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Iron Pony 2019: Cloudsdale Cloud Diving

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Event: Cloudsdale Cloud Diving

Location: Ponyville Lake

Setting:

The Pegasi of Cloudsdale were commissioned to build a fantastically high diving board! Constructed from a fusion of puffy white clouds, rainbow-painted wooden planks, all lashed together with super strong vines from Everfree -- this platform literally extends to the clouds! It's so high it even waves back and forth in the air precariously. It was inspected carefully by the Pegasi and approved as safe, but it tends to wobble as the wind dictates. At the very top is a solid wooden platform supported by clouds that any pony is able to stand on. The view from the top is breathtaking: Ponyville lake looks like a small, blue button! The weather at the top is a bit unpredictable, so ponies should use caution when climbing! Several medic and lifeguard ponies will be on duty, in addition to competition support staff.

An audience stand was also built, decorated with flowing ribbons, puffs of cloud, and splashes of rainbows. A separate judging stable is found several feet away, complete with numbered cards to judge a dive. The higher the number from the Judges, the better the dive!

Participation:

Ponies that dive will have to climb to the top (even participating pegasi), as their bravery and strength in reaching the top using the rainbow ladder is part of their judgment. Once at the top, they will dive off, performing tricks on the way down! Finally, they will be judged by any unique finishing move they make before diving into the water. Will they use magic? Their wings? Their strength and flexibility?

The Judges:

Three experienced diving ponies will be judging the dives everypony in this competition makes, giving a final score based on the above criteria:

Aqueous Heart - A brave, experienced Earth Pony swimmer known for once diving off the top of Canterlot Castle into a fountain far below, he has won nineteen awards across Equestria for his water sport prowess.

Mistea Soakspray - A Unicorn mare that has developed various magical swimming techniques, including the Famous Fluxing Flumefin spell.

Wyndway Falls - A Pegasus known in Clousdale for her cloud-swimming accomplishments, including the Nimbus Cloud Race, a grueling 5000-lap cloud swimming contest held biannually in the skies above.

(( )) For the Roleplayer:

Feel free to role-play your character's reactions when climbing and reaching the top, including weather, how wobbly the diving platform may be, support from friends, and their unique way of coping to the stress of how high the dive may be. Will they overcome a fear? Show bravery? Show off? Dives will be judged by the fun and interesting tricks your character may show while diving. Doing a "swan dive" may be okay, but how many points do you think a Triple Spin Super Hurricane Swirl Dive will get? Be creative, be descriptive, and have fun!


 

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The cheering crowd rang in Scootaloo's ears as she trotted towards the base of the rainbow ladder. The filly's eyes narrowed as she focused in on her target. She was all game face today!

 

"Alright Scootaloo!" The Cutie Mark Crusader pumped herself up. "Remember, stay focused! You've got your plan and you're sticking to it!" She couldn't help but smile as she heard what she thought was Applebloom and Sweetie Belle cheering for her up in the stands. "Don't forget your training, and most importantly..." She stopped for a quick stretch of her hind legs. "Stay flexible!"

 

"Ladies and gentlecolts! We've got quite the line up for you today at the Iron Pony Cloud Diving Event!" An announcer called out over the crowd, bringing even more cheers!

 

"First up to the ladder is none other than Ponyville's very own Cutie Mark Crusader Scootaloo!" There were a few gasps here and there from the crowd. She wasn't even a fully grown mare yet! Were the judges sure the event was safe enough? Statements of concern floated here and there.

 

The young pegasus tried her best to block the comments out. She was old enough and could certainly handle herself! She'd trained long and hard on her scooter and at various diving boards for this event. She'd learned she could practice lots of aerodynamic maneuvers from the heights she could reach on her scooter. Today was another day of proving herself and Scootaloo was totally up for the task! That plus she knew Rainbow Dash was out there somewhere and she was sure her favorite and only big sister would be watching her dive! 

 

Scoots' front hooves grasped the rainbow railings on the side of the tower and began to climb!

