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|Writer(s)||Cold in Gardez|
|Date published||October 31, 2011|
|Show connection||Based off a line from Stare Master|
The Contest is a short story by Cold in Gardez. It extrapolates its storyline from a throwaway line in the episode Stare Master:
- "Well, it's a game about who can be quiet the longest. Sound fun? I'm the world champ, you know."
- — Fluttershy
As the story opens, Rarity, Twilight and Fluttershy are spending some time at the spa. The two unicorns are having a conversation, and they're surprised when the Pegasus doesn't participate. When they ask her why, Fluttershy explains that she's been practicing for the Quiet Game World Championships. She is the defending champion in one of the categories, and expectations are high for a return performance.
Neither Twilight nor Rarity have ever heard of the competition; Twilight especially is rather skeptical of the contest's merits and becomes even more nonplussed after she hears that Princess Celestia is one of the judges. But at Rarity's insistence, she agrees to accompany the two to Canterlot.
The story then jumps to the day of the competition, as the three ponies arrive at the very crowded, but appropriately quiet, Canterlot Convention Center. Rarity decides at the last minute to enter the concurrent amateur competition, but is quickly ejected from the tournament when she asks a question after the round has already started.
Fluttershy fares better. In the first of several match-ups in a March-Madness-like bracket system, she faces off against Princess Luna, who tries to frighten her opponent by taking on the form of Nightmare Moon. She does not succeed; instead, Fluttershy provokes her into speaking by pointedly ignoring the figure looming over her. The story only briefly touches upon her next several bouts, which Fluttershy all wins. Twilight grows increasingly excited, whereas Rarity has decided that sulking is the best response to her losing her very first and very last Quiet Game match after only a few seconds.
Fluttershy's opponent in the semi-finals is a skeleton; the pony it belongs to had died some time before the tournament started, and while the rules were changed after his family entered him, he was still technically eligible. Fluttershy only advances to the next round because one of the brittle bones gives way and falls clattering to the floor.
In the final match, the Pegasus has to face off against a surprise entrant, who, according to the stadium announcers, had been quite unstoppable in his bracket: Angel the bunny. The rules in this round allow the contestants to physically engage each other as long as they remain quiet, which Angel brutally takes advantage of, pulling Fluttershy's hair and slapping her to get her to make a noise. This has Fluttershy at a disadvantage because she doesn't want to hurt him. When she finally gets a good hold of him, she starts stroking his fur, which quiets him down. Twilight is unsure what that is supposed to accomplish, since staying as quiet as possible is the goal of the game. Shortly before the time runs out, however, Angel's foot starts to uncontrollably thump against the stadium floor. It's loud enough to convince the judges, and Fluttershy wins: she has defended her crown.