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SteelEagle

Iron Pony 2019: The Iron Swimmer

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The river runs rapidly as several ponies attempt to swim across. It would normally not be a big problem, but this time of the year the small river that ran through the woods overflowed until it was nearly over the banks, and the conditions inside grew rough and wild. A fierce current threatened to drag ponies away, though trained lifeguards and rescue ponies were on hand to snatch wayward ponies from certain doom. And what doom awaited them! The harsh current brought with it small tree branches, a large assortment of fish, and who knows what else. Luckily, all they had to do was make it across with....

“No flying, no magic, no equipment! Swim to the other side, back to the start, then back to the other side again!” Yelled the old earth pony swimmer as he trotted alongside the opposite bank, helping those who crossed up and over. Half of the last group made it, though there were cheers for all- there was honor in the attempt, regardless of the result!


Rules:

1- One post per competitor.
2- No magic, no flying.
3- Complete the circuit! You have to swim to the opposite side, back to the start, and then once more back to the other side. The river is rough and wild and the length of an Olympic sized pool.
4- After you have posted you may continue to post, bt please refrain from interacting with those in the river!

Grading:

Every attempt will be graded. The following factors will be taken into account when an attempt is graded:
Post Competency- Spelling, grammar, and the overall structure of the posts in the attempt. A post that is almost unreadable becomes an obstacle for all of us- and one that is perhaps too hard to weave around! This is vital and will be treated as such. However, it is listed first as it is perhaps the least important of the three factors being graded.
Post Quality- Length, word usage, and general contribution to the flow of the thread of the posts in the attempt. A post that is too short or too long, that either lacks any flavor in text or seems greatly strained to appear more than it is, will be graded somewhat worse. The flow is vital and helping make this a fun, active, and quality roleplay. This is important, but is still not the most important factor that shall be graded.
Post Creativity- The actual story and character content of the posts in the attempt. There may only be a small handful of ways to tackle this challenge, but that doesn't mean you can't explore them all. How does your character react to the river? What's the strategy? What's the pony thinking? How fun and entertaining, or how exciting and enthralling, is your post? What sort of challenges can you come up with? This is the most important part of the grade.

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*this post submitted for judging*

 

"Swim across a raging river that's probably infested with sharks, lined with the sharpest rocks, and colder than an iced tea on a freezing day in winter?" The Lord of Chaos stood at the entry area for the Iron Swimmer event.

 

The old earth pony swimmer running the event nodded his head with an expressionless face. 

 

"Get myself across and back, then across again with no magic to enlisted the help of an army of goldfish and sea turtles?" Discord gasped, hardly able to comprehend any pony much less a draconequus such as himself could complete the challenge.

 

The pony started walking away shaking his head.

 

"But if I do make it I'll have a crowd cheering for me and probably a statue made in my name for my feat a bravery?" He cringed at the mention of a statue. "Well maybe not a statue... how about a sculpture of me made out of cupcakes? No no no... hmmm ah! A sculpture of me made out of pickles and jam! Yes that's it!"

 

The pony he'd been conversing with was long gone but that mattered not to Discord. Neither did cheering crowds or sculptures. He'd do it just because he felt like it! Yes that was it! And maybe a little bit because Fluttershy might be watching. He blushed and tittered to himself while trotting towards the contestants area for the Iron Swimmer!

 

"So," His brows dropped low over his eyes as he scoped out the challenge. And quite a challenge it was! "no magic, just moi!"

 

Soon enough it was his turn. Discord moved towards the start line with an inflatable yellow duckie around his waist, a swim cap firmly in place over his head with his horns poking through, and a snorkel and mask strapped on tight! 

 

"Uh hem?" The earth pony judge moved in front. 

 

"Oh! None of this then?" He dropped the mask, snorkel, and cap. "Oh ok..." He shimmied out of the duckie and dropped it to the side. "You're no fun." He commented dryly before plunging into the river!

 

The shock of the cold caused a gasp as he surfaced to suck in air. The draconequus struck out towards the opposite bank with well...tiny limbs.

 

"Oh well now, this will never do!" It was all he could do to keep himself from using a bit of magic but no, he'd do this right! 

 

Focusing on his swimming the God of Chaos began to undulate his body in the fluid motion helping him to move through the water despite the current pulling him down river. He began to pant as he went, exerting all his strength to keep himself going. If that wasn't enough things were about to get worse!

 

"This is proving why I use magic all the time." He grumbled while continuing onward. "Life's no fun without it." He rolled his eyes as an ominous shape moved towards him. 

 

A huge fish was coming right for him! He could see its spiked dorsal fin above the water and could only guess how many teeth went along with all those spikes. It shot towards him and Discord whipped the back half of his body to the side and out of the way. As the fish went by he lashed out with his tail and bonked the fish a good one right between the eyes. 

 

"You want some more?" Discord threw the challenge out, feeling better than he'd like to admit that he was getting through this all on his own. The fish receded down river and nurse his wound and probably prepare to assault another competitor. 