 

The first little while was no big deal. One hoof over the other, higher and higher she went. Soon the crowd was a faint sound in the distance, and then the cheers were out of range completely. A blue bird flew by, it's lilting song and the wind the only sounds in the filly's ears.

 

"Keep climbing...keep climbing..." Scootaloo repeated. She was really far up now! A breeze blew by and the filly felt the tower sway lightly side to side. She gulped and then steeled herself. "Think of Rainbow Dash. She wouldn't be scared!" Thoughts of her hero pressed her onward and upward until when she glanced up she could see the end of the ladder rungs!

 

"Almost there..." Hoof over hoof she went until at last the platform was within reach. The filly hoisted herself up and lay down on her precarious perch. 

 

"Ok Scootaloo, keep it together. Focus on the dive!" She got slowly to her hooves and kept her eyes focused on platform right in front of her. Slowly she raised her eyes until she was tentatively glancing at the wondrous view all around her. "Wooooow!" She breathed in the chilly air. "This is what it must be like," She glanced back at her tiny wings. "to fly." She shook her head and took a couple steps forward. She would be flying today, down towards the water far far below!

 

"Three, two, one!" She launched herself off the edge of the platform and plunged downwards hind feet first!

 

Faster and faster she dropped, gaining terminal velocity within a few seconds. From this speed she set about her first move the Head Over Heels Tailslide Corkscrew! She brought her front hooves out to ninety degrees, slowing herself just enough to begin to turn her body, head towards where her hind hooves had been. It was a graceful move and finished with the filly descending headfirst and quickly spinning into a looping corkscrew!

 

Next up, slow her descent with her wings! She may not have been able to fly but she could use her wings in other ways! She angled her wings to bring her head up a little, turning her fall horizontal. Now for the Cobra's Figure Eight Weave! She used her wings in alternate angles to swoop through the air in an almost lazy figure eight pattern. Once, twice, thrice! She pulled out of the move with her head pointed down.

 

Now it was time for the final maneuver! The wind whistled around her as the water below came closer and closer. The filly drove her body forward, reaching terminal velocity for the final time. She began a tight spin, so tight that she became a blur of orange and magenta! With a final effort she streaked towards the water, so quick that a little crackle of lightening glanced off her twisting hind hooves! The Lightening Bell Twister!

 

A small splash saw her submerged below the water and the dive concluded! Scootaloo swam to the surface to the wild cheering of the crowd, a confident smile on her muzzle!

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Submitted for Judging

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"... and remember, you say it like 'Yin-HI-tow.'"

 

Feng had arrived at the cloud diving platform soon after his run at the obstacle course, after a quick hot shower to get the last of the mud off.  He felt considerably more comfortable in this competition now that he'd gotten his hooves wet, as it were.  This wasn't like when he was accompanying the Empress like on his last trip, a roguish smile and eager bounding manner was actually an asset to this sort of mission, rather than a potential diplomatic embarrassment.  At least, as long as the announcer didn't pronounce his name in a silly way.  That was only funny once; the competition had to take their foreign guest seriously to some extent.

 

With all that hopefully taken care of, the longma walked back to the base of the ladder, stopping to give each of the judges a respectful bow, followed by a grin and a wink.  No need to be too formal, almost every Equestrian that he or the Empress ever talked to seemed to be more comfortable if you related to them casually, though those in authority still deserved the proper respect.  A bit incongrous, but hey, his kind were a mix of pony and dragon, what could you expect?

 

Once he reached the base of the ladder, the announcer called out,

"And now, hailing all the way from the Eastern Land of Long Guo, it's Fang Yinhaitao!"

 

Alright, so it wasn't quite the right way to pronounce his first name, but honestly, he'd take it.  Shaking his head with a silent laugh, he gave one last stretch and began climbing the ladder.  His ascent was smooth and uninterrupted at first, though once he was two stories up, he stopped to take a look out at the audience.  Most were watching him, some were talking about his exotic appearance.  One was cheering enthusiastically though; a qilin from his home country that had come along on his trip from the east.  He gave a feather-gun point-out to his friend from the palace, then resumed his ascent once more.


