheeks suddenly flushing. “What no! I’m straight!” He said exasperatingly.

“Oh, so ya into Spitfire then?” He asked with a tipsy grin. “Careful, she’d eat ya alive.”

“No! I have a marefriend back home! This isn’t about that, this is important.” He said, getting irritated and slightly flustered by this point, giving an edge to his voice that had the stallion chuckling.

“Okay, what’s this about then?” Soarin asked, trying to consciously calm himself so he could pay attention, an act that Shockie was most grateful for.

“I heard the gryphons,” he began. “They’ve been sabotaging the last two events I was in, and they’re trying to take me out so they can get our team disqualified.” He said, his ears flat, hoping Soarin would understand. The slightly tipsy stallion looked thoughtful, the news seeming to sober him up a little bit. Rubbing his chin with one of his hooves he hummed for a moment.

“Have you tried speaking to the judges?”

“I have no proof.” He answered with a pout. “I only heard them, it’s not like I got them on film or anything.”

Soarin nodded at that and sat back on his hunches, thinking for a moment. “Well, I suppose the best we can do is try to keep you safe, and if they try anything, catch them in the act. Maybe THEY’LL be disqualified.”

That seemed to make sense and Shockie nodded with a sigh. Though he had a bad feeling that things were going to go very badly.

There was still around forty minutes before his event started, and he had nowhere to really go. He left Soarin and Spitfire to their drinks, not being much of a drinker himself, and set to walking around the stadium.

Walking into the main foyer part where fans and family could interact with the players if the players chose to, he saw the griffon’s at the very far end. He froze and gulped, just watching them for a moment, one of them turned and looked right at him, a shiver sliding down his spine. Shockie did the only thing he knew how to really do, he turned and galloped away. He wasn’t even looking where he was going, he turned a corner, went down a corridor and turned yet another corridor, only to bump into another pony. He yelped and fell back, rubbing his head.

“I’m sorry, I should have been looking where I was going.” He grumbled, opening his eyes.

“That’s okay, I was kinda distracted myself.” Said a family voice.

Before him stood a Pegasus of grey with yellow eyes that seemed very familiar, it was the absurd armour that really gave him away though.

“Summer?” Shockie asked, his mood brightening immediately as he recognised the guard in front of him. The guard’s eyes widened and he too seemed to smile. “Shockie? Hey, what you doing down here?” He asked.

Shockie shrugged. “Not really sure where here is, I wasn’t really looking where I was going.” He admitted again. Looking around he noticed he was in a thin corridor that seemed to be off the side in the stadium, and it only led to a singular door that Summer seemed to be guarding.

“Oh, this is where Prince BlueBUTT is staying.” Summer said with a grumble. “I have to guard the door to protect his ‘Highness’.” Summer grumbled.

“Oh, I imagine he does need guarding a lot, being a prince could be dangerous I suppose.” Shockie shrugged, not really sure about such things.

“It’s not just that.” Summer shrugged. “The games need a royal host, if they don’t get a royal host it’s not considered official, and the games have to be suspended. So if he even gets injured or feels the need to leave due to anything, the games would be stopped.” He sighed.

Shockie nodded. “Oh, I see. So how long have you been standing here?” He asked curiously, noting how the stallion was lightly moving from one hoof to the other both with his back and front legs, showing they were obviously aching.

“Erm, about five hours now.” Summer said with a nervous smile.

“Oh.” Shockie replied, his eyes wide as he thought of something nice he could do. “Are you hungry? I could go grab you some food?” He offered, smiling, thinking it would be nice to do something good for another pony, and might just lift his own spirits up.

The offer of some food had the guard’s face relax in utter relief before he smiled a gracious smile. “Some food would be wonderful, thank you. But you don’t have to-”

“Nonsense.” Shockie smiled. “I like helping other ponies.” He said chirpily. “I’ll be right back.”

Shockie trotted back the way he came, humming happily as he did. He turned a few corners and found himself back in the foyer. He headed towards the food-court, got a few sandwiches and put them on a plate, carrying them back with him.

He walked past the food-court before a claw suddenly lashed out of nowhere and struck the plate in his maw, sending it smashing to the floor. He began to help but claws grasped him by the mouth and dragged him away and he squealed and struggled.

He was pressed against a wall when they were out of sight, before him stood the medium sized gryphon from the team, Gunther, and the small androgynous gryphon that seemed to be leading the large ones.

“The names Veran, dweeb. Consider this a message.” The small one said with a malicious smirk.

Shockie closed his eyes and prepared for the worst when suddenly there was a yelp and the weight of the gryphon was no longer pinning him. A blur of blue and orange were there, lashing out and sending the gryphon’s running away as fast as their legs could carry them. Shockie was panting, looking directly at Spitfire and Soarin that stood there.

“You alright?” Spitfire asked curiously while Soarin just grinned.

“Y-yeah…thanks.” He gulped, standing there with his hooves shaking due to the adrenaline going through his body.

They took him back to the changing room after that so he could relax a bit, mainly by leaning against one of the lockers, looking up at the ceiling. “That wasn’t fun.” He grumbled.