 

On he went and the other side of the river loomed near. Just as he was coming up on the place where he could push off to go back the way he came a bunch of branches came tumbling down the river! The draconequus launched himself up on the first large branch and then hopped along the others until he had touched the designated mark and headed back the other way. He entered the water with a splash as the branches and logs were carried away from him.

 

"I can hardly wait to see what's next." He rolled his eyes and tried to keep his breathing even as he struck out for the side he had started from.

 

As if on cue the river began to get rougher. Small waves turned into larger waves and soon Discord was being tossed around by large rollers that came from somewhere upstream. He was still being tugged by the current and for a few moments he floundered, letting the current do its thing. He gulped in a mouthful of water and gagged.

 

"Well now this is just too much!"  He turned and swam directly at the waves, ducking under them to keep from being washed away. Once he was back in line with the course Discord swam with the waves, using them to launch him towards the river's edge. He was there soon enough and starting his last leg! 

 

This last crossing would prove to be a test of all his mettle. The draconequus wished that he could snap his fingers and end up warm and sipping tea in his cottage in Chaosville but no, Fluttershy would just love to know he'd finished the course on his own. The pegasus thought so well of him though he'd failed her time and time again. He'd let her down and she'd stick by him and prove to him what friendship was. Yes Flutters was one in a million and he'd do his darndest to make her proud of him!

 

He swam as hard as he could, using the rest of his energy to get the finish line within his reach! Then the water in front of him began to light up!

 

"What now?" Discord grumbled and ducked below the surface to take a quick look. "Oh isn't this a pleasant surprise? What river race would be complete without a wall of electric eels?" 

 

The eels pulsed with electricity in rhythm and  this gave Discord and idea! He gulped in a huge breath of air and dove down! To his surprise the current lessened in the deeper part of the river. He waited, watching the eels swimming back and forth. He'd have to time this just right.

 

One, two, three...now! He struck out swimming in the same undulating style that had helped him thus far in the challenge. Under the eels he went as their pulse turned off and moments later back on. He surfaced and yelled out.

 

"Yowch!" The electric current got him just on the tip of his tail! "That's bad form you know?" 

 

He complained while climbing up and out of the river. The draconequus was still rubbing his rear when he crossed the finish line. The cheering crowds snapped him to attention and he began smiling and applauding his performance. 

 

"Yes yes, I know," He grinned. "I'm amazing!"

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*Submitted for Judging*

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A blue mare watched as a tall, misshaped noodle of a guy, swam, somewhat bravely, across the out of control river. She couldn't help but think of the possibilities of swimming in this pool of water. She could easily drown, or get hurt in some way from the tree branches and fish swimming about. The current looked to be strong and fast, and it could probably carry a large amount of weight at a time with ease. There were crashes of water that hit the sides of the river bank, that were plenty big to drag any creature in. The river was literally a big, blue, scary monster that grabs ponies and eats them up. 

 

To any creature that would be terrifying to encounter, but to Finnie, this just seemed like a breeze.. or so she thought. 

 

Finnie stood at the start, keeping her focus on the other side of the small, but aggressive river. All the Pegasus focused on was the sounds the water spitting at her, like a ferocious cat. The river hissed and gawked at her, teasing her. The mare just stood there quietly, completely relaxed and ready to go. It was just water. Cold, delicious water.

 

She listened to the old pony swimmer give her the heads up, as she kept a straight face and dove right into the freezing cold icy liquid. Her body immediately tensed up at the surprising temperature, her wings and nose becoming frozen. She floated there underneath the water for a second, adjusting her body to start swimming quickly and effectively. The mare pushed her body up with her legs, poking her head above water and quickly feeling the hard pressure behind her as the current began pushing her body. Finnie gave herself a kick, gaining her control and swimming up the river.

 

Finnie was shocked from how cold the water was. It felt like an outdoor freezer that was really strong. So strong, the current raced her little body down the river.  She tried to keep her composure, kicking her legs fast and focusing on the opposite side of the bank. She was getting to the point where she saw large sticks floating near her, and they looked sharp. Quickly, her mind came to the conclusion to dodge the sticks. This idea didn't seem to be so thoughtful, as a clump of branches formed right in the middle of the river. Finnie's pupil's became small, as she was in shock at the large formation in front of her. How could she get out of this pickle? She had one idea..

 

The mare suddenly held her breath, diving underneath the cold river. She started to twirl under the water, gaining speed as she jumped out of the water, into the air, and back into the river, clearing the pile of branches. 

 

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She landed back into the water with a large splash, as she made it to the other side of the river. She just thought positively, thinking she only had two more stretched to go. Thank Celestia. So, she pushed herself out again, going back to where she started. The current came out to be even more crazy, as it now pushed her side to side, up and down, and even made her twirl like it was a tornado. It was hard to keep her balance, so she opened up her legs more and slowly swam with them, paddling with large strides. This proved to keep her steady, as she realized she could feel little fish hitting her legs. Finnie couldn't help but mutter out a "What the?" as the fish pushed their backs up on her and started moving her backwards. The Pegasus immediately shook her body, freeing herself from the fish's grasps. She didn't even know they could do that, so she was a little weirded out.