After a little while, it wasn't really safe to show off, the ladder, while sturdy enough, had nothing like a safety rail.  Your grip had to be steady to keep on top of it, but eventually, a climber would reach the top.  This Feng eventually did, and finding himself amidst the clouds, he paused for one second to take in the celestial view.  Though longma were similar to pegasi, few actually lived on the cloudtops.  The closest thing that Long Guo had to Cloudsdale was the actual home of the Eastern Dragons themselves, a divine mountain which the young stallion had been privileged to visit once before.  *And some Equestrians actually live in places like this?  It seems so odd to have a dwelling so high, without the earth reaching up to meet it.*

 

Shaking aside some homesick thoughts of the mountains, Feng quickly ran through his planned itinerary of tricks in his head, before bounding to the edge of the platform in three short jumps, hitting the very edge to push it down to maximum tension, letting it spring him up in the air with a Triple Solar Somersault!  Striking a pose at the peak of his ark, arms akimbo with the sunlight shining off his golden scales, he tucked and rolled head over heels three times before diving down in a whistling streak of brown, gold, and green.

 

Letting himself pick up speed just a little bit, he let his wings jut out just a bit, twisting them in the wind to add spin to his dive.  Breathing deep, deep enough to touch the dragonfire within, he blew out a faint blue cloud of mist.  Longma and qilin magic was tied to their breath, similar to dragons, and Feng's element was the wind.  Thus, as he performed the Tornado Corkscrew, he added a bit of flair with an actual tornado in his wake!  Just a small one, but being able to sustain it for so long during the dive was quite the accomplishment.  Almost any pegasus could do this trick, but soon became dizzy or lost control of their creation.  Feng, however, was able to keep spinning, and keep the tornado a steady size, all the way down, a feat which would impress the knowledgeable more than the common audience member.

 

In fact, he kept this trick up all the way to the bottom, smoothly transitioning into a Waterspout Fountain Finisher!  As soon as he hit the water, the tornado on his tail would have sucked up and sprayed out the water in a gentle fountain of spray all over the judges and the audience.  Thanks to his judging of the angle of the sun from his first trick, Feng was able to make sure the mist formed a rainbow as he emerged from the pond!  And as an added magical touch, the mist was infused with his signature breath spell, a pleasant minty odor which relaxed the minds and cleared the sinuses of all who smelled it.

 

Shaking the drops of water off his wings, he gave another grin and wave to the audience.  "And that's how we do it in the East!"  Hmm, perhaps a bit more braggadocio than was called for in his mission of being a cultural ambassador.  Oh well, the crowd seemed to love it!  But would the judges?

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*Submitted for Judging*

 

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A blue Pegasus watched the two ponies before her jump, to what seemed fearlessly, off a very tall board and into the lake below them. Sea Salt thought she was crazy for talking to dolphins everyday, but seeing this really boggled her calm mind. She never really thought she'd have the courage to try something new like this. Normally she'd be cowering over to the side, while everypony else didn't notice her from being too caught up in the fun. Sea F. Salt felt fine though, because one: it involved water and two: she was a Pegasus, born to fly and take on great heights like this one. That and her mom was in the stands with her little sister, cheering from the sidelines. The thought of quitting never crossed Finnie's mind, as she wanted to make her beloved family proud. 

 

And seeing her sister's face if she did quit would break her own heart. 

 

The loud speaker came on, as a voice shouted, "Next up, all the way from Horseshoe Bay, is... Sea Salt!" The crowd erupted in cheers, making Finnie go deaf for a second. She was actually use to such cheering, and attention, but the troubles she were about to face were much greater. 

 

Finnie made her way to the beautifully painted wooden planks, that reached up so high it touched the clouds. She hasn't touched the clouds in a while, maybe it would spark some kind of want to see the greater heights again... but it didn't. When the mare got on the shaking ladder, her nervousness took a hold of her. She began climbing though, taking very slow steps up the colorful ladder, getting higher and higher from the ground level. If she wasn't jumping into a lake, she wouldn't be doing this. 