“Well pay ‘em back by beating them. Your final events in like ten minutes.” Soarin said with a grin. “You up for it?” He asked curiously, his grin fading a little as he looked over Shockie’s state. The poor colt wasn’t very good at confrontation. But he nodded anyway.

“Yeah…I’ll be okay.” He said, gulping. “I just need a moment.”

They gave him five minutes before they pushed for him to get to the field.

The fresh air was pretty good at calming his nerves, which otherwise might have been shot if he hadn’t already gotten used to the roar of the crowd. Now it was oddly soothing. He looked at his category. Artistic Flying. For this category it was all about presentation and unique methods of flying acrobatics.

While not necessarily stylish, the mareish colt could certainly deliver some unique methods of flying when needed to.

The announcer walked up onto his stage to address the crowd. “And now, for the final placement, and the final act of Artistic Flying. Shockie Sparkle, substitute in the Wonderbolts, representing Cloudsdale will perform.”

Shockie looked up and noticed several clouds had been lowered into the stadium area, which was good as he was allowed to use them as tools. There were also hoops, but he was weary of them being sabotaged. Hopefully that wasn’t the case.

The moment the buzzer went off, Shockie took off and flew high, the moment he reached one of the clouds he span, inverting himself and gripping the cloud with his hooves, hanging upside down on it before he began to fly downward, carrying the cloud with him. He headed right for one of the hoops and let the cloud go, watching it fly right through the hoop and skid along the ground. Shockie completed the loop after the throw and headed right back up again for the next cloud. His movements were very graceful, which is something that had often caused him both pride and strife in the past. He couldn’t count the amount of teasing he’d gotten from the other colts back in school when they’d said he should be a ballerina or something just because he could fly like this.

Shockie reached the next cloud and di the same, looping, grabbing, flying upside down as he arced downwards, throwing it and looping back up for the next one, the cloud he threw flying right through the hoop and landing on-top of the other cloud perfectly. He grabbed the final cloud and copied the same movement. The moment he threw this one he flew down and followed it, watching it slide through the hoop only for him to follow, loop up vertically so he was skimming now three cloud high pile only to loop at the top and dive down, poofing through all the clouds in turn, blowing them apart in beautiful billowy smoke before arcing up just before he hit the ground, arcing in a way that had him flying upside down before righting himself.

The crowd clapped loudly in appraisal. But he still had fifteen seconds, and this was his grand finale. If he messed this up, he wouldn’t even get a score, he’d been told that in the artistic flying it wasn’t so much the skill you showed, but how you landed the final trick that mattered.

He began to rise high, needing a lot of speed for this one. He saw something at the corner of his eye but ignored it at first. He turned and dived, but he glanced up at the royal balcony that Prince Blueblood was currently on. The shine that caught his eye was the sparkle of unicorn magic on the supports that held the balcony up, he saw some dust come loose and his eyes widened. He didn’t even think, he arced out of his dive and headed right for the prince.

The look on Prince Blueblood’s face was of complete horror, it was obvious the idea of a common pony rushing towards him was terrifying. But he barely had time to react before Shockie was on him and lifting him into the air, the balcony creaked and suddenly fell, the rock rumbling and collapsing down in rubble.

The Prince it seemed was unusually heavy, and he would have been easier for Shockie to carry where he not struggling and squealing in fright. As he struggled, Shockie almost dropped him where it not for another set of hooves grasping the Prince and carrying him up. It was the Guard, no longer donning his helmet, his mane flowing down his grey dyed face, and helping Shockie carry the squealing prince to the ground.

“Thanks.” Shockie said, panting softly.

“My word!” The Prince let out in a shriek, shaking and wiping sweat from his face using an ornate cloth from his blazer pocket. “I can’t deal with this, an attempt on my life, I need to leave.” He said, turning his nose up and walking away dramatically. “Someone fetch my carriage!”

“Wait!” Spitfire ran up rapidly. “Prince Blueblood, don’t you dare leave!”

The Prince looked shocked at such an order. “And why, pray tell, should I stay?” He asked, seeming extremely offended by the notion of somepony ordering him around.

“If you leave, the games are cancelled. It’s the final event, don’t you dare leave because that’s what they want!”

“What are you on about?” The Prince said sternly. “I am a member of the royal family, I am cousin to Princess Celestia and Luna, and I do not deserve to be treated with any less respect.” He said in a snobbish manner.

“Look at the score!” She demanded, grabbing him and forcing him to check the score board. “Even if Shockie only got a score of twenty, he’d still have pushed us in the lead and we’d have won, and the gryphons would have lost. They knew his routine was gonna be good, so they staged this to make you leave. If the games were cancelled then they couldn’t lose.”

“Get your hooves off me. What is the point of this?” He said indignantly.

“Well you’re a prince.” Shockie chimed in, walking up. “I saved your life. A good royalty would want to reward that, and I know, as respectable and wonderful a Prince you are, such common tactics of gryphons could never make you run in fear. Why I imagine you simply want to go freshen up before the scores are announced. You are such a wonderful Prince. “Shockie said, grinning with a charming smile.