 

Finally though, she found herself at the beginning of the river, making her kick out and turn around again for the last stretch. She let herself breathe and relax, as she was almost done with this wild river. The hippie swam faster again, not even being able to feel her body as the water turned her legs numb. That was great too. What was also great was the new branches and rocks coming down on her. Where did these rocks come from? She had no idea. 

 

Finnie threw herself underwater as a large rock came tumbling down. She barely dodged it, as logs were falling down too. She pushed herself up the dangerous current again, getting dragged side to side, barely missing any obstacles. The fish were back too, pushing her along as well. What a finally this was. Her numb body swam as quickly as it could, trying to find the end of the river without getting in the way of the floating logs and rocks. She continued to dive underwater, twirling once again to dodge the fish, and then jumping out to leap over the objects. She looked like a leaping fish, jumping in and out of the water. It was quite funny to witness.

 

It seemed though as the current settled down, making Finnie relax once again. With one last push, she grabbed the edge of the bank and pulled herself up, shaking off the majority of the water and listening to the crowds cheer her name. That was one wild ride. 

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**Submitted for Judging**

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Feng had sat, for some time, off to the side of the event.  Not because he planned not to participate; oh no.  The Empress had bid him to make a showing in all events, or at least to ensure Long Sun representation in all of them, and neither he nor Yanhua had swam in this river yet.  Nor, really, in any river.  Growing up in his home village, all the swimming holes were large, mostly placid pools that mountain waterfalls emptied into, and of course the palace had its own artificial pool.  But striking through the raging current?  Not part of his upbringing or training.  This could well prove the most difficult of the events he was to take on, hence his pause to study the previous competitors and their methods.

 

*So, we can expect river beasts, rocks, and masses of plant matter.  The Current is strong, too; both the strange long and Finnie had to spend some time and effort to swim against it, three times across as well.*  He didn't think of himself as a better swimmer than either, so his body couldn't be used to push any kind of advantage.  The only edge he could muster would be his tactical mind, searching the grounds and stated rules for any technicalities that might be pushed to his favor...

 

*Aha.*  Inspiration struck, and with a grin, he scampered down to the starting line, presenting himself for the challenge.

 

"And now, fillies and gentlecolts, it's the Eastern Wonder,  Fēng Yīnhǎitāo!"

 

Eastern Wonder?  Well, that was new!  Feng couldn't say he minded, though.  And the announcer even got the inflections right on his name!  If that wasn't good luck, the longma didn't know what was.  Taking a deep breath, the newly christened 'wonder' dove into the river at the farthest upstream point marked out for the starting line, striking course for the far shore.  Not a straight course though; the essence of his plan was to allow the current to carry him, at least a little bit, so as not to spend too much energy fighting it.  He had to minimize distraction, though, for this gambit to work, as if he slacked off too much , he risked getting swept away!

Fortunately, holding back to watch the previous two competitors had at least let him know where the rocks were, allowing him to kick off the formations to give himself a little extra boost as he passed.  The first leg of the lap was done quite quickly, though it put him at the furthest point downstream still in legal bounds of the event.  Without pausing, he hauled himself onto the far bank, ran along the edge to the farthest upstream point, and dove back in.  This causes a small amount of shock and discussion among the judges, but they eventually had to conclude that they hadn't forbidden it in the event rules, and it wasn't as if he was cheating in the spirit of the event, either.  He would still swim all three legs, but his time on shore would count towards his total.  Feng was banking on the saved time and effort from his diagonal swims being more than what he lost on the runs.  Time would tell!

 

The second leg was a little trickier than before, as he hadn't studied how it would be to face the same obstacles in the opposite direction.  He nearly missed getting caught on the tangle of branches, and the less said about the poor striped bass he kicked in the gills, the better!  Nonetheless, his tactic served him well enough on the way back, and he once again hauled himself up, this time pausing to breathe before scampering back upstream to dive.

 

The third leg was the worst.  Oh, sure, he knew the obstacles backwards and forwards by now, but his limbs and lungs were beginning to ache.  It was a tough swim, on top of the fact that he'd participated in literally every other event before now!  Each push off the rocks, each pull of his leaden hooves, strained Feng's body more and more, to the point where the rescue pegasi were literally hovering over him as he struck the downstream shore, struggled up, and lay on the banks panting.

 

"That might... not have been... a well calculated... tactic."  He muttered to himself between great shuddering breaths.  The thought of pushing himself into one more event just seemed impossible to him now; he'd probably just end up cheering his friend Yanhua through it.  Empress knew he probably owed her some support after all that she'd shown him over the course of the Iron pony...

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