 

The hippie didn't dare look down, as her wings held tight against her sides. She seemed to have something caught in her throat, most likely anxiety. Her breathing hitched every time the ladder started moving. She really didn't like new things, but she was already halfway up. The ladder was starting to sway from the wind, as the higher she got, the more wind blew through her choppy mane. Her body was shaking, but she caught herself. "You're okay, Fin. Pretend you're about to go see baby sharks." Finnie started to imagine baby sharks, and dolphins, and whales. Her blue body was less tense, and relaxed like it normally was. "Okay, mate. You got this. It's just the sky. The amazing, blue sky." The mare began humming to herself, beginning to sing little whale sounds, because she's a big 'ol water hippie, and soon she found herself to the top of the plank. 

 

She looked on ahead, giving herself a hoof hive like a dork, and started walking to the edge. The water pony looked down, barely seeing the water. It was like that stereotypical camera view in movies where the character was very high off the ground and the view bounced closer than farther away over and over again. That's what Finnie was seeing. So, she took in a deep breath, thinking positive thoughts. "Do this for Hyper." She took in a sharp breath, "Be confident, be confident, be confident, be confident-" She counted down slowly, and once she hit 0, she flung herself off the diving board, the wind whipping through her mane almost immediately. 

 

It wasn't as bad as she thought when she was in the air, as her wings unfolded and she let herself fall straight down. She got comfortable in the sky quickly, ready to do some cool tricks in the air. The mare quickly hurled herself into her very own Flipping Cannonball Corkscrew, something she'd do with her dolphins in a show. The curled her feathery body up in a ball tightly, flipping very quickly while spinning like a corkscrew. It looked as if she was a waterdrop flying through a tornado. A streak of white followed behind her, as she quickly moved onto her next move. 

 

Finnie was flying fast down to the earth now, causing her to open up her wings to have some hesitance. The mare then found herself doing her famous move called The Back-Front Flip, something she'd regularly do in shows from popular demand. The Pegasus straightened out her body, opening her wings more as the wind caught them in different angles, causing her to front flip, then back flip, over and over again, but at very high speeds. The effect made her look like a hurricane of water drops caught in the wind, well, normally, when she was in water. Most pegasi would have trouble with the different wind angles, but because of Finnie's small wings, it was easier to maneuver. 

 

The last move had to be made faster then she anticipated, as the white streak followed her now more greatly, brightening up the whole sky from how fast she was coming down. She quickly adjusted herself face first, as her small wings stretched out as much as they could. She whipped her body around and around, and her wings held a strong stance in hurling her down like a tornado about to touch land. She called this the Dolphin Dive, as she started clicking with her mouth like a dolphin. The wind made the clicking seem to howl as it got louder. Her hooves were held in front of her, ready to dive into the water as she was twisting rapidly. 

 

When she hit the water, a fountain of the liquid sprayed out from where she landed, causing a really cool sprouting effect that caught her white streak perfectly. When she collected herself from in the water, she used her wings to push herself up and hop out of the water. She was drenched, which really cooled her body down from the tiring dive she took in. The crowd was just as loud as the other competitor's final dive, making her seem sure she did alright. She then nodded her head slightly, confident in her moves. The mare never realized how much flying and performing in water had in common. She guessed trying something new isn't always bad. 

 

Finnie searched for her family, and the face her sister had was priceless. 

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Scootaloo's Run:

Mistea Soakspray - "Hmm....a good effort especially for such a little filly, but not enough 'razzle dazzle' for my liking!"10
Aqueous Heart - "Oh be quiet Soakspray. That was really cool!" 14
Wyndway Falls
 - "Did you two see her moves? She has bright future in tricks! GO FILLY GO!" 13

Scootaloo Final Score: 37/60

*********************************************************
Feng Yinhaitao:


Mistea Soakspray - "Well, certainly knows how to put on a show. I enjoyed it, though it could have done with a little more." 12
Aqueous Heart - "Very good moves, a little haughty for my tastes but well deserved." 13
Wyndway Falls
 - "That is some stellar trick flying!" 16