The Prince’s cheeks flushed red before he cleared his throat. “I…erm…yes. Freshen up, then we can do the scores, of course, and you shall be rewarded. That’s what I meant to do anywhere. Me? Afraid of commoners? Hah I say…HAH, such a concept. I shall...be right back.” He said, padding off nervously.

“That was too good.” Spitfire said with a grin.

 

*

 

The closing ceremony was on the middle of the pitch, away from the rubble of the balcony. The Prince was the one giving out the scores.

“It has been my, Prince Blueblood’s, great honour to host this year’s Equestria Games. I came here with a heavy heart, watching these common-I mean-brave ponies compete, for I wanted them all to succeed. But alas, we can only have one winner.” He finished, dramatically sighing in disappointment. “In last place, are the Firewings. But their leader, Gale Wind, takes the third spot in the Equestria Games personally due to his winnings of three gold medals, and two silver medals.” He turned to the Yangin Kanat and the Wonderbolts. “The winners are the Wonderbolts. Their scores would not have made them first due to Shockie Sparkles incomplete final event, but his efforts in the preservation of my own life, he is given a half score of his likely total. Giving him a score of twenty points, enough to set the Wonderbolts ahead in the Equestria Games, and pronounce them the winners.”

The crowd squealed out in cheer and Shockie felt extremely happy. He’d gotten the second lowest score out of everyone there, he’d only come ahead of one of the Firewings but that was enough for him.

“I would like to then congratulate the Yangin Kanat on their own successes and their secondary place. “The prince began before his eyes narrowed at the nervous looking gryphons. “But I cannot. Because of their actions of sabotage and subversion, as well as the attempt on my own life, they are hereby divorced from all Equestria Games proceedings, their arrested, and forever banned from competing in the games, ever again.” He said firmly. “Guards, take them.” He called out. Guards appeared on all sides, taking them and shackling the gryphons, dragging them away as they shrieked.

“Their disqualification places the Firewings in both last, and second place, so the rewards will be dealt with in such a manner. Congratulations to the Wonderbolts, for winning this year’s Equestria Games!”

The crowd erupted in cheers.

 

*

 

They were all getting ready to go, gathering things together and things were being cleared up. Shockie was stood next to the Wonderbolts, offering the outfit back.

“Keep it.” Spitfire said with a smirk. “This doesn’t make you a Wonderbolt…but, if we ever need a substitute, we know who we can call.” She smiled before yelping as Shockie’s hooves wrapped around her in a tight hug. “Okay, erm, I’m not a hugger…can you get off now!” The mareish colt chuckled as he let her go, smiling at her. Soarin however eagerly gave him a hug, making the colt smile.

He looked around and shrugged. “What now?” He asked curiously.

“Now.” Soarin began.” Now we party, or go home, whatever you want.” He smiled.

“I think I’m gonna go, parties aren’t really my thing.” He said nervously, chuckling. He glanced over at the carriage that was just starting to leave, the carriage had Prince Blueblood in it, and there beside the carriage, trotting along was Summer. He hesitated before smiling. “I have something to do, see ya, thanks for everything!”

He rushed away from the waving Wonderbolts before arriving at the carriage. “Prince Blueblood, I need to ask you something.” He said. The carriage stopped and the snooty prince poked his head out with a sigh. “Oh it’s you, I have already thanked you for saving my life, is that not enough?” He asked nasally.

“Well actually, I was hoping I could have my reward now.” Shockie grinned.

“I thought I have you that, I fixed your score.” He said with narrowed eyes, looking the colt up and down.

“I saved your life and you think twenty points is worth that?” He said and scoffed. “Please, you’re a prince, surely you can give me something better than that.”

The prince sighed and pulled out a check-book. “Fine, how much do you want, and be quick about it.” He said, showing a great deal of annoyance by now.

“Oh, I don’t want money. Just a favour.” He leaned in and whispered something into the Prince’s ear. The prince sighed and nodded.

“Fine.”

Shockie smiled gleefully at that and trotted away, winking at Summer who looked confused.

“Summer. Come here please.” He said. The shocked guard approached, part of his mane showing from under his helm and falling over one of his yellow eyes. “Y-yes Prince Bluebut- I mean Blood-Prince Blueblood.” He said, smiling nervously.

The prince’s eyes narrowed before he sighed. “You helped that commoner save me, I shall be putting in a  good word for you at her majesties, Princess Celestia’s Royal Guard. I expect your things packed by the week’s end. Your service has been-” He seemed to be looking for the right words. “-commendable.” He said, his teeth gritting when he said it.

The carriage started up again and the guard stood there with wide eyes before he looked back at Shockie who just shrugged.

“You’re welcome.” He chuckled, before he flapped his wings and headed off into the sky.

“Thank you!” Summer called after him, but Shockie didn’t answer, he just smiled and continued soaring into the sky.

He was a colt that many often confused for a mare, he wasn’t the best of flyers, and he wasn’t the smartest around. But for a few days, he’d been a Wonderbolt, he’d competed in the Equestria Games, and saved the life of Royalty.

This was certainly something to write home to his girl about, not that she’d believe a word.

The End


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