My sleep was dreamless that night. I woke up to the ceiling staring blankly down at me.
"Well, today's as good of a day to die as any other day." I hopped from my bed and took the last shower of my life. I made sure not to use the rose shampoo this time around.
Aloe and Lotus fussed over me, and Hoity Toity talked on during breakfast about how surprised he was that Hayseed Sr actually managed to line us up two or three sponsors. Hayseed Sr was downing a fifth of vodka, and Hayseed Jr. picked at a bagel. I stuffed my face. It was going to be the last meal I would ever have, so I figured I would make the best of it.
As I guzzled down orange juice in a very unladylike manner (much to Hoity Toity's chareign) my mind thought guiltily of the starving ponies back in 12. I once again banished this thought to the back of my mind. Soon, I would be free of all cares.
After I was nearly ready to pop, we headed down to the launch pad where the airship would be taking us to the arena. I didn't talk the whole way there. Something I've gotten used to doing.
We got into the airship, and I took a look around. The engineers had outdone themselves. This was quite a marvelous piece of craftsponyship! It had some pre-Discordian influences for sure, and I could have sworn that the floors were mahogany. Really, it was quite amazing.
My ogling of the craft was ended when we landed. We were ushered out into a small concrete building, where we all assigned different room. Once in my room, I was greeted by Photo Finish. I was surprised. I can honestly say I didn't expect her to be down here.
"Listen, Octavia," Photo Finish said. "I, Photo Finish, do believe you have a chance here. Do not screw it up. Try and stay alive. I, Photo Finish, went to the extra trouble to secure some sponsors. Don't waste it."
I stepped into the tube which would be taking me up to my demise. It would all be over there... just one swift step, a burst of light, and it's be over.
The tube began to slowly rise, and I began to have second thoughts about this whole ordeal. Did I really want to do this?
Of course you do, Octavia. You can't kill somepony else. I swallowed hard, and closed my eyes. When I reopened them, I was standing on the pedestal, looking out at the Cornucopia.
The Cornucopia was a large metal container holding various supplies. It was were the bloodbath occurred every year as the twenty-four of us made a mad dash for supplies. One year, only five tributes got out of the bloodbath. It was a very short games that year.
A voice I knew, and yearned so much for, was heard over sound system. "Welcome, stallions and gentlemares, to the 74th Annual Pony Games! I am your host, Vinyl Scratch, and I will begin the countdown now. May the odds be ever in your favor."
Well, I thought to myself It's now or never, Octavia.
I contemplated going over the side. It's all be over so quick... but I'd never hear Vinyl's voice ever again. If I hung on for just a bit longer, I could hear her again...
If I won, I'd be able to be with Vinyl... nopony would stop us... it would be the dream! It would be a reason for living!
But could I do it? Could I kill others for a very slim chance at my own happiness? I gazed over at the other tributes I'd be facing. Rarity's haughty-yet-scared look, Scootaloo's crestfallen look, Rainbow Dash's shakily-determined one, Hayseed jrs terrified expression. Even Snowflake's crazed look had a bit of sorrow behind it. Did I want to be responsible for one or more of their deaths?
I was running out of time! I needed to make a choice now!
Vinyl's voice does sound nice. So very, very nice.
Too bad it's be the last time I would hear it.
Just let me listen for a few more moments.
Goodbye, Vinyl, I thought as I jumped off the pedestal. I braced myself for the explosion.
Which never came.
I was too late! I had jumped off just as they had deactivated the bombs! Not wasting any time, my mind recovered and I forced myself to run forward, to grab anything I could. A bright blue saddlebag popped out at me, and I grabbed it in my mouth.
Immediately, I was tackled by the mare from 10. Not wasting a second, I smashed my forehead into her snout, and I was doused in blood from her nostrils. She snarled, and prepared to gut me with a nearby sword when her head separated from her shoulders.
Rarity gazed down at me from above. "You didn't think I'd leave, did you dear?"
I got to my hooves, smiling slightly despite myself. "Come on, let's go grab Twilight and Pip." The two of us dashed off to find them.
Like it or not, I was now in the Pony Games.