Feng Yinhaitao Final Score: 41/60

*********************************************************
Sea Salt's Run:


Mistea Soakspray - "Weather control on top of everything else really livened this up. Bravo!" 15
Aqueous Heart - "Pretty strong, though I think the start could use some work." 14
Wyndway Falls
 - "That is a heck of a run, Sea Salt. Where did you learn to do the Dolphin Dive?!" 17

Sea Salt Final Score: 46/60

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*CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK*

 

What a thrill
With darkness and silence through the niiiiight

 

Ladders... what do ladders represent? Are they a symbol of the link between the Material World and the greater Cosmos? Is the Ladder a metaphor for Chaos, and by extension the willingness to elevate one’s standing in life via the self-serving exploitation of Opportunity? Or maybe it’s more simple than that; maybe ladders simply represent the ultimate challenge for a vertigo-challenged pony to overcome?

 

*CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK*

 

What a thrill
I'm searching and I'll melt into yooooou

 

According to the life philosophy of Derpy Hooves — pegasus of Ponyville and one of the participants in the Cloud Diving event — ladders meant something more horrific than any of the aforementioned possibilities; Boredom. Remorseless... spirit-crushing... boredom. What’s the point of ladders if one could just fly to the top and skip the mind-numbing tedium of a ladder climb? But alas, Rules were Rules; meant to be fair to all ponies, even those without wings. Even with fairness in mind however, did they REALLY have to make the ladder all the way to the top so excruciatingly high?

 

*CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK*

 

What a fear in my hearrrt
But you're sooo supremeeeee!!!

 

With nothing to keep her company other than the aloof howls of the wind, Derpy found herself employing other means to keep the dullness at bay. Luckily for the mare, it seemed singing the lyrics of a bombastically suave tune she listened to not so long ago was doing the trick. With the power of her off-key performance, she could finally focus on the task she set out to do; wowing everypony with her cloud diving skills and taking home the gold... err- do they award gold medals at Iron Pony events these days?

 

*CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK* *CLACK*

 

.....Eh, no biggie either way.

 

Someday you gooo through the raiiiiin
And someday, you feeeed on a tree frooooog.....

 

-----

 

“Next up is another hometown challenger, it’s your local part-time electrical weather specialist and mailmare, Derpy Hooves!”

 

The moment had come at last; the moment where the googly-eyed pegasus would show everypony her awesomeness at cloud diving! She had everything planned out, each move having been rehearsed and refined over the course of countless weeks. There was absolutely no way that Derpy could mess this-

 

*WOOSH!!!!!*

 

“Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

 

One sudden burst of gusty turbulence was all it took to blast the mare off the diving board, sending her into a flailing panic as she fell back-first towards the surface below. Fortunately, Derpy had plenty of time to instinctively recall the aerial recovery procedures that all pegasi learned in Flight School. Of course, having to readjust her body so that she was diving head-first meant her well-rehearsed routine was all but thrown out the window.

 

In fact, the mare had completely forgotten momentarily she was participating in a cloud diving event to begin with. Derpy had been a bit too slow to readjust her body; discovering she was rapidly reaching the point of impact with the lake, the pegasus’s instincts took over as she executed a surprisingly graceful swoop to level out just before hitting the water. It was a beautiful sight indeed as Derpy used the energy she built up in her dive to rapidly glide upwards.

 

...It was only at this point when Derpy remembered she was supposed to dive INTO the lake below. Recognizing her chances at getting a good score were effectively blown at this point, the googly-eyed mare took things rather well. With a sheepish grin, Derpy let herself drop back downwards with a patented Awkward Cannonball Fall, not bothering to make any fancy maneuvers as she let gravity do all the work. And thus curled into a ball, the pegasus at least managed to get one big splash in.

 

All this just goes to show that in life, you win some, and you lose some. Either way, no biggie....

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Mistea Soakspray - "Oh dear! I hope the mare is okay." 4
Aqueous Heart - "Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow." 5
Wyndway Falls - "...I guess Cannonballs are cool too!" 7

Derpy Hooves Final Score: 16/60